Psychology in the Sky – Combinations of the Modes of Nature

The three main divisions of the sky

In a previous article (Psychology of Vedic Astrology) I introduced the psychological underpinnings available in Vedic Astro-Psychology. Now, in this article, I want to show you just how rich these three basic building blocks become when you consider all their layers.

Please do have a look at the previous article first if you havent already, especially if you are not familiar with the three “modes” (gunas) of Vedic psychology – sattva or clarity, rajas or drive & passion, and tamas or solidity and darkness.

What you see in the first illustration is the complete circle of the sky in it’s three major divisions – the 12 solar signs, 27 lunar mansions and 108 navamshas uniting the two. If you are unfamiliar with these you can also review my articles on them (starting with Variations in a Single Sign and continuing in Differences Within a Single Sign (Part II)).

Modes of the 12 Signs

Each one of the 12 signs is connected to a specific psychological mode. You can see that they form a sensible pattern, as well. The signs of Venus and Mars carry the mode of passion (rajas). The signs of the Luminaries (Sun & Moon) and Jupiter carry the mode of clarity (sattva). And the signs of Saturn and Mercury carry the mode of solidity and darkness (tamas). This information is given in ancient astrological texts, such as the essential Brihat Parashara Hora, Chapter 4.

This is the only the first factor, however. There are many more things to consider which will create a very rich and complex understanding of the psychological nature of the various portions of the sky. From the picture we have now, it merely appears that Pisces, Sagittarius, Cancer and Leo are all equal, for example. We will learn that although they are all fundamentally sattvic or signs of clarity there is in fact a lot of gradation between them, and even within each of them.

Modality Imparted by "Modality"

As is very common knowledge, the astrological signs posses one of there types of “growth patterns” or “movement tendencies.” In English we call these cardinal, fixed, or dual. “Cardinal” means the tendency is to roam far and wide. “Fixed” means that the tendency is to stay rooted in one place. “Dual” indicates a proclivity to be multi-fasceted (or “multi-fascinated”!)

It is very easy to correlate these to the three modes of Vedic Psychology, and that is probably why this has been taught to students of that system for many, many, many years – although we are not personally sure if it has a direct scriptural basis. In any case I find it very reasonable and useful, so I include it here.

If you look at the two diagrams closely you will come to a question. For example, the first diagram shows Taurus as a red sign, a passion sign – rajas. But the second diagram shows Taurus as a blue sign, a solidity and darkness sign – tamas. Which is right?

This might really be the very first lesson one should be taught in astrology: not to ask which is right, but to ask how both things coexist!

Composite of the Rashis and the Gunas

In the diagram here, I have overlaid the previous two and it starts to make very good sense how the two of the previous descriptions coexist. Looking at this you see only a few of the original primary colors remain, the rest have become secondary colors. The primary colors remain green in Jupiter’s signs, Pisces and Sagittarius – these are still entirely sattvic areas of the sky – places connected to clarity. Primary red continues to exist only in one of Mars’ signs, Aries, and one of Venus’ signs, Libra. These two remain entirely rajasic in nature – places of intense drive and passion. Only one sign remains entirely blue, Saturn’s aquarius. This is the only sign in the zodiac which fully embraces the tamasic nature, the mode of darkness and solidity.

The rest have become hybrids, secondary colors, gradations. Leo and Cancer for example, started out pure green sattva. But now they have blended with their modal influence and have become less of an entirely sattvic place, In Cancer the green blends with red, producing brown – indicating a sign in which clarity is mixed with drive and passion. In Leo green mixed with blue to produce a teal – reflecting a sign in which clarity is mixed with solidity. Taurus and Scorpio mixed their original red color with the blueness of their fixed nature, and we have purple, an attractive color of solid, deep passions. Gemini and Virgo mixed their original blue with the green of their dual nature and thus became more verdant looking – reflecting signs in which clarity has a practical and solid application. Capricorn is a unique magenta resulting from blending itself original blue with the redness of its cardinal modality. This accurately reflects a sign which pursues solidity and rigidity with a tenacious passion.

Modes of the Planetary Ownerships

It is getting richer but we are far from finished! It is going to get far richer still!

Here is a diagram of the Vedic Psychological modes possessed by the planets who own the various signs. Mercury and Venus are have passionate, enjoyment oriented personalities – their signs are tinted red as a result. Mars and Saturn have dark, strong, angry natures – their signs are tinted blue therefore. And the Luminaries and Jupiter are concerned with clarity of perception – their signs therefore tint with the green of sattva. Again you can see it forms a sensible pattern, and this information also has thorough scriptural basis (BPHS Ch.3).

So let’s see what happens when we add this as a third overlay, on top of our previous overlay!

composite of all three factors

Now we are really getting a rich and accurate picture of the full spectrum of psychological qualities in the sky. If you know about color theory you know that brown is a mixture of all the colors. Finding the brown signs you see they are Gemini and Virgo – which belong both to Mercury. Mercury is well known as the most neutral and balanced of all the planets by far – and so are his signs, when all is said and done, the most balanced and equal of all the signs in the zodiac – carrying equal portions of each of the three psychologies. You see that Scorpio and Capricorn have a common purple – both being signs in which passion and darkness / mystique blend dangerously but powerfully. You see Jupiter’s signs outstanding as places of truly pure clarity. Actually “a picture paints a thousand words” so feast your eyes.

This is a fairly complete depiction of the psychological modalities in the zodiac, but there are variations even within a single sign. Lets consider some of the factors which create this.

Psychological Modes of the Lunar Mansions

In this diagram you see the 27 lunar mansions – each of which posses a specific psychological mode. This information may have a more ancient origin, but personally I cite Light on Life by Heart de Fouw (a book very widely accepted as thoroughly authoritative) as the source of this data. It is sensible as there is a clear pattern your eye will easily detect.

You can click these graphics to enlarge them if you wish.

The pattern is that passionate nakshatras (the Vedic term for “lunar mansion) always come in groups of three, they are always followed by a group of two dark nakshatras, and then a checkerboard of dark and clear nakshatras. Again the picture itself probably says more than my words describing it.

Lunar mansions do not exist in a vacuum. They co-exist with the solar signs (united by the navamsha). So let us overlay this on the solar composite and see what we can see.

Effect of Lunar Mansions

Again, the picture says things better and more succinctly than my words. But let me point out a few things that are really striking to me. You will see in Piesces that there are two places of absolutely clear green sattva and that this brightness of sattva exists nowhere else to such a pristine degree. You will also see that some areas of Cancer are more sattvic (clear) than others. You will also see that in the passionate signs of Aries and Taurus there is a stretch of lunar mansion bridging the two which is far more passionate than most any other place in the zodiac, even more passionate than any place in the bright red Libra.

This is really a fantastic image, holding so much rich information.

We could, and will, go a step further and consider the navamsha signs. We will assign to these their primary gunas as depicted in the second illustration in this article.

Full Composite

Overlaying this we get some wonderful information. This illustration describes the exact nature of each point in the zodiac, in divisions 3º20′ wide! Look at the varieties of colors along the outside edge of the wheel – where “all things are considered.” This shows you, visually, the variation of influences which occur in the zodiac. Careful contemplation on this image is a must because so much data is encoded visually into the colors! You should enlarge and download it.

A few things stand out – the navamshas of Cancer, Sagittarius and Pisces within the main sign of Pisces, for example are very brightly green (sattva). We see the runner ups are the same navamshas found in Cancer! Cancer has really made a “come back” and proven to have some specific spots in it which are highly clarity oriented!

The blues in Aquarius and purples in Capricorn attract the eye, of course, but we find some other stand out cases of tamas in the Virgo navamsha within Scorpio and even in the Gemini navamsha within Leo (a most unexpected place, no!?)

Next, consider the planets!

As we showed in the 5th illustration in this article, each planet has a guna as well. Jupiter, for example, possesses the mode of clarity (sattva). When Jupiter (or another sattva planet: Sun or Moon) enters into the more bright green sections on the outer rim of the zodiac wheel – the quality of clarity there will really light up and come to life. For example, Jupiter in the Sagittarius navamsha of Pisces (a very likely location of Jupiter when Sri Krishna was born, for example). Satrun in the middle portion of Aquarius is another example where the “blueness” of that tamas will really light up as a result of the blue tamas of that portion of the sky combining with the tamas of Saturn.

In short you could make another square for each planet, the size of each compartment in the outer ring of the final diagram. Color that square with the color of the psycholog possessed by that planet – and then play with moving that square over the outer rim of the chart – the planet’s color will interact with the charts color and produce, sometimes, very striking results – and this is why certain planets become very striking and powerful when they occupy certain very specific points in the sky!

– Vic DiCara


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