The Dharma Houses and the Fire Element
The 5th house is a trinal or trikona house and as such is a member of the Dharma House Trine - 1, 5, and 9. Dharma means life purpose. When we’re living in accordance with the dharma houses we’re motivated because our life has meaning and purpose. These are considered “fire houses,” because they correspond to the fire signs Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius respectively. When we’re aligned to our dharma, we’re on fire, excited, our passion is sparked, and we feel moved by spirit. The word inspire comes from the Latin word spirare, the root word of spirit, to breathe life into. So the dharma houses can show us what would help us live feel alive, connected to spirit, and inspired. We need that spark to feel motivated enough to overcome the obstacles we’ll inevitably face.
When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds: Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive, and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be.Sage Patanjali in The Mahabhasya
Don't ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.Harold Whitman
The Dharma Houses as Opposite the Kama Houses
The kama or desire houses, 3, 7, and 11, are opposite the dharma houses, 1, 5 and 9. The kama houses ask, “What do I want to do?” while the dharma houses ask, “What should I do?” or “What am I called to do?“ The kama houses are also social or “air houses,” corresponding to the air signs, Gemini, Libra and Aquarius respectively. Therefore, the question of “What do I want to do?” is usually within a social context. Whereas, the dharma houses ask, “What am I called to do?“ within the larger context of one’s life purpose, which the fire element represents. It’s a much deeper question searching for what makes our life meaningful, rather than just pursuing the fulfillment of desires.
The Dharma Houses as Friendly to the Ascendant
The ascendant or 1st house is the most important house, not only within the Dharma House Trine, but also among all the twelve houses. It’s the starting point for interpreting a chart, and constant reference point, because it’s the house of the self, identity, and one’s main character traits. It’s the filter or window through which all other houses can be seen.
The other two dharma houses, 5 and 9, are considered friendly to the ascendant, being of the same sign element. For instance, if your ascendant is an earth sign, then the 5th and 9th houses will also be earth signs. Also, the three dharma house lords will always be members of the same family of natural friends. The two families of natural friends are: Saturn, Venus, Mercury and Jupiter, Mars, Sun and Moon. Therefore, the 5th and 9th houses will always compliment the ascendant. They will be the most beneficial house lords, along with the 1st lord, due to their collective status as the temporal or functional benefics in the chart. Therefore, if you can identify any houses as capable of giving the most benefit, it’s the dharma houses. For all these reasons, it’s generally advisable to design your life in accordance with whatever the dharma houses represent.
The Dharma Houses and Purva Punya
We typically think of the 5th house as the house of purva punya, or past life merit. But all three of the dharma houses, 1, 5, 9, generally represent where we’ve acquired positive karma from past lives. This is why they’re considered friendly and beneficial to us, and their lords are the temporal or functional benefics in the chart. Their dashas will tend to be periods of the return of our good karma, and are generally more beneficial than the dashas of other house lords. This makes sense based on the principle of Bhavat Bhavam, or house-to-house relationships, because the 9th house is the 5th house from the 5th house, and the 1st house is the 5th house from the 9th house.
The 5th House – Acquired Knowledge, Skills, and Talents
Of the three dharma houses, the 5th house is unique because it’s the 3rd house from the 3rd house. The 3rd house is the house of hobbies and interests. As the higher octave of the 3rd house, the 5th house represents our strong and intense interests, what we’re passionate about. As the primary house of purva punya, it also represents where we’ve focused our energies in past lives, and developed as our acquired knowledge, skills, and talents. To direct our efforts towards these natural strengths is always a good idea, since we’re likely to be met with the most success with the least effort, while at the same time feeling the most inspired.
My Jyotish guru, K.N. Rao, emphasizes the 5th house for career and educational counseling. See the following quote from chapter three of his book, Yogis, Destiny and the Wheel of Time:
In a series of horoscopes I have tested career patterns, talents, gifts - normal and supernormal, by focusing on the fifth house and the fifth lord from the Lagna (ascendant) and the putrakaraka of Jaimini.
The 5th house corresponds to the 5th sign of Leo, which is the sign of the creative faculty and self-expression. The 5th house is also well known as the house of children, however, when our concept of childbirth expands to include our creative expressions, what we produce, our “creative babies", we gain a broader understanding of its significance.
The 5th House and Educational Counseling
As a stepping-stone to career, decisions about education can be crucial for career outcomes. Therefore, educational counseling is a valuable service that a Vedic astrologer can render. It can save someone a lot of time, money, and unhappiness. If someone can be guided toward their strongest interests, skills, and talents represented primarily by the 5th house, then they’ll have the best chance to succeed, and will be ultimately the most fulfilled.
However, there’s differing opinions amongst Vedic astrologers about which is actually the house of education. Generally, north Indian astrologers attribute the 5th house, while south Indians give the 4th house. Both are right. The 4th house represents education that is acquired at home, as well as at a compulsory foundational education setting which is typically through high school (pre-college). But as soon as there is choice in educational subjects it becomes a 5th house matter, which is what is relevant for counseling purposes.
This is well supported in the classic texts. For instance, the sage Parashara emphasizes the 5th house for education. Here's a quote:
From the 5th house are to be seen amulets (yantras) sacred spells (mantras), learning, the splendor of the intellect, knowledge (vidya), sons (children), capacity to manage affairs (royalty), and fall from position (8th house from the 10th house).Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra, verse 6, chapter 13
This quote suggests that the 5th house is the process of learning, increasing knowledge and exercising the intellect. We can see what a person will be interested in studying primarily by the 5th house, 5th lord, and Mercury regardless of whether it's formal or informal education. The 5th house is primarily seen for undergraduate studies, whereas the 9th house, being the 5th house from the 5th house, is the house of post-graduate studies and higher knowledge.
Another hint from classic texts that education can be seen from the 5th house is in the Jaimini Sutras. In the Jaimini system, the karakamsha lagna and the 5th house from it indicate one's professional inclinations and the educational training suitable for that profession. Here's a quote from the sage Jaimini:
If Venus is alone in the Karakamsha or in the 5th from it, one becomes a poet, an eloquent speaker, and a good critic of literature.Jaimini Sutram
Synthesizing Many Factors – A Flexible Methodology
Interpreting the horoscope is always a matter of analysis and synthesis: analyzing many factors and synthesizing them into a cohesive logical interpretation. So then it becomes a matter of knowing what factors to analyze and for this there are always varying opinions amongst astrologers.
For the purpose of determining what a person would be strongly interested in studying and developing into a career, we need to primarily examine the 5th house, 5th lord, and karaka of education, Mercury. Mercury will show us what someone is interested in studying. Next, K.N. Rao recommends looking at the 5th house and 5th lord from the karaka Mercury itself. This needs to also be combined with an understanding of one’s basic personality traits and inclinations represented by the 1st house and 1st lord. Here’s a quote from K.N. Rao from the forward to Naval Singh’s book, Planets and Education:
It is the lagna and lagna lord who hold the key of everything in life, including education.K.N. Rao
Also, it’s useful to add the examination of the Sun and Moon, karakas of personality, as well as noting the dasha running at the time of study. The Sun becomes doubly important because it’s the karaka of the 1st house of personality as well as 10th house of career. There are many other factors that are worthwhile examining like the other important karaka of education as well as of dharma/inspiration, Jupiter. Looking at the nakshatra of the 5th lord is also very useful. If we’re using the Jaimini system, then we can also focus on the karakamsha lagna and 5th house from the karakamsha, as well as the putra karaka (PK: planet with 5th highest degrees). There’s also great value in examining the D9 navamsha chart and the D24 chaturvimshamsha charts for education. However, in the following example charts we’ll limit our analysis to these three areas:
- Personality Indicators: 1st house, 1st lord, Sun and Moon
- House, house lord, and karaka: 5th house, 5th Lord, Mercury, and 5th house from Mercury.
- Dasha running at time of choosing field of study.
The first two areas are static, unchanging, and the dasha running is dynamic, ever changing. Just looking at the static unchanging indications in the natal chart is not enough, because our interests, values, and priorities all change with changing of the dashas. If you focus on these three areas then many important clues will not be missed. The strongest planet(s) combined with the dasha running will ultimately decide the choice of education and career direction.
Three Questions: What, When, How
There are three kinds of questions that typically arise with regards to education:
- What to study?
- When to study?
- How successful will studies be?
In the following example charts we’ll focus mostly on what to study.
Artistic vs. Technical Planets
K.N. Rao makes a useful broad distinction between benefic and malefic planets for the purpose of educational counseling. He describes the benefic planets: Jupiter, Venus, Mercury, and the Moon as predominately artistic planets, and the malefic planets: Saturn, Mars, Rahu, Ketu as predominately technical or scientific planets, with the Sun as a mild malefic, representing less technical subjects like political science. This provides a basic starting point for deciphering planetary combinations as seen in educational/career patterns.
Billionaire real estate developer Donald Trump, has the 1st lord Moon in the 5th house. One of the many indications of the 5th house is speculation, and Trump is the epitome of a speculator. Notice how the Moon is aspected by both the 2nd lord, Sun, from the 11th house, and 5th lord, Mars, from the 2nd house. The ascendant lord, Moon, therefore, is involved in multiple dhana or wealth producing yogas, between 1st lord and 2nd lord, and 1st lord and 5th lord. So, of all the 5th house indications we need to lean toward the financial ones, like speculation and investments to understand what this guy is all about. At first glance, you may think that Trump is a mystic with the Moon debilitated in Scorpio with Ketu. Not with the aspect from two masculine, ambitious planets like the Sun and Mars, from materialistic houses the 2nd and 11th. In this case, Ketu with the Moon indicates that he can be sneaky and deceptive in his dealings. The 5th lord Mars in the 2nd houses says a lot about where his passion lies: to make money, lots of it! Mercury as the 12th lord, in the 12th house, gives him international dealings and ambitions. Looking at 5th house from Mercury, again we’re seeing a strong dhana yoga with the 5th lord, Venus, combined with 9th lord, Saturn, in the 2nd house.
He started business school in his Venus-Rahu dasha. Venus is the 4th lord with the 8th lord, which is a combination for real estate renovation, which is how he eventually made millions. The 4th house is the house of real estate, and the 8th house is the house of transformation. Rahu, the sub dasha lord, is in the 11th house with the 2nd lord, which is a combination that’s showing obsessive and excessive ambition for gains. No wonder he chose to attend business school. He says that he flirted with the idea of going to film school, but ended up choosing business. Rahu with the Sun in the 11th house is a combination for being a bit of a showman, which he actualized later in his life in Jan 2004, during his Rahu-Jupiter dasha when he aired his first episode of his reality TV game show, The Apprentice.
After graduating from business school in his Venus-Jupiter dasha, he went to work at his father’s real estate renovation company in New York and made millions in his Venus dasha. Notice how Jupiter is the 9th lord, representing the father, aspecting the Sun also representing the father. This forms another powerful dhana yoga in his chart between the 9th and 2nd lords, and indicating how he benefitted tremendously from his father’s influence.
Similarly to Donald Trump, notice how in the chart of Bill Gates, the multi-billionaire founder of Microsoft Corporation, the ascendant lord, is aspected by both the 2nd lord and 11th lord forming multiple dhana yogas. Likewise, the Sun is also associated with 5th and 9th lords, Venus and Saturn, forming an extremely strong lakshmi yoga. Certainly his passion has been, like Trump, to earn vast sums of wealth, since the 1st lord, Sun, Moon, and 5th lord are all involved in powerful dhana yogas. Because Mercury is exalted in it’s own sign of Virgo in an angular house it forms a bhadra mahapurusha yoga, which also repeats from the Moon (Chandra lagna). When Mercury and/or the 5th lord is strongly placed then it indicates someone with high intelligence. This is certainly the case in Bill Gates’s chart with Mercury exalted, and the 5th lord Venus in its mulatrikona sign of Libra, and both placed in angular and trinal houses respectively.
His ascendant is Gemini, the 3rd sign of the natural zodiac, which along with Mercury represents communication and computer technology, while his ascendant lord Mercury is combined with Mars, a technical planet. This certainly shows his interest in computer technology, especially because Mercury is also place in its exalted sign of Virgo. It was in his Mercury-Saturn dasha that he began his undergraduate studies at Harvard University. This makes sense since Mercury is the karaka of education (along with Jupiter), and Saturn is in the 5th house conjunct the 5th lord, Venus. However, as soon as his Ketu mahadasha began in 1975 he dropped out of college, to go through the preparation stages of forming Microsoft. It was in his Venus dasha following Ketu that his lakshmi yoga involving Venus became activated and he soon became one of the richest men in the world.
Both Trump and Gates have Venus conjunct Saturn, in the dharma houses 1st and 5th respectively. Both are designers (Venus) of structures (Saturn). Trump designs buildings, and Gates designs computer operating systems.
Stephen King is one of the most prolific writers of all time, specializing in contemporary horror and suspense thrillers. His books have sold over 350 million copies and many have become movies as well.
Similar to the chart of Donald Trump, he has Cancer ascendant with the Moon with Ketu in Scorpio. Both Trump and King are highly creative with the lagna lord in the 5th house, and in both cases Mars is connected with the ascendant lord, Moon. In King’s chart the Moon is in exchange with 5th lord Mars, in Cancer. This forms a parivartana yoga and neecha bhanga raja yoga, giving cancellation to the Moon’s debility. The Moon is not only in the 5th house, it combines with the other two dharma house lords, Mars and Jupiter. This also repeats from the Moon (Chandra lagna). This is an extremely creative combination, because the Moon is with Jupiter a benefic artistic planet, in a watery creative sign of Scorpio, and Jupiter also aspects the ascendant from the 5th house, a creative house. He produces book after book and has an abundance of creative ideas. This is further enhanced by the fact that the Sun is with exalted Mercury, the 3rd lord in the 3rd house, along with the planet of creativity Venus. The 3rd house, Mercury and Venus all represent writing. If we look at the 5th house from Mercury, we see that the 5th house and 5th lord, Saturn, is with the 3rd lord, Mars, representing writing. Malefics and the 8th house represent horror. In King’s case, the 5th lord Mars is with the 8th lord, and this from Mercury, the karaka, the 5th lord Saturn, is with the 8th lord, Mars. This is indicates his passion for suspense and horror.
It was in his Venus mahadasha that he began undergraduate studies in literature, a subject represented by Venus. Venus is also conjunct exalted 3rd lord, Mercury, further indicating a direction is writing and literature. Venus also has its debility cancelled by association with its debilitation lord, Mercury. This is a good example chart of why we need to factor in the mahadasha lord as an important influence on our choice of academic studies.
Here is the chart of Dr. Deepak Chopra who has been a pioneer in the field of alternative medicine as a prolific writer and speaker. Notice how the 1st lord Saturn is placed in the 6th house of illness and healing. When we read the chart from the Moon (Chandra lagna) Saturn becomes the 6th lord and aspects the ascendant. This shows a strong connection with the medical field. In addition, Mercury, which happens to also be the 5th lord, and the Sun are conjunct Mars, a technical scientific planet. He began his undergraduate studies in Mars-Venus dasha. Mars is with 5th lord, Mercury, and Jupiter, both karakas of education, indicating a dasha focusing on education. Venus represents biology and Mars and Venus form a parivartana yoga between the 9th and 10th lords. The mahadasha lord, Mars, is also with the Sun, karaka of the body and the medical field. To be a medical doctor is also to be in the role of advisor, consultant, and educator. Therefore, the 9th house, the house of teaching, and Jupiter, the guru and advisor, must also be strongly positioned in the chart of medical doctor. It was in the dasha sequence of Mars followed by Rahu, two technical scientific planets, that he became trained as a medical doctor.
As in the chart of Stephen King, Jupiter aspects the ascendant, the 5th house, and the 5th lord, giving him an abundance of creative ideas. The 5th lord, Mercury in the 9th house with Jupiter, the Sun and the 10th lord, gives him the qualities of a teacher and educator. It has been since his 16 year Jupiter dasha, which began in 1983, that he has become known as a new age guru. This makes perfect sense since Jupiter is placed in the 9th house, the house of higher knowledge and wisdom, with his 5th lord. It was in this dasha, that teaching and writing became his passion.
Utilizing the D24 Chart for Birth Time Rectification
Deepak Chopra’s chart is a good example of how we can make use of the D24 chart for birth time rectification purposes. His given birth time is 15:51. However, if you move his birth time back just one minute to 15:50, it changes his D24 lagna from Taurus to Aries. This makes much more sense, because he moved to the USA for post-graduate studies in Rahu-Jupiter dasha in the summer of 1970. With Aries ascendant, Rahu is aspected by 9th and 12th lord Jupiter. The 9th house represents post-graduate studies, and the 12th house represents foreign countries.
In each of these example charts, the 5th house and 5th lord have been shown to have a significant influence on educational choices and career directions. Ultimately, the 5th house, and collectively the three dharma houses, represents the spark of inspiration, which gives our lives meaning and purpose. To focus on these houses, house lords, and karakas, along with an intelligent blending of the dashas that a person is in, is safe ground for an astrologer when making recommendations about education and career patterns. You will likely do him or her a great service.
Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls.Joseph Campbell, author of The Hero’s Journey