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Muhurta: An Introduction to Electional Astrology
Christina Collins
In India, one of the most important tasks of any astrologer is selecting an auspicious date
and time to schedule an event. ACVA board member Christina Collins reveals how this is
Using Muhurta (electional astrology), we Vedic astrologers engineer a day and time of day for an event or
action to commence. We search for positive future planetary placements in order to select an auspicious time to
begin an activity. By doing this we can relieve or correct difficult conditions in the natal chart which inhibit
positive results and cause impediments to progress. In this way we support successful outcome for a desired
Two general categories “Spiritual” and “Material” cover many of the events where we need to elect a
specific chart for our clients:
• Spiritual - Initiation into meditation, cremation, altar installation, application of remedial measures such as
wearing a gemstone for the first time, ritual hair cutting (tonsure), weddings, naming a newborn or
changing your name.
• Material – Beginning one’s education, career, or business, or inaugurating disputes and legal matters,
construction of and first entering into new premises, installing equipment, taking medicine, scheduling
surgery, adoption, travel, naming a business.
Electional charts differ depending upon the application, need or intention. Different actions require
different chart structures. We can state some very general principles, keeping in mind that the more refined and
specific we are in creating the electional chart and its divisional charts, working where possible in concert with
the natal chart, the more likely we are to produce a reliable muhurta leading to a good outcome.
What is the Process?
Suppose a child wants to go to the circus. She must ask her mother for permission and funds to attend.
Now, the child knows she must pursue her goal when mom is in a good and loving mood. So she waits until the
auspicious time, then poses her question.
The child is guided by both objective observation and “feeling” or intuition. Perhaps the child is
exceptional. Whenever she enters the room, her mother’s mood automatically changes to one of surprise and
delight, then most times her requests are granted. But, perhaps this is a naughty child, even causing or aiding in
creating mom’s “bad” mood. Then she is indeed wise to wait for the auspicious moment before she takes
Like the child who uses knowledge and feeling to attain the desired goal, the jyotisha (Vedic asrologer)
uses the knowledge of the science of light, to obtain the required objective.
Starting One’s Education
When a natal chart shows impediment to education because of a very challenged and afflicted 4th house of
education, choosing an auspicious Muhurta with a positive transit (the current placement of planets
superimposed over the natal chart and in relation to each other) can help. We look for supportive transits
aspecting the 4th house, with Mercury and the Moon (the planets of intellect and mind) strongly placed, and
with the 5th house (the house of intelligence) fortified. The commencement of study gains the strength of a
good start. Much as a strong natal chart with Jupiter well placed in the first house (the house of the self and
one’s health) will give good health throughout life, a good chart for beginning one’s education will give the
chance to do well and prosper. Just as positive placements in a natal chart give good results in life, a good chart
for starting something important can give a good outcome.
Getting Married
Take the occasion of marriage and its timing. Perhaps the natal chart of either the bride or groom (or both)
shows impediment to marriage. Maybe the 7th house ruler is posited in the 8th (house of misery, legacy and
death, indicating divorce or widowhood) or in the 12th (house of loss, giving the person reclusive tendencies),
or Mars the planet of war and discord is in or aspecting the 7th house of marriage and partnerships. This is one
of several Mars positions called kuja dosa -- the poisoning effect of Mars on marriage.
Or suppose the lunar nodes, Rahu and Ketu (always opposite each other in placement), are placed in the
1st and 7th house for one of the parties. Rahu, the planet who causes eclipses, when posited in the first house
focuses the life on the self and trying to figure out “Who am I ?” In order to accomplish this aim, the liberator
Ketu, significator for moksha or enlightenment, who causes constant change in direction, inconveniently resides
in the 7th, perpetually interrupting relationships. Partnerships can distract from the one-pointed focus of Self
discovery. I often see this nodal axis in the charts of nuns, monks and renunciates.
Choosing an electional chart for marriage with wonderful placements of planets, such as benefics in the
1/7 axis of the natal chart and the marriage chart will “assist” in correcting the fact that Rahu and Ketu were in
the 1/7 axis in the natal chart. (If both potential marriage candidates have the 1/7 axis of the nodes, cancellation
A good Vimshottari dasa period in operation -- both in the natal horoscope and in the Muhurta, such as
time periods belonging to the benefic planets, Jupiter, Venus, the Moon and Mercury, will also help. Keeping
the 8th house free of Mars and the 6th house free of Venus and setting the day for a Friday (the weekday
belonging to Venus, the planet of love) provides greater potential for harmony and permanence of the marriage.
Marriage should not take place on a Saturday, Saturn’s day, the planet of struggle, focus, discipline, hard work,
detachment and restriction.
Fortunate Times
We aim to select a time when planets and their positioning portray strength, for example when planets are
in their exaltation, own sign, friend’s house, or a trine house to each other. When the benefics Jupiter, Venus,
the waxing Moon, and well associated Mercury associate in a positive way, and when they are involved in the
formation of good yogas (planetary combinations), a useful Muhurta is formed.
When time is a factor and the election time must be chosen with very little leeway (a couple days notice for
something needed yesterday), then use a rising sign with a benefic ruler, a benefic placed in the first house or
benefics aspecting the first. Try to have the ruler of the rising sign posited in a good house and/or sign (a
friend’s house, conjunct another benefic, etc.). Keep the 8th house free of planets -- especially malefics.
Times to Avoid
Avoid inaugurating an auspicious action when the malefics Mars, Saturn, Rahu, the Sun, Ketu, the waning
Moon, and negatively associated Mercury aspect the benefics and/or each other. Eclipses of the Sun or Moon
should not be present if one expects a positive outcome -- although windows of opportunity that minimize the
difficulties can be found, such as embarking during a good rising sign for that day when choosing to travel. In
an instance when Mars is transiting in the 4th house of someone’s natal chart, deciding to leave when the Mars
is not angular (positioned in house 1, 4, 7, or 10 ) in the Muhurta chart would be a good idea in order to avoid
accidents during that transit. Always take into consideration whether the natal chart is indeed “accident prone.”
Challenging and difficult transits will affect some natal charts less than others. Jyotish should be a tool to uplift
and improve the potential of life, not one that predicts dire and doom and scares people too much to even leave
their homes!
Difficult times commence when malefic planets such as Mars, Saturn, Rahu and Ketu are aspecting each
other, in their enemy’s house, in debilitation, are spoiling the “good” houses, and partake in “bad” yogas like
papa ketari (“scissors”) where malefic planets hem in the benefic planets. Again, avoid selecting Muhurtas
during eclipses (Rahu or Ketu with the Sun and Moon) or kala sarpa yoga is present (all of the planets between
Rahu and Ketu, beginning with Rahu in cardinal signs). You will notice that earthquakes and troubles in world
affairs occur during these times.
Facing Foes
Perhaps the birth chart holds few impediments to progress like the child who always thrills the mother
when she comes into view. Often, this querent will approach the jyotisha just as the planets are aligning in an
auspicious positioning, transiting in tune with the natal placements.
A client of mine, Mike Love, lead singer of the popular music group the Beach Boys (and whom I thank
for permitting me to tell his story) approached me with the years long dilemma that many, if not most of the
songs he had either written or co-written did not carry his name as the author. This had happened due to family
politics. He did not want to sue a relative. He also was not receiving royalty payments for his creations. I
asked him, “When you are gone, do you want your children to prosper? Do you want truth, and credit for your
works?” We used Muhurta to calulate four long years of dates to file documents and arrange depositions. We
also used Prasna (horary astrology, involving casting a chart for a moment a question is asked) for the many
different court appearances and selection of trial dates. When the Prasna chart showed difficulty, we used
remedial measures to correct the chart, and ayurvedic remedies to “cool down” the nature of the participants.
Once the chart showed dangers during travel. I advised Mike and his lawyer to be careful that morning
driving to court. Even though the time of the court appearance was good, the time for traveling looked
challenging. The radiator blew out on the way, but because they were being cautious, no danger to their persons
The results? The other band member admitted to the jury, “Yes, Mike wrote the songs.” Mike won on
every count. Now, this is a person with a blessed and relatively unafflicted natal chart, with many raja yogas
(excellent placements in the chart). Even so, we had to wait years for final fruition, until the personal cycles
were positive for the fulfillment of our efforts.
Another couple, licensed psychologists, called me with the concern that their consulting practice seemed to
be slowing with few new patients, although the patients they were seeing continued to improve. Using
Muhurta, we moved four different bank accounts and opened new ones in different branches on an auspicious
day. Dr. Paula Haymond, one of the partners, called me to report that the same day as the Muhurta of opening
the new bank accounts, they were offered a very large consulting contract in their field of expertise. Their work
load increased to such magnitude that Dr. Haymond felt she needed to take a sabbatical from her tutorial Jyotish
studies. (She’d been a private student of mine for a couple of years). As I was thinking about writing this
article, and who would give me permission to use their name and story in print, the phone rang. It was Dr.
Haymond. They want a new Muhurta. They are taking over the responsibilities of the organization which gave
them the large contract, and forming a new company, Noah’s House an in-house care facility. The planets
looked best that very day -- she rescheduled her afternoon and filed the necessary papers in the afternoon, at the
appointed time. When she returned to her office she received an unsolicited phone call from a bank offering
them a 15 year loan -- enabling them to begin the business at once.
Now, not all timings can give such marvelous results. As in the case of Mr. Love, it took us four years,
even though each court date went well. Often, as they are now, the planets are pretty challenging, with Saturn
in debilitation in Aries, and Mars moving into Libra forming a Mars/Saturn opposition for much of 1999. Even
so, there are little “windows” of opportunity, when other planetary positions temporarily “cancel” the debility of
Saturn, and a wide amount of degrees between the Mars and Saturn will lesson the warlike effect of this
particular opposition of planets
One of these “opportunity windows” brings to mind a client who absolutely needed a passport to travel out
of the country in order to attend a meeting. Most of the U.S. Government offices were on strike. Told by
telephone that he probably could not get a passport for at least six weeks, he called me in distress. Using a
Muhurta that had a two minute window of auspiciousness, I asked him to personally drive himself to the
passport office, not to send an employee, and hand in his request at the specified time. He received the passport
in three days!
On a personal note, I used Muhurta for traveling to speak at the 1997 ACVA “Vedic Astrology in
Paradise” conference in Hawaii. The planets were personally challenging for travel against my own chart (and
yes, my chart is accident prone). Well, on my way to the airport, the truck my husband and I were riding in
burst into flames—the engine was on fire! Neither of us had brought our cellular phones. Uncannily,
immediately a stranger stopped and offered us the use of his car phone to call our mechanic to arrange for a tow.
Then he drove us 20 minutes back to our home where we grabbed another car, returned to the truck to get our
luggage and barely made it to the airport. I boarded the plane, informed by the airline that they absolutely could
not hold the plane for my husband who was parking the car. Well, they stopped the plane, put the blocks back
on the tires, pulled up a special ladder, and he made the flight. This shows the beauty of Muhurta. Even though
the situation was stressful and challenging as it could be (we must all bear our karma gracefully), the outcome
was positive.
Sample Muhurta Considerations
Here are some conditions to keep in mind when forming Muhurtas. These examples apply to the period of
November 1998, but should give you some idea of how to work out Muhurtas on your own in 1999.
Travel - unsafe when the Sun is changing signs from Libra to Scorpio, the 16th and 17th. Mars also moves
to enemy house of Virgo making this day doubly difficult for travel. When a planet changes sign, it is like
having a foot in one boat while stepping into another. Conditions are temporarily unstable.
• Romance - slightly better up until the 13th while Venus is in her own sign of Libra, even though restricted
at the moment by the opposition of debilitated Saturn, and the conjunction with the debilitated Sun.
• Business - better after the 18th when the Sun has moved to Scorpio, and its ruler Mars is 11th from it (the
11th is the house of gain) in Virgo. Prior to the 18th, the Sun will be debilitated in Libra -- never a good
time to initiate a new business. The Sun should always be strong as it is the significator for business as we
as, more subtly, for the soul’s work. . Mercury becomes retrograde on the 22nd which for some people will
slow their thinking, and dull the mind. Any important writing or communications should be done earlier in
the month.
Saturn for the next couple of years will be debilitated in Aries. Choose times when Saturn is neecha banga
(debility is cancelled). All of November, Saturn will be retrograde in motion. Some astrologers believe this
creates a “cancellation” of debilitation.
The Moon and Sun are the most important planets to place for Muhurta. Which constellation (nakshatra)
they are in, which house, all play an important part. This should always be done in relation to the natal chart(s)
of the concerned person(s). Generally place Moon in the constellation associated with the event, unless it is for
surgery, when the Moon must not be in the sign ruling the same bodily part which will be operated on.
Astrological Consultation
For important matters such as marriage, selecting dates to have surgery performed, or beginning a new
business, I highly recommend you engage the services of a competent astrologer, and if possible one who
specializes in Muhurta or electional work . If you want to learn how to do Muhurta yourself, you should first
understand the fundamentals of Jyotish -- how to read a chart, the meanings of planets, houses and signs, the
divisional charts, the Ashtakavarga system, and know how to use a Panchanga or Lunar Ephemeris. Attend
workshops and listen to tapes on the subject. Some resources for study include Kalaprakasika by Iyer, Muhurta
by Dr. B.V. Raman, Muhurta Traditional & Modern by K.K. Joshi -- all excellent sources for this complex
Christina Collins can be reached at the Academy for Vedic Studies, 521 Rider Ridge Drive, Longmont, CO
80501, phone: 303/774-1999, fax: 303-774-1900, e-mail: [email protected]