Summary: Transits are another way of predicting returning karma, but of less importance than the Mahadasha periods. Effects are evaluated on a house-by-house basis counted from the sign where the Moon is located in the birth-chart. The main effects considered by Jyotish are due to the transits of Jupiter and Saturn (particularly ‘Sade Sati’).

In Vedic Astrology, transits are another way of predicting returning karmas.

In Jyotish, transits are less important than the predictions given by the major periods – the Mahadashas.

Although difficult to put exact numbers on it, the karmic effects are typically : 60% due to the Mahadasha (Major Dasha) planet; 20% due to the Antardasha (Minor Dasha or Bhukti) planet; and 20% due to the transiting planets.

Transit effects can be ‘read’ from the current orbital motion of the planets as they move through different signs – which correspond to different houses in the birth-chart. In Jyotish, signs correspond exactly with houses and take up 30% of the sky in the sidereal zodiac. In this way the dynamic effect of the transiting planet interacts with the ‘static’ element of a person’s chart (determined by the planetary arrangements at the time of birth).

In Vedic Astrology the houses used to determine transit effects are counted from the sign the Moon is in at the time of birth. For example, if the Moon is in Aries at the time of birth then the whole of Aries becomes the first house: then the 12th house corresponds exactly with the previous sign of Sagittarius, the 2nd house corresponds with the next sign Taurus, etc.  Note: this only applies to the calculation of transits.

Some pundits suggest also judging transits from the ordinary ascendant – but this is clearly of secondary importance to using the Moon sign as ascendant (a bit like the reverse of normal practice in a birth chart interpretation).

Jyotish astrologers pay particular attention to the transits of the two slowest moving physical planets, Jupiter and Saturn.

Jupiter takes about a year to move through each sign and Saturn takes about three years (although it usually appears to move backwards and forwards a few times before actually staying in a sign.)

‘Sade Sati’ – Important Transits of Saturn

      • In India, people are very aware of potential issues caused by Saturn as it transits the 12th, 1st and 2nd houses from the birth Moon. This seven and a half year period is called ‘Sade Sati’.
      • So Saturn can negatively impact all those life areas associated with the 12th, 1st and 2nd houses (e.g. loss, body and health, accumulated wealth).
      • However, transits are less important than the Mahadashas. So, this period might not be too bad – particularly if it occurs during a good Mahadasha, or if Saturn is a functional benefic for the particular ascendant (e.g. rules 9th and 10th houses – in this case counted from position of Moon at birth), or is well placed in the birth-chart.
      • Many Jyotish pundits agree that Saturn as Lord of ascendant (Aquarius or Capricorn) won’t damage the planets of the birth-chart by transit. He will not damage his own houses either by transit.

Detailed Rules for Evaluating Transit Effects

These are interesting in that they show there are exceptions that need to be taken into account when using transits for predictions – particularly the ‘Sade Sati’ transits of Saturn. Clients need to know that Saturn’s transits are not always something to be feared!

The following rules are taken from the book “Predictive Astrology of the Hindus” by Gopesh Kumar Pandit Ojha (ISBN 10: 812083416XISBN 13: 9788120834163).

1. As Jupiter passes over a radical planet (i.e. birth-chart planet), or fully aspects a radical planet, then all things associated with that planet (e.g. Karakas, Houses planets rules) are improved.r

2. Saturn as Lord of ascendant won’t damage radical planets by transits. He will not damage his own house either by transit. I consider this an important consideration.

3. Pandit Ojha confirms that the functional benefic and malefic status of Saturn should be considered using the Moon sign as ascendant. He says: Saturn for Taurus Moon (Lord of 9th + 10th) does not cause so much damage in transits. Similarly Saturn for Libra Moon (Lord of 4th + 5th).

4. Planets strong in the birth-chart are better in transit (even when transiting an adverse house) than planets weak in birth-chart. Strong means in friends sign or better, aspected by a benefic, etc. These effects are magnified if such a transiting planet is in an Upachaya house in birth-chart.

5. Consider the dignity e.g. exalted, own sign, combust, conjunct malefic, etc. of planets as they transit and modify predictions accordingly.

The above rules only cover a few of the very basics. There are many more detailed considerations to take into account when predicting transits! Students of Jyotish at this stage are advised to refer to Pandit Ohja’s book for further information.

Resources for Students of Jyotish

Introduction to Jyotish. A range of articles for people entirely new to Vedic Astrology. Including: Introduction, FAQs, Origins and Karmic Implications.

Key Concepts in Jyotish. Articles covering the Sidereal Zodiac, Planetary Forces, Forecasting Analogies and ‘Planetary Antidotes’.

For Western Astrologers. Articles examining major differences between the two systems and the paradigm shift needed by Western Astrologers wanting to understand the subject.

Learn Jyotish. An extensive collection of articles covering key facts, concepts and methods. Aimed at ‘foundation level’ students. Includes essential information needed before beginning chart interpretations. Covering: Chart Formats, Planets, Houses, Mahadasha Periods, Transits, Aspects, Birth-time Errors, Natural and Functional Benefics / Malefics, Chart Interpretation Basics, etc.