(Written by L. Leone. Student of the Asheville Vedic Astrology Apprenticeship Course Curriculum)
What is a Varga?
Vargas, or divisional charts, are like the extended dance mix of the Rasi (birth chart). They shed light and provide more specific information about the what we see in the Rasi by breaking it down into detail. We might imagine the relationship of the rasi to the varga like folders and files on our computers. Imagine you open your Finder or click on your Windows’ Start button. You navigate through Documents and choose your Recipes folder. Inside Recipes, you see other folders: Entrees, Appetizers, Desserts, etc. Clicking on Desserts, you see even more folders: Crème Brulée, Tiramisu, Fraisier, Sacher Torte, Tarte Flambée, Clafoutis. Clicking on Clafoutis opens a document with ingredients and a method to make this luscious dessert.
By expanding the Desserts folder, we gather more information about what Desserts really means. It helps us create the bigger picture from learning more about the detail. If we could “click” on a house in the Rasi, we could imagine that we could see all the detail of a varga as that “folder” opened. By understanding more of what’s happening in the varga, we learn more about the person’s path that is shown in the Rasi and vice versa.
Vargas give us a more “zoomed-in” perspective of what we already know from the Rasi. Where the Rasi chart reflects the more “gross” or tangible physical life, the vargas illustrate the more subtle, various expressions of energetic experience in our lives. Ryan Kurczak of Asheville Vedic Astrology eloquently describes the relationship of the Rasi to the vargas as “a tree with its roots, trunk, branches…the vargas are the fruits of the experience.” Vargas show how a person will relate to their experiences of life.
Defining the Trimsamsa
There are 16 vargas that provide different perspectives into the experiences of the path described in the birth chart. We can learn about the person’s responsibilities and resources in the Hora, those we grow and learn with (siblings, co-workers, etc.) in the Drekkana, and where we find comfort and happiness in the Chaturtamsa, for example. Like a kaleidoscope, each varga teaches us more about a person by looking at the information through a new lens.
Each varga divides a house, or bhava, into equal segments. The Rasi chart is one division of 30 degrees, the Hora is divided into two sections of 15 degrees, the Drekkana is divided into three sections of 10 degrees, and so on (for specific divisions) all the way through the Shashtiamsa, or 60th divisional chart.
Here, I will focus on the Trimsamsa, or the D30, which is, of course, divided into 30 sections of 1 degree each. While traditionally focusing on “evils,” the Trimsamsa chart also indicates our vitality and capacity to navigate misfortune and (hopefully) triumph over difficulty. Here, we see how a person relates to his or her traumas, difficulties, and enemies.
In the Trimsamsa, we seek to identify (and perhaps find a remedy to ameliorate) the misfortune one may experience in his or her life. In Beneath a Vedic Sky, William Levacy describes the Trimsamsa as showing “Arishtas or the advent of unfavorable effects in life, integrity of the individual” (An arishta is defect or threat to life.) This is a good reminder that the harm described is not limited to physical harm, but also that which impacts one at the subtle—emotional, psychological, psychic—level.
Brihat Parasara Hora Sastra describes the trimsamsa as a varga from which one can determine “evil effects.” It continues, “…the sun is akin to Mars and the moon is akin to Venus. The effects applicable to Rasi will apply to Trimsamsa.” It is said by some that the Trimsamsa is a shadowy world, thus there is no place for the Sun and Moon because they have light.
Further, it is suggested that the Trimsamsa shows how we manifest our own misfortune through our accumulated inner conflicts and weaknesses resulting in affliction to the pancha tattvas, or five elements (Ether, Air, Fire, Water, Earth). As we know from the sister science of Ayurveda, when these elements go out of balance, creating vitiated doshas (Ayurvedic constitutions), the result is dis-ease.
Each of the six weaknesses is reflected by a planet: Mars-Anger, Mercury-Jealousy, Venus-Lust, Saturn-Intoxication, Rahu-Greed, and Ketu-Illusion. The Sun and Moon are absent as they reflect light, which is not a part of misfortune, and Jupiter is said to “represent the wish of divine consciousness.”1
We may begin by reviewing the Rasi chart for areas of concern. According to David Frawley’s Astrology of the Seers, “the power of the lords of the third, sixth, eight, and eleventh houses can be gauged [in the D30]. Also, any planets located in the sixth, eighth, or twelfth houses in the birth chart should be examined here. If they are poorly placed in this chart, they are much more likely to cause problems.”
Purpose of Each planet As It Relates to the Trimsamsa
The sun represents our consistency with health/enemies/“evils.”
Here, the 11th house lord of gains and accomplishments/titles, the Sun—in good dignity—is in the 9th house with Saturn in the D1. Planets in the 11th house require their conditions to be met before success can be had. It’s worth noting that this person worked very hard in school and was able to graduate with an AA degree just after his 17th birthday.
In the D30, the 4th Lord (comfort/happiness), Sun is exalted in the 12th house (Dusthana house). For a Dusthana house to bring its indication, something must be given up. The Sun rules the 4th house of happiness. The 12th house is considered “the place of cure” and can also represent hospitals. Note that in 2007, during a Saturn/Sun Dasa, this person received a diagnosis and began spending a lot of time in hospitals and doctors’ offices.
The moon shows our adaptability to misfortune, ability to nurture ourselves, and our sense of self. In the D1, the Moon (adaptability/nurturing) is in its own home in the 10th house (what one is known for).
In the D30, the Moon, ruler of the 3rd house (How do you deal with trials and tribulations of enemies and disease)—in good dignity—is in the 6th house of doubt, delays, enemies, digestion. This person has great anxiety (a great deal of emotion) in dealing with change but has managed health challenges fairly well.
Mars represents our ability to know what is logical with our health and well-being, our instinct, our judgment, and our ability to take action.
In the D1, Mars is in Aquarius in the 5th house (ability to learn and grow and make changes) in poor dignity. This person has a very hard time managing changes and taking risks.
In the D30, Mars is in the 11th House of gains/accomplishments in Neutral Dignity with Rahu and Ketu. This is an area of blindness and confusion/obsession. May have body image issues.
Mercury shows our ability to communicate about our health and well being, our capability to manage challenges, and organize our lives in the face of misfortune/illness.
In the D1, Mercury in the 8th house of sudden breaks and changes in neutral dignity rules the 9th & 12th. Beliefs/culture (9th) and 12th house of liberation/expenses goes into the 8th house of sudden breaks and changes. This person’s parents divorced and one remarried, bringing step-siblings and a stepparent into the picture, changing the culture.
In the D30, Mercury in good dignity in Aries, ruler of the 2nd (resources and responsibilities toward health/food we eat/ How you handle responsibilities of illness, disease, difficulty) and 5th house, goes into the 12th house of loss/liberation/house of cure. Money and energy are spent on health, but perhaps wasted?
Jupiter reflects our ability to see the big picture; fulfillment from seeing the greater scheme of things (happiness); how happy you are with your health/navigation of misfortune.
In the D1, Jupiter is in good dignity in the 11th house of gains/accomplishments in Leo. Jupiter rules the 3rd (peers/siblings/co-workers) and 6th (delays/obstacles/enemies). Jupiter should add some luck or insight into these areas.
In the D30, Jupiter is in the 1st house (how you relate to what’s going on with the body/vitality; one’s weakness) in Taurus in neutral dignity. First house Jupiter rules the 8th and 11th. Jupiter is an optimistic teacher. This person has a feeling that healthful living is worth the attention. This person does seem to care about a healthy lifestyle.
Venus indicates our decision-making ability and our fulfillment from doing the right thing (comfort). Venus is doing well through several vargas for this person.
In the D1, Venus is in OH in the 8th House of sudden breaks and changes and rules the 1st house. This person’s nature is very emotional and he is especially prone to negative emotions. His emotional comfort fluctuates and he has a hard time feeling safe enough emotionally to really relax.
In the D30, Exalted Venus in the 4th house of happiness/cure rules the 1st (the body, nature) and 6th (doubts, delays, obstacles). As in the D1, Venus rules the first house. This is an attractive person with some healthy habits-perhaps more about looking good than feeling good. He did have to go through some physical challenges as a child , but he had a pretty positive attitude throughout.
Saturn illustrates suffering, delays, endurance, ability to work hard and stay focused, to do what needs to be done for success, survival, endurance. Where Saturn is doing well in a chart, the person has a sense of survival and will get through it. In the D1, Saturn in Gemini (Me), in good dignity rules the 4th (comfort) & 5th (ability to learn and grow/legacy) houses.
In the D30, Saturn in Virgo (Me), in good dignity, rules the 9th (beliefs about health) and 10th (work toward health; what the person is known for) houses. This person is disciplined with exercise and the food he eats. He has an interest in healthful living.
Rahu shows confusion, where we lack experience and knowledge, lies, manipulation, what we are trying to develop, and poisons. In the D1, Rahu is in the 8th house of sudden breaks and changes with Mercury (management, communication) and Venus (fulfillment from doing the right thing). This person has confusion with dealing with and communicating with his dysfunctional family. There is much gossip and confusion over what is truth and what is fiction.
In the D30, Rahu is in the 11th house of gains and accomplishments with Mars and Ketu. This person can be a little obsessive/dogmatic about eating what he thinks is healthy since he got in better physical shape.
Ketu is liberation, bacteria, that which we are being liberated from as well as intense focus, innate talent/skills. Ketu can also show obsession or over-dependence in an area because it’s like the person’s safety net.
Overall, the person has some things to watch, but the strength of Saturn and Sun provide support.
Fish, R. and Ryan Kurczak. The Art and Science of Vedic Astrology: The Foundation Course. Asheville, NC. 2012
Fish, R. and Ryan Kurczak. The Art and Science of Vedic Astrology: Volume 2: Intermediate Principles of Astrology. Asheville, NC. 2014.
Frawley, David. Astrology of the Seers. Lotus Press. Twin Lakes, WI. 2000.
Kurczak, R. Asheville Vedic Astrology Apprenticeship Course. Accessed November 2018.
Kurczak, R. Introduction to Vedic Astrology Course. You Tube. Accessed November 2018.
Levacy, William R. Beneath a Vedic Sky. Hay House, Inc. Carlsbad, CA. 1999
Rao, C. Sambasiva Congenital Diseases: A Study from Trimsamsa Varga. Jyotirvastu Vignanasamsta. 2009. http://www.universalcollegeofastrology.com/freearticles/Congenital-Disceases-A-study-from-Trimsamsa-varga.pdf. Accessed July 27, 2020.
Santhanam, R. Brihat Parasara Hora Sastra of Maharshi Parasara. Vols 1 & 2. Ranjan Publications. New Delhi. 2018.
Wilhelm, Ernst. Graha Sutras: Planets of Vedic Astrology. Kala Occult Publishers. 2006.
1 Congenital Diseases: A Study from Trimsamsa Varga. Jyotirvastu Vignanasamsta.