Important Dasas and Bhuktis
by Hank Friedman
I initially wrote this article in preparation for a class I taught on Dasas in San Rafael, California. After teaching the class, I decided to expand the article and place it on my website. May it bring you Light.
1. Dasa (and bhukti) of the lord of the ascendant (also of the naksatra ruler of the ascendant)
The dasa of the lagnesa (lord of the ascendant) is a time of deep self actualization and arrival. The flowering of oneself and finding and expression of one's true voice. During this dasa, one may have to face and clear issues that have been obstacles toward self expression, but by the end of the period, a deeper sense of self will have consolidated.
The bhuktis of the lagnesa are not as life-changing, but still important times of self-discovery. The dasa of the naksatra lord of the ascendant (e.g. Ketu dasa for a Magha ascendant) may also be a very significant time, bringing one onto their soul path and clarifying the life purpose.
[Note: Most of the following items fall into the category of dasas and bhuktis that activate the relationship that already exists between two planets in the birth chart. That is what makes them important, the surfacing, enlivening, and ripening of the birth chart themes.]
2. Dasa (and bhukti) of major positive Yoga-forming planets (especially if in houses 1, 4, 5, 7, 9, 10)
For a positive yoga to be fully operational in a birth chart, at least one of the yoga-forming planets has to be strong. If a yoga is formed by two (or more) planets, then the dasa of one planet and the bhukti of another are potent times; when the yoga will become fully actualized.
For single planet yogas, e.g. the Mahapurusa yogas where a true planet (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, or Saturn) is in a Kendra (house 1, 4, 7, or 10) and in its own sign or exalted, the dasa of the planet will be very potent, but the bhukti of the planet will also bring forth positive life changes.
3. Dasa (and bhukti) of very strong planets (own sign, exalted, directional strength, vargottama)
These are often periods when major achievements can be accomplished, because the strength of the planet becomes actualized.
4. Dasa of the Sun (especially the bhuktis of the Moon, combust planets, retrograde planets) and vice versa.
The brightness of the Moon depends upon its relationship to the Sun. When dark, the Moon represents lack of proper nurturing; when bright, strong and appropriate nurturing. Therefore, the Sun dasa/Moon bhukti, and the Moon dasa/Sun bhukti are very significant times of blessing for the person with a bright Moon (e.g. when the Moon is 6, 7, or 8 signs from the Sun), and alternately these times are times of facing (and hopefully healing) the neglect and grief of childhood for those with Dark Moons (within 72 degrees of the New Moon on either side).
During the Sun Dasa/bhuktis of a combust planet (and dasa of the Combust planet/Sun Bhukti) what surfaces -- for release and healing -- are the frustrations, invisibility issues, and life disruptions, especially of the house themes of the houses ruled by the combust planet.
During the Sun Dasa and the Bhukti of a retrograde planet (and vice versa), the retrograde planet's power gets to fully express itself. (Retrograde planets are powerful because they are closest to the Earth when retrograde.)
5. Dasa of planets in planetary war (especially during the bhukti of other planet)
The core issues represented by the planetary war are likely to surface at this time. Potentially a difficult time with the need to achieve a higher degree of spiritual surrender, and to recognize and change the patterns of conflict that one creates in their world.
6. Dasa of the nodes (especially if conjunct with a planet or Kala Sarpa yoga)
If all Vedic planets are on one side of the nodal axis (i.e. a Kala Sarpa yoga), then the north node's dasa and the south node's bhukti (& vice versa) will be times of powerful karmic events. One may feel swept away by the experiences during this time and need to keep spiritually aligned and make decisions with as much consciousness as possible.
If a planet is conjunct a node, its manifestation is strongly amplified, sometimes in a distorted way. If the planet is benefic and strong, great successes can take place here. If a planet is weak and/or malefic, then wrestling with their out-of-control habits and blind spots might be necessary. These themes are also true during the dasa of planet conjunct a node in the planet's dasa and nodes bhukti.
7. Dasa of major negative Yoga forming planets (especially if in houses 6, 8, 12)
These are times when it is wise to avoid risk-taking and unnecessary speculation and to keep one's awareness practices going, in order to navigate the tricky waters most effectively.
E.g. Sakata yoga (Moon not in 1, 4, 7, or 10, and 6 or 8 houses from Jupiter) can represent financial reversals during either Moon or Jupiter's dasa and the other planet's bhukti. Preparing by having money in the bank can make such a period much easier to navigate.
8. Sequence of positive or negative dasas starting at birth.
The general premise here is that if one runs a sequence of positive or negative dasas, then a pattern is set in motion that is hard to reverse. However, be careful in making this kind of assessment because a powerful dasa in the opposite direction to the flow can turn things around. E.g. Arnold Schwartzenegger had a sequence of dasas very bad for relationship, and his relationships kept failing, but upon entering his Mars dasa at age 38, things turned around and he got married and has made a success of it.
One cannot be mechanical in assessing what is a good or bad dasa in this type of analysis. Exceptions abound. E.g. if one runs the dasa of one of the nodes in early life, and that node is conjunct or aspected by a strong benefic, its period is likely to be very positive. Similarly, since Saturn rules two good houses in the ascendants ruled by Venus, the Saturn dasa for these ascendants can be very good periods.
9. Dasa of a debilitated planet , especially if ameliorated (in bhukti of ameliorating planet and vice versa)
The dasa of a planet debilitated in the birth chart may indicate a period when the natal weakness expresses itself, e.g for a Venus in Virgo, in relationships and vehicle themes (since Venus is the significator of both) and for the houses ruled and occupied by Venus.
However, Vedic astrology has the principle of Neecha bhanga, which means the amelioration of debilitation. Note: a planet is debilitated when it is in the sign Western astrologers call its sign of Fall (e.g. Mars in Cancer). If a debilitated planet is in a good house (1, 4, 5, 7, 9, 10) and has one of the following conditions, its debilitation is ameliorated, and the bhukti of the helping planet cements this amelioration.
A. If the planet ruling the sign the debilitated planet is in is either strong and/or aspecting the debilitated planet.
B. If the planet who rules the sign the debilitated planet is exalted in is either strong and/or in is either strong and/or aspecting the debilitated planet. E.g. Venus (who rules Taurus, the sign the Moon is exalted in) aspects the Moon in Scorpio or is strong or both.
10. Dasa/Bhukti of two planets in each others' signs or naksatras.
What is called Mutual Reception in Western astrology is called a Parivartana Yoga in Vedic astrology. This yoga can be mutually good (if both planets are in positive houses), good for one planet (bad for the one in a good house if the other is in a bad house and vice versa), or bad turning to good (if both planets are in bad houses -- 6, 8, 12).
11. Dasa/Bhukti of two planets that both influence the house signifying an important life theme.
E.g. for a person interested in marriage, the 7th house, if one planet is the lord of the 7th house and the other planet occupies the 7th house or is Venus (significator of marriage).
12. Dasa/Bhukti of two planets in strong relationship with each other, even unilaterally.
Like Western astrology, most professional Vedic astrologers use do use orbs (albeit wider ones). The term strong aspects means that one or both planets have a major influence on the other planet, an influence that"ripens" or resolves during their dasa/bhukti.
E.g. When I was in Venus/Saturn, with natal Saturn in the 1st unilaterally aspecting my Venus in the 10th from it, I became much more consciously aware of all of the fears, doubts, and hesitations that kept me from fully flourishing in my career. After working through them, I went through Venus/Mercury (who are together in the 10th house in Taurus). Venus/Mercury represented the ripening of my career success in a new way, with greater income, a steadier stream of clients, and more recognition.
13. Transition zones. The period before and after each major dasa change is called dasa sandhi. It represents a time of great flux and change. It occurs both before and after the onset of the new dasa. To calculate it, add the two dasa lengths in years to find the total period of transition (before and after the dasa change) in months. E.g. between Venus (20 years) and Sun (6 years), 20 + 6 = 26 then divide by two = 13 months before the onset of Sun/Sun and 13 months after the onset of Sun/Sun. During dasa sandhi, you can feel "the ground shifting under your feet", that you are about to make great changes in your life.
Postscript: Varga Analysis
As I mentioned in my article on the Teachings of S. Iyer, divisional charts (aka varga or amsa charts, like the Navamsa) can and should be used in analyzing the effects of dasas on specific life themes. One of Iyer's premises is that the subcharts are more important than the birth chart in most cases.
For example, if the dasa period is bad for marriage in the birth chart, but good for marriage in the Navamsa chart, then the person will have mostly positive relationship experiences during the dasa.
Iyer work is detailed and involved, and I was fortunate enough to learn it from my Vedic teacher Hart de Fouw, in his Intermediate Jyotish course. You can read my article on Iyer, and Iyer's books too, but nothing replaces learning the techniques from a Jyotishi familiar with these methods.
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