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Judging career aptitudes is one of the most difficult areas of astrology. Occasionally, a chart will offer a clear picture that makes it easy to see vocational direction. More often, however, it’s a mixed bag that defies simple categorization. Nonetheless, by following some basic rules of Vedic astrology (along with some Western ideas), we can catch a glimpse into the person’s probable areas of worldly engagement. And by using some of Jyotish’s unique timing techniques, we can predict when the most favourable periods for career advancement will be.
In Vedic astrology, one assesses career by blending the influences of key houses and planets. The most important house is the first house or lagna. If we had only one house to analyze before making a judgment, this would be it. The first house represents the person as a whole and therefore planets or aspects here can shape a person’s outlook that reflects the planets’ significations. The first house ruler or lagnesh is also important. A person with Pisces rising that has lagnesh Jupiter closely conjoined by Venus will probably need to express that Venusian side in some fundamental way in their lives. But that only narrows down our choices somewhat since Venus encompasses a fairly wide range of vocational options. It may be art, entertainment, beauty and cosmetics, or prostitution, to name a few. We can narrow down these choices even more by looking at the rest of the key factors in the chart.
Next we need to examine the condition of the luminaries, the Sun and Moon. Since they are fundamental to the personality, they will often find expression in the career. If the Sun is placed in Gemini conjoining Mercury aspected by Mars, this might suggest a computing career or something else that blends the notion of information, communications, and technical knowledge. Or maybe the Moon is placed in Virgo, the sign of healing, and rules the 6th house of Cancer and is placed in the 8th house. This combination may give an interest in the health field, especially the areas of alternative health and life extension as represented by the 8th house. Moreover, let’s say this combination was aspected by the first lord Saturn, thus linking it back to the first house or the person as a whole. This is precisely the combination we see in the chart of Deepak Chopra.
As in Western astrology, the 10th house is most closely connected with career. Here I like to make primary use of the whole sign 10th house and its lord to assess career influences. The unequal 10th house cusp or MC may also be used for supplementary information. While the house position of the 10th lord does not necessarily dictate the direction of career, it can sometimes express its flavour or style. Again, it is important to look for repeating themes. If the 10th lord is in the 8th house and the nodes are prominent in some way and the person has Scorpio rising, then we might start to look at typical 8th house careers such as metaphysics or affairs of the dead.
Another strategy is to find the best house, the best sign, and the best planet in a chart. Perhaps there is there an exalted planet in the horoscope. If there is, it may exercise a strong influence on career selection particularly if it’s dispositor and nakshatra dispositors are well placed. The same goes for swakshetra planets, or planet in its own sign. Jupiter in Sagittarius may guide the native towards law, academics and religion if it is closely aspected by Mercury or Venus and its nakshatra dispositor (Ketu, Venus or Sun depending on where in Sagittarius it is) are well placed and associated with the 10th house.
Careers by planet
Sun authority, politicians, scientists, leaders, directors, government employees, doctors, jewelers
Moon nursing, the public, women, children, travelling, marine, cooks, restaurants, import/export.
Mars fire, energy, metals, initiative, weapons, construction, soldiers, police, surgeons, engineers.
Mercury intellect, writing, teaching, merchandise, clerks, accountants, editors, transport, astrologers.
Jupiter finance, law, treasury, scholars, priests, politicians, advertising, psychologist, humanitarian.
Venus pleasures, luxuries, beauty, art, music, entertainment industry, sex industry, hotels.
Saturn the aged, death, real estate, labour, agriculture, building trades, mining, monk.
Rahu researchers, engineers, physicians, medicine/drugs, speculators, aviation, electricity, waste.
Ketu idealism, enlightenment, religion, secret affairs, poisons, metaphysics.
Uranus scientists, inventors, computing, astrologers, lab technicians, electronics.
Neptune photographers, movies, marine, oil, pharmaceutical, psychics, poets.
Pluto research, investigators, insurance, death, longevity-related technology, espionage.
Careers by sign
Aries army and police, surgeon, mechanics, iron and steel, firefighting, industrialists, athletes.
Taurus luxury goods, jewelry, cosmetics, music, actors, banking, tailors, fashion, property.
Gemini media and journalism, accountants, representatives, translators, writers.
Cancer naval and marine, fishing, nursing, interior design, food, petroleum, historians.
Leo government jobs, politics, religion, investing, diplomacy.
Virgo computing, astrology, accounting, media, doctors, healing.
Libra judges, artists, cosmetics, fashion, receptionists, advertising, interior decorating, prostitutes.
Scorpio chemicals, drugs, liquids, insurance, doctors, nurses, police, occult.
Sagittarius law, religion, banking and finance, entrepreneurs, athletes, clothing and shoes.
Capricorn raw material extraction and processing such as lumber and mining
Aquarius advisors, consultants, philosophers, astrologers, engineers, computing
Pisces doctors, marine related, chemicals, oil, painters, hospital, prisons.
Careers by house
First self-employment, politics or the public at large, the body (e.g. health club)
Second banking, investments, accountants, restaurants, teaching, consultants, psychologists, writing
Third communication, arts, sales, advertising, computing, writing, publishing
Fourth agriculture, building trades, real estate, vehicles, water, geology and mining
Fifth politics, stockbrokers, religious rituals, entertainment, authorship
Sixth lawyers, military, police, labour, health related professions, food, waiters.
Seventh business, trade, merchant, females, foreign business.
Eighth insurance, research, death-related, metaphysics (e.g. astrology), sex industry.
Ninth law, university teaching, travel, religious professions, foreign countries.
Tenth government jobs, dealing with public and the masses, managers, politics.
Eleventh trade and business, accountants, financial institutions, group work.
Twelfth foreign, jobs requiring secrecy, travels, hospitals, prisons, charities, advocacy.
Case study: Graham Greene
[Please note I use the sidereal zodiac and whole sign houses. The unequal houses cusps are shown for comparative purposes only.] There are no simple rules or formulas to put together these influences into a single comprehensive picture. Here are a few ideas that I have found helpful. So we not only have to look at strong unafflicted planets if possible, but also connections between planets that reinforce dominant themes in the chart. For example, in a writer’s chart, we would expect to see Mercury and Venus prominent in some way, along with the 2nd, 3rd and 5th houses. Signs are of least importance, but we could include Gemini as well as the Venus ruled signs, Taurus and Libra, since they are associated with aesthetic sensibilities. The key in a writer’s chart is that there is usually a connection between these factors. Mercury’s sign or nakshatra dispositor may be placed or ruling the creative houses.
We can see how these chart factors combine in the chart of famed British novelist Graham Greene (Oct 2 1904 10.15 am GMT Berkhamsted, England). First, we look at the condition of the Sun, Moon and Ascendant. Note that both Sun and Moon are placed in signs owned by Mercury, the planet that governs communication. Sun is placed in Virgo in the 12th house in the nakshatra of Hasta, which is ruled by the Moon. Moon, in turn, is in Gemini, the sign of writing par excellence. The Moon is given extra career importance because it is 10th lord is very well placed in the 9th, aspecting the 3rd house. This supports the notion of the career connected with writing since the 3rd is associated with communication and writing. The Moon also closely conjoins Neptune which produces a strong imagination. The Libra ascendant is ruled by Venus, the planet linked with the arts. Venus itself is strong by virtue of its placement in its own sign of Libra. The Ascendant is aspected by 3rd lord Jupiter and 5th lord Saturn. While the 3rd rules communication, the 5th is often associated with the intellect and authorship. Ketu’s trine aspect to the Ascendant magnifies some of these themes since it is placed in the 5th house and its nakshatra dispositor Jupiter rules the 3rd.
Another powerful feature of Greene’s chart is the close opposition aspect from 3rd lord Jupiter to Venus, the ruler of the 1st in the 1st house. This is an excellent configuration for aesthetic appreciation and will push the native to harness his sense of beauty in his daily work and communication. The MC falls in the nakshatra ruled by Venus, yet another aesthetic influence. For its part, Mercury conjoins
Rahu and is close to the MC. Rahu magnifies the Mercury and its placement in the 11th house suggests that it is a source of gains. Its placement close to the MC, the unequal 10th house cusp, also tells us that Mercury-related matters such as writing will be expressed in the career.
The 2nd house is also closely associated with writing and not surprisingly, we see Greene’s 2nd lord Mars placed in the 10th house of career. Its dispositor Sun is also in a Mercury-ruled sign Virgo in the 12th house. This is more evidence of a writerly orientation and may also relate to Greene’s double life as a British intelligence agent while visiting many far-flung places. The 12th house is connected to secrecy and foreign countries. Moreover, Mars and the 2nd house are strengthened immensely by a very favourable aspect from Jupiter.
This chart analysis shows how several different houses are often involved in a single profession. In my experience, this is a necessary way of doing astrology. However much we may want to keep things simple, we also have to recognize that astrology does not lend itself well to simply deductive rule-based systems. Although individual houses may be connected to individual professions, (e.g. writing and the 3rd, health and the 6th), in practice we generally look for combinations of houses.
Case study: Oprah Winfrey
The horoscope of television talk show maven Oprah Winfrey (Jan 29 1954 4.30 am CST Koscuisko, MS) provides another illuminating case of career astrology. Oprah has become one of the richest women in the world through her unparalleled success in the entertainment arena. Like most entertainers, we would expect a strong Venus influence, along with Mercury, and the 2nd, 3rd, 5th houses. Because of her high public profile we should also find strong associations to the 1st and 10th houses.
She has Sagittarius rising, with its ruler Jupiter in the 6th house in Taurus. While 6th house placements are considered problematic by some astrologers, this is a fine placement that underlines Oprah's dedication to helping others and service to humanity. She has become known as a self-help guru, something which is very appropriate given the 6th house's traditional affiliation with health and service. What is also important to note is that her chart ruler or lagnesh, is exactly aspecting the Midheaven (i.e unequal 10th house cusp) by trine. This is a powerful and precise connection between the 1st and the 10th houses that suggests success and fame.
The Moon is placed in the 12th house debilitated in Scorpio with Mars. This dussthana placement of a luminary is not what we would expect from a world famous entertainer. Still, it's worthwhile to note that simple house placement isn't everything. The Moon here has some problems but it is also aspected by 1st lord Jupiter, an aspect . that gives prominence. She has a four planet stellium in the 2nd house in Capricorn. The 2nd house represents speech and communication. For a woman who earns her living talking to millions on television every day, this is a reasonable placement. The 10th lord of career is Mercury, and it is placed in the 2nd, so that is another hint that the 2nd house will be central to Oprah's career. Jupiter aspects this Mercury very closely and thereby confers great strength to the Mercury (the planet of communication) and to the 10th house by virtue of its lordship. So the evidence begins to accumulate that pushes the 2nd house to the forefront of the chart, along with Mercury. Mercury in fact may be the strongest planet in the chart. The Sun is also rendered superstrong through its extremely tight conjunction with Venus -- with just 8 minute s orb. Besides further boosting the 2nd, it also supports the indications of the 9th house, including higher knowledge and duty. This is perhaps one reason why Oprah did not pursue the usual TV trash daytime talk show and instead chose to tackle more serious and refined social issues that aimed at the betterment of her viewers.
A Rough Guide to Career Astrology
So here are some rough and ready rules for career selection. It’s nearly impossible to suggest which factors are most important since each depends on several other subsidiary associations. It’s best to simply make note of each of them and watch for repeating themes.
House and sign of Sun, Moon and ascendant and ascendant ruler (lagnesh). Look for repeating patterns e.g. A Jupiter-dominated horoscope might have Sun’s dispositor conjunct Jupiter and Moon in Sagittarius with Pisces rising.
All aspects to these. e.g. a close square from Mars to the Moon will often lend a definite martial flavour to the person and influence career choices in that direction.
Any houses with 3 or more planets (outers excluded). This house and the one opposite will usually be connected with career in some basic way.
10th house and its lord and aspects thereto. Also planets in close aspect to MC.
The strongest planet in the chart such as one that is exalted and unafflicted or receives a close aspect from Jupiter, Venus, or Mercury. Also planets that are heavily aspected by several planets are like pivots for the whole chart. Similarly, slow (less than 20% of normal speed) or stationary planets exercise an undue influence. If connected to the 2nd or 11th houses representing money, strong planets will probably provide the best avenue in life for prosperity.
Timing Issues: Predicting career ups and down
Besides providing a vocational guide, astrology can also indicate when career advances and setbacks are most likely. Using a combination of transits and planetary dashas, we can usually determine which times will yield favourable results and which times may prove more difficult. The dasha of a poorly placed, afflicted planet may prevent any advance despite the best efforts and hard work on the job. Conversely, the period of a well-placed planet may bring a very easy promotion or a new job that seems to just fall in one’s lap.
The critical issue then lies in determining which planets can yield good results and which will not. This is rarely straightforward and requires careful consideration of the natal and dashamsha (D-10) charts. Vital information can be gleaned from a planet’s house, sign, dispositor, nakshatra lord, aspects, declination, and midpoint pattern.
Case study: Sandra Day O’Connor
An interesting example can be found in the chart of recently retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor (Mar 26 1930 1.10 am MST El Paso, TX). She was the first female justice on the Supreme Court. Her legal career can be seen by the significator of law, Jupiter, in the 6th house in Taurus. The 6th house is associated with legal matters. This Jupiter is especially strong because it is chart ruler. This makes the 6th house a focus of the horoscope. Jupiter is further enhanced by its dispositor, Venus, exalted in Pisces in the 4th house, is placed in a kendra house, close to the IC and Sun. The 4th house square aspect from Mars may have produced some health concerns over the years, but for career matters, this influence was not negative. Mars ruled the 5th house of counselling and intelligence, and gave greater wisdom to O’Connor’s Jupiter. Further, Jupiter’s nakshatra lord is the Moon, and it is unafflicted and strong in the 2nd house representing education and speech. All of these influences make Jupiter an exceptional planet in this chart.
O’Connor was appointed to the Supreme Court in the summer of 1981 and was sworn-in in September of that year. This coincided with the running of the Saturn-Mars dasha. Although these are two natural malefics, we can see good results from the periods of these planets as long as they are strong in the horoscope. In this case, they are. Saturn is 2nd and 3rd lord well placed in the first house, unaspected except for a wide trine from Rahu and a tight square from Uranus. The Rahu influence needn’t be negative for occupation at all since Rahu is associated with ambition and material gain. The Uranus influence is also not a hindrance for career matters and may describe the sudden or tumultuous nature of life events throughout the period. Saturn is further strengthened by virtue of its placement in Purvashada, a nakshatra owned by Venus. Venus, as we know, is very strong by exaltation and placed in a kendra with the Sun. Finally, the favourable 9th and 10th lords Sun and Mercury are both placed in Uttara Bhadrapada, a nakshatra ruled by Saturn. This enhances the results of the Saturn dasha, especially as they pertain to career advancement (10th house) in legal matters (9th house).
The bhukti lord Mars is a crucial factor here. 5th lord Mars is placed in the 3rd house and is aspected by Saturn, lord of the 2nd house of status and wealth. Its dispositor Saturn is strong in the first house. Its nakshatra lord Rahu is also strong since it is placed in the favourable 5th house. Moreover, the benefic Moon is placed in Dhanista, a Mars-ruled nakshatra. The two dasha lords, Mars and Saturn are in a very auspicious 3-11 house relationship with each other which also helps the results for this period.
It is also important to note the transits at the time of the appointment. Dasha lord Saturn was transiting the 10th (whole sign) house of career and fame and most importantly fell under the exact aspect of benefic natal Jupiter at the time of the confirmation and swearing-in. Transit Rahu was also exactly aspecting O’Connor’s 10th lord Mercury. Although Rahu is a natural malefic, it often operates favourably in material matters such as career, particularly when it is well placed natally. It is as if that positive natal energy of the planet is bundled up and carried on the long transit journey through the sky, ready for distribution in transit situations. Finally, transit Jupiter closely aspected 10th lord Mercury at the time of the appointment and then 11th lord Venus two months later at the time of the swearing-in. All in all, those three excellent transits gave crucial support to the favourable dasha picture and helped bring about O’Connor’s appointment to the highest court in the land.