Monthly Archives: November 2014

The First and Ninth House and Your Teachers

sage_ved_vyasa

Sage Vyasa, compiler of the Vedas and father of Parasara, sitting with Ganesh

There are so many different types of people living in this world, with different temperaments and constitutions.  It seems fitting that there would also be so many different types of spiritual paths, philosophies, or religions that are pursued.  The horoscope of an individual can reveal many of the innate tendencies one may have towards spirituality.

In astrology, there are five elements, Ether (space), Air, Fire, Water, and Earth.  When it comes to the mechanics of the zodiac signs however, there are only four elements, with Ether being left out.  I feel this is because in the context of earthly existence, space is always there, containing and holding all other elements.  It therefore may not be as relevant as the other four when it comes to environments and places we go to, which is what the zodiac signs symbolize.  Ether is the most spiritual element, being closest to the source, and the zodiac is the unconscious manifestation of Vishnu, keyword being “unconscious”.  The signs therefore are not the conscious aspects of God, this is given to the planets.  That is why the planets are deified and described as conscious beings. The signs are given the opposite distinctions, as animal signs, symbolizing the unconscious aspect of Maha Vishnu (God).  It logically follows that the most conscious element (ether or akash) would be left out in the field of the “unconscious limbs of Vishnu” (the zodiac).

With that understood, it is important to see that each of the four elements of the zodiac signs has a certain nature, and is best able to approach truth in a certain particular way, which is most fitting to its own element.  The different spiritual paths all tend to overlap the more they are practiced, but initially one will make the most progress by focusing on the mastery of the one that is most natural to them.

The air and earth signs are both more connected to the senses, and with actual manifested things.  Because of this, they are inclined towards spiritual paths that help one see and realize God in the world, and not as some ideal or principle in life.  The air signs often do well with a bhakti yoga (devotion) or karma yoga (selfless service) approach.  The Earth signs do well with karma yoga, because they naturally want to be of service.  If Mercury is strong and other intelligence yogas are present, then a jnana, or knowledge based path may work out also.  The fire and water signs have more to do with ideas (fire) and feelings (water), which are more invisible things.  These therefore, have more of an affinity for finding God as God really is, as a transcending-worldly-life experience, and not so much as a thing in the world.  The fire element does well with paths that emphasize self control, such as raja yoga or kriya yoga, and also jnana yoga potentially.  The water element does well with a jnana yoga path also as well as a bhakti path.  The water signs are said to be the most spiritually developed, being Satya yuga rasis, and often they will be utilizing all or more than one of these paths, from what I have noticed.

As an example, a Leo has a fiery nature, and because of this, they are meant to act. The fire signs are the warrior caste, or the kshatriyas (pronounced “shaw-tree-ya”), and are the people on earth who are naturally inclined to lead, to protect, and to preserve and uphold the universal order or “dharma”.  They do well with a raja yoga path, or a path that emphasizes purifying actions, discipline, and self control.  Some may (with the best of intentions) emphasize to a strong leo personality the need to surrender themselves to God, and to see everything as god and renounce worldly life and actions in favor of serving a guru; in other words to set them on an initial path of bhakti.  This can sometimes work out but many times it will initially go against the nature of a Leo and cause unnecessary confusion or aversion to the spiritual path… This is because for the Leo/Solar person, it is not the right time and place for that practice, and they don’t feel natural doing this. After doing a decade of raja yoga the Leo person may then be able to practice bhakti w great results, but initially this doesn’t appeal to a fiery nature, and it is better to get them on the right path quickly, to prevent any unneeded suffering.

It is important to follow the path of ones natural inspirations and inclinations.  When we do things out of inspiration (sattva) those are the things that we will do for the rest of our lives, and so that is the best way to approach a spiritual path as well.  If you want to make actual progress and not just have new ideas and terms in your mind to talk about, you need to find the path that is best for you and really anchors you to your destiny.  People who change spiritual paths or religions frequently usually do not make noticeable spiritual progress in that incarnation.  Paramahansa Yogananda said that it is better to dig one deep well when in search of water, than to dig several shallow wells.  It is the same way with self realization.

One thing that astrology has been used for since who knows how long, is helping one understand their path in life, their dharma.  Not everyone’s path will be like the typical “spiritual path” we may think of, but we all are on a path and in the greater context it all leads to the same goal, as all rivers flow towards the sea.  This is what Jyotish can be so helpful towards.  It can show us the path that is laid out for us, and help us see if we are being true to it or not.

Here is a simple technique to see begin to see how this works, but it does not show the full picture, and as such it should not be used as a stand alone technique, but in the context of the whole chart.  The first house represents the person, and the ninth house represents the outcome of walking there path, and therefore represents the gurus or teachers that help guide one along their path in life.  The first and ninth houses will always be the same element, and this shows us that each element has to approach their path and be guided along their path via a sign of the same element, their own nature, and not by another element.  So if you have an Aries lagna, they are a fire sign, and are naturally oriented towards action, discipline, and protecting or defending what is right.  The 9th sign from Aries is always Sagittarius, another fire sign.  This shows that for Aries, its purpose is to act with that fiery inspiration that comes innately to it.  Its gurus (the 9th house), Sagittarius, being fire signs themselves, will naturally encourage a spiritual path based on right actions, (such as a Raja yoga or Kriya yoga path) because that is what worked for them.  This will generally  work well for Aries, and to go and encourage a bhakti yoga path, or a path of detachment, is often “going against the grain” of  an Aries personality.  What is the point of being a warrior and defending what is good in life if even their Guru is telling them to surrender?  Well….there isn’t much point to it, because a ram is meant to ram things, and when the Aries uses these thoughts as fuel and inspiration, he burns out quickly.  That is not the path of an Aries.  Aries is a warrior and is meant to fight the spiritual battle, which is why it is a fire sign and its 9th sign (its gurus and philosophy) is a fire sign as well.  It is true that everything is God and that there is no real good or bad, from one perspective (and there will be other areas of this persons life that require that understanding).  But from the Aries perspective it is really better to have healthy concepts of what is right and what is wrong, and to act with a belief in the purpose of life, and in acting righteously.  When Aries follows its fiery dharma that is innate to it, it finds more fulfillment from walking its path in life.

Now lets take the opposite sign Libra, an air sign.  Air signs are based on intellect, which is using one’s own sense perceptions to gather intelligence.  This is different from Aries, which is a fire sign and based off of intuition.  Aries just “sees” how it is.  It just knows instantly, without the use of senses, which is the definition of intuition.  Libra is not like this, Libra, and all air signs, use intellect, or the senses, to understand life.  So each Libra will see an idea differently because of their own individual perspective in life, what their own senses have come to.  The 9th sign from Libra is Gemini, another air sign, showing that the outcome of the Libras path is based on one’s own personal sense based intellectual understanding.  This is why Libra does great with a path of detachment, or a path of bhakti (devotional surrender to God), because both of these approaches focus on purifying the intellectual perceptions until one begins to perceive God as manifested in everything.  So for Libra, it is great for it to see everything as God, to simply surrender to God, and to have a sense of even-mindedness and detachment around what happens in life, and how one understands life.  Libra is the 7th sign, the midway point of the zodiac, and as such, is the sign of karmic balancing.  This is symbolized by the scales.  The Libra is meant to weigh their experiences with detachment and understand that what is happening is what is being handed to them by life, to best balance out their karma.  They shouldn’t fight it (but Aries should, remember).  So the Libra does not have to “do” anything as much as an Aries does.  The Libra has already been “doing” in its previous lives (when it was an Aries for example) , and is now coming to the stage of “accepting” one might say.  Thus Parashara states that the best planets for Libra are Mercury and Saturn.  These are the planets that are the most helpful for us to have a sense of detachment, and accept life how it is, so that we may best serve life the way we are meant to.  And now we can see why a path of devotional surrender to the will of God (bhakti) or a path of detachment (jnana) are great avenues for the Libra to walk its spiritual path.  If the Libra was to only follow a Raja yoga path, and renounced the world to go live in a forest and meditate unceasingly, this would only serve to enlarge the Libra ego by giving it too much focus on itself, rather than focusing on purifying the heart through love and service to others, which is the natural path of the airy Libra.

Hopefully these examples will give some insight into the value of using Astrology to help one understand the path in life they are walking.  Each sign has its own particular path that is most suited to it in the rasi chart, the first varga, or divisional chart.  That’s just the beginning though. In Vedic Astrology, there are 15 other charts that are used, and so there are many other ascendant signs, for many other areas of life, all with different elements and different outcomes.  So different mental approaches will be better for different areas of life and for different people. The example given above is simple, but in actuality it can get quite complex when we start using all the other vargas, as well as the Atmakaraka.

 

Holidays in November for the Dead

Its an interesting fact that during the 30 day period in which the Sun passes through the tropical sign of Scorpio (Oct 23rd-Nov 22nd), the United States, and many other nations celebrate five different holidays that deal with the main themes of Scorpio: death, and transformation.scorpion

These holidays are:

  • Halloween, originally known as Samhain
  • All Saints’ day
  • All Souls’ day
  • Remembrance day
  • Veterans day

Each of these holidays is centered around a major theme of the sign of Scorpio, and it really seems appropriate.  Why?  Because of all the different times of the year, this is the time when the Sun is passing through the sign of the scorpion, which only occurs once a year, like clockwork, during this 30 day interval.  And as said above, Scorpio is the sign of death and transformation, so there is no better month out of the year to assign holidays that honor and direct the public’s attention to the dead.  To fully appreciate this unique synchronicity, it is important to understand what the 8th sign of Scorpio deals with:

Scorpio has to do with the transformation of the soul, it is the part of the chart that deals with our longevity, vitality, and ability to fight for survival.  It can represent actual battles as well as the spiritual, inner battles that we all fight between our higher and lower natures.  It is the time of year right after Libra, when everything seemed peaceful and balanced, and the leaves were turning beautiful colors.  Now in Scorpio it is getting colder and darker each day more quickly than before, and the leaves are all gone or rapidly falling. Everything is turning brown, beginning to hibernate, or dying.  The theme is either turning within to transform and survive through winter, or die.  Scorpio is the stage that has to do with the lack of nourishment in life, and the symbolic scorpion is meant to turn its energy, or “water” within to derive nourishment, hence it is a Brahmin sign (oriented towards enlightenment) and can set the stage for great spiritual development.  This depends, however, on the nature of the planetary karmas that are involved.  Difficult Scorpio related karmas show that one is not going to be able to find inner nourishment easily, and will likely turn to unhealthy ways of filling that void.  This can lead to vices of all kinds. Here we see the origins of the negative associations of the sign coming in: Sex, abusive tendencies, addictions, breaking the law, drama, wild breaks and changes, and battles of all kinds.

If you are new to astrology, don’t expect to understand this most mysterious sign at first glance, it takes time and contemplation.  For now just consider that the Sun (The soul of all) passing through the sign of death, the departed, and the transformations related to that, would naturally suggest that this is the best month of the year to honor the dead.

Halloween/Samhain –  This was originally a Gaelic festival that marked the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter, or the darker half of the Solar year.  It is widely believed to go back to Pagan times before the Christian era.  This was the time when the veils between the spiritual and material worlds were thought to be thinnest, and the fairies and spirits were able to most freely intermingle with the Earth realm at this time.  Offerings would be left out for these spirits to honor them, as well as to ensure some degree of safety through the coming winter.  According to some scholars, it was only after the Church condemned this whole festival that the fairies and spirits began to slowly take on a more sinister or wicked aspect.  Now the “offerings” have been boiled down to kids in scary costumes asking for candy… If we choose to see it in its original context, however, it correlates to Vedic Astrology, as Scorpio is one of the three water signs (the brahmin signs). These signs are the most naturally oriented towards spirituality, and are the most psychically sensitive, with Scorpio being the one that is always considered most vulnerable to negative energies, or other worldly factors such as spirits, etc.  {Note: To explain why this is would require a post in itself, but feel free to leave a comment if that is desired.}

All Saints’ Day - This is the day after Halloween, on November 1st.  It is set aside to commemorate all the Saints known or unknown in the world.  It is also refered to as All Hallows’ Day, or Hallowmas by Shakespeare.  It is believed by many that this holiday was instituted to have a sort of Christian counter-holiday to the Pagan Samhain festivals at this time, and this is logical.  Again we can easily see the connection to Scorpio, as Scorpio is a Brahmin Sign.  Brahmins are the priests or saints of the ancient Indian caste system.  This relates to the spiritual battles touched upon earlier.  A Saint is really just someone who has won the spiritual battle that we all must fight eventually, between our higher and lower nature.  In some respects, All Saints’ Day could be seen as a holiday that is honoring all the victorious Scorpios of the past, known or unknown.

All Souls’ Day/Day of the Dead – This is the day after All Saints’ Day, and is a day of prayer for the dead and especially one’s relatives.  This is like All Saints’ Day, but more universal in that it is about honoring all Souls everywhere.  Still a very similar Scorpio theme of death, and prayer, but with an added attention to family.  The family connection makes sense as Mars produces our Siblings and Mother which is the majority of the family.  Another interesting fact is that the 3 day period of October 31st- November 2nd is also a time in Mexico when a similar holiday is celebrated, The Day of the Dead.

Veterans Day- This is an official United States holiday on November 11th that honors people who have served in the US armed forces.  Mars is the Lord of scorpio, and is the planet of war, and soldiers, and battles, as mentioned previously.  Of course fallen heroes will naturally relate to the negative sign of Mars, and again we see a holiday that correlates as the Sun passes through Scorpio.  Here we see a similar theme except that we are honoring those who have fought actual physical battles for the noble cause of defending their nation and freedom.

Remembrance Day- This is held on the same day as Veterans Day, November 11th, but is more international as it is observed by all Commonwealth of Nations states and it honors all those members of the armed forces who have died in the line of duty.  There is a slight difference in that sense, as Veteran’s Day does not distinguish between honoring those who have served and those who have died.  Still we see the same themes repeating that should be familiar by now.

Isnt it interesting that these five Holidays which focus on death and transformation happen to each fall in the one sign that is most appropriate?  One naturally wonders if it is all just coincidental, because if astrological thought is correct then we should naturally feel these ways at these times… Or if it was intentionally arranged by Astrologers of Royal Families?  Without evidence it would be hard to say.  There is, however, no disputing the connection of these five holidays to the Tropical sign of Scorpio.