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!
As I am planning a series of articles on hindu astrology / vedic astrology / jyotisha (please choose your favourite definition 🙂 ) some ground work needs to be done. Today I would like to introduce the chart form I plan to use. There are three different chart forms used in vedic astrology. I am choosing the one that gives a clear overview of the chart and which is the farthest away from western astrological practice, for a better shift from one system to the other.
The south Indian chart is a fixed chart. The signs always remain in the same place. It is the ascendant or lagna that moves. To help get oriented I have indicated where Aries is located. Aries will always be in the second box from the top left. The signs also move clockwise, contrary to western practice. So Taurus will be in the third box from the top left and Sagittarius in the lower left box.
I’ve placed the planets in the signs or their domicile, exaltation, detriment and fall. You will notice a certain symmetry, especially in the domicile chart.
If you divide the domicile chart down the middle you will find that the outer planets are all on the left side while the Sun Moon and inner planets are all on the right side. There are some other interesting interrelationships. For example the common signs are always in the corners with the fixed signs behind and the cardinal signs following. I find the chart supports the symbology in a most satisfactory manner. The dual or common signs in the corners look in two directions. The cardinal signs, following clockwise motion, move away and so show themselves as moving signs. The fixed signs, with reference to the corner signs, demonstrate a reluctance for movement. Examine all of the charts and I am sure you will find other interesting symmetries.
Profection is another traditional predictive technique. Basically the ascendant (and all other significant points are moved one sign forward for each year of life). It can be considered a form of progression and provides additional detail to the new solar year. It is always used in combination with the natal chart. As it is connected to the solar year, it can be used in combination with the solar return.
Profection in Vedic astrology is intimately connected with the solar return. The jyotish solar return is called the varshaphala; literally yearly (varsha), effects (phala). There the only sensitive point that is profected is the ascendant or lagna. This is called the muntha. The muntha plays a very important role in determining the lord of the year. Quite often it is the lord of the year.
While we are discussing the varshaphala I might as well mention immensely interesting use of the terms (or hudda dasa) for determining sub-periods of the year*. The terms – the egyptian terms are used – are divided proportionally for 360 degrees. For example Aries has the following terms:
- first six 6 degrees belong to Jupiter = 72 days
- next six 6 degrees belong to Venus = 72 days
- next 8 degrees belong to Mercury = 96 days
- next 5 degrees belong to Mars = 60 days
- last 5 degrees belong to Saturn = 60 days
So if the ascendant of the solar return is at 7 degrees Aries, the birthday being on the 1st of January, the planetary periods for the year would be:
- Venus for the first 72 days, beginning Jan. 1st
- Mercury for the next 72 days
- Mars for the next 96 days
- Saturn for the next 60 days
- Jupiter for the rest of the year
Of course this system should be used for a jyotish interpretation as the planetary periods and sub-periods play a more predominant role in prediction. Firdaria would roughly be a similar, though by comparison more crude equivalent.
* for more detail please refer to K S Charaka’s book ‘Predictive Techniques in Varshaphala’