Jyotish Vachaspati Recipient
By Vachaspati Christina Collins
Interview Date: 05/12/2017
come true. As you know, this title is not given out lightly, but only after many years of serving the Jyotirvidya.
|2017 Jyotish Vachaspati awarded to Vedic astrologer Juliana Swanson, by the recognition and vote of the staff at the Jyotish Star e-magazine and organization.|
Various organizations award titles of merit, just as people could receive an honorary Ph.D. from Harvard, our outstanding Jyotish organizations here in the United States choose to follow this same tradition in recognizing merit.
Christina Collins: Congratulations on being the first recipient of the Jyotish Vachaspati from the Jyotish Star, and from me personally, as I am confident of the quality of your work, and know with certainty that your predictions come true. Vachaspati means “Vac” is speech and "haspati" comes from Brihaspati, a name for Jupiter, the planet of Truth, and your title literally means speaks the truth of Jupiter, or more succinctly that your predictions bear fruit and
And, to mention the first, and those who came before you, awarded in 1996 in Bangalore, by the ICAS at the recommendation of K.N. Rao and Dr. B. V. Raman:
Dennis Harness, Ph.D.
And awarded by the ICAS in 2012 at the recommendation of one or more, of the above recipients and Gayatri Devi Vasudev:
Ronnie Gale Dreyer
William Levacy, Ph.D.
Juliana Swanson: Thank you, Christina. It is such an honor to receive this designation from you and the Jyotish Star! I appreciate the opportunity to contribute to the advancement of present-day Vedic astrology (Jyotish) through my work, as you also do through the Jyotish Star. My gratitude extends to you and all of the other illuminated souls who have guided me and continue to shine the light on my path of Jyotish.
Christina: Juliana, I know you are a full-time consulting astrologer. Please tell us something about your work.
Juliana: I consult with clients forty to sixty hours a week through most of the year, not including my retreats and holidays. My main offering is a two-hour interactive natal and dynamic astrology session which I offer over Skype or telephone. I call this session the “Astral Tune-up” and it includes remote energy healing along with the reading of the horoscope. I also do Muhurta (Electional Astrology), which is probably my favorite aspect of astrology, as well as Prasna (Horary), Relationship Synastry, and Locational Astrology. In addition, I offer One-Question “Mini-Readings” which are typed and emailed to my clients.
Christina: I’m with you, Muhurta is my greatest Jyotish joy! Why is Muhurta (electing an auspicious time for an event to occur) your favorite aspect of astrology?
Juliana: Classical Muhurta is of course its own vast and captivating branch of astrology, so it’s a gratifying study and practice in and of itself. To me it’s always a truly pleasant challenge to find the best possible date and time for someone to initiate something that’s really important to them, like a wedding, pregnancy, new business venture, or a surgery date. I usually spend a few hours looking for one muhurta (astrological election), which as you know is an intense process taking into account multiple factors. I search and search and then when I find it, everything just clicks like in a cosmic clock — that feeling is quite thrilling.
Aside from the fact that it is rewarding to be part of creating something positive and auspicious, most importantly, I like being able to offer someone an opportunity to enact their agami “free will” karma, which is what a muhurta does. Sometimes if this agami karma is strong enough, it can help override encumbering prarabdha karmas. For example, someone whose marital karma in the natal and progressed horoscope is afflicted may be able to overcome some or much of this affliction with a good marriage muhurta.
As my greatest Jyotish guide, the late Swami Sri Yukteswar said, “There are certain mechanical features in the law of karma which can be skillfully adjusted by the fingers of wisdom.” He was speaking of karmic remedies like gems, meditation, prayer, and will power. Using a muhurta is the act of exerting one’s positive will power (agami/kriyamana karma) in harmony with divine cosmic forces. That is always so empowering for me the astrologer and also for my wonderful clients!
Christina: What’s your process in doing an Astral Tune-up?
Juliana: Well to start with, as a registered nurse and holistic health practitioner with significant background in therapeutic communication and counseling, and also as a Vedic Astrology Coach through ACVA’s Level III Vedic Astrology Coaching program (VAC), I follow an astrological coaching model in my sessions. This entails a unique blend of practical life and wellness coaching and astrological guidance custom-made for the client’s nature and behavior along with his or her astrological blueprint and timing cycles. The fundamental premise of Jyotish is that each of us is a divine eternal soul with a fundamental and specific life purpose and path. With Vedic astrology coaching, we work with this premise as a foundation, and use various tools to inspire personal growth and transformation, and to improve choices for better outcomes.
Each client completes a lengthy and detailed consultation form before their first session, which helps me “tune in” and know how to be of the best help. In subsequent sessions, the clients always email me their latest feedback, updates, and questions/musings in advance, so that I can chart their progress and tune in to help them again.
Christina: That is a great system, that we all can learn from. Do you find you have a lot of repeat clients, like a family “doctor” where people make appointments every few months or more often if they need an assist?
Juliana: Oh yes, I think that at least fifty percent of my Astral Tune-up sessions are booked with repeat clients.
Christina: For our readers, many of whom are students themselves, how much prep time do you spend prior to your astrology sessions?
Juliana: A lot actually. Let me preface this by saying that many master astrologers don’t prepare their astrology consultations in advance the way I do, and that works well for them and their clients. Some of my best astrology friends are among the greatest astrologers in the world, and they have told me they first see the charts when they sit down to speak with the clients, or when they sit down to record the consultation to send to their clients, and in that moment everything they need to know in the client’s horoscope is revealed to them.
Maybe it’s because I have the eighth lord of astrology Mercury in a stationary retrograde position in Shravana nakshatra that I have developed my own unique process in which I prepare for several hours in advance of speaking with a client. I spend probably on average three to four hours for each first-time client, and one to two hours for existing clients, depending on how long it has been since we were last in contact. I need to sit with the chart and go through it systematically and take notes. I work with the various ascendant and harmonic charts as yantras which take me into the soul’s blueprint, and in this extensive process I am able to divine the important themes and find the needed answers. As I sit with the chart, I do remote energetic clearing and balancing for the client, and sometimes I practice Ho'oponopono while meditating on the client and his or her horoscope, all of which are important to help me go deeper and unlock the chart’s “secrets.”
Christina: I like your description of some of your methods as an energy healer and Vedic Astrology Coach, but can you say anything more about how you integrate holistic wellness coaching and energy healing with astrology?
Juliana: One of the most important ways that I integrate all these aspects of my professional practice is through recommending remedial measures (upayas) in my astrological consultations. I consider myself a “healer” first and foremost, meaning someone who assists others in the journey to wholeness, so the remedies are pivotal in my work with clients. Recently I had a wonderful birthday reading with a great Vedic astrologer from Europe, who told me something I had not understood about an uncommon combination in my own birth chart called Kali Yoga (or Kalika Yoga). The astrologer said that this yoga gives me a special allowance for error when I suggest a remedial measure to a client. He explained that the remedy will work for the client even if it is not the “correct one” per the astrological chart (such as if I suggest the wrong gem or mantra). That made me happy!
Christina: That is totally cool and awesome!
Juliana: It also makes me happy when clients follow the remedial suggestions because with this they are being empowered to enact their positive free will in harmony with the cosmic forces of divine will. This is what Sri Yukteswar meant when he said:
“The wise man [person] defeats his planets. . . . The starry inscription at one’s birth isn't that man is a puppet of his past. Its message is rather a prod to pride; the very heavens seek to arouse man's determination to be free from every limitation.”
The astrological chart will show us how to manage the client’s astral influences and what remedies are needed for that. I always fine-tune the remedies to each client’s own personal and cultural needs and predilections.
Christina: Could you maybe go more into Ho’oponopono, as this may be a new concept to some of our readers?
Juliana: Ho’oponopono is a Hawaiian healing process of forgiveness, reconciliation, and mental cleansing. Self-I-Dentity Ho’oponopono as taught by the late Hawaiian Kahuna Lapa'au Morrnah Simeona, and then later by her associate Ihaleakala Hew Len (Dr. Stanley Hew Len), is a healing system for “making things right.” According to Ms. Simeona, "We can appeal to Divinity who knows our personal blueprint, for healing of all thoughts and memories that are holding us back at this time…It is a matter of going beyond traditional means of accessing knowledge about ourselves…The main purpose of this process is to discover the Divinity within oneself. The Ho'oponopono is a profound gift which allows one to develop a working relationship with the Divinity within and learn to ask that in each moment, our errors in thought, word, deed, or action be cleansed. The process is essentially about freedom, complete freedom from the past."
Christina: Could you relay a little more about Dr. Hew Len?
Juliana: Dr. Hew Len was a consulting clinical psychologist at the Hawaii State Hospital for the criminally ill. He had profound results using this process with the patients by simply writing down their names and then just doing the inner cleansing process of purifying his own attitudes, beliefs, and judgments, and in that process, asking the Divinity what he could do within himself to help heal each patient. Surprisingly, this practice worked very successfully, without his ever needing to see the patients in person! The idea is that anyone or anything we are confronted with in life is part of our own inner reality, or as I like to say, everything “out there” is really only happening “in here” in my own individual hologram. A client coming to me for assistance is showing up in my hologram. As I cleanse my separation from the Divinity within myself while contemplating the client’s horoscope, I can help to energetically clear some of the karmic difficulties that I see.
Christina: Would you please elaborate a bit more about the energy clearing and balancing you do in an Astral Tune-up?
Juliana: One way to look at the natal horoscope is as a blueprint of the sublime energetic system (chakras, aura, etc.), so when I am working with the astrological chart, this is an excellent opportunity to clear and balance the client’s energy system. My understanding of the human energy system comes from my thirty-year study and practice of energy medicine and Polarity Therapy as well as my explorations in Vedic astrology, Kriya Yoga, psychic development, Ayurveda, and Shamanism. Besides doing remote subtle-energy work for all my clients, I always study the balance of the elements and gunas in the birth chart. When the natal chart and the dashas show imbalances, I will also suggest remedies.
Sometimes, I recommend remedies for other kinds of astrological afflictions as well as real life problems that the person is experiencing or might experience in the future. It is my belief, as stated in the VAC (c) program, that Vedic astrology is “not so much about prediction as it is about preparation. It is not so much about certainty as it is about opportunity.” Hence, the remedies!
Christina: Could you give an example of a few of the kinds of remedies you suggest?
Ayurvedic practitioners, past-life therapists, energy healers, body workers, Family Constellation practitioners, relationship coaches, or marriage counselors. I also offer meditation guidance; dietary and nutritional resources; as well as suggestions for homeopathic remedies, flower essences, and gem elixirs. I also regularly give remedial Rebirthing/Sacred Breath healing sessions to many of my astrology clients via Skype. Quite regularly, I will give one of my regular clients an astrology update and Vedic astrology timing (coaching) session followed by a breath healing session, all in one two-hour update appointment.
|Juliana: I work with traditional Jyotish remedies such as working with color; herbs; suggestions for pujas/yagyas, homa and Agnihotra; yoga, pranayama, meditation, kirtan and prayer; Ayurvedic practices; yantras, mantras, and gems (ratnas); sacred writings; darshan with a saint; and pilgrimage (yatra). I also make suggestions for more “modern” remedies including things like taking a dance or martial arts class, or simply encouraging a client to get more aerobic and weight-bearing exercise. I often make referrals to other practitioners including shamans, |
Christina: Please correct me if I am wrong, but you are a Neo-Vedic astrologer, right? Can you share something about this, and how is it different from the traditional Vedic astrology?
Juliana: I was a student and practitioner of Tropical Western astrology from an early age, back when we had to calculate charts by hand. I was introduced to the Sidereal zodiac in my early teenage years, but did not convert to it until the mid-1990s. Now I only use and advocate the Sidereal zodiac, although I like to use many of the methods and techniques of Western astrology applied to the Vedic/Sidereal chart. I use the wheel chart as well as North Indian. I have also studied Western Sidereal astrology. I use the outer planets and asteroids according to specific rules. For instance, if they closely aspect or conjoin the grahas or angles (kendra cusps) of the Vedic chart, they become quite important in my analysis, but I usually don’t give them rulerships.
Christina: What dasa systems do you favor?
Juliana: I have learned through my inner Jyotish guides that each horoscope has a unique key to unlock it, and as I sit with the horoscope and meditate on it, I am shown which techniques and dasa(s) to use for that particular horoscope. As mentioned, I take an extensive history for each client as detailed on the consultation form, and then I compare all the significant past life events and dates with various applicable dasas to see which dasa or dasas are tracking most reliably and accurately.
I often use Vimshottari but it does not always work. Sometimes I don’t use the nakshatra dasas the customary way based on the Moon’s nakshatra lord, but instead calculate them based on the nakshatra lord of the lagna, or calculated for the strongest graha in the chart. When I find that a particular dasa is working like a charm for previous dates correlated with the client’s life events, I am confident to be able to forecast future trends using the same dasa. For rashi dasas, I tend to find the Aya dasa as calculated in Kala software to be useful for many charts. Sometimes none of the dasas seem to work, in which case I will just use subtle Nadi techniques, or just gochara (transits), or sometimes I will use the western progressions (secondary and tertiary) with the Vedic chart.
Christina: What is your opinion of using the 360- versus 365.25-day year for calculating Vimshottari?
Juliana: Well, just as I do with dasas, I let each horoscope guide me on this. I tweak my settings for 359-, 360- or 365.25-day years according to what each horoscope requires for me to be able to accurately track the past sequence of important events and dates. If this information is not clear to me, I tend to follow the principle that the 365-day year will show when outer events related to a new dasa begin to manifest, whereas the 359- or 360-day year show when the inner changes of the new dasa will begin.
Christina: For almost a decade, you have been writing an inspirational and educational blog on your Astral Harmony website as well as on your Facebook professional page. Here you write about an eclectic mix of topics including Vedic and Neo-Vedic astrology. Much of what you write is geared toward your clients and fans, but you also write about presiding astrological themes and forecasts in mundane (world) astrology. You have had some remarkable success making world predictions, such as foreseeing the presidency of Donald Trump as far back as September 2015 and again in February 2016, before he was even nominated and when his candidacy was still held to be a “joke” by most people in the mainstream. Do you make predictions for your clients as well?
Juliana: Well, I will preface my answer my saying that the ultimate purpose of astrology is not to predict the future, but to show us the true path and guide us along the way. What is going to happen in the future is not as important as what is happening now. Besides that, as I always explain to my clients, predictions have limitations because so much of the future is not predetermined but depends on our free choice, our developing consciousness, and the power of grace to override karma.
In a session, the most important goal is to shine light in a compassionate manner which will empower the client. That said, yes, I do prognosticate about the future for some of my clients who ask, and quite often I am accurate. However, sometimes I fall short with predictions. I can blame it on Shiva’s Curse on Astrologers which says that among the best astrologers, the future can be accurately predicted only about 70% of the time. This is an allegory about free will and the fallibility of astrologers especially in Kali Yuga. Nonetheless, I am always learning from my mistakes and growing as an astrologer, even after almost five decades of study and practice.
Christina: You often blog about astrological ethics. Can you please share more about this?
Juliana: Well, I do have an exalted Saturn, and one of my astrology friends once said that she thinks of exalted Saturn as a Supreme Court judge. I cringed a little when she said it, as I don’t want to be judgmental, especially as a friend or as a practitioner. However, I am a stickler for astrological ethics which can be freely accessed on the ACVA website: http://acvaonline.org/ethics/
For example, in mundane astrology, Vedic astrologers are advised to put our personal opinions aside and not to speak badly about public figures when we are doing astrological analysis, yet this has not been the recent trend in many political astrology blogs. The ACVA guidelines are clear on this:
“Interpretations of the charts of public figures are confined to areas that are considered public domain due to specific achievements or notoriety as revealed in interviews, published documents, or recorded observations. When interpreting charts of public figures, astrologers refrain from making slanderous comments. Information should be presented in a manner that is respectful to the individual whose chart is being discussed.”
Ethics are important for so many reasons. Ultimately, Jyotish is the Science of Light, and ethics can help us stay clear and present in that Light so that we can truly “see” while also fulfilling our duty to share truth in an uplifting and constructive manner.
Christina: In regard to ethics with clients, what, to you, is important?
Juliana: In general, we should be careful what we say to clients and how we say it, and we should know what to avoid saying, as we do not want to induce fear, shame, guilt, or any other negative emotion. An astrological consultation should always be encouraging and empowering. This is why I believe all astrologers can benefit from learning counseling and coaching techniques. The ACVA guidelines are very clear about ethical relationships with clients, and we astrologers should refer to these guidelines regularly. For instance, clients need to be informed that “astrology cannot be absolutely certain about personality profiles or future events”... because “astrological variables can manifest in differing events of similar meaning, and astrology cannot predict with absolute certainty the outcome of future astronomical events.” When I make prognostications about future events on my blog or with my clients, I follow these guidelines. I also always follow ACVA’s requirement to use “open-ended, indeterminate qualifiers such as ‘may, could, might, perhaps, and possibly,’ with efforts to ground these statements whenever possible in research studies.”
|Christina: Thank you for that reminder, I remember when we were compiling that document, and give a lot of credit to Dr. Dennis Harness for making it manifest.|
Thank you so much for a wonderful and informative interview! And finally, Vachaspati Swanson, do you have any parting words for your fellow Vedic astrologers?
Juliana: I would say the ultimate task we have as Vedic astrologers is to be spiritual counselors who can help others realize and embody their true greatness as “spiritual beings having a human experience.” This teaching revolves around the right use of will, a subject which one of my gurus Paramahansa Yogananda frequently discussed. He said, “The deeper the Self-realization of a man, the more he influences the whole universe by his subtle spiritual vibrations, and the less he himself is affected by the phenomenal flux.”
In other words, we not victims of fate and we have much more power to influence the world than we might realize.
In everyday practice, we often need to prepare our clients for potentially difficult astral weather ahead by suggesting mindfulness and caution as well as upayas (as already mentioned). Many clients going through very difficult cycles need assistance in understanding the bigger picture. When they can begin to grasp the astrological conditions at play, they can more readily embrace their cosmic curriculum. When they are shown how this is all happening “as above, so below,” they find a new sense of hope and purpose knowing that the tough lessons are part of something greater than themselves, and this knowledge can be quite meaningful and supportive.
By Divine Grace, I have developed the ability to see into past lives sometimes, which can be very helpful during an astrology reading. I would encourage other astrologers to delve into this realm if they are so inclined. It’s not so much necessary to retell and hook into the old stories, but to aid in the comprehension and release of past-life energetic and emotional impressions which are continuing to resonate with physical, psychological, or spiritual blocks in the present life. Last but not least, we Vedic astrologers are timing coaches, and in many cases, clients just simply need to know when a particularly difficult period will end, and until then, how they can continue to weather the storm. And of course the big question almost always is…when and how they can manifest their heart’s desire? In that respect, all of us astrologers do have our work cut out for us!
|Juliana Swanson's Biography: |
Star (Celestial Resource) and AVS (Academy for Vedic Studies).
|Juliana Swanson is a Vedic astrologer, RN (registered nurse), healer, mother, and wife. She runs her international practice as a Vedic Astrology Consultant and Holistic Wellness Coach from her home office in New Mexico. She additionally works remotely with clients all over the world as a Rebirther/Sacred Breath Coach. Juliana qualifies as an ACVA Level III certified Vedic Astrologer and Vedic Astrology Coach, and CVA Level II certified Vedic Astrologer, receiving two titles of excellence: the Jyotish Visharada, ACVA/CVA and the Jyotish Kovid, ACVA/CVA. Additionally, in 2012 she was awarded the Jyotish Kovid from the ICAS, Bangalore, India and the Jyotish Vachaspati 2017 from The Jyotish|
She is also certified as a Registered Polarity Practitioner and Rebirther and has additional certifications in MahaBote Burmese Astrology and Hast Jyotish (Vedic Palmistry) and has served on the faculty at ACVA and the International Academy of Astrology. Juliana may be reached by email at Juliana@AstralHarmony.com or through her website at www.AstralHarmony.com.
|Christina Collins Biography:|
Sanskrit, Vac = speech and Brihaspati is a name of Jupiter the planet of wisdom and truth. Her most recent honor from India, the Jyotish Medha Pragya title, means that consciousness has merged with Jyotish.
|Christina Collins, Jyotish Visharada, CVA, Jyotish Kovid, ICAS and CVA, Jyotish Vachaspati, ICAS, Jyotish Medha Pragya, ICAS and Jyotish Mahasagara from Raman and Rajeshwari Foundation 2013, is a third generation Astrologer specializing in the Vedic system. She received her honorary titles from the late Dr. B.V. Raman, former President of the ICAS (Indian Council for Astrological Sciences) in New Delhi and Bangalore, India, from CVA (Council for Vedic Astrology, USA), from the ICAS in Bangalore, from the Raman and Rajeshwari Foundation in 2013 and the Jyotish Navaratna from ACVA (American College for Vedic Astrology) in 2014.|
From1997 to 2012, she was the first and sole American woman to be honored by the highly held title of Jyotish Vachaspati (Jyotish - the light bearer and Vachaspati - the one who speaks the truth and whose predictions come true. (In
As a founding member, she currently serves on the Board of Directors of the American College of Vedic Astrology (ACVA online), and was former Editor of the ACVA News. President of Celestial Resource (The Timing Coach) she serves corporate and private clients from students to celebrities. For the Jyotish Star you can reach her in Boulder CO at firstname.lastname@example.org, and for consultations: email@example.com:
Christina's Consultation Contact information:
Christina Collins, J.K., J.V.
Editor in Chief The Jyotish Star
Lafayette, (Boulder County) CO, USA
web site: http://www.christinacollinsastrology.com
See my interview on YouTube by Lissa Coffey
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