Figuring out the Navamsha in your Head

Most people rely on their software to show them what navamsha divisions the planets occupy. Here is a trick for doing it in your head.

First let’s know the length of each division. The navamsha divides a zodiac sign into nine equal subdivisions. One sign is 30° so each navamsha is a ninth of that – which is 3 and a third degrees.

Let’s take an example of the Sun at 11° Cancer. Divide 11 by three and a third. That’s a little tricky, but it helps to remember that three and a third times three amounts to exactly ten. So anything past 10° is in the second group of three divisions, and anything past 20° is in the third. It’s easy to see that 11 is a little bit more than 10, 1 more really. And it’s easy to see that 1 is less than 3 and a third. So 11° is the first division in the second group of three – i.e. the fourth division.

Summary of Step One:

Find the ordinal number of the division.

Divide the degree by 3.333, discard the remainder and add one

– or, easier math –

Subtract 10 or 20 from the degree and then compare that number to 3.3

Once you have figured out the number of the division, in this case the fourth division, the next trick is to figure out what sign that division reflects. In every sign there is one division which reflects the sign itself. For example, there is one division in Cancer which reflects the nature of Cancer. If you know where this division lies in each sign, it helps you figure out the rest of the divisions in your head.

There are three possible locations for this special division – it will either be the very first, the very last, or dead center. In Aries it is the first division, in Taurus it is the center division (the fifth), in Gemini it is the last. And the pattern repeats.

Sign Division that is
Identical to the Sign
Aries First
Taurus Middle
Gemini Last
Cancer First
Leo Middle
Virgo Last
Libra First
Scorpio Middle
Sagittarius Last
Capricorn First
Aquarius Middle
Pisces Last

One way to summarize this is to say:

  • The first division is identical to any cardinal sign
  • The middle division is identical to any fixed sign
  • The last division is identical to any dual sign

Returning to our example of the Sun at 11° Cancer… We figured out already that this is the fourth division of Cancer. And we know that Cancer is a cardinal sign, so the first division of Cancer reflects Cancer, the second reflects Leo, the third reflects Virgo and the fourth reflects Libra. So we have figured out, using just our heads, no computers and no pencils even, that this Sun is in the Libra division of Cancer.

Summary of Step Two:

Find which sign is reflected by that division

Determine which division is identical to its sign.

Count forwards or backwards through the signs to the division in question.

One more example: Venus at 24° Leo. First I will get the number of the division. 24 is 4 more than 20 so I know it is in a division after the sixth. 4 is one more than 3, so I know it is in the second division after the sixth. In other words, I know that 24° Leo falls in the eighth subdivision. Next I need to figure out what sign is reflected by this eighth subdivision of Leo. Since Leo is a fixed sign I know that the center, fifth, division of Leo is identical to Leo. That means the sixth is Virgo, seventh is Libra and eighth is Scorpio. Bingo. I have figured out that Venus is in the Scorpio division of Leo.

Vic DiCara