Understanding birth chart and divisional charts (Rashi and Vargas)
What is Ascendant/Lagna and why is it important?
Zodiac signs are like planets in the sky rising and setting every day and night. Ascendant/Lagna is the zodiac sign rising in the eastern horizon at any particular time when someone is born. For ex., your ascendant sign in your birth chart is based on the rising sign in the eastern horizon of your birth place at the time of your birth. Let's say if you're born in April (second half) at the time of sunrise then your ascendant can be Aries because Sun will be in Aries from the second half of April so when Sun rises in the east, Aries (constellation) will also rise in the background. Ascendant holds the key to unlock the mysteries of your karma. You're attached to your ascendant sign and that's why it is called Lagna in Sanskrit. Lagna means attachment. So the basic framework of your psyche will be based on your ascendant sign. It's where your life starts. For ex., if your ascendant is taurus and the ascendant lord is also strong then its easy to say that you have had a well nourished childhood. Ascendant can be used for the birth of a baby, birth of a new business, buying a new house/property, beginning of any event etc.
Ascendant zodiac sign, nakshatra, its degree will tell you the basic nature and life path of any particular native. The ascendant of your birth chart will tell you everything in general and the ascendants of your divisional/varga charts will show you how you will be performing your karma on a different level. For example, your D9/Navamsha chart deals with your marriage/partnership and the lagna of this particular chart will show you who you are with D9 related matters.
Your birth chart (D1) is the snapshot of planetary positions in the sky when you were born. Planetary positions denote time from seconds to centuries. Thus by understanding the time of your birth, you can draw a whole picture of your life. For ex., if you were born when your parents were loving each other then you'll have a nourishing lifestyle but if you were born when they were struggling with each other then you'll face a lot of struggles in life. This is why, modern science advise the parents to give a good time to their unborn child the same way our ancient science (astrology) does.
Birth chart represents your physical body and the physical world around you. Yes, the planetary positions, nakshatras, signs and houses of D1 shapes your physique (body shape & constitution) from head to toe. It's easy to understand why. For ex., if a child is born with powerful Sun and Jupiter you can easily say that this child will give and get more nourishment (with the world around him). Because powerful Sun brings adequate sunlight (in april and may every year) and powerful Jupiter brings adequate rain and freshwater (every 12 years). Sunlight and freshwater means life. So the child (came when the world is enjoying adequate nourishment) will grow well and enhance the nourishment further. This is basic scientific knowledge and not a pseudo science. It is simply a "celestial clock" that stopped at your birth and you look at it to remind you of your origin and beyond to understand the future. Because history repeats. So, fixing your physical appearance is the primary remedy to fix your D1. That's why yoga, ayurveda and siddha were practiced in ancient times to improve the life condition. Because these ancient scientific practices were not only healing/improving the body but also the mind.
How do I read a chart?
I basically use the Lahiri Ayanamsha available in Parashara’s Light software. I make predictions using
Vimshottari Dasha (commonly used by astrologers around the world),
Chara Dasha (based on Jaimini astrology system) and
There is more: Just like the birth chart there are 15 Divisional Charts aka Varga Charts. These divisional charts are important to make a detailed analysis of specific events in your life. For ex., birth chart (D1) is for overall analysis, Navamsha (D9) chart is used for marriage related analysis and Dashamsha (D10) chart is used for career related analysis. All these 16 charts (incl. birth chart) are used for multi-dimensional analysis (conscious and sub-conscious) on a deeper level. This is not a fancy term to scare you off but to keep you informed on what’s going on under the term “Vedic Astrology”. Let's look at divisional charts.
Apart from D1 (birth chart), there are 15 other divisional/varga charts namely
A zodiac sign in D1 can be divided into 2 parts to make D2, the 2nd division of Rashi. A zodiac sign in D1 can be divided into 3 parts to make D3, the 3rd division. 4 parts to make D4, 7 parts to make D7 and so on. This is the traditional Parashari method of understanding a person’s physical, mental (conscious & subconscious), ancestral (past lives) and individual (soul) planes.
Physical is D1 to D12
Conscious mind is D16 to D24
Sub-conscious mind is D27 and D30
Ancestral is D40 and D45
Soul is D60
You’re not just your body: Modern science delves deep into the realm of your ancestry to look for your life that involves understanding your DNA that carries the memories of your parents and ancestors. Just by comparing your D9 to your parents’ D1 you can understand why i say D9 shows your mature self. It’ll show some level of similarities with your parents’ D1. It means you're resembling your parents' mentality when you're mature.
The process of maturity becomes easier when you have Vargottama and Bhavottama planets.
Understanding D9 and further
Two identical individuals may have a lot of similarities in their D1 but the way they live and experience life can be different because of the differences in their D9. For ex. If A and B with similar D1 face similar hardship, A might cry and escape whereas B might fix the situation. This is because of the inner nature they have, that's D9.
When you get deep into D40 and D45 you can understand the past karmas. It shows the fruits of good karmas from your ancestry and from your own past births. D60 shows all the good and bad karmas you did from all the lives you have ever lived. Its the Akashic records which has everything from the beginning. If this chart is good with positive yogas then you can understand that you have done many good karmas.