One of the most useful tools of Vedic astrology is the chronological cycles of the planets. 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 cycles in your life allows you to map the effects in your birth chart to various periods and eras in your life.
Calculating Your Cycles
The planet’s chronological cycles are tied to not to the solar zodiac but to the lunar mansions. Each mansion belongs to a specific planet, and this determines the cyclic order.
Ketu owns the first mansion in the zodiac, Venus the next, then the Sun, the Moon, Mars, Rahu, Jupiter, Saturn and finally Mercury. As you can see these 9 lunar mansions coincide exactly with 4 solar zodiac signs. They split the zodiac into three distinct sections, and take up exactly 120º of space. As a result the total duration of all the cycles together is 120 years. Each planet gets a different percentage of that span as the duration of it’s cycle.
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 let’s say the Moon was in the mansion of Rohini when you were born. Rohini is the 4th Mansion, so she belongs to the fourth planet in the cyclic order, not Ketu, not Venus, not the Sun, but the Moon. As a result the first cycle in your life would belong to the Moon.
The rest of your life-cycles would follow in their natural order. So after the Moon would come Mars, then Rahu, Jupiter, Saturn, Mercury, Ketu, and if you lived long enough, Venus and the Sun.
Exact Cycle Timing
This sets up only 9 different lifecycle patterns for all of humanity, which would clearly be an oversimplification of the reality of our individuality. The system, however, goes into more detail than that, and thereby accounts for the nearly infinite variability in human life-patterns.
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.
I’ll clarify using an example. The Moon’s cycle lasts for 10 years. Let’s say we have three people all born with their Moon in the mansion of Rohini. If one person was born just as the Moon entered the mansion, she would have the entire 10 years of the cycle still left when she was born. If the second person was born with the Moon halfway through the mansion, he would have about 5 years of the Moon’s cycle left when he was born, about half of the total 10. If the third person was born with the Moon near the end of the mansion, she would have very little of the Moon’s cycle left when she was born, and would very soon transition to the next cycle, which would be Mars.
Cycle Duration & The Sub-Cycles
The durations of the planetary cycles are all rather long.
- Ketu – 7
- Venus – 20
- Sun – 6
- Moon – 10
- Mars – 7
- Rahu – 18
- Jupiter – 16
- Saturn – 19
- Mercury – 17
But within each cycle there are smaller subcycles, and within those subcycles there are still smaller cycles. Each following the same pattern as the main cycles, and retaining the same chronological proportions.
Illustrating the Impact of the Cycles by the Biography of Krishna
I have given a lot of attention to researching Krishna’s life and his astrology for quite some time now. It is well known and documented that the Moon was in the mansion of Rohini, in the sign of Taurus, when he was born. But I have done work to narrow down the exact placement.
In my opinion the Moon was very close to 18º Taurus when Krishna was born. I arrive at this conclusion mainly by knowing the details of his life story, and then “reverse engineering” or “rectifying” the position of the Moon to match those events and his character. Let’s discuss those events and how the planetary cycles portray them.
Birth in Moon-Mercury-Ketu
Krishna was born under extreme secrecy and smuggled away from his natural parents to grow up in hiding with a foster family. With the Moon at 18º of Taurus Krishna was born into Ketu’s subcycle of Mercury’s portion of the Moon’s cycle.
As a result of the extremely benefic exalted Moon and exalted Mercury, Krishna (or his father) was able to make a nearly impossible escape from house arrest and thus avoid being murdered by the king. This escape was accomplished by sorcery, indicated by Ketu.
The extreme secrecy of the event is vividly portrayed by the combined effect of The Moon, Mercury and Ketu: These three planets together produce fantastic talents to trick, deceive, hide, lie, etc. Thus under the shroud of sorcery and trickery and darkness Krishna’s father was able to escape and carry the child to safety.
The fact that Krishna suffered such an extreme upheaval in early life is hinted at by the presence of Ketu in the first house with the Moon, but Ketu’s activation here in the planetary cycles makes the event as extreme as it was. There is also a partial kemadruma yoga in Krishna’s chart, which is a devastating astrological alignment centered on the Moon, the textbook description of which is to cause “even one born in a royal family to lose everything.”
The extreme benevolence of the Moon and Mercury (as well as the partial cancellation of the terrible kemadruma) turned even this upheaval into a great fortune. Krishna found unbounded love from his adoptive parents in a beautiful forest setting called Gokula, where he lived for 3 years and 4 months.
Move to Vrindaban
At that point Venus’s portion of the Moon’s cycle arrived. Being that she is in the 6th House of Krishna’s chart – the house of enemies. Krishna’s family decided that too many calamities and enemies were attacking Krishna in Gokula so they set out to move.
Try tried living in a place called Chatikar for several months, but it was not until the Sun’s portion of the Moon’s cycle that they found an ideal new home in lush Vrindaban. This blessing came because the Sun occupies and rules Krishna’s fourth house.
Boyhood in Early Mars Cycle
Very soon upon arriving in their new home in Vrindaban, the Moon cycle ended and Krishna’s Mars cycle began. Mars rules Krishna’s 7th House and is exalted in the 9th. The influence of the fortunate 9th house during this period of his life is why Vrindaban is the most famous of all the places Krishna stayed – thought by many to be the one and only home of Krishna. But it is the influence of the 7th house which is most interesting. When Krishna arrived in Vrndaban he ended what is known as his “bala-lila” and began his “paugunda-lila” – he began to venutre out of the house for long periods of time, playing with friends all day long. This is the influence of the 7th house on a prepubescent child: as the Mars cycle started, he began really expanding his relationships beyond the circle of his immediate family.
You might have noticed that Krishna is still only about 4 years old right now. But persons who are very elevated mature and develop mentally and physically more quickly than normal. Krishna’s rate of maturing has been described ((citation at bottom)) as being twice that of a normal child. Therefore at the age of 4 he appeared and behaved as an 8 year old.
Puberty (Mars-Rahu and Jupiter)
On the subject of maturity, it follows that if Krishna developed twice as fast as normal, he would hit “puberty” around the chronological age of six! In fact this is exactly what his biographies describe, and his horoscope attests to it as well.
Being in the cycle of the 7th House Lord, he would have at about 4 years old gone into Rahu’s portion of that cycle, a planet causing transformation and occupying his 7th house. And would have hit about 5 years old, chronologically speaking – not physiologically – when the next planet, Jupiter came to the fore. Jupiter is the planet empowering the reproductive chakra and aspects Rahu in Krishna’s 7th House. These two planets created a fantastic puberty transition for Krishna, so towards the end of living in Vrndaban Krishna started to become very interested in girls and sexually active.
The Supreme Romantic Paramour! (Mars-Saturn)
Next came Saturn’s portion of the Mars dasha. Both exalted malefics in Krishna’s chart. The first time Krishna changed residences it was due to the influence of a 6th House planet – in the Moon/Venus period Krishna’s parents felt that too many enemies were troubling Krishna so they moved. Now again a 6th House planet became active – Saturn, and again Krishna moved, and for the same reasons.
This time Krishna’s family wound up on the hilltop of the town now known as Nandagaon, in close proximity to the true love of Krishna’s heart: Radharani. Krishna enjoyed a life of romantic adventures and deep delights focusing on Sri Radha for the remaining duration of his 7th House Lord’s cycle.
If you thought it was rather revolutionary that Godhead is really an attractive artist, brace yourself for the next thing this chart will reveal. What we have here is a chart that really does put even Don Juan himself to shame.
It does really make theological sense, though, that the Supreme Being should in face be the supreme lover and paramour – and that in the supreme being the supreme love affairs should await to be discovered. Many theologians have put forward this idea, and the followers of Krishna have developed it into a very elaborate psycho-emotional science and art.
The 7th House is the main focal point for romance and relationships – because it lies due West in the sky: opposite from the point which represents the native whose birth is depicted in the chart, the 1st House in the East.
Rahu is rather obvious in the 7th House of this chart. One of Rahu’s effects is the defiance social conventions. In the accounts of Krishna’s life we find his entire youth being spent playing games with social conventions and defying social norms, especially those pertaining to 7th House issues: like romance and marriage. This illustrates the esoteric truth that divine emotion and pure love surpasses and transcends all need for religious or social regulation.
Another characteristic effect of Rahu is to amplify and multiply whatever it contacts. Here in the 7th house of this chart Rahu multiplies the number of wives and consorts Krishna would enjoy bliss with. In fact he is said to have had 108 girlfriends as a youth, and 16,108 queens as an adult. These numbers are fictitious in one sense, because, being godhead the true number of paramours and wives which should be possessed by the holder of this chart would be innumerable and infinite.
Jupiter also aspects Rahu in the 7th House. Jupiter’s effect is always expansive and enlarging. The combination of Jupiter and Rahu in this 7th House create the type of unparalleled expansion of romantic partners that Krishna is reported to have enjoyed.
Those from a Western astrological background often neglect the importance of house lords when looking at charts in sidereal or vedic formats. But Vedic astrology relies quite fundamentally on interpretation of lordships. The 7th Lord in this chart is Mars, who is exalted in the house of Morality. The 9th House. This is why the love life of Krishna is really a show-stopping mystery to those who can’t devote themselves to the spiritual effort required to truly understand it. The simultaneous predominance of martial morality with the seemingly playboy multiplicity of his socially abnormal affairs just strikes the rational mind as a juxtaposition to cavernous to bridge. Nevertheless the 7th House of the chart we hold in our hands tells us the same thing that mystics and theologians try to tell us about Krishna: his romantic escapades are in fact the pinnacle of morality.
The combined influence of Jupiter, Rahu and the exalted house lord in this chart indicate a person who will attain a spouse of unparalleled excellence – as well as an unparalleled number of romantic partners. This certainly came to pass for Krishna.
Sudden, Dramatic Change (Rahu)
Then, all of the sudden everything changed. Rahu – the agent of upheaval and sudden changes – began his cycle, and Krishna suddenly found himself summoned to the King in the city of Mathura, who straightaway tried to kill Krishna, but was instead killed by him in a public sports area at a wrestling match!
Krishna then reunited with his birth parents after not having seen them once for 10 straight years, and never again returned to his family and friends in the country. (Rahu gives things suddenly, while simultaneously taking other things away. The key words with Rahu are sudden and unexpected) He was made the king of the region (Rahu has more power to grant fame than any other planet) and became a rather completely different person than what he had formerly been (again, Rahu creating sudden and radical changes and transformations). Gone was the artistic, fun loving, romantically absorbed gallant, a mature and responsible adult suddenly emerged.
Krishna remained the King in Mathura for exactly as long as Rahu remained the lord of his cycle. Thus 18 years later, at the age of 28 Krishna moved far away – seeking to draw his enemies further from areas which would harass his friends and family.
Enjoyment of Opulence (Jupiter)
Thus, as an 11th House Jupiter came into his cycle, Krishna also expanded his social influence by building his own city from scratch off the west coast of India: Dwaraka. Here Krishna enjoyed extreme opulence and beneficence under the auspices of this self-ruled 11th House Jupiter.
During Jupiter’s period, Krishna was officially married… first to Rukmini. Then to 7 others. And then as a result of a dramatic rescue, to 16,100 other women. This occurs at this time and to this extent due to the beneficence of Jupiter, and his aspect on Rahu – the amplifier in Krishna’s 7th House of Marriage.
During the cycle of his exalted 6th House Saturn, Krishna because the great negotiator and litigator. His role as a great diplomat and negotiator continued through his Mercury cycle (Mercury is well known as the diplomat due to his excellent communication skills and impartiality). During this period of his life, Krishna was constantly engineering diplomacies between the feuding factions of his royal cousins, in an attempt to avoid what would become famous and the enormous Kurukshetra War.
During Ketu’s short cycle, negotiations broke down and war became certain.
Bhagavad-Gita & Kurukshetra War
It was at the very onset of the Venus cycle that Krishna attained his most widespread fame – as a result of speaking the Bhagavad Gita – one of the most important and widely read books in human history. This fame results because Venus rules Krishna’s 1st House and is in an unparalleled Raja-Yoga (alignment for outstanding power and fame).
But as Venus also occupied Krishna’s 6th House (enemies) and conjoined Saturn (grief) Krishna had to deal impartially with the fratricidal war he worked for so long to avoid.
After this, Krishna retired to his home city. Throughout his Sun and Moon cycles he remained secluded, private and rather domestic. This is due to the Sun being the lord of the 4th House (the domestic, private, home) residing also in that 4th House. And this continued with a more spiritual and detached flavor during the Moon’s cycle, due to the Moons conjunction with Ketu.
Krishna died at the age of 126, without signs of aging and on the pretext of an arrow in his foot, under influence of Mars – Saturn. Mars, being the lord of the 7th House and 12th House is often connected to death for Taurus ascendants. Saturn is naturally the planet of death, and the two of them aspect the 12th house together, and also aspect the 3rd house, which – since it is “The 8th house’s 8th House” is the ultimate source of the will to live.
Simply speaking, having finished his purpose for incarnating on Earth. Krishna lost the will to live and remain here (as a result of Mars and Saturn activating the 3rd House of willpower). Here therefore retired to the forest and spoke a final philosophical treatise to his student and confidant, Uddhava (as a result of Mars and Saturn activating the 12th house of renunciation and philosophy). Thereafter he was mistaken for an animal, and shot by the arrow of a hunter (connection of Saturn to the 6th House), and on that pretext ended his life.
Esoterically speaking, Krishna’s decision to end his life during his Mars-Saturn cycle indicates that the truest, deepest reason for his manifestation was to illustrate the bliss of divine love in his Rasa-Lila, which occured at the previous Mars-Saturn cycle.
– Vic DiCara