The theme of this third volume of my collected articles is how planets in certain conditions in a birth chart give quite the opposite effect to what might be expected based on some standard interpretive principle of Jyotisha. When a planet is in its debilitation sign, like Venus in Virgo, it is said to be "neecha" or "fallen," and therefore incapable of giving good results in its period and sub-periods. All of what it signifies, such as love relationships, suffer, as well as the significations of the houses of the birth chart that it rules. However, there are certain conditions that change this status and enable such planets to give good, even spectacular results. This is subject of the first article, An Enigma Wrapped in a Mystery.
The next article explores the particularly paradoxical condition of a planet when it is debilitated in both the birth chart and the navamsha, but then also vargottama, a condition of strength. Does such a planet become doubly weak, or does it get redeemed? Double Trouble or Saving Grace? answers this question and provides guidelines for the interpretation of these enigmatic planets. Combustion and planetary war are two other conditions of planets that are considered highly unfavorable. The first occurs when planets are too close in longitude to the Sun, and the latter is when two planets are within less than an degree of longitude of each other. All the natural significations of these planets, as well as those of the houses they rule, are said to suffer. Any good yogas formed by planets in such conditions will not bear fruit according to the theory. But is it always so? The Icarus Factor explores this important question using the charts of 20 world famous personalities. The results may surprise you. The effect ascribed to a debilitated planet in the classical text of Vedic astrology is that it is “weak” and therefore cannot give good and favorable results. However, there are many conditions also given in the ancient texts that modify and even reverse this indication. This article deals with one such special condition in which the debilitated planet not only doesn't give unfavorable results, it brings great success and fame to the individual. The charts of former President Gerald Ford, artist Pablo Picasso, supermodel Lauren Hutton, author Stephen King, actress Demi Moore, TV journalist Tom Brokow, along with others are used to illustrate this Great Parashara Exception. In the astrology of ancient India, Rahu, the North Node of the Moon, and Saturn are designated as two dire natural malefics. As such, when these two run as a planetary period and sub-period, it can bring a very challenging time in a person's life. In Iron and Steel students learn the conditions under which this will be especially true, as well as exceptions when these periods can actually produce very favorable results. Profusely illustrated, this article will enable students to accurately interpret what are often paradoxical times in a person's life. What makes Jyotisha rather complicated is that for every interpretative principle there is an exception. These must be learned as well in order to accurately interpret birth charts. Hopefully the articles in this volume will help students to do so.