The Progressed Yogini Nakshatra

Recently astrologer Rok Koritnik published a fascinating post about a medical emergency involving his heart, entitled A Heart Gone Out of Whack, in which he analyzes the event from a classical Hellenistic point of view. Since I’ve been experimenting recently with Yogini dasas, I thought it would be interesting to look at the same event from this Jyotishi point of view. Rok kindly gave  permission to use his chart. Because the Yogini system belongs the the Jyotishi tradition, the following discussion will be with reference to the sidereal zodiac.

Yogini dasas is a system of eight time-lords based on progressions starting from the birth nakshatra of the Moon.  Here is Rok’s natal chart cast in Kala software with the Lahiri ayanamsa:

His Moon at birth lies in the Krittika nakshatra at 26 Aries 49′. In the Yogini system, Krittika is paired with the 6th dasa Ulka which lasts 6 years and activates the planet Saturn in his chart.

The cardiac incident occurred when Rok was 27.6 years old on 26 March 2007. Using the system developed by V.P. Goel to progress the birth nakshatra through the Yogini dasas, we get the following:

  • Birth – Ulka/Saturn/Krittika – 5.63 “Saturn” years (which is 6 years minus the 49′ his moon is already into Krittika).
  • Next: Siddha/Venus/Rohini – 7 “Venus” years until age 12.63 (5.63 + 7).
  • Next: Sankata/Rahu/Mrigashira – 8 “Rahu” years until age 20.63.
  • Next: Mangala/Moon/Ardra – 1 “Moon” year until age 21.63.
  • Next: Pingala/Sun/Punarvasu – 2 “Sun” years until age 23.63.
  • Next: Dhanya/Jupiter/Pushya – 3 “Jupiter” years until age 26.63.
  • Next: Bhramari/Mars/Ashlesha – 4 “Mars” years until age 30.63. The event took place at age 27.6, so he is one year (25%) into his 4-year Mars period, which would place his progressed Yogini Moon at about 20 Cancer (25% of a nakshatra is 3 deg 20 min, which is added to the start of the nakshatra at 16 Cancer 40). Natal Mars lies in the 6th of health issues and rules the 4th (chest and heart area) and 11th (ankles).

Thus, at age 27.6 when the cardiac event occurred, the birth nakshatra had “progressed” into Ashlesha where it activated the three natal planets in Ashlesha/Cancer: Venus, Jupiter and the Sun. Natally, the Sun rules the 8th house (health crises) and Jupiter rules the 12th (hospitalization). Jupiter also rules the 3rd, and Venus rules the 10th and 5th, so these areas of his life should also be busy during this period.

These three planets (Venus, Jupiter, Sun) will also be activated in his solar return for the year 2006-2007. The Sun is especially important for this event because it is a natural symbol of the heart. In addition, Ashlesha in sidereal Cancer (tropical Leo) will act as an alternate Ascendant/Lagna during this 4-year period of his life.

In the figure above we see that the Yogini dasas (based on the Lahiria ayanamsa) for 26 March 2007 were Mars/Mercury/Venus/Mars. Considered with respect to a Cancer/Ashlesha Ascendant, Mars occupies the 12th house and Mercury & Venus reside in the first house, placing an emphasis on the body and its illness. Most important is the fact that Mars occupies the 6th and Mercury rules the 6th at the time of his cardiac event (during a Mars/Mercury Yogini period).

If we consider the Solar Return in effect during this period (cast in Kala in the sidereal zodiac with the Lahiria ayanamsa), paying close attention to the three planets activated by the progressed nakshatra Ashlesha/progressed Yogini Ascendant Cancer, we see the following:

In the 2006-2007 Solar Return, there are four planets in Cancer (the progressed Yogini Ascendant) in the 8th house, which could symbolize a sudden health crisis. These four are Venus, Mercury, Saturn and the Sun. Note that the progressed Yogini Moon at 20 Cancer, as calculated in the Yogini-sequence table, is conjunct Saturn within 2 degrees in the Solar Return. Clearly, the progressed Yogini Ascendant in Ashlesha/sidereal Cancer is a significant indicator of the year’s events, especially with regard to its position in the 8th house of the Solar Return.

In addition, the “Muntha” (most prominent sign during this Solar Return year whose ruler is considered “lord of the year”) is Taurus, which rules the 6th of bodily ailments in the Solar Return chart. The Lord of the Year is therefore Venus, which occupies the Solar Return 8th house and could signify a health crisis.

Note also that in the tropical zodiac, the progressed Yogini Ascendant would fall in Leo, and in the tropical Solar Return (see Rok’s post) the emphasis would be on the 12th house of the return, which has to do with hospitalization.

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On Planetary Turf Wars: “Northerliness” and Brightness Win.

Recently I’ve been trying to learn something about Indian astrology.  One of the concepts that caught my eye is the so-called planetary war or Graha Yuddha, which is an idea that, as far as I know, does not exist in Western astrology.

The basic concept is quite simple: when any of the five non-luminary planets (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn) get too close in the sky, they engage in a battle for occupancy of the same small area. Usually this area is given as one degree of separation. When two planets get within one degree of each other, it’s as if each planet is invading the personal space of the other. According to, personal space is defined as “the physical space immediately surrounding someone, into which any encroachment feels threatening to or uncomfortable for them.”

Unfortunately, the literature appears to be a bit unclear about exactly who wins the war. Questions that arise include:

  • Should the separation between planets be measured on the ecliptic or on some other coordinate system, or by direct observation of the 3-dimensional sky? Two planets can be quite far apart in the heavens and simultaneously compete for the same degree of the zodiac on the ecliptic. My guess is that the ancient astrologers relied on direct observation. Perhaps it would be better to judge planetary war by measuring the planets’ positions with reference to the prime vertical, which is a better reflection of the observer’s view of the heavens from his or her location on Earth because an observer standing upright and facing the point where the local meridian crosses the Equator will be in the plane of the prime vertical.

Prime Vertical Circle

  • Does the war occur only when the planets are in the same degree or when they are within one degree of each other? In Hellenistic astrology the individual degrees of signs have firm boundaries and were considered the domains of particular planets.
  • The brightness of the planet appears to be an important factor. According to most authors, Venus always wins a turf battle with other non-luminaries because Venus is by far the brightest planet in the sky. (It seems a little strange to me that Venus always wins with no exceptions.) What role does brightness play in turf battle between non-luminaries other than Venus?
  • Being more northerly is also an important factor. The ancient astrologers were located in places where they needed to look south to see the ecliptic and thus more northerly planets appeared higher in the sky and were thus more “elevated,” just as royalty was more “elevated” and more powerful when compared to the lower classes of society. How do we measure “northerliness” — by ecliptic latitude, by declination with respect to the Equator (the astronomical method), on the prime vertical, or by direct observation?

In their book on Vedic Astrology (Vol. 2, p.34), Kurczak and Fish take a strictly zodiacal approach, using only measurements on the ecliptic: “When there is a distance of one degree or less between two planets, they are considered to be in a state of conflict … the planet with the lower degree of [ecliptic] longitude becomes the victor.” These authors do note, however, that some astrologers judge the outcome of planetary war by the latitudes of the planets involved rather than by ecliptic longitude.

Another author, Sam Geppi, also views planetary war as a phenomenon measured along the ecliptic: “In planetary war, the planets have to be within 1 degree of each other, but there is conflicting information about whether the one with the highest or lowest longitude “wins”. Also it is unclear whether ecliptic longitude or declination is to be used. There are also certain things like “Venus always wins” (due to brightness) ,.. And certain references that imply the speed of the planets and many other things. In my research I have seen the planet with the lowest ecliptic longitude “wins” and the karmas of one get transferred to the other.”

Astrologer Vic DiCara has a somewhat different view of planetary war: “When planets get within 1º absolute distance from each other, they fight. … Venus never loses … she is by far brighter and stronger than any other starry planet. If Venus is not involved, the planet with a more northern declination wins the war. Why? He with the “higher ground” can win. What happens after the war? The victor gets stronger and the loser gets weaker.” I assume that what DiCara means by “absolute distance” is the distance between planets measured in 3-dimensional space. If so, then planetary war is fairly uncommon because planets which appear to be within one degree on the ecliptic are often several degrees apart in the sky. In addition, it is not clear why Venus always wins solely on the basis of brightness but the other planets win solely on the basis of having a more northern declination, regardless of brightness. If I were an ancient astrologer, I would look at the sky and judge both brightness and northerliness and make a judgment based on both factors.

In his book Jyotisha for Beginners, Marc Boney writes (italics mine):From my researches, I have concluded that the main factor for determining the winner of the war is brightness. In which case, Venus will always win a planetary war in which it participates, otherwise, you have to rely on the astronomical data given in the programs to tell you which graha in the war is brighter. If two planets are very close in brightness, I would evaluate which is more north in its declination, which astrological software will also reveal.” (Boney, Marc. Jyotisha For Beginners (p. 115). Kindle Edition.) Boney gives the example of journalist Barbara Walters, whose Mars and Mercury are only 48′ of arc apart on the ecliptic. Boney does not mention, however, that the bodies of these planets are further apart than one degree in space, and their separation on the Prime Vertical is 2 degrees 4 minutes of arc. In addition, Mars and Mercury are separated by 1 degree 55 minutes of arc on the Placidus mundoscope, which measures distances in terms of the diurnal arc of each planet. Thus, Mars and Mercury may not be in planetary war at all because from the viewpoint of an observer at the birthplace, Mars and Mercury are more than one degree apart. In addition, Mercury is stationary direct in Walter’s chart and thus easily overwhelms Mars in its significance.

In a post on this topic Edith Hathaway writes:
“In his work Uttara Kalamrita, Kalidasa offers the following: ‘When two planets are in the same house and within one degree they are at war (Graha Yuddha). The planet which is north of the second is the winner. It acquires the strength of the Vanquished.’ The Surya Siddhanta states that ‘Venus is generally victor whether situated to the north or the south.’
Hathaway notes that the literature says that Venus is generally (but not necessarily always) the victor. In addition, she cites other factors that can contribute to victory including the influence, condition, mass, size and orbital speed of the planets involved, as well as the Nakshatra(s) that they occupy. It is a combination of factors that indicate the victor.

Vedic astrologer Komilla Sutton, in a YouTube video, takes a strictly ecliptic approach and comments that some astrologers regard the planet with the lower ecliptic longitude as the winner of the battle whereas others believe that the planet with the higher ecliptic longitude is the victor in the turf war. She believes that, just as in real life, nobody really wins a war because there is harm to both sides of the conflict. People with a planetary war in their charts can be torn in two directions. Sutton does agree, however, that Venus always wins because Venus is the brightest non-luminary planet. She also makes the important point that traditionally astrologers actually looked at the sky to judge the winner of such a war. Maybe we modern astrologers should also look directly at the sky to make our judgments.

Fortunately, with the program Stellarium, we can observe the sky for any date in history. Below is what the sky looked like at the birth of a person who had a serious car accident, requiring hospitalization. Pay attention to the planets Mercury and Saturn in the birth chart. At some point in this person’s life the close conjunction of Saturn and Mercury could manifest as a serious problem (Saturn) related to travel (Mercury).

Mercury Saturn brightness

Planets at birth of a person who had a serious car accident requiring hospitalization during adult life. Note that Mercury and Saturn are projecting themselves onto almost the same point on the ecliptic in the sign Scorpio, and so their projections onto the ecliptic are in a turf battle for that tiny region on the Sun’s path through the heavens. Saturn is ahead of Mercury in the zodiac. Saturn is to the north of Mercury in the sky, but Mercury is brighter than Saturn. Who wins the war?

The green line in the middle is the meridian at the birthplace. The orange line is the ecliptic or path of the Sun, and the blue line is the Celestial Equator. As we can see by looking at the sky at the birth of this person, Saturn and Mercury are almost exactly conjunct on the ecliptic, and they are competing for the same spot on the ecliptic (orange line).

Stellarium gives values for the brightness of the planets, and we can also see visually in the image that Mercury is slightly brighter than Saturn, so by the criterion of brightness Mercury has an advantage over Saturn in this war. On the other hand, Saturn is significantly more north of Mercury, and Saturn’s elevated status gives it an advantage over Mercury. Who wins the war?  Saturn is further along in the zodiac than Mercury, which has the lesser ecliptic longitude, so by this criterion Mercury wins. On the other hand, looking at the sky one might argue that Saturn’s greater elevation gives it an advantage of Mercury’s brightness so that Saturn wins. Or could the war possibly end in a stalemate?

I ran this chart (the person who was hospitalized after a car accident) though the KALA vedic software program, which is based on Ernst Wilhelm’s extensive research into original sources, and KALA determined that Saturn won the war.  Here is the chart:


You can see that Mercury at 8 Sc 05 is quite close to Saturn at 8 Sc 36 in ecliptic longitude. Saturn has the higher ecliptic latitude in this chart. Those astrologers who believe that the winner should be judged by lower ecliptic latitude would declare Mercury the winner. In addition, Mercury is brighter than Saturn in this chart, so astrologers who judge the winner by brightness would also give the victory to Mercury. In contrast, KALA declares Saturn to be the winner of this war. Given the fact that she had a car accident (a collision, symbolized by Saturn) while traveling (Mercury), one could argue that Saturn won the war.

Regarding declination (distance north or south of the Equator), the declination of Mercury is about 17 degrees South and the declination of Saturn is about 12 degrees South, so the two planets are separated by about 5 degrees of declination, as you can see in the Stellarium image of the sky. If I understood DiCara properly, he would not regard these planets to be at war because the bodies of the planets are about 5 degrees apart in space as viewed from the observer’s position on Earth.

I don’t know what calculations KALA is using, but it appears to take into account the closeness of the ecliptic positions of Saturn and Mercury (and perhaps also the fact that Mercury and Saturn are quite close when projected onto the Prime Vertical) and the fact that Mercury is somewhat brighter than Saturn, whereas Saturn is significantly more northern than Mercury. On balance, Saturn appears to win but not by a large margin. As Komilla Sutton suggests, there are probably many casualties on both sides.

Here is the same chart projected onto the Prime Vertical. The zodiacal coordinates refer to the relative positions of the planets rather than their ecliptic longitudes. As you can see, Mercury and Saturn are only 19 minutes of arc apart when measured on the Prime Vertical, which would qualify for a planetary war.
Prime Vert

Having read the various authors and tried to understand the concept, my current understanding as a novice to the Vedic approach to planetary war is the following (though I may be wrong and would love to get feedback from those more expert in the subject):

  • Planetary war is a concept that developed in Indian astrology in a region north of the Equator, which does not pass through India, so that astrologers generally looked south to view the sky. I have no idea how planetary war would be judged from locations below the Equator.
  • Planetary war may occur when two non-luminous planets are trying to project their rays onto the same small area (less than 1 degree) on the ecliptic and also on the Prime Vertical or in the Placidus Mundoscope which shows the relative separation of planets according to their respective diurnal arcs. The Prime Vertical is the great circle that passes through the observer’s Zenith and through the points due East and West on the observer’s horizon. As a result, the Prime Vertical chart is a better gauge of how the sky will look to the observer from his or her location on Earth, but perhaps the best gauge is to cast the chart in Stellarium to see how the sky actually looked at the time of birth.
  • If we follow Vic DiCara’s reasoning that for planetary war to occur, the planets must be within 1º absolute distance from each other, then it is quite rare that the bodies of two planets will meet this criterion.
  • Because planetary war is probably best judged by actual observation of the sky at birth, the close proximity of the projections of two planets on the ecliptic do not necessarily mean that a planetary war is taking place. The birth chart of Adolf Hitler is a good example because the rays of Mars and Venus are just 19 minutes of arc apart on the ecliptic, but the bodies of those two planets are fairly far apart in the heavens, and also when measured on the Prime Vertical, so no true planetary war takes place. The other example mentioned above is that of journalist Barbara Walters in which a true planetary war does not take place.

These are the relative positions of Hitler’s natal planets with reference to the western horizon as measured on the Prime Vertical at his birthplace. Note the angular distance between Venus and Mars which measures just under 4 degrees of arc, so no planetary war is in effect.

  • The winner is determined primarily by a combination of the relative brightness and the northerliness of the two planets.
  • The more northern planet (the one that is more elevated in the sky as measured by its vertical distance from the Equator and its proximity to the North Pole of the Celestial Sphere) wins the war unless the other planet is significantly brighter, in which case one would have to quantify the degree of relative brightness and weight it against the degree of northerliness to make a judgment.
  • Ecliptic longitude should not be used to decide the winner of a planetary war because one cannot adequately judge “northerliness” or brightness from the ecliptic longitude of a planet. When two planets are within one degree of each other in ecliptic longitude, it is essential to consider their separation as measured on the Prime Vertical and/or the Placidus Mundoscope to determine whether a true planetary war really exists.

Useful Sites for Comparing Planetary Brightness:

For example, as I am writing this the planets today have the following relative magnitudes (based on the magnitude scale used by Hipparchus & Ptolemy):


Using the second link above to compare the relative brightness of Mercury (-0.06) to Saturn (0.55), we find that Mercury is 1.754 times brighter than Saturn today, so that if they were at war and Saturn was more northerly than Mercury, then Saturn would probably win the war because Mercury is only slightly brighter:

bright calc

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The Hour Lord (& Pitted Degrees) in Horary Astrology

Horary astrology seeks to answer a question based on the moment that a “querent” or inquirer asks a question of the astrologer. In the history of horary astrology there has been a longstanding issue of whether the querent in being sincere in asking the question. For example in Sri Neelakanta’s 16th century Prasna Tantra, he writes (B.V. Raman translation):

“1. Whether the person is sincere or not in putting the question should first be ascertained on the strength of the ascendant. The astrologer should then study the good and bad aspects of the query and his prediction will be duly inspired.

2-4. The querist’s intention will not be honest if (a) the Moon is in the ascendant, Saturn is in a quadrant and Mercury is combust; (b) Mars and Mercury aspect the Moon in the ascendant; (c) a malefic joins the ascendant; (d) Jupiter or Mercury cast an inimical glance on the lord of the 7th. His intention will be sincere if (a) a benefic planet joins the ascendant; (b) if Mars or the full Moon and Jupiter aspect the ascendant; and (c) Jupiter or Mercury throws a friendly aspect on the lord of the seventh.”

In Western texts we read how Bonatti warns astrologers to beware of cases in which “the Querent comes only to try him, or put a trick upon him.” To identify such cases Bonatti looked at whether the Ascendant degree was at the end of one sign or at the beginning of another, which indicated to Bonatti that the Querent did not ask seriously or had come to try him.

Yet another method Bonatti used to identify whether the chart was “radical” was to study the planetary lord of the hour in which he received the question: “when the Lord of the Ascendant and the Lord of the Hour are not the same [planet], nor of the same Triplicity [Fire, Air, Earth, Water], or be not of the same Complexion with the Ascendant … then the question is not Radical, as I have frequently found by experience.”

The 17th century astrologer William Lilly adopted Bonatti’s advice as we can see in the following quotes from Christian Astrology:

“All the ancients that have wrote of questions do give warning to the
astrologer, that before he deliver judgement he should consider whether the
figure is radical and capable of judgement. The question then shall be taken
for radical, or fit to be judged, when the lord of the hour at the time of
proposing the question, and erecting the figure, and the lord of the ascendant
or first house, are of one triplicity, or be one, or of the same nature.”

“As for example: let the lord of the hour be Mars, let the sign of Scorpio, Cancer
or Pisces ascend, this question is then radical, because Mars is lord of the hour,
and of the watery triplicity, or of those signs Cancer, Scorpio or Pisces.”

“See the Question be radicall, or fit to be judged; which is, when the Lord of the Ascendant and hour be of one nature or Triplicity.”

According to Ernst Wilhelm in a lecture on Indian horary (prasna), the Lord of the Hour reveals much about why the querent is asking the question at that specific time as well as the outcome the querent is hoping for in the matter asked about, that is, the condition of the Hour Lord can also indicate the potential for (or the limit to) the success regarding the matter. The better the condition of the lord of the hour, the more likely the querent will achieve what he or she wishes for in the matter of the question. An hour lord in bad condition suggests that the outcome will fall short of what the querent hopes to achieve. The location of the hour lord in the chart and the houses that it rules will be related to the focus of the question.

Apparently, in the classic Indian technique, the hour lord is not calculated for the location of the astrologer or querent but instead is calculated with reference to a fixed meridian so that the same hour lord applies worldwide at a given moment regardless of location. In traditional Indian texts the hour lord was calculated with reference to the ancient Indian prime meridian (obviously not the Greenwich meridian), which passed through Ujjain, the largest city in the Ujjain district of the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. The city of Ujjain has coordinates 23° N 10′ 56.60″75° E 46′ 35.15″. For further information about Ujjain, there is a good explanation at which states the following:

“In 1884, Greenwich became universally accepted as the prime meridian, the international standard for 0° longitude from where all world time is calculated. Before that, Ujjain was considered the central meridian for time in India. Even today, wherever you may be born, when a panchang or horoscope as per the Hindu almanac is drawn up, it is always based on Ujjain time (roughly 29 minutes behind IST).”

To me the ancient Indian practice of determining a fixed or universal lord of the hour based on an old prime meridian regardless of location makes little sense because the hour lord of the location reflects the time of day at that location. Using one hour lord for any given moment throughout the world does not reflect the individuality or specificity of each horary question.

In other words, what crosses our mind at various hours of the day reflects the nature of the planet that rules that hour, and the planetary hour lord varies with our location on Earth. If the hour lord were the same throughout the globe at any given moment, then the entire human population would be experiencing the same planet as an hour lord at the same moment. Instead what appears more likely is that the hour lord at a given location is reflected in the thinking of the humans who reside at that location.

The great value in the Indian approach is that, unlike Bonatti and Lilly who focus narrowly on the hour lord to determine whether the chart is radical, the Indian astrologer uses the hour lord in horary as part of the overall interpretation of the horary chart and as an indicator of its likely outcome. An example might help to clarify this point.

Consider the following horary question. Over the summer I was invited to participate in an online discussion with some other astrologers but it was unclear whether an important member of the group would be able to make it for reasons outside his control (a hurricane was threatening to make landfall in his area). In order to plan my schedule and set aside the time, I wanted to know whether the online discussion would take place at the suggested time, so I asked the horary question of whether the online meeting would take place as planned. Here is the chart in the tropical zodiac with Alcabitius houses. It is a Mercury day during a Moon hour (the 9th hour of the day). I will study the Moon’s condition as lord of the hour as an indicator of the success of the outcome.


With Sagittarius rising, I am signified by Jupiter in Sagittarius in the 12th house, which signaled that the meeting might not take place. This interpretation was further reinforced by Retrograde Saturn in the 1st house conjunct Ketu and Retrograde Pluto. Lilly noted that matters hardly ever proceed as the querent desires when Retrograde Saturn is rising in the 1st house.

It is a Mercury day, which seems fitting because Mercury rules the 7th (the people I am negotiating with about the meeting) and conjoins the cusp of the 9th (people at a distance, dissemination of information). The hour lord Moon is not especially favorable because she both rules the 8th house cusp and occupies the unfortunate quadrant 8th house. The Moon happens to fall in the 9th place from the Ascendant, which has to do with communication at a distance, so that the symbolism of 8th house death and 9th house long-distance contacts comes together in this combination of lunar placements. Here is a table of dignities for this chart.


We see in the table that the hour lord Moon lacks any essential dignity (it’s peregrine) that might have offset its rulership and occupation of the unfortunate 8th house. In addition, the Moon is fairly close to the Sun, so it is “dark” and hardly visible and will reach New Moon stage very shortly. Thus, the Moon is a functional malefic in this chart, and its role as hour ruler indicates that the querent will be disappointed in the outcome. I wanted the online discussion to take place as planned, but the unfavorable condition of the hour lord Moon suggests that I will be disappointed in the matter I am asking about.

Mercury, the other person (lord of 7th), is also peregrine and is essential cadent in this chart, so that Mercury has no dignity and little power to act to bring about a favorable result.

A quick glance might suggest that the meeting will take place because the Moon is about to trine Jupiter without interference. The downside is that the Moon is peregrine and in the unfortunate 8th, and Jupiter is in the unfortunate 12th. In addition, the only reception between Jupiter and the Moon is by Face, the weakest essential dignity which Lilly likens to “a man ready to be turned out of doors, having much ado to maintain himself in credit and reputation: and in Genealogies it represents a Family at the last gasp, even as good as quite decayed, barely able to support it self.”

Being “at the last gasp” hardly gave me confidence that the meeting would take place, so I concluded that it would be cancelled and would need to be rescheduled for a later date, which was the actual outcome.

Addendum (8 Oct 2019): Jupiter in a pit, well or ditch.

Maria’s comment below reminded me that I had not mentioned considering Jupiter’s degree placement within Sagittarius in my delineation. The “pitted” degrees or “wells” in Sagittarius are the 7th, 12th, 15, 24th, 27th and 30th. The 15th degree spans 14 – 15 degrees of Sagittarius where Jupiter lies. In this chart Jupiter is not only in the unfortunate 12th house but he has also fallen down a well and can’t get out without assistance. Here is my response to Maria:

“One factor that I did not mention in the post is that Jupiter at 14 Sag 57 is in a “pitted” degree (CA 116) so that it’s ability to act as a benefic is limited. I was thinking about pitted degrees because I was recently reviewing some charts by Masha’Allah and Abu Ma’Shar (who calls them “wells” in the Dykes translation). Because Jupiter was my significator, its placement in the 12th (sorrow, disappointment) and having fallen into a “pit” or “well” suggested a negative outcome.”

In CA 118 Lilly says that the Moon, the Asc degree or the ruler of the Asc in a pitted degree is like “as a man cast into a Ditch [who] does not easily get out without help, so no more can this querent in the case he is without assistance.” In other words, even though Jupiter is benefic, there is little or nothing he can do to bring about a favorable outcome in this instance. It all depends on the other person (Mercury) who is peregrine, combust the Sun and in the 8th house, so the outcome seems doubtful.

Looking at the chart now, I realize that the Ascendant degree at 6 Sag 20 is also in a pit or a well.  The 7th degree of Sagittarius from 6 – 7 degrees of that sign is a pit. Thus, both the Ascendant degree and the ruler of the Ascendant have fallen down a well and can’t do much to affect the outcome without outside assistance.




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The Day Susan Fell Off Her Horse

Cyril Fagan, an Irish astrologer (22 May 1896 – 5 January 1970), wrote extensively on sidereal astrology after discovering that the ancient Babylonian astrologers used a sidereal rather than a tropical zodiac. He is one of the authors of the the Fagan-Bradley Ayanamsha. 

In his Primer of Sidereal Astrology Fagan notes the importance of the mean daily motion of the Sun, which is the basis for many methods of progressing a chart. He refers to the “right ascension of the mean Sun” and points out that in the 12 Noon ephemeris set for 12 hours UT, the sidereal time at Noon UT in the Ephemeris increases at a rate of 9.855 seconds per hour. Consequently, Cyril Fagan suggests that for purposes of calculation the so-called “mean Sun” can be treated as if it were a planet traveling at a constant rate of 3 minutes 56.556 seconds per day.

In discussing primary directions, Ptolemy used a rate of one degree of movement of the Equator (one degree of Right Ascension or R.A.) is symbolically equivalent to one year of life. In this formula, one degree of R.A. has a duration of 4 minutes of sidereal time because the entire 360-degree circle corresponds to 24 hours of sidereal time. Fagan discounts the primary directions of Ptolemy as having long ago gone out of fashion and instead favors the method of secondary progressions, which he believes gives “astonishing” results.

As an example chart, Fagan uses the nativity of a woman named Susan Walker, born on 8 October 1949 at 2:33 A.M. GMT (Rodden rating AA) in London (0W09.44, 51N29.33).  Here is the sidereal birth chart with Placidus houses.

Susan Walker

Fagan goes on to study an important event in the life of this woman. At 10.48 years of age  Susan had a serious accident when she was thrown from a pony and rendered unconscious with a likely concussion, from which she fortunately made a full recovery.  The pony accident occurred on 27 March 1960 around Noon GMT in Blewbury, Berkshire, England (01W17, 51N35).

In progressing the chart, Fagan notes that there are many methods of advancing the MC including the rate of Ptolemy (one degree of R.A. = one year), the rate of Naibod (0d 59m 8.33s of R.A. = one year of life) and his preferred bija rate in which 3 minutes 55.91 seconds (3.931833 minutes) equals one year of life. (As I understand it, the bija rate adjusts for the difference between sidereal and standard clock time as the Earth makes one complete rotation on its axis.)

To calculate the “primary directed” MC at the bija rate we takes the woman’s age at the time of the accident (10.48 years) and multiply it by 3.931833 minutes per year. The result is 41.2056 minutes, which we must add to the birth time to get the time that corresponds to the directed MC. Adding 41.2 minutes to the birth time of 2:33 AM gives us a time of 3:14:13 AM GMT as the birth time for the directed MC at age 10.48 years. The directed MC lies at 12 Taurus 37, and the directed Asc at 18 Leo 13. Neither of these directed angles is particularly close to a perfect aspect, although the directed Asc is near the body of natal Saturn and the directed MC is near the trine of natal Mercury. This emphasis on Saturn and Mercury sets a background tone in which a travel-related accident is possible but does not pinpoint the event very precisely.

If we look at transits at the time of the accident, we see that there was a solar eclipse on the very day of the pony incident at 12 Pisces 27 in her 8th house of death. This solar eclipse opposed her natal Mercury in Virgo in the 2nd and squared her natal Uranus in Gemini in the 11th, thus strongly activating the natal Mercury/Uranus square. The solar eclipse very closely sextiled the directed MC at 12 Taurus 37 from the unfortunate 8th house.

If we look at her primary directions (which Fagan eschewed) calculated by Placidus semi-arc with latitude and a key of true solar equatorial (R.A.) birthday arc, we see the following aspects:

true solar

Toward the end of 1959 the square of 12th house Pluto came to the MC, coloring the period of the pony accident (March 1960). Almost exactly on the day of the accident Jupiter (ruler of the 8th of death) came to the square of the Asc-ruler Sun (the body). Less than a month after the accident the square of 5th-house Jupiter (recreational activities) came to the Sun.

Just two weeks after the accident Mercury and the Sun conjoined by converse primary direction.  Here “converse” means that the significator (the Sun) is carried clockwise towards the promissor Mercury via primary motion of the Earth’s rotation from east to west, so that Mercury at 11 Virgo 52 Rx is activated. Mercury rules the 3rd (travel, transportation, including pony rides) and the Sun rules the 1st (the body). This point was further activated by the transiting solar eclipse which opposed it on the day of the accident.

It’s unfortunate that Cyril Fagan did not investigate primary directions because they can also offer “astonishing” results in predictive astrology.

Tropical Chart

Below is the tropical zodiac chart for Susan (calculated at with the primary directed chart for the date of the accident outside the inner natal chart and a list of the primary directed aspects within orb at the time.

carta natal es

aspects es


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Beginner’s Luck with Yogini Dasas

A few months ago I read an article about Yogini dasas in Vedic astrology and became intrigued, so I began experimenting with them over the summer (2019). In a previous post I detailed some of the basics of the Yogini dasa system.

In August of 2019 I was corresponding with a colleague about them, and he mentioned that he was planning to get married (a event which we had foreseen in his tropical chart primary directions for this year) but that for various reasons the wedding had to be delayed.  I looked at his Yogini dashas for this period and saw that he had entered the Venus-Mercury-Saturn Yogini period on August 3rd (Saturn signifies delays), which would last until October 1st when he would run his Venus-Mercury-Venus Yogini dasas until the beginning of December of this year (Venus is a planet of love and marriage).  From this I concluded that the delay in the wedding plans would last until October 1st and that the wedding would take plane in October or November of 2019.  He recently told me that the wedding is now set for mid-October. The combination of primary directions and Yogini dasas had enabled an accurate prediction of a marriage within a two-month period of 2019.

Even more impressive is the following example. Also in August of 2019 a 35-year-old man, who works as a high-end mechanic, was seeking higher paying employment and better job security in a related field. He asked if he would be able to get the job at a facility which often does work for the government and requires a rigorous background check for security reasons. He knew people who had applied for similar jobs at this facility and had been turned down without explanation on the basis of the background check. His birth data are being withheld to protect his privacy.

I began by looking at this primary directions for the coming year. His Midheaven degree in the tropical chart was about to change signs by primary direction in the coming months, which suggested a significant career change was in the offing. Because I had been studying Yogini dasas, I decided to try this technique in his sidereal chart to answer his question. Fortunately, a YouTube video posted by Lunar Astro,  entitled “Secrets of Yogini Dasha — Best Dasha to Predict Events,” discussed the chart of a client who asked about a career change. Following the steps outlined in this video, I told the mechanic that he would likely get the job and would hear about it around 26 September 2019.

Here is his sidereal chart (true Lahiri) with his current Yogini dasas.


He entered his Moon Yogini MD period in February of 2019. The Moon rules the 3rd House (which the Lunar Astro video employs to study “change of place”).  The Moon occupies his 6th House of the workplace, together with Mars and Saturn, which reflect his discontent with his current working conditions. The presence of the 10th Lord in the 6th may indicate his interest in finding another job. The 4th Lord Moon in the 6th correlates with his interest in changing where he works.

During the period from February through July he sought information about the new company, spoke to friends who work there, and kept alert to any job openings.  In July of 2019, during the Moon-Saturn Yogini period, he learned of a job opening and began the rather arduous application process, which he knew from friends could take several months to complete. Saturn rules his 10th House of career.

In August of 2019 he asked my opinion about whether he would get the job and, if so, when. Looking at his Yogini dasas, I thought that the application process would last until the end of the Saturn subperiod.  The Moon-Saturn period ran from late July when he applied for the job through 19 September 2019. During this time he had to go for interviews and complete mountains of paperwork documenting all facets of his life for the previous seven years.  It was a highly stressful period.

I told him that I thought he would get the job because the Venus subperiod follows the Saturn subperiod. Venus is a benefic. It rules his Ascendant and conjoins benefic Jupiter, both of which lie in Sagittarius, ruled by Jupiter. The Moon-Venus Yogini dasa runs from 19 September through 29 November 2019, so I told him I thought he would get a favorable response to his application during this period.

To refine matters further, I looked at sub-sub-periods. My reasoning was that Venus rules his Ascendant and his 6th House of the workplace, so that a change of workplace would likely occur during a Venus sub-period, especially when benefic Jupiter was also activated. In addition the 3rd House ruler Moon (signifying change of place) lies in the 6th house, which is ruled by Venus.  Based on this reasoning, I said that a likely time to hear about the job would be 26 – 27 of September 2019 when the Moon-Venus-Venus-Jupiter Yogini dasa was in effect. The following list illustrates this Yogini period.


It occurred to me that the Jupiter sub-period 26 – 27 September seemed the most favorable for receiving news about the job.

The outcome was that around 3:30 PM on 26 September 2019 (yesterday) I received a text message from this man that he had just received a phone call from the new company and they had offered him the job. Needless to say, I was impressed that the Yogini system had been so precise. Without the Lunar Astro video I would never have been able to make this prediction, and most likely it involves a lot of beginner’s luck as well.

Another feature I considered was the progressed birth Nakshatra, as explained in his books and videos by V. P. Goel.  According to this method, the birth Nakshatra is paired with the first Yogini dasa, and each subsequent dasa period is paired in order with the subsequent Naksahtras, with some exceptions as explained by Goel to keep the sequence of the Yogini Nakshatras in order.

This person was born with the Moon in Chitra, so that at age 35 his progressed Nakshatra in the Yogini system advanced into Shravana, activating his natal Sun as well as the cusp of the Hindu Bhava 10th House (based on the Porphyry system, but with the cusps shifted to the midpoints of the Porphyry houses, so that the Ascendant falls in the middle of the first house, etc.).  Thus, during his Moon MD Yogini period, the natal 9th house Sun and the cusp of the 10th Hindu Bhava are highly active, suggesting career advancement. The following chart illustrates these comments.



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The Progressed Yogini Nakshatra

Recently I’ve been doing a bit of reading about Vedic astrology, a subject at which I am an absolute beginner.  I came across an interesting book by V.P. Goel about progressing the Moon’s birth Nakshatra as part of predicting with Yogini Dasas, a type of time-lord system similar to the zodiacal releasing of Vettius Valens.

According to wikipedia, a yogini is a female master practicioner of yoga, and the term can also refer to “the sacred feminine force made incarnate, as an aspect of Parvati,” which is revered in yogini temples of India as the Eight Matrikas (a group of eight mother goddessess) or the Sixty-four Yoginis.  The word “matrika” means “divine mother” and it would seem that in Yogini dasas each divine mother is paired with one of the planets and is assigned a certain number of years ranging from 1 to 8.

This is an excerpt from a blog by V.P. Goel in which he explains his reasoning:

“Basically, what you have to know is that each Yogini dasha is traditionally linked to a nakshatra. If you start from the Moon’s birth nakshatra (janma nakshatra) then you can proceed one nakshatra forward with each change in the Yogini mahadasha lords. For instance, if your Moon is in Rohini nakshatra at birth then your first Yogini dasha will be Siddha (Venus), because Rohini is associated with Siddha (Venus). After Siddha (Venus) dasha comes Sankata (Rahu) dasha which is linked to Mrigashira which is the next nakshatra. So the nakshatra linked with the Yogini dasha becomes the progressed lagna. This lagna can be used to interpret the effects of the Yogini dasha, in addition to the normal interpretation of the dasha from the ascendant, like with Vimshottari dasha.”

If I understand Goel correctly, he pairs the Moon’s birth Nakshatra (lunar mansion) with the first Yogini period, the next Nakshatra in numerical order (starting with Aswini as #1) with the second Yogini period and so on around the wheel.  Whenever he gets to the 27th Nakshatra (Revati – paired with Saturn), he moves on to Nakshatra #4 (Rohini – paired with Venus), skipping three Nakshatras (#1,#2,#3) to keep the sequence of Yohinis in the proper order, as can be seen in the list below.

To see how this works in practice, let’s consider the birth chart of actor River Phoenix (born 23 Aug 1970) who died of a drug overdose at age 23 on 31 October 1993. Here is his chart in the sidereal zodiac with Lahiri ayanamsa.

At birth his Moon lies in the 8th Whole Sign house in the Nakshatra of Krittika, which in the Yogini system is paired with Saturn and has a duration of 6 years. The Moon is roughly 2/3 of the way through Krittika and will leave that Nakshatra by this progression in June of 1972 (about 22 months after his birth) to enter the following Nakshatra (Rohini), which is paired with Venus and has a duration of 7 years.  The sequence goes as follows:

  • Krittika – Saturn – about 22 months enters Rohini
  • Rohini – Venus – 7 years -> age 8 yrs 12 mo enters Mrigasira
  • Mrigasira – Rahu – 8 years -> age 16 yrs 12 mo enters Ardra
  • Ardra – Moon – 1 year -> age 17 yrs 12 mo enters Punarvasu
  • Punarvasu – Sun – 2 years -> age 19 yrs 12 mo enters Pushyami
  • Pushyami – Jupiter – 3 years -> age 22 yrs 12 months enters Ashlesha
  • DEATH <-> age 23 yrs 2 months during an Ashlesha – Mars period
  • Ashlesha – Mars – 4 years -> age 26 yrs 12 months when it progresses into Magha – Mercury (5 years).

It is notable that the actor’s death occured when the Moon’s birth Nakshatra progressed into Ashlesha, thus activating natal Mars, by the Yogini method described by Goel.  The symbol of Ashlesha is a coiled serpent and it is symbolically linked to venom, poisons and drugs.

Natal Mars and the natal MC both lie in Ashlesha in Cancer, ruled by the Moon.  Natal Mars rules both the 2nd and the 7th houses, making it a “maraka” planet capable of indicating death or serious illness.

The astrological aspects in this chart, both Vedic and Western, are also quite revealing.

Here are the Yogini dasas at the time of his demise (31 Oct 1993):


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In horary, can a planet in a house signify the quesited?

There is disagreement in the literature about whether a planet in the house of the quesited can signify the quesisted if it is not also the ruler of the sign on the cusp. John Frawley, for instance, on page 34 of his horary textbook states that a house has only one ruler, which is the planet that rules the sign on the cusp. On page 35 Frawley, however, does discuss alternatives to house rulers and gives the example of Mercury ruling both the Virgo Asc and the Gemini MC (as in the chart example below). Frawley then takes the ruler of the next sign in zodiacal order after the sign on the MC (in this example, the Moon which rules Cancer) to signify the job.

Abu Ma’Shar in his 9th century text used planets in houses to signify the matter of the house, even if they were not the ruler of the sign on the house cusp.

Some astrologers use the almuten (planet with the most dignity at the cusp) to signify the matters of the house. For example, in Lilly’s horary about purchasing the houses of Mr. B, he used the 7th-house Aries Sun (almuten of the Aries 7th cusp) instead of  Mars (ruler of the cusp of the 7th) to signify the seller. Lilly felt that the Sun better described Mr. B than did Mars.


The 7th house from Lilly’s Houses of Mr. B horary (CA, p219). He used the Sun in the 7th rather than Mars to signify Mr. B. The Sun is almuten of the 7th cusp.

A basic principle of horary astrology is that the horary chart must first and foremost describe the situation. Here Lilly regarded the Sun as more descriptive of the seller than Mars. In addition, the Sun had more dignity at the cusp of the 7th than did Mars, so that the Sun via its greater dignity laid claim to the rulership of the 7th house. An implication of this idea is that a planet within a house cannot signify the matters of that house unless the planet has some dignity there. In other words, a planet must “own” at least part of the sign on the cusp to be able to claim any type of rulership of matters signified by the house.  It is also likely that a planet’s ability to signify the matters of a house depends on how much dignity the planet has within the sign on the cusp of that house.

An example of this latter principle can be seen in the following horary in which the querent asks whether she will get the job she has applied for. (The chart data is withheld at the request of the querent.)

get job2

I often find these charts, with the Ascendant-ruler (querent) and the signifier of the quesited being the same planet, difficult to interpret.

Because the same planet rules the querent and the quesited, my first approach would be to let the Moon co-rule the querent and the common ruler of the querent and the quesited signify only the quesited to see if any aspect is forming. Here Moon and Mercury are in aversion, so there is no contact, suggesting a negative outcome. In addition, the Moon is in the 12th house and is peregrine, which is not a promising condition. Also, Mercury is without dignity in 5 degrees of Cancer and is disposed by the 12th house Moon, again suggesting loss.


Egyptian dignities for the career horary chart above. Note that Moon, Sun and Mercury are all peregrine (devoid of essential dignity) in this chart.  Ivy Jacobson (p. 29) describes peregrine significators as having a “roving, aimless and somewhat pointless vibration in the matter” … “wandering afar or off base”… “not dependable unless saved by mutual reception.”  She also advises on p. 51: “when both querent and quesited are ruled by the same planet, take the Moon for the querent; the quesited is thus at a disadvantage, and insecure.”

Because Mercury rules both the Asc and the MC, John Frawley (p.35) would take Cancer/Moon (the sign after Gemini on the MC) to rule the job. There is not aspect between Mercury and the Moon, so she will not get the job if we use Frawley’s method of assigning rulers to the quesited.

The Sun occupies the 10th, the house of the quesited job. One could consider the Moon sextile the Sun in the 10th as a potential positive indicator, but the Sun is peregrine, that is, undependable and wandering aimlessly in the house of career. The Sun has no dignity in Gemini; it does not rule any part of Gemini and cannot act as a ruler of the quesited. In addition, the Sun rules the 12th house, which is a house of loss and sorrow. The Sun’s presence in the 10th of career means that it will brings its 12th house significations into the area of the querent’s career interests in this question.

I would next look at the almutens of the houses, but Mercury is almuten of both the 1st and 10th, so it does not distinguish between them.

At this point I might consider the Nakshatra of the common significator (Mercury in this case), which lies in Ardra, a group of stars symbolized by a teardrop of sorrow because of some type of loss, disappointment or destruction.

I would next look at the triplicity rulers of the Asc (querent) and the quesited (MC in this case). These are Venus and Saturn respectively. Venus (querent) is parting from a trine to Saturn, suggesting that the querent and the job are separating, not coming together.

If I still don’t have an answer at this point, I recast the chart in the sidereal zodiac, which would give a Leo Ascendant and Taurus on the MC. Venus is approaching the Sun, but they are not in orb of a conjunction, and the Sun will change signs (sidereally) before Venus can reach the Sun, so in the sidereal zodiac there is no coming together of the querent and the job.

At the time of the question the common ruler of the querent and the quesited job, Mercury, is applying to a conjunction with Mars his fall. In addition, the next aspect that Mercury will perfect in real time is the opposition to malefic Saturn, also suggesting a negative outcome, which was the case because the querent never heard back from the job she had applied for.

If we use classical orbs as described by Porphyry, we see that Mercury is already forming the conjunction with Mars and the opposition with Saturn at the time of the question. Pophyry’s Introduction to the Tetrabiblos, (CCAG, 5, part 4; p.228) states:

“The rays of the Sun come to 30 degrees: 15 in front and 15 behind. The Moon has 24 degrees: 12 in front and 12 behind. Saturn and Jupiter 18: 9 in front and 9 behind. Mars 16: 8 in front and 8 behind, Venus and Mercury 14: 7 in front and 7 behind.”

In other words:

  • The diameter of the orb of the Sun is 30 degrees (the width of a zodiac sign) and the radius of its orb is 15 degrees.
  • The diameter of the orb of the Moon is 24 degrees and the radius of its orb is 12 degrees (~ 360 degrees in a circle divided by the length of a synodic month).
  • The diameter of the orbs of the Saturn and Jupiter is 18 degrees and the radius of their orb is 9 degrees.
  • The diameter of the orb of Mars is 16 degrees and the radius of their orb is 8 degrees.
  • The diameter of the orbs of the Venus and Mercury is 14 degrees and the radius of their orb is 7 degrees.

Interestingly Sahl deals with the issue of the same planet ruling the Ascendant and the house cusp of the quesited by studying the condition of the common signifier (see Dykes translation of Sahl, p. 73):

According to Sahl:
If the same planet rules both the querent and the quesited, check whether that planet is “received,” that is, whether the planet is joined [by aspect or conjunction] to its dispositor or to the exaltation lord of the cusp of the house it occupies. If so, and if the planet is free from affliction [vel situ erit liber a malis], then the matter will perfect; otherwise, not.

In this case Mercury rules both the querent and the quesited. The dispositor of Mercury is the Moon, and the exaltation lord is Jupiter. Mercury is not joined to the Moon; they are in aversion.

Mercury is joined to Jupiter within 14 deg 44 min of arc by an opposition aspect, and Jupiter receives Mercury in his exaltation (Cancer). Unfortunately, Mercury is afflicted by both malefics, that is, by its conjunction to Mars (within 9 deg 23 min) and by its opposition to Saturn (within 14 deg 15 min), and Sahl would judge that the matter will not perfect.

Addendum, 7 Sept 2019:  A reader sent me this note, which I am appending below:

This issue comes up in the DeLuce Horary Astrology Book. Page 32 under the heading, ‘Ruler of Ascendant and Question Being the Same Planet‘ & I quote: “If the ruler of the question and the ruler of the Ascendant be the same planet, then the matter lies in the decision of the enquirer, and he will have the power to accomplish the thing desired, or to initiate it or to refrain from initiating it.”

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