People today are interested in astrology. There are casual enthusiasts and then there are the really genuine students who want to learn it in detail. If you want to really learn and practice astrology, either for your personal growth or as a profession, you should understand that it takes time. It takes 3 yrs to get a basic graduation degree and 4yrs for a professional one! So you should consider this much time as the basic minimum to learn astrology to the level of getting your predictions correct. It is a life-time learning process and you will learn with every chart you analyse. There are several government Universities which offer a B.A. in Astrology at quite reasonable fees, some of them offer distance courses too. Here you get a certificate so this might help in your professional practice.
Self-study is necessary, you will need to read books, some of the essential authors are,
- B. Suryanarain Row – The oldest. I think the first astrology author in modern times, books are in English. Basic astrological concepts have been elaborated upon. He had the advantage of being the first English writer so has written a lot.
- B.V. Raman – son of B. Suryanarain Row. I grew up on his books and the Astrological Magazine. English books. His beginner level books are good.
- Gayatri Devi Vasudev – daughter of B.V. Raman, writes in English.
- J.N. Bhasin – has written several books, lucid language and most are available in English and Hindi.
- K.N. Rao – His early books are very logical. Also discusses the theory in later books. He has edited books written by his students so you can read those too for a different perspective and case studies. In English and very useful.
- H.N. Katve – all of his books are in Marathi. If you know Marathi you should read them. Extensive knowledge. Some books are translated to Hindi.
- Chandulal Sarkarlal Patel – English books. He is the only author I trust for Ashtakvarga and Navamsha analysis. Not beginner level, but there are several books/ articles written in a clear style and are an essential read.
- Shakti Mohan Singh – He has written a lot in English but his one book on Kalachakra Dasha is very important, the only book which gives this Dasha system accurately. (Though we start learning with Vimshottari Dasha, then learn Ashtottari and Yogini, Kalachakra is one dasha which the advanced student has to learn.)
Their books are in very simple and easy to understand language. (There are several more authors if you wish to read more and thus gain more perspectives on the subject). Most of them have written beginners books for introduction to the fundamentals of astrology. Several of their books are available on archive.org, I would suggest you download a few, see which ones you like and then buy them. These are quite inexpensive at Rs 200/- max. Having a paper book in your hands means you can make your notes in it, or add your own observations, stick notes in it. Soft-copies and software are very useful, but use the paper and pencil too. At some point of time you will have to read at least two classics Bruhat Jataka and Bruhat Parashar Hora Shastra. There are other classics, but these two are necessary. In addition you can consider keeping a copy of the Phaladeepika as a reference. And for Prashna I have found Shatpanchashika very adequate. You can read these later when you are a bit advanced in your study.
Earlier reading Panchangam and learning maths was very important. We had to calculate the positions of the planets etc using the panchamgam and only then could we draw up the horoscope. Today with the advent of software and online horoscopes, learning maths has become optional. (But the serious students should practice the math also. It helps better understanding). For software use the free Jagannath Hora or Parashar Light which is the best professional level paid software if you want to buy. For android and iPhones ‘Drik panchang’ by developer ‘Adarsh apps’ is quite adequate to begin with. In the settings, put in your location and the Lahiri/ Chitrapaksha ayanamsha.
So from my point of view this was the basic minimum for learning Jyotish in depth. Now the actual study, this is broadly in three parts.
- Analysing the charts, at least the birth chart, moon chart and the D-9 Navamsha chart.
- Ashtakvarga for both birth chart and transits.
- Analysing Dasha – Generally Vimshottari Dasha is used. There are more Dasha systems, but first learn Vimshottari.
- Analysing transits – comparing the present placement of the planets in the sky in relation to their at-birth positions
Analysing the Charts
Get any one of the beginners books you like. Read it through cursorily, get an overview first. Now pinpoint 10 keywords for every sign/ house/ planet. Write your own notes. And in the software input your own details and see how your birth chart looks like. When learning astrology you need to do the practical stuff by analysing charts, just reading the books won’t be enough.
- Start doing a house by house analysis of your own Birth Chart. E.g if the ascendant/ first house is Capricorn, look up the keywords of Capricorn and its owner Saturn. See if these link up with your actual personality. Do this very cursory analysis for each of the 12 houses.
- Then do the 9 planet analysis, (we do not use Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, they are not graha). Eg. Saturn is placed in 5th house, Taurus sign. So how does he behave, look up the keywords, analyse how they are expressed in your life.
- Then do a house-lord analysis. Eg Saturn as the lord of the 1st house is placed in Taurus sign 5th house. Analyse how the finer details are now being filled in. Do this for all the 12 houses. Try to see patterns. Astrology at this level will be more trends and possibilities, accuracy will come with time and practice.
(There are videos available on Youtube. Since I haven’t seen any of them I cannot recommend any. But I would stress this, first read these books by senior astrologers. Then listen to youtube videos. These senior astrologer’s experience is very valuable, thus their books. My relatives don’t make me see their charts, they get after my Dad. Dad has been an astrologer for more years than I have been alive, experience always matters.)
Moon chart analysis is neglected these days but it gives valuable insights into the emotional behaviour of the person. Turn around your chart so that the Moon’s sign takes the 1st house place. Now see how the planets and ascendant sign align with the Moon. Eg. One relative has her Moon in 6th house. She is always uncomfortable. The ascendant sign is placed eighth from the Moon. So her personality/environment and her emotional comfort are adversarial to each other. If you can see these things in the chart and also in the person in front of you it adds to your confidence.
Use your books, write notes and stick them in the books. Making notes helped in your college. It is the same, you are learning a new subject.
After you are comfortable with all this you can go on to divisional charts but only if you have the exact birth time. Open your Navamsha or 9th Divisional Chart on your software. Check which signs/ houses the planets shift to as compared to the Birth Chart. (I have written some separate posts on Navamsha). This is a full analysis in itself and requires time. There are technically 16 important divisional charts, but exact birth time to the minute is generally not available, so D-9 is generally enough. (Generally birth time does differ upto 5 mins, ie the nurses may not record 10:33am exactly but rather record 10:35am)
Then practice some more.
Get your parents horoscopes, your grandparents, brothers/ sisters/ uncles/ aunts etc horoscopes, people whom you know already and can observe for years later. Do this analysis for their charts. (You might not be sure of their exact to the minute birth time, so do the Birth Chart and Moon chart analysis). Especially charts of any close relative who is beyond 60yrs. They have lived their lives and you can use them as the perfect study subjects. They will be willing to talk to you about significant events in their lives. If you get 15 charts to follow you are in a good place. We generally know about our relatives behaviour, mind-set, marriages, children, jobs, financial position, social status, health etc. So a full-rounded study of the charts is possible. Take your time over this very basic study, these 15 charts are your foundation. You can increase your collection as you get more subjects. Just maintain them, number them etc. If you can follow them upto their deaths it will be a complete study. (My Dad still has his hand-drawn charts collection from 50+yrs ago. I had the advantage of observing him/ his clients and learning since I was very small.)
Keep referring to your books. Doing this analysis, gradually your concepts of directional strength, combustion effects, retrograde movement, planetary war, exalted/ debilitated, etc will get clear. Take your time over this analysis. Keep adding finer details and take notes. Tally your analysis with the personality. This will add to your confidence.
Most people like studying celebrity charts, I don’t. My clients are the regular human beings with regular problems. Celebrity charts are not typical charts, they have combinations which give extreme results and only in one direction. e.g notorious criminal, freedom fighters, film stars, politicians. Their charts are extraordinary from only one angle, rest of the life is often in a bad shape.
And read your books and write the important observations you make.
Now to level up, in your software, there is a section on Vimshottari Dasha, Check out which Mahadasha and which Antardasha is going on for your own chart. I have written about analysing Dasha generally and planet-wise in my previous posts. You will need to do this once in few months to 1-2 yrs. You can also do it for your sample charts and observe if the analysis matches the actual events in life.
You studied so hard for school/college, this is no less! You are learning to predict the future and understanding the past.
The next thing is getting a sense of transits. Start with analysing the Moon’s effect on yourself. I have written about it in this post. Keeping track of the Moon transits will get you in the habit of referring to your Panchangam/ Software everyday. Observe and analyse your emotions and behaviour. Now you are a student of human nature. So be dispassionate and critical. Keep your own notes. Take 3 months over this to get your own interpretation of how the Moon affects your moods. After this you should try predicting how your day is going to be. This small daily prediction boosts your confidence. Eg one of my relatives, Moon in the 6th house, ie the ascendant sign is counted eighth from the Moon. (Ascendant sign represents the head, transit Moon in the sign eighth from the birth Moon creates stress and changes in pressures of body liquids.) She always gets a splitting head-ache when the Moon transits her 1st house.
You can similarly analyse other planets transits. Especially the transits of Saturn and Rahu/Ketu and Jupiter, are longer in duration should be studied. The Sun, Mercury, Venus and Mars move quite fast, like 1-2 months per sign. These do not have very drastic effects either (unless one of them is your ascendant sign ruler), so you can take up their transits analysis later on.
This is a brief frame-work on understanding the horoscope and the past and present situations. To do this confidently will take time, so study for 1hr every alternate day at least regularly.
Some senior astrologers write out a full life report. It requires time, a week perhaps, and a very good understanding of the potential of the horoscope to give results and the future transits and dashas in which these results can be expected.
But generally clients have a 3-4 questions which are about current situations or the near future, which can be answered easily. I have written a few posts on these topics. And of course there are books which you should refer for more details. You can start taking questions from your sample chart relatives after about 6months of personal study. This will help you gain confidence. I would suggest taking up professional clients doing only after 3yrs of study.
(It would help immensely if you do regular Gayatri mantra Jaap. This will increase intuition, sharpen intelligence and grant protection.)
Learning astrology is always useful, you get to know a lot about your own self and also about others. And it has its spiritual side too. So why do you want to learn it? Think a bit on this too, it will motivate you. Life is quite short with so many things to do. Astrology/ Jyotish just like any other subject requires time, interest and study. Start with something simple and build upon it. You are studying human nature and human affairs from every possible perspective here. Wishing you all the best in your pursuit of Illumination.
(This post was in response to this comment I received in the contact form,
“Sir, I am highly shocked the depth of your knowledge in this aspect. I wasn’t a keen follower of astrology but I am interested in it. So sir can you please suggest me, where can I get in depth knowledge of it. (It would be highly appreciated if you could teach me.) Yours sincerely, A fan of yours”
Dear Reader, Thank you for the compliment you have given me. I value your asking me to teach. But you see, astrology in the sense it should be taught and learnt requires a face-to-face teacher, which I cannot do. However I encourage you to start reading something on the topic and at least some self-study on the lines of this post. If there are any questions I can help you with, I will genuinely try. All the best to you in your studies.)