Lesson 3How a horoscope is cast and the four types of chart stylesBefore learning about the other aspects of astrology, you must now learn about how a horoscopeis cast and how to read it. We are not going into the teaching of the complicated mathematicalaspects of calculating the planetary positions, lagna etc. Now a days even the astrologers dependon the computerised software. From the practical point of view of learning the basics, you onlyneed to know how the birth chart is cast and how to read and understand it.The horoscope is the picture of the heavens at the time of ones birth. It shows in which rasis, orsigns, the 9 planets are positioned. It also shows another important aspect of astrology called theLagna or the Ascendant. It plays a major role in analyzing an individuals life. The ascendant is calculated based on your place and time of birth and varies from place to place. This is because
of the difference in latitude and longitude and the sun rise time. Lagna is called your individual 1st
house. It must be noted that the lagna may fall in any of the 12 rasis. The counting of your
individual houses is always done from the lagna. You will learn about the houses and their
importance in the next lesson.
The position of the planets on any given day and time is calculated from the ephemeris, called
Panchang, and the horoscopes are made accordingly. It is not some kind of a mystic charting of
planetary names in a chart.
Difference in measuring the planetary positions – Vedic vs. Western astrology
Vedic Astrology follows the Nirayana or the sidereal zodiac, where as the Western Astrology
follows the Sayana or the tropical zodiac. Its a highly complicated astronomical subject. Briefly
the fundamentals are as follows.
The placement and especially the degrees of the planets in the birth chart of a person made
according to western astrology differ considerably from the birth chart made according to Indian
astrology. According to the western sun signs Sun enters Aries on 21st of March but according to
our calculations it enters Aries on the 14th of April. So there is a 24 degrees difference. The
Western or “Sayana” zodiac system makes
calculations and predictions based on the present
position of the planets from a zodiacal point of view
or AS OBSERVED BY THE SATELLITES. Our
system is called “Nirayana” or Indian System. In the
Nirayana system, the planetary positions are AS
SEEN FROM EARTH TODAY by taking into account
the tilting of the North Pole by making corrections
If you take the standard globe available in the market
and keep it on the table, you will observe that the
North and the south poles are not exactly 90 degrees
vertically up but are tilting. This inclination is about
23+ degrees to the east and it greatly effects
astronomical calculations. See the picture.
This inclination is caused due to the shifting of the vernal equinox, which happens because of the
West to East spin of the earth around its axis. While playing tennis or table tennis, if you give a
sideways spin to the ball it not only spins in the direction of the spin but also swerves or swings in
the air. Similarly as the earth is spinning towards the east on its axis, the North Pole is slowly
tilting towards the east. This difference between the longitudes of the starting points of the sidereal and tropical zodiacs is called Ayanamsha. The starting points of the sidereal and tropical
zodiacs coincides once in every 25,800 years approximately. According to accurate scientific
calculations, the present shift started in the year 285 AD, i.e. 285 years ago the North Pole was
perfectly vertical at 90 degrees. The most accurate method of calculating this Ayanamsha is the
Chitrapaksha Ayanamsha, popularly called Lahiri Ayanamsha.
The Ayanamsha calculations of the Greeks like Hippocras and Ptolemy were wrong. The western
scientists are officially “credited” with the “discovery” of the accurate shifting of the earths equinox
towards the end of the 19th century. They found it to be 50″. It was actually known to the Hindu
astrologers long before that. Varahamihira, the famous astrologer in the court of Vikramaditya in
the year 57BC, clearly mentioned in his work Pancha Siddhantika, based on our ancient
Siddhantas, that the Ayanamsha is 50.32 seconds. This is the most accurate one.
The difference between the Sayana longitudes and the Nirayana longitudes of Planets is called
“Ayanamsha” or precision. This Ayanamsha difference is the exactly calculated shift or inclination
of the equinox. For example on this day on 23rd June 08, the exact Ayanamsha or the tilt is
23:58:43 degrees. From the longitude poison of the planets in the Zodiac at this
moment, when this Ayanamsha is deducted, we get the correct longitude of the
planets as applicable to our position on earth. In the western system as this shift of
the equinox is not taken into account, all the planets are about 24 degrees ahead.
The picture given bellow will give you an idea.
The position earth shown in the picture is with equinox tilted correctly i.e. corrected
Ayanamsha. If you are born on the dark spot see the position difference of Sun if
Ayanamsha is not corrected. We are more concerned as to where the planet is vis-à-vis our
position on earth and not as seen by a satellite! And we definitely don’t follow the equinox position of 285AD!!
The four types of charting styles.
In India the astrologers follow different methods of casting a
chart. There are mainly four methods of casting the charts. They
are explained bellow.
South Indian method: In the south Indian style of casting a
chart, the position of the zodiacal signs, from Aries to Pisces
always remains fixed, as shown in the picture below left. The counting of the houses and the
positioning of the planets is done clockwise, as shown in the picture below right. This changes
from individual chart to chart. So it can be said that the south style chart follows the fixed sign
method. The sign which becomes the ascendant or lagna is marked with the words As or Asc or
Lagna. In some cases astrologers also draw two parallel lines at the top corner of the ascendant,
the way we cross a bank cheque, to mark the ascendant
The data given in the table to the right below shows the ascendant and the 9 planets in the 1st
column, their exact degrees in the 2nd column, the rasi in which they are placed in the third
column, the nakshatra in which they are placed in the 4th column and the nakshatra pada in the
last column. The birth chart is made placing the planets in those houses. The positioning of the
planets and the ascendant is as follows.
Ascendant or Lagna: In Vrischika or Scorpio
Sun : In Vrishabha or Taurus
Moon: In Kumbha or Aquarius
Mars: In Mithuna or Gemini
Mercury: In Mesha or Aries
Jupiter: In Tula or Libra
Venus: In Mithuna or Gemini
Saturn: In Mesha or Aries
Rahu: In Kumbha or Aquarius
Ketu: In Simha or Leo
The sign in which the moon is placed is called
Janma Rasi or moon sign. In this case the Janma
rasi is Kumbha or Aquarius.
The nakshatra in which the moon is placed in the
birth chart in called Janma Nakshatra. In this case
the Janma nakshatra is Satabhistha 1st quarter.
As obvious in this chart the lagna is Vrischika, moon
and Rahu are in the 4th house counted from lagna,
Mercury and Saturn are in the 6th house from lagna, Sun is in the 7th house, Mars and Venus are
in the 8th house, Ketu is in the 10th house and Jupiter is in the 12th house.
North Indian Style
North Indian method: In the north Indian method of casting the chart, as in the above example,
the ascendant or lagna is always kept at the top center and the signs are denoted by their
zodiacal sequence number, i.e., Aries is 1, Taurus
is 2, Gemini 3, Cancer 4, Leo 5, Virgo 6, Libra 7,
Scorpio 8, Sagittarius 9, Capricorn 10, Aquarius 11
and Pisces 12. Here the charting of the houses
and the planets is anti-clockwise. In the above
demonstration the same chart with the same
planetary positions is shown. The lagna is
Vrischika and denoted by the sign number 8 and placed at the top center. The planets are placed
in the same houses, but charted in the anti-clockwise fashion. For example sun is in Vrishabha or
Taurus which is the zodiac house number 2. So we can say that the northern chart follows the
fixed house method.
East Indian or Maithili method: This type of chart, which is popular in Andhra Pradesh and parts
of Orissa and Bengal, is drawn differently and follows the fixed sign method of the south style
chart, but the charting is done anti-clockwise as shown in the picture bellow.
The circular chart: It is the same as the northern chart in every respect but drawn in a circular
fashion as shown below.
The twelve Bhavas or Houses
An individuals horoscope is divided into 12 Bhavas or houses, based on the position of ones
lagna in the chart. The nature and qualities of the rasis, planets and the nakshatras explained so
far are their basic inherent qualities. Once a persons chart is analyzed from the lagna point of
view, based on the way these planets and rasis are placed from lagna, gives them a personal
touch and helps us to understand the various aspects and events of ones life.
The sign in which your lagna or ascendant is placed becomes your 1st house. The sign next to
that (clockwise in the south chart and anticlockwise in a north chart), becomes your 2nd house.
The one next to that is your 3rd house and so on till the 12th house.
The 1st, 5th, and 9th houses are called Trikonas or trine houses. They are the most powerful and
auspicious houses. They are also called Lakshmi sthanas as the rule all kinds of prosperities.
The 1st, 4th, 7th, and 10th houses are called Kendras or quadrants. They are also auspicious
and powerful houses next to the konas.
The 3rd and the 11th houses are called Upachayas or houses of growth.
The 6th, 8th, and 12 houses are called Dusthanas or bad houses.
1, 5, and 9 are Dharma houses.
2, 6, and 10 are Artha houses.
3, 7, and 11 are Kama houses.
4, 8, and 12 are Moksha houses.
The 12 houses and what they signify and represent in your life.
The First house or Lagna called Tanu sthana represents your birth, body looks and soul,
personality traits and inclinations, longevity, health, character and nature. It also rules your head
the head, longevity, health, character and nature of the native. It is a Kendra trikona and Dharma
bhava, and it is at the same time. It is one of the most important and auspicious house in the
The Second house called Dhana sthana, represents your wealth, speech, family, face, right eye,
mouth and the food you eat and charity and death.
The Third house called Bhatru sthana represents your younger brothers and sisters, courage,
servants and subordinates, communications, talents and skills, sports, business, short distance
The Fourth bhava called Matru sthana, represents mother, home, relatives, office or factory,
emotions, domestic and house related happiness, landed property and conveyances, education
mental peace and chest and lungs.
The Fifth house called Putra sthana, represents children, education and intellect, creativity,
mantra, tantra and pooja.
The Sixth house called Shatru sthana, represents health, illness, injuries, loans, sports, maternal
uncle, enemies and opposition.
The Seventh house called Kalatra sthana, represents spouse, sex life, reproduction and genital
organs, partners, enjoyments and Kundalini Shakti and death.
The Eight house called Ayu sthana, represents destruction, accidents, physical pains,
inheritance, legacies, death and insurance.
The Ninth house called bhagya sthana, represents luck, prosperity, guru, father, religious and
spiritual progress and knowledge of the scriptures, sadhana, pilgrimages, foreign travel and
foreign trade, grandchildren.
The Tenth house represents your profession, business, authority and power and honors and
The Eleventh house represents gains and income, good news, money, elder brothers and
sisters, friends, long distance travels, air lines and entertainment.
The Twelfth house represents losses, waste, expenses, foreign countries, imprisonment, death,
sadhana and Moksha or final liberation.
Each of the 9 different planets, while placed in the 12 different houses, produce different, and at
times totally opposite results. Again each of them produces some good results and some bad
results. Remember this important fact.
As there are 12 houses and only 9 planets, there will always be some vacant houses. In most
horoscopes there are more than one planet in a house. The lords of the rasis as mentioned
earlier in lesson 1, i.e., Mars for Aries, Venus for Taurus etc., become the lords of your houses
falling in those rasis. Which house lord is placed in which house is a very important factor. Again
each house lord placed in the other houses has some good results and some bad. Again because
of the dual ownership rasis by planets, a planet placed in a particular house as lord of one house
may be good, but bad as lord of the other house.
This is the third important parameter to remember.
Let us see the example horoscope to make things clear.
Remember the house counting is done from the lagna, which is the 1st house.
North Indian Anti-Clockwise South Indian – Count clockwise
In this horoscope:
The lagna or the 1st house falls in Vrischika rasi or Scorpio. Scorpio is owned by Mars. So the
lagna lord is mars. He is placed in Gemini, the 8th house counted from lagna.( the counting starts
The 2nd house is Dhanu or Sagittarius, its owner is Jupiter. So the 2nd lord is placed in Libra,
the 12th house from lagna.
The 3rd house is Makara or Capricorn, owned by Saturn, who is placed in Aries, the sixth house.
The 4th house is Kumbha or Aquarius, owned by Saturn, who is placed in Aries, the sixth house.
The 5th house is Meena or Pisces, owned by Jupiter, who is placed in the 12th house.
The 6th house is Mesha or Aries, whose lord Mars is in the 8th house. You may interested to
note that mars as the important lagna lord placed in the 8th house is bad and inauspicious, but in
the 2nd case as the owner of a bad 6th house placed in another bad 8th house, he very good and
The 7th house is Vrishabha or Taurus, whose lord Venus is placed in the 8th house.
The 8th house is Mithuna or Gemini, whose lord is placed in the 6th house. (This is good)
The 9th house is Karka or Cancer, whose lord moon is in the 4th house.
The 10th house is Simha or Leo and the lord sun is in the 7th house.
The 11th house is Kanya or Virgo and the lord is in the 6th house. (This is bad)
The 12th house lord Venus placed in the 8th house. (Again note Venus as the bad 12th lord in
the bad 8th house is good, but as the important 7th lord in the bad 8th he is bad)
For every lagna some planets are benefic, some are malefic and some are neutral. Again how
they are placed in the chart is a very important point to be considered. However the following
are the basic thumb rules:
Lords of 1, 5, 9 houses are always benefics.
Lords of 4, 7, 10 houses if placed in auspicious houses produce good results.
Lords of 6, 8, 12 house if placed in 6, 8, or 12 houses produce good results but are bad if placed
in the good houses.
2nd and 11th lords are better placed in the auspicious houses.
When two or more planets are placed in a house, it is called the conjunction of planets. The
results of these conjunctions of planets will depend on whether they are benefics or malefics from
the lagna point of view. The conjunction of the Kendra lords or the Kona lords or the Kendra or
Kona lords is highly auspicious. These are called Raja yoga combinations. The Raja yoga
combinations give rise to authority, power, position and wealth. However, if a dusthana lord. i.e.,
6th, 8th or 12th lord joins them it spoils the rajayogas.
When two planets exchange houses, i.e., let us say Mars is in Venus house and Venus in Mars
house, it is called Parivartana Yoga or Exchange Yoga. The Parivartana Yoga is a very powerful
one. The Parivartana Yoga becomes auspicious if the exchange is between two auspicious
houses, i.e., between the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 7th, 9th, 10th and 11th houses. Similarly if two
dusthana lords, i.e., 6th, 8th and 12th, exchange houses then also it is auspicious. However, if a
benefic house lord exchanges houses with a malefic house lord, like 9th lord with the 12th lord,
then the exchange is inauspicious.
Similarly if exalted planets are placed in Kendras etc. it again causes Rajayogas. There are
several hundred raja yoga combinations mentioned in the Shastras.
Further analysis and the Varga charts
There are several other points which are of importance while analyzing a chart. According to the
Rishi Parashara, analyzing the horoscope from Lagna, Chandra Lagna and Surya Lagna is
important to arrive at the correct conclusions.
The sign in which the Moon is placed in the birth chart, called Janma Rasi, is a very important
parameter while judging a horoscope. It is used as another lagna. Just as you study the
placement of planets from the lagna, the way the planets are placed from the moon is also
studied to give an additional view.
The house in which your Sun is placed is called the Surya Lagna and this is studied the way
lagna and Chandra lagna are studied.
Churning from houses
Churning the houses is a unique way of analyzing several aspects of life. For example your wife
wants to know about her younger sister but hasn’t got the horoscope details. This can be seen
from your horoscope. In your chart the 7th is your wife’s house. From there the 3rd is the house of
her younger sister, i.e., the 9th house in your chart, is your wife’s younger sister’s house. By
studying your chart by taking your 9th house as lagna, you can infer about your wife’s younger
sister. Alternately, this can be studied from your wife’s chart also by taking 3rd house as lagna.
Similarly from your chart your child’s wife can be seen – your 5th is your child’s house and from
there the 7th indicates his wife.