In my investigation of vargas I realized that there seem to be four families of vargas. As we have seen, not all vargas are constructed according to the same principle, but there are vargas that share the rationale and I’ve grouped them into families for better understanding:
HORA FAMILY – vargas ruled by luminaries and non-luminaries (Picture no.1)
DVADASHAMSHA FAMILY (Picture no. 2)
PARIVRITTI FAMILY (Picture no. 3)
- ALL OTHER HARMONIC VARGAS starting from the 2nd harmonic
THE SPECIFIC VARGAS
- MANY OF THE SHODASHA VARGAS OF PARASHARA
- DIFFERENT TYPES OF BOUNDS OF HELLENISTIC ASTROLOGY
- MONOMOIRIA OF HELLENISTIC ASTROLOGY
The most important distinction to be made about this is that the Hora family, Dvadashamsha family and The Specific Vargas are constructed with the sole aim to divide a sign into different number of portions and assign ruling planets to those portions, while the parivritti vargas are manifested by dividing the whole circle, thus the natural order of the signs repeats throughout the circle as many times as we divide the circle. In this way the parivritti vargas are about spatial relationship of planets or points as I’ve demonstrated with the diagrams in previous articles, while the vargas from other three families are simply about different planets ruling different portions of a sign based on a specific rule for that varga family.
Now we’ve come to the point where we can, hopefully answer the dilemma of divisional charts – should we draw vargas as charts and read them as charts or not?
My answer would be: »Yes and no.«
YES, we can draw parivritti vargas as charts,
NO, we can’t draw vargas of any other family as charts.
Why? Because the parivritti vargas are the only ones that are showing geometric / spatial relationships of planets or points in a zodiac and vargas of the same sign are always configured so that they form a perfect polygon within the zodiac. Other varga families don’t do this. When we have for example three Aries drekkanas being parts of an equilateral triangle, planets situated in them will be connected through this geometrical form and thus they will appear in the same sign if we draw a varga chart. When we see planets conjunct in a parivritti varga chart it means that they are bound together in a specific geometrical relationship, in the case of drekkana in a triangle or in the case of navamsha in a nonagon. That triangle or nonagon is one entity, thus when we create a varga chart, the polygon implodes into one point, thus having only one Aries sign in a varga chart. This implosion of course makes sense only when we have such a perfect, symmetric geometrical shape. In other varga families we don’t have such perfect geometry. We can think of a parivritti drekkana chart as twelve equilateral triangles. If we have Sun and Mars in Aries, they are connected in Aries triangle. If we have Venus and Mercury in Taurus, they are connected in Taurus triangle, and so on.
While we can see that the navamsha for example has been used both for dignity and as a varga chart, although we find the later only in the traditions following Jaimini’s system, the vargas of families other than parivritti were used only for dignity and techniques that are performed in the main chart. For example, one would look at the drekkana ruler of a planet, see if this planet is a friend of an enemy of the planet in question and look if there is some aspect or other connection between the two, maybe even mutual reception by drekkanas, all done in the main chart. That’s the classical way of doing it and Jaimini aside, all Indian classics use even the two parivritti vargas – saptamsha and navamsha in the exact same manner, although for these two it is possible to draw a varga chart as they are harmonic divisions.
I sincerely hope that this little research of mine has shed some light on an otherwise very misunderstood and mystical topic. It might be interesting to read, that after this research I have no choice but to approach the matter very humbly and to keep in mind that if
main chart plus five vargas were sufficient for the great Varahamihira,
main chart plus six vargas for the great Kalyana Varma,
main chart plus two vargas (most of the time) for the mystical Jaimini,
main chart plus two vargas for the great Vettius Valens,
then who are we today to be so confident in using the sixteen vargas of Parashara, while most of us are not able to practice astrology without a computer even? The fact that people are making these Parashari vargas into charts shows a lack of understanding and I have seen that when one has sixteen divisional charts available at a click of a mouse that one can justify anything using these charts that were not to be made in the first place. Old astrologers were masters of the main chart and used the divisions only for fine-tuning. In my humble opinion we should follow in their footsteps.
For the end I’m presenting three Varga families graphically for some further contemplation. For Parivritti family diagram I’ve chosen drekkana, chaturtamsha, panchamsha, saptamsha and navamsha. I find the last three to be very important due to showing spatial relationships that are not easily seen by looking at the main chart.
Let’s start with the Hora family:
Picture no.1: Hora varga family
In this diagram we have the zodiac in the inner most wheel, then the horas, then the trimsamshas and in the outer most wheel the panchamsas. Both the trimsamshas and panchamshas are arranged according to the horas. The difference is that the panchamshas are based on the benefic and malefic nature of the planets while the trimsamshas, as we’ve already discussed are based on the elements. The panchamshas of malefic fall in the Sun’s hora and of benefics in the Moon’s hora. Mercury, adopting a nature of a planet he associates with gets to rule the third panchamsha which is right in the middle and falls in both horas.
Next is the Dvadashamsha varga family. Again, the zodiac is the inner most wheel, then drekkana, then chaturtamshas and in the outer most wheel the dvadashamshas. Note how every portion of the inner two divisions start with its own dvadashamsha.
Picture no.2: Dvadashamsha varga family
The last diagram shows the Parivritti family (with only a few vargas chosen as Parivritti family is infinite).
Picture no. 3: Parivritti varga family
As one can notice, the parivritti vargas create less vargottama points, where the same sign aligns in different vargas, but they are still there nonetheless. The parivrittis make one contemplate what is going on in a particular varga. How do the signs start? How do they end? At which points in the zodiac does the order begin again? Are there any signs which start with the same part? What is the geometrical pattern and what are its angles? In my opinion the parivrittis are much deeper and can possibly reveal more, especially because they can be read in three ways:
- Read only for dignity
- Read as a separate chart
- Read as a chart layered on top of the main chart
I’ve been asked what my system is now after I examined all this. Which vargas do I use.
Currently the only two non-harmonic vargas I use are the Egyptian bounds which are really a marvel and could be considered a masterpiece of non-harmonic vargas and the dvadashamsha, although the dvadashamsha could be considered as a quasi harmonic. Sometimes I add saptamsha and navamsha as I find the former useful for seeing how much a person is able to commit to relationships or other things despite the inevitable flaws and lack and the later to see how well they are internally anchored to their path. Most of the time I superimpose the varga positions on the main chart via a synastry method, so I have the varga chart placed around the main chart and I take the houses of the main chart and do not read houses from the varga ascendant. I hope to add the parivritti drekkana and chaturtamsha to my practice, because eventually I’d like to use the parivrittis also as a sort of aspectarian, to really look more precisely to the aspects, but in this not defined by degrees, but by varga placements, so for example a planet in the first drekkana of Aries (Aries drekkana) and a planet in the first drekkana of Leo (Aries drekkana) are in a trine aspect by a “micro sign”. The two would be in a whole sign trine even if the second planet would be in the third drekkana of Leo (Gemini drekkana), but they would not be in a trine as defined by the third harmonic, the parivritti drekkana. I believe that if we practice our astrology through whole sign methods that it is appropriate to base the aspects on the signs, too, and to be more precise, on the harmonics. This also leads me to believe that Jaimini had a good reason to develop his aspects doctrine in that very specific way and made them limited in a sense, because by his use of harmonic divisions he would see all the possible aspects between planets seen as conjunctions in various vargas and Jaimini indeed stresses conjunctions. Thus the aspects shown by vargas are those based on the same-ness, while those employed for seeing the aspects in any of the charts, be it the main chart or any of the varga charts are based on the difference of modality. I see Jaimini now as a very ancient form of harmonic astrology and it is a shame that his sutras are so difficult to understand and the ancient Vriddha Karikas which are supposedly the key to understanding Jaimini are not available today.
With this I am concluding this series of articles. I thoroughly enjoyed the journey and I hope you, the reader found the information given as relevant and useful.
Thank you for reading! Please, subscribe to my newsletter and get notified about future articles.
Great series of articles! It’s cool to see you are using PlanetDance as well.
Have you ever looked into the YouTube videos of David Cochrane? He has many videos talking about Harmonic charts (parivritti vargas) including 5th, 7th, 9th, 11th, 13th, 17th, and 19th. He also has done some statistical research that demonstrates correlations between conjunctions in particular harmonics and specific vocations, tendencies to mental illness, and criminal behavior.
Thank you Kevin. Yes, I’ve seen David’s videos and skimmed through his book. His approach is a bit more aspects based. It is interesting, but I think it will take some time until we really understand the symbolic meaning of each harmonic. For now I rather rely on what I can gather from various branches of Indian astrology and numerology / geometry the way I learned it. I’m of course fully open for an other views. Currently I’m most interested in the 5th, 7th and 9th harmonic. I will revisit David’s stuff soon, though.