Category Archives: dharma

The Atmakaraka and the Navamsa Part 2


The Jaimini system is a solar, and rasi based system, emphasizing rasi aspects over planetary aspects, and rasi dasas over planetary dasas.  As such it is useful for more objective data such as the career a person will have.  The Parashara system works beautifully together with it, but is more Lunar and Nakshatra based and is therefore more subjective.  We could then see how one feels about their career and how happy one is with it, from this system.

The Jaimini system is a solar, and rasi based system, emphasizing rasi aspects over planetary aspects, and rasi dasas over planetary dasas. As such it is useful for more objective data such as the career a person will have. The Parashara system works beautifully alongside it, but is for different things. It is more Lunar and Nakshatra based and is therefore more subjective. We could then see how one feels about their career and how satisfied they are from this system.

We now begin where we left off in describing the different effects of the Atmakaraka falling in each of the twelve signs of the navamsa chart.  This is called the “Swamsha” and has a large bearing on the nature and dharma of a person as described in part 1.

Libra:  With a Libra Swamsha, the native has a life marked by trade and relationships.  Libra is the sign of trade, it is symbolized as a balancing scale, which implies balancing as well as decision making and “weighing the options”.  Libras can make some of the best businessmen if that is what the rest of the chart is pointing towards.  Libra is also the sign of relationships, (which involve a lot of trading) as well as the public.  Libra has a keen understanding of society and the social side of life.  A strong and healthy Libra swamsha is able to relate to the world in such a way that it may not have much itself, but it trades what it does have so wisely and appropriately that it ends up with much more than most.  Afflicted Libra swamshas may have to work harder at this, and diplomacy in general.  They may have to work on making better decisions and seeing what others have to offer.  Prince, the musician, has Saturn as the Atmakaraka and falling in Libra in the navamsa chart, and is a great example of a strong Libra swamsha.  He ended up with a very fulfilled life.  (His chart is really strong overall though as well, to be fair, and this is not the only reason for his success.)

Scorpio:  Scorpio swamsha is a very fascinating one.  They can be very extreme individuals, with whatever they do in life.  Scorpio is a fixed rasi after all, so it can be very devoted and fixed on what it focuses on as being worthwhile.  Scorpio swamsha is a person who is working on their vulnerabilities essentially. They are without a doubt going to face more emotional issues that bring up their vulnerable places because they are meant to battle through those issues.  They often have difficult issues come up in the early family life, or a separation from the mother of some sort is also common.  Or the Mother of the native may be there but less comforting than the average mother, etc.  They have to learn to fight so much harder for everything that they get than the average individual, and this can lead to both positive and negative extremes.  Paramahansa Yogananda is a very positive example of taking this energy and the death of his Mother in his early life to galvanize him to seek the Divine Mother with great ardor.  Adolf Hitler is another example of a swamsha in scorpio, on the other more negative end of the spectrum.  He suffered in a household where his Father abused his Mother and there was nothing he was able to do about it, likely leading him to have a hateful approach towards life in general.  If the rest of the chart also supports it, these swamshas can make great spiritual progress in life, or can have a life that involves the occult or hidden side of life somehow.  I have noted that two of the greatest Astrologers I have found in my life are Scorpio Swamshas.  They seem to have learned to better deal with the troubles of life from their understanding of the somewhat hidden forces in life, such as the planets.

Sagittarius:  Sagittarius swamsha, when aspected by malefics, is actually a sign of accidents and falls from heights.  This was surprising to me, when I learned this.  Most people paint Sag as this really lucky and joyful sign, and if not blemished than that often is the case. Sagittarius is the sign of the bowman, the archer.  It symbolizes seeing the goal and pursuing it.  But if there are malefics aspecting (rasi aspecting, we are talking about here) then the Bowman misses his mark, essentially.  If all benefic planets are associated with Sagittarius then the person is likely to find grace from accidents and such, but this is rarely the case.  In that case, the person may even work around accidents but still end up being okay for the most part, such as being a fireman or something of that sort.  If cruel planets are aspecting, these people need to be cautioned to be more realistic with their goals and not expect things to work out easily on the first try.  This can often be the case too, because Sagittarius is a sign of being overly optimistic; overconfident.

Capricorn:  Capricorn is a very fascinating swamsha.  It can make one involved in aquatic animals, particularly crocodiles and alligators.  Capricorn itself is the sign of crocodiles and all aquatic beasts.  Capricorn swamsha also makes “villages”, as Jaimini puts it, an important karmic factor. Sometimes these people always feel like they have to leave the home town or village that they grew up in to make it in the world and be successful.  Often they are right as well.  This is because Capricorn is about as far away as it gets from the signs of royalty and success, the prime real estate of the zodiac.  That would be Cancer and Leo, the signs of the King and Queen; the summertime when all is plentiful.  Capricorn is opposite of those signs and rasi drishtis them (dhristi is the word for aspect in Jyotish, literally meaning “sight” or “glance”.  This means that Capricorn literally “sees” the Leo rasi), wishing it could have what they seem to have.  This is also part of why Capricorn is a very driven and ambitious sign.  They often dont feel very supported in their home towns and therefore move away.  Capricorn is also a sign of tumors, and cancer is more likely to be the thing to take out this person, so they need to get themselves checked out more regularly for that sort of thing as they age.  Capricorn is also a sign of Kapha, and stagnation, like the swamps and alligators and crocs that it also rules.  Jaimini also states for capricorn swamsha, “Things flying in the air”, which is very mysterious and intriguing.  One interesting thing is I have noticed people who are pilots or involved in flying to often be having planets in the 10th house of their chart, like the 10th sign Capricorn.  I also find Gemini coming up a lot for pilots, but havent done enough research on this to be sure.  We may speculate and say that Capricorn would be the sign of flying in planes, and perhaps even UFOs would fall under this sign.

Aquarius:  Aquarius is the swamsha of the “maker of tanks and ponds” according to Jaimini.  Which is to say that one is involved in providing resources that make life more bearable for everyone.  Everyone needs water and to help provide a source of water is to be a real humanitarian, which is what Aquarius is, essentially.  This water is also symbolic of psychological wholeness, which is the true goal of Aquarius, to become whole in oneself, and accept and make peace with all of one’s weaknesses and shortcomings, and just be okay with them and love oneself anyway.  This is why Aquarius may seem so odd or weird. It is because they are learning to stop doing things to compensate for their inner lack, and instead to just be there with the lack…..and eventually it goes away, but it might seem weird to other people passing by in the meantime.  This probably has to do with why they get stereotyped in western astrology as being without charm and aloof.  Sometimes Aquarius people will be social workers or people who do a lot of service of some kind, other times they may do more of a pyschological service for people, and sometimes they may actually work around water and provide it in a literal way as well.

Pisces:  Pisces swamsha, as the last sign of the zodiac, is the most spiritual sign and the sign of “Kaivalya” or liberation of consciousness, according to Jaimini.  He also says of it, “perpetual dharma”, and seems to convey that Pisces is a sign of steady spiritual progress throughout the life of the native.  As long as the rest of the chart points mostly in that direction I do find this to be true, but you will also find many cases of Pisces swamshas that live a very negative life and are most definitely not progressing spiritually as well so that is not always the case.  Edgar Cayce is an interesting example of a Pisces swamsha, and I hope to do an article on his chart soon.  Robin Williams is another example, someone who is most definitely a sensitive soul with spiritual inclinations, but the rest of his chart had many difficult karmas indicated, and so he often could not bear the pain of life on earth and needed to escape or find liberation through more immediate means such as drugs.  That is a more mixed example, which is often the case.  We could say that this placement makes the person more sattvic and naturally inspired, within the context of the rest of the chart.  Roy Eugene Davis, the last living direct disciple of Paramahansa Yogananda, is another example of a positive pisces swamsha.  He has written many books and lectured on Self Realization for over 50 years and in countless countries, and is noticeably more realized than the average spiritual author/public figure.

These twelve swamshas are very important signs for the individual, and one will also note that the sign the atmakaraka goes to in the rashi chart will also have some of these significations as well, but not as much as the navamsa chart.  For example, Robin Williams is a pisces swamsha, but has scorpio as a rising sign, so this reinforces more of the difficult emotional struggles and battles that he would face on his path in life.  Say it was a cancer rising, and no tough aspects from Sun, Saturn, or Rahu, then he may not have had such a painful life and perhaps could have enjoyed more of the positive Pisces qualities in life.

The planet that is falling in the swamsha determines a great more of it, but this is one important part of the puzzle of what ones dharma will involve in this life. With some careful study and application on charts, one should begin to see some clear correlations of the charts examined and the associations described above.

Aries and the Active Expression of Virtue.

“The active expression of virtue gives rise to the keenest intelligence.” – Sri Yukteswar  (1855-1936)



Swami Sri Yukteswar, a self realized yogi and astrologer.

The above quote by the yogi Swami Sri Yukteswar is ripe with spiritual and astrological truth.  When we act virtuously, we start to see things more clearly and intelligently.  Likewise, when we really know something our actions tend to demonstrate that knowledge in a natural fashion.  This can be attractive and appealing to see someone like this.  It is possibly for this reason that saints and mystics often seem so attractive or magnetizing to spiritual seekers, because they have gone through a great range of experience and their actions naturally demonstrate such experience in a spontaneous way.  Also in the opposite sense, when we think we know something but really do not, our actions can be a clear give away of our lack of knowledge.  There is a clear relationship that can be seen here when we look at the zodiac, between our “active expression of virtue” and the development of intelligence within us.

To fully see this relationship, lets clear up a few things about intelligence in the context of an astrological chart.  When I am speaking about intelligence, I mean specifically the ability to arrive at the correct conclusion, to arrive at truth.  And in life we see that different methods can be used to arrive at the same correct conclusion.  Some people use logic to figure something out, others use feeling and emotions to figure the same thing out and get the same conclusion.  In the same way, each planet has a unique type of intelligence that it expresses.  For example, Mars would be the intelligence of logic.  Venus is the intelligence of poetry, the ability to grasp the meaning behind the words, the real heart of the message.  This post will not go into each planets intelligence, which would require an entire post in itself.

With this having been said, all the grahas give intelligence but the main one that Astrologers tend to emphasize is Mercury, as he rules the “buddhi”, the Intellect.  But when we read the Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra, the Sage Parashara gives the descriptions of the different planets.  In this, he does not describe Mercury as being intelligent necessarily.   He does start off, however, by saying that the Sun is intelligent.  This is very interesting.  He gives many complements to Mercury as well as the other grahas but does not assign intelligence to Mercury, and instead gives it to the Sun.  So the implication is that the Sun is the real planet that thinks through situations and arrives at truth.  (In case you were wondering, he describes the Moon as “All knowing”, which is similar to how many western astrologers attribute the Moon to a pyschic, right brain type of ability to arrive at truth)

I have noticed in studying charts that when Mercury is joined the Sun, which is happening 1/3 of the time anyway, then Mercury gives intelligence yes.  This is also called a Budha Aditya Yoga, which is said to give intelligence amongst other things.  When not connected to the Sun however, I do not necessarily see Mercury giving intelligence in the sense of arriving at truth.  (I can hear the astrologers gasping while reading this…bear with me)  Now if strong, this person’s Mercury will still be able to cognize quite well, and of course still be able to memorize and organize data very well.  This person may speak very fast and sharply and come off as very smart and intelligent.  They may have lots of information to articulate and be multi-talented and skillful.  But that is where we get mistaken.  Those qualities are not intelligence.  One can organize information extremely well, regardless of whether it is true or untrue information.  One can be very multi talented and know a lot of things but still miss the truth of life, and the truth of any given situation.  These days we sometimes seem to mistake having information about something with having intelligence, or knowledge of that thing.  These are different words and have different meanings.  Nowadays people consider having googled something to equate to having “knowledge” of that thing.  They are mistaken.  When you read old books the word “knowledge” did not mean “information” and was never used in that context.  It meant experience and the direct knowing of something that one gets from experiencing it for themselves.  For example, you know that you are you, and you don’t have to look that up or ask anyone else to convince you of being yourself, because you know this from experience.  This would be “knowledge”, as opposed to “information”.

So while Mercury gives the intellect, that intellect can see things a million different ways and until one is Self-Realized there is no promise that Mercury will give the intelligence to see the real truth in life.  That is the “keenest intelligence” that Sri Yukteswar is referring to, and that, as Parashara states, emanates from the Sun.

How we see this in the Zodiac  

We can see how and why the Sun would give this intelligence by examining the mechanics of the zodiac itself.  Aries is the sign of virtue, action, inspiration and nobility.  Thus, Aries is the sign of the “active expression of virtue” that Sri Yukteswar mentions. The Sun gets exalted here, meaning it is the strongest it can possibly be.  So the highest or “keenest intelligence” (The strongest the Sun can be) is brought about by developing the qualities of Aries, the “active expression of virtue”.  Pretty cool huh?

Also from the sign of Aries, the Sun rules the 5th house from there, Leo.  The 5th house is said to be the house of the mind, and the intelligence we use to manage our lives.  So when we act virtuously in order to manage our lives more effectively, that is like the Aries, putting the 5th lord, the Sun, in the first house, of one’s action and expression, and in this case the sign of the same things, Aries.  And what does that do?  That makes the Sun exalted, as strong as it can be.  And when the Solar force is strongest the innate intelligence we have is strongest, and we can be “King” of our life.  This is the logic and mechanics behind this great quote from Sri Yukteswar.  He was also an advanced Jyotishi, so perhaps he was aware of this connection in the zodiac as well as in his real life experience.

This is the Astrological reason why, at least on planet Earth, we can have all kinds of ideas or information, and we may think it to be true or not true…But until we apply it in our lives and act from it, and see the result, we do not really know if that information or idea is true or not. Remember that real intelligence is brought about by virtuous actions.  The results of this truth are very evident in the spiritual growth world nowadays.  Many people  can absorb spiritual ideas quickly, and can read spiritual texts and understand them very well, but don’t apply the truths in day to day life nearly enough, and then wonder why they haven’t experienced authentic spiritual growth.  The people who shine with spiritual happiness are the people who have applied spiritual truths in their lives, and in their day to day actions, and have expressed these virtues in real time, not just on the internet or in their minds.  We have to apply what we learn or we get a sort of “mental indigestion”. This happens when we just go about reading one after another metaphysical, or spiritual self help book, but never implement it into daily life.  For this we need the strength of the Sun and Mars, the two warrior caste/fire element planets to give us the courage to act virtuously.  This is also where a jyotish reading can help someone, because if we see that they are a spiritual seeker, but the Sun and Mars are afflicted, they probably have difficulties with actively expressing virtues. In this case we can advise certain mantras, gemstones, meditations, behavior adjustments, and other remedial measures to combat this negative karma and make the best of the situation at hand.  In this way we can see why Jyotish was such a beloved tool of Yogis seeking Self-Realization, as it reveals the obstacles that are in the way of experiencing the goal of our incarnation.







The Astrological Houses: The Tenth House

Each house in the astrological nativity at birth is said to signify a certain area of life.  The first house, which is also the first sign in the birth chart, the rising sign, represents the body of the thing that was born at that moment. It also represents the path which that body is on in this life.  So a Capricorn ascendant (AKA Capricorn first house) has a body and path in life that is connected to the qualities of the sign of Capricorn.  What does Capricorn relate to in Astrology? Capricorn is the 10th sign, and from the natural 1st sign Aries, Capricorn is the place in space that is directly overhead, directly above us in the sky, the 10th place in the 12 stage journey of the zodiac.  It is the highest point in the sky, and from there the 11th and 12th are descending points in between that highest point and the eastern horizon.

Knowing this, we can now have an idea as to why Capricorn represents what it represents as a sign, or as the 10th house.  The house is the same idea and feel of the sign of the same number, but on a different level of viewpoint we could say.  Capricorn is the sign of a crocodile in the Vedic tradition of Astrology.  It is the sign of lasting accomplishments, doing something that is done so well, that it never needs to be refined or improved upon, it simply stands the test of time as some say.  That is the nature of Capricorn and the crocodile.  You can look at crocodiles in the fossil record from millions of years ago and they are essentially the exact same, and have not evolved or changed to any noticeable degree… This is not the case with many other animals.  This is why Capricorn is the sign of doing something so right the first time that it cannot be done any better and will thus endure through time.  Its ruling planet is Saturn, which according to the Upadesa Sutras, deals with “Accomplished Deeds”.  Saturn is associated with long term things and things that last longer than the rest and so we can see the connection.  You may recall from Greek mythology that Saturn was known as Chronos, the God of time and agriculture.  Chronos is still the root of many words that relate to time, such as “chronology”, “chronic”, “anachronistic” etc….

So the 10th house in the birth chart relates to these similar themes of the 10th sign Capricorn, but in a more specific way that relates to that ascendant which we are viewing it from.  Moreover, each ascendant is naturally geared towards a certain type of karma or action in the world which the 10th house from that ascendant gives us clues to.  And this same logic applies to each of the other astrological houses that are the same in number as the astrological sign that they relate to, and when analyzed all help to add a more nuanced perspective of chart interpretation. (For example: 7th sign libra is about relationships, 7th house is the house of relationships and your partner in your own chart)

With this understanding, we can now see why the 10th house is so important for career, because our career is usually connected with the type of actions or work we do in the world which we hope to cause a lasting change or effect.  For example having Venus in the 10th house from the rising sign at birth can make it more likely that someone will try to have a work or type of action in the world that creates harmony, beauty, entertainment, pleasure, or some type of luxury for others.  These are all Venusian types of work.  How good they are at these types of karmic work will depend on all the more particular factors such as the dignity of Venus, any yogas that are connected to Venus, the lajjitaadi avasthas on Venus, how the strength of those avasthas on Venus weigh out in each of the varga charts that relate to specific areas of life, what dasas (timing systems) are triggering Venus and when, the transiting place of Venus, and many, many more factors.  This is where it gets more complicated, but is still very fun and worthwhile to do.  But from just seeing Venus in the 10th, most jyotishis can know this person may have a career that is more about bringing pleasure to the senses, or harmony to a person, and that alone is a pretty amazing thing to be able to predict… And it will be correct most of the time.  To get the finer details takes time and skill on the part of the jyotishi, but even just to understand the basic connection of Venus to work is worthwhile information for most to have.

One more note about the 10th house:  Not all of us do make a big difference or change in the world, and not all of us are meant to do this as our dharma… Still others are meant to be on this Earth for a very important reason.  If they were not here then the world just would not be the same.  But then others are just meant to be here and enjoy life with more of an internal focus, not so much about external karmas.  That is more of a 4th house factor, the opposite house/sign. The 4th house is related to enlightenment and liberation, and retiring from the world. There is a Jaimini Yoga that relates to the 10th house in certain vargas, and whether one will be “resolute, and important”.  This technique is very useful and very accurate when you look at the charts of people who have made a profound impact on the world, without which Earth would just not be the same.  I cover these issues in readings when requested, but if you are curious about learning the Jaimini technique yourself I would strongly recommend taking the first of 3 audio courses on Jaimini by Ernst Wilhelm.  All three of the classes together total 62 hours of instruction, and it is my sentiment that just the first course could be studied and contemplated and re-studied for years, as that is what I have been doing myself… Its that good.  These courses can be purchased on his website, found Here.

Symbolism of the Aquarius Rasi

The symbol for the eleventh sign of the zodiac is a man holding an empty pot of water.  Some sources say it is a man holding a pot full of water, or pouring out water from a pot, which all serve to convey most of the meaning of aquarius.  I prefer the symbolism that is given in the foundational text for most Vedic Astrologers, the Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra, by Sage Parashara.  It gives the aquarius rasi as being simply “a man holding a pot” and does not say that there is water inside the pot.  Parashara does still relate this sign to water though by saying that it “resides in deep water”.  This is an important distinction that is missed by most modern astrologers it seems, and I only came to learn about this subtlety from studying Ernst Wilhelm’s Rasi Sutras audio course, so I must give credit to him for teaching it.  This course can be purchased on his website found here, which I highly recommend for those who are practicing Jyotish professionally, as it has great insights into all the twelve Rasis.  But for now lets just look at the rasi of aquarius in the context of the twelve Rasis.

water potAquarius is an air sign, not a water sign.  It is the only fixed air sign of the zodiac.  It is the eleventh sign, with only one more sign to go before the end of the cycle at Pisces.   Each of the four elements represents an aspect of ourselves.  Fire signs represent our intuition, and our connection to our soul, and the fiery activity we feel we must do in life to fulfill our soul’s purpose; our Dharma.  Earth signs represent the mixture of all elements, and our rational, practical, and even mechanical side.  Air signs represent our own unique intellectual perspective as human beings, as well as our state of desire.  This is because human desires are as impermanent and changing as the afternoon breeze.  How often do we realize a long sought after desire, only to find a new one arising only moments later?  Desires are what keep us bound to this Earth realm and are what keep us separate from realizing our true eternal nature as Infinite Consciousness, or Spirit.  Water signs represent feeling and emotional sensitivity, and inner development such as wisdom and divine love.

Aquarius is the last sign before we get to the sign of enlightenment, Pisces.  So, as Ernst Wilhelm elaborates upon more deeply in his Rasi Sutras course, Aquarius is the sign of the culmination of the pyschological battle.  Aquarius is the stage of becoming psychologically healthy, so that we can then move into the final stage of merging with God.  Paramhansa Yogananda said that what most people think of as the spiritual battle or path, is actually just the psychological battle that each person must fight between their higher and lower sense of self.  He states that once this is resolved then the spritual battle is won very quickly.  And this matches with the twelve rasis of Jyotish as after Aquarius there is only Pisces left and it represents “kaivalya”, the absolute oneness of being.

This is why I find the symbolism of the empty, or mostly empty pitcher of water to be the most appropriate symbol.  As explained previously, the air signs all represent desire, which is what ultimately keeps us bound to the cycle of death and rebirth, and which the whole purpose of Jyotish is to free us from with Self Knowledge.  Water symbolizes spirit, and the wholeness and psychological well being that comes from our innate connection to spirit. (hence why the water signs are the most spiritual signs, the Brahmin caste/mentality.)… So if the symbolic water pitcher was completely full, it would show a completely full being on the inside and out, and the zodiac should rightly end at this stage because one’s development is complete here…. But it does not end here, it ends at the next sign.  Therefore the water pot should rightly be empty.  An empty, or mostly empty water vessel symbolizes the lack of the spiritual wholeness that we all desire whether consciously or not.  So this eleventh sign of Aquarius really shows the stage of REALIZING THE EMPTINESS IN THE WATER PITCHER, AND THE DESIRE TO HAVE IT FILLED.

The only permanent way to have our symbolic water pitcher filled is to become Self Realized and then know and experience that it was never empty to begin with.  This can  be done by merging our ego with something greater than ourselves, which is the job of Venus.  And as you might expect, Venus just happens to be the most auspicious planet for Aquarius lagna, and causes “Raja Yoga” by ruling both an angle and a trine.  Venus ruling a dharma (trine house) and Karma(angle house) indicates that it is innate and natural for Aquarius to move towards merging their consciousness with something greater than itself (Venus).  This shows that a sense of love and acceptance is what is really the best way to deal with the emptiness in our lives.  Whether the Aquarius is able to use Venus in this healthy way is depending upon all the karmas shown in the astrological chart, and can be known by the skilled astrologer.

This also makes sense when we think about the ruling planet of Aquarius, Saturn.  Saturn is the planet that deals with our debts, our sense of lack, our sense of isolation, and the more depressing, empty side of life in general.  The empty water pot is more appropriate as a symbol for Saturn in this way too, as it shows that there is a lack, or an emptiness that needs to be filled.  Thats pretty much the whole purpose of the Aquarius individual, is to find a way to fill that emptiness.

How they deal with the emptiness

This knowledge should now help you understand all the qualities and characteristics of Aquarius natives.  This is why western astrology looks at them as humanitarians, and even why old vedic texts from medieval times paint them in a much more negative light.  These medieval Indian texts describe them as drunkards, or as sexual deviants.  Western Astrology is great and I do not mean to bash it by saying this, but in general it doesn’t have a lot of authoritative texts or rules compared to Vedic Astrology, which is drowning in rules and texts.  They both have their strengths and weaknesses.  The western approach typically looks at the positive spin on a sign the most and downplays the negative sides, which makes sense as this type of method is being used in a culture which doesn’t want to be told stuff that it sees as “negative” or “fatalistic”.  Western’s positive spin on Aquarius is that they are humanitarians and inventive, which is true, sometimes.  This will be the case if the auspicious planets for Aquarius are strong, and the inauspicious ones are weak.  But if it is the other way around, then the Aquarius is likely to be frustrated in feeling love or detaching from the state of emptiness and will likely engage in some type of less healthy activity to try to temporarily fill the emptiness….  This is where the medieval vedic books would happen to be more accurate.  Without a strong Venus, its more likely that alcoholism, sexual perversions, vices, or other activities that society frowns upon will come in to play for the Aquarius native in order to fill that emptiness at any cost.  To be fair to both traditions, they both acknowledge the positive side of Aquarius that can manifest as a mystic, or as a spiritual renunciate as well.  To think that this same sign can create such seemingly extreme polarities of behavior can be hard to grasp…but they are all just extreme attempts to fill the emptiness that is being felt in one’s awareness.  Knowing this we should not judge Aquarius natives for their actions but rather try to see them in the light of understanding that Jyotish provides.


The First and Ninth House and Your Teachers


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.