Volume 19

“Every situation is God sent. With the supreme wisdom of life, any situation can be used to our advantage and regarded as a blessing of Mother Nature.”

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

The Winter Sky

The star of the show this winter is the graha Jupiter which will be shining brightly right after dark and not setting until after midnight throughout January. Though its maximum brightness was reached earlier in December, it is still the brightest object in the night sky other than the full Moon with a magnitude of - 2.5 (the lower the number, the brighter the object) Just a few days ago, it was very close to the beautiful Rohini (Aldeberon) and as it is currently in retrograde motion, it will come back in proximity to Rohini starting in the beginning of March. Brilliant Jupiter will be on one side of Rohini on the 18th with a lovely Moon on the other side high in the southwest sky right at sunset. Should be gorgeous.

Venus for now is the lovely early morning star but by the end of January, it will be too close to the Sun to be visible so observe Venus while you can. You might catch a view shortly before sunrise from December 23rd through Christmas morning when it will be close to the bright and beautiful sister star of Rohini called Jyeshtha (Antares) in the constellation of Scorpio right in the southeast.

Elusive Mercury puts in an impressive appearance starting February 2nd an hour after sunset. It will have a magnitude of - 1.1 which is bright for Mercury. It continues to climb higher though not as bright and reaches its maximum distance east of the Sun on the 16th.

Saturn will be visible as we move into 2013. The best time to see it is when it is the highest above the eastern horizon around an hour to 90 minutes before dawn. As the weeks go by, it will be higher and higher in the sky. On January 7th, February 3rd and March 2nd, it will be with the Moon and hopefully the Moon won’t be bright enough to obscure Saturn. It is in the constellation of Libra where there are very few visible stars except for Citra (Spica) at 0 degrees and Saturn will be in the middle of Libra and therefore more easy to spot than usual.

The Limbs of Jyotisha Prashna Part II - Being in the Moment

Many Westerners are obsessive about timing a birth to a micro-second in order to pin down events and predictions. While an accurate birth time is important for many techniques of Jyotisha, so much can be handled with no birth time at all as Jyotisha has so many tools for fluidly assessing the karmic current.

As was discussed in the last newsletter, there are ways of accessing the cosmic kaleidoscope and reading a pattern more specifically and immediately relevant to the present and near future concerns of the questioner.

The most obvious way to get a snapshot of the current pattern is to use the time of a question and generate a chart (analogous to a birth chart) and read out results using specific guidelines from the prashna point of view as well as foundational natal principles.

The use of other ways to enter the flow and create prashna or question charts can be bewildering to those who have not had exposure to these ideas. I would like to relate an experience from my own practice. I decided to chose a way of pinpointing a starting point for the prashna chart based on the selection of a number. At that time, without explaining exactly what I was doing, I simply took my client through a procedure which I ritualized to enliven the outcome. Without being more specific, a number came forward and that number corresponded to a specific constellation and degree from which I could construct the cosmic pattern and answer the question. That analysis could be given right then or postponed to a later time.

What ensued was very interesting. I decided to wait and do the analysis in a quiet time of my choosing. Before I could get back with my results, this client contacted me and told me not to go forward because what I was doing was no longer astrology but rather some kind of “outside” divining technique. The actual natal reading was fine and there was no issue between us but this other method just seemed too strange.

I realized in that incident how separate Jyotisha is from the fabric of Western society. This interchange would be unlikely with an Indian client where Jyotisha is part of the societal DNA and who would know that prashna is major part of Jyotisha. I also realized that I needed to more explicitly explain what I am doing rather than assuming the client is onboard. Hence the desire to have a forum such as this where light can be shed on these kinds of methods.

The respect for prashna is evidenced especially in South India where unbelievably elaborate ways of setting that point in the cosmos are employed. Long preparations and rituals anticipate an important question by the local King or in these days, magnate.

The cosmos can be pinned down by numbers, by the first thing someone says, by a name, by a part of the body someone may be touching, by the direction they are sitting in or coming from, by some bodily decoration, by how they draw the outline of a chart or create it with rice or flour, by counting the grains of rice or shells a person picks up from an indicated pile. It goes on and on and on.

The Jyotisha is cued by his or her own internal signals as to which method to employ. This implies what we knew to be true all along. Jyotisha is a marriage between principles (call it science), art (how you frame things to those you are helping) and magic - that intangible something that comes through techniques and practices designed to bring light, clarity and grace to the consciousness of the seer.

Signatures of Kindness and Balance

Many of you have written requesting articles that include some reference to a chart. I thought at this time of year and in light of tough times in recent days, it might be nice to explore a chart marker for balance and kindness. Like anything in Jyotisha, the local environment of the chart prevails but it is still useful to look at the broad-stroke concept.

Sage Parashara in the epic work Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra signals the importance of the identification of the nature of the planets by discussing it early in this tome. He states that grahas have an intrinsic nature that inclines us towards moving in the direction of upholding natural law (dharma) or engaging in actions and thoughts that are in the other direction. The grahas that facilitate punya or grace he calls shubha grahas or natural benefics.

We could then have a general principle that when key factors of a chart are influenced primarily by natural benefics, that person would be more intrinsically inclined towards kindness, cheerfulness and balance. For now, we will consider one of the key factors - the first house or bhava of the horoscope also known as the rising sign, ascendant or lagna. Perhaps in future newsletters we will expand this further.

The reliable natural benefics in a chart are Jupiter and Venus. Mercury and the Moon can go either way depending on how they are placed in any particular chart.

Here a couple of charts to illustrate this simple principle:

Paul Newman
Paul Newman

This is the chart of Paul Newman. Note the powerful Jupiter in the first bhava (house) which it owns. It is with Venus and Mercury. In this particular chart, Mercury is in the natural benefic camp. Mr. Newman led a very successful and productive life. Even when engaged in the movie industry, he was famous for his devotion to charitable organizations most notably for children and also devoted to improving the food industry with quality organic products.

Mr. Newman always had the reputation of being balanced and even and avoided the terrible scandals and instability that often come along with fame.

Angelina Jolie
Angelina Jolie

This is the chart of Angelina Jolie. While she has an edgier persona as compared to Paul Newman (due to other factors in the chart), there can be no doubt about her passion for humanitarian causes and works of charity. Along with raising money and awareness for these issues, she actually goes to needy areas of the world and does physical labor as an example and expression of how much she wants to be an agent of change for the better.

Note that she has the lovely benefic Venus in the ascendant and the only other influence on that first house of the chart is an aspect from a powerful Jupiter, the other great benefic.

Both Mr. Newman and Ms. Jolie are celebrated as two very beautiful people with great charm and charisma - a nice side benefit of natural benefics!

Media Corner

Twenty-one Pictures that Will Restore Your Faith in Humanity

Last week on one of the darkest days in recent memory in the US, someone from another country who is on a blog in which I participate sent this link to try to lighten our burden. It speaks for itself and I hope you will enjoy it.