Learn Astrology: Houses
This is third part of a weekly series on learning Indian astrology by famous astrologer Punit Pandey. To read this article in Hindi, please click here.
This week we will learn how to interpret diagram of a birth chart. We will also get to know concepts like ascendant and house etc.
A birth-chart (also called Kundli or Horoscope in India) can be called a map of planetary positions at the time of birth. There are several different ways of portraying birth-chart in different parts of India. Mainly horoscope is drawn in three major ways – north Indian style, south Indian style and Bangla (East Indian) style. To keep it simple, we will restrict our discussion to north Indian style only.
A birth chart tells about the position of planets in houses and signs. We have already discussed about the planets and zodiac sings, and we will talk about houses a little bit later. In north Indian diagram of birth chart, ascendant sign is written on very first place and then signs are shown from right to left. It means signs are depicted “anti-clock wise” and the number corresponding to zodiac sign is shown in each box. It can be understood better with following example chart:
Houses (Sanskrit: भाव)
To understand what is house, we will have to forget all the numbers and names of planets in above example chart for a while. Above birth chart diagram can be decamped in 12 boxes, out of which eight are triangular and four are rectangular in shape. In these four rectangles, topmost rectangle is considered to be “ascendant” or the “first house”. This It has been depicted in gray background in above example chart. Position of ascendant is always fixed in the birth chart. So when we have to find out ascendant, we look at the position of grayed box above. Anything written in that gray box will be called in “first house.”
When we start counting anti-clock wise from first house, the next position arrived thus is known as second house. The next one from second house is called third house and so on. In Sanskrit, house and ascendant are known as bhaav (भाव) and lagna (लग्न) respectively.
House-lord (Sanskrit: भावेश)
As we know, “house” and “sign” are two different concepts. The numbers written in horoscope denote zodiac signs, e.g. “11” can be seen written in first house, which shows that eleventh sign i.e. Aquarius is in ascendant or first house. Similarly, the 12th sign or Pisces is situated in second house. We have studied in previous lesson that lords of Aquarius and Pisces are Saturn and Jupiter respectively. Therefore, in astrological language we will say that lord of first house is Saturn (because ‘11’ is written in first house). In same manner, lord of second house is Jupiter.
The lord of first house is also known as ascendant-lord. Similarly, lord of second house is called second-lord, lord of third house is called third-lord and so on. So in example chart we can say that Saturn is the first house lord, Jupiter is the second house lord and so on.
Position of planets in houses
If we start counting from gray rectangle to the house where Venus and Rahu are placed in example chart, we will count up to 5. Thus, we can say that Rahu and Venus are posited in fifth house. Similarly, Moon and Mars are in sixth, Saturn, Sun and Mercury are in seventh, and Jupiter and Ketu are in eleventh house. This is known as position of planets in different houses.
Position of Planets in signs
It is comparatively easier to determine position of planets in zodiac signs. The number written in the box where planet is posited shows position of the planet in sign. In above illustration, ‘3’ is written in the box where Venus and Rahu are placed, so we can say that these planets are in 3rd sign i.e. Gemini. In similar fashion, Moon and Mars are in Cancer sign because ‘4’ is written in the box where they are posited.
Before finishing this week’s lesson, I would like to repeat it that position of planets in houses and signs are two different concepts. When it comes to houses, the topmost rectangular house is considered the first one irrespective of the number written there. The numbers written are not important for determining the position of planets in houses. These numbers convey zodiac signs and therefore they are used to ascertain the position of planets in different signs.
That's it for now. Logging off – Sayonara.