I have been teaching a class on Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, Chapter 1 and thinking deeply about some of  his guidelines around blocks to spiritual practice and then seeing how it can show up and be diagnosed in the natal chart.  There is a special divisional chart, D-20 which is called worship but is often about spiritual practice and looking at it in combination with the natal chart 5th house may reveal some of your hidden problems around spiritual practice. In the end it takes great discipline.

The first house of any Varga chart has to be strong and its lord well-placed. Usually you do not want malefics here but in some many charts of saints, the malefics are there to spur one toward enlightemet.  Still for daily practice, this house has to be strong  if we are to achieve the blessings of spiritual practice. Even before that, you have to have to have a strong 5th house in your natal chart and strong 5th house placement of the lord of the 5th in your natal chart to benefit from spiritual practice. If that is the case you then want to look at the first house in the D-20.

In general for the D-20. The Sun, Moon and Jupiter will support spiritual growth and Ketu will support the movement toward moksha. Those planets need to be strong in D-20 and well-placed. Rahu will cause problems and create too many attachments an desires to move forward and let go of the external and moving inward. An afflicted Saturn may bring in too much past karma. Mars if afflicted may create too much ego and fixation on oneself to listen to the Guru and let go into practice. Still a very strong Mars in the D-20 in its own sign or exalted like in the 12th house may create the Martian discipline to do spiritual practice regularly.

Like all the combinations in Vedic astrology, the sign and planets placed in the 1st house in the D-20 will either bless you and make your journey easy or perhaps create no interest. Benefics and planets in their own signs and exalted planets will support your journey. Debilitated planets and lords of the D-20 that are malefics or poorly placed will block your path.

The trik houses (6, 8 ) in the D-20, will reveal the kind of obstacles that Patanjali discusses above. To diagnose and help remove those obstacles, we to see what the planets are in the 6th house house and then offer advise and getting through those problems.

Lets look at those obstacles again and see what planetary combinations could lead to problems:

1) Bodily illness and sickness coming up.– Afflictions by Saturn or a weak Mars to the 1st house in the D-2- could easily bring this up.

2) Inability to comprehend, listen or understand spiritual instructions.–An afflicted Mercury in the 6th house by Saturn or Ketu could lead to problems in being able to follow spiritual instructions.

3) Doubt in oneself, the practice or the teacher. -An afflicted Saturn in the 1st or afflicted the 1st house lord could easily lead to self-doubt and become a problem. Saturn aspecting Jupiter, the 9th house of the D-20 or Saturn conjunct Jupiter might create enough enough doubts about the Guru to block progress.

4) Intentionally doing wrong; carelessness or not being attentive: Mars governs alertness. Saturn aspecting Mars could hamper the the 6th house.

5) Laziness and heaviness in the body.: We could see this from a debilitated Jupiter or Saturn in the 1st house of D-20 or Jupiter in the 6th house of D-20 being afflicted and creating problems. This could carryover from the D-1 chart where those same kind of afflictions might prevent one from being in spiritual practice.

6) Obsession with sensory experience. Rahu/Venus combinations in the 6th house or in the natal chart might pull one out of spiritual practice easily. If sexual or food cravings or other sensory cravings are afflicted the chart, then it is hard to focus when the urges of the body are calling.

7) Mistaking false intuitions as being authentic. This is know as yoga maya where you get false intuitions and think they are correct. Ketu in weak signs or afflicting the moon in the 6th house in D-20 or in the 1st house in D-20 could create this problem. Ketu could be afflicted by Saturn also could create a problem.

8) Inability to experience peace or settle down in meditation. This is probably a Saturn/Rahu combination where two much air element or vata, can be a problem. Would expect Saturn/Rahu/Ketu influences in the 6th house or 1st house creating this problem.

9) Not being able to have a stable experience. This could again be a Rahu or Rahu/Mercury affliction where the mind is too scattered to stabilize.

You can easily see how the path of true yogi is walking a razor’s edge as there are so many obstacles to clear experience and being disciplined on the path.