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The 12 Houses [Bhav-Ghar]

The Zodiac is divided in one more way. Relative to the position of the Earth, the zodiac is divided into 12 houses. Just as the proper motion of planets is reflected by their degree positions in rashis (signs), the diurnal (illusionary, relative motion of the planets as perceived from the Earth) motion of the planets is shown by their placement in astrological houses. The houses represent the various areas of life. The areas of life are affected by the planets and signs that occupy the corresponding bhavas (houses). The twelve bhavas (houses) represent the totality of existence as experienced by a human being.
Here are the main significations of each house:
  • The H01 First House [Bhav-Ghar] represents Self.
  • The H02 Second House [Bhav-Ghar] represents financial assets.
  • The H03 Third House [Bhav-Ghar] represents courage.
  • The H04 Fourth House [Bhav-Ghar] represents happiness.
  • The H05 Fifth House [Bhav-Ghar] represents your children.
  • The H06 Sixth House [Bhav-Ghar] represents your enemies.
  • The H07 Seventh House [Bhav-Ghar] represents your spouse.
  • The H08 Eighth House [Bhav-Ghar] represents your vulnerable points.
  • The H09 Ninth House [Bhav-Ghar] represents your fortune.
  • The H10 Tenth House [Bhav-Ghar] represents your career.
  • The H11 Eleventh House [Bhav-Ghar] represents your income.
  • The H12 Twelfth House [Bhav-Ghar] represents the end of everything.
So far, we have briefly covered the general principles of the three main components of Indian Vedic Astrology: the Planets [Grahas], the Signs [Rashis], and the Houses [Bhav-Ghar].
The positions of the planets [grahas] in the signs [Rashis] and houses [Bhav-Ghar] are depicted in what is called the Horoscope [Lagan].
Evaluation and understanding of the interactive influences of these three main elements constitutes the interpretation of horoscope [Kundali].
Let us take a look at horoscope (chart) [Kundali]:
kundali
You are looking at Vedic chart formatted in the North Indian chart style. As you see, there are 12 individual sections in the horoscope. These sections are the houses [ghar], and each house is fully occupied by one of the signs [rashi]. The signs are marked within the houses [ghar] with numerals. The numbering system used for marking the signs reflects the natural order of the signs (i.e. 1 - for Aries, 2 - for Taurus, 3 - for Gemini, 4 - for Cancer and so on).
The house [Bhav-Ghar] counting sequence follows a counterclockwise direction, and so does the sign [Rashi] sequence within the chart. The box at the center top of the chart [Kundali] is called the First house [Bhav-Ghar]. The sign [rashi] occupying the first house [Bhav-Ghar] is called the Ascendant [Lagan]. Ascendant [Lagan] is the sign [rashi] which was rising at the eastern horizon at the time of birth. The sign [rashi] is indicated by its corresponding number. In the example chart, the first house [Bhav-Ghar] is marked with number 3, which indicates the sign [rashi] of Gemini. Therefore, your Ascendant [Lagan] is Gemini. The box on the left of the first house [Bhav-Ghar] is called the second house [Bhav-Ghar]. The number 4 in that house represents the sign of Cancer. Next to it is the third house [Bhav-Ghar], then the fourth [Bhav-Ghar], and so on up to the twelfth house [Bhav-Ghar]. The sequential order of the houses [Bhav-Ghar] is FIXED in the North India chart format. The top center box is always the first house [Bhav-Ghar] and the bottom center one is always the seventh. When using the North Indian style chart you should also remember that the numbers within the houses represent the sign [rashi] numbers, not the numbers of the houses. For your convenience, here is a complete overview:
 
Houses[Bhav-Ghar] Number in Chart Sign[Rashi]
1 3 R03-Gemini [Mithun]
2 4 R04-Cancer [Karak]
3 5 R05-Leo [Simha] 
4 6 R06-Virgo [Kanya]
5 7 R07-Libra [Tula] 
6 8 R08-Scorpio[Vrishchak]
7 9 R09-Sagittarius [Dhanu]
8 10 R10-Capricorn [Makar]
9 11 R11-Aquarius [Kumbh]
10 12 R12-Pisces [Meena]
11 1 R01-Aries [Mesh]
12 2 R02-Taurus [Vrish]

Each of the planets [grahas] is placed in one of the houses [Bhav-Ghar]. The planets [grahas] are marked in the chart with their abbreviated names. Now we see from the picture of chart, which houses [Bhav-Ghar] planets [grahas] occupy.
 
  • P01-SUN is SURYA (Su) is in house [Bhav-Ghar] 4.   
  • P02-MOON is CHANDRA(Mo) is in house [Bhav-Ghar] 6.
  • P03-MARS is MANGALA (Ma) is in house [Bhav-Ghar] 11.
  • P04-RAHU (Ra) is in house [Bhav-Ghar] 7.
  • P05-JUPITER is GURU (Ju) is in house [Bhav-Ghar] 8.
  • P06-SATURN is SHANI (Sa) is in house [Bhav-Ghar] 1.
  • P07-MERCURY is BUDH (Me) is in house [Bhav-Ghar] 5.
  • P08-KETU (Ke) is in house [Bhav-Ghar] 1.
  • P09-VENUS is SHUHRA (Ve) is in house [Bhav-Ghar] 5.
Once again, you should not confuse the house [Bhav-Ghar] numbers with the numbers that you see in your chart. The numbers in the houses represent the signs [rashis] that occupy those houses [ghar]. The houses [Bhav-Ghar] must be counted in a counter clockwise direction from the 1st house [Bhav-Ghar], which is the top centre house [Bhav-Ghar]. The houses [Bhav-Ghar] should be counted inclusively of the house [Bhav-Ghar] you are counting from. For example the H03 3rd house [Bhav-Ghar] is located three house [Bhav-Ghar] away from the first one, not two, and H11 the 11th house [Bhav-Ghar] is 5 houses [Bhav-ghar] away from the 7th, not four.
Above and further course material we will reference example chart in the North Indian format, you should learn the difference between North and South Indian chart styles. Let's take a look at your natal chart drawn in the South Indian format.
kundali 1 

Whereas the North Indian chart has a fixed house [Bhav-Ghar] order, the South Indian format has a fixed sign order. The sign [rashi] of Aries [Mesh] always falls on the second left box on the top of the chart. The house box that the Ascendant [Lagan] sign [rashi] occupies becomes the First house [Bhav-Ghar] with the remaining houses following in a clockwise direction. Commonly, the First house [ghar] is marked with a diagonal line or with Asc or with As mark. Some astrologers choose to mark the houses with numbers, as opposed to the North Indian style, in which the numbers represent the signs.
The suffix to planet [Graha] name "R" indicates that the natal Planet [Graha] is retrograde [Vakri].
Retrograde [Vakri] status is assigned to a planet, when it appears to move backwards through the sky. The Sun [Surya] and the Moon [Chandra] never change their direction, while Mars [Mangal], Mercury [Budha], Jupiter [Guru / Brihaspati] , Venus [Shukra], and Saturn [Shani] periodically change their proper motion through the Zodiac and appear to move backwards, and afterwards resume their direct motion. At the same time the natural course of motion for Rahu and Ketu is always backwards.
In example chart P03-Mars [Mangal] in H11 (House [Ghar] 11) R01(Sign [Rashi] 1) in Retrograde [Vakri]. A retrograde planet is said to give slightly unexpected results, or manifest them in a way or order that is opposite to what is considered normal. Retrograde motion is said to render extra strength to the planet. Therefore, the natural significations of a retrograde planet will manifest more intensely in one's life. If you see, "R", next to a planet in the horoscope chart [Kundali], it indicates that the planet was retrograde at the moment of birth.
When a planet [Graha] conjoins the P01-Sun [Surya] in the sky it becomes lost in the P01-Sun's [Surya] rays and become invisible. Therefore, the planets [grahas] in the horoscope chart [Kundali] that are placed too close to the P01-Sun [Surya] within a certain number of degrees are referred to as combust. This condition does not apply to the Lunar Nodes. When the P02-Moon [Chandra] is located within a close proximity to the P01-Sun [Surya] it is referred to as new.
A horoscope has a chart which provides information about Ascendant [Lagan] and Planets [Grahas]. A column gives the exact degree of each planet, listing the degree, minutes, and seconds.
The Ascendant [Lagan] of example chart has sign [rashi] degree is 18:17 of Gemini [Mithun]. Normally in most computer horoscope the columns order is Ascendant [Lagan] or Planet [Graha] its exact location in degree-minute-seconds, Sign [Rashi] in which the Planet [Graha] is located (This can also be seen in the chart itself by the number indicated in the house [Bhav-Ghar] of the Planet [Graha]),
Birthstar [Nakshatra] the Planet is placed in, more details about Birthstar [Nakshatra] subdivision quarter [Charan / pad] – The Birthstar [Nakshatra] Lord and Sublord and the last column is Dignity. The Dignity, which is derived from the sign [rashi] placement in the chart [Kundali]. Planets [Graha] can have dignity anywhere in the range from Exaltation (the best), Own, Great Friend, Friend, Neutral, Enemy, Debilitation (the worst). This is only a partial indication of how auspicious or afflicted a Planet [Graha] is. This is only small matter relating predictions but it equally important. In a later series we will discuss the concept of dignities in detail.
There are 27 birthstars [Nakshatras], and together they divide the zodiac in 27 equal portions of 23 degrees and 20 minutes each. Each Birthstar [Nakshatra] has a unique character and it will influence any Planet [Graha] placed in it. To understand how the significations of a Planet [Graha] will manifest in one's life, it is important to know the nature of the Birthstar [Nakshatra] that it occupies. It has been observed that usually a common astrologer does not give importance to Birthstar [Nakshatra] in quick study. In fact the accuracy may not be there if Birthstar [Nakshatra] and its further subdivision is not considered.
Birthstars [Nakshatras] are subdivided in 4 quarters, each called a subdivision [Charan or Pada]. The Planet that occupies the Birthstar [Nakshatra], will be found in one of these quarters, each called a subdivision [Charan or Pada].
Vedic Astrology pays a lot of attention to the Birthstar [Nakshatra] that the Moon is placed in. The description of the qualities of that Birthstar will provide a small sketch about one's nature.
In the example chart Moon [Chandra] occupies the Anuradha Birthstar [Nakshatra] Subdivision [Charan or Pada] 1. The Birthstar [Nakshatra] Lord of Anuradha Birthstar [Nakshatra] is Saturn. The Birthstar [Nakshatra] Sublord is Saturn. The Dignity of Moon [Chandra] is Debilated.
Naturally the planets [grahas] relate to each other in a certain manner according to their inherent qualities. The conditions of the planets' [grahas’] essential nature of relationships are listed in this table. It is called Natural Relationship.
P01-Sun P02-Moon P03-MARS P04-RAHU P05-JUPITER P06-SATURN P07-MERCURY P08-KETU P09-VENUS
Friends Moon
Mars
Jupiter
Sun
Mer
Sun
Moon
Jupiter
Ketu 
Jupiter
Venus
Saturn 
Sun
Moon
Mars 
Mer
Venus
Rahu 
Sun
Venus 
Mars
Venus 
Mer
Saturn
Rahu
Ketu 
Enemies Venus
Saturn
Rahu
Ketu 
Rahu
Ketu 
Mer
Rahu 
Sun
Moon
MArs
Ketu 
Mer
Venus 
Sun
Moon
Mars
Ketu 
Moon Sun
Moon
Saturn
Ketu 
Sun
Moon 
Friends Mer Mars
Jupiter
Venus
Saturn 
Venus
Saturn 
Mer Saturn
Rahu
Ketu 
Jupiter  Mars
Jupiter
Saturn
Rahu
Ketu 
Jupiter
Mer 
Mars
Jupiter 

Besides the natural planetary [grahas] relationship, we should consider the temporary planetary [grahas] relationship which is determined by the unique layout of a particular chart. The rule for determining the temporary relationships is that any planet that is placed in the same house, or in a house more then 3 away, becomes an enemy.
The combination of the natural and the temporary relationship is called the "Panchadha" or compound relationship. This is simply an addition of the previous two.
When placed in certain signs [rashis], planets [grahas] naturally influence other signs [rashi], planets [Graha], and houses [Bhav-Ghar] by aspecting them. The Sanskrit word for Aspect is "drishti", which means "glance". There are a few ways in which planets aspect ("glance at") each other, signs, and houses.
Each planet always aspects the 7th constellation from the one it occupies (once again, remember to count inclusively of the sign that the planet is placed in), this type of aspect is called Full Aspect [100% drishti]. Naturally, along with aspecting [drishti] that sign [rashi], the planet [Graha] is going to be aspecting [drishti] the house that the sign occupies and the planets [grahas] placed in that house [Bhav-Ghar].
In example chart the P01-Sun [Surya] is placed in the sign of R06-Virgo [Kanya] in the 4th house [ghar]. So P01-Sun [Surya] casts a full aspect [drishti] on the constellation of R12-Pisecs [Meena] which is placed in the H10 10th house [ghar]. Now you know that each Planet [Graha] has a full aspect [drishti] on the sign [rashi] and any Planet [Graha] that are located seven constellations away from its own placement.
Besides the seventh (full) house aspect [drishti], a few planets have "special" aspects [drishti].
P03-Mars [Mangal] always fully aspects [drishti] the 4th, the 7th, and the 8th constellations counted inclusively from its position. In example chart [Kundali] P03-Mars [Mangal] aspects [drishti] the H02, the H05, and the H06 houses [Bhav-Ghar] of example birth chart.

P05-Jupiter [Guru / Brihaspati] always aspects the 5th, the 7th, and the 8th signs from itself. In example chart P05-Jupiter [Guru / Brihaspati] is placed in the 8th house [ghar] H08, therefore it aspects [drishti] the H12, the H02, and the H03 houses [Bhav-Ghar].

P07-Saturn [Shani] aspects the 3rd, the 7th, and the 10th signs from its position. In example chart the P07-Saturn is placed in first house [Bhav-Ghar] H01, the H03, the H07, and the H10 houses [Bhav-Ghar] receive P07-Saturn's [Shani] aspect [drishti].

P08-Rahu [Rahu] and P09-Ketu [Ketu] also have special aspects, they aspect the 5th, the 7th, and the 9th constellations from their placements. In example chart the P08-Rahu [Rahu] is placed in seventh house [Bhav-Ghar] H07, the H11, the H01, the H03 receive P08-Rahu's [Rahu] aspect [drishti]. In example chart the P09-Ketu [Ketu] is placed in first house [Bhav-Ghar] H01, the H05, the H07, the H09 receive P09-Ketu's [Ketu] aspect [drishti].

All the special aspects [drishti] have the same potency as the full aspect.

Most aspects [drishti] are one-directional, which means that an aspecting Planet [Graha], does not receive a reciprocal aspect [drishti] from the planet that is aspects [drishti]. This type of aspect [drishti] is called one-sided. When two planets are aspecting [drishti] each other, it is called a mutual Aspect [drishti]. A mutual aspect [drishti] establishes a powerful connection between the planets [Grahas].

So far we have briefly covered the basic principles of the main components of Vedic horoscope. Before we continue uncovering various advanced concepts and techniques we should go over more detailed information about the key players of Vedic Astrology - the planets [grahas], the signs [rashis], and the houses [Bhav-Ghar].
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