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(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

A planet is said to be combust when it is within 8°30’ (many would say less) of the Sun. In traditional astrology, this was regarded as having a weakening (debilitating) effect on the planet involved. Contemporary astrologers have not found that this close conjunction with the Sun weakens planets, and, to the contrary, some researchers have asserted that such a position tends to strengthen the influence of the planets involved. The notion of combust might have been based on the observation that during partile conjunctions in which the Sun actually came between a particular planet and Earth (i.e., during occultations,) the matters and processes ruled by the planet involved in the conjunction were weakened. Certain twentieth-century experiments, such as those supporting the Kolisko effect (in which the metal associated with a given planet was less reactive during the planet’s occultation), would support such an interpretation.

Mercury, as the planet closest to the Sun, is most often involved in close conjunctions with the greater luminary. Observing people with combust Mercury, many modern astrologers have noted greater mental energy as well as greater powers of concentration in these natives. However, astrologers have also observed that this position, unless counteracted by other factors in the natal chart, causes people with combust Mercurys to be less able to see points of view other than their own.


Bach, Eleanor. Astrology from A to Z: An Illustrated Source Book. New York: Philosophical Library, 1990.
DeVore, Nicholas. Encyclopedia of Astrology. New York: Philosophical Library, 1947.
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