According to the Vedas, the planets are the instruments of God, by which the law of karma operates. The Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, Rahu and Ketu are called the 9 “Grahas” (Sanskrit meaning is “to grab” or “to hold”). According to the ancient scripture Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra: “Vishnu (God) has incarnated as the Navagrahas (9 planets) to bestow on living beings the results of their Karmas or actions. He assumed the auspicious form of Grahas to destroy the strength of the demons (evil forces), to sustain the strength of the Devas (the divine beings) and to establish Dharma (cosmic order or law).”
It is interesting to note that Vedic astrology doesn’t use the “outer” planets—Uranus, Neptune and Pluto—even though there is some historical evidence that the ancient Rishis knew about them; in the ancient scripture the Mahabharata, three planets are mentioned which correspond with the location and coordinates of the outer planets.
The planets, besides their huge physical mass and gravitational force, are tremendous fields of subtle psychic or spiritual energies, and it is at that level that we have to understand their effects. This understanding is the basis of the science of astrology. Each planet corresponds to a specific vibratory frequency, color, subtle element, geometrical form, and even a personality type with its own likes and dislikes, friendships and enmities. Each individual person is made of a specific and unique combination of the energies of these planets that determines his characteristics, likes and dislikes, personality and behavior.
THE SUN – (SURYA)
The Sun, being the center of our planetary system, represents the central position: the king, the soul, the government, the masculine principle and our vital energy (together with the Moon). Without the Sun, life on earth wouldn’t be possible, therefore it represents the life force and energy. Even though the Sun represents our true nature (the soul or Atman), due to human beings’ spiritual ignorance, it manifests more as the individual self or ego. The Sun represents what the individual identifies with.
According to the sign and house in which it is located in the birth chart, we can understand which areas will be important for the person, or areas the individual has to experience to find out his true nature and Self. Because of its fiery nature, the Sun is considered a malefic planet in Jyotish, it hurts or damages the areas it affects.
By identifying with a particular area of life which is not the true self or soul, it brings a fall of consciousness, leading to the experience of suffering, which will eventually lead us to develop humility and recognition of our true nature.
The Sun represents the authority figure, the king, the government or the boss. A strong Sun in the birth chart will indicate a person with some authoritarian and leader personality, who will tend to be in an important position in society or have some relationship with the government. It also represents the father or paternal figure. A strong Sun usually indicates a rich or powerful father or a good relation with him.
A strong Sun in the chart indicates a mature soul with a developed consciousness, strong personality, and good self-esteem. A too-strong or predominant sun can indicate an overly authoritative person, or someone who is too self-centered, always wanting to be the center of attention, someone who has difficulties working with or under other people, and, in general, a lack of humility.
A weak or afflicted Sun will usually indicate a difficult relationship with the father or that the father has some problem, or a low self-esteem, low vitality or health problems.
The Sun rules the heart, blood circulation, the sight, right eye, head and headaches, hair growth or baldness, the abdomen and digestive fire, dryness and fever. The ayurvedic constitution is Pitta or fiery.
THE MOON – (CHANDRA or SOMA)
The Moon is considered the most important heavenly body in Vedic astrology, due to its influence on the mind and emotions. These are the instruments by which we perceive the world, and act and relate with it, being the cause of the play of karma.
The Moon reflects the energy of the Sun and balances its fire with her fresh, cooling, nourishing and vitalizing light and nectar.
It represents the mind, emotions, prana, water and liquids. Moon also represents the mother. Its position indicates the type of relation with her and her well-being, factors that have a deep effect on a person’s psychology and life. It also represents the nourishment, food and material needs for survival, all of which are provided by the mother. Therefore, a strong Moon is a great strength in the chart and helps to overcome difficulties in life.
The waxing and waning cycles of the Moon are well-known for their effect on all life on earth: plants, ocean tides, climate, the female cycle, fertility and emotional moods. The Moon cycles directly affect the psychological and physiological state of humans and all living beings. Statistical studies have shown that mentally disturbed people feel more affected or aggravated during the full Moon.
Being born during the waxing Moon usually leads to a more extroverted mind and personality, while the waning Moon leads to a more introverted mind.
The position of the Moon in the birth chart indicates the way the person thinks and feels, his important subjects in life and his relationship with the external world.
A strong Moon in the chart reflects mental and psychological stability, good concentration and capacity of well-being and emotional satisfaction.
An afflicted Moon usually reflects emotional difficulties, mental or psychological disturbances or health problems.
The effects of a weak Moon can be overcome by meditation and spiritual practices, living in calm places, in contact with nature, and by white or light colors.
The exact degree of the Moon at birth determines the successive planetary periods known as Maha Dashas, and it is an important factor to predict the energies and issues that will predominate over the course of time.
Moon represents female fertility, blood and body fluids, the lungs, breasts, milk and the chest area. The ayurvedic constitution is Kapha or phlegmatic, and partially Vata or airy.
MARS – (KARTIK, MANGAL or KUJA)
Mars represents energy, courage, initiative and action. It also represents war and aggression. Depending on its position it can be a positive spiritual energy to overcome obstacles and grow spiritually, or it can become a destructive force, causing harm, injuries, accidents and uncontrolled passions. Mars is action-oriented, related to initiative, youth and the conquering of enemies. It can lead to a very dynamic, active and enthusiastic personality, or alternatively, to one who wants to dominate others by force.
Mars also represents brothers, technology, technical or mechanical skills, mathematics, computing, athletics and sports, medicine and surgery, blood pressure, police and military people, dictators, fire and explosions.
A strong and well-placed Mars in the birth chart indicates a spiritual warrior—a lack of fear to face the difficulties and enemies of life, internally and externally; control over one’s own body and aggression. An afflicted Mars can indicate a fearful, aggressive or violent person.
A weak Mars can lead to an uncontrolled dissipation or loss of the vital energy in many directions. It can create muscular weakness. Physical exercise is a good way to strengthen Mars energy.
Physically it represents the marrow, muscles, physical strength, the head, testicles and virility, and has a Pitta or fiery ayurvedic constitution.
MERCURY – (BUDDHA)
Mercury represents the intellect or Buddhi, the capacity for discrimination, communication, language, learning, youth, childhood, plays, sports and friends. Mercury has a constant desire for learning, but it also creates a duality in the mind, always comparing between the pairs of opposites. The Moon represents the subconscious or emotional mind, but Mercury represents the pure analytical and rational mind.
A strong and well-placed Mercury indicates good intelligence and capacity for learning, oral or written communication skills and good speech.
Mercury, when too strong or predominant, can lead to repressing the emotions with reason, and can make for a very critical nature.
A weakly-placed Mercury can lead a person to rely more on emotions and instinct rather than on reason, and it can bring some difficulties in learning, speech, the skin, nervous system, and diminish the capacity to retain knowledge.
Mercury can behave as a benefic or malefic planet depending on its association with other planets.
A person can have a good intelligence, but use it on a selfish and destructive way, if afflicted by malefic planets.
Physically it represents the skin and breathing passages, and it has a Vata or airy ayurvedic constitution.
JUPITER – (GURU or BRIHASPATI)
Jupiter represents the teacher, the “Guru,” the one who leads us from the darkness of ignorance to the light of knowledge. He stands for wisdom, knowledge, learning, goodness, good luck, good karma and expansion.
In the Vedas, Brihaspati is called the Guru of the Devas, the celestial or angelical beings. He is represented as a priest—full of wisdom, righteousness, justice, goodness; desirous to bless and give prosperity to everyone.
Jupiter also represents children, mainly the eldest son, and in case of woman, it represents the husband.
It is considered the most benefic planet because of its nature of giving and expanding, without expectations.
Jupiter usually blesses the areas related with its placement, but for some ascendants like Taurus, Libra or Capricorn, it can be adverse or bring inauspicious effects, because it is the ruler of difficult houses. The position of Jupiter in a birth chart will indicate the ways of spiritual learning, type of faith or religion, teachers and material prosperity.
A strong and well-placed Jupiter in a chart is an indicator of optimism, faith, interest in religion of philosophy, sense of righteousness and justice, positive contacts with teachers, wise or religious people, and good prosperity, caused by some good past karmas and spiritual tendencies. It is very common in the charts of religious people, priests, teachers, philosophers, judges, lawyers, or prosperous people.
But in some cases, an excessively strong Jupiter can lead a person to not make any effort to improve his life situation—an excessive optimism that can lead to spiritual stagnation.
An afflicted Jupiter can indicate difficulty in getting a spiritual teacher, or sometimes even getting a wrong, dishonest or fake teacher, or a difficult relationship with teachers in general. It can bring lack of faith and optimism in life, or a more materialistic view of life, or material difficulties that don’t allow the mind to expand into a more spiritual awareness.
An afflicted or weak Jupiter can indicate marital difficulties or husband’s bad health, or difficulties to have children.
Physically it is related to the fat tissues, accumulation of fluids, obesity, liver, pancreas and the sugar and fat metabolism, the hips and the feet. Its nature is Kapha or phlegmatic.
VENUS – (SHUKRA)
Venus is also a spiritual teacher, but he is the teacher of the Asuras or demons—beings who were spiritually evolved at some past time, but fell from grace due to strong materialistic or selfish tendencies. Venus helps them find their path of return.
Venus represents the feminine, the beautiful, refined; attraction, the desires and human passions; the sexual and marital relationships. Venus is also associated with wealth, clothes, jewelry, music, dance, the fine arts, creativity, semen, love, attraction and sexuality.
For a man, Venus is a significate for woman or the spouse, whose characteristics and relationship can be assessed from the position of Venus in the birth chart.
A strong and well-located Venus tends to bestow artistic talents and creativity, physical beauty, good sense of esthetics and harmony, prosperity, wealth and divine grace. A well-located Venus has a spiritual potential of transforming the energy of love and sensuality into devotion, cosmic love and a feeling of the divine grace. If there are no other spiritual indications in the chart, a too-strong or dominating Venus can lead to an excessive attachment to sensual pleasure, and the material objects of the world and its physical pleasures
An afflicted or debilitated Venus usually brings a difficulty to obtain pleasure or enjoyment in life, which can lead a person to look for exaggerated means of sensual gratification to compensate. It can also indicate weakness or diseases of the reproductive organs, or sexual disorders. In some cases, if there are other spiritual indications, a debilitated Venus can lead a parson to a sincere spiritual path, developing a strong devotion, looking for God’s love alone.
Physically it represents the reproductive organs, urinary tract and semen. Its ayurvedic constitution is Kapha and Vata.
SATURN – (SHANI)
Saturn represents austerity, discipline, restrictions and sufferings. He is also a spiritual teacher, but one who teaches through restriction, hard work, purification, service and humility, leading the person to face his weaknesses and more negative tendencies, to recognize and change them.
Saturn makes us face and work out the negative karma we created in the past in the form of restrictions and sufferings, which will lead us eventually to recognize our negative patterns and develop responsibility and self-discipline to change them.
Saturn represents longevity, old age, concentration and meditation.
The position of Saturn in the chart indicates the areas of struggle and difficulties in life, though in Vedic astrology it is considered a very important planetary energy for spiritual advancement and evolution.
A strong and well-located Saturn in a chart will indicate a good capacity to endure the hardships of life, the capacity for hard work, a strong sense of responsibility, seriousness, self-discipline, austerity or “tapas.”
An afflicted Saturn can show a difficulty in facing responsibilities, or trying to evade them, which leads to more suffering. It can cause mental depression, loneliness, feelings of isolation, addictions and chronic diseases. The more one tries to escape from Saturn’s restrictions, the more intense those sufferings become, leading eventually to extremely difficult situations. Saturn’s restrictions lead to disappointment and detachment from the worldly happiness, which eventually leads to the search for true happiness within the spirit.
The best way to relate with Saturn’s energy is to understand and accept his restrictions consciously through self-discipline and self-purification.
Saturn moves slowly, an indication that his lessons will have to be learned over a long period of perseverance and hard work. But after that, Saturn can give immense blessings and spiritual strength.
He usually tends to postpone or delay things and the areas of life that it affects in the chart.
A strong and dominant Saturn can be found in the birth charts of hard-workers, servants, politicians, yogis and ascetic people.
Its energy can be positively channeled through fasting, selfless service, seclusion and meditation.
Physically it is associated with the nerves and it has a Vata or airy ayurvedic constitution.
RAHU and KETU (the nodes of the Moon)
Rahu and Ketu are not physical planets; they don’t have a physical mass, but are very powerful energetic points in the sky. They are the points of intersection between the path of the Sun and the path of the Moon, causing the solar and lunar eclipses. They are very important on the spiritual level, as they are related with the unconscious shades, unresolved karmas and conflicts coming from previous lives. They are mythologicaly represented by a snake that was cut in two: the head (Rahu) and the tail (Ketu). This inner conflict manifests as two antagonistic, opposite forces in the sub-conscious mind that generate conflicts, dualities, fears, compulsive desires, rejections or phobias, and karmic situations which lead us to face them and work them out.
When we can understand and connect those two antagonistic forces, the “Kundalini”—the inner spiritual power and strength—awakens, leading to inner healing, peace of mind and spiritual illumination.
Therefore, Rahu and Ketu can be the cause of great conflicts, dissatisfactions and diseases, but by understanding and working them out spiritually, we can connect them and transform them into a great spiritual power.
RAHU – (the north node)
Rahu is related with the unconscious desires, dissatisfactions, fears, obsessions, ambitions and unresolved issues from previous lives that need to be experienced in this life. The houses and signs where Rahu is located indicate areas where there will be mental restlessness, hypersensitivity, strong desires to experience that area, but fears to do so and dissatisfaction with it at the same time.
It tends to create very strong but unconscious desires, without really understanding their causes, which can lead to compulsive behavior, addictions, fantasies, unrealistic imaginations or suggestions.
Rahu represents the unconventional, illegal, dark but desired; also foreigners, people out of the social system and its norms, or “outcasts.” It can also be transformed and sublimated into a spiritual energy, knowledge of the occult side of the mind, or knowledge of psychology. Understanding and control of this energy leads to esoteric knowledge and awakening of the Kundalini power.
KETU – (the south node)
Ketu is represented by a Sadhu, a mendicant ascetic monk, one who rejects the world and its vanity, instead looking for the essential truth alone. Ketu indicates areas where detachment has to be developed, areas that will be the source of some suffering—with the purpose of being spiritualized, searching for life’s very essence. Ketu is considered a very important planet for spiritual evolution, because it represents the capacity for renunciation, detachment from the ephemeral, and a search for the truth and the essence of life. It also represents Moksha, liberation from the cycle of births and deaths and attainment of illumination.
A predominant Ketu can be seen in the charts of monks, ascetics, renunciates, and psychic and clairvoyant people.
The placement of Ketu in the birth chart indicates areas that have been experienced in excess in previous lives, now causing feelings of dissatisfaction and rejection towards them.
Ketu can cause damage and restrictions in the areas it affects, but it is also a way of spiritual learning.
An adverse Ketu can cause ruptures, breaks, accidents or diseases, but alternatively it can bestow intuitive knowledge coming from past life experiences.