Tesla, an electrical engineer and physicist renowned for his showmanship in demonstrating his inventions, was something of a mad scientist. Over the course of his career he amassed an intellectual property of almost 300 patents, primarily in the field of electricity, chief among which was his invention of the alternating current (AC) power supply system.
He was a tireless worker, often putting in 18 hours a day at his laboratory, getting by on only two or three hours of sleep. Although attractive and charming and much sought-after by the high-society salons of the day, he was a lifelong bachelor, having declared that a relationship would only distract him from his life’s work.
Tesla was born during a thunderstorm at midnight between the 9th and 10th of July, 1856 in Smiljan, modern-day Croatia. When the midwife handed him over to his mother, she called him “a child of the storm.” Tesla’s father was a priest with a talent for mechanical devices. His mother had a photographic memory and a similar talent for gadgets.
Tesla’s chart is remarkable in that every single planet is in a dual sign and cadent (apoklima) houses. Although some say that a complete absence of angular planets will leave the person with no capacity for mundane influence, Tesla’s sheer intellectual brilliance was such that he was more than capable of overcoming this impediment.
Mercury and Jupiter, the two intellectual planets, are both in their own signs. From both Chandralagna and Suryalagna, Mercury thus forms Bhadra Yoga, while Jupiter forms Hamsa Yoga. However, Mercury’s influence is far more pervasive. Mercury is the dispositor of seven planets, including lagnesh Mars, the Moon and the Sun, thus achieving the status of a control planet with respect to both character and career.
With Mercury powerful in its own sign, Tesla was the quintessential Gemini. An omnivorous reader who could memorize whole books, he was a polyglot, speaking eight languages. He went through technical school and university at an accelerated rate but also paid the price through periodic nervous exhaustion from studying so much.
He loved to play cards and at one point became so addicted to gambling that he lost an entire year’s tuition, but then returned to cards with a vengeance and won it all back. He was also a good chess player and in later years became an excellent billiard player.
His chart contains multiple Raja Yogas (success in life) via the combination of dharma-karma lordship pairs: Moon-Mars, Moon-Jupiter, Mars-Jupiter, Sun-Venus and Sun-Saturn. Except for a brief period of time, he was always employed, enjoyed the patronage of wealthy financiers and industrialists, and was much sought after in New York social circles.
He has two Dhana Yogas (wealth) formed via Sun-Venus and Sun-Saturn. He was a millionaire by the age of 40 and lived on a steady stream of revenues from his many patents.
Sun-Mercury forms Budhaditya Yoga, giving him intellectual brilliance. Moon-Mars gives Chandramangala Yoga, which accounts for his tireless work ethic. Moon-Jupiter gives Kesari Yoga, granting him a natural charm that made him the target for many a New York matron hoping to marry off a daughter.
Tesla’s chart also has a Kala Sarpa Yoga, with Rahu/Ketu in the 6th/12th axis controlled by those same two dignified intellectual planets, Mercury and Jupiter. Kala Sarpa always poses the prospect of a mixed blessing – great power but simultaneous risk of destruction from forces too large to handle – which sounds very much like electricity itself.
In the end, it was Tesla’s Pravrajya Yoga in the third house that spelled out his destiny. The yoga is formed within the defined parameters – four planets or more, not counting the nodes, in one house – and thus grants a combination that spells concentration to some inordinate degree. Found in houses like the 9th or 12th, it inclines toward spiritual pursuits, but even in other houses there can be an element of zeal bordering on religious fervor. In Tesla’s case, it was physics, which is a field associated with the third house of science.
As for traditional relationships, this same Pravrajya Yoga strikes a death knell. Here, Mercury in its own sign disposits its two friends Venus and Saturn, along with the Sun. Although Mercury, Venus and Saturn are all kama lords of the 3rd, 7th and 11th houses, Mercury is considered incapable of romantic relationship because it is “juvenile.” Thus, the entire bias of this kama pattern is skewed away from the notion of sexual intercourse in favor of intellectual discourse.
With both lagnesh Mars and 7th lord Venus in Mercury ruled-signs, not to mention being in unfriendly (square) disposition to each other, romantic relationship was never on Tesla’s radar. Although he enjoyed a close friendship with one of his benefactor’s wives, their relationship was purely intellectual.
In fact, his greatest declaration of love was for a white pigeon that he fed and cared for, once spending a fortune (in that era) to create a prosthesis for its broken wing. When it eventually died, he was broken-hearted. “I loved that pigeon as a man loves a woman, and she loved me. As long as I had her, there was a purpose to my life.” Note that Saturn, coupled with his 7th lord Venus, is often associated with birds, all the more so if located in air signs.
Tesla was an archetype of Mercury – a human calculator of profound capacity. During technical school and university he was capable of mentally solving equations and problems so readily that he was suspected of cheating. He was able to “build” prototypes in his mind, set them in motion and observe these imaginary models long enough to anticipate where machine fatigue or electrical burnout would occur.
But his Mercurial nature had its downside as well. Aside from his blinding flashes of insight, he also suffered auditory and visual “hallucinations” that frightened him. Today he would probably have been diagnosed with OCD – Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. He had a germ phobia and couldn’t bear to shake hands. He hated most jewelry on women, especially pearls, but was fascinated by jewels because of their geometric facets.
He counted his steps everywhere he walked and enjoyed little of dining except the intellectual exercise of calculating the volumes of his soup or dinner plate. In his personal space, he required three of everything – napkins, towels, blankets – and the numbers of most everything he owned and worked with had to be divisible by three. Interestingly enough, Mercury is itself associated with triangles.
His life story was like the alternating current for which he was famous – one step forward, one step back, and often out of phase with others. His older brother died at the tail end of his Mars dasha, plunging Tesla into a morbid period. Rahu dasha, giving results for 9th lord Jupiter, was largely devoted to his studies. During Rahu-Mercury, he became so ill that his family feared his death, but it was all because his father wanted him to become a priest rather than a scientist. As soon as his father relented, Tesla made a miraculous recovery and returned to university in Austria.
His whole Jupiter dasha brought a string of good fortune and remarkable accomplishments. Note, this swa Jupiter is in a Mercury nakshatra, while Mercury itself is the dispositor of seven planets, lord of the 3rd house of technical sciences, and ruling the 6th house of competition.
At the outset of his Jupiter dasha, Tesla moved to Paris and worked briefly as an electrical engineer for the Edison company before sailing to New York. After a few on-and-off jobs, he hit a low point in his Jupiter-Saturn period during which time the 28-year-old engineer dug ditches for $2 a day. In Jupiter-Mercury he was granted 30 patents, one of which was for the now-ubiquitous AC power system.
In Jupiter-Ketu he met George Westinghouse who gave him $1 million (in 1889) for the right to use his AC patent for multiple electrical utility projects, most notably the contract to harness the Niagara Falls to provide power to the Buffalo area. Sadly, during Jupiter-Mars, his New York laboratory caught fire and burned, destroying all of his equipment and scientific notes.
At the outset of Saturn dasha, Tesla left New York and moved to Colorado where he established a research facility to experiment with wireless communications and the harnessing of artificial lightning that generated 135-foot bolts of electricity with discharges of a million volts and more. During one of these experiments, he accidentally blew out the local power generating station. Having overstayed his welcome, he closed his lab and moved back to New York. Shortly thereafter, in Saturn-Mercury, he met the industrialist J.P. Morgan who became the sponsor for his ongoing work.
Mercury dasha saw Tesla further retreat into the eccentric manners and lifestyle of the mad scientist, a brilliant but celibate hermit. He took up residence in the Hotel New Yorker, and dined alone every evening at 8:10 PM, alternating between two exclusive restaurants to which he would phone in advance his dinner order. Every day he would go to the New York Public Library to feed pigeons. And he walked everywhere. Although 6 foot 2, he weighed 142 pounds throughout his life, never saw a doctor and became a vegetarian in his later years.
Although the Nobel Prize eluded him, during Mercury-Mercury he was awarded the Edison Prize in acknowledgement of his profound contribution to the science of electricity. Ironically, Edison was the inventor of the DC power mode with whose system Tesla had competed for acceptance over the span of two decades, and whom he intensely disliked every since Edison had reneged on a promised financial bonus for services Tesla had provided in his early days.
Tesla died of coronary thrombosis, alone in his hotel room on 7 January 1943, a Do Not Disturb sign hung on his door. He was running Venus-Venus. Venus occupies the stellium in the 3rd house (12th from the 4th, which represents the heart) containing both malefics Sun and Saturn. Furthermore, Venus is a double maraka, owning both the 2nd and 7th houses. Finally, Venus occupied a nakshatra of Jupiter in the 12th, spelling the end of things.
Although his work fell into obscurity after his death, there has been a resurgence of interest in Nikola Tesla in popular culture since the 1990s. Handsome, magnetic and elegantly tragic, he has become the unsung hero of the electrical age.
Alan Annand, a graduate of the American College of Vedic Astrology and the British Faculty of Astrological Studies, has written two Vedic astrology books. Stellar Astrology offers astrological techniques, in-depth celebrity profiles, and analysis of world events. Parivartana Yoga is a reference text for one of the most common yet powerful planetary combinations in jyotish.
His NEW AGE NOIR crime novels (Scorpio Rising, Felonious Monk, Soma County) feature astrologer and palmist Axel Crowe, whom one reviewer has dubbed “Sherlock Holmes with a horoscope.”
Websites: www.navamsa.com, www.sextile.com