Divisional charts are the keys to understanding horoscopes as they unlock that hidden door which refuses to open, even after the astrologer has examined the entire spectrum of variables for analyzing a bhāva. So once a bhāva has been put under the gaze, and its rāśi and the planets housing it and aspecting it, its lord and its dispositor, its strengths and its Navāṁśa, its ārūḍha padas and special lagnas, its kārakas and yogas, argalās and dṛṣṭis, have all been inspected from every possible angle, and yet clarity is not achieved, divisional charts come to the fore to dispel the clouds of obscurity. Kalyāṇa Varmā has said that without divisional charts, one cannot take a step forward in astrology. It illuminates a bhāva where darkness prevails and enables the astrologer to examine bhāva specific queries in its minutest detail.
Divisional charts (D-Charts) are the manifold divisions or vargas of the twelve signs of the zodiac. Each rāśi is divided into x parts or aṁśas, such as 2, 3, 4, 7, 9, 10, 12 etc., wherein the positions of the planets are mapped in each aṁśa accordingly. This spatial or aṁśic position of planets are transformed into a variety of rāśi charts, generating a string of diagrams which are nothing but maps of the various divisional representation of the planets. These charts depict diverse aspects of the native’s life, like marriage, children, profession, wealth, spouse, spirituality, ancestral lineage, education, troubles and ill health, past life etc.
At another level divisional charts may be contemplated as possibilities and probabilities. The bha-chakra as created by the Kalpuruṣa is a dynamic four-dimensional model wherein the twin concepts of time and space have been harmonized. Ordinary horoscopes though two-dimensional, take into account linear time and the vertical declinations of the planets. If one considers degrees to represent time, then every division of the zodiac has a corresponding division of time. Hence every division is locked in specific time grids. If the rāśi is the only reality, the true mean, or the satya, then the divisional charts are nothing by projections in multiple time zones and are illusory, like māyā. In so far they are projections of the mind, they represent possibilities, which might occur in different time frames, from whence one may learn lessons and receive signals, in order to pursue the dictat of the rāśi chart in a more meaningful way.
The nomenclatures of the charts are derived in a variety of ways. Some are based on the division numbers like Saptāṁśa and Ṣaṣṭiāṁśa, which are the 7th and 60th divisions of a sign, while others are based on their usage and focus like Siddhāṁśa, which is specifically for determining the level of siddhi or higher knowledge and wisdom that the native may or may not have the potential to achieve. Yet others have multiple names, like the 16th divisional chart, which is known both as Ṣoḍaṣāṁśa and Kālāṁśa, the 12th divisional chart known as Dvādaśāṁśa and Suryāṁśa or the 4th divisional chart, known as Chaturthāṁśa or Turīyāṁśa. In daily parlance the divisional charts are often referred to by their divisional numbers such D-3, D-4 or D-9. The following table enlists the twenty basic divisional charts, their nomenclature and purpose.
The twelve signs therefore, are divided and sub-divided in different fractions, the sequence of which gets repeated after every twelve divisions. Each cycle of twelve divisions represent a ‘harmonic’ depicting the various levels of consciousness, both gross and subtle, which exists in the life of a person. The first cycle of divisional charts from D-1 to D-12 represent the physical plane. They cover the various aspects of the physical realities of a person such as the body itself (D-1, Rāśi), wealth (D-2, Horā), co-born or siblings (D-3, Drekkāṇa), properties and fortune (D-4, Chaturthāṁśa), progeny (D-7, Saptāṁśa), spouse (D-9, Navāṁśa), profession, career and work (D-10, Daśāṁśa) and parents (D-12, Dvādaśāṁśa). Of these, the Rāśi (D-1), Drekkāṇa (D-3) and Navāṁśa (D-9) are considered to be the most important in analyzing a horoscope.
The next cycle is the first harmonic of the previous cycle, covering divisions from D-13 to D-24. This represents the conscious plane, depicting the various existential conditions of a person. Although technically 12 divisions are possible in each cycle, Parāśara’s format of ṣoḍaṣavarga or the 16 kinds of divisions of each sign is being followed here. In this format, the three divisions of Kālāṁśa (D-16), Viṁśāṁśa (D-20) and Chaturviṁśāṁśa or Siddhāṁśa (D-24) are generally used, as the primary divisions to be studied in this cycle. Kālāṁśa is the first harmonic of the Chaturthāṁśa showing luxuries, vehicles and mental happiness. Viṁśāṁśa deals with the spiritual life of a person while Chaturviṁśāṁśa deals with higher learning. This cycle therefore refers to the higher existential activities of a person after crossing the first rung of gross material conditions.
The third cycle or the second harmonic, covering D-25 to D-36, relates to the sub-conscious plain. These explore the factors, which lie in the sub-conscious region and unconsciously influence the mind. They represent inherent weaknesses and strengths (D-27, Nakṣatrāṁśa) and all forms of evils that might besiege a person (D-30, Triṁśāṁśa).
The fourth cycle or third harmonic ranging from D-37 to D-48 deals with past karma, which is inherited as ancestral legacy. The important divisions in this cycle are D-40 or Khavedāṁśa representing matrilineal legacy and D-45 or Akṣavedāṁśa representing patrilineal legacy. This is the super-conscious plane.
The final harmonic is that of the supra-conscious plane from D-49 to D-60. This shows the accumulated karma from past births, which a person carries with him like a legacy. In this context Ṣaṣṭiāṁśa or D-60 is the most relevant division.
The varga charts are clustered in separate groups or schemes for purposes of specific predictions, such as ṣaḍvarga, saptavarga, daśavarga, ṣoḍaṣavarga and aṣṭākavarga. Ṣaḍvarga is a group used in Praśna including the following six divisions: Rāśi, Horā, Drekkāṇa, Navāṁśa, Dvādaśāṁśa and Triṁśāṁśa. The saptavarga clusters, used for mundane astrology, include Rāśi, Horā, Drekkāṇa, Saptāṁśa, Navāṁśa, Dvādaśāṁśa and Triṁśāṁśa. Daśavarga is used universally in horoscopy comprising Rāśi, Horā, Drekkāṇa, Saptāṁśa, Navāṁśa, Daśāṁśa, Dvādaśāṁśa, Ṣoḍaṣāṁśa, Triṁśāṁśa and Ṣaṣṭiāṁśa. Finally ṣoḍaṣavarga, the varga scheme adopted by Parāśara and commonly followed in predictive astrology include the following divisions: Rāśi, Horā, Drekkāṇa, Chaturthāṁśa, Saptāṁśa, Navāṁśa, Daśāṁśa, Dvādaśāṁśa, Ṣoḍaśāṁśa, Viṁśāṁśa, Chaturviṁśāṁśa, Nakṣatrāṁśa, Triṁśāṁśa, Khavedāṁśa, Akṣavedāṁśa and Ṣaṣṭiāṁśa. Originally the ṣoḍaṣavargīya scheme was reserved for royal horoscopy and has now become the universally adopted model. A slightly different scheme, which has numerical representations, is the aṣṭākavarga where dots and dashes are used to delineate the placement of planets and to determine their relative strengths as well as that of the signs. The complete set of twenty divisional charts includes Pañchamāṁśa, Ṣaṣṭhāṁśa, Aṣṭamāṁśa and Ekśdaśāṁśa in addition to the existing ṣoḍaṣavarga arrangement.
Methods of Construction
There are no fixed methods of calculating divisional charts. The standard method followed is that of Parāśara, a sequential counting procedure which may or may not be regular. The more uncommon method is that followed by modern researchers like Mantreśvara, where the zodiac is divided by multiples of twelve or by the number of the division.
Parāśara’s method of construction is both regular and irregular. The regular order is known as the order of Brahmā as it follows the perfect order of nature and is therefore synchronous. This order is applicable to those areas, which pertain to the living being, as it is the order of creation. For example, Navāṁśa and Saptāṁśa are atypical Brahmā divisions. In Saptāṁśa, each sign is divided into seven parts. For odd signs, the counting begins from the same sign and for even signs it begins from its 7th sign. In the case of Navāṁśa, the signs are divided in to nine parts or the 108 padas of the 27 nakṣatras. The counting begins from the same sign for odd signs, from the 9th for even signs and from the 5th for dual signs.
The irregular or ‘jumping’ movement is appropriate for those divisions, which pertain to the non-living world, the soulless, inanimate objects which men relentlessly pursue. For example, in Drekkāṇa, where the sign is divided into three parts, the first part is the sign itself, the second is the 5th form it and the third, the 9th from it. In Chaturthāṁśa, where a sign is divided in four parts, the counting is done from the sign, followed by the 4th, 7th and 10th signs from it. These therefore do not belong to the Brahmā division, which is the regular order of counting, as they do not relate to issues, which follow the natural rhythms of the universe.
A significant point to note is that many of the divisions have multiple methods of construction, like the Horā and the Drekkāṇa. Drekkāṇa may be constructed in four different ways, namely, the abovementioned Parāśarī method, the Parivṛttitraya Drekkāṇa, the Somnāth Drekkāṇa and the Jagannāth Drekkāṇa. The Somnāth and Parivṛttitraya Drekkāṇa follow a regular pattern of counting while the Jagannāth Drekkāṇa is a different form of the Parāśarī method. These different Drekkāṇas may be used for distinct purposes. Although the Drekkāṇa is to be seen for the co-born, it can also be seen for the self. In that case, the Parivṛttitraya Drekkāṇa would be suitable for inquiry of the self while the Parāśara Drekkāṇa would be more applicable while analysing relations with siblings. This is because each bhāva is kāraka for miscellaneous factors and if one wishes to fine-tune the divisional chart, then the appropriate method of construction will clarify the matter further.
Following Parāśara, the sixteen commonly used divisional charts are as follows:
Horā: Horā is the division of each sign in two halves or Horās, ruled alternatively by the Sun and the Moon. Based on the distance between the Sun and the earth, the zodiac is divided in half across 0°Leo and 0°Aquarius, into equal halves of light and darkness or solar and lunar halves. The solar half or Surya Horā is from Leo to Capricorn and the lunar half or the Chandra Horā is from Cancer to Aquarius in an anti-zodiacal direction. The Horā charts are constructed by assigning the first half of odd signs, 0°-15° to the lordship of the Sun and the second half, 16°-30°, to the rulership of the Moon. For even signs, the first half is the Chandra Horā and the second half is the Surya Horā. The Sun and Moon therefore own adjoining signs in their Horās. The Horā chart is used for seeing the wealth of the native.
Drekkāṇa: Drekkāṇa, otherwise known as the trine division, is the one third division of a sign. Hence there are 36 Drekkāṇas measuring 10 degrees each. The 1st Drekkāṇa is owned by the sign itself, the 2nd by the sign fifth from it and the 3rd by the sign 9th from it. So for Aries lagna, the first three Drekkāṇas will be Aries, Leo and Sagittarius and the next three will be Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn. Drekkāṇa charts are seen for co-born and siblings as well as for the self.
Chaturthāṁśa: This is the one fourth division of a sign, with each division measuring 7° 30´. The first division is the sign itself, the second is the sign fourth from it, the third is the 7th sign and the fourth is the 10th sign. So for Aries lagna, the first four divisions will be Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn. Chaturthāṁśa is useful for a variety of matters such as home, property, mother, happiness, vehicles and formal education. Alternatively this division is also known Turīyāṁśa.
Saptāṁśa: Each sign is divided into seven divisions of 4° 17´. The counting is sequential, starting from the sign itself for odd signs and from the 7th sign for even signs. For Aries lagna, the first seven divisions will be from Aries to Libra and the next seven from Scorpio to Taurus. The division is used for seeing progeny.
Navāṁśa: The most important division after the rāśi, Navāṁśa is the one ninth division of a sign. Each sign is divided into nine divisions of 3° 20´ each. The counting begins from the sign itself for movable signs, from the 9th sign for fixed signs and from the 5th sign for dual signs. So for Aries it will begin from Aries, for Taurus from Capricorn and for Gemini from Libra. Navāṁśa is renowned for being the rāśi of the spouse but more importantly, it delineates the spiritual development of the native by identifying his path and objects of worship. Hence it is also known as Dharmāṁśa.
Daśāṁśa: Daśāṁśa or Swargāṁśa is the tenfold divisions of a sign, measuring 3° each. The counting begins from the same sign for odd signs and from the 9th sign for even signs. So for Aries it will begin with Aries and for Taurus it will commence with Capricorn. Daśāṁśa is an important division as it deals with the native’s work, career and profession.
Dvādaśāṁśa: This is the one twelfth division of a sign of 2°30´ each. For every sign, the counting begins with the sign itself and proceeds sequentially. So for Aries it will begin with Aries and end with Pisces and then begin again with Taurus for the next sign. Also known as Suryāṁśa, this division deals with parental lineage.
Ṣoḍaśāṁśa: Also known as Kālāṁśa, this is the one sixteenth division of a sign, measuring 1°52´30″. The counting begins from Aries for movable signs, from Leo for fixed signs and from Sagittarius for dual signs. Kālāṁśa is used for seeing vehicles, luxuries and mental happiness.
Viṁśāṁśa: Viṁśāṁśa is the twentieth division of a sign, 1°30´ each. The counting is done from Aries for movable signs, from Sagittarius for fixed signs and from Leo for dual signs. Viṁśāṁśa is used to determine the spiritual inclinations and scope for occult studies of the native.
Siddhāṁśa: Alternatively known as Chaturviṁśāṁśa, this varga chart shows the 24 divisions of a sign of 1°15´ each. The counting begins from Leo for odd signs and from Cancer for even signs. So for Aries, the 24 divisions will begin with Leo and end with Cancer and then begin with Cancer again for the next sign. For Taurus it will begin with Cancer and end with Gemini and then begin with Leo for the next sign. Siddhāṁśa denotes higher learning and knowledge, wisdom and siddhi of the highest order.
Nakṣatrāṁśa: This is the 27th division of a sign comprising 1°6´40″ and is also known as Bhaṁśa. This division is based on an elemental construction. For the three fire signs, Aries, Taurus and Sagittarius, the counting begins from Aries. For the earth signs, Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn, it begins from Cancer. For the air signs, Gemini, Libra and Aquarius, it begins from Libra and for the water signs, Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces, it begins from Capricorn. This division is used for analysing the inherent strengths and weaknesses of a sign.
Triṁśāṁśa: This is the thirty fold division of a sign showing all evils that might fall upon the native. The counting for this division is slightly different from the aforementioned ones and dependant upon the degree placement of the planets. There are two sets of placements for odd and even signs. For odd signs, planets in the first 5 degrees are placed in Aries, those in the next 5 degrees are placed in Aquarius, those in the next 8 degrees are placed in Sagittarius, those in the next 7 degrees in Gemini and those in the last 5 degrees are placed in Libra. For even signs, planets in the first 5 degrees are placed in Taurus; those in the next 7 degrees are placed in Virgo, those in the next 8 degrees in Pisces, those in the next 5 degrees in Capricorn and those in the last 5 degrees in Scorpio.
Khavedāṁśa: This is the 40th division of a sign measuring 45´ each. The counting begins from Aries for odd signs and from Libra for even signs. So for Aries it will begin with Aries and eventually end with Cancer, with the next sign commencing from Libra. Khavedāṁśa shows inherited karma through matrilineal lineage.
Akṣavedāṁśa: This is the 45th division of a sign with each part measuring 40´. The counting begins from Aries for movable signs, from Leo for fixed signs and from Sagittarius for dual signs. Aries will therefore begin with Aries and ultimately end with Sagittarius and then Taurus will begin with Leo ending up with Aries and Gemini will start with Sagittarius. This division shows inherited karma through patrilineal legacy.
Ṣaṣṭiāṁśa: Ṣaṣṭiāṁśa digresses from the above methods by calculating according to the degree positions of the planets. The degree of a planet is multiplied by 2 and then divided by 12. The remainder is the sign from which the counting for Ṣaṣṭiāṁśa will begin. Ṣaṣṭiāṁśa is the division, which shows past karma and the cause of re-birth in this life. In that sense, Ṣaṣṭiāṁśa is the rāśi chart of the immediate past birth and is the key to understanding the karmic implications of the present birth. It is in fact, the key to understanding divisional charts and is perhaps the most important division of all.
The main principles, which should be kept in mind while analysing divisional charts, are the kārya rāśi, kāryeśa and the kāraka. Kārya rāśi is the sign of the house, which is the significator of the ruling activity. Kāryeśa is the lord of the concerned house in the rāśi chart. This lord will have to be well placed in both the rāśi and the concerned divisional chart in order to yield beneficial results. For instance if the kāryeśa is placed in a trine in both rāśi and the concerned division, the bhāva will flourish. Similarly, the appropriate kāraka will also have to be well placed. The Naisargika, Sthira and Chara kārakas will all need to be examined. To analyse co-born in a Drekkāṇa chart, both the 3rd lord and kāraka Mars will need to have good situational strength to show any beneficence from siblings. If Mars is placed in the 12th house, it will indicate losses in these matters.
Following the above guidelines for methods of construction and principles, one can discern the basic characteristics of a divisional chart. For example, Saptāṁśa is a regular Brahmā division, following a perfect lunar order like creation, as it is the varga, which deals with progeny. The kāryeśa is the 5th lord and the kāraka is Jupiter. Navāṁśa too is a perfect Brahmā division, relating to spouse and dharma. The 7th house, which is the 11th from the 9th, shows the spouse or dharmapatni. Hence the 7th lord is the kāryeśa and Venus is the kāraka, with Jupiter being an additional kāraka for women. Alternatively, Navāṁśa is referred to as Dharmāṁśa. Daśāṁśa, concerning a native’s work, career and profession is the realm of Śiva. All beings follow the Sun in their activities. Hence there is a break in order to show that Śiva’s principles are being followed and not Brahmā’s. The counting is done from the first house for odd signs and from the 9th house for even signs, showing this break or irregularity. Daśāṁśa is also known as Swargāṁśa and is applicable whether a native works or not. Dvādaśāṁśa too, is a regular order with a tiny break and is hence not a regular Brahmā division. Dvādaśāṁśa concerns the parents of a native, and the kāryeśa is consequently, the 4th and the 9th lords with Sun and Moon as the kārakas. The position of the Sun will thus reveal the nature of the native’s parentage, whether he is born into royalty or is a posthumous child. The kārakas for paternal grandparents are Jupiter and Ketu and the kārakas for maternal grandparents are Venus and Mercury respectively.
For finer analysis, the dignities of the planets representing kāryeśa and the kāraka will need to be examined. Their exaltation or debilitation, their placement in a friendly or inimical sign in the divisional charts will independently illuminate a situation. This should be combined with their rāśi position to achieve a composite understanding. The only exception is the Navāṁśa where planets can get both uccha and nīcha bhaṅga depending on the relative rāśi and Navāṁśa positions.
Apart from dignities and sign placements of planets, the relationships between planets will also need to be taken into account. These relationships are varied, like yogas, sambandhas, yogāḍas (any planet that brings out an association between lagna, Horā lagna and Ghāṭikā lagna by ownership, placement or aspect), kevalas (śubhapati joining lagna or Ātmakāraka), kevala yogāḍas (śubhapati associated with lagna and Ghāṭikā lagna or lagna and Horā lagna) and kevala mahāyogāḍas (association of Horā and Ghāṭikā lagna with kevala). This implies that the śubhapati and its relationships with other planets in the different divisions play a significant role.
These abovementioned factors and principles and their relational dynamics will have to be reckoned while exploring divisional charts. These when computed with the rāśi chart findings will yield accurate results and provide a holistic picture of the life of the native.
Higher Divisional Charts
Although astrologers stop short at ṣaṣṭiāṁśa when using divisional charts, there is an entire range of higher harmonics, which remain untapped. This is primarily due to the fact that not enough research has been undertaken in the potential and use of these divisions. They include the following:
D-72 – Aṣṭa Navāṁśa
D-81 – Nava Navāṁśa
D-108 – Aṣṭottarāṁśa
D-144 – Dvādaśa Dvādaśāṁśa
D-150 – Nāḍiāṁśa
D-300 – Ardha Nāḍiāṁśa
These higher divisions operate at an ethereal level, dealing with esoteric matters such as dreams and the higher spirit self. The cognitive development of divisional charts can only be in further research in the direction of these higher harmonics, which perhaps carry the seed of unveiling the mysteries of the soul’s journey on this earth.
Beyond the apparent sectoral allocations, divisional charts embody directives for the native to pursue the lessons of the soul. It contains correctives for redeeming past karma and to prevent repetitions of errors. It forewarns about the treacherous paths and indicates the curative alternatives. The study of divisional charts will therefore enable the native to make choices, to probe deeper into his psyche and his self and fathom the purposes of his existence. Take for instance Ṣoḍaśāṁśa, which deals with vehicles, luxuries and mental happiness. The conjoining of the Rāhu-Ketu axis show that to escape the nodal bind of rebirth, the pleasures or the happiness apparently indicated by this division may be ephemeral. True bliss or happiness, which can only occur with the dissolution of the self in the Paramātmā, should therefore be the only goal, while the promise of Ṣoḍaśāṁśa is only māyā. The yoking of the nodal axis in Ṣoḍaśāṁśa is the coded message that the happiness of Ṣoḍaśāṁśa is illusory and that true happiness lies elsewhere, beyond the entrapment of the nodes, wherein fledgling lives are ensnared. Similarly, one should be able to analyse and discover the message behind each of the divisional charts. Therein lies the true meaning of vargas.