This article describing my consultation process first appeared under a slightly different title in the May 2014 edition of Jyotish Star. Thanks to Juliana Swanson for encouragement and guidance, and Christina Collins for publishing. Thanks also to my teachers, Hart DeFouw and his guru Mantrji, without whom I’d never have seen the light of the jyotir vidya.
My Jyotish Practice
I remember my first reading from a Vedic astrologer. He said I had the chart of an astrologer but not a classic jyotishi. I think it was a bit of a backhand comment, but I didn’t mind. I’ve always been a straddler.
I discovered western astrology at age 25 and began studies with the British Faculty of Astrological Studies when I was 27. Three years later I started giving readings and teaching. Western astrology served me well for almost 15 years, until I started doubting its ability to deliver. I thought I was smart, had earned professional accreditation, and put great energy into my work. Why couldn’t I predict more accurately?
Shortly thereafter, I discovered Vedic astrology. I repeated the learning cycle – a few years studying on my own, more than a decade with Hart DeFouw, and ACVA accreditation. Finally I had new skills to offer my clients, sharper readings and better predictions. Over the years, I’ve developed a routine that works for me:
Calculate the birth chart and rectify as required
I rectify every chart whose birth time appears approximate. I use major life events, eg, immigration, marriage, house purchase, birth of children, death of parents, etc, to see if planetary periods and transits make sense.
I may ask the client for numbers, eg, 1-12 for an ascendant, 1-108 for the navamsa lagna, or 1-249 for the KP sub of an ascendant. Or I pick up a book to note the first page number I see, then expunge multiples of 12, 108 or 249 to get into the range I need.
Occasionally, I pluck random numbers from the ether. This doesn’t require extraterrestrial intelligence, just an internet connection. Random.org has a module that generates random numbers from atmospheric noise. For an astrologer, what could be more appropriate?
Often I use Krishnamurti’s system of ruling planets, comparing a prashna with the hypothetical birth chart to determine the rising sign, star or sub.
Using a system of correspondence that translates each letter into a single-digit number, I convert the client’s name to a single-digit number. In some cases, I’ll find it corroborates a rectified chart. Other times, it simply highlights a planet that I may choose to consider topical in today’s session.
Analyse the chart from a static point of view
I note all planetary strengths and weaknesses. I review a few dozen yogas in my head and note those present. I look for themes that emerge by way of house lordships and positions.
I use one set of techniques to assess relationship patterns, and another set to determine career direction. If I can successfully address these two issues, I’ll typically satisfy 80% of my clients.
Although the rashi chart is my benchmark, I also use KP’s unequal house system (Placidus), with which many western astrologers are familiar. As house cusps shift, the KP chart sometimes reveals themes different from the rashi.
Analyse the chart from a dynamic point of view
I note the dasha sequence to see what yogas are activated. I examine whether dasha lords figure prominently in any major chart themes. Generally, this gives me the broad swoop of the client’s life.
I study the current bhukti and those following for at least seven years. I follow Jupiter and Saturn transits to identify success or difficulty in various life departments over the same time span.
Again, the major focus for dasha/bhukti analysis is the rashi chart, but I often compare the KP chart to see if it corroborates or says something different.
I use about a dozen amshas to drill down into whatever departments of life the client’s expressed an interest in, or I think pertinent to their stage in life.
I do a lot of compatibility work, and often prepare the chart of a “significant other” in the client’s life. Often I don’t have their birth time, maybe not even their birth place. In that case, I apply local time and place to their birth dates. Although this might seem like serendipity, I trust in nature’s willingness to cough up useful information. Some of my most insightful “quickie” readings have been based on this technique.
Answer the client’s questions
Prior to their reading I solicit issues of concern, or specific questions the client wants addressed. In the preparation phase, I use various techniques to develop answers.
This entails both static and dynamic assessment. Questions regarding marriage or having children, for example, are really two-fold. At the static level, the answer is yes or no. At the dynamic level, it’s a question of predicting when it may happen.
Although I’ve been lucky, I’m not perfect. I try to get it right within a year or so by using bhukti analysis, or when transits seem to line up, sometimes within a month or less.
My teacher’s guru used to say, Predicting a person’s future is God’s work, and He guards his work jealously. If it were easy, everybody would be doing it.
Prepare a prashna chart
Before the client arrives, I prepare a prashna chart for the appointment time and note the Moon’s star-lord. I examine that same planet in the client’s chart. Whatever it signifies, the client will have that subject in mind.
A second step in this same technique involves the Moon’s sub-lord in the prashna chart. I likewise study that planet too for its significations in the client’s chart. Overlaps in particular offer clues to what’s topical.
Before the reading, I take a few minutes to get into an appropriate mental state. Depending on how much time is available, that may involve deep breathing, giving thanks to my teachers, saying a mantra and/or meditating.
When the client arrives, I give them a few minutes to settle in as we have an introductory chat. I try to assess their ayurvedic type, whether vata, pitta or kapha. Although I already have an opinion of their primary doshas based on their chart, this is my reality check.
I observe body language. I note what part of their body they might touch first, or frequently. Every part of the body, or face for that matter, correlates to a sign, perhaps triggering an association with lifelong or topical issues.
I examine the client’s hands and spend half an hour discussing what palmistry says about them. This is when I really make contact with the client, literally and psychologically. Although I don’t consider palmistry my forte, I’m constantly surprised by the positive feedback from clients. Thus the hand becomes a benchmark to which I may refer later in the consultation, whether discussing relationships, career, health or other issues.
The chart reading
In the next half hour, I provide a static interpretation of the client’s chart, covering whatever’s dominant, interesting, topical or suitable to discuss. On the latter note, I never predict anyone’s death unless specifically requested, and then only if there are very good reasons to do so. My focus is typically relationships and career, and then general health, family, finances, and creative or spiritual pursuits as relevant.
In the last half hour, I cover the dynamic aspect of the chart. I describe how dashas and bhuktis set the stage for certain trends to develop, and how Jupiter and Saturn provide triggers for events. Here’s where I use more KP, looking for activation of things through dasha, bhukti and transits, right down to Sun and Moon if I feel emboldened to get that specific.
In whatever time remains, or I choose to take, I tie up loose ends. If I haven’t already answered the client’s questions, I’ll cover them now, or deal with questions just arising.
Many questions aren’t easy to answer via the birth chart or its amshas. In such cases, I’ll use the prashna chart to provide answers.
If the client has many questions, and I have time to indulge, I may play spin-the-chart. For example, when they ask a question, I ask for a number. Whatever they give me, I expunge multiples of 12 and reduce it to the zodiacal range. So if they say 32, I can toss off 24 and call it 8.
I then rotate the prashna chart to place Scorpio in the ascendant and answer their question based on that resulting chart. And so on.
As a western astrologer, I practiced only astrology. But in Hart’s many classes – on jyotish, hasta, ayurveda, vastu, etc – I often heard him say, “Don’t be a one-trick pony,” by which he meant, don’t depend on one technique alone. So I’ve taken that advice to heart, and try to apply it in all of my client readings. Perhaps someday I’ll be a five-trick pony.
Alan Annand is an astrologer, palmist and author of several mystery novels. He is a graduate of the British Faculty of Astrological Studies, and holds Level II ACVA certification in Vedic Astrology (Jyotish). You can learn more about his consulting practice at www.navamsa.com, or about his writing at www.sextile.com.
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