Volume 24

“Gratitude is the fairest blossom which springs from the soul.”

Henry Ward Beecher

The March of the Malefics

My phone is ringing off the hook from folks who are having a hard time weathering the transits. Please remember NOT EVERYONE is strongly affected. The context of the chart is the final arbiter as well as what planets are currently “on the center of the stage”.

Let’s recap the dance of these malefics. It began with Rahu joining Saturn in Libra on December 24th, 2012. Briefly Mars joined them when it scooted through Aries starting April 13, 2013 creating a similar effect as we have now but with some BIG differences. Mars was moving direct and very quickly. It was all the way through to Taurus by May 24.

Fast forward to 2014. We still have Saturn and Rahu in Libra but on February 5th, Mars moved into Libra again creating the malefic trio of Saturn, Mars and the Rahu/Ketu axis. The difference between now and last spring is the painfully slow motion of Mars and Saturn both of which went from direct motion to retrograde motion in the past three weeks. When planets are moving in either direction this slowly, they exert a lot of influence. When they are malefics, this effect can really be noticed.

While direct, Mars sidled up to Rahu but not quite all the way since it was moving so slowly and then it turned retrograde on March 1st. Saturn has been steadily slowing down since the first of the year and became motionless the last days of February and first few days of March. It too is now retrograde and still just limping along.

When does this start to break up? The great thing about planetary patterns is they always change. The first thing that happens is that Mars will retrograde out of Libra back into Virgo on March 25th. Whew! One down. Saturn will be slowly picking up speed in its retrograde motion relieving a tiny bit more pressure.

After a kind of reprieve, the adventure starts again. Mars goes direct May 20th and picks up speed on its way back to Libra. All this time, Rahu has been steadily moving backward at the speed of around 3 minutes a day towards its rendezvous with Mars en route to moving from Libra to Virgo. The collision course is set and for a few days mid July (around the 12th through the 17th) they will be fighting for the same degree of the zodiac. For a brief moment, they both hang at 0 degrees Libra, together on the very border, and then they pass each other and will not reconnect for quite some time.

This is essentially the end of the March of the Malefics for though Saturn and Mars will be together for around seven weeks, they are all moving in divergent ways and this particular pattern will have run its course.

Svastha - The Joy of Being at Home

Last quarter we talked about the planetary state (avastha) of uccha or exaltation. Another important planetary state that is referenced widely in shastra and is also a dignified state is svastha (also seen transcribed as swastha). There are other synonyms for this state but svastha will suffice for us.

A planet that is svastha occupies its own constellation and therefore we can say, it lives in its own house or bhava.

Though the dazzling and somewhat over the top state of exaltation or uccha is flashier and considered to be the most auspicious avastha, a graha that is svastha has the advantage of not being “a renter”. With one exception, all exalted planets are in a constellation that is not their own and are therefore subject to the circumstances of the landlord. You might live in a gorgeous penthouse but if the landlord can’t fix the leaking roof, your enjoyment will be compromised.

On the other hand, the svastha graha is the king of the roost be it a castle or cottage. It is home sweet home and no one tells you what to do in your own house (other than a spouse!)

How does this translate into the interpretation of a chart? We can think of the owner living in its own house in terms of a real estate analogy. As an agent, you would much rather sell an owner occupied dwelling than a rental or even a lonely feeling empty house. An owner protects and takes care of his or her own property. Like that, the thematic material of a bhava in a birth chart, benefits by having the ruler of that bhava living there.

A graha that is svastha is said to be confident and able to manifest the auspicious outcome of its bhava. If the lagna lord, for example, is svastha, it gives the entire chart a boost because a strong first house gives the native a great ability to move through the world effectively even being able to capitalize on mistakes and obstacles in the sense of making lemonade out of lemons. Such a first house can give high position in life, charisma and good health.

Obviously, this is a very general discussion and a graha in svastha that is also weak through an independent variable and set upon by malefics would not be expected to give this kind of outcome. As always, the context of a chart is everything.

Let’s look at the chart of the brilliant Gene Kelly

Gene Kelly
Gene Kelly

Gene Kelly was an American dancer, actor, singer, film director, producer, and choreographer. Incredibly charismatic, he was known for his energetic and athletic dancing style, his good looks. His many innovations transformed the Hollywood musical film, and he is credited with almost single-handedly making the ballet form commercially acceptable to film audiences.

His lagna lord, Sun, is at home in the first house along with two benefic grahas. There is no malefic anywhere in sight. He fits the description of at ease to a “T” with respect to his body, his stature in life and his role as a mover and shaker.

And now let’s look at a different situation involving a svastha lord of the lagna.

John Edwards
John Edwards

This is the chart of former Senator, vice presidential nominee and presidential hopeful, John Edwards. Mr. Edwards made his career and fortune as a trial lawyer. He is a very charismatic, intelligent and somewhat tricky individual.

In contrast to Gene Kelly, Mr. Edwards has significant afflictions to his first house and first lord along with an oft quoted combination from shastra in the form of the Mars and Mercury association. These two grahas together are said to incline someone towards fraud and being a thief or pickpocket. In spite of this, there is no denying the strength of this ascendant as Mercury is not only svastha but also has directional strength.

So how does this paradox play out? Mr. Edwards was indeed close to the pinnacle of political success and had served as a US Senator. However, in his campaign for President, allegations surfaced regarding a child he fathered in an illicit affair. He allegedly asked another to falsely claim the paternity of this child along with other schemes for cover ups. He was also accused of misusing campaign funds to hide the affair and indicted by a grand jury on six felony counts.

In spite of all of this, Edwards was found not guilty on one of the counts and a mistrial on all the others escaping further infamy and prison. He has moved on with his life and has launched a new law firm and involved in a new relationship. A strong lagna will somehow navigate through the obstacles and emerge. Edwards has enough good combinations in his chart that in the right time periods, that powerful lagna will propel him once again towards success.

The Media Corner:  A Recycled Orchestra

This is a remarkable film giving testimony to the human spirit and the redemption that beauty brings to even the most disheartening circumstances.