Navamsa

Vedic Astrology & Palmistry

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Nodal weather forecast: February 2019

February 1st, 2019 · Astrology, Instruction, Science

As I explained in my initial post for this series, I’m conducting an experiment in visual display to help people appreciate the role of the nodes as proxy agents. The nodes act on behalf of planets (1) with which they’re associated, (2) by which they’re aspected, (3) whose sidereal sign they occupy, and (4) whose nakshatra they occupy, in descending order of effect.

I’ve assigned numeric values for magnitude of effect to generate some topography in the visual display: association gets 8 points, aspect gets 4, dispositorship by sign 2, and dispositorship by nakshatra 1. Readers with better ideas are free to submit suggestions. Please consider this a work in progress.

Here’s the logic behind this graph: For the whole of February 2019, Rahu occupies sidereal Cancer ruled by the Moon (2 points), and Punarvasu nakshatra ruled by Jupiter (1 point). Meanwhile, Jupiter in Scorpio aspects Rahu (4 points). From February 6-28, Mars also aspects Rahu (4 pts). And on February 17-19, the Moon transits Cancer, engaging Rahu by association (8 points).

Their collective influence is shown in the blue band for Rahu. Note, this graph reflects magnitude of effect only, with no distinction between benefic vs malefic planets. Hopefully, this “nodal weather report” may evolve into that.

Meanwhile, throughout February 2019 Ketu occupies Capricorn ruled by Saturn (2 pts), and Uttara Ashadha ruled by the Sun (1 pt). From February 1-12, the Sun transits the second half of Capricorn, activating Ketu by association (8 pts). Mercury does the same February 1-7 (8 pts). Venus enters Capricorn February 25-28, contacting Ketu by association (8 pts). And Moon transits Capricorn February 3-5, again engaging Ketu by association (8 pts).

Their collective influence is shown in the red band for Ketu, again, indicating magnitude of effect only, with no distinction between benefic vs malefic influence.

As a general observation, we can say the nodes exert greater power in the first half of February, and that there’ll be a “power surge” in February 3-5, whose effect would be more pronounced for anyone with the ascendant, luminaries or other significant planets in the first navamsa (0deg00-03deg20) of Cancer or Capricorn.

~~~

Alan Annand studied with Hart de Fouw, and is a graduate of the American College of Vedic Astrology. He’s also a former tutor for the British Faculty of Astrological Studies, and the author of several books.

Kala Sarpa is a first-of-its-kind reference book on a unique pattern in jyotish that is not discussed in shastra yet is part of India’s rich oral tradition.

Stellar Astrology, Volumes 1 & 2, offer a wealth of time-tested techniques in the form of biographical profiles, analyses of world events, and technical essays. Parivartana Yoga is a reference text for one of the most common yet powerful planetary combinations in jyotish. His Mutual Reception is an expanded companion volume written for western practitioners, covering the same subject of planetary exchange through the lens of traditional astrology.

His New Age Noir crime novels (Scorpio Rising, Felonious Monk, Soma County) feature astrologer and palmist Axel Crowe, whom one reviewer has dubbed “Sherlock Holmes with a horoscope.”

Websites: www.navamsa.com, www.sextile.com

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

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Kala Sarpa: the astronomical rationale for “dosha”

February 1st, 2019 · Astrology, Instruction, Science

At the core of the mystique surrounding Kala Sarpa is the existential question: is it a yoga, or is it a dosha? Does it promise success or threaten destruction?

That question can only be answered via yoga vichara, the careful analysis of a configuration in order to determine its nature, its strength, and its ultimate import. Although such analysis is de rigueur for any practicing jyotishi, such is not the scope of this article. Here, I wish only to present some recent findings regarding the astronomical realities of Kala Sarpa in the birth chart, and how some of them have a bias for the notion of dosha.

The formation of Kala Sarpa in a chart has consequences. By definition, the chart is split in two by the nodal axis, and all of the planets constrained to roughly half of the zodiac. I say “roughly” because there are four classes of Kala Sarpa: two in which the planets must occupy only the five intervening signs between nodes, and another two classes in which planets may occupy the same sign as either or both nodes. For those unfamiliar with the definitions of these four classes, see this article on my website.

Over the past year and a half, while conducting research into Kala Sarpa, I examined 600 such charts – over 200 famous persons, and almost 400 clients from my own files. My analysis of their commonalities and differences produced some startling conclusions, all of which are covered in my recent book.

For this article, however, I want to focus on just three astronomical phenomena that are modified by the formation of a Kala Sarpa in the horoscope. Their occurrences in turn influence the avasthas of the planets, whose strength or weakness are germane in assessing the overall tenor of a chart. These astronomical factors are: lunar phase, combustion, and retrogression.

Lunar phase

Unlike the Sun, the Moon doesn’t emit light of its own. We see it with the naked eye only because sunlight reflects off the lunar surface. As the Moon revolves around Earth, it goes through apparent phases. When in the same part of the sky as the Sun, it’s mostly invisible because sunlight can’t reflect off that half of the Moon facing us. But as the Moon advances through the zodiac, we see a crescent of sunlight reflected from its surface. The greater its angular separation from the Sun, the more Moon we see in its waxing phase. When from our perspective the Moon is opposite the Sun we see it as full. As the Moon closes the angular distance from the Sun, we see a diminishing crescent in its waning cycle until it seems to disappear completely in the Sun’s aura.

A “dark moon” is one whose light is minimal, ie, when the Moon is in the same or adjacent sign to the Sun. Conversely, a “bright moon” is one whose light is at or near maximum, ie, when the Moon is in the opposite, or next-to-opposite sign from the Sun. Under Kala Sarpa conditions, bright moons are infrequent because the two luminaries can’t be opposed unless both are close to opposite nodes. Conversely, dark moons are more frequent under Kala Sarpa when the two luminaries are restricted to just half the zodiac.

When we count signs inclusively from one luminary to another, a Full Moon occurs when the reciprocal count (from one to the other, in either direction) is 7/7, but the Moon is still bright, or “fullish,” when the count is 6/8. On the other hand, a New Moon occurs when the count is 1/1, but the Moon is still dark, either waxing or waning, when the count is 2/12. 

Graph 1 illustrates the difference between lunar phases in the average chart versus a Kala Sarpa chart. Note that a New Moon (1/1) occurs in only one relative sign out of 12 (8.3%) while the same is true for Full Moon (7/7). For the other phase relationships – 2/12, 3/11, 4/10, 5/9 and 6/8 – the chances are two relative signs out of 12 (16.7%), because there are both waxing and waning phases.

From this graph we see that Kala Sarpa charts have a bias for “dark Moon” charts as opposed to “bright Moon” charts. Thus, natives with Kala Sarpa charts generally lack one source of planetary strength, ie, a bright Moon. Since the Moon is the karaka for the manas (the sensory mind), this suggests a disposition for dysfunctionality of some kind – mental, emotional, and/or physical – that may afflict the native for a lifetime.

Here is the first piece of “astro-logical” evidence (based on astronomy) that substantiates Kala Sarpa’s general perception as dosha rather than yoga.

Combustion

Combustion occurs when one of the true planets (Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, or Saturn) appears so close to the Sun that the solar corona eclipses the visibility of that planet. Shastra stipulates individual orbs of combustion for each of the planets, in both direct and retrograde motion. For functional purposes, however, many astrologers use a simple classification for all planets: total combustion within three degrees of orb, moderate combustion at three to six degrees, and mild combustion at six to nine degrees.

Under this latter definition, let’s consider total combustion for the planets. For instance, how often will Mars be within three degrees of the Sun? The answer: given three degrees on one side, and three degrees on the other, that’s a combined range of six degrees out of 360 (1/60), or 1.66% of the time. Without trying to factor in the effects of retrogression, we can say this is likewise true of the other two outer planets, Jupiter and Saturn, who enjoy “uncoupled” movement with respect to the Sun.

With the inner planets, the odds are different. From Earth’s perspective, Mercury and Venus are always in the Sun’s general vicinity, Mercury never more than 28 degrees away from the Sun, Venus never more than 48 degrees away. Again ignoring retrogression, we estimate Mercury will be totally combust, in six degrees of its 56-degree range (28 degrees on either side), for 10.7% of the time. Similarly, Venus is totally combust, in six degrees of its 96-degree range (48 degrees on either side), for 6.25% of the time.

Based on these parameters, we can calculate that for any large but random group of charts, 22.0% of them will have a combust planet. However, if we restrict our consideration only to Kala Sarpa charts, 25.7% of them will have a combust planet. Again, these percentages are approximate, and are based on a relatively simplistic model.

However, working with my database of over 600 Kala Sarpa charts, I tabulated the actual frequency of total combustion (3-degree orb) for the true planets: Mercury 9.1%, Venus 3.3%, Mars 5.0%, Jupiter 2.8%, and Saturn 5.5%. But when I compared the theoretical frequencies of combustion for the average chart (see discussion above) versus the observed frequencies in Kala Sarpa charts, I found a significant variance, as shown in Graph 2.

Because Kala Sarpa restricts the outer planets to roughly half of the zodiac, this dramatically increases the chances of Mars, Jupiter and Saturn becoming totally combust. However, the diminished frequency of combustion among the inner planets obviously requires further analysis.

In any event, the net effect remains the same – in the presence of Kala Sarpa, combustion is overall more prevalent, and this weakens the true planets. Again, this substantiates the notion of Kala Sarpa as dosha, since it vitiates one of the key planetary avasthas.

Retrogression

In Jyotisha, a retrograde planet acquires strength by virtue of its relative brightness, which is greater during its retrogression phase.

All planets revolve around the Sun from west to east, in what is called their direct motion. Because the Earth moves at a different speed than the other planets, it appears to overtake the superior (outer) planets, meanwhile being overtaken by the inferior (inner) planets. From Earth, those other planets periodically appear to slow down, stop, and reverse their direction against the backdrop of the zodiac. When a planet appears to move backwards, it’s said to be retrograde, or in a state of retrogression.

Based on observation, the average proportion of time planets are retrograde is: Mercury 19.2%, Venus 7.2%, Mars 9.5%, Jupiter 30.2%, and Saturn 36.4%. At any given time, one planet or another will often be retrograde. Roughly 70% of charts have a retrograde planet. Thus, the vast majority of charts have at least one strong planet due to retrogression.

However, once we shift our analysis to Kala Sarpa charts, the observed frequency of retrogression is subject to radical change, with certain qualifications.

We don’t expect to see much difference in the retrogression of inner planets, with or without Kala Sarpa. That’s because Mercury and Venus are only retrograde when they’re nearest the Earth. And when that happens, they’re usually in the same or adjacent sign as the Sun.

But with the outer planets, retrogression only occurs when they’re at least five signs away from the Sun. Note: this doesn’t mean outer planets opposing the Sun are always retrograde; it only means that when outer planets do go retrograde, they’re always on the other side of the chart, not necessarily opposite the Sun, but generally five or more signs removed from it.

So in a Kala Sarpa chart, if the Sun is in the 1st house, and the nodal axis is in the 4th/10th, the outer planets can’t be retrograde because they’re on the same side of the nodal axis as the Sun.

Assume the nodes remain in the 4th/10th, but the Sun moves to the 3rd house. Now the outer planets could be on the other side of the chart, say the 10th or 11th, therefore possibly retrograde while still within the Kala Sarpa. But they can’t be in the 7th, 8th or 9th houses, on the wrong side of the nodal axis. In this example, roughly half of the outer planets’ arc of retrogression would be eliminated under Kala Sarpa.

Based on my analysis of over 600 charts, the observed frequency of retrograde planets under those limits is: Mercury 20.2%, Venus 6.5%, Mars 3.3%, Jupiter 11.4%, and Saturn 16.1%. But when I compared the observed frequency of retrogrades in normal charts vs that observed in Kala Sarpa charts, I found another major variance, as shown in Graph 3.

The astronomical limits imposed by Kala Sarpa therefore restrict the retrogression of outer planets. Consequently, whereas 70% of normal charts have at least one retrograde planet, only 45% of Kala Sarpa charts have a retrograde planet. Again, this is further evidence of Kala Sarpa’s capacity to diminish yet another planetary avastha, thus vitiating the potential strength of a chart, reducing its chances of manifesting yoga as opposed to dosha.

Kala Sarpa: a mixed blessing

As we saw in this article, the crowding of planets into roughly half the zodiac restricts both the brightness of the Moon and that of the true planets by curtailing, respectively, its lunation cycle and their retrogression phases. Similarly, because Kala Sarpa forces the planets into proximity, it increases the chances of combustion, another astronomical phenomenon that compromises the avasthas of the true planets.

Thus, we can see that Kala Sarpa deserves at least some of its reputation for dosha-like consequences, because it has the potential to vitiate the avasthas of the planets. But as I’ll discuss in next month’s article, Kala Sarpa also has its upside, astronomically-speaking, in the formation of other yogas.

Although none of this is complicated, neither was it obvious until subjected to analysis. Once we’re aware of it, however, we must acknowledge that Kala Sarpa is a complex phenomenon. At best, it might be viewed as a mixed blessing. The challenge, as always, is to assess these diverse and sometimes contradictory indications in order to determine a likely prognosis for the life of the native whose chart contains a Kala Sarpa.

~~~

Alan Annand studied with Hart de Fouw, and is a graduate of the American College of Vedic Astrology and a former tutor for the British Faculty of Astrological Studies.

He is the author of several non-fiction books. Kala Sarpa is a first-of-its-kind reference book on a unique pattern in jyotisha that is not discussed in shastra yet is part of India’s rich oral tradition. Stellar Astrology, Volumes 1 & 2, offer a wealth of time-tested techniques in the form of biographical profiles, analyses of world events, and technical essays. Parivartana Yoga is a reference text for one of the most common yet powerful planetary combinations in jyotisha. Mutual Reception is an expanded companion volume for western practitioners, covering the same subject of planetary exchange through the lens of traditional astrology.

His New Age Noir crime novels (Scorpio Rising, Felonious Monk, Soma County) feature astrologer and palmist Axel Crowe, whom one reviewer has dubbed “Sherlock Holmes with a horoscope.”

Websites: www.navamsa.com, www.sextile.com

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

 

 

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Nodal weather forecast: January 2019

January 7th, 2019 · Astrology, Instruction, Science

This is an experiment in visual display to help people appreciate the role of the nodes as proxy agents. The nodes act on behalf of planets (1) with which they’re associated, (2) by which they’re aspected, (3) whose sidereal sign they occupy, and (4) whose nakshatra they occupy, in descending order of effect.

Although assigning numeric values for magnitude of effect may be a fool’s game, I’ve done so in order to generate a visual display offering a distinct topography. Thus, I’ve assigned association a power of 8, aspect a power of 4, dispositorship by sign 2, and dispositorship by nakshatra 1. Readers with better ideas are free to correspond with me. Please consider this a work in progress.

Here’s the logic behind this graph: For the whole of January 2019, Rahu occupies sidereal Cancer ruled by the Moon (2 points), and Pushya nakshatra ruled by Saturn (1 point). Meanwhile, Jupiter in Scorpio aspects Rahu (4 points). On January 20-22, the Moon transits Cancer, engaging Rahu by association (8 points).

The sum total of their influence is shown in the blue band for Rahu. Note that this graph reflects quantitative effect only, absent a qualitative distinction between benefic vs malefic planets. This “nodal weather report” may evolve into that, but I’m not there yet.

Meanwhile, in January 2019 Ketu occupies Capricorn ruled by Saturn (2 pts), and Uttara Ashadha ruled by the Sun (1 pt). On January 6-8, the Moon transits Capricorn, engaging Ketu by association (8 pts). During January 14-31, the Sun transits Capricorn, independently activating Ketu by association (8 pts). And through January 20-31, Mercury transits Capricorn, further engaging Ketu by association (8 pts).

The sum total of their influence is shown in the red band for Ketu. Again, this graph reflects quantitative effect only, with no distinction between benefic vs malefic influence.

As a general observation, we can say the nodes exert greater power in the second half of January, and that there’ll be a modest “power surge” in January 20-22, whose effect would be more pronounced for anyone with the ascendant, luminaries or other significant planets on the Cancer/Capricorn axis.

~~~

Alan Annand studied with Hart de Fouw, and is a graduate of the American College of Vedic Astrology. He’s also a former tutor for the British Faculty of Astrological Studies, and the author of several books.

Kala Sarpa is a first-of-its-kind reference book on a unique pattern in jyotish that is not discussed in shastra yet is part of India’s rich oral tradition.

Stellar Astrology, Volumes 1 & 2, offer a wealth of time-tested techniques in the form of biographical profiles, analyses of world events, and technical essays. Parivartana Yoga is a reference text for one of the most common yet powerful planetary combinations in jyotish. His Mutual Reception is an expanded companion volume written for western practitioners, covering the same subject of planetary exchange through the lens of traditional astrology.

His New Age Noir crime novels (Scorpio Rising, Felonious Monk, Soma County) feature astrologer and palmist Axel Crowe, whom one reviewer has dubbed “Sherlock Holmes with a horoscope.”

Websites: www.navamsa.com, www.sextile.com

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

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The Mathematics of Yogas, part 7: Spiritual Yogas

January 2nd, 2019 · Astrology, Instruction, Science

Although there are many spiritual yogas defined in the literature of Jyotish, in practice it is surprisingly difficult to find actual charts that meet those specifications. Take, for example, the three classic spiritual yogas defined in Mantreswara’s Phaladeepika (6:28):

When the lord of the Ascendant, the Sun and the Moon occupy an Angle or Trine in their exaltation, own or friendly sign, the resulting Yoga is called Srikanta. When the lord of the 5th, Jupiter and Saturn occupy similar positions, the Yoga formed is known as Virinchi. When the lord of the 9th, Venus and Mercury are similarly placed, the Yoga is termed Srinatha.

These rules are simple enough, but finding a chart that fulfills one of these specifications is rather uncommon. For example, Srikanta will appear in only 2% of charts, Virinchi in 3%, and Srinatha in 3.5%. Thus, the chances of any horoscope having even one out of these three spiritual yogas is only 8.5%, or roughly one person in 12, as shown in the graph below.

There are other yogas that have a distinctly spiritual connotation, eg, Hamsa, Pravrajya and Sannyasin yogas, but many of these are equally difficult to fulfill. For the moment, let’s consider only these three classic yogas as defined in Phaladeepika, and consider what it takes to realize any one of them.

Before doing that, however, consider the following graph, which depicts the likelihood of any chart with a given ascendant having the potential to present even one of these three spiritual yogas.

As you can see, there’s a huge range of probability across the 12 available ascendants, ranging from less than a 5% chance for ascendants Taurus, Aries and Pisces, up to 14% for Aquarius and Virgo. And as can be demonstrated, these are optimistic probabilities, because once we begin to closely examine the prerequisites for each yoga within the confines of a particular ascendant, some of these become quite problematic, often for astronomical reasons.

To follow the logic presented below, you need to know each planet’s own sign, its (desirable) exaltation sign and its (undesirable) debilitation sign. Aside from that, you must also know the so-called friendly signs for each planet, which are dictated by the planetary relationships shown in this table.

We’ll illustrate the logic of these yoga requirements by looking at two different ascendants – Aries, whose overall chances of achieving at least one of the three yogas are less than 5%, and Virgo, whose chances are almost 15%.

Let’s first consider the sign/house configuration for an Aries ascendant, whose template is shown here:

Srikanta requires the Ascendant lord (Mars in this case), along with the Sun and Moon, to occupy a kendra or trikona, and in their own, exalted or friendly (but not debilitated) sign.

In this case, Mars could be in the 1st (own), 5th (friendly), 9th (friendly) or 10th (exalted). That’s four out of 12 signs, or 33.3%. Meanwhile, the Sun could be in the 1st (exalted), 4th (friendly), 5th (own), or 9th (friendly). That’s also four out of 12 signs, or 33.3%. Finally, the Moon can only be in the 4th (own) or the 5th (friendly). That’s two out of 12, or 16.7%. But in order for Srikanta to exist for this Aries ascendant, all three conditions must co-exist. The odds for that are 0.333 x 0.333 x 0.167 = 1.85%, or less than one person in 50.

Virinchi requires the 5th lord (Sun in this case), along with Jupiter and Saturn, to occupy a kendra or trikona, and in their own, exalted or friendly (but not debilitated) sign.

We’ve already shown above that, for an Aries ascendant, the Sun can fulfill its requirement 33.3% of the time. Meanwhile, Jupiter could be in the 1st (friendly), the 4th (exalted), the 5th (friendly), or the 9th (own). That’s four out of 12 signs, or 33.3%. Finally, Saturn can only be in the 7th (exalted) or the 10th (own). That’s two out of 12, or 16.7%. But in order for Virinchi to exist for this Aries ascendant, all three conditions must co-exist. The odds are again 0.333 x 0.333 x 0.167 = 1.85%, or less than one person in 50.

Srinatha requires the 9th lord (Jupiter in this case), along with Mercury and Venus, to occupy a kendra or trikona, and in their own, exalted or friendly (but not debilitated) sign.

We’ve already shown that, for an Aries ascendant, Jupiter can fulfill its requirement 33.3% of the time. Meanwhile, Mercury can only be in the 5th (friendly) or the 7th (friendly). That’s two out of 12 signs, or 16.7%. Finally, Venus can only be in the 7th (own) or the 10th (friendly). That’s also two out of 12, or 16.7%. But in order for Srinatha to exist for this Aries ascendant, all three conditions must co-exist. The odds for that are 0.333 x 0.167 x 0.167 = 0.93%, or less than one person in 100.

That brings us back to the second graph, which shows that for an Aries ascendant to meet the specs for these spiritual yogas, the odds are 1.85% for Srikanta, plus 1.85% for Virinchi, and 0.93% for Srinatha, for a total chance of 4.63% to have one or the other. That’s just one person out of 22.

Now let’s see how all of these odds are altered by a different ascendant, with different lords of the 1st, 5th and 9th houses. See the template here for a Virgo ascendant.

Srikanta requires the Ascendant lord (Mercury in this case), along with the Sun and Moon, to occupy a kendra or trikona, and in their own, exalted or friendly (but not debilitated) sign.

In this case, Mercury could be in the 1st (own/exalted), 9th (friendly), or 10th (own). That’s three out of 12 signs, or 25%. Meanwhile, the Sun could be in the 4th (friendly) or 7th (friendly). That’s two out of 12 signs, or 16.7%. Finally, the Moon could be in the 1st (friendly), the 9th (exalted), or the 10th (friendly). That’s three out of 12, or 25%. But in order for Srikanta to exist for this Virgo ascendant, all three conditions must co-exist. The odds for that are 0.25 x 0.167 x 0.25 = 1.04%, or one person in 100.

Virinchi requires the 5th lord (Saturn in this case), along with Jupiter and Saturn, to occupy a kendra or trikona, and in their own, exalted or friendly (but not debilitated) sign.

Saturn could be in the 1st (friendly), the 5th (own), the 9th (friendly), or the 10th (friendly). That’s four out of 12 signs, or 33.3%. Meanwhile, Jupiter can only be in the 4th (own) or the 7th (own). That’s two out of 12, or 16.7%. And that’s all that’s required, because Saturn does double duty in this case, both as 5th lord and as itself. So in order for Virinchi to exist for this Virgo ascendant, only two conditions must co-exist. The odds for that are 0.333 x 0.167 = 5.56%, roughly one person in 18.

Srinatha requires the 9th lord (Venus in this case), along with Mercury and Venus, to occupy a kendra or trikona, and in their own, exalted or friendly (but not debilitated) sign.

Venus could be in the 5th (friendly), 7th (exalted), 9th (own), or 10th (friendly). That’s four out of 12 signs, or 33.3%. Meanwhile, Mercury could be in the 1st (own/exalted), the 9th (friendly), or the 10th (own). That’s three out of 12 signs, or 25%. And that’s all that’s required, because Venus does double duty in this case, both as 5th lord and as itself. So in order for Srinatha to exist for this Virgo ascendant, only two conditions must co-exist. The odds for that are 0.333 x 0.25 = 8.33%, roughly one person in 12.

That brings us back to the graph again, which says that for a Virgo ascendant to meet the specs for these spiritual yogas, the odds are 1.04% for Srikanta, plus 5.56% for Virinchi, and 8.33% for Srinatha, for a total chance of 14.93% to have one or the other. That’s roughly one person out of seven.

As we saw from the same graph, an Aquarius ascendant also offers some of the best chances for a horoscope to allow one or more of the three spiritual yogas. As an example, consider the chart below, that of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa.

To achieve Srikanta yoga, we need the Ascendant lord (Saturn), the Sun and Moon all in good signs and houses. In this case, both the Sun and Moon fail the test, so we must set that one aside.

For Virinchi yoga, we need the 5th lord (Mercury), Jupiter and Saturn all in good signs and houses. Mercury occupies a kendra in a friendly sign. Jupiter occupies a trikona but not a friendly sign, although it is strong by virtue of its retrogression. Meanwhile, Saturn is exalted in a trikona. Overall, this fails to fulfill the letter of the law, but because all three planets are strong by one measure or another, and all three occupy trikonas, we might consider this a somewhat diluted version of Virinchi.

For Srinatha yoga, this ascendant needs the 9th lord (Venus) and Mercury in good signs and houses. As we saw above, Mercury meets the specs. But Venus, although exalted, does not occupy a kendra or trikona, so it too fails to meet the rigorous definition. And yet many a jyotishi will nonetheless acknowledge that exalted Venus does at least occupy a positive house (as opposed to outright disqualification in a dusthana), and consider this a somewhat diluted version of Srinatha.

The takeaway from this example is that, however long the odds against the formation of a perfect Srikanta, Virinchi or Srinatha yoga, there may be mitigating circumstances that a discriminating jyotishi might consider. So long as the component planets largely fulfill the spirit of the law, the configuration might be considered yoga-like.

As they say in some circles, even the slightest stain on the white robe of a saint is a distraction from pure bliss. And yet that is the reality of our life on Earth.

~~~

Alan Annand studied with Hart de Fouw, and is a graduate of the American College of Vedic Astrology. He’s also a former tutor for the British Faculty of Astrological Studies, and the author of several books.

Kala Sarpa is a first-of-its-kind reference book on a unique pattern in jyotish that is not discussed in shastra yet is part of India’s rich oral tradition.

Stellar Astrology, Volumes 1 & 2, offer a wealth of time-tested techniques in the form of biographical profiles, analyses of world events, and technical essays. Parivartana Yoga is a reference text for one of the most common yet powerful planetary combinations in jyotish. His Mutual Reception is an expanded companion volume written for western practitioners, covering the same subject of planetary exchange through the lens of traditional astrology.

His New Age Noir crime novels (Scorpio Rising, Felonious Monk, Soma County) feature astrologer and palmist Axel Crowe, whom one reviewer has dubbed “Sherlock Holmes with a horoscope.”

Websites: www.navamsa.com, www.sextile.com

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

 

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Jeffrey Dahmer: the Milwaukee Cannibal

December 2nd, 2018 · Astrology, Crime

Jeffrey Dahmer is a prime example of a conundrum in modern life – how something so disgusting can also be so fascinating… at least for students of crime, and astrology. Dahmer was an American serial killer and sex offender who killed 17 men and boys over a period of 13 years, many of his murders involving sex with corpses, cannibalism of his victims, and the preservation of their body parts, typically portions of the skeleton.

In his youth, Dahmer had been a quiet and timid child whose high-strung mother had found breastfeeding exhausting, and therefore refused to feed him this way. When he was in grade school, she became ill and anxious, and once attempted suicide by overdosing on prescribed tranquilizers. His father was absent much of the time, working toward a university degree in chemistry.

In grade school, Dahmer became fascinated with small animals. He initially collected large insects and stored them in jars but later moved on to roadkill, dismembering the animals and keeping their parts in jars too. He was fascinated by bones and once asked his father, a chemist, to show him how to bleach chicken bones for preservation.

Dahmer began drinking at age 14, beer and hard liquor, sometimes smuggling “his medicine” into high school. At puberty he began having same-sex fantasies and once lay in wait beside a jogging trail with a baseball bat to render unconscious someone he wanted to use sexually, but his target didn’t run that day, and Dahmer never tried the tactic again.

His parents divorced before he graduated from high school and Dahmer’s drinking got worse. That summer, June 1978, while both his parents were away and Dahmer was living alone in the family house, he picked up a hitchhiker and invited him home for drinks. When the young man eventually tried to leave, Dahmer bludgeoned him to death with a barbell. The next day, Dahmer dissected his victim, and over the space of a few weeks, dissolved the flesh in acid, crushed the bones with a sledgehammer and scattered them in the woodland behind the family home.

That fall Dahmer went to university but, after a semester of negligible study and heavy drinking, he dropped out. His father convinced him to enlist in the US Army. He did two years of service as a combat medic stationed in Germany, where he raped at least two fellow soldiers, having drugged one of his victims.

After an honorable discharge, Dahmer returned to the USA, working various jobs – at a delicatessen, blood plasma center, chocolate factory – meanwhile continuing to drink heavily while living with his grandmother. He became a regular in Milwaukee gay bathhouses, but his membership at his local was revoked after they discovered he was routinely drugging his partners with a cocktail of liquor, sleeping pills and sedatives, after which he raped them while unconscious.

In November 1987, Dahmer awoke one morning from a drunken stupor to find himself lying in a hotel room atop a dead man whose chest was caved in. Although he had no memory of it, he realized he must have beaten his victim to death. He bought a large suitcase, transported the body to his grandmother’s house and over the next week, dismembered the body, separated the flesh into garbage bags and crushed the bones with a sledgehammer. He bleached the skull to keep as a souvenir and a stimulus for masturbation.

And so it began…

Over the next six months, Dahmer lured another two young men to his grandmother’s house, drugged them, raped them, killed them and dismembered them. In September 1988, his grandmother asked him to move out, complaining of his bringing young men home late at night, and the foul smells coming from the basement and garage.

Dahmer found a one-bedroom apartment of his own. In March 1989, he killed another young man, disposing of the body as with previous victims. But this one was so “exceptionally attractive” that Dahmer preserved his head and genitalia in acetone as a long-term memento.

The pattern was set. In 1990 Dahmer killed another four young men, and in 1991, another seven. In most cases, he took photos during the dismembering process, refrigerated some flesh or organs to eat, and preserved the skulls as keepsakes, meanwhile destroying the rest of the flesh in acid, and crushing the bones for disposal.

But in July 1991, one of his intended victims, a handcuff dangling from one arm, managed to flee Dahmer’s apartment and flag down a police car. Upon entering Dahmer’s apartment, the police encountered a stench of decaying flesh in a barrel of acid, and discovered frozen body parts in the fridge.

Dahmer confessed to the crimes but when his case came to trial in 1992, he pleaded insanity. The jury rejected the idea and found him guilty on all counts. He was sentenced to 15 consecutive life terms. Two years later, Dahmer was murdered in prison, bludgeoned to death with a steel bar from a barbell in the inmates’ weight room.

Although deemed sane to stand trial for his crimes, Dahmer was initially diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, subject to psychosis and schizophrenia. Although his chart doesn’t display the more obvious signatures of mental disturbance, there’s enough there to register concern.

The manas is that part of the mind that acts as an operating system for the body and the personality, governing glandular function, monitoring sensory input, registering likes and dislikes, and providing a behavioral compass. The state of the manas can be judged via an analysis of three factors: the 4th house, the 4th lord, and the Moon. Any influence by the destabilizing (crazy-making) malefics Saturn and Rahu upon those three factors are warning signs.

In Dahmer’s chart, the 4th house is occupied by its own lord Jupiter, and by Saturn, both of which are retrograde. Thus, in one stroke, we see both the 4th house and its lord Jupiter destabilized by the association of a strong Saturn. Meanwhile, the Moon (karaka for the manas) is dark and waning, being less than four tithis from the Sun. Overall, this is cause for concern, but not so abnormal that it could explain such horrible acts.

All people are governed by moral principles of some kind. These are seen via the status of the 4th house (mother’s influence, and socialization via primary education), and the 9th house (father’s influence, dharma, societal law, etc). As noted, the state of the 4th reflects damaged goods. As for the 9th, its lord Venus has gone 12 away to the 8th, and the 9th house itself is occupied by the Sun, lord of the 12th, a trikasthana of self-undoing.

As for Dahmer’s temperament, note that his ascendant is aspected by the Moon, Mars and Saturn. The latter two are prime malefics, and show the potential for inflicting harm, largely under the influence of sexual fantasies as suggested by the dark moon in Pisces.

Compared to a study I’ve recently completed on the charts of 200 homicides, I was intrigued to note a few commonalities between them and Dahmer:

  • After Aries and Scorpio, Virgo ascendants are the next most common. The Mars-ruled ascendants appear logical, but Mercury? Chalk it up to the cleverness required to “succeed” as a serial killer – stalking the appropriate victim, killing discreetly, and disposing of the body – all without getting caught.
  • The Moon in the 7th house was observed far more often than expected by chance. This “other-directed” theme inherent in the Moon’s house position naturally embraces the notion of sexual attraction and compulsion. Sex is often a motivation for many killers, either because the collateral violence explicitly involves rape, or the act of killing provides a “sexualized” release of emotion.
  • Mars in the 7th house is also “well represented” in murderers, perhaps for the same reasons as Moon in the 7th. And Mars is of course the karaka for any form of violence, sexual and otherwise.
  • Malefics Mars and Saturn are angular, from both the lagna and the Chandralagna, the combination of which represents a capacity for “dirty work,” cruelty and/or violence.

When it comes to the timing of Dahmer’s murders, we should note that all of his crimes were committed during his Venus dasha. Venus occupies the 8th house, and is also considered a maraka because it rules the 2nd house. Its nakshatra dispositor is the Sun, which is the 12th lord. Thus in the Venus dasha we see the activation of two trikasthanas, something that happens so frequently in the charts of repeat offenders that we might well consider it an astrological prerequisite for a serial killer.

During his Mercury bhukti, Dahmer claimed five victims. Mercury is his ascendant lord, and is moderately combust with 12th lord Sun, which obviously aroused his sexual fantasies.

During his Ketu bhukti, Dahmer killed 10 young men. Ketu occupies the 6th, which is the 12th from the 7th and therefore a signature for “loss” of a partner, which can be variously construed as a failed relationship, a divorce, or the death of a partner.

The chaya graha always act as proxies for other planets, in descending order of influence: (1) planets with which they associate, (2) planets aspecting them, (3) the planet that disposits them by sign, and (4) the planet that disposits them by nakshatra. In this case, Ketu is doubly influenced by Saturn, which both aspects and disposits it by sign. Thus, the morbid quality of Saturn comes to bear on the nodes which in and of themselves already reflect some degree of derangement.

Finally, note within the inset graph that, over the entire span of Dahmer’s killings, most of them were committed in the antara (sub-period) of Saturn, some of which were in his Mercury bhukti, but the majority in a flurry of violence during his Ketu bhukti in the spring and summer of 1991.

As discussed earlier in the manas discussion, Saturn has a destabilizing effect on the mind. Further note that it is lord of a trikasthana, the 6th, and therefore an instigator of another’s undoing. Finally, note that Saturn occupies a nakshatra of Venus, and therefore invokes the trauma and violence associated with Venus’s placement in another trikasthana, the 8th.

One final note concerning the circularity of cause and effect, consider this. Dahmer killed his first victim in 1978 by bludgeoning him to death with a barbell. Ironically, he died the same way at the hands of a prison inmate 16 years later in 1994.

In June 1978, Dahmer was running Venus-Mars-Ketu. Venus occupies the 8th house and a nakshatra of the Sun ruling the 12th, Mars rules the 8th and is in a nakshatra of Saturn which rules the 6th, and Ketu occupies the 6th.

In November 1994, Dahmer was running Sun-Saturn-Venus. The Sun is swa nakshatra and rules the 12th, Saturn owns the 6th and occupies a nakshatra of Venus in the 8th, and Venus is in the 8th while occupying a nakshatra of the Sun ruling the 12th.

Both in his first victim’s death, and his own, all three trikasthanas were activated. What goes around comes around.

~~~

Alan Annand studied with Hart de Fouw, and is a graduate of the American College of Vedic Astrology and a former tutor for the British Faculty of Astrological Studies. 

He is the author of several non-fiction books. Kala Sarpa is a first-of-its-kind reference book on a unique pattern in jyotish that is not discussed in shastra yet is part of India’s rich oral tradition. Stellar Astrology, Volumes 1 & 2, offer a wealth of time-tested techniques in the form of biographical profiles, analyses of world events, and technical essays. Parivartana Yoga is a reference text for one of the most common yet powerful planetary combinations in jyotish. Mutual Reception is an expanded companion volume for western practitioners, covering the same subject of planetary exchange through the lens of traditional astrology.

His New Age Noir crime novels (Scorpio Rising, Felonious Monk, Soma County) feature astrologer and palmist Axel Crowe, whom one reviewer has dubbed “Sherlock Holmes with a horoscope.”

Websites: www.navamsa.com, www.sextile.com

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

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Kala Sarpa: everything you wanted to know but were afraid to ask

November 30th, 2018 · Astrology, Instruction, Publication

“If the Sun and Moon would doubt,” poet William Blake once wrote, “they would immediately go out.”

As for me, there were times over the past 18 months when my own vision blurred, and I doubted whether I could write a book on Kala Sarpa that would do justice to its myth. But as it is with all writing of substance, it became a sadhana, and there was no choice but to finish the work. I hope students and practicing astrologers alike can now use it to shed light on what has always been a very dark subject.

~ Alan Annand

Paperback available at Amazon only, ebooks available at all online retailers:

http://www.amazon.com/Alan-Annand/e/B0052MM0PO
https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/alan-annand/id442957999
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/alan-annand
http://store.kobobooks.com/en-CA/Search?Query=Alan%20Annand
https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/AlanAnnand

 

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Jian Ghomeshi: unrepentant teddy bear of love

November 3rd, 2018 · Astrology, celebrity, Karma

In 2009 Jian Ghomeshi, then host of the CBC’s popular radio talk show Q was diagnosed with a general anxiety disorder. He began seeing a psychologist on a weekly basis to deal with a range of topics – feeling like an outsider because of his Iranian background, having trust issues, and just not feeling good enough about himself.

At the urging of his therapist, Ghomeshi purchased a teddy bear to replace a childhood toy and help him deal with his anxiety. Five years later, that teddy bear turned up in court testimony, when alleged victims of unsolicited rough sex claimed they’d seen the teddy bear in Ghomeshi’s bedroom. Just prior to one unsavory incident, a plaintiff recounted, Ghomeshi turned the teddy bear’s face into a corner, saying something to the effect, “Teddy shouldn’t see what I’m about to do to you.”

For the record, it should be noted that Ghomeshi was acquitted of all charges against him, ie, four counts of sexual assault and one count of overcoming resistance by choking, as filed by three separate women. An additional charge of sexual assault was withdrawn after Ghomeshi posted a peace bond and made a formal apology to another alleged victim.

Despite his acquittal, Ghomeshi’s story reads something like that of Icarus, who flew too close to the sun, lost the glue in his man-made wings and plummeted back to earth.

Note: Astrodienst (astro.com) gives Ghomeshi’s birth time as 10 PM. But in my personal correspondence with John McKay-Clements, the Canadian astrologer who acquired the birth time from Ghomeshi himself, he says this was a transcription error on the part of Astrodienst. The actual birth time as reported by Ghomeshi was 11 PM.

Ghomeshi was born in England to Iranian parents who immigrated to Canada when he was seven. He struggled to fit in at his Toronto schools, always self-conscious about his appearance and his accent. He found solace in his love of music, especially Bowie, Rush and Talking Heads. At York University he was elected president of the student council but, during the same period, was also flagged as someone who’d allegedly hit a couple of other students, and once grabbed another guy by the genitals.

One salient feature of Ghomeshi’s chart, to which we’ll return more than once, is the graha yuddha, or planetary war, that exists between Jupiter and Venus. Planetary war arises when two of the true planets (Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, or Saturn) lie within one degree of longitude of each other. This creates a “crowding” effect wherein the planets are figuratively stepping on each other’s toes, the analogy of two strangers pressed up against each other in an otherwise empty elevator car. Because we all need our “space,” this is going to cause a problem for at least one if not both of the planets thus configured.

Note here that Jupiter is lord of the 1st and 4th, and as far as people in the life are concerned, it represents both Ghomeshi and his mother. But the 4th also rules a myriad of other things – general happiness, morality, domestic life, schooling, vehicles, fan base, etc.

By age sixteen, he’d joined the first of many bands with friends and schoolmates, singing and playing drums. He reached the pinnacle of that particular career arc in the mid-90s, when the political satire band Moxy Früvous went platinum in Canada, was nominated for a Juno award, and made an appearance on Late Night with Conan O’Brien.

After several years working as a journalist and emcee of various shows for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, in 2007 he became host of CBC’s weekday radio talk show Q. As host, the smooth-talking and mercurial Ghomeshi interviewed a range of musicians, artists, actors, and other notables including Woody Allen, Paul McCartney, Salman Rushdie, Barbara Walters, William Shatner, Jay-Z, and Leonard Cohen. By 2013, Q had a weekly audience of more than 2.5 million listeners in Canada and 550,000 in the United States.

Ghomeshi was flying high, secure in a dream job, basking in public adoration. But in 2014, his trajectory suffered a fatal collision with reality. The Toronto Star newspaper began working on a story wherein several women, both in CBC’s workplace and in his private life, alleged that he had behaved in disturbing ways. Having caught wind of the forthcoming story, Ghomeshi tried to get ahead of it by briefing his corporate bosses, showing them a string of lewd text messages and graphic personal sex videos, claiming that however edgy it might appear it had nonetheless all been consensual.

CBC’s response was to immediately fire Ghomeshi on grounds of sexual harassment in the workplace, and quickly distance itself from their former wunderkind. Ghomeshi filed a $55 million lawsuit for wrongful dismissal and misuse of confidential information, but a month later was obliged to withdraw the suit and reimburse CBC for its legal costs.

October 2014 was a terrible month for Ghomeshi. His beloved father died on October 2nd, and he was fired from the CBC on October 26th. He was at the time running Mercury-Venus. Note that Venus is the other planet involved in the graha yuddha with Jupiter. It rules the 6th house of employment and the 11th house of income, both of which were vaporized that month when Ghomeshi’s story became national news and the scandal made him an instant pariah.

Ironically, Saturn dasha had been very good for him. As a member of Moxy Früvous, he’d enjoyed national exposure in the music industry, their popularity peaking in 1994 with record sales, awards and media attention. At that time, Ghomeshi was running Saturn-Mercury. Saturn itself gives results for its nakshatra lord Mercury, which forms Pancha Mahapurusha Bhadra yoga in the 7th house. The conjoined influence of dasha and bhukti lords gave him all the acceptance and attention he’d craved throughout his school years.

But a few years after becoming host of the radio talk show Q, he entered his Mercury dasha, and things started to go sideways. Mercury occupies a nakshatra of Rahu in Ghomeshi’s chart, so in its periods it also invokes the notorious irregularity of the nodes. Note that Rahu occupies the 5th house of the critical mind, but Rahu is also a major proxy for Mars, which both aspects and disposits the node.

Further note that Mars, with dig bala in the 10th house, rules the 5th house of romance and the 12th house of “bed pleasures,” ie, sexual behavior. And it was this confluence of influences, particularly sexual harassment in the workplace, that had caused many coworkers to complain about Ghomeshi in the years since he’d assumed his role as host of Q. To their discredit, CBC had previously turned a deaf ear to those complaints until the Toronto Star story had leaked prior to breaking out as the Canadian media scandal of the decade.

In November 2014 Ghomeshi turned himself in to the Toronto Police and was charged with four counts of sexual assault and one count of overcoming resistance by choking. In a subsequent hearing in January 2015 he was charged with three additional counts of sexual assault related to three more women. While awaiting trial, he was remanded to the custody of his mother, and banned from contacting any of his alleged victims.

This must have been a very profoundly tortured period for him. The irony is that his mother may well have been at the root of his psychological malaise. Consider the indications for the mother in this chart. The 4th lord Jupiter is in graha yuddha with Venus in the 8th house. The 4th house is occupied by Saturn and in mutual opposition with its natural enemy Mars. The Moon, karaka for the mother, is dark, being in only the second tithi after a new moon. All of this suggests a mother who was fickle, distant, and authoritarian, perhaps even abusive.

Ghomeshi had only one other sibling, an older sister. In any chart, the next-most-elder sibling is indicated by the 11th house. In Ghomeshi’s chart, the 11th lord is Venus, the other planet in the graha yuddha. We can thus regard the planetary war in an alternate light, seeing 1st lord Jupiter as Ghomeshi, while 11th lord Venus represents his sister. Graha yuddha invokes a war in which these two players vie for dominance. Although there are rules for judging the winner of such contests, the situation here is complex – Jupiter is brighter but Venus is higher in the sky – so we can assume both combatants suffer. In a real-life family drama, we might hypothesize that Ghomeshi’s mother favored her first-born daughter, leaving Ghomeshi to resent both females, and to bond emotionally with his father, whose implied dysfunctionality (9th lord and father karaka Sun in the 6th aspected only by Saturn) may have provoked a sympathetic self-identification.

This graha yuddha assumes even greater significance when we consider that it becomes the centerpiece in an analysis of the manas. The manas is a concept of Vedic psychology, wherein it represents the sense perceptions and, by extension, the likes and dislikes that develop as a consequence of sensual experience. This dance of raga versus dvesha, ie, the pursuit of pleasure vs avoidance of pain, subsequently becomes the basis for behavior and personality.

The checklist for a disturbed manas is as follows: (1) the lord of the 4th house is weak and/or badly placed and/or influenced by Saturn or the nodes, (2) Saturn or a node occupies or aspects the 4th house, and (3) the Moon, karaka for the manas, is weak and/or badly placed and/or influenced by Saturn or the nodes.

See Ghomeshi’s chart: (1) the 4th lord Jupiter is weakened by planetary war in the 8th house in a nakshatra of Saturn, (2) an afflicted Saturn occupies the 4th house, and (3) the Moon is dark and in a nakshatra of Rahu.

How does a disturbed manas manifest? In Ghomeshi’s case, there’s an obvious argument for suppressed rage. Traditional enemies Mars and Saturn oppose each other from the angles, and both aspect the ascendant. Aside from the sexual harassment in the workplace, Ghomeshi’s alleged victims claimed forcible sex, choking and closed-fist punching. He once declared to a colleague that he wanted to “hate-fuck” a co-worker.

Relationships with women were obviously a locus of his complicated emotional needs, but the prognosis for genuine intimacy is scant in his chart. The 1st lord Jupiter and 7th lord are in a 2/12 relationship, wherein the lagnesh is weak, the 7th lord strong. The 7th house is occupied only by the Moon and Mercury. The Moon is the most ephemeral of planets, suggesting something of a revolving door of love/sex interests, while a dark Moon implies little emotional depth. Meanwhile, although Mercury in its own sign can promote active engagement via conversation, repartee, flirting, etc, Mercury has traditionally been judged a poor marriage candidate, because Mercury signifies a juvenile, someone who is (emotionally) too young to sustain adult relationships and responsibilities.

None of these factors can be “blamed” for any single constellation of behaviors, but the sum total of their influences creates a bias for judgment. If we needed any final icing on the cake, we might note that both the Moon and Mercury occupy the nakshatra of Ardra. As students of the nakshatras might well know, Ardra is associated with tears, often as a result of deep conflicts between parent and child, feelings of abandonment and betrayal, and expressions of sadness and rage. Not only were many of Ghomeshi’s female coworkers reduced to tears by his behavior, but we can surmise that in the aftermath of the scandal, he too must have cried for all he had lost.

Ghomeshi was tried in February 2016, but acquitted of all charges. This occurred in Mercury-Sun. Note that the Sun delivers results, not only for itself as lord of the 9th in the 6th, but for its star-lord Mars as well. Despite public perception that he was likely “guilty” of unethical if not outright misogynistic behavior, the prosecution’s case was weak, the defense was very robust, and ultimately the judge ruled that the deception of witnesses had created such doubt as to render a guilty verdict unjustified.

A second trial of sexual assault was withdrawn when Ghomeshi posted a peace bond and offered a formal apology to the alleged victim. This was in Mercury-Moon. And then he dropped out of sight. He made an attempt at independent re-invention, launching The Ideation Project, a series of music and podcasts that received lackluster reviews.

Ghomeshi briefly returned to the news last month when the New York Review of Books published “Reflections from a Hashtag,” an essay by Ghomeshi alluding to the #metoo movement in which he admitted having been “emotionally thoughtless” and “too demanding” of his dates, meanwhile avoiding any genuine apology. A storm of public protest promptly arose, asking why someone like Ghomeshi should be given such a prestigious forum for a personal essay. The controversy provoked the immediate resignation of the NYRB editor and a formal apology to readers from the publisher, who vowed to exercise greater discretion in its editorial handling of any such future pieces.

Note how Ghomeshi’s core admission of having been “emotionally thoughtless” evokes again that dark Moon with Mercury in the Gemini 7th house. And in Ardra, it seems there are still more than enough tears to go around.

~~~

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.

Websites: www.navamsa.com, www.sextile.com

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

 

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Webinar review: Kepler’s Astrology Research Team (ART)

September 19th, 2018 · Astrology, Instruction, Science

Interested in learning how to conduct astrological research? Set your agenda for the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of every month. That’s when Kepler’s Astrological Research Team (ART) meets to discuss past studies, current best practices and future projects.

The series, coordinated by Courtney Roberts and facilitated by Glenn “Mitch” Mitchell, seeks to provide potential researchers with useful guidance in conducting research.

In this week’s webinar, we learned that the most common error of neophyte researchers lies in mistaking astronomical significance for astrological significance.

  • If your research involves Sun signs, you have to know that births are not evenly distributed. In northern hemispheres, more people are born in summer months, June through September.
  • If your study involves ascendants, be aware that in the northern hemisphere the signs of long ascension, Cancer through Sagittarius, are far more common rising signs than the other six.

Courtney noted some interesting studies out there to support these cautions, eg, Didier Castille’s article on France’s population and the zodiac, and encouraged us to catch up on the current literature.

Mitch walked us through a very cogent explanation of control groups and why properly-designed studies demand them. Mitch is an astrologer and a statistician who can discuss methodology in plain English, for which I am grateful, because such clarity can’t be taken for granted.

A key takeaway for me was when he discussed “significance.” Statistical significance is when you find a difference between control and study groups that can’t be explained by chance. Practical significance is when you find the same thing but have to ask yourself, is it big enough to really matter, and what argument can I make for its real-world significance?

Mitch provided a brief overview of what’s available in astrological software that supports some robust level of research capability. There are many vendors, so over the course of this series he’s promised to discuss their features, including some live demos of what can be done with the various software.

The session wound up with an expression of interest in various ongoing and future projects. If you want to learn more, tune in for the next ART webinar, which will be Tuesday October 2nd.

Visit the Canaveral Research site and get on their mailing list to be advised of these and other series promoting fact-based astrology.

~~~

Alan Annand (BA, BSc, DFAS, ACVA-II) is a graduate of the American College of Vedic Astrology and former tutor for the British Faculty of Astrological Studies. His recent research paper “Mercury Retrograde in Disasters” was published in the American Federation of Astrologers’ Research Journal Vol.18 this past summer. You can read his article here.

 

 

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Webinar review: Qualitative Research Methods for Astrologers

September 9th, 2018 · Astrology, Instruction, Science

Yesterday I “attended” a webinar offered by the Canaveral Research Center (home of the Kepler Conference) coordinated by Courtney Roberts and moderated by Glenn “Mitch” Mitchell. The workshop featured Dr. Will Morris who, as “guest lecturer,” has an extensive background in academic research methods, as well as a comprehensive acquaintance with the full spectrum of major astrological systems.

Dr. Morris gave us a presentation on the principal research methods: case study, grounded theory, phenomenology, ethnography, historical research, narrative research, and action research. For a neophyte like me, this was an eye-opener regarding the range of different methodologies available. It was also thought-provoking in terms of tentative research topics and, more importantly, how to best approach them.

There was an equally good discussion on mixed methods in research, using both quantitative and qualitative data, and the “triangulation” process of using different data, investigators, theories, methods, and environments to achieve the most robust analysis of a subject.

Aside from taking notes on the lecture material itself, throughout the webinar I was busy jotting down fresh ideas for research that some of these discussions inevitably sparked in my imagination.

Four astrologer-researchers offered “works in progress” on which Dr. Morris provided constructive criticism. David Perkins presented an analysis of musical trends over a century’s worth of Saturn cycles. Kyle Pierce discussed his concept of kindred births via recurring shared planetary patterns. Faith McInerney correlated Chiron and Pluto aspects to booms and busts in financial cycles. Russell Ohlhausen analysed astro-physiognomy via common elements in the charts of celebrities vs their “ordinary” doppelgangers.

The presentations, feedback and discussions lasted almost three hours, providing great value for the price of admission, and much food for thought. Based on this experience, I’d encourage all budding astro-researchers to get on the CRC mailing list, and keep an eye out for future offerings.

~~~

Alan Annand (BA, BSc, DFAS, ACVA-II) is a graduate of the American College of Vedic Astrology and former tutor for the British Faculty of Astrological Studies. His recent research paper “Mercury Retrograde in Disasters” was published in the American Federation of Astrologers’ Research Journal Vol.18 this past summer. You can read his article here.

Future speaking engagements:

  • Saturday, October 20th, 2018, State Of The Art (SOTA) conference in Buffalo, New York, on the subject of “The 27 Nakshatras” (asterisms) used in Vedic astrology, the so-called mansions of the Moon. No previous sense of humor required.
  • Saturday, January 26, 2019, The Kepler Conference in Cape Canaveral, Florida, on the subject of “Prime Malefics in the Charts of Killers.” Attendees must be 18 or over, and have no previous record of violent offenses. See a preview of findings in this brief article.

Alan has written several books: Mutual Reception delineates 66 combinations of house lord exchange in western astrology; Parivartana Yoga is a companion volume for Vedic astrologers; Stellar Astrology, Volumes 1 & 2, offer useful techniques via biographical profiles, mundane event analyses, and technical essays; his New Age Noir mystery trilogy features an astrologer. You can find his books on Amazon and elsewhere.

 

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John McCain: maverick with a heart

September 7th, 2018 · Astrology, celebrity, Instruction

By all odds, John McCain should have died in Vietnam. His survival made him a legend worthy of what is truly great about America: demonstrating courage under fire, and acting with honesty and integrity in support of principles that transcend individual well-being for the sake of one’s country.

His chart has several classic yogas. Sasha yoga, created by Saturn in its own sign in the ascendant, is the strongest among them, making him an icon of conservative values. The Sun/Saturn opposition across the horizon creates a Dharma-Karma Adhipati yoga via lords of the 1st and 7th, and since both planets are strong, this became a signature of two things – his leadership in bipartisan politics, and the anti-establishment streak that many times led him to break ranks with his own Republican party policies. A second DKA yoga, this time with 4th lord Venus and 5th lord Mercury together in the 8th reflected some of the many traumas, both personal and professional, that he experienced in his lifetime. This latter pair also constitutes a Neecha Bhanga Raja yoga, which reflects both his physical and political survival despite many reversals during the years.

McCain came from a military family. (Chandra Mangala yoga across the 6/12 axis reflects a fighting spirit, on both a personal and professional level.) His father and his grandfather were both four-star admirals in the US Navy. As a consequence, he was born in Panama where his father was stationed at the time, and he later attended 20 different schools as his family moved around the USA and the Pacific theatre. His frequent changes of residency and schools are reflected in 4th lord Venus debilitated in the 8th house.

McCain attended the US Navy Academy, from which he graduated in 1958. He had a high IQ but an anti-authoritarian streak, and finished near the bottom of his class. He completed flight school in 1960, during which time he earned a reputation as a party animal and a mediocre pilot. He crashed twice and collided with power lines another time, but walked away largely unscathed. Vehicles are ruled by the 4th house, whether cars, ships or planes. The sorry state of 4th lord Venus reflects his many misfortunes under transport.

He requested a combat assignment during the Vietnam War and was assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Forrestal which suffered a cataclysmic fire in July 1967. An electrical malfunction caused a rocket to accidentally explode among a group of planes on the flight deck, setting off a series of fuel explosions that killed 134 sailors and wounded 161 others, including McCain. The USS Forrestal fire occurred during Rahu dasha, Venus bhukti, as did his final combat mission three months later.

In October 1967 his Skyhawk attack plane was shot down on a mission over North Vietnam. McCain broke both arms and legs, and almost drowned when his parachute came down in a lake. When the North Vietnamese pulled him out of the water, they prodded him with bayonets and struck him with rifle stocks, crushing one of his shoulders.

His captors initially refused to treat his injuries, torturing him instead for information until they discovered his father was an admiral. He spent six weeks in hospital, during which he received minimal care, lost 50 pounds and saw his hair turn white. Other prisoners thought he wouldn’t survive.

Because he wouldn’t cooperate with North Vietnamese demands for information or statements for propaganda purposes, in March 1968 he was put in solitary confinement for two years, spanning Rahu-Sun and Rahu-Moon, the latter bhukti lord sitting in his 12th house. During this period his father was named commander of all US Navy forces in the theatre. The North Vietnamese offered him early release, but McCain refused, abiding with the US military Code of Conduct which had a “first-in, first-out” rule for prisoner-of-war releases.

His North Vietnamese captors in the “Hanoi Hilton” subjected him to severe torture in which he was bound and beaten every two hours, experiencing such pain that he was driven to the point of suicide, prevented only by the actions of his guards. He remained a prisoner of war for five and a half years until his release in March 1973, along with other POWs at the conclusion of peace talks ending the war. His wartime injuries caused him irreparable damage that, even after extensive physiotherapy, left him with a limp and rendered him unable to raise his arms above his head.

Back in America, he took command of a training squadron in Florida. Although he’d married in April 1965 before going to Vietnam, he became involved in several extramarital affairs in Florida that ruined his marriage, for which he subsequently blamed himself. With natural enemies Sun and Saturn opposed across the 1/7 axis, Kujadosha from a debilitated Mars, and marriage karaka Venus debilitated in the 8th, relationships were up-and-down.

He became a Navy liaison officer to the US Senate in 1977, his first taste of civil service in which he began making friends with both Republicans and Democrats. This was his Jupiter-Mercury period, in which both angular Jupiter and exalted Mercury provided the Neecha Bhanga Raja yoga relieving his debilitated Venus. He secured a divorce in April 1980 and a month later married a woman he’d been dating for a year or more, an Arizona heiress to a beer empire, both transactions occurring in his Jupiter-Venus period.

He retired from the Navy in 1981, moved to Arizona and ran for a seat in the House of Representatives. Accused by a local heckler of being a “carpetbagger,” an opportunist who wasn’t a real resident of Arizona, he explained that, being in a military family, he’d been obliged to move around a lot more than was normal. In fact, he said, the longest he’d spent anywhere was his five-and-a-half years in a Hanoi prison. The heckler fell silent and McCain went on to win his seat.

From there he progressed to the Senate in 1987 (Jupiter-Rahu), capturing the Arizona seat left vacant by the late Barry Goldwater. McCain completed five terms and was into his sixth when he died. Over the years, he developed a reputation as a man with a conscience who would often buck the party line if it didn’t sit right with his own principles.

His Sasha yoga was a testimony, not only to his stoicism during his years as a prisoner of war, but also his willingness to take tough stands. The Sun/Saturn opposition is a signature for a maverick, someone who is anti-authoritarian, and perhaps proud of it. And yet with that strong Saturn as an influence, his ego appeared to be largely in check.

Thanks to his Chandra Mangala yoga, he was known to have a temper, and wasn’t afraid to engage in combat, whether physical or legislative. In school he wrestled and boxed. As a pilot, he pushed the envelope in his flying. Whether dealing with hecklers in the crowd, or members of his own party with whom he disagreed on principle, he wasn’t afraid to speak his mind. His debilitated Mars in the 6th indicates a fighter, however reckless, and its aspect on the ascendant gave it punch.

In 2000 (Saturn-Mars), he went head-to-head with George W. Bush in competition for the Republican nominee for President. Despite a vicious smear campaign from the Bush camp, spreading rumors that McCain had fathered a black child (he and his wife had adopted a child from Bangladesh), that he was a homosexual, that he’d been brainwashed in Hanoi and become a “Manchurian candidate,” he refused to respond in kind. He stuck to his principles and lost the leadership race.

Eight years later (Mercury-Mercury), he won the Republican nomination process and campaigned for President with Sarah Palin as his running mate, but this time lost to the Democrats under Barack Obama. His concession speech was gracious and he vowed to continue serving the country as best he could from the Senate where he had over the years acquired more and more senior committee appointments, in foreign policy, and especially the armed services.

In the 2016 Presidential campaign (Mercury-Rahu), he withdrew support for Donald Trump after hearing the Hollywood Tapes in which Trump bragged about groping women. From then on, he became something of a symbol for a mere vestige of the Republican Party that seemed otherwise eager to shed its principles so long as Trump kept on winning the support of the Republican heartland.

For a man of such high principles, one might ask, how can Venus, his 4th and 9th lord of morals, ethics and right behavior, be in such a ruinous state? Recall that his Venus has Neecha Bhanga Raja yoga, which arises under four different scenarios: (1) when the debilitated planet is associated with or aspected by its dispositor, (2) when the dispositor of the debilitated planet is in a kendra, (3) when the lord of the sign in which the debilitated planet would become exalted is in a kendra, and (4) when the planet that would be exalted in that debilitation sign is in a kendra.

See what happens in McCain’s chart: (1) debilitated Venus is associated with its dispositor Mercury; and (3) Jupiter, the lord of Pisces where debilitated Venus would become exalted, is in a kendra. The other two do not apply: (2) Mercury the dispositor of debilitated Venus is not in a kendra; and (4) Mercury that is exalted in Virgo, where Venus is debilitated, is not in a kendra.

So for McCain the whole portfolio of ethics has been a mixed bag. He was a role model during his five and a half years as a prisoner of war. But after the war, he had extramarital affairs and, by his own admission, ruined his marriage. In the early years of his political career, he was involved in a savings and loan scandal that earned him a slap on the wrist from the Ethics Committee, wherein he acknowledged his poor judgement and apologized. Throughout his subsequent Senate role, he worked zealously for Indian affairs, campaign finance reform and many other just causes. On the other hand, he backed unwinnable wars, and waffled on health care. He was a bundle of cantankerous contradictions, but America loved him anyway. Over the decades, his approval/disapproval ratings averaged about 60% vs 30%.

His career is roughly mapped out by his dasha sequence. Rahu dasha spanned the whole of his active military service. Jupiter dasha covered the period from his prison release through state-side non-combat roles and Navy liaison officer, to public office in the House of Representatives. His Saturn dasha saw him become the Senator for Arizona, a role in which he accumulated increasing stature and respect. Mercury dasha ushered in his failed attempt to win the Presidency, multiple frustrations during the Obama administration, and the brain cancer that ultimately killed him.

Although his actions in recent years polarized the Republican party, his integrity and reputation remained intact. Like the “slow walker” Saturn that commanded his ascendant, indeed his chart, his legacy will inevitably endure, and history will likely grant him an honored place among American heroes who made personal sacrifices for the sake of their country.

~~~

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.

Websites: www.navamsa.com, www.sextile.com

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

 

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