Symbolism of Mars

The core of Mars’ symbolism is energy. Energy is connected with heat. The psychological form of energy especially is passion and ambition.

We fulfill our ambitions in two ways: cooperatively or independently. When our endeavors are cooperative, they come into the symbolic domain of Venus, but when we must stand alone and strive to realize our ambitions, we are in the domain of Mars. Thus Mars represents independence and individuality. If Mars is in negative conditions in a horoscope, this independent self-reliance may seem like selfishness and individuality may seem not uncooperativeness.

As we strive to realize our ambitions, we often will have to compete with others striving for the same resources. Thus Mars is a symbol of competition.

To win, we must have strength. Mars symbolizes all sorts of competitive strength. Emotional strength is willpower, courage, and self-discipline. Physical strength is muscle and weaponry. Interpersonal strength is the enforcement of discipline, exemplified by entities like the military and police.

Because Mars represents competition, it also represents fighting, violence, war, and anger.

– Excerpt from an early draft of
Symbolic Keys of Astrology

By Vic  DiCara

Homosexual Heavens

I recently made a Facebook post with positive regard for America’s legalization of same-sex marriage. In the ensuing conversation someone stated that there is no such thing as homosexual marriage in Vedic culture. You can follow the link above to read the whole deal if you want, let’s not rehash it here. Let’s go straight to the point: homosexuality and non-heterosexual marriage in Vedic astrological lore.

Phaladīpika organizes the nine planets by gender, and describes them. Three genders are included in this organization. This is standard. The Vedic paradigm very frequently considers three (not two) genders.

Three of the nine planets are male – Sun is the mature male, Mars is the young male, and Jupiter is the tempered male. Three are female – Moon is the mature female, Venus the young female, and Rahu the untempered / wild female. Three are third-gender. Let’s talk about these.

The three third-gender planets are Ketu, Saturn, and Mercury.

Ketu is simply sexless – not simply in gender, but in sexual orientation. Ketu is asexual. (Therefore Ketu closely joining a romantic planet like Venus or the 5th lord in a horoscope indicates celibacy and decreased sexual activity, which can also be unusual in other ways, including gender-blurring or degendering).

Saturn is “a female who behaves as a male.” Mercury is “a male who behaves as a female.” Both of them, thus are not heterosexual. Saturn and Mercury influencing the romantic indicators indicates non heterosexual inclinations (perhaps not outright homosexual behavior unless there are several instances of these connections).

Of course, Saturn and Mercury are also gods – named Śani and Budha in Sanskrit – so they have lots of advantages human homosexuals don’t have. Specifically, their physical structure is much more malleable and cooperative to their will. Saturn, being “lesbian” marries a woman, Saṅgyā, and when required exhibits male sexual organs for intercourse. As is typical of women, however, Śani has low libido, and this caused “him” to inadvertently insult Saṅgyā on one potentially romantic occasion – and thereby got cursed by her not to be able to look directly at people.

Mercury married another third-gendered god, Īlaī. The two take turns being “husband” or “wife.” For six months of the year Mercury is male and Īlaī female, for the other six month Mercury is female and Īlaī is male.

So, there’s your example of homosexual marriage in the Vedas and amonst the vibudha devas (enlightened gods).

Oṁ tat sat.

– Vic DiCara

The Astrological Significance of Venus

The core symbolism of Venus is that she represents the senses. As an immediate result, she represents beauty, because beauty is what the senses seek to find.

By representing beauty, Venus represents all things that are beautiful, especially young women, flowers, fashion & cosmetics, and the arts like music, dance, painting, and poetry. 

But the most beautiful of all things is love.

Love has many facets in various relationships: Amongst competitors love manifests as peace. Among peers, love manifests as cooperation. And certainly love manifests most powerfully as romance, which blends with cooperation to become marriage.

Venus also has another branch of symbolic meaning. Since she represents the senses, she symbolizes the physical body, an organized unit of 5 input senses (vision, hearing, tasting, smelling, and touching) and 5 output senses (speech, grasping, mobility, reproduction, and evacuation). Venus therefore has a lot to say about physical health, especially about the vitality and sensual acuity in our body.

– Excerpt from an early draft of
Symbolic Keys of Astrology

By Vic  DiCara

The Shortfalls of Astrological Compatibility

Recently someone sent me some doubts about the accuracy of Vedic astrological compatibility methods. Here is the essence of what he said:

Vedic astrologers usually use the asta kuta system for determining the compatibility of two people, however my experience is that it does not give us the full picture. I know divorced couples with compatibility scores above 70%, and other couples who live together nicely with compatibility scores below 50%. Because of this I feel that asta kuta is not up to the expectations.

The biggest shortcoming of compatibility assessments is that people apply them beyond their intended limit. The compatibility between people primarily shows how “sticky” they are with one another. It can be interpreted to tell us why the partners are more or less “sticky” to one another – but it doesn’t really tell us much about what’s going to happen while the two people are stuck together.

Joe and Jane may be perfectly awful for one another – yet may get a high compatibility score in an astrological assessment. That high compatibility score simply indicates that they will remain stuck to one another for a long time, despite it causing a lot of hell and suffering.

In my own compatibility assessments I combine the Indian nakṣatra-moon system (“aṣṭa-” or “dāśa-kūṭa”) with a contemporary system based on the aspectual relationships between the couple’s ascendants, moons, suns, and Venuses. But still, the main information that comes from either of these approaches primarily evaluates the couples “stickiness.” It doesn’t directly reveal much about the goodness or badness of being stuck or unstuck.

To have a complete picture of the nature of a marriage (as far as fate will make possible) we have to first examine each partner’s horoscope individually. What type of person is he? What type of person is she? What does his chart say about his marriage? Does she fit that description? Does he fit the description of marriage in her chart? If the individuals have a lot of negative indications related to marriage, then all the compatibility in the world is not going to make it a good marriage, it’s just going to make it a lasting marriage (which, if it’s bad enough, can actually be an undesirable thing!).

Ideal marriages come about when the partners are “sticky” with one another (in other words, when it is easy for them to need one another and benefit from one another and cooperate with one another), and when both of them have the destiny to have a positive marriage, and when both of them “fit the bill” indicated by their charts’ descriptions of the marriage experience and spouse.

This person also said:

I know that Vedic science is perfect so all I can think is that we are not using it properly.

Personal astrology is not really a “Vedic science.” Calendric and ceremonial astrology is a legitimate aṅga of the Veda, but personal astrology, including inter-personal compatibility, is a rather recent development in India, catalyzed by her ongoing relations with Persians (yāvana). Noting this fact doesn’t make me popular with “Vedic astrologers” who attract clients by giving off the vibe that doing astrology makes them some type of yogi, vedic seer, etc. Nonetheless this is the truth as far as I can see it.

Even if personal astrology is occasionally mentioned quite indirectly in the later Vedic texts, like purāṇas – no detailed account of how to practice it is given except in quite recent works. The fact that a book was written in India in Sanskrit does not qualify it as Vedic, I’m sorry.

Don’t get me wrong, the personal astrology of India is an amazing art and science more well developed and preserved than even its Persian inspirations. But it should not be puffed up and advertised as a “perfect Vedic science.” Only a dubious mind manipulator would do that.

The person also wrote:

Devotees intending to marry in the Hungarian Yatra are advised based on the asta kuta, but I do not think it gives a full picture about a relationship.

In Vedic culture marriage was not arranged in a manner at all similar to how contemporary so-called implementations of Vedic culture do it. Throughout the most important Purāṇa and Veda, the Bhāgavata, I have not found a single reference to a marriage arranged by astrology, and the vast majority of marriages are arranged according to the preferences of the bride. Please see this article “Vedic Marriage” for more discussion on this topic.

– Vic DiCara

Why are Daśā based on the Moon, not the Ascendant

Question: If the Ascendant is more important than the Moon or the Sun in a horoscope, then why does Dasha begin with the planetary lord of the nakshatra the Moon is placed in? Why not the planetary lord of the nakshatra the Ascendant is placed in?

The president is more important than the joint-chief-of-staff but this doesn’t mean that the join-chief will have no duties and the president will do everything. Similarly the ascendant is more important than the Moon, but this doesn’t mean the Moon has no importance and no role to play.

Of all the planets, Moon is most related to rhythm and timing – she shows the most granularity of rhythm by changing her position, size, etc. dramatically day by day. Daśā’s are about the rhythm and timing of the horoscope’s effects, therefore the Moon’s nakṣatra (constellation) determines the daśā schedule.

Another reason is specific to the daśā systems that are sidereal (nakṣatra based). Most of the daśā systems are, and the most widely used viṁśottarī daśā is. The reason is that nakṣatras are stars, and stars come out at night, and thus relate primarily to the Moon. The Moon is the most important astrological factor in relation to the 27 sidereal constellations (nakṣatra). The ascendant is a tropical factor (the position of the eastern horizon), not a stellar factor, therefore it would be less appropriate to use it for determining an inherently sidereal calculation.

Vic DiCara

Q&A about Nakṣatra (Fixed Stars) and Rāśī (Zodiac Signs)

Question: If the western chart/tropical shifts the zodiac back a bit do the naksatras also not change in terms of the zodiac sign they are in?

[Actually the sideareal zodiac shifts backwards about 23º from the topical anchors by applying ayanāṁśa.]

The nakṣatras are stars, not signs. We apply ayanāṁśa to the tropical anchors to locate the positions of the fixed stars, nakṣatras. The two, stars and signs, are not identical, the stars shift position gradually against the tropical anchors.

Question: So, for example if I am aries rising and cancer moon in my western (which I think I am) then am i still punarvasu nakṣatra?

No. Let’s say your Moon is at 1º Cancer, tropical. It would be a mistake to consider this as Punarvasu Nakṣatra. It was roughly 2,000 years ago that 1º Cancer corresponded to Punarvasu Nakṣatra. Since then the stars have drifted from the tropical anchor points (solstice, equinox) quite a bit. Today, the tropical position 1º Cancer corresponds to the tail end of Mṛgaśirśa Nakṣatra.

Literally, Punarvasu are the two stars that form the heads of the constealltion known in the modern west as Gemini, the stars are named Castor and Pollux in the West.

The problem is a confusion in where ayanaṁśa should be applied. It should be applied to the stars (nakṣatra), not to the twelve ecliptic divisions based on the equinoxes and solstices (the “signs” / rāśī). This is very confusing for people with contempoary “traditional” education in Indian astrology, where it sounds like a very new and radical idea. However, this is the verdict of Sūrya Siddhānta and similar texts. See: Posts on Tropical / Sidereal Issues

Question: Is punarvasu not ruled by Cancer’s Moon now?

Punarvasu was never “ruled” by any planet. This is a wrong idea contempoary astrologers have come up with over the past few centuries. Punarvasu and all the Nakṣatras are ruled by devas (gods). Punarvasu specifically is ruled by Goddess Aditi.

Question Would this change the naksatra compatibility?

No, Nakṣatra compatibility calculations are done relative to other nakṣatra. Rāśī compatibility calculations are done relative to other rāśī. There is not overlap.

Vic DiCara

Venus, Libra, and the Quality of Justice…

Venus is about love, and love has a certain quality of not caring for external distinctions. We might fall in love with a rich person, or we might fall in love with a pauper. Nontheless, The quality of Justice isn’t really a part of Venus’ main symbolic profile, expect in her zodiac property: Libra.

Libra is the 7th sign, so it represents the west (7th house/zone of the sky). The west is where the sun sets, and similarly Libra is where the Sun is debilitated. The Sun represents government, authority and hierarchy. These qualities “set” (they step down and move aside) in Libra. So Libra has the quality of “justice.” Being Venus’ sign, Libra has love, and being the debilitation of the sun, Libra is the place where love goes to everyone equally. Authorities, bosses, kings, hierarchies, are lowered and set aside, and we treat each person fairly as an individual.

The symbol for libra, ♎ is an image of the Sun setting on the western horizon. Some interpret the symbol as a balance, or scale, symbolizing justice.

It’s also important to note that Saturn exalts in Libra, and Saturn represents the common blue-color worker. This reinforces the basic idea that in Libra love does not care for royalty and hierarchy (Sun), but goes out to everyone equally, thus benefitting the commoners (Saturn).

The cardinal mode of Libra is also interesting – because it gives a progressive, and liberal feeling to the zodiac sign. (“Cardinal mode” means turning our attention towards a new direction). This resonates with the theme of justice by making Libra willing to defy and even rebel against unfairness entrenched in tradition.

So, its actually Libra which represents justice. Venus represents love, which becomes justice and equality when it cultivates the 7th zodiac region to create Libra.