Vedic Astrology & Palmistry

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The Singapore Summit: Nobel Peace Prize or WWF smackdown?

June 8th, 2018 · Astrology, Instruction

On Tuesday, 12 June 2018, 0900 local time in Singapore, Donald Trump and diplomats of the USA will meet with Kim Jong Un and delegates of North Korea to discuss, among other intermediate proposals, the ultimate denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. Here is the horoscope for the tentative commencement of those discussions.

In brief, the pros and cons for this event are as follows:

(+) Gemini is rising, and Mercury is in its own sign, therefore swa rashi and with digbala, which implies some relatively flexible proposals coming from the American side of the table.

(+) Mercury and the lagna are hemmed by benefics (Shubhakartari yoga) Venus and the Moon, which implies smooth talk from America, and yet that Moon is so dark that it is technically a malefic, so this may take the form of inducements with vague promises.

(-) Tuesday is a day for going to war, not negotiating an end to hostilities.

(-) The Moon is in Krittika, a nakshatra that carries a lot of baggage in the form of heat, tension, phobias, schizophrenia, wounded pride, complex subjective motives, nervous breakdowns, temper tantrums and feuding, none of which are conducive to rational discussion.

(-) The Moon is dark and only two tithis away from a New Moon, which is not productive for fostering rapport and cooperative dialogue for long-term agreements.

(-) Both luminaries, Sun and Moon, occupy the 12th house in a fixed sign, which suggests intransigent positions, threatening to end things before they even get started.

(-) Mercury and the lagna are hemmed by malefics (Papakartari yoga) Rahu and the Sun, which implies tough talk from America, and maybe too much of that.

(-) The 7th house is occupied by a double-strength Saturn (retrograde and digbala) which makes for a tough-minded North Korea not easily swayed.

(-) The 7th lord is a double-strength Jupiter (retrograde and swa nakshatra) which suggests North Korea knows it holds a strong hand and is capable of playing the long game.

(-) The 7th lord Jupiter aspects both the lagna and lagnesh Mercury, while Mercury only aspects the 7th house and its occupant Saturn, so the North Koreans may be better able to negotiate favorable terms.

(-) The Parivartana yoga between 2nd lord Moon and 12th lord Venus suggests the USA will offer financial inducements in order to buy the North Korean’s compliance, yet the influence of malefics on both those houses implies that such offers may be misrepresented (to either the North Koreans or the public) and/or costly.

(-) Since both the luminaries are in the 12th, the houses they rule suggest that what is said (2nd) and what is signed (3rd) will likely be insufficient and/or detrimental to the position and the reputation of the USA.

(-) In short, this was a poor choice for scheduling a summit that must bear the burden of establishing a whole new era in Asian geo-politics.

In somewhat different language, this same argument is presented in the video link below:


Alan Annand is a graduate of the American College of Vedic Astrology and a former tutor for the British Faculty of Astrological Studies. 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.”

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000031_00006]He’s also the author of several non-fiction books. 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 jyotish. Mutual Reception is an expanded companion volume for western practitioners, covering the same subject of planetary exchange through the lens of traditional astrology.


You can find his books on Amazon, Apple, Barnes&Noble, Kobo and Smashwords.



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Harry & Meghan: Marriage of the century or star-crossed misadventure?

June 7th, 2018 · Astrology, celebrity, Instruction, Karma

Backstory: In July 1981, I went on a national radio talk show in Montreal to discuss the upcoming Royal wedding between Prince Charles and Diana Spencer. To the surprise of the moderator, I said their marriage would fail within seven years. The switchboard promptly lit up with agitated callers, castigating me, and astrology, and the CBC network itself, for airing such heresy. I stuck to my guns, explaining why (a combination of poor synastry and electional charts) their union wouldn’t last. But I went home feeling chastised, and had to wait five years before rumors of their failing marriage began to vindicate my prediction.

I have no desire to repeat history, especially the castigation part, but when I compare the charts of Harry and Meghan I get that déjà vu feeling all over again, this time through the eyes of Vedic astrology as opposed to a western perspective back in 1981.


First, let’s take a look at the charts of Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, and Meghan Markle.

The Dashkoota system, India’s most popular method of synastry, uses ten principles (the porutthams, or kutams) to evaluate compatibility by gauging the relative Moon positions of the prospective groom and bride. This is such a well-established practice that all astrological software provides a module by which any couple can be evaluated.

The maximum score that can be achieved is 36 although personally I’ve never seen that in any couple, however happy, that I’ve assessed. But human nature, as any married person will testify, doesn’t require perfection, rather something merely functional. According to one esteemed pundit, a “passing grade” of 20+ is good enough for the couple to make their marriage work without further intervention, eg, requiring someone to change their names, avail themselves of remedial pujas or yajnas, or resort to marital counseling.

But a score of 16, such as between Harry and Meghan, should typically serve as pause for concern and consideration of the alternatives. However, in all fairness, I’ve had many occasions to observe a less-than-passing grade in Dashkoota scores, and yet couples still muster the wherewithal to make their marriage work. So a low score is a warning, but not the kiss of death.

For those who are interested, Hart de Fouw’s book Light on Relationships goes into compatibility analysis to a significant degree. Perhaps the most accessible and useful technique is that wherein we examine the four cornerstones of each chart – Ascendant, Moon, Sun and Venus – comparing each set of factors in one chart to those in the other.

This gives us a 4×4 matrix with 16 pairs of contacts, simply counting houses (inclusively) between any two factors to establish a broad-brush prognosis. For example, since Harry’s ascendant is Sagittarius and Meghan’s is Cancer, the count from CN to SG is six, while the count from SG to CN is eight, so we label the relationship between their ascendants as a 6/8. And so on, for each and every other pair of factors. In Harry and Meghan’s case, here’s their matrix:

We can then tabulate and summarize the results to establish a compatibility bias, using positive versus negative relationships to arrive at a net score.

Although it’s not the case with Harry and Meghan, in many couples we’ll end up with eight positive vs eight negative pairings, for a null result and no bias one way or the other. In those cases, we must then inspect the “spine” of the 4×4 matrix, isolating only the key cornerstone comparisons, ie, Asc to Asc, Moon to Moon, Sun to Sun, and Venus to Venus, as shown in bold in the matrix for Harry & Meghan. In their case, it only confirms our suspicions, for here every critical pair of cornerstones is in an inimical relationship, openly or secretly. So however much I hate to be a bad-news bear, the evidence here suggests that this Royal couple will face difficulties as time goes by.

Of course, they don’t sense this yet, but what bitter divorce didn’t first begin with a honeymoon? Karma will work its way through. This is the ironic thing about astrology. As my teacher’s guru used to say, Jyotisha has teeth, and it can bite.

The wedding

In the Hindu world, when horoscope matching reveals a couple’s compatibility falling short of a “passing grade,” pundits will typically make the best of a lacklustre pairing by selecting a good muhurta. Thus, under the premise that a good beginning will ensure a good ending, they hope to protect the marriage.

In Harry and Meghan’s case, their wedding chart seems to suggest that no astrologer, eastern or western, played a role in choosing that date or time. As noted on Astrodienst (, they exchanged wedding vows and were pronounced man and wife at 12:39 on May 19, 2018.

The timing of this wedding is problematic. First, it violates a fundamental rule of muhurta – to choose a day of the week that supports the activity. Although in the western world Saturday weddings are common, Hindus avoid them because Saturn doesn’t offer the warmth needed for a successful marriage. In India most marriages are conducted on the days of benefic planets, ideally Friday, the day of Venus, karaka of relationships.

Even from the perspective of Royal weddings, Harry and Meghan broke with tradition, since most Royal weddings have also avoided Saturdays: Elizabeth & Philip (Thursday), Charles & Diana (Wednesday), and William & Kate (Friday).

Another fundamental rule is to perform the wedding under a bright and waxing moon. Although this Moon is waxing, it’s still considered a dark moon, being barely more than four tithis beyond the Sun, and in some respects, thus considered a malefic. The Moon is also very close to a sandhi point, and thus forms no applying Tajik (or western) aspect with any other planet.

Other factors plague this chart, none of them major, but collectively contribute to a less-than-stellar prognosis. No benefics occupy any of the kendras. The Moon and Venus are in Gemini, whose duality implies fickle or inconstant affections. The 1st lord Sun and 7th lord Saturn are in a 6/8 relationship, although both are strong and therefore capable of generating and handling friction. The sookshma lords of the ascendant and descendant, Ketu and Rahu respectively, occupy dusthanas from which positions they undermine the marital axis.


Although their synastry appears to reveal compatibility issues, and their marriage chart is less than stellar, we must still take a closer look at the bride and groom’s individual charts to assess their capacity for relationship dynamics.

Although Harry has a Sagittarius ascendant, and dual signs typically have trouble with commitment, a few factors serve to mitigate it. For starters, he has Hamsa yoga with a double-strength Jupiter in the lagna, so this gives him moral fiber, and a bias for doing what is ethical if not noble, since Jupiter is the archetypal lord of dharma. With his Sun occupying its own sign in the 9th (another dharmasthana), this provides corroboration.

As for relationship dynamics, his 7th lord Mercury occupies a positive house, the 9th, where it’s aspected by, and in a friendly relationship with, 1st lord Jupiter. The 7th house itself is under both benefic and malefic influence, from Jupiter and Mars, respectively, but since both planets are strong, reflecting healthy behaviors, there’s no inherent problem there. But relationship karaka Venus is debilitated, albeit in a positive house under no malefic influence. This reminds one of the saying, “On the white robe of a saint, even the smallest stain appears notable.” Given the media fish bowl that Harry and Meghan will occupy for the rest of their lives together, even the slightest irregularity in their relationship will invite public comment and speculation, much to his chagrin.

If we assess the prospect of kujadosha, we note that Mars is in the 12th from his ascendant, and in the 8th from his Moon, while its position relative to Venus is neutral. So, he has moderate kujadosha but, in any event, after age 28 it’s a factor of diminished significance.

Harry married under Rahu dasha, Ketu bhukti. Since both are proxies for a strong 5th lord Mars, the tide of romance is in full flow, and a child could be in the works.

In his navamsa, Rahu and Ketu occupy positive houses albeit afflicted by Saturn. The dispositors of both nodes also occupy positive houses.

Thus, overall, his capacity to develop and nurture relationships is good.


With a Cancer ascendant in her birth chart, Meghan is more inclined to follow her emotional impulses, all the more likely in relationships since lagnesh Moon is in close conjunction with 7th lord Saturn. She has a strong and passionate personality, since the Moon is swa nakshatra in the 3rd house (a kamasthana), and forms Parivartana yoga with Mercury in the 1st house.

The planetary war between Jupiter and Saturn in the 3rd house poses a problem. Graha yuddha arises when two true planets lie within one degree of each other. Although technically there’s always a winner (Jupiter here because it’s brighter), planetary war typically harms both participants. If we assess Jupiter and Saturn to determine who in her life could be affected, the most obvious are the spouse (7th lord Saturn) and the father (9th lord Jupiter).

Meghan’s first marriage lasted only two years before ending in divorce. Although the 7th house can be seen as symbolic of the first spouse, it’s still a major factor for relationships in general. As for her father, it’s known that their relationship isn’t good, and that he’s something of a problem in her life.

So her relationship prospects overall are mixed. Her 7th lord Saturn is with lagnesh Moon but in graha yuddha with Jupiter. Her 7th house is occupied by Ketu and aspected by malefics Sun and Mars with scant support from a weakened Jupiter. Her Venus is ordinary.

Meghan married under Jupiter dasha, Saturn bhukti, the two planets in graha yuddha. Since Saturn is her 7th lord, this would seem to be inauspicious.

In her navamsa, Saturn presents further problems. Although it occupies a positive house, it’s debilitated. Furthermore, in the scheme of amsha vichara developed by Seshadri Iyer, the Moon is considered an enemy of Saturn, so the two in proximity pose further complications for Saturn periods.

The best and worst of times

Indeed, Saturn looms large in this couple’s life. Harry and Meghan met on a blind date on July 1st, 2016, when a dark waning Moon in Taurus was opposed by Saturn in Scorpio. They married on a Saturday at an hour when Saturn ruled the 7th house.

In Harry’s chart, his Aries Moon is opposed by an exalted Saturn. In his navamsa, Saturn has dig bala in the 7th and is aligned on the nodal axis. In Meghan’s chart, her Virgo Moon is conjunct 7th lord Saturn, which is itself damaged by planetary war with Jupiter. In her navamsa, Saturn is debilitated.

The seven-year-itch is a classic piece of folk wisdom generally applied to marriage, and it’s always a reasonable place to start looking for trouble. Why seven years? It’s when Saturn makes its first square to the position it occupied at the time of marriage. If we project from May 2018, seven years out will make it 2025. Is anything of interest happening in their charts at that time?

Harry moves from Rahu to Jupiter dasha in March 2025. Jupiter doesn’t present an obvious problem for relationships in either his rashi or navamsa. However, Jupiter might open up an era of “freedom” or independence, and you can read between the lines…

In Jupiter dasha, his Saturn bhukti runs from May 2027 to November 2029. Does Saturn present a problem for Harry? In the rashi it opposes his natal Moon but, more significantly, it gives results for its nakshatra dispositor Rahu. Rahu is debilitated in the 6th house, from which position it can undo marriage, since it is 12th from the 7th. Rahu also acts as a proxy for its dispositor Venus, debilitated in the 10th house of status. Thus, in Saturn bhukti he could see the unraveling of his marriage with public consequences in the media.

This naturally raises the question, what’s happening for Meghan in 2027? She began her Jupiter dasha in 2015, and it’s already problematic because of its war with 7th lord Saturn, under whose bhukti she married. But allow seven years and a bit, and we see that in December 2026, she enters her Moon bhukti.

The Moon is significant, not only because it’s her lagnesh, but also a critical player in a complex entanglement of planets. It’s in tight conjunction with the Jupiter/Saturn pair in planetary war, and it’s in Parivartana with Mercury. Allow Moon/Mercury to exchange positions in your mind’s eyes, and you find Moon with Rahu, a destabilizing influence. Her Moon bhukti runs until April 2028. Thus, we’ll have between Harry and Meghan a common overlap of “interesting times” from May 2027 to April 2028.

Transiting Saturn will enter Aries in June 2027, from which position it will associate with Harry’s Moon, the heart of his Sadhe Sati period. Meanwhile, Saturn will oppose itself (the archetypal midlife crisis) and in so doing, aspect both his 2nd lord and 2nd house of family.

Transiting Saturn in Aries would be in Meghan’s 10th house, from which point it will also aspect her 10th lord Mars in the 12th. The notion of a “fall from grace,” seen against the backdrop of her restless and self-expressive Jupiter-Moon bhukti conjures up the possibility of a split, or something in the nature of a scandal falling short of divorce.

Further fine-tuning is moot, and although I’ve given it some thought, I won’t bother readers with the details, except to say that September 2027 might be the highlight of that year, at least insofar as tabloid coverage of this Royal couple is concerned.


Alan Annand is a graduate of the American College of Vedic Astrology and a former tutor for the British Faculty of Astrological Studies. 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.”

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000031_00006]He’s also the author of several non-fiction books. 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 jyotish. Mutual Reception is an expanded companion volume for western practitioners, covering the same subject of planetary exchange through the lens of traditional astrology.


You can find his books on Amazon, Apple, Barnes&Noble, Kobo and Smashwords.


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Sean Hannity, “opinion journalist”

May 2nd, 2018 · Astrology, celebrity

Many serpents are immune to the venom of their own species. Perhaps this explains the cozy relationship between two current examples of the Kala Sarpa pattern – president Donald Trump and “opinion journalist” Sean Hannity.

Snakes also have forked tongues, lurk in dark places, and are noted for their peculiar mating habits, wherein they engage in swarms with other snakes. If the snakeskin analogy fits, see how well Hannity wears it. He’s prone to double-speak and has switched opinions on so many issues, eg, Wikileaks, presidential golf vacations, foreign policy, etc, that he spins like a weather vane in a tornado. He’s a media conduit for dark conspiracy theories, eg, the birther movement, Clinton corruption, and the deep state that threatens to undermine the presidency of King Cobra himself. That’s why he’s a regular fixture at conservative political conferences, a “fluffer” to excite the crowds with populist porn.

But by any measure, Sean Hannity is a roaring success. He earns $36 million annually from book royalties, speaking engagements and hosting his own show at Fox News, from whose pulpit he dispenses conspiracy theories and fuels right-wing outrage on a daily basis. This has made him the darling of ultra-conservatives in general, and BFF of the current president in particular.

Hannity was born at 10:30 AM on December 30, 1961, in Franklin Square, New York. (Rodden rating A, data courtesy of Astrodienst.) Given his astrological chart, there’s lots of energy here to justify his current status as media standard-bearer for Trump’s version of America.

Upon first glance, his chart reveals two salient features. First and foremost is the Kala Sarpa configuration with Rahu in the 6th and Ketu in the 12th. And as soon as we see a Kala Sarpa we must ask ourselves, is it a yoga or a dosha? To assess this, we run through the following checklist:

(1) Does it occur under an eclipse? No. (2) Are the Sun or Moon associated with the nodes? No. (3) Does Jupiter influence either node? Yes, Jupiter is with Ketu. This could create yoga, but Jupiter is debilitated, so it’s flawed. (4) Do Mars or Saturn influence either node? Yes, Saturn is with Ketu. This creates dosha, and because Saturn is in its own sign, it’s significant, but it could be manageable. However, Mars (more dosha) also aspects Ketu and, because Mars is combust, it’s something of a maverick. (5) Is there a stellium that can be stirred up by a transiting node? Yes, he has four planets in Sagittarius, of which, more on this later. (6) Are there any exaggerated planets in the chart? Yes, as noted, Jupiter is debilitated. And technically, all three of Mars, Mercury and Venus are combust, although Mars is perhaps the most affected.

Bottom line, we’ll call this a Kala Sarpa dosha, especially since both nodes in trikasthanas give it a negative spin. Rahu in the 6th is aspected by combust Mars, debilitated Jupiter and swa Saturn. Ketu in the 12th is associated with Jupiter and Saturn. Consider also the nodal dispositors – Rahu’s sign lord is the Moon in the 8th house, while Ketu’s dispositor is Saturn in the 12th.

Kala Sarpa amplifies whatever exists in the chart. This brings us to the second salient feature of Hannity’s chart – his four-planet stellium in Sagittarius forming Pravrajya yoga. Although in some charts this can manifest as religious zeal, in others it may simply indicate a person who applies his energies with single-minded devotion.

In Hannity’s case, the 11th house cluster suggests involvement in networking, social media and politics. The Sun/Mars combination makes him a zealot, especially in Sagittarius, but the association of Mercury and Venus gives him verbal facility and a certain charm with the masses.

When a Kala Sarpa pattern crowds the planets into half of the zodiac, Pravrajya yoga becomes relatively common, but it doesn’t always convene compatible bedfellows. However, in Hannity’s case, the cluster delivers five Raja yogas, many with “governmental” affinity, involving lords of the 5th, 9th and 10th. The result has been a huge following of the politically like-minded, a ready audience for three successful books, his daily talk show, and the friendship of the president.

But that stellium is disposited by debilitated Jupiter in the 12th house, and therein lies its vulnerability. Associated with lagnesh Saturn, Jupiter as money lord of the 2nd and 11th houses forms two Dhana yogas. But what does that income depend upon?

The 2nd house is a measure of many things – wealth, but also education, diet, and what comes out of one’s mouth. An active 2nd house can be the mark of a public speaker or an author, but the condition of the 2nd house and its lord also functions as a lie detector. Note that 2nd lord Jupiter is debilitated in the 12th house and afflicted by Saturn and Ketu. The 2nd house itself is aspected by the same two malefics that render his Kala Sarpa dosha-like.

Hannity is a college dropout, but he’s spent a lifetime in talk radio and television. His messages may be inspirational to some but he’s packing heat, and his gun is loaded with invective. He’s a conspiracy theorist and a tireless fabricator of alternate facts. According to The Washington Post, Hannity “repeatedly embraces storylines that prove to be inaccurate.” Does that mean he’s a liar, or just a little dumb?

He supported the birther movement questioning Obama’s citizenship, and continued talking about it long after Obama had produced his birth certificate. During the 2016 presidential race, he promoted false theories about Hillary Clinton’s health, the death of DNC staffer Seth Rich, domestic election rigging, and Russian interference. In April 2018, he ran a segment claiming there were “criminal” connections between the Clintons, special counsel Robert Mueller, and former FBI Director James Comey.

Ironically, while attacking the FBI for their raid on Trump’s personal lawyer a week earlier, Hannity was revealed to be a secret client of Michael Cohen too, a relationship he’d kept hidden. Suddenly, Hannity’s in a calamity of his own, and there’s no way to sweep it under the carpet. Indeed, the carpet itself may conceal other vermin (ruled by the nodes) and now that his Kala Sarpa has been activated, there may be revelations of worse to come.

So what’s driving this public relations crisis for Hannity? He’s currently running Saturn dasha, Mars bhukti, both of which activate his Kala Sarpa dosha. Saturn lies on the nodal axis, giving it a critical mass of background radiation, like spent nuclear fuel rods buried years ago but still leaking. Then there’s combust Mars (aspecting Ketu) in whose period the first wisps of smoke have now appeared. Meanwhile, the transiting nodes have returned to their natal positions, stirring up the Kala Sarpa dosha that’s been dormant all along.

Conventional astrological wisdom says that, during dashas and bhuktis, we should monitor the transits of the respective period lords. So with Hannity running Saturn-Mars, consider these two malefics. Anyone who’s been tracking the sky this season is probably aware of the graha yuddha between Mars and Saturn that occurred on April 2nd, 2018.

Planetary war always causes collateral damage. Saturn is Hannity’s ascendant lord, so he’s a prime candidate for some suffering. Mars rules the 3rd (siblings) and the 10th (the boss), so it’s potentially problematic from a corporate overlord point of view, even though to date Fox News is still taking Hannity’s word that his discussions with Michael Cohen were “almost exclusively” about real estate.

Note, however, that the Mars-Saturn conjunction (14SG50) was only half a degree from Hannity’s 11th house Sun. Since the Sun is his 7th lord, we can speculate that “significant others” will be affected by this graha yuddha too. That might include his BFF the president, their common lawyer Michael Cohen, and of course, Hannity’s wife.

Reporters have been quick to ask Hannity about his client-attorney relationship with Cohen. It’s alleged that Cohen paid $130K in hush money to prevent Stormy Daniels from discussing her affair with Trump, and brokered a deal whereby RNC fundraiser Elliott Broidy paid $1.6M to silence a Playmate with whom he’d had an affair. Reporters now want to know, if birds of a feather flock together, did Cohen help suppress a secret affair involving Hannity too?

Hannity denies it, but is it unthinkable? Let’s think about it.

Lagnesh Saturn is strong (some say, naughty) in the secret house of bed pleasures. It’s also given abundant opportunity by Jupiter, whose debilitation offers no moral impediment. And these bedfellows are corrupted by their alignment with the nodal axis.

Hannity’s Moon is in the 8th house. Although this might simply reflect a knack for unearthing weird conspiracy theories, it’s also the house of sex-for-hire. The Moon is in a dual sign, and so too are the 7th lord Sun and three other associates in Sagittarius. Multiple indiscretions, anyone?

If we need any more fuel for that speculative fire, take the perspective of chandralagna. Debilitated Jupiter now becomes the 7th lord, and in the 5th is associated with libidinous Saturn amplified by Ketu. That Pisces 7th house is now aspected by malefics Mars and Saturn. This is troubling for relationships in Hannity’s life – personal, professional and political.

When confronted, some cobras raise their heads as high as they can, the better to intimidate another predator. So Hannity will be strident in his denials. With a Sun-Mars conjunction, outrage is his default personality. But like most snakes, he has another unique trait – the ability to shed his skin and grow another. And there’ll always be a nest of vipers he can call home.


Alan Annand is a graduate of the American College of Vedic Astrology and a former tutor for the British Faculty of Astrological Studies. 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.”

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000031_00006]He’s also the author of several non-fiction books. 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 jyotish. Mutual Reception is an expanded companion volume for western practitioners, covering the same subject of planetary exchange through the lens of traditional astrology.


You can find his books on Amazon, Apple, Barnes&Noble, Kobo and Smashwords.


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Prime malefics in homicidal charts

April 7th, 2018 · Astrology, Crime, Science

Prime malefics in homicidal charts

Despite our best intentions, many people find murder fascinating. And yet because it’s the worst of crimes, to rob another person of their life, we hold killers in contempt. Even as we despise them, however, we struggle to understand them, to know what quirk of gene, character or fate compelled them to commit such a heinous act.

Basic astrology tells us that, at the heart of every crime, evidence of the prime malefics must inevitably be found. Mars is the significator of fighters and warriors, of rage and violence. Saturn represents executioners, undertakers and death itself. The moon’s nodes, Rahu and Ketu, because of their association with eclipses, are associated with the notion of “snuffing out the lights.” And although the nodes can act as proxies for any planet with which they have a relationship, their default affinity is with the two visible graha most associated with killing. Thus, Rahu does duty for Saturn, as Ketu does for Mars.

More ominously, perhaps, Rahu and Ketu reflect derangement, a disturbance of the natural order, a violent rent in the fabric of normal behavior. Nodal influence disturbs the emotions, mental stability, relationships, health, career and everything else it touches. Little wonder that we regard the shadow planets as prime suspects in cases of murder.

As part of a larger study on nodal effects, I’ve been gathering birth data for perpetrators of homicides. To date, I have 195 timed charts for known killers. Although this falls short of what a statistician might want for a serious study, I remind myself that I’m an astrologer, not a statistician, and I’m just doing what I can. Until I’ve gathered more data, I ask the reader to regard the following as preliminary findings in my ongoing research.

Rahu in the houses

My original focus was the nodes, so let’s start with them. Because Rahu represents the head of the celestial cobra, it’s typically regarded as the more dangerous of the two nodes. The head of the cobra contains the eyes to see (or mesmerize) its quarry, the fangs to inject venom into its victim, and the hinged jaws via which it can swallow its paralyzed prey.

My analysis of nodal positions by house in the horoscopes of killers revealed the following: Rahu in the 10th and 6th houses turned up more frequently than any other house. (Note: the chances of any planet turning up in any house are one in 12, or 8.33%. In this article, I’ve chosen to comment only on those placements occurring in 10% or more of the horoscopes under study.)

Conventional wisdom says natural malefics do well in upachaya houses (3rd, 6th, 10th, and 11th). Whether we dare speak of “doing well” within the context of homicide is debatable, but the key observation here is that, regarding Rahu as an agent of evil, it seems to wreak its havoc most readily in houses 10 and 6.

One characteristic of the king cobra, which can grow up to 18 feet in length, is that it’s capable of rearing up until its head is five feet off the ground, almost the height of a human. As such, it can strike primal fear into anyone nearby. Whether it intimidates by its mere presence, or subjugates by its fixed stare, is moot. This research includes several serial killers, Ted Bundy among them, whose Rahu in the 10th is an appropriate example of his ability to charm, seduce and compel his victims to a killing field.

Cobras and other serpents are also masters of camouflage and stealth, lying in wait until their unwary prey walks within striking distance. Thus, the 6th house is symbolic of the victim’s blind spot (12th from the 7th) from which the cobra can strike without warning. Here we have killers like Albert DeSalvo, aka “the Boston Strangler,” whose Rahu in the 6th symbolizes operating under cover of darkness or disguise, or using the element of surprise to overpower and kill his victims.

Mars in the houses

Because Rahu and Ketu are generic malefics who act like Saturn and Mars, respectively, I also examined the disposition of those visible malefics in the charts of homicidal perpetrators. The graph below illustrates the frequency of Mars’ appearance by house in the charts of these 195 killers:

Using a greater-than-10% frequency cut-off for significance, I found Mars exceeding that value in houses 8, 9 and 7. Without jumping through hoops to make sense of this, note that the 8th is the prime trikasthana with its associations of violence and trauma. The 9th is the house of dharma, wherein “crooked” Mars typically violates ethics. And the 7th is the “other” upon whom the violent rage of the murderer is projected.

Saturn in the houses

When I looked at Saturn’s frequency of appearance by house in killers’ charts, I found an entirely different disposition of house placements:

Again, using the 10% frequency cut-off, I found Saturn’s presence higher in houses 1, 11 and 12. To tease out the logic, let’s keep it simple. Saturn in the ascendant suggests a potentially cold personality, a person with scant regard for others. Its position in the 11th echoes that notion of malefics doing well in upachayas, but perhaps more importantly, from the 11th house Saturn also aspects the ascendant. As for the 12th, this trikasthana is associated with the ultimate loss of anything, including life, while Saturn itself is the karaka for death. Imprisonment, which Saturn in the 12th also represents, is frequently the fate of the perpetrator.

The proxy role of the chaya graha

As is generally well known, the chaya graha have the capacity to act as proxies for any planet with which they have a relationship in the horoscope. The most potent are those with which they associate by sign, and those by which they’re aspected. Next in significance are their dispositors, by sign and nakshatra. In this research, I’ve focused on the nodes’ capacity to act for Mars and Saturn, via association and aspect only.

In examining the 195 horoscopes in hand, I discovered that the influence of Mars and/or Saturn on the nodes was largely unremarkable. On average, Mars or Saturn will associate with or aspect one of the nodes in 33% of all charts. On the other hand, if we require both Mars and Saturn to associate with or aspect a node, this will be found in less than 3% of charts. But in both instances, murderers weren’t much different from the average population.

The sole exception was when Mars and Saturn simultaneously occupied the same signs as Rahu or Ketu. In other words, Mars and Saturn were both with Rahu or both with Ketu, or Mars with Rahu and Saturn with Ketu, or Mars with Ketu and Saturn with Rahu. Although the odds of this occurring in the general population are only 2.78%, the frequency with which this pattern occurred in murderers was 4.95%.

Admittedly, this is only a couple of percentage points different from what’s expected on average. However, note the right-hand scale on the graph above, where I’ve plotted “Significance” as a ratio of observed occurrence versus expected occurrence, and you’ll see that it’s almost double what’s expected by chance. Again, this is a small study, and my home-made yardstick of “significance” is certainly less robust than the far more rigorous definition used in formal statistical analysis. And yet, it does flag one factor for interpretation.

As chaya graha and malefics, Rahu and Ketu have their generic natures, Saturnian and Martian, respectively, so they already represent a tag-team of trouble. But the nodes are also amplifiers of whatever else contacts them. So if Mars and Saturn join in, we get an exponential increase of power on this classic axis of evil.

Mars and Saturn are also malefics, but natural enemies as well. When they sit on either or both ends of the nodal axis, they simultaneously influence each other, and both nodes. If we borrow the terminology of an arson investigator, this is like adding an accelerant (eg, gasoline) to an already-combustible material.

Thus, Mars, Saturn and the nodes combined will only serve to bring out the worst in each other. Even though they lurk unseen as shadow planets, Rahu and Ketu pull strings to provoke, as Shakespeare put it, murder most foul.


Alan Annand is a graduate of the American College of Vedic Astrology and a former tutor for the British Faculty of Astrological Studies. 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.”

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000031_00006]He’s also the author of several non-fiction books. 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 jyotish. Mutual Reception is an expanded companion volume for western practitioners, covering the same subject of planetary exchange through the lens of traditional astrology.


You can find his books on Amazon, Apple, Barnes&Noble, Kobo and Smashwords.




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Mercury Retrograde in Disasters

March 31st, 2018 · Astrology, Science


Mercury Retrograde in Disasters

A commonly-accepted notion in Western astrology is that when Mercury goes retrograde, as happens three times a year for roughly three weeks at a time, things go terribly wrong for people. But if that’s really true, shouldn’t it be reflected in events when hundreds – perhaps thousands, or even hundreds of thousands – of people had a really bad day, so bad they died?

Not knowing what I’d find, I examined the 60 worst disasters on record to see if there were any common astrological factors, particularly whether Mercury was retrograde at the time of the event. And by “worst” I mean those with the highest death tolls within each category of disaster.

Disasters and their data

Concerning disasters, there are four major types:

  1. Natural disasters comprise earthquakes, typhoons, floods and tsunamis. These are the most deadly natural phenomena, and in the top 15 natural disasters of all recorded time, they’ve claimed 138,000 to 3.7 million victims per event, for a total of 8.7 million fatalities.
  2. Maritime disasters involve loss of life on passenger ships and ferries. The Titanic is only the most famous, not the most deadly, of such tragedies. The top 15 maritime disasters have drowned 1,000 to 4,386 people per sinking, for a total of 27,000 deaths at sea.
  3. Rail disasters typically involve the derailment of passenger trains, or their head-on collision with other trains. In the last 100 years, these major mishaps have killed anywhere from 320 to 1,700 people per train wreck, for a total of 9,000 fatalities.
  4. Air disasters typically involve the downing of commercial airliners. These have all occurred within the past 45 years during which the size of aircraft has placed larger numbers of passengers at risk. These crashes have killed anywhere from 261 to 583 travelers per incident, for a total of almost 5,000 deaths.

For more information on disasters, including dates, times, death tolls and other circumstantial details, see:


Methodology & analysis

I first identified the top 15 disasters (ranked by death toll) within each of these four categories: natural, maritime, railway, and aviation. I then prepared charts for each event and ranked by frequency the astrological features for these events, first within their respective categories, and subsequently in total for all disastrous events in the study. I used sidereal positions, but since my analysis involved only aspects and retrogression, the results are (largely) independent of zodiacal sign.

In total, I examined 16 different astrological factors across these 60 disasters. Mercury retrograde is just one of those factors. The other 15 are the “hard” aspects between the Sun, Moon, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and the nodal axis.

Hard aspects comprise conjunctions, squares or oppositions. Most astrologers agree that “soft” aspects – sextiles and trines – correlate with benign conditions and circumstances, whereas hard aspects typically accompany difficulties of some kind, eg, disasters.

I did not include Mercury and Venus in the catalog of hard aspects with other planets. Because Mercury and Venus are both “inferior” planets whose orbits lie closest to the Sun, their movements from our perspective on Earth are not entirely independent of the Sun. For example, when the Sun is conjunct Jupiter, opposite Saturn, square the nodal axis, etc, Mercury and Venus are frequently in the same relationship with that other planet, especially when using sign-to-sign “aspects.”

In this study, I also chose not to apply Ptolemaic aspects within orbs, but simply noted sign-to-sign aspects as used in both Hellenistic and Vedic astrology. So, for example, if the Sun and Moon are both in Aries, no matter their respective degrees, they’re considered here to be associated, ie, “conjunct.” Or if the Sun is in any degree of Aries while the Moon is in any degree of Cancer, they’re considered to be “square.” And so on for “oppositions.”

Although one could argue that the exclusion of hard aspects to Mercury and Venus constitutes something less than a full review of the astrological factors in disasters, my rationale was as follows. First, I was primarily interested only in knowing how prevalent was Mercury retrograde in these events, and to do that, I needed only a modest number of other factors for comparison purposes. To add more planets (inferior or trans-Saturnian) or use Ptolemaic aspects would only serve to complicate the matter.

In a nutshell, popular astrological wisdom says that bad things happen during Mercury retrograde. The purpose of this study was simply to test that thesis.


On average, Mercury goes retrograde three times a year, with each period lasting about three weeks. More specifically, we’re informed in Jeff Mayo’s The Astrologer’s Astronomical Handbook that “in a synodic period of 116 days, Mercury retrogrades for an average of 22 days.” That’s roughly 19% of the time. Therefore, in 60 disasters, we’d expect to see Mercury retrograde in about 11 of them (60 @ 19% = 11.4).

The other astrological factors considered in this study are the hard aspects between the Sun, Moon, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and the nodal axis. Therefore, in order to subsequently assess the results, we must consider how frequently they occur on average. For instance, if we take Saturn as a stationary object, how often will those other planets form a hard aspect with it, ie, a conjunction, square, or opposition?

If Saturn sits in Libra, for example, the Sun will form a hard aspect with it four times in a year – an opposition from Aries, squares from Cancer and Capricorn, and a conjunction in Libra. In other words, the Sun will form a hard aspect from four signs out of 12, ie, one in three, or 33% of the time. And in fact, these odds are more or less the same for any faster-moving planet in its orbital cycle to form a hard aspect with any slower-moving planet.

Therefore, if we have 60 events, it would be normal to see hard aspects between any chosen pair of planets 33% of the time, or 20 occurrences for each pair.

Natural Disasters

Of the 15 natural disasters included in this study, Mercury was retrograde in only one of those events, and was in fact the least-occurring astrological factor among those included for analysis.

Recall that Mercury is retrograde roughly 19% of the time; therefore in 15 events it should have turned up roughly three times (15 @ 19% = 2.85).

As for “hard aspects” between planets, recall also that for any two planets to form a sign-to-sign hard aspect, the chances are 33%. So in 15 events, we would expect five occurrences for any given pair of planets.

As we can see from Graph 1 below, hard aspects between Moon/Saturn, Moon/Jupiter and Sun/Saturn were more predominant in natural disasters.

Can we draw any conclusions from this observation? Only that the Moon is the greatest influence on tides of atmosphere, ocean and tectonic plates, and that Saturn rules earth-shaking events.

Graph 1: Planetary patterns in 15 natural disasters

Representative natural disaster – Typhoon Nina

Known in the Philippines as Typhoon Bebeng, Nina was the fourth-deadliest tropical cyclone on record. After making landfall in Taiwan with winds of 115 mph and gusts of 138 mph, it crossed the Formosa Strait to mainland China. Blocked by a cold front, it became a stationary thunderstorm whose 3-day torrential rains overwhelmed the Banqiao Dam which received 1-in-2000-year flood conditions. Like dominoes, 61 other regional dams collapsed, killing 229,000 people.

The Moon is in a tight conjunction with Mars in Aries. Jupiter is associated with them in the same sign. All three are in sign-to-sign square with Sun and Saturn in Cancer.

Maritime Disasters

Of the 15 maritime disasters included in this study, Mercury was retrograde in six of those events, twice as prevalent as the three occurrences expected on average.

Although hard aspects between Sun/Rahu, Moon/Mars and Moon/Jupiter were actually more predominant in maritime disasters, we must also keep in mind that, notwithstanding their frequency, they are somewhat less than twice as prevalent as expected on average.

If we can conclude anything from this observation, it is that Mercury retrograde seems to have played an out-sized role in maritime disasters. 

Graph 2: Planetary patterns in 15 maritime disasters

 Representative maritime disaster – Sinking of the Doña Paz

On 20 December 1987, the Philippine passenger ferry Doña Paz collided with an oil tanker carrying a cargo of gasoline. Seriously overcrowded, the ferry had no radio, and its life jackets were all locked up. Upon collision, the tanker’s cargo ignited and spread to the ferry, which sank within two hours.

Passengers were forced to leap into shark-infested waters, struggling to stay afloat in a sea of dead bodies and burning gasoline. With an estimated death toll of 4,386 people and only 24 survivors, it was the deadliest peacetime maritime disaster in history.

The Sun, Moon, and Saturn were in the same sign, all square to Jupiter (in its own sign) and the nodal axis.

Railway Disasters

Of the 15 railway disasters included in this study, Mercury was retrograde in four of those events, slightly more than expected on average.

Hard aspects between Sun/Moon, Sun/Jupiter and Moon/Jupiter lead the pack in railway disasters, only the first of which is twice as prevalent as expected on average.

Hard aspects between Mars/Saturn come in fourth. Although mechanical failures (track infrastructure, signal systems, brakes, etc) are often to blame in railway accidents, this astrological factor is nonetheless scarcely above the average expected.

Graph 3: Planetary patterns in 15 railway disasters

Representative railway disaster – St-Michel-de-Maurienne

In December 1917, a troop train was carrying 1,000 French soldiers home for Christmas leave from the Italian front in WW1. Short of locomotives, the commanding officer for rail traffic coupled 19 coaches to a single engine. The train driver refused to drive the overloaded train, but was forced at gunpoint by the officer to proceed.

As the train descended the Maurienne valley, the brakes had no effect on the heavy load, and the driver lost control. After rocketing down the mountain at up to 84 mph, the first coach derailed, causing a massive pile-up and resultant fire, killing 700 troops.

 The Moon was dark and waning, in the same sign with the Sun. Both were opposed Jupiter, and all three in sign-to-sign square with Mars, which was in mutual reception with the Sun.

Aviation Disasters

Of the 15 aviation disasters included in this study, Mercury was retrograde in only two of these events, less than expected on average.

Hard aspects between Moon/Jupiter and Moon/Rahu are the most commonly-occurring aspects in aviation disasters, yet neither is significantly more prevalent than was expected on average. Hard aspects between Sun/Moon and Saturn/Rahu follow close behind, but again with unremarkable significance.

Notwithstanding this lacklustre showing, we might still note the participation of the Moon’s nodes (Rahu and Ketu, North and South Node, respectively) in two of the four most common factors. The North Node Rahu is commonly associated with aviation, as well as sudden events. 

Graph 4: Planetary patterns in 15 aviation disasters

Representative aviation disaster – Japan Airlines Flight 123

On 12 August 1985, on a domestic flight from Tokyo to Osaka, an explosive decompression on a Boeing 747 ripped off a large portion of its tail. The plane lost its hydraulic controls and crashed, killing 520 people on board.

The accident was attributed to a faulty repair performed by Boeing after a tail-strike incident during a landing seven years earlier. It is the deadliest single-aircraft incident in history, and the second-deadliest aviation accident, behind the 1977 Tenerife disaster when PanAm and KLM airliners collided on the airport runway.

The crash chart features a full moon, a debilitated Mars and Jupiter, and an exalted Saturn, all in mutual hard aspect with the Sun and the nodal axis. Mercury is also retrograde.

Overall observations

To summarize the results of these four disaster categories, the astrological factors in play are presented by order of frequency in Graph 5 below. The first thing we should note is that Mercury retrograde is one of the least-frequently-occurring of the 16 astrological factors present at the time of a disaster. But how “infrequent” is that?

As it turns out, Mercury was retrograde during 13 of these 60 disasters. This is a relatively small sample when compared to rigorous statistical studies, but we can still apply simple math to get a rough idea of its significance. Recall from the earlier section on Expectations that, in 60 disasters, we expected to see Mercury retrograde in about 11 of them (60 @ 19% = 11.4). In other words, with Mercury retrograde in 13 of these incidents, against an expectation of 11 such occurrences, we could say that Mercury retrograde has exceeded expectations by 18%.

How does that compare in significance to the other 15 astrological factors, ie, the hard aspects among the Sun, Moon, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and the nodal axis? Again, referring back to the section on Expectations, we noted that any of these planetary pairs would form a hard aspect 33% of the time. In 60 events, that means we’d expect Sun/Moon, or any other planetary pair for that matter, to form a hard aspect 20 times.

If we examine Graph 5 below, we see that roughly half of the planetary pairs appear as per average expectations (n=20), give or take an event. Three of these planetary pairs (Moon/Jupiter, Moon/Sun and Sun/Saturn) appear with greater frequency, while two pairs (Mars/Saturn and Jupiter/Rahu) appear with less frequency.

Graph 5: Planetary patterns in 60 disasters

Now, instead of looking only at the raw number of occurrences (ie, hard aspect of some planetary pair vs Mercury retrograde) over these 60 events, I re-plotted this data in Graph 6 to illustrate a “significance” index. This acknowledges the fact that we expect Mercury to be retrograde 11 times in a study of 60 events, but we expect a hard aspect between any planetary pair to occur 20 times in 60 events. In other words, based on pure numbers alone, a hard aspect between any planetary pair is on average twice as likely as Mercury being retrograde.

Thus, the “significance” index for a planetary pair is equal to X observed occurrences of a hard aspect between that pair, divided by 20, the expected number of occurrences for a study of this size (n=60). Similarly, the “significance” index for Mercury retrograde is equal to Y observed occurrences of Mercury retrograde, divided by 11, the expected number of occurrences in a study this size.

Graph 6: Significance of planetary patterns in 60 disasters

If we now compare these two preceding graphs – the raw numbers of planetary patterns occurring, and their significance relative to expectations – we can make some meaningful observations:

As can be seen from Graph 6, the most significant astrological feature in disasters is a hard aspect – conjunction, square or opposition – between the Moon and Jupiter (n=33). This pattern was present in 55% of these disasters. Furthermore, these Moon/Jupiter aspects occurred 65% more frequently than expected.

The second most significant astrological feature is a hard aspect between the Sun and Moon (n=29). This pattern was present in 48% of these disasters, and occurred 45% more frequently than expected.

The third most significant feature is a hard aspect between the Sun and Saturn (n=27). This was present in 45% of these disasters, and occurred 35% more frequently than expected.

The fourth most significant feature is Mercury retrograde (n=13). Although this occurred in only 22% of these disasters, it was observed 18% more frequently than expected.

Meanwhile, at the far end of the scale, the least significant feature is a hard aspect between Jupiter and the nodal axis (n=13). This was present in only 22% of these disasters, and occurred 35% less frequently than expected.


Admittedly, this is a relatively small (n=60) number of events upon which to draw any firm conclusions. However, as a test of the thesis – Is Mercury retrograde significant in disastrous events? – this study would seem to suggest a very modest correlation. Mercury retrograde was present in 13 out of 60 disasters, which is roughly 18% more often than expected.

However, other astrological factors appear to be more significant. Hard aspects between Moon/Jupiter, Moon/Sun and Sun/Saturn appeared even more frequently than expected – 55%, 45% and 35%, respectively.

Are these numbers statistically significant? To answer that question may require a statistician (which I am not) and a study that incorporates a much larger number of disasters.

In the meantime, however, we may wish to comfort ourselves that the regular recurrence of Mercury retrograde in our astrological calendars should not provoke the anxiety that is so typically stoked by some practitioners.

We might just as well fear hard aspects between the luminaries and the two largest planets. For those of morbid inclination, we can now envision a “disaster clock” in which there are four hands – Saturn, Jupiter, Sun and Moon. When the hands align, oppose or square each other, trouble looms.

Jupiter and Saturn are in hard aspect for a year at a time. Within that year, the Sun will be in hard aspect with both Jupiter and Saturn every three months – for a month at a time. Within any of those months, the Moon will be in hard aspect with all three – Sun, Jupiter, Saturn – for a couple of days each week.

But if Mercury is also retrograde at the same time, maybe you really should stay home.


Alan Annand is a graduate of the American College of Vedic Astrology and a former tutor for the British Faculty of Astrological Studies. 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.”

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000031_00006]He’s also the author of several non-fiction books. 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 jyotish. Mutual Reception is an expanded companion volume for western practitioners, covering the same subject of planetary exchange through the lens of traditional astrology.


You can find his books on Amazon, Apple, Barnes&Noble, Kobo and Smashwords.

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Book review: Hellenistic Astrology by Chris Brennan

March 4th, 2018 · Astrology, Book Review, Publication

As the birth of Alexander the Great approached, legend has it that the court astrologer, seeing the imminent nativity would render a less-than-stellar chart, instructed that the mother should be girdled in restraints to delay her delivery. After some time had passed, and now seeing that a suitable ascendant would arise, the astrologer signaled the restraints should be loosed on the laboring mother. Allegedly, Alexander promptly burst forth from his mother’s womb with the force of a cannon ball.

The arrival of Chris Brennan’s book, Hellenistic Astrology, is evocative of this historic event. The astrological community, largely traditionalists, but more especially devotees of Project Hindsight, has known for years this book was in the making. Like many forms of suspense, the wait has been excruciating, the release long-anticipated and welcome.

Three weeks ago, I received my copy in the mail from Amazon. Suffering as I was from a month of weirdly disturbed sleep (blame it on the recent eclipses), I was in an unfortunate pattern of awaking in the pre-dawn hours. Rather than resent this unusual insomnia, I made use of it to spend two hours every morning reading this lengthy (670 pp) book before my normal day began. Within two weeks, I’d completed it. There’s a lot to say about this book, and honestly, it’s all complimentary, although I don’t know Chris personally.

The first quarter of the book is a welcome history lesson, leaving no stone unturned, with a detailed account of Hellenistic astrology’s genesis and evolution, and the principal astrologers of the period, from the first century BC to the 6th or 7th century CE. After laying out the philosophical issues, Chris then conducts an exhaustive (but not exhausting) review of all main elements of astrology, starting with the nuts and bolts: planets, zodiac, aspects and houses.

The first half of this book is heavily footnoted, and although I usually resent footnotes for breaking the narrative, I assume Chris’s intention was simply to make sure that everyone would understand where each piece of the puzzle came from. I love a good mystery and, as I was reading this, I saw a forensic investigator working an archaeological crime scene, documenting the nature and location of every thread and shard of evidence in support of the case he was building.

Along the way, he’s set a very high standard for astrological scholarship. As a jyotishi (aka, Vedic astrologer), I was half-expecting a bit of Hellenic spear-rattling regarding the sidereal/tropical zodiac debate, or the question of who owes whom for certain concepts or developments. But Chris is even-handed throughout, indeed diplomatic, regarding any potentially contentious issues. Equally honorable, in a field where we must all inevitably stand on the shoulders of those who’ve come before us, he acknowledges his mentors – the three Roberts of Project Hindsight – Hand, Schmidt and Zoller. Equally gracious, he credits his fellow detectives, Demetra George and Benjamin Dykes, in having helped decipher many of the clues they’ve found in scattered tomes of antiquity.

After the foundational elements are in place, Chris then lays out all the principal concepts and techniques – lordships, bonification and maltreatment, sects, lots, annual profections and zodiacal releasing. The last third of the book is quite generous with chart examples, of both historical and contemporary persons, sufficient in number to make clear the various principles being presented. Clearly there is more to Hellenistic astrology than this, but as a single volume there is literally nothing else like it that covers the history, philosophy, concepts and basic techniques in one fell swoop.

Who is this book for? Quite simply, everyone who calls themselves an astrologer, or who wants to be one.

Whether or not you intend to practice Hellenistic astrology is beside the point. If you’re a western astrologer, this is core material for your tradition, alongside the Persian/Arabic thread that became interwoven with the Hellenistic material into Medieval astrology and its subsequent evolution/devolution into modern western astrology. Vedic astrologers will profit from reading this too, not that it will challenge their allegiances, but because it will demonstrate so much common ground.

As my teacher’s guru once said, it only takes a gross intellect to see the difference between things, but it takes a subtle intelligence to see the commonality among things.

Chris has done an admirable job in presenting a large body of core material that does more to unite astrologers than divide us. And in this day and age, that’s a spirit worth nurturing.


Alan Annand is a graduate of the American College of Vedic Astrology and a former tutor for the British Faculty of Astrological Studies. 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.”

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000031_00006]He’s also the author of several non-fiction books. 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 jyotish. Mutual Reception is an expanded companion volume for western practitioners, covering the same subject of planetary exchange through the lens of traditional astrology.


You can find his books on Amazon, Apple, Barnes&Noble, Kobo and Smashwords.

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Who’s your Dada? (astrology of the surreal)

March 4th, 2018 · Astrology, Instruction


Dada and surrealism

Surrealism, best known for its visual artworks and writings, is a cultural movement that began in the early 1920s. Its precursor, Dada, emerged during World War I, and was a reaction to the absurdity of modern times, including the notion of a war to end all wars. The most important center for both movements was Paris, but its ideas eventually went global.

The aim of Dada and Surrealism was to integrate previously contradictory conditions of dream and reality into a super-reality. Artists painted illogical scenes with photographic precision, with the intention of unnerving the viewer via bizarre images often developed from the use of everyday objects.

Dada and surrealism feature elements of surprise, unexpected juxtapositions and non sequiturs. Although it became a serious medium for visual artists, it also attracted many writers, musicians and dramatists. It often played on words, turning puns into visual images, and delighted in turning the public’s head on its ear. Many of its core adherents and practitioners regarded Surrealism as a philosophy first but ultimately, a revolutionary movement.

Mercury the cerebral magician

From the astrologers of antiquity up to researchers of the modern era, eg, statistician Michel Gauquelin, we know that most professions can be attributed to certain planets or combinations of planets. For example, Mars is the significator for athletes, police and military; Jupiter for writers and teachers; Saturn for scientists, and so on.

Although astrologers typically assign Venus rulership of art, in the case of Dada and Surrealism we are confronted with a niche in the art world that might best be referred to as concept art. For instance, Dada and Surrealism, rather than relying upon traditional notions of aesthetics, make great use of illogic vs logic, incongruity of every kind, puns, and trompe l’oeil, ie, optical illusion.

In other words, the Dada/Surrealists are playing games with the audience. If not literally tricking our eyes, they are messing with our minds, and indeed our traditional notions of what constitutes art. Their work is chockfull of ideas intended to provoke discussion and debate. And because of this, Mercury the archetypal trickster and cerebral magician may be the most appropriate significator for this whole art movement.

If you can accept that notion, let the mind games begin…

To prepare for this study, I first relied on Wikipedia to identify the Top 30 artists in the Dada and Surrealist movements. I then checked Astrodienst ( and found accurate (Rodden AA) birth data for 20 of them. Their names appear in the table below.

For each artist with known birth time, I noted their Lagna and Moon signs. But what I was really interested in were the two planets ruling them – the lagnesh, and the Moon’s lord.

The lagnesh is the key individuating factor, because the ascendant is the fastest moving point of traditional interest in the birth chart. The next most dynamic element of the chart is the Moon, which changes sign every 2.5 days. The Sun, Mercury and Venus are the next most dynamic, but they only change sign every month, so they are poor individuators of anything.

These two – lagnesh and Moon lord – are the planets of interest. So going into this study, I anticipated Mercury might turn up as a signature planet among Dada and Surrealist artists, ie, well-represented among these ascendant lords and Moon dispositors.

The following table lists the artists under consideration. Some art historians may quibble with some inclusions, but there’s no doubt they are all birds of a feather. Picasso, for instance, was much admired by the Surrealists for his cubist work, and was courted and encouraged to join the club, but declined.

Artist ASC ASC-lord MO-sign MO-lord
Hans Arp VI ME AR MA
Antonin Artaud VI ME CN MO
André  Breton VI ME AR MA
Luis Bunuel GE ME SC MA
Jean Cocteau TA VE VI ME
Salvador Dali GE ME PI JU
Robert Desnos CN MO VI ME
Marcel Duchamp LI VE LI VE
Paul Eluard CP SA SC MA
Max Ernst GE ME SG JU
George Grosz SC MA SG JU
Federico Lorca AQ SA SG JU
René Magritte SC MA AQ SA
André Masson LI VE LE SU
Joan Miro CN MO GE ME
Pablo Picasso CN MO SC MA
Erik Satie CN MO GE ME
Yves Tanguy CN MO AQ SA
Tristan Tzara SC MA TA VE
Edgard Varese GE ME VI ME


I sorted this list by frequency of ascendant lord, and found that Mercury was the lagnesh a third (7/20) of the time. Moon came second, Mars and Venus third.

When I sorted the list by frequency of Moon dispositor, Mercury and Mars each appeared a quarter (5/20) of the time. Jupiter wasn’t far behind those two.

Finally, I added the frequency counts for each planet – once if lagnesh, again if the Moon’s lord – and tallied the results. The chart below shows that Mercury as a key individuator turns up most frequently at 30% (12/40) of the time. Mars is runner-up, appearing 20% (8/40) of the time. The Moon came in third, appearing 15% (6/40) of the time.

If we think about it, we’d expect the Sun and Moon to be poorly-represented, since they each own only one sign apiece. But the true planets – Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus and Saturn – all own two signs apiece and are therefore expected to emerge as significators twice as often as the luminaries.

In the case of ascendants, however, there’s another factor that must be considered: ascension time. In the sidereal zodiac the signs of long ascension – Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra and Scorpio – take longer to rise, and thus collectively occupy the eastern horizon for more hours of the day than signs of short ascension. Among these signs of long ascension, note both Gemini and Virgo. As a consequence, Mercury-ruled ascendants are more common than any other.

Although this does not apply to the proportion of time the Moon spends in any sign, the bias in ascendants must be accounted for. Therefore, after factoring in signs of short and long ascension, and single-vs-dual sign rulership, I calculated the expected representation of the planets, as shown in the graph below, for comparison against their actual appearance.

Note that the Moon, Mars and Mercury in the charts of these artists appear more frequently than expected by chance. Mercury remains the outstanding performer, appearing roughly 61% more often than expected. Mars, although coming second, only exceeds expectations by 24%. Meanwhile the Moon, despite coming in third, actually appears 56% more often than expected by chance.


Rationalizing the irrational

Since it was my original hypothesis, it’s no surprise that cerebral Mercury emerged as the dominant planet among Dada and Surrealist artists, the pioneers of concept art. Admittedly, it’s a small sample, but we’re astrologers first, statisticians second, and we do what we can with what’s available. Having already explained why Mercury the trickster has an affinity with Dada and Surrealism, it only remains now to rationalize the frequency of Mars and the Moon, as opposed to some other “artistic” planet, say Venus.

For centuries, Mars was the proverbial thorn in the side of astrologers because its lengthy retrogression cycles confounded the ability of astronomers to accurately calculate its orbital motion. For that very same reason, Hindu astrologers sometimes called Mars “Vakra,” the crooked one, because its movements were so irregular, and therefore unpredictable. For symbolic reasons, it was likewise regarded as a rebel, a renegade, an iconoclast who violated normal expectations.

Once we understand the astronomical background, we can better appreciate the astrological associations. Among the traditional planets, Mars is regarded as a rule-violator and a shit-disturber, someone disinclined to go along with the normal order of things. And for that very reason, Mars is an ideal co-significator for the Dada/Surrealist movement. That whole gang of artists liked nothing better than to antagonize, disgust, provoke and vex the entire art establishment of the day, if not indeed, the political status quo.

As for the Moon, its constantly-changing appearance is a useful metaphor for phases of popular fashion or fame. In jyotish, the Moon also governs perceptions, so whether we think of this as a personal faculty (sight, sound, touch, smell, taste) or a public opinion (eg, what constitutes art?), we’re confronted with the notion that, beauty lies in the eye of the beholder. Except in the case of many Dada and Surrealist works, this could be amended to: meaning lies in the eye of the beholder. And so, even as the artist plays mind games with our perception of his art, something is happening to provoke a fresh perception of the ideas that underlie the art.

Just as love is a many-splendored thing, art is a many-layered thing…

Now that we’ve done a “statistical” analysis of key planets in the charts of 20 Dada/Surrealist artists, let’s take a closer look at four principals of the movement­. In the examples below, I didn’t cherry-pick them for their astrological attributes, but simply selected the most renowned. André Breton, although his name isn’t known to the general public, is generally acknowledged as the founder of Surrealism. Max Ernst was a major figure in the Dada movement that morphed into Surrealism. René Magritte was perhaps the best-known of the early Surrealists. And Salvador Dali is so well-known that his name is practically synonymous with Surrealism.


André Breton

André Breton was French. He attended medical school, but his studies were interrupted by WW1, and he was assigned to a neurological ward for shell-shocked soldiers. After his first marriage he settled in Paris, associating with many radical artists and writers of the day, many of whom disdained the contemporary art establishment.

He launched literary reviews, helped found the Bureau of Surrealist Research, and published the seminal Surrealist Manifesto, in which he defined surrealism as “Psychic automatism by which one expresses, through the written word or any other manner, the actual functioning of thought, absent any control exercised by reason, exempt from any aesthetic or moral concern.”

Breton was an equal-opportunity agitator, as involved in politics as he was in the art world. For a time he was a communist, until an argument with a leading Soviet writer ended in a fistfight. Later he became something of an anarchist opposed to French colonialism, and supported Algeria’s war of independence. Even his passion for Surrealism sometimes went too far, his hard-sell tactics failing to recruit Picasso, while his demands for allegiance alienated Dali. Yet without his influence, Surrealism might never have been defined.

André Breton has Virgo rising, so his lagnesh is Mercury, retrograde in the 5th house of creativity. It’s influenced only by the two prime benefics – association with 5th lord Venus (Raja Yoga) and mutual aspect from an exalted and retrograde 4th/7th lord Jupiter (another two Raja Yogas). This bestows some traditional aesthetics (Venus) as well as philosophy (Jupiter), the latter of which was key, since Breton saw Surrealism as something bigger than art – a philosophical revolution.

Note as well that Venus and Saturn are in Parivartana Yoga between the 2nd and 5th houses, a classic signature for authorship.

From the perspective of the Moon (Chandralagna), all the benefics (Mercury, Jupiter, Venus) are in kendras, along with exalted Saturn. This pattern reflected perhaps his hope that the masses (the Moon) would be so aroused by the philosophical ideas (Mercury, Jupiter) of Surrealism that they would be inspired to overthrow the political status quo (Saturn exalted).

The Moon’s dispositor is Mars in fiery Sagittarius, again invoking notions of revolt and radicalism. Mars is the only planet in kendra from the lagna, reflecting Breton’s passion and his militant stance on certain Surrealist principles dear to his heart. Within the movement there were many spirited arguments sparked by Breton, some of which ended in fistfights, banishments and mean-spirited vendettas, the artistic equivalent of a fatwa against people who disagreed with him.

Like many a person with a dual sign rising, Breton’s marital life was somewhat irregular, and he was married three times. The 7th house is a keeta rashi, suggesting some of this multiplicity. Its lord Jupiter, although doubly strong, is afflicted by aspects from both Mars and Saturn, a dynamic that reflected on his contentious relationships – personal, professional and political.

Max Ernst

Max Ernst was German. His father was an amateur painter and strict disciplinarian who inspired in his son a penchant for defying authority. After finishing university, Ernst began to paint, and to visit insane asylums where he became fascinated with the art of mentally ill patients. Military service in WW1 was so devastating that he considered himself to have died in the war, only to be reborn again after the Armistice.

Following demobilization, Ernst became active in German art circles, forming friendships with many artists in the Dada movement. He started working with collage, which became one of his dominant media, and experimented with other techniques. He divorced his wife, moved to Paris, and entered a ménage à trois with another artist, sharing the affections of Gala, who later became Salvador Dali’s lifelong muse and companion. He developed a fascination with birds, whose imagery appeared in many of his works.

He remarried again, divorced, and was briefly interned in France at the outset of WW2 as an “undesirable foreigner.” Thanks to the efforts of friends, he was released, after which he promptly immigrated to America with the help of Peggy Guggenheim, a bohemian socialite art collector with a voracious sexual appetite whom he later married. In New York he helped inspire the development of abstract expressionism.

Ernst was a great experimenter. He invented frottage, which creates images by rubbing a pencil over a rough surface in order to capture its texture. He also experimented with grattage, which involves scratching the surface of a painting, and with decalcomania, which involves altering a wet painting by pressing something else against it before removing it to leave a composite image.

Max Ernst has Gemini rising, and his lagnesh Mercury is debilitated in 10th house Pisces. It’s associated only with the Sun, lord of the 3rd and therefore the significator of artistic talents and prowess.

His Moon’s dispositor is Jupiter, which associates with Venus in the 9th to form two Raja Yogas.

It’s also noteworthy that Ernst has a powerful Mars in the 11th, the strongest planet in his chart and well-placed by house. As mentioned earlier, Mars is one of those planets associated with innovation, novelty, unpredictability and thumbing one’s nose at the Establishment.

Like many another dual-signed ascendant, Ernst not only had eclectic interests in art, but a willingness to experiment with relationships. Aside from having many lovers and cohabitation partners, he was married four times. The Moon, most ephemeral of the planets, occupies dual Sagittarius in the 7th. And the 7th lord Jupiter associates with 12th lord Venus (secret lovers) while being opposed by libidinous Saturn.

René Magritte

René Magritte was Dutch. He began taking drawing lessons when he was 10 years old. His mother, who’d made several suicide attempts over the years, drowned herself when he was 13. After a formal education at an esteemed art academy, he became disillusioned with traditional art and began to experiment with cubism and futurism. After an exhibition of his work in Brussels received abusive criticism, he became depressed and moved to Paris, where his work was soon embraced by the Surrealists.

Magritte developed an illusionistic, dream-like style of painting that became his signature technique. He became a leading member of the Surrealism movement, and remained in Paris for three years. Although respected as an artist, he couldn’t make a living, and moved back to Brussels to open an ad agency with his brother. In the lean post-WW2 period, he supported himself by producing fake Picassos, Braques and Chiricos, even forging banknotes.

In the 1950s he returned to the style and themes of his pre-war surreal art and built his reputation all over again, this time in America as well. His work frequently displayed a collection of ordinary objects in an unusual context, giving new meanings to familiar things. Popular interest in Magritte’s work rose considerably in the 1960s, and his imagery subsequently influenced pop, minimalist and conceptual art.

René Magritte has Scorpio rising, making Mars his lagnesh. Mars is well-placed in the 9th, and even though it’s debilitated, it still has the power to express itself in a radical way. It enjoys a moderate form of Neecha Bhanga Yoga, since its dispositor the Moon is in a kendra, as is Saturn, the lord of Capricorn in which Mars would be exalted.

The lagna, plus four planets in Scorpio, reflects his ability to doggedly persevere with his art through many lean years before he achieved artistic and financial success.

The Moon’s dispositor is Saturn, the lord of the artistic 3rd house. Furthermore, Saturn is associated with Venus the significator of the arts, and Mercury the cerebral planet that plays a key role in trompe l’oeil, the optical illusions of which Magritte was so fond.

With a fixed sign rising and Venus the 7th lord also in a fixed sign, Magritte evidenced at least some persistence in his marriage. Although he once had an affair with his model, and encouraged another artist friend to console his wife by wooing her, their marriage remained intact, with no more than a few intervening years of infidelity.

Salvador Dali

Salvador Dali was Spanish. His father said he was the reincarnation of a brother who’d died nine months earlier. During his adolescence, his father made him view pictures of people in advanced stages of decay from sexually transmitted diseases, which inspired in Dali a lifelong fear of sexual intimacy. In later years, his father disinherited him because of his relationship with Gala, ten years Dali’s senior, but they later reconciled.

Dali studied art in Madrid, experimented with cubism, but was expelled for causing unrest. He moved to Paris and met his idol Picasso. He was a highly skilled draftsman influenced by Renaissance masters, but often included both classic and modern techniques in his work, to the consternation of critics.

He claimed Moorish ancestry to explain his love of things luxurious, gilded and excessive. He was highly imaginative, indulging in grandiose eccentric behavior, to the irritation of critics and others who held his work in high esteem.

By the 1930s, Dali had completely embraced Surrealism, both in art and public appearances, which bordered on performance art. After a political argument with André Breton, he was expelled from the Surrealist movement. Ironically, Dali eventually secured a reputation for himself such that his name is more likely than any to evoke Surrealism.

Dali and his muse Gala spent WW2 in America but eventually returned to Spain to live out his final three decades, highly productive and experimenting with multiple techniques, including pointillism, stereoscopic images and holography. Later pop artists like Lichtensetin and Warhol cited him as a primary influence.

Symptomatic of his personality, Dali had dozens of quirks. When signing autographs for fans, he always kept their pens. He frequently traveled with his pet ocelot. He avoided paying restaurant bills by drawing on the back of his checks, correctly anticipating that the restaurant owner would rather keep the drawing than cash the check.

Salvador Dali has Gemini Rising, so his lagnesh is also Mercury. Here Mercury is in mixed condition, both retrograde and combust, in the 12th house with rebellious Mars. So in his case, we have the two primary “signature” planets of Dada and Surrealism joining forces in the 12th. Since this is the place for “pleasures of the bed,” it’s perhaps no surprise to note that many of Dali’s works incorporated either sexual imagery, eg, rhino horns, or juxtapositions of imagery that conjure up the notion of fevered dreams.

The great irony here is that Dali personally avoided sexual intimacy with others. Although Gala had many affairs over the years, Dali was reputed to be content with self-gratification. Astrologically, the rationale for this might be found in the powerful but repressive Saturn in its own sign in the 8th house of sex-for-sex’s-sake. Alternatively, we might see the Parivartana Yoga between Venus and Mars, the archetypal passion planets, as provoking the negation of “bed pleasures.”

The Moon’s dispositor is Jupiter, which is in its own sign, strong in the 10th house, and an obvious indicator of the fame he enjoyed.

Last but not least, the Sun as lord of the artistic 3rd is exalted in the 11th, reflecting his prodigious activity. Its entwinement with the Parivartana Yoga between 11th and 12th lords might have provided the only channel – an artistic one – for his thwarted sexuality.


Although Surrealism has waned as a contemporary art movement, over the decades its public appeal has continued unabated, and remains popular with museum patrons. In 1999 the Guggenheim Museum in New York hosted a well-attended major exhibit, and in 2001 the Tate Modern held an exhibition of Surrealist art that attracted over 170,000 visitors.

Although Surrealism is typically associated with the arts, it has also transcended art by instigating creative acts of revolt in the hopes of liberating the imagination. In this regard it has been successful in provoking fierce debate among writers, visual artists and architects of social change. The combination of Mercurial ideas, charged with the fiery passion of Mars, has left an indelible mark on Western society.


Alan Annand is a graduate of the American College of Vedic Astrology and a former tutor for the British Faculty of Astrological Studies. 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.”

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000031_00006]He’s also the author of several non-fiction books. 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 jyotish. Mutual Reception is an expanded companion volume for western practitioners, covering the same subject of planetary exchange through the lens of traditional astrology.


You can find his books on Amazon, Apple, Barnes&Noble, Kobo and Smashwords.




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Howard Hughes: an exercise in rectification

February 1st, 2018 · Astrology, celebrity, Instruction

Howard Hughes – man of mystery or just another case of misattributed birthday?

Although Hughes’ birth time was accurately nailed down as 10:12 PM in Houston, Texas, astrologers must contend with two widely divergent birth dates for the notoriously reclusive billionaire. Astrodienst (, the go-to site for reputable birth data, provides two dates separated by three months.

One is September 24, 1905, as declared over a year later (October 7, 1906) in a baptismal certificate presumably endorsed by his parents, and whose date subsequently appears in a biography by Richard Hack, Hughes – the Private Diaries, Memos and Letters. Problem is, the only birth certificate Hughes ever had, issued in 1941[!], was based on a sworn statement by his aunt who said he was born December 24, 1905.

Wikipedia uses December 24th as Hughes’ birthday, but on Astrodienst’s site, September 24th is proffered first as the birthday, albeit with a Rodden Rating of XX (date in question), while subsequently indicating December 24th as the alternate. Curiously, the renowned rectification astrologer Isaac Starkman has not applied his technique to Mr. Hughes’ case.

Since nature abhors a vacuum, I decided to fill it… and started off thinking this would be a piece of cake. Usually it’s birth time uncertainty we have to cope with. Given an exact time, how hard could it be to choose between two birth dates separated by three months? Hughes’ life was certainly eventful enough, and well-documented so as to provide multiple data points for comparison against two distinctly different birth charts.

His mother died when he was 16, his father two years later. He inherited a fortune, and through shrewd business decisions in the movie industry, manufacturing, aviation and real estate, he multiplied it many times over. He married and divorced twice, but never had any children. At one time he dated nearly every Hollywood starlet of the day. He learned to fly when he was 14 and subsequently set world records for speed and distance. He had dozens of accidents – a car accident that killed a pedestrian, a flying accident that killed two passengers, and another plane crash that destroyed four houses and nearly killed him. Later in life, he became known for his eccentric behavior and reclusive lifestyle – oddities caused in part by an obsessive–compulsive disorder, and chronic pain from several plane crashes. He died in 1976 with an estate at the time of $2.5 billion, one of the most financially successful individuals in the world.

Here are the two charts on offer. Before going further, readers are encouraged to think about which of these charts they think is the better fit.

I won’t bore you with the internal debate that raged between my ears for a day or two. The beauty of jyotish is that there are so many charts, sub-charts and techniques to apply to this sort of thing; the curse of jyotish is that it’s a double-edged sword that allows you to split hairs both coming and going.

Anyone who’s done astrology for a long time will admit there are many charts that have confounded us. We’ve pondered some and wondered how these things could have happened to these people – how one lost their inheritance in a legal battle while another won the lottery, how one fell from a plane and survived while another choked to death on a biscuit, or another was wrongfully convicted to spend two decades in prison, while another was elected president of the USA.

Astrology is God’s work, my teacher’s guru used to say, and He guards it jealously. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it.

Both the Astrodienst and Wikipedia entries for Howard Hughes offer a wealth of detail, including many specific dates for marriage, divorce, accidents, plane crashes, etc, and his death. Readers are welcome to do as I have done, comparing lagnas, yogas, amshas, dashas and bhuktis, transits, etc, against these two candidate charts. For anyone embarking upon this exercise, it will undoubtedly impress the open-minded how two distinctly different charts can still provide varying degrees of astrological post-mortem evidence for whatever circumstance or event is under consideration, sometimes favoring a September birth, other times, December. But at the end of the day, it all came down to a few critical factors that strongly favored the December chart. Following is a discussion of those salient features.

The December chart has Leo rising with Rahu in the 1st house. The rising nakshatra is Magha, and many of its qualities ring a bell: family pedigree, real estate wealth, winning trophies, and the exercise of power, politics and patronage. Hughes’ father was a millionaire inventor, his mother a debutante. Hughes made prescient investments in Las Vegas real estate, and bought and sold properties like baseball trading cards. He broke several aviation flying records and won many prestigious awards. He was involved in politics via lobbying, financial support and, sometimes, outright bribes.

The December chart has three planets – Mercury, Moon and Venus – in Jyeshta. Some of the relevant characteristics of that nakshatra are mystery and secrecy, care-giving, and receiving a kick-start from one’s father. Hughes was notoriously reclusive, often traveling under pseudonyms. He established America’s largest medical research corporation, and often paid for the medical treatment of friends, lovers and their family members. His entire fortune started with an inheritance from his father who’d invented a drill bit used world-wide by the oil industry.

Speaking of the 4th house, consider the mother. The dark and debilitated Moon is a classic case of karako bhavo nashto, a potential spoiler for the mother or one’s relationship with her. Hughes’ mother adored her only child and was so possessive of him it verged on emotional incest. Afraid that he’d pick up germs and become ill, she checked his naked body for temperature, bowel movements and signs of illness. She insisted on bathing him from infancy until he was in his early teens. She died from complications of an ectopic pregnancy when he was 16.

With respect to relationships, it was complicated. Mars and Saturn are in graha yuddha, and their planetary war damages both of them. Hughes was married and divorced twice. For a time he dated some of the biggest names in Hollywood, but also had compulsive attractions to underage women, meanwhile employing a team of private detectives to track the movements of anyone with whom he was temporarily infatuated. In his later years, he was too much of a germophobe to have relationships with anyone.

Aside from his well-known weirdness and obsessive-compulsive disorder, Hughes suffered multiple physical issues: neurosyphilis and brain inflammation, allodynia (exaggerated pain from physical stimuli), and later in life, dementia and kidney failure. Although some of this can be attributed to syphilis stemming from his youth, and 14 head injuries from accidents, his spiral into mental deterioration and full-blown psychosis is also consistent with a disturbed manas, that autonomic function of the brain that is the body’s operating system.

Analysis of the manas hinges on three factors – the 4th lord, the 4th house, and the Moon as karaka – trouble looming when any of these three are weak, poorly placed, or fall under the influence of Saturn or Rahu, the two planets of decay and derangement. In the December chart, Hughes’ 4th lord is Mars, weakened by planetary war, conjunct with Saturn in Saturn’s sign, and aligned on the Rahu/Ketu axis. The 4th house itself is aspected by a powerful (swa, dig bala) Saturn. Finally, the Moon is dark, debilitated, and aspected by Saturn. Overall, this reflects massive damage to the manas.

Although I examined dozens of life events through the lens of dasha, bhukti and gochara, scarcely anything compares to death itself. Hughes allegedly died aboard a private jet en route back to Houston, his death occurring at 1:27 PM on April 5, 1976, over Brownsville, Texas. Using the December chart, Hughes would have been running RA-MO-JU.

Rahu gives results for both Mars and Saturn who aspect it. As occupant of the 7th, Mars is a maraka, but as lord of the 9th for a fixed sign rising, is also a badhaka planet. Saturn is a double maraka, being both lord and occupant of the 7th. The Moon is the lord of the 12th, while its nakshatra dispositor Mercury as lord of the 2nd is a maraka. Jupiter is the lord of the 8th, while its nakshatra dispositor Sun is the lagnesh. At the time of death, the transiting Sun was in Hughes’ 8th house in a Mercury (maraka) nakshatra, while transiting Moon was in his 10th in a Mars (maraka, badhaka) nakshatra.

One final note that may illustrate the validity of the December chart comes from the Notable Names Database (, whose entry for Hughes is shown on his Astrodienst page. Interestingly, Hughes appears in his aviator helmet, while the executive summary for his entry labels him as “Insane billionaire.”

As is perhaps well known, many devotees of Nadi astrology and Krishnamurthi Paddhati subscribe to the principle that a planet serves its nakshatra lord. If we examine the star lords of Hughes’ planets in the December chart, we see that the three planets in his 7th house fall in a Mars nakshatra, while the three planets in his 4th fall in a Mercury nakshatra. Aside from both Mars and Mercury being swa nakshatra, this tells us that one-third of the time (Mars, Saturn and Ketu dasha/bhuktis), his life is about Mars, while another third of the time (Moon, Mercury and Venus), his life is about Mercury.

Mars is many things: primary significator of a compromised manas, troubled relationships and crashed vehicles (planes), but also a karaka for adventure, speed and real estate. By a similar token, Mercury is the primary significator for money (lord of 2nd and 11th), and a karaka for business acumen. By that logic, thanks to these two pivotal planets, “Insane billionaire” is quite apt.


Alan Annand is a graduate of the American College of Vedic Astrology and a former tutor for the British Faculty of Astrological Studies. 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.”

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000031_00006]He’s also the author of several non-fiction books. 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 jyotish. Mutual Reception is an expanded companion volume for western practitioners, covering the same subject of planetary exchange through the lens of traditional astrology.


You can find his books on Amazon, Apple, Barnes&Noble, Kobo and Smashwords.


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Charles Manson: Crawling King Snake

December 2nd, 2017 · Astrology, Crime, Instruction

The Manson Family murders in the summer of ‘69 seared a hole in the American psyche. The Family was a cult of hippie nihilists led by Charles Manson, a frustrated singer-songwriter on the fringe of the LA music industry. In what was to become one of the first acts of social-class terrorism to date, Manson and his followers committed a series of nine murders, including that of actress Sharon Tate (wife of Roman Polanski), at four locations over a period of five weeks.

Manson believed the murders would help precipitate an impending apocalyptic race war, which he described in his own version of the lyrics to the Beatles’ song “Helter Skelter.” The seven-member Family comprised three men (Charles Manson, Bobby Beausoleil, and Charles “Tex” Watson) as well as four women (Susan Atkins, Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, Patricia Krenwinkel, and Leslie Van Houten.)

In 1971 Manson was convicted of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder, and sentenced to death. A year later, however, California ruled the death penalty as unconstitutional and his sentence among others was commuted to life imprisonment. Although Manson came up for parole hearings 12 times, he was rejected on every petition, and has therefore spent a lifetime behind bars.

Largely because of the notoriety that built up around him during the Manson Family trials, he became something of a fascination for America, and was subsequently interviewed behind bars by Charlie Rose, Geraldo Rivera and other journalists. Almost universally, he’s been dubbed “crazy” for his apocalyptic world view and his unrepentant stance on crimes for which he was judged responsible.

Charles Manson was born 12 November 1934 at 16:40 EST in Cincinnati, Ohio, and died 19 November 2017 in Bakersfield, California.

Manson’s chart reveals multiple yogas, including Mahapurusha yogas Sasha (Saturn swa in the 10th) and Malavya (Venus swa in the 7th). He also has two raja yogas (Sun/Venus as conjoined lords of 5th and 7th, Venus/Jupiter as lords of 7th and 9th), and a Kesari yoga with Moon and Jupiter in mutual kendras.

However, the most dominant and striking feature of Manson’s chart is the Kala Sarpa formation created by the nodal axis running through his 10th and 4th houses, effectively placing all of the planets in one half of his chart, leaving the other half empty. Manson has what Hart deFouw calls a “Potential” Kala Sarpa because Saturn lies beyond the degree position of Rahu, thus placing it technically on the other side of the nodal axis compared to the rest of the visible planets. But since Saturn remains in the same sign as Rahu, the formation retains its Kala Sarpa status.

[For a more complete discussion of the Kala Sarpa phenomenon, including its three other patterns, see the article “Kala Sarpa: Yoga or Dosha?” in my book, Stellar Astrology, vol.2.]

In Manson’s chart, one should immediately note how his nodal axis, along with prime malefic Saturn, afflicts the Moon. This reflects major disturbance to the manas, the emotional/instinctual mind of an individual. Its stability is a general indicator of mental health, while its instability reflects at least neurosis if not some form of “crazy thinking.”

In brief, a litmus test for the integrity of the manas involves an analysis of three factors: the 4th lord, the 4th house itself, and the Moon as karaka (generic significator) for the manas. For each of these three, the warning signs are (a) weakness of the relevant planet, (b) poor placement of the planet, and (c) the influence upon planet or relevant house by Saturn or either of the nodes – by association, aspect, or disposition by sign or nakshatra.

Let’s illustrate this concept with an examination of Manson’s manas:

  • The 4th lord is the Moon. It has three strikes against it: (1) it’s associated with Saturn, (2) it’s associated with Rahu, (3) it’s in a sign of Saturn.
  • The 4th house has two strikes against it: (1) it’s occupied by Ketu, (2) it’s aspected by Saturn.
  • Since the karaka for the manas is the Moon, we now repeat what was already observed above for the Moon, and note this doubling-up makes the situation for the manas even more disturbing.

The bottom line here is that the 4th house and its lord the Moon are seriously afflicted, by both Saturn, powerful in its own sign, and the nodal axis which also magnifies the influence of that same Saturn.

Lest we need any corroboration as to which way the wind blows regarding Manson’s ethical judgment, we can also take a quick look at two key houses – the 4th and 9th. Each is associated with the mother and father, respectively, and thereby linked to the notions of (moral) education received both within and outside the home.

  • The 4th house is occupied by Ketu, aspected by Saturn. Its lord the Moon is associated with Saturn and the nodal axis.
  • The 9th house is vacant while its lord Jupiter is ordinary in the 7th. But Jupiter is afflicted by both Sun and Saturn, while its sign dispositor Venus is totally combust.

Now let’s take a closer look at the Kala Sarpa pattern in Manson’s chart. There are several considerations for the analysis of Kala Sarpa, to determine whether it will operate as a yoga promising success, a dosha doling out misery, or some combination of the two.

  • For starters, the Moon lies on the nodal axis, and since the Sun and Moon are sworn enemies of Rahu and Ketu, this makes the Kala Sarpa virulent. Further linkage is seen via the fact that Rahu is in a Moon nakshatra, while Ketu is in a Moon sign.
  • A powerful Saturn influences both nodes – Rahu by association and sign rulership, Ketu by aspect and nakshatra rulership. And yet Saturn, approaching the last degree of its sign and therefore sandhi, reflects considerable instability, suggesting the destructive aspect of the Kala Sarpa.
  • The 7th house is occupied by a stellium of four planets, all of which are under the duress of Saturn’s aspect, and all of which will be transited en masse by Rahu every 19 years.
  • There are two exaggerated-condition planets made vulnerable by their weaknesses. Both are in the 7th: the Sun is debilitated, and Venus is totally combust. Since Venus disposits the entire Libran stellium, this further jeopardizes the 7th house, which will become vulnerable during active periods. These are the dashas/bhuktis of the planets most closely associated with the Kala Sarpa pattern, ie, Moon and Saturn, as well as transits of the 7th by Saturn and the nodes, especially Rahu.
  • Finally, based on the premise that Kala Sarpa is like a cobra whose fangs are located in its head, when the planets move toward Rahu (the anuloma type), it’s deemed to be problematic.

Since almost every aspect of this Kala Sarpa is either negative or under malefic influence, this constitutes a massive dosha.

Manson’s life story reads like something out of a Dickens novel. He was born out of wedlock to a 16-year-old waitress with a drinking problem. At one point she allegedly sold him for a pitcher of beer to another childless waitress, but he was retrieved by his uncle a few days later.

After committing a series of burglaries at age 13, Manson went from one juvenile center to another, in one of which he was sexually brutalized. He escaped with two other boys and headed for California, stealing cars and robbing service stations along the way. He was arrested and sent to a minimum security institution in 1951. Although he scored 109 on his IQ test, he was judged to be aggressively antisocial and deemed dangerous. Nonetheless, he turned a new leaf, became a model inmate and earned parole in 1954.

Free again, he married a hospital waitress, and supported them with odd jobs and car theft. He was again arrested and sent to prison, during which period their son was born, but his wife took up living with another man. Paroled and divorced in the same year, he took up pimping, was caught transporting two girls across state lines, and ended up marrying one of the prostitutes to reduce the charges against him.

Nonetheless, he still ended up in prison for attempting to cash a forged US Treasury check. While serving time, a gang member taught him how to play guitar. By the time he was paroled, he was divorced again. By age 32, he’d spent half of his lifetime in one institution or another.

For a time he moved to San Francisco and lived in the Haight-Ashbury district, where he gathered adoring women around him by giving out LSD. Soon he was also attracting young men to his group by promising sex with his “young loves.” In hopes of kick-starting his musical career, he relocated to Los Angeles and made contacts with members of the LA music scene, including Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys. He rented property on the Spahn Ranch and became the resident “guru” of a hippie cult that was later dubbed “The Manson Family”, whose core values revolved around sex and drugs and rock ‘n’ roll, with regular rants about an impending race war.

After the killing of Sharon Tate and others, whose murder scenes were embellished with messages intended to incite the race war he felt was coming, Manson became nationally notorious. In June 1970, he was the subject of a Rolling Stone cover story, “Charles Manson: The Incredible Story of the Most Dangerous Man Alive”. A pop culture arose around him wherein he ultimately became an emblem of insanity, violence and the macabre.

The prosecutor for the 1971 Manson case, Vincent Bugliosi, wrote a book about him called Helter Skelter that became a bestseller. Recordings of songs written by Manson were released commercially by various musicians. In the 1980s Manson gave four interviews – to Tom Snyder for The Tomorrow Show, to Charlie Rose for CBS News Nightwatch, to Geraldo Rivera as part of a series he was doing on Satanism, and to Nikolas Schreck for a documentary called Charles Manson Superstar.

In 2014 Manson was engaged to marry a 26-year-old devotee, but the wedding was cancelled after Manson discovered that the woman only wanted to marry him so that she and a friend could use Manson’s corpse as a tourist attraction after his death. Such was his cachet as a “marketable monster” for the times…

The dasha/bhukti periods, along with transits of Saturn, reflect the life of Manson:

  • In 1944 (age 9), Mars dasha began. Mars is lord of the 8th house, and is in the nakshatra of Venus, which is totally combust. Saturn transited his 4th house from 1946 to 1948. Manson began skipping school and burglarizing local stores. After being arrested for burglary, he was sent to reform school, where he was raped by other students under encouragement from a staff member.
  • In 1951 (age 16), Manson entered Rahu dasha. As noted earlier, Rahu has the capacity via the Kala Sarpa dosha to primarily invoke the effects of a powerful Saturn and a seriously-afflicted Moon. Thus began almost two decades of family dislocation, crime, violence and incarceration. By Saturn bhukti, he was already in jail.
  • Saturn transited his 7th house from 1953 to 1955, during which time he escalated to armed robbery and was sent to federal reform school. Saturn transited his 10th house from 1961 to 1963, when he was convicted of a federal crime (check forgery) and sent to prison. From 1968 to 1970, Saturn transited his 1st house (debilitated in Aries), and was within degrees of his ascendant at the time of the Sharon Tate murder.
  • In 1969 (age 34), Jupiter dasha began. Since Jupiter resides in Rahu nakshatra, this echoes the themes of the Kala Sarpa dosha. 12th lord Jupiter and the 12th house are both aspected by Saturn, reflecting his downfall and permanent incarceration. This Jupiter, disposited by a “fried” Venus, also shows how a natal theme can be perpetuated in subsequent related periods.
  • From 1975 to 1977, Saturn transited his 4th house, during which period his death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. Prison, which had been his home for so many years, was now officially his permanent residence. As Vincent Bugliosi, the prosecutor of Manson’s case had said at the time of his conviction, “I was only sending him home. Only this time it won’t be the same.”
  • Towards the end of his Jupiter dasha, Manson ran his Rahu bhukti, which combination Hart deFouw has generally described as having “a serious kick to it.” Saturn transited his 7th house from 1982 through 1984. In September 1984, a fellow inmate poured paint thinner on Manson and set him on fire, resulting in second- and third-degree burns over 20% of his body.
  • In 1985 (age 50), Manson entered Saturn dasha. Since Saturn is a key component in the virulence of the Kala Sarpa dosha, this merely extended the “hard time” that Manson’s karma had earned him.
  • In 2004 (age 69), Mercury dasha began. Again, like Jupiter before it, Mercury is in a Rahu nakshatra, aspected by Saturn, and its rashi dispositor Venus totally combust. He died in Jupiter bhukti. Both Mercury and Jupiter are trik lords and, as occupants of the 7th, both function as maraka planets.

To recap, the Kala Sarpa formation is the signature pattern in Manson’s chart, reflecting a highly-disturbed manas and the violently antisocial lifestyle down which this led him. What is even more interesting about this Kala Sarpa is a piece of information that has been passed down in the South Indian oral tradition to which we owe our understanding of Kala Sarpa:

The Kala Sarpa formation is associated with serpents, specifically the King Cobra, which sometimes grows to a length of 18 feet. It is capable of raising its head to an imposing height of five feet, from which vantage point it has the power to strike fear into man and beast alike. The King Cobra – or raj naga, king of all snakes – is unique in that it prefers to feed on other snakes, including its own species. By extension, this implies the native with a Kala Sarpa formation is granted a “powerful predatory capacity to control one’s own.”

In Manson’s life, this is remarkably illustrated by the fact that the two other men in The Manson Family – his lieutenants Bobby Beausoleil and Charles “Tex” Watson – both had Kala Sarpa formations as well.

How rare is that? Consider that only one in six (16%) of the population has a Kala Sarpa formation. The odds for all three men having it can be calculated as (1/6 * 1/6 * 1/6) one chance in 216, or a mere 0.5%.

[For charts of Beausoleil and Watson, see my article “Helter Skelter: Malefics unbound in the Manson Family”]

In Manson’s case, his Kala Sarpa was angular with Rahu in the 10th, associated with a powerful Saturn in its own sign. (Note here, the head of the cobra is in the 10th, maximum elevation in a chart.) For Beausoleil, his Kala Sarpa was also angular, with Rahu in the 7th, but aspected by an ordinary Venus and Jupiter in the 1st. For Watson, his Kala Sarpa was apoklima, Rahu in the 12th, bereft of any association or aspect. In such a nest of vipers, Manson was clearly the King Snake, with the hypnotic power to influence both the minds and actions of his two lieutenants, who were by virtue of their own charts both sympathetic and subject to his. Thus, they became his willing pawns in executing the grisly murders he assigned them.

In short, a Kala Sarpa dosha can reflect an extreme form of personality, with a tendency for bigotry, conspiracy theories, and fanaticism, with violent revolution as a cure for what ails society. This was essentially Manson’s message: start a race war that would transform America. Sadly, his legacy may not have died with him.


Alan Annand is a graduate of the American College of Vedic Astrology and a former tutor for the British Faculty of Astrological Studies. 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.”

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000031_00006]He’s also the author of several non-fiction books. 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 jyotish. Mutual Reception is an expanded companion volume for western practitioners, covering the same subject of planetary exchange through the lens of traditional astrology.


You can find his books on Amazon, Apple, Barnes&Noble, Kobo and Smashwords.

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Hugh Hefner: Playboy of the western world

October 17th, 2017 · Astrology, celebrity, Instruction, Karma

Author’s note: I know at first glance this might seem inappropriate, posting an article on Hugh Hefner the week after the Harvey Weinstein  scandal, revealing the latter’s systemic sexual harassment and assault upon young women in the film industry. Bad timing for this article, perhaps, but good timing for Hefner to have died just three weeks ago, thus avoiding some of the inevitable comparisons. But readers should rest assured, my rationale for writing this article on Hefner had nothing to do with admiration or apology for him, rather it’s simply the astrological analysis of an iconic figure in American culture who had recently died. 

Forget for a moment your conception of Hugh Hefner as a dirty old man, naked under his smoking jacket, flanked by blonde twins with hourglass figures. Would you believe instead, a man with a genius-level IQ who was a lifelong supporter of civil rights and LGBT causes, who donated millions of dollars to ensure the protection of the First Amendment?

Hef, we hardly knew you…

Hugh Hefner was born to middle-class Nebraska farmers. Entering high school in Chicago with an IQ of 152, he was shy at first, but reinvented himself as class clown and cartoonist, founded the high school newspaper to promote student causes, and upon graduating was voted the most popular senior in his class.

He joined the US Army in 1944 and wrote for a military newspaper, receiving an honorable discharge in 1946. He went to the University of Illinois and graduated after only 2-1/2 years, with a major in psychology and a double minor in art and creative writing.

After a few years as a copywriter and promotions director for a publishing company, he discovered a demand for a gentleman’s magazine. With a stake of $8000, he assembled his first issue of Playboy on his kitchen table. Featuring a half-naked Marilyn Monroe, the first issue in December 1953 sold 54,000 copies. By 1956, it was selling 700,000 copies a month, and by 1971, seven million copies a month. Hefner was now a multi-millionaire.

Hefner has Virgo rising, with lagnesh Mercury in mixed condition in the 7th house, where it is both debilitated and retrograde, and yet with the Sun, since both aspect the lagna, they form Budhaditya yoga.

Although extremely wealthy, he had only a single Dhana yoga, that of 9th lord Venus joined with 11th lord Moon in the 6th house. Yet in the wealth amshas (not shown here) his financial security was further assured. In the D4, lagnesha Mercury is in its own sign Gemini; in the D10, Jupiter is in the lagna while Mercury occupies a positive house; in the D11, Mercury is in a positive house. Meanwhile, his 2nd lord Venus is swa in both D4 and D10, and with Mercury in the D11.

Exalted Mars in the 5th house of intellect indicates a quick study, someone who can digest ideas at a rapid clip. Mars forming Parivartana yoga with Saturn in the 3rd gives artistic skills, manual dexterity, literary arts and a talent for creative writing. Indeed, however much Playboy was criticized on moral grounds, it was much admired by the industry for its design, writing, and photography.

This same exchange of 3rd and 5th lords gives an amorous or romantic nature. The 3rd is a kama (pleasure) house, while the 5th is a barometer for what’s on a person’s mind. Since 7th lord Jupiter is debilitated in the 5th and under the double influence of malefics Mars and Saturn, we get the idea he had “sex on the brain.” But he also knew how to use that to captivate whole swaths of the American male population.

Over the years, Hef was married three times, and once admitted he’d made love to over a thousand women. Certainly, those with dual signs rising aren’t good prospects for fidelity, eg, Warren Beatty, Bill Clinton, David Duchovny, Jack Kennedy, and Tiger Woods. At the least, they are ambivalent about the marital regime.

For Virgo lagna, Pisces in the 7th house is ruled by Jupiter the lord of over-indulgence. Hefner’s Jupiter is debilitated in the 5th and afflicted by prime malefics Mars and Saturn, both provocateurs of the sexual act. Let the Saturnalia begin…

Although Hefner was castigated by Gloria Steinem and other feminists for his objectification of women, seemingly reducing them to sexual chattel, other observers saw him in more positive terms. Camille Paglia, academic and social critic of popular culture, insists in a recent article that Hefner played a seminal role in putting sexuality on the front burner of American culture, paving the way for the sexual revolution of the Sixties and the subsequent Women’s Liberation movement.

Despite the intellectual rationalizing, Hefner’s personal life did reveal a somewhat utilitarian view of women. His dark Moon, occupying a sign of Saturn, sits in the 6th house, the essential undoing of the marital contract. This implies his “love of women” was more functional (read sexual) than emotional. Venus, the karaka for relationships, is likewise in the 6th house.

Although the Moon/Venus pair in the 6th forms a Dhana yoga, we can still see this as a symbol of profiting through women as “employees” or even “pets”, eg, hostesses (bunnies) in his Playboy clubs, centerfolds-for-hire, and surrogate wives via a revolving door of companions over the span of six decades.

Hefner had a thing for twins, and appeared in many publicity photos flanked by notable pairs. Duality abounds in his chart. The angles occupy dual signs. Four out of nine planets are in dual signs. Mercury, the epitome of duality, occupies Pisces in the 7th house. And yet his love of twins only underscores the fact you can’t truly love two people equally at the same time, and their very identical-ness suggests that one is just a backup for the other, in the same utilitarian way that Wild West gunslingers always carried two guns, and the modern American man wants two vehicles. Because more is always better.

But however much his detractors criticized him, Hefner had balls. We can see this courage-under-fire aspect in his Mars/Saturn exchange. Despite furious resistance from a morally-outraged middle America, he faced an obscenity lawsuit and won his case under freedom-of-the-press principles. As a consequence, he became a lifetime supporter of the First Amendment to protect citizens’ rights of free speech and publication.

In the civil rights era, he boldly assigned writer Alex Haley to interview Norman Lincoln Rockwell, founder of the American Nazi Party, who was shocked to discover Haley was Black, yet relieved he wasn’t Jewish. In the Sixties, Hefner introduced the “Playboy interview” as a permanent feature of the magazine, seeking to elevate the publication from being just another girlie magazine while simultaneously providing a legitimate outlet for voices he felt needed to be heard. Martin Luther King and Malcom X, luminaries of the civil rights movement, were thus given a platform via which their principles were made more widely known to the American public.

In his later years, while publicly pursuing a life of blatant hedonism surrounded by multiple Playmates, Hefner privately supported organizations in favor of civil rights, gay rights, rational drug policies, and First Amendment freedom from censorship in speech, publishing and the cinema. A lifelong Democrat, he donated heavily to charities supporting animal rescue, anti-vaccination policies, conservation of endangered habitats, and the plight of homeless children.

The Parivartana yoga of Mars/Saturn, 3rd and 5th lords respectively, occupy kama (pleasure) and dharma (moral) houses, but their interplay also suggests one’s right to enjoy life, liberty and happiness. Hefner was willing to go to bat, not only for First Amendment rights, but for other causes he felt were good for the public at large.

His Dhana yoga involving the Moon and Venus also suggests the principled (9th lord Venus) and practical use of his wealth (2nd lord Venus) in service (6th house association of Moon and Venus) of social aspirations (11th lord Moon).

Admittedly, none of this changes the fact that he was a serial womanizer. Yet a closer inspection of his life reveals he was a complex man endowed with intelligence and a social conscience. So it remains to be seen how history will judge him. Gloria Steinem has said, “I think Hefner wants to go down in history as a person of sophistication and glamour … but a woman reading Playboy will always feel a little like a Jew reading a Nazi manual.”

In his defense, however, Camille Paglia has said, “Hugh Hefner absolutely revolutionized the persona of the American male, legitimizing seduction in the pursuit of pleasure.” When compared to today’s casual hook-up culture in which college-age kids are encouraged by their own peers to have sex, it makes the Playboy bunny seem both archaic and quaint in its innocence.


Alan Annand is a graduate of the American College of Vedic Astrology and a former tutor for the British Faculty of Astrological Studies. 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.”

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000031_00006]He’s also the author of several non-fiction books. 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 jyotish. Mutual Reception is an expanded companion volume for western practitioners, covering the same subject of planetary exchange through the lens of traditional astrology.


You can find his books on Amazon, Apple, Barnes&Noble, Kobo and Smashwords.

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