Origins & Approach
Origins of Vedic Astrology
Vedic Astrology (or Jyotiṣa Vedānga) has its origin in the ancient scriptures of humankind: the Vedas. The four Vedas were later compiled and organized into six "limbs" (Skt: anga). These six limbs form a "portrait" of the Cosmic Person, or the personification of universal cosmic energy: shikkshā (phonetics/nose), kalpā (rituals/hands), vyākaran (grammar/face), nirukta (etymology/ears), chhandas (meter/feet), and jyotiṣa (astrology/eyes).
Jyoti means "light"--thus Jyotiṣa is the Science of Universal Light, or the All-Pervading Energy that illuminates the cosmos and all beings. Vedanga means "limb of the Vedas". Thus, Jyotiṣa Vedānga is "the Science of Light that is the eye of the Vedas". Jyotiṣa is the study of how the energetic patterns in the cosmos (signified by the position of the heavenly bodies) affects the energetic patterns in the human being. Truly, Jyotiṣa is the realization of two sciences: the science of astronomy, or the study of the movements of the planets and stars and the science of astrology, or the study of the energetic influence of the planets and stars in the human being. One who practices Jyotiṣa is thus a seer through the eyes of cosmic vision.
Vedic astrology as it is practiced today has its basis primarily in two texts: Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra written by the rishi Parashara and the Upadeṣa Sutras written by the Indian scholar Jaimini. The sage Parashara was the father of Vyasa, the composer of the Bhagavad Gita, Srimad Bhagavatam, and Mahabharata, as well as the compiler of the Vedas. Needless to say, Parashara and his son, Vyasa, alone have contributed to the core scriptures of Vedic religion and spirituality. Though the exact origins of the text is a matter of debate among scholars, it is without a doubt that Parashara's text is the most complete compendium available of astrological knowledge. Jaimini presents another school of Vedic astrology. Most Vedic astrologers make use of both schools of approach.
As Ayurveda and astrology teach, the human being is a reflection of the cosmos--the macrocosm in the microcosm. As a participant in a cosmic play, the human being is patterned by forces that extend beyond the locally apparent sphere. The five elements--space, air, fire, water, and earth--are not earthly forces, but cosmic forces. The five elements and three doshas are universal descriptions of the play of life-energy from the cosmos to the human being. It is to this energetic play that astrology attunes itself.
Astrology has always piqued my curiosity for its accurate and revealing descriptions of life-patterns. But it was not until I began studying Ayurvedic and Tibetan Medicine that my interest in astrology acquired depth. Astrology has been an essential aspect of medical practice in India, Tibet, and China for thousands of years--and it immediately struck me as the missing piece of the puzzle. Naturally, Medical astrology (or Vaidyakīya Jyotisa) is the first branch of astrology I studied. But that was only the beginning of an entire world of knowledge and study. Truly, the ancient Vedic sciences of Ayurveda and Jyotiṣa are bottomless fields of study. There is no true mastery of them, and the amount of knowledge that can be acquired within them is vast. Students of these great sciences embark upon a life-long journey of study and practice. Yet, in the context of this process, a practitioner of good competency should extend knowledge and service to others--and it is in this spirit that I have created Atma Astrology.
The Sanskrit word, "Ātma", has two levels of meaning: The Divine Self and the inner self (or "soul"). Thus, the name "Atma Astrology" expresses a spiritually oriented approach to astrology that is also personally empowering. Atma Astrology summarizes an approach to astrology that understands the limiting karmic patterns of the illusory self and thereby inspires a potentially Spiritual life that recognizes and lives in the Divine Reality of which everything is a modification. It is in this dynamism that we live and where the transformative fire of life is ignited.
Principles & Approach
My approach to Vedic astrology is philosophically rooted, spiritually oriented, and mathematically precise. Philosophically, astrology is rooted in the understanding of non-separateness, or recognition of the "prior unity" of all cosmic forms. Spiritually, astrology can help orient the life of a person to optimally harmonize with the laws of nature, giving them the free energy and attention to pursue the highest goal of life: God-Realization. Spiritually oriented astrology acknowledges the Divine Reality that transcends the karmic cosmos while teaching us how to live a life of self-understanding, self-responsibility, and transformation.
Mathematically, astrology is founded on astronomy. Astrology has its basis in the mathematic calculations of the positions and movement of the planetary bodies in reference to the Earth, the Sun, and the lunar constellations (nakshatras). Astrology is both an art and a science--and to merely acknowledge one is insufficient. Astrology cannot be practiced merely as a science, as if life could be reduced to calculations. Astrology also cannot be practiced purely as a psychic art or form of divination, as it is founded on astronomical realities. For example, when I take a patient's pulse, I am using it as a diagnostic measure. A significant aspect of pulse reading is psychic in nature, but it is also true that the fingers must be placed in the correct position. Therefore, it is important that astrology is practiced with accurate calculations that reflect the actual realities of the observable heavens. An integration of the three aspects of philosophy, spirituality, and accuracy defines the core of my approach to Vedic astrological readings.
My approach to astrology is primarily descriptive rather than predictive. I feel there is more value in understanding our tendencies, our strengths and weaknesses, and navigating the complexities of life from a grounded and heart-opened place. Rather than predict successes and difficulties, I want to empower you to incarnate karmic assets and to transcend karmic liabilities. There is certainly a predictive dimension to any astrological reading, simply because there is an ascertainable likelihood of certain patterns repeating themselves. The evaluation of such pattern-probability is the true art of prediction as opposed to fortune-telling. Yet, the root-purpose of astrology is to help us understand ourselves and the energies that flow through us, so that we can harmonize with the forces of life. For the spiritually minded, it is important to acknowledge that there are influences greater than the cosmic forces that seem to pattern our lives. As a cosmic science, astrology cannot account for the influence of the spiritual, or the intervention of forces beyond the natural cosmic sphere. Therefore, I feel prediction is best utilized as an artful tool that indicates the probability of certain patterns unfolding, while acknowledging that the true purpose of life is one that transcends karma rather than living or playing within its grasp.
When I give astrology readings, I am not looking to see what will happen to you, rather I am looking to see who you are and what you are here to manifest. My astrology readings are psychological and spiritual in nature because our unhealthy karmic patterns and strategies keep the life-force from flowing properly. It is only when the life-force is allowed to manifest through the body-mind that a creative life is lived, giving birth to new forms of inspiration.
It is here that I should clarify where I differ from traditional Vedic astrologers. I am a student of Vedic astrologer, Ernst Wilhelm, a brilliant astrologer whose understanding of astrology is nothing short of profound. In my view, his approach represents the most unique, significant, and illuminating approach to Vedic astrology I have come across. Ernst Wilhelm uses the tropical zodiac to calculate the signs of the zodiac and the sidereal zodiac to calculate the lunar constellations (nakshatras). If you have had Vedic astrological readings in the past, then you will notice that your chart will look different with this system--and this can take some adjustment. Not only have I found it to be more accurate for readings, but I also find that indications in the sidereal chart are never lost. Anything significant in the sidereal chart will emerge in its appropriate place. This is because astrology is the science of karmic patterns--these patterns really exist and they will be in evidence in different ways with different systems of calculation. It is my opinion that Ernst Wilhelm's use of the tropical zodiac in conjunction with the sidereal nakshatras provides a more accurately organized view of the individual than the purely sidereal approach. To learn more about his view of the zodiac, read his article, "The Mystery of the Zodiac".
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