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In Search of Destiny

Biography, History and Culture As Told Through Vedic Astrology
by Edith Hathaway
CVA Book Review
by Bruce Davis
InSearchOfDestiny.jpg

Edith Hathaway has given us a book that will surely endure as an essential text in the library of any serious student of Vedic astrology. Published in 2012 by Vedic Vintage Press, the book examines both the breadth and depth of Vedic astrology’s potential to understand the human experience. It is a book that I would include among the admirable humanistic Vedic astrology books now available in the West. It is in print and easily available.

 

In Search of Destiny is unique as an exposition of our art and science of Jyotish. Chakrapani Ullal, a long-time mentor with the Council on Vedic Astrology, wrote in his Foreword to the book:

 

Her book offers the reader a study of Vedic astrology specifically relating to the natal ascendant, which is deeply respectful of the knowledge and traditions of Vedic India, but is infused with the spirit of thoughtful inquiry. Her observations are original, her approach inventive, and her research is scrupulously executed. (p. vii)

 

The author’s primary intent with the book is in the sub-title: Biography, History and Culture As Told Through Vedic Astrology. This is not a book primarily directed to teach Jyotish techniques and practices, though Vedic astrology students at every level will find abundant opportunities to explore new territory. The text is supported by plentiful footnotes, glossary, bibliography, and index, and a 19-page chapter on the basics of Vedic astrology and philosophy. Oftentimes astrology books do not take the reader beyond the basic building blocks of astrology and deeper into the territory of chart analysis, such as is found here.

 

So this book offers an innovative contextual frame for the study of Jyotish, working from the broadest basis of cyclical time and creation, through the unfoldment of human history since the fifteenth century, and ultimately to clear correlations of selected personal histories with the ascendant influences revealed in their Jyotish charts. These are the chapters that focus on the individual destiny, as opposed to the “Historical context and collective destiny,” the title and subject of the book’s first chapter.

 

This is a book about destiny—indeed the search for destiny through Vedic astrology. And yet to the question “What is destiny” Edith Hathaway doesn’t venture into cumbersome academic definitions. Destiny is revealed as what happens, both in the wider contexts of history and in the more focused moments of the individual lives of people whom she investigates. We will see shortly how destiny arises from both Karma and Dharma in the course of history, individual and collective. The Vedic chart becomes the lens to focus in on destiny, and for individual persons, how it manifests through what is expressed in their Ascendant charts. 

 

The author is very explicit that classic Vedic astrology considers the ascendant as a key to understanding individual destiny and the divine purpose for being incarnated this time around. Those chapters are organized by zodiacal sign, with the ascendant and ascendant lord being the first components to be analyzed before the author delves into the myriad of other details which comprise the chart and complete the description of the individual destiny. 

 

Another factor that distinguishes this book from many other astrology books is that the author takes a thematic approach to analyzing the charts and the biographical subjects, using the building blocks of astrology–not in the sense of isolating those building blocks but rather synthesizing them. Similarly, the reader benefits by the deeper level of biographical research, as well as the historical backdrop against which the person’s destiny is played out. 

Collective Destiny

As the author begins her book she offers us a wide context from which to consider the movements of human history and the lives of notable persons. Through the Puranic mythology we glimpse a process of creation, conservation and dissolution, and ever again creation, conservation and dissolution. The CVA Journal, fall of 2023, considered a detailed account of this process of evolution and involution through the twenty-seven nakshatras in the review of Bepin Behari’s book, Revelations of Zodiacal Signs and Lunar Mansions.

 

Of this wider Vedic context Edith Hathaway writes,

 

In the Vedic view, the universe is again and again created, preserved, and then destroyed, echoing the functions of the three primary Hindu deities: Brahma, the Creator, Vishnu, the Preserver, and Shiva, the Destroyer. In this philosophical system the soul is viewed as eternal and indestructible, living in a timeless reality on the one hand, but in a time-bound reality on the other, when incarnated in a physical body. (p. 2)

 

She points to the Yugas or world ages that mark the movements of these wider cycles. The number 432 is significant here (108 multiplied by 4) as the factor determining Yuga length in years—in the case of Kali Yuga, 432 multiplied by 1000, but other Yugas are of different lengths, still with the factor 432.  Within that 432,000 year period are shorter periods of precession  that last approximately 26,000 years, “…in which the earth slips back in its relationship with the fixed stars, approximately one degree every 72 years….” (pg. 2)  This process is often termed, “precession of the equinox.”

 

The author has herewith set the stage for a particularly innovative and practical relationship between the precession process and the 20-year conjunctions of Jupiter and Saturn. It is a mathematical and space/time relationship that fits into the Vedic practice of Ganita.

 

The Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions occur approximately every 20 years, and they recur 59.575 times within one precession cycle. If you multiply 432 X 59.575 the result is 25,736 years, or one precession cycle. (pg 2)  [Note: in the text itself an inadvertent typo is present, using the word “Yuga” in place of the accurate term “precession cycle.”] 

 

By demonstrating this relationship, the author brings attention to the Jupiter-Saturn relationship as an essential part of the fabric of the cycle of time through the on-going precession of the equinox. Of critical importance is noting that the conjunctions in the chart move around the zodiac, because the transits of Jupiter and Saturn around the chart take differing amounts of time. It is also worth noting that a pattern of this forward movement of the conjunction has its own regularity as it passes through the signs. We might liken this relationship to the turning of the hands of an analog clock, where the hour hand and the minute hand come into conjunction in a time slightly longer than an hour, and through the twelve hours of the clock, that point of conjunction continues to cycle, until both hands finally meet at twelve.

 

The author shows the complexity of the relationship between Jupiter and Saturn, and she reveals detail about conjunctions, oppositions, the planet’s individual orbital cycles, and other implications of their relationship. Part of this regular progression is a regularity of the conjunctions through the zodiacal signs in particular elements: air, water, fire and earth. Analyzing the presence of the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction in periods defined by the elements, she is able to characterize the qualities of certain time periods during human history. 

 

To my knowledge, this is a unique focus for a Vedic astrologer. The author centers on the larger cycles of Jupiter and Saturn and on how the dominance of their conjunction in one of the four elements tends to define a particular historical period. In Vedic astrology we consider Jupiter to be a planet of Dharma and Saturn a planet of Karma, which giving their conjunction cycles particular value in understanding historical time-periods

 

The author further shows how the four elements characterize each period in broader terms.  During that time, the conjunction occurs in the three signs within that element (the triplicities), creating a longer period of elemental influence.  For the FIRE signs it is Aries, Leo, Sagittarius.  For the EARTH signs, it is Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn.  For example, she indicates that most nation-states were established during the FIRE period, and that during the EARTH period banks, big business and corporate conglomerates have become increasingly dominant in their relationships with nation-states.

 

An even more intense concentration of the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction takes place when it occurs three times in a row (triple conjunctions) within one year, or slightly longer, powerfully impacting a particular arena of life. This gives extra importance to that 20-year Jupiter-Saturn conjunction period, and notably to the period within which those three conjunctions occur in the same sign. This is a relatively rare occurrence over the centuries, making it extra noteworthy that there were two sets of these triple conjunctions in the 20th century, and only 40 years apart!  (p. 4)

 

In 1940-41, the triple JU-SA conjunctions in Aries set the stage for World War II and the massive growth of the arms industry: The Atomic Age. (p.50)  In 1980-81, the JU-SA triple conjunctions in Virgo set the stage for The Information Age, introducing many new information technologies (cell phones, personal computers, Internet, 24-hour cable news) that also radically changed the world. (p. 53)

She distinguishes these longer elemental periods, beginning in 1425, as follows.

 

WATER (1425 to 1723; 298 years)

Trends: WATER periods can bring the strength and growth of religion. Empires and monarchies are defined by their religious associations, and are closely intertwined. Even royal houses are intertwined through blood lines, but religion must also unite them.

(p. 8)

 

FIRE (1723 to 1921; 198 years)

Trends: While also religious, FIRE influence promotes more overtly nationalistic aspirations. This period is very patriotic, and lights the fires of national pride, pitting nationalistic interests and aspirations against each other, and demanding personal freedoms—especially from religious persecution—and equality among people, at least in theory, if not finally by law. (p. 9)

 

EARTH (1921 to 2199; 278 years)

Trends: EARTH promotes technology and its trade and exchange, providing solutions to problems of many kinds, especially at the crisis points coming at the half-way mark in each 20-year cycle, when even accidents or acts of nature can force needed reforms. (p. 10)

 

AIR (2199 to 2398; 199 years)

Trends: During the AIR period trade and commerce are featured, especially the desire to establish communications and cultural exchanges across new boundaries. Language, literature, the arts and the exchange of scientific ideas and rational thought can flourish. As long as dogmatism remains minimal, cultural reciprocity across territorial boundaries diminishes political, ethnic tribal or religious barriers. (p. 14)

 

For clarity the author presents two sets of JU-SA conjunction tables, each running from 1405 to 2398.  The first table is straight astrological, and gives the dates, the zodiacal signs and degrees, nakshatras, and elements.  It states whether the conjunction is Vargottama, occurring three times in the same sign (triple conjunctions), and/or at the Solstice, Equinox, or Galactic Center.  The author indicates that these factors give extra power to the conjunction. The second table, continuing for fifteen pages, repeats much of the same astrological information, but also includes notable historical markers within these time periods, creating a very readable presentation of the influence of these conjunctions on events.

 

The content of this second table is well worth deeper study by the reader. Below are several of the JU-SA conjunctions from the table (pp. 41-45), to offer a flavor of this piece. She does not over-interpret the correlation of the Jupiter-Saturn influence, leaving it for the reader to discern how the conjunction in that sign and lunar mansion might have led to that particular event.  She also notes how WATER periods tend to last longer, including in the Mutation period preceding the WATER period, i.e., AIR to WATER.

Date
Conjunction
Element
1453
1454 or 1455
July 14, 1444
JU-SA conjunction at 22:52 Gemini, in Punarvasu Nakshatra.
AIR
May 29, 1453
Final fall of Constantinople to the Turks after a 53-day siege, ending over 1000 years of rule by the Byzantine Empire….
End of the Hundred Years’ War, a series of conflicts between England and France and other nations, from 1337.
The first “Gutenberg Bibles” are completed, begun in 1450—the first printed books in the West.
Nov. 18, 1484
JU-SA conj. At 6:30 Scorpio, in Anuradha Nakshatra.
1492
Columbus “discovers” America—his voyage funded by Queen Isabella of Spain.
May 3, 1583
JU-SA conj. At 2:03 Pisces in Purva Bhadra Nakshatra.
Aug. 8, 1588
Defeat of the Spanish Armada: British fleets thwart the attempt by Spanish fleets to overthrow Queen Elizabeth I of England….
WATER
WATER
Nov. 5, 1782
JU-SA conjunction at 7:18 Sagittarius, in Mula Nakshatra.
Feb. 1783
King George III announces Cessation of Hostilities in the American Revolutionary War.
Sept. 3, 1787
Paris Peace Treaty is signed—formal end of the American Revolutionary War. It gives formal recognition to the 13 colonies as “free, sovereign, and independent states.” Britain cedes most of the land east of the Mississippi River.
FIRE
Sept. 17, 1787
The U.S. Constitution is adopted by the Constitutional Convention, Philadelphia, PA. (George Washington is elected President of the Convention.)
1789
French Revolution. George Washington is inaugurated as first U.S. President, April 30, 1789.
Brief Introduction to Vedic Astrology and Philosophy

This thorough exploration of the Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions and their relationship to history and destiny sets the stage for the author’s next step, which is to research the lives of particular men and women through the tools of Vedic astrology. But before she moves ahead with this pursuit, she provides a short (19-page) section detailing basic Vedic astrology tools and principles. On the one hand, with diverse interpretations and practices in the field of Jyotish, it provides definition for a core of vocabulary and techniques before she engages in the biographical study itself. In addition it gives the reader less familiar with the processes and language of Jyotish a primer to help them understand the correlations she is drawing between astrology and the lives of these men and women. To the accomplished Vedic astrologer there will be nothing new in this section of the book.

 

In this tutorial section the author provides her sense of Dharma, Karma and their relationship to destiny. It is the point in her exposition that she addresses how destiny operates in human lives. She states:

 

On a personal level Dharma is one’s true nature, one’s rightful purpose in life, and the duties and responsibilities therein. If one is expressing one’s Dharma, it is easier to deal with Karma—our conscious actions on an ongoing basis, as well as the cumulative effects of our actions in this life as well as previous lives. Vedic astrology enables us to identify the Dharmic and Karmic destiny of the individual, group or nation. (p. 58)

 

There is an association between the Vedic chart and the individual life, of course. But is this relationship one of a confining “fate” that unfolds inexorably with outcomes of its own intent? Or does a person experience a range of choice and autonomy in their unfolding destiny—the old philosophical argument between a strict providence and a free will. I appreciate Edith Hathaway’s take on this age-old paradox. We may not avoid certain Karmic destiny, but we may have some measure of control over how we choose to live within that destiny. She writes:

 

To learn more deeply about what is revealed in a particular astrological chart—comparing that to the relevant biographical and historical details of an individual’s life—is to understand how Karmic destiny is inextricably linked to the expression of one’s true nature or Dharma. It is always possible to overcome negative tendencies and grow with the strengths. When in the West we speak of “character,” in Vedic terms the equivalent is how well one understands and accepts one’s Dharmic and Karmic destiny, and how gracefully one evolves with it over time. …It is not always possible to avoid difficult Karma, though one may learn how to soften the effects. (p. 58)

The Ascendants

An abundance of preparatory and contextual material leads the reader to the crux of the author’s goal: to use the disciplines of Vedic astrology to account for the character, actions and situations of the lives of individual persons. I use the term “manifest” here for a purpose. When the Vedic astrologer wishes to consider how a person shows up in their world, how they relate to other people, and how they go about their business in all and sundry ways, he or she will look to the  ascendant of the birth chart as a key focal point from which all the other planetary influences are oriented. Thus the author organizes her “search for destiny” in individual biographies by zodiacal sign on the ascendant chart. The unique presentation of that ascendant chart shapes the destiny of the person’s life, and the author takes us through an exploration of how to read that destiny.

 

Because the focal point of this study is the ascendant, the biographical selections demonstrate the determinative influence of the sign on the individual’s manifestation in their life. In Ms. Hathaway’s words from the Preface:

 

The biographical subjects have been carefully chosen to show the power of the sign on the ascendant as an indicator of the life destiny. (p. xi)

 

Her intention goes a step further than just the power of the correlation, because she provides such detailed biographical information, more than is usual in such a study, and associates that detail with an equally detailed Vedic astrology analysis. Again from Ms. Hathaway’s Preface:

 

Some astrological biographies exist in print form and others are increasingly present on the Internet due to increased public interest in applying astrological knowledge to mainstream subjects such as biography. But with a few notable exceptions, they do not often provide longer, more in-depth studies with researched and nuanced biographical material that is both astrological and non-astrological, as I have tried to do in this book. (p. xii)

 

She begins the zodiacal journey with Aries. After introducing the sign and its lord, In each of the readings she provides a biographical summary, followed by a thematic interpretation of biographical factors through the specific patterns of the chart. Here in the discussion of Aries, and likewise in the discussion of persons with ascendants in each of the other signs, the clarity of the association of personal character, actions and situations correlate very closely with the specifics of the charts she is reading.

 

In addition to a one-to-one correspondence between significant life factors and chart associations, one gets the sense that the author feels something like appreciation for each of the figures she has chosen to work with. There is beauty in the humanity, vulnerability and, at times, acclaim that each biography portrays. One enjoys reading through these biographies, not only to learn more about associations with the Vedic chart, but just as importantly for themselves—for the lived particulars of these lives. In this sense much of the book reads like a biography, annotated with Jyotish associations, or a historical novel. 

 

I find it particularly meaningful that each subchapter within each ascendant discussion begins with simple, detailed biography—the personal story. The symbols and patterns of Jyotish are then brought to the biography, and correlations are drawn. This approach is in contrast with what is often the case, where particular chart patterns and symbols are set forth, and the effort is made to find matching biographical details. I believe that for this author the goal is the authentic expression of destiny, in a way that brings personal story and chart characteristics together as one.

Aries

For her first set of biographical subjects the author has chosen the following: Martin Luther King, Jr., Bobby Kennedy, Henry Miller, Mia Farrow and Jaqueline Du Pré.  I found the sub-chapter on Robert F. Kennedy to be the one that most caught my attention, especially because the intimate details of his life had not been known to me at this level. In the author’s words:

 

As noted earlier, the biggest timing clue for personal danger to Bobby Kennedy comes from Mercury’s sub-period within Jupiter Dasha. Jupiter-Mercury Dasha/Bhukti ran from July 11 1967 to Oct. 16, 1969: Bobby Kennedy announced his presidential candidacy March 16, 1968 and was fatally wounded minutes after declaring victory in the California Primary June 5, 1968. He was shot at about 12:15 AM PDT in Los Angeles and died 26 hours later as a result of the three bullet wounds. Full Secret Service protection was not yet provided for U.S. presidential candidates. (pp. 109-110)

 

Taurus

After Aries, Taurus. Here the author chooses four subjects to study: an unidentified man from San Diego, CA, Theodore Prostakoff, Martha Graham, Julia Child, each with a unique version of the Taurus ascendant. Julia Child’s review is the longest, most detailed, and to me the most interesting. In the biographical section we learn that Julia 

 

was never a distinguished student and was known more for her pranks than for her academic prowess. She called herself “an adolescent until I was thirty.” It may not have helped that her father was a staunchly conservative Republican Presbyterian who tended to equate intellectuals with Communists. (p. 159)

 

Ultimately it was the planet Saturn, with his great friend Venus, who played a particularly important role in her success. The author indicates that her breakthrough and success long-term was “destined” in part by the operation of these planets in her chart/life. She writes that for breakthrough and success,

 

Rulers of both the Ascendant and the 10th house must be well placed. In this case, Venus and Saturn, respectively, are the planets in question. Both of them reside in Kendra positions in the birth chart and navamsha charts, Venus in its best Kendra position in the 4th house, giving it Digbala. (p.162)

 

The Karmic-Dharmic  “destiny” for Julia Child is further clarified by the author:

 

Saturn’s placement in the Ascendant is excellent for the Taurus Ascendant person, as it is the best planet for the chart. At the same time its presence in the Ascendant is very demanding. It requires much hard work, but also creates several highly beneficial Raja and Dhana yogas. In addition, the close mutual opposition of Jupiter and Saturn in Kendras indicates very good entrepreneurial skills. Part of the great Karmic-Dharmic blessing of this chart is also the timing of her 19 year Saturn Dasha, from April 9, 1957 to April 9, 1976, and also the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction Feb. 18, 1961. Because Saturn is so favorable in the chart, Saturn Dasha was bound to be excellent for her personally. But the outward manifestation of her success would not be apparent until the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction on Feb. 18, 1961 in her 9th house of higher education and publication, and communication on a broader scale. (Her first cookbook was published eight months later.) (pp. 162-163)

 

Gemini

In Gemini the author identifies six subjects for her study: Srinivasa Ramanujan, Albert Einstein, Steven Spielberg, Bill Gates, Peter Jennings and Francis Poulenc. We will look at a snapshot of Albert Einstein, a man with Mercurial complexity. From the author:

 

The mind and body of a genius in physics: In the birth chart Ascendant lord Mercury is located in the 10th house in Pisces, its sign of debilitation, and in the Nakshatra of Uttara Bhadrapada, ruled by Saturn. Even in the house of maximum visibility, natal Mercury is isolated and hemmed in by malefics Sun and Saturn on either side of it. Navamsha Mercury is situated in the 8th house in Libra, a much more hidden placement, which can be good for intuition and for research but may also account for some chronic health problems, which he had for much of his life from 1917 onward, starting in Sun-Rahu Dasha.  

 “I rarely think in words at all.”    Albert Einstein  (p. 187)

 

Cancer

The subjects of the author’s research in Cancer include Maria Montessori, Marilyn Monroe, Indira Gandhi, and Prince Charles of Wales. With the prince having risen to his coronation as King of Great Britain, and with his biography widely available for public view, especially with popular media, I was intrigued by her study here. Of course the “most crucial life issue” (pg. 270) was marriage and the challenges thereto.

 

The official separation of the royal couple on Dec. 10, 1992 occurred within hours of a Total Solar eclipse at 11:40 PM London time on Dec. 9, 1992, at 24:24 Taurus, opposite the Prince’s natal Mars at 27:48 Scorpio in the 5th house of children, impacting them perhaps more than anyone. It also occurred on the last day of Prince Charles’ Mars-Ketu period and one day prior to his Rahu-Rahu-Ketu period, and Princess Diana’s death occurred Aug. 31, 1997 in his Rahu-Rahu-Mars period. (p. 273)

 

Leo

In Leo the author presents four persons as representative of the ascendant characteristics. They are Paramahansa Yogananda, Maya Angelou, Woody Allen and James Taylor. We will take a short look at Woody Allen in the author’s study, especially related to the depression, withdrawal and hiding himself away from public view.

 

The astrological signature of depression or its tendency is a strong Saturn influence in the chart, especially on the Moon. In this case Saturn closely contacts the Moon and also aspects Mercury, Sun, Jupiter and the Ascendant. Saturn doubly influences the three planets in Scorpio as they all reside in Anuradha nakshatra, owned by Saturn. Thus Saturn becomes the Jiva, or life force for Sun, Mercury, and Jupiter. They have extra power being in an angular house of the birth chart, and close to the house cusp, as are Moon and Saturn on the Descendant. Moon and Mercury are the emotional and mental planets, while Sun rules over the physical body…. Such a powerful Saturn (and forming a Shasha Mahapurusha yoga) lends discipline to the character, though not necessarily contentment…. Though not an ascetic, he is a tee-totaler and modest in his dietary habits. Moon-Saturn prominent in the chart adds to his self-contained quality, at times bringing the sense of gloom and doom. (p. 301)

 

Virgo

For Virgo ascendant the author examines the lives and charts of Sir Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy, Barbara Walters, and Francoise Gilot. With Churchill we confront another person whose destiny included deep affective withdrawal and despondency. From the author’s study:

 

Churchill was probably manic-depressive (later renamed “bi-polar”), with enormous energy followed by periods of severe depression throughout his life: He named it “the black dog on my back.” Natal Moon in the 12th house would be the major cause of his periodic depression. Natal Moon in Houses 6, 8 or 12 can be problematic and in the 8th or 12th can indicate a tendency for depression, deep brooding or spiritual practices—if there is a proclivity for that. Churchill was not inclined in that direction. He was very concerned with public moral issues but he gave them no particular religious context…. Confirming the potential for depression is Navamsha Moon with Saturn in Gemini, as Saturn can weigh on the mind (Moon) and manifest as a sense of relentless responsibility.  (p. 331)

 

Libra

For the sign of Libra the author presents four subjects in Adolf Hitler, Mahatma Gandhi, Ammachi (Mata Amritanandamayi) and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. It is the internationally acclaimed “hugging saint” that we will consider through the author’s lens, with attention to the broad public acknowledgement of Ammachi’s enlightenment.

 

“When Amma embraces someone, it is not just physical contact that is taking place. The love Amma feels for all of creation flows toward each person who comes to her. That pure vibration of love purifies people, and this helps in their inner awakening and spiritual growth.”

--Swami Ramakrishnananda. (p. 454)

 

Because of her unique destiny, some of the most important factors for her would relate to the Moksha houses (4, 8, and 12), and we expect them to be featured in some way. Natal Sun and Moon are both placed in Moksha houses, Sun in the 12th house and Moon in the 8th house in its sign of exaltation. Further, there is a Nadi yoga uniting the Sun and the Moon, as each of them is situated in the nakshatra of the other: Moon is in Sun-ruled Krittika Nakshatra and Sun in the Moon-ruled Hasta Nakshatra. The exchange of nakshatra lords is considered very powerful, even more potent than an exchange of sign lords. The two royal planets are thus strongly linked, both from Moksha houses…. As always, the Moon’s nakshatra placement is the most pivotal. The deity Agni, God of Fire rules over Krittika Nakshatra. Its Shakti (major energy or motivation) is to purify. When asked if she would like to enter politics, Ammachi said “no.” Her function is that of a “sweeper”—to keep sweeping away the darkness and negative energies from human life, to make way for the life filled with light and for the spirit hidden in matter. She sees everything as saturated with one divine consciousness.  (p. 460)

Next Steps

Coming to the end of the author’s exposition of the Libra ascendant, the reader makes a puzzling discovery. Expecting to turn the page to an account of the Scorpio ascendant, he or she realizes that they have come to an end to the correlations of biography with ascendant. Why do we not progress to the conclusion of the story of twelve ascendants?

 

I checked in with the author about this. Though her initial intention was to provide the ascendant discussions of personal history for each of the twelve signs, it ultimately was not possible to accomplish in the scope of this single volume, a book that was already 531 pages long. For those who feel disappointment that one or another sign was not explored in the book, In Search of Destiny, the author has abundant other writings and teachings that include information a reader may wish to study regarding other ascendants.

 

Even as In Search of Destiny was being published, the goal was to provide a second volume that explored the ascendants for the other five signs. But then life itself intervened. Illness in the family, caretaking responsibilities, and other urgent projects demanded that extending this work to the fullness of the twelve signs of the zodiac would be put on hold. Below I have included Edith’s own words from our correspondence on this matter. I do so (with her permission) because she has been so clear and forthright, a gift to those who find In Search of Destiny a meaningful, indeed beautiful, piece of Jyotish writing. In her words:

 

Following the 2012 publication, I also had two serious bouts of pneumonia, one in Nov.-Dec. 2013, and again in summer 2015, both of which slowed down the work process. But I was fortunate to recover, and in late summer 2015 I updated my 2002 audio course. That was released in Aug. 2015 and is available at my web store. It can be purchased as a whole, or by individual Ascendant signs. It was my initial way of providing the next chapters prior to a Volume 2 becoming available. The next volume was not yet ready for publication, and in fact still is not ready, though the Scorpio Ascendant chapter is complete.  

 

I am describing some of the delays here in producing the next volume, but some of it is essentially due to my having a rather large vision for both these volumes, and that requires a lot of time for research, writing and editing!  I wasn't necessarily lifting everything from my 2002 Audio course and putting it into a book, though I have used a lot of it.

 

More recently, a lot of my time from June 2020 through Jan. 2023 involved looking after my beloved late husband, Jim Wilson, who passed away Jan. 27, 2023. (My tribute to him Feb. 14, 2023 is at my website). Although it wasn't every moment of my time, it was where most of my time and focus went by choice, in addition to some other astrological work.  

 

My plan is to start in the near future making time and space in my life to complete the remaining chapters. I have needed a lot of time this year to handle numerous administrative matters following Jim's passing, move out of the house where we lived for nearly 14 years (a major downsizing job!), prepare it for sale, and simply allow plenty of time for the grieving process, which is huge – as you can imagine. (from correspondence, Nov. 6, 2023)

 

It has been twelve years since the 2012 publication of In Search of Destiny—one complete Jupiter cycle. Perhaps it is timely that CVA Journal brings renewed attention to the book. What’s more, the Jupiter return may be a particularly auspicious time to complete the project with that second volume. A second volume would provide a venue for the further evolution of the author’s research into the complexities and the significance of the Jupiter-Saturn cycle. I know I’m not the only one who will pre-order the companion volume as it begins to get ready, but rapid completion should not be our intention here. Work of this depth and quality needs time. I would rather see it done right, and as slowly as the author’s process of research, creation, and refinement require.

 

Yet, even without a second volume in hand, what we find here is a Vedic astrology book that brings enormous value. For this author the life of her subject is not abstracted to fit certain astrological symbols and patterns. Rather, the events of the human lives are ultimately one and the same with what the Vedic astrology correlates. Destiny is not the shape of the life that might have happened, but the shape of the life that does happen. We may come to value the life of the subject the more because of the association with powerful astrological determinants.

 

Much of this book correlates periods of human experience and human stories in a retrospective manner. This varies from certain Vedic astrology writers and speakers who place primary emphasis on predicting future events, (regrettably often future trauma.) I remember a talk by the Vedic astrologer Dennis Flaherty, in which he stated that much of what we do, and can do, as Vedic astrologers is to predict not the future but the past. This is not a criticism of that practice. For it is in the time gone by where the richness of destiny most fully expresses itself. Here the nuances of personality, actions, feelings and intentions have come to life, inviting correlation with the symbols, patterns and energies of the Vedic chart. This is, I believe, the essence of humanistic astrology, differentiating it from certain forms of predictive astrology. The attention is on the present and those previous life passages that have formed this present moment.

 

There are places in the book where prediction is part of the author’s intention, as with the Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions and how they shift the earthly focus when they change elements.  I also know that in her work with clients and in her writing, prediction is an important feature of her work. How wonderful to have a predictive astrologer who simultaneously embraces the humanistic forms and values of Jyotish! 

 

The mystery of how the future, through the present moment, becomes the past, is not Edith Hathaway’s primary concern in this book. Are there in the present time opportunities for self-study, personal growth or transcendence that modify how the future might form through gentle modifications of past experience, making Karmic potential a softer quality of destiny than strictly determined fate? Or are those present moment uses of the will that feel free actually themselves just further strictly-determined qualities that arise from Karmic factors? Having delved so deeply and thoughtfully into the unfoldment of destiny in this wonderful book, I would deeply value Edith Hathaway’s reflection on this question—perhaps in her next volume.

 

Warm thanks to the author!

Bruce Davis
Edmonds, WA
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