Julia & Me: A Tale of Two Lagnas

 

I love the world! I'm so happy! Thank you!” ~ Julia Roberts

Whoa!” ~ Fred Abong

The first of the above quotations gushed forth from one of 'America's Sweethearts' on the evening of March 25, 2001 at the 73rd Academy Awards. Julia Roberts had just received the Best Actress Oscar for her role in Erin Brokovich and was understandably elated. Yet these rays of verbal sunshine were merely the closing salutations in a larger oration that became (in)famous for its protracted giddiness. Indeed, it remains to this day the second longest acceptance speech in Academy Awards history. But who can fault Ms. Roberts for her toothy effusions? She did just win an Oscar, after all, and as far as screen acting goes, there is no higher honor.

The second of the above prefatory quotations trickled out on or around the same date as that of Ms. Roberts, though in decidedly less glamorous surroundings. If memory serves, during this time I was still reeling from some rather rough treatment by the gods of love and money, who apparently had seen it fit to give me the equivalent of an existential 'pantsing'. Psychological trousers around my ankles, I recall nonetheless busying my mind with things that would actually bring more rather than less exposure. That is to say that the night of March 25, 2001 occurred during a cycle in which the knowledge and wisdom of astrological theory and practice had, for me, become all-consuming. Such exclamatory pronouncements were thus not out of character at this time, as one revelation after another came crashing down on my soft-headed, bare-bottomed self.

Astro-Twins

If at this point you are wondering about the significance of these semi-parallel vignettes, then wonder no longer. The secret connection between Julia and me is this: we were both born on the same month, same day, and same year and are therefore what you might call 'astrological twins'. Where our paths diverge (astrologically speaking), however, is in both the clock time and geographical location of our respective 'origins'. And this divergence, as a crotchety poet once said, has made all the difference (again, astrologically speaking).

For those who practice astrology, such differences in birth data are indeed hugely significant, especially when it comes to casting the horoscope. This is because the time and place of one's birth (along, of course, with the calendar date) determine the all-important starting point for the horoscope - the ascendant, or rising sign. In Vedic astrology the rising sign is known as the lagna, and having the correct lagna is absolutely critical for accurate chart interpretation. Without it, all analysis of personal and material existence, as well as of the correct timing of events, becomes difficult or even impossible.

The Lagna Thread

With this in mind, I want here to illustrate the ways in which the different lagnas of two 'astrological twins' also reflect two very different individual realities. Rather than cover the entire chart, however, I will instead follow the 'thread' of the lagna. This means I will focus primarily on the lagna, the ruler of the lagna, and the aspects that the lagna and its ruler receive. Hopefully, this narrowed analysis will demonstrate just how significant the rising sign is in Vedic astrology.

Let's begin then by looking at the two horoscopes, with Julia's on the left and mine on the right. The first thing to notice is that each of the twelve planets/nodes (I use the outer planets Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto, though traditional Vedic astrologers do not) is in the same zodiacal sign in both of the charts. The next thing to pay attention to is that most of the twelve planets in the respective charts do not share the exact same zodiacal degree and minute. This is important, especially when it comes to the Moon, which is the fastest moving planet in the horoscope. 

In Vedic astrology in particular, the Moon takes on very special significance. It is from the sign and degree placement of the Moon that the order of planetary periods, called dashas, are calculated. This set of calculations is based on the Vedic system of lunar cycle divisions, known as the lunar mansions, or nakshatras. But I don't want to go into the particulars of the nakshatras here. Instead, I want only to point out that the 3° 13' difference between the placement of Julia's Moon and mine (both in Magha nakshatra) meant that she would begin life in a Ketu/Venus/Moon dasha while my initiation to earthy existence began in a Ketu/Moon/Venus dasha, as the images show. While this is not entirely relevant to the discussion of the lagnas, it will nonetheless prove material in a later section that examines the 'fateful evening' of March 25, 2001 that began this essay.

 Julia's Birth Dasha Sequence   

Julia's Birth Dasha Sequence   

  My Birth Dasha Sequence

 My Birth Dasha Sequence

In any case, just as the Moon takes on great importance because of its rapid motion, so, too, does the main topic under examination, the lagna, become pivotal due to its speediness. Indeed, while the Moon spends roughly twenty-six or twenty-seven hours in a sign, the lagna changes roughly every two hours and twenty minutes. Hence, because of the difference in both the time and geographical location of Julia's and my birth, we were each 'blessed' with different lagnas, or rising signs (along with being born into different dashas, as mentioned). As the horoscopes show, Julia was born when Cancer was rising, while I appeared a few hours later under Virgo lagna. This means that for Julia the Moon becomes her lagna lord, while for me Mercury takes on that role.

So what happens when everything, except the lagna, is basically identical in two charts like these?

A Multi-Million Dollar Face

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For starters, the house placements of the planets in each of the charts is different. In Julia's chart, for example, the 2nd house becomes very powerful as it is loaded with three benefic planets: the Moon (although it is waning, I would still consider it to be benefic due to its status as the lagna lord), Jupiter, and Venus.

This means that 2nd house concerns and significations become highlighted in Julia's life. These include things such as: money or wealth (especially the money we earn from our jobs), knowledge, speech, early education, the face, the mouth, the types of things one tends to consume, what one values and/or feels responsible for, family (both birth and those who later become like family), domesticity, and those things or people that make us feel secure or at home.

While Julia's 2nd house is incredibly strong because of the three benefics situated there, it is further bolstered by the fact that it contains three rajayogas, or 'royal union makers'. The first, and most powerful of these is caused by the close conjunction of 1st lord Moon and the 9th lord Jupiter. The second comes from the wide conjunction of the 9th lord Jupiter and the 4th lord Venus. And the third occurs when the 1st lord Moon makes a wide conjunction to the 4th lord Venus.

Family Troubles

But despite all these benefic influences on the 2nd house - which have clearly shown their effects in Julia's ability to amass vast wealth, to be the bearer of a face that 'glows' and attracts the gaze of the public (Moon), to possess a trademark smile or 'iconic mouth', and to value the sanctity of the family she has created as an adult – the 2nd house is not without some major issues.

JuliaVedic.jpg

These issues begin with the fact that the lord of the 2nd house, the Sun, is debilitated (in its least favorable sign) in Libra in the 4th house of happiness (among other things). What this means is that Julia's early family life would likely neither be filled with joy nor with security. Indeed, as it is now known, Julia's security was compromised at a young age, as she lost her biological father to cancer when she was just five years old (debilitated Sun, as significator of father, closely conjunct Ketu, the 'dissolver', and in close opposition to Rahu, a primary indicator of cancer).

While this was by itself a tragedy, things apparently got worse when Julia's mother quickly remarried a man who was by all accounts unkind, and perhaps even abusive to Julia and her siblings. The 4th house is, of course, also the house of the mother. So, since Julia's 4th house contains two malefics (debilitated Sun and Ketu) and one planet (Mercury) that rules the dusthana (grief-producing) 12th house and the 3rd house of arguments or aggression, it is no surprise that her mother had a rough go of it, especially in her relationships with men (debilitated Sun).

As a sort of exclamation point on this difficulty in the life of Julia's mother, we need only observe that the lord of the 4th house (Venus), as temporary signifier of the mother for Cancer lagna, is in close conjunction with the planet of deep struggle and destruction (Pluto) in the 2nd house of domesticity. Again, this can all be seen, as has been shown, by following the thread that begins with the lagna and its lord.

Royal Fame

While the thread of the lagna is woven throughout the entire chart, I want to try to limit our exploration, as I said, to the most recognizable facets of Julia's life. So far, that thread has directed us to an appreciation of her eminently recognizable visage, to an understanding of the reasons for her unique ability to command huge sums for her services, and to an awareness of some of the unfortunate circumstances of her early life. Now I'd like to follow the thread of the lagna to what is probably the most identifiable feature of Julia's life, namely her fame.

Since there are no planets placed in the lagna, let's begin again with the lord of the lagna, the Moon. Remember that the 1st house, or lagna, is the house that signifies the physical body, the ability of one to be 'recognized' or seen by others, one's potential for 'success', one's health, one's psychological makeup, one's self-expression, the things one is interested in, the overall impression one makes on others, one's level of self-confidence, and one's sense of individuality. In other words, the 1st house, or lagna, is the house of the self in the most fundamental sense.

JuliaVedic.jpg

With this in mind, we see that Julia's lagna lord, Moon, is in the 2nd house closely conjunct both the 9th and 6th lord Jupiter, and also the 4th and 11th lord Venus. In terms of planetary influence, the aspect of the two great benefics, Jupiter and Venus, on the lagna lord suggest that Julia would be someone who will exhibit both a 'big' and 'cheerful' presence (Jupiter) and who will also be seen as someone who is 'sweet', 'beautiful', and 'sexy' (Venus). As we know, Julia is well-known for all of these qualities.

In addition to these fundamentally feminine traits, however, Julia has had roles, such as her lead part in Erin Brokovich, in which she played the 'tough broad' who is unafraid to speak her mind and stick up for herself. In terms of the lagna, this ability is the result of the special 8th sign aspect that the 1st house receives from Mars (the planet of the warrior). The conjunction of lagna lord Moon with the 6th lord Jupiter also shows the ability to project a righteous (Jupiter) image while also being able to tangle with 'enemies' (Jupiter rules the 6th house of competition and enemies).

Yet the power to be recognized as more than just another pretty face (who can be 'brassy' when necessary'), and to instead become a household name and prominent member of the Hollywood 'royalty' comes from two areas in the horoscope in particular. The first of these, the household name type of fame, is related to the fact that Rahu, the planet of incessant material desire/gains is placed in Julia's 10th house of public status and profession.

Rahu in the 10th house is a common placement found in the charts of very famous people because Rahu tends to expand or 'give a lot of' whatever the house it is located in signifies. So Rahu in the 10th house will often bring a lot of public recognition or status, though that recognition or status can be high or low since Rahu is a rather undirected energy that simply wants more and more.

This is important, and I suggest that the nature of 10th house Rahu fame depends heavily on the strength of the lagna and its lord. If the lagna and its lord are weak (poorly aspected, in difficult houses or signs, etc...) then the person may be infamous rather than famous.

Or, alternatively, he may still be famous but the fame will probably be based more on something he or she has accomplished than on his or her persona or personality. That is to say that someone with a strong Rahu in the 10th house may have notoriety on some level, but unless his 1st house and its lord are strong and well-disposed then he will not necessarily have the charisma of a 'celebrity'. Julia, as we have seen, not only has Rahu in the 10th house but also has the strong lagna lord, which adds the element of personal magnetism.

And as for the second aspect of her fame, her 'royal' status, we can see this most easily through the rajayoga ('royal union') combinations (mentioned earlier) that involve her lagna lord Moon. Furthermore, Julia's 10th house and its inhabitant, Rahu, are receiving all of that rajayoga energy by the mutual sign aspects (in this case between Aries and Leo) as indicated by both Parashara and Jaimini. No matter how you slice it, then, Julia's chart is loaded with fame and celebrity indicators.

And the Oscar Goes To ...

  Julia's Oscar Dasha Cycle

 Julia's Oscar Dasha Cycle

To bring it full circle, then, let's take a look at the 'moment' of Julia's 'official' indoctrination into the world of Hollywood celebrity. For our purposes, we will assume that her Oscar win serves as the pivotal event. As noted in the introduction, this landmark occurred on the evening of March 25, 2001. On this day, Julia was in her Moon maha dasha, Mars antara dasha, and Mercury pratyantara dasha (Moon/Mars/Mercury, for short), as the image shows.

If we recall all that was said above regarding the power of Julia's lagna lord, we will see that the Moon maha dasha promised a rise in personal recognition. It is no coincidence, in other words, that the movie for which she would win the Oscar, Erin Brokovich, was released on March 14, 2000, shortly after Julia's Moon maha dasha kicked in on February 5, 2000. She was virtually assured during this dasha of achieving a level of attention that her previous dasha (Sun) only hinted at.

It is also not surprising that Julia was to prevail over her fellow nominees on the evening of the 73rd Academy Awards, given the fact that her already powerful Moon maha dasha was joined by the antara dasha lord and rajayogakaraka Mars (as lord of the 5th and 10th houses). The fact that Mars is placed in the 6th house of overcoming enemies all but guaranteed a victory for Julia on that night.

A Quiet(er) Life

While much more could be said regarding Julia's dasha sequence, I will conclude the examination of Julia' lagna and its thread by making two comments. The first is that her Moon maha dasha ended on or around February 4, 2010, at which point she moved into her Mars maha dasha. While the Mars dasha, which itself ends on February 4, 2017, is still in many ways a dasha focused on career because it rules the 10th house, its overall character or 'flavor' is different from that of the Moon. This is because the Moon is the lagna lord and its dasha was therefore far more 'self-centered' than the Mars dasha, which rules the 5th house of children (among other things).

And as we know, Julia has indeed stepped out of the limelight a bit over the past few years to spend more time raising her children and to generally live a more 'mundane' existence. Of course, the mundane life for a Hollywood superstar is very different from the mundane life of a 'regular' person, but Julia's life has nonetheless taken a decidedly 'low profile' turn compared to the one she had during her Moon dasha.

JuliaVedic.jpg

Much of this has to do with the fact that the maha dasha lord Mars is aspected by Saturn - the planet of humility, limitation, and service - and is also placed in Julia's 6th house, which is a house of 'everydayness', or routine, rather than of jet-setting and world-beating. Incidentally, the placement of the 10th lord of career Mars in the 6th house also accounts for Julia's childhood desire to become a veterinarian, as the 6th house represents, among other things, animals and pets as well as the capacity to be a healer of some kind. Whatever her talents as an actress, Julia also probably has an innate capacity to communicate with animals and perhaps even to command (Mars) them in some profound way.

Robert's Return

Lastly, I wanted to add a bit of speculation regarding the likely future of Ms. Roberts. Her next film, Mother's Day, directed by Garry Marshall, is due out in late April/early May 2016. This release date will take place during Julia's Mars/Sun dasha period. The Sun in Julia's chart is not exactly strong, because it is debilitated, and is not really capable, as far as I can tell, of providing blockbuster power. Even though she indeed had a relatively successful acting career during her Sun dasha (Feb 1994 to Feb 2000), the fact of the matter is that her biggest successes took place during other periods. Pretty Woman (also directed by Garry Marshall), for example, came out during Julia's Venus/Mercury period, during which time she won a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress.

Indeed, Mercury has played a significant role in gaining Julia recognition, especially in the form of awards. For example, Mercury pratyantar dasha was in effect during her Oscar win for Erin Brokovich, just as the Mercury antara dasha was in play for her Best supporting Actress nomination for August: Osage County in 2014.

Why Mercury? Because Mercury is placed in the 4th house which, among the things already mentioned, has to do with awards and/or degrees/diplomas of any kind. And as was noted above, both the 4th house and Mercury are receiving the benefic aspects of all those planets/rajayogas in the 2nd house. Mercury is highlighted in this exchange because it is receiving an especially close aspect from Venus, the lord of the 4th house. I think that if the Sun were not debilitated, it, too might have been able to bring Julia an award or two.

  Julia's Present and Upcoming Dashas

 Julia's Present and Upcoming Dashas

Regardless of this, my prognosis is that recognition of Julia's work in Mother's Day will start slowly and then pick up momentum in early July of 2016, when she enters her Mars/Moon period. In fact, the Mars/Moon cycle serves as the transition into a major dasha change for her. And that new dasha, which begins in February of 2017, is none other than the Rahu dasha, a dasha that promises a protracted period (eighteen years) of emphasis on career and the possibility of a real return to the limelight for Julia.

This dasha time frame jibes with the transit of Saturn out of Scorpio and into Sagittarius around February of 2017. Saturn's 2 ½ year transit of Julia's Scorpio 5th house, which began in November 2014, has brought greater focus on, and a sense of responsibility towards, her children (5th house). It has also put Julia in a period known in Vedic astrology as 'Kantaka Shani', which means roughly, the 'thorn of Saturn'. Kantaka Shani occurs when Saturn transits either the 1st, 4th, 8th, or 10th house from either the lagna, arudha lagna, or the chandra lagna (using the Moon's house as the 1st house).

During Kantaka Shani periods, the person is continually 'pricked' by the limitations that Saturn brings. Like a thorn that one cannot remove, this causes ongoing pain in the person, particularly in regards to the concerns of the house over which Saturn is transiting.

Since November 2014, Saturn has been transiting the 4th house from Julia's chandra lagna, Leo. The 4th house, as mentioned earlier, is the house of the mother and, as we know, Julia lost her mother to cancer in February of 2015, shortly after beginning her Kantaka Shani cycle. This happened just a year after she lost her sister to suicide. As the 4th house also is the site of one's fundamental capacity for happiness, it is therefore highly likely that Julia has for the past year and half been struggling with the sense of sadness and loss that comes with having to face one's powerlessness to change things beyond one's control (again, Saturn as limitation).

In any case, Julia's Kantaka Shani period will be coming to an end towards the end of 2016 and we should therefore then begin to see her emerge from a period of relative hibernation and wound-licking back into the public eye.

The Other

fredVedic.jpg

But enough about Julia, already. What about the other chart in question, i.e., mine? As noted earlier, unlike in Julia's chart, my chart has a Virgo lagna, which is ruled by the planet Mercury. Therefore, in order to get a sense of the qualitative differences that arise out of this alternate lagna we should examine the condition of Mercury, as well as any aspects Mercury receives.

Like in Julia's chart, my lagna lord is placed in the 2nd house. This means that 2nd house matters, which were described earlier, are a central concern in my life. However, unlike in Julia's chart, the character of my 2nd house is far less 'rosy', at least in financial terms. This is due to fact that it is tenanted by two malefics (debilitated Sun and Ketu) and the 2nd house lord, Venus, is placed in the dusthana, or grief-producing, 12th house. In addition to this, the lord of my 12th house, the Sun, is in a Parivartana Yoga, or mutual exchange, with Venus, which deeply weds the 2nd and 12th houses together (as well as the 9th and 12th, since Venus also rules the trikona 9th). And whenever the 2nd and 12th houses are connected, something known as a 'daridra yoga', or the self-explanatory 'poverty yoga' occurs.

Follow the Money

Right off the bat, then, simply by following the thread of the lagna lord Mercury, we can see how two 'astrological twins' have come into life with a very different set of life possibilities regarding, in this instance, the ability to gain wealth. Where Julia's chart has a 2nd house loaded with benefic planets that promise abundance (Jupiter) and luxury (Venus), my 2nd house is populated with malefic planets that indicate the struggle to either hang onto or 'create' money (Sun as lord of the 12th house of loss, debt, and expenditures debilitated and in parivartana yoga with 2nd lord Venus). The presence of the dissolutive Ketu in the 2nd house likewise points to a financial life filled with confusion and non-materialization.

On the bright side, having both the lagna lord and 10th house lord Mercury in the 2nd house is a major help because Mercury rules both a trine/angle (1st house) and an angle (10th house), and therefore acts as a kind of rajayoga planet. This indicates that my potential for attaining some measure of financial security will improve after the age of 31-32, when Mercury 'matures', and also after the age of 47-48, when Ketu matures. This has, in fact, been the case, though by no means has the passage of time eliminated the daridra yoga, which is a consistent presence in my life despite an overall upward trend in financial stability.

Perhaps the most interesting difference between Julia's 2nd house and my own is that the benefics in Julia's 2nd house – Moon, Venus, Jupiter – suggest that Julia can attain wealth by dealing with women's issues and the public (Moon), by expressing a sense of optimism and joy (Jupiter), and by focusing on creativity, beauty, and sexuality (Venus).

In my case, money is more likely to be earned through some form of communication such as teaching, writing, or consulting (Mercury) that has to do with spiritual, mystical, or esoteric subjects (Ketu) and that allows me to play a subdued leadership role, again in a context that deals with spirituality, philosophy, metaphysics, or enlightenment (debilitated Sun as 12th house lord in Parivartana yoga with 9th and 2nd lord Venus).

In fact, ever since the age of 31 (Mercury maturity and, for me, the start of the 12th house Moon dasha) I have indeed shifted my orientation towards spiritual and metaphysical subjects as well as towards putting myself in a position in which I could teach in both traditional and non-traditional settings. And indeed, aside from my astrological consulting practice, which began around 2003, I have also since 2012 been teaching university-level courses in writing, literature, comparative religious studies, Hinduism, and a senior-level General Studies course that is broadly philosophical/metaphysical in nature.

Furthermore, during the past year in particular, which coincides with my Ketu maturity, I have become even more deeply concerned with pursuing and promoting astrological theory and practice (Ketu concerns). Nowhere was this more blatant than in my recently defended dissertation, a significant portion of which dealt with the need to reintroduce astrological practice (among other esoteric/divinatory practices) as a valid source of insight into the individual human.

12th House Fun

Moving on, I would like to further investigate the differences between the 'benefic power grouping' (Moon, Jupiter, Venus) which takes place in the sign of Leo in my and Julia's chart. As stated above, this happy trio sits in the 2nd house of Julia's chart and is responsible for bringing her all the 2nd house blessings already discussed.

But in my chart, all that benefic energy plays out through 12th house concerns, which include: enlightenment (moksha) or final liberation, spirituality, loss, 'bed pleasures' (sex, dreams, sleep, etc...), bargains, debts and expenses, isolation, foreign things of all kinds, metaphysics, fantasy, immateriality, escapism, and 'rebirth'. On top of this, my 12th house also includes a couple of yogas: a strong (by degree) gajakesari yoga (Moon-Jupiter conjunction), and two weak rajayogas (by degree) involving 4th and 7th lord Jupiter and 9th lord Venus. These add to the generally positive tenor of the 12th house, even though its lord, the Sun, is debilitated.

Without going into the details, and also remembering what has already been said regarding the importance of the 12th house and its connection to my 2nd house, I should just say that I have indeed consistently experienced both the positive (i.e., spiritually/metaphysically rewarding) and negative (i.e., materially unstable and loss-filled) aspects of my loaded 12th house. My life, in other words, revolves almost entirely around 12th house concerns, whereas in Julia's chart the 12th house is not nearly so emphasized.

Fame?

And this brings me back to my lagna lord, Mercury. In particular, it raises the question of the potential for 'fame' or success (1st and 10th house concerns) in my chart. In Julia's chart, as we have seen, the fame indicators are strong: Rahu in the 10th house disposited by the rajayogakaraka Mars, lagna lord Moon involved in three rajayogas, etc... . With my Virgo lagna, on the other hand, the potential for fame is complicated by the fact that both the 1st and 10th houses are saddled with a particular set of challenges.

For starters, my 1st house is being aspected by Saturn from the 7th house, which creates some issues with self-confidence and self-expression (shyness), especially in the first thirty or so years of life. It also imparts a strong sense of humility and, eventually, a measure of wisdom gained through experience. Make no mistake, wisdom aside, a Saturn aspect on the 1st house or its lord will definitely cause in the person a sense of lack or obstruction, in personal as well as in external terms. And this has indeed been the case for me.

Furthermore, my lagna lord, Mercury, is retrograde, which emphasizes the Saturn emphasis on delay in the fullness of one's self-expression. It also indicates a fundamentally introverted nature, which is most definitely the case for me. Since Mercury also rules my 10th house of career, its retrograde status also suggests that there will be a delay in finding the proper career path. This, too, has been my experience.

When one adds to this overall picture of delay and obstruction the fact that the 1st and 10th lord Mercury is fairly closely conjunct the debilitated Sun as 12th house lord, one could surmise that something very unmistakable is going on. While this is purely speculation, what this says to me is that in this life I am reaping the karma of some past life (12th house) misdeeds regarding the possible abuse of personal power in the career arena (Sun as karaka of these things).

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For instance, the placement of the debilitated Sun with Ketu and 1st lord Mercury is a undeniable indication that all attempts at purely selfish ego gratification would be totally fruitless, and that the only way 'out' would be through the loss or dissolution (Ketu), consciously or unconsciously, of an attachment to the ego (Sun and lagna lord, Mercury). This is a truly tall order, to say the least, though it is one that I am continually trying to fulfill, with varying degrees of success.

Sure, Why Not 

Yet despite all this, the fact of the matter is that there actually are a few 'fame' indicators in my chart. The first of these arises out of the mutual sign aspect between Mercury and Venus. As Mercury rules the 1st and 10th house angles and Venus rules the trinal 9th house, a type of rajayoga is formed between these planets and the houses they rule.

  My Dashas

 My Dashas

And as confirmation of this minor 'fame' yoga, I indeed gained a measure of recognition through my involvement in music during my Venus/Mercury dasha as well as during the Venus/Ketu period that followed. As the image shows, this period took place from June 1988 through June 1992, at which point I entered my fallen Sun dasha and left the music world behind.

The second, and far less significant, 'fame' indicator comes from both the sign aspect of Saturn and also the 7th house aspect of Mars onto my 10th house. Though these are malefic planets that can create disruptions in the career, they can also energize the career house and bring results through structured, consistent, and focused hard work (Saturn) as well through ambitious action (Mars).

Because Saturn rules the 5th house (creativity, past life credit, 'guruhood', joy) and the 6th house (healing, routine activity, 'dirty work', competitors, service) and Mars rules the 3rd house (music, dance, drama, adventure, courage, siblings, immediate desires, self-assertion, working with the hands) and the 8th house (research, the subconscious, metaphysical or occult things like astrology, hidden or abstruse knowledge, willpower, longevity, death, transformation), any combination of these houses can also play out through the career.

And indeed, in addition to working in the field of construction and cabinetmaking (Saturn and Mars), I have also done a number of things that combine the 5th and 3rd houses (musician), the 6th and 3rd houses (housekeeper), the 5th and 8th houses (consulting astrologer), and the 6th and 8th houses (astrology as 'healing' art). Again, this wide variety of career/jobs goes back to the 10th lord Mercury being both retrograde and conjunct the 12th lord Sun, both of which point to a lot of 'coming and going' in the realm of career.

Thanks, Obam.. I mean, Ketu

However, I mentioned earlier that the placement of my lagna and 10th lord Mercury with Ketu means that a good deal of that career instability karma would be 'paid back' or 'exhausted' after Ketu maturity around the age of 47 or 48. This is because Ketu (which is the same thing as the South Node in Western astrology) represents, among other things, the karma we bring into this life and that we are unconsciously attached to because of its familiarity.

So when any of the planets that symbolize the self (Sun, Moon, lagna and lagna lord) are in any way connected to Ketu, it means that the impetus to 'move ahead' is challenged. Barring other, more 'progressive' or 'expansive' planetary or house influences, such an impetus will remain relatively dormant until Ketu has reached full maturity, again, around the age of 47 or 48. In my case, the 'static' influences on career progress were recently 'overruled' somewhat by the Mars aspect onto my 10th house. And it was indeed during the Mars dasha (from June 2008 to June 2015) that I finally returned to school to finish three degrees (Mars as lord of 8th house of research in the 4th house of educational degrees), culminating in November 2015 with a PhD.

Whose Rahu?

Perhaps even more significantly, I have just entered my Rahu dasha, which began in June 2015 and will be in effect until June 2033. As mentioned earlier, my astro-twin Julia will also be entering her Rahu dasha in another year and half. And even though Rahu in general represents that which we are here to learn and master, which means that both Julia and I will be striving towards that end during the Rahu dasha, the focus of our respective Rahu dashas will nonetheless be very different.

Again, this all goes back to the differences in our respective lagnas, which places my Rahu not in the 10th house of career, as it does in Julia's chart, but rather in the 8th house of research, metaphysics, and astrology. This suggests that my Rahu dasha will be intensely concerned with a further and deeper probing of life's mysteries, which is indeed the direction in which I already feel myself headed.

Indeed, ever since I hit Rahu dasha I have been bent on expanding both my knowledge of astrology, both Vedic and Western, and also on furthering my desire to bring astrological thought and practice back into academic respectability. In addition to this, my interest in traditional, Western philosophy has likewise deepened, though not with the aim of simple regurgitation. Instead, I am concerned to challenge its very assumptions, especially when it comes to understanding the human self. The 8th house research bug has most definitely bitten me hard.

In any case, perhaps my 9th harmonic chart, or Navamasha, which shows Rahu placed in its exaltation sign of Taurus and in conjunction with a similarly exalted Moon, will aid me all of these endeavors. Similarly, as my 10th harmonic chart again has Rahu in its exalted sign, but this time in the 5th house of creativity and teaching, I am optimistic that, with a little luck, over these next 18 years I will be able to make some inroads into bringing astrology the respect it so thoroughly deserves.

Whatever happens, it will be interesting to chart both my progress and also that of my astro-twin, Julia, as we simultaneously make our way through the unpredictable, roller-coaster of Rahu dasha. During this period, the ongoing 'Tale of Two Lagnas' is likely to deliver its most entertaining and perhaps most significant episodes yet.

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