Tag Archives: mars vedic astrology

Vedic Chart Reading Basics: Part 1

Astrology is a fascinating and, for all practical purposes, endless subject. At times, I know it can seem like a foreign language to people who are new to it… especially when looking at charts. However, once an astrology student can read charts – even at a very basic level – the fun and excitement of analyzing the charts of family, friends, love interests or celebrities often jumpstarts the learning process. If you’re curious about astrology, but unsure how to read an astrological chart, my hope is that this series of posts about chart-reading fundamentals will help you get over that hurdle.

As this post is aimed at those new to Vedic astrology and/or South Indian-style charts, more experienced readers may want to check out my posts under the “Observations” tab.

I’ve included a chart – (in the South Indian style, which is what I use on this blog) – for a hypothetical person born at the time I’m writing this, which is December 20, 2015 at 6:00 pm in Los Angeles. I’ll refer to this chart throughout the post:

Screen Shot 2015-12-19 at 6.09.06 PM

Let’s start by finding the corner where a diagonal line is drawn in the chart. In this instance, we can see that a diagonal line is drawn in Gemini (abbreviated to “Ge”), which is in the upper right-hand corner of the chart. This diagonal line and the number next to it, 21:53, represent the “ascendant,” which is the degree during the exact time of birth, as viewed from our location. A good way to think of the ascendant is as your “starting point.”

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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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