# How do You Calculate an Astrological Chart?

These days, computer software written by someone we barely know, if at all, calculates astrological charts for us. We ought to know how it is done, at least have some idea of it. If we don’t know how a chart is calculated we miss out on very edifying fundamental astrological knowledge. So I will explain the basic overview of how it is done, from an ancient and modern viewpoint.

I am not going to mention Ephemeris and Tables of Houses – which we few remaining souls who have enjoyed calculating charts by hand sometimes will remember fondly – because these are just the output of the calculations put into a handy reference format. What i will describe here is actually the way the epemeris and tables of houses are created, in ancient and modern times.

# Ancient Method

Let’s talk about how it was done in the old days (and this is the recorded method in Surya Siddhanta).

It was done by looking up at the sky and practically observing how fast and slow the planets move through the stars – when they become erratic and move backward, and how they slow down and speed up. After making such observations carefully for many years ancient scientists developed math which described the motions of the planets reasonably well.

Using that math, from a given point of time as a reference one could extrapolate where the planets would be in reference to the stars at any other given time previous to or after the point of reference. Here is an example to make it easier to grasp.

If you know a car moves north at 20 miles per hour on average, and you know that 3 hours ago it was at the intersection of 4th street and 5th avenue, you can predict reasonably well that 2 hours ago it was 20 miles north of that point. 1 hour ago it was 40 miles north, currently it is 60 miles north. 4 hours ago it was 20 miles south of the reference point. Etc.

The main reference point for calculations, used by Surya Siddhanta is the planetary alignment at the beginning of Kali Yuga (the current Age of the world). Then, knowing how much a given planet moves each day on average, you can estimate where the planet is on any given day before or after the beginning of Kali Yuga.

As you can tell this is a system of estimates only, it is not precise. If you want to be more precise you have to periodically recheck the cars speed and reset the reference points to less remote times. The Surya Siddhata advises to do this – rechecking the planetary motion and resetting the reference point – and calls the reset-values ‘bijam’ or ‘seeds’ which keep the calculations acceptably accurate. This has not been done for a very long time, though, because we stopped using this estimative method a long time and moved to new methods more based on direct observation.

# Modern Method

The modern method benefits from centuries of mathematical refinement and improvement in our observational tools. As such it is far more accurate to the fine details. However, it is essentially the same as the old system – based on observing the planetary motions, creating mathematical descriptions of those motions, and using those formulas to know the position of any planet at any point in the future or past. It’s just that the current formulas are very very accurate and not really as much in need of periodic updating as the more general estimations of the Surya Siddhanta were.

# Ancient Reference Point

The old calculations were done in reference to the stars themselves, the nakshatra. New calculations are done in reference to a point that is more stable from our vantage point on earth – the location of the Sun at the vernal equinox.

Why the difference?

I don’t really know, of course. But I suggest that maybe ancient methods use stellar (nakshatra) based math because it is so much simpler and more direct to look up at night and make observations relative to the stars. It is much more abstract and complicated to make observations relative to the point the Sun occupied at the vernal equinox. Therefore only in modern times with the benefit of better formulas and tools does it become viable and practical.

The concept of “ayanamsha” – the difference between the sun’s position at the vernal equinox and a certain fixed star, roughly the same as precession of the equinoxes – is something very old, defined in the Surya Siddhanta. Since the old calculations were made in reference to the sidereal stars (nakshatra), Surya Siddhanta told us how to convert those calculations to positions relative to the sun’s position at the vernal equinox.

So the true, original use of ayanamsha is to convert sidereal calculations to tropical ones, which are then used for creating the chart. Only in relatively modern times, when we let go of the old calculation formulas of Surya Siddhanta and adopted (better) modern formulas did the ayanamsha become misapplied as a way of converting tropical calculations to sidereal – because modern calculations are done in reference to a tropical point – the vernal equinox.

Interestingly, the modern conception of precession of the equinoxes is significantly different from the Surya Siddhanta’s conception of it expressed via “ayanamsha.” The modern theory is that the vernal point CONTINUES to precess (move backwards) through the zodiac and will complete a full lap. The ancient Surya Siddhanta concept is that the vernal point differs from its sidereal references in an arc of +/- about 27 degrees or so, and cycles back and forth within that.

# How to Figure Out Nakshatra and Rashi Of A Planet

The way to calculate a planet’s nakshatra and rashi is different depending on if you use the ancient or modern formulas. Using the ancient formulas, your math is relative to a certain fixed star – a nakshatra. Using modern formulas, your math is relative to the position of the sun at the vernal equinox.

So if you are using ancient formulas, the initial math itself would give you the sidereal positions of planets (meaning the positions relative to the stars, the nakshatra). You would then need to utilize ayanamsha to get the tropical positions (relative to the vernal point, in the twelve rashis).

If you are using modern formulas, the initial math itself gives you the tropical position in the twelve rashis, so you would need to utilize ayanamsha to get the sidereal positions relative to the 27/28 stars (nakshatras).

Interestingly, you cannot cast a horoscope without tropical calculations – because you have to know the time of Sunrise on a given day in order to find out the ascendant (the focal point of the whole chart). Sunrise changes relative to the Suns position north or south of the equator – i.e. the Sun’s tropical position.

The ancient way to calculate the ascendant is to first calculate the Sun’s position relative to the stars / nakshtra. Then use ayanamsha to make it a tropical position. Then calculate (using other formulas) the time of Sunrise. And you then know that at that time the ascendant was identical to the tropical position of the Sun. After that you just adjust for the time of day you want the chart cast for, using a proportionate ratio.

Modern calculations are the same, except that since they start with tropical coordinates there is no need for ayanamsha, except if you want the sidereal equivalent of the ascendat, which might perhaps be useful for knowing the nakshatra related to the ascendant, for example.

# The Eclipse at the End of The World

Image via Wikipedia

OK, off the bat I am going to be super straightforward and let you all know that I have not studied “mundane” astrology to the extent that I would like to, and to the extent that I would really be qualified to provide you with very good analysis of things like eclipses, etc. “Mundane” astrology, by the way, means the astrology of things that don’t have “souls” – you know – astrology for political events, wars, etc. And, another “by the way” - the reason why I haven’t studied this branch of astrology much in comparison to what I have devoted to other branches of astrology is largely because it bothers me.

Why?

Take this eclipse, for example… no wait… stop. Is anyone going to stop to remember first of all that prior to this there have been dozens of announcements, articles, videos, and other blogger-breaking-news reports about the end of the world pertaining to “3 eclipses in a year”, or “Your Venus in my Uranus” or whatever and everything else? I mean really, please, lets not forget how many cans of powdered milk we stockpiled for “Y2K” and this and that.

So take this eclipse for example, it is sort of like, “Hallelujah, Jesus is gonna come.” OK, lovely. Guess what. He is about one thousand nine hundred and… eighty years late. But we still cheer him on. And even those of us without crucifixes around our necks find some way to channel that  indomitable human lack of realism. We may talk about galactic centers or Lord Shivas, or eclipses and stonehenges… but really we are all Jesus Freaks waiting for “the rapture” and just using different names for it.

OH wow, 2012. 12/21/2012…. look at all those TWELVES, right?

Wrong. The modern calendar is a complete farce and has no astrological merit whatsoever, no connection to nature. Any “numerological” assessment based on meaningless numbers (like our raw modern calendar dates not translated to sidereal time) is going to be as meaningless as the numbers it is based on. OK, but it is still fun because since the alignment of 1984 didnt work, and since Y2K didnt work, and while we are waiting to be disappointed about the aliens and huge asteroids that don’t come to destroy/reinvent/sweep us off our feet… hey, lets play with some numbers and eclipses.

OK, so there is an eclipse that coincides with the winter solstice. Yippie.

Folks… do you first of all realize that eclipses are regular events? They happen at least twice a year, every year, forever. You know that right? So every time some astrologer tries to get hits to his or her blog by talking about the impact of an eclipse, you realize the impact is nothing more or less, in all likelihood, than whatever it was you already forgot about happening 6 months ago when the last eclipse happened?

Now, if an eclipse is happening in conjunction with something in your individual birth chart, maybe that is a different story. I will concede that. But that is why I like to study and practice natal astrology. What we are talking about right now is mundane astrology and the effect of eclipses on world affairs.

Folks… do you ever ask any questions to your “teachers”? You really must. A student is not a student without asking intelligent questions.

When someone tells you that this winter solstice eclipse means yada yada yada… dont you at least want to know when the last one happened? Wouldn’t that be scientific and reasonable and, well, intelligent. Do you know that a winter solstice eclipse happened a few hundred years ago? And do you remember that the world did not end or radically change at that time, at least not in the way people are flowering on and on about what is going to happen…

Yo, seriously, how much can you mix and match flavors before you get a stomach ache? Mayan Calendars, Western astronomy, Vedic lunar mansions – and you like it when the whole thing is called “Vedic astrology”???? And people say “Vedic astrology says this eclipse is more important than 2012″…. please doesnt any one among you have a voice to protest and ask a question? For example, “What? There is a statement in the Veda about the end of the mayan calendar coinciding (we think) with 12/21/2012??? Please can you tell me the reference and perhaps give the Sanskrit?”

Seriously, all this stuff is crazy… you guys are even forgetting the vedas in your rush to welcome jesus, or the age of aquarius, or the planet niberuians or whatever it is the pyramids are supposed to represent this week. The Vedas (Vishnu Purana and all puranas) say that the current epoch of the world, KALI YUGA, lasts for 432,000 years of which only about 5,000 have passed! I know it is fun to hear people try to unify world cultures, but ladies and gentlemen, please hear my (apparently) one singular voice telling you that it is not “Vedic” to say that Kali Yuga ends with the end of the mayan calandar, nor that they Kali Yuga is finished – I don’t care what relatively modern “yogi” gave you the joy-ticket to believe otherwise.

K, back to this eclipse. So, guess what. It is an eclipse. That happens twice a year, at least. Once a year the Earth’s shadow falls on the moon, and once a year the Moon blocks the sunlight. Those are the two eclipses. Todays eclipse is the earths shadow falling on the moon.

Eclipses are big deals because the lights in the sky are going out. Remember when NYC had a blackout? That was pretty terrifying. That is what eclipses are. “Evil” forces are destroying the “power grid” and the light of the sun / moon (as the case may be) fails. It is serious business, to be sure. Symbolically it means that authority and order is being challenged.

It does not mean the end of the world.

Just so you all know, I do believe that the world is undergoing major changes. I do believe that we are witnessing the fall of America. I do believe that this eclipse, the mayan calendar, etc etc have to do with the ending of America’s prominence in the world. And I don’t believe anything catastrophic is about to happen.

Funny thing is this… maybe I am wrong. You know what, I don’t mind, because like I said, it isn’t really my focus of study or practice at least not right now. But you know what is odd? Maybe I should be like what seems like every other astrologer, and predict dire effects every dime a crow flies across the moon. You guys will forget about it when I am wrong, but when I finally get one right, I will become famous.

Nah!

Anyway,  sorry for venting. Hope you enjoyed and can relate to the Saturnian Capricornian realism in what I am saying here.

- Vic DiCara

www.vicdicara.com

# What the F*ck is a Descendant?

And why isn’t it as talked about as the ascendant is?

The a-s-s-endant is the a-s-s-endant. Of course it is more talked about then the d.cendant. Asses are fun.

Anyway, ascend means “rise.” Descend mean “fall” or “set”. The spot where the stars rise is the ascendant – its the eastern horizon. The spot where they fall / set is the descendant – its the western horizon. The eastern horizon is the focal point of the first house. The western horizon is the focal point of the seventh house.

Its not talked about as much because the ascendant represents the self, and is considered the anchor point determining everything else. Rightly so, because if the stars did not rise they would not set. So the ascendant is the anchor of the descendant. Anyway, being the point representing the rise of the physical self into the world, naturally the ascendant grabs all the attention – since all of us ego-creatures are mainly interested in our physical selves, no?

# Are Asteroids Important in Astrology?

There are two schools of astrology, basically. There is one which seeks to invent new methods, while the other seeks to preserve and improve ancient methods.

There is a very good reason why there are these two different schools, because there are two zodiacs. One is tropical and the other sidereal. The tropical zodiac is in constant flux, always changing. The sidereal zodiac is always the same, fixed and constant. Use of the tropical zodiac required (and thus inspired) invention of newer and newer methods and tools, because what works in one century might not work in the next – as the zodiac itself constantly shifts around the “north star.” Use of the sidereal zodiac is the mother of the other school of astrology – which can keep using the same, ancient techniques over and over again, perfecting and polishing them, hopefully.

Asteroids, and all sorts of similar things (including “outer planets” like Uranus, etc) are a product of the “new school” of astrology – the one that always seeks inventions. So perhaps asteriods might be of some use and import to astrologers of that school.

I am a pretty devoted member of the other school – the one that tries to perfect and polish what has stood the test of time. So for me, asteroids are meaningless in terms of how I derive meaning and value from observing the heavens.

# What in the chart makes one avoid reality?

At least in a sidereal system this mostly has to do with the 12th house and its lord. When the 12th house is highly occupied, or its lord is very influential in the chart, there is a distinct feeling that “reality” is unreal and not worth much attention.

# Whose more promiscuous: Cancers or Sagittarius?

This is really a counterproductive way to apply astrology. Promiscuity comes from the conditions of the 8th house/lord (for sexual energy), 12th house/lord (for desire to escape “reality” and enjoy doing so via orgasm), and the 5th house/lord (creative impetus) and the 7th house/lord (relationship nature).

I can have fun on Yahoo! Answers, and that’s great, but I will get nowhere with astrology in the meantime, until I start to approach astrology in this fashion and educate myself on it to the extent that the above paragraph makes simple, and clear sense.

Asking to diagnose promiscuity by a tropical sun sign is like asking a doctor to diagnose aids with a thermometer.

# Can you predict my sister’s partners name?

(They actually gave their birth details as well!)

Theoretically it could be done, as each 3º20′ (“navamsha”) of the sky has a specific sound/ letter – but it would require a quality of astrologer that you would not only not find on Yahoo! Answers you probably wouldn’t even find in the entire historical epoch of Kali Yuga (432,000 years surrounding the modern period).

# How to Interpret two planets aspecting one other planet

if have, for an example, Jupiter squaring Saturn at same time that Neptune opposes Saturn?

Answer difficult questions by making them more real and relating them to something you are familiar with and have good experience with. Planets are like people, so think of the whole question in that light.

Two planets aspecting one other planet = You having two friends who are both influencing you. Lets say you yourself are a very realistic, cautious private person (“Saturn”). Lets say one friend is very optimistic, hopeful, and generous (“Jupiter”) and another friend is very wild, daring, and odd-ball (“Rahu” or “Neptune”).

When you hang out with your “Jupiter” friend your natural pessimism and restrictive tendencies get influenced by her joviality and hopeful optimism. When you hang out with your “Rahu/Neptune” friend you start to try new things and sometimes get really outlandish in how pessimistic and critical you are.

Now just imagine hanging out with both of them at the same time!

Outlandish positivity regarding the hopeful effects of your criticisms, etc. etc. Just keep putting 2+2+2 together and always maintain a PRAYERFUL attitude towards the whole act of divination so that higher powers can guide your mind more easily into the right avenues of thought.

# What, astrologically, gives a person “presence”

The Sun has a very big “presence” – When the Sun aspects the ascendant and/or ascendant lord you can predict a commanding presence. I do have that, yeah. (Sun aspecting ascendant) The Sun is the lord of my 8th house, so that factors in to the type of presence I give off.

Other planets give their own type of presence, but not as strongly as the sun.

The next would be the Moon – gives a softer, gentler, more sweet presence.

Next powerful would be Jupiter – giving a trustworthy presence. (I have it! =) – Jupiter in mutual aspect with my ascendant lord)

Saturn, Rahu and Ketu (N/S Nodes) – give really UNUSUAL presence (Shoot, I have this too! Saturn aspects my ascendant.)

Mars gives “intimidating” or “commanding/demanding” presence. (I got that too, I have to admit – Mars aspecting my ascendant AND ascendant lord.)

etc.

Then there are also certain specific alignments (“yogas”) that give presence. King-alignments (“raja-yogas”) where lords of angles combine mutually with lords of trines (I have this going on in my 8th house). Or especially something called the “Mountain” alignment (“Parvata yoga”), which can happen when the 12th lord and 1st lord mutually aspect one another (I have that one too. Boy oh boy.).

# Is the 12th House Bad?

Personally I love the 12th house, it is the sky above the eastern horizon. The eastern horizon represents birth – the physical self. The sky above that horizon holds all the “elements” that “weather” and “erode” the land below it – the physical self, and the LIE / ILLUSION of material “realities.” I think it is a fantastic place, literally – one understands the reality of “fantasy” etc.

Here are two articles I have written about it:

SEX, DRUGS, and ENLIGHTENMENT: http://vicdicara.wordpress.com/2010/04/0…

WHERE EVERYTHING ENDS: http://vicdicara.wordpress.com/2010/04/2…

=)

- Vic DiCara (Vraja Kishor das)

www.vicdicara.com