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Natal Astrology A place to discuss yours and others' birth charts (after you post your own birth chart interpretation). Includes psychological and relocation astrology, houses, aspects, and planetary dignity and debility.


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  #1  
Unread 12-26-2013, 05:13 AM
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Birch Dragon Birch Dragon is offline
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Quick Question About the Atmakaraka

Actually it might be two questions.
First, does the idea of the atmakaraka work outside of Vedic? Does it translate easily into Western astrology? --- the answer to this question already seems to be "yes" since users on this website seem to be doing it.
But then, I have to ask, what happens if the atmakaraka in your chart is one of the outer Planets:Uranus, Neptune or Pluto?

The atmakaraka is something I'd never heard of before landing at this website. In another thread Greybeard offered a link to a page about it. Most interesting to me was a brief chart showing the worldly desires associated with a particular planet and then the spiritual lesson associated with that planet if it is the atmakaraka. So the Sun, for example, according to this page, is about worldly will and power but the spiritual lesson of the Sun as atmakaraka is the opposite: to transcend the ego.
The page is interesting but assumes Vedic astrology, and so says nothing of the outer planets.
My atmakaraka appears to be Uranus. Is it best to find a person's atmakaraka by ignoring the three outer planets, or do Western modern astrologers that use the notion have something to say about a Uranus, Neptune or Pluto atmakaraka?


Last edited by Birch Dragon; 12-26-2013 at 06:00 AM.
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  #2  
Unread 12-26-2013, 12:54 PM
greybeard greybeard is offline
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Re: Quick Question About the Atmakaraka

If you want to use the atmakaraka in western astrology you can. The different traditions are not necessarily antagonistic.

If you use ten planets then the modern ones can be atmakaraka. My atmakaraka is Neptune, and I am weird. Maybe I shouldn't say that. We'll call it a Freudian slip. No, that isn't right.....

Well, moving on now....

I am leery of charts and cookbooks. Understand the nature of each planet, in depth. Then the translation into terms of the individual life will flow out of the chart.

Planets are capable of multiple forms of manifestation, sometimes simultaneous, or sometimes seen along a sliding scale of positive/negative. If we look to the continuum of Yin and Yang, we can see the one side and the other of the planet. (Sun: external exercise of will/dominion over self (transcendence of ego); Yang and Yin.)

In that same thread where I mentioned the atmakaraka, I pointed to several chart factors (like the three essential preponderances) that determine the the general tone of the chart as a whole. All of the individual components of a chart, including the atmakaraka, are subject to these "whole-chart" determinators. The chart pattern and the most generalized "statements" in a chart describe the matrix within which the parts operate and to which they must conform.

Astrological dignities are of two types: essential and accidental. The signs are essential. All else is accidental. Essential dignities (& debilities, of course) are "of the essence" of a person, are immutable. They operate at the deepest levels. Accidental dignities (there are many sorts) deal fundamentally with the adventitious events of life, are experiential and highly individualized.

Some charts are full of preponderances of different kinds, while others have few or none. This fact, of itself, is subject to interpretation. A chart without preponderance has a greater degree of freedom, which may be "good" or "bad". When a chart has many sorts of preponderances, it is possible to know a great deal about the life and personality before ever examining any individual planet.

Last edited by greybeard; 12-26-2013 at 01:04 PM.
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  #3  
Unread 12-26-2013, 08:49 PM
!4C !4C is offline
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Re: Quick Question About the Atmakaraka

Seems like this is based on the idea that a planet traveling through a sign represents some development that reaches maturity when the planet leaves the sign. Therefore a planet at the highest degree a sign is the most developed.

However, that makes me wonder if retrograde conditions need to be considered. For example, a person born now would have venus as atmakaraka. However, venus is not moving on to next sign. It is going back to finish some business in capricorn.
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  #4  
Unread 12-27-2013, 04:36 AM
dr. farr dr. farr is offline
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Re: Quick Question About the Atmakaraka

Quote:
Originally Posted by Birch Dragon View Post
Actually it might be two questions.
First, does the idea of the atmakaraka work outside of Vedic? Does it translate easily into Western astrology? --- the answer to this question already seems to be "yes" since users on this website seem to be doing it.
But then, I have to ask, what happens if the atmakaraka in your chart is one of the outer Planets:Uranus, Neptune or Pluto?

ANSWER: THE PRINCIPLE REMAINS THE SAME-THE PLANET (ANY PLANET, AND I ALSO USE LILITH-BUT NEVER THE NODES-THEY WERE SPECIFICALLY EXCLUDED IN ALL REFERENCES TO ATMAKARAKA IN ALL OF THE HISTORICAL VEDIC-ESPECIALLY JAIMINI VEDIC-LITERATURE. OUTER BODIES CAN BE APPLIED (IF ONE WISHES TO, AS I DO) UNDER THE ATMAKARAKA PRINCIPLE SAME AS THE TRADITIONAL PLANETS.

The atmakaraka is something I'd never heard of before landing at this website. In another thread Greybeard offered a link to a page about it. Most interesting to me was a brief chart showing the worldly desires associated with a particular planet and then the spiritual lesson associated with that planet if it is the atmakaraka. So the Sun, for example, according to this page, is about worldly will and power but the spiritual lesson of the Sun as atmakaraka is the opposite: to transcend the ego.
The page is interesting but assumes Vedic astrology, and so says nothing of the outer planets.
My atmakaraka appears to be Uranus. Is it best to find a person's atmakaraka by ignoring the three outer planets, or do Western modern astrologers that use the notion have something to say about a Uranus, Neptune or Pluto atmakaraka?
ANSWER: DEPENDS ON WHETHER OR NOT YOU ACCORD CREDENCE AND RELEVANCE TO THE OUTERS. SINCE I DO, I READILY USE THE OUTERS ACCORDING TO THE ATMAKARAKA PRINCIPLE.


I will make one brief but important differential point: in mainstream Vedic astrology (Parasara Vedic) the atmakaraka is SET & FIXED, ie, its always THE SUN (and then each subsequent planet in order are assigned lower significations-the word "karaka" means signification or significator) JAIMINI VEDIC ASTROLOGY DIFFERS FROM THIS: HERE THE ATMAKARAKA IS VARIABLE, AND IS NOT ALWAYS FIXED AS THE SUN!! In THIS DEFINITION of atmakaraka, that planet with the highest number of degree (or degrees and minutes if there is a "tie") among all the planets in all the signs, BECOMES THE ATMAKARAKA OF THE CHART (the most SYMBOLICALLY SIGNIFICANT planet in the chart) THIS IS MY UNDERSTANDING OF, AND MEANING FOR, ATMAKARAKA whenever I use that term in my posts. And-if you are using the outers (even Lilith)-then it is of course quite possible that one of the outers could have the highest number of degrees in any sign among all the planets you are considering, and thus become atmakaraka (in the sense I have just elaborated) for the chart.

(There is an interesting thread over at tropical-vedic-astrology.net regarding atmakaraka in the Jaimini sense, and comments I have posted to that thread might be of some value)
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  #5  
Unread 12-27-2013, 05:13 AM
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princess valhalla princess valhalla is offline
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Re: Quick Question About the Atmakaraka

Quote:
Originally Posted by dr. farr View Post
ANSWER: DEPENDS ON WHETHER OR NOT YOU ACCORD CREDENCE AND RELEVANCE TO THE OUTERS. SINCE I DO, I READILY USE THE OUTERS ACCORDING TO THE ATMAKARAKA PRINCIPLE.


I will make one brief but important differential point: in mainstream Vedic astrology (Parasara Vedic) the atmakaraka is SET & FIXED, ie, its always THE SUN (and then each subsequent planet in order are assigned lower significations-the word "karaka" means signification or significator) JAIMINI VEDIC ASTROLOGY DIFFERS FROM THIS: HERE THE ATMAKARAKA IS VARIABLE, AND IS NOT ALWAYS FIXED AS THE SUN!! In THIS DEFINITION of atmakaraka, that planet with the highest number of degree (or degrees and minutes if there is a "tie") among all the planets in all the signs, BECOMES THE ATMAKARAKA OF THE CHART (the most SYMBOLICALLY SIGNIFICANT planet in the chart) THIS IS MY UNDERSTANDING OF, AND MEANING FOR, ATMAKARAKA whenever I use that term in my posts. And-if you are using the outers (even Lilith)-then it is of course quite possible that one of the outers could have the highest number of degrees in any sign among all the planets you are considering, and thus become atmakaraka (in the sense I have just elaborated) for the chart.

(There is an interesting thread over at tropical-vedic-astrology.net regarding atmakaraka in the Jaimini sense, and comments I have posted to that thread might be of some value)
I think this is called the "chara atmakaraka." In my case, the sun is the highest degree, 29.24 Sagittarius. Venus is @ 28.53 Capricorn. Some consider Rahu which you are supposed to subtract it from 30 degrees. So mine is @ virgo 1.04 so the degree would be 28.56. So I have three vying for atmakaraka, though Sun takes the title.
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  #6  
Unread 01-02-2014, 05:06 PM
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Birch Dragon Birch Dragon is offline
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Re: Quick Question About the Atmakaraka

Well... thanks again for the (as always) wonderful, thoughtful replies.
"Atmakaraka" was a term I'd never heard of before and I wanted to know more about because, as I stare into the world of astrology, I find myself particularly interested in what the natal chart says about the human soul.
Wondering what dr. farr means by "symbolically significant," I did a little internet surfing and discovered that the atmakaranka is, in Vedic, not a unique concept in and of itself but simply a way of saying, "this is the planet that signifies the soul" as compared to other planets that signify other things. (Which is, I see now, what dr. farr was saying.) So "karaka," as the good doctor already explained, simply means "signifier." Where the "atmakaraka" (where "atma" = soul) signifies the soul, the "swakaraka" ("swa" = self) signifies the individual self, the amatyakaraka signifies the intellect/mind, and so on through a whole list of signifiers. if the atmakaraka is the planet with the highest degree in any sign, the swakaraka is the planet ruling the Ascendent sign, and the amatyakaraka is the planet with the second highest number of degrees in any sign.

(The website I'm drawing this from: http://www.karmicrhythms.com/pe11.htm)

So that's good to know...
And now I'm still left wondering: "what does ruminating over the atmakaraka in a person's natal chart tell us about their life and soul?"
Dr. farr, could you elaborate for us what you mean by "symbolically signifant?" How does that play out when you're reading a natal chart?

According to the website I just cited, in Jaimini Vedic astrology (but not Parasara), "The Atmakaraka indicates the soul and heart of the native... We may be able to ascertain the individual's constitution, nature, outlook, general health and fortune from the Atmakaraka... [It] is the most important planet and has a prime say on the individual. Just as the king is the most famous among the men of his country and is the head of all affairs... the Atmakaraka too is vested with the power to give auspicious or inauspicious results. Just as the minister cannot go against the king, the other Karakas... cannot prevail over the Atmakaraka . If the Atmakaraka is adverse, other Karakas too cannot give their benefic effects. Similarly, if Atmakaraka is favourable, other Karakas cannot predominate with their malefic influences."
This suggests that, for this author at least, the atmakaraka wields a great deal of weight over a person's life, and should be central in any reading of the chart.
On the other hand, this notion of the atmakaraka seems to require a particular kind of metaphysical story, originally Hindu: The soul (atman) can be thought of as a discreet, eternal entity that reincarnates into several different lives over time, running like an indestructible string through them all. So when we are talking about the person we are talking about at least two levels: the earthly individual life - body, mind, persona, etc.; and then a distinct soul which has different traits but incarnates into each life with its set of earthly traits for specific karmic reasons.
This metaphysical account seems pretty commonly assumed amongst astrologers, but I've noticed it's not universally assumed. Greybeard, for example, has a whole thread on the soul where he seems to agree with what I understand to be the Buddha's critique of the Hindu atman. (Please correct me if I'm wrong, Greybeard). For the Buddha (though I don't know whether this winds up beng true for the many schools of Buddhism), nothing is permanent, including the atman, so the soul cannot be a coherent, consistent string running through several lives. Rather, for the Buddha, an individual life must be like a drop of water that emerges momentarily from the vast cosmic ocean and in death is simply subsumed back into that ocean.
Hopefully I'm not being too tedious here but I bring up these metaphysical differences because they suggest to me different ways of thinking about the atmakaraka. In the Hindu metaphysic (or at least in Jaimini Vedic) it seems the atmakraka takes pride of place. For the author of this website, the state of the atmakaraka conditions the rest of the chart. By a different reading, which I think greybeard presents here, it's the other way around. The "soul" is found by looking at the whole mandala that is the natal chart - synthetically, wholistically, how all the colours splash together - and what the atmakaraka says to us is conditioned by its place in the whole picture.

Two last thoughts:
1) It seems really interesting to me that the signifier of the soul in a natal chart is also the Void of Course planet, a point of irritation and a place that we put on the back-burner in our lives. I wonder what that says about the relationship between the soul and the focus of an individual, earthly life?

2) Thinking self-centeredly about my own chart, but as an example of how to read the atmakaraka in a birth chart: My atmakaraka would be Uranus, which is also the only unaspected planet in my chart (unless we allow for a wide, 10 degree orb). All the other planets weave together in a clear matrix of trines, sextile and squares. Then there's this one planet, the atmakaraka, sitting outside that matrix. What does something like that suggest? Does it suggest the conditions of this life are particularly unlike the characteristics of "my soul?"
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Unread 01-03-2014, 03:16 AM
greybeard greybeard is offline
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Re: Quick Question About the Atmakaraka

My view of soul coincides with the Buddha's. We exist (the soul being, perhaps, the union of spirit and flesh) and at death the soul is subsumed into the ocean of spirit from whence it came. Just as a side note, I came to this view by sitting on a rock and contemplating a raindrop, asking "Where is the residence of the soul?". I found that the soul could have no residence and therefore there could be no soul to reincarnate. That is why I do not believe in the "soul" as it seems to be commonly understood: A discrete personal immortal "being" that survives our physical death and passes through many incarnations. If we contemplate the raindrop, what we see is a continuous series of transformations. If there is a soul (as commonly conceived) then it must enter into each and every manifest form it acquires or uses, which would in a very short time place it in everything that is. Whch brings us to the Ocean. I have long held the view that any religious/spiritual/philosophical view or idea that does not correspond exactly with manifest reality (is geometrically congruent with it) must be false, for spirit and matter are one and the same, not separate. Thus I do not accept the idea of past lives and karma from those (nonexistent, imaginary) past lives. Neither do I accept the Christian idea of heaven and hell. About 30 years ago, while strolling through the woods in thought, I discovered that I am smack dab in the middle of heaven right here, right now...but had been blind to the fact. It was like a bolt of lightning: life changing.

See what happens when you have Neptune as atmakaraka. Stuff gets pretty weird.

I have a soul. It is just not what most people think it is. Just like God is not what most people think it is. I really have a hard time believing in a Super Santa Claus.

Doggone it Birch....Read your chart. Read an unaspected planet. Read Uranus. Trust yourself. What is the intrinsic nature of Uranus? How is this modified by sign, house, lord of the sign he's in? If an energy is not connected with the others (leave astrology aside for a moment....think in terms of what you already know about science, or people or life....) what might its effect be? There are many possibilities...and all of them may apply to Uranus in your chart, may be true, but probably some more than others, depending on what the meaning of the whole chart looks like. Figure it out. Trust yourself. The chart must be read on its own merits; it's unique. And who can read it better than you?

The planet in highest degree is not necessarily void of course. Reconsider that view. It is in error.

Last edited by greybeard; 01-03-2014 at 03:30 AM.
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Unread 01-03-2014, 04:01 AM
dr. farr dr. farr is offline
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Re: Quick Question About the Atmakaraka

For me the entire chart represents the incarnating soul: each element of the chart represents the various components of the soul as incarnating in that particular life, the potentials, susceptibilities and ramifications of that soul for that life.

The symbolical nature of (my understanding of) the atmakaraka, means that the nature and characteristic qualities of that planet, BOTH positive and negative, will "color" the nature of that on a primarily qualitative basis, will show the "color" of the quality of the potential influences underlying the development/unfolding of that life.
For example, in the Bruce Lee (famous martial artist and film star) natal, Neptune is atmakaraka of that chart. Now, a symbolic quality of Neptune can be "formlessness", and Bruce Lee styled the controversial and revolutionary martial arts style he created the "no-style" or "formless style" of martial arts-how exactly Neptunian is this!
So that's what the atmakaraka shows: the potential + and - QUALITIES of the atmakraka planet a symbolizing, "coloring", the underlying quality of the given life.
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Unread 01-03-2014, 04:50 AM
!4C !4C is offline
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Re: Quick Question About the Atmakaraka

Quote:
Originally Posted by dr. farr View Post
For example, in the Bruce Lee (famous martial artist and film star) natal, Neptune is atmakaraka of that chart.
It appears neptune is also his most elevated planet and in the 10th house. His death is a bit of a confusing mystery that seems like a coverup. What caused the brain swelling? According to the wikipedia page, Chuck Norris commented that his death was from an interaction between two drugs he used to treat complications from a ruptured disc. What ever the case, all of these are neptune themes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dr. farr
(There is an interesting thread over at tropical-vedic-astrology.net regarding atmakaraka in the Jaimini sense, and comments I have posted to that thread might be of some value)
Yes, I found that thread. You do not consdier retrograde planet conditions when identifying atmakaraka and vedic astrology views a retrograde planet as stronger. Thanks.
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Unread 01-03-2014, 05:44 AM
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Birch Dragon Birch Dragon is offline
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Re: Quick Question About the Atmakaraka

O.k. Great. Again, great posts. All very helpful.


Quote:
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Doggone it Birch....Read your chart... Trust yourself...
Indeed!!
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