You may have wondered why in my last article I spent so much time discussing a chart layout. Well yes I did say that I wanted to get you, dear reader, comfortable with reading what might be an unusual chart format. But there is more.
In the day of the computer we make calculations, that would otherwise take us an hour or more (depending on the calculations) to do by hand, in seconds. We might even have a page or two of printout to immediately jump into. The novice is instantly overwhelmed. The more experienced know what to ignore or they might find themselves drawing out a chart by hand including only that information that seems to be relevant at the time. The instant chart, to be useful, requires that the astrologer recalls what it represents. It is a potent symbol that needs to be approached with a certain respect.
Now back to the south Indian chart. A blank chart is a window. When filled in it is a representation of an instant of time. You view it from a vantage point that verges on omnipotent. When you begin to concentrate on it you are in effect suffusing the chart with the light of your consciousness and in a certain respect merging with the cosmic picture that it represents. Each chart form is a gesture. It reflects a different approach. A round chart as compared to a square one is a qualitatively different representation. And it is helpful to try to capture this difference as an image, maybe even linking to mythical imagery that makes the mind more receptive. to its message. The south Indian chart for example can be likened to the carapace of a tortoise and from there the connection with the mythical tortoise that supports the cosmos is instantly there. The relation is reciprocal as it becomes clear why the tortoise in the myth carries the cosmos. The carapace is domelike, much like the dome of the sky, and the ‘boxes’ like the boxes of the signs and houses that subdivide the heavens. To ground the whole in reality it wouldn’t hurt to visit a few real tortoises and observe their movement and character!