Reflections on “pushing nature” in horary astrology

Ben Dykes has introduced the term “pushing” in his translations of aspectual relationships between planets in older Arabic and medieval texts.  The idea is simply that when planet A applies to planet B, it is as if planet A is “pushing” something, perhaps a request for assistance or action, onto planet B with the expectation that planet B will help planet A to realize its desires.  Planet A becomes the “pushy” planet, and planet B is the one being pushed by the approach of A.  As planet A zaps planet B with its rays, planet A “pushes” (transmits, sends, forwards, delivers, zaps, hands over) some information to B.

In other words, planet A has an agenda that it would like to accomplish in the chart. In applying to B, planet A advises B about its agenda (A -> B); then planet B must decide what to do with A’s information. Ben Dykes uses the word “pushing” to mean this process of planet A beaming information about its agenda to planet B by applying to a major aspect with planet B.

There are several options open to planet B once it receives A’s pushy advice.  For example, planet B can decide to assist planet A in accomplishing its goal, or it can reject A’s urgings and not act on A’s behalf, or planet B might be too weak or impaired (perhaps cadent, Rx or combust the sun) to lift even a finger in A’s behalf. The route taken by planet B depends largely on the essential and accidental dignities and debilities of both planets A and B.

If you have friends or relatives whom you regard as pushy people, you will easily understand the concept of pushing. People with pushy personalities tend to be overbearing, demanding, self-assertive, domineering and ambitious. Pushy people want you to do what they want, and they freely tell you so. Apparently in astrology the act of one planet applying to another by a major aspect renders the applying planet pushy. The applying planet, A, is exerting some kind of pressure on the applied-to planet, B, to do its bidding.

death star

The Death Star (a malefic) applies to and “pushes” its powerful beam onto planet B.

Apparently there are three main types of pushing, as planet A applies to planet B:

  • Pushing management or counsel, aka committing disposition, (A -> B), which simply means that planet A, by applying to planet B, is letting B know what A would like to accomplish. “Counsel” means advice, guidance, direction, information; we say, for example, that a lawyer counsels a client about how to behave in a legal matter.  It’s like A sending a text to B to inform or advise B about what A is up to, perhaps suggesting what B can do to help A if B should want to cooperate.
  • Pushing virtue, power or dignity (dignified A -> B), which means that A occupies one of its own dignities and that A can “push” its own virtue onto B.  A planet in one of its own dignities is empowered to express its own nature or virtue in pure form. This might be like the malefic school bully telling the smallest kid in the playground to do something, or the virtuous principal stepping in to send the bully to detention. In the image above, the Death Star (a malefic) has a lot of power to act malefically and pushes its destructive force onto planet B, which yields to its will.
  • Pushing nature (A in dignity of B -> B), which means that A lies in one of the dignities of B and also applies to planet B. (This is the classic definition of reception.) In this case, planet A may be quite weak, perhaps even peregrine, yet B heeds the weakling A’s request because A is an honored guest in one of B’s essential dignities. As a gracious host, B feels obliged to help puny little A achieve its desires. It is as if, by residing in one of B’s dignities, A coats itself in the nature of B and is able to persuade B to help get A’s job done.

Some modern interpreters of “pushing nature” feel that planet A is pushing its own nature onto B, as A applies to B. Logically, however, it appears that any power which A possesses to be able to push somethigg to B comes from its location in a dignity of B. In other words, A borrows the power to push from B and then uses that power to push (or reflect) B’s own nature back to B. By occupying a dignity of B, planet A is able to push the nature of B back onto planet B and thereby enlist B’s assistance. This is especially true if A is without essential dignity because then A must act through its ‘lord’, planet B, and use the power of B to accomplish its goals.

Pushing nature is somewhat like the grandchild of the CEO of a company seeking a job in one of the company’s branches. Even though the grandchild may have mediocre qualifications, he or she is able to push the nature of the CEO grandfather onto the interviewer and secure the job.

Another way to view “pushing” might be the following. As planet A zaps planet B with its rays, A pushes something onto B. Think of planet A having a laser gun which shoots a beam of light from A to B. That beam of light can simply carry information about what A wants to accomplish (pushing management). If A is in one of its own dignities, its laser beam is very powerful (pushing power or dignity) and will cause a response from B when he gets zapped. Finally, if A lies in the dignity of B, then A’s light gets filtered through and colored by B’s dignity, thus pushing some of the nature of B back onto B (pushing nature) or perhaps causing B to welcome A by acting as if B had adopted for the time being some of the nature of A. When planet A lies in one of the dignities of planet B, then what A beams toward B (as it applies to a major aspect with B) is of the nature of planet A at its core, embedded in the nature of planet B because A is floating in a dignity of B.

Hypothetical Example: Will I get the job?

Let’s assume that on 6 Feb 2011 the querent asked a horary question, “Will I get the job I recently applied for?” and the following chart represented the question:

Get job

The querent is signifed by Saturn, ruler of the Capricorn Ascendant. Saturn is Rx in Virgo in the 8th house and is peregrine.

The job is signified by Mars, ruler of the Scorpio 10th. Mars lies in its exaltation (Capricorn) and is strong in the 1st house conjunct the Ascendant. The emplacement of the ruler of the 10th in the 1st is a favorable indicator.

Mars (the job) and Saturn (the querent) are mutually applying to a trine; but Mars is combust the sun and Saturn is Rx in the 8th, so the trine may not be of much help in the matter.

Mars is empowered in Capricorn, the sign of its exaltation, to to express its Mars-like virtue in a rather unadulterated form. Thus, Mars is pushing its own virtue and dignity to Saturn.

Mars is in Capricorn, the domicile of Saturn, which colors the nature of Mars and gives it a Saturnian hue.  Capricorn modifies Mars in this chart.  Mars thus pushes the nature of Saturn back to Saturn because Mars is imbued with Capricornian tones through his placement in Capricorn.  Mars basking in a Capricornian glow makes the red planet feel very familiar to Saturn, who therefore wants to help him.

Mars exalted in Capricorn and applying to a major aspect with Saturn is sometimes said to be “pushing to natures” because Mars in his exaltation is able to push his own nature (virtue) and Mars in Capricorn is coated with Saturnian expressiveness, so Mars here is able to push the nature of Saturn (which rules Capricorn) as well.

Saturn Rx is applying to Mars, but Saturn is peregrine in 24 Virgo, so Saturn has no dignity or power to push. On the other hand, Saturn at 24 Virgo lies in the terms (bounds) of Mars, so that Saturn has a bit of Mars coloring and can push a bit of the nature of Mars back to Mars, which treats this Saturn as someone with whom he has some familiarity.

An analogy to M&M candies might make this idea clearer.  In the above chart, think of Mars as the core or center of the M&M candy and Capricorn/Saturn as its outer shell.  As Mars applies to Saturn, the ringed planet sees the Capricorn shell and feels like the Capricorn-coated Mars is a member of its family who is to be treated well. In other words, when Mars in Capricorn (ruled by Saturn) applies to Saturn, the ray of light that proceeds from Mars to Saturn is of the nature of Mars at its core but is surrounded by a coating of the nature of Saturn, which persuades Saturn to welcome the information it is receiving.


See also my older post:


<<All original material on this page is copyright Anthony Louis 2018.>>


About Anthony Louis

Author of books about astrology and tarot, including TAROT PLAIN AND SIMPLE, HORARY ASTROLOGY, and THE ART OF FORECASTING WITH SOLAR RETURNS.
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