Category Archives: Resources for Students

Detailed resources on Vedic Astrology for students of Jyotish who require more in-depth knowledge about the subject

‘Good’ and ‘Bad’ Houses in Jyotish

Summary: Covering the Equal House concept in Jyotish, together with an analysis of ‘Good’ and ‘Bad’ houses, including topics on: Kendra, Trikona, Dusthana, and Upachaya houses.

The Equal House Concept

Jyotish divides the 360 degrees of the sky up into twelve equal sectors of 30 degrees width and this produces twelve equal width ‘Houses’. Jyotish always uses the Sidereal Zodiac.

Each house governs particular areas of life. Details about the main significations of each house are given in the article ‘The Twelve Houses’. Most chart interpretations are based on a house‑by‑house analysis.

In Jyotish, each of the twelve houses corresponds exactly with a particular sign. Therefore in Vedic Astrology a house cannot overlap between two signs.

Western Astrology usually starts the first house at the exact degree of the ascendant. Not so in Jyotish. In vedic Astrology the first house corresponds with the whole sign that contains the ascendant, irrespective of its exact positional degree[1].

So in Jyotish, if our exact ascendant position is located at say 1 degree Leo, or 29 degrees Leo, or anywhere in between, then the first house corresponds exactly with the whole 30 degrees of Leo: the second house will correspond exactly with the whole of the sign of Virgo: the third with Libra, etc. The house containing the ascendant is shown by a diagonal line on the birth-chart.

Equal House Diagram in Jyotish

The South Indian chart format (probably easiest for beginners) numbers houses in a clockwise direction from the sign containing the ascendant (which is shown by the diagonal line in Leo in the above diagram)

The signs always stay in the same boxes in all charts, so Pisces will always be in the top left hand corner.

Houses do not have exactly the same meaning in Jyotish as they do in the Western system.

Errors in birth-times can throw the system out completely when an ascendant is near a boundary between two houses – but there are ways around this [2].


‘Good’ and ‘Bad’ Houses

The planet ruling a particular house changes as the ascendant changes.

For example, the planet ruling the 1st house is the Moon for a Cancer ascendant but the Sun for a Leo ascendant (see article on which planets rule which signs).

Irrespective of the zodiacal sign to which they correspond, good houses strengthen planets placed in them and ‘bad’ houses weaken them.


Trikona or Trinal Houses

According to Jyotish the 5th and 9th houses (‘Trinal’ or ‘Trikona’ houses) are very good indeed in that planets occupying these houses do well and are strengthened.

Therefore the good, natural characteristics of the planet occupying either the 5th or the 9th are strengthened and can deliver the full benefits associated with them

Any houses associated with the occupying planet are also greatly strengthened.

The rulers of the 5th and 9th houses carry with them a positive energy.They bring this to the house in which they are placed.

They also benefit (with this positive energy) any planet they are near to (conjunct), or which they aspect.


Kendras or Angular Houses

The Kendras (Angular houses) i.e. 1, 4, 7 and 10 are ‘good’ houses. Planets placed in them are strengthened. These houses themselves represent benign things.

A good house has two effects: it strengthens planets in it and all of their associations; its ruler carries a positive energy with it and benefits wherever it is placed.


Dusthanas or Negative Houses

Houses 6, 8, and 12 (Dusthanas) are ‘negative’ houses.

The houses themselves do not represent anything inherently evil but they are said to be negative because they seriously weaken planets placed in them. So, the good natural characteristic of the planets occupying them suffer.

In addition, the houses ruled by planets occupying the 6th, 8th, or 12th are also weakened and damaged, so that matters connected with them are also harmed.

The planets that rule the 6th, 8th, or 12th houses are also considered to carry with them a negative energy – this disturbs the house in which they are placed, or planets they are near to (conjunct), or which they aspect.

The 8th is the worst of the three!

Although they are considered negative we should be aware that a good sixth house means we overcome our ‘enemies’, a good eighth indicates a long life, and a good twelfth means we have little expenditure and loss (and are making good spiritual progress towards enlightenment).


Upachaya or Growing Houses

Houses 3, 6, and 10 and 11 have been declared Upachaya houses (‘growing houses’) where any problems indicated get better with time and where malefic planets eventually do some good. Therefore malefics are generally best placed either in their Own, or Exalted signs, or in Upachaya houses.


Planets Ruling Two Houses

If we look at the chart on sign ruler-ship (sign ownership), we see that only the Sun and Moon each rule a single house (Leo and cancer respectively).

Sign Ownership or Rulership by Planets in Jyotish

All the other planets rule two houses. So, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus and Saturn, all rule two houses (because they each rule two signs).

Special rules govern these cases. The rules enable us to determine if the energy these planets carry with them, over and above their natural characteristics, is on balance, positive or negative.

This is quite a complex subject and will be dealt with in a separate article. Most books on Jyotish fail to deal with this subject clearly (if at all)!

If the overall balance from the above is positive we say the planet is a ‘ functional benefic’. If negative we say it is a ‘ functional malefic’. There are also degrees of  positivity and negativity too.

This topic is really important when an astrologer prescribes ‘remedial measures’ for a person. Functional benefic planets for a particular ascendant can be strengthened (note: ‘strong equals good’) with appropriate gemstones, but functional malefic one’s can’t. These then have to be ‘strengthened’ in other ways such as chanting planetary mantras, acts of charity, or special Vedic ceremonies such as Yagnas (Yagyas). But not by using gemstones.

Note: Neither Rahu or Ketu rule or own any houses.


[1] The ascendant is located in the sign of the zodiac that appears to be ‘rising’ on the Eastern horizon at the time of our birth. So, if we looked at the Eastern horizon at the time of our birth and saw it was at  20 degrees Capricorn, we would say we had a ‘Capricorn Ascendant’. The ascendant is shown by a diagonal line in the chart. Note: this is in the Sidereal Zodiac used by Jyotish – not the Tropical one used by Western Astrology.

[2] Very skilled and experienced Vedic Astrologers can ‘work backwards’ from life events to determine a person’s birth-time! This process is called ‘rectification of birth-time’.

Additional Resources for Students of Vedic Astrology

Jyotish Resources for students – Overview

Summary: An overview of the collated resources on this website for students of Vedic Astrology.

Overview of Resources for Students of Vedic Astrology

The ‘Resources for Students Category’ includes a collection of resources for students of Jyotish.

The topics presented in this section are at ‘foundation level’ – the minimum we need to know in order to even begin the process of chart interpretation. They cover:

Articles currently being prepared:

    • Planetary aspects
    • Mahadashas (predictive time periods)
    • Elements of basic birth-chart interpretation.

Taken as a whole, they should enable students to ‘put together the pieces of the jigsaw’ and to start examining the Vedic birth-charts (in the sidereal zodiac) of themselves, their family and friends.

The collated information in this section is aimed at Westerners who want relatively simple ‘key points’ for initial studies. I am aware that Jyotish is multi-layered, with more subtle chart interpretations being available at deeper levels of awareness. However, we all need to start somewhere and the very practice of Jyotish can itself lead to deeper states of awareness!

Most professional Vedic Astrologers will probably agree on more than 95% of the topics presented here. Where there is disagreement in the detail this often arises from differences in the versions of the standard Jyotish texts available, or the different interpretations of any ambiguous sections in the texts. Some knowledge has also been lost over the long passage of time. However, many principles can be verified by looking at a person’s chart and then comparing the predictions from Jyotish with the actual reality of their life experiences.

Parashara taken as a Reference

Where possible, I have always used Maharishi Parashara as highest authority. This is simply because I have a particular affinity to this tradition of Masters which included the illustrious Shankaracharya of Jyotir Math (H.H. Brahmananda Saraswati) and whose disciple Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, brought meditation techniques to the West. Students should be aware that astrologers linked to other traditions may view things slightly differently from the information presented in this section; this is not a problem and adds to the joy and dynamism of the Vedic knowledge!

Additional Resources on Jyotish


A Rare and Auspicious Planetary Alignment

Summary: This article examines the effect of a very rare and highly auspicious planetary alignment occurring during September 2020. The planetary configuration occurs in the sidereal zodiac used by Vedic astrologers and represents an outstandingly good time for souls to take a human birth!

A Rare and Auspicious Planetary Alignment

Right now is a great time to be born!

For about a week, beginning on the 8th September 2020, a rare and highly favourable planetary alignment happens. In the ancient Vedic Astrological system we find that 8 out of the 9 planets, which are used to decode a person’s returning karmas, are in exceptionally good positions in the sidereal zodiac.

For example, most of the planets are in their own signs, or exalted signs, etc. and also benefit from being spaced widely apart in the zodiac. They will therefore bring many benefits over an individual’s lifetime as events unfold. It often takes hundreds of years to see similar such occurrences of this configuration, so it is indeed a rare event.

In Jyotish astrology this alignment means that those born during this week will have almost no obstacles to their progress in life. They may have many exceptional talents, be especially gifted and excel in their chosen field.

From a Jyotish perspective those souls incarnating at this time will be blessed with exceptionally good karma throughout their lives and experience a lot of Grace. Some may even turn out to be Mahatmas – great souls born to benefit mankind and, hopefully, to hasten in the dawn of the Age of Enlightenment on planet Earth.

Detailed Analysis for Students of Jyotish

The Moon is, of course, the most rapidly moving ‘planet’ and spends roughly two and a third days in each sign. Before the Moon even enters Taurus sidereal, most of the other planets already have a high status or ‘dignity’   (a planet having ‘own sign’, Moolatrikona, or exalted status is ‘out of harms way’ in a birth chart). These planets therefore bring many benefits to someone born at this time. As the Moon moves into Taurus (from 8th to 10th September 2020 – where it has Moolatrikona status) it completes the planetary configuration giving rise to these extremely positive conditions. It then moves through Gemini before entering Cancer sidereal (from 13th to 15th September 2020). In Cancer it has ‘own sign’ status so once again completes this remarkable configuration.

In addition to 8 out of the 9 planets used in Jyotish having a high status as mentioned above, the planets are also spaced well apart in different signs giving rise to a special planetary combination or ‘Yoga’. This is called Veena or Sankhya-Veena Yoga and occurs when 7 planets are spaced separately in 7 signs. As this yoga is associated with the Veena (the classical musical instrument of Saraswati – the ‘deity’ presiding over Knowledge and the arts) this brings extra benefits to individuals born under these circumstances. These would include good prosperity, being fond of dance and music and having higher knowledge – such as being well versed in the Vedas or other scriptures.

People who were born a week or so before or after this rare event will still benefit from many planets in their birth chart having very good status. For example, although the Moon moves out of its own sign Cancer on the 15th September, the Sun remains in its own sign Leo until Sept. 17th, 2020. When it leaves Leo this further breaks the configuration.

Two Highly Favourable Periods

The first highly auspicious period during this week begins on the 8th September 2020 around 10 am GMT as the Moon moves into Taurus sidereal. It then leaves this sign on the 10th September 2020 at around 9 pm GMT.

The second highly auspicious period is from around 6 am on 13th September 2020 to about 9 am on 15th September 2020.

For the record, the planetary positions (at 0 hours GMT in the sidereal zodiac on the 9th) are as follows:

Sun 23 Leo Own Sign
Moon 7 Taurus Moolatrikona
Mars 4 Aries Moolatrikona
Mercury 11 Virgo Exalted Sign
Jupiter 23 Sagittarius Own Sign
Venus 9 Cancer Neutral Sign
Saturn 1 Capricorn Own Sign
Rahu 1 Gemini Moolatrikona
Ketu 1 Sagittarius Moolatrikona


Other Implications of This Auspicious Planetary Alignment

Will all individuals born during this period have the same karma? No, most certainly not. Individual karmas will need to be decoded (or ‘read’) from each person’s birth-chart. This will take into account the usual multi-layered factors such as: what is the ascending sign for a particular birth time and where is its ‘ruler’ placed; a house by house analysis including house ruler placement; occupying planets; aspects to the house; finer detail determinants – such as the divisional charts, etc. Karmas also unfold differently for different individuals as indicated by the Jyotish Mahadasa system.

Is this alignment ‘perfect’? Well, it is probably as good as it ever gets. Some of the very best charts I have seen have only had 4 high status planets and this configuration goes far beyond that! However, more advanced students of Jyotish will recognise some minor ‘weak points’ due to the following; a few planets being in the first degree or so of a sign; the Moon is waning and moving nearer the Sun; some planets are retrograde (giving rise to the usual debates about the effect of retrograde motion on planetary behaviour); and possibly even some debates about where the nodes experience ‘dignity’. None the less, a birth during this alignment represents extremely good ‘happy karmic returns’ for souls reincarnating at this time.

So, will this period be of great benefit to everyone and not just those born at this time? The answer is unfortunately not. While it is always good to have transiting planets in a positive state they only account for a fraction of people’s returning karmas. The vast majority is delineated by the Vedic Mahadasa system – which has nothing to do with the transiting planets. Therefore, although Vedic astrology indicates it is a truly great time to be born, it does not imply it is an outstandingly good time for those of us already here!

Additional Information on this Auspicious Alignment

    • This auspicious configuration was noticed by the authors on the Applied Vedic Astrology website in their ‘year ahead’ predictions. However, they did not look specifically at its effects on birth charts.

Additional Resources on Jyotish


Chart Formats in Jyotish Astrology

Summary: Comparison of the two main types of birth-chart format used in Jyotish – North Indian and South Indian, with suggested modifications for students of Jyotish

North Indian and South Indian Chart Formats Compared

Most Western Astrologers use a circular format birth-chart, but this is not used in Jyotish.

There are two main types of chart formats used in Vedic Astrology – the North Indian and the South Indian system. This often causes confusion to those new to the subject as the charts seem completely different. However, each format is just a different way of representing the same information.

The ‘diamond’ type grid is mainly used in North India and the ‘rectangular grid’ type of chart  in South India. Both charts in the diagram below represent exactly the same astrological data. In the North Indian system the ascending sign is always placed in the ‘top diamond’ box and the signs are often numbered 1 to 12, i.e. Aries to Pisces. For the horoscope shown the ascendant is in the 12th sign Pisces, with both Jupiter and Venus in the ascending sign, Rahu in the 4th sign Cancer (corresponding with the 5th house in this chart), etc.

Comparison between North and South Indian Jyotish Chart Format

Comparison between North and South Indian Jyotish Chart Formats

Signs in Jyotish have exactly the same names as those in Western Astrology (e.g. Aries, Taurus, etc.) – but their position in the sky is different from the position of the Western Astrological signs. This is because Vedic Astrology references the signs to the background of the fixed stars in the sky – so it uses the Sidereal Zodiac and not the Tropical one used in the West. Currently there is approximately a 24 degree difference between the two zodiacs (the tropical zodiac uses the spring equinox point as a ‘zero’ reference for the start of Aries and this moves against the background of the fixed stars due to the precession of the equinoxes.)

If we are just beginning the study of Jyotish I believe a slightly modified form of the rectangular South Indian chart format is much easier for Westerners to use (see the diagram at the end of this article).

South Indian Jyotish Birth-chart Format

In the South Indian system each sign always stays in the same box (e.g. Pisces top left, Virgo bottom right).

 The sign count is always made clockwise around the rectangle (e.g. Aries 1, Taurus 2, Gemini 3, Cancer 4, Leo 5, etc.)

The ascendant is shown by a single diagonal line in the appropriate sign on the chart – regardless of the angle of the ascendant (e.g an ascendant of 1 degree Leo or 29 degrees Leo is still shown in exactly the same way)

Houses, which correspond exactly with signs in this system, are counted clockwise from the ascendant. For example, if the ascendant is in Leo (regardless of the exact degree, be it 1 degree or 29 degrees) then the whole of Leo becomes the first house, the whole of Virgo the second house, the whole of Libra the third, etc.

South Indian Vedic Astrology Chart Format

South Indian Vedic Astrology Chart Format

Modified Form of South Indian Chart

To help students access and process a lot of information I have added extra compartments to each of the rectangles. This enables us to put in additional, important and at-a-glance information such as the house number (counting clockwise from the ascending sign), in which house the sign ruler is placed, planetary aspects to the house and what the house number would be if the moon was used as an ascendant. This modification is particularly helpful when learning Jyotish.

Jyotish Chart feature for students

Jyotish Chart feature for students

Additional Resources on Jyotish


Planets and Their Indications

Summary: Planetary indicators (Karakas) of a range of physiological, psychological, and sociological phenomena related to an individual and which can be read from their birth-chart

In Vedic astrology planets are used as indicators (Karakas) of a range of physiological, psychological, and sociological phenomena that relate to the individual.

Vedic astrology sees the whole cosmos and all the people in it as part of an inter-connected whole. So, in this system, the planetary positions at birth just represent coded information about a person’s returning karmas. It is the job of the astrologer to decode this information and translate it into actual predictions.

A key component of chart interpretation is to know what each of the planets indicates. The following list gives us a basic understanding:


Physiological Indications: Health and general well-being

Psychological Indications: Power and influence

Sociological Indications: Father

Other Indications: Self-realisation


Physiological Indications: Fertility, heart, younger years

Psychological Indications: Mind, memory, emotions, happiness

Sociological Indications: Mother

Other Indications: Affluence


Physiological Indications: Energy, stamina

Psychological Indications: Drive, courage, ambition

Sociological Indications: Younger siblings

Other Indications: Military, enemies, property


Physiological Indications: Nervous system, speech

Psychological Indications: Logic, intelligence, education

Sociological Indications: Friends

Other Indications: Business, communication, dance, drama


Physiological Indications: Fat

Psychological Indications: Wisdom

Sociological Indications: Children

Other Indications: Wealth, guru, philosophy, law, religion


Physiological Indications: Semen

Psychological Indications: Pleasures

Sociological Indications: Wife

Other Indications: Luxury, singing, poetry


Physiological Indications: Longevity, bones

Psychological Indications: Patience, grief, adversity, renunciation

Sociological Indications: Servants

Other Indications: Land, wood, metal


Physiological Indications: Strange illnesses

Psychological Indications: Frustrations

Sociological Indications: None

Other Indications: Worldly benefits, gambling, thefts


Physiological Indications: Strange illnesses

Psychological Indications: Psychic abilities

Sociological Indications: None

Other Indications: Enlightenment, strange events


Planetary Placement Affects The Above Indicators

If a planet is ‘well placed’ in a birth chart, then all the above indicated associations are likely to be very positive for the individual concerned.

If the planet is ‘poorly placed’, then all its associations are likely to provide some degree of difficulty, obstacles or challenges.

By ‘well placed’ we mean a planet in a favourable sign, such as its own or exalted sign, or in a good house (e.g. the 5th or 9th) or well aspected by a planet that has positive associations (a ‘benefic’) for that ascendant.

By ‘poorly placed’ we mean the planet is in an unfavourable sign (e.g. weakened or debilitated) or an unfavourable house (e.g. 6th, 8th, 12th), or aspected by a planet with negative associations (a ‘malefic’) for that particular ascendant.

So for example, if the sun in a person’s birth chart is exalted (i.e. in its sign of exaltation – Aries sidereal), or in the 9th house (even better if both exalted and in 9th!) we can expect that person to have excellent health and well-being (physiological indications): good self-esteem, power and influence (psychological indications): good relationships with his father (sociological indications): and be interested in self-realisation and personal evolution (other indicators).

If the sun was poorly placed in a birth chart (e.g. in its sign of debilitation [Libra sidereal] or in the 6th, 8th, 12th houses, or aspected by a malefic influence) then we could expect possible health problems, lack of self-esteem, maybe problems with father, etc.

Of course, there are many other indicators and subtle layers of chart interpretation, but this principle is fundamental to assessing an individual’s chart. It is a cornerstone of the subject!

Additional Resources on Jyotish