When you go to a play at the Theatre, the players enter the stage from the left (maybe). So you have your eyes glued to the left side of the stage, just waiting to see who will come on the stage.
When you go to a play at the Theatre, the players enter the stage from the left (maybe). So you have your eyes glued to the left side of the stage, just waiting to see who will come on the stage.
Therefore, it is with the rising Sign. If you watch the Eastern Horizon, and if you could see the Zodiac behind that Horizon, you would find that, the constellations or Signs of the Zodiac are rising there at the rate of one Sign roughly ever two hours. Wow!
These big huge 30º (1/12th) sections of the circle of space that surrounds us at all times are rising one after the other all day long. You know, the reason the Sun rises and sets each day is that the Earth is turning. So, as the Sun rises, so do the Signs of the Zodiac, also because of the turning of the Earth.
At any given moment, if you look east, the Sign rising is the “Rising Sign”, “Ascendant”, or “Lagna”. These all mean the same thing. And just like with the Planets, it is the exact degrees, minutes, and seconds that we are interested in with the Lagna, so we might say someone has “29º Sagittarius rising”. So, we are interested in the exact angle, as usual. You will see why later, it has to do with the all subdivisions of the Signs mostly.
The Lagna is very important. It is the body and overall life. Afflictions to the Lagna are significant. It is the starting point of the chart. The Lagna is the 1st House, and sets up the chart. Without the Lagna, we do not have a chart. It is not optional. The Lagna is based on the place you were born, as well as the time. If you are born in New York at a certain time, and you look east, you see the Lagna. But someone born in New Delhi at that exact same moment would see a different Lagna because the Earth is a ball, and looking East from any point on the surface of that ball is going to produce a different spot in the great circular Zodiac that surrounds us.
The significance of the rising Sign is that it determines the overall nature of one’s body. The Lagna has most to do with the body, then the overall life in general. So, if a Lagna is a materially good Sign, and materially helpful Planets affect the Lagna or 1st House, then the overall life will be smoother and the person will be healthy and good looking. The opposite influences will produce the opposite results.
I have covered the Lagna here in the list of Planets because it functions a lot like a Planet as a very important point in the chart.
xAz The Sun
The Sun is the center of the Solar System of Planets used in Vedic Astrology. Therefore, the Sun rules all types of Central things such as the central government, the centrally powerful person in an organization, and so forth. In ourselves, the Sun rules our center, which is our Soul.
The Sun is the source of light for all other Planets and beings, so the Sun rules in astrology our center of energy. As the source of energy in the Universe, so from the Sun’s placement in our charts we judge our level of energy.
The Sun God is father to great Kings in ancient Vedic history. In a chart, a strongly placed Sun gives the ability to lead and be forceful. As we cannot live without the power of the Sun, so it goes in life that nothing can live without the power of the Sun. If one person has a very strong Sun in their chart, they will have a hard time subordinating to those who do not. People with strong Suns therefore tend to surface as leaders by their own force.
The Sun owns the Sign of Leo. Leo is therefore invested with the powers of the Sun. Since the King, or the Sun, is independent, makes the laws, and is therefore in many ways above the law, we find independence and leadership qualities of Leo. Planets placed in Leo take on this nature, that of independence and leadership or force of will. The way of a Lion, the symbol of Leo, is that of “either dominate it, or walk away”. A lion either dominates something, or walks away. Lion’s do not surrender to anything, therefore they are “the king of the jungle”.
The Sun is called a “malefic” Planet in Jyotish. Malefic means “negative” or “dangerous”. Why is it that the central Planet, the one that represents the Soul, is considered as “bad”. This is because the Soul does not, in one sense, belong here. The Soul is ultimately meant to be in the spiritual world, and one with other beings in service to the center. However, here, the Soul is overcome by the feeling of separateness and independence, and hence is a “malefic” entity in itself. The law here is that one living being lives at the expense of another. Our very presence here as Souls has a malefic effect on other living beings always. We are here to learn by carrying out our personal, somewhat selfish, campaigns of self-serving continuation of our lives. Our presence here puts us in contact with elements, which give us pain. So, the Sun, or the Soul, is in a somewhat negative position so long as we are here, unliberated, in this material world.
The Ego is a malefic, because it is generally separate from God. We feel like we are somebody, but that somebody is a nothing. We are humble slaves of God, but we often feel like something else. That is false Ego or Ahamkara . In Sanskrit hankara means Ego, but putting an “a” before any Sanskrit word means the opposite. So, hankara means Ego, and Ahamkara means the non-Ego, or unreal Ego, the false Ego.
In many Sanskrit devotional songs and poems, the word Ahamkara is used. This word is a favorite of the Saints of Ancient Times, because they liked to be able to sum up the illusioned Ego of a person in this world in one easy word. That is their word, Ahamkara , and it is ruled by the Sun in Jyotish.
The Sun’s position in our chart represents where our false Ego will most manifest. The position of the Sun in our chart represents an area of life we will have to reckon with, in order to clear ourselves of attachment in preparation for liberation from bondage and suffering. Liberation to the Spiritual World is something to want and long for. But, our attachments and longings here will keep us here. We have to become humble. The Sun promotes non-humility or pride. Pride is the enemy of the Spiritualist. So, the Sun, though it is our pivot point for being here in this life, it is nevertheless attaching us as well. Saturn, the Sun’s enemy and opposite in many ways, rules humility.
In Jyotish the Sun rules central things, powerful things, things, which have force of character, things, which are essential or pivotal, as well as overbearing things, and things, which can burn and dominate. Vedic Sages may call the Sun a Malefic, but most Westerners would call it a great benefic because Westerners by background are aggressive, and supportive of a strong Ego in the individual. So keep in mind the Sun is considered a malefic mostly for reasons, which are not understood, nor attractive to, the Western mind prior to its infusion with Vedic Style Spiritual Philosophy.
xyz The Moon
The Moon is close to us, and reflects the light of the Sun. The Moon is the most visible Planet of all, to us here on Earth, because we can look at it so easily. It neither burns our eyes, nor hides in the deep darkness of space, like the others. Rather, the Moon is up close and personal, showing herself fully to us. The Moon is indeed very dear, close, and friendly. It is light is very nice and pleasing. Her full bodily luster each month is a rising sight to see.
The Moon is the most prominent reflection of the central light of the Sun. Therefore, the Moon rules the most obvious reflection of our Soul to the seeing world, and that is our mind or selves as conscious beings. It is not so much our body, or our skin, or our hair that makes us who we are as people, so much as do our minds. And not our knowledge, but rather, our emotional mental selves. Our attitude, how we “take life” or “interact with life” on an emotional level, that is the most important and influential aspect of ourselves, which reflects to others.
The Moon rules the mind, the emotions, nursing, nurturing, mothering, and the overall self. An afflicted Moon greatly shapes the personality in the direction of the affliction, whether it is harshness of character, sadness of mind, or an angry and aggressive nature. Similarly, benefic influences upon the Moon in a chart, or a well placed Moon we could also say, bestows the reflections of helpfulness, peace of mind, cleanliness all around, and so forth.
The Moon is “the other Lagna”, which means that as we normally take the rising Sign as the 1st House, so also we can take the Moon Sign as the 1st House and read the chart of the person that way too. This is a very important principal in Jyotish, and we will cover more of this technique later.
For now, understand this, the Moon is the Most Important Planet in Vedic Astrology because it holds this special post of being as sensitive as the Ascendant. Afflictions to these two, the Ascendant (Lagna) and the Moon, are very strong shapers of both character and events. Your body, your health, your mind, and gifts from birth are all dictated in greatest measure by these two. So just, appreciate that the Moon is one of two main points in a chart to examine correctly and carefully.
Mars is the Kshatriya of the Gods, meaning the warrior. Mars rules aggression, weapons, enforcement of law, emergencies, urgencies, weapons, energy, suddenness, rashness, anger, the color Red, and related items and matters.
The Sun is the King, and Mars is the Kings Commander of Armed Forces. Mars is ever beholden to the will of the Sun. The General enforces the orders of the King, so Mars is always ready to be pushy on behalf of the King. Soldiers are usually fighting either for a cause, or for a government. This is because soldiers, even modern US Marines for example, derive their natures personally and collectively from the Planet Mars, the “God of War”. Soldiers usually have a strong Mars in their charts.
There are points in all of us when we apply our energy and quickness, usually to prevent a disaster, or to save a situation. For example, we move quickly to catch a falling glass object. Mars likes to protect, we race to save a child from running into the street. If somebody is hurt, we hurry to the scene. Mars people are often involved in causing bleeding with their weapons or stopping bleeding with their medical equipment. The gun of the soldier kills some and saves others. It is good to be on the right side of a person under the influence of Mars.
The Sun is the King, and Mars his Military General, and Jupiter his Guru or Advising Minister of the Court. These three Planets, Sun, Mars and Jupiter are all very masculine and each other’s friends. Together they are the “fire trine” of Planets because they each rule one of the fire Signs of Aries, Leo and Sagittarius, and they are always working well together.
If a person has a good Mars energy in their chart, then they are into enforcing rules, good at following orders, have plenty of energy, are quick when it is needed, and are usually also terrible when crossed. A weak Mars makes one easily tired, jittery, easily angered, and reactive.
Mars and Venus are the two Planets whose orbits surround the Earth’s on each side. Venus orbits just inside our orbit whereas Mars is the next Planet outside our orbit. Venus rules all things desirable and Mars rules aggressive action. Venus represents the feminine and Mars the masculine. These two surround the Earth, sandwiched in the middle of the passionate attraction these two have for each other, so to speak. The intense passions caused by these two have most people on Earth within their grip. In Sanskrit terminology, most people are in the Maya (illusion) of Lust and Passion.
Mercury is the Prince of the Court. He is going to be the King someday, and His father is the King, or the Sun, but for now, Mercury is just a boy. Since this boy is the Son of the King, he is given tons of respect, and the King uses him (Mercury) as a minister gofer run here and negotiate this deal, then run over there and carry this message, then go do your studies, then just hang out with me this is how the King talks to this boy.
Mercury is youthful and causes youthfulness or immaturity in the chart in the House it resides. Mercury is the negotiator, so it rules in us the ability to be diplomats, negotiators, dealmakers, or good liars. Mercury rules all types of communications, spoken and written. A good Mercury in a chart makes for careers where speaking, studying, thinking, writing, and other scholarly thinking related matters are necessary. A bad Mercury can work towards making a person dumb or odd in mental workings.
Mercury, being youthful, is neither mature nor convinced about anything for certain. He is truly a gullible boy, so, other Planets easily influence him. Any Planet with Mercury will influence him. So, Mercury is called “mutable” or “changeable”. This reflects in the chart very much. Mercury always stands for the thinking capacity in a person, which in Sanskrit would be called your “Budhi ” or “intelligence”. Mercury’s Sanskrit name is therefore “Budha”, which also means “the intelligence”.
An important point about each of us is our level of intelligence. This is partially judged from Mercury (as well as Jupiter and other things). The intelligence is influenced by learning, surroundings, family background, and so in the chart we will see all these things influencing the highly influenceable Mercury.
Mercury is sensitive, because it rules a very important part of us our intelligence. If your intelligence is low, there is not much anybody can do to help you have a better life. A fool is a fool, and there is no point in giving a fool many opportunities. This is a cold, hard fact. When you empower a fool, the only thing that happens is more trouble for everyone.
So, Mercury is a very important point in a chart, much like the Moon, the Lagna, and the Sun. In fact, when quickly looking at a chart, one should first see the influences on these, the Moon, Mercury, Sun and Lagna. These are very sensitive points that make up the “insides” of a person. You can call these “inner Planets” because they rule our “insides”.
Jupiter is the “Guru of the Gods”. Jupiter is called “Guru” in Sanskrit. Guru means “heavy” because he is “heavy with knowledge”. Jupiter is also called Brihaspati (bree-haws-putt-tee). Brihaspati is the name of the Guru of all the DemiGods in the higher Planets. He is the advisor, or teacher, of the DemiGods. From these designations, we derive the nature of the effects of the Jupiter Planet.
In a chart, the disposition and relationship of Jupiter to the chart will determine therefore how the person feels about, and deals with, all things related to higher advice and council. A good Jupiter in a chart, which leans towards Jupiter in a positive way will grant good relations with Priests, Law, Higher Education, the Legal system, the Financiers of the world, and so on. Jupiter has close ties with higher law such as God’s laws, the laws of the land, and so on. Jupiter encourages righteousness when He is strong.
Jupiter is a large Planet, and so rules largeness in things. Jupiter tends to expand things. Wherever He sits and wherever He aspects in a chart will tend to grow based on Jupiter's influence. For example, if Jupiter affects the Lagna, which rules the body, then the body will tend to be large, or fatty. When a good Jupiter affects housing ruling money then the money will tend to grow. Jupiter in the second House, which rules speaking, will tend to make the person speak often, and with a tone of giving advice, one of Jupiter's other natural tendencies.
Gurus and advisers are always well-wishers, so Jupiter is very giving or kind, and is known as a great giver or granter of fortune. Jupiter is considered the most benefic Planet, because of His nature of always wanting to give and grant benedictions. Because children are an expansion of life in many ways, as well as a gift from God, Jupiter rules children. Because Jupiter represents God through his many advices, He has a tendency to be related to the 9th House, which rules God in our lives.
Jupiter is a Brahmin, which means Priest. Brahmins give advice and guidance of all types to the other members of the society, and this is Jupiter's tendency to give advice or to show the way to achieve one’s objectives.
Venus is called Shukra in Sanskrit. Shukra literally means “semen”, but more generally means “refined things”. Venus rules over all types of refined things that are desirable such as art, music, flowers, love, beauty, etc. A well-placed Venus in a chart that is well disposed towards Venus will grant to the person a life full of “the good things” such as those things mentioned above.
Venus is also a Brahmin or Priest, but of the “Rakshasha” type. Venus is called the “Asura Guru”. Sura means “godly people” and therefore Asura means the “ungodly people”. Venus is the Guru of the ungodly side in us. Venus gives us advice on how to achieve material success, whereas Jupiter’s Brahminical advice is more of the godly nature.
The Vedic way of understanding of life, and the process of elevation, is such that addictions to material gratifications are known to be often “Anartha” or “unnecessary”. Too much stress is laid upon material gratifications in ungodly societies. So, Venus is loved and followed when the person or society is of the materialistic type. For Westerners, a good Venus is considered a good thing, because it helps in bringing in material wealth, sense gratifications, and all types of material fortunes. Famous, rich, and beautiful people often have strong Venus, as these blessings are highly desirable to the materialistic masses, which love to worship such “achievements” in life. People in general are much more interested in the “Lives of the Rich and Famous” than they are in the “Lives of the Intelligent and Devoted”.
Shukracharya (literally “the Venus Teacher”) is a famous personality in the Vedas because he was present in many of the struggles between the Rakshashas (demonic or materialistic beings) and the Devas (the “good” Gods). Brihaspati, Jupiter, was always on the side of the Gods as their Guru, and Shukracharya was always on the side of the Rakshashas as their Guru. The advices of these two Brahmins, Jupiter and Venus, are almost always opposite and oppositely motivated. Inside us, we tend to listen more to one than the other.
While Jupiter tends to give advice leading to surrender to higher principles, Venus gives advice, which works for us in the here and now. Jupiter is more about Dharma, or religion for higher principles, whereas Venus is more about Adharma, or self-serving ways. The entire Vedic principle is to surrender to the greater laws of God, whereas Venus teaches us to maximize things as they are now, for ourselves. But it is not that one is bad and one is good, it is that priority has be established correctly. It is not wrong to have material quality in our lives, or pleasures and enjoyments, but they should not direct us and dictate our actions when higher principles of goodness are at stake.
Saturn is known for his ring. Saturn rules restrictions, or things that surround us on all sides. All types of blocks, restrictions, and obstacles are the ruling lot of Saturn The wedding ring is related to Saturn, because it represents a restriction that prevents certain types of actions, namely, courting other spouses and therefore the ring is a symbol of a block or restriction.
Saturn is the outermost Planet in the Vedic scheme of things, and so has “the last laugh”. Saturn is final, being the last one. Saturn rules all types of final things, or things, which are insurmountable. Saturn is “the bottom line” in many ways. Therefore, Saturn rules Death as well as Unconquerable Time. All things decay in time, and Saturn rules this decay, or the effects of old age. Saturn is old, and low, the worker, the downtrodden, the dirty.
Saturn rules the colors blue and black, which are akin to seriousness, coldness, and finality. Things turn dark when they are dead, when the color of life has gone out. The sky is either blue or black because the distance we are looking at when we look at the sky is always insurmountable, being such a far distance. When we look across the land the trees in the distance are more “greyed out” than the closer trees, because that distance, being insurmountable, takes on the dulling effects of Saturn If something is hazy or unclear, it is because it is “out of reach” and that is Saturn again.
When Saturn affects a House or Planet in a chart, then it “shuts it down” to some degree, by means of it is strong oppressing power. Saturn has the ability to oppress anything. When it aspects the Moon, or Mind, then the person feels the effects of Saturn in their mind, which basically leads to depression.
Saturn is large and slow, and so it rules these things. Large slow things cause a lot of pressure, and so does Saturn When Saturn affects something, it slows it down, puts it under pressure, and ultimately crushes it under its tremendous weight and restrictive power. On the good side, these things give it rule over focus. Focus is a funny thing, it means application of pressure for a certain goal. Saturn can make things it affects highly focused or controlled, which at times is a very good quality.
Because of all these things, Saturn is considered a “1st class malefic”, or in other words, a Planet capable of doing great harm. But that is spoken from the angle of vision of the materially oriented. Materially speaking Saturn is usually malefic, except when his reduction and crushing capacity is used, in the chart, against the enemies of our material progress. For example, if Saturn is situated in such a way as to crush the twelfth House, or the House of losses, then our losses are crushed, which means we do not lose as much.
But Saturn has another good side. Consider the diamond, it is created from black coal under great pressure for a long time. Saturn rules coal, pressure, and long periods of time. So, Saturn creates the diamond, which is very beautiful and extremely hard. When a person is under Saturn, they eventually become beautiful and hard, or shining and strong. The trials and struggles that Saturn puts us through teach us hard lessons. As one popular rock song says:
“We can’t run and we can’t hide, because when we meet what we’re afraid of, we find out what we’re made of”.
So, Saturn makes us strong, by putting us to the test for a long enough period of time that we develop muscles and willpower.
Therefore, Saturn rules the side of the religious peoples, which is strong in principal, unbending, renounced from material motivations, and so forth. Saturn has a lot to do with the dark blue color worn by most Police officers, and the black worn by many Priests. Men often wear dark suits to do business, because it promotes a no-nonsense, dead, serious demeanor in their business dealings.
Saturn rules the low workers or Shudras, as we say in Sanskrit. This is because he rules all things low and difficult. Things, which are cold, dark, hard and created under pressure are ruled by Saturn, so he rules many types of metal like iron and steal, as well as the tools of hard work. Because he is an old man, he rules old things.
Rahu is not an actual Planet, ball, as the other Planets are, but a point in space that is of great influence. The nodes Rahu and Ketu are always opposite each other in the Zodiac. They are calculated from the orbits of the Sun and Moon in relation to the Earth. They are gravitational line up points. They cause the Moon to actually wobble in its orbit.
The Puranic story that tells of the creation of Rahu and Ketu goes like this in brief: There was a feast for the Gods, and they were all there. At such feasts, the Gods would drink SomaRasa, or the drink of “immortality” (a feeling it creates in them only, as they are never immortal). There was a Rakshasha, or demo, named Rahu who wanted some of that sought after drink. So, disguising himself as a God, Rahu Saturn in on the feast. It just so happened that he Saturn in between the Sun and Moon Gods, whose names are Chandra and Vivashvan respectively.
When the cup was passed, it finally came to Rahu, who put it to his lips. At that moment the Moon recognized who Rahu really was, and told the Sun. The Sun told Vishnu, God Supreme, who utilized his Sudarshan Chakra weapon to cut off Rahu’s head immediately. Rahu’s head went flying, but it had touched the drink, so he got a real positive boost for long life. Whereas, the body of Rahu became dead. The body is now called Ketu. Thereafter and to this day, the head and body of Rahu float in space forever trying to chase and harm the Sun and Moon. When there is an eclipse, it represents the Sun or Moon entering Rahu’s mouth, then coming out his neck again.
It is a scientific fact, that when the Moon gets close to the nodes in it is real orbit that it wobbles due to the gravitational pull of the point. So, when in a chart we see that the person was born at a time when the Moon was close to one of the nodes (Rahu or Ketu) that the mind is disturbed, since the Moon rules the mind. This is a fact, which you will see played out in the lives of those who have this (myself being one of them). Since the nodes occupy two Signs, roughly one sixth of the population has this. However, it is strongest when the Moon is really close to the Node it conjoins, or in other words, when the two are close by degrees within the Sign, let’s say within 5º of each other. Then the effects become pronounced.
Rahu’s nature is that of anger, upsets, anxiety, suddenness and other things, which we would feel if we got our heads cut off right when we were getting something we wanted. Think of it: Just when you are about to get what you always wanted, right then something comes to totally ruin your plans. But, the secret is this: Anyone who is killed by the weapon of Vishnu is also highly benefitted spiritually, so this plays out in our lives as well. So, the effects of Rahu can be said like this: Painful and troublesome, but ultimately for a higher cause.
Ketu is the dead body of the lusty demon, killed by Vishnu. So, Ketu rules beheadings, losses, and death, along with Saturn Spiritually speaking, Ketu is somewhat purified because he was killed by Vishnu. So, Ketu rules over the highly renounced, the Sannyasis (Sanskrit for renounced persons) because they have voluntarily given up everything.
Wherever Ketu sits in a chart, there we will find the sucking black hole effect. It feels forever like a hole into, which we tend to want to put more and more of that thing to satisfy it. We cannot get enough where Ketu sits, we feel the lack of that House in our lives very much. Therefore many say that Ketu rules separations, cuts, loses and deprivations.
For the spiritually minded Ketu is very good, and for the materialistic, very bad. It is good for the Spiritually minded because it rules liberation from bondage. When Rahu’s body was separated from his head, the body no longer was under the influence of Rahu’s mind, and so was free. Ketu represents the ultimate freedom from our own selves, our spiritual liberation. Ketu is final in this sense.
In Vedic thought, liberation, called “Mukti” or “Moksha” is considered the highest goal of life. After all our material role-playing is through, we are to seek liberation from material bondage and misidentification, and seek out union with God (Yoga means union). So, liberation is the highest goal and Ketu is the “Moksha Karaka” or significator of Moksha in our charts.
When reading astrological books, one must remember that many of them were written, oddly enough, from the materialistic viewpoint. Indeed, today also, many people who are into astrology are into it for reasons of bettering their material positions, or finding out just how good their life (here on Earth) is going to be. Therefore, the books often say that Jupiter is the highest benefic.
But spiritually minded astrologers know that, in terms of real spiritual development, Saturn is above Jupiter and Ketu is above Saturn Jupiter rules Wisdom, but Saturn rules Truth, yet Ketu rules Moksha, the highest achievement of all. So, Ketu is the most spiritual Planet, with Saturn being next in line, and Jupiter takes third place.