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Dwadasamsa Thinking

Dwad and duad are short for dwadasamsa. A dwad is 1/12 of a zodiacal sign, that is, 2� degrees of arc. Dwad ideas were developed from a notion that if the large signs of the zodiak are found to express different qualities one way or another, than the twelve mini signs put into the twelve signs themselves, would also "do the trick."½–"Boxes within boxes" is the grand idea that leads to the thesis that the twelve mini-parts of a sign give vent to that sign in different ways. Such ways relate to how each of the mini signs is held to be½–its delicate nature, so to speak.

So, the 12 signs of the zodiac become mini signs within each sign, and they may be arranged in various ways, and according to some system. The traditional way of doing it is illustrated below. It is a traditionally favoured way in India and nearby. (WP, "Dwadasamsa")

Wise men and women could enlarge our perceptions of the twelve star signs by help of dwads, the twelve segments of 2 1/2 ° each. At least try to . . . We will look into it.

First, the zodiac is an imaginary band in the heavens½–from earth we may study the sun, moon, and the planets as they seemingly traverse along it (as observed from Earth)½–and the zodiac is divided into twelve segments½–the astrological signs. Each sign is 30 degrees long, and each sign has a key symbol. The symbol of the first sign is a ram in Western astrology, the symbol of the second sign is a bull, and so on. The symbols are formed to indicate something about what qualities that go with any such segment (star sign) and quite easy to remember. Hence, the appointed first sign in Western astrology is Aries, the Ram. Taurus the Bull comes next, and so on in a cycle. The sun traverses that cycle in about a year.

Second, the word dwadashamsa½–dwad, in short½–is Sanskrit, and means 12-division. The reckoning and calculations of dwad (dwadashamsa) thinking rests on the idea that each sign has 12 sub-segments of the zodiac within itself, according to that "A whole (zodiac) is reflected in its parts (each sign) somehow, one way or another, or in several ways". Now there are differences of opinion as to how dwads are to sorted and arranged, in what order, and what "sign dwad" had better be the first dwad of any sign.

The traditional method of dwad arrangement has that the first dwad of Scorpio is the Scorpio dwad, the first dwad of Sagittarius is the Sagittarious dwad. The first dwad of Aries is the Aries dwad, and the first dwad of Taurus is the Taurus dwad, and so on, all the way round the circle. That is a way to mete out the segments. I do not find it worth mentioning any other main ways of dividing each sign into dwads, but some such ways exist.

Astrology and horoscope interpretations are due to interpreted correspondences, and there are many such correspondences in Jyotish, that is, Indian astrology. And Buddha seems to caution against astrology, to protect followers from getting fooled. One side to this is that much common astrology does not take into account one's spiritual standing or development, but seeks alignments mainly, and not so much proficiency, whereas the Gentle Middle Way is designed to help us on and up in a good way that avoids extremes and cramped beliefs. Yet astrology forms part of the ancient Buddhist tradition too, especially in Mahayana Buddhism. I for my part do not have a very cramped attitude to astrology: and suggest you inspect the matter at hand skilfully enough before you form any stiff opinions or verdicts about it.

dwad finder












1.  0–2½°
2.  2½–5°
3.  5–7½°
4.  7½–10°
5.  10–12½°
6.  12½–15°
7.  15–17½°
8.  17½–20°
9.  20–22½°
10.  22½–25°
11.  25–27½°
12.  27½–30°

A dwad is 2½° of a sign – is a mini sign in a sign, and stacked in this order (traditional arrangement): The first dwad of a sign is the mini version of the sign itself, and then the others follow in the order of the zodiac.

So: The twelve dwads of a star sign are in the vertical column beneath the sign. And the first dwad of a sign is a dwad that corresponds to the sign itself. This is way of arranging the "mini signs", or dwads, is called the traditional way of considering the dwads, which is short for dwadasamsas ..

By way of example, the first dwad of Aries is an Aries dwad. The first dwad of Taurus is a Taurus dwad, and so on.

A first try to interpret a dwad: Place the sun sign on top of the dwad, considering that the dwad is deeper (subtler), and thus can need more time to manifest fitly, "under the wide, encompassing wings of its sign", so to speak. Example:

Suppose you have got your sun in Lib(ra) 21, that is, somewhere between 20 and 21 degrees of Libra, the Scales. According to the traditional way of accessing dwads, the sun is here in Libra's Gem(ini) dwad, (see the table), and it can be written like this: ♎/♊, and understood as on the page referred to.


Decans are subdivisions of each sign in the zodiac. Decans are ten degrees each, so there are three decans of each sign. The decans are found by the element thinking that goes into signs. There are four elements to be reckoned with outside Chinese and Tibetan astrology, where there are five elements.

Let us stick with the traditional four elements in Babylonian and Western astrology for now. Every fourth sign is said to be imbued with the same element. Aquarius is called an air sign, and the same goes for Libra and Gemini, they are also taken to be air signs.

Thus, each sun sign is partitioned into three segments of 10 degrees each. These parts of the sign are known as decans, also known as decanates. The first ten degrees are called the first decan, the second ten degrees are termed the second decan and the third ten degrees are the third decan. They are given their meanings by how we look at them! Are there inherent meanings in them too? There are several ways of "stacking" the decans.

Possibilities½–they all start in the mind, according to Mae West's "It all starts in the mind." And then there is outward nature too, perhaps or perhaps not. Then, can we afford to wait a long time for good proofs of the relationships between signs and decans to be forthcoming? Look back over the centuries . . . There could be no good evidence found yet. Here are the decan possibilities for each sign, shown by Aquarius:

  1. The first decan of Aquarius corresponds to Aquarius itself, since it begins the sign, and thus is "impregnated with the 'guts' of the sign" so as to make itself felt.
  2. The first decan of Aquarius is best linked to Gemini, the air sign that follows it, for that arrangement gives a lot -
  3. The first decan of Aquarius should be represented by its preceding air sign, Libra, for some reason or other.

And so on with the middle decan and the third decan: there are three mental ways of regarding or arranging the decans. One might say, for example, "The central decan (10-20 degrees) of Aquarius corresponds best to Aquarius itself, since it is in the centre. In the centre, that's where there is much of it." It is often like that.

What we had better be interested in, is how to make the horoscope bloom for us, so that we may live long, fulfilling, happy lives over and over½–

So how to make the best out of your star sign and its possibly relevant subdivisions? Think positively and stick to that. It often matters.

1. Find and stick to the positive qualities that are ascribed to each sign, without ignoring the backsides or problems that are there.

2. You stack the decans to make you proficient. That is one view. There are others. How to stack the decans to make you proficient? In the first decan you try to draw on the next air signs in the zodiac, that is, Gemini. The past sign, Libra, and the experiences related to it, may be for bulwarking, and thus be put at the rear½–it means: interpret the third decant in the light of the previous sign of the same elements. Thus you get an arrangement of decans½–a scheme to follow or try out through a long life if you will: "Next sign; current sign; past sign". This arrangement is for the experienced -

3. Then comes the subtler dwads, and they too are arranged in different ways in different systems. The traditional way of arranging dwads is given.

The griffin

Head and shoulders and torso is for making oneself known: The sign itself, the who or how. Each sign has many animals and the like to represent it, or sides to it. Guessing is the game.

Belly from navel to thighs is of getting proficient: The decan tells what proficiency.

The rear (behinds and legs, including feet): The subtle dwad is a later bloomer.

Totem animal suggestion

A guy who was born on Januar 4 a long time ago, and given time to lead his or her own course rather much, can bloom to his or her benefit or harm in the conformist circles of life. Some harms grow in time, or show up later. His sun is in 13 degrees Capricorn, which yields this totem figure:

  1. Head: Capricorn's sea-goat, rooster or mythological monster (Makara, half crocodile). It should make sense through interpreting the sign emblems.
  2. Belly: The decan: a monster (for example Capricorn). not peaceful at all. Or rooster proficiency½–What else is monstrous proficiency and rooster proficiency apart from picking fights and prancing along, you may wonder. Or what is sea-goat proficiency? Astrology books on the signs might give hints½–and maybe not. It depends on how good they are.
  3. Rear, by this arrangement of decans (there are others): a Gemini½–twin, tiger and so on. Proficiency of tables (not furniture).

"A monster on tiger feet" can and should be upright, and much depends on that. To be good, much depends on how we make use of the subtler sides to ourselves, what outlets we eventually come up with, the "spins" on this and that. A picture amalgam of these three parts½–a griffin½–could help us see and remember key characteristics of each sign, decan and dwad together, and help proficiency that matters, without getting deranged through trickery and much else.

A monster with tiger feet, how may it live and breed? The options are many because interpretations of fictitious beings tend to differ.

We could expect something quite monstrous about him over the decades. "Monstrous in decent ways" is first, and "monstrous in some accepted way or ways" is second.½–Who can tell? Those who survive at close range. A monster is hardly friendly, and will hardly be easy to find. Such are monster ways fairly often.

The second decan of any sign takes on the characteristics of the next sign in the same element and hence the second decan for Aries is Leo. The third decan of any sign is the last sequential sign within the same element and so for Aries it would be Sagittarius.

To study the sun's or any other planet's placement in your horoscope, taking decans and dwads into account is a set, formidable way in Indian astrology. Well equipped with strategic key words for planets, signs, decans and dwads (mini signs), you get much to consider, and then griffins function well as help to it.

Key Symbols

In the table below, Western signs are first, a few alternatives are put in square brackets, signs in Hindu astrology are in round brackets, and the signs in the Chinese zodiac are in italics:

  1. Aries, Ram [Beaver] — Rat
  2. Taurus, Bull [Hedgehog] — Ox
  3. Gemini, Twins — Tiger
  4. Cancer, Crab [Cat] — Rabbit
  5. Leo [Hippo] — Dragon
  6. Virgo [Goose] (virgin girl) — Snake
  7. Libra, Scales (Pretty damsel) — Horse
  8. Scorpio or Eagle — Goat, sheep
  9. Sagittarius (bow and arrow) — Monkey
  10. Capricorn (sea monster) — Rooster
  11. Aquarius (water pourer) — Dog
  12. Pisces [Dolphins] — Pig

Griffins abounding

The griffin was looked on as a protector from evil in the ancient Persian empire. Later, it has fairly often been depicted with the head of an eagle, the body of a lion, and the wings of a dragon. In architectural decoration the griffin is usually a four-footed beast with wings and the head of a leopard or tiger with horns, or with the head and beak of an eagle. There are other uses of griffins as symbols too. So there is room for variation. We can use this and combine animals according to the scheme and see what libido-outlets could suit us, remembering "The head comes first" . . .

The example, Libra 21, gives the griffin-like combination of Horse torso (Libra) over Tiger belly (Gemini) (and with a tiger rear (Libra legs) also). So there can be much to weigh and consider (Libra) and communicate (Gemini), and bulwark with (something of Gemini). A tiger's body and wishes (body) and blunt taming of the tiger is not an option, but flourishing is -

The various animals of such stylised representations are linked to various natural id-sides to the unfoldment. The "Horse-headed tiger" seems to call for some thinking to sort out which natural and libidous outlets are confirmed by key sides to nature's unfoldments and the stylised and dominant shapes and behaviours of the animals. Haphazard allotments of animals to the signs will not do at length. And this survey of main symbols serve as a check on any statement purported to be valid for each and every sign and dwad. [More correspondence thinking]

After some work you have a package of tentative words that may or may not be stringed (sorted and arranged in order) to serve you into old age. Such an art depend on smartness also.

There is a great need to get the various tenets of such structuralist thinking confirmed too. Till then -

A wheel


Dwadasamsas, duads, dwads, dwadashamshas, Indian Astrology star wisdom, Literature  

Lewis, James R. 2003. The Astrology Book: The Encyclopedia of Heavenly Influences. 2nd ed. Canton, MI: Visible Ink Press.

Symbols, brackets, signs and text icons explained: (1) Text markers(2) Digesting.

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