Showing posts from August, 2017

Is the solar eclipse caused by Rahu, and not the Moon?

Those of you who grew up in Nepal, India and other parts of the subcontinent have heard of Rahu-Ketu, especially in the context of astrologers who repeat these terms in a tedious refrain. If you frequent astrologers, you might also have come to associate these terms with malefic events and happenings—anything catastrophically bad, it seems, is always due to the presence of these two malefic “chaya graha,” which translate to “shadow planets” in Sanskrit.Note graha means “to seize”, and astrologers believe these planets seize us when their ruling time periods are dominant in our lives. 

Some of you may also be aware that astrologers believe Rahu eclipses the Sun, and Ketu the Moon, although this bit of astronomical information may be less remembered than the overwhelming impression of malefic energy associated with these two terms. Eclipses in birthcharts are always viewed as malefic events—even though they may heighten material powers and wealth. 

The two shadow graha tend to magnify the…


ECS Magazine, July 2017

My family’s surname is “Joshi,” derived from jyotishi, or astrologers. According to family lore, they fled the Mughal invasion and came to Nepal via Nainital, where they became court astrologers to the Shah monarchy. By my grandfather’s time, nobody on our side of the family knew anything about astrology, nor did they show any interest to pursue this arcane and antediluvian subject. My father, who has a BA in science, and my mother, who has a Masters degree in Nepali literature, both profess a steadfast disbelief towards the subject.
There were, however, enough relatives around to provide glimpses of a more interesting family history. I remember in particular one elderly relative in his eighties who did read charts, and who was treated with great respect not just because of his ability to read the future but also because he was rumored to be short-tempered. He was known to walk back and forth in his wooden balcony in the middle of old Kathmandu, and hurl insults…