Dharma in Astrology Chart

Despite the seemingly endless distractions offered by our material world, inevitably there comes a time when the usual sensual delights fail to provide the anticipated fulfillment. We then ask “what is this all for?” and there arises a need to find some “deeper meaning” for one’s existence. The usual response is to adopt an answer offered by one of the various religions or cosmologies. Or we explore the writings of thinkers and pundits and are left with the hope that at some point during the journey, our own purpose for being here on this Earth will become clear to us. The Ancients had a word for this dimension of life: Dharma. Does the Vedic Astrology Chart offer any clues for helping one discover one’s Dharma? Can an astrological analysis provide some insight into this Search for Meaning?

From the Vedic viewpoint, the soul returns many times to this plane of existence, and during the course of many lifetimes learns its lessons and evolves. For some reason, perhaps to create a more serious attitude towards the present journey, life on Earth includes having amnesia about one’s other lives. Vedic Astrology is a tool that helps us become more conscious of the course of our life relative to the larger context within which we are operating. By knowing our purpose within this larger context we can make more progress towards the understanding and wisdom for which we are ultimately destined. This is the idea behind knowing your Dharma. It is synonymous with knowing your Path, your Truth, your Duty in this life.

The 9th house of the Vedic Astrology chart is the sector that is commonly examined to answer the question “What is my Dharma?” The 1st and 5th houses are considered dharma houses as well; they too have a part to play. But it is the 9th house that in particular answers the question of what Belief, or Truth, or more conventionally, Religion, sustains us in our Search for Meaning. An analysis of the 9th house shows the Path in this life that leads to the experiences which of themselves have the potential to induce the wisdom that we seek.


How one makes progress towards realizations is different for each individual. Some get immersed in the pursuit of material desires and a whirlwind of sensual indulgence only to be forced finally to face their own mortality. Others have thrust on them the responsibility of raising a family and being a handmaiden to someone else’s karma. Still others feel compelled to change society in some way and are confronted with the contradictions inherent in being in a position of power and authority. Whatever shape the external path takes, there will be circumstances that need to be confronted, difficulties to overcome, problems to solve. One’s life becomes the crucible in which the soul gets “cooked” by the fire of the human experience.

In the analysis of a natal Vedic Astrology chart, the placement of the lord of the 9th house (the planetary ruler of the zodiacal sign in the 9th house of your chart) gives a major clue as to what area of life your realizations need to emerge from. Similarly, a planet occupying the 9th house links the significations of that planet, as well as the house it rules, to ones purpose in life.


Here are a few examples illustrating the basic scheme of interpretation:

If the ruler of the 9th house appears in the 1st house of Conscious Self (or the ruler of the 1st house in the 9th), there’s a strong personal identification with one’s belief system, morals, and ethics. Depending on the qualities of the planet and sign involved, this can give results that range from a powerful compulsion to do good in the world to extremes of self-righteousness and religious fanaticism.

The ruler of the 9th house placed in the 2nd house of Materiality, Personal Finances, and Family ties Dharma together with Family and Money. I.e., earning one’s way and providing for one’s family becomes the path towards realization. Whether this is a pleasant or unpleasant path is shown by the contribution of other astrological factors. If there are natural malefic planets involved, such as Mars or Saturn, the experience of raising a family may be full of friction and challenges. We can understand this in the larger context as the “tour of duty” that the soul has signed up for and which will contribute to its continued evolution.

When the ruler of the 9th house is in the 6th house (or vice versa) one’s path is through the experience of the house of Struggle and Difficulty. This may sound like an unfortunate life. But a closer look at the meanings of the 6th house reveals the solution: this is the house of Service. Thus, being a person who serves others, who helps others, is the best path for discovering one’s purpose and for acquiring wisdom in this life.

Having the ruler of the 9th house in the 7th ties the house of Dharma to the house of Partnership. Therefore marriage becomes one’s Path to realizations in this life. A similar signification occurs if Venus, the planet of marriage, is placed in the 9th house. As with everything in Vedic Astrology, “the devil is in the details,” i.e., depending on what other planetary influences are affecting the 7th house and related factors in the chart, progress towards wisdom can arise through relationship experiences that are either wonderful, or fraught with pain and sorrow.

When the 9th house ruler is placed in the 10th house one’s career becomes one’s dharma. In our modern context this may be akin to a “dream career” because the implication is that your life’s purpose is identical to your professional life. But once again, there can be other astrological factors that modify the circumstances and make executing one’s mission either a smooth or difficult process.

A connection between the 9th house and the 12th house links the house of Dharma with 12th house themes such as Generosity and Places of Separation. Such a person finds their dharma through an involvement with hospitals, charitable institutions, in foreign lands, taking care of the disadvantaged, or even as a monk in a monastery.

The soul is not alone on its journey towards realization; it is accompanied by lifetimes of karma. The accumulation of debris from the “acts” of previous existences forms the structure of the current one. It is from the interaction with this “stuff” of life that the soul derives its education and ultimately wisdom; from the perspective of an infinite being, a life of difficulties may not be so bad if it results in significant progress.

The struggles involved in resolving one’s karma may appear to be a distraction from one’s dharma, one’s path in life. A competent analysis of your Vedic Astrology chart can show you how your circumstances constitute the material from which your path is made, and thereby help you gain insight into the mystery of the larger purpose that lies behind your current adventure on Earth.

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