Teachings in Metaphysical Astrology

July 2001

The Element of the Moon

I was recently thinking about some of the meanings of planets in Earth signs.

They include a predisposition to focus on one's problems, a melancholic temperament, and a tendency towards depression and negativity. I was struck by how frequently these patterns show up if a person has their Moon in an Earth sign (by Western - Tropical - measures).

The Moon describes many aspects of our temperament better than any other planet:

1. It reveals some of our defensive patterns: Fire Moons may attack and blame, Earth Moons get judgemental/rigid or self-attacking, Water Moons become very hurt and withdraw, and Air Moons rationalize and overexplain.

2. How we drive a car. (Because most people "go on automatic" when they drive and the Moon describes reflexive behavior.) E.g. in general -- of course there will be exceptions due to other factors in the chart -- Fire and water Moons driving patterns are affected by their emotional state, and Fire is more aggressive and Water more cautions. Earth Moons drive in a very controlled and sometimes caution manner, and Air Moons with more awareness of their cars relationship with the flow of traffic.

3. And the Moon sign describes our basic constitutional makeup, which is the focus of this article.

A firey Lunar temperament is impulsive, dominating, expressive, impatient, runs hot, forgets to listen, and be the center of attention. (Of course, with maturity and experience, each of the Moon patterns becomes more mellow and easier to navigate and compensate for.)

The fire Moon person needs to cultivate better listening skills, more patience, more cooperativeness (especially if male), and to learn to distinguish between blind zeal and transpersonal intuition so that they can speak, make choices and take action from a centered and knowing place.

The aforementioned Earth Moon needs to realize that the ego tends to focus upon, and thereby energize and make worse, the problems in their lives. They need to learn to withdraw their attention from problems and focus on both solutions and even more importantly on what they have to be grateful for. Additionally, they need to be careful not to compulsively take responsibility for everyone else's needs at the expense of their own.

Watery Lunarians are so strongly impacted by their reactions to life that they need to have quiet inner time to let feelings move through them and out. They need to realize how much they personalize (take offence or hurt) when that only makes their reactions stronger and isn't the intention of those around them (no one means to hurt them), and to practice cultivating more detachment and objectivity at emotional times.

Airy Lunarians overthink and can be fearful of commitments and losing options. They need to see that too much thinking and talking actually removes them from being able to make decisions, and from peace, and from deeper insights, which will surface if they learn to still their minds. They also need to become more conscious of their "claustrophobia", i.e. fear of losing their freedom by making a choice or commitment, and breathe through their fears and become more able to decide and act.

The Earthy Moon can give great groundedness and dedication, the Firey Moon much passion and true knowingness, the Watery Moon great empathy and psychic depth, and the Airy Moon incredibly fairness and clear, wide perceptions. It is worth mastering our Moons so that we may be truly wonderful human beings.

Working With Vedic Divisional Charts -- Part One

When giving a reading, Vedic astrologers not only look at the birth chart, but also at sub-charts called Varga or divisional charts. These sub-charts are similar but not identical to the Western method of harmonic charts, i.e. dividing each sign into smaller divisions and constructing a chart based on where planets fall in these divisions.

For example, in constructing a Navamsha chart -- the most important divisional chart -- the sign Aries is divided into nine segments. The first segment of Aries, from 0 to 3 degrees 20 minutes, is assigned to Aries itself. The next segment to Taurus, and so on. The first segment of Taurus is assigned to Capricorn, the second to Aquarius, the third to Pisces, etc. The first segment of each sign is assigned to the Cardinal sign in that element.

So a planet at 6 degrees of Aries in the birth chart ends up in Taurus in the Navamsha chart.

When I first started studying Vedic astrology, I had no idea how to work with divisional charts.

The Navamsha chart, I discovered, is used in many ways:

1. To determine the quality of the second half of life. George Harrison has a very strong birth chart and weak Navamsha, and the latter half of his life has been "much quieter" (to say the least) than the first half. Harrison Ford, on the other hand, has a milder birth chart and a stunning Navamsha, and he has become a huge success in the second part of his life.

2. To see if a person underestimates their output. The birth chart is the tree, the Navamsha the fruit. Those with a better Navamsha often don't realize how "sweet " the fruits of their labors are, i.e. how wonderful their creativity, insights, etc. are.

3. To confirm the strengths of planets in the birth chart. If, for example, a planet that is not in the sign of its debilitation in the birth chart is in the same sign in the birth chart and the navamsha chart, it gains strength. This is called Vargottama, which means in the best division.

A planet also gains strength, even if it is debilitated in the birth chart, if in the navamsha chart it is in the sign it rules or is exalted in.

On the other hand, a planet may look strong at birth (exalted or in its own sign), but because it falls into the sign of its debilitation in the navamsha, never truly brings much to a person's life.

4. To access the ups and downs in a person's primary relationship (aka marriage). To explain this in a most rudimentary form (there are many, many modifying factors), if a person is running the Dasha (major planetary period) and Bhukti (sub-period) of planets who are both in any of the "good" houses: 1, 4, 5, 7, 9, or 10 in the Navamsha chart, their relationship goes well during this Bhukti. If the planets are both in houses 3, 6, 8, or 12, on the other hand, it is likely to be a bumpy time for the relationship.

I cannot emphasize enough that the above assessment is subject to many additional considerations and will not work more than half the time without taking into account many more factors. To do so, either take Hart de Fouw's excellent Intermediate Course in Vedic Astrology and/or rigorously study the newly reprinted excellent book: New Techniques of Prediction by H.R. Seshadri Iyer volumes 1 & 2.

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