This is going to be a quick article about what to look for in your birth chart to be able to focus in on what your natural strengths are. You should have some understanding of Vedic astrological principles to get the most from this article, but even a new comer will come away with a lot of new understanding by reading what they can here.
1. Identify The Standout Planets
Look at the chart and identify the planets that stand out in a positive way. This is easy for very experienced astrologers, but for the novice or intermediate let me point out a few of the things which I have realized cause me to feel that a planet stands out positively in the chart:
- Exalted planets always catch my eye.
- Planets in their own signs also catch my eye if they are also in the kendras (the four cardinal directions – houses 1, 4, 7 or 10)
- Planet’s with a vimshopaka (“20 Point Rating”) score higher than 15 are standout positive planets
- Planets close to the ascendant’s degree in their sign will stand out, not always positively
A word or two on each of these.
When you see an exalted planet, do a “reality check” before you start considering it a standout positive planet. Your first stop for the reality check is the planet’s navamsha sign. If the planet is also in a good sign there, you got a true positive standout planet. If the planet is in a weak or debilitated sign in the navamsha look at it more like a “mixed blessing.”
The next stop on the reality check is the planet’s 20 Point Rating (vimshopaka). More on that later.
Planets in their own signs are pretty nice. But when they are in their own signs and in the central houses at the same time – they really stand out. You can’t really be sure if they will stand out positively or negatively until you reality check with the planet’s navamsha sign and vimshopaka score.
The male sign owned by the planet is a stronger place for the planet (except in the case of Mercury and, of course, the Moon).
Vimshopaka – 20 Point Rating
This is a basic technique of Vedic Astrology which assigns a “positivity” score to each planet based on it’s condition in all of the divisional charts, not just the navamsha (or in large groups of the charts, technically). Any descent Vedic astrology software should tell you the vimshopaka of each planet in your chart. 10 is an average score. Below 10 the planet starts to stand out as being negative, and visa verse. Planets with greater than, say, 15 are real stand out strong points for you.
Any planet that is within about 4-7 degrees of the degree of the ascendant will stand out and be influential in your chart. For example, if your Ascendant is 1º40′ Capricorn and you have Mercury at 1º27″ of Leo, that means Mercury is only 13′ (very close, less that one degree) away from the degree of your ascendant. So Mercury will stand out very strongly. Or, with the same ascendant, if you have Jupiter at 4º20′ of Libra, Jupiter is only 2º40′ from the Ascendant degree and will therefore stand out.
Some astrologers seem to say that if the Ascendant is at 1º, for example, and a planet is a 27º there is very little influence. I tend to differ. Since 30º is actually only 1º away from 1º, a planet with a very high degree is actually close to another planet with a very low degree. It is better, mathematically, to take an absolute value, in my opinion. So in this case we have the Ascendant at 1º of Capricorn, and a planet, say Saturn, at 28º. They are actually 3º apart and thus saturn is quite influential. This is a bit tricky and will take just a little getting used to.
Closeness to the Ascendant Degree actually does not tell you how positive the stand out planet is – it just tells you that the planet stands out. Check the vimshopaka for an evaluation of the sign dignities through the varga divisions – and then you will know if this stand out is a source of happiness or grief for you.
2. Identify Standout Yogas
Of course, to do this, you need to know what the yogas (planetary combinations are). Basically you should look for
- Other strong yogas like parvata, camara, amala, mahabhagya, etc.
Raja Yogas are really key. You can do a good quick evaluation just contemplating these alone. These are the two types of Raja Yogas which are easiest to identify and thus most useful to look for.
- Combinations between planets who rule kendras (1,4,7, & 10th houses) with planets who rule the konas (1, 5, and 9th houses)
- Combination of Rahu or Ketu with either of the above
To explain with an example. Say Capricorn rises. Saturn, Mars, Moon and Venus can potentially form raja yogas because they own the four signs which create the 1st, 4th, 7th and 10th houses from Capricorn. They will form these yogas only if they combine with Saturn, Venus or Mercury – because these are the planets who own the signs which create the 1st, 5th, and 9th houses from Capricorn.
So if you have Venus and Mercury together in the same sign, or exchanging houses (or mutually aspecting one another, which in this case is impossible) you have a raja yoga, and you should look at the conditions of that yoga to see where your great power lies.
An example for the second type of Raja Yoga: If Ketu or Rahu is in a kendra or a kona, they could potentially form a raja yoga. Anywhere else, it is impossible. If Rahu or Ketu is in a kendra with a planet who owns a kona, or visa versa – in a kona with a planet who owns a kendra – raja-yoga forms and this is a standout indication of great power.
So, say Capricorn rises. If Ketu is in Virgo, it is possible for it to form a raja yoga if Saturn, Mars, Moon, or Venus is with it in Virgo too.
Evaluating the Positivity of a Yoga
You have to evaluate a yoga to see how effective it is for the individual. First of all look to see when the dasha-cycles of the planets involved take place. Will you even likely be alive for these cycles? If not, obviously you have not found a “stand out” factor in your chart. Next, check the shad-bala (Six Strengths Score). If the planets are strong you are heading in the right direction. Finally, check the vimshopaka and look for higher scores to show more positivity and a greater standout.
3. Identify The Planets Aspecting the Ascendant.
So far I have given you in pretty good order starting from the strongest first, what I feel are real standouts. You could say that a very positive and strong raja yoga is more of a standout than the individual planets standing out – even though I did identify those first. But the reason I give more precedence to the individual planets is that it is really quite rare to get yogas that actually stand out strongly. So it is better initially consider them slightly less important that the first set of considerations – at least this is my opinion right now.
If you are still feeling the need to go more you can check to see what planets aspect your ascendant. These planets will play important roles in your life.
– Vic DiCara