Sunday, December 22, 2019

Understanding The Relationship Between The Planets And Karma

Especially among Westerners, there is a basic misunderstanding of what karma is and how it relates to the zodiac and planetary positions in their Jyotiṣa (Jyotisha) natal chart. In this article, I will explore a more proper understanding, but not a complete explanation (as it is a vast topic requiring a teacher's guidance).

The Sanskrit word Karma means “action”. The effects of your actions and desires, others actions and Natures action (Acts of God)can all be thought of as karma. Karma can result in experiences thought to be generous or lucky life circumstances or their opposite to varying degrees. Most people will encounter a mixture of positive and challenging experiences in all areas of life (health, wealth, family, relationships, career, spirituality etc) sometime in their life. 

There are four types of karma:
  1. Sañcita (Sanchita) karma is the storage of our amassed actions across our many lifetimes.
  2. Prārabdha karma is composed of the fructifying actions ready to be experienced during our lifetime.
  3. Kriyamāna karma is composed of inaugurating actions one takes during our lifetime. is everything that we produce from our desires and actions in our present life. This karma flows into the Sañcita and consequently shapes our future.
  4. Āgama karma is composed of impending actions during our lifetime. (For example; one "plans" to get married or buy a house).
Note: Āgama karma is technically the same as Kriyamāna karma but many separate them to emphasize their individual importance. Ultimately they are all addressing the Prārabdha karma experienced or created in one’s lifetime.

There are three sources of karma:
  1. Ādhyātmika (involving oneself) comes from our past and current life actions and desires.
  2. Ādhibautika (involving others) comes from our family and society. It is not easily observed in our natal charts but becomes more visible when viewing multiple family members.
  3. Ādhidaivika (involving natural forces) comes from Acts of Nature or God that often affect masses of people. They are predictable to some extent by analyzing the capital city, eclipses, birth time of the country or its current leader's natal chart. In the cases of extensive damage and death from floods, fires, earthquakes, tsunami, etc, it is not likely to be revealed by everyone's individual natal charts.
Different limbs or types of Jyotiṣa measure 3 of the above types of karma. Sañcita karma is outside the realm of Jyotiṣa. Its hidden nature is the origin of the Indian phrase, “The ways of karma are mysterious and unknowable.”

Prārabdha karma can be evaluated by a natal reading. In Vedic philosophy, it is believed that at the perfect time, God pushes souls out of heaven to take a new birth. God has been tending to our garden of Sañcita karma and choosing which karmic fruit must be experienced in the new life. The all-knowing Divine only selects the ripened Prārabdha karma and directly maps it to the planetary cycles used by Jyotiṣa. Upon taking the first breath at birth, that Prārabdha karma is attached to our subtle body. It is a very specific but only a minuscule amount of our Sañcita karmas that become Prārabdha for a given life. Much of this karma will directly relate to other connected souls from previous lives who will also take birth overlapping our lifespan (often as a relative).

Your natal chart becomes a "karma roadmap" of your life. The planets themselves do not actually create your karma or make you do or experience anything; rather they help map what and when specific life karma's are likely to be experienced. If you are born at a different time, or even moment, you will have a different, but perfectly timed set of planetary cycles that your karma fits into. This is one reason why Vedic astrologers focus on getting an accurate birth time by rectifying it to match their clients history of  key life events. The better the historical match, the more reliable the predictions for the future will be,

Jyotiṣa was made available to us through the great vision of ancient Sages from India who cognized or discovered these patterns and passed them on to later generations. They did not pass on a complete flawless set of instructions and students cannot attain understanding only from books. Jyotiṣa is an orally transmitted knowledge. It requires a master of Jyotiṣa to properly train the student in the deeper meanings of the Jyotiṣa Śāstra (Shastra) texts along with knowledge orally passed on to them from their teacher. This has been the tradition for thousands of years.

Vedic astrologers are not God. They are humans who have been trained in this ancient wisdom. They apply their own personal understanding of life experiences and intuition in order to interpret a myriad of input and come up with a prediction. Some astrologers are better at it than others. Very few have truly mastered it.

There are 3 different intensities of Prārabdha karma elements. 
  1. Aḍrdḥa (non-fixed)  Existing karma has very little strength and one can easily redirect their effects to fulfill our desires. Maybe you experience a desire to eat an unhealthy food but you have the will power to easily reject it without much mental or emotional resistance. 
  2. Ḍrdḥa-Aḍrdḥa (changeable) is much stronger but, if one puts in firm effort, they can reshape the results to meet their desires. For example, one might have a learning disability, yet they can employ tutors or special techniques or apply extra efforts to excel in their studies. 
  3. Ḍrdḥa (fixed) is so strongly set, that any positive or negative effects from that karma must be experienced. Maybe someone is unfairly convicted of a crime they did not commit. Nothing goes right for them in the process. To us it may look unjust, but it is their past life actions that created the need for them to have this experience. Others may seem to have undeserved or unexplainable luck and fortune. This is due to the ripened fruit of past life good deeds which must be experienced in this lifetime.
It is worth noting here that, even though we may encounter others experiencing difficult Ḍrdḥa karma, it does not relieve us of the responsibility to help them by just saying “It’s their bad karma" or "It's their own fault.” It is our Dharma (duty) to help the poor and sick no matter what karma brought them to that place in life.

One of the gifts of Jyotiṣa is that it provides a road-map of these intensities so one can make good choices on how to respond to them. For example, if our chart indicates reduced income in the future, we can start saving and being more frugal in our spending today. 

“Astrology is a fact, in most instances. But astrological aspects are but signs, symbols. No influence is of greater value or of greater help than the will of an individual.... Do not attempt to be guided by, but use the astrological influences as the means to meet or to overcome the faults and failures, or to minimize the faults and to magnify the virtues in self.” 

- Edgar Cayce

Through our desires and actions, one creates new karma. The karmic effects can be experienced during this lifetime or remain in the storehouse of Sañcita karma for future births. This is what is often referred to as the “Wheel of Karma”. It is believed that the goal of life is Moksha, (enlightenment). Upon attaining Moksha, one breaks free from the Wheel of Karma, ending their continuous cycle of rebirth and death and merging with the Divine. 

To do this one must live a dharmic (righteous) life focusing on all of one's actions being performed for the Divine. One must neutrally treat the effects of all karma, pleasant and unpleasant experiences as equal, and remain unattached to the outcome. Living life in this way, one will not create new karma’s while fulfilling the experience (burning off) of their Prārabdha karma's. The great saints (historical and current) show us the way. Many have suffered greatly with no complaint or loss of attention to the Divine. It is also believed that they have taken on some of the Prārabdha karma of their devotees and of the world out of great acts of compassion. In Christianity, it is believed Jesus died on the cross to relieve man from the "original sins" of the past and even for future generations.

This gives clue to why in the Vedic philosophy; a realized master (Satguru) is required for an individual soul to attain full moksha. One may burn off all of the Prārabdha karma without creating any new karma in this lifetime but when they die, a vast Sañcita storehouse of karma remains. Only a Satguru can navigate our soul across the “Ocean of Samskara” which is made up of our Sañcita karma. Upon crossing, our soul merges and becomes one with the Divine. This is why in the Vedic traditions, it is generally considered foolish to think that you can attain total enlightenment on your own. It may be possible, by living a dharmic life and performing intense austerities and spiritual practices (sadhana) to burn off one's remaining Sañcita karma during the current life time, resulting in self-realization. But this is extremely rare. There are many who claim to be doing this but usually this is ego-based. Just the claim itself indicates the unlikelihood of them being able to achieve it.

In astronomy, the physical universe runs in cycles which are built into the foundation of astrology. The ancient Sages studied these astrological patterns and made note of the effect on humans and nature. One simple astrological cycle understood by most everyone is the seasonal cycle. Most people are all familiar with the cold, wet, warm and dry times of year. Likewise, there are larger cycles of droughts and flooding. These cycles affect us all and are generally predictable, determined by the position and angle of the earth to the sun.

Ancient scholars studied the movement of the planets and stars in relationship to the earth. Most of them also studied the subtle and substantive effects of these cycles on the earth. They did not distinguish astronomy and astrology as different sciences. They were different aspects of the same science interwoven within their daily social and spiritual environment.

Benjamin Franklin, one of America’s forefathers, made his fortune through the publications of Poor Richard’s Almanak (sic, farmer’s almanac). He personally calculated daily planetary positions and used the information to predict droughts, floods and determine proper planting times for crops. Poor Richard’s was second only to the Bible in sales during its publication years. In more modern science, Astronomers have measured and named thousands of cycles of planetary, astral and galactic movements but have mostly disconnected them from the observation of how these cycles appear to affect us here on earth. One of well-known exception is the 11 year solar cycle of Sun spots. Even today, scientists are researching their effects on Earth for future predictions.

Other types of Jyotiṣa are commonly practiced. They are analysis of the planetary and star cycles but not specifically related to the birth time. They are helpful in gaining more insight to what the natal chart reveals.

Praśna (Prashna) (Horary astrology) allows one to ask a question and measure Kriyamāna karma (inaugurated actions). It is very useful when supplementing a natal chart reading to get more specific on a personal issue in life. It can help understand if it will be good or bad to take a certain action in the future such as “Should I buy the house?” or “Should I accept the job offer?”

Muhūrta (Electional astrology) measures Āgama karma (pending actions). It can help us determine when the planets and stars are supportive for future actions. In India, virtually all Hindu marriages will start at time prescribed by Muhurta. I advise using Muhūrta for anything important such as buying or selling property, beginning an important journey, applying for a job etc. Initiating actions at the optimal time is like establishing a solid foundation to build a house on.

Nimitta (omens) is where time, direction, nature, simple actions and intuition combine to reveal the previously unseen Prārabdha karma into the view of an attentive Jyotiṣi. For example, if a person is rubbing their right cheek, it may indicate they are having relationship issues. Seeing a dead crow before a reading may mean there are big debt or health issues involved.

Note: There are several other forms of Jyotiṣa prediction and remedies which I have not discussed since they do not fit within the subject matter of this discourse. 

I humbly bow to my Satguru Sri Mata Amrtanandamayi Devi and to my Jyotiṣa guru Hart de Fouw. If I made any errors or omissions, it is due to my own short comings and not their teaching.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

In-depth Jyotish Muhurta View of Obamacare (3 of 3)

What About That Website Disaster?

I would be remiss to not take an condensed look at the disastrous inauguration of the Obamacare website Launched at 12:00 AM October 1, 2013 in Washington, DC.[i] What in the world went so wrong?

Exhibit 1: Obamacare Website Launch Chart

Rule number one for a muhurta is "Initiate important programs during daylight hours." If you must start at night, choose a night with a bright Moon. The website was launched at midnight in the 12th tithi of a waning Moon (three days before a new Moon). This was a very bad choice of time.

The five balam relationships with President Obama's natal chart were mixed (three strongly supportive , two unsupportive).  They point to the ability to produce success but only after troubled waters are navigated.

1st lord Mercury is tenanted in the friendly 5th house, sign of Libra in the star of Swati. He is associated with NB Venus, NM Saturn and NM Rahu. He is aspected by NB Jupiter NM Mars. This results in Mercury's mixed condition of two STS and three STW (see Exhibit 2 at bottom for Planetary Strengths definitions).

Parvata yoga[ii] is created by1st lord Mercury's dispositor Venus placement in its own sign in a trine house. NB Jupiter's placement in the 1st house combined with his aspect of and NB Venus association with 1st lord Mercury creates a Chamara yoga. These yogas suggests a very strong 1st house and lord which will improve with age.

Saturn, Venus and Jupiter are all strongly conditioned. Saturn is exalted (FTS), Venus is in its own sign (FTS) and Jupiter has directional strength (FTS). This enhances their involvement in the above and below mentioned yogas.

There are six Dharma-Karma Adhipati yogas involving 1st and 4th lord Mercury, 9th lord Saturn and 5th lord Venus that ultimately assure success for the web site. Mercury, Venus and Jupiter form a beautiful Saraswati yoga signifying a foremost strength in communications and eloquence. Venus and Saturn form a powerful Lakshmi yoga[iii] (bestows financial success, provides protection of the people).

Just like Obamacare, the Ascendant resides in the star of Ardra. This greatly bolsters the promises of the earlier described Ardra troubles, followed by a constant drive for improvement.

For the first two years the website is in the dasha of 1st lord Mercury who is in the star of Swati. This means that the Swati characteristics will be prevalent during those years. Swati is symbolized by a young sprout wavering in the wind. It does not yet have the strength to stand tall and straight on its own. It’s deity is Vayu (the wind).

Swati natives are plagued with indecisiveness and challenges to their survival. They strive for growth and independence while remaining fragile to the elements. They play the role of a unifier and/or segregator and are often involved in the founding of new institutions.

During the abbreviated two year Mercury dasha, the web site will be in Saturn bhukti. Exalted Saturn (FTS) shares a mutual side aspect relationship with debilitated Mars (FTW).  Both of these NM planets are in an exaggerated condition. This will overstate the inherent anxiety formed from the mixture of hot, fast moving Mars against cold, slow Saturn. They both are influencing the 1st lord Mercury. This anxiety is destined to be strongly expressed during the Mercury dasha Saturn bhukti.

Saturn also occupies the star Swati in the exact same degree as Rahu. This close relationship foretells great unplanned upheaval. Rahu magnifies both Saturn and Mercury’s Swati nature and the effects of the Mars Saturn shared side aspects. This has the outcome of Swati on steroids for the first two years. Instead of a mild wind, think of a hurricane ... with lots of lightening!

Ultimately, the yogic 1st lord Mercury and 1st house will deliver their positive promises during the Mercury dasha. It appears that after the massive failures of introduction, the full force of the government has already transformed the web site into a well-written tool. It is reasonable to expect the website to continue to improve. It might even attain nice artwork and music on it (due to the Saraswati yoga).

Exhibit 2: Planetary Strengths

First Tier Strengths (FTS)
First Tier Weaknesses (FTW)
Planet in Exaltation Sign
Planet in Debilitation Sign
Planet in Own Sign
Dark Moon (Within 72 of Sun waxing & waning)
Retrograde Planet
Solar Eclipse (for Sun)
Directional Strength
Lunar Eclipse (for Moon)
Fullish Moon (6 - 8 Houses from Sun)
Defeat in Planetary War
Rahu/Ketu during Eclipse
Planetary Combustion (Within 6 of Sun)

Second Tier Strengths (STS)
Second Tier Weakness (STW)
Association with or Aspect from Natural Benefic
Association with or Aspect from Natural Malefic
Occupation of Friend's Sign
Occupation of Enemy's Sign
Flanked by Natural Benefics (2nd & 12th house)
Flanked by Natural Malefics (2nd & 12th house)
Winner of Planetary War
Occupying 1st or Last Degree of a Sign

[i] Multiple reputable news agencies indicate the launch was around 12AM No major changes
affecting the analysis occur until 1 PM
[ii] Phala Deepika ch 6 slokas 35 & 36
[iii] Phala Deepika ch 6 slokas 21 & 24

Monday, March 27, 2017

In-depth Jyotish Muhurta View of Obamacare (2 of 3)

Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson

I am relying on a New York Times live blog timestamp[i] from the signing ceremony to determine Obamacare’s inaugural time. At 11:51 AM it was posted that the signing had begun. Two minutes and twenty-two pens later, President Obama finished signing his name. Since muhurta inauguration is defined by the time you "start" a ceremony or activity, I've chosen to subtract one minute from the blog posting time. The Obamacare muhurta was inaugurated at 11:50 AM on Tuesday, March 23, 2010 in Washington, DC.

Exhibit 1: Obamacare Muhurta Chart

First we examine how President Obama’s natal chart is linked to the muhurta chart. We do this by evaluating 5 balams (strengths) of astrological relationships between the two chart's Moons, Ascendants and the stars they occupy. A balam can range anywhere from unsupportive to highly supportive in nature. In this case, two of the balams are totally unsupportive, one is fully supportive, while the other two are mildly supportive (at best). (See Exhibit 2 for details). This is by no means the strongest overall balam relationship, but it can still facilitate moderate success. If the President had signed the law into existence either one day earlier or one day later, a far more supportive sky would have been at his disposal.

Exhibit 2: Obamacare Balam's

·       Chandra Nir Dosha Balam: The number of houses counted from the sign occupied by the native’s Moon to that of the muhurta Moon; (2 houses - somewhat supportive for success)

·       Lagna Chandra Balam: The number of houses counted from the sign occupied by the native’s 1st house to that of the muhurta Moon; (6 houses - conditionally supportive, saved by the fact that Obama’s Moon is exalted)

·       Chandra Tara Balam: The number of stars counted from the star the natives Moon occupies to the star the muhurta Moon occupies; (3 stars - bad/unsupportive)

·       Lagna Nir Dosha Balam: The number of houses counted from the sign occupied by the native’s 1st house to that of the muhurta’s 1st house; (6 houses - bad/unsupportive)

·       Lagna Chandra Tara Balam: The number of stars counted from the star the native's Ascendant occupies to the star the muhurta Moon occupies. (11 stars - strongly supportive)

Muhurta interpretation includes evaluation of various types of panchangam astrological data. Positive and negative yoga combinations are defined from this data which are shaped by solar and lunar positions. These combinations include nakshatras (stars), tithis (lunar days), karanas (lunar half days) and varas (solar days).  Obamacare was signed during the highly obstructive Vishti Karana. It is present when the Moon is in the 1st karana of the 8th tithi. Even non-astrologers in India commonly understand never to start a new venture when Vishti is present. This obstruction is counter balanced by the auspicious Jaya Siddha yoga which is formed when the Moon is in its 8th tithi on a Tuesday. These contrasting yoga relationships reinforce the pattern that in some ways there will simultaneously be strong support for success and significant obstacles to overcome.

With the relationship between the President's natal chart and the signing muhurta chart understood, we are ready to analyze the strength of the muhurta chart itself. Once again, we'll focus on the strength of the 1st house and 1st lord followed by the yoga and dasha activation in time. The stars will provide a rich contextual backdrop. As a clarifying note, a muhurta is an event (not a human), so there is no true "native." Nonetheless, the descriptions and inherent nature surrounding the event can be assessed. For lack of a better word, I'll at times use the term "native" to represent this.

The twin sign Gemini was rising during the signing ceremony. Its lord Mercury was occupying the 10th house (fame, success and career) in the twin sign of Pisces. It is not surprising that this new program would have two names; its given name, "The Affordable Care Act" and its adopted name, "Obamacare". There are also two alternate world views of its effects.  Supporters see Obamacare as a major moral, social and economic breakthrough. Detractors loudly exclaim it is the downfall of United States society and economy.

At first glance, the muhurta chart will leave many astrologers gasping with concern. Mercury, the lord of the chart is debilitated (FTW) (see Exhibit 3 for Planetary Strengths definitions) in the 10th house, aspected by NM Saturn forming a Second Tier Weakness (STW). The cold raw energy of Saturn’s gaze is heightened by the fact that Saturn is retrograde (FTS), increasing its destabilizing effects.

The 1st house is taking a beating. It is occupied by NM Ketu (South Node, aka the tail of the serpent) and aspected by NM Saturn. Ketu's presence assures a lifetime of surprises, accidents and difficulties. It forewarns that the program is a real oddball, bound to fall into sticky situations. NM Saturn's aspect on Ketu (STW) exacerbates the situation even further. NB Moon’s 1st house occupancy (STS) and NB Jupiter’s aspect (STS) provides minor saving grace. In summary, the 1st house and lord are poorly conditioned and unstable.

The program will spend its first eleven years under the dasha rulership of Rahu (North Node, aka the serpents head). Rahu will add to Obamacare's unpredictability, poisoning many of those associated with it. There will undoubtedly be constant struggles during the Rahu ruled years.

A closer look provides a different perspective. Debilitated 1st lord Mercury has Neecha Bhanga raj yoga strength. Mercury is also directly involved in several other yogas, lifting Obamacare to a level above the average legislation. Mercury as 1st lord (healers, Obamacare itself) and 4th lord (mother) associates with FTS exalted Venus, 5th lord (children, counsel) creating two separate Dharma-Kharma Adhipati raja yogas[ii]. It will provide wise healthcare counseling for mothers and children. 

Mercury joins Jupiter and exalted Venus to form a Saraswati yoga[iii] (famous, learned orator). He also combines with  the Sun (FTS from directional strength in the high noon 10th house) to form the common Buddhaditya yoga (intelligence). By themselves, these yogas point out some intelligence can be found in the program. Since Mercury is  the 1st lord deeply involved with other FTS planets creating these yogas, one should upgrade their interpretation to indicate Obamacare is extremely well designed, maybe even brilliant.

The malefic stare from 9th lord Saturn on Mercury is not completely negative. 1st and 4th lord Mercury reciprocates with a full aspect on Saturn creating two Dharma-Karma Adhipati yogas. This reinforces its counseling abilities and good fortune (9th house) regarding illness (Saturn), especially for mothers (4th house).

11th lord Mars which is presiding over social acceptance is debilitated (FTW) in the 2nd house of family and saved wealth. Continuing an existing pattern on this topic, Mars has Neecha Bhanga yoga strength. This signifies that Mars periods will conjure short term disruptions regarding social acceptance and money. Ultimately, through sustained effort, these disturbances will pass, resulting in an experience of redemption.

Venus and Sun yoga relations with 1st lord Mercury will produce success and fame for Obamacare during the periods that they rule. This is especially true for exalted Venus (FTS) in the angular 10th house which forms a Pancha Mahapurusha yoga[iv]. While there are no dashas invoking these friendly characters for the next 40+ years, there are multiple bhukti periods that will petition their benevolence in the mean time.

The Ascendant and the Moon are both in the star Ardra , highly accentuating its effects on Obamacare. Ardra is symbolically represented by a teardrop. It is a star of great intensity with constant head butting, anger and rage. Its deity is Rudra, a storm god who controls destruction and dissolution. Rudra is ultimately the remover of misery by eliminating that which is no longer useful.

Ardra natives have a deeply ingrained preference for independence, ardently facing challenges to their sense of freedom. They have a strong drive for self-improvement. Natives experience a deep satisfaction for sticking it out through the hard times with an understanding and appreciation of how difficult it was to accomplish their goals.

Common professional themes for Ardra are butchers, surgeons, makers of toxic chemicals that kill viruses and bacteria, chemotherapists, pharmacists, meddlesome politicians, liars and thieves. Obamacare attracts such people and professions like moths to a porch light. It has been the venue of a political dogfight of epoch proportions. Who can forget South Carolina Representative Joe Wilson’s unprecedented callout, “You lie!” when the President was addressing health care legislation in the 2010 State of the Union Address? In November of 2013, President Obama was forced to admit that his promise of all Americans being able to keep their old insurance was not technically true. The opposition has loudly claimed vindication to their allegations that the promises of Obamacare were fraught with lies. Proponents assert the opposition has spread horrendous lies about death panels, overall costs and a government takeover of health care.

At the time of writing this article, Obamacare has demonstrated Ardra’s perseverance by continuing to overcome obstacles to its startup. It has endured a government shutdown, a disastrous web site rollout and the refusal of Republican governors to fully execute the program in their states. It survived a Supreme Court ruling in favor of its constitutional right to install a mandate. An unforeseen last second sign-up rush resulted in 8 million registrations by the March 31, 2014 deadline. This far surpassed the Administration's target number of 7 million enrollees, the stated requirement for financial viability.

1st lord Mercury resides in the star Revati. Projects of Revati natives are often pushed forward by leaps and bounds with much fanfare and noise. They are good hosts and dependable friends. They care for handicapped children and/or parents and are drawn to charity and volunteering. What has received more fanfare in recent years than Obamacare (both for and against)? Does not its major objectives include the provision of care for children and those with “pre-existing conditions”, whether or not they can afford it?

Obamacare will be in its Rahu dasha until September 2021Rahu is in the star of Purva Ashadha which is symbolized by a fan. The fan enables one to patiently tolerate uncomfortable heat. It is also associated with aggression since it is used to “fan the flame.”

Purva Ashadha is often associated with secrets and has an alternate name that means “the Undefeated.” The strong minds of Purva Ashadha natives will not allow them to suffer defeat in struggles and confrontations. They are determined to expand in a sustainable way and are focused on unending improvement. They are patient, frank and don't complain. They just keep plodding away to achieve their goal.

Has any topic inflamed more heat and anger over the past few years than Obamacare? The total girth of the 906 page legislation leaves it vulnerable to claims that secret death panels and liberty restrictions are hidden within. Its success is heavily reliant on expanding through open enrollment. Both political Parties agree that problems exist in the law. For Obamacare to survive, improvements and adjustments will be inevitable in the coming years.

Rahu is known as the great impersonator. He blends into a crowd like a chameleon. He takes on the appearance of any planet he associates with, is aspected by, or by the owner of the sign he occupies. Less known is that he very strongly takes on the nature of the planet who rules the star he occupies.

Rahu resides in the star of Purva Ashadha which is ruled by Venus. Rahu will act like and produce the results promised by Venus. As stated earlier, Venus is exalted in the 10th house (fame, success, and career) and is involved in multiple yogas. Rahu must show career success and fame during his reign. One can expect such success to be magnified during the Venus bhukti which will take place between March, 2015 and March, 2018.

Rahu is tenanted in the 7th house while Ketu is 180 degrees opposite in the 1st house. Rahu and Ketu share a unique relationship since they are in reality, two sides of the same entity. In this relationship, Rahu is the source of an awakening and change in life patterns while Ketu is the engrained area of life being affected. In this instance, the 7th house (partners, general masses) is causing change to the 1st house (the body, Obamacare itself). One might interpret this as the general public and or Congress forcing changes to the Obamacare law. There will be continuous modifications throughout the Rahu dasha paticularly during the Ketu sub-period from March 2014 through April 2015. President Obama’s natal chart has signaled more cooperation from Congress and state governments during this period, so it is reasonable to expect changes he actually desires. One obvious change is that more states will be accepting federal aid to expand Medicaid.

Rahu is still going to be offbeat and unpredictable, causing misdiagnoses and disruptions. Unexpected things will continue to go wrong (like the online registration overload). These difficulties cannot be avoided, but ultimately Rahu's tenure will end in success for the program.

Obamacare will move into its 16 year Jupiter dasha from 2021 through 2037. Jupiter is well placed in the 9th house of good luck and counseling. As the lord of the 10th house, he will bring good fortune and success for the law. He is aspecting the 1st house, strengthening Obamacare’s own health and well being. He also aspects the 5th house (children and counseling). Obamacare will have a smoother, more effective sixteen-year reign during its Jupiter dasha.

Summarizing the overall situation, President Obama's natal chart supports that he has the strength and ability to successfully implement a national health care program, notwithstanding some struggle. His chart begged for a good muhurta to limit the collateral damage along the way. Instead a weak muhurta was chosen. Viewing the situation from a retrospective point of view, one can conclude that the unconscious selection of a weak inauguration time reflects the nature of Obama's natal chart. During that period of his life, he was unlikely to select a time that would have made things easier.

The failure to select a strong inauguration time for the signing and website (see Part 3: What About That Website Disaster?) illustrates the integral role in governance that court astrologers played in ancient kingdoms. This type of wisdom is now sorely lacking in modern society. Questionable time selections as this would have resulted in serious consequences for an ancient court astrologer. 

Given the strong political opposition, one could rightfully question how a good muhurta would have improved the Obamacare implementation. An astrologer can never say what would have happened (after the fact), but there were obvious places which could have seen improvement. The response to the ongoing misinformation was incredibly ineffective. The Obama team could have implemented a much more successful marketing plan, challenging the inaccuracies while addressing the positive aspects of the law. Early warnings regarding the website might have found a stronger call to action, prior to its failed implementation. 

Obamacare has more than its share of inherent warts and weaknesses. There will continue to be “major” trials and detractors of this program for several more years. It is also clear that Obama’s birth chart and the Obamacare muhurta and the web site’s muhurta, all show an inordinately strong will to survive and self-improve. Ultimately, after much struggle, Obamacare should surpass even the most critical standards of success, attaining a high level of public approval.

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.”

Exhibit 3: Planetary Strengths

First Tier Strengths (FTS)
First Tier Weaknesses (FTW)
Planet in Exaltation Sign
Planet in Debilitation Sign
Planet in Own Sign
Dark Moon (Within 72 of Sun waxing & waning)
Retrograde Planet
Solar Eclipse (for Sun)
Directional Strength
Lunar Eclipse (for Moon)
Fullish Moon (6 - 8 Houses from Sun)
Defeat in Planetary War
Rahu/Ketu during Eclipse
Planetary Combustion (Within 6 of Sun)

Second Tier Strengths (STS)
Second Tier Weakness (STW)
Association with or Aspect from Natural Benefic
Association with or Aspect from Natural Malefic
Occupation of Friend's Sign
Occupation of Enemy's Sign
Flanked by Natural Benefics (2nd & 12th house)
Flanked by Natural Malefics (2nd & 12th house)
Winner of Planetary War
Occupying 1st or Last Degree of a Sign

[ii] Dharma-karma adhipati: Brihat Parasara Hora ch 41 sloka 28
[iii] Phala Deepika ch 6 slokas 26 & 27
[iv] Malavaya: Phala Deepika ch 6 slokas 1 & 3

Sunday, March 26, 2017

In-depth Jyotish Muhurta View of Obamacare (1 of 3)

Editor's Note: This 3 part analysis was originally completed in May 2014. I have only changed some formatting to post them on this blog (nearly 3 years later). To be truthful, I allowed my missed interpretations to stand, in open view, along with the ones that have held true through today's posting (which just happens to be a few days following President Trump's killing of the GOP's initiative to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act).

I owe so much gratitude for the support of Penny Farrow and the late Sri Purna in writing this article. While I started with a simple review, they both pushed me to leave no stone unturned.

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
Ecclesiastes 3
King James Version (KJV)

The Founding Fathers of the United States appreciated the importance of inaugural timing. Benjamin Franklin played an integral role in defining when to sow the seeds of a new nation. Franklin made his fortune through publications of Poor Richard’s Almanak (sic, farmer’s almanac). He personally calculated daily planetary positions and used the information to predict draughts, floods and determine proper planting times for crops. Poor Richard’s was second only to the Bible in sales during its publication years. Franklin was instrumental in setting the signing date for the Declaration of Independence. He fully understood that an ordinary time would not suffice with the fate of a new country on the line. One could say he selected a pretty good time.
Jyotish fully embraces the concept of starting activities at the right time and place as a means of promoting desirable outcomes. Muhurta is the electional astrology limb of jyotish, used to pick optimal starting times for the success of any enterprise. We all have good days and bad days but, a good muhurta provides an ideal time to begin an important activity. In this article, I will present a muhurta view of President Barack Obama’s effort to implement the Affordable Care Act, the national health insurance legislation more popularly called Obamacare.

It has been a rocky road for the first four years of Obamacare. Even with a Democratic controlled Congress, the legislation faced monumental obstacles and controversy prior to its signing. The onslaught of challenges continued to escalate during the three years of preparation for its operational implementation. The government's enrollment website was fraught with fatal errors. The Republican led House of Representatives voted over fifty times to repeal or amend the law. Republican state governors have refused to accept the federal money provided by the law to extend Medicaid healthcare benefits to millions of their poorest uninsured citizens. Prominent government officials openly encouraged young Americans to break the law by not signing up for an insurance plan. Conservative politicians and media have maintained non-stop outrage and criticism of the law, encouraging a negative public perception.

A muhurta chart and its pertinent panchangam data (astrological almanac) must be assessed in relationship to the success already inherent in the native’s birth chart. Even a great muhurta time selection will not provide kingly rewards for a pauper. In this analysis, we will look at the President’s natal chart to qualify how likely he was to "successfully" execute such a controversial program. This includes evaluating his natal chart to see if it was a good time for a fruitful implementation. After understanding the President's chart, we’ll be in a good position to review the muhurta chart for the signing ceremony. The muhurta should show whether the heavens were positioned to emphasize the strengths or weaknesses present in the President's chart. It should clarify whether or not the program will experience long term success and whether the public will ultimately embrace or reject the legislation.

President Obama’s birth time is readily available from his birth certificate published on the White House web site. He was born at 7:24 PM on Friday, 8/4/1961 in Honolulu, HI[i].

Exhibit 1: Barack Obama's Natal Chart

President Obama's two term presidency already confirms he has extraordinary character makeup and the providence required for large scale success, but does his natal chart reflect the historical facts? In jyotish, the evaluation of a native starts with the condition of the lagna (1st house) and the lagnesha (1st house lord). They are the primary indicators of personal strength and success. Obama's 1st house of Capricorn is occupied by its own lord, Saturn. A planet occupying its own sign is conditionally strong. My teacher (Hart deFouw) created the term "First Tier Strength" (FTS) to describe conditionally strong planets. (See Exhibit 3 at the end of this blog for the complete list of planetary strengths.) Saturn is retrograde which makes it brighter in the night sky (its orbit being closer to the earth). From a Jyotish perspective, retrograde planets are viewed as having strength.

Natural benefic (NB) Jupiter also occupies the 1st house associating with Saturn while NB Mercury aspects Saturn. NB that associate with or aspect a planet creates a "Second Tier Strength" (STS) which shows the addition of minor stabilizing and positive conditioning effects. Combining these effects, we can conclude that the 1st lord Saturn with two FTS and two STS is overall very strongly conditioned and stable.

A true planet like Saturn, located in its exalted or own sign while being in a Kendra (Angle), forms a Pancha Mahapurusha yoga[ii]. Yogas are either auspicious (or inauspicious) planetary placements and combinations for fame, wealth, success and power (or the lack thereof). Yoga combinations separate ordinary destinies from the extraordinary. The fact that Saturn is the lagna lord itself in an angle house, upgrades it to raja yoga status.[iii] A raja yoga (great or kingly yoga) is considered significantly more auspicious than an ordinary yoga.

Saturn’s association with the NB Jupiter in the 1st house combined with friendly NB Mercury's aspect creates Chamara yoga[iv] for the 1st house itself while simultaneously generating a second raja yoga for Saturn[v].  1st lord Saturn’s mutual aspect with the 9th lord Mercury forms a Dharma-Karma Adhipati yoga[vi].

Finally, Saturn is positioned in the same sign of the natal chart and of the panchamsha (5th divisional chart). This creates yet another Saturn raja yoga[vii].

Exhibit 2: Barack Obama's Panchamsha

All four of Saturn's yogas should be viewed as having a cumulative effect. Without a doubt, Obama's primary planet (Saturn) is very strongly conditioned while participating in multiple yogas. Its placement is “off-the-charts” strong.

Jupiter's mixed condition and placement in the 1st house foretells that Barack Obama was fated to overcome inherent weaknesses, turning them into great strengths. Jupiter has "First Tier Weakness" (FTW) from being debilitated in the 1st house of Capricorn. Jupiter is FTS retrograde and has FTS digbala (directional strength) based on its 1st house occupation in the East. Jupiter's association with his dispositor (Saturn) in an angular sign converts his debilitation into a Neecha Bhanga raja yoga[viii]. This raj yoga is replicated an additional two times, first by Saturn (lord of the depression sign) being in an angle to the lagna and secondly by Mars (the planet that is normally exalted in the depression sign) being in an angle to the Moon.

Jupiter as the debilitated 12th lord occupying the lagna, directly implicates him in a fourth raja yoga[ix]. The two FTS place an exclamation mark on the potency of all of Jupiter's raja yogas.

Having established the fact that Jupiter is quite strong, we can properly appreciate the vigor of its involvement in the rare Gauri yoga[x] where Jupiter aspects an exalted Moon in a trine house. With this truly splendid Gauri yoga, Jupiter completes a great leap, joining Saturn in “off-the-charts” status.

It is rare to find individuals with such a strongly conditioned 1st house and lord. The quantity and quality of yogas involved are extraordinary. This is a destiny pattern of a highly self-assured individual who will experience great fame and success in his life.

Saturn, Jupiter, Mercury and Sun are all powerfully connected through mutually shared aspects with each other. In other words, they each place a full strength aspect on each other by association in the same house, or by directly facing across from each other seven houses away. They invoke upon each other their own nature and the nature of the houses they own and occupy. These mutually shared aspects between Saturn (1st  and 2nd lord in 1st house), Jupiter (3rd and 12th lord in 1st house), Mercury (6th and 9th lord in 7th house)  and Sun (8th lord in 7th house), provide the type of strong topical building blocks expected for someone destined to lead legislation involving healthcare reform:
  • Saturn: bureaucracies, politics, illness, discipline
  • Jupiter: counseling, fairness, financiers
  • Mercury: accounting, communications, agents
  • Sun: government, presidents, administrators, leadership, doctors
  • 1st house: body, healers, politicians
  • 2nd house: family, saved wealth, finances, oral skills
  • 3rd house: enthusiasm, written communications
  • 6 th house: short term illness, doctors, pharmacists, debt
  • 7 th house: partnership, business, mass public, controversies, war
  • 8 th house: chronic illness, surgeons, critical care workers, insurance companies
  • 9 th house: counseling, good fortune, higher institutions, research centers
  • 12 th house: large institutions, hospital workers, expenses, good Samaritans

One could justifiably say that the nearly unlimited potential meanings from four planets and eight houses can be "cherry-picked" to match historical fact.  This is true to some extent in any astrological analysis. It is the astrologers' job to filter out the relevant interpretations. For example, I did not chronicle  the 3rd house meaning of "siblings" or the 7th house meaning of "marriage" since they are not pertinent to the subject. The key is that the above topics are all powerfully linked to the 1st house and 1st lord, while participating in multiple yogas. The importance of attention warranted by the 1st house and 1st lord in all readings cannot be overstated. This suggests the native will be extremely diverse and excel in many arenas. This is expected for the leader of such a broad topic as national healthcare reform. Together they compose a chorus waiting to be heard across the land "at the proper time."

In contrast to the strengths  presented so far, all is not rosy for Obama. There are multiple troubling conditions in his chart. Most outstanding is the lords of all four dussthanas (houses of misery: 3rd, 6th, 8th and 12th) either occupying, associating with, or aspecting the 1st house and 1st lord. They form a cornerstone natal chart representation for President Obama's struggles in life. Obama's 10th house (career and fame) reveals major difficulties with the inauspicious Dur yoga[xi] (10th lord Venus occupies the negative 6th house while the strong NM Saturn aspects the 10th house). This is indicative of why many Americans view him as a foreigner and a traitor.

The President won his first election during his Jupiter dasha, Moon bhukti. Dashas are expansive life periods between 6 and 20 consecutive years when a planet moves to the foreground, exerting its full strength to account for the promises it foretells at the time of birth. Bhuktis are subordinate dasha periods between 3.5 and 40 months long. Obama's Jupiter clearly had the extraordinary strength required to negotiate health care reform legislation during its dasha rulership. Moon, as the 7th lord (partners) is located in the 5th house (congress). Jupiter aspects both houses and the exalted Moon forming the Gauri yoga. This formation was wholly activated during Obama's Moon bhukti, signifying his presidency would begin with gains from very strong partnerships. In this case, he had Democratic control of the Senate and House to push legislation through for his signature.

Obama began his 19 year Saturn dasha three months before his 2012 re-election. Obamacare was already signed law but, it was far from being fully enacted. As previously discussed, his Saturn is extremely strong. His raja yoga 1st lord Saturn shows that he has the fortitude to follow through to a successful execution. This will be more evident during his final seventeen months in office when he is in his Mercury bhukti (starting in late July 2015). Saturn's yoga with Mercury, lord of the 9th house (good fortune) who is residing in the 7th house (partnership) reveals that he is due to once again enjoy the support of partners.

His Gauri yoga will not be so strongly activated as it was during his Moon bhukti, but it will exert some influence. This should result in an increase of legislation reaching the President's desk for signature.  The political situation will likely change, making it more beneficial for the Republican Congress to negotiate with the Democratic membership.

As the key instigator, Saturn's dasha is activating Obama's 10th house Dur yoga problems. This has been especially apparent with transiting Saturn occupying the President's 10th house (Libra) from November 2011 through October of 2014. The effects were not great enough to deter his re-election bid, but clearly reflected his overall drop in popularity. The Dur yoga's effects should slightly ease up following the 2014 mid-term elections with Saturn moving into Scorpio.

Jyotish heavily relies on stars or star clusters called nakshatras (mansions of the Moon). The sidereal zodiac divides the heavens into 27 nakshatras (referred to as “stars” from this point forward). These stars greatly reveal both the nature of the native and the atmosphere of life experiences that surround the native. The most revealing of the stars are the stars in which:
  • the Ascendant[xii] resides;
  • the 1st lord resides; and
  • the Moon resides.
The nature of these various stars color the fundamental constitution of the native’s life. Their traits are especially heightened during their dasha.

President Obama’s Ascendant is in the star Dhanishta. People with Dhanishta prominent in their chart are noted for pioneering and trailblazing. They are often involved in governance, medicine and surgery. Even though their intentions are good, they are commonly mis-characterized. This does not stop them from staying focused and moving forward, while keeping a clear mind on their objectives. President Obama is a government official who is blazing new trails regarding the laws of the land affecting medical care. Despite relentless distractions and naysayers, he has maintained an even keel and remained focused on the goal.

The President’s 1st lord Saturn is in the star Uttara Ashadha. Natives who are noted for their physical and mental penetration, are commonly linked to surgery and deep thinkers. They are patient, forbearing and often have careers in politics or health care.  Uttara Ashadha is associated with the Hindu elephant headed God Ganesha, who is known as the remover of obstacles. They have a skill for starting large new enterprises and following them through to completion. The President has exemplified these traits while deftly navigating tremendous obstacles to Obamacare legislation.

The President’s Moon is in the star Rohini.  Natives are highly charming and are known for providing and receiving good hospitality. They exhibit an ability to start and grow new ventures. They will climb the success ladder and be propelled to high positions in society and career. They are good at eluding obstacles, can be obsessive about life and death issues and often experience strong racial tensions in their life. They commonly involved in plagiarism of ideas or property, both as perpetrators and victims.

Rohini’s nature shining on the President's life and success is obvious. The previous paragraph reads like his personal bio, but the extent of plagiarism found in his recent life might not be so clear. His signature program was designed to be nearly a direct copy of Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts health care program.  Outlandish conspiracy theorists continue to claim the President's birth certificate has been faked. They have altered his family history, encouraging a large population to believe he was born in Kenya. This misguided information has been used in never-ending attempts to discredit him and his legal right to be president.

In summary, President Obama’s chart robustly reveals his intention and capacity to legislate major health care reform during his presidency, albeit with significant problems. Much of his success has already proven true but, at the time of this writing, widespread resistance remains. The questions are, "Was the bill signed at a time that helped or hurt its success?" and "How will it fare long term?" In Part 2 we will examine the muhurta for Obamacare’s signing ceremony.

Exhibit 3: Planetary Strengths

First Tier Strengths (FTS)
First Tier Weaknesses (FTW)
Planet in Exaltation Sign
Planet in Debilitation Sign
Planet in Own Sign
Dark Moon (Within 72 of Sun waxing & waning)
Retrograde Planet
Solar Eclipse (for Sun)
Directional Strength
Lunar Eclipse (for Moon)
Fullish Moon (6 - 8 Houses from Sun)
Defeat in Planetary War
Rahu/Ketu during Eclipse
Planetary Combustion (Within 6 of Sun)

Second Tier Strengths (STS)
Second Tier Weakness (STW)
Association with or Aspect from Natural Benefic
Association with or Aspect from Natural Malefic
Occupation of Friend's Sign
Occupation of Enemy's Sign
Flanked by Natural Benefics (2nd & 12th house)
Flanked by Natural Malefics (2nd & 12th house)
Winner of Planetary War
Occupying 1st or Last Degree of a Sign

[ii] Sasha: Phala Deepika ch 6 slokas 1 & 4
[iii] Saravali ch 36 sloka 117
[iv] Chamara: Phala Deepika ch 6 slokas 44 - 45
[v] Saravali ch 35 slokas 38 & 52
[vi] Brihat Parasara Hora ch 41 sloka 28
[vii] Brihat Parasara Hora ch 41 sloka 28
[viii] Phala Deepika ch 7 slokas 26, 28, 29 & 30
[ix] Brihat Parasara Hora ch 39 sloka 28
[x] Phala Deepika ch 6 sloka 21
[xi] Phala Deepika ch 6 sloka 57 & 67: 10th lord Venus occupies negative 6th house while strong malefic Saturn aspects 10th house
[xii] Exact degree of the rising sign which provides the most unique descriptor for the native in a chart.