Eddie Van Halen’s signature style featured a wicked combo of guitar virtuosity and high-risk stage antics, the first of which catapulted him into the pantheon of guitar gods, the second of which put him in the hospital more than once.
His Vedic horoscope is an excellent example of how a fortunate combination of yogas, an array of equally-positive amshas and, most important, a fortuitous dasha sequence, can produce stellar results in a life. Indeed, for the jyotishi who learns how to recognize and apply the principles and techniques of yoga vichara, amsha vichara and dasha vichara, many a chart will reveal itself – beauty, blemishes and all.
Eddie Van Halen was born in the Netherlands, to a Dutch father and Indonesian mother. His father was a jazz musician, so from a very early age both Eddie and his older brother Alex were schooled in music. In 1962 the whole family moved “with just $50 and a piano” to the USA and settled in California. Although their parents wanted both boys to become classical pianists, and Eddie won several first-place piano competitions as a grade-schooler, the two brothers gravitated to rock music and formed their first performing group when Eddie was only in 4th grade.
In 1973 they formed a band with singer David Lee Roth and bassist Michael Anthony and began working the LA club circuit, achieving major buzz for their live performances. Warner Brothers offered them a recording deal in 1977, and in 1979 they embarked on a world tour. Between Roth’s huge stage persona and Van Halen’s blistering guitar work, they went on to become one of the world’s hottest acts in hard rock. In particular, Van Halen’s signature guitar style – achieved in emulation of his own guitar heroes Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page – set a whole new bar for the next generation of aspiring rock guitarists.
Van Halen married actress Valerie Bertinelli in 1981, and they had one son in 1991. They subsequently separated in 2001 and officially divorced in 2005. Van Halen remarried in 2007.
The band went through some changes over the years. David Lee Roth was the lead singer 1974-1985, in 1996, and from 2006 onwards. Sammy Hagar replaced him in 1985-1996, and 2003-2005. During other years, Eddie Van Halen was involved in projects with Michael Jackson, Brian May and LL Cool J.
Over the years, Van Halen struggled with alcoholism and drug abuse, having begun smoking and drinking at age 12. After multiple injuries from onstage antics, he had hip replacement surgery in 1999. In 2000 he began receiving treatment for cancer, and subsequent surgery removed a third of his tongue. He checked himself into rehab in 2007 and after a year’s struggle, achieved sobriety in 2008. He continued his battle with cancer, this time of the throat, from 2014 until his death on 6 October 2020.
Van Halen’s horoscope has two Pancha Mahapurusha yogas – an exalted Saturn forming Sasha yoga in the 1st house, and an exalted Jupiter forming Hamsa yoga in the 10th. Both are moderately destabilized by the influence of malefics – Saturn by the lone aspect of Mars, Jupiter by the aspects of Sun and Saturn.
Of these two Mahapurusha grahas, Jupiter shines – literally – since it’s also retrograde and therefore, with the Sun almost directly opposite it, brighter than at any other time of the solar cycle. Therefore, this Jupiter is particularly strong, in and of itself, in the natal chart. But because it’s in the first degree of the moveable rashi Cancer, that also means it will be vargottama in many of the amshas – the D3 (drekkana) of siblings, the D4 (chaturthamsha) of assets and property, the D9 (navamsha) of relationships, the D10 (dashamsha) of career, and the D12 (dwadashamsha) of parents. And as if that weren’t enough, Jupiter also occupies its own nakshatra Punarvasu which has significant ramifications for his Jupiter dasha in particular, but also the Jupiter bhuktis throughout his life.
He also has a Dharma-Karma Adhipati yoga wherein 9th lord Mercury associates with 10th lord Moon in the 5th house, a combination that facilitates one of the esteemed Raja yogas. Although the Moon is weak and Mercury ordinary, the combination remains fruitful since it is not destabilized by the influence of any malefic. As is generally well known, the DKA yogas are valued for their alliance of trikona lords (good fortune) and kendra lords (effort), the product of which is often success in an arena indicated by their participants’ house placement. In this case, the 5th house is the stage for creativity, drama, arts and entertainment. Eddie Van Halen was the primary songwriter for the band, and its unquestioned musical director.
Last, and of somewhat dubious benefit, he has a Shakata yoga, with a lackluster Moon and a powerful Jupiter sitting in a 6/8 relationship with each other. A Shakata yoga is likened to a cart with a damaged wheel – you can roll along, but it’s a bumpy ride. This yoga often reflects major reorientations in life vis-à-vis career, lifestyle, country of residence, etc. Typically, it spells ups and downs in financial terms, but it can also reflect an irregular lifestyle with consequences for both health and social relationships.
Eddie Van Halen was born with his Moon in the last degree of a Mars nakshatra, so he experienced the tail end of his Mars dasha as a baby. Then came his 18-year Rahu dasha, 1955-1973, covering 0.5 to 18.5 years of age. Natal Rahu occupies his 3rd house, associated with relocation, siblings, skills development and the arts, a period in which he emigrated to America, learned music with his brother Alex and mastered the guitar.
His 16-year Jupiter dasha ran 1973-1989, from age 18.5 to 34.5 years. Jupiter is exalted and bright (retrograde) in his 10th house of career. The band Van Halen was formed in 1973, at the very start of his Jupiter dasha. Within two years they were one of the biggest bands in LA, issued their first album in 1978, and undertook a world tour in 1979. They became immediate rock ‘n’ roll superstars, selling albums in the millions.
His 19-year Saturn dasha ran 1989-2008, from age 34.5 to 53.5 years. Saturn is exalted in the 1st house of name, fame, and physical self. The band won a Grammy in 1992, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007. Yet during the same era, Eddie struggled with alcoholism and drug abuse, injured himself multiple times in high-risk stage antics, and underwent hip surgery.
His Mercury dasha ran from 2008 until his death. Mercury rules the 12th house of surrender and loss. He went into rehab for his addictions and achieved sobriety, but subsequently developed throat cancer and was hospitalized for surgery to remove a third of his tongue, ultimately dying of cancer.
Admittedly, this is a simplistic overview of his lifetime dasha sequence, but his circumstances broadly correspond to the house position or rulership of his respective dasha lords Rahu, Jupiter, Saturn and Mercury. But competent Vedic astrologers routinely un-zip any given dasha to further explore deeper levels via other techniques. For instance, consider Krishnamurti Paddhati, one of whose principles dictate that any dasha lord will, in addition to fulfilling its own promise, primarily deliver results in line with what is expected of its nakshatra lord.
The nodes are treated a little differently, wherein their primary thrust is on behalf of planets which (a) associate with them, (b) aspect them, and/or (c) disposit them by sign. So, in the case of Van Halen’s Rahu dasha, Rahu acts on behalf of Saturn which aspects it, and Jupiter which disposits it. Note that both planets, for whom Rahu is a proxy, form Mahapurusha yogas.
Next, see Jupiter dasha, wherein it occupies its own nakshatra and thus powerfully invokes itself alone, thus fully realizing the benefits of that Hamsa yoga. After that, Saturn works primarily for its nakshatra lord Jupiter and secondarily for itself. Again, Saturn’s dasha keeps his two Mahapurusha yogas on stage.
Mercury dasha abandons that path. Mercury’s nakshatra lord is Mars, which is in ordinary condition in the 6th house. Within four years of starting Mercury dasha, Van Halen underwent emergency surgery for diverticulosis, a condition wherein pouches develop in the folds of the intestines, creating pockets of infection. The symbolic correspondence of surgical Mars in the 6th house of the intestines is patently obvious.
Drilling down into the specifics of a life also demands an understanding of how to work with the amshas. But amshas are time-sensitive, such that a 10- or 15-minute discrepancy in birth time can change the navamsha lagna, while the higher-harmonic charts become even more tenuous with even smaller increments of time. Therefore, detailed work with the amshas, and the dasha/bhuktis whose conditions they reflect, demands either an accurate birth time or rectification by the jyotishi, the latter often a hit-or-miss affair for those with inadequate techniques at their disposal.
Let’s assume for the moment that Eddie Van Halen’s 01h05 birthtime is correct, and we’ll see how well the promise of his amshas, as played out in his dashas/bhuktis, was reflected in his life circumstances.
In Seshadri Iyer’s system of amsha vichara, he deploys clusters of amshas to assess various departments of life. For instance, mundane considerations that include net worth, professional accomplishments and societal accolades are reflected in the Chaturthamsha, Dasamsha and Ekadasamsha, or the D4, D10 and D11 divisional charts, respectively. To simplify chart presentation, we’ll leave the D11 out of this.
The band Van Halen exploded onto the LA music scene in 1973 and then the world in 1979. Eddie Van Halen’s Jupiter dasha ran 1973-1989. See Jupiter’s placement and condition in each of these two “mundane” amshas. In the D4, Jupiter is exalted in a kendra. In the D10, Jupiter occupies its own sign in a trikona. Taken together, they signal an excellent prognosis for professional status and income during Jupiter dasha.
Van Halen’s Saturn dasha (1989-2008) was almost as successful. In the D4, Saturn is ordinary in a kendra, while in Parivartana with the Moon for a virtual exchange into a trikona. In the D10, Saturn is ordinary in a trikasthana, but in Parivartana with Mercury, virtually swapping it into a kendra. Coincidentally, these exchanges may also reflect the band’s composition during this era. David Lee Roth was their lead singer for most of Jupiter dasha, while during Saturn dasha there was Sammy Hagar, then Roth again, and other projects…
Highlights of Van Halen’s career often occurred in the conjoined periods of Jupiter and Saturn, the two planets forming his Mahapurusha yogas. The band Van Halen began playing the LA music circuit in Jupiter-Jupiter (1973), and issued their debut album in Jupiter-Saturn (February 1978). They won a Grammy in Saturn-Saturn (February 1992), and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Saturn-Jupiter (March 2007).
In the analysis of health, Seshadri Iyer again used amsha clusters. For example, health considerations include chronic ills, accidents and surgeries, and general vitality, as reflected in the Shastamsha, Ashtamsha and Saptavimshamsha, or the D6, D8 and D27 divisional charts, respectively. But again, to simplify chart presentation, but also because it’s a higher-harmonic chart vulnerable to birth time discrepancy, we’ll leave the D27 out of it for now.
Van Halen confessed to have begun smoking and drinking when he was only 12, a habit that may have done him significant harm over his lifetime. Aside from the high-risk stage antics that resulted in several accidents, his alcoholism almost certainly contributed to his chronic avascular necrosis, in which bone tissue dies due to insufficient blood supply, and often results in hip and knee dysfunction accompanied by excruciating pain.
He underwent hip replacement in Saturn-Sun. But leading up to that was Jupiter dasha, where Jupiter occupies a dusthana in both his D6 and D8. Although Jupiter enjoys a Parivartana with Venus in the D6, there is no escaping consequences, because Venus (and therefore Jupiter post-exchange) receives aspects from all three malefics – Sun, Mars and Saturn.
As for Saturn dasha itself, Saturn is relatively well-placed in the D6 and D8, in a kendra and trikona, respectively, but the Sun bhukti period of his surgery represents one of many low points in that era, since the Sun occupies a dusthana in both the D6 and D8. And no sooner was his hip replaced, he began receiving treatment for tongue cancer…
Van Halen died during Mercury-Jupiter. Note first that these two planets are dusthana lords in the birth chart. Then see that dasha lord Mercury occupies dusthanas in both the D6 and D8. And as already noted earlier, Jupiter too occupies dusthanas in the same amshas. Thus, their conjoined periods – from the perspective of both the natal chart and these two health-related amshas – became particularly problematic.
In many ways, Van Halen’s chart is a textbook example of yoga vichara, amsha vichara and dasha vichara, a trio of technical pro forma wherein basic proficiency allows a discerning astrologer to make sense of a life as reflected in a horoscope. Alas, many aspiring students get misdirected en route to this goal, and spend too much time on other concepts or minutiae that do not bear fruit. As analytical types are fond of saying, indeed, the devil is in details, but the more holistic among them also remind us, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Nowhere is this made more evident than in the study of jyotish.
For a slightly different discussion of this chart, see my recent YouTube post on Eddie Van Halen.
Alan Annand studied with Hart de Fouw, and is a graduate of the American College of Vedic Astrology and a former tutor for the British Faculty of Astrological Studies.
He is the author of several non-fiction books. Kala Sarpa is a first-of-its-kind reference book on a unique pattern in jyotisha that is not discussed in shastra yet is part of India’s rich oral tradition. Stellar Astrology, Volumes 1 & 2, offer a wealth of time-tested techniques in the form of biographical profiles, analyses of world events, and technical essays. Parivartana Yoga is a reference text for one of the most common yet powerful planetary combinations in jyotisha.
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