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Vedic Chart Reading Basics: Part 2

In part 1 of this post, I discussed some basic chart-reading guidelines for those new to astrology (or just new to Vedic-style charts). While those with Vedic astrology backgrounds will prefer to check out some of the blog’s more advanced posts, my hope is that this post and its predecessor will be a useful reference for beginners.

Since the first post in this series discussed the initial steps in chart reading, such as locating the ascendant, learning abbreviations for planets and signs and identifying the 12 houses, this post will go into a bit more detail about how planets, signs and houses work astrologically, while also introducing the concept of “aspects.”

In another earlier post about astrology fundamentals, I discussed the importance of viewing the planets as people. Like people, each planet has specific personality traits and, in the same manner that we respond in certain ways to different environments and lifestyles, planets respond differently to the energy of each astrological sign.

The 12 houses represent the different parts of our lives, as discussed in this other early post. For example, the 6th house represents our daily labor, debts, enemies and health or illness, while the 7th house represents our partnerships (including most notably – but certainly not only – marriage).

Let’s look at the big picture this way:

  1. Planets are people.
  2. Houses are the different parts of our lives.
  3. Signs are the types of energy (think: adjectives) connected to each house. Signs always match up with houses in the same clockwise order (i.e. Taurus always comes after Aries, Gemini always comes after Taurus, etc.), so as long as you find the ascendant in a chart, it’s easy to match up the houses and signs.
  4. When planets are close to each other in a chart (a “conjunction”) or reflect on each other at a direct angle (such as 180 degrees, which is called an “opposition”) they impact one another. Conjunctions and oppositions are both types of “aspects,” which is the broader term for all the ways planets reflect on one another and impact each other with their energy.

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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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