Whole Sign House Cusps

Whole Sign House Cusps

“Cusp” literally means the junction between two curves. Mostly, astrologers define it as the junction between two signs, or houses. But in a whole sign house system, I find it much more accurate to define the cusp as the “Ascending degree” translated into any given sign/house.

So if the Ascendant is 18º Sagittarius, then the “cusp” of the 7th house is 18º Gemini. The “cusp” of the 10th is 18º Virgo, etc.

This “cusp” in each whole-sign house becomes the “key point” – the “sensitive point”, the “front-door” of the house.

Is this Kali-Yuga?

Śrī Yukteśwar

Is this Kali-Yuga?

QUESTION: I am trying to understand why my translation of srimad bhagavatam refers to the present age as kali yuga. However sri yuktesvar says we are in dvapara. Are you familiar with his arguments? Is it possible the translation of sb as applied to modern times is erroneous?

Śrī Yukeśvar developed his own idea of the yugas, breaking from tradition. His is non-standard because it treats the yuga “years” as solar years, not celestial years. Also his is non-standard because he proposes that the four yugas do not revolve, they “ascend” and “descend.” This is also just his own idea. Neither of these ideas are traditional or scriptural. All purāṇas define the yugas in celestial years, and as revolving in regular order (not "ascending and descending”).

Vedic Timespans

Vedic Timespans

Cosmic Cycles

There are years.

Then there are groups of years, called yugas.

The shortest Yuga is a solar/lunar conjunction that happens every 5 years.

Then there is a 12 year yuga determined by the orbit of Jupiter.

And there are other types of small yugas, but there is another type of yuga that is not the generic sense of yuga (a junction of years), but is a specific entity, an unequal-fourth of a larger time-span called a kalpa.

This kind of yuga can be translated as “epoch” and the kalpa can be translated as an “aeon.”

These yugas are defined in multiples of 1,000 years. There are four of them:

  • “x1” (kali) is the 1,000 year yuga
  • “x2” (dvāpara) is the 2,000 year yuga
  • “x3” (treta) is the 3,000 year yuga
  • “x4” (kṛta) is the longest, best yuga, 4,000 years.

These four taken together make up a kalpa, but oddly a kalpa is not the sum of the years of the four yugas. It’s not 10,000 years, it is 12,000. The extra 2,000 years amas because of 10% transition periods on either border of each yuga.

Now, there are different ways to estimate the length of the yuga and kalpa – which depends on the type of “year” to be used. If you use a human year you see kali-yuga lasting 1,200 years (1,000 + two 100 year transition periods in and out of the yuga itself), dvāpara lasting 2,400, treta lasting 3,600 and kṛta (aka satya) lasting 4,800 years.

However there are other types of years, one is in ancestral time and the other is in heavenly time. Ancestral time is time from the point of view of the pitṛ (ancestral guardians). This is roughly 30 times longer than a human year, because the Moon’s waxing represents the ancestral day, and the Moon’s waning represents their night.

Heavenly time is time from the point of view of the deva (gods). This is roughly 360 times longer than a human year, because the Sun’s course north of the equator represents the gods’ daytime, and the Sun’s course south of the equator represents their night.

When we are talking about cosmic things, like durations of the cosmos itself, we should use heavenly time, because the gods occupy the outer cosmos. Thus, usually, the four-yugas are actually defined as 360 times longer what you might expect. Thus in human years:

  • kali = 432 thousand years
  • dvāpara = 864 thousand years
  • treta = 1.296 million years
  • kṛta = 1.728 million years

And the sum total of the four of them, equalling a kalpa is: 4.32 million years.

Next, longer than a kalpa is a mānvantara. There are just about 14 kalpa in a mānvantara. So its roughly 60.4 million years. This timescale has to do with the amount of time that mankind is in a certain state or generation from a certain forefather and foremother.

Larger than a mānvantara is a “day of the Creator (Brahmā).” This day consists of 1,000 kalpas! So it lasts about 4.32 billion years. Following every Day of the Creator is a Night of the Creator. During the day, creation appears and expands. At night it contracts and disappears. So this is like a whole life cycle of a solar system. Its duration taken together is 8.64 billion years.

There are 360 days/nights in a Creator’s Year, and he exists for 100 such years. So a creation itself, a “universe,” exists for 311.04 trillion human years.

Universes also go through existence and non-existence cycles with the whole thing totaling 622.08 billion years. The existence of a universe corresponds not even to the duration of an inhalation on the spiritual timescale, which is infinite.

Another trippie, cool thing is that the basic pattern of events repeats itself. Just like Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall always follows a predictable pattern. So the same basic types of events always unfold in each yuga, each kalpa, each manvantara, each Day of Brahmā, and even in each universal cycle.

This description I’ve given is standard and found consistently throughout the 18 major Puāṇa.

Astrology and Hare Krishna Devotees

Astrology and Hare Krishna Devotees

Almost always, every astrologer you visit will tell you something different. I think the simple reason is that astrology is a broken science, there is no clear, authoritative śāstra on it, and there is no intact paramparā representing and illustrating that paramparā. Some “puṇḍits” will try to tell you that there is “śāstra” and “paramparā” for astrology, but this is very shallow. At least in Kali Yuga, astrology is a speculative science, and in modern times not much resource or funding has been devoted to experimentation (which is a necessity for speculative sciences), and thus the science is fairly ruined.

Even though it is a ruined science, I do think that people in general can derive a lot of benefit from it, since it tends to lead people towards more introspective outlooks, places them into closer contact with the divinity of nature, and helps them begin to understand important concepts like destiny, self, and the divine.

For the most part, I don’t think Krishna devotees who have the opportunity to engage in sādhana-bhakti should rely on astrology, their sādhana-bhakti is already beyond the final destination that astrology can bring them to. Such devotees should read Śrīmad Bhāgavatam instead of read their birth charts, and they should hear Kīrtan from śuddha-bhaktas rather than hear speculative astrological prognostications from the mouths of self-made “puṇḍits.”

Kīrtan of the Hare Krishna mahāmantra immediately causes ceto darpana marjana — it immediately cleans the reflectivity of the mind, enabling us to see ourselves, our world, and our situation very easily. Devotees who have access to chanting this mantra under the guidance of sincere and experienced Vaiṣṇavas should never recourse to mundane or mystical guidance like psychological theories or astrological calculations. They should seek only to focus on the names of Krishna, knowing that all uncertainties will resolve automatically by doing so.

Of course, something also called “astrology" is required to calculate calendars and establish timings for devotional events like Janmāṣṭhamī, etc. I am not talking about this astrology, I am talking about the normal kind, where you go to someone and ask them to resolve your confusions about yourself and your life.

Let the general public who has no access and no confidence in the process of bhakti-sādhana (crowned by nāma-saṅkīrtana) come to astrologers. Hopefully fate will guide them to genuine persons who can deliver spiritual upliftment to them inspire of the technical shortcomings of the astrological science in the current historical epoch (kali-yuga). But lets not encourage the devotees who have the chance to develop confidence in nāma-saṅkīrtanādi bhakti-sādhana to trade in their diamonds for broken glass by giving their trust and hopes to the workings of karma as speculated upon by the imperfect senses and mind of we meager astrologers.

Vic DiCara Bio

Vic DiCara Bio for Lunar Cafe

Vic is one of those guys who reads Ptolemy and Sanskrit, and tests astrological theories by writing equations in computer code — but unlike most of “those guys” he always puts his knowledge to work in a way that is practical, beneficial, and understandable to even the simplest person on the sidewalk.

He has devoted himself wholeheartedly to bhakti-yoga (the yoga of love) since 1990, and has eagerly studied and practiced for year in āśramas in the holiest towns of India. He lovingly pours his extensive knowledge of spiritual practice and philosophy into every reading, every article, every word. But he’s not some “out there” guru type. He is the father of four lovely children and lives with his beautiful and intelligent wife in southern Japan. His being both in the “normal” world and “spiritual” world at the same time gives his writing and readings a very unique clarity and power.

He is a professional musician and songwriter who has released several albums and toured internationally and in the US many, many times. Currently he and his wife record kīrtan in the bhakti-yoga tradition. He is a prolific writer who published six titles just in the past two years:

  • 27 Stars, 27 Gods — The Astrological Mythology of Ancient India
  • The Great Big Crystal Ball in the Sky, Part I
  • A Simple Gītā
  • Beautiful Tales of the All Attractive, Volume I & II
  • To Dance in the Downpour of Devotion

His astrological system is a very unique bridge between “Vedic” and “Western” models; highly contemporary yet with extreme fidelity to the ancient origins.

Website: VicDiCara.com
Blog: Vic DiCara’s Astrology

An Astrological Verse from Śrīmad Bhāgavatam

An Astrological Verse from Śrīmad Bhāgavatam

In Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 3.21.18, Prajāpati Kardama says to Hari:

The wheel of time spins on an eternal axle. Three meta-seasons form its hub. Thirteen months form its spokes. Three hundred and sixty days form the joints that support its circumference. Six seasons form its rim. Infinite moments form the outer edge. This wheel spins with terrible speed chasing everything in the universe with destruction. But it cannot chase those who are intoxicated by hearing about you.

Time is represented as spinning in terms of years. Each “meta-month” is a set of fire, earth, air, and water months/zodiac divisions. There are three repetitions of such in a year. The 13th spoke is the leap-month. A lunar-centric calendar counts 360 days in a year, which is why a full leap-month is required periodically. Every two months form a discrete season, winter is expanded into “chilly” and “frozen” seasons, and summer into “hot” and “wet” seasons.

These divisions of time spin with unstoppable force, and chase everything in the universe, destroying everything. But it cannot chase those who are intoxicated by hearing about Hari.

Hardcore and Casual Followers of Astrology

Hardcore and Casual Followers of Astrology

I think there are two broad groups of people into astrology. Maybe we can call them “hardcore” and “casual” but those terms are admittedly a little misleading because the “casual” follower of astrology could be just as intensely devoted to the subject as the “hardcore” follower. The distinction is simply that “hardcore” followers get into detail well beyond Sun, Moon and Rising signs – and often tend to want a methodical and scientific approach to the art; whereas “casual” followers are satisfied with what inspiration and guidance they derive from interpretations of their Sun, Moon and Rising signs.

Please correct me if I am wrong, but it seems that the content of your site (lunarcafe.com) currently caters to the “casual” group? People who work with me or tend to visit my site are very predominantly of the “hardcore” group. So I think a link from my site to yours won’t pan out much for you, but at least I can mention your appealing site here in this blog! =)

Thank you,
Vic DiCara

Authentic Modern Astrology from the Ancient and Classical World


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