Tag Archives: vedic astrology

Planetary Antidotes in Jyotish

Summary: Covering Remedial Measures or Planetary Antidotes (Upayes) in Jyotish. Detailed discussion of: Wearing gem stones associated with a particular planet: Chanting planetary related mantras: Performing specific acts of charity: Conducting Vedic rituals to balance planetary energies

Remedial Measures or Planetary Antidotes (Upayes) in Jyotish

Vedic astrology is essentially karmic in nature. It predicts the type and duration of both positive and negative returning karmas. It tells us what we are likely to experience in all areas of our lives and, most importantly, when these experiences are likely to occur. The great thing about Jyotish is that it comes from a tradition that believes suffering in life is unnecessary! So it is no surprise Jyotish offers a range of practical techniques to deflect, or at least greatly reduce, our returning negative karmas. These techniques are often referred to as ‘remedial measures’ or ‘planetary antidotes’ (Upayes).

A Vedic astrologer can identify imbalances in a person’s birth chart (based on the code read from the planetary positions at birth). The astrologer can then offer the individual practical strategies to ‘avert the danger that has not yet arisen’. So, they can actually prescribe a number of strategies to lessen the individual’s karmic burden. These strategies may not remove the karmas entirely, but they will certainly modify them.

These planetary remedies, or antidotes, are things that can balance out planets ‘negative energies’ and restore balance and harmony in our lives. They can also really enhance the energies from positive planets too – maximising positive returning karmas.

The antidotes to problematic planets that are prescribed by Jyotish generally fall into four categories:

These strategies are not based on superstition. They have withstood the long test of time from generation to generation. They work because the Vedic tradition sees everything in the universe as an interconnected whole. This Vedic model of reality is increasingly supported from the perspective of modern science. It is also reflected in the Vedic (and Buddhist) concept of ‘Indra’s Net’ [1].

There was a song by Joni Mitchell (released 1970) – the lyrics went: ‘We are stardust, we are golden’. Very true, as from the point of modern astrophysics we are actually mainly stardust! All the elements in our body (other than hydrogen), were forged in stellar furnaces billions of miles away (and billions of years ago). So we have a very real connection to the stars in that most of the stuff that makes us was made there. Many people report that wearing a quality Jyotish gemstone reminds them on a very deep level of this connection.

Although not specifically mentioned in the Jyotish texts, many astrologers also agree that performing spiritual practices can greatly modify returning karmas. In particular, mantra based Vedic meditation techniques have a big effect. When they examined the birth-charts of numerous long term meditators they found their actual life experiences much better than they would have otherwise predicted!

For those with a personal Guru, the ‘Grace of the Guru’ can remove major obstacles! Such individuals should consider themselves extremely fortunate!

Wearing Gemstones as Planetary Antidotes

In Vedic astrology, each planet is associated with a particular gemstone. For example, the Sun is associated with ruby, Venus with diamond, Saturn with blue sapphire, etc.  If an auspicious planet in a birth chart needs strengthening (note: usually ‘strong’ = ‘good’ in Jyotish), then this can be facilitated by wearing the gemstone for that particular planet.

The key word in the above sentence is ‘auspicious’. Only auspicious planets can be strengthened by wearing the appropriate gemstone for the planet  (‘auspicious’ in this context means ‘functional benefic’). Other mitigating strategies (such as mantras) are needed if the planet is not auspicious. A number of modern books on Jyotish fail to make this vital point clear. A serious and misleading error!

Because many of the planets simultaneously rule two houses, the rules for determining whether a planet is ‘good’ or ‘not  good’ for a particular ascendant are a bit more complex. As the ascendant (in the Sidereal Zodiac) changes sign, the ‘functional benefic’ or ‘functional malefic’ nature of a planet also changes. This is dealt with in detail in a separate article. However, as a general rule (and Jyotish just loves ‘exceptions’ to rules) any planet ruling the first, or fifth, or ninth house is considered auspicious regardless of what other house it ‘owns’.

The table below shows the gems associated with each of the nine planets:

Gemstones associated with particular planets in Jyotish.Planet and Gemstone Associations in Jyotish

Note: In the above chart, ‘Gomed ‘ is also known as ‘Hessonite Garnet’, and ‘Cat’s Eye’ is also known as ‘Chrysoberyl’

It is worth noting that the weight and quality of the gemstone are also specified by Vedic Astrology – as are the metals in which it is set and even the fingers on which it is worn [2]. For remedial purposes precious stones should also be natural and not synthetic or man-made gems [3].

In order to be effective stones must touch the skin – this can be achieved with special settings for rings, or the stones can be set as a pendant.

I have heard some Jyotish experts saying that even the gold (must be 22 carat) that is in a chain or ring removes quite a bit (maybe up to 70%) of planetary negativity. Interesting, if this is correct!

The concept, of wearing a gemstone to balance planetary energies, is therefore much more finely tuned to an individual’s birth chart in Jyotish, than in the Western Astrological system. Western Astrology just uses the relatively simple concept of a ‘birthstone’ or gem appropriate to the ‘sun sign’ of a person – rather than the detailed analysis and remedial prescriptions of Vedic astrology.

There is a lot of detailed and quality information about Jyotish gems on the Astrological Gem website (Vedicplanet has no commercial links with this site).

Semi-Precious Gemstone Equivalents

If we can’t afford a particular quality precious stone, then there are a few semi-precious equivalents. However, the general understanding is that semi-precious stones do not confer as much protection on the wearer as precious stones. In India, people sometimes wear the following semi-precious stones for Jyotish purposes:

    • Red Spinel for the Sun
    • Green Tourmaline for Mercury
    • Yellow Topaz (better than Citrine) or Yellow Citrine (Yellow Quartz) for Jupiter
    • White Sapphire (a good substitute for diamond) or Phenakite for Venus
    • Blue Spinel for Saturn

Wearing Gemstones Based on our Ascendant

If we know our ascendant (our ascending sign in the Sidereal zodiac) we can always safely wear the gemstone that is associated with the planet that rules or ‘owns’ our ascending sign. This will bring only positive results to our lives. This is something we can all do to reap the benefits.

Sign Ownership or Rulership by Planets in Jyotish

Wearing this gem will also give some help (but not as much as specifically targeted planetary relief) with any problems indicated in other areas of our chart by strengthening the ‘Lord of the Ascendant’ (planet that ‘owns’ or ‘rules’ our ascending sign). Strengthening the ascendant lord can only bring positive effects to an individual.  (Note: some astrologers say the only exception to this rule is for a Scorpio ascendant – where Mars simultaneously rules both the first and the sixth houses).

If we already have a Western style birth-chart giving our ascending sign in the Tropical Zodiac we can easily convert to Sidereal by subtracting the angle stated for the ‘Ayanamsha’ for our birth date. This is easier than it sounds [4]. We can then wear the appropriate gem stone.

An alternative to this is to use a free online service (based on the sidereal zodiac) for getting a gemstone recommendation. This link is the best I have seen and is driven by a very well respected piece of Jyotish software that produces great recommendations – only bettered by a very experienced Vedic Astrologer. But be aware that accurate birth-times are needed. If you do not have these try and generate two separate reports using your earliest and latest birth-time estimates. If the recommendations differ then seek out a professional astrologer.

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Chanting Planetary Related Mantras to Remove Negative Karma

While wearing gemstones for auspicious planets (i.e. auspicious for a particular ascendant) is good, wearing the gemstone associated with a ‘malefic’ planet (i.e. malefic for a particular ascendant) would not be good at all! In this case we can chant mantras to alleviate the negative effects of a weakened or badly afflicted malefic.

Mantras are always said or chanted in Sanskrit. This ‘upwardly manages’ the force of nature (the Devas). Specific mantras can be repeated to balance the negative energies associated with a particular planet. Mantras are like passwords that enable us to connect to the higher realms.  They are the vehicle that helps us transcend or ‘cross over’ to higher states of consciousness. A Jyotish astrologer can identify problematic malefic planets in a birth-chart and suggest mantras to remove their negativity.

At their most basic level, the planetary mantras can be fairly simple and follow the general pattern:

‘Om – [planets name in Sanskrit] – Namah’

These can be repeated daily 108 times (the number 108 is derived from the nine planets multiplied by the twelve astrological signs: 9 x 12 = 108) – usually done with a ‘mala’ or rosary. So, for example, the mantra for Venus would be ‘Om Shukraya Namah’. This  takes only a few minutes to do.

Basic Planetary Mantras to Chant

Some planets have multiple names, so the names given below are only one suggestion out of a number of possibilities – but they are all very effective.

Getting the correct pronunciation is very important! Typing the mantra in the list below into ‘YouTube Search’ usually works well (although this sometimes gives a slightly more complicated version of the mantra – for example by adding ‘Shri’ or a ‘seed mantra’ in front of the planet’s name; but the basic pronunciation remains the same).

Sun: ‘Om Suryaya Namah’

Moon: ‘Om Somaya Namah’

Mars: ‘Om Mangalaya Namah’

Mercury: ‘Om Budhaya Namah’

Jupiter:  ‘Om Brihaspataye Namah’

Venus: ‘Om Shukraya Namah’

Saturn: ‘Om Shanaye Namah’

Rahu: ‘Om Rahave Namah’

Ketu: ‘Om Ketave Namah’

A Jyotish astrologer would fine tune this process even more – by determining when in a person’s life the planet’s effects will be felt most and advising chanting during this time period (the Maha Dasha of the planet concerned). An analogy would be like putting on more clothes in the winter to protect us from the cold – we only need to do it for a limited period and not for life.

Mantra for Harmony between the Nine Planets

Another possibility is to chant a simple mantra that ‘takes care’ of the energies from all the nine planets and creates harmony between them. This will modify our returning karmas in a positive way. This is the great ‘Nav Graha’ mantra:

adityaaya cha somaaya mangalaaya budhaaya cha |

guru shukra shanibhyash cha raahave ketave namah ||

It is surprisingly easy to learn by repetition, and there is a good version and explanation on YouTube:   ‘Mantra to balance effects of the Nine Planets (Navagrahas); By Swami Purnachaitanya’

General Mantras for Removing Negativity and Suffering

Another option would be to chant something like:

‘Auṁ Namaḥ Śivāya’ (Om Namah  Shivaya)

This simple mantra is very powerful at removing negativity. There are lots of videos on YouTube giving the pronunciation of this mantra in chant format.

Even more powerful would be chanting the great Mrityunjaya mantra – but this takes a bit of learning.

Why are these mantras so powerful? It is said: ‘Shiva sits on top of all the planets’ [5] , which really means ‘That Shiva Consciousness’ (i.e. ‘Shiva Tattva’[6]) has the ability to overwrite the planetary influences that are shown in our birth-charts. Chanting Shiva mantras enlivens this in our awareness! Wow.

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Acts of Charity to  Balance Planetary Energies

Because the Vedic tradition sees the universe as an interconnected whole, then specific acts of charity help negate the karmas associated with a particular planet. Even if this is not true, it is still good to give away a small fraction of our income to ‘good causes’!  A living enlightened Vedic Saint  encourages everyone to do this – he says that giving a few percent of our income to the charity of our choice means there is less likelihood of disputes, court cases and associated problems in our lives.

Some remedies are very simple – just feeding the crows on a Saturday is said to relieve some of the karmic burdens we might experience due to a problematic Saturn in our birth-chart.

Different planets are linked to different days of the week, so it is best to carry out certain specific acts of charity on the appropriate day for each planet.

This may all seem just superstitious, but these practices have withstood the long test of time; generation after generation. The interconnectedness of all things is increasingly being considered from a scientific perspective too (see article:  Vedic Model of Reality from a Scientific Perspective), giving additional weight to the perceptions of the ancient enlightened sages.

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Conducting Vedic Rituals to Remove Negativity

 Since ancient times, Vedic rituals have been performed to upwardly manage the forces of nature. When certain Vedic ceremonies (called ‘yagnas’ or ‘yajnas’ or ‘yagyas’) were performed, rain came on time, crops grew well and there was abundance on the earth.

In a similar way, serious problems due to out of balance planetary energies in a person’s birth-chart, can be resolved using these rituals.  People might view this is as ‘worshipping the planets’ – but it is far more subtle and profound. This is actually ‘karmic engineering’! The procedures for conducting these ancient ceremonies were actually given to mankind by the Divine to ease suffering.

The yagnas have to be performed very precisely using appropriate Vedic mantras and they really do give ‘peace from the planets (grahas)’ or ‘Graha Shanti’. They are best performed by pundits with a high level of consciousness. They are most effective when done in an Ashram or Temple according to the ancient tradition with all the specified ingredients (these are not easy to obtain in the West). Even better when they are supervised by an enlightened Guru. The only organisation I can recommend for this (based on my first-hand experience of their pujas) is that founded by the living saint ‘Mata Amritanandamayi’

The rituals can specifically target the problems associated in a birth-chart due to a single planet. They enliven the forces of nature associated with that particular planetary energy and modify returning karmas. Or, if there are a number of planets causing problems, then all nine of the planets can be targeted simultaneously so that there is peace and harmony between them and their energies do not conflict.

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Footnotes

[1] ‘The Net of Indra is a profound and subtle metaphor for the structure of reality. Imagine a vast net; at each crossing point there is a jewel; each jewel is perfectly clear and reflects all the other jewels in the net, the way two mirrors placed opposite each other will reflect an image ad infinitum. The jewel in this metaphor stands for an individual being, or an individual consciousness, or a cell or an atom. Every jewel is intimately connected with all other jewels in the universe, and a change in one jewel means a change, however slight, in every other jewel.’Stephen Mitchell, The Enlightened Mind, (HarperPerennial; Reprint edition: April 1993, ISBN -10: 0060923202)

[2] Jyotish is very precise about the metals in which a stone is set e.g. gold for ruby, silver for pearl etc. It is also very clear about the need for really high quality gems – preferably with no internal cracks or black spots (inclusions). In fact, the quality is often more important than the size of a stone for remedial purposes. For example, diamonds should be grade IF or VVS1, with colour grade H or better, with weight between 0.25 and 1.25 carat. These are expensive stones!

[3] Although synthetic gems are not suitable for Jyotish purposes, I have heard a world leading Ayurvedic doctor say they give 80% health benefits (compared with natural stones) for ayurvedic purposes. For Jyotish use there are also arguments about the benefits of heat treated stones compared with unheated ones. Certainly I believe it is better to completely avoid artificially irradiated stones.

[4] The difference in planetary positions between the zodiacs is now around 24 degrees. If our sun was, say 14 degrees in Virgo in Western Astrology, it will be at 14 – 24 = – 10 degrees Virgo in the Vedic system! So it will be 10 degrees before the start (or zero position) of Virgo. This simply means it has has moved backwards and changed sign into the position of 20 degrees in Leo in the Vedic system (as -10 + 30 = 20). However if our sun was at 28 degrees Virgo in the Tropical zodiacit will now be at 28 – 24 = 4 degrees Virgo in the sidereal zodiac. It has still moved backwards, but in this case it has not changed sign

[5] Quoted by By Swami Purnachaitanya’ of the Art of Living Foundation

[6] Quoted by the enlightened Vedic Master Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: “Shiva doesn’t have a body, he was never a person at all. To symbolize the unfathomable, the infinite divinity, and to make it comprehensible for young people, for children and others, they made a form. In fact, there is no form to Shiva.

Shiva is a principle (Tattva) from where everything has come, everything is sustained in it, and everything dissolves into it. Shiva is the space, it is the consciousness. There is no way that you can even step out of Shiva at any time because Shiva is the summum bonum of the whole creation. That is why Shiva’s body is depicted in blue because blue signifies the sky; the all-pervading infinity which has no limits, and no shape.

The consciousness which is bliss and innocence, the consciousness which is the bestower of dispassion – is Shiva. The whole world is moving in an auspicious rhythm of innocence and intelligence – that is Shiva. The permanent and eternal source of energy, the eternal state of being, the one and only one – is Shiva.”

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Additional Information on Vedic Astrology

‘Good’ and ‘Bad’ Houses in Jyotish

Summary: Covering the Equal House concept in Jyotish, together with an analysis of ‘Good’ and ‘Bad’ houses, including topics on: Kendra, Trikona, Dusthana, and Upachaya houses.

The Equal House Concept

Jyotish divides the 360 degrees of the sky up into twelve equal sectors of 30 degrees width and this produces twelve equal width ‘Houses’. Jyotish always uses the Sidereal Zodiac.

Each house governs particular areas of life. Details about the main significations of each house are given in the article ‘The Twelve Houses’. Most chart interpretations are based on a house‑by‑house analysis.

In Jyotish, each of the twelve houses corresponds exactly with a particular sign. Therefore in Vedic Astrology a house cannot overlap between two signs.

Western Astrology usually starts the first house at the exact degree of the ascendant. Not so in Jyotish. In vedic Astrology the first house corresponds with the whole sign that contains the ascendant, irrespective of its exact positional degree[1].

So in Jyotish, if our exact ascendant position is located at say 1 degree Leo, or 29 degrees Leo, or anywhere in between, then the first house corresponds exactly with the whole 30 degrees of Leo: the second house will correspond exactly with the whole of the sign of Virgo: the third with Libra, etc. The house containing the ascendant is shown by a diagonal line on the birth-chart.

Equal House Diagram in Jyotish

The South Indian chart format (probably easiest for beginners) numbers houses in a clockwise direction from the sign containing the ascendant (which is shown by the diagonal line in Leo in the above diagram)

The signs always stay in the same boxes in all charts, so Pisces will always be in the top left hand corner.

Houses do not have exactly the same meaning in Jyotish as they do in the Western system.

Errors in birth-times can throw the system out completely when an ascendant is near a boundary between two houses – but there are ways around this [2].

‘Good’ and ‘Bad’ Houses

The planet ruling a particular house changes as the ascendant changes.

For example, the planet ruling the 1st house is the Moon for a Cancer ascendant but the Sun for a Leo ascendant (see article on which planets rule which signs).

Irrespective of the zodiacal sign to which they correspond, good houses strengthen planets placed in them and ‘bad’ houses weaken them.

Trikona or Trinal Houses

According to Jyotish the 5th and 9th houses (‘Trinal’ or ‘Trikona’ houses) are very good indeed in that planets occupying these houses do well and are strengthened. The first house is also a trinal house.

Therefore the good, natural characteristics of the planet occupying either the 5th or the 9th are strengthened and can deliver the full benefits associated with them

Any houses associated with the occupying planet are also greatly strengthened.

The rulers of the 5th and 9th houses carry with them a positive energy.They bring this to the house in which they are placed.

They also benefit (with this positive energy) any planet they are near to (conjunct), or which they aspect.

Kendras or Angular Houses

The Kendras (Angular houses) i.e. 1, 4, 7 and 10 are ‘good’ houses. Planets placed in them are strengthened. These houses themselves represent benign things.

A good house has two effects: it strengthens planets in it and all of their associations; its ruler carries a positive energy with it and benefits wherever it is placed.

Dusthanas or Negative Houses

Houses 6, 8, and 12 (Dusthanas) are ‘negative’ houses.

The houses themselves do not represent anything inherently evil but they are said to be negative because they seriously weaken planets placed in them. So, the good natural characteristic of the planets occupying them suffer.

In addition, the houses ruled by planets occupying the 6th, 8th, or 12th are also weakened and damaged, so that matters connected with them are also harmed.

The planets that rule the 6th, 8th, or 12th houses are also considered to carry with them a negative energy – this disturbs the house in which they are placed, or planets they are near to (conjunct), or which they aspect.

The 8th is the worst of the three!

Although they are considered negative we should be aware that a good sixth house means we overcome our ‘enemies’, a good eighth indicates a long life, and a good twelfth means we have little expenditure and loss (and are making good spiritual progress towards enlightenment).

Upachaya or Growing Houses

Houses 3, 6, and 10 and 11 have been declared Upachaya houses (‘growing houses’) where any problems indicated get better with time and where malefic planets eventually do some good. Therefore malefics are generally best placed either in their Own, or Exalted signs, or in Upachaya houses.

Footnotes

[1] The ascendant is located in the sign of the zodiac that appears to be ‘rising’ on the Eastern horizon at the time of our birth. So, if we looked at the Eastern horizon at the time of our birth and saw it was at  20 degrees Capricorn, we would say we had a ‘Capricorn Ascendant’. The ascendant is shown by a diagonal line in the chart. Note: this is in the Sidereal Zodiac used by Jyotish – not the Tropical one used by Western Astrology.

[2] Very skilled and experienced Vedic Astrologers can ‘work backwards’ from life events to determine a person’s birth-time! This process is called ‘rectification of birth-time’.


Additional Resources for Students of Vedic Astrology

Chart Formats in Jyotish Astrology

Summary: Comparison of the two main types of birth-chart format used in Jyotish – North Indian and South Indian, with suggested modifications for students of Jyotish. This is particularly helpful when learning Jyotish.

North Indian and South Indian Chart Formats Compared

Most Western Astrologers use a circular format birth-chart, but this is not used in Jyotish.

There are two main types of chart formats used in Vedic Astrology – the North Indian and the South Indian system. This often causes confusion to those new to the subject as the charts seem completely different. However, each format is just a different way of representing the same information.

The ‘diamond’ type grid is mainly used in North India and the ‘rectangular grid’ type of chart  in South India. Both charts in the diagram below represent exactly the same astrological data. In the North Indian system the ascending sign is always placed in the ‘top diamond’ box and the signs are often numbered 1 to 12, i.e. Aries to Pisces. For the horoscope shown the ascendant is in the 12th sign Pisces, with both Jupiter and Venus in the ascending sign, Rahu in the 4th sign Cancer (corresponding with the 5th house in this chart), etc.

Comparison between North and South Indian Jyotish Chart Format

Comparison between North and South Indian Jyotish Chart Formats

Signs in Jyotish have exactly the same names as those in Western Astrology (e.g. Aries, Taurus, etc.) – but their position in the sky is different from the position of the Western Astrological signs. This is because Vedic Astrology references the signs to the background of the fixed stars in the sky – so it uses the Sidereal Zodiac and not the Tropical one used in the West. Currently there is approximately a 24 degree difference between the two zodiacs (the tropical zodiac uses the spring equinox point as a ‘zero’ reference for the start of Aries and this moves against the background of the fixed stars due to the precession of the equinoxes.)

If we are just beginning the study of Jyotish I believe a slightly modified form of the rectangular South Indian chart format is much easier for Westerners to use (see the diagram at the end of this article).

 

South Indian Jyotish Birth-chart Format

In the South Indian system each sign always stays in the same box (e.g. Pisces top left, Virgo bottom right).

 The sign count is always made clockwise around the rectangle (e.g. Aries 1, Taurus 2, Gemini 3, Cancer 4, Leo 5, etc.)

The ascendant is shown by a single diagonal line in the appropriate sign on the chart – regardless of the angle of the ascendant (e.g an ascendant of 1 degree Leo or 29 degrees Leo is still shown in exactly the same way)

Houses, which correspond exactly with signs in this system, are counted clockwise from the ascendant. For example, if the ascendant is in Leo (regardless of the exact degree, be it 1 degree or 29 degrees) then the whole of Leo becomes the first house, the whole of Virgo the second house, the whole of Libra the third, etc.

South Indian Vedic Astrology Chart Format

South Indian Vedic Astrology Chart Format

 

Modified Form of South Indian Chart

To help students access and process a lot of information I have added extra compartments to each of the rectangles. This enables us to put in additional, important and at-a-glance information such as the house number (counting clockwise from the ascending sign), in which house the sign ruler is placed, planetary aspects to the house and what the house number would be if the moon was used as an ascendant. This modification is particularly helpful when learning Jyotish.

Jyotish Chart feature for students

Jyotish Chart feature for students


 

Additional Resources on Jyotish

 

Planets and Their Indications

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:

Sun (Surya)

Physiological Indications: Health and general well-being

Psychological Indications: Power and influence

Sociological Indications: Father

Other Indications: Self-realisation

Moon (Chandra)

Physiological Indications: Fertility, heart, younger years

Psychological Indications: Mind, memory, emotions, happiness

Sociological Indications: Mother

Other Indications: Affluence

 Mars (Mangala)

Physiological Indications: Energy, stamina

Psychological Indications: Drive, courage, ambition

Sociological Indications: Younger siblings

Other Indications: Military, enemies, property

 Mercury (Buddha)

Physiological Indications: Nervous system, speech

Psychological Indications: Logic, intelligence, education

Sociological Indications: Friends

Other Indications: Business, communication, dance, drama

Jupiter (Guru)

Physiological Indications: Fat

Psychological Indications: Wisdom

Sociological Indications: Children

Other Indications: Wealth, guru, philosophy, law, religion

 Venus (Shukra)

Physiological Indications: Semen

Psychological Indications: Pleasures

Sociological Indications: Wife

Other Indications: Luxury, singing, poetry

 Saturn (Shani)

Physiological Indications: Longevity, bones

Psychological Indications: Patience, grief, adversity, renunciation

Sociological Indications: Servants

Other Indications: Land, wood, metal

 Rahu

Physiological Indications: Strange illnesses

Psychological Indications: Frustrations

Sociological Indications: None

Other Indications: Worldly benefits, gambling, thefts

 Ketu

Physiological Indications: Strange illnesses

Psychological Indications: Psychic abilities

Sociological Indications: None

Other Indications: Enlightenment, strange events

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

 

Planetary Strengths or Powers

Summary: Covers a key component of chart interpretation – assessing the ‘strength’ or ‘power’ of a planet from its sign placement in a birth-chart. Also explains house rulership (ownership) and ‘friends and enemies’ concepts

In Jyotish, a key component of chart interpretation lies in assessing the ‘strength’ or ‘power’ of a planet.

A planet that is classified as ‘strong’ brings many benefits and signifies positive returning karmas. In general, ‘strong’ equates with ‘good’!

There are two ways in which ‘strong’ equals ‘good’

Firstly some of the benefits will be in the life areas indicated by the natural associations or indications of that planet.

For example our health, power, self-esteem, relationship with father are natural associations or indicators of the Sun. Whereas our mind, emotions, memory are associated with the Moon. (See the aricle on ‘natural indications’ of planets for details)

Secondly, a strong planet brings benefits to the Houses associated with the signs it ‘owns’ or ‘rules’ [1].

Assessing Planetary Strength from Sign Placement

Although there are numerous ways of assessing a planet’s strength, a fundamental indication of strength is to assign a particular state depending on the sign of the zodiac in which the planet is located. Sometimes even the sector of the sign (say the first 10 deg.) makes a difference to the level of ‘strength’.

In Vedic astrology there are certain signs in which a planet is said to be ‘strong’ or ‘powerful’ and so can deliver benefits, whereas in other signs it is said to be ‘weakened’ so we might expect more challenges, difficulties or negative returning karmas in the life areas associated with it. Therefore the strength of a planet depends on its relationship with the sign of the zodiac in which it is placed (or passing through).

When beginning astrology, we can make quite a good initial observation of a birth-chart simply by first looking to see if each of the nine planets is in one of the four key categories of strength.

These are called, ‘Exalted’, ‘Moolatrikona’, ‘Own House’, ‘Debilitated’ (weakened or ‘fallen’).

The state of ‘Moolatrikona’ (no direct English equivalent word) brings benefits somewhere between the best state ‘exalted’ and the good state ‘own house’.

The sign where a planet is weakest (Debilitated) is exactly 180° opposite its position of maximum strength (Exalted).

Suppose we take a naturally positive planet such as Venus. If Venus is in its sign of Exaltation (Pisces), it will bring tremendous benefits (both to its natural indicators, and also to the two houses associated with the signs it rules – Libra and Taurus; the house numbers linked to these signs will of course depend on the particular ascendant in the birth-chart). However, if Venus is located in its sign of Debilitation (Virgo), it will bring no benefits whatsoever.

Therefore the same planet can act in very different ways according to its sign placement!

Planetary Strengths or Powers by Sign Placement

Sun

Exalted sign: Aries (maximum strength at Aries 10°)

Moolatrikona sign: Leo 0° to 20°

Own sign: Leo 20° to 30°

Debilitated sign: Libra (maximum weakness Libra 10°)

Moon

Exalted sign: Taurus 0° to 3°

Moolatrikona sign: Taurus 3° to 30°

Own sign: Cancer

Debilitated sign: Scorpio (maximum weakness at Scorpio 3°)

Mars

Exalted sign: Capricorn (maximum strength at Capricorn 28°)

Moolatrikona sign: Aries 0° to 12°

Own signs: Aries 12° to 30° and Scorpio

Debilitated sign: Cancer (maximum weakness at Cancer 28°)

Mercury

Exalted sign: Virgo 0° to 15° (maximum strength at Virgo 15°)

Moolatrikona sign: Virgo 16° to 20°

Own signs: Virgo 20° to 30° and Gemini

Debilitated sign: Pisces (maximum weakness at Pisces 15°)

Jupiter

Exalted sign: Cancer (maximum strength at Cancer 5°)

Moolatrikona sign: Sagittarius 0° to 10°

Own signs: Sagittarius 10° to 30° and Pisces

Debilitated sign: Capricorn (maximum weakness at Capricorn 5°)

Venus

Exalted sign: Pisces (maximum strength at Pisces 27°)

Moolatrikona sign: Libra 0° to 15° and Taurus

Own signs: Taurus 15° to 30° and Libra

Debilitated sign: Virgo (maximum weakness at Virgo 27°)

Saturn

Exalted sign: Libra (maximum strength at Libra 20°)

Moolatrikona sign: Aquarius 0° to 15°

Own signs: Aquarius 15° to 30° and Capricorn

Debilitated sign: Aries (maximum weakness at Aries 20°)

Rahu

There are considerable differences of opinion in the ancient texts about the signs where Rahu and Ketu are strong or weak. So the following are quoted using the best sources I have available.

Exalted sign: Taurus

Debilitated sign: Scorpio

Ketu

Exalted sign: Scorpio

Debilitated sign: Taurus

House ‘Ownership’ or ‘Rulership’ Principles

A ‘strong’ planet also brings benefits to the signs associated with that particular planet. By ‘association’ we mean sign(s) the planet is said to ‘own or rule’. The Vedic seers allocated each of the signs to a particular planet:

Sign Ownership or Rulership by Planets in Jyotish

For example, the Sun is said to be the ‘owner or ruler’  of the sign of Leo (sidereal). A strong Sun therefore brings benefits to the house number in the birth chart that corresponds with the sign of Leo. It brings benefits to all life areas that specific house indicates. The house number (1 to 12) will of course depend of on a person’s ascendant. If a person had a Cancer ascendant, then Leo becomes the second house (counting clockwise). So a strong Sun would bring benefits associated with the second house e.g. wealth

Note that in Jyotish signs and houses correspond exactly – unlike in some western astrological systems.

Suppose a person had an ascendant in Aries – this sign then becomes the first house and the sign of Leo (counting clockwise from Aries – yes clockwise, unlike in the Western system) would be the 5th house. So, if the Sun was ‘strong’ (by sign placement – see below) the affairs indicated by the 5th house e.g. children, intelligence and education, would also be supported in a positive way. This is in addition to the natural indications of the Sun (health, power, etc.) being positively supported. 

Additional Measures of Strength – ‘Friends’ and ‘Enemies’

Professional astrologers add a number of other states lying between the ‘own house’ and ‘debilitated’ states. These are a bit more complicated for beginners but they ‘fine tune’ the chart interpretation.

These five intermediate states are named as follows: ‘Great Friends’, ‘Friends’, ‘Neutral’, ‘Enemies’, ‘Great Enemies’.

A planet positioned in a sign owned by a ‘Great Friend’ does well, but one in a sign owned by an ‘Enemy’ is weakened. Of course, planets don’t actually have ‘friends’ or ‘enemies’. It is just a convenient way of saying that a planet such as Venus is less ‘happy’ (so will bring less benefits) when positioned in the sign of an ‘enemy’ such as the Sun. Good Vedic astrological software will show these states for each planet in a birth-chart.

The above, together with ‘Exalted, ‘Own House’  and ‘Debilitated (‘Fallen’) are the primary planetary strengths or ‘Avasthas’.

For a proper chart interpretation we should take these nine detailed levels into account, but when we are starting to look at charts for the first time we can just use the four key states: Exalted, Own, Moolatrikona and Debilitated. They give a surprisingly accurate picture of an individual’s returning karmas! If you are in any doubts about the validity of Jyotish check these strength indicators out in the charts of your friends and family.

The sage Parashara quantifies the benefits a planet in each state can bring:

Exalted 100%, Moolatrikona 75%, Own House 50%, Friendly sign 25%, Neutral sign 12%, and Fallen/Enemies sign 0%.

This gives us a general idea of how the state of a planet affects the good it can do. We don’t have to take the above figures too literally – but they give a good illustration of the concepts.

Other Factors Which Influence Planetary Strength

There are also other factors which influence strength. For example, if the planet appears to be moving backwards against the background of the fixed stars (i.e. ‘retrograde’), if it is very close to the Sun (i.e. ‘combust’), or within about 1 degree of another planet (i.e. involved in ‘planetary war’). A planet’s position in the divisional charts (e.g. the ninth division or ‘marriage’ chart) also affects its overall power and ability to do good.

There are also other ‘Avasthas’ or ‘states’ which modify planetary strengths. Wikipedia comments: ‘Avasthas are basically secondary sources of strength which temper interpretations rather than reverse them’. If Wiki is talking about these other Avasthas (such as ‘youth’, etc.) and not the primary ones (Exalted, Own, etc.) then I agree. For those wishing to research this further, WikiZero has an interesting article on Avasthas.

These other influences on planetary strength will be covered in further articles.


Additional Resources on Jyotish