What is a “Dasha” in Astrology?


An astrological birth chart will spell out (to those who know how to “read” astrological language) the promises which destiny makes you in your lifetime. But it is the dashas – the chronological planetary cycles or eras in your life – which will determine if and when fate will be able to fulfill those promises.

Literally, the Sanskrit word dasha means “The edge, hem or border.” We use this term in astrology to refer to the borders of the major eras in a person’s life.

The planets have a certain cadence and rhythm with which they come to the fore in the life of a human being. Knowing the schedule of these dasha cycles in your life allows you to map the effects in your birth chart to various periods and eras in your life.

These cycles do not follow the familiar solar zodiac, but instead take their cadence from the more mysterious lunar zodiac, divided into 3 groups of 9 signs. Each one of the 9 astrological planets “owns” one of the lunar mansions in each group. The order of the cycles is:

  • Ketu
  • Venus
  • Sun
  • Moon
  • Mars
  • Rahu
  • Jupiter
  • Saturn
  • Mercury

The First Cycle in your life always belongs to the planet who owns the lunar mansion occupied by the moon when you were born. So if the Moon was in a lunar mansion owned by Venus when you were born, the first dasha era in your life would belong to the Venus, followed by the Sun, then the Moon, Mars, etc.

Each cycle has a specific duration of time – thus defining the borders of eras in your life.

  • Ketu for 7 years
  • Venus for 20
  • Sun for 6
  • Moon, 10
  • Mars, 7
  • Rahu, 18
  • Jupiter, 16
  • Saturn, 19
  • Mercury, 17 years

The distance that the Moon had traveled into the mansion she occupied when you were born equates to the amount of your first life cycle that will have already elapsed before you were born. So if you were born when the moon was halfway through a mansion owned by Venus, you would have half of her normal cycle left (which would be 10 years) before you moved on to the Sun cycle, etc.

All the promises indicated in your birth chart can only be fulfilled under the right conditions – when the time is right. The dasha cycles will reveal to an astrologer who knows how to interpret them, in connection with the ongoing planetary movements called transits – exactly when and if those right times will happen.

– Vic DiCara