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Jyotish Star of the Month

A Conversation with Hank Friedman

By Juliana Swanson
Interview Date: 9/12/2014

Juliana Swanson: Thanks for agreeing to do this interview.

Hank Friedman: My pleasure!

Juliana: Where did you grow up?

Hank FriedmanHank: I was born in Orange, New Jersey and moved to the outskirts of Newark, New Jersey when I was four. From a very early age, I was fascinated with science, and became a “science whiz-kid” by fifth grade. I was in special science programs from then through graduate school studies in Neurochemistry.

Juliana: What brought you to astrology?

Hank: In my early 20’s, my new girlfriend asked me “What’s my sign?” Since I was a scientist, I felt it was my mission to save her from this pseudo-science.

She countered, “Have you studied it”?

So I quickly taught myself Western astrology and began giving low-cost readings to the staff at work. My only requirement was that they tell me, after each statement, whether what I said was accurate or not. I quickly realized that while a good portion of what I said was general and fit everyone, there were far too many statements that were very specific that fit them like a glove. Over time, I gradually shifted from rooting against astrology to becoming fascinated with it.

Juliana: What was your profession at the time?

Hank: I was employed previously as a chemist, and therapist.

Juliana: What kind of therapist?

Hank: Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist trained in Ericksonian hypnotherapy and the Fisher-Hoffman Process.

Juliana: Are there any other astrologers in your family?

Hank: No.

Juliana: How did you find your way to Vedic astrology?

Hank: Since I'd become an expert on Western astrology software, and had a regular software review column in The Mountain Astrologer, it was natural for them to ask me to write a review on the top Vedic astrology programs. I quickly realized that I had to study at least some Vedic astrology in order to write a meaningful review. So I cracked the top Vedic books available at the time (not many!) and had a few tutorials with Stephen Quong. That enabled me to write the review.

Juliana: After that, how did you extend and deepen your knowledge of Vedic astrology?

Hank: Well, even though I continued to study Vedic astrology, both in books and at classes, I got nowhere until I met Hart de Fouw. He was and is a true master of Jyotish, and his way of teaching is more thorough, systematic, and empowering by far than any other teacher or writer I've encountered.

Juliana: Clearly you found the right teacher!

Hank: He made Jyotish catch fire for me, and for that I'm eternally grateful.

Juliana: How do you combine your work with Western astrology and Vedic astrology?

Hank: I find the “dance” between Western and Vedic astrology systems incredibly synergistic. I use Western charts for psychodynamics, temperament, and compatibility with others, and I use the Western transits of Jupiter through Pluto to see the current energies, events, and life lessons.

Juliana: And Vedic astrology?

Hank: Vedic astrology, on the other hand, informs me about the client’s karma, greatest gifts, and trials; the unfoldment of life according to the dasas and vargas — how each life theme will go (and has gone) during the current, past, and future periods; how one is oriented toward the four aims of life; and much more.

Juliana: What is soul healing (in addition to being the name of your website

Hank: Soul healing is the liberation from the injuries, burdens, and beliefs that an individual has, in order to become free to embody the already-shining Self. Soul healing is a journey that helps one get in touch with all of the barriers to one’s true essence.

Incomplete experiences from past lives, early childhood experiences, false beliefs and perceptions, disharmonies between one’s (inner) parts, etc. – all can be resolved and released. Each of us shifts between our
Hank Friedman
Light and obscurations in everyday life, but to reside more and more in our greatness is a wonderful blessing.

Juliana: I was fascinated when reading your process of doing an astrology consultation, which is discussed in many articles on your website. Can you iterate something about this for our readers?

Hank: As my teacher Hart has said many times, one has to become so facile with the principles embodied by the chart (its aspects, yogas, placements, cycles, and so forth) and the way that they reinforce each other, so that the chart “speaks to you” as you examine it.

Every time I look at a person's chart, even if I’ve seen it 100 times already, it’s as if I’m seeing it for the first time, with fresh and unbiased eyes that see the themes that want to be seen.

Juliana: How would you describe an astrological consultation?

Hank: A chart reading is a co-creation of the astrologer, the client, the current time and cycles, and Divine inspiration.

Juliana: You offer many detailed astrology lessons on your website (I believe 150 in Vedic astrology alone). What in your own Vedic chart points to a profession in the wisdom arts and your altruistic teaching gifts?

Hank: I have a very strong Venus in Taurus in the 10th house, conjoined Mercury (my atmakaraka) and opposite a bright Moon. In addition, the lord of the 9th house is raja yogakaraka and conjunct Ketu aspecting the 9th house.

Juliana: Do you have any advice that can be helpful for students of Vedic astrology?

Hank: I suggest that students learn the basics so thoroughly that they don’t have to think about them any more when they look at a chart.

Juliana: That’s a great start. Is there anything else?

Hank: Mostly, be receptive to the chart teaching you, especially what its “tilts” are.

Juliana: Tilts?

Hank: The tilt is the way that each chart factor leans, for instance, toward the positive or negative (successes or obstacles), so that the effects are seen in correct proportion.

Vedic astrology charts are riddled with contradictions, as in a planet having both good and bad influences upon it. Here are three pointers for dealing with this conundrum: 1) Learn the AND principle, which is that everything manifests and there’s not just one influence; 2) Keep in mind that “The strongest planet wins,” meaning that the strongest factors will, overall, prevail; and, 3) Remember that yogas trump normal house analysis and give great gifts to any placement. All these will help to untangle the opposing influences.

Juliana: Are you in full private practice as an astrological consultant and /or tutor/teacher?

Hank: If you include my psychic and counseling practices too, then yes.

Juliana: Please tell us about these practices.

Hank: The majority of my clients come for sessions with my Guides (sometimes combined with an astrological reading). My Guides are incredibly gifted, and even one session with them can be life-changing. In the counseling sessions, I use Ericksonian hypnotherapy and my empathic abilities to help a client emerge into clarity and self-love.

Juliana: You are an expert on astrology software. This seems to be a unique niche as well as a wonderful service which you offer to thousands of astrologers worldwide. How did you get here?

Hank: I took to the personal computer (back in 1978) like a duck to water. I immediately became involved in helping the existing astrology software
Astrology on Your Personal Computer
companies to design and debug their programs (I once calculated that I gave them thousands of hours!). They then encouraged me to start writing my book Astrology on Your Personal Computer and also software reviews, which I’ve done for several astrological magazines.

Juliana: Would you say you have a mission here?

Hank: It became a “mission of love” because I love astrology and astrologers and wanted them (and still want them) to have the best tools available for their craft. I still spend a lot of time answering questions for those who want to get or already have astrology software

I've also created tutorial videos and many websites devoted to each of the major astrology programs.

Juliana: You are also a home-based gourmet chocolatier with many delicious chocolate recipes and tips on your website.

Hank FriedmanHank: Yes, I just finished making passion fruit and jasmine truffles for a friend’s birthday. They came out great! I even purchased fresh passion fruit and strained the pulp to get the juice for the truffles.

I experience much more joy sharing my truffles with others than in eating them myself. So I give them to my gardeners, neighbors, mail people, wait-people at stores and restaurants that I frequent, and, of course, friends, family, and clients.

Juliana: Charles M. Schultz said, “All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” Besides the many health benefits of good dark chocolate, do you agree it is food for the soul?

Hank: Truly it is. To have an exquisitely made truffle is one of life’s great joys. I have many people who don't even like chocolate who love my truffles.

Juliana: Thank you for your inspiration. We appreciate your tremendous service to the astrology community and wish you all success and happiness.

Hank Friedman Biography

Hank FriedmanHank Friedman has been in practice as a professional psychic, Western and Vedic astrologer, clinical hypnotherapist, astrology software reviewer, and astrology software guide and distributor for decades. In addition, he offers his services to all of the astrology software companies freely to help them design, debug, and improve their programs.

Hank is devoted to giving back to the astrological community, and in addition to creating YouTube and written tutorials on all of the major astrology programs, he also shares the insights in astrology that he has received on his website at, where he also publishes new
tutorials bimonthly in Vedic and Western astrology. Currently, there are over 150 tutorials and two recommended reading lists on the site.

On a more personal note, Hank lives in the San Francisco Bay area of Northern California. He has a lovely home in the El Cerrito Hills, adorned by his fragrant garden (where he often adds new plants). One of his personal passions is creating gourmet chocolate truffles, and sharing the recipes on his website at (presently up to 50 pages) and giving truffles to all of his friends, clients, neighbors, and so on. He is also an aficionado of top-quality oolong teas and always on the search for new ones. You can reach Hank by email at

Hank Friedman's October 2014 Jyotish Star Article The Art of Nakshatra Analysis

Juliana Swanson Biography

Juliana SwansonJuliana Swanson is a registered nurse (RN), healer, astrologer, mother, and wife. She runs her astrological consulting and holistic healing practices, which combine polarity therapy and rebirthing-breathwork, from her home office on Hawaii's Big Island. In addition, she tutors Vedic astrology students both individually and as an online instructor for the American College of Vedic Astrology and the International Academy of Astrology.

Juliana qualifies as an ACVA and CVA Level II certified Vedic Astrologer, receiving two titles of excellence: the Jyotish Visharada, CVA and the Jyotish Kovid, CVA.

Additionally, in 2012 she was awarded the Jyotish Kovid from the ICAS, Bangalore, India. Juliana may be reached by email at or through her website

You may reach Juliana at her Hawaii office at 808-430-5989

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