Learn Astrology – Part 1 : Generally most of the people are interested in astrology and want to learn this ancient science. But the biggest roadblock and most difficult question they face is – where to start learning from?
Quite a few succeed in finding a guru with their persistent endeavor, but these gurus teach astrology in such a complicated way that scares off even the earnest aspirants. Most of the astrologers begin teaching with birth-chart making; and its complicated mathematical calculations diminish learners’ enthusiasm and frighten them away. And rest of the pupils run off after hearing complex and high-sounding terminology of astrology.
If certain basic principles are followed sincerely, it can make astrology learning a pleasant and fulfilling experience. Those who want to master science of astrology must always bear these points in their minds:
- Begin studying astrology in step by step fashion.
- Until a principle is understood completely, do not move to the next one or the other book.
- Do not just read, but assimilate whatever is read.
- Do not read astrology books without guidance of an experienced guru. Reading more books can confuse you, as there are many junk astrology books in the market.
- In the beginnings, pay your attention toward analyzing birth-charts rather than making them.
- Initially start analyzing the birth-charts of your friends and relatives who you know well.
- As far as possible, learn Sanskrit synonyms of English words used in astrological terminology.
One can advance rapidly in his endeavor to learn astrology, if one keeps above points in mind and stick to them.
Astrology can be divided in two sections: mathematical astrology and predictive astrology. Mathematical part of astrology mainly contains creation of birth chart. In this part of astrology, different positions of the planets are calculated on the basis of time and place etc. On the other hand, predictive astrology is used for foretelling events of future. In this series, we will discuss mathematical portion later and initially focus on predictive astrology. At the time of child-birth, a map of the positions of planets in the cosmos is created, and this map is known as birth-chart or janma kundali. There are various software available in market these days that can be used to calculate mathematical data required and to create birth-charts.
Entire astrology is based primarily on nine planets, twelve signs, twenty-seven Nakshatras and twelve houses (Bhava). Generally predictions are based on permutations and combinations of these elements. Names of nine planets are as follows:
|Moon||चंद्र, सोम (Chandra, Som)|
|Mars||मंगल, कुज (Mangal, Kuja)|
|Jupiter||गुरू, बृहस्पति (Guru, Brihaspati)|
|North Node||राहु (Rahu)|
|South Node||केतु (Ketu)|
Sun and Moon are considered to be a star and a satellite respectively according to the modern astronomy. But Indian astrology uses word Graha which is translated to Planet in English and includes Sun and Moon for predictive purpose. Similarly, North Node (Rahu) and South Node (Ketu) are astronomical points, and also called Graha (Planet) for predictive purpose.
Indian astrology is earth-centric. Zodiac is a circular belt and all planets seem to be moving on this belt. If this zodiac is divided into twelve equal parts, each part is known as a zodiac sign. These twelve zodiac signs are Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces. Similarly, when this zodiac is divided into twenty-seven equal parts, each part is called a Nakshatra. We will discuss about Nakshatras at length later in this series.
Mathematically a circle is of 360 degrees. Therefore one zodiac sign, which is one-twelfth of zodiac, comprises 30 degrees. Nonetheless, there is no need to go much into the mathematical portion and it is enough to know now that each zodiac sign is of 30 degrees.
Each sign is governed by a planet. Let us have a look at it:
|Zodiac Sign||Sanskrit Name||Governing Planet|
|Cancer||Karka or Karkata||Moon|
Part 2: In previous article of this series, we learnt about zodiac signs, planets and their ownership. Those were very important concepts and, if possible, try to memorize those concepts. Now, we are going to know about categorization of planets and signs, which is crucial for learning predictive astrology. If you have not read that article, it is recommended to read Part-1, before proceeding to this part.
Firstly, planets are classified into two groups namely benefic and malefic as follows:
Natural Benefic Planets: Moon, Mercury, Venus and Jupiter are considered benefic by nature
Natural Malefic Planets: Sun, Mars, Saturn, Rahu and Ketu are considered malefic by nature
Generally, Moon and Mercury are not always benefic. Full Moon i.e. the Moon near Purnima is considered benefic, while ‘No Moon’ i.e. Moon near Amavasya is believed not to be benefic. Similarly, if Mercury is placed with benefic planet, it is considered benefic and if placed with malefic, it is considered malefic. In other words, nature of Mercury depends upon the nature of planet influencing it.
It should be remembered that all natural malefic planets do not always produce negative results. Similarly, all natural benefic planets do not always give positive results. Good or bad effect depends up on several other factors like ownership, placement and aspects etc. We will discuss these factors later.
Let us start with first factor i.e. sign placement. Generally, any planet gives positive results in exalted sign (uchcha rashi), own sign (swa-rashi), and friendly sign (mitra-rashi) in this order. In other words, exalted planets give best results, planets in own sign give second best results and planets in friendly sign gives third best result, if we want to quantify. On the other hand, if a planet is positioned in debilitated sign (neecha-rashi) or enemy’s sign (shatru-rashi), it is not capable of giving good results
This table summarizes exalted, debilitated and own sign of planets –
|Serial No.||Planet||Exalted Sign||Debilitated Sign||Own Sign|
Some points to be noted from above table:
- Exalted and debilitated signs of a planet are always seventh from each other, e.g. Sun is exalted in Aries, the first sign of zodiac, and debilitated in Libra, the seventh sign of zodiac.
- Sun and Moon are lord of just one sign. While Rahu and Ketu are not lord of any of the signs. Other planets are lord of two signs each.
- Rahu and Ketu don’t have their own signs. Even exalted and debilitated signs of Rahu and Ketu are not well-accepted by all the astrologers.
It is also required to understand friendship and enmity of planets for predictive astrology. Planets are neutral, friendly or inimical to other planets as follows:
|Sun||Moon, Mars, Jupiter||Saturn, Venus||Mercury|
|Moon||Sun, Mercury||None||Rest of the planets|
|Mars||Sun, Moon, Jupiter||Mercury||Rest of the planets|
|Mercury||Sun, Venus||Moon||Venus, Saturn|
|Jupiter||Sun, Moon, Mars||Venus, Mercury||Saturn|
|Venus||Saturn, Mercury||Rest of the planets||Jupiter, Mars|
|Saturn||Mercury, Venus||Rest of the planets||Jupiter|
|Rahu, Ketu||Venus, Saturn||Sun, Moon, Mars||Jupiter, Mercury|
This is very important table and should be memorized. If you find it difficult to memorize initially, there is no need to get frightened. Eventually with the time and practice, you would learn it automatically.
I am sharing a simple but rough formula to memorize above table. Roughly we can classify planets into two groups that are inimical to each other:
Group 1: Sun, Moon, Mars and Jupiter
Group 2: Mercury, Venus, Saturn, Rahu and Ketu
As I said earlier, this is just a rough formula and there are some exceptions to it which you can note down from above table.
How to use above table? Those planets, which are placed in the signs of friendly planets or located with friendly planets, produce positive results. Similarly, if a planet is situated in sign of enemy planet or positioned with an enemy planet tends to produce diminished positive results.
Let me take an example. You can see from above table that Saturn and Sun are inimical to each other. So if Sun is posited in sign of Saturn i.e. Capricorn or Aquarius or Sun is situated with Saturn, it will not be able to give its good results. In other words, Sun will be weak in giving its results. On the other side, if Sun is with Moon, Mars or Jupiter who are friendly to Sun or in their signs, it should generally give good results.
That is all for this week. In next article, we will discuss about birth-chart, signification of planet/ house/ sign and their use in astrology.
Part 3: Now we will learn how to interpret diagram of a birth chart. We will also get to know concepts like ascendant and house etc.
A birth-chart (also called Kundli or Horoscope in India) can be called a map of planetary positions at the time of birth. There are several different ways of portraying birth-chart in different parts of India. Mainly horoscope is drawn in three major ways – north Indian style, south Indian style and Bangla (East Indian) style. To keep it simple, we will restrict our discussion to north Indian style only.
A birth chart tells about the position of planets in houses and signs. We have already discussed about the planets and zodiac sings, and we will talk about houses a little bit later. In north Indian diagram of birth chart, ascendant sign is written on very first place and then signs are shown from right to left. It means signs are depicted “anti-clock wise” and the number corresponding to zodiac sign is shown in each box. It can be understood better with following example chart:
Houses (Sanskrit: भाव): To understand what is house, we will have to forget all the numbers and names of planets in above example chart for a while. Above birth chart diagram can be decamped in 12 boxes, out of which eight are triangular and four are rectangular in shape. In these four rectangles, topmost rectangle is considered to be “ascendant” or the “first house”. This It has been depicted in gray background in above example chart. Position of ascendant is always fixed in the birth chart. So when we have to find out ascendant, we look at the position of grayed box above. Anything written in that gray box will be called in “first house.”
When we start counting anti-clock wise from first house, the next position arrived thus is known as second house. The next one from second house is called third house and so on. In Sanskrit, house and ascendant are known as bhaav (भाव) and lagna (लग्न) respectively.
House-lord (Sanskrit: भावेश)
As we know, “house” and “sign” are two different concepts. The numbers written in horoscope denote zodiac signs, e.g. “11” can be seen written in first house, which shows that eleventh sign i.e. Aquarius is in ascendant or first house. Similarly, the 12th sign or Pisces is situated in second house. We have studied in previous lesson that lords of Aquarius and Pisces are Saturn and Jupiter respectively. Therefore, in astrological language we will say that lord of first house is Saturn (because ‘11’ is written in first house). In same manner, lord of second house is Jupiter.
The lord of first house is also known as ascendant-lord. Similarly, lord of second house is called second-lord, lord of third house is called third-lord and so on. So in example chart we can say that Saturn is the first house lord, Jupiter is the second house lord and so on.
Position of planets in houses
If we start counting from gray rectangle to the house where Venus and Rahu are placed in example chart, we will count up to 5. Thus, we can say that Rahu and Venus are posited in fifth house. Similarly, Moon and Mars are in sixth, Saturn, Sun and Mercury are in seventh, and Jupiter and Ketu are in eleventh house. This is known as position of planets in different houses.
Position of Planets in signs
It is comparatively easier to determine position of planets in zodiac signs. The number written in the box where planet is posited shows position of the planet in sign. In above illustration, ‘3’ is written in the box where Venus and Rahu are placed, so we can say that these planets are in 3rd sign i.e. Gemini. In similar fashion, Moon and Mars are in Cancer sign because ‘4’ is written in the box where they are posited.
Before finishing this week’s lesson, I would like to repeat it that position of planets in houses and signs are two different concepts. When it comes to houses, the topmost rectangular house is considered the first one irrespective of the number written there. The numbers written are not important for determining the position of planets in houses. These numbers convey zodiac signs and therefore they are used to ascertain the position of planets in different signs.
In astrology, predictions are based on nature and significations of planets, signs, houses, and their inter-relations.
Astrology treats planets as living being; signs and houses are like those areas, where planets travel. Relationships of planets with each other, with zodiac signs and with houses etc. determine the predictions.
Just like living beings, planets have “nature” in astrology. Other than this, planets also have “significations”. It is of utmost importance to understand the difference between “nature” and “signification”. I have observed several times that even many famous astrologers do not understand this distinction clearly and thus commit mistakes in predictions.
In simple words, “nature” tells about “how” and “signification” answers “what”. Let us understand it more clearly with the help of an example. Suppose that Sun is posited in 10th house in Aries. In such situation, what results will Sun give? A table depicting the significations of houses is given below, which tell us that tenth house signifies business and trade. So “what will Sun give?” is answered with “Sun will give business.” And how is this business or trade going to be? – It is going to be in accordance with the natures of Sun and Aries. Sun is an aggressive planet and Aries is ruled by Mars that is also aggressive. It shows that the business can be of aggressive nature. In other words, native can either be in defense or in sports, where aggression is a necessity. Similarly, a prediction is made by combining the nature and signification of planets, signs and houses.
All the living and non-living things are signified by planets and houses. Because all these things cannot be discussed here, therefore we will discuss only some important significations. Let us first have a look at different houses and their significations:
First house: It signifies birth, head, nature, body, organs, age, looks, height and caste etc.
Second house: It shows money, monetary gain, eyes, face, voice, economical condition, family, food, tongue, teeth, death and nose etc.
Third house: It depicts younger siblings, courage, fear, ears, strength and mental balance etc.
Fourth house: It indicates pleasure, education, vehicles, heart, property, house, mother, relatives, domestic animals and buildings etc.
Fifth house: It suggests progeny, intelligence, laudable actions or work, charity, entertainment and gambling etc.
Sixth house: It points at diseases, bodily deformity, troubles caused by foes, tension, wound, litigation, brothers of mother and depression etc.
Seventh house: It stands for marriage, wife, sex, travel, death, business and partners etc.
Eighth house: Age, misfortune, vice, loan, enmity, sudden death, problems, suffering, pleasure or pain in this life as per karmas of previous lives and afterworlds etc.
Ninth house: It tells about father, luck, guru, praise, effective work, religion, donation and virtues of past births.
Tenth house: It describes occupation, business, trade, fame, class, rank, authority, domination and family business.
Eleventh house: It is used to contemplate benefit, elder brothers, profit, jewelry, fulfillment of longing, monetary gain and success etc.
Twelfth house: It denotes spending, agony, moksha, poverty, actions out of enmity, charity, loss in theft, bondage, left eye, bed pleasure and leg etc.
Part 5: In last lesson, we studies about signification of houses. We also learnt the difference between ‘signification’ and ‘nature’. This week, we are going to learn about planets. The signification and nature of planets are as follows:
Nature: It is square shaped, short height, dark red color, man, warrior (Kshatriya) caste, vice planet, Satwa guna, fire element and Pitta nature.
Signification: It controls king, father, copper, trees with fruits, small trees, wheat, bones, head, eyes, brain and heart.
Nature: It is spherical, woman, Vaisya (business-class) caste, Sattva Guna, Vaat-Kapha nature.
Signification: It controls white color, mother, mind, art, white tree, silver, sweet, rice, chest, saliva, lungs and eye sight.
Nature: It has muscular body, square, cruel, aggressive, man, warrior (Kshatriya) class, Tamo-guni, Fire element, Pitta nature.
Signification: It shows red color, siblings, war, arms, thief, wound, daal, Pitta, blood, muscles, operation, ears and nose etc.
Nature: It is thin, impotent, business class (Vaishya), neutral planet, Rajoguni, earth element and consists of all three Vaat, Pitta and Kapha natures.
Signification: It indicates green color, grams, mother’s brother, mathematics, trade, speech, tongue, voice, sex related diseases, dumbness, laziness and skin diseases.
Nature: heavy fat body, man, Brahmin, pleasant, Sattva Guna, space element and Kapha nature.
Signification: It depicts yellow color, Vedas, religion, devotion, gold, wise, guru, fat, Kapha, swelling, home, education, sun, progeny, marriage and kidney etc.
Nature: It is beautiful, female, Brahmin, charming, Rajoguni, water element and Kapha nature.
Signification: It signifies white color, beautiful clothes, beauty, wife, love affair, sex, nuptial bliss, poetry, singing, eyes and women etc.
Nature: It has black color, strange eyes, thin and tall body, cruel, impotent, Shudra class, vice, Tamoguni, Vaat Kapha nature and air element.
Signification: It shows back color, father’s brother, jealousy, roguishness, thief, beasts, servants, age, moles, physical strength, practice of Yoga, luxury, renunciation, service and heart diseases etc.
Rahu & Ketu
Nature: They are Vice planets, Chandaal, Tamoguni, Vaat Pitta nature and impotent.
Signification: Dark smoke-like color, grandfather, grandmother, deception, accident, quarrel, theft, snake, abroad, skin diseases, legs, hunger and difficulty in progress etc.
Rahu’s nature is like Saturn and Ketu has Mars-like nature.
Let us have a look at the nature of signs after learning nature and signification of planets.
Aries: Odd, Fiery, Movable, Barren, Violent, Quadruped, Short ascension, Male, Bilious, Forest, Hilly Areas, Head, Brain
Taurus: Even, Earthy, Fixed, Semi Fruitful, Quadruped, Short ascension, Female, Windy, Agricultural Land, Face, Eyes
Gemini: Odd, Airy, Dual, Barren, Human, Double-bodied, Voice, Short ascension, Male, Bile, Wind and Phlegm, Bedroom, Throat, Shoulder, Arms, Lungs
Cancer: Even, Watery, Movable, Fruitful, Mute, Long ascension, Female, Phlegm, Chasm with water, Chest
Leo: Odd, Fiery, Fixed, Barren, Human, Long ascension, Male, Bilious, Forest, Heart, Upper Abdomen
Virgo: Even, Earthy, Dual, Barren, Human, Long ascension, Female, Windy, Mountain, Lower Abdomen, Spleen
Libra: Odd, Airy, Movable, Semi Fruitful, Voice, Long ascension, Male, Bile, Wind and Phlegm, Entertainment Places, Genetelia, Kidney.
Scorpio: Even, Watery, Fixed, Fruitful, Mute, Violent, Centipede, Long ascension, Female, Phlegm, Underground, Excretory Organs.
Sagittarius: Odd, Fiery, Dual, Semi Fruitful, Double – bodied, Quadruped (Second Half), Long ascension, Male, Bilious, Military Places, Thighs, Liver.
Capricorn: Even, Earthy, Movable, Semi Fruitful, Quadruped, Short ascension, Female, Windy, Watery, Knee.
Aquarius: Odd, Airy, Fixed, Human, Voice, Short ascension, Male, Bile, Wind and Phlegm, Porter House, Shin.
Pisces: Even, Watery, Dual, Fruitful, Mute, Double- Bodied, Centipede, Short ascension, Female, Phlegm, Sea, Feet
You have gained enough astrological knowledge by now. Now you are ready for making predictions. We will learn next how this information is used to make future forecasts.
Now, we have studied about houses, planets and signs. Let us have a look at our illustrative birth-chart again.
Suppose that we want to know about the looks of native. We are aware that ascendant or the first house determines one’s looks. Here, ascendant lord is Saturn because ‘11’ is written in 1st house indicating the sign Aquarius and it is ruled by Saturn. It shows that the Saturn is affecting native’s looks. Saturn is posited in seventh house along with Sun and Mercury in Leo sign. Sun is the lord of Leo too, thus Sun will also affect native’s looks. Saturn’s nature is black, strange eyes, thin and tall body, cruel, impotent, Shudra class, vice, Tamoguni, Vaat Kapha nature and air element. And Sun’s nature is square shape, short height, dark red color, man, warrior class, vice, Sattva Guna, fire element and Pitta nature. So, the native has influences from both these planets.