For my first year or two as a practicing astrologer, every time I looked at a new astrological chart I had to overcome a really significant amount of intimidation. So I searched for a reliable system to organize all the zillions of possible interpretations and point me in the direction of the most important, fundamental interpretations on a chart by chart basis (and guide me on whether I should favor the positive or negative possible permutations of those interpretations).
For “Version 1.0” of that, I took the varga-viṁśopaka and ṣaḍ-bāla techniques verbatim from Bṛhat Parāśara Hora. The planets with the highest ṣaḍ-bāla, I figured, were the most important, fundamental planets in the chart; the ones I should focus on. The planets with high vimśopaka were the ones that should get positive interpretations, and those with negative viṁśopaka should get negative interpretations.
I worked with this fine system for about two years before deciding to upgrade it to “Version 2.0.” For this, I had to write my own software, because it elaborated on the traditional systems and so wasn’t a part of any pre-existing software. Since I had a background in web development, I wrote everything in PHP and ran it off the apache server on my laptop.
Positivity and Negativity via vimśopaka had worked quite well for me during Version 1, so I kept it the same. The only difference was that I settled on a particular varga set and was completely confident that temporary planetary friendships are a spatial affair and therefore should be deduced only from the actual zodiac positions, not recalculated per each aṁśa.
Impact calculations, however, asked for a much more significant upgrade. I had discovered was that ṣaḍ-bāla might satisfactorily tell me the strength of a planet, but it doesn’t say anything about how much opportunity the planet will have to use it’s strength. For example, a planet with low ṣaḍ-bāla but in exact conjunction with the ascendant or Moon will definitely prove to be more fundamental, essential and important to interpreting the chart than a planet with high ṣaḍ-bāla but tucked away in some remote degree where it can’t influence the ascendant, moon, sun or many other planets. So I developed a whole set of calculations to modify ṣaḍ-bāla – based on planetary phases and aspectual and absolute alignments with the three key points (asc, Moon and Sun). Thus I got a very useful readout of how much a planet’s ṣaḍ-bāla can actually influence the horoscope.
I’ve used Version 2 for more than three years now, gradually coming across charts that revealed places where the V2 Calculations could be improved. Now I’m going to upgrade to “Versions 3.0” – and once I have the maths all worked out, I’m going to work with my father to get it into a software format that stands alone like Solar Fire, Kāla, Parashara’s Light, etc. – so that other astrologers can utilize the techniques I’ve developed without having to work their fingers to the bone doing an hour or more of calculation for every chart they want to look at.
Important Changes in Version 3.0.
First of all, I realized that the ratios for aspects and conjunctions need to be non-linear, they need to have curvature. In other words the difference in impact between a planet being between 0 and 1 degree out of alignment is a hell of a lot more dramatic than the difference in being between 29 and 30 degrees out of alignment. I’ve got to research and apply exactly the right math to use for the curvature, and ideally I should make it customizable for further research.
Improvements to Positivity Calculations
I’ve got three major improvements to make for calculating dignity/positivity via viṁśopaka. The first is that each planet should have an inherent dignity determined by its degree of natural benevolence or malevolence. The second is that aspects and conjunctions also affect a planet’s positivity – a very strong aspect, for example, from a very positive planet, dramatically improves positivity. The third is that the lordship of the planet affects the positivity (as described by all the talk about “temporal malefics” and so on).
Improvements to Potency Calculations
I have two major improvents for calculating the potency via ṣaḍ-bāla. First, I’ll be taking dignity out of the equation and increase the role of “distance to exaltation” to compensate. The point in this is that when dignity affects potency it becomes too difficult for undignified planets to have high impact. This is fine in a traditional Vedic interpretation environment where the baseline interpretations for malefics are already so godawful dreadful, but in the modern astrological environment, and my system in particular it doesn’t work so well, because I use baseline interpretations that are as neutral as possible for all the planets.
The second improvement is related to aspects/conjunctions. The more aspects a planet gets, the more potency it gets (this is actually a part of traditional ṣaḍ-bāla but I dropped it for simplicity in Version 2.0). I’ve got to research the best numbers and maths to represent it in the context of all the other calculations.
Improvements to Impact Calculations
First change here is that all aspects given by the planet increase its impact in the horoscope (Version 2.0 only considers aspects to the Ascendant, Moon and Sun). The next change will be to work out reliable and accurate math for the increase on impact by dispositorship. A third change here will be to thoroughly research and work out accurate numbers for inherent impact values for the planets (based both on the planet itself and the effect of lordship).
Rahu & Ketu Calculations
Finally, Version 3.0 has to include Rahu and Ketu in the impact calculations. Alignment with the nodes (by conjunction as well as impact) is certainly a key factor affecting the impact of a planet, and we also want values for how influential Rahu and Ketu themselves are (by conjunction to Ascendant, etc. as well as by the volume of aspects/conjunction they recieve).
When Version 3.0 is done, it will definitely be the easiest, most scientific and reliable way to make fundamentally accurate interpretations of astrological charts – building on the ancient techniques of Bṛhat Paraśara Hora with modern technology, research capacity, and mathematics.
– Vic DiCara