Astrology has several terms to describe when the Sun and a planetary body come into close contact. Hoping this post can shed light (sorry for that easy pun) on the astrological terms and differences between Cazimi, Combust, Chariot, and Under the Beams.
All of these alignments refer to the proximity of influence and a planetary body's ability to be more or less visible with its own energy when near the Sun. These terms tend to be related to more traditional astrological lineages and also take into account whether something is moving towards the Sun, losing its light or moving away, after charged by it.
According to astrological beliefs, a planet is considered to be losing strength and becoming more constrained as it moves closer to the Sun, resulting in a decrease in light. When the planet is in exact conjunction with the Sun, it has the least amount of light, and its ability to act is slowly diminishing.
On the other hand, as the planet moves away from the Sun, it is believed to gain strength and become more powerful, resulting in an increase in light. This increased power gives the planet more ability to act, making it more empowering.
If we think about the center of our solar system the Sun, as something approaches it may be a bit overwhelming and then as it makes contact reaches a pinnacle and then integrate its light. With this reasoning, similar to a full moon, when the planet opposes the Sun and is farthest away from it, it has the most amount of light.
This month's most hyped up "luckiest day of the year" occurs on Tuesday, April 11 when Jupiter and the Sun come into exact alignment--aka Cazimi.
Jupiter shines more powerfully during this combination and may help us expand and find openings in that places that felt closed before. It's a great day to step out of your comfort zone and take a risk with your heart.
The word Cazimi comes from the Arabic word kaṣmīmī which evolved from the Greek kardia meaning "in the heart." This close conjunction occurs within 17 minutes, or around one degree, between the Sun and another planetary body. While a Jupiter Cazimi tends to get the most hype, this alignment can occur with asteroids, planets, dwarf planets, or TNO (Trans Neptunian Objects). In fact, April has four of them to celebrate:
April 11 :: Jupiter
April 14 :: Eris
April 17 :: asteroid Astraea
April 23 :: asteroid Vesta
During a Cazimi the Sun's powerful energy protects this planet and can be an auspicious and fortunate time. In traditional astrology lineages, Cazimi placements are considered a rare and highly desirable placement for any planet.
With a more modern consciousness, I tend to view a Cazimi as a more nuanced phenomenon that can have positive or negative effects, depending on the specific planet and its placement in the natal chart. And of course the person's awareness of it.
For example, if a malefic planet like Saturn or Mars is in Cazimi, it could indicate a period of intense conflict or struggle. On the other hand, if a benefic planet like Venus or Jupiter is in Cazimi, it could indicate a time of great creativity, abundance, and prosperity.
Two other solar alignments used in traditional astrologer that can be considered less desirable such as combust and under the beams.
Combust in traditional astrology describes the condition of a planet comes within 8.5 degrees of the Sun. This close connection weakens the planet by the intense heat and light of the Sun, and its power is significantly reduced. In some cases, a combust planet can also indicate that the qualities associated with that planet may be suppressed or overshadowed by the qualities of the Sun. During this time, the planet is said to be "combust," meaning that its energy is overwhelmed or obscured by the Sun's intense energy.
Traditionally, the planets most affected by combustion are Mercury and Venus, as they are the innermost planets and therefore more likely to be in close proximity to the Sun.
Under the Beams:
"Under the Beams" is another term used to describe the condition of a planet when it moves within 17 degrees of the Sun, but not combust. When a planet is under the beams, it is said to be weakened by the proximity to the Sun though perhaps can still hold its own a bit. The influence of this alignment traditional astrologers consider more moderate than when it is combust, and it may still be able to exert some influence on the individual's life.
I don't tend to notice this one as much though I do find it interesting that eclipse season technically begins when the lunar nodes get within 17 degrees of the Sun...therefore coming into an under the beams position.
However, I more recently also learned about the concept of "chariot" with Sun conjunctions. The ancient texts refer to the concept of a chariot as a mitigating factor for planets that could be influenced by this. In this exception when a planet is in the sign it rules at the time of its conjunction with the Sun, it is believed to be significantly less impacted by being under the beams or combust.
Though this gets tricky depending on modern or traditional rulership and some more traditional astrologers believe a planet is only considered to be under the beams or combust when it shares the same sign as the Sun. I don't feel strongly either way.
As a general astro rule of thumb, Cazimi is seen as an extremely positive influence, Combust is considered to be negative, and Under the Beams is considered to be more moderate though that can change with a Chariot placement.
Understanding these astrological concepts can help us gain a deeper understanding of the subtleties of our birth chart and by transit see more clearly some of the influences shaping the collective experience.