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Zodiac Signs & Jyotish House Meanings

 
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Mark
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Posted: Thu Feb 25, 2021 4:09 am    Post subject: Zodiac Signs & Jyotish House Meanings Reply with quote

I have now heard presentations by two separate Indian astrologers on the subject of house meanings.

There are obviously, similarities and differences with the associations we know in the west.

However, the thing that struck me most about both astrologers ( One largely Jaimini /student of Sanjay Rath, the other more eclectic but into KP Astrology) is that both emphasized the direct link between house meanings and zodiac signs. Hence The 8th house was compared to Scorpio, the 9th to Sagittarius etc.

In the west we are more familiar with this kind of approach to house meanings through the idea of the so call 'alphabet zodiac' taught by modern astrologers like the late Zip Dobyns and Howard Sasportas who suggested a direct analogy like Aries/Mars/1st house. Cancer/Moon/ 4th house etc.

Traditional, astrologers like Deborah Houlding , Robert Schmidt and Chris Brennan, have instead emphasized the house meanings had a quite separate origin outside the zodiac signs. Influences on this were the relationship of houses to the ascendant, the planetary joys, the house polarities, and the diurnal movement of the Sun at the angles. Because of its links to Hellenistic astrology I previously assumed Indian astrology would also not have adopted a zodiacal approach to house meanings.

So my question is this: Are these Indian astrologers reflecting a well established practice in Jyotish classic texts or are their views a result of more modern western influences on Indian astrology. In fact could Indian astrology has been cross fertilised by western astrology?

My follow up question is about the use of the elements to the houses. Is this a modern development in Jyotish too. I mean things like the 4th, 8th and 12th being 'water houses'. I have heard Indian astrologers mentioning this too.

Thanks

Mark
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Martin Gansten
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Posted: Thu Feb 25, 2021 9:50 am    Post subject: Re: Zodiac Signs & Jyotish House Meanings Reply with quote

As far as I can recall, no Sanskrit texts derive the meanings of the houses from the signs of the zodiac. Tājika texts classify zodiacal signs according to the four elements, but not houses.
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Therese Hamilton



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Posted: Thu Feb 25, 2021 7:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark wrote:
Quote:
I have now heard presentations by two separate Indian astrologers on the subject of house meanings.
(...)
However, the thing that struck me most about both astrologers ( One largely Jaimini /student of Sanjay Rath, the other more eclectic but into KP Astrology) is that both emphasized the direct link between house meanings and zodiac signs. Hence The 8th house was compared to Scorpio, the 9th to Sagittarius etc.
(...)
Traditional, astrologers like Deborah Houlding, Robert Schmidt and Chris Brennan, have instead emphasized the house means had a quite separate origin outside the signs. Influences on this were the relationship of houses to the ascendant, the planetary joys, the house polarities, and the diurnal movement of the Sun at the angles. Because of its links to Hellenistic astrology I previously assumed Indian astrology would also not have adopted a zodiacal approach to house meanings.

So my question is this: Are these Indian astrologers reflecting a well established practice in Jyotish classic texts or are their views a result of more modern western influences on Indian astrology. In fact could Indian astrology has been cross fertilised by western astrology?

My follow up question is about the use of the elements to the houses. Is this a modern development in Jyotish too. I mean things like the 4th, 8th and 12th being 'water houses'. I have heard Indian astrologers mentioning this too.

These two principles you mention, Mark (the association of signs with houses and associating elements with houses are western corruptions that have already infiltrated modern texts of Jyotish in both India and the west. This is why I always recommend older texts to students who wish to learn India’s astrology.

The older texts stay with the Hellenistic meanings of houses, which is their original source. As Martin mentioned, linking elements with houses only comes from the newer Tajiki sources. (India does preserve the association of body parts with houses: Aries, the head; Taurus the throat, etc. India places the head in the 1st house, and the face in the 2nd house.)

(I think I sent you my paper a while ago which attempted to trace the introduction of linking elements to houses in Indian astrology.) It seem that B.V. Raman can be blamed for this as he had access to western astrology books.

I’m out of time for the moment or I would expand on both of your questions. I have the advantage of having studied India's astrology from classic texts and older Indian authors before the formation of the American Council of Vedic Astrology in the U.S. (California) in the 1990s. This was the beginning of mixing western concepts with India's traditional astrology. Now even well known astrologers have forgotten or were never aware of India's traditional teachings in different areas. Houses meanings especially have been corrupted.
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Therese Hamilton



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Posted: Thu Feb 25, 2021 7:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In my opinion the very best introduction to India's astrology is now out of print, but available used on Amazon. Valerie J. Roebuck's The Circle of Stars: An Introduction to Indian Astrology (Element Books Ltd, 1992; Vega, 2002). This is a scholarly, but easy to read book that sticks to the facts. The author quotes Minaraja in many places, and has this to say about the sign triplicities:

Quote:
The triplicities, too, are used in Indian astrology, though they are assigned to the cardinal points rather than to the elements:

"The Ram, the Lion and the Ninth Sign are lords of the east.."(etc.) (p. 27)

Mark, since you are studying India's astrology, Roebeck's book is a great book to own. It's the only book I've seen that gives a clear picture of the differences between Western (tropical) and India's astrology. It's an added bonus that the book contains many quotes by Minaraja, one of the earliest sources of India's astrology.

Valerie Roebuck is a Sanskrit scholar and also has a translation of the Upanishads which I can't locate at the moment.
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Martin Gansten
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Posted: Thu Feb 25, 2021 9:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Therese Hamilton wrote:
In my opinion the very best introduction to India's astrology is now out of print, but available used on Amazon. Valerie J. Roebuck's The Circle of Stars: An Introduction to Indian Astrology (Element Books Ltd, 1992; Vega, 2002).

Valerie tells me that the copyright has reverted to her and that she plans, after the pandemic is over, to scan the book and put it online with some corrections.
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Therese Hamilton



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Posted: Thu Feb 25, 2021 10:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, wonderful!! Thanks, Martin. If I had a school now for teaching India's astrology, Valerie's book would be the first reading requirement for students.

I think it would be very good to have the revised book in print again. Perhaps you can mention this to Valerie? The book is so valuable, in part for clearing up mis-information present in so many recent texts on India's astrology. Her book is like a clear light amidst the rubble, and has the advantage of its author being a Sanskrit scholar. The book 'feels' very Indian even though the author is a modern western woman.

(Valerie might want to re-work the paragraph on western sign elements as we now have translations that weren't available when she wrote the book. Also she might want to say more about the ayanamsa question.)

Note for James who once asked about a source for the meaning of Indian words: This book has a very useful 11 page Glossary of Terms if a used copy can be found somewhere.
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james_m



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Posted: Fri Feb 26, 2021 8:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks therese!
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Mark
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Posted: Thu Mar 25, 2021 7:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Therese wrote:
Quote:
Mark, since you are studying India's astrology, Roebeck's book is a great book to own. It's the only book I've seen that gives a clear picture of the differences between Western (tropical) and India's astrology. It's an added bonus that the book contains many quotes by Minaraja, one of the earliest sources of India's astrology.

Valerie Roebuck is a Sanskrit scholar and also has a translation of the Upanishads which I can't locate at the moment.


Thanks Therese. I did buy the book several years ago but I don't think I really appreciated its value back then. Time to get reacquainted! I do remember it was on Diana Rosenberg's select reading list for Indian astrology.

Mark
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Therese Hamilton



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Posted: Fri Mar 26, 2021 4:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It can be difficult to describe the difference in Valerie Roebuck's book and other recent books on India's astrology by western authors. Somehow her book carries the tone of ancient India, perhaps because she can read and cmprehend the Sanskrit texts.

Perhaps the difference can best be described as Gayatri Devi Vasudev wrote in the forward to William R. Levacy's Beneath a Vedic Sky (1999):

Quote:
"Each country has its own ethos, milieu and culture; and transporting a subject such as Jyotisha to an environment vastly different from where it has its roots can lead to a lot of confusion in understanding and assimilating its spirit. William Levacy's contribution to Vedic astrological literature in the west is at this level meant for the American mind and intellect."

Valerie Roebuck has managed to capture the spirit of India's astrology while other recent books have 'westerized' the topic, and (perhaps unintentionally) introduced concepts from tropical astrology as it is practiced in America and Europe.
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