How to use Astrological Cycles (Dasha & Sub-Dasha)

At any given point in my life, I am experiencing a moment within a minute within an hour within a day within a week within a month within a year within a decade within a century. Vedic astrology reflects this reality by deliniating 5 levels of cycles within cycles within cycles, and refering to the effects of ongoing daily transits in that context as well. To be an astrologer who can actually use this tool, you have to not only be able to evaluate the effects of a cycle or transit – you will have to be able to evaluate 2 or 3 or more planetary cycles at the same time. That is to say, we will have to consider two or three or more cycles simultaneously: The major cycle (daśa) the subcycle (antardaśa) and the sub-subcycle (praty antardaśa), and perhaps finer cycles and transits.


I’ve already written a reasonable introduction to how to interpret an individual planetary cycle. In this post, I want to focus instead on how to interpret several cycles simultaneously – as one would need to do to understand the specific effects at any specific point in a person’s life.

A Harmonium

There is an instrument called a Harmonium which illustrates how. The harmonium is a reed instrument, where air is blown through reeds by a bellows, and the path through specific reeds is opened or closed by pressing keys on a piano-style keyboard. Most harmoniums also have knobs on the front of them, which you can pull out to permanently open a reed path. Thus when you pull out such a knob, you get a note that constantly sounds out, regardless of what keys on the keyboard you press. The themes of your main cycle are like this constant note. The shorter subcycles within it are like the notes that sound when you press different keys on the keyboard. Sometimes you press the key of a note that sounds bad, very dissonant against the constant background note. At other times, pressing other keys creates sounds that are harmonious with the background note – they link together and form a unified, powerful sound. In the same way, the subcycles have their own themes – but what we are most interested in discovering is how the themes of the subcycles interact with the themes of their parent cycles. The themes that have commonalities and harmony with one another will be the actual events that occur in your life during that period of time. The themes in a cycle that find no harmonic support from the themes of the subcycles will not occur during this period – or perhaps will only occur in thoughts or dreams.

– Vic DiCara