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Oh Boy! You're bound to die

Updated on October 22, 2017

A foreword

One of the primary yearnings of humans and perhaps, of all life forms, is longevity. All our actions in every sphere of life have this goal in mind - directly or indirectly. They prove useful at times and at others, seem to be a wasted effort, when seen from the perspective of achieving this objective.

But is our longevity within our control? It may not be, if one were to go by the assertions of astrological texts and the rules of computing it, as prescribed in them.

This lens describes an exercise made to ascertain the veracity of such rules.

Oh Boy! You're bound to die

A slothful beginning

Some days are born lazy.

If it were to be a cool and misty morning with sunlight filtering through in patches to create a dreamlike backdrop and there were to be some good music coming up, particularly those that bring back sweet memories of years long gone by, it inflates the languor enormously.

It was one such day and the radio played the 1958 chart-topper, "Hang down your head, Tom Dooley . . ." The day's newspaper and a hot cup of tea, completed the trappings to make the ambiance indolently blissful.

The front page newspaper headlines said "Clemenceau's last journey" and a picture showed a French aircraft carrier of that name heading for a ship breaking yard on the west coast of India. There had been a number of demonstrations by environmentalists about this because it was said that the warship contained many tonnes of asbestos that would be a health hazard for workers at the ship-breaking yard.

There was also a story on the lives of the yard workers, particularly those on daily wages. It said that though the yard owners made a good profit out of the operation, the workers had to go without wages when there were no ships to be scrapped at the yard, which was generally the case for many weeks in a year. Going by this story, it appeared that a worker on daily wages did have a choice, not on how to live - but on when and how to die. He could either get his body contaminated with poisonous stuff at his workplace and die, or could starve to death. The first would prolong suffering, while the latter option would deliver a quicker end.

While I was reading this, the chorus of the song in the background went, "Oh boy! You're bound to die . . ."

But were there really choices - particularly when it concerned the subject of lifespan?

Life and astrology

If one were to go by what is said in astrological texts, then the answer would be an emphatic - No. There were specific rules that said when exactly a person would die, what would be the cause of death, and how the body would be disposed of subsequently.

Demographic studies come up with odds of dying by different causes for a given spread of population - which is age group, era, and location specific. The variations are, however, within a narrow band. How would these results compare with those pointed to by the astrological rules? - I wondered. If astrological rules mirrored reality, then there should be a close correspondence between them.

The "Tom Dooley" song, which was one of my favourites from childhood days, now acquired an additional abstract dimension and the lyrics of the chorus urged me to apply those astrological rules to real charts to see if they were factual.

Having begun exploring astrology as a disbeliever who, during the course of the investigations, found certain correlations reasonably tenable, there was this additional impetus to satisfy the yearnings of the conflicting viewpoints - that of a yet-not-completely-convinced skeptic and those of a cautious advocate. Attempting a correlation between astrological indicators and reality across the entire mortality spectrum - time, cause, and post-mortality issues, appeared to be too daunting; hence I decided to focus on the first subject, that of the time of death. Thus began a new adventure.

It often happens that when a day begins on a particular note, a number of incidences of a similar genre follow closely on its heels. It may be called a coincidence. But having worked with astrological correlations for so long, I had begun to strongly suspect that they weren't. Time donned a different flavour each day for each being and our cognition during such times was correspondingly attuned. These made us strongly and impressionably perceive happenings of a particular variety. Perhaps, we were also cocooned in a specific aura each day that attracted others in a related frame of mind towards us.

So, I wasn't really surprised when a family friend called later that morning to ask me to look into his wife's chart. She was seriously ill and doctors battling to save her life had thrown in the towel. He wanted to know whether her time had come. She died the same afternoon even before I had a chance to look at her chart. But the flavour of the day - lazy though it was, provided a sustained impetus to pursue my resolve of investigating this phenomenon to its logical end.

The backdrop

The style of chart depiction varies with region. In the southern parts of India, square charts are widely used to locate the position of celestials at the moment of birth. The begining of the second square of the top row is always equated to 0° Aries. Zodiacal representation then proceeds clockwise.

One stream of astrological thought identified the seventh, second, and twelfth houses as the primary significators of mortality. The seventh house was marked on the premise that if the first was identified with the birth of the body, the one opposite should be associated with death. The second house, because it was the seventh from the eighth house which signified longevity; so the second would signify mortality. The twelfth because the twelve houses beginning with the ascendant described a human's development in all its facets from birth to death, with the twelfth specifically associated with death.

Another stream of astrological thought viewed mortality from a different perspective. It identified the fourth, eighth, and twelfth houses in a chart and celestials associated with it, to be the primary causes of mortality. This was on the premise that Mars, Moon, and Mercury represented bodily energy, mind, and intellect respectively. The three celestials had their fall signs to be the fourth, eighth, and twelfth of the zodiac - in that order, and hence these signs represented mortality, considering the zodiacal beginning of the first degree of Aries.

When looking at the charts of individuals, the ascendant (or the rising degree of the zodiac at the moment of birth) became the reference, rather then 0° Aries, and the relevant houses from this reference were associated with mortality of the individual.

To begin proceedings, I had two sets of houses and celestials associated with it, representing two streams of astrological thought. They were the assumptions that defined the domain within which I had to work. Either of them could be correct or both could be to the contrary. Testing them across a large sample of charts was the only way to confirm their veracity.

Another assumption that defined the experimental domain was that celestials in a chart expressed themselves according to an individual's personal calendar that went by the name of "Vimsottari dasa", which was defined by the position of the Moon in the birth chart. It defined each moment of an individual's lifetime as a sequence of celestials. The position of the celestials in the birth chart specified the quality of their expression, and their position in a given moment-defining sequence determined the intensity of expression. The first placed celestial in the sequence, spanned many years of an individual's life; the second spanned many months; the third many weeks, and so on. The slice of time that a sequence defined depended on the length of the sequence. For the purposes of my work, I termed the first placed celestial as the "Initiator" and the second placed as the "Giver".

Please see Cycles in existence(2) and Cycles in existence(3) for a detailed explanation of the "Vimshottari dasa" calendar scheme. While the North Node of the Moon has been taken to be the representative indicator needle in that example dealing with stock market analysis, it is the Moon that is considered in its stead for charts of human individuals.

The first step

The first step towards such a test was to ascertain whether death occurred invariably during the operating periods of any two of the three celestials in question, with the two occupying the initiator-giver positions in any order, in the personal calendar scheme. The search also needed to be expanded to include celestials that may reside in any of the three houses or have a near full aspect upon the any of the three house-cusps. Transforming the above thoughts into action upon a set of 222 charts in my collection that represented deceased persons (from a total of about 3000 charts), provided the figures shown in Table-1.

The percentage in the last two rows for the 4,8,12 combination appeared quite healthy and seemed to indicate that the scrutiny was proceeding along in the right direction. The 2,7,12 combination, however, wasn't too far behind.

But there was this nagging misgiving. Were the observed healthy ratios exclusive to the three house combination considered or would there be other three house combinations that would display similar propensity?

Doubt is both a blessing and a bane. It can propel a pursuit to great heights, or send it crashing into an abyss. I couldn't say where the one that occurred now would steer this quest. The only way to know would be to follow in its wake and persist with experiment in a manner that would settle the misgiving, which I did.

The number of three house groupings possible from a set of 12 houses, was equal to 220 (given by 12C3 = {(12 x11 x 10) / (1 x 2 x 3)} = 220). To address the reservation that had raised its head, it was necessary to compute the percentage incidence of celestials as initiator or giver at the time of death, for each of the 220 possible three house combinations.

This was a daunting task but one that had to be done, for an un-satiated doubt can cause as much devastation as a colony of white ants can in a human habitat.

The result of the exercise provided some very interesting insights. It is true that many celestials play dual or multiple roles, being dispositors of two or more houses. Yet, when considered across 220 groupings, the effects attributable to their association with houses not directly related to mortality, appeared to even out. The incidence, when plotted as a function of the three-house-groups, would provide a better perspective of their variations. This was done for the initiator alone, resulting in the graph of Figure-1.

A positive clue

If the average range of occurrence was taken to be between 151 and 179, then the three blue circles identified points that had crossed this range at the upper end and the six brown circles marked points that were located beyond this range at the lower end. The blue circles identified three-house groupings that were more prone to induce mortality while the brown rings denoted such groupings that tended to advance longevity.

The three blue rings corresponded to the groups of houses {1,4,8}, {4,8,12} and {8,11,12} respectively. Two of the three houses in the middle group were common to those in the first and the last. This gave credence to the assumption that houses 4, 8 and 12 were the main players when dealing with mortality.

The six brown rings corresponded to the groups {1,2,6}, {2,3,10}, {2,9,10}, {2,10,11}, {3,10,11}, {6,9,10} respectively. Houses 4, 8 and 12 found no place in these groupings.

For further clarity, the points marked by the five grey coloured circles that were in the incidence range of 178 to 179, were also analysed. These circles corresponded to the groups {1,5,7}, {1,5,8}, {1,8,11}, {1,8,12}, {4,5,8}, {6,8,12}, {7,8,12} respectively.

There are two occurrences that need to be taken into account when considering contiguous houses. The first is that, with a non-equal house system adopted, which I do for casting charts for my analysis, a sign can accommodate more than one house cusp. This results in pairs of contiguous houses like 11 and 12, or 12 and 1, 4 and 5, or 7 and 8, to have the same celestial ruling it. The other is the fact that there are two contiguous signs ruled by Saturn - Capricorn and Aquarius. Even if the house cusps are evenly spaced out with one cusp to a sign, Saturn would still rule over two contiguous signs and hence two contiguous houses.

From this analysis, it could be conclusively said that the occurrence of the combinations {1,4,8} and {8,11,12} in the high incidence range was entirely due to the fact that 1st house and 12th house were contiguous, as were the 11th and 12th. This would entail that in such charts, if the 12th dispositor is a conspirator - so is the 1st or the 11th. It was however the strength of the main players - the celestials associated with the 4th, 8th or 12th houses that placed these two groups on the pedestal that they found themselves in. The absence of celestials associated with 4, 8 and 12 in the groups associated with the brown rings but the presence of houses 1 and 11 in these groups, further consolidated this conclusion. Points associated with the grey coloured rings also showed a similar tendency - groupings associated with houses that were contiguous with houses 4, 8 or 12 glowing in borrowed luminosity.

If the above arguments were categorical, logical, and irrefutable, then the houses 4, 8, and 12 became the unchallenged representatives of mortality in all charts. One doubt had been laid to rest and this one had proved to be a boon. In addition to addressing the reservation, it had helped in focussing on one particular three-house combination from the two with which the analysis was begun.

Perceived Mechanism

With the direction provided by the enquiry described above, the days to follow were devoted to a scrutiny of all 222 charts that made up the sample set with regard to the interplay between the marked houses and celestials, and the nature and credentials of the initiator-giver combination that dealt death in each case. The following surmises resulted from this exercise.

Having established that dispositors of houses 4, 8, and 12, celestials placed in these houses or those having a near full aspect upon them were the primary perpetrators of carnage, any two among them should be rational choices to don the mantle of initiator and giver. That the frequency of such an occurrence was 81.53% for initiators and 79.73% for givers was shown in Table-1. It was now necessary to establish a system of hierarchy among the celestials that made up a culpable set so that the top two in such a chain of command were identifiable as initiator and giver. It was also necessary to account for those situations where celestials outside the culpable set took the chair.

It stood to reason that if a celestial sported credentials for the job on more than one count, then they rose up the hierarchy. More being the count of credentials sported, higher the ladder rung that the celestials would be perched in, and better would be their prospects of shouldering the mantle of dealing death during their period of operation according to the personal calendar of the individual.

Credentials were of three kinds. One was by virtue of being associated with the three infamous houses. The second was due to their positional characteristics. The third was the phenomenon of induced credentials. Defining qualifications of the third kind was necessary to reign in cases that remained unaccounted in Table-1: charts, where celestials with induced credentials, caused by their interaction with those that have direct credentials, did the job. Qualifications of the third kind were possessed by celestials sporting credentials of the first kind as well.

Celestial interactions are of many kinds. Those that were considered for the study are listed in Table-2 below.

An example of list item 3 in the table above was Jupiter in Aries that related Jupiter and its sign dispositor Mars, while an example of list item 4 was Saturn in the fourth lunar mansion, which related Saturn with its lunar mansion dispositor Moon.

At the end of this exercise, I could identify at least the initiator and giver for every case in the sample, and it was time to attempt a model - an automated model that would eliminate any bias that I may have had in assessing potentials of celestials, and also provide an analysis of applicability for the many rules that were framed for the purpose.

If it worked - even if it were to be in a limited way, then it could be said that the model would identify the initiator-giver combination during which death occurred with a high degree of probability.

A model

Despite claims of being unbiased, there is certainly an element of prejudice when building a model to simulate a set of events relying on a set of variables and the correlations that are perceived to exist between them. The intention is to 'achieve' a perfect fit between observation and simulation. One cannot fault this intention because a model can never be built if it were not to be so. One must however be cautious that the inbuilt logic is not sample specific. If the model were to work on any set of samples of diverse sizes, then this initial bias would be justified.

With this wisdom for a watchdog, I began concretizing the observations and started to construct the foundations of the model.

It appeared that celestial conduct in the context of the event being investigated could be summarized into four basic functions. These functions were already described earlier but this was an attempt to formally state them. These were:

* Eligibility

* Abdication

* Consolidation

* Delegation

Eligibility: The primary requirement of a celestial to be the initiator or giver of the period in which death occurs, was eligibility. Eligibility was conferred based on its association with the three designated houses of mortality - the 4th, 8th and 12th, as dispositors. We will call them the primary taskmasters. There were however a number of other criteria that made celestials eligible for the task - these being:

- conjunction with a primary taskmaster

- mutual reception with such a celestial

- being aspected by such a celestial

- hosting or being hosted by a primary taskmaster in a sign or lunar mansion

- being resident in one of the three houses associated with mortality

- having a 75% aspect or more, upon the representative degree of the house (cusp)

Abdication: Every celestial also possessed a measure of ineligibility due to its simultaneous association with other houses in the chart identified with longevity and well being. When the latter association was stronger, the celestial would abdicate, renouncing its claim to be an initiator or a giver. An abdicating celestial however, reserved its right to take part in the exercise at the lower levels of time delineation.

Consolidation: There would be many kinds of associations of a celestial with the designated houses of mortality. With every additional instance of involvement, its measure of effectiveness would increase, which could either be a linear increase or a geometric one, depending on the nature of involvement. This amplification of the measure of eligibility was termed as consolidation.

Delegation: Celestial interaction, as described in Table-2, resulted in a transfer of potency from an abdicating celestial to a virulent one. There was also this observation that when there was a simultaneous delegation from three or more abdicating celestials to an active one, the potency increased geometrically rather than linearly. Further, if two taskmasters were associated, and one sported the disposition of an ineligible house (like the 9th house or the 10th house) and the other did not, and also if such a credential did not warrant abdication, then the potential of the latter was enhanced by the former, which shared its potential with it.

The model based on the above fundaments, accounted for all but two charts in the sample set of 222 charts in the context of the celestials that stood in as initiators and givers of the vimsottari dasa period during which death occurred. A representation of the model in the form of a flowchart is shown in Figure-2 below.

The model was certainly not foolproof. Some of the rules framed to account for the functions of abdication, consolidation, and delegation occurred only in single charts. Unless these rules were seen to apply whenever such conditions occurred in charts other than those in the sample, they could not be accepted as being pertinent. There were however, many established rules that were seen to work consistently on many charts and could perhaps be vouched for.

Two example charts are included below describing the application of the above model.


All celestials were eligible to give death in this chart. There are very few charts where this is not the case. However, Jupiter and South Node had the distinction of amassing potential by virtue of their

simultaneous interaction with three of the primary taskmasters - Mercury, Venus, and North Node. This made their potential to increase manifold. Jupiter, as the dispositor of the first house placed in the tenth house, abdicated, leaving South Node with no challenge to its primacy. The contest for the giver's position was between Mercury, Mars, and North Node.

North Node grabbed it by virtue of its mutual reception in zodiacal sign with South Node - the invincible death giver for this chart. Mercury too could have claimed this right, but while Mercury was associated with only one primary taskmaster - itself, North Node was linked to two - itself and Saturn. This factor tilted the balance in favour of North Node.

The person represented by example-chart-1 died during the 478-day period defined by the South Node-North Node vimsottari dasa combination. Considering the third level of time delineation, death occurred in the sub-period of Jupiter within the period defined by South Node-North Node. Jupiter, as was seen earlier, was strongly eligible, its placement in the tenth house forcing it to abdicate and participate in the act only at the third level.

All celestials were eligible to give death in this chart too. Venus had the distinction of amassing potential by virtue of its simultaneous interaction with four of the primary taskmasters - Mars, Saturn, North Node, and South Node. This made its potential to increase substantially. North Node was the next strongest in terms of eligibility and potential, but was in conjunction with Mars, which was the dispositor of both 4th and 5th houses. It resulted in both Mars and North Node abdicating. South Node had many more reasons to abdicate being the dispositor of the 4th, 5th, and 9th houses (Traditionally, a celestial which is simultaneously the dispositor of a square and a trine is considered to be very auspicious. This idea is vindicated by observations during this analysis). With Mars, North Node, and South Node out of the way, only Saturn was left to assist Venus in death-dealing. Being the dispositor of the 10th house and residing in the 1st, Venus had a contrary obligation too to fulfil resulting in Saturn leading the way followed by Venus. Had it not been so, then this person should have met his maker during the period Venus-Saturn that occurred about seventy years earlier. The transfer of potential from Venus to Saturn was made possible by Venus hosting Saturn in its lunar mansion.

The person represented by example-chart-2 died during the 1140-day period defined by the Saturn-Venus vimsottari dasa combination.

As abdicating celestials are eligible to participate in the exercise beyond the first two levels of the hierarchy, one would expect North Node, Mars, and South Node to be the celestials to follow in that order after Venus. And so it was. The combination Saturn, Venus, North Node, Mars, South Node differed by just two days from the actual date of death.

A thought for the road

The legend of Tom Dooley depicts him to be a soldier and a playboy who is sentenced to death by hanging for the murder of a woman. Death stalked him many a time in the battlefield but his time hadn't come then. He was finally hanged for a crime, which he claimed he never committed. Perhaps, even Clemenceau, the aircraft carrier, would have no choice on how and when it is to die - by sinking at sea, being blown up by enemy torpedoes, by being stripped, mummified, and maintained as a museum, or being scraped at a ship breaking yard on the west coast of India or elsewhere.

The warship was berthed in the French Naval port of Brest for two years, having been ordered back under political pressure from proceeding to the Indian ship-breaking yard at Alang. It later sailed to Hartlepool, UK, and the dismantling of the ship started there in November 2009.

However, as the chorus of the song went, one thing was certain for all concerned . . . Oh Boy! You're bound to die . . . Oh Boy! You're bound to die . . . and the time of its occurrence could perhaps be computed with a fair degree of accuracy.


Do you find the approach, arguments, and method of analysis logical and reasonable?

One of the main requirements of a system or technique to be called "science" is its sustained repeatability, giving similar results across samples of different compositions and sizes. Would the contents of this lens induce you to replicate the study with the objective of testing its reliability and possibly understanding the mechanisms of life in the process?


© 2010 Ram Ramakrishnan


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    • TolovajWordsmith profile image

      Tolovaj Publishing House 

      6 years ago from Ljubljana

      Life is still a secret to us and mortality is only one part of the secret. It seems like a said part at first sight but it can act like great motivation. So in the end everything can be part of the equation. Will we ever be able to write it down?

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Your lens is outside my bailiwick, but I had to read it; its title made me think of my grandfather. He'd been in WWII and to this day I remember something that he told me when I was 5 years old (he'd just handed me some homemade pecan fudge; he made the best in the world) and for some reason he felt the need to inform me that if a person didn't get on a plane because they thought it would crash and they'd die ... it didn't matter, because the plane would crash on top of them and they'd die anyway ... when it's your time, it's your time. It's definitely impacted my way of life :)

    • BarbRad profile image

      Barbara Radisavljevic 

      8 years ago from Templeton, CA

      I am not the best person to follow anyone's logic, and had to give up and decide to just believe you. I almost flunked symbolic logic at UCLA and got my only D in that class. At least doing my taxes looks easier now.


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