Perspectives on “Debilitated” (Neecha) Planets:  PSYCHOLOGICAL & REAL-LIFE MANIFESTATIONS

(Reprinted with author’s permission from ACVA Journal, Vol. 8, No. 2, Winter 2003)

David A. Goldstein, Ph.D.

November 2002       Austin, Texas, U.S.A. 



Accurate chart interpretation is largely dependent upon determining the strengths and weaknesses of the individual planets and how they influence the specific natal chart as a whole.   During chart analysis, the astrologer often encounters planets situated in the particular rashi (zodiac sign) of weakest placement, known as “debilitation” or neecha.  Almost immediately, a “red flag” goes up signaling an area of difficulty posed by that particular planet’s significations, the house it is posited, and the houses the planet owns or rules.  Use of the term “debilitation” often arouses fear or worry and therefore it is incumbent upon the astrologer to offer a thorough explanation for the client’s deeper understanding and to reduce potential anxiety.

Consider this scenario, perhaps at an ACVA conference, a few friends are discussing their natal charts.  How many people boast about their finely placed debilitated planets?   Such planetary placements are often viewed as an embarrassment or blemish to the chart. Yet, these neecha planets may signal one of the most salient and motivating factors that exist in the entire horoscope.  These planets psychologically are often treated in isolation, placed in quarantine, while the owner secretly hopes that they will not contaminate the rest of the chart.    The general tendency is to administer upayes (remedial measures) to counteract or change the effects of these planets for the better.  Who wants to encounter pain, suffering or (really do the spiritual work that each person is here to do)?  So, the tendency is to “fix” these planets, not to experience the negativity.  (I’m not suggesting that there is anything wrong with upayes.  In fact, remedial measures are excellent supplements for strengthening planets.)  

However, there is also a subconscious attitude which rejects the planet as it is.  We forget about embracing these energies, accepting them and working with these planets on their own terms.  Instead, a negative psychological framework is induced, creating an obstacle or barrier between the person and this particular planet’s energetic expression.  Spiritual work, or the soul’s evolutionary development is not an easy journey, nor is it a free ride.  However, there is usually a choice as to which direction or path to take in regard to how we develop across the lifespan. Consequently, there is an interesting “fork in the road” which may develop in regard to dealing with neecha planets: Exit A:  Recognize the planet as it is on multiple dimensions and focus intensely on developing or improving that area of life or Exit B:  Deny the planet, separate yourself from it, and avoid those areas signified by the planet at all costs. In regard to Exit B, there is actually a great amount of psychological energy drain which then poses other problems for the individual, such as fatigue, self-deprecation, lack of drive or motivation and other concurrent psycho-physiological health-related symptoms.  Hence, therapists and psychologists should be alerted to debilitated planets in the natal chart, as these may pose a significant diagnostic key to the origin of a particular dilemma or core emotional issue.

What follows is a hypothesis about one major putative function for debilitated planets in an individual’s life experience.   Some examples of how this hypothesis manifests in the charts of famous athletes who possess debilitated Mars (in Cancer) are presented.     

Each chart is a genuine sacred blue-print for the soul, which implies that there is a particular meaning and purpose to each planetary placement in the chart.   In this regard, perhaps the debilitated planet indicates a particular “deficiency” which is due for improvement and development in the current lifetime.   The hypothesis is as follows:  If a chart is otherwise predisposed to being relatively strong overall, a debilitated planet will indicate a particular area of intense focus and development due to ripen in this lifetime. Remember, a hypothesis is an educated guess which has to then be substantiated by formal statistical proof.   The purpose of this writing is to present the proposed theory for consideration and to demonstrate some applications of the theory.

Broad generalizations/judgments about the individual planets without COMPLETE ANALYSIS of an individual’s ENTIRE CHART, lead to inaccurate conclusions.  Several factors should be considered, such as the presence of benefic or malefic aspects, yogas, the planet’s nakshatra features, and house placement, ownership, etc. influencing the planet under analysis.  Other planets that have no association or aspects with the debilitated planet may potentially raise the entire chart up to a high status and counteract at least some of the difficulties indicated.  It’s particularly critical to consider the overall strength of the lagna, lagnesh (1st house-ruler), the Sun and the Moon.   If these other factors are strong, then they may “prime” or motivate the individual to focus and strengthen the deficiency of the neecha planet.   Hence, a planet that is in debility, is not necessarily ruined for all of its significations.  Yet, some deficiency or problem connected to that planet will occur during the given Vimshottari Mahadasa and Bhukti periods, and under stressful transits of the neecha planet. 

The following placements constitute planetary debilitation.  Note that the (degree) shown is the point of deepest fall.  Planets positioned precisely at the deepest degree of fall or closely approaching this degree will be in extreme debilitation and will confer significant difficulties related to that planet in the individual’s life.  However, a planet is still considered to be debilitated if it is found at any degree of the fallen sign for that given planet:  Sun in Libra (10o), Moon in Scorpio (03o), Mars in Cancer (28o), Mercury in Pisces (15o) , Jupiter in Capricorn (05o), Venus in Virgo (27o), Saturn in Aries (20o), Rahu in Scorpio and Ketu in Taurus.


This essay would be incomplete if the controversial phenomena of neehca bhanga1 and neecha bhanga raja yoga2  were not mentioned.  Essentially, there are certain planetary configurations which are said to either “cancel” or ameliorate the harmful effects attributed to neecha planets. Views vary on the matter of interpreting the actual effects of this yoga.  Some authors conclude that under neecha bhanga,  at best the neecha planet will confer less harm than it would otherwise create (Defouw, H. & Svoboda, R., 1996) 3.   The authors also note that under this yoga, the neecha planet is still not going to function normally.  Other astrologers virtually discount the influence of this yoga from offering any benefit, and certainly not raising the neecha planet to a raja yoga status (Braha, J., 2001).4   Braha estimates that 20% of individuals with neecha bhanga actually gain benefit and that leaves the 80% who don’t experience glorious effects of planets in neecha bhanga status.  Braha concludes that planets attaining neecha bhanga still indicate significant difficulties in real life experience connected to the neecha planet.   However, he also recognizes that the sages were likely trying to communicate that planets attaining neecha bhanga raja yoga status have some specific importance, yet to be fully understood.


There is often a physical or health-related problem signified by the neecha planet, and/or there will be some concurrent weakness involving one or more of the planet’s karakas (significations).  For example, debilitated Jupiter might confer weakness to the liver or gall bladder, a tendency toward allergies and having one or no children.  In the charts of females, problems with finding the appropriate spouse might occur since Jupiter is one karaka of the husband.  While Venus and the 7th house ruler are the main karakas for one’s spouse, many respected astrologers also consider Jupiter as the karaka for the husband since he is traditionally supposed to offer wisdom and provide for the family’s growth and prosperity.

Moreover, the neecha Jupiter individual might be more practical, frugal, conservative politically and financially, less expansive ( or less gullible) and less optimistic than others.  Since Jupiter also governs good fortune, overall “luck” in life, and finances, these areas are subject to difficulties when Jupiter is fallen.    Financially, Jupiter in Capricorn also creates an interest in saving money, investing, obtaining better value for items, and being more cautious in spending.   In Capricorn, Jupiter is acting more like Saturn.    However, this Jupiter might simultaneously yield an intense interest or focus on education, philosophy, law, religion or spirituality, all with a very pragmatic approach. Sai Baba has this Jupiter placement, for example.

It is accurate to view planets that are in debilitation as acting DIFFERENTLY from what would be expected as the natural tendency for the particular planet in question (personal communication with James Kelleher). Another famous example (involving debilitated Mercury), is the well-known chart of Albert Einstein5 (insert chart), who was Gemini rising with Mercury debilitated in the 10th house.  Mercury is the planet which governs intelligence, logic, analysis, writing and communications.  Sure, this particular Mercury was technically released from debilitation by it’s association with a highly exalted Venus and attained neecha bhanga raja yoga status.  However, the point to be emphasized is that in Einstein’s case, most of his attention was mercurially-focused throughout his lifetime.  He achieved the brilliance of Mercury through his perseverance and embracement of Mercury in Pisces.  Interestingly, it is said that Einstein attributed his ability to discover hidden scientific truths, to being comfortable lingering in confusion (until answers would appear). This state clearly sounds like a Pisces Mercury in operation.   This same Mercury (ruler of the 1st & 4th houses) also hindered his early education, speech development and conferred a series of health problems.  Due to the overall high status of his chart, the debilitated Mercury became the focal point and motivational catalyst for Einstein’s spiritual development.  If Mercury is discounted due to its neecha status, then the major focus/purpose of this individual’s life would be ignored.  He was far from ignorant, illogical or unintelligent.  Einstein’s Mercury simply functioned opposite of it’s natural tendencies.

Observations through my client database indicate that a predominance of individuals with otherwise unafflicted debilitated planets, tend to emphasize that specific area of life signified by the neecha planet.  There are also cases where the debilitated planet is additionally under other afflictions and the person still concentrated on that area, particularly in regard to their chosen vocation.  Briefly, some examples of these cases involve several teachers, professors & attorney clients with Jupiter debilitated.  Jupiter is clearly the karaka for education, law, ethics, morals, fairness, philosophy, judges and the courts.  Hence, debilitated Jupiter is not the first chart component one would associate with attorneys.   Why would a debilitated Jupiter choose law as a career?  One assumption is that he is focused on improving that inherent deficiency during this particular incarnation.  I’m referring to the resonance of a “higher frequency” of planetary manifestation which some individuals aspire to, because the rest of the chart indicates that tendency.  One attorney has also steeped himself in Hindu philosophy, spiritual practices and he demonstrates honesty and integrity in his dealings with people.   He fights for truth pragmatically, which is the Jupiter in Capricorn style.  Of course, all attorneys don’t necessarily have debilitated Jupiter present.  This pattern represents a sub-set of individuals with a particular bent for a legal career which is likely to manifest differently from other attorneys with different Jupiter placements.  This is just one of several cases of a beneficial manifestation of a debilitated planet raising itself to a higher level, or overcoming some of it’s deficiency.  From one perspective, perhaps practicing law is one type of  “remedial measure” for improving  the neecha Jupiter.  Jupiter in Capricorn is certainly imminently practical!


The origin of the above hypothesis stemmed from the observation of several athletes’ charts with debilitated Mars.  This situation poses an enigma: how can an individual with debilitated Mars (the karaka for sports), become a highly successful and famous athlete?    A scan through Lois Rodden’s databank produced 139 professional football players with neecha Mars.  Several highly successful tennis champions with neecha Mars were also noted including: Serena Williams, Jim Courier, Todd Martin, and Lindsay Davenport.   Recall that Mars is the main karaka for brothers, sports, athletics, physical strength, power, endurance, motivation, courage, speed, passion and sex, adventurousness, war, competition, risk-taking tendencies and aggression.  Mars is even doubly a karaka for football, an aggressive sport played by a “band of brothers.”  To help answer this question, two cases are presented below, one from professional football and one from professional tennis.


Figure 2 (insert rasi chart & dasamsa) depicts the natal chart for Doug Flutie,6 a successful quarterback currently a team member of the San Diego Chargers.  His birth data obtained from Lois Rodden’s Astrodatabank  indicate he was born on a Tuesday (ruled by Mars), October 23, 1962, 3:30 A.M. EDT, Baltimore, MD.. Flutie is one of just six players in professional football history to record 50,000 career passing yards (41,000 yards in the Canadian league), joining a list that includes venerated quarterbacks including Dan Marino, Warren Moon and John Elway.  He received the Canadian Football League’s Most Outstanding Player award an unprecedented six times and he also won the prestigious Heisman Trophy in college football in 1984.  Moreover, Flutie participates in a wide variety of sports.  He was invited to baseball batting practice with the San Diego Padres and threw the ceremonial first pitch in 2001 against the Atlanta Red Sox.  He’s also skated with the Boston Bruins and plays basketball at the local university.

Flutie obtained college degrees in both computer science and communications at Boston College.  He is married and has two children, a girl and a boy.  The youngest child (his son Doug, Jr.) was diagnosed with autism.  It is also reported that he is very devoted to his wife and children and he set up a foundation for helping children with autism (Jupiter in the 7th).  Flutie is an accomplished drummer, another Mars signification. He formed a rock band with his brother who is also a professional wide-receiver.   Flutie was invited to play the drums with several rock bands including: the Dave Matthews Band, Aerosmith and Bon Jovi.   It’s hypothesized that Mars and especially Mars-Rahu, figure prominently with “rock music (bands),” due to the intrinsic nature of these planets and Rahu’s amplification of Mars energy.  Hence, most of Flutie’s activities are associated with Mars and revolve around this planet’s expression.

The chart reveals Leo (Purva Phalguni nakshatra) rising with 12th lord Moon in the first house.  Mars, the yogakarka for Leo rising (as ruler of the 4th & 9th houses) resides in the 12th (dusthana) house at 12o28’ debilitated in the sign of Cancer (Pushya).  Note that Mars is also in a very close conjunction with Rahu 11035’ and Mars receives another malefic aspect from Saturn.  Moreover, Mars is debilitated in the Dasamsa chart as well.  The only technical release from debilitation is due to Jupiter’s strong location (7th house) in an angle from both the Moon and Lagna.  Recall that Mars in Cancer is Jupiter’s sign of exaltation.  Overall it appears that Mars is quite afflicted in this chart. 

The powerful Gaja Kesari Yoga created by Jupiter’s aspect to the Moon (virtually exact by degree) cannot be ignored.  Jupiter also aspects the debilitated Sun, the lagnesh.  However, Saturn and Mars malefically aspect the Sun.  Venus, which rules Purva Phalguni is strong in the 4th house aspecting the 10th house of career, which explains his interest in music. Acting, entertainment and fame are often associated with this nakshatra.7

It’s worthy to note that planets in the 12th house tend to become stronger in expressing their nature (Hopke, T. (Nalini), 2001.)8  Also, Rahu’s conjunction with Mars will intensify Mars expression powerfully.  This appears to be a common configuration in several athlete’s charts (including Arnold Schwarzennegger with Mars-Rahu in the 12th).  Note that Mars’ dispositor, the Moon, is very well supported in Flutie’s chart. 

His chart reflects a high degree of intelligence with a strong Moon, strong 5th house-ruler, and exalted Mercury (quite close to its highest degree of exaltation).  His two college majors clearly reflect his ability with computers, communications and language (all Mercury karakas).  He’ll probably become a T.V. announcer or personality once he retires from his football career (note Venus’ aspect to the 10th house of career & Venus’ aspect to the Ascendant of the Dasamsa). 

The extremely tight conjunction of Saturn to Ketu in the 6th house, and Mars aspect to Saturn reflect a strong competitive nature, as well as the problems that his younger child manifests. This is likely to create certain health problems for Flutie, Sr. as well.  For the second child (3rd from the 5th), the 7th house should be analyzed.  This technique of “derivatives” has been described by many respected astrologers.  The rationale is that the 3rd house is generically associated with younger siblings.  The 5th house represents the oldest child in the parent’s chart. Therefore, three houses from the 5th house (the 7th house) indicates the next youngest sibling or the second youngest child.  The third youngest child would be seen from the 9th house, etc.  I have used this technique in my practice and obtained accurate interpretive results across a large sample of charts.

Note that Saturn (7th ruler) is 12th from the 7th (tightly conjunct Ketu) and receives the malefic aspects of Mars-Rahu strongly.  Mars also aspects the 7th house itself.  However, Jupiter (karaka for children) gets the nice lunar aspect, while also sustaining a Mars aspect and 12th house dusthana influence. Therefore, he experiences both the benefits (good marriage & having two children) and difficulties (child with autism, health problems) associated with such planetary placements.

The Mars-Rahu conjunction is commonly perceived by astrologers as a purely afflicted combination.  The rationale has to do with associating Rahu with Saturn-like energy, and Mars and Saturn are known bitter enemies.  The other side of Mars-Rahu, which is easily overlooked in client’s charts, is that Rahu propels Mars with the force of a launched missile!  Rahu amplifies Mars vigorously and confers intense physical power, motivation, fearlessness, drive for success, virility and an increased interest/obsession with Mars activities.  These include sports, competition, racing, risk-taking, war, aviation (pilots), technical endeavors, sex, passion and ambitions.  This combination creates an insatiable desire for all things governed by Mars.  For this reason, Mars-Rahu is commonly observed in the charts of successful athletes.

Currently, Flutie is in the Mars Mahadasa which began January 2, 2001 just after he turned age 38.  On June 19, 2002, he entered the Mars/Jupiter period.  In March of 2001, he signed a new six year contract with the San Diego Chargers.  During the 2001 season, he set a new career record with 3,464 passing yards, a historical high for the team.  Thus, his Mars Mahadasa has brought new career opportunites and expansion to date.  His contract is set to expire just before he enters the 18 yr. Rahu Mahadasa.  Will he sustain a serious injury in the Mars/Saturn period after 5/26/03?  What might this unusually expressive Mars deliver during the next 6 years?  

Perhaps when an individual reaches the Mahadasa of a neecha planet which has also been strongly emphasized and developed before the cycle commences,  the mahadasa itself may offer the rewards associated with that planet?  Perhaps, some negative karma is resolved by taking such actions to develop the areas signified by the neecha planet?  In other words, by developing that planet with one’s own efforts, some amount of karmic debt is fulfilled.  In turn, the individual realizes some profound experiences and achievements during that planetary period.  Some amount of suffering or difficulty is likely to occur simultaneously, but the individual may also experience the rewards of hard work and perseverance.

The main point to emphasize is that Flutie’s Mars is quite afflicted and does not gain much relief.   However, the powerful Jupiter-Moon Gaja Kesari yoga has helped enormously and the exalted Mercury has conferred much strength to an otherwise afflicted chart. Yet, he has taken this neecha Mars to such successful heights, that this Mars expression cannot be ignored as being highly salient in this individual’s life.  His entire life has revolved around football and sports.  Doug Flutie’s chart represents a fine example of how an individual can focus his energy, using the stronger planets of his chart (Mercury, Moon & Jupiter) to strengthen and develop the most afflicted planet, Mars.  In Doug Flutie’s case, he chose Exit A, to develop and embrace the Mars in a higher manifestation.

SERENA WILLIAMS:  Tennis Success Story

Figure 3 (insert rasi chart & dasamsa) depicts the natal chart of Serena Williams9, a highly successful professional tennis player, currently ranked number two in the world of women’s tennis.  Her next-eldest sister, Venus, is currently ranked number one.  Serena’s birth data, obtained from Lois Rodden’s databank, indicates she was born on September 26, 1981, Saginaw, Michigan at 8:28 P.M. EDT.   Serena is the youngest of five sisters and the next oldest sibling is the famous Venus Williams, also known for her highly successful tennis career.  Their parents were instrumental in grooming the two sisters for their future tennis careers from a very early age.  Serena’s first tennis tournament was reportedly at the age of four.   She then proceeded to win the next 46 of the 49 tournaments played.   In 1991, the Williams’ family moved to Palm Beach Gardens, Florida where the two sisters enrolled in a formal tennis academy. 

At the ripe age of 14, Serena turned professional, which created some controversy.  In 1999, Serena was ranked 21 in the world after winning her first Grand Slam title. She won every game played against the top 5 ranked women tennis players that year.   Then in 2002 her rank moved up to number 2 in the world.  Serena won her second Grand Slam winning the US Open, Wimbledon, French and Italian Open tournaments.  Her elevated level of success in professional tennis is a proven fact.

The chart reveals an Aries lagna (Aswini nakshatra), with Moon in the 5th house in Uttara Phalguni.   Neecha Mars at 21o59’ (Ashlesha nakshatra) is conjunct Rahu at 6o in the 4th house.  Note that Mars is the lagnesh for Aries rising and goes to the kendra 4th house, technically receiving release of debilitation forming neecha banga raja yoga.  Mars-Rahu is also 12th from the Moon, as was seen in the previous example.  It’s also worthy to note that the 10th house ruler Saturn, combines in the 6th house with Jupiter, the 9th house ruler.  It’s the good association of Jupiter with the 10th house ruler that reflects career success.  For Aries rising, Saturn is not a benefic planet, even though it rules the 10th house.  Therefore, even though the Saturn-Jupiter form a raja yoga, this combination alone would not necessarily confer outstanding results.  In Serena’s case,  Jupiter is promoting her outstanding career success.

While Mars and the 5th house tend to be the main areas to examine for sports, in practice, Jupiter also serves as another sports karaka and should be considered.  Jupiter rules Sagittarius which is clearly associated with outdoor activities, sports and risk-taking.  In Serena’s chart, Jupiter as a sports karaka, is associated with the 10th house career planet, in the 6th house of daily work.

The 6th house rules competition, ability to defeat one’s enemies and opponents, as well as daily work efforts and health matters.  Natural malefic planets in the 6th house confer a powerful ability to overcome enemies, at all costs.4  Serena has the Sun (mild malefic), Saturn and Jupiter all in the 6th house. (Recall Flutie has Saturn-Ketu in the 6th). Serena’s Aries lagna is ruled by competitive Mars, magnified by its conjunction with Rahu.  Therefore, her focus in life is directed toward defeating her opponents and she is naturally skilled at accomplishing this.  As an upachya (growing) house, malefic planets in the 6th tend to flourish and improve over time.  According to Braha,4 the greater the number of malefic planets in the 6th house, the more intensely competitive the individual seems to be.  This observation certainly holds true for Doug Flutie and Serena Williams, among others.

She also has a Malavaya Yoga (Venus in Libra in the 7th house), getting an aspect from Mars.  This Venus confers attractiveness and magnetism as it aspects her Lagna.  Note that this Malavya Yoga, Venus, is also the 10th house ruler from the Moon, another indicator of heightened success. This strong Venus will also play an extremely important role in her life, as all Mahaparusha Yoga planets do.  It is also responsible for her interest in the entertainment industry, advertising, fashion and luxury (along with her Uttara Phalguni Moon).  It’s this strong Venus which allows others to appreciate the sweeter side of her personality.  The Venus in Libra harmoniously balances the ruthless, intensely competitive undertones suggested by the 6th house, Aries lagna and Mars in this chart.  It’s interesting that her sister (probably her best friend) is literally named, “Venus.”

Considering the above features and examination of the all-important neecha Mars, once again we see that the weakest planet in this chart is the neecha Mars with its Rahu conjunction.  Mars is the lagnesh, so it is quite important to understand his function in this chart.  Any planets aspecting the lagnesh are quite influential on the personality.  In this case, Rahu is influencing Mars, although they are not too close by degree and are in different nakshatras.  The competitive, driven and relentless streak is easily seen.  However, the problems associated with neecha Mars in the 4th house are not quite as obvious, yet are very real.  The combination of this 4th house Mars position with Rahu, the waning Moon and the 6th house Sun-Saturn conjunction indicate a propensity for dissatisfaction, unhappiness and possible acute episodes of depression (particularly if she loses a competition).  The 4th house informs us about her ability to gain happiness in life, her connection with her mother, early childhood and education.   The neecha Mars-Rahu placement in the 4th indicates that she has a difficult time finding happiness in life.  This combination is the source of her discontent, even though Mars is technically in a neecha banga raja yoga.

The Moon is the dispositor of  Mars and it forms a Papakarteri Yoga (Moon situated between Mars-Rahu and Sun-Saturn).  In addition, the Moon is waning and is almost a dark new Moon, features which weaken the Moon considerably.  Therefore, her sense of happiness and contentment in life are likely to be marred, even though her worldly success is heightened.  The fact that the Moon goes to the trinal 5th house is, however, a strong positive placement and this helps strengthen Mars. Moon in the 5th in yet another indicator of her love of sports.  Also, Mercury is strong in the 7th house connected to the powerful Venus, which indicates good intellectual ability.  Mercury is also a karaka for the mother and the 4th house features.    The deeper karmic connection to her mother is seen through the Moon’s (ruler of the 4th) placement in the 5th house (poorvapunya).

Again, Serena Williams’ chart is another example of how an individual with other strong planetary placements, takes the neecha planet and directs her attention at improving or developing that sphere of life.  Athleticism is a particularly healthy outlet for Mars energy.  This is also the chart of a natural warrior, of a person who thrives on competition and challenge.  The Mars-Rahu conjunction can also create perfectionist tendencies, especially with the concurrent Sun and Saturn-Jupiter in Virgo’s house.

The Dasamsa chart also houses Mars in the 4th, but the lagna is Cancer.  In this chart, the Moon (L-1) is in the 10th house in Aries, the sign of Mars.   Mars aspects the Moon and the 10th house (it’s own house), indicating a career involving Mars significations.  In the Dasamsa, Mars appears quite strong.  Note that Jupiter is also very strong in Sagittarius (its own sign) in the Dasama.  Sun and Venus are also in their own signs, reflecting very strong career dharma.

It’s interesting to note that Serena entered the Mars Mahadasa on 9-5-97.  But, it was during her Mars/Jupiter cycle as of 2-20-99 that she excelled in her early tennis career and won her first Grand Slam title.  Recall, Jupiter conjuncts Saturn, the 10th house ruler, an important career planet for Aries rising.  Hence, the Mars cycle does not appear to be disturbing her vocational success, which is a similar effect seen in Doug Flutie’s chart previously.  In fact, the Mars period is clearly elevating her success to a high degree.  Currently she is in Mars/Ketu (as of 3-4-02).  This year, her rank jumped to number 2 in the world.  Note that Ketu is in the 10th (upachaya) house and gets aspects from Mars and Jupiter.  Ketu is in the sign of Saturn, the 10th house ruling planet indicating career status.


In sum, Serena Williams’ chart is yet another example of how a neecha planet can become the focal point for an individual’s life, if other chart factors support that tendency.  It is crucial to consider the chart in TOTALITY, before forming a conclusion about how a “debilitated” planet will manifest for an individual.  Consider the viewpoint that an otherwise unafflicted debilitated planet can actually motivate the individual to strive harder in a particular area and to try to improve what may be a deficiency in the personality or previous life experience.  It takes a particularly strong ego or evolved personality to embrace the neecha planet and to recognize this area as one in need of improvement and development. Hence, debilitated planets need not strike a chord of fear.  The individual knows on some intuitive or conscious level, that he needs to develop in that sphere dictated by the weaker planet.  Therefore, the person focuses his attention and behavior on enhancing areas governed by the neehca planet. 

Perhaps, our conception of neecha planets may become broadened to include the possibility that these planets represent life areas of great importance for that individual to advance and develop over the lifespan.  While the charts presented are those of famous athletes, this same pattern involving neecha planets is also recognized in the charts of other individuals who are not quite as famous.  It is important to learn to decipher which charts with neecha planets are likely to advance the energies associated with that planet and which charts will not support it.  Strong supporting yogas and other enhancing aspects to the Moon, lagna, lagnesh and 9th and 10th houses and their ruling planets appear to be key elements. Even though there are likely to be simultaneous difficulties involving the neecha planet, that does not necessarily indicate that the planet has nothing important or beneficial to offer the individual.  The neecha planet may actually be the most important focal point of the entire chart. 

The athlete with debilitated Mars directs his attention on strengthening that prowess and power.  It’s the intense focus, underlying motivation and consistent effort which creates exceptional achievement in any sphere. This has been demonstrated in the charts of Doug Flutie and Serena Williams.  It is hoped that the proposed hypothesis will be examined in greater depth through the statistical study of a significant number of charts.  Perhaps, our understanding of neecha planets may become broadened to include their potential for intense focus and development in the spheres governed by that planet.


  • Neecha Bhanga: refers to cancellation of the debilitative effects of the fallen planet.  This does not turn the planet into an exalted planet.  It merely is supposed to reduce to some degree, the negative effects of the neecha planet.  Neecha Bhanga is formed by any of several states including: 1) The planet ruler of the sign occupied by the debilitated planet is on an angle from the Moon or Lagna;  2) The ruler of the house holding the neecha planet is exalted; 3)  An exalted planet occupies the same house as the neecha planet; 4) The planet which would be exalted in the sign of the neecha planet is on an angle from the Moon or Lagna; 5) The planet ruling the sign of the neecha planet also aspects that house/planet holding the neecha planet; 6) The neecha planet is retrograde.  There are a few other conditions in which neecha bhanga can occur. The reader is referred to the texts below for additional details.  See also,  Brihat Parasara Hora Shastra, Saravali’s texts, and Ernst Wilhem’s chapter on neecha bhanga in Vault of the Heavens, p. 87.
  • Neecha Bhanga Raja Yoga: refers to cancellation of debilitation and is supposed to create the effects of a Raja Yoga. This occurs only when the debilitated planet is located on an angle (kendra) or trine (trikona) from either the Lagna or Moon. 
  • Defouw, Hart & Svoboda, Robert (1996). Light on Life: An Introduction to the Astrology of India, New York, Arkana Penguin Books.
  • Braha, James (2001). The Art & Practice of Ancient Hindu Astrology: Nine Intimate Sessions Between Teach and Student,  Florida, Hermetician 
  • Einstein, Albert: Birth Data Rated AA by Lois Rodden: March 14, 1879, Ulm Germany, 11:30 A.M. LMT –0:40.
  • Flutie, Doug: Birth Data Rated A by Lois Rodden: October 23, 1962, Baltimore, MD, 3:30 A.M. E.D.T.
  • Harness, Dennis (1999). The Nakshatras: The Lunar Mansions of Vedic Astrology, Lotus Press, Wisconsin.
  • Hopke, Tom (Nalini) (2001). The Divine Path of Prediction: A Summer in the life of a Vedic Astrologer, Florida, I See Publishing.
  • Williams, Serena: Birth Data Rated AA by Lois Rodden: September 26, 1981, Saginaw, MI, 8:28 P.M. E.D.T.

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