Not long ago I came across the YouTube channel of astrologer Laura Barat and was impressed by her videos on Hindu astrology. Going to her website, I noticed that she had published a book entitled Predictive Method: Predicting with Grahas as Karakas, so I ordered a copy.
According the the Editorial Review on amazon.com: “When studying Astrology, the student can sometimes be overwhelmed by the plethora of predictive techniques available. Prediction based on Grahas as Karakas can give useful tools in not only predicting events, but also understanding the underlying strengths and weaknesses that the Graha gives to the horoscope. The most common problems and strengths a person experiences during their lifetime are directly attributable to the strength of Grahas as Karakas. In this book you will learn: – What a Graha as Karaka produces. – How to measure the inherent power of a Graha as Karaka and how it will affect all types of events within a person’s life. – Which Grahas will give their significations easily and readily and which Grahas will produce significant challenges. – How to determine which conditional Nakshatra dasas apply to a horoscope. – How to time events with Karakas utilizing Vimshottari dasa plus other conditional Nakshatra dasas. – How to, by simply glancing at a horoscope, see the strengths and weaknesses therein. – Many example horoscopes of famous persons are used to demonstrate the effectiveness of the technique. Foreword by Ernst Wilhelm. Published by Kala Occult Publishers“
In the Foreword and Introduction we learn that Laura was a student of Ernst Wilhelm, who provided the introduction for this text and who also taught her the method explained therein. Laura has extensively tested the method and made some improvements, which are detailed in the book.
Basing her argument primarily in Hindu classic Brihat Parashara Hora Shasta, Laura Barat details the significations of the various planets (Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, Rahu and Ketu). She then explains that the planets are able to produce what they promise in the birth chart, depending on how much strength they possess as measured as “Ishta” (desired) and “Kashta” (ill) in units called “virupas”. The total of virupas of Ishta and Kashta for any planet always adds up to 60.
The next important factor to assess are the interactions (e.g., hemming and occupation of foundational houses) and graha or planetary aspects of each planet (karaka) with the various benefic (gentle) and malefic (cruel) planets in the chart. Laura points out that gentle planets tend to share their goodness (Ishta) with other planets and to keep their negativity (Kashta) to themselves, whereas cruel planets behave in an opposite manner.
The predictive method is then fairly straightforward. One studies the person’s active nakshatra dasas (e.g., Vimshottari, Yogini, conditional dasas) to see which planets are mahadasa lords during the period under study. These planets become the relevant karakas (significators) to be used for prediction. Then, the astrologer studies the divisional chart (Varga) related to the area of life for which a prediction is to be made. The house placement of the karaka in the divisional chart is important as is the Ishta and Kashta of that planet. One also considers the planetary aspects to the karaka, whether it is hemmed in by benefics or malefics, and which planets occupy the foundational houses (1st, 4th, 6th and 8th) from the karaka. Based on the overall condition of the karaka as indicated by these factors, one predicts whether or not it will be able to produce its significations during that dasa period.
Fortunately, Laura Barat gives several examples to illustrate the use of the technique. Unfortunately, one of her main examples is Donald Trump’s bankruptcy of the Taj Mahal Casino (1989 – 1991) in which she uses incorrect birth data for Mr. Trump. The book was published in 2011, and the then current birth time for Donald Trump was believed to be 9:51 AM. Subsequently his birth information became available from his official birth certificate and he was born at 10:54 AM, about an hour later than the chart used in this book, rendering the entire predictive analysis of Trump’s chart by this technique invalid. It would be useful if she would publish on her website a re-analysis of Trump’s 10:54 AM chart with this technique for the 1989-1991 period to see if his bankruptcy is still indicated with the correct birth data.
Another unusual feature of this book is that Laura Barat uses the tropical zodiac with equatorially-based nakshatras and a nakshatra year of 359.0016 days. Although the use of the tropical zodiac is becoming more popular with some practitioners of Hindu astrology, the measurement of nakshatras along the equator rather than the ecliptic and the use of a year other than the tropical or sidereal year is currently highly unusual. Thus, the results of this predictive method, which she has verified using equatorial nakshatras, a 359.0016-day nakshatra dasa year, and the topical zodiac may or may not carry over to the practice of many who use Jyotishi methods. For example, I was unable to replicate her findings about Trump’s Taj Mahal bankruptcy using his correct birth data, but I am also not at all experienced in using the technique.
There is one minor error on page 83 in the Saptamsa chart of Abraham Lincoln, which gives the Lagna as Gemini when if fact it should be Cancer. In the text Laura states that in Lincoln’s Saptamsa, Jupiter occupies the 8th Bhava, which can only be true if the Lagna lies in Cancer.
Overall I liked this book. It contains a lot of interesting and informative material based on classical sources, and I certainly benefited from reading it. The argument, however, became less convincing when it became apparent that the primary example was based on an incorrect birth time for Donald Trump. The book also does not address the issue of whether this technique would work just as well with the sidereal zodiac, nakshatras measured along the ecliptic rather than the equator, and a nakshatra dasa year length of 365.24 days. The principles that underlie the technique appear sound, but the proof of the pudding is always in the eating.