This is a continuation from a previous post: Variations in a Single Sign. I’ll start by summarizing that previous article.
There are 12 signs in the sky (Aries, Taurus, Gemini, etc.) because the moon cycles from one full moon to the next 12 times during the course of one solar year. The complete year has roughly 360 days, so each month originally had a 12th of that many: 30 days. Therefore there are 360º in the entire zodiac, and each sign has a 30º slice of that zodiac.
The next most important division of the sky is into 27 signs, each one covering the amount of space that the Moon traverses in the course of a single day: 12 1/3º. These 27 signs are called Lunar Mansions, or Nakshatra. They overlay the 12 solar signs in an important pattern building blending-bridges between signs but creating dramatic chasms between every water and fire sign. These fire-water chasms split the zodiac into 3 supersections. Each lunar mansion has it’s own characteristics. Thus being in one lunar mansion in a sign is very different than being in another lunar mansion in the same sign.
The solar signs and lunar mansions are united by the harmonic thread of the navamsha – a division of each sign into 9 harmonic slices, which correlates to each lunar mansion being divided into 4 slices – and reinforces the depth of the 3 zodiacal chasms, since these navamsha slices always end with the final sign, Pisces on the water side of the chasm, and begin with Aries on the fire side of the chasm. Each slice is 3 1/3º in length. Even being in the same lunar mansion in a sign, it will be quite a different place depending on which navamasha slice one finds oneself in, within that lunar mansion – because the characteristics of the sign of that navamsha slice will affect those 3 1/3º of the sign in an underlying manner.
In this way we can see that the signs themselves are just rough estimations of the zodiac effect on a planet. A finer estimation, about twice as detailed, comes from also considering the lunar mansion. And a still finer estimation, about 4 times more detailed than the lunar mansion, comes by also considering the navamsha – which changes every 3 and 1/3º.
Still More Detail
There is a lot more detail beyond even this! But before going there let me first explain what I consider to be the next most practically important consideration after the Sign, Lunar Mansion, and Navamsha: the “age” of the planet.
Avastha – Age of the Planet
Depending on it’s position in a sign, a planet will feel itself to be either
- Near death
As you might deduce, since a sign has 30º and there are 5 different ages within a sign, each age spans 6º. A planet in first 6º of Aries (for example) feels itself to be newly born. In the second 6º, feels itself to be youthful, etc.
It’s almost that simple except there is a gradual rise and fall of the age experience of a planet. In other words, lets say the Sun goes into the final 6º of Aries (24º – 30º), feels himself drained of energy, and feels dead. Now what happens when he passes 30º of Aries and suddenly enters 0º of the next sign, Taurus. Does he suddenly feel like a newborn? No. He still feels drained and dead, but starts to recover and gradually becomes more youthful, until he gets to the final 6º of Taurus where he feels once again newborn.
So, remember that all the odd numbered signs are male, and all the even numbered signs are female (Aries is 1, Taurus is 2, etc.). In any male sign, the 1st section of 6º makes planets feel like they are newborns. And in each section of 6º thereafter, the planet feels older and older. In any female sign, the 1st section of 6º makes planets feel like they are dead, but in each section thereafter they feel younger and younger.
I’ve represented this on the graphic above by showing various shades of grey along the outer compass layer of the wheel. The lightest gray is the newborn section of the sign, progressing to the darkest section which is the dead section.
Now, here is how the various ages affect the planets:
- A planet in a newborn degree of the sign indicates an area in life in which a person can and likely will make significant progress and improvement and growth, but their starting point in that area is relatively week and vulnerable and naive.
- A planet who is youthful has lots of energy and enthusiasm, but still lacks some experience. In general though, this is a strong degree placement and let’s the planet be a more positive contributing factor in the person’s life
- A planet who is adult is at her very best. She still has strength and energy similar to youth, but now has experience and wisdom similar to being old. So planets in these degrees grant the person a lot of power and strength in life.
- A planet who is elderly has wisdom, but not health. These planets can be sources of wisdom, but tend to cause health problems and need help from other factors in the chart to be highly effective for the person.
- A planet who is near death is almost unable to do anything for the person. It presents challenges to a person’s life, and will be involved in actually bringing about the death of the person.
You should note the basic principle is that the closer a planet is towards approaching the middle of it’s adulthood (i.e. the middle of the sign) the better off the planet is. While the further the planet has progressed past the middle of it’s adulthood, the worse of it it. These effects can be referenced by an astrologer in the course of developing his or her basic interpretations of the planets in a person’s chart, and they are particularly important when ascertaining the effects that a planet will cause during it’s dasha (chronological cycle).
Now, if you ask me, that is fantastically useful info! =)
More Harmonic Divisions
We already mentioned one of the many harmonic divisions, the 9th division or navamsha. That division deserves special mention because it is by far the most significant. But there are many other divisions of a sign which I will describe now.
2 Parts – Hora
If you split each of the 12 signs into two parts you wind up with 24 parts. 24 Horas. That’s why we have “24 hours” in a day.
The first half of male signs belongs to the Sun, while the first half of female signs belongs to the Moon. You can see this mapped out in the graphic at left.
This division is not very clearly understood by many who work with Vedic astrology, but in Phaladeepika the author, Mantreshwara, gives a clear guid how to use it.
- Malefics (see: What the Planets Represent in Astrology) produce the most desirable results when they are in the Sun’s half of male signs (not just the Sun’s half of any sign). In this case they will make a person hard to defeat, and therefore strong and wealthy.
- Benefics should be in the Moon’s half of female signs to produce their best possible results. They would them promote humility, grace, and fortune in the individual.
- Other combinations do not produce particularly noteworthy results.
You should combine this, of course, with everything else you’ve learned about the divisions of a sign. For example, you know that towards the middle of a sign is where a planet is youthful and strong. So for malefics in the first hora/half of a male sign, if they are towards the end of that half, near the middle of the sign, they will be exceedingly powerful. But if they are in the early portion of that half in a newborn condition, they will require some nurturing. Etc.
3 Parts – Drekkan
Next, divide each sign into 3 sections. Each would be 10º in length. The sign of each division starts with the sign it is a division of. The next division is the 5th sign from it, and the final division is the 9th sign from it. So for example, in Aries, the first drekkan is Aries, the middle drekkan is Leo, and the final drekkan is Sagittarius.
You can note that each sign in a drekkan is the same element as the sign it is a division of. This division of a sign is particularly relevant to the Ascendant. In a future post I will mention more about the effects of the various drekkanas on the Ascendant.
5 Parts – Trimsha
This is a fascinating division of the sign into 5 unequal parts. It goes hand in hand with the hora division in the sense that only the Sun and Moon rule the hora, and in the Trimsha only the other 5 planets, not the sun and moon, rule. If you click to enlarge the graphic at right and contemplate the trimshamsa ring on the wheel you will perhaps notice that a male sign is divided only into other male signs, while female signs are divided only into female signs. The order of the rulers of the signs is Mars, Saturn, Jupiter, Mercury, Venus. But in female signs the order goes in reverse. So the males signs of these planets manifest in the divisions within the males signs, and visa versa. Look at the graphic enlarged and it may make more sense!
These divisions are usually taken out of context of the larger wheel and drawn as their own individual charts. In that context, the Trimshamsha divisions represent the misfortunes a person faces. Perhaps that is why it is the only crooked and uneven division system?
In the larger context, the Trimshamsha is relevant primarily to differentiating the degrees within a single sign, as will all the others. To explain how to utilize this info is my main intention for describing all these divisions, but will have to wait to be described in a soon forthcoming article!
There are a few more divisions of the horoscope that also mainly contribute to dividing a sign into different areas. After the trimshamsa there is the 7-part divisional (saptamsha). This splits every sign into 7 subsigns. In male signs, the subsigns start with the sign itself, in female signs they start with the opposite sign. See the graphic (enlarged) to make more sense of this description.
Then there is the dashamsha which is relatively weak as a divisional on it’s own, but which contributes like all the others to a planet’s experience of the exact degree it occupies in a sign. This is the 10-part division. In male signs, the subsigns of these divisions start with the sign itself. In female signs they start with the 9th sign from it. Again, see the illustration.
Then there is the 12-part divisional (dvadashamsha). In each sign the subsigns for each of these slices start with the sign itself.
There are two more important divisional slices of a sign that become to small to easily illustrate. These are the 16-part division (1º16’52” each division) and the 60-part division (half a degree for each slice!!!).
Astrologers use these divisions of a sign in different groups or packages.
- Using all 10 (1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 9, 10, 12, 16, and 60 part divisions) is called the 10-part package (dasha-varga). This 10-part package is extremely important for calculating exactly how a planet feels in a given birth chart, which I will explain in my next article.
- When reading the divisional slices as separate sub-charts unto themselves we commonly use 6 of them (the 1,2,3,5,9, and 12 slice divisionals). This is called the 6-part package, shada-varga.
- Sometimes the 7th divisional chart is also included, in which case the package is called 7-part, sapta-varga
When you look at the graphic I created be aware that
- The innermost ring is the 1-divisional = the 12 signs themselves.
- Outside that is the 2-divisional = the hora
- Outside that is the 3-divisional = the drekkan
- Outside that is the 5-divisional = the trimsha-amsha
- Outside that is the 7-divisional = the sapta-amsha
- Outside that is the 10-divisional = the dasha-amsha
- Outside that is the 12-divisional = the dvadasha – amsha
- Outside that are the lunar mansions
- Outside that is the 9-divisional, the most important one besides the main sign = the nava-amsha
- Outside that, outtermost, are the 360 degrees of the zodiac, grayscale coded for the various ages of the sign.
Look for my next article to really put all this information to fantastic use!!!!