Shodasa means sixteen and varga means a part or division. The shodasa vargas or sixteen divisional charts are a powerful technique used in Vedic astrology to understand the true nature of an individual. Each varga focuses on a different area of life and together they represent the complete picture, reflecting human consciousness from reality to the subconscious. The shodasa vargas are a specialized technique and it is essential for all students of Vedic astrology to study them. This book is an in-depth study of the sixteen vargas following Sage Parasara’s guidelines.
Over the last few years, I have been immersing myself in Vedic astrology, with a particular interest in techniques indicating one’s spiritual path and purpose. Some of you may already have participated in my natal Life Path consultation which incorporates these profound methods. The divisional charts (known as Vargas) used in Jyotish astrology are a key component of horoscope analysis, and divulge rich information about a person’s material and spiritual motivations, personal potential, and likely future path.
A Varga chart results when the 30 degrees of each sign is divided by a number. For example, the 9th divisional chart, or Navamsha, results by dividing 30 degrees by 9, which results in 2 1/2 degree segments (navamshas). Each such segment is ruled by a particular sign, so that a planet simultaneously inhabits its natal sign and a navamsha sign. A new chart is created on the basis of the navamsha sign placements. Each Varga is good for examining different aspects of life. For example, the Navamsha is frequently read for details about a person’s relationships and marriage, as well as the likely development of their natal chart potentials over the course of their lifetime.
Sutton’s book is a thorough introduction to the many types of divisional charts, their unique topics, and special analyses. While it does not purport to be an advanced level textbook, it is clearly written and intermediate-level-friendly. Shodasha Varga has a strong focus on material issues, as that is the most frequently-requested topic by clients, but makes mention of spiritual applications of the Vargas. Details on spiritual topics, such as peering into past lives or examining the larger narrative spanning many lifetimes is not a major focus of this book, so the more specialized reader will need to look elsewhere. However, we must walk before we can run, and Sutton is a patient teacher of the basic concepts and terminology that the aspiring Vedic astrologer will require before taking on more advanced topics.
Reviewed by Nina Gryphon