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Tweaking the 9th parts usage of Abu Ma'shar

Abu Ma'shar wrote about usage of the 9th parts of the profected sign and assigned the 9th part ruler of the sign of the year as one of the indicators in making predictions with solar revolutions. Abu Ma'shar clearly had access to Indian texts that dealt with the Navamsa because the way he uses it by giving importance to the first 9th part of the profected sign. However, the reason as to why he gives importance to the first navamasa of the profected sign particularly is unclear. Before delving into this, some of you might need an explanation of what is a 9th part or Navamsa.

Navamsa – The 9th parts

Navamsa is the 9 equal divisions of a zodiac sign with 3°20' each. Please see what is stated in Brihat Parashara Hora Sastra:

“The Navamsa calculation is to be made by the wise from the same sign for a movable sign, from the 9th sign for a fixed one and, from the 5th sign for a dual one “.

Nakshatras are 13°20 minutes long. Each Nakshatra is divided into 4 padas (4 parts) and each part is 3°20' long which is also the length of one Navamasa. Navamsa beings in Aries and the counting begins from the padas. See the below image that depicts the Navamsa padas and the signs each Nakshatra pada falls in which will give a more familiar understanding of how Navamsas are calculated.

The ancients have given us an easy way of calculating the Navamsa postion of planets by a formula where the Navamsas of movable signs start from their own position, from the 9th sign for fixed signs and from 5th for the dual signs. The other is to use the above table to find out the Navamsa position based upon the Nakshatra pada of the planetary position.

For example, the if a person has Moon in 28° of Cancer, the Nakshatra of the Moon will be Ashlesha 4th pada. 4th Pada of Ashlesha falls in Pisces. Alternatively, the Navamsa counting for a movable sign begins from the sign itself. 28° of Cancer is the last 9th part of the sign and if we start counting 9 signs from Cancer, the Navamsa position of the Moon will be in Pisces.

Some astrologers believe that the Navamsas are tied to the triplicities but in reality, they are tied to the 27 Nakshatras and their 4 padas which amounts to 108 and triplicities are the result of the calculation of Navamsas. Because of the simplication of the cacluation to count the Navamsas from 1st , 9th and 5th it gives an impression that they are to the triplicities. Diving deep, we get to know that most of the Jyotish principles are inherently tied to the lunar mansions or Nakshataras in a sidereal context. There are 27 nakshatras and 12 signs. Navamsa is basically fitting in 27 Nakshatras in the 12 signs or if you want to look at it the other way, Navamsa is basically stretching 12 signs to 27 Nakshtras. Although the division of Nakshstras for all the other divisional charts are unknown, I am convinced that it is all about dividing the Nakshatras and signs, but the ancients have given us formulas to make it easier.

If my understanding is correct, Abu Ma'shar suggests to use the Lord of the first 9th part (henceforth referred to as Navamsa) of the Lord of the year as one of the indicators in solar revolutions. Why does he point out the usage of the first Navamsa of the year and leaves out the other 8 Navamsas of a sign? This is unclear to me. More importantly from an Indian context of using the Navamsa, it becomes more clear and makes more sense to use the Navamsa position of the Lord of the year. I started using this as an alternative method as opposed to Abu Ma'shar's recommendation.

I am using an example to project the practical usage of this method. In the example nativity, we see that the profected sign of the year is Aquarius (2nd house). Saturn is the Lord of the year and Saturn is placed in the 12th house of Sagittarius. Now, unlike Abu Ma'shar's recommendation to take up the first 9th part of the profected sign of the year (which is Libra – Venus), I have used the Navamsa position of Saturn. Saturn is in 25°07' of Sagittarius, and its 9th part will fall in Scorpio. Mars is the ruler of Scorpio and hence, Mars becomes the Lord of the 9th part of Saturn. Mars is now one of the indicators of the year along with the Lord of the year.

Natal wheel

Saturn rules the 1st house and the 2nd house and is placed in the 12th house which is a pretty difficult position. On May 08, 2020, just a week after the 2nd house profection year began, the native felt numbness and inactivity below his hip. The native was rushed to a hospital and was diagnosed with some rare neurological disorder which according to the doctors is a permanent ailment. 12th house position of Saturn is indicative of hospitalization. Now, it gets interesting with the SR chart.

Gemini is rising in the SR chart which is the natal 6th house which indicates diseases and debts. With natal 6th house rising in the SR chart, 6th house matters obviously come to the forefront and health ailments is certainly not a surprise. Saturn (Lord of the year) and Mars (Lord of the Navamsa of Saturn) are placed in the 8th house of the SR chart in a very powerful position in terms of dignity there by affirming serious health issues.

In the natal chart, Mars is placed in the 2nd house of Aquarius (sign of the year itself) along with Ketu in the bounds of Saturn. This is a nasty placement indeed and can cause serious health troubles to disrupt the well being. Well being factor comes in because Mars rules the 4th house and the 11th house of the nativity. Saturn, as a more destructive malefic, in a nocturnal nativity is only aggravating grief due to an already distressed placement of the 12th house. Lord of the Ascendant of the SR, Mercury is in the 11th house but is fallen in the nativity in the 3rd house causing havoc to the psychological setup and this left the native shattered to lose confidence.


© Aswin Subramanyan 2020

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May 21, 2020

Sure, Rok. I agree. But the point is, it seems Abu Ma'shar used both whole signs and quadrant at various times. This would be a mess if quadrant houses are used and hence will becomes difficult to note the Navamasa ruler. Abu Ma'shar's method is surely efficient but my Indian mind using the sidereal zodiac always looks for the planets and their positions. Hence, Navamsa position of the planet seems a bit more important, also may be revealing IMHO. But that's again just my opinion. Overall, Abu Ma'shar's treatment of solar revolutions is so comprehensive but also allows modern day astrologers like us to absorb it in a manner that is not too much for us and we are talking…


Rok Koritnik
Rok Koritnik
May 21, 2020

Thanks for some food for thought Ashwin. I think Abu Mashar takes the ruler of the 1st navamsha because the native's year starts with the beginning of the sign, thus he takes the 1st navamsha ruler as co-ruler. This of course applies only if one uses wholesign profections. If we'd do degree based profections, then the navamsha ruler of the Ascendant's degree should be taken. Effectively what we do with this is we assign co-ruleship of the year to either the lord of the year itself or to the ruler of the 9th from the sign or to the ruler of the 5th, thus to trine rulers.

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