Ways to Explore a Vedic Chart

by Hank Friedman


1. The Evaluation of Lagna

A. Where is the Lagnesa? (The ruler of the Lagna)

The house occupied by Lagnesa becomes significantly emphasized in the interpretation of a person's life. That's because the person tends to identify with that area of life, and its themes. Often, the house occupied by Lagnesa, and, of course, the opposite house by aspect, become enhanced in many significant ways, unless Lagnesa itself is weakly conditioned (combust, debilitated, in a planetary war, aspected by multiple malefics, etc.).

For example, I was giving a reading to a woman with Lagnesa in the 2nd house. I told her that "she was her voice" and she was both astonished and completely corroborative of that statement's accuracy.

Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra describes in powerful detail the effect of the Lagnesa by houses.

(See Table: Lord of the First by House)

B. How strong are the Lagna and Lagnesa?

If both Lagna and Lagnesa are weak (by malefic influence, bad placement, combustion, etc.) without ameliorating factors (e.g. the aspect of a strong benefic), then the individual may experience any of the following themes in their lives:

i. A difficulty bouncing back from life's trials, and an over-reaction to minor crises.

ii. Obstacles to expressing their personal gifts and getting acknowledgment for them.

iii. Rubbing people the wrong way, in some way not being accepted, found unlikeable.

iv. Physical challenges. These may be as mild as periods of low energy or as profound as life-threatening diseases.

C. What are the confluent themes around the First House and its ruler?

Occupants of the First House, their lordship, the aspects of planets upon the First House and its lord, and the placement of the Lagnesa may synergize in their meanings. For example, if Lagnesa is in the First House (in its own sign, of course), and two powerful benefics aspect the First House with no malefic influences on the First House -- then the person is likely to be physically strong, popular, successful, resilient, and athletic, and if the planets involved have a Jupiter influence, they are likely to be physically and psychologically large and confident as well, e.g. Arnold Schwartzenegger (who has Jupiter aspecting the Lagna, and Mercury in the Lagna in Jupiter's Nakshatra).

D. What yogas configure with Lagna and/or Lagnesa?

It is important to realize that in order for a yoga to be fully manifest in a person's life, it has to configure in some way with Lagna or Lagnesa. Otherwise it tends to be both harder to access and not identified with or related to. For example, a person may have a very strong skill or gift, but not realize it or not believe it.

2. The Fruition of Life Patterns

Every yoga's full manifestation is dependent upon the person running the dasa (and bhukti, in many cases) of the yoga forming planet(s) during an appropriate time in their lives. If the yoga forms during childhood or senescence, the person may not be able to take full advantage of it. If it doesn't form during the lifetime, then its manifestation is more of a "background hum" instead of full flowering.

This is also true of all planetary combinations. That is, when dasas and bhuktis occur that involve two planets that are in relationship to each other even one-sided ones in the birth chart, they are very important periods in a person's life. For example, if there is a malefic aspect on a benefic in the 10th house, then when the person runs that dasa and bhukti (i.e. of the pertinent planets) the pattern will "ripen"and perhaps resolve.

I have seen patterns that occur in childhood during the dasa of planet A and the bhukti of planet B (e.g. the combustion of Mercury by the Sun) and reach resolution later in the person's life (when the dasa of planet B and the bhukti of planet A runs). I have also seen benefical relationships, like a Full Moon at birth, show tremendous blessings during the dasa/bhuktis of the planets forming the combination.

3. Looking for Malefic convergences.

While focusing upon the negative areas of a person's life may not seem "politically correct" or positive, it is actually very helpful if approached in the right way. My first experience with this was when I pointed out to a client that her chart said that career would be an area of real difficulty, that she wouldn't be able to get her career in place easily.

Her surprising response was, "Thank God." She now felt exonerated from her feeling of failure for not having gotten her career together. The river of karma can be swift and compelling, and if a person can be lovingly informed of the problematic areas, without scaring them or discouraging them, it can be a real service.

When the Sun, Mars or Saturn, by aspect or occupation, and Rahu or Ketu by occupation, affect a single house or planet in a person's chart, that area will be strongly impacted. Delays, isolation, obstacles, and other hindrances are the hallmarks of Saturn. Frustration, overwhelm, being dominated, or overly self-conscious can be effects of the Sun. Conflict, accidents, injuries, and impacts can be represented by Mars. And obsession, overshadowing, powerlessness, and being driven can be the qualities of Rahu/Ketu influences.

Combinations of these influences upon a house can result in fruitlessness of efforts in that arena of life, as well as other challenges. But it is common that blessings also are a result of this type of synergy, such as determination, deep transformation, spiritual detachment, and an understanding that is born of surrender.

(Note: other sign and house-based techniques, such as the influence of dustana house placement and rulership and the more temporal dagdha rasi placement and rulership also contribute to the "confluence of challenges" analysis. Dagdha rasis are a kind of dustana caused by the tithi of the natal Moon.)

4. Examination of the Navamsa.

The Navamsa holds the key to many understandings in a person's chart.

A. The actual strength of a planet. If a planet is strong in the birth chart, but debilitated in the Navamsa, it may actually not manifest much of its strength. I had a client with a stunning natal chart, full of planets in their own signs, but a very weak Navamsa, and her life certainly did not reflect the strength of the natal chart.

B. Establishing the presence of a vargottama planet. The traditional definition of the term vargottama is that a planet is in the same sign in the birth chart and in the Navamsa chart. Such a position is supposed to give a planet significant strength, almost like being in its own sign.

This definition, however, is not enough to "qualify the vargottama as being functional. The vargottama planet must additionally:

i. Have inherent strength, such as being in its own sign, exalted, or aspected by many benefics (but not retrograde).

Or

ii. Its dispositor be strong in the birth chart (e.g. Full Moon, dispositor, retrograde, etc.) iii. And not combust or in a planetary war or otherwise severely weakened in the rasi.

C. Examining the "fruit of the tree" concept. The birth chart is seen as the tree representing you, and the Navamsa the fruit of that tree. With a strong Navamsa, the fruit of the tree, i.e. what you create and express, is sweet, even if you yourself (i.e. your birth chart) looks "gnarled and stunted".

D. Comparing the first to the second half of life. The first half of life, until about age 38, is represented by the rasi (birth) chart. The second half of life is represented by the Navamsa chart. If a person's second half of life chart (Navamsa) is much stronger than the rasi, then they really bloom and prosper later in life.

E. Evaluating the pattern of relationship unfoldment. The Navamsa is the divisional chart that has to do with marriage and primary relationships. Looking at the sequence of dasas, and their lord's placement in the Navamsa, helps us to understand the ups and downs of our most important relationships.

5. Exploring the nature of the sequence of dasas.

The sequence of dasas that run during the formative and especially the adult years of life can be incredibly revealing, even on the level of simple birth chart analysis. The placement of each dasa lord, its rulerships and aspects, and significations reveal much detail about a person's life unfoldment.

Especially significant is when consecutive dasas either reinforce a theme or pattern, or reverse a theme or pattern. For example, an astrologer may be called upon to help a client understand that their relationships may have been challenging during the past two periods, but will change significantly during the upcoming one. This alerts them to change their expectations and attitudes, and prepare for a "sea change." For example, if Saturn were in the 5th in Cancer natally, aspecting the 7th, then relationship might be difficult during this dasa, but if Mercury the next dasa is placed in Gemini with Venus, as lord of the 7th, relationship will most likely become much better during its dasa. (Of course, the Navamsa chart, and other natal aspects to Mercury, would have to be taken into account to make this assessment.)

On the other hand, if an area is steadily problematic, the person can stop waiting for it to completely improve, and learn to be happy with incremental improvements and the lessons that the area affords them.

It is also important to realize that something begun at the "wrong time" (e.g. during a very challenging dasa for that theme) is likely to continue to be bumpy or end, while an event initiated during a positive dasa for that theme is likely to weather subsequent ups and downs well.

6. Emphasizing the "All Stars"

The strongest planets in a chart are its heroes, the indicators of talents, successes, solutions, and places of fulfillment. It is very important to examine these planets and the houses (and other planets) that they positively influence.

It is not uncommon to see in a Vedic classical text that, for example, a strong Jupiter can reverse all of the ills in a chart. This may be hyperbole, but it is certainly true that our finest gifts, and finest hours, make our lives worth living, and you can support and reinforce a person's understanding of their greatest strengths.

Of course, many of the strengths are indicated by the yogas that the strong planets form, so it is particularly important to highlight these yogas, and the time (by dasa and bhukti) of their activation.

7. Use both the "Dasa Chart" and the position of the Nakshatra lord of the Dasa lord to gain valuable information about a dasa.

The Dasa Chart is constructed by simply placing the house containing the dasa lord as the first house, keeping its sign the same and all of the other planets in the same signs. This creates a new chart that can reflect many of the themes of the dasa period quite accurately.

Additional information can be had by looking at the position of the Nakshatra dispositor of the dasa lord, i.e. the planet that rules the nakshatra occupied by the dasa lord. The relationship of the dasa lord and this dispositor, and well as the dispositor's house, condition, rulership, and aspects gives many insights into the dasa effects.


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