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DPL06 Introduction to Vedic Astrology
9 Class Meetings
The purpose of this course is to provide a brief introduction to Vedic astrology, the traditional astrology of India. We will discuss some basic historical and astronomical concepts; touch on karmic theory and other aspects of Vedic philosophy; learn about the different branches of Vedic astrology; explore the value to be gained in using this system; compare and contrast Western and Vedic astrology; discuss the grahas (planets), rashis (signs), bhavas (houses), adhipatis (house rulers) and yogas (planetary combinations), drishti (aspects), nakshatras, varga (divisional) charts, gochara (transits) and the Vimshottari dasha system. We will learn how to erect the North and South Indian charts and will examine several case studies. By the end of our eight-week session, you will be speaking a new language, seeing horoscopes in a new light, and prognosticating your socks off!
Class Meeting 1: Foundation of Vedic Astrology
We will study the philosophical roots and universal principles underlying Vedic astrology, also known as Jyotish, the Science of Light. We will take a brief tour through karmic theory and the four aims of life according to Vedic science, followed by a discussion of the different branches of Vedic astrology, the sidereal zodiac and ayanamsha. We will delve into the special meaning of our galactic center and the great ages of time (yugas). Examples of two different chart styles (North and South Indian) will be taught. This class will also introduce the system of planetary camps, and will briefly review house rulers and dispositors, the elements and qualities, retrograde planets, lunar nodes and eclipses, and the controversial outer planets that are used by Neo-Vedic astrologers.
Class Meeting 2: The Grahas (Planets, Luminaries and Lunar Nodes) and the Bhavas (Houses)
The meanings of the planets and houses in Vedic astrology are in great part similar to those of Western astrology, with some significant differences that we will discuss. The essence of Vedic astrology lies in our understanding of the nine grahas or "seizers" (the astral forms of the planets, luminaries and lunar nodes), which are karmic agents that reflect the results of our previous thoughts and actions. The bhavas (houses) are domains of planetary action, just as in Western astrology, and both systems share similar systems of classification. We will examine one additional arrangement that is unique to Vedic astrology, which correlates the bhavas (houses) with the four goals of life (purusharthas). The rashi chakra (whole sign chart) is the foundational chart, and on this foundation rests the secondary bhava (house) chart, of which there are two variations. We will specifically examine these three charts and discuss how they are constructed and used.
Class Meeting 3: The Rashis (Constellation Signs)
Vedic astrology uses the sidereal zodiac that is aligned with the same 12 constellations (rashis) after which the 12 tropical signs were originally named. "Rashi" or "rasi" is the Sanskrit word for a "heap or cluster of stars." The rashis and the signs of tropical astrology bear the same names and have similar meanings, though their locations are determined in different ways (sidereal versus tropical), and the rashi rulers are traditional, not modern (i.e., Vedic astrology does not use the modern scheme of outer planet rulerships). The grahas are modified by the qualities of the rashis in which they are placed. We will explore this topic through a study of the rashi characteristics, their main fixed stars, rulers, elements and modalities.
Class Meeting 4: The Bhavas (Houses) and Adhipatis (House Lords)
The several types of houses will be covered, including how to find the temporal status of the status based on house rulership. Adhipatis are the rulers or lords of the astrological houses. They carry a good deal of the meaning of the houses that they rule to the houses that they occupy and the planets that they influence. In chart interpretation, it is important to combine the natural status of a planet with its temporal status based on the house or houses it rules. Herein begins the discussion of yogas, which, broadly speaking, represent various planetary conditions capable of producing a certain effect.
Class Meeting 5: Yogas and Drishtis (Aspects)
"Yoga" means to "join together," so in effect, yogas are formed by combinations of planets with planets, or planets with houses, through aspect, mutual exchange or association. Yogas can show strength or weakness and fortune or misfortune. There are hundreds of yogas mentioned in the classical texts. The point of this class is to briefly touch on some of the ways that yogas can be formed, and we will also explore the more important Chandra (Moon) and Surya (Sun) yogas; Raja (kingly) Yogas; Ascendant Yoga Karakas; Aristha Yogas; Pancha Mahapurusha Yogas; and, a few choice others. Yogas can be formed by associations (conjunctions), mutual exchanges and aspects. Vedic astrology has a few different systems of aspects. For our purposes, we will focus on the planetary aspects (graha drishti). By virtue of their position in the horoscope, the grahas in a horoscope can influence and modify the results of other rashis and the grahas therein. Such influences are known as drishti (aspects). "Drishti" means "glance," and as the grahas literally cast their glance in certain directions, they modify the innate characteristics of the grahas, rashis and bhavas upon which they cast their glance.
Class Meeting 6: Varga Charts and the Chandra & Surya Lagnas
Vedic Astrology not only reads the chart from the Lagna (Ascendant), it also reads from the Moon and Sun. Also unique to Vedic astrology are the 16 divisional (varga) charts that are used for fine tuning in astrological analysis. The most important being the Navamsha Chart. This class will focus on reading charts from the Lagna, Moon, Sun and Navamsha to find repeating messages. It will also focus on how to use the appropriate additional varga charts to delve deeper into various areas of life.
Class Meeting 7: The Nakshatras
The Nakshatras are the 27 lunar asterisms or "lunar mansions" of Vedic astrology. They are quite rich in symbolism and deeply important in both topical and predictive astrology. Quite mysteriously, the Nakshatras often reflect both symbolic and literal meanings in the astrological chart. As the daughters of Daksha Prajapati, Lord Brahma's assistant in cosmic evolution, the Nakshatras are a manifestation of prakriti, the primal motive force of the Universe.
Class Meeting 8: Making Predictions with the Vimshottari Dasha System and Gochara (Transits)
Dashas are planetary periods that reveal which planets will tend to rule and distribute their karmas in a particular period of time. The dashas can indicate when, why and how certain karmas will become activated. There are over 40 different dasha systems in Vedic astrology, all determined in various ways. The Vimshottari dasha system is the most commonly used general dasha systems. It comprises a 120-year-long cycle of planetary positions based on the position of the planetary ruler of the Moon's natal nakshatra. Each graha is assigned a different major period (mahadasha or "great cycle"), ranging from 6 to 20 years. In many cases, the Vimshottari dasha system can be used to make very accurate predictions, especially when used in conjunction with transits. "Gochara" is the name for the transits (moving planets) of Vedic astrology. We will explore some of the ways in which Vedic astrology employs the transits for making predictions.
Class Meeting 9: Week 8: Final Class
Exam and Wrap-Up. The final class will use the chart of a famous person to tie together everything you have learned in this course. This will also serve as review for the final exam.
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