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Meanderings East and West

Exploring the Connection between Astrology and Yoga

Visitors From Another Planet

The Three GracesIf beings from another planet dropped by every thousand years, they would certainly notice some changes this time: we've stopped riding horses and we now use gadgets to communicate. Impressive to us perhaps, but not necessarily to them. What might impress them more, are two other changes: the abolishment of slavery as an institution and the rising equality of women.

In a post-industrial world, physical strength and aggression can no longer guarantee status and prosperity. Greater sophistication is now required: not only intelligence but sympathy, cooperation and refinement. To astrologers, these affairs are symbolized by Venus and the Moon.

When Venus is prominent in a horoscope, the individual focuses on that which is pleasing, graceful and harmonious. Placed in its own signs (Libra and Taurus) Venus is naturally strong. Venus in Pisces - its sign of exaltation - bestows great blessings through the talents in the fine arts, a natural sense of tact and a fondness of social intercourse.

A strong Venus is especially welcome in the charts of women, where it promotes harmonious relationships, gives attractiveness and imparts a certain glow or effulgence. On the other hand, Venus is in its "fallen" position in Virgo: it's hard to express unselfish love when we're overly discriminating and... critical of others. So while Venus normally promotes the affairs of marriage, it indicates relationship problems - or no romance at all - when located in the constellation of the Virgin.

The 51% Minority

Crescent Moon When reading a chart, the most important symbol we consider (after the first house, its ruler and occupants) is the Moon. It's more important than the Sun - even though the Sun gets primary attention in modern Western Astrology. In Indian Astrology, when someone asks "What's your sign", you tell them your Moon sign, not your Sun sign. This is especially true when reading charts of women, but it's a basic tenet of classical astrology.

Emperor Augustus CoinThis tradition is not only Indian: ancient Roman coins from the era of Emperor Augustus show his face on the front and a goat on the rear - because Augustus was born on September 23, 63 BC - when the Moon was in Capricorn, the Goat. To the ancients, your "sign" was your Moon sign.

When a Hindu asks you "What's your star ?", it means "What's your Lunar Constellation ?" In which of the 28 Nakshatras (Lunar Constellations) was the Moon, when you were born ?

Nakshatras The 28 Nakshatras are not the familiar 12 constellations of the Zodiac: they're an entirely different set of symbols. Their origins are lost in the mists of time. We find them in the ancient star catalogs, because...

While the Sun resides in a constellation for a month, the Moon stays in a Nakshatra for only one day. Because the Moon moves 28 times faster than the Sun, it's a far more personal symbol: 28 times more personal, we might say. Two people may be born a few days apart - sharing the same Sun sign - but with regard to the Moon, they have entirely different charts.

On a physical level, the Moon affects the tides on Earth. On a physiological level, it relates to the water element in the bloodstream and spinal fluid. On a psychological level, its position and disposition in the chart, give us important clues to the internal cycles whih affect our moods, subconscious predilections and where we seek contentment in life.

If the Sun symbolizes our unique creative potential to change the World, the Moon symbolizes how we feel about it. If the Sun shows how we do it, the Moon shows why we do it: our motives and inclinations. For this reason, Indian astrologers pay special attention to the Moon when selecting suitable candidates for Marriage. While sexual attraction is a wonderful bond, shared values and domestic harmony are the key to endurance in a relationship. As long as people live together in close quarters - not roughing it alone against the elements - the Moon and its child Venus, rule the roost.

It's a Good Thing

Martha Stewart BlogMartha Stewart is one of the most successful business women of all time. Her Omnimedia empire consists of books, magazines, web sites, television shows, paints, bedding and bath ware, dinner ware, cooking, gardening and crafts... there are just too many enterprises to mention and the list keeps growing.

Her estimated worth is over $600 million and she owns several remarkable homes. In addition to her own television shows, she has made regular appearances on NBC's Today Show for years.

Her name and design talents are associated with floor covering products, wines, frozen and fresh foods and direct-to-consumer flowers. She has a 24-hour satellite channel on Sirius Radio, on which she hosts a weekly call-in show. She is a best-selling author many times over.

She even sells a line of houses, designed after her country homes in upstate New York and Mount Desert Island Maine.

According to Wikipedia, Martha was a successful fashion model - and a successful stock broker - before becoming a caterer and moving on to grander projects. She eventually served on the Board of Directors of the New York Stock Exchange before her conviction on charges of insider trading and subsequent prison sentence. More on that later.

Visit her web site, the subject items are Food, Entertaining, Holidays, Weddings, Crafts, Home&Garden, Pets and Whole Living - any one of which would be enough for most people to master in a lifetime.

Martha Stewart Horoscope

Libra Rising

Martha Stewart Fashion Model As we've often pointed out, the most personal symbol of the chart, is the rising sign, which delineates the First House: it changes every 2 hours. Two people may be born on the same day, in the same location, but the difference of just a few minutes in birth time can point to entirely different patterns of Karma.

In Martha's chart, Libra is the rising sign and all things being equal (which they rarely are) this should tell us the most about her. Librans are often attractive with symmetrical features and refined manners. As her confirmation name, she chose Grace. Regarding the chart from the position of the Moon, called Chandra Lagna in Sanskrit, we find Neptune and Rahu in Tenth House. Rahu boosts whatever it conjuncts, and Rahu is strong in Virgo. This alone, suggests a career (10th House) involving the Fine Arts.

You won't often see a Libra woman wearing too much gold, silver, or diamonds. You won't see flamboyant hair or accessories either, or obvious and striking makeup. Her design sense prefers subtle pastel colors and understated elegance.

Among the astrological types, Libras are least likely to drive a noisy motorcycle or flashy red car. Something more refined, perhaps? How about a classy vintage model that has been restored to perfection: as of this article being written, Martha drives a Karmann Ghia, painted her favorite color, Robin Egg Blue. The fundamental impulse of Libras? To beautify and harmonize, to make the world a kindler, gentler and prettier place.

Party Animal

Libra's ruler is Venus and Martha's Venus is in Leo, in the 11th House. Martha Stewart With Paper Flower According to The Astrologer's Handbook by Sakoian and Acker, natives with Venus in Leo are

"lovers of life and are somewhat theatrical in behavior... throw lavish and expensive parties. Women with this position wish to be noticed by others, to be admired and appreciated... They have a keen love of art, with a vivid color sense and ability in painting, sculpture and other artistic forms"

The 11th House: Entrepreneurs

In Indian Astrology, the 11th house is one of the Kama or Desire houses: 3, 7 and 11. When prominent, it brings wealth and success through friends and associates, or what today we would call networking. It's the house of entrepreneurs. Having the lord of the chart there, makes it very important. A strong 11th house is critical for success in sales and politics, wherever personal connections are the keys which open the doors of opportunity. Notably, her career sky-rocketed when she started a catering business serving the wealthy socialites of Westport, Connecticut.

It's a tempting cliche to describe certain people as "self-made" - but nobody can attain a lofty position within the social order all by themselves: without that social order and its support, nothing can be accomplished. When the ruler of the chart is in the 11th house, that's where the focus is. Such people are natural-born entrepreneurs and social animals. They "pull themselves up by their own bootstraps" by knowing how to cooperate with others and motivate others to work for them and promote their cause.

Motherhood and Apple Pie: The Singleton Moon

Martha Stewart Baking HandbookMartha's chart could serve as a text-book example of the Singleton chart pattern. All the planets are located in the upper right portion of the wheel - except the Moon, which sits alone in the Third House. This makes it very strong in her chart.

Furthermore, it raises the importance of the Third House in her horoscope, because the Moon in a woman's chart, is a primary symbol and the house it's in, is critical. Using the Sun as the first house (the Solar Chart), we find Rahu are there too, with Rahu very strong in Virgo. This only adds fuel to the fire, so to speak: more emphasis on Third House matters. When benefics occupy the Third House, the native has good fortune in the fine arts and with all manner of communication.

Wealth and Food

Using Pluto as ruler of the Second House, we see it high in the chart, in the 10th house of career and position. This suggests a career dealing with financial matters, and also with food. Some Indian texts further opine that the Second House, when strong, gives the native a large store house of "special knowledge".

Mars, the other ruler of Scorpio and therefore the other lord of the Second House, is found in the Sixth House - that portion of the chart which shows our daily routine, health and work. Martha is known to be a very hard worker, sleeping only a few hours per night. She also has a reputation of expecting a lot from her subordinates. While this is often the case with successful leaders, it shows up here with greater than normal intensity. While it goes against the grain for someone with Libra Rising to be offensive, co-workers might find her demanding, irritable and short-tempered at times. As the saying goes: "If you want it done right, do it yourself".

Home Sweet HomeThe Moon itself symbolizes motherhood, women and the domestic life. It should come as no surprise that in her chart, the Moon is especially strong. If the singleton weren't enough, the Moon was at 100% of its potential speed - the fastest it ever moves - it was extraordinarily fast. When planets are extremely fast or extremely slow, they receive special emphasis - emphasis not otherwise seen.

And then there's the simple fact of her Sun-Sign placement: Sun in Cancer, the sign ruled by the Moon. Her 10th house, the house of Career, is Cancer, so for 2 reasons, we would expect her to be involved with the traditional "women's concerns": cooking, clothing, decorating and housework.

The Moon being so powerful in her chart, it's no surprise that much of Martha's early inspiration and instruction came from her mother - also named Martha. Her mother - who was called "Big Martha" by the family - appeared on her TV show many times, demonstrating a variety of recipes and crafts. According to Wikipedia

"Her family instilled in her a strong passion for activities in the home. Stewart's mother taught her how to cook and sew. Later, she learned the processes of canning and preserving when she visited her grand- parents' home in Buffalo, New York. Her father had a passion for gardening and passed on much of his knowledge and expertise to his daughter."

Material Girl

Egyptian Goddes NutSome have suggested that Martha Stewart goes to extremes, "over the top", by setting a standard so high that ordinary mortals can never reach it. They suggest that she is "too materialistic". This comes from an archaic religious viewpoint that material things are bad and that immaterial things are good - that suffering is good and pleasure is evil. This religious perspective places a high value on Tapasya, the Sanskrit term for austerity. Literally, it signifies a kind of ardor or persistence, but has come to be associated with self-denial and the love of "transcendence".

In the West, transcendence means outside of, beyond the world. In the East, it means to go beyond thinking. In the terminology of astrological diagnosis, a disdain for "things" reveals an excess of Saturn and a deficiency of Venus or the Moon. With the rising influence of the Feminine in our culture, this familiar spiritual pathology has begun to dissipate.

The ancient Egyptian Goddess Nut encompasses the night sky. As the Sun and other bodies traverse the heavens, they travel through her body. Her body is the Universe. Symbolically, the Feminine principle supports everything, gives form to everything. Even formlessness, depends on Form for its definition. Even the Sun, comes from the Mother.

The word materialism comes from material, which shares the same root as matrix, matter and mother, which is matru in Sanskrit. In ancient Egyptian, the term is Maat - which means not only form, but also righteousness: everything in its proper place. Maat is identical to the Chinese concept of the Dao, which we discussed in previous Meanderings. In Sanskrit, she is known as Maya. In Latin, she is called Maria (Star of the Seas), the Mother of God, Queen of Angels.

Royal Yogas

Virgin Mary Crowned By Angels For charts with Libra rising, Saturn is given special consideration in Indian Astrology. Because Saturn rules both Capricorn and Aquarius, it rules two houses for Libras, which themselves have positive connotations. The Fourth House relates to homes, properties and home life, while the Fifth House corresponds to creativity, amusements, speculation, children and fulfillment. Because Saturn rules both signs in traditional Astrology, it becomes the ruler of both those "good" houses and takes on "good energy".

When Saturn is weak in a chart, the native often has problems with self-discipline, organization and ambition. When it's strong, it gives the "good" qualities of Saturn: dedication to long-term goals and the discipline to reach them. When it's strong, then any house it rules, becomes strong - so Martha's Fourth House is strong. The Fourth House is the same as the Moon and its sign Cancer: when it flourishes, the native gets success through homes, properties, domestic beauty and "female concerns".

In Sanskrit, Saturn is said to be a Raja Yoga Karaka for Libra Ascendant. By itself, it makes a Raja Yoga, a pattern suggestive of Royalty. Today, we would interpret "royalty" as fame, fortune and worldly success. Her Saturn is in the 8th house, which relates to "other people's money": high finance, banking and investing. Martha actually has a double Raja Yoga, because her Saturn is together with Uranus - the modern ruler of Aquarius. She has the classical ruler of the 4th, conjunct the modern ruler of the 5th. This strengthens the 8th house enormously - which as we'll see shortly, helps make her an investment whiz.

Remember that the most personal symbol in the chart, is the Ascendant. We have observed that it determines the overall structure of a chart - and here is an example. Were some other sign rising in her chart, Saturn and Uranus would not have this special status. Martha would still have a Saturn/Uranus conjunction and we could look that up in any good text book - but nowhere would it mention it as symbolic of a... Queen.

Business Tycoon

According to The Astrologer's Handbook by Sakoian and Acker, Jupiter in Taurus

"...indicates a tendency to attract wealth, which these people feel is necessary in order to enjoy material comforts and the good things of life. Often they have gourmet tastes and are fond of excellent food and luxurious surroundings."

"... gives business ability through patience and steadiness of purpose. These people an envision and carry out enterprises on a large scale and over a long period of time."

One Hundred Dollar Bills At this point in her career, Martha is herself a brand or product. She no longer has to invent or develop anything: her stamp of approval, her association, her name - is enough to promote a product. Such is the power of the 8th house and its correlative planet Pluto, when powerful. They symbolize "other people's money" and show a talent with investing.

Having a double Raja Yoga there would be enough for most people, but she has another combination for wealth: the lords of 2H and 11H closely conjunct.

Pluto is ruler of Scorpio, the sign of the Second House. The Sun rules Leo, the sign of the Eleventh House. When they work together, they become a combination of financial expertise and entrepreneurial talent: a Dhana Yoga. In Martha's case, where is this Yoga found ? Hidden somewhere out of view as it were ? Emphatically not: it's at the Zenith, the most visible portion of the chart.


School TeacherSpeaking of the Ninth House and House Systems: in Martha's chart, the lord of the Ninth House is Mercury. It's in the 10th house, because Cancer is the 10th Rashi or constellation from Libra. By traditional reckoning, this is a superb placement for Mercury, another indication of a career involved in communications. A strong 9th lord strengthens the 9th House, the house which Indian astrologers call the house of Luck or Fortune: Bhagya Bhava.

Bhagya relates to the word bhoga or enjoyment. It reveals the Hindu notion that good deeds in prior lifetimes, are reaped as the enjoyment of material rewards in the next ones. A bhogi therefore - as opposed to a yogi - is someone caught up in material pursuits. It also shows the Hindu respect for self-discipline - which when taken to excess leads to austerity and self-denial. As Joseph Campbell pointed out, extreme austerities are generally a "masculine madness".

The Ninth House, like her Moon-sign Sagittarius, relates to education, publishing and teaching. Those with powerful Ninth houses, are often professors, lecturers and instructors and from this perspective, everything that Martha Stewart does, is educational. Her whole enterprise is about sharing information to promote the good things of life and raise the standards of good taste.

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