Important Astrological Alignments: Mutual Exchange (“Parivartana”)

“Mutual Exchange” is a very powerful, influential and important astrological condition which deserves to be discussed with clarity. In Sanskrit, the language of “Vedic” astrology, this condition is called parivartana. The word literally means “circular motion” and is used to indicate situations in which things revolve around one another, come and go and thus exchange in a mutual way.

What It Is

In the illustration here you can see the circular motion in a chart caused by a mutual exchange. This chart actually has two mutual exchanges, but let’s just focus on one for the purpose of this article.  Find Taurus (_), it is the 4th House of this horoscope. Venus owns Taurus so find Venus (the pink planet, the “female” symbol), and notice that she occupies Capricorn (g), which is the 12th House of the horoscope. Now, realizing that Saturn owns Capricorn – look for him. He is the blue symbol that looks sort of like a scythe. You will find him in Taurus.

The scribbles (drawn with a mouse so please forgive the 1st grade appearance!) trace the path of what you just did and reveal how it is a circular motion where energy goes from one house to another and then comes back again. It is a “mutual exchange” of energies. So this chart has a parivartana (“Mutual Exchange”) involving the 4th and 12th houses.

Now you know what a parivartana yoga or “Mutual Exchange” is. The next question is, what does it mean?

What It Does

Well, I have already given the foundation of the answer to that in noting that the energy of one house mutually exchanges with the energy of another house. Put in another, perhaps more simple way: parivartana causes two houses to form strong mutual links.

If you link two reservoirs – water will start flowing back and forth between them. This is exactly what parivartana does. It links two houses and thus causes their “water” (their significations and nature) to exchange and intermingle.

I have heard some astrologers elaborate that parivartana causes the significations of one of the houses to change into the significations of the other. I think this may work in some of the cases, because when there is a link between two places, the two places change to become more like each other. But that is just it! Both the places blend their energies and both become more like the other. I am not in favor of the opinion that parivartana causes a unidirectional flow of change from one house to the other, rather it causes a bi-directional exchange or circulation of their energies. After all, “circulation” is a very good literal translation of parivartana. And the english term “mutual exchange” supports this bi-directional understanding of the phenomena.


The most classical and fundamental way of differentiating various types of parivartana follows a very simple formula:

  1. Links between houses of common themes and natures have generally positive effects
  2. Links between houses of uncomplimentary themes have generally negative effects.

So, in our example of a parivartana exchanging the 4th and 12th houses, this formula would call it a “negative” type of exchange (dainya-parivartana). The 4th house is basically a positive place and the 12th house is basically a negative place – so their combination evaluates to be negative (dainya).

The classic Sanskrit scriptures on astrology are uniformly exaggerative and oversimplified because that allows the nuances and nature of things to be described more clearly. A real astrologer, however, cannot be as simplistic. The fact of the matter is that every house has multiple significations. The significations which have common grounds in both the houses involved in the parivartana will be enhanced while the significations that are not in common will cause issues to arise.

Practical Example

Here we have the 4th House exchanging and intermixing with the 12th House. We begin to understand how this yoga works by letting our non-linear mind make associations between the common and non-common characteristics of the two houses.

For example, springing to my mind initially is that the 4th House signifies ones kin and close relationships, whereas the 12th House signifies unknown persons who are outsiders and foreigners. The yoga (“Mutual Exchange”) causes these two to blend – and the results could very likely be unfortunate (dainya), especially if supported by other indications elsewhere in the horoscope.

Something else my inner mind shows me is that the 4th House pertains to the deep emotions, while the 12th House pertains to withdrawing to the interior things and hidden places. Thus the yoga causes emotions to become very deep and withdrawn, hidden within oneself cautiously. This could be an unfortunate situation, but could be a positive indication if the chart is supportive of spirituality – because it would incline one to be very philosophical in the search for their true inner self, negating the illusions of their outer self.

Another thing is that the 4th is about treasures deposited safely, while the 12th is about incurring losses through expenses. This certainly favors a dainya or “unfortunate” interpretation of the likelihood of loosing treasures – but one has to see the quality of the planets involved and their relationship. If they are strong and blessed one could actually turn losses into treasures. But if the exchange occurs under bad influences the flow would be more one of treasures being lost. In the illustration we are working with in the example, Jupiter influences both the planets involved in the exchange at that is a good sign that as a result of philosophy, religion, and morality (Jupiter traits) the native was able to overcome the loss of treasures and emotional peace she first endured, and turn the situation around turning her losses into gains in a foreign country.

More Help

For more help figuring out the nature of an individual’s mutual exchange you can also examine which houses are affected by the exchange from the point of view not of the ascendant but of the Moon and Sun. In the example we are using, the Moon is in the 1st House, so the exchange also affects the 4th and 12th houses from the Moon. But the Sun is in the 10th House, Scorpio – and therefore the exchange effects the 3rd and 7th Houses, since Capricorn is 3 signs/houses from the Scorpio Sun, and Taurus is 7 houses/signs from it.

The native in fact overcame the initial losses indicated by the 4/12 Mutual Exchange as a result of internet communication (a modern connotation of the 3rd House) which led her to a happy marriage (7th House).

– Vic DiCara