The Astrology Podcast
Transcript of Episode 111, titled:
With Chris Brennan and guest Ernst Wilhelm
Episode originally released on June 19, 2017.
Transcribed by Liam Tracy
CHRIS BRENNAN: Hi. My name is Chris Brennan and you’re listening to the astrology podcast. This episode is recorded on Wednesday, June 14th 2017 starting just after 1:13pm in Denver, Colorado and this is the 111th episode of the show. For more information about how to subscribe to the podcast and help support the production of future episodes by becoming a patron, please visit theastrologypodcast.com/subscribe.
In this episode I’m going to be talking with astrologer Ernst Wilhelm about the doctrine of planetary yogas in Indian astrology.
Ernst welcome to the show.
ERNST WILHELM: Hey, thank you Chris and it was really wonderful for you to email me and invite me, especially after we haven’t seen each other for such a long time.
CHRIS BRENNAN: Yeah. I think the last time I saw you was actually at a northwest astrological conference about 10 or 12 years ago. And yeah at the time we talked and sort of compared notes because when we met one of the things I thought was interesting about you was you seem to…in the same way that I had to go back and have been focusing on the earliest texts of the western astrological tradition you’ve been basically doing the same thing and going back and studying the earliest texts of the Indian astrological tradition for a large part of your career, right?
ERNST WILHELM: Yes, pretty much since after the first couple of years because I just wasn’t satisfied with a lot of the modern things. I just didn’t feel like it was going deep enough.
CHRIS BRENNAN: OK. So you specialize in Indian astrology or Vedic astrology and this is something you’ve been studying for 20 something years now or when did you first start studying?
ERNST WILHELM: Yeah I started studying Vedic astrology in 95, since spring of1995 so I guess that makes it 22 years now. And the three years before that I was heavily studying Western astrology.
CHRIS BRENNAN: OK. So you have some background in both.
ERNST WILHELM: Mhmm. You bet.
CHRIS BRENNAN: But you made the switch to Vedic astrology. And what was the thing that drew you in to that or really appealed to you about it?
ERNST WILHELM: You know what started happening is I was doing the western [astrology] and I could look at the chart; I could get so much about the person, but I just felt like there was just too much of a mess of a person there to figure out how to really help them. And I just saw their tangled psychological profile and I was like gosh now what do I do with this.
And I wasn’t really happy with any of the Western predictive methods and so when people asked me [to make] predictions I wasn’t really feeling confident. And because of just the psychological stuff that was in the chart it got to where it was so frustrating for me that I couldn’t even look at a Western chart without getting nausea. It literally was turning my stomach because I could see all this pain in their chart all the reasons for their pain but me not knowing how to deal with it, how to approach helping it.
And so I basically quit doing astrology. I had trained for 3 years with the goal of being a professional astrologer and within a month of starting my practice I started having nausea, right. So I just quit. And I had this intuition to go off to an ashram. So I went to the ashram and after about a month of being there I had this dream that made me think I should look into Vedic astrology.
So I bought this text, Brihat Parāśara which is one of the older texts in the sense that it’s a recompilation of a very old text. The version we have is only about a little over a hundred years old but it’s a recompilation of an old text. And it was THE famous book that I’d heard about so I went and bought a copy of that, started studying it like crazy.
Then those books are just sutras, so they’re really hard to understand. So after reading through it and just trying lots of things and being really confused I literally started just sitting down and saying, OK chapter one, write the sutra down and now let’s write about the sutra. And that’s when I actually started writing my first book which was the Vault of The Heavens where I literally was just trying to figure out what the sutras were meaning. I kind of did it as a study approach and a few years later I modified it, cleaned it up, and turned it into my first book. So I just kind of innocently quit western and found myself being more serious about astrology than ever once I stumbled into Vedic.
CHRIS BRENNAN: Sure…I think that’s the thing that appeals to a lot of people in studying those older forms of astrology is finding a more structured approach and finding more clear cut rules about what to do and how to interpret different scenarios that you come across in terms of different chart placements and things like that.
ERNST WILHELM: Yeah it was really nice to have something that felt like, OK this is really it. You know.
Right after that, once I got into the Parāśara book I met a guy at the ashram and he heard I had done Western astrology. He lived in India for three years and studied Vedic [astrology] there but he’d never had a Western astrology reading so he asked me to look at his chart and I’m like I don’t know I’ve been getting nauseous but OK I’ll do it. So we met one day before lunch just for a few minutes. We had a few spare minutes in the ashram and I looked at his chart, rattled off a couple things and after lunch he came up to me and he said “You’re going to do great in this, you’re really good. I just called my mum and had her send all my books to you on my program.” And he had every book in print at that time on Vedic astrology that was written in the English language. Every single book.
And so two weeks later I get this big crate from Italy (which is where he was from) which had to cost hundreds of dollars for his mum to ship. And I just started hitting those books and at first I was so happy cause I was like OK, this Is it, this is the gospel, you know.
But as I continued I started seeing how most of…a big portion of what was out there wasn’t the gospel on Vedic astrology it was just little superficial hits and misses and after a few years I realized I really had to focus on those old texts and really try to figure out what was going on with them.
And that was actually right after I finished the [Core] Yogas book. Up until I had done the Yogas book, astrology was fun cause everything I read I believed in. But as I got more and more experience I started finding out how many things were not making sense. As I started studying more old books and especially the old astronomy books [I] started seeing how things weren’t quite adding up. A lot of things were being done that weren’t in conformity with other books and with the old books and how different old books had different opinions and how just much of a mess Vedic astrology was actually in, whereas before I thought OK this is it in it’s pure form. Which is a nice feeling you know.
CHRIS BRENNAN: Right.
ERNST WILHELM: Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out to be true. Over time I found that when it comes down to it there’s two systems on which there’s a lot of astrology on in India, or we could even say three systems.
One system is the Tajika system which is a Persian system that’s been preserved in India. It’s a lot like the Hellenistic stuff. It’s a lot like old Western astrology. It’s a great system of astrology. It’s great on Prashna or Horary astrology. They also use solar return for timing things really accurately. And it’s basically Persian astrology that’s been preserved in India. There’s a lot of information on that in India.
Then there’s the system of Parāśara. And the system of Parāśara has become very fragmented though. And that system, the main book for that is Bṛihat Parāśara Horā Śāstra…and that was recompiled in the late 1800’s by a guy who went all over India finding little chapters and bits of pieces of it. The version we have does have some problems with it, but it’s still better than any other text on Parāśara astrology that we have from the years previous to that…in the centuries previous to that. And that book is a great book. It’s a profound book. But it doesn’t really tell you what to do with things. The majority of that book…the important parts of that book is [where] it gives you calculations. Like it’ll tell you how to calculate Ishta and Kashta – the auspicious and illness of a planet let’s say.
CHRIS BRENNAN: Ok.
ERNST WILHELM: And then it tells you to calculate the Chesta Bala, which is the motional strength. And all these different strengths but it doesn’t ever say, alright now that we’ve learned to calculate this strength, what you use it for is this. He doesn’t say that. And then he tells us how to calculate out the Avasthas or the conditions of the planets, of which there’s 5 types of conditions, groups of conditions that planets can fall into. But then he doesn’t tell you what to do with those conditions specifically. So you can imagine we’ve got all these different conditions, all these different mathematical strengths and we’ve got about 8 or 9 different things that can go together in millions of different permutations, you know, there’s like a combination lock with 9 numbers on it and you can turn those numbers in all kinds of ways, right?
CHRIS BRENNAN: Right.
ERNST WILHELM: And that’s what that book was like, all these amazing calculations then trying to figure out what to do with them was a headache. But it’s a whole school of astrology. Most of the books on Indian astrology have little bits of pieces that are all found in that book, or they’re little bits and pieces of Persian astrology…some of which are labelled as Persian astrology but many which aren’t labelled as Persian astrology. And of course many books have a mix of this, especially the North Indian texts, you’ll see a mix of the Parāśara stuff with some stuff that seems to most likely be Persian origin from long ago.
And the Parāśara texts, what’s important about that in the context of our discussion is that, that’s the book that teaches us actually how to use yogas.
CHRIS BRENNAN: Ok. So that’s the book that you say most of the yogas come from?
ERNST WILHELM: Not that they come from. There’s thousands of yogas in every book. But the most important yogas are found there. But most importantly the mathematical tools to evaluate the yogas are found in that text.
And then, finally there’s the Jaimini Sutras book which is not so much a book of yogas or mathematical techniques, it’s a more step by step approach to astrology where you follow a set of rules to arrive at an answer. Just using basically planets and sign and houses and a few other things. It’s a very simple system of astrology. That book was rediscovered a little over a hundred years ago again. We had the first two chapters. The second two chapters were rediscovered a little over a hundred years ago. So we have that full text now.[A] Very difficult text. While the techniques are really simple the text is written in coded Sanskrit so everyone disagrees on how to do most everything in that text because different people are trying to break the code in different ways and some people aren’t…well pretty much most people aren’t really following the rules of the code breaking specifically as he instructs in the first chapter. Because the first chapter is written in code too, so it’s hard for people to figure out how to break the code.
So again with astrology in India we’re kinda confronted with these three sort of main sources ok, there’s the Persian system called Tajika which is preserved really well, really clearly written, just take it and use it and wow. OK. Then there’s the Parāśara system which is all these calculations, all these conditions or avasthas…and what do you wanna do with it? Well, now go spend 10, 20, 30 years figuring out how to put it together. Then we’ve got the Jaimini sutras which is step by step techniques that a five year old could do if you teach him the technique but written in sutras that…ok, go spend 10, 20, 30 years figuring out what you’re supposed to do. Afterwards it gets easy.
And then there’s bits of pieces of all kinds of systems throughout India. There’s bits and pieces of Nadi astrology, of Bhrigu astrology there’s just tons of bits and pieces. And a lot of people these days are trying to focus on these little bits and pieces, but I just ignore those bits and pieces because I think we need systematic astrology. Which means Tajika system. Let’s learn that, let’s master that. Parāśara system, lets learn that and master that. And then Jaimini system, lets learn that. Then we have complete systems.
And I don’t think we should be running around with lots of bits of pieces of systems which probably, in my opinion, aren’t even completely available anymore, you know. Maybe one day they’ll be recompiled from every little corner of India. But right now we have these three other main systems where we have everything we need right in front of us. We just have to learn to use it and learn to use it better.
CHRIS BRENNAN: Sure. So you published your first book in 2001 and your second book was this book called Core Yogas. And were you drawing on sort of pieces of those different traditions for this book?
ERNST WILHELM: What I did in the Core Yogas, I mostly drew on Parāśara, in the sense of, he gives the more important yogas. Yogas are sort of broken down into, we can say, roughly three categories, OK. There’s the foundation yogas and foundation yogas are yogas that are present in the chart but they have nothing to do with timing. They give a foundation for the person’s life. And if a person has strong foundation yogas everything in their life gets better. If they have bad foundation yogas everything in their life gets worse basically. Or isn’t as good.
CHRIS BRENNAN: Ok. Maybe we should back up and define what a yoga is first, cause we forgot to do that at the start.
ERNST WILHELM: OK. Sure.
CHRIS BRENNAN: So what is a yoga? Or what does that word mean, and how would you define it if you were trying to teach it to a Western astrologer?
ERNST WILHELM: OK. Basically a yoga means union, or yoke. OK like when you yoke something. That comes from the word yoga. So if you yoke a horse to the carriage, that…you’re yoga them. Yoga simply means union or yoking. Basically attaching something in a binding fashion to something [else].
CHRIS BRENNAN: OK.
ERNST WILHELM: And yogas in astrology are planetary permutations of any type that yoke a person to the fruits of their karma. So the person has their karma and it’s the planets that yoke them in their different permutations to that. Which basically means, everything in astrology is a yoga. Everything in every school is a yoga, roughly speaking. Because whatever you look at in the chart, it’s something that’s connecting the person to the fruits of their karma. That’s connecting them to their fate basically, right. But any such permutation that’s defined is a yoga in itself. So if I have Jupiter on an angle from the Moon that’s defined as Gaja Kesari yoga which will give basically wealth and success and an element of wisdom.
CHRIS BRENNAN: OK so a yoga then in that context is a combination of let’s say two things at least in a chart or different chart placements that have specific predicted outcomes essentially, right?
ERNST WILHELM: Exactly. When it’s defined as a yoga it’s something that’s had an outcome that’s been labelled, or an outcome attached to it.
CHRIS BRENNAN: OK. So let’s see. So what are some examples? I mean, I know one. I didn’t actually see this one in your book but I remember reading one and I thought it was a raja yoga which was like having the ruler of the ascendant in the 10th conjunct the ruler of the 9th house which is also in the 10th.
ERNST WILHELM: Yeah. That’s a school, a group of raj yogas which are based on angle and trine lords. Which are basically…those are derived from [the] Parāśara book as well.
So with yogas, a yoga is essentially anything in the chart that connects a person to the fruits of their fate. Which means everything is a yoga. But when we study yogas, we’re studying predefined such things, so we’re studying combinations that other astrologers have defined as giving a certain effect. And then basically it’s a known yoga and was written down at some point.
But if you were to look at a chart and based on your knowledge of astrology said something…’oh Venus is going to do this to you.’ You would be defining a yoga right on the spot. Now so basically everything in the chart is a yoga. OK Venus is doing this, that means it’s a yoga for marriage. Saturn is in the 4th house with Mercury and it’s killing your pet. OK that’s a yoga for killing your pet. Is that yoga in any astrology text? Not that I’ve seen but if it gives that effect, it’s a yoga for that thing. OK.
CHRIS BRENNAN: Sure. And then there’s some specific ones that are…
ERNST WILHELM: And then there’s the defined yogas. Which are the ones written down basically. And in those defined yogas there’s essentially three groups.
There’s the foundation yogas which don’t have to do with timing. They just create a foundation for the person in life. I cover those in the first half of Core Yogas and I cover those in a course called Astrology of Character.
Then there’s what I call the named yogas. These are the most important yogas. Most of these are in Parāśara but we find different versions and some additional ones in some other texts. But these are yogas that have specific names, like they may be called Shiva Yoga, Vishnu Yoga, they may be named after deities. Gaja Kesari yoga, which means elephant-lion yoga. You know there’s all these yogas that have specific names. So they’ll say this is this yoga and define it. Those are the most important yogas and that’s why they gave them names.
And every astrologer should learn those yogas who’s interested in predicting wealth or success because those yogas directly bare on wealth and success and they also give the character qualities of a person that deserves wealth and success. So they give some character qualities, wealth and success. All the named yogas essentially give those same things. When you read the effects of those yogas they basically will say it gives you wealth, success and makes you a good person somehow…in different words. But it will do that in some form.
And there’s not that many of those…there’s somewhat over 200 of those yogas and so they’re really a manageable group of yogas. Like there’s something called the Wishing Tree yoga. A person who gets lucky, that helps them get what they want in life because they have that merit. So all these yogas are what we call dasha dependent. Which means they give their effects at certain times in their life. They come into play, give their effect and then they go away…and they come into play and give their effect. So the time that a person gets a new job that doubles his income. That’s likely a time where one of these named yogas came into play, OK.
CHRIS BRENNAN: Right. So these are sort of specific combinations or placements in the birth chart that are lying dormant until they’re activated using the timing technique of the dasha systems, right?
ERNST WILHELM: Exactly. So they’re a very simple way to do astrology. In fact, yogas are the most simple way to do astrology in general. You just learn a planetary permutation. When you see it, say something about it. So that’s the second group of yogas.
CHRIS BRENNAN: And really quickly before we move on, one of the things that was interesting in your approach to understanding these yogas is it seemed like you’d often look at the Sanskrit term or the name that was given to the yoga. And often that name would be evocative of the interpretation of the yoga.
Like one of them was named ‘Glittering yoga.’ And it was the ruler of the 11th house deeply exalted with Venus and in an angle from the ruler of the ascendant. And other combinations like that where the name actually has some bearing on the interpretation.
ERNST WILHELM: Yes. In every case the meaning of the name that the yogas named after is way more important than what they give the effects of. And that’s one of the big problems for people studying yogas these days, is that, they read the meanings of the yogas and they’re so archaic… “they will have three wives, twenty elephants and lots of wealth and respect by the king.”
Well, whoever…we don’t even deal with kings anymore, right.
CHRIS BRENNAN: Right.
ERNST WILHELM: We don’t have elephants. You know, so it’s like…argghhh…so we read through these results that are useless. I think even back then they were mostly useless. What really matters is the name.
But the translators never translate the name of the yoga. So they translate the results of the yoga. Which even in English don’t mean anything useful and even in Sanskrit don’t mean anything useful to us. And the name, which if we think about the name will actually give us the meaning, the essence of the yoga…they don’t translate that. So it’s really important to just read the name of the yoga.
Like there’s a yoga called Kusuma yoga which is a blossom. Well let’s think of a blossom. It’s this flower just beautifully expanding into something beautiful, right?
CHRIS BRENNAN: Right.
ERNST WILHELM: And that’s the name. So that yoga, when that person’s life goes into that Kusuma yoga period then their life just sorta blossoms and all a sudden things, beautiful things start happening in their lives. So that’s all we need to know, is blossom. We don’t need to know anything else. Any other result for that yoga. So I’m very much an advocate of just paying attention to the name. Don’t even worry about remembering all the results of all these different yogas. It’s the name that matters, always. It’s the key thing.
CHRIS BRENNAN: Right. So there’s something symbolically significant about the underlying Sanskrit name that you can draw the interpretation from. And that seems common of most ancient forms of astrology where the interpretation is really embedded in the language.
ERNST WILHELM: Yep. Totally. And unfortunately the only book I know that actually translates the name is the Core Yogas book that I wrote. Everyone else just gives the Sanskrit name and gives the English translation of the Sanskrit results. So people read those books and just want to throw them away.
And that’s sad because yogas are a great way to do astrology. So the average astrologer learns a handful of yogas instead of really putting them to good use.
And these named yogas are invaluable when it comes to try and predict wealth and success and those types of things. And timing periods for those. Without knowing those yogas you’ll quite often miss important career times for people. Times when actors win their awards or make their biggest movie. These are almost always indicated by these kind of named yogas.
CHRIS BRENNAN: What are some other names that you feel, or that you use regularly, or that you feel are very evocative in terms of the interpretation that goes along with them.
ERNST WILHELM: OK well if you think of the Gaja Kesari yoga. That’s the elephant-lion yoga. It’s a very common one. So this person is going to somehow have the qualities of an elephant and a lion.
So when we think of that, we think of this elephant. A patient, cumbersome beast. Who…nothing stands in its way. And if you see an elephant you can just tell, he’s used to doing whatever he wants. And nothing is gonna stop that elephant from doing what he wants. But he’s not in any rush to get there. And he’s not gonna go destroy things to get there. You know, he’s just gonna go and nothing’s gonna stop him. He’s just like this force, he’s just this invulnerable force. This invulnerable steady force is basically the image you get when you meet an elephant, you know. They eat, they take their time…but nothing’s gonna stop them. They’re just an invulnerable, patient force.
And then you get the idea of a lion. And a lion, of course, has always been considered the king; in symbolism of all cultures the lion seems to be the king of the jungle, you know? And [it] is attached to nobility and so on. And of course lions have very good lives. They’re taken care of, they’re served. They have a whole bunch of female lions. And when they talk about the lion they’re talking about the male lion (taking care of them)…and they don’t have to work that hard but they get to the top.
So this yoga, these people who have this yoga, they’re like that. They get to the top, they know how to let people help them and serve them. Versus some people who get to the top but they don’t know how to have anyone help them in their lives. So they can’t really enjoy the benefits of anyone in their lives. Lions know how to enjoy the benefits of people in their lives. So these people will have good people working for them to make their lives work better. Versus people who get to the top and have success but who again are doing everything themselves, don’t know how to benefit from anyone else in their life. You know. They’re not gonna have a Gaja Kesari yoga, a person like that.
So that’s sorta the basic idea of the qualities of this person. And that quality lets them have success. They don’t stop, they keep going. They’re patient. They’re, you know, courageous, just like the lion is a symbol of courage. And they eventually come to a ruling position, or a higher position in life. Which is the lion symbology once again.
CHRIS BRENNAN: Do you remember what the placements are associated with those two yogas?
ERNST WILHELM: Oh, Gaja Kesari yoga is very simple. It’s simply Jupiter has to be on an angle from the Moon and aspected by a benefic. So aspected by Mercury of Venus. Some folks just say on an angle from the moon but that happens all the time. That yoga you can consider a very weak Gaja Kesari yoga. But simply speaking it’s Jupiter on an angle from the Moon, aspected by Mercury or Venus.
And all yogas are not created equal. They’re always different, OK. In strength. And therefore the impact they have in each person’s chart differs. That’s a very common yoga. I mentioned that because it’s one of the first yogas people ever learn in Vedic astrology…it’s such an easy one.
But then there’s other crazy ones like there’s one called Chandra yoga. That’s when the navamsa lord of the 10th lord is on an angle from the Moon. And that yoga, it’s Chandra which mean moon yoga. Well what’s the Moon about? Moon is all about receptivity and so when that happens a person is able to be open to the best possibilities in their life and that helps them get ahead in life and move forward in their life. And it’s just a really simple yoga. It’s relatively common. It’s not super rare. So just tons of these little yogas that come.
CHRIS BRENNAN: So that one was the ruler of the 10th house in an angle, trine or second from the Moon..?
ERNST WILHELM: Um..no. The navamsa lord of the 10th lord on an angle from the Moon, yeah.
CHRIS BRENNAN: So the navamsa. So the sub-divisional lord of the 10th Lord.
ERNST WILHELM: Yep. So you take your 10th lord from the birth chart. See what navamsa it’s in. Take the ruler of that navamsa and see if it’s on an angle from the Moon.
CHRIS BRENNAN: Ok. And the navamsa, just for the listeners that don’t know what that is. It’s the subdivision of the zodiacal signs that breaks each of the signs up into nine parts right?
ERNST WILHELM: Yes.
CHRIS BRENNAN: OK. Cool.
ERNST WILHELM: So those yogas are great…for anyone who wants to predict wealth and success those are an important group of yogas. Those are THE Raj yogas. They’re all raj yogas and they’re all wealth yogas. And that’s why they’re given names. There’s lots of wealth yogas and there’s lots of raj yogas.
Raj yogas are yogas that give an element of importance or control or responsibility. Wealth yogas give money. These named yogas always give both. If they’re the good ones, which most of them are.
Then there’s a couple…well, not a couple…a couple dozen named yogas which cause problems and which you’ll find in the charts quite often of psychopaths, serial killers, people that are impossible to get along with. People that end up being alone and those kinds of things.
A simple one of those is Kapata yoga which means deceit yoga, and that’s when we’ve got say, a malefic in the 4th and the 4th lord joined with a malefic. So that means these people will be deceitful. The reason is, they’re not always actively deceitful but they have a lot of issues that they don’t know how to deal…that they try to hide from themselves and in hiding those issues from themselves they also tend to deceive other people. And when those yogas get extremely negative you will find them in charts of like I mentioned, really extremely difficult impossible people and even psychopaths.
CHRIS BRENNAN: That’s interesting because in the Hellenistic tradition the 4th was also associated with you know secrecy and hidden matters because it’s the very bottom of the chart of the most hidden part of the cosmos from the perspective of the observer.
ERNST WILHELM: Yes. And in Vedic astrology as well it was called a leena sthana which means a concealed house. And the fourth, eight and twelfth are all considered concealed houses. But definitely I think the 4th in many ways is most concealed for the reasons that you mention.
CHRIS BRENNAN: OK. And so this takes us back to the distinction between the three categories of yogas that you started to introduce earlier right? It’s sort of at the foundation in this.
ERNST WILHELM: Yes. So the third category of yogas is basically the ‘everything else’ category, OK. Where they give tons, I’m talking hundreds of yogas, that are basically basic effects. So the books will have 1st house yogas, 2nd house yogas, 3rd house yogas, 4th house yogas, 5th house all the way to 12th house yogas.
And there’s literally hundreds of these, for like in the context of 7th house yogas, 99% of those yogas have to do with relationships and marriage and sexual tendencies and what your spouse might be like. I’ve compiled about 800, or just under 800 yogas bearing on 7th house matters, relationship centred matters. And they talk about how many wives a person will have, there’s yogas for two wives, one wife, yogas for the wife to die and all this stuff.
And some of these yogas are really interesting. One yoga is, if Mercury and Venus are in the 7th house the spouse will die. And I remember at a conference long ago a person came up and they said “gosh, you know I was looking forward to this dasha. I thought it would be my best dasha. My love life would really take off. But instead my girlfriend left me and that was the end of it.” And I said, “let me look at your chart, why did you think it was good?”
“Well I’ve got Mercury and Venus in the 7th house, I went into Venus/Mercury period so it should be great.” I’m like “no, it’s a yoga for losing your partner.”
When they say die in the old books, it can be…often in the US and the west where people don’t marry for life and don’t have sex with just one person forever…usually it just means their partners [are] going to leave them or they’re going to leave their partner. And so I explained to her that that was a yoga for ending relationships. I remember seeing her years later, like 5-6 years later and she said “Oh I use that yoga all the time, it works every time.”
Chris: Interesting. Right. So and that’s really one of the most interesting core things about this is that most of this, some of it, seems to be derived symbolically. But other times it might actually be empirical observations that astrologers made at some point hundreds of years ago and saw it either showing up in enough charts, or saw it showing up in a chart and realized why that was the case. And so they gave it a name. Or they said what the specific outcome was that they observed was associated with it and then this becomes something that other astrologers later observe and sort of confirm in their practice as well.
ERNST WILHELM: Yes. And with these ‘everything else’ yogas which are usually given in the books as house by house arrangement, the big problem with these yogas is that the majority of these yogas, over 90% of these yogas are just reiterations of basic techniques.
If the 8th lord is in your 7th your spouse will die…well, any house that the 8th lord is in will usually have a big shift in your life and you’ll have one thing that’s replaced by another, OK. So the 7th house, the 8th lord will shift you from one partner to another at some point. Which in India can only happen through death…but it’s not always through death. It’s rarely through death. But it could be.
So, do we really need to remember that as a yoga? No. That’s a basic principle that a good astrologer will know…the basic principles which will cover 90% of what’s happening. So, 90% of these yogas are just reiteration of basic principles [which] cause these yogas. These old books, most of them don’t give basic principles. The only book that really is good on basic principles is the Parāśara book and the Phaladeepika book has some good basic principles. But most of the books from India are just yogas on yogas on yogas on yogas. And you can dredge the principles out of those yogas and once you’ve done so you can throw away over 90% of those yogas. And so, then there’s only a handful that you need to keep.
Like for instance I have some yoga courses on my site, astrology-videos.com where I have oh, 7th house yogas. And out of hundreds of yogas for giving a spouse or for killing a spouse, for ending a relationship somehow, through death or separation. Out of more than 100 of those, I’ve only saved a couple of them that I teach in that course. A handful of them. Because those are the only ones that work and which defy standard principles.
We should only focus on yogas that defy standard principles. Anything that would be covered by understanding of basic principles we shouldn’t waste our time learning as a separate yoga, and maybe we shouldn’t waste ink writing them down even. We should write, these are the basic principles. That’s the big part of astrology. Learn your basics. Yogas are the next step. Yogas ideally should be…’and these are the things that defy your basic principles.’
Like Mercury and Venus in the 7th house killing your spouse. That defies your basic principles, you know. Another yoga is Venus in the 1st and the Moon in the 7th will destroy your spouse and most likely make you not get married. That defies the basic explanations of what most people learn, you know, and so, those yogas are useful if you sort through them and find the ones that are unique and which work.
And that’s a lot of work that needs to be done on those yogas. I hope to do more work on those in the future. But I have a lot of work to do on all those, literally thousands and thousands and thousands of yogas.
There’s some real interesting ones. When they get to 9th house yogas, they give a lot of knowledge centred yogas. How wise the person is. And there’s a yoga, if the navamsa lord of the lord of the 2nd lord is Saturn or Mars and if it’s on an angle or trine with malefics the person will be a master of 6 shasthras (which means sciences). They’ll be a super intelligent, super wise person. OK. That’s a crazy yoga. The navamsa lord of the lord of the 2nd lord, has to be Saturn or Mars and that Saturn or Mars has to be in an angle or trine with another malefic planet.
CHRIS BRENNAN: OK. So that’s highly, highly specific.
ERNST WILHELM: It’s highly specific.
I remember one time a person came in and I was just shooting blind on their chart. I just couldn’t see anything in their chart. And then I saw that yoga. And I said “Gosh, you’re a super scholar. You just live for knowledge.” He’s like “yeah, I’m all about knowledge. I’m studying these health things and all I wanna do with all my time is study these things. And the thing that makes me happy is learning and studying.” And then I also predicted…I said “also I think you’re gay, right?” And he goes, “yep.”
And because I said those two things, he was so happy with the reading. Where I couldn’t see anything else in the chart, but those two things, right? And he was so jazzed over that.
So sometimes a yoga will save you when everything else fails.
This was long ago in the early days back in 1998 when I was doing a lot of yoga research and stuff. Yogas are a nice easy way to do astrology because they sometimes will save you. Like there’s a yoga: if the 7th lord is in the 5th there’ll be no children or the spouse will die. And I found over time …and when I say 7th lord in the 5th I don’t mean using house cusps. I mean the ruler of the 7th sign from the ascendant is in the 5th sign from the ascendant. Yogas are all done without house cusps for the majority of them. We do use house cusps in Vedic astrology like they do in Western. But yogas are a technique that they use full signs in almost every case.
CHRIS BRENNAN: So it’s using what western astrologers would call whole sign house, right?
ERNST WILHELM: Yes.
CHRIS BRENNAN: OK
ERNST WILHELM: So with this yoga I remember once I had a student come in and she said “ohh I want to have you look at my sister’s chart, she’s thinking about having another baby.” And she was about to go into the dasha – the period – 7 year period of the 7th Lord in the 5th. And I said, “No she’s not. She won’t have a baby with her husband. Instead she’s gonna have an affair.”
Because I just found out that the 7th lord in the 5th tends to get people to get rid of their partner because they have an affair. I just saw it over and over again. That yoga was constantly creating an affair that led to the termination of their marriage.
And she just laughed at me. She just laughed and got up and left. 3 months later, she goes, “Holy shit, my sister is in love with another guy and having an affair. She does not want to have a baby with her husband.” You know?
CHRIS BRENNAN: Wow.
ERNST WILHELM: And so that yoga saved me. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have guessed it. And that same yoga – I remember once a guy came up to me at a conference. He was about to teach a conference he was teaching on yogas. He goes “I’m going to teach on yogas. I saw you have this book. This is really interesting.”
And…when it comes to yogas you would never expect, the 7th lord in the 5th denying children and killing your spouse is one of my favourites. Because it blows astrologers minds, cause in astrology the 5th house is considered a lucky house so they think when your 7th lord is in the 5th you’re gonna be lucky…with love.
And I said, “Yeah you know this one yoga: the 7th lord in the 5th or whatever”…(and the yoga also works if the 5th lord’s in the 7th). So the 5th lord in the 7th will do the same thing. Or the 7th lord in the 5th. Either way they get the same thing.
So I said “yeah when the 5th lord’s in the 7th the spouse will die.” He goes, “really?” He goes, “you’re right I have that and in that dasha my wife”…(I don’t remember if she died. He was an old astrologer at the time, she may have died or they divorced.) And so he was like “wow that’s an amazing yoga.”
Such a simple thing. So those are the yogas you wanna learn. But there’s only a handful of such yogas that really hit the nail on the head that are unusual. And they’re not always there. So we can’t always answer the questions with yogas, because what if the person doesn’t have a yoga that we have learnt, you know?
So it’s more important to focus on our basic principles. Which are also covered in Brihat Parāśara. Then all the yogas. Brihat Parāśara text does have chapters on 1st house yogas, 2nd house yogas and so on but other books have more of those. The two best books for house by house yogas are Jataka Tattva and Sarvartha Chintamani. Those are the two best yoga books for house by house yogas.
CHRIS BRENNAN: And so basic principles in this context would be things like when the ruler of the house is in a good house or an increasing house, it’s called – like the upachaya house[s] it indicates the growth or increase or positive things in that area of the life. So that would be an example of a basic principle instead of a specific yoga, right?
ERNST WILHELM: Yes. So that’s a basic principle. And for instance, if we say 7th Lord [is] debilitated [Note: In Vedic astrology “debilitated” is equivalent to Fall] you’ll have 3 wives. Ok. Do we really need to know that? No. We know that [if] the 7th Lord’s debilitated the person’s gonna crash and burn on at least one relationship, right?
CHRIS BRENNAN: Sure. So difficulty in relation…the broadest statement you could make is just like difficulties let’s say in the area of relationships if the ruler of the 7th is debilitated or not doing well in the chart.
ERNST WILHELM: Exactly. Yeah and that’s a basic principle. We don’t need to learn that as a separate yoga. But that is a separate yoga, you know.
But there’s another yoga that’s more interesting. That if the 7th lord’s in the 3rd, in a movable sign, a person will have two wives. A movable sign is like what you…what westerners call a cardinal sign. Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn. So if the 7th lord’s in the 3rd in one of those four signs the person will have two wives.
And what usually happens with that combination, they’ll have two at the same time and usually end up having to let go of one. Or if that planet is really strong they might manage to keep both of them. So they might have an affair and keep both women in their life, or they might have an affair and have two wives (two wives means they’re having sex with two people at the same time) and then eventually they let go of one. But during the period of that planet, they’ll be involved with two people at the same time and make the change from one to the other in most cases. The reason that is, is because the 3rd house is a house of change and the movable signs we’d call them, you know they’re movable, they change, so you change or move from one woman to the other if your 7th Lord is in the 3rd in a movable sign. Pretty simple yoga.
CHRIS BRENNAN: Right. And there are similar delineations in the Hellenistic tradition with the cardinal or movable signs based on the idea that movable signs are good at initiating activity but they’re not very good at sticking to it, or staying fixed to something in the same way the fixed signs are.
ERNST WILHELM: Mhmm. Exactly. Basic principles if you really think about it. And you know, so, 90% of yogas we can throw out and learn the basic principles. The old way of learning Vedic astrology until the 1800’s…and by old way I mean from 600 AD or so (from the middle of the Dark Ages) to about the end of the 1800’s. The way that people learned Vedic astrology was learning as many yogas as possible. Astrologers used to just sit down and literally remember by rote thousands of yogas and their skill was largely dependent on how many yogas they remember. They basically were turning their minds into a computer database of yogas, right.
CHRIS BRENNAN: Right.
ERNST WILHELM: And then when they looked at the chart, a yoga would pop out and their intuition would help them… [have] the right yoga pop out. And then they’d make a prediction on that right yoga that their intuition helped pull out and they’d make great predictions.
Sri Yukteswar, who was Yogananda’s guru. He’s famous for being Paramahansa Yogananda’s guru. He was an astrologer. And he said, learning astrology by memorizing countless yogas is a stupid way to learn it. He goes, we need to learn astrology by learning systematic techniques. He said that in the late 1800’s.
Around that time people started developing and wanting systematic techniques. Where astrologers started showing up saying ok, let’s do something that’s systematic. Let’s have a set of rules that we use that covers everything.
One of the first people to do that was KP in KP astrology, the Krishnamurti Paddhati. And then Iyer came along and developed some techniques, some more systematic techniques. The Systems Approach is one of these systematic systems. All these systems are not equal, some are better than others. Parāśara has systematic principles in it, it’s just no one learnt how to use them. Those are the ones that I’ve spent 12 years working on. And that’s about it for people trying to do astrology in a systematic way. But this is what we need to do with astrology.
And on top of that, there’s these surprises that are to be found in the chart that are defined by all these other millions of yogas.
CHRIS BRENNAN: Right. That’s really interesting how that worked. Because that’s similar in the western tradition just in terms of sometimes it’s a different way of learning the approach where you’re describing the way it used to be where people would, instead of learning the first principles, that you might actually just learn the delineations or the outcomes of hundreds of different possible placements and their interpretation first. Like the specifics and then from that they would almost sort of work backwards to the first principles rather than just starting from the first principles and then working forward to all the hundreds of possible delineations.
ERNST WILHELM: Yeah. Exactly. And it’s basically. It’s a difference from an intellectual approach to a concrete approach. Some people like to learn, are intellectual people, which means they want to understand the why. They care about why. OK. And those people, they want to know, why does this work? What’s the principle? What’s the underlying reason? Those people want to understand the system.
But then there’s people that just wanna know what is. I just wanna know what this is. You know, a lot of people…I get so many students like that. They go, “I wanna know what this is. What does this mean?” They don’t wanna know why it means that. They just wanna know what it means to have 5th lord in the 7th house, you know.
And so yogas appeal to those kind of people. And a lot of people are these kind of people who study astrology. They [don’t?] wanna know the why. They wanna know what’s gonna happen and when it’s gonna happen and they don’t care [about] the why. So yogas are really a great way for them to learn. Oh, this equals this equals this. That’s all they wanna know. And they don’t wanna be burdened with attempting to understand some unfathomable technique which is basically how God is working underneath the surface which is very profound and difficult to understand, you know?
CHRIS BRENNAN: Sure.
ERNST WILHELM: So, there’s a freshness to learning yogas. It’s just fun. You just learn the yoga. You see it, you say and you’re right. Wow. It’s a great way to do astrology.
And I was using yogas a lot until 2004. Most of my amazing predictions were just based on knowing a lot of these yogas. And I would compile these yogas while sat down and out of the books I would type all these yogas in. So I’d spend hundreds of hours typing in my laptop a yoga database from a stack of old Sanskrit books I had. By the time I had written all those in, a lot of them had just kinda sunk in, right.
And then other ones I would look for when necessary. So I’d spend a few minutes scanning through yogas. And once you get good at it you can scan a list of yogas very quickly and…[I] started working with yogas. And eventually when we started making software we programmed a lot of yogas.
But really, for yogas to work effectively you need to have them in your head. They don’t work as good just to have a list that you program and search for. The named yogas work great for that. But a lot of the other yogas you won’t get as good results as if you actually memorized them. Because when you memorize them your intuition will pick out the yoga that’s going to work for that chart and you won’t remember the other ones.
Whereas a computer will ruthlessly pull all the yogas, some of them might not work in that chart for different reasons. Reasons such as there’s contrary things, there’s other things going on, there’s strength factors that are affecting the whole picture.
But the intuition can bypass all that stuff and just grab the right yoga out of the chart. And literally what happens when people learn a lot of yogas is they’ll look at a chart and the yoga just literally jumps out at you. The only thing you see in the chart is…like when that lady asked me, “is my sister gonna have a baby with her…they wanna have another baby what do you think?” I just looked at the chart and that 7th lord in the 5th just jumped out at me and said “I’m the answer”, you know.
CHRIS BRENNAN: Sure.
ERNST WILHELM: And I didn’t see anything else in the chart. Nothing else in that chart was even apparent to me. So we need to work with what we have in our heads. What we’ve memorized and learnt with our intuition guiding us through all the pitfalls of the holes in our knowledge which there’s always going to be because we’re never gonna learn every yoga. We’re never gonna learn every technique that could possibly be arguing against the technique that we do know, you know?
CHRIS BRENNAN: Yeah. You can’t memorize all of the millions of different possible just placements and things like that.
ERNST WILHELM: And then even if you could…and the old guys, they used to. They literally…I don’t know if you’ve ever seen the Mahabharata. It’s this huge Indian epic. These guys used to memorize the whole Mahabharata. It’s like thousands of pages of book. They would memorize it perfectly. And so they had techniques for memorizing stuff where astrologers would literally remember thousands of yogas. But our brains…don’t wanna, we don’t wanna do that with our time, the modern man. But that’s the old school, they literally could memorize not only thousands but millions of sutras and so…it’s really amazing what the brain is capable of when we train it.
CHRIS BRENNAN: And that’s one of the reasons why a lot of ancient texts, where it was popular both in the west. I was talking to Benjamin Dykes about this recently, who did a translation of Dorotheus of Sidon from the 1st century which is a versed text in Greek. But that was also common in India to versify texts, like the Yavanajātaka. Because it makes it easier to remember them if it’s in the form of a poem or almost like a song or something.
ERNST WILHELM: Yeah. They have Sanskrit metres. There’s different Sanskrit metres by which Sanskrit texts are written. I think these metres have somehow been developed to work with how the brain naturally works.
Like as a simple example, phone numbers. We have three numbers, a dash, three more numbers, a dash and four numbers. It’s easier to remember a phone number in 3, 3, 4 with no more than 4 numbers at a time than it is to remember 7 numbers at a time. And that’s why we do it that way. People just found it easier to remember phone numbers as three sets of three numbers that are no longer than four digits a number than it was to remember 7 numbers as one set.
Because our brain doesn’t want to remember seven numbers as one set. It wants to remember things in sets up to four. So there are certain ways the brains work that the Sanskrit metres are all based on. Of course, once we translate those to English there’s no meter left and it’s kind of hopeless, right.
CHRIS BRENNAN: Right. That’s kind of unfortunate that we’re losing that piece of it when we translate it into English. That it’s not going to rhyme and have that. Because that actually makes them even more interesting, in terms of that memorization component, to realize that all these things are being memorized because they rhymed and were in verse and had that sort of component to them. It would almost be nice to attempt to create a new set. I don’t know if anyone’s done that… a new set of yogas or rules like that, that did rhyme or had that memorization component in English.
ERNST WILHELM: Totally. It would be a really great thing for someone who’s poetic to take the yogas, take astrology principles and write them out in poem. I actually thought that would be fun to do at one point, you know. So that we could just sing a little song to our self in our minds as we read a chart. Because it is hard to memorize the way that we write things down in English. It’s very hard.
CHRIS BRENNAN: Right. Except it would be for specific things, like that, ‘if the ruler of the 5th is in the 7th then…blablabla.’ Yeah. That would be really interesting.
So bringing things back around a bit. So with the different yogas there’s placements…And one of the reasons I thought that this, I wanted to say this episode would be interesting to do is because even though, on the one hand as you said the yogas are just any placement or any combination I think this is an easy, this is an approachable topic for Western astrologers to approach Indian astrology [through] because of some of the more complex yogas where you do have multiple placements or multiple combinations of the placements.
And then there’s a specific delineation because it shows you the approach to chart synthesis that’s available in Indian astrology. And there’s something appealing about that I think to Western astrologers because chart synthesis is often something that’s kinda lacking or not very well defined in modern Western astrology.
ERNST WILHELM: Yeah. It’s not well defined for sure. But I think, I totally agree it’s something Western astrologers could use these…they could use 70-80% of them right away. Only a few of them would have things that are strange to western astrologers.
CHRIS BRENNAN: Sure. So like one of those I think is in Indian astrology I think the voice is associated with the second house, right?
ERNST WILHELM: Yeah. Voice, speech is associated with the second house, yes.
CHRIS BRENNAN: OK. Whereas they might, I don’t know, they might associate that with the 3rd house or whatever.
ERNST WILHELM: Yeah. Or Mercury. Yeah.
CHRIS BRENNAN: Right.
ERNST WILHELM: But I’m talking about most things they have the same houses, so, I think Western astrologers could follow most yogas that they came across.
CHRIS BRENNAN: And that’s actually a point where you have a similar approach that would make this more approachable or easier for a lot of people. Because you actually are unique in your personal practice where you use, even though you practice Vedic astrology, you use the Tropical zodiac, right?
ERNST WILHELM: Yeah. You know what happened is, I started studying the old texts and especially the old astronomy books. I started realizing that the Indian astrologers around 500AD had no idea whether they were using sidereal or tropical. They didn’t even know. Because they’d make statements that’d show that they had lost the knowledge of the precession of the equinoxes.
Even in the philosophical books, so like, even in the Srimad Bhagavatam, which is one of the key philosophical books from India, they show that when that book was written they did not have knowledge of the precession.
And of course precession is what makes the tropical and sidereal zodiacs different. And there’s more things in the astronomy books that point to them using tropical even though they didn’t know that there was a sidereal. They didn’t differentiate at that time. And the Srimad Bhagavatam was voiced probably around 900 BC but it wasn’t put down into writing in the version we have until about 700 AD or so, I believe. And at that time, the Indians did not know.
We know for sure from the writing of Yavanajātaka, which is about 50 AD. That book shows that they did not know of the precession of the equinoxes. And then around 550 AD we’ve got Varāhamihira in his astronomical book showing that he was not aware of precession.
And then Āryabhaṭa in 599 or [the] end of 500’s I think Āryabhaṭa was around. He’s the person that western civilization got a lot of their mathematics from. He was an astronomer. He alludes to tropical more, but you can tell he’s not making a statement.
So you can still tell there was not this idea that there was really two definable zodiacs during that [time] at least until 599AD. We don’t know when this idea of two zodiacs came into place. And what’s really interesting at that time period, the first 600 years. All the texts…the first 650 years till about the 7th century the astrology texts we have from that time period don’t use Vimshottari dasha.
CHRIS BRENNAN: OK. Interesting.
ERNST WILHELM: Instead, they use dashas that are more like Ptolemy’s terms. So they’re more like Greek dashas actually.
CHRIS BRENNAN: So like, primary directions or something like that?
ERNST WILHELM: No, no. Not directions. They’re basically…you find the strongest planet on an angle and that becomes the lord of the first term, or the first dasha.**
CHRIS BRENNAN: Right.
ERNST WILHELM: I think…I don’t remember this much, but if you get some of the old western books. Like the Greek books…I don’t even know if Manilius is Greek. I’m way out of my terms here. But there’s book Manilius and he has terms in it. Are you familiar with that book?
CHRIS BRENNAN: Yeah, yeah. I think what you’re talking about sounds kind of like the approach to the length of life technique and they had a time lord, or a dasha system that was built in to that.
ERNST WILHELM: Yes. Exactly. All the books we have from that time period up until the …6th through the 7th century use that kind of time system. They don’t use Vimshottari dasha.
CHRIS BRENNAN: So when does that show up…that shows up at Parāśara?
ERNST WILHELM: And then after that, the books after that, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of books from 6th-7th century until about the 12th century. Then we start having some 12th century books. We do have some commentaries on some old books, written in the 11th century I believe. So we don’t really have a whole lot until about then.
Those books start emphasizing Vimshottari dasha. So you know, Vimshottari dasha is based on the Moons position in its nakshatra, which is a sidereal phenomenon. The other dashas or terms, that are more term like the Greek, some of the, I don’t know, old western stuff…Manilius and so on. Those dashas are all based on signs of course. And the base, the dasha length is determined to a large degree by how far the planet is from exaltation which is determined by its sign.
So I think what happened is, the astrologers were using the tropical zodiac but didn’t know there was a difference between sidereal. But there was. So they couldn’t get…from 100-700AD or up until 700AD from about 0AD…They couldn’t get Vimshottari dasha to work. Because they were calculating the nakshatras tropically they couldn’t get it to work. Then they started realizing there was something called precession towards the end of the 500’s and they slowly started realizing, ‘but wait a minute, there’s two zodiacs’ and they followed the sidereal.
Once they started following the sidereal zodiac the dashas of terms quit working. But the dasha based on the Moons nakshatra, which is sidereal, was working. So after that we see Vimshottari dasha. And we don’t see any sign based dashas.
In Jaimini system it’s all sign based dashas. Some Jaimini techniques are preserved in some of the older Parāśara books, but no sign dashas, no sign based timing systems, were preserved. Those are in Jaimini though. Jaimini is completely sign based. And so I think that Vimshottari became the popular dasha because it was a sidereal based dasha because it’s based on the nakshatras, the stars…not the rāśis, the signs which were tropical.
So when I started seeing all this I started seeing how these astrologers up until the 7th century had no idea whether they were using tropical or sidereal. But based on what they say there’s more evidence they were using tropical, but thought they were using sidereal when they started noticing a separation. When they started noticing the stars moving from the vernal equinox. At which point they kept following those stars and developed the sidereal system that they kept using.
So after seeing that I started testing everything and I spent two years not really telling anyone. I told some of my closest associates in astrology what I was working on…that I was working on the, testing the tropical and it seemed like it could be very valid. But otherwise I really kept it to myself and I tested every technique I knew for two years. And statistically every technique tested out better on the tropical zodiac.
Then I programmed some really simple things. Like Saturn Mars conjunctions…tend to break things. So I programmed some of these simple things. And I programmed them in sidereal with Lahiri ayanāṃśa…which is the most commonly used ayanāṃśa. With tropical. With tropical + 30 degrees. Where we take the tropical position and add 30 degrees. And a completely random ayanāṃśa, where every chart we just randomly pick a number between 0 and 160 [360?] and use that as the sidereal correction, and created a sidereal zodiac out of that random correction or ayanāṃśa.
And then, so I programmed several simple things and then I had about 700 people who went to this website I built for it. And based on their chart it would give them four answers based on these four different calculations.
So tropical tested out best in every single technique we programmed. The next best was tropical + 30 degrees. After that the sidereal zodiac tested out the very same percentage as a random zodiac, as randomly picking a number between 0 and 360. So I think when people are using a sidereal zodiac they might as well just pick any number and any ayanāṃśa. It makes no difference. Because they had the exact same percentage of results as a random ayanāṃśa.
CHRIS BRENNAN: Wow.
ERNST WILHELM: So after finishing that test I finally let everyone know I was only using tropical. That sidereal tested out badly in my own tests and on tests on 700 people. Every time the tropical beat the sidereal. So at that point I just stopped doing the sidereal and never looked back.
CHRIS BRENNAN: OK. And that’s interesting just in terms [of] the historical bit. Because there was a lot of, not controversy, but there was a lot of confusion in the western tradition for the first few hundred years as well. Between like the first century BCE and the 5th century CE basically. Where the astrologers, it’s not really clear that even though precession had been discovered by Hipparchus, most of the astrologers don’t seem to have been aware of it. And it’s not clear that they understood what zodiac they were using or that there was a difference between the two.
ERNST WILHELM: Yep. And then there was a group of people in the first century in Greece who were putting the vernal equinox at 8 degrees Aries.
CHRIS BRENNAN: Right.
ERNST WILHELM: And I don’t know why they did that. Maybe because they figured the earth tilts at approximately 22 degrees to you know the ecliptic and so they…or the ecliptics at you know an angle to the earth so they took off 22 degrees from Taurus. I don’t know what they were thinking but there’s…Ptolemy talks about it. That there’s astrologers using sidereal, tropical and 8 degrees Aries on the vernal equinox. Isn’t that crazy?
CHRIS BRENNAN: Yeah…I mean it was just based on inheriting an old value from the Mesopotamian tradition from like hundreds and hundreds of years earlier. It was no longer relevant or valid.
ERNST WILHELM: OK. And then they used it in a fixed fashion, instead of a changeable fashion. So they were using a sidereal zodiac that was accurate in that past but not in that time.
CHRIS BRENNAN: Yeah. Or something like that, or a blended one….
ERNST WILHELM: Yep. I’m sure. Yeah, so a lot of funny things had been happening during that time, yeah.
CHRIS BRENNAN: Yeah, just due to, I mean we take precession for granted now. But you have to go back into a time period in which that’s just like, a theory. I mean it’s probably not a good analogy but you could almost put it like global warming or something like that. Where if it was a hundred years ago and people took it as a theory that this is something that’s happened. But if it hadn’t been demonstrated or proved or something yet, where it’s like a scientific theory that some people accept and other people reject and say ‘no, you know, maybe that’s just a side effect of something else.’
Ernst: Yeah. Something like that. And I think one of the problems we’ve always had in astrology…is that we’ve had people talking about the old Indian books, is astrologers not learning their astronomy.
CHRIS BRENNAN: Right.
ERNST WILHELM: And that’s been happening where the, you know, there’s one group of people who even in India they call them the panchānga makers, the people who make the ephemeris’ and they don’t practice astrology. And then there’s astrologers who practice astrology and have no clue how to make an ephemeris, you know.
And we’ve had that division in the west and we’ve had that division in India too. So I think when the astrologer doesn’t even understand astronomy it’s really easy for things to start going in an incorrect direction. Then you look back and a thousand, two thousand years have passed and people are doing things that make absolutely no sense. In India to this day they celebrate the northward movement of the Sun on January 14th.
CHRIS BRENNAN: January. So that’s where they…that’s an old value for like the…
ERNST WILHELM: No…the sun never moved north on January 14th. It always does it on December 21st. It’s a tropical motion right.
CHRIS BRENNAN: Right.
ERNST WILHELM: But they associate the moving of the Sun north not with the actual movement of the Sun. They associate that with when the Sun enters Capricorn. And since they calculate Capricorn sidereally it happens January 14th.
CHRIS BRENNAN: OK. Right.
ERNST WILHELM: And I’ve talked to people and I’ve said, “no, it’s already moved north for three weeks.” They go “no.” And know what they told me, they said, ‘that maybe in the rest of the world the sun moves north on January 21st [December 21st] but in India the Sun doesn’t move north till January…oh I’m sorry, January 14th.’ That’s what people told me in India, that I’ve argued this with. No, in India the Sun moves north 3 weeks later than the rest of the world. That’s how bad their astronomy is, you know. Sometimes.
CHRIS BRENNAN: Yeah. That’s always been a tricky issue and a hotly debated issue in almost, you know many astrological conditions in terms of the zodiac issue but I guess just the important point here is that when you’re using yogas, you’re using whole sign houses and you’re using the tropical zodiac so effectively you’re using an approach that’s very similar to my approach for example. A Hellenistic astrologer where I’m also using the tropical zodiac and whole sign houses even though some of the qualities that we might attribute to the houses or to the signs might be slightly different.
ERNST WILHELM: Yes. …(?) Yeah the yogas will just fit right in that, what you’re doing.
CHRIS BRENNAN: And then in terms of the timing techniques. So one of the principles with some of these yogas is that they indicate certain outcomes or certain predictions that are sort of built in to the chart but that they’re lying dormant until they get activated by the dasha systems which are the equivalent of like the Hellenistic time-lord systems and what dasha systems do you use at this point in order to determine the activation of some of these yogas?
ERNST WILHELM: For yogas, you want to use the Vimshottari dasha.
CHRIS BRENNAN: OK.
ERNST WILHELM: OK. Vimshottari dasha works fantastic with yogas. It’s definitely the dasha to use for that.
CHRIS BRENNAN: OK. Yeah and that is, as you were talking about earlier, the most widely used dasha system I think amongst Vedic astrologers, right?
ERNST WILHELM: Yes. By far the most widely used. A lot of people think that’s the only one that exists. That’s how popular it is, yeah.
CHRIS BRENNAN: OK. And do you sometimes employ other ones, or is that your main one still as well?
ERNST WILHELM: Not for using yogas. For yogas it’s the only dasha I use.
CHRIS BRENNAN: OK. Got it. And let’s see…other things. Oh yeah one other thing I meant to touch on is that, so sometimes these are straight forward because you have different categories or different breakdowns of like, auspicious yogas or inauspicious yogas or mixed yogas. But then there’s also mitigating conditions sometimes for some of these yogas where there can be a mitigation if there’s a certain placement that’s intervening. Or sometimes if you have two different yogas taking place at the same time, can they cancel out or mitigate each other in some sense?
ERNST WILHELM: OK. Yeah so there’s a lot of things going on with yogas. And most planets are gonna be involved in many yogas first of all, to complicate the issue. So it’s not always a straight-forward thing.
Then also, a yoga is almost always involved with more than one thing. So, if you’re running the Mercury period and it’s creating a yoga with Venus, in Mercury-Venus you’ll get that yoga in full. But if you’re running Saturn dasha and you go into the sub period of Venus. During Saturn-Venus you’re not gonna get those effects of that Venus yoga that you got in the Mercury period. So it has to be taken into context of the other planets involved in the yoga and the periods that a person’s actually in at any given time. That’s one big thing.
Then a planet is always doing so many things. He’s giving the effects of his yogas. And he’s giving the effects of his conditions. And then he’s giving the effects of his houses to his best ability. Those three things might all line up, they might all be contrary or they might just be completely different things. So if those three things line up, you’re going to get an extreme case. So if you get someone… a yoga that says you’ll be poor. And that planet is also the ruler of your 2nd house which is in your 8th house with Saturn and Rahu…or with Saturn and the north node, then you know that they’re going to get a beating to their wealth. So then we have two things pointing in the same direction. And then if the…well three things because at that point we’ve got the ruler of the 2nd in the 8th which is difficult, and then we stick it with Saturn and Rahu that puts it in a bad condition.
CHRIS BRENNAN: So there could be intensifying conditions that make it worse.
ERNST WILHELM: Yeah. So you’ve got everything against wealth during that time, so wealth is going to be disastrous. Right.
But let’s say a person has got, oh, the second lord in the 8th house, which is gonna cause a break to wealth. Some setback to wealth. But then let’s say the second lord is in what we call a delighted condition, a condition of happiness. Then we’re gonna have a break and also something good. So we’re going to get two things. And then we’re gonna get whatever the effects of the yoga is too.
And the yoga may not even bare on wealth. It might be a yoga that bares on something else. So in that case, when two things are showing different things, you usually get…if two things are showing contrary things you’ll get two things of opposite nature, that usually end up creating a balance. So you get $100 but then you lose $100.
CHRIS BRENNAN: Sure. Yeah that’s often a question I have about some of those placements cause I’ve seen it sometimes go both ways and so you have a question of does it cancel out, or do you just get both sort of simultaneously, or one after the other, or something like that.
ERNST WILHELM: You’ll usually get both at somewhat different times. Because usually the thing that’s causing the contrary is something else. So let’s say I get…let’s say I’ve got the Moon. And it’s the 2nd lord. And it’s with Saturn. That means Moon is starved. So the Moon is gonna starve their wealth.
But then let’s also say that the Moon is aspected by Mercury his friend, now the moon’s delighted. We have a moon that’s both starved and delighted. So when they’re in moon dasha and they go into the sub period of Saturn, their Moon’s going to be starved and they’re gonna struggle for wealth. But the next dasha after Saturn, (they’ll be in Moon)…from Moon-Saturn they’ll go to Moon-Mercury. In Moon-Mercury, the Mercury delights the Moon and the wealth comes back.
So in Moon period they both starve for wealth and they’re delighted in wealth. They get both things at different times.
CHRIS BRENNAN: OK.
ERNST WILHELM: But let’s say that we had a yoga where both planets were causing, say both Moon and Saturn were causing a yoga for wealth and a yoga for losing wealth. No other planet was involved. It’s just them. Then in Moon-Saturn they would mitigate each other and you would maintain the status quo, on average.
But really what you’d have to do, you’d have to evaluate the two contrary yogas and say ok, Moon and Saturn are giving wealth for this reason, but they’re taking wealth for this reason. Which reason is stronger? And then we can compare which one is giving more or which ones taking more and find out if the end is more or less than where they’re at going into that period. So we can mathematically evaluate those contradictions as well.
CHRIS BRENNAN: OK. That makes sense. So that’s important and then part of the other important underlying notion or principle here is that the yogas indicate certain outcomes. But that these can be modified for better or worse based on things like sign placement, aspect to the yogas and other things like sub-divisional placement and things like that. Basically, right?
ERNST WILHELM: Well, yeah. Basically you’re gonna get that yoga. You’re gonna get that yoga to the strength of the yoga. But you’re also going to get everything else that that planet is doing. You’re going to get what it’s doing as a house lord. Which may compensate for what it’s doing as a bad yoga. So every paths (?) gonna be different.
And then you’re also gonna get what you’re getting in the divisional charts from that planet. So maybe in the divisional charts the planets really good in wealth but it’s in a bad yoga for wealth. So now we’ve got something showing contrary effects. An astrologer has to say ‘OK, what’s making it give good money in the varga…in the divisional chart.’ When that thing comes up it’ll give money. But when this yoga comes up it’ll give bad.
So a planet is always doing multiple things and we have to evaluate all those intelligently and that’s just part of learning the Vedic astrology.
But you could be pretty accurate just using yogas if it works with your intuition. Let me give you an example. That’s why I say we don’t wanna…we program yogas that we just search through them other than the named yogas we’ll just make a confused mess of the reading. We have to learn the yogas and then when we look at a chart a yoga pops into our head.
Like for instance back when I was first studying astrology I did everything on donation. And I had a reading. I printed out the chart and I looked at the chart and I said “wow, this person’s wealthy. I’m gonna get a great donation today.” And I was starving to death from my first days so a big donation was really what I needed, you know.
CHRIS BRENNAN: Sure, sure.
ERNST WILHELM: But just two days before I’d read a book, and in that book I’d read a yoga that said: ‘If the navamsa lord of the Moon or the navamsa lord of the lagna [ascendant] lord is in the 12th a person will be poor.’ And I looked at her chart and I said oh she’s gonna have so much wealth and all of a sudden this idea came ‘look for that yoga that you just read about two days ago’ and I looked and she had the navamsa lord, which is the D9 divisional lord of her Moon AND of her ascendant lord both in the 12th. So she had that yoga twice, right.
CHRIS BRENNAN: Right.
ERNST WILHELM: And that means they’ll be poor. So when she came in, I said “you’ve been to other astrologers before, right?” She goes, “yeah, I’ve been to a lot.” I said, “Every one of them said you were fantastically wealthy, right?” She said: “yep, they all said I was really wealthy.” And I said, “And when you said that you weren’t wealthy, they all said one day you’ll be really wealthy, right?” She goes “yep, they all said that when I said that.” I said “well I’m here to tell you, you’re never gonna be filthy wealthy.”
CHRIS BRENNAN: Just cause of that, based on that yoga placement.
ERNST WILHELM: Because of that yoga. It was a double whammy. And she was so happy, she said “oh I’m glad to hear that because I don’t care about money. I don’t have making money as a goal at all. And when those astrologers told me I was supposed to be wealthy I was wondering if I was doing something wrong every time I’d hear that. So I’m really relieved to hear that I’m not gonna be wealthy. And I’m totally good with that.”
So my intuition decided to just look up this yoga in this person’s chart. If my intuition hadn’t said look for this yoga, I would’ve botched that whole reading. I would’ve been like every other astrologer she went to. I would’ve said, you’re really wealthy right? You’ve got so much money. And she would’ve said no. I would’ve said, well one day you’ll be wealthy. And she would’ve said ‘oh, maybe.’ And I would’ve been absolutely wrong.
So yogas need to work with the intuition. Memorize them. Learn them. And look at the chart and see what jumps out at you. And if they jump out at you, then you can trust them. Then you know, you don’t need to look at all the hundred other things that could be getting in the way of the yoga. If your intuition seizes on that yoga you won’t have any choice but to say the results of that yoga and you’ll be right. If you try to intellectualize it though and looking at all the possibilities, you’ll be pulling your hair out and not making good predictions. So we have to use our intuition with yogas it makes it a lot easier.
CHRIS BRENNAN: Yeah. That makes sense. So it’s not just this mathematical thing where you’re adding up point scores or doing something statistically. But for you there’s this other component that has to do with ah, certainly the intuition or the practice or the things that come up in the process of reading a chart that are kind of unique in that moment in some sense.
ERNST WILHELM: Yes. And the truth is we can do it all mathematically. I could do it all mathematically. I know enough to do it all mathematically and precisely. But I’ll tell you, it’s gonna be so much work and so painful no one will be able to pay me enough to go through that. It’s too intellectually painful to work on a reading on a hundred percent intellectual level.
So the intuition is saying here I am, listen to me, listen to me, I’m the yoga you gotta talk about. I’m gonna talk about it. Save myself an hour’s worth of work, you know. Of painful drudgerous work.
But when it comes to researching, no. When it’s comes to researching and testing statistically that’s all very brutal, statistical, methodical work you know.
CHRIS BRENNAN: OK. So that’s sort of the difference between the research into the techniques and establishing which ones work the most versus just the process of doing a consultation and a unique set up of a client and astrologer and the unique basis of that consultation at that specific moment in time.
ERNST WILHELM: Yes. And the people who do good readings are people who listen to what’s happening during their reading and respond to what they see in the chart. Not intellectual people. If we over-intellectualize a reading then a person will get lost in the woods really fast. You know. Cause there’s not enough time in a reading to pour through these things, you just got to get into the flow. Trust your higher self, your intuition, whatever you wanna call it. See in the chart what needs to be seen. And to see the things that are happening even though, yes, there’s always something contrary. But being able to listen to that feeling of yes, I can see this other thing getting in the way…but this is what’s actually going to happen.
The bottom line is, everything in the chart is contradictory. There’s always so much contrary stuff going on in a chart. And trying to measure all that all the time is really painful.
Sometimes you have to. When I do a reading I just go with the reading and I see what happens. The intuition and just the knowledge that’s in the astrologer combined with their intuition will get a lot of the reading done.
After that, that initial part of the reading the person might ask something that the astrologer just didn’t see. At that point the astrologer has to look and see if they see it and if they don’t then they gotta get busy with real astrology. With scientific, hard-ass, crunch-the-numbers, methodical don’t miss anything astrology to work it out. And that’s hard. That means that question takes 20 minutes to answer versus the question that just comes out, is just so visible to the astrologer for some reason it takes one second to answer.
CHRIS BRENNAN: Sure. And that’s probably, in the long term…people often ask me about like ‘why can’t you just plug all of this stuff into a computer and have it spit out a delineation.’
And one of the issues computers have is chart synthesis on the one hand and synthesizing the thousands of different placements that are sometimes contradictory. And knowing how to weigh different ones. But also probably knowing that third component that you’re talking about which is the thing that arises in the moment sort of spontaneously from the consultation.
ERNST WILHELM: Exactly. And until a human is smart enough to know astrology perfectly enough they won’t be able to program a computer to do it.
CHRIS BRENNAN: Sure.
ERNST WILHELM: Because a computer is only going to use the techniques as scientifically as the astrologer. And the truth is most techniques we use aren’t scientific enough in the context of perhaps just not being that good. But also in the context of especially everything else that’s going on, you know. We can look at a chart and grab one thing out of the chart and make a prediction but a computer is going to look at everything.
And what astrologer looks at everything that’s really happening and can synthesize everything, in their reading? Sometimes we have to do that. But most of the reading is not that. Most of the reading is just somehow knowing the right thing to talk about and ignoring something else.
CHRIS BRENNAN: Right. And that actually might provide a nice segway to the final point that I wanted to touch on before we wrap up which is just, there’s one class of yogas that you talk about actually very early in your book that has to do with all of the planets in your chart being in certain placements.
So one of them was all of the planets being in fixed signs for example. Or there’s one where all of the angular houses are occupied by benefics. Or there’s another class where there’s certain chart patterns that are formed in the chart that sort of similar to the modern 20th century western idea of planetary patterns essentially.
ERNST WILHELM: Mhmm. Yeah. And anyone who is into planetary patterns really needs to learn those what are called Nabhasa yogas. The most interesting ones are the Nabhasa Akriti yogas which are the more planetary patterns.
I know western astrologers tried working on that in the early days – in the 40’s. Like Marc Edmund Jones worked on that in that book where he talks about bucket formation and all this. That stuff is a complete joke compared to the Nabhasa yogas. If you want to learn planetary patterns, the Nabhasa yogas will blow your mind. They’re the real planetary patterns. I think people have been trying and struggling. But these are the old ones from the enlightened guys. These Nabhasa yogas are shown in all the important old astrology books but nobody uses them. Nobody even knows how to use them until I wrote about them in the Core Yogas book. But they’re absolutely amazing yogas.
In fact I have one student from long ago who has a busy practice. And pretty much all they use is Nabhasa yogas and compatibility. And they specialize in relationships. And without those Nabhasa yogas they don’t feel like they can do a proper job for their clients. They’re super important foundation yogas. I cover those in the Astrology of Character course and they’re also in the first part of that Core Yogas book. But those are amazing yogas. Those are the first yogas given in the Parāśara text. And they’re just really neat. They are important planetary yogas. Like the yoga: when the majority of the planets [are] falling from the 4th to the 7th house is the arrow yoga.
CHRIS BRENNAN: OK.
ERNST WILHELM: And these people, you know, are ruthless people. They go for what they want. Nothing gets in their way. They ride over anyone when they want something. They’ll kill people. In the old days they say they’ll kill people to get what they want, you know. And you’ll find these people just tend to be sharks a lot of the time. And if they’re passive people, they could be passive sharks. But they’re very intent and need to have their desires met. They just have a burning need to have their desires met and don’t understand how they could have any happiness until their desire is met. And their desire becomes the biggest thing in their life. A very difficult foundation for people to have.
And I learnt the importance of this yoga once when I was at a conference and there was an astrologer there who had this powerful chart, you know, the chart of everything so powerful, exalted this and this and that. Super powerful chart. But he was having conflicts with everyone there. Not with me because I manage to avoid conflict. But every other person there this guy was having some conflict with. And during his classes he was actually insulting other astrologers who were at the conference. Like just, shooting arrows into them, you know.
And he came and asked me to look at his chart. And I said “oh, you’ve got the 5th lord in the 7th so you haven’t had good luck in marriage.” He had that yoga by the way, it’s funny. And he said, “yeah, yeah.” But I noticed he had this arrow yoga…so I said oh that’s why you’re not getting along with anybody. Such a beautiful chart in every way but this arrow yoga. And it really explained a lot of problems he was having with other guys. In fact the astrologer he insulted went up to him after the class and almost beat him up in the corner of the conference room, this is how pissed he was.
CHRIS BRENNAN: Wow.
ERNST WILHELM: So, yeah these yogas are really important.
CHRIS BRENNAN: So that’s an example of one where it’s all the planets or most of the planets in the chart are between the fourth and the seventh house. And then other ones are like, all of the planets in the bottom half of the chart, below the horizon. Or all of the planets in the top half of the chart. Things like that right?
ERNST WILHELM: Yep. So when they’re all, the planets…well and there has to be a chain. There’s basically twenty patterns. You have to find the pattern that the chart follows most closely and you only use the seven planets, Sun through Saturn. You don’t use the outer planets. You don’t use Rahu and Ketu.
And some charts will just follow one pattern perfectly. That’s really rare. Most charts will follow two or three patterns imperfectly. And they’ll follow those the same imperfectly. They’ll have a mix of those patterns. Then some people will have just one pattern that they follow imperfectly and that’s the only pattern you have to consider.
You have to study all twenty and say ok, which of these twenty patterns does this chart most closely follow. And that’s the one they are. If they have more than one pattern that they follow the same closely. Say there’s two patterns where six planets follow perfectly and one planet doesn’t follow the pattern. Then they have those two planets [patterns] equally. Then they’re gonna have a mix of those planets.
And that’s what I often find. People who’ve got….you know, a lot of people come in to get an astrology reading have hard lives. Well. When they have hard lives usually you have a tough pattern. But they’ll usually also have one or two good patterns that’s trying to help them get away from that tough pattern. So I just see so often one good pattern and one bad pattern, or two good patterns and one bad pattern to the people who actually come in who have got tough lives, you know. And so the person’s struggling with those patterns and trying to go towards the good.
But it really helps to understand these patterns like the, you know, when we have like the yoga where all the planets are going from the first to 7th. The ideal yoga, the perfect pattern is one planet in the 1st, one in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th. So a perfect chain of planets. That’s the boat yoga. And these people basically they’re very emotionally dependent on everything. Everything is a…they’re very need centred. And they’re so need centred that the smallest need not being met causes them to rock the boat and tip the boat. So if you’re dating a person like that, the day you can’t be there for them that they need you they just won’t be able to hold it together. They’ll be so upset for you and you’ll be making up for it for a month.
So there’s just so much need in that person to have the external fulfilled that they’re hoping for that when it’s not met they very easily get depressed and upset and so you can’t really be happy with those people cause you know, they can’t be happy in a reasonable relationship or any reasonable job or whatever.
So that’s one of the patterns. But then there’s like the parasol yoga. The umbrella yoga. Where we have a chain from the 7th to the 12th house of 7 planets. And that’s a great combination. Those people can just go through hell and back and hardly a drop of hot lava lands on them thanks to their umbrella. So when these people have hard lives, when there’s a good pattern like the parasol yoga, they grow out of that and they grow past it. When people have bad patterns the hard things in their lives are more devastating.
So if you get two people and both people had their parents die when they were four and one person has a good pattern they’re growing out of that, they’re growing past all that trauma somehow. Whereas the person with the bad yoga, you know, that trauma is just, the reason, the excuse, whatever you want to call it for making every bad decision they can possibly make.
So you can really, with these patterns you can see if people are going in a direction of greater health no matter what difficulties are shown in their chart. Or if they’re going in the direction of just making life hard for themselves even when they do have some other great things in their chart.
So it’s a foundation of the chart. If it’s a foundation that’s solid that they can build on, or if their foundation is kind of like quick sand that every good thing eventually is just gonna sink into the quick-sand.
CHRIS BRENNAN: Sure. And you said that these, most of these planetary pattern ones don’t involve the nodes, Rahu and Ketu.
ERNST WILHELM: None of them do.
CHRIS BRENNAN: But there are some other yogas elsewhere in the book that do. I think they are called Kala Sarpa yogas that involves the nodes Rahu and Ketu, right?
ERNST WILHELM: Yeah. There are some yogas that involves Rahu and Ketu. Most of the important yogas don’t involve Rahu and Ketu, though some of them do.
These Nabhasa yogas are only the seven visible planets. Because it’s the pattern, it’s the visible pattern. You’ve got to be able to look out your window and see the pattern in the sky actually.
CHRIS BRENNAN: Right. Yeah, because that would be striking. I mean for example, the parasol or the umbrella one you were just talking about.
ERNST WILHELM: Sure.
CHRIS BRENNAN: Theoretically at least you could look up and see six planets, or seven planetary bodies literally going across the entire sky.
ERNST WILHELM: Yep. Yeah exactly. A beautiful night.
CHRIS BRENNAN: Alright.
ERNST WILHELM: And sometimes when that stuff happens you know, NASA will put up a bulletin. Oh there’s an amazing thing, there’s seven planets all lined up in a perfect semi-arc across the sky. And it’s good if the arc hits the right place. But if it’s from the 1st to 7th it’s difficulty. But from the 7th to the 1st it’s gonna be a nice time to be born.
CHRIS BRENNAN: Sure. Alright well I mean, I think that covers [it]. We’ve covered a lot of ground today so this was a great conversation. Thanks a lot for coming on. If people wanted to learn more about planetary yogas where could they go and what else could they learn, or what do you offer in terms of teaching that?
ERNST WILHELM: OK. Sure. I have the Core Yogas book which I wrote back in 2002. That’s available. I did that with the sidereal zodiac. I was still using the sidereal zodiac at that time. So, you can learn it, but then apply it tropically if you get that book. So yogas are all there. You can look up all the yogas. You can read about the yogas. You can understand all the yogas from that book. But I recommend doing all of them in tropical not sidereal the way the examples are done in the book.
CHRIS BRENNAN: And that’s available as a PDF on your website, right?
ERNST WILHELM: It’s a PDF. Yep. Then I’ve also got a course called Astrology of Character which covers all the foundation yogas including those Nabhasa yogas. That was done in sidereal. That was done in like, 2001. Before the book even came out. Or 2002 when the book came out. It’s an old course.
Then there’s a course called Parāśara’s Formula for Yoga Judgement. That course I basically teach how to use all the timing dependent yogas, and all the named yogas and the Raj yogas which are really important because…we didn’t even get into that…but the Raj yoga system, there’s this idea that certain planets become good or bad depending on the houses they rule. It’s a very important concept that’s vastly misused in Vedic astrology that really shows a lot of the core of the person and which are also timing dependent. So I cover those yogas in detail in that course.
In that course I also show the way I use to mathematically evaluate the yogas. In the book I use something called Subha, Asubha and Misra yogas. Which means auspicious, inauspicious and mixed yogas. Those are from Satya Jatakam, written by…an old book attributed to an ancient sage and master of astrology who had his own system of astrology.
At that time, that was the best tool I could find to evaluate the yogas. They’re sort of yogas within themselves. They’re just a principle by which you can judge any planet based on several factors. Sort of like a holistic principle. So I was using that to judge yogas back then.
But since then due to all the work with the Parāśara text I now use something called Subha, which means auspicious, Asubha which mean inauspicious, Ishta which means the desires, Kashta which means the sick, the diseased and the directional strength of the planet to evaluate the yogas.
And I teach that in the course but not in the book. So I recommend the course more than the book if you want to learn how to mathematically evaluate the yogas.
But for the foundation yogas and just to learn the yogas, the book is great. And the book is great just as a reference to the yogas. To be able to search them and find them and things like that. OK.
CHRIS BRENNAN: Yeah I’ve been reviewing the book over the past while now and its’ just a really great resource because you list, I think it’s like 250 yogas where you’re actually drawing from the different texts and compiling all of them from a bunch of texts you have. I think it’s 250, right?
ERNST WILHELM: I think it’s 240. It’s right around there, yeah. 240 some I think. Right around there.
CHRIS BRENNAN: OK. Yeah. So it’s just a really great resource for everyone. Anyone who wants to get into this topic and that’s really reasonably priced because you can just buy the PDF right from your website. Then it’s downloadable right after that.
ERNST WILHELM: Yeah. I do hope to get that into print eventually too.
And so yeah, it’s cheap, it’s easy and a good way to start with the yogas. And really the first part of the book on the yogas of the foundation yogas are my favourite. I also expanded on the Moon yogas… a lot of the Moon yogas which are important for wealth in another course I did called Concrete Chart and Varga Analysis With Jaimini and in that I took a lot of these principles. These yoga principles of the Moon that bare on wealth. And how easy it is to obtain wealth. So if anyone wants to cover those, a lot of those Moon yogas, better than I did in the book. Cause it was literally like 15-20 years later, or experience later. I cover those in greater detail in that other course. Which is a big predictive course.
CHRIS BRENNAN: OK. Brilliant. And what’s the URL for your…you have a couple of major websites, right?
ERNST WILHELM: OK. Really the best place to go, the cheapest. By best I mean best and cheapest…is astrology-videos.com
Because there I’ve got all the videos of the last six years of teaching plus I put all the audios. All my old audios that I sell as a download I’ve put on the site that you can listen to while you’re logged into your membership. And so you can pay a membership fee of $30 a month and study everything as often as you want.
By comparison, if you want to download a course, the average price is probably $60 a course. But you get one course. But you get to keep it for life. But a lot of the courses are better on video. And again on the video site you can listen to all my old audio courses too while you’re logged in. You just can’t download them and save them, you know. So unless you really want to own a copy of it that you have in 20 years, the video sites the place to go.
And a lot of the newer courses of the last six years are all on the video site in video. I have rendered most of the videos into audios that you can buy and download on the vedic-astrology.net site and so, you know, that’s all there. So it just depends. But I recommend the video site. It’s a cheap way to learn, you know.
CHRIS BRENNAN: Yeah. That’s a brilliant model. And I haven’t seen many astrologers doing that. To have subscription service essentially for studying the videos and being able to watch the videos and basically learn from you.
ERNST WILHELM: Yes. And then they can join the studying group if they have questions. So we have a lot of people asking questions and stuff throughout the day on what they’re studying.
CHRIS BRENNAN: Excellent. And you’ve also been posting videos to YouTube for quite a while, right?
ERNST WILHELM: You know, I haven’t hardly done any videos on YouTube in a few years. I mean, just a handful. I try to do some videos here and there to let people know what I’m doing or working on or what’s coming out.
But I’m not having a lot of time. I’ve just been really busy teaching side course cause I’ve…the last three years I’ve been teaching not only Vedic astrology courses on video. I’ve also been teaching card reading on video. And so I’ve created a whole new site for that. Where I literally have a few hundred videos I’ve done in the last 2-3 years on that site.
So between teaching on it for videos for two sites it’s been hard finding any time for YouTube really.
But I do hope to do more YouTube because I’m almost done with the card site. Card reading is only going to be a few hundred videos. Not a few thousand as in astrology. Astrology is so vast. Then I’ll get back into doing some fun stuff on YouTube too.
CHRIS BRENNAN: Brilliant. Awesome. Well yeah I look forward to checking that out and yeah people should definitely check out your websites which are vedic-astrology.net and then the other one is astrology-videos.com right?
ERNST WILHELM: Yeah. And also I have another site…if people want to get a free chart calculated. So a free Vedic chart with all the divisional charts the way I would be calculating them. You can go to vaultoftheheavens.com
And on that site on the right hand side there’s a chart that says ‘Free Chart Calculator’ in it. Click on that and you can get your chart, your Vedic chart. So you can see what your Vedic chart looks like. With the house cusp system I use. I use Campanus house system. But again I don’t use them for boundaries I just use them as points. You get your basic Rasi chart [Natal chart]…you know, with the signs, house sign system as you use I think in the Hellenistic.
CHRIS BRENNAN: Right.
ERNST WILHELM: Plus all the divisional charts and the timing system. And the Moon position and its nakshatra. And things like that.
CHRIS BRENNAN: OK. Brilliant.
ERNST WILHELM: Basically you’ll get what you need to start doing Vedic astrology for the first six months. So no one will have to buy a software until they know they really want to pursue Vedic further.
CHRIS BRENNAN: And that’s at vaultoftheheavens.com
ERNST WILHELM: Yep.
CHRIS BRENNAN: OK. Great. Awesome. Well, thanks a lot for joining me today.
ERNST WILHELM: Oh my pleasure. Thank you for inviting me it was great.
CHRIS BRENNAN: Alright. And thanks everyone for listening and we’ll see you next time.