Category Archives: Astrology How-To's


Mars & Marriage (Kuja Dosa / Mangala Dosha)

“Mars Affliction” (Kuja Dosha) is a rather modern trend, not a truly “vedic” or “classical” yoga or astrological combination. To quickly explain what it is: Mars is the planet of independence and the Seventh House is the place of cooperation. The two have obviously opposing themes. Therefore when Mars interacts strongly with the Seventh House astrologers tend to foresee that the Mars’ independence will interfere with the cooperation required to make good, lasting relationships.

How would Mars interact strongly with the Seventh House? Simply put, if he occupies or aspects it. In a simplified sense, Mars aspects the Seventh House if he occupies the 12th, 1st, or 4th houses.

Some astrologers extend the formula even further, saying that Mars will cause problems to relationships when he interacts with the Second House, since that is the House of Family – and “family” also does not get on well with “independence.” Mars can interact with the Second house if he occupies it or aspects it, and in the simplest sense he aspects it if he occupies the 7th, 8th or 11th houses.

So the list of houses that will cause interference between self-oriented independence and relationship-oriented cooperation are: 12, 1, 4, 7, and 8. Astrologers drop the 11th House from this list because the 11th House is a good place for Mars. Of all the houses to have Mars in, the Seventh is the worst, theoretically, because from here Mars influences both the Seventh House, the house of relationships (since he is in it) and the Second House, the house of family (since he will aspect it).

Rampant Misdiagnosis

There is a very long list of reasons why this whole topic is extremely overemphasized and misdiagnosed by the vast majority of people who presume to read horoscopes.

  • The biggest problem is that most of those people read horoscopes like they would paint-by-numbers. They have little to no real understanding of what they are doing, or why they are doing it. They are just trying to follow some stuff they read somewhere. This problem causes all the rest.
  • Another problem is that Vedic aspects are degree specific and 90% of people telling other people they have the Mars Affliction (“Kuja Dosha”) frankly have no idea that this is true, what to speak of knowing how to read Vedic aspects by degree. Mars may be in the First House, for example, but his aspect to the Seventh House could literally amount to nothing if the degrees between Mars and the cusp of the Seventh House are significantly less than 180º.
  • Another problem causing misdiagnosis of Mars Affliction is that Mars is not always the cause of troubling and counter-productive selfish independence. Mars in good signs, for example, bestows strong constructive drive and enthusiasm. In such cases it would be wrong to diagnose his influence as an affliction (“dosha”).

Correct Diagnosis

To truly have Mars Affliction the following has to occur in the chart

  1. Mars must not have good dignity. You should consult the vimshopaka score to get a quick idea of the true dignity of Mars taking all his subdivisions into account. A good dignity results the more the Vimshopaka score is above 10.
  2. Mars must really aspect the 7th House cusp with an intensity generally of 70% or above. To assess this you need to know what Vedic aspects really are, which is well beyond the scope of this article. I encourage you to take my class or read my textbook on Unlocking the Meanings of a Horoscope to learn this.
  3. Mars should also aspect the 7th House from Venus and/or the Moon.
  4. The more intensely Mars has low dignity and fully aspects the 7th house form the Ascendant, Venus and/or the Moon – the more severe the affliction from Mars will be.
- Vic DiCara
© 2010 Vic DiCara, All Rights Reserved

How to Read a Horoscope

This is an except from Chapter 25 of my book, Unlocking the Meanings of a Horoscope, the textbook for my course of the same name. Everything mentioned in summary below gets a treatment of full explanation in that book and, especially, in the course.

Getting the Sculpting Material

I started out with the metaphor of an astrologer being like a sculptor, and I want to return to that metaphor now. The first step in making a sculpture is to get reliable material to sculpt, and to figure out what that material is best suited for. What you can do easily with clay you cannot do easily with marble, and similarly what marble can accomplish cannot be accomplished easily with clay.

The first step in unlocking a horoscope is to get an accurate and reliably calculated birth chart, and review the rising sign in full scope down to the lunar mansion and navamsha subdivisions, as well as the sign, mansion and navamsha of the Moon. This is analogous to getting your sculpting materials set up and assessing what final product these materials is inherently more suited to produce.

Crafting the General Outline of Form

The first bit of actual work a sculptor does is to start to carve out the basic shapes of various areas of the sculpture. In astrology, you feel-out and define the basic outline of an individual’s horoscope by individualizing the rising sign. This requires you to asses the elemental and modal balance in the individual chart, the placement of the first house ruler, the overall situation regarding key houses, and the friends and enemies in the birth chart.

Basic Elements

Once a sculptor is satisfied with the basic form of his or her sculpture, she begins to work on smaller units in it, bringing out the first details in the sculpture’s main elements: the shape of an eye, lips, nose, etc. The Astrologer does this by doing a planet by planet overview considering their signs, houses and lordship placements from a wide and inclusive angle.

Combinations of Motifs

The sculpture starts to become a work of art when the artist connects themes and motifs across more than just one element. A curvature of line in the eyes repeated in the carving of the hair, for example, makes both elements far more dynamic and artistic then they would be on their own. The next step of unlocking a horoscope is very similar, because it requires the astrologer to look for connections between multiple elements in the chart. I call these “combinations.” The astrologer first identifies all the mutual links the planets form in the horoscope, and evaluates if these links constitute Power, Wealth, Health, or other types of important combinations. The astrologer also need to become aware of the basic depth and intensity of any combinations he or she uncovers.

Fine Details

The greatest amount of artistic skill and craftsmanship is in the very finest details of the sculpture. Analogously the final phase of unlocking the horoscope is the most detailed and will make the difference between a “pretty good” reading and a “life changing” one. To polish out the fine details in the horoscope – details which will give the final definition of all the shapes, elements, and motifs you have unlocked so far – the astrologer must asses each planet in three dimensions: motive, strength and influence. To do so, he or she will examine the True Dignity, outstanding subdivisions, Sixfold Strength, dispositors, and exact aspects for all the planets in the horoscope. This information allows a complete and thorough final definition of every note previously made during the process of reading the horoscope.

Putting the Art on Display

When the sculpture is done, the artist puts it on display somewhere. For an astrologer, this is analogous to actually delivering and communicating a reading to the client. By following the steps above an astrologer can fully process all the facts of a horoscope and succinctly distill exact effects and outcomes. All the interpretations of the horoscope will be at your fingertipes, and you can freely discuss it with your client in whatever format you choose to work.

I will stop short of teaching you how to communicate this information to your client, because that very broad and important subject is a course of study unto itself. (I am working on the textbook for that course now: VA 102: On Being an Astrologer.)

Practical Notes

At first you will want to go through every step for every planet in every horoscope. This is a lot of work, but it is part of what you have to do. “Practice, practice, practice.” Later on, after you have successfully read perhaps a hundred or so charts, you will be more free to follow specific threads of meaning relevant to the concerns and questions of the querent without having to explicitly go through each end every step. The reason you will be able to do this is that your mind will be able to process these steps much more quickly. It is not that you will ever depart from these steps, but when you become seasoned they steps will come more naturally, and sometime without being explicitly noticed.

- Vic DiCara
© 2010 Vic DiCara, All Rights Reserved


What is a “Dispositor”?

“Dispositor” is really an oddball word, if you ask me. It is not even in the normal modern English dictionary! Look at it carefully and you will find it is made of “dis” and “posit.” You use dis- in plenty of words, like distance, disgrace, disfigure, etc. The prefex dis- indicates negation, absence, & separation. But very importantly to the astrological use of the term, it indicates completeness, accomplishment and intensification in some uses like disgruntled, discombobulate, and disposition.

Now we are on to something. The word posit is an awful lot easier to recognize in it’s stand alone form: position. And so disposition is a much more familiar form of the word disposit.

Your disposition involves the inherent qualities of your mind and character. It describes how you “position” yourself in relation to other things, people and ideas. A dispositor is a person or factor that is instrumental in creating your disposition.

How Dispositors Gain Opportunities to Influence

You cannot fully understand a planet without knowing it’s disposition. The dispositor is a huge factor in creating that disposition. A planet who disposits many other planets gains significant influence over “disposition” of all of those planets. That is how dispositors gain influence and opportunity in a horoscope.

Thus, planets gain influence by dispositing other planets, especially when those other planets are themselves quite potent and strong.

Types of Dispositors

There are several ways a planet can become the dispositor of another.

Sign Dispositors

The simplest way to become a dispositor is to own the sign that a planet occupies. Mars, for example, becomes a dispositor for any planet that occupies his signs: Aries & Scorpio. Venus becomes a dispositor for any planet who occupies her signs: Taurus & Libra, etc.

Final Dispositors

Every dispositor will itself have a dispositor, until you get to one that you designate the “final dispositor.” The final dispositor can become very influential, especially when it is the final dispositor of many or all of the planets in a horoscope.

How do you decide that a planet should be the “final dispositor”? Normally this happens when you get to a dispositor who occupies it’s own sign. Such planets disposits themselves. Alternatively it can happen when the chain of dispositorship returns to a planet.

In the example at left, the Moon is in Taurus, so Venus is her dispositor. Venus is in Capricorn, so her own dispositor is Saturn. Saturn is in Aquarius, which is his own sign – so he disposits himself. He largely creates his own disposition. Since Saturn has no dispositor besides himself, he is the final dispositor of the Moon (and of Venus).

At right is an example of a final dispositor which is not in its own sign. We start with Saturn (simply because we picked Saturn and want to know about its dispositors). Because it is in Taurus, Venus is its dispositor. Because Venus is in Sagittarius, Jupiter is her dispositor. Because Jupiter is in Cancer, the Moon is his dispositor. Because the Moon is in Libra, Venus is his dispositor. We already mentioned Venus in this chain! Therefore a closed loop will form with Venus as the focal point. This makes Venus the final dispositor.

In this case we have traced the dispositors of four planets, Saturn, Venus, Jupiter and the Moon. We have discovered that Venus is the final dispositor of all of them. On this basis Venus gains considerable opportunity to exert what strength she possesses and influence the rest of the chart to cooperate with her intentions.


- Vic DiCara
© 2010 Vic DiCara, All Rights Reserved

On Sculptors and Astrologers

Imagine a sculptor. He takes his well-maintained tools and sits before a block of fine marble. What do you imagine him doing next? Does he pick one spot on the raw rock and finish it completely before moving on to the next, carving out a flawless, perfectly polished and finished eye while the rest of the sculpture is still nothing more than a square block of stone? Of course not! He gradually chisels at the whole block. Each time the overall shape of the entire statue emerges slightly more clearly. Eventually the rock has been chiseled into a shape that clearly resembles a human. Now he begins refining the individual features, and polishing the final details.

That is exactly how you must read a chart if you want to be any good at astrology.

First of all you must have your “tools” organized and well maintained. That means you must always sharpen your basic understanding of the fundamental astrological symbols – the planets, signs, mansions, houses, divisions, elements, modes, etc.

Next, you must have a fine “block of marble.” This means that you must have an accurate chart to work with.

Once you have your tools and your block of marble, what do you do next? Do you leap into defining the meaning of the Sun in, say Cancer in the 7th house, going into great detail about the nature of someone’s marriage and relationships? No, please don’t! This would be like the sculptor carving a finished eye before moving on to carve the nose and the rest of the statue. If a sculptor tried to sculpt this way he would find that (a) he couldn’t reach in to sufficiently polish and finish all areas of the eye, and (b) when he said, “OK, the eye is good enough” and moved on to the nose, the work he would do on the nose would very likely wind up chipping and marring the work he poured into working on the eye! The exact same thing will happen to any astrologer who dives too deeply into any single part of the chart without first at least roughly considering all the other parts of the chart.

So, let’s try again with this question. Once you have your tools and your block of marble, what do you do next?

You go over the whole chart and start to gradually reveal the basic shape and outline of it’s meaning. You proceed in pass after pass over the whole chart to gradually understand it’s shape. Once you have the overall shape well defined, then you dive in and polish up the details.

- Vic DiCara
© 2010 Vic DiCara, All Rights Reserved