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Monday's quiz shows the chart of someone with Aquarius ascendant who recently began his nineteen year Saturn mahadasha on July 6th, 2007. Saturn transited into Leo shortly thereafter on July 15th, 2007. 

The question is whether Saturn's transit is beneficial for his health or challenging for his health? His ascendant is Aquarius and therefore Saturn becomes a temporal benefic as the ascendant lord. Does Saturn's aspect by transit strengthen the ascendant and protect health, or the opposite? The sarvashtakavarga points of Leo are 26 points, and Saturn's binnashtakavarga points are 4. 

Natal Chart 

Saturn's aspects by transit therefore would appear to more beneficial. However, in Jyotish the planets natural status, as either a benefic or malefic, predominate over its temporal status. This is evidenced by the fact that the classic texts are replete with quotes about the benefits to planets aspected by benefics and the ill effects of aspects by malefics. For instance, sage Parashara writes in the Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra

If a benefic is retrograde in the 6th, the 8th, or the 12th house receiving an aspect from a malefic, death will occur within a month of birth. This is true only when the ascendant is not occupied by a benefic. Ch. 9, v. 3 

This type of interpretation based on the aspects of natural malefics or benefics is common in Jyotish. Generally, aspects by malefics (Saturn, Mars, Rahu, Ketu, and secondarily the Sun) indicate challenges and aspects by benefics (Jupiter, Venus, Mercury, Moon) indicate benefits, as well as the softenening of other malefic influences. This is true in natal chart interpretation as well as in the interpretation of transits. 

I find that this principle holds true. For instance, Jupiter's transit aspecting any ascendent, whether Jupiter's a temporal malefic or benefic, will bring a certain degree of growth, expansion, new opportunities etc. At the same time, Saturn's transit aspecting any ascendent, whether Saturn's a temporal malefic or benefic, will generally represent a certain degree of personal challenges and the need to take responsibility for one's physical health. 

Transits on October 15, 2007 

This chart shows the transits on October 15th 2007 effecting the health of the man's natal chart above. Saturn transit in Leo as his ascendant lord aspecting the ascendant gives a mixed effect that's mostly challenging in my opinion. Saturn's nature is to constrict, and in terms of physical health it constricts the prana or life force. It can represent having more responsibilities and less vitality to meet them. The positive side to this transit as the 1st lord aspecting the ascendant is that Saturn's influence can give the discipline and committment to meet the challenges. In other words, the person becomes more likely to take responsibility and develop health regiments that improve their health. 

In the case above, the person has had increased health challenges since beginning his Saturn mahadasha and especially since Saturn transited into Leo. His health issue is complicated by the fact that in his natal chart Saturn is placed in the 8th house and hemmed in by Ketu and Mars. In addition, Rahu was also also transiting over his ascendant while Saturn was opposite it. Since that time he's been facing a chronic health challenge that's debilitating, but not life threatening at this point.