November 2000

Bridge of Skies

My Article from The Mountain Astrologer

Applying Jyotish approaches to Western Astrology

by Hank Friedman

[Note: I decided to share the full text of my Mountain Astrologer article on using Vedic techniques and understandings in your Western astrology practice. This article was a "labor of love" for many years. I hope you enjoy it.]

Have you ever wanted to know additional ways of interpreting empty houses? Or what the original meanings of retrogrades and the Moon's nodes are? How about completely different -- and incredibly useful -- meanings of the twelve houses? Read on...

Five years ago, my astrological life permanently changed. After having practiced Western astrology professionally (and joyfully) for over twenty years, I attended at the UAC'95 conference in Monterey, California, and decided, on a whim, to attend a lecture by Diana K. Rosenberg on fixed stars.

At the lecture, Ms. Rosenberg offhandedly mentioned that a particular person was of course a blend of Taurus and Gemini because their Sun sign was in Tropical Gemini and in Sidereal Taurus. Her very nonchalance in making this statement enabled it to bypass my "anti-Sidereal" filters and affect me deeply. (At the same conference, Rob Hand delivered his groundbreaking lecture on Sect, and announced the inauguration of Project Hindsight.)

The next thing I knew, I was on a plane to West Virginia for a Project Hindsight conference on ancient Greek astrology. And what did I find there, but additional lectures by some excellent Vedic astrologers.

As I sat in these Vedic lectures, I found myself enchanted and enriched by the incredible Hindu legends of the planets, and suddenly realized that Vedic astrology is the oldest continuous tradition of astrology in the Indo-European world and that if I wanted to study an ancient astrology, this was the place to begin. It never suffered from religious persecution or loss of texts as other astrologies did, but instead steadily developed over thousands of years. And so I began to learn Jyotish, as Vedic astrology is also known (Jyotish means the science of light).

Since Project Hindsight was already encouraging us to use ancient Greek techniques in our astrological work, I was quickly struck by just how many Vedic insights and methods were completely applicable to my Western practice. (I have professionally used Western astrology -- and still do -- with great success to elucidate a person’s psychodynamics, natal and unfolding life lessons, temperament, compatibility, and soul purpose.)

Blended Signs.

The first thing I noticed was that Ms. Rosenberg was right. People are a blend of their Tropical and Sidereal placements. For example, people with their Suns in late Scorpio (after roughly 24 degrees for twentieth century births), whose Suns stay in Scorpio in both zodiacs, are archetypal Scorpios, with fixed, stocky bodies, incredible stamina, intense reactions, and powerful wills. Their blended counterparts (those with Suns before about 23 degrees of Tropical Scorpio, who have their Sidereal Suns in Libra), are gentler, longer limbed, and more verbal, indecisive, and intellectual.

I have coined the term "keystone" for a planet (or the ascendant) in a person's chart that stays in the same sign in both zodiacs. Such keystones transmit the meaning of the sign they're in purely, without modification, and fully embody the element, mode, and other characteristics of the sign. People with a lot of keystone planets can be very congruent and consistent, for better or worse. People with no keystone planets, on the other hand, can be more changeable and adaptable.

This was the beginning of a great odyssey to bring Vedic ideas to my, and other's, Western practice. What follows herein are many of the insights and methods I've learned that are directly transferable to Western astrology.

Note: Since this article applies Vedic principles to Western charts, all charts in this article use the Tropical Zodiac, and the Western Equal House system. I use the Equal House system because it works best with these methods and is the closest Western house system to Vedic Whole Sign houses. Tropical Whole Sign houses, as it turns out, doesn't work as well with these principles.

Astrology by Sight.

The ancient Vedic classics encourage us to look at the sky, to literally see each chart as it appeared in the sky. What insights our minds and souls can receive when we participate in and embrace the actual image of a person's astrological moment of birth.

For example, the dawn light is just beginning to brighten the sky, as Jupiter appears shining, rising into the sky, heralding the new day, while Saturn shines brightly directly overhead. It is the moment of birth of Paul Newman.

One of the fundamental principles of Vedic astrology is that observable phenomena carry much more weight than purely symbolic ones. For instance, you can see an eclipse or the phases of the Moon, but you can't observe a planet actually ruling a house or sign – that is symbolic.

When Vedic astrologers looked at planets retrograding, they saw that the planets were at their brightest. (Because retrograde planets are opposite to the Sun.) Therefore, the Vedic interpretation of retrograde planets is that they are at the peak of their strength. In fact, the classical Vedic text called the Phaladeepika states that, "Even if a planet be in his sign of debilitation [fall in Western astrology], he is vested with full strength if he is retrograde...." PD 4:4. Joan Crawford is an excellent example of the strength of a retrograde planet. Her Mars -- although in Libra (in detriment by modern principles) -- is retrograde, and her ruthlessness, drive, and willpower were legendary.

Similarly, there is no planet weaker -- observationally -- than one that is invisible. When planets get close to the Sun, they disappear from view and are considered combust. Planets within six degrees of the Sun are considered seriously combust. The outer manifestations -- i.e. visible effects -- of what a combust planet symbolizes, especially the people and themes of the houses it rules, are negatively impacted by the combustion. (Note: the inner themes of the combust planet -- such as artistic sensitivity for a combust Venus -- often continue to be strong.) Jimi Hendrix's Mercury -- the ruler of his 7th and 10th houses -- was two degrees from his Sun, and his career was thwarted by his business manager, and he never had a successful partnership.

The Full Moon, similarly, is considered to be very strong, while the New Moon (and the eclipsed Sun and Moon – see the next section) are considered very weak. An exaggerated example of this is the mother of Cary Grant - symbolized by his New Moon in the 4th house with Saturn – who was institutionalized when Cary was just a boy. I have consistently found that a “dark moon” (Vedically defined as within 72 degrees of the Sun) represents a notable lack of nurturing in a person’s childhood.

The Moon's Nodes

We can also understand the Moon's Nodes by their visible effects. The Nodes "cause" eclipses -- astronomically, eclipses only occur when the Nodes conjunct Sun and Moon -- and make the Sun or Moon appear invisible. The Nodes literally appear to gobble up the Sun or Moon. They carry, therefore, the themes of eclipsing and obscuring, and of illusion (after all, the Sun and Moon are not really "eaten up").

My astrology clients have confirmed these concepts. Those with, for example, the Nodes conjunct planets in the fourth house have felt unseen by and overshadowed by their parents. The Nodes deeply affect the expression of any planet they conjunct or house they occupy, often either severely weakening the planet or house themes, or creating illusions, distortions, or impulsive behavior.

Vedic astrology also associates the North Node (Rahu) with materialism, ambition, obsession, insatiable drives, and dissatisfaction, and the South Node (Ketu) with anxiety, withdrawal, relinquishment, and doubts. Rahu can give self-inflation and rebelliousness, while Ketu can give self-deprecation and timidity. People, for example, with Ketu in the first house (or conjunct an important planet) can be too self-effacing, while with Rahu there, over-confident and over-estimate their abilities. Woody Allen's North Node in the house of children, for example, is one of the indicators of the depth of his compulsion towards his wife's adopted daughter.

On the high side, Rahu can give one the drive to succeed and achieve, and Ketu a thirst for spirituality and enlightenment. Rahu teaches lessons about attainment, and Ketu about surrender. Karl Marx, born on a New Moon eclipse -- the North Node conjunct both the Sun and the Moon in the third house -- is an excellent example of a person with the drive to think incisively and speak out no matter what obstacles he encountered. His natal eclipse represents his exiles, poverty, hunger, suffering, rebellions, alienation, and relative obscurity during his life, as well as an unparalleled commitment to succeed at championing his new ideology.

For the Western astrologer who wants to know more, the literature of Vedic astrology (for example, Light on Life by Hart de Fouw and Robert Svoboda) gives deep and detailed attributes of the nodes, everything from their direction, distance, shape, height, metals and gems, professions, psychology, gender, temperament, and the people, illnesses, and sexual patterns that they represent. Vedic astrologers developed this detailed understanding of the nodes because they have always treated the nodes as planets in Vedic astrology, as significant as Venus or Mars.

The Eastern View of Planetary Influence

The Phaladeepika by Mantreswar also states that the "Planets are constantly favorable to one who is always calm, possessed of self-control, who has earned wealth through virtuous means, and who is always ethical and moral." PD 26:50 In other words, when a person lives in accordance with the natural world, their lives will progress sweetly, and their cycles will be benign.

I have often found, as have many others, that planetary transits manifest particularly intensely in our lives when we are mis-aligned with ourselves and others to begin with. On the other hand, when we're living a life of balance, even if larger life events do unfold, it becomes much easier to take them in stride.

Vedic astrology reminds us, then, that we have some "say" in how astrological influences express themselves, not just how we respond to them. It even offers methods of ameliorating challenging cycles, by using specific prayers, generous acts, gem stones and other "upayas" (planetary remedies), again prompting us to realize our actions and orientation can make things run more smoothly.

The Ancient Rulerships

We Western astrologers have used modern rulerships so often that we sometimes forget the deep value of traditional rulerships. Astrology has been practiced for millenia -- for most of its history – in both the East and the West using Saturn's rulership of Aquarius, Jupiter's of Pisces, and Mars' of Scorpio.

Aquarius holds many of Saturn's attributes, including control issues, conservatism, disaffection, reserve, structures, firm boundaries, and separateness. Pisces carries Jupiter's generosity, tendency toward indulgence, openness and comradery, spirituality, and charity. And Scorpio is clearly Martian, with its passion, independence, intensity, strength, sharpness, industry, and capacity for pugnacity.

We can use traditional rulerships to better understand what houses are affected by the condition of each planet. For example, a debilitated Mars in Cancer (Western astrologers call this position Mars in its sign of fall) will destabilize the themes signified by the houses with Aries and Scorpio on their cusps. Patsy Cline's hopes and dreams (11th house Aries) were interrupted several times, by moves, children, and most traumatically by a disfiguring automobile accident (Mars in Cancer ruling the Scorpio 6th house: accidents).

Additionally, traditional rulerships can strengthen the indications of a planetary signature (chart emphasis). Shannen Doherty is infamous for her real life feistiness, and her exalted Mars combined with both Moon in Scorpio and Sun in Aries gives her a classic Mars signature.

Remembering traditional associations will keep us more conscious of all of the facets of each of the signs and the planets.

Revisiting The Houses.

Today, we view each house as indicating a congruent set of themes. Ancient astrologers, on the other hand, saw houses as collections of significations, many with no relationship to each other.

The Vedic meanings for each house can extend our understanding and utility of house placements immeasurably. Consider, for example, using the 12th house to signify pleasures of the bed, including sex and sleeping. I've found that many people with 12th house emphasis have strong sex drives, and, if occupied by challenging planets, sexual dysfunctions and/or disrupted sleep patterns. These are patterns I would never have even looked for without the Vedic promptings.

The 11th house is understood by Jyotishis (practitioners of Vedic astrology) as signifying money and other things that come to you easily. Perhaps that's the source of the modern interpretation of Saturn in the 11th house as carrying the belief that nothing comes easily.

Explore the house significations in Table A. Notice the interactions between houses, e.g. acute vs. chronic illnesses, debts, and other problems (houses 6 and 8); and how money comes in through the 11th, is spent in the 12th , and gets accumulated in the 2nd. My 2nd house is much weaker than my 11th. As a result, money comes to me relatively easily, but doesn't accumulate.

The Vedic categories of houses -- e.g. The Dustanas (6, 8, and 12 -- the houses of suffering), and Upachayas (3, 6, 10, and 11 -- the houses of improvement) -- are also transferable to Western work. If many planets are in houses 3,6,10, & 11, for instance, then the person's life gradually improves.

If many planets are in houses 6, 8, and 12, on the other hand, then life is more challenging, but its trials teach the person to redirect their attention away from materiality and ego and towards spirituality. Vedically, these houses – representing most of life's difficulties – are the keys to transforming our lives and our consciousness. Planets in them, and their rulers, teach us to face ourselves, our complacencies, our addictions, and our blind spots. They help us recognize where we are over-attached to (and over-value) the impermanent and mundane. And they get us to see the deeper purposes of life's travails, and eventually to embrace change, and to align with the Eternal and the essential aspects of our own beingness.

If planets occupy the angles (houses 1, 4, 7, and 10) then they gain strength, and the person is likely to have more power and accomplishments, while if they occupy the trinal fire houses (1, 5, 9), which represent opportunities, the person may have more success and good fortune.

------------------------------------ Table A: House meanings

Note: I have deliberately omitted many of meanings of the houses that are shared by both Vedic and Western astrology, such as the 7th house indicating marriage and the 5th house indicating children. (Note that there is some variation about where to place various themes among Jyotishis.)

First House: You. Your vital force and longevity. Your personality, body, health, complexion, and appearance. Your ability to cope with life’s challenges. How your life works out. Fame and likeability. Pragmatic, innate intelligence. The most important house by far (including its ruler, see below).

Second House: Your mouth, eating and drinking. Speaking truth or lies, sweet or harsh voice tones. Singing and eloquence. Your accumulated wealth or lack thereof, jewels, and other movable assets you accumulate. Your family life (and family members). The eyes and sight. Traditional knowledge (like scriptures).

Third House: Your prowess, courage, valor, personal skills, and efforts. Your arms and all manual activity including writing, giving massages, artistic expression. Younger siblings and your relationship with them. Hearing. Signing contracts. Moving (being 12th from the 4th, it represents loss of home).

Fourth House: Your car (or elephants!). Your peace of mind, comfort, and happiness. Immovable property and the land (and cattle) that you own. Private affairs. Ancestral property. Education. The heart. Water.

Fifth House: Your good karma from past lives. Your abstract mind, discernment, and intelligence. Your ability to advise and counsel. Memory. Foreknowledge. Mantra and spiritual practices. Stomach and intestines. Fertility and pregnancy.

Sixth House: Your ability (or lack thereof) to overcome both illness and enemies. The strength of your enemies and illnesses. Servants. Onset of illnesses. Acute illnesses, wounds, and losses. Anxiety and anguish. Theft. Accidents. Family feuds.

Seventh House: Your influence and reputation in foreign lands. Your sexual attractiveness, compatibility, and enjoyment. Adultery. Moral conduct. Litigation. The quality of and number of your spouses.

Eighth House: Life span. Obstacles, strife, and delays in your life. Wandering aimlessly. Chronic and genetic illnesses and large losses. Disgrace and scandal. Black magic. Manipulation and intrigue. Sudden catastrophic events.

Ninth House: Your father and his property. Your fortune. Preceptors. Communication with spirits, visions, and intuition. Teaching. Respect for elders. Purity of mind. Initiations. Charity and spiritual deeds. Spiritual renunciation.

Tenth House: Honor, public esteem, and disgrace. Success and great achievements. Good and bad deeds. Appointments and promotions. Rank and position. The sky and sky professions (e.g. astronomer and astrologer).

Eleventh House: Income, easy money, things that come to you without much effort. Older siblings. Fulfillment of desires. Luxuries. Relief from duress and illness. Honors and commendations.

Twelfth House: Moksha (enlightenment), afterlife, pleasures of the bed, distant travel and residing in foreign lands, pilgrimages, charity and donations, all losses, expenditures, addictions, and extravagances, convalescence.


A notable Vedic perspective is that if a house has challenges (e.g. occupied by or aspected by Saturn, the Nodes, or Mars or its ruler so affected or otherwise weak), then either the person represented by the house or the relationship with that person is impaired, not usually both. Similarly, if a house has problematic influences, then usually just one or two of the themes it represents are affected, not the others. For example, if the 9th house is occupied by Saturn and Mars, there may be problems with the father or gurus or higher education, but not all of these areas.

Malefic planets primarily impact the people represented by a house (or your relationship to them) and not the inanimate themes of the house. In fact, malefics can actually enhance the themes of a house, for example an afflicted 5th house may deny or cause problems with children, but also increase the discernment and technical capabilities of the individual.

The Planets as Significators.

Jyotish also extends our understanding with its unique and accurate meanings of the planets. We already use the Sun to signify and help us understand the life themes of the father, and the Moon, the mother. Jyotish has, however, extended the idea of significations in very enlightening ways. Pleasure and desire, for example, comes under the province of Venus, while children are signified by Jupiter!

Let’s examine what planets are significators for the themes of each of the houses. (See Table B)


Table B: House Significations

Note: the first planet listed for each house is the main house significator.

First House: The Sun for vitality.

Second House: Jupiter for wealth. Mercury for speech.

Third House: Mars for younger siblings and for prowess and courage.

Fourth House: Moon for mother and the emotional mind. Mars for lands. Venus for vehicles. Mercury for education.

Fifth House: Jupiter for children and wise counsel.

Sixth House: Saturn for illness. Mars for accidents and enemies.

Seventh House: Venus for marriage, wife. Jupiter for husband.

Eighth House: Saturn for longevity, delays, and obstacles.

Ninth House: Jupiter for guru, religion, fortune, higher learning. Sun for father.

Tenth House: Sun for power, fame. Mercury for commerce. Saturn for efforts, actions. Jupiter for success.

Eleventh House: Jupiter for gains, income, older siblings.

Twelfth House: Saturn for losses and expenditures. Venus for pleasures of the bed. Ketu (the South Node) for enlightenment, Rahu (the North Node) for foreign travel.


Using these significations is simple. For example, instead of just assessing children from the fifth house and its lord, you can also examine the status of the significator of children, Jupiter, in the chart. If the significator for a house aspects, occupies, or rules that house, it becomes the primary indicator of the house’s themes.

For example, by ordinary methods, Clint Eastwood's 2nd house isn't terribly impressive with just Saturn in Capricorn therein. But Jupiter not only rules the second house (because the house cusp is Sagittarius) and is the significator for wealth, but it also aspects that house from the eighth house (see the next section), and therefore becomes the primary indicator of the level of wealth. Whenever a planet aspects the house it rules, that house is thereby enhanced, and Mr. Eastwood certainly has earned a lot of money.

Significators add a new dimension to the analysis of life factors, often clarifying situations otherwise unexplained in the chart.

The Vedic Aspects.

One principle that Vedic astrology teaches us is that planets aspect (and influence) opposite houses, whether they are occupied or not. This is an important principle also practiced in ancient Greek astrology. Look at the house opposite where Saturn is placed, for example, and you'll immediately see the value and effectiveness of this premise.

Cher, for example, has Saturn in the first house, and all of her relationships have be fraught with difficulties. Sonny Bono was incredibly controlling (Saturn) of Cher, clearly embodying the first house Saturn's aspect on the seventh house.

Look at the importance you place on the themes of the house opposite the Sun, how much pleasure you get from the house opposite Venus, and how assertive you are in the house opposite Mars.

A second Vedic concept is that certain planets have "ownership" of particular aspects. In Vedic astrology, every planet makes conjunctions and oppositions. But Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn have special aspects that no other planets have. The special Saturn aspects are the backwards square and the forwards sextile; Mars' aspects are the forward square and the backwards quincunx; and Jupiter's special aspects are both trines. (All of these are whole house aspects, e.g. counting from and including the house Mars is in, go backwards six houses for its backwards quincunx aspect.)

Modern astrologers can translate this concept into their Western practices by paying special attention to both the natal aspects and the transits that fit into these categories. When Paul Newman’s Saturn (the ruler of his chart and his Sun sign, and closely sextile to his Ascendant) received a forward sextile from Saturn, his son died in a tragic drug overdose (and no other outer planets were forming major aspects to his chart at the time). In other words, Vedic astrologers discovered a deeper potency to these aspects of Saturn, Mars, and Jupiter that we can use in our work.

As I mentioned, you can apply these special aspects to empty houses, not just to planets. Janis Joplin's fourth house Saturn aspects the first house by its backwards square, and her childhood introversion (she was shy, an A student, a loner, and avid reader) and her negative self-concept (because of her disfiguring facial acne, and her self-hatred for being overweight) shows the operation of this aspect by a strong (retrograde) Saturn on the house of the self.

Vedic astrologers also see these aspects as connecting house themes. For example, Saturn in the first house connects the career (10th) -- the backwards square -- and efforts and skill (3rd) -- the forwards sextile -- with identity and body (1st house placement). Fred Astaire, who had Saturn in the 1st house, certainly used his body, with effort and skill, in his career.

Jyotishis also look at aspect convergences, i.e. when two or more planets aspect the same house (whether it is occupied by planets or not). A tragic example of aspects both connecting house themes and converging on houses is shown the chart of Grace Kelly, who had Saturn and Mars aspecting both the 4th house of conveyances (she died in a car crash) and the 8th house of death.

Vedic Methods of Chart Evaluation

Perhaps the most useful cross-pollination from Vedic to Western astrology is in adopting Vedic methods of evaluating both charts as a whole and specific houses. In Jyotish, the first house, its occupants, significator, aspects, and ruler are the fundamental factors in determining the quality and outcome of a person's life, including how well they are liked, how healthy and long lived, and how much happiness they achieve.

The basic method of analysis focuses first on the ruler of the Ascendant (called the ruler of the chart in modern astrology, and lagnesh in Vedic astrology, because the Ascendant is called lagna). The ruler of the Ascendant is one of the most important planets in the chart. Its status influences the entire life, and all transits and major cycles by it and to it are of major importance. The main gemstone Jyotishis prescribe for improving one's life is for this planet (if there are no contraindications such as rulership of house 6, 8, or 12). All of us would benefit, therefore, by giving much more weight to the ruler of the Ascendant than we normally do, and seeing its vast influence on the life.

After assessing the Ascendant ruler, next we examine the status of the occupants of the first house, and then its significator (the Sun). Finally, look at the aspects to the first house (e.g. by planets in the seventh house, or if you really want to follow Vedic methods, Jupiter in the 9th or 5th, Saturn in the 11th or 4th, and Mars in the 10th or 6th all of which aspect the 1st house).

To evaluate the tenor of any other house, do the same analysis. First look at its ruler, then its occupants, next its significator, and finally the aspects to the house. The first two factors usually comprise about 80% of the influences on a house. This type of systematic analysis helps to determine all of the influences on each area of life.

Another useful Vedic method unravels the ambiguity of conjunctions of two or more planets. Simply assess which of the planets is strongest, and its themes will dominate the conjunction. In Vedic astrology, a planet is strong if it is in its own sign, its exaltation sign, retrograde, or with directional strength (dig bala). Each of the planets has directional strength in a different house: Jupiter and Mercury in the 1st house, Sun and Mars in the 10th house, Moon and Venus in the 4th house, and Saturn in the 7th house. Planets are weakest, on the other hand, if they are combust within 6 degrees (or the Moon is dark, i.e. within 72 degrees of the Sun), or in the sign of their debilitation (the sign Western astrologers label fall).

Linkages in the chart.

Rulership of houses is strongly emphasized by Jyotishis. For a planet to rule, for example, both a challenging house (6, 8, or 12) and an empowering house (1, 4, 5, 7, 9, or 10) diminishes the fortunes of the latter while strengthening the former.

But more importantly, dual rulerships combine both house's themes in the person's life. For example, with Saturn ruling both the 9th and 10th , career is more likely to involve travel, teaching, or spirituality. Or with Venus ruling the 10th and the 3rd, one puts a great deal of effort (3rd house) into their career.

This linking of houses is an invaluable tool, and allows the mind to gain deep insights into a person's life.

Planetary Periods, the Vedic method of Vimshottari Dasa.

Finally, we come to the foremost predictive method in Vedic astrology: Vimshottari Dasa. Vimshottari Dasa is a method of prediction that shows the sequence of planetary periods that starts at birth. The sequence of planets is the same for everyone, but the planetary period at birth is determined by looking at the placement of the natal Moon. The planet that rules the birth Moon's lunar mansion (Nakshatra) is the first planetary period. (You can explore Vimshottari Dasa using the Western Astrology software programs Solar Fire 5 and Kepler 4.6 (or later), or by using Vedic software.)

For example, if you were born with the Moon in early Sagittarius Tropically, your Moon would be in the Nakshatra of Anuradha, ruled by Saturn. As a result, you would start out life in a Saturn period, followed by a Mercury period, and so on.

Because the periods (dashas) are long – from 6 to 20 years in duration – Vedic astrologers divide each period into planetary sub-periods (bhuktis), so that at any time, you can be said to be under the primary influence of one planet, and the secondary influence of another.

For example, Harrison Ford achieved great fame for his role in Star Wars during his Mercury major cycle (maha dasa) and Jupiter subcycle (bhukti). Western astrologers can see that he has an exalted Jupiter in Cancer in the 10th house conjunct both Mercury and the Midheaven, and that indeed when these factors were activated, his career would really take off. Vimshottari Dasa tells us when a person will manifest the themes shown in the birth chart.

For yourself and your clients, notice especially when the major and minor cycles of Vimshottari Dasa involve planets that have a relationship to each other (e.g. in aspect) in the birth chart. These are crucial times for the resolution of and/or fruition of life long patterns.

There is another way for Western astrologers to employ Vimshottari Dasa. Take note of what planet was ruling the period at birth. This reveals the tone of the family and the very early life, whether one was born to joy and happiness, or to struggle or sorrow.

It is no accident, for example, that Marilyn Monroe's childhood was so incredibly difficult. In her early years, her challenges included being raped (at age 11), and her mother being committed to a mental hospital. She started out life in a Mars Dasa (with Mars in the arduous 8th house), followed by the Dasa of the North Node (also considered challenging, especially in the 12th house). It wasn't until her Jupiter Dasa began, in 1950, that her life became better; she started making films, and became famous.


By opening our minds to the insights and methods of our Eastern allies, we Western astrologers will enrich our understanding of astrology immeasurably. Even our understanding of core concepts, like houses, nodes, and planets, can be greatly extended by listening to Vedic teachings.

If you really wish to receive all of the benefits that Jyotish has to offer, I suggest that you go beyond simply applying the ideas in this article to your Western practice. By studying this wonderful Eastern branch of astrology, you’ll expand your astrological awareness incredibly.

AND in Vedic Astrology

In Western astrology, we commonly look at both positive and negative influences on a house or planet and try to weight and blend them into a cohesive assessment. For example, if a planet is aspected by both Jupiter and Saturn, we might see which aspect is stronger (i.e. smaller orb) and then attribute that aspect, and the planet making it, as being the predominate influence. In other words, if a person had Jupiter Trine Sun with a 2 degree orb, and Saturn Square Sun, with a 7 degree orb, we would conclude that the person is more often expansive, happy, and generous (Jupiter traits) instead of overly serious, fearful, tense, or inhibited (Saturn traits).

If, however, we were doing the same analysis in Vedic astrology, we would use the AND principle. The AND principle states that: whenever several planets influence a house or planet, ALL their effects will manifest. In other words, if a planet is in the 8th house, there will be challenges in the life pertaining to the themes of the planet and the houses it rules and aspects. This will be true even if the planet is a benefic (e.g. Jupiter), is aspected by benefics (e.g. Venus), and rules positive houses (e.g. the 1st and the 10th).

All of the positive elements will manifest too, but not necessarily at the same time as the negative ones nor in the same areas of life. In other words, positive yogas, benefic influences, etc. do not cancel negative yogas and malefic influences (nor the opposite). The art of Vedic astrology, then, lies in both the timing of events, i.e. when and where both positive and negative significations will occur, and how to ameliorate negative cycles.

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