Beautiful woman with a creative makeup and body-art

Jaya Jaya Ganeshaya Namaḥ. OM Namaḥ Shivaya. Om Namoḥ Bhagavateḥ Vasudevaya.

Aiṃ Sarasvathi Namastubhyam Varade Kāmarupini Vidyārambhaṃ Karishyami 

Siddhir Bhavatu Mey Sada 

The contents about Tantra were inspired by the Teachings directly imparted by Langta Baba of Tarapith and his Master Jaya Kāli Brāhma Mahi Tārā Mahākāla Vināsini. To them I extend my heartfelt gratitude.


Astrology has a divine, cosmic and human matrix; as such it promises individual evolution within the framework of cosmic history. It also helps to improve our life on earth because we become aware of several possible futures. Since it is a sacred path, we must use it for the good of mankind after being taught by qualified masters. Teaching Astrology is a very noble responsibility; apart from knowledge, ethics and qualitative contents, it requires skills and tools capable of increasing the socio-affective ability and interpersonal abilities of future astrologers. Even before practicing or teaching Astrology, we must not only find the ‘hub’ of our own insights from amongst the planetary storylines, but also learn to coordinate our consultations and teaching activities practically and emotionally.

By doing so they will be able to manage complexities, accumulate internal resources and help students and clients understand the way in which heavenly forces can either thwart or help their path. As astrologers, we should make our own inner journey, explore the origins of our desires, and navigate remote karmic nostalgias while gathering increased knowledge about astrological theories and techniques. Afterwards, when bending our professional practice and teaching to the good of mankind, our service will become cosmic expansion; when we acquire harmonious detachment from fruits (Niṣkāmakarma), our profession will create synergy between the sacred and the profane, the cosmos and the earth. By improving ourselves, we can offer our clients quality service and help them to see the Light beyond phenomenal events.

Astravidya, the astrological path I have designed for those who wish to study karmic Astrology, combines astronomy, interpretative techniques and rules, with the instruments of Gestalt counselling and Tantra practices. Last year, I presented the sixteen Goddess of the lunar phases with their protective, maternal characteristics. This year I shall present the ten Great Ladies of Knowledge breathing in the essence of the planets whose effects they enhance. The goal of this article is to provide astrologers with a tool to understand themselves better and get facilitation tools thanks to the teachings of the Mahāvidyās. By meditating on each of the Ten Mothers, astrologers will learn to recognise their weaknesses and transform them into strengths; they will also learn to serenely live with the parts that cannot be improved. Before accessing the world of the Ten Magnificent Goddess, I shall supply some introductory notes about Gestalt Counselling, Tantra and the Graha.

Gestalt Counselling

Counselling is the art of using listening and empathic communication to help individuals in difficulty. It requires the ability to recognise problematic situations and support individuals in their moments of difficulty. Counsellors help clients increase their own abilities, encourage propositional approaches, support them in their choices, and stimulate their strong points. Counsellors help individuals to recognise and elaborate difficult events so that they can manage them more successfully. Gestalt counselling is extremely helpful in astrology. If we also add some Tantric tools, then counselling becomes a path of mental and spiritual growth.


The term Tantra has many common meanings: loom, warp or thread for the pearls of a necklace (mālā), sacred text, etc. Philosophically it is made up of tanoti, to expand, “extend” and trayati, to free: expansion of consciousness to obtain freedom. The root tan, to weave, also shows the weave in which the energies of the Universe merge with individual lives. Tantra is the great loom on which earthly, cosmic and divine events are woven.

Tantric philosophy developed in India over 3000 years ago. It was initially a tradition orally passed on by a Master to his pupil. Later, many texts were written; each text was entitled Tantra preceded by a word defining its contents, for example Todala Tantra. Every treatise transmits its own system, some of which is kept secret to preserve its teachings. This part is usually encrypted in a symbolic language known as Sandhyā bhāsha, in other words twilight communication. Strange metaphors, profound concepts and memorised semantic patterns create a subliminal language that can be understood only with the help of a Guru.

In Tantra, there is no difference between mental states, physical symptoms and spiritual consciousness: everything is sacred. Spiritual currents usually recommend either giving up desire or using asceticism to overcome it. And yet we cannot avoid it; even ascetic life is based on a fervent desire – for freedom. In fact, creation occurs after divine Desire, expressed in the respiratory act producing the primordial sound. Primordial Unity is then gradually split into 36 vital parts (Tattvas) and the Universe is born. The two Opposites that appear during the first fragmentation keep the vibration of the unified Power-Consciousness.

This primary difference still holds a profound link between the static Tattva of Cosmic Consciousness (Shiva) and the dynamic Tattva of Cosmic Energy (Shakti). Subsequently, cycles of movement and repose develop in a continuous process of creation, conservation and destruction. According to Langta Baba of Tarapith, lunar energy must be merged with solar energy; after that, one has to unite with the energy of the Cosmos, and only after these two steps can one enjoy the profound union of Śakti and Shiva in one’s own heart. The goal of this merger is the ascent of the Energy that attracts, absorbs and holds the Cosmos with its Universes. Karmic astrology can be a tool to reach this goal and, in the best of cases (after many enlightened lives), may help the awakening of the Kuṇḍalinī quiescently present in humans. Astrology shows cosmic cooperation through the planetary movements of the Graha.

Graha and the planets

The literal meaning of the term Graha cannot be translated with the word “planet”. I believe it is useful to distinguish between the two terms, both very ancient, but with different meanings. The Greek etymology of the term planet refers to wandering aimlessly, the action performed by the stars in the night sky compared to the background of fixed stars. This definition embraces only the astronomical importance of the celestial body and the effects of its rays. Instead the etymology of “Graha” refers to the properties of taking, grasping, touching, brushing lightly against, entrapping lightening and obscuring. 

Hence the term Graha also writes down the possibility to cause or receive obscurement: its force is the light, shadow and semi-darkness. The Graha are the Sun star, the Moon satellite, the planets, the intersecting points Rahu and Ketu. Their nature is governed by the laws of astronomy, by the quantity and quality of light, by rays that brush lightly against objects, animals and persons. But they have an added value: they are also Deities with precise iconographic features. Their qualities are manifest in events, to which each of us reacts according to the quality of the encounter between personal archetypes and those of the absolute Deities associated with the Graha.

When we are born and suck in our first breath the energy from the combination of the Graha breathing at that very moment and in that place, connects with our physical and mental energy. An ensemble of collective archetypes and cosmic symbols at once create the outline of a potential future, intricately linked to multiple events of our past karma. 

Astrological art includes several remedies (Upāya). The Way of Tantra prefers the ones that produce syntonic frequencies and direct contact with cosmic energy after having navigated in their own depths inhabited by emotions, certainties, difficulties and potentialities. Constant practice leads to harmony between High and Low until it finds the road to freedom (while still alive, if possible). This path is eased if it is accompanied by the relationship with the universal Mother: Śakti, who by assuming tremendous, stupendous Forms resounds and bestows meaning on cosmic energy. Although these Forms may appear as subversive, terrifying, fierce and destabilising, they symbolise the shattering of the obstacles created by conditioning, crystallised roles and unbalanced expectations. Every Goddess makes it possible to find beauty, magnificence and kindness behind this ostensibly terrifying trait. Each one expresses the female essence beyond their ordinary roles. At the same time, amplifying consciousness. The Dasha (ten) Mahāvidyā (Supreme Wisdom) that bestow strength and meaning to the Graha appear prodigious and independent from these Forms of the Shakti.


The cult of the Mahāvidyā (Dasha ten, Mahā great and Vidyā revelation, manifestation, knowledge, wisdom and erudition) is dedicated to the Goddess in her ten primordial Matrices. I shall very briefly narrate one of the myths about their apparition.

Sati, daughter of King Daksha, fell in love with Śiva, the ascetic God who spent all his time meditating. Sati managed to make Śiva fall in love with her and he then asked King Daksha for her hand in marriage. The King refused because he considered Śiva to be a savage without the means to make a living. Sati, however, married Śiva, shed her royal robes, went to live with him, and espoused his asceticism. 

One day Daksha organised a party and invited all the Deities, except Śiva and Sati who decided to go anyway. Realising what would happen, Śiva tried to discourage her. Unsuccessful, he tried to use his authority. Sati reacted by multiplicating her form and becoming manifest in the Ten Mahāvidyās. Each one occupied a region in space surrounding Śiva who remained stunned in their midst. At the same time, each Form made Śiva understand important truths.

From the magnificent Kālī to the stupendous Kamala, every Mahāvidyā is invoked with several mantras, from the most secret to the most popular. Each one keeps secret stories about human creatures. Each one reveals different approaches to consciousness, the nature of dreams and the images that turn myths into reality. Mahāvidyā Upāsana improves reactions to the influences of the planets and fortifies one’s intentions. The cult can take place at the simplest to the most complex level. There are paths suited to every situation and all human types, according to one’s personal nature and the sphere to which one belongs. Those who choose Sadhanā desire union with the deity and to achieve it use the initiatory paths taught by an Ādhikāri Guru. Those who do not wish to practice asceticism can draw closer to the powerful Goddesses using generic mantras and yantras. The Mahāvidyā accept the most heterogeneous intentions.

Mahāvidyā worship is also a planetary remedial. The Puja of each Goddess may mitigate the problem caused by the difficult planetary position. In fact, every Mahāvidyā is associated with a Graha on which it bestows intrinsic qualities and regulates excesses thanks to a sort of homeopathic combination: similar cures similar. The Mahāvidyā and the Graha occupy specific directional spaces, governing their own distinct and separate energy field. According to Parashar, these are the directions assigned to the Graha (with the sole difference that I also place Ketu together with Rahu).

These are the positions assigned to the Mahāvidyās: Tara-Zenit, Kali-North, Sodasi-Northeast, Chinnamasta-East, Dhumavati-Southeast, Bagala-South, Bhairavi-Nadir, Kamala-Southwest, Bhuvanesvari-West, Matangi-Northwest.

What at once springs to the eye is that the directions of the Mahāvidyās are not the same directions as the corresponding Graha. For example, Kālī is associated with Shani, but while She governs the North, Shani governs the West. The directions do not coincide because they all occupy their own space. This cardinal differentiation creates extraordinary interactions: The Power of the Mahāvidyās and the rays of the Graha interact and create incredible changes.

Now I would like to illustrate the path an astrologer can follow to evolve spiritually and professionally. This method is particularly suited to those who practice Karmic astrology and for all spiritually oriented astrologers. Whatever the case may be, for all concerned Mahāvidyās and Graha represent a magnificent combination of inner awakening along the path leading to enlightenment.

Now let us immerse ourselves in a detailed description of the Goddesses with the planet nurtured by each Deity. The associations between the paraphernalia of the Goddesses and the qualities an astrologer must cultivate are described in the parentheses. The part in bold at the end of every description refers to: 

  • the planetary path to be followed to improve one’s nature. 
  • the message imparted by the Goddess to become an outstanding teacher/astrologer. 
  • the one aspect of counselling that makes consultations worthwhile.


Black or blue as the night, Kālī is the cosmic womb; she is the time that nourishes vital energy through the cycles of birth, death and rebirth. According to an ordinary, simplistic vision, especially in the eyes of westerners, Kālī appears cruel and terrifying. Instead her appearance shatters polarising illusions and encourages us to transcend the stereotypes cloaking consciousness. She is the dark force that helps to transcend Time. The task of every astrologer is to distil the quality of time. Standing on Siva, her four hands show the qualities to be cultivated by an astrologer. In three of her hands she holds, respectively, a sword (direct communication), a severed head (astrologers must renounce value judgement) and a trident (balance between Icchā, Jñana and Kriyā). Her fourth hand is raised in a gesture of blessing (empathy of the astrologer). She wears a necklace with fifty-two human heads (the number of letters in the Sanskrit alphabet) and two heads as earrings (ability to listen). Her tongue lolls out of her mouth (every consultancy must create wonder, as if it were the first time). Her energy bestows force and meaning to Shani’s rays. The remedy during Sade Sati is the cult of Kālī blowing her Energy into Shani’s nature.

Shani: Do discover your destructive side and use it to break the patterns that block healthy change.

Kālī: when you have done this, you will be able to look into my eyes and see them resplendent with Love.

Gestalt Counselling: lovingly communicate even the trickiest situations to those who consult you.



Star, Saviour, Liberator and Ferrywoman, Tārā is invoked at a moment of impasse. Tārā also means pupil, hence associated with the vision and observation of the night sky to find the guiding star. Her radiant energy comes from inner sounds. Tārā’s skin is blue; she wears a necklace of human heads and has eight snakes on her head. She dances on a corpse, has four hands and holds a sword (sincere communication), scissors (ability to discern), a severed head (does not pass value judgements on clients) and a lotus flower (ability to extract the best even in difficult conditions). After the ocean was churned and Siva drank poison to save the universe and was wracked with pain in his throat, Tārā took him into her womb and gave him her breast milk to drink. The beneficial rays of Guru-Brihaspati-Jupiter come from Tārā’s energy; therefore, the cult of this Goddess preserves and cures a person from the difficult positions of the planet.

Brihaspati: Do expand your wellbeing through a harmonious vision of events and creation

Tārā: Do regulate your speech, by appreciating the harmony of the sound-silence and the interval between the two.

Gestalt Counselling: do help people finding a way to overcome dangers and achieve wellbeing.



Shodasi or TripurāsundarĪ is the Beauty of the three worlds created by the feeling of the Universe and profound feelings. She is called Lalitā “She who plays or rejoices”. She teaches that the goal of creation is a return to the state of joy. Portrayed as an extremely beautiful sixteen-year old (Shodasi) permeated by unparalleled splendour, she is seated on a lotus holding a bow made of sugarcane (ability to balance flexibility and seriousness during consultation) and arrows (ability to direct one’s words so that they convey a truthful message). Shodasi means sixteen, like the sixteen Tithis. She is associated with the planet Mercury. By irradiating Mercury, the glowing energy of the Lady of the three worlds not only reinforces the efficacy of mental energy, through willpower and the quality of action, but also improves the awareness of the first three states of consciousness: waking consciousness, dream state and deep sleep. Shodasi has three personalities: Balā (the daughter), TripurāsundarĪ (the beautiful) and Tripurā Bhairavī (the terrible).

Budha: Navigate your consciousness to find the best mental orientation. 

Tripurāsundarī: Search inside yourself for beauty and the light of the universe.

Gestalt Counselling: Try to keep a balance between nurturing, positivity and negativity.



Mother of all creatures, Bhuvaneshvari or Māyā is the Lady of the celestial spheres that appear out of her womb. While Kāli stands for Time, Māyā is Space. Her cult fosters cosmic vision and preserves from the narrow-mindedness caused by ethnocentrism. She neutralises every form of racism and fosters equal opportunities amongst peoples and universes. She is the development of an evolutionary plan encouraging benevolent situations to begin a project. Pleasant and benefic, Bhuvaneshvari has a luminous face, black hair, three eyes, fleshly lips and a delicate nose. Her breasts are coloured with sandalwood paste and saffron. She is the colour of the rising sun; her diadem is the sickle of the crescent moon. She has four arms. In one she holds a noose (ability to grasp the right prediction) in another a goad (ability to motivate the client to improve); with another hand, she makes a gesture to drive out fear (ability to reassure the client) and uses another hand to bestow a blessing (ability to help). Bhuvaneshvari is associated with quanta, superstrings and the invisible particles that make up the universe. She is very pleasant to look at and emanates a soothing light. Her symbol is a water vessel conch shell: the emotional mind.

Chandra: do use the lunar cycle to enhance your relationship with the celestial spheres.

Bhuvaneshvari: discover the mysteries of the four cardinal points, be oriented.

Gestalt Counselling: find the beginning in the east, search for the light to the north, discover maturity to the west and conclude everything to the south.



BhairavĪ possesses the brightness of a thousand rising suns. She is the Goddess of the three unified lights: Agni (fire), Vidyut (lightning) and Surya (the Sun). The early morning musical Rāga is dedicated to her. She represents the devastating emotion of unexpected transformation. She inspires spiritual activities to transcend limitations. She has three eyes, wears a diadem with the crescent Moon, and smiles sweetly. She wears red clothes and a garland of severed heads. She has four arms. She holds a beaded necklace to recite the mantras (what astrologers should do) and a book (always continue to learn from sources). She makes a gesture against fear and one of blessing. Bhairavī is anger and rage, feelings that are both negative and positive. She indicates the terrible, burning power of words not mitigated by forms of control. She is manifest in the visual power of the tiger: to focus on the chosen aim (Ekagrata) and exclude everything else. Bhairavī impresses on the Ascendant the trait of clearly showing all emotions, echoing and burning the characteristic fears of the Sign and its rulers. She is also Mantrini, not only a mantra expert, but also devourer of negativity.

Lagna: face your fears and perceive your nature, beyond what is normally visible

Bhairavī: manage your emotions and discover what is hidden behind the fire of your yearnings.

Gestalt Counselling: learn not to reveal latent powers if the client is not ready to focus on them.



Cinnāmāstā appears naked in the act of cutting off her own head. In one hand, she holds the sword and in the other her own severed head (astrologers transcend their own ego and opinions to immerse themselves in the reality of the client) while her severed head drinks the blood spurting out of her bleeding neck (process of absorption and transformation enlightens astrologers and makes them enlightening). She wears a snake like a sacred rope (astrologers often meditate on Mother Kundalini). She has three radiant eyes and dances on the bodies of Rati and Kama (astrologers act with profound empathy, but also with detachment). Cinnāmāstā is life, sex, nourishment, death and rebirth. Her gruesome image suggests the functioning of the ecosystem with life that feeds on death, but also the power of transformation. The couple under her feet stand for the sexual energy that generates pleasure and life. Blood is the life force. Despite the fact she appears in such a terrifying form, she bestows unexpected enlightenment. Cinnāmāstā cuts the knots (granthi) and is associated with Rahu. She dissolves all ties that envelop, imprison, influence and annul identity, but also the ties preventing evolution and liberation. She offers cosmic wisdom and transcendence.


Dhumavati is the smoky clouding of the negation that blocks the obvious. She is poverty and suffering, and all the less pleasant aspects of life. She is tall, has big ears, big teeth, a long nose, sagging breasts, fulminating eyes and trembling hands (astrologers must overcome their fear of appearing negative or of pushing people away when they have to communicate something unpleasant). Dhumavati drives a chariot pulled by a crow (astrologers must know how to govern the dark forces that appear in people’s horoscopes); she holds a sieve (astrologers must know how to discern between useful, evolutionary information and harmful information) and makes the gesture of bestowing a blessing on those who transcend appearances and successfully see in Her the image of the divine Mother. Dhumavati reinforces Ketu’s shadows and helps people overcome the feeling of disapproval by accepting their weak parts. Since she is also associated with Jyeshtha Nákṣatrā, she proclaims that darkness offers us the possibility to access the light, and that the absence of thoughts or images brings us closer to a profound, enlightening meditative state. 

Ketu: do overcome the ghosts of your karmic past.

Dhumavati: learn to understand the pain caused by any abandonment either suffered in the past or caused to others

Gestalt Counselling: help the client to find the solutions required to progress, through their sad, painful experiences


Bagalāmukhi governs complex sounds; she freezes, stuns, immobilises and silences hostile forces, annihilating conflicts and confusion. She neutralises negative communication, bad intentions and the defamations that come from adversarial individuals. She paralyses negative energies using irrefutable lines of reasoning. Her secret weapon is the existential question: “Who am I?”. This ostensibly strange and out-of-place question blocks our inner and outer enemies. She wears yellow clothes and flowers and sits on a golden throne surrounded by lotus flowers. With one hand, she wields a club to beat a demon (astrologers block indecision) while pulling his tongue out with the other (astrologers drop incorrect or dangerous words, expressing themselves correctly and communicating an effective answer). Bagalāmukhi uses verbal Fire to activate Mars’ rays. During crucial discussions, she encourages a short and unexpected pause, thereby teaching that in a heated debate or discussion in full swing, a differed answer becomes immensely powerful. Since it involves a combustive Martian force, the mantra must be recited with positive intentions, thereby creating the right, compassionate solutions.

Mars: by discovering what blocks you, you will understand your true intentions and perform the right action.

Bagalāmukhi: persevere on the path of knowledge, do not manipulate others and moderate your words.

Gestalt Counselling: help clients to find their path by exploiting moments of suspension to block negative energies.


Mātangi, the Lady of Song, is the Goddess of knowledge, of all audible sounds, of sonorous vibrations and of all that transcends the usual forms of beauty. Since she is the secret form of Sarasvathi, she inspires the right words and the most harmonious movements to communicate with the masses. She is emerald green, plays the Vinā (astrologers harmonise the words of the sacred texts with the individual rhythm of the person they have to help); she also plays with a parrot and listens to the sounds he makes (astrologers have to enhance their ability for active listening) and sits on a golden throne (astrologers ensure that their role is respected). She also possesses another, less pleasant but stronger and disturbing form: Chandālinī, the Lady who in the light of day and without having to hide, overturns cultural conventions and reverses aesthetic models (astrologers go beyond usual appearances to discover the Energy of symbols and archetypes). Mātangi’s Energy warms and consubstantiates Surya. She inspires wisdom and the ability to find oneself with every reality, even the more unpleasant. She makes one aware that to be truly luminous a person must collaborate with others and in turn accept their collaboration. She stands for the energy of sound, the promise of clouds and the hum of water. 

Sun: do accept and overcome what you dislike, thereby finding beauty and purity beyond appearances.

Mātangi: be faithful to the sacred scriptures, albeit by finding your unique, personal way to express what appears in the horoscopic chart.

Gestalt Counselling: go beyond words to help clients remove obstacles and discover their talents.


Kamalā, the Lady of the Lotus Flower, governs love, beauty and joy, even in their earthly forms. She inspires and sustains plans and emanates the sense of wonder experienced by human beings, thereby making the terrestrial sphere enchanting. Four elephants pour nectar over her body. She holds two lotus flowers (astrologers must be able to see the beauty and goodness of the human soul) and shows the Mudrā to grant gifts and to reassure (astrologers must always be benedictory and reassuring). She wears a diadem of precious jewels and a silk sari. Her luminous Energy bestows vigour and splendour to Shukra (Venus) and vivifies and illuminates her rays. To adore Kamalā, all one must do is admire nature and contemplate the beauty of creation and its creatures. She ensures fertility, wellbeing, beauty, abundance and safety. Kamalā is the secret form of Lakṣmī.

Shukra: do search for the root of your desires to consecrate both material and spiritual wellbeing.

Kamalā: do rediscover the feeling of wonder.

Gestalt Counselling: do help others to regain the ability to be amazed, to give and receive love.


I would like to conclude by recalling some key details: 

1. Those who choose spiritual life do not search for earthly enjoyment, but greater union with the Cosmos and their chosen Deity.

2. Enlightened creatures cannot be influenced even by the planets… because they have chosen to abandon themselves completely to the infinite and to the wellbeing of every living creature.

3. Our task as individuals who are not yet enlightened, but are lucky enough to be familiar with Astrology, is to improve ourselves and help others to do so, life after life.

I drafted this article to share a way to those teachers of astrology who wish to develop a level of evolutionary teaching for themselves and their students. It is also a valid tool to improve the quality of consultations. Every consultation can become creative and insightful when astrologers honour the Mahāvidyās and become aware of Their presence, function and power in their own lives. Reawakening the power of the Goddesses requires a journey into one’s inner depths to discover the ability to give and receive compassion, devotion, joy, creativity and freedom. The Mahāvidyā direct and guide the steps of astrologers in the right direction.

 “Mother let the whispers of my soul become a song to your name.

Let my journey become a sacred wandering.

Let all my actions supply pleasure and become part of your cult!

Oh, Supreme Goddess, I always see you with my mind’s eye,

In you, giving, having and being merge happily in a reciprocal and harmonious relationship. 

May this harmony persist in all of us!”

Soundarya Lahari of Shankaracharya




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