Summary: Planetary indicators (Karakas) of a range of physiological, psychological, and sociological phenomena related to an individual. Including a discussion of how the placement of the planets in a birth-chart affects these indications.
Planets as Physiological, Psychological, and Sociological Indicators
In Vedic astrology planets are used as indicators (Karakas) of a range of physiological, psychological, and sociological phenomena that relate to the individual.
Vedic astrology sees the whole cosmos and all the people in it as part of an inter-connected whole. So, in this system, the planetary positions at birth just represent coded information about a person’s returning karmas. It is the job of the astrologer to decode this information and translate it into actual predictions.
A key component of chart interpretation is to know what each of the planets indicates. The following list gives us a basic understanding:
Physiological Indications: Health, eyesight and general well-being
Psychological Indications: Power and influence, self confidence, status
Sociological Indications: Father
Other Indications: Self-realisation, government institutions
Physiological Indications: Fertility, heart, health in childhood
Psychological Indications: Mind, memory, emotions, happiness
Sociological Indications: Mother
Other Indications: Affluence, travel, water
Physiological Indications: Energy, stamina, accidents
Psychological Indications: Drive, courage, ambition, anger
Sociological Indications: Siblings (some say younger siblings)
Other Indications: Military, police, enemies, property, technical things
Physiological Indications: Nervous system, speech
Psychological Indications: Logic, intelligence, education
Sociological Indications: Friends
Other Indications: Business, communication, dance, drama
Physiological Indications: Body fat
Psychological Indications: Wisdom, compassion, optimism, spirituality
Sociological Indications: Children, relationship with Guru
Other Indications: Wealth, guru, philosophy, law, religion
Physiological Indications: Reproductive system
Psychological Indications: Pleasures of the senses
Sociological Indications: Marriage partner
Other Indications: Luxury, singing, poetry, buying and selling
Physiological Indications: Longevity, bones, joints
Psychological Indications: Patience, grief, adversity, humility, renunciation
Sociological Indications: Servants, elders, authority figures
Other Indications: Delays, restrictions, land, agriculture, wood, metal
Physiological Indications: Strange illnesses
Psychological Indications: Frustrations, phobias, inertia, compulsion
Sociological Indications: None (some say: paternal grandfather)
Other Indications: Worldly power and benefits, thefts
Physiological Indications: Strange illnesses
Psychological Indications: Psychic abilities, intuition, esoteric interests
Sociological Indications: None (some say: maternal grandfather)
Other Indications: Enlightenment, strange events, ghosts and spirits
Planetary Placement Affects The Above Indicators – For Better or Worse
If a planet is ‘well placed’ in a birth chart, then all the above indicated associations are likely to be very positive for the individual concerned.
If the planet is ‘poorly placed’, then all its associations are likely to provide some degree of difficulty, obstacles or challenges.
By ‘well placed’ we mean a planet in a favourable sign, such as its own or exalted sign, or in a good house (e.g. the 5th or 9th) or well aspected by a planet that has positive associations (a ‘benefic’) for that ascendant.
By ‘poorly placed’ we mean the planet is in an unfavourable sign (e.g. weakened or debilitated) or an unfavourable house (e.g. 6th, 8th, 12th), or aspected by a planet with negative associations (a ‘malefic’) for that particular ascendant.
So for example, if the sun in a person’s birth chart is exalted (i.e. in its sign of exaltation – Aries sidereal), or in the 9th house (even better if both exalted and in 9th!) we can expect that person to have excellent health and well-being (physiological indications): good self-esteem, power and influence (psychological indications): good relationships with his father (sociological indications): and be interested in self-realisation and personal evolution (other indicators).
If the sun was poorly placed in a birth-chart (e.g. in its sign of debilitation [Libra sidereal] or in the 6th, 8th, 12th houses, or aspected by a malefic influence) then we could expect possible health problems, lack of self-esteem, maybe problems with father, etc.
Of course, there are many other indicators and subtle layers of chart interpretation, but this principle is fundamental to assessing an individual’s chart. It is a cornerstone of the subject!
Additional Resources on Jyotish
A drop down menu for ‘Indications of Grahas’ (The 9 Planets) on the Maharishi Jyotish website
Introduction to Jyotish. A range of articles for people entirely new to Vedic Astrology. Including: Introduction, FAQs, Origins and Karmic Implications.
Key Concepts in Jyotish. Articles covering the Sidereal Zodiac, Planetary Forces, Forecasting Analogies and ‘Planetary Antidotes’.
For Western Astrologers. Articles examining major differences between the two systems and the paradigm shift needed by Western Astrologers wanting to understand the subject.
Learn Jyotish. An extensive collection of articles covering key facts, concepts and methods. Aimed at ‘foundation level’ students. Includes essential information needed before beginning chart interpretations. Covering: Chart Formats, Planets, Houses, Mahadasha Periods, Transits, Aspects, Birth-time Errors, Natural and Functional Benefics / Malefics, Chart Interpretation Basics, etc.