Updated: Mar 9
In Vedic Astrology, planets are considered transmitters of cosmic influences and represent the karmas of the soul. They reflect karmic and pranic energies on both individual and collective levels. Planets are called grahas in Sanskrit. As the word graha means 'to grasp', the planets cover us with their influence. Since they represent energy, the signs they are placed in describe how this energy is expressed. Vedic Astrology uses astronomical placements of the planets, which are used by astronomers. Those are the actual locations of the planets, based on the stars.
There are nine planets in Vedic Astrology - Moon, Sun, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn - plus Rahu and Ketu, north and south nodes of the Moon. These are shadowy planets or mathematical points in space that cause eclipses. In astronomy, this occurs because of the shadow cast by the Moon on the Earth during a solar eclipse, or by the shadow of the Earth on the Moon during a lunar eclipse. The understanding of eclipse cycles reveals deeper aspects of our soul. Our re-birth is not only attributed to Rahu and Ketu, but they are also indicators of our destiny, showing what our past and future will be. Rahu is our future, Ketu is our past.
Both the Sun and the Moon are luminaries because they are able to illuminate both our outer and inner Selves. Besides reflecting the dual nature of life on Earth, the Sun and Moon are also prime mirrors through which we can view our own characteristics and nature.
Image 1: The nine planets
The planets are indicators (karakas) of several things in life. Here are some important meanings associated with the planets of our solar system, which give our Vedic charts their beauty and depth.
The Sun, or Sūrya, is the center of the universe, the source of light and life. Sun represents the Universe's Divine Creator or Cosmic Lord. Sūrya is the life force of our planet and the soul and spirit in a chart. He is the energiser, the inspirer, and the transformer. He represents our physical body, our father, bosses, authority, self-esteem, and heart. Sūrya represents leaders of the world, CEOs, presidents, and gold. In Āyurveda, Sūrya is connected to the firepower or Agni in the stomach, supporting our digestion and good health.
In ancient times, the Moon, or Chandra, was worshipped as the queen of the universe. She governs our thoughts, emotions and feelings. Furthermore, she represents motherhood, home, family, agriculture and food, water, and the conscious and unconscious depths of the mind. Chandra represents the public, the masses, women, and fame. The Moon symbolises mental harmony and happiness. As a result, spiritual beings often suffer from an afflicted Moon because it sets them on a quest for the Divine and into meditation which is the best way to calm the mind.
Rahu or the north node of the Moon denotes the darkness of an eclipse that hides the Sun or Moon and points the way beyond body consciousness. Rahu signifies obsessions, addictions, desires, foreigners and foreign lands, attachments, drugs, powerful people, materialistic pursuits and gains, epidemics, disease, pandemics, poisons, drugs, power, and extremes. Ketu or the south node of the Moon indicates the first light of the dawn or the first rays of the Sun. In this way, he reflects the karmic residues in our subconscious minds. Secret knowledge, such as ancient teachings, ancient symbols, and secret languages, are represented by Ketu. He represents the outcasts of society, psychic powers, other worldly pursuits, detachment from the world, terrorists, violence, accidents, and death.
Mythologically, Lord Vishnu was distributing the nectar of immortality to delude the demons and one of the demons snuck in and drank the immortal elixir. Annoyed, Vishnu took his disc and sliced the demon into two parts which became Rahu and Ketu. Rahu is the head and Ketu the trunk.
Image 2: Rahu and Ketu
Mercury, or Budha, governs our intellect, power of perception, intelligence, reasoning and discrimination (our buddhi mind). Mercury governs all forms of communication, travel, and learning. He symbolizes speaking, writing, teaching, how we think and how we process information, aunts and uncles, travel (cars, buses, trains, airplanes), television, internet, radio, shipping, imports/exports, sales, education, and youth. He aims to organize existence, and its primary function in human evolution is to distinguish truth from illusion and progress through Maya and the illusions of the world. Mercury is a planet that seeks answers. He aspires to have the perfect answer to everything.
Venus, or Śukra, the planet of love and relationships, is the brightest light in the night sky. The planet Venus is the planet of creativity, artistic pursuits, beauty, the arts, fashion, vehicles, and luxuries, and the wife in a male's chart. Venus reminds us that we have to descend into the material world if we are to gain immortal life.
Mars, or Maṅgala, provides us with the energy to accomplish our labours on the physical plane. Mars represents war and fiery energy. Mars is the protector of society in the form of the police or military. He also represents siblings (particularly younger), anger, conflict, physical energy level, intelligence, indicates bleeding, sexual attraction, and masculine energy. Mars is associated with volcanic eruptions, war, anger, weapons, guns, knives, conflict, real estate, and sports. Ultimately, Mars' purpose is to heal deep seated traumas.
Jupiter, or the Guru, is the teacher of the gods due to his overall teaching and knowledge giving role. His role is to guide humanity spiritually. He represents wisdom, wealth, money, prosperity, opportunities, expansion, freedom, children, husband in a female's chart, teachers, gurus, growth, faith, and higher philosophy. Jupiter enjoys the world of prayer and religious ritual, and is transformed by devotion. Jupiter is connected to Karma Yoga, a form of devotion to others without expecting anything in return. It is one of the ways to attain Moksha (spiritual liberation).
Saturn, or Shani, is the furthest planet visible to the naked eye, so it is the slowest and darkest from our perception. The planet Saturn is associated with the elderly, grandparents, death, endings, blockages, restrictions, discipline, organization, structure, obstacles, setbacks, delays, land, cattle, wisdom, old age, and reality. Saturn is the lord of time, causing delays and obstructions to bring us into the present. Saturn thrives on hard work, responsibility, meditation, and caution. Honoring Saturn requires being real, practical, and humble.
When the great Indian seers imparted their wisdom thousands of years ago, the outer planets were unknown, and the only planets considered in Vedic Astrology were those visible to the naked eye. Some astrologers today use the outer planets - Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. The outer planets reflect our collective consciousness, generations, and major historical events. They remain in a sign for such a long time that they shape generations and reflect mass changes in our world. During major transits, the outer planets affect a natal chart deeply to its core. I was taught to use them in my practice, and I have seen that they function beautifully even when interpreting individual charts.
Uranus was discovered in 1781, around the time of the industrial revolution. There have been numerous inventions that have enabled work and trade to be conducted globally. This was the beginning of the use of electricity. It opened up the world to mass communications. In astrology, Uranus represents rebellion, revolution, mass changes, sudden occurrences, electricity, lightening, machines, inventions, airplanes, computers, social uprisings, earthquakes, and astrology. Additionally, Uranus represents radical and unexpected changes, ingenious, odd, and unusual people, scientists, as well as nervousness.
Neptune was discovered in 1846. During this time, photography was introduced, symbolising Neptune's ability to create illusions that seem real, such as in photos and films. It was the beginning of screen movies. Neptune symbolises water, floods, tsunamis, earthquakes, mysticism, spirituality, ghosts, deception, deceit, illusions, fraud, cheating, film, oil and gas, magic, spirits, and outer space.
Pluto was discovered by astronomers in 1930. During that time of the Great Depression, dictators with underworld qualities controlled the masses, such as Hitler and Stalin. Pluto represents power, money, and government control, manipulation, dictators, atomic energy, volcanic eruptions, mafia organisations, corrupt power, manipulating forces, betrayal, explosives, magnetism, and charisma. Pluto rules very intense psychological changes that are triggered by transits in an individual's chart. I have experienced this intense psychological transformation myself.
My consultations are perfect for anyone who wishes to understand more about Vedic Astrology and the influence of the planets in their charts. Book a consultation with me.
Special thanks to Joni Patry, Komilla Suton and Barry Rosen for their amazing insights.