When a child is born, a question asked or a new venture begun, that moment is believed to hold valuable information regarding the 'fate' and characteristics of that child, question or venture, just like a seed holds all that is required to grow into a tree. That which is born in a given moment has the qualities inherent in (indicated by?) that moment. This is the basic premise of astrology. In jyotish, the moment or epoch is associated primarily with 12 fixed indicators (signs) and ten variable indicators. The latter being: the seven visible ‘heavenly’ bodies, namely, sun, moon, mercury, Venus, mars, Jupiter and Saturn, the two lunar nodes, rahu and ketu, and the ascendant point on the zodiac or ecliptic belt that intersects the local horizon.
For ease of understanding, think of the zodiac as the rainbow. The point where the 'rainbow' -- that is the zodiac of constellations and signs - meets the eastern horizon marks the rising degree. This rising degree forms the mid-point of the first house. For practical purposes, the entire sign may be taken to represent the first house and the next sign (yet to rise in the east) then becomes the second house and if we continue following the zodiacal necklace of signs we would come a full circle to the sign that has already risen in the east and is completely above the horizon; this being known as the 12th house. The tenth house, is the sign that is right above our head or at the zenith.
There is no ‘logical’ reason behind the distribution of signs or why they are each 30 degrees long, although there is a parallelism between the planetary rulership and the order of the signs, though.
The sign rulerships that are clustered around the two signs (traditionally considered to be) ruled by the lights sun and moon: Leo and cancer (simha and karka) are based on the orbital arrangement of the planets around the sun, so we have Gemini and Virgo ruled by mercury flanking the signs ruled by sun and moon; then Taurus and Libra ruled by Venus flanking the signs ruled by mercury, sun and moon; Aries and Scorpio ruled by mars; Pisces and Sagittarius ruled by Jupiter and Aquarius and Capricorn ruled by Saturn.
The arrangement, therefore is:
Capricorn, Sagittarius, Scorpio, Libra, Virgo, Leo, Cancer, Gemini, Taurus, Aries, Pisces, Aquarius.
Saturn, Jupiter, mars, Venus, mercury, SUN, MOON, mercury, Venus, mars, Jupiter, Saturn.
While viewing and measuring the signs, we come across certain signs that are of long ascension. This simply means that the signs ascend or rise across the horizon over a longer period of time in the northern hemisphere (the opposite is true for these signs in the southern hemisphere, what is of long ascension in the north is of short ascension in the southern hemisphere). This is caused by the obliquity of the ecliptic (due to the tilting of our planet) and leads to the observation of phenomena such as interception of the signs; some of the signs not rising at all at certain times during the year at higher latitudes (in Iceland for instance). In the horoscopes of individuals born at higher latitudes, therefore, some recommend the use of unequal house systems, something that is not very clearly or strongly indicated in traditional jyotish texts. Critics argue that this is because jyotish developed in regions of earth near the equator (such as India) where interception of signs is not observed and hence it is not mentioned in jyotish texts. In my opinion, sign-based houses seem to work very well in the cases of higher latitude births that I have had the opportunity to study. The jury is still out on this one.
One can think of the signs as being the products of the orbit of the earth around the sun while the houses result from the rotation of the earth around its axis. The daily and annual motion of earth in space therefore leads to the perception of sign and houses. The perspective of astrology is, therefore, primarily geocentric or perhaps more precisely, geotopocentric, as some might like to emphasize. The relatively very few heliocentric (astrology with sun at the centre - which leads to a significant shift in the location of planets in signs, often as much as by 6-7 signs) astrologers may disagree!
So, when we look at a horoscope, the first house defines the view of the eastern horizon at the place for the time of birth or epoch that the horoscope is cast for. If we face the west, we are in essence facing the 7th house, the 10th house would then represent the roof of the sky (as if we are looking upwards) and the 4th house would be under our feet. The observer is, in other words, placed with his head pointing towards the 10th house, feet towards the 4th house, and eyes turned either towards east or west depending on which way he is facing. The typical western horoscope circle with the first house placed in the 9'O clock position assumes that the observer is standing up. The north Indian horoscope assumes that the observer is placed horizontally
The Numbers mentioned in the chart mean the number of the house. 1 = First House.
The above depicts the ‘North Indian’ chart which looks like a collection of diamonds and triangles in a square or rectangle frame. The first house or ascending sign or Lagna sign is always placed in the top diamond, labeled here as the First house. The 'number' in it represents the sign, a ‘1’ denotes Aries or Mesha rising, a ‘5’ denotes Leo rising and so on. Some people (programs) replace the number with an zodiacal glyph which would feel more familiar to some. The organization of the signs is counter clockwise and would represent the visual progression of signs through the day, if someone were looking at the zodiacal circle from a south-facing view, with east on the left hand side and west to the right. The 12th house would represent the sign that has already risen in the east and the first house being the sign that is rising now, while second house would be the sign that would rise in the east, next. In this format, therefore, the place for houses is fixed, but those for signs vary from chart to chart.
The South Indian style chart is like a square. The place marked with an asterisk is reserved for Aries. The signs follow Aries, Taurus, Gemini etc. The count is made clockwise round the rectangle. The sign rising is marked Asc. or by L which denotes Lagna or the Ascendant.
This is the South Indian format of the chart in which the signs are fixed in location but houses vary in position from chart to chart. A planet in the upper right corner would always be one in Gemini or Mithun. For orientation, the Lagna is indicated in words or simply by a diagonal line drawn in the square which represents the ascending sign, in cancer or Karka, in this illustration. The progression of the zodiac is clockwise and it represents the viewpoint of someone who is viewing the zodiac while facing north, with east falling towards his right hand and west towards his left hand. This arrangement or format is probably better suited for those following Jaimini system, since the opposite signs (such as Gemini to Sagi, Pisces to Virgo, Aries to Vrishchik, Aquarius to cancer, and Libra to Leo shown in the example above) represent some of the sign aspects (lines of flow of astrological energy) used in this system. There are other ways of drawing the charts as well, the lotus formation, the circle (similar to western, though with ascendant in the pie-slice at 12'O clock, rather than to the one at 9'O clock. It is not too difficult to become familiar with any or all of these formations, though most people prefer to use one kind.
Jyotish uses the sidereal (based on stars) zodiac. The tropical (season-based) zodiac is yoked to the declinational journey of the sun (actually the earth wobbles; this gives rise to the apparent movement of the sun, which gives us the seasons. Tropical zodiac considers the spring equinox (first day of Spring in Northern or the first day of autumn in the Southern hemisphere) as the beginning of the zodiac, the 1st point of Aries with other signs in the tow. The sidereal zodiac utilizes the stars as the orientation for the signs and thus is yoked to the visible constellations (the ram, the bull, the scorpion, as they show up in the sky). The sidereal zodiac moves backwards very slowly (about 2000+ years per 30 degree sign) giving rise to the "precession of equinoxes". Visualize the two zodiacal circles sidereal and tropical as two yoked wheels, connected at the same axle, slowly slipping out of phase with one another as they move through time. This is the very phenomenon that makes the north pole point towards different ‘pole stars’ as the earth moves through millenia.
A correction increasing over time, named as 'ayanamsha' when applied to the tropical longitudes of a planet gives rise to the sidereal longitude. The current difference between the two zodiacs is approximately 24 degrees. Different values of ayanamsha in vogue include, Lahiri, Krishnamurti, Raman, Yukteshwar, Fagan/Bradley, etc. This raises some confusion and uncertainty but in practice is less of a difficulty than often made out to be. From what I have been told, a group of the Indian ephemeris makers have decided to choose Lahiri ayanamsha, but it is very difficult to estimate how many jyotishis in India or in the entire world actually use this or any other ayanamsha. Such a huge poll has not been conducted and is probably impossible. The choice of ayanamsha can have significant impact on the finer varga charts used in jyotish or in some time-sensitive dashas such as Kalchakra dasha, but there are also other uncertainties, including inaccurate birth times and different opinions/interpretations about calculating some of these dashas, or whether to use the 365 day year or 360 day year, to use geo- or topocentric position of the moon, etc. that make the finding of a definitive answers regarding which parameters to choose, difficult if not impossible. I would strongly urge beginners to first focus on the basic techniques that have been widely used, are effective in most cases and less subject to the various sensitivity factors, before they move on to some of the finer divisions or other dashas, and rectification, or other advanced techniques. In jyotish, one would face many opportunities to be drawn to (or confused by) different choices of quantities and calculations and in order to preserve ones sanity it is best to stick with the same set of factors or variables for a significant amount of time making changes cautiously and judiciously, rather than flitting all over the place, swayed by a strongly worded view, article or book.
A sidereal sign is 30 degrees long and is divided into 3 sub-areas. These represent the asterisms.
There are 27 asterisms or nakshatras in the 360 degree zodiac and each 800 min or 13d 20m segment represents an area ruled by a planetary ruler (other rulers are also prescribed for these and have metaphysical and mythological significance. These can also be treated as mnemonics for memorizing the properties of the nakshatras and its attributes). Aries or mesha, for instance, contains Ashwini ruled by ketu, bharini ruled by Venus and the first quarter of krittika ruled by sun. Krittika then continues in vrishabha or Taurus, followed by the asterisms of moon and mars. There being 9 'planets', ketu, Venus, sun, moon, mars, rahu, Jupiter, Saturn and mercury, the roster of asterisms ruled by these planets in the stated order, repeats thrice giving 9 x 3 = 27 asterisms. Asterisms ruled by all 9 planets form three sequential sets, each of which begins with a fire sign (Aries, Leo or sag), progresses through the earth (Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn), air (Gemini, Libra, Aquarius) and ends with the water (cancer, Scorpio, Pisces) signs. More details can be studied in other articles by me.
Deg min Deg min Deg min Asterism ruled by
000 00 120 00 240 00 Ketu
013 20 133 20 253 20 Venus
026 40 146 40 266 40 Sun
040 00 160 00 280 00 Moon
053 20 173 20 293 20 Mars
066 40 186 40 306 40 Rahu
080 00 200 00 320 00 Jupiter
093 20 213 20 333 20 Saturn
106 40 226 40 346 40 Mercury
A sign or constellation in jyotish is called a rashi or a heap (of stars). The names are given below:
Jyotish uses two kinds of labels for a planet or in some cases for houses as well: malefic/benefic and strong/weak. The two are separate types of qualifiers. Planets such as Jupiter, Venus, waxing moon and well-associated mercury are intrinsically benefic and are blessed with softer, gentler natures, even-keeled disposition, and indicate happiness, generosity, compassion and kindness. Planets such as Saturn, mars, sun, nodes, waning moon are malefic and are of harsh, cruel, brusque, hard-hearted, selfish, acquisitive and aggressive nature. One should not apply these labels too literally, though. Not all individuals with moon or Jupiter in Lagna are kind or gentle or even moral, necessarily.
A benefic planet can be weak or strong in a horoscope and this would tend to make its 'impression' and expression weak or strong in the life of someone. Generally speaking, planets that are exalted lean towards the benefic side of their nature while those that are debilitated express the malefic end of their spectrum of expression, regardless of their inherently benefic or malefic disposition. The strength of a planet can be determined in many ways, and to some extent is a technical matter that is based partly on mathematical derivation using systems such as shadbala, etc. and are based on the placement of planets in certain sign or house and on some time-based factors, as well as the number of own or benefic divisions that the planet obtains in the various varga chart. Beginners tend to use the 'ready-made' values that most programs generate. Many books are also available on this somewhat advanced topic. It is good to familiarize oneself with the details of these methods and these sources of strength. A simplified system based on five factors has proved to be quite helpful as a quick primary approximation. I have published this in The Astrological Magazine in 1980 and in 1992 in a slightly modified manner in the NCGR member letter. It is discussed further on in this article.
One would often come across concepts in jyotish such as, a planet being afflicted, or conversely being fortified by another or being associated with another planet. These are very important considerations to understand and remember since much of the jyotish synthesis is based on these sambandhs or relationships between planets. One form of relationships is based on friendships, permanent and temporal. The other form is based on aspect, placement and dispositorship. A planet that is located in a house has a very strong influence on such a house. A planet that exchanges positions with lord of another house (lord of 1 in 5 and lord of 5 in 1) create strong zones of mutual influence. Some individuals have taken such mutual reception as being equivalent to each of the two planets being in its own sign and therefore very strong. A planet that is placed with a lord of a certain house or in the other sign of the lord of a house also has association with the said house. A planet in ruled-ruled Sagittarius in 2 nd house will also be connected to the fifth house where Pisces, the other sign of Jupiter falls. Similarly, a planet aspecting a house or its lord has a relationship with that house too. There are finer relationships based on dispositorship of a sign and asterism which must be considered for a comprehensive picture. A planet occupying a sign would influence its lord (dispositor) as well as the planet in whose asterism (nakshatra) it is located. The effect would be strongly felt during the planetary period (generally vimshottari dasha) or sub period of the dispositor.
Note: There are variations in different texts for the moolatrikona degrees. The ones shown here are from Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra, the authoritative reference in jyotish.
JU MO SU
SU MO MA
MA JU SA VE
SA MA JU
SU MO MA
The natural friends of a planet are those that rule over the 2nd, 4th, 5th, 8th, 9th and 12th houses, from its moolatrikona sign and the lord of the sign where the planet is exalted; natural enemies are lords of 3rd, 6th, 7th, 10th and 11th sign from its moolatrikona. Temporary (or temporal, tatkalik) friends are those planets that are placed in 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 10th, 11th and 12th sign from a given planet.
Timing of events and figuring out the currently dominating planetary influence or theme from an astrological perspective is an extremely important part of doing astrology. In jyotish, many types of periods, dashas, transits etc. are described and prescribed for general and specific conditions. Most individuals follow the vimshottari dasha system which is based on the 'progression' of the natal moon through the zodiac of asterisms. There are 27 asterisms, each of which is ruled by one of the nine planets. Starting at zero degrees Aries in the sidereal zodiac, each segment of 800 arc minutes or 13d 20m is ruled by ketu, Venus, sun, moon, mars, rahu, Jupiter, Saturn and mercury in the stated order which repeats itself twice, giving rise to three sets of 9 *star-clusters* each, spanning the zodiac. A person with natal moon in the asterismal zone ruled by Venus would begin life in Venus dasha followed by the dasha of sun and moon, etc. The arc-segments (slice in the pie of zodiac) for each asterism is the same (13d 20m) but the dashas are of different durations (7, 20, 6, 10, 7, 18, 16, 19 and 17 years for ketu to mercury) which can be thought of as the natal moon progressing through the stars at different rates of motion, with its relative speed being twice as much while progressing through its own asterism than when progressing through the star of Venus.
ketu Venus sun moon mars rahu jupi satur merc
7y 20y 6y 10y 7y 18y 16y 19y 17y
It is interesting to think of the progressing moon speeding up and hurrying under the influence of ketu, sun, mars and slowing down under the influence of Jupiter, rahu, Saturn, mercury and Venus. Another interesting observation that has appeared in some writings that divides the periods into two sets of 60 years each, with the inner and outer planets and nodes separated into two groups. So, moon + sun + merc + Venus + ketu = 10 + 6 + 17 + 20 + 7 = 60; mars + Jupiter + Saturn + rahu = 7 + 16 + 19 + 18 = 60. Half of the maximum human life span belongs to the inner planets and half is under the sway of the outer planets.
It is generally expected that any special yogas or combinations in a chart, and many such are indicated in classical texts in jyotish, would manifest during their periods in life or would come to fruition in the periods of planets that are related to them in the chart. Often, the "relationship" is expressed through the asterismal connectivities. In other words, if mars is in rahu's star, the dasha of mars would produce results attributed to rahu. A child may be born to the individual during the period of a planet which is placed in the star of another planet ruling or located in the fifth house (progeny). This forms just one of the many considerations and it is always a good idea to look for many different factors in a chart and building up the 'weight of evidence of indicators' before pronouncing a prediction.
Although it is possible to calculate many levels of planetary periods and sub periods (mahadasha, antardasha or bhukti, pratyantar dasha, sookshma and pranadasha), most beginners should perhaps focus on the first two levels and then add more as they progress along the path of proficiency. It is always a good idea to not get tangled in a net of too many variables, regardless of ones capability to handle these. Even with two levels of dasha, one can generate so many combinations of factors that it could prove to be quite a daunting list of considerations. Some of these considerations are: the role of primary and secondary dasha rulers (dasha/bhukti lords or mahadasha/antardasha lords as some prefer to call the first two levels), their strengths, their benefic/malefic nature, their relationships with each other in general and in the specific chart, their placement from their own houses and from the houses that they signify (or are karakas of) as well as from the lords of the houses they signify. For example one could be studying the placement of the period-lords with reference to Jupiter and lord of 5th for progeny-related matters, because both Jupiter and the fifth house deal with the issue of ‘issues’.
Another important consideration is what Sage Satyacharya calls the asterismal principle ('nakshatra siddhant'). This is also called the tara-maitri (asterismal relationship/friendship). Essentially, the star where moon is placed is the orientation point (though Sage Satyacharya also recommends taking the lagna or ascendant should that be stronger than the moon). The other stars, following in sequence, alternate between good and bad relationships, and the series of friendships/enmities repeats again with the next two sets of nine stars each.
For example, if in a chart the moon is in Aries 2nd degree and thus in the star of ketu. The sequence of star-relationships in this specific example would be:
RULER STAR # NAME EFFECT
Ketu Star #01 Janma + moderately positive
Venus Star #02 Sampat + moderately positive
Sun Star #03 Vipat - negative results
Moon Star #04 Kshema + moderately positive
Mars Star #05 Pratyari - negative results
Rahu Star #06 Sadhaka + moderately positive
Jupiter Star #07 Vadha - negative results
Saturn Star #08 Maitra + moderately positive
Mercury Star #09 Param maitra ++ excellent
Ketu Star #10 Janma' + moderately positive
Venus Star #11 Sampat' + moderately positive
and so on ...
The relative sign position of a planet in a chart and its occupancy in a given star would be an important factor to consider. A planet that is the bhukti-lord and in the 3rd star from the dasha-lord might find it difficult to facilitate positive results of the dasha lord (or itself) fully, for instance.
The effects are modulated by the intrinsic or chart specific qualities of the planet such as strength, beneficence and participation in a particular yoga (+) or arishta (-) as well as mutual placement of major and sub lords in the chart, etc.
These days, readily available software enables one to generate charts with ease by simplifying all the intricate calculations that jyotish requires, but can prove to be a mixed blessing for the jyotish student. There has not come out a significant amount of well-documented or published work that has clearly shown the relative merit of all of the techniques now available at the press of a button. Small samples have been reported in articles and some recent books, and anecdotal claims have been made of their having been tested in thousands of charts. Some of the published work has erroneous data which could be partly due to typographical errors. Overall, the picture is somewhat muddied by these uncertainties.
Traditionally, the divisional charts have been associated with certain special roles or jurisdictions (e.g., navamsha for marital and sexual relationships, saptamamsha for progeny, dashamsha for occupation, etc.). There is a concordance between the jurisdiction attributed to the houses and to the divisional charts, the dasham or 10th deals with ones work, but of the many divisional charts or varga kundalis, the navamsha has always been held in special esteem. The divisional charts have, of course, been routinely employed in strength determination (saptavargaja bal and vimshopaka strength determination) and navamsha seems to be the favorite divisional chart of all jyotishis. Navamsha is in a sense a link between the two zodiacal divisions used by vedic astrologers. It links the zodiac of the signs and the zodiac of the asterisms. Although, the navamshas are named after the signs (Aries, Taurus, etc.), each navamsha coincides with one of the four quarters or padas (step) of each nakshatra. These latter, as you recall, cover an arc of 13d 20m each. Each pada or quarter or navamsha, thus, is 3d 20m wide. The 13d 20m arc that is called a nakshatra roughly represents the arc distance traveled by the Moon in one tithi or one luni-solar day, the primary diurnal unit used in vedic astrology and in vedic times. A tithi is slightly longer than a regular day and represents the synodic luni-solar transit through 12 degrees. Starting at new Moon, with Sun conjunct Moon, by the time the luni-solar arc interval moves from zero degrees (new Moon) through 12 degrees, the Sun has moved forward by approximately one degree and the Moon by about 13 degrees, which is very close to the arc-length of a nakshatra (13d 20m). The nakshatra, therefore, links the essence of the Moon and the Sun, the two lights.
In practice, navamsha charts do provide valuable insight into the nature and strength of planets in a natal chart and also in the delineation of transits. If one were just to look at the radix (rashi kundali or chart) and the navamsha -- this probably would cover a large proportion of what there is to know about the charts through astrology. Unfortunately, not much is clearly laid out in traditional texts and many jyotishis, new and experienced, are deprived of tapping into this gold mine.
Although, experienced jyotishis study many divisional charts and employ a variety of techniques routinely, imagine the complex weave of information that can result for the beginner following such an approach! I, therefore, strongly urge the new student to actively refrain from doing so! Firstly, master the natal chart or radix and then navamsha, and combine the two in your routine practice. In many cases you will probably not miss a lot beyond that! By all means, use the other charts as supplementary material to be looked into and in the strength determination, but not necessarily as primary interpretive tools. You might avoid a lot of confusion and the resulting discouragement that turns many people away from jyotish who begin to think of it as an overly complex approach, which it need not be.
Much of astrology is really an exercise in discerning astro-symbolic connectivity. If multiple indications are pointing in one direction, the likelihood of such an influence coming to pass is more than likely. There is no need to wait with baited breath for some mysterious secret to be unearthed or a magical yoga to appear from some weathered document lying buried in someones ancestral library. Unfortunately, jyotish has its share of sensationalism with expectations like this - some of which is quite candidly baseless and tenuous. A judicious weighting of pros and cons must always be carried out. Canned phrases extracted from books or incorporated into 'interpretive' programs may be used as guidelines or 'starting material' but will never serve as useful material, if used willy-nilly, without giving some thought to how one is using the information in preparing a reading.
FROM TOP DOWN OR BOTTOM UP?
There are basically two approaches that may be followed when studying a chart, the first involves a thorough study of the status of indicators in a chart and their connectivity, the primary ones being, mutual exchange of signs, or mutual reception (Venus in Gemini and mercury in Libra), placement in the same sign (yuti or loose conjunction), mutual drishti or aspects, connection through dispositors and other more subtle connections in asterisms or in divisional horoscopes, etc. This is then followed by the examination of the planetary periods ruling over the different life periods. Planets that indicate certain influences, effects, attributes, often do so in the periods of their own, or in the periods of related planets who are friendly or neutral to them. Common sense tells that such effects would not fructify easily during the periods of planets that are inimical to the planets under study. The exception to this is when the planets that represent the effect are extremely strong. Strength is, at times, not readily represented by shad-bal or similar numerical measures of strength and may need a deeper and more judicious analysis.
While ideal, such an intensive approach is time-consuming. Hence, in some cases, it pays to use the opposite approach. If a client asks you to examine the current period or near future, one starts out by determining the major and minor period that the client is experiencing. In vimshottari dasha system the duration of a minor period (bhukti) ranges from 3 months and 18 days (SUN-Sun) to 3 years and 4 months (VENUS- Venus). At the cost of multiplying the complexity several fold, one could work with three levels of dashas (9x9x9 or 729 bits of information instead of 9x9 or 81 bits of information), but anything smaller would require that the birth time be very accurate! Between the inaccuracies in recorded time, and uncertainties regarding which ayanamsha to use and whether to use solar or savana year, the use of very small periods can be a veritable exercise in futility! Also, mentally prepare yourself to eventually move on towards adding more dashas and other techniques as you progress, but there is no need to do it all at the same time, right away.
So, after having determined the planets ruling over the time period under review, one then works back to determine if these planets are involved in a yoga/combination or represent relevant areas in the horoscope and so on so forth. I must caution that this is not a good way to adopt during early student hood. One can miss a lot of information that would be relevant to the reading as well as for personal learning.
So, where do the transits fit into all this? In most cases, transits must be looked at within the framework of the planetary periods. Transits have a 'personal' significance when one is experiencing the dasha periods of relevant transiting planets. These planets are not limited to the ones whose dasha period one is undergoing, but also their friends, enemies and those planets connected to them in the natal chart. Planets that are placed in the stellar segments of the period-lords, planets transiting in the stellar segment of the period-lords are very important for timing. Moreover, one must not lose sight of the fact that vimshottari dasha is a form of lunar progression, the natal Moon progressing through the asterism at an unequal pace (compared to the western counterpart, vimshottari dasha is still a progression that involves progressing the Moon through 120 degrees in 120 years, but not at a uniform rate of a degree-a year as utilized by western astrologer). Regardless of the dasha, or the horoscope-specific role and rulership of the Moon, lunar transits must be paid particular attention when studying vimshottari dasha. The lunar transits often help a lot in pin-pointing the timing during a dasha or bhukti and can work as the 'second' hand in a watch! The Moon's transit through relevant signs, stars and its associations in transit with relevant planets must be paid heed to.
To summarize, in order to experience an effect, an influence or situation, one must have the relevant indications in the chart, preferably, several of these pointing in the same direction and, should have the relevant periods and the relevant transits. It is a good learning exercise to keep an eye on the transits of the dasha/bhukti lords and the Moon, at least, and examining any correlation with actual experiences in ones life.
DIRECTIONSFOR USE IN HORARY AND OTHER APPLICATIONS OF ASTROLOGY
(Gemini = North-East, Lib and Sco = West)
East: mercury and Jupiter are strong in east
South: sun and mars are strong in south
North: moon and Venus are strong in north
West: Saturn is strong in west
FIRE: MARS (ALSO SUN) VISION LIGHT ILLUMINATION METABOLIC FIRE
EARTH: MERCURY SMELL (PERFUME) HEAVY
ETHER: JUPITER (AKASHA) SOUND SPEECH
WATER: VENUS (ALSO MOON) RASA TASTE WETNESS
AIR: SATURN TOUCH DRYNESS
(DHATUS OR DOSHAS AS KNOWN IN AYURVEDA)
ARIES LEO SAGITTARIUS = PITTA OR HEAT AND METABOLIC CHEMISTRY
TAURUS VIRGO CAPRICORN = VATA OR MOTION INITIATION ENTHUSIASM
GEMINI LIBRA AQUARIUS = TRIDHATU OR MIX OF PITTA VATA AND KAPHA
CANCER SCORPIO PISCES = KAPHA OR JOINTS COHESION INTEGRATION
If one sifts through 'contemporary' literature it is not unusual to find a different schema of classification for the doshas, some even derived from tropical astrological lineage and based on the Babylonian/Greek concept of airy, earthy, fire signs, etc. The one presented here is taken from the Magnum opus of Hindu astrology, namely, Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra (BPHS; G.C. Sharma/Sagar edition). Planets have also been ascribed association with the dhatus, however, the predominant dhatu can be seen by examining the ascendant, the sign which holds the atmakarak, sign which holds the strongest planet or the strongest personal planet in the chart. A mixture of dhatus is possible. Imbalances can be seen from the sixth house, as well as adverse dashas and transits. G.C. Sharma in his translation of BPHS has given a very clear exposition of the terms vata, pitta and shleshma and has explained why they should not be simplistically equated with bile, air and phlegm. It must be studied by those seriously interested in the interconnection of jyotish and ayurveda. For even more details regarding the ayurvedic, treatment and health aspects, one should consult one of the many books of ayurveda available, such as those by Dr. Deepak Chopra, Vasant Lad, etc.
I STRONGLY EMPHASIZE THAT ONE MUST NOT DABBLE IN HEALTH SCIENCES OR GIVE OUT ADVICE WITHOUT PROPER AND SYSTEMATIC STUDY, SOME OF THE ‘OVER THE COUNTER’ TREATMENTS IN AYURVEDA CAN BE QUITE STRONG AND MUST BE TREATED WITH SIMILAR CARE AS IS CONSIDERED ESSENTIAL FOR MODERN MEDICINAL REMEDIES.
VARGAS OR DIVISIONAL
(SOMEWHAT SIMILAR TO 'HARMONIC') CHARTS AND THEIR USES
There are several ways of dividing the zodiac, for instance, signs and asterisms are important units, also, there are other subdivisions used for dividing the 30 degree sign into finer segments. The largest of these is called hora and divides each sign into two segments, of 15 degrees each. A sign can also be divided into three divisions, named drekkana or dreshkana (decanate) of 10 degrees each, and so on. A planet can threfore be in a certain sign while also being in a hora, drekkana, dasamsha, navamsha, each of which can then be drawn as a horoscope and the different areas in life viewed in these chart using many of the basic rules applied to the rashi horoscope. Many of the varga charts are of specific significance as listed under, and can be studied along with the rashi chart for finer details. Instructions regarding the exact procedure of using the divisional or varga charts is not laid out very clearly in the 'classics' but generally speaking it is recommended to study the lagna and the house in the relevant varga chart that deals with the specific matter in the rashi chart. For instance, navamsha is recommended for examining ones spousal and other relationships which is studied from the 7th house in rashi horoscope. So, we would examine the lagna and 7th house in the navamsha for more details. One need not stop there and focus only on the 7th house in the navamsha as there is a lot more other information that can be obtained from this chart, but it is a good start:
DIVISION ALSO CALLED AREAS IN LIFE
Rashi D-1 or V1 Physical body, everything else in general
Hora D-2 or V2 Wealth, acquisitions, 2nd house matters
Dreshkana D-3 or V3 Happiness from siblings and co-borns, travels,3rd house matters
Chaturthamsha D-4 or V4 Fortunes, physical luxuries and pleasures
Saptamamsha D-7 or V7 Sons and grandsons, 5th house
Navamamsha D-9 or V9 Wife (spouse), 7th house
Dasamamsha D-10 or V10 Effects of importance, influence on government, ones profession
Dwadashamsha D-12 or V12 Parents
Shodashamsha D-16 or V16 Vehicles and pleasures or troubles therefrom
Vimshamsha D-20 or V20 Worship and spiritual inclinations
Chaturvimshamsha D-24 or V24 Learning, education and knowledge
Bhamsha D-27 or V27 Strength and weaknesses (nakshatramasha)
Trimshamsha D-30 or V30 Evil effects, misfortunes
Khavedamsha D-40 or V40 Auspicious and inauspicious effects
Akshavedamsha D-45 or V45 General indications
Shastiamsha D-60 or V60 General indications
These are also used for quantifying planetary strengths in the shadbal and vimshopak weighting procedures.
Vargas are grouped in sets of six, seven, ten or sixteen. These are known as Shad, Sapt, Dasha or Shodasha-vargas.
Rashi, hora, dreshkana, navamsha, dwadashamsha and trishamsha. If planet is in 2,3,4,5 or 6 good vargas (exaltation, moolatrikona, own, friendly signs, or a sign that is owned by a planet ruling an angle (1,4,7,10) from the arudha, then it is called kimshuka, vyanjana, chaamara, chatra, kundala.
Add saptamamsha to the above six. Planets in good vargas in 2 to 6 vargas are called the same as above. If in good vargas in all seven, it is called Mukuta.
To the above seven, add shodashamsha (khalamsha), dashamsha and shastiamsha. Planets in good vargas in this classification are from 2 to 10 vargas: Parijaat, uttam, gopur, simhasan, parvat, devlok, brahmalok, shakravahan, shridham
To the above ten, add chaturthamsha, vimshamsha, chaturvimshamsha, bhamsha, khavedamsha and akshavedamsha. Planets in 2 to 16 good vargas: (according to BPHS) Bhedaka, kusum, naga pushpa, kanduka, kerala, Kalpavriksh, chandanvan, poornachandra, uchcheshrav, dhanvantari, suryakaant, vidrum, shakra simhasana, gaulok and shrivallabh.
Signs are increasingly stronger in this order, movable -- Fixed -- COMMON
Planets in common signs cast a stronger aspect than those in fixed or those in movable signs.
STRENGTH OF EFFECTS OF PLANETS
In Drekkanas of Movable Sign of Fixed Sign of Common Sign
First Drekkana FULL weak Average
Second Drekkana Average FULL weak
Third Drekkana weak Average FULL
(A helpful mnemonic is to remember that the set of movable signs starts with the 1st sign, Aries and the 1st drekkana is the strongest in a movable sign, the set of fixed signs starts with the 2nd sign, Taurus and the 2nd drekkana is the strongest in fixed signs, while the common signs start with the 3rd sign, Gemini, and the strongest drekkana is the third one in a common sign. The next drekkana (2nd in movable, third in fixed and first in common) is average while the next or remaining drekkana in these signs is weak).
A lot of information can be derived from the rashi chart or radix, which is the primary 'divisional' chart, unlike the way many are conditioned into thinking, namely, rashi is on one side while all other vargas or divisional charts form another cohort (NOT!). An interesting method of deriving more information out of the 12 houses is the consideration of secondary houses in a chart (rashi as well as divisional charts). These have been described by Parashara, Jaimini and Kalidasa as the arudhas or padas of houses. There are some variant opinions, though, as is true for other areas of jyotish. The pada or secondary house in a chart is as far removed from the lord of a house, as the lord is removed from its own house. Simply stated, if Aries is rising and mars its lord is in Gemini, then Leo is the arudha or pada for lagna or first house, because mars the lord is 1-2-3 signs away from Aries and gemini-cancer-leo is three signs away from mars in the chart. One can derive the padas for all houses but Kalidas recommends looking at the first, second, fourth, fifth, seventh, ninth, tenth and twelfth houses (notice the absence of padas for the 3, 6, 8 and 11 -- why?) and see how they and their houses interact with the primary houses and their lords and karakas or significators.
Example: Vrischik (Scorpio) rising
PADAS (I = pada of 1st house, II = pada of second ...)
The numbers 2, 5, 10 represent a dominant variant view (BPHS) for calculating padas or arudhas. This variation is based on the premise that padas cannot fall in the same or 7th house from the house for which the pada is being sought, and must be placed in the 10th from the normally-derived pada position. Note that '5' is in 10th from V, '2' is in 10th from II and '10' is in 10th from X.
It is always more useful to study charts as a whole. Often, due to constraints of time and space, in their writings astrologers tend to focus on a given factor or factors in trying to explain a particular attribute or an event in a chart. One may find different viewpoints all seemingly explaining the bottom line, sometimes using different variables (ayanamshas, house divisions, use of vargas) and yet all seem to come to the same conclusion. This is not confusing really but indicative of the importance of the 'weight of indicators' approach. Each of these different explanations probably represent the factors that additively increase the probability of a certain attribute/event taking place in actual experience. This is specially important when one is reading 'cold' or pre-dicting, as opposed to retrofitting or trying to find the astral indications to match something that has already happened and hence is already known. In the latter situation, any one factor could explain the event, however, the question arises: Would seeing the same factor or pattern of factors in another chart enable one to clinch the same 'diagnosis', reliably? However, if several factors seem to point in the same direction, this would probably represent a better 'finger' of Brahma, astrologically speaking! One swallow does not make summer in astrology.
It is very important (and very difficult) to determine the life-span or longevity in a given horoscope under scrutiny. True! Of what use is spending a lot of time over a chart that has a limited allocation of prana or breaths! A simple method appears in Jaimini system which (like all methods) must be applied with caution and never as an absolute, one and only technique. It provides a simple way or first approximation for those who are beginning to make their way into the ocean of jyotish. It is based on classifying longevity into three cadres, Alpa (short) ayu (longevity) is 32 years or less, Madhya (medium) ayu is 32 to 64 years and Purna (full) ayu is greater than 64 years. All of these are 'give or take' a few years, of course. The method is based on the presence of significant indicators of longevity, namely lagna, hora lagna, moon and 8th lord in cardinal, mutable or fixed signs.
a) If lagna and moon are in chara/movable/cardinal (Aries, cancer, Libra, Capricorn), then this signifies a Poornaayu (long life).
b) If lagna and moon are in fixed (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius) signs, the life is short.
c) If lagna and moon are in common (Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces) signs, the life-span is medium.
1) The same examination is next carried out for lagna lord and lord of 8th house
A) The above is repeated for lagna and hora lagna. Please note that this is not the hora-varga lagna but the one that is described in Brihat Parashar Hora Shastra and Jaimini system which changes approximately every 2.5 ghatis or each hour (hora!) after sunrise (30 degrees [or fractions] added to the longitude of sun at sunrise, per hour [or fraction] until the epoch of birth). Some software such as Geovision's Parashara's Light will calculate it for you and this is highly recommended to avoid confusion, cramps in the forehead and other anguish!
B) One may find that two sets of indicators (a-c, 1 or A from above) are leaning towards one class of longevity, then this would be taken as the predominant one. All sorts of combinations are possible.
The extent to which this method is applicable and in what proportion of charts is for one to try and examine and through doing this one can build a level of certainty or confidence in the technique. There is certainly no easier technique, that I have seen, than this one!
When examining a chart for a jyotish reading, there are many considerations that can be taken into account. To the beginner, all of these can seem quite overwhelming and at times, unfortunately, this complexity proves to be a deterrent. There are many texts, ancient and modern, that list an entire plethora of factors, not necessarily clearly indicating what the 'weight' of these must be or how that must be determined in a practical manner. Superimposed on all of this are the many variances in opinion about the interpretation of what the ancients intended to state. There have also been many attempts towards either simplifying or further complicating the scheme of things -- all springing from the personal experience of jyotish by the proponents. Anyone who has experimented with jyotish and explored different orientations and approaches within its wide framework are often perplexed, impressed and amazed by how different approaches seem to work so well. It is much less frustrating for beginners to accept this as possible and suspend judgment for the time being while adopting a relatively narrow path (for convenience' sake) in the beginning. Things will fall in place eventually.
So how does the neophyte deal and reconcile with the occupants, lords, karakas (of many kinds!), padas, vargas, dispositors and so on ad infinitum and where does s/he begin from?
Students of western astrology typically tend to look at a chart from the perspective of broad pictures and tendencies and then learn to fill in details and build on the picture in layers and richness. The typical jyotish student, on the other hand, is encouraged to jump into the details (vargas and so on) and to start predicting, because what else is the purpose of astrology! Such baptism by fire is fine as long as the apprentice emerges victorious and confident. More often, though, and particularly when there had not been any earlier astrological experience (such as moving from western to jyotish) or background, the end result can be patchy and painful. There is no reason why this should be so. Unless there is some kind of urgency to learn jyotish yesterday, it is a good idea to build up ones skills and strengths gradually and in a balanced manner.
The basic general method is to look at the ascendant and its trine houses. The 1st, 5th and 9th constitute the gifts and potential that we bring with us to this lifetime. If these are strong, and benefically disposed, then life is smooth and accomplishments are many. Strong and beneficially disposed are very important qualifiers that must apply to all astrological considerations and even though not repeated often enough, these must be kept in mind when reading any chart (and not just for a given yoga, house etc. but for every consideration in a chart).
The kendras, 1st, 4th, 7th and 10th are houses that define our surroundings and those that surround us in a protective and supportive manner (or not -- depending on the strength and beneficence of planets involved!).
Before drifting into any other area, these houses must be studied carefully and their interrelationships and connections with each other must be paid heed to. Together, these form the strength of the horoscope and of the nativity that has ushered itself into this realm of existence.
When examining any house, we must note the three kinds of influences that it receives. The three types of factors are: inherent and constant (from chart to chart), variable, and those that are incidental. The karakas or executors of a house are constant and stay the same for all charts. The variable influences are the lord of sign that a house holds. This varies from chart to chart and essentially has 12 variations, one for each sign per house. The incidental factor is the planet that is occupying the house or aspecting it. In sudarshan chakra (Parashar), this is indicated as the strongest factor. Sudarshan chakra is based on aligning the solar, lunar and rising chart together, so that the lagna, moon sign and sun sign form the first house in the respective horoscope and other houses and planets fall in place accordingly. Next, the 3 sets of each of the 12 houses/areas are studied for the effects (so if the third house in each of the three charts for an individual is strong and benefic, then this house will play a prominent part in the nativity's life). Even in a natal chart alone, if the occupant is strongly placed, it could override the lord of the house or the karaka. If it is weak, the significance should be reduced accordingly.
A set of secondary influences can be studied, as well. These comprise the sign dispositors of the karaka and lord of a house. The dispositor is the ruler of the sign in which a house lord is placed. In a cancer rising chart (ascendant lord = moon), if moon is placed in Gemini, then the dispositor of moon or 1st house lord is mercury (mercury rules over Gemini). There can also be nakshatra dispositors that some utilize (lord of nakshatra or asterism in which the house lord is placed); however, these must be dealt with somewhat differently, since nakshatras though superficially similar must not be treated as a rashi or sign segment in the zodiac. They have other implications and significances.
The planets and houses that the ascendant lord connects with, by placement, aspects (with the houses and lords thereof) indicate significant areas that one would need to focus upon during this lifetime. Since each house represents a lot of things, one would need to examine a number of factors and narrow down the areas, through a judicious study of significators or karakas and of finer divisions, vargas etc. I must repeat that for the new student a primary focus on the sign chart would be quite useful. The navamsha chart is also often considered to be of great importance, as well as the moon chart. Through a systematic use of these few charts, many indications can be studied quite well by most students. It helps for some to write down the different factors and a way of weighting the factors so that one can study the 'weight of evidence' of a certain trait or event being judged more likely.
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