Oct 012011
 

The purpose of Vedic astrology is not to make us feel subject to external forces but to help us use our life in a positive way for a greater Self-unfoldment.

- Dr. David Frawley, The Astrology of the Seers

The Sanskrit word for Vedic astrology is jyotish, which means “the science of light”.

It’s a perfect name for many reasons, including how well it illuminates our path and provides both inner and outer guidance.

As a jyotishi, I’m often asked what the difference is between Western astrology and jyotish. And when I did a guest post for Angela Artemis at her blog Powered by Intuition recently, she asked me to write about exactly that.

As I wrote, though, I became increasingly aware of just how many differences there actually are.

Way too many for one article!

In the end I decided that that article should just highlight a few of the main differences that even non-astrologers would care about, and that I would write this article too with even more differences, including those that astrologers might want to know about.

5 Main Differences

Briefly, the 5 main differences I covered in the Powered by Intuition post are:

1. The charts look different. I explain how and show you some examples.

2. Jyotish uses the sidereal zodiac whereas Western uses the tropical zodiac. I explain the zodiacs and why most peoples’ Sun sign shifts back one sign.

3. Jyotish is Moon based, and emphasizes the Ascendant and Moon more than the Sun. It relies on 27 smaller constellations called “Lunar Mansions” or nakshatras.

4. Jyotish is renowned for being predictive, and I discuss its brilliant timing system called dasas or planetary periods.

5. Jyotish offers built-in remedial measures called upayas that are used to help correct challenging situations and strengthen opportunities. I talk about this and what some of the upayas are.

Of course there’s more detail in that post so I encourage you to read it once you’ve finished this one. It has an especially good explanation of the two zodiacs.

18 More Big Differences

1. Precision

In jyotish, it’s important to know your birth time to the minute. That way, you can take advantage of its powerful and unique predictive features.

If you don’t, a jyotishi can do a complex and time-consuming process called rectification. This uses events in your life to “reverse-engineer” what your birth time must have been.

If you can’t get the time to the minute, then other systems of analysis can be used but they won’t give as detailed information.

2. Dasas (planetary periods) are nested

Nested Dasas (Barack Obama)

If your birth time is very precise, the dasa periods used for forecasting can be nested several levels deep to see progressively smaller time intervals.

This helps pin-point developments or events with levels of accuracy or detail that are sometimes downright startling.

3. Transits

Transits are used as a secondary indicator for timing. They’re done similarly to but differently than in Western astrology, with some special jyotish transits that are especially relevant and often indicate major life transitions.

4. Vargas

Precision is required not only to determine the dasa periods already mentioned, but also to calculate vargas (also called amsas or harmonic charts).

There are dozens of vargas that are calculated for various areas of your life, e.g relationship, money, career, children, parents, spirituality, etc. and they enable an in-depth view into areas of interest.

They’re also used to fine-tune and confirm indications that are observed in the birth chart itself.

These are very sensitive to even slight changes in birth time.

(Western astrology has added something like these relatively recently called harmonic charts, but they’re calculated differently and have not been there since the inception like these have.)

5. Navamsa, chart of the soul

The most important varga of all is the navamsa. It’s used as a secondary chart along with the birth chart for all aspects of life.

It’s also the all-important relationship chart.

It’s sometimes called the “chart of the soul” and it’s said that you progressively reflect your navamsa as you get older almost moreso than your birth chart. It shows the karma of your soul and what you long to realize at a deep level.

6. Jyotish has a spiritual essence

Born as it is, from the heart of the Vedas (the ancient Hindu scriptures), I would be remiss not to mention the profoundly spiritual essence of jyotish. It’s so much a part of this sacred art and science that I often forget that not all astrology is so integrated with a spiritual philosophy.

Combined with its remarkable predictive abilities, this is what makes jyotish such an outstanding tool for both inner and outer guidance.

Astrology, properly employed, shows us the world within us and our self within the entire world so that we might understand the unity of all creation.

- Dr. David Frawley, The Astrology of the Seers

Besides all this, jyotish itself is an ongoing sadhana (spiritual practice) for the jyotishi when approached correctly.

7. Varshaphal

A precise birth time also gives accurate varshaphal or annual charts.

Varshaphal charts are rich in information and enable the jyotishi to see in detail what’s likely to occur over the next year. They use yet another system of aspects (the Tajika system) and cycle through all the planetary periods in just one year. As in the other charts, the dasa periods are nested for detailed predictions.

8. Yogas

Yoga in this context means “combination” and planetary yogas play a major role in jyotish.

These are amazingly revealing indicators and can show opportunities and challenges in all areas of life, such as finances, vocation, relationships, etc.

There are hundreds of yogas with a dozen or so that are very important.

Just a few examples are:

  • Maha Purusa yogas or “great person” yogas. These are fairly rare and show extraordinary qualities.
  • Raja yogas show success. They indicate areas where you will be both capable and fulfilled. These are used a lot for career-related analysis.
  • Dhana yogas show wealth and its surrounding circumstances.
  • Kuja Dosa can show difficulties in relationship.

9. Karakas

Just as jyotish has yogas, it also has karakas or indicators. They can show certain people, areas of life, attributes, qualities, difficulties, opportunities, etc.

There are several sets that are calculated differently. Some are related to yogas, some to house rulership, some to planetary position, etc.

These are used extensively and are very illuminating.

10. Nakshatras

It would be impossible to over-emphasize the importance of nakshatras in jyotish. They are rich in symbolism and are used extensively in all aspects of analysis.

Of special importance is the Moon’s nakshatra at the time of birth. In fact, in India, if you asked someone their sign, they would answer with the sidereal nakshatra of their Moon, not the tropical sign of their Sun.

11. Bhavat Bhavam (referred houses)

Bhavat Bhavam (referred houses) means “from house to house” and is a special jyotish technique for seeing indications for all areas of life and even for people you have a relationship with (such as spouse, children, parents, employees, employer, etc.)

It’s one of the features of jyotish that give additional information and/or help confirm what’s seen elsewhere (also known as confluence) which is what makes jyotish so accurate when done properly.

It’s also great for checking on others whose charts aren’t available. For example, you can get an idea of the health of your mother, the personality of your children, etc. even without their charts.

12. Prasna Shastra & Nimitta

Prasna Shastra (sometimes called horary astrology) is an integral part of jytoish and is a handy way to answer any one question.

At the moment the question is asked of the jyotishi, that question is “born” and a chart is drawn up for that moment.

Prasna incorporates nimitta or the reading of omens that’s done hand in hand with the prasna chart (or sometimes even in place of the chart).

Jyotish also defines alternate ways to calculate a prasna chart when exact planetary positions or ascendant degrees are unknown (such as when no computer or ephemeris is available).

Like varshaphal, this type of chart uses special techniques that differ from how a normal birth chart is analyzed.

These charts are handy when you need to make a decision and they provide an amazing amount of accurate and helpful information.

For Astrologers: Differences in Analysis

13. Boundaries

Jyotish typically uses the sign boundaries as house boundaries, unlike Western astrology where they’re staggered.

14. Aspects

Aspects work differently. Some planets have special aspects, and planets aspect whole houses rather than other planets to the degree.

Aspects aren’t drawn on the charts like in Western astrology.

15. 7 planets

Jyotish traditionally uses only 7 of the planets: Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn, ordered by the days of the week they rule. They act as a complete system and no others are necessary.

Along with the jyotishi’s judgement, planetary strength is calculated numerically using several different systems.

Some jyotishis use Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto but usually just for Mundane (worldly) predictions.

16. Rahu & Ketu

Jyotish also uses Rahu and Ketu as important planets.

They have significantly different meanings than in Western astrology where they are known as the north and south nodes of the Moon.

17. House, Sign, and Planet meanings

Most of the houses, signs, and planets have similar meanings as Western but there are differences, some more significant than others.

18. Additional Relationship Indicators

Relationship compatibility is highly important in jyotish and besides methods that are also used in Western astrology, jyotish includes several specific tools (such as relationship kutas) for analyzing partnerships.

A Stellar Combination

We’ve reached the end of our highlights for today. Whew!

Even with all this, we’ve barely begun noting the unique characteristics of this remarkable system.

Jyotish is very complex but the overlapping tools and systems-within-systems make it possible to fine-tune and confirm indications.

When these are properly analyzed and cross-checked, jyotish can give a high level of accuracy and reliability.

Namasté.

Wow. This is a long article. To print it or save it as a PDF report, click here. (You can always do this with my posts by clicking the “print” button below. It gives you the option to save as PDF.)

Do you have any questions about this article, other things you’d like to know about jyotish, or something you’d like to add? Please let me know in the comments!

Note: If you already know the basics of jyotish, be sure to check out my Jyotish Tutorial Series sponsored by Pundit Mahesh Shastriji at My Panchang. I’ll be starting with intermediate lessons on financial indicators.


UPDATE Monday, October 10, 2011:

If you’re looking for the special, sorry! It expired yesterday. But thanks for checking!

If you took advantage of the free chart offer, thank you! I had a lot of fun interacting with you.

I ended up doing a little mini-reading along with the chart, and will offer this special again sometime.

EXPIRED - A “Thank-You” Special - EXPIRED

You’re a good sport making it all the way through this article.

Want a copy of your Vedic chart? This week only, I’m offering free chart calculation. No strings attached.

Click here to get yours!

 


 

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Mar 232011
 

Want to know “What’s up?” in the heavens, and what it means for you?

There are some interesting influences upon us and I’ve made an audio and a summary sheet for you.

Find out how to take advantage of the opportunities and work with the challenges.

This post was made from the summary sheet, and the audio files are here too.

(If you’re taken aback by the planetary positions in the chart below, note that in jyotish we use the sidereal zodiac. You can read an explanation of it here.)

Enjoy!

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

You can click to view or right-click to download this post as a PDF (1 page landscape).

Right-click to download the 50 min. audio presentation: Jyotish Forecast for March/April 2011 (11.8 M)

Or listen now… You may want to have the chart below handy when you listen.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Whether you listen or not, please don’t forget to comment — I’d like to know if you like this format and/or what suggestions or questions you might have.

Also, it’s time-sensitive so please tweet if you like it so others can take advantage of the info. I’d appreciate that!

Aug 102010
 

This is my monthly (or so) Jyotish report on what’s going on in the heavens and how we can benefit if we work in synch with the energies. Enjoy!

First, if you like light shows, don’t miss the annual Perseid meteor shower in a few days. It’s right on the tail of the New Moon of the 9th, so the sky will be nice and dark for those of you in low light zones. It is going on already but peaks the night of the 12th/13th with over 100 meteors per hour. (Okay, this isn’t exactly astrology, but too good not to mention.)

Good Days to Take Action

There are four Vedic holidays coming up that we all can take advantage of. These holidays are always auspicious days so they are good for beginnings or for doing any task that you want to have a lasting effect. On top of that, they are good for whatever each holiday specifically relates to, as indicated here. (These dates are for MDT, please adjust accordingly.)

  • 8/13 is the auspicious Naga Panchami, honoring of snakes & serpents, and relates to Rahu & Ketu who are the head and tail of a serpent. There are many fascinating legends about this day, and the idea of some is that if you honor serpents along with the serpent energy, then serpents will work with and for you. This is a good day to work with primal energies, kundalini (e.g. hatha yoga, martial arts, kriya yoga meditation, etc.) and things that kundalini represents such as the potential unleashed by movement toward the divine. It’s also a good day to harmonize with snakes as a precious part of our natural world. You can read a little more here.
  • 8/20 is Varalakshami Vratam, related to Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity, and thus Venus as well. You can find an interesting story here.
  • 8/24 is Raksha Bandhan, related to the malefic planets and is about protection. The festivals of this day are related to the bond between brothers and sisters, so this is  a wonderful day to take time to connect with or show appreciation to your siblings. You can read more here.
    This is also the Full Moon.
  • 9/1 is the auspicious Sri Krishna Janmashtami, Krishna’s birthday, a day of great celebration the world over.
What the August Chart Tells Us

And now let’s talk about what this month’s chart indicates to us and how we can best take advantage of the current energies. [Note: If you are not familiar with Vedic astrology, there are lots of informative articles here.]

Chart 100801

Watch for Opportunities

Jupiter is still in its own sign of Pisces and will be retrograde until 11/19. Planets are strong and happy in their own sign, and even stronger when retrograde. This is very good news since Jupiter is a first class benefic and is shedding its graces on us big time!

Jupiter is an expansive planet, and that means that right now we should all be keeping our eyes open for openings and new opportunities — don’t let them slip by. It’s also easy right now to be optimistic, and this can in turn feed into the fact that it’s a time for increased abundance in general. Jupiter is a planet of dharma, representing our purpose, so it’s an especially good time to move toward what you feel or think will be fulfilling for you at all levels. Some of the other indications of Jupiter are publishing, higher education, learning, teaching, children, spirituality, and whoever we consider to be our guru. Taking actions in any or all of these areas is favored right now.

Mars and Saturn are opposing Jupiter right now, however, so for awhile there will likely be a bit of an impulsiveness counteracted by a need to go slowly, but this shouldn’t be such a major influence as to cause major problems. Or there may be some hiccups in our attempts to move forward, but we should not let that deter us. The good news about this is that Mars will likely add an element of courage right now so that we are more likely to go for whatever we are aspiring to.

It’s Time to Shine

The Sun is in Cancer until the 17th when it moves into its own sign of Leo. As I said above, a planet in its own sign is strong and happy so those things indicated by the Sun in our charts will be greatly favored. The Sun is the planet that represents us in all our glory. It’s how we shine! So while the Sun is in Leo (mid-August to mid-September), it’s an excellent time to take those actions where you want to be seen in your best light and want to be authoritative and influential.

It will be conjunct Mercury on September 3rd & 4th. Mercury is our rational mind and the Sun will help us be “bright” on those days, but at the same time it is so hot that it will likely cause “burn-out”. That means go ahead and take advantage of that mental brilliance, but don’t overdo it!

Inspired Ideas to Express

Besides the Sun, Mercury is in Leo right now, too. As I just alluded to, this inspired, expressive location is a very creative place for our rational minds to be operating from. You can absolutely expect to have lots of great ideas that seem to come out of nowhere. Mercury is retrograde, thus extra strong, from 8/21 – 9/12. This indicates a great mixture of rational, practical thought with the out-of-the-ordinary element that inspiration sometimes has.

Now here’s the kicker, are you ready? Energies moving through Leo really really really want to be expressed! So those great ideas you are having? Put them into action! At the very least, discuss them with someone, write about them, paint about them… something! That will be a perfect first step and the way will unfold from there.

Areas of Pressure Let Up

On the 21st the nodes Rahu & Ketu begin to move again. Ahhh! That means the areas of your life where they have been causing pressure for the past three months will let up significantly. Still, they will remain in the same signs until May of 2011, so they will continue to have a similar effect, just not so intense.

And if you do find that their effects are a little tough to handle, you can find upayas for Rahu & Ketu here. These can be helpful all the way up until next May.

Support for Manifesting our Passions

If you look to the west just after sunset, you will see yellow Saturn, red Mars, and gloriously bright Venus hanging out together in the constellation of Virgo. Let’s see what their teamwork means to us right now.

This is a really interesting combination of planets and location. First, Saturn and Mars are not too fond of each other at all. Saturn is very slow and patient, and Mars just wants to go now! Both, however, are good at making things happen yet in different ways. Mars moves us to action and gives us courage. Saturn helps us plan and move patiently step by step. It ultimately leads to concretizing what begins as something ethereal such as an idea.

Virgo is an earth sign, meaning it is also about manifesting, and in a very practical way. In fact, energies moving through Virgo can be aided by the detail Virgo provides.

So you can see that the planning that Saturn supports can work very well in detailed and practical Virgo, so this is a very good time to take those ideas Mercury in Leo is providing and consider how you might make a practical and perhaps detailed plan to get you where you want to go step by step. Then you can take advantage of that Mars energy to get the ball rolling.

Secondly, Venus and Mars together mean passion! This combination supports and adds to those inspired ideas offered by Mercury right now in that it adds an element of light-hearted creativity and artistry (Venus) and vibrant vitality (Mars) to the mix — again, in a practical way. And Venus and Mars will be moving together for awhile so expect the passion to continue.

We Can Help Venus Help Us

It’s worth noting that Venus is debilitated in Virgo, meaning Virgo is its least favorite sign. Being so light and dreamy and creative, Venus would much prefer a place that is not so gosh-darn practical! The pressure of heavy Saturn and the heat of fiery Mars are also a bit much for refined Venus to handle.

Because of that, I suggest doing some Venus upayas (Vedic remedies) until Venus moves into its own sign of Libra on September 9th, when it will be much happier. Practicing these remedies will help those areas of our lives that are indicated by Venus. These areas include art and creativity, relationships (especially with our beloved), beauty, comfort, luxury, and our means of transportation.

You can find some Venus upayas here.

These Energies at Work – an Example

So, I have to laugh because as I was about to start writing the section above about inspired ideas, I had a GREAT IDEA for a proposal I could make that would move my career forward! Perfect, don’t you think? (And it’s not because I was trying to come up with an inspired idea. In fact, I was distracted from this post and looking at something else entirely.)

Now, if the Sun and Jupiter pull through for me, my work ought to be seen in a good enough light as to open this new opportunity for my expansion. (And I’m noting that I might do best to wait until after the 17th so I have support of the Sun in Leo.)

And besides Mars’ help in the courage area, what I know about these indications just might help give me the extra little bit of  courage I need to make the proposal too. See? That’s how this works! I couldn’t have planned this better!

And speaking of planning, remember what I said about being practical and going step by step? It does indeed make sense for me to get my ducks in a row before jumping in, and I am confident I have support of the powers that be right now for doing just that!

So, wish me luck! (Jupiter’s grace can also be thought of as luck, so perhaps I already have it since Jupiter is so strong right now.)

Your Turn: What’s YOUR Experience?

Well, there’s a lot of information here, and I’m sure it must apply in some way to your life right now! I — and other readers too — would LOVE to hear if and how you are experiencing these energies! Can you relate to any of this? In what way?

Or if you have any questions, please ask! (Someone else is probably wondering too.)

It’s as easy as clicking on the comment link and joining the discussion. I look forward to hearing from you.

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