One of the Keys to Chart Interpretation
by Hank Friedman
In reading both Western and Vedic charts, one of the most powerful techniques is focusing on specific themes in a chart that are influenced by a single planet in multiple ways. This "synergy" is an effective way of understanding some of the strongest patterns in a person's life.
In order to teach my readers how to apply this technique, I would first like to indicate possible approaches, and then give examples.
1. Where to look for synergy:
A. A planet influences both a house and its lord. This influence can be an aspect, occupying the same house, or by rulership. (E.g. Sun in the 4th house in the sign Aries, and opposite Mars in the 10th, would influence both the fourth house and its lord.)
B. A significator has a relationship with the house whose theme it signifies. Similar to A above, this can be by occupation or aspect to the house (e.g. opposite to the house), rulership of the house, or even aspecting the lord of the house. (E.g. Venus, as symbol of partner, as lord of the 7th house for an Aries rising chart.)
C. A planet influences both a house and its significator. (E.g. The Sun conjunct the Moon in the 4th house would influence both the house and planet that signify Mother.)
D. All of the above operating at the same time.
In other words, there are three factors to examine for synergy (i.e. their relationship with each other), a house, its lord, and one of its significators -- or any other planet influencing two or more of these factors.
One can therefore find synergy in a single planet (e.g. a planet aspecting a house and ruling it), or in two planets (e.g. one planet aspecting or conjunct a second planet that occupies and rules a house) or both.
Let's take a moment to focus on what I mean by significator a bit more. Both Western and Vedic astrologers use certain planets (and houses) to signify people and relationships and the things of life. In some cases, the Western and Vedic significators are identical, e.g. Moon and the 4th house for mother, Sun for father, and Venus and the 7th house for partner.
In other cases, different planets (or houses) may signify a specific thing in Western vs. Vedic astrology. This happens often in medical astrology, for example. But even in as fundamental a theme as a person's father, Western astrology and North Indian Vedic astrology use the 10th house and South Indian Vedic astrology uses the 9th house.
As you can see, we also find differences in what house or planet is assigned to a specific theme (e.g. education) between North Indian & South Indian branches of Vedic astrology.
Therefore, each astrologer has to ascertain which methods of signification work for them. In my deep exploration of both Western and Vedic significations, I have come to greatly respect the Vedic significators, called karakas, very much, for their exceptional effectiveness.
Western astrologers who would like a taste of Vedic significators can click here for a table of some of the significators that I have learned to use.
3. Using This Approach. Examples.
A. Vehicles [Note: The 4th house and its lord and Venus are significators of vehicles.]
One of my closest friends has the lord of his 4th house – Jupiter – both aspecting his fourth house (by being in the 10th house) and also conjunct the signficator of vehicles (Venus). He has owned dozens of vehicles in his life, spent an inordinate amount of money on them, and feels the need to get new ones well before the ones he owns give out.
B. Similarly, another friend very involved with cars has the lord of the 4th, again Jupiter, trining the 4th house, and while it does not aspect the significator of cars Venus, Venus is in its own sign in the 2nd house.
C. One can also derive several different meanings from the same configuration. If you look at my chart (click here to see it) you will see the following synergies all caused by the planet Jupiter:
i. Health. Although I have lived a relatively sedentary life, and don't exercise all that much, I have been very healthy and often stay well when those around me get sick. Jupiter (a very protective planet) aspects (from the 7th house) my 1st house of health and vitality, and also aspects the planetary significator of health, the Sun, who also happens to be the lord of the 1st house (a double influence).
ii. Optimism and Enthusiasm. The significators for oneself are the Sun, Lord of the 1st house, and the 1st house itself. I have always been an enthusiastic and optimistic person, and Jupiter, the significator of these themes, aspects all three of these "self" significators.
iii. Older Siblings. I was the youngest child in my family, and my older siblings (sisters) profoundly influenced me. Notice that the significator of older siblings, Jupiter, aspects the house of older siblings (the 11th), and all of the "me" factors mentioned in the previous paragraph.
iv. Discernment. Even when I was very little, I could understand adults very well. I have had a thirst for wisdom and teachings my entire life, and great respect for all who have opened my eyes and mind.
As an adult, many of my friends and clients value my discernment, and come to me for advice and my assessment of situations. Jupiter, the planetary significator of wisdom and discernment, also happens to be lord of the 5th house of discernment, and therefore carries double emphasis as a discernment significator. Again it aspects all of my "self" significators.
D. Illness. I have another friend who has battled with health difficulties. Saturn (a significator of difficulties) aspects both the 6th house of illness and the lord of the 6th, thus indicating the likelihood of this theme in the person's life. (Saturn is also the only planet in the chart to aspect the 6th house and the only planet to aspect its lord.)
4. Using This Approach. Principles.
[Author's Note: I added this section on September 13th after posting this essay because I felt it would help others use the method more fully.]
A. The type of influence that specific planets add. If the planet that influences the lord of a house, significator, and/or house itself is a strong benefic, then the effect will be one of expansion, uplifting, etc. For example, in both 3a and 3c above, the effects of the benefic (Jupiter or Venus) led to very positive results.
Similarly, if the planet is a challenging one, like Saturn, Mars, or one of the Nodes, then the influence will be detrimental. In example 3d above, the health suffered. In several charts where Saturn influences the 7th house and its lord (with Saturn, of course, not as the 7th lord), the person had either no marriages or very challenged ones.
B. Combined influences. It is very important to add that if a house (or its lord, or significator) is influenced by both positive and challenging planets (e.g. Saturn and Jupiter) then the results will not be as clear cut. In searching for examples of challenges to the 7th house and its lord, I found several examples where Jupiter's influence was significantly ameliorative, and relationships did thrive despite the influence of Saturn on multiple 7th house factors.
C. The strength of the planet in the birth chart. When a challenging planet influences a strong house lord, or a supportive planet influences a very weak house lord, the results will be more complex. For example, in both my Western and Vedic charts, I have Saturn aspecting the 10th house and 10th lord. Because, in both types of charts, the 10th lord is in the 10th house in its own sign, which makes it very strong, Saturn's influence on both the house and lord did not prevent my career from taking off, nor from being exactly right for me. What Saturn did do was to create ups and downs in my career (i.e. client load varied), and kept me from having the courage and initiative to seek wider venues, to write, etc.
D. Getting creative. We can intuitively apply our understanding of all of the meanings of a planet to this approach with wonderful results. For example, if Mercury influences both the 2nd house and its lord, then we might expect a great deal of financial (2nd) variability (Mercury), purchasing (2nd) of books (Mercury), and thinking about and talking about (Mercury) money (2nd).
As you can see, this method of approach is incredibly useful, and illuminates important themes in a chart exceptionally well.
(Note: for the purposes of this method, I always consider, as is done in both Vedic and ancient Western astrology, a planet in an opposite house to be aspecting the house, and also use Vedic special aspects as well in ascertaining both aspects to houses and to planets. All of these aspects are "whole sign", i.e. a planet in a sign aspects all planets in the opposite sign, no matter what the orb. The Vedic special aspects are:
I. Jupiter aspects the houses and planets in the same element as itself, i.e. houses and planets trine to it,
II. Mars aspects the houses and planets 4 and 8 houses forward, counting inclusively, and
III. Saturn aspects the houses and planets 3 and 10 houses forward, counting inclusively. )
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