Can Planets be Strong in Dusthana Houses?

by Hank Friedman

[The only reason that I am capable of writing Vedic articles of any value is because I was blessed by being able to learn Jyotish at the feet of a Master, Hart de Fouw, to whom I am forever grateful.]

I was recently reviewing a simplified formulaic approach to Vedic astrology, and noticed that in that system, planets are considered weak if they reside in Dusthanas.

While it is definitely true that placement in Dusthanas can mute the effectiveness of planets, I decided to write this article reviewing a few example charts to illustrate that to take this view as an absolute is misguided, that planets in Dusthana can be both strong and beneficial.

Note for beginners: the Dusthana Houses are houses 6, 8, and 12 and represent the major challenges that life presents, as well as some positive themes. (House 3 is considered a mild Dusthana) You can learn more about them here.

Example One: Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn's chart

In my article, The Process of Qualifying Yogas. I point out: "A much subtler but noteworthy example of reinforced yogas exists in Marilyn Monroe's chart. The association of Mars and Jupiter in her chart doesn't, at first glance, look very promising. Neither has strength, they are in the 8th house, and neither has any relationship with the Lagna or Lagnesa. While neither planet receives any aspects from malefics, and both planets are friends of the Lord of the First (the Moon), these factors are not enough to explain her huge celebrity.

However, Mars and Jupiter together create two of the most important Raja yogas. Mars and Jupiter are Lords of the Ninth and the Tenth, and Lords of the Fifth and the Ninth. The combined effect of two such incredibly important Raja Yogas more than compensates for the lack of other distinguishing factors. "

There is no house more apropos for creating a "sex goddess" than the 8th house, with its themes of intimacy, sexual activity and encounters, scandals, and infidelity.

If we considered Ms. Monroe's planets in a Dusthana as ineffective, as the aforementioned approach suggests, such fame would not have existed in Ms. Monroe's life.

Example Two: Maya Angelou

Maya's chart

The famous author and poet Maya Angelou is an even more potent illustration of the power of planets in the 8th house. The strongest planet in her chart is one of the 8th house planets, and only her 8th house planets form a powerful Raja Yoga (Mars and Venus form a Raja Yoga too, but neither is strong.). The Sun and Jupiter are in Pisces (with Jupiter strong in its own sign) and they are the Lords of the 1st and 5th houses respectively. This wonderful Raja Yoga enabled her to write with tremendous 8th house insight and impact.

It is important to note that yes, her life was unbelievably traumatic, also evidence of 8th house placements, but her capacity to grow from her pain and communicate it so wisely and profoundly illustrates the power of her soul, as represented by the Raja Yoga in the 8th house.

Example Three: Robert Bly

Robert's chart

Robert Bly became famous without having any major Raja Yogas in his chart. And in fact, only three of his planets have any strength (Mercury has Dig Bala, the Moon is both Bright and in its Own Sign, and Mars is in its Own Sign).

[Note: there is a one-way Sambandha between Mars and Saturn + Mercury. If you count this as yoga-forming, then he has two yogas, 1st lord with 11th lord, and 1st lord with 4th lord.]

How fitting that the two planets most associated with gender, the Moon and Mars, are preeminent in the chart of a man who both organized the Great Mother Conference (celebrating the Goddess) and started the Mythopoetic men's movement.

It is important to note that Mars, in full force despite being in the 6th house, aspects its own Scorpio Ascendant, empowering him tremendously and bringing him much fame.


Planets in Dusthana houses can indeed be powerful and even bring great success into a person's life. Strong planets in the 6th House can make one a powerful coach, health practitioner, human resource specialist, or time management consultant; potent planets in the 8th House can make for a very effective investment counselor, detective, therapist or astrologer; and well-conditioned planets in the 12th House can indicate a renowned philanthropist, mystic, social reformer, or hypnotist.


Postscript on Strength and Weakness

As I've mentioned before on this website, astrology is an art and can't and shouldn't be reduced to assigning numerical values to planets, nor to adding and subtracting these values like a math problem. I've never found such a methodology accurate.

As I have learned from my Vedic guru Hart de Fouw: a planet's weakness does not affect its strength. A planet that is strong in one way and weak in another will manifest both strength and weakness in different ways in the person's life.

I call this the AND principle; a planet can have both good and bad (or both strong and weak) attributes and placement, and both the positive and the negative themes will find expression.

For example, my Moon in the 4th House is both weak (debilitated in Scorpio) and strong (Bright and Dig Bala). My mother, as symbolized by the Moon, was both very anxious (weak) and incredibly devoted and loving (strong).

One should never "mush" together opposite qualities as if they could neutralize each other. That's why all formulaic methods of determining planetary strength, like Astrodynes, fail miserably. They ignore this principle.

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