A longish answer for an oft repeated question.
The ascendant lord (post here) can never be a overt malefic for the chart. He cannot give inauspicious results by himself. An ascendant lord being overtly malefic would mean a complete damage to both the physical body and the mental make-up. Also this would mean that the person would always exist in incompatible environments. And would further indicate a complete inability to manage the situations he is placed in. All of us feel physically ill or out of place sometimes but this is a temporary thing triggered by the current dasha-s and transits (post here). We do not feel like this all the time from birth to the death.
So, again, the ascendant lord cannot be a full fledged malefic for the birth chart. He will, by his own nature, always be auspicious or at the worst, neutral.
Now some ascendant signs have a built in issue. Here the ascendant lord may not give very kind or gentle results, but even then he will not be a direct malefic. He would behave in the range of neutral to good. And if aspected by benefics or placed in a powerful house or an auspicious sign he will give auspicious results. These are the ascendant signs where this sort of confusion is likely.
- For ascendant sign Aries, Mars rules the 1st and 8th house, but still can give quite good results on his own. Aggressive and also capable of taking advantage of all transformative situations in life.
- Similarly for Libra ascendant, Venus owns the 1st and 8th house and quite capable of giving pleasing results. In some cases an inclination for the occult.
- For Aquarius ascendant Saturn rules the 1st and 12th house. In addition to giving positive results he can also grant a spiritual bent of mind.
- Scorpio ascendants have Mars owning the 1st and 6th houses, he is definitely going to give positive results. Aggression plus a capacity to use karmic bindings to gain in several ways.
- Only for Taurus ascendant with Venus owning the 1st and 6th houses, as per the Bruhat Parashar Hora shastra, Venus is said to give cruel results. The 6th is the house of imbalance and Venus is the embodiment of perfect balance. But in the Taurus ascendants I have seen, Venus has not given overtly malefic results, I have seen neutral to good results or even auspicious ones if well aspected by benefics etc. So here too, Venus is not an overt malefic.
In these cases, more often than not, I have observed that the traumatic nature of the specific dushamsthan, ie the 6th, 8th or 12th houses is toned down a bit because it is owned by the ascendant lord. Or the personality is able to benefit in some way from the traumatic events related to this house. Or at least navigate through these issues in a more comfortable manner. The ascendant lord can never by his essential nature, he is the owner of the 1st house, cause direct harm.
The ascendant lord is the most important planet in the horoscope. He determines how your personality and the environment around you interact with each other. How you use the stuff surrounding you and how your surrounding things influence you. Can you effectively use the things you have? These things are your own body, your mind-set, your perceptions, your nature, the people around you, your assets, your stresses, your enemies, your problems, everything. How well you use these things is your ascendant lord. It is very important that this planet be placed in conducive signs, aspected by benefics and in favourable houses. The ascendant lord should be powerful for the overall life to be easy.
Obviously if the ascendant lord is aspected by malefics or even functional malefics, he will be restrained from giving his positive results and can then give unpleasant results because of this influence on him. This can happen for all the ascendant signs. And just one position does not make a full reading, so there should be at least 3 or more patterns for the results to manifest in a severely damaging shape.
- If he is conjunct malefics, then you will have to consider the graha yuddha/ planetary war, the ashtakvarga points of both, shadbala etc to determine who will influence the other more. Closer they are, the more effect they will have on each other. But the malefic planet will make the person more cruel, aggressive etc depending on its nature. Best use of such a conjunction would be to actively choose professions where these energies can find a safe outlet.
- eg someone with ascendant lord conjunct 6th house lord, Jupiter. He is well-known as a good doctor, but is frequently ill, has enemies who come disguised as friends, anyone he thinks of as a teacher/ elder causes him harm.
- The ascendant lord placed in the dushamsthan can be a point of concern only if he is weak. If he is strong, he can make the most of these 6th 8th and 12th house environments, use them in some way for personal progress.
- Eg a chart with the ascendant lord in the 6th house. Physical weakness and severe conflicts in life eg brothers cheated him, professional rivalries etc triggered by dasha changes. He is a good astrologer takes proper care in time to reduce their impact on him.
- Ascendant lord debilitated can get worrying. The body or the mind can be weak or the environment not conducive for the personality. This with time has its effect on the mind and emotions and can cause bitterness and meanness. Trigger dasha periods have to be identified and managed properly. However if the planet moves to a better navamsha then there are internal reserves of strength which can be used in times of these emergencies. Or is situated in a powerful house and influenced by benefics.
- eg a chart with the Moon as ascendant lord debilitated in the 5th house. This person is not married, not a very likeable personality. Is a professor, a PhD guide, with several students whom he guides. He is considered quite good in his subject. Here the ascendant lord even though debilitated is in the 5th house, so the intensity of imbalance is lesser.
- Combust ascendant lord. If he is Mercury, this is a rather common situation, and there are benefic influences then the effects are less severe. But for all other ascendants, extra analysis will be needed. Results will vary as per degree of combustion and the friend/enemy relationship that the two have. The result is generally a typical solar nature, this can be a good or bad thing depending on the use you put this energy too. The nature is more self-oriented, confidence level can be so high that it can result in foolishness or can conversely create low self-esteem. The body is prone to heat and illness related to this can occur frequently. Trigger points will obviously be the combustions of this planet in transit and specific dashas. (do check the index page for posts on combust planets).
- eg a chat with the ascendant lord Mars combust in the 4th house. A rather accident prone person, highly intelligent and very patriotic, eventually joined the army.
- Retrograde ascendant lord. This also can create hidden weakness in the body which can be triggered by the routine retrogression of the planet concerned and the dasha periods.
- eg retrograde ascendant lord Jupiter in the 11th house, closely conjunct with Mars. This person has very high levels of confidence, lives an overall a good life. He trusts others excessively, gets betrayed, has no real friends. Has a weak liver, overweight.
- If he has very low points in the ashtakvarga for the sign he occupies in the birth chart. Or if he shifts to a worse house/sign in the navamsha, this always indicates a hidden weakness in the personality.
Analysing the ascendant lord is a very necessary step in your analysis. If the ascendant lord, birth Moon and the Sun are powerful, they are going to add to the overall positivity and power of the chart. But if the Sun and Moon are strong but the ascendant lord is weak then the horoscope will not be able to make full use of their energies. So give due importance to the ascendant lord when you study horoscopes.
Now Yogkarak planets (post here). Any planet which owns a Kendra and a Kona house simultaneously is a yogkarak. The yogkarak-s are just these three planets and for just these six ascendant signs.
- Saturn – Taurus and Libra ascendants
- Mars – Cancer and Leo ascendants
- Venus – Capricorn and Aquarius ascendants
The other remaining 6 ascendant signs do not have Yogkarak planets. The Yogkarak is always a functional benefic for the specific ascendant sign. It cannot harm by its inherent nature. This planet is very important because he is responsible for 2 critical houses of the chart. One will either be the 5th or the 9th ie he will be either Mantresh or Dharmesh of the Dharma trikon. The other will be a Kendra house, ie one of the four actual building blocks of your life. The Yogkarak needs to be powerful in his own right to be able to give auspicious and pleasing results. Placed in good houses, signs, aspected by benefics, having good ashtakvarga scores, good strength eg high shad-bala, shifting to a powerful navamsha, etc, he will be capable of giving excellent results, ie Raj yog level stuff is possible from this one single planet.
- Eg a Libra ascendant chart with the Saturn Yogkarak in the 12th house. This person has a good life, very well educated, a high paying job, good family life etc and after Saturn matured during the 36th yrs of life (post here), this person gained even better things in life, got promoted, regained health and met his significant someone.
But it is quite possible that a Yogkarak gives displeasing results, or more correctly, is incapable of giving pleasing results. This can happen when he is not powerful to begin with. Especially if debilitated, combust or afflicted by even more malefics, then do analyse him in depth. If he is prevented from giving his results, then the 2 houses he controls also suffer. And remember that he is in charge of 2 very important houses, that is why he is called Yogkarak in the first place. Again, a Yogkarak can never be a active malefic in a chart, he is always a functional benefic. But he can be obstructed from giving favourable results and then a lot of things can go wrong in your life. He will not turn into a malefic, but just will be unable to give happy results. Debilitation or combustion of the Yogkarak must be studied in depth, so writing a bit for you to think on.
Combust Yogkarak is a very typical position as this will mean that the Mars, Saturn or Venus are burnt to ashes by the Sun, ie closely conjoint the Sun.
- Mars and Sun together will be a highly aggressive, selfish, over-confident etc nature. Both malefics with typical natures, this combination in a chart will cause a overdose of cruel energies in the houses owned by Mars and Sun, plus the house where they are placed and the houses which they aspect. Mars has additional 4th and 8th aspects too. That would be about 50% of the chart under their influence.
- Sun and Saturn, though father and son, are not on good terms with each other. So Saturn combust will mean extreme discomfort for both. Fiery and airy energies, both malefic, indifferent, unemotional and cruel. Selfishness, outer bravado, a show of confidence, an internal low self esteem. All the houses they influence will be affected by this imbalance. And remember that Saturn has additional 3rd and 10th aspects.
- Finally Sun and Venus are also enemies. If Venus is combust then there is a breakdown of harmony and balance in the life. Equitable partnerships are destroyed, self ego predominates, financial issues, family related stuff can cause pain. Again all the houses they own or are located in or aspect will be affected by their energies.
(Wrote several posts on combust planets, do use the index page to locate them, if you wish to read more)
Debilitated Yogkarak – This affects the two important houses and the results you can expect from them. Debilitation means that the planet is in an environment completely unsuited to his nature. He is made to work in a surrounding which is fully un-enabling. Something like a king being asked to sweep the streets. Or a manual labourer being made to work as a king. He cannot do this job. So, despite being a well-meaning planet, a debilitated Yogkarak damages the houses he owns, the sign/house he occupies, the planets he conjuncts/aspects and of course the overall personality too. He does not know how to do his job, so takes wrong decisions, performs inappropriate actions, trusts the wrong persons, etc makes a overall mess of everything.
- Eg a chart with Yogkarak Mars debilitated in the ascendant itself. This person had chronic and acute illnesses, interrupted education etc. The 5th and 10th houses keywords also show the ill-effects of the debilitated house lord. Interestingly as the Mars maturity period started, he broke up with his genuine well wishers and got into bad company.
I have given these brief results to start your thought process. Do use the keywords of the houses concerned to add more meanings.
- Taurus ascendant – the lord of the 9th and 10th houses debilitated in the 12th house. Extreme restlessness, physical problems, lack of rest, denial of spirituality, rootlessness, no help from peers/society, issues in profession/ home, luckless life, cruel nature etc. Debilitated Saturn post.
- Libra ascendant – the lord of the 4th and 5th houses debilitated in the 7th house – bad partners and unhappy partnerships, issues with children/mother, interrupted education, materialistic nature, social behaviour against accepted norms, indifferent home environment, cruel and unemotional nature.
- Cancer ascendant – the lord of the 5th and 10th houses debilitated in 1st house – gives outwardly generally ok results. On the inner level there is no peace, a burning intensity, no comfort in anything, formal education incomplete, children affected, unhappiness in profession, cannot get along with father, cruel and indifferent nature. Debilitated Mars post.
- Leo ascendant – the lord of the 4th and 9th houses debilitated in the 12th house – there is a inclination for the occult, but physical health problems, issues with siblings, family, seniors, frustrations in marriage, office, unemotional etc.
- Capricorn ascendant – the lord of the 5th and 7th houses debilitated in 9th house – any planet in the 9th house performs well. Venus here can give a religious orientation with time. But a materialistic nature, and an intense desire to gain social status and money exists, calculative. Debilitated Venus post.
- Aquarius ascendant – the lord of the 4th and 9th houses debilitated in the 8th house – partnerships fail, hidden diseases, unhappy home environment, cannot get along with the mother, divorces, multiple affairs, there is no harmony in life, calculative nature.
Finally, to wrap up this post, Rahu Ketu too in special cases can function as Yogkarak (post here). This is possible for all the ascendant signs. Their results are exclusively on the astral plane. They affect the mind, emotions, life purpose, motivations. But they can give material results through the planets they are conjunct with and the sign/house they are placed in.
- Eg I know a chart with Ketu in the 5th house functioning as a Yogkarak. This person has a very comfortable life, material assets, education, job, marriage, children and intensely spiritual bent of mind. Intuition is very high. Has not formally learnt much on divination yet gives reasonably accurate predictions.
So the point being, do read a lot from different books. But if you really want to understand astrology well enough to make good predictions, you have to practice. Do start with your own study and come to your own conclusions, this is the ideal way to learn (post here).