Monthly Archives: October 2015

Mars in 1st House: Three Examples

It’s been proven that people learn foreign languages most effectively by the “immersion” method of being surrounded by the language in its natural context. Sure, you’ll still ask questions to clarify certain points and you might spend a little spare time brushing up on the basics, but the main way you become fluent in a new language is to fully experience that language as it’s naturally used.

In my view, astrology is essentially a language… and I’ve learned much more about astrology from reading and listening to expert astrologers explain charts or astrological concepts – even when they were speaking “over my head” – than I have from part-by-part lessons. That’s why I write so many chart analyses and concept-driven posts and why, even in my “basic” posts, I try to connect the subject to a broader astrological discussion. This post is titled “Mars in 1st House” and (of course) I’ll write about Mars in the 1st house, but hopefully with enough context included to form the astrological equivalent of a realistic “conversation.”

I’ve recently posted about the charts of two very different people with Mars in the 1st house and also looked over the chart of a close friend with Mars in the 1st house. All three examples clearly demonstrate how Mars may function in this position, yet each of these people also has Mars in a specific sign and nakshatra – (along with other planets in different positions, of course) – resulting in strikingly unique life choices and personality traits. For my Astrology and Enlightenment series, I profiled the great sage Nisargadatta Maharaj, who has Mars in the 1st house in Gemini and the nakshatra of Punavarsu; in my political astrology posts, I’ve discussed Donald Trump, who has Mars in the 1st house in Leo and the nakshatra of Magha; and my friend, whom I’ll call Henry, has Mars in the 1st house in Virgo and the nakshatra of Hasta.

If you’re wondering what Nisargadatta Maharaj and Donald Trump have in common, both are (or were in Nisargadatta’s case) near-tireless, quick to anger, and have/had unusually strong, memorable personalities. However, if I stopped there and explained “Mars in the 1st house” as representing these characteristics, you would probably think, “Yeah, right… so this placement can represent either a bombastic billionaire businessman or a great sage who was so humble he lived in a small flat near Bombay’s red light district almost his entire life. Thanks for narrowing it down for me.”

So, let’s look deeper. Trump’s Mars is in the fire sign of Leo, while Maharaj’s Mars is in the air sign of Gemini. (Each sign is associated with either fire, air, earth or water.)  It’s not an accident that terms such as “fiery” and “hot-blooded” refer to people who behave passionately and impulsively or that we call people who draw attention to themselves by putting on a big show “flamboyant.” Air signs are connected to their own cultural terminology. We refer to people as “high-minded” if we think they have something important to say or “long-winded” when we think they’re just talking for no good reason. The basic functioning of Leo is expressive and fiery, while the basic functioning of Gemini is talkative and airy. However, we should also note that Mars itself is a fiery planet, so it would make sense to view Trump’s Mars as “fire-meeting-fire” but Nisargadatta’s Mars as “fire-meeting-air.”

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Astrology and Enlightenment, Part 3

If you’ve missed my first and second posts in this series on astrology and enlightenment, which focused primarily on Krishnamurti and Osho, this is the third and final post in that series.

I wrote this series because I feel that sages – because of their unfiltered, genuine reactions – make for especially strong examples of different astrological influences. I also hoped to demonstrate that enlightenment occurs to all types of people with all types of personalities and that there is no litmus test – and if I could explore astrology in a meaningful way through the examples of Krishnamurti, Osho and Nisaragadatta Maharaj, all of whom I personally find fascinating – even better!

This post both wraps up the series and explores the life and astrological chart of Nisargadatta Maharaj, a householder who was moved at a young age to become an especially sincere follower of a local guru in the tradition of the Navnath Sampradaya, an ancient Tantric sect. Soon, the unreal dissolved for Nisargadatta and, expecting that multiple cigarette shops he owned would support his family in his absence, he left for the Himalayas and became a wandering sage.

Eventually, Nisargadatta returned home, but only one of his shops remained in business. He focused on stabilizing his family’s economic situation – (at least to the extent that getting by in a Bombay slum can be considered stable) – and as people noticed the remarkable change that had happened to him, he also began speaking to seekers after work in his flat. Over time, he drew the attention of skilled translators and, during the 1970s, he became known in the West.

Natal Chart for Nisargadatta Maharaj

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At a glance, the most striking feature in Nisargadatta’s chart is an exactly full moon, a rare placement which commonly results in an exceptionally “bright” and larger-than-life persona, along with the potential to have an unusually strong impact on others. According to Vedic lore, many avatars were born during full moons, and some of the most iconic figures in modern times (such as Charlie Chaplin, to give one example) also have this placement in their natal charts.

Nisargadatta’s Mars is located in his Ascendant, representing his well-known temper and fiery nature. Like Krishnamurti, Nisargadatta has an exalted Sun; however, while Krishnamurti never cared much for speaking to people or for being seen as a guru, Nisargadatta found joy in communicating his message of universal love to earnest seekers, many of whom became regulars at his flat for years or even decades.

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Astrology and Enlightenment, Part 2

As discussed in part 1 of this post, one of Krishnamurti’s final requests was not to have any monuments or temples built for him after his death. So, following Krishnamurti’s death, Osho instructed his disciples to promptly get to work on a grandiose monument. Osho’s explanation was that the only sort of person who deserved such a tribute was one who insisted against it, but I wonder if he was partially just being mischievous.

Krishnamurti and Osho never actually met. They were geographically near each other (i.e. within a short drive) on multiple occasions and their disciples and enthusiasts tried to arrange meetings, but an impasse always resulted. Osho would say there was no point since they were both enlightened. Krishnamurti was interested to meet Osho, but as Osho’s elder he felt it appropriate for Osho to come to him. Osho, true to his nature, had no interest in following any sort of tradition or protocol… which, of course, annoyed Krishnamurti.

Throughout his life, Osho seemed to delight in baiting both Krishnamurti and their fellow sage, Nisargadatta Maharaj. While Krishnamurti and Nisargadatta were friendly with each other, they generally gave as good as they got when responding to Osho’s lack of decorum. When Osho’s disciples, who regularly wore maroon robes and necklaces with a photo of Osho on them (known as malas) would attend Krishnamurti or Nisargadatta’s satsangs, the two older more traditional men frequently singled them out for criticism and harsh questioning. Yet, Osho would encourage his disciples, clad in their maroon robes, to keep returning to the other gurus, joking that doing so was like waving a red flag at a bull and delighting in what he seemed to consider a sort of cosmic practical joke.

According to people close to both Krishnamurti and Nisargadatta, each of them acknowledged Osho as enlightened but were confused and annoyed by his techniques and attitude. I find this distinction hilarious, as it seems rather like saying, “Sure, that guy’s a direct window into the mind of God… but what an asshole!” I also think it’s a great reminder that people are and always will be people, with personality quirks, preferences, likes and dislikes, even if enlightenment happens.

Osho’s chart provides an abundance of clues as to why he was more eccentric and mischievous – and also far more community oriented – than Krishnamurti or Nisargadatta. While Krishnamurti and Nisargadatta lived humbly and focused on the individual, Osho formed a massive commune, initiated his disciples into “neo-sannyas” and reveled in life’s sensualist pleasures. Osho’s natal chart demonstrates that he was destined to be contrarian in nature, deeply interested in taboo topics such as sex and death and involved in occult groups.

Osho’s Natal Chart: Note the 8th-House “Planetary Commune”

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As you can see, most of Osho’s planets are in the 8th house, which represents sex, death and all things taboo, secretive, occult and esoteric. Among Osho’s other planets, Jupiter is in his third house of communication, exalted and serving as his atmakaraka (indicator of the soul’s highest purpose) while in parivartana (mutual reception) with his 8th house Moon. This exchange of signs between his 3rd-house Jupiter and 8th-house Moon expresses his gift for communicating (3rd house) higher spiritual knowledge (Jupiter) via occult and esoteric practices (8th house) in an emotionally resonant manner (Moon). Not only that, but Osho was especially interested in expanding the role of women in his commune, celebrating the divine (Jupiter) aspect of the feminine (Moon).

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