When assessing the quality of any issue in the Jyotish chart, you need to look at that issue from three perspectives: the house that represents it, its functional karaka (the ruler of that house), and its natural karaka. This is the power of three, and a judgement should be made only after looking at the state of all these factors.
For instance, say you want to determine whether a person would have any children. You need to look at the fifth house, because it signifies children. You also need to look at the ruler of the fifth house. And you have to consider Jupiter, because it is the natural karaka of children. Assess the benefic and malefic influences on each of these and then arrive at a judgment.
Here’s movie director Stephen Spielberg’s chart, with annotations for the three conditions we need to focus on when we want to analyze for children:
See that the natural significator, Jupiter, is in the fifth house. The functional significator, which is the ruler of the fifth house, Venus, is also in the fifth house. Both Jupiter and Venus are natural benefics. Jupiter rules the 7th and 10th houses, and does not attain functional maleficence (which it would, had it rules any of the houses 3rd, 6th, or 8th.) Venus is functionally benefic because of its rulership of the 5th house. (It also rules the 12th house, but that does not contribute maleficence or beneficence.)
This 5th house also contains the Moon, which is technically not considered to be a benefic since it is in its waning half. However, I consider the Moon to be generally benefic and use it as such. So here we have all three benefic planets in the 5th house. There are no aspects to the 5th house from any of the other planets. Notably, Stephen Spielberg is blessed with a number of children: seven, including two adopted children, and one stepchild.
As a contrast, here’s another example. This is the chart of Hillary Clinton, who has one daughter, Chelsea, with Bill Clinton:
Like in Spielberg’s chart, here again the 5th house of children is in Libra, and the functional significator, Venus, is in its own sign in the 5th. However, it is joined by the Sun, a natural malefic, which has also attained additional maleficence as the ruler of the 3rd house. Jupiter, the natural karaka of the 5th house is in the 6th house, conjunct Ketu, which is a malefic.
There’s also Mercury in the 5th house which is naturally neutral, but functionally benefic because of its rulership of the all-important 1st house. Mars, a natural malefic, becomes even more malefic because of its rulership of the malefic 6th house, aspects the 5th house. In fact, it aspects Venus very closely. Jupiter, the natural karaka of children is in the malefic 6th house, conjunct malefic Ketu.
As for aspects to the 5th house, malefic Mars aspects Venus very closely from the 2nd house. Moreover, Mars is debilitated in Cancer. Generally, malefic planets tend to cause even more trouble when they are debilitated.
Overall, there are more malefic influences than there are benefic ones on the 5th house. Here’s where we need to make a qualitative assessment because it is never a question of simple arithmetic. First, a conjunction with a malefic is less inclined to be troublesome than an aspect from a malefic from a different house. In this case, this means the Jupiter-Ketu conjunction is more likely to result in a child who is discriminating and likely keeps a low profile, rather than no child at all. Similarly, the conjunction of Venus with the Sun is more likely to indicate that the child is likely to have leadership qualities and be courageous. The real malefic influence then is that of Mars, and it is indeed quite powerful. If this chart were to be presented to me as a “blind test”, that is without any information about the individual, I would venture that this person could have one child (maybe two, if lucky), primarily because of the presence of the 5th ruler in the 5th house.
This third example is that of a woman who consulted with me about her life circumstance, she was around 40 years of age then. The consultation started off with her narrating a bout of personal issues. After a while, it finally came to the question of job and career. Here’s her chart:
I immediately noticed the importance of the 3rd house because of the presence of both the Sun and the Moon in that house. With both the luminaries in the same house, it simply had to make its presence felt. Moon, the functional significator, happens to be in its own house of Cancer. Mars, the natural significator of the 3rd house is aspected (9th aspect) by Jupiter from the 9th house of publishing. Jupiter itself rules publishing, and the 9th aspect of Jupiter comes with significant blessings. The clincher here was the presence of Mercury, the planet of communication in the 3rd house of writing. And, Mercury rules the creative 5th, which has Mars, the natural significator of the 3rd.
All of this made me feel very strongly that she could write, and write well, either in her career or as a hobby. I suggested: “Have you tried writing?” And she lit up, like she had been hoping in her heart of hearts that I would ask her this, or somehow show her something in which she could shine. (Her tropical Sun is in Leo.) “My lab director is constantly asking me to help with writing reports, but I’m not sure I want to do it. He says I am very good at it—he really liked a couple of reports I just wrote last week.” I went on to tell her why she would be good, and what kinds of reports she would most enjoy writing, drawing from both her Jyotish chart as well as her Western horoscope.