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PLANETS, SIGNS, & HOUSES
Astrology posits that the positions of the planets and signs at the moment of one's birth determine the general pattern of life for that person. By analyzing the birth chart, the ascendant (or rising sign), the order of planetary cycles, and current planetary transits in relation to the birth chart, an accurate picture of one's inherent strengths and weaknesses and general path in life can be ascertained. The distinguishing feature of Vedic astrology is its ability to offer specific solutions to problem areas of life as shown by their respective areas in the natal horoscope. Let's now take a look at how Vedic Astrology defines the planets, signs of the zodiac, and the "houses" or divisions of the horoscope. To learn more, consider taking our Introductory Course in Vedic Astrology.
In Astrology, the planets represent certain forces, both personal and mundane, at work in our lives. Vedic Astrology uses the following nine planets. The English names for the planets are given first, with the Sanskrit names in parentheses.
The Sun (Surya): The Sun represents one's father in the horoscope, as well as one's general vitality, sense of oneself as an individual, one's eyesight, courage, determination, and ambition. A strongly placed Sun is an indicator of a person with a firm sense of who they are and a basic self-confidence. A weak Sun can be indicative of confidence problems, health problems, a weak heart, and a weak or poor relationship with one's father.
The colors for the Sun are orange, pink, gold, and bright red. The stones for the Sun are ruby, red spinel, red garnet, pink tourmaline, and orange carnelian. The Sun rules the sign of Leo and is exalted in the sign of Aries. The Sun is a benefic (or favorable) planet for those with Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, and Aquarius rising signs, and a malefic (or unfavorable) planet for all other rising signs.
The Moon (Chandra): The Moon represents one's mother in the horoscope, one's emotional life, ability to understand, mental calmness, feminine qualities, and one's ability to nurture and mother another. Physically, the Moon rules the breasts and glandular system, as well as the various fluids in the body. A strong Moon in one's chart indicates a good relationship with one's mother, a capacity to feel deep emotions, a strong ability to take care of others, and a basic peace of mind. A weak Moon shows the opposite and might indicate health problems with the mind, breasts, stomach, or glands.
The Moon's colors are white, ivory, and silver. The stones for the Moon are white pearl, moonstone, white opal, and white coral. The Moon rules the sign of Cancer and is exalted in the sign of Taurus. The Moon is a benefic planet for those with Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Capricorn, and Pisces rising signs, and a malefic planet for all other rising signs.
Mars (Manglik): Mars represents one's ability to organize and be exacting, one's immune and muscular systems, inflammations and infections, accidents, one's sense of bravery and ego, courage, self-confidence, and, on a mundane level, the police and armed forces. A strong Mars gives one a sense of personal power and how to rightly use it, strong self-confidence, good energy, and an attitude of being a leader, not a follower. A weak Mars indicates the opposite.
The color for Mars is a deep red. The stones for Mars are red coral, red carnelian, and red jasper. Mars rules the sign of Aries and is exalted in Capricorn. It is a benefic planet for Aries, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Libra, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces rising signs, and a malefic for all other rising signs.
Mercury (Budha): Mercury represents one's ability to think logically and analytically. It rules communications, speech, the nervous system, the hands and lungs, the skin, basic intelligence and wit, and one's ability to communicate and write. A weak Mercury can lead to frazzled nerves, skin diseases, and health problems from excessive worrying and nervousness.
The color for Mercury is green, especially a grass-green. Mercury's stones are emerald, green jade, green tourmaline, and aventurine. Mercury rules the signs of Gemini and Virgo. It is exalted in Virgo and debilitated in Pisces. It is a benefic planet for all rising signs except Aries, Libra, and Aquarius.
Jupiter (Guru): Jupiter represents one's sense of benevolence, affluence, fame, luck, one's religious sense, optimism, faith, hope, belief in God, one's sense of honor and morality. On a mundane level, Jupiter rules over legal matters, insurance, astrology, priests, and physicians. Physically, Jupiter rules the liver and hips. A strong Jupiter results in a sense of the goodness of life and faith in the future. A weak Jupiter leads to a pessimistic outlook, possible weight problems, and a lack of faith.
Jupiter's color is yellow and its stones are yellow sapphire, yellow topaz, and citrine. Jupiter rules the signs of Sagittarius and Pisces. It is exalted in Cancer and debilitated in Capricorn. It is a benefic planet for all rising signs except Taurus, Cancer, and Capricorn.
Venus (Shukra): Venus represents one's sense of beauty, the arts, ability to love and receive it, the kidneys and lower back, sexual love and happiness, the reproductive system, and capacity to enjoy life. When strongly placed, Venus confers joy and money. When it is weak, it confers unhappiness, restricted finances, and a stunted love life. It may also lead to problems with the kidneys and reproductive system.
Venus' colors are light blue and variegated colors. Its stones are diamond, white sapphire, clear crystal, and turquoise. Venus rules the signs of Taurus and Libra. It is exalted in Pisces and debilitated in Virgo. It is a benefic for all rising signs except Taurus, Scorpio, and Pisces.
Saturn (Shani): Saturn represents adversities, hard work, one's sense of structure in one's life, stability, and discipline. When strongly placed in one's chart, it leads to a strong work ethic, patience, determination, and a sense of foundation in one's life. When weak, these things are hampered. On a mundane level, Saturn can represent low-class people and poverty. Physically, Saturn rules the bones, knees, joints, and teeth. A weak or afflicted Saturn can lead to health problems with these areas of the body.
Saturn's colors are dark blue and black. Its stones are blue sapphire, tanzanite, amethyst, and lapis lazuli. Saturn rules Capricorn and Aquarius. It is exalted in Libra and debilitated in Aries. It is a benefic for all rising signs except Cancer, Virgo, and Pisces.
Rahu: Rahu is the north node of the Moon. According to Vedic mythology, Rahu was originally a demon that crashed a party of the gods and drank some of the nectar of immortality. Rahu is the head of the demon and represents calamities, insatiable desires, addictions, paranoia, worries, materialism, fears, drugs, poisons, con artists, dangerous people, liars, cheats, foreigners, obstacles, delays, and sociopathic behavior. When well-placed, it can give material success, but Rahu's gifts are always temporary and fleeting.
Rahu does not rule a sign. Its colors are dull brown, faded colors, ash, and dull purple. Its stone is hessonite. It is exalted in Taurus and debilitated in Scorpio. It is a malefic planet for all people.
Ketu: Ketu is the south node of the Moon. As Rahu is the head of the demon, Ketu is the tail. It rules mysterious diseases like cancer and multiple sclerosis, spirituality through suffering, abuse, isolation, psychic abilities, accidents, denial, abandonment, and negative habits. When well-placed, it can give a healthy spiritual sense of life. When it is afflicting, it can cause insidious diseases like cancer, loss of assets, and abuse.
Ketu does not rule a sign. Its colors are dull grey and faded colors. Its stones are cat's-eye and tiger's-eye. It is exalted in Scorpio and debilitated in Taurus. It is a malefic planet for all people.
The signs of the zodiac in Vedic astrology have much the same meanings as in Western astrology. A sign shows how the energy of a planet will manifest. For example, if one's Mars was in the sign of Aries when one was born, then one will project oneself out to the world in an Aries way. The following are some keywords for the various signs. Each of the signs also rules a particular body part/system.
ARIES: Enterprising, impatient, bold, brave, selfish, bombastic, willing to try anything, thrill-seeking, aggressive. The head and face.
TAURUS: Steady, fixed, stubborn, earthy, physical, comfort, physical enjoyment, sensual, materialistic. The neck and shoulders.
GEMINI: Easily bored, diverse, witty, intelligent, intellectual, sparkling quality, lack of persistence, talkative. The hands, arms, lungs, and fingers.
CANCER: Emotional, mothering, moody, always moving, interested in the home, clingy, protective. The stomach and chest.
LEO: Egotistical, self-centered, show-off, actor, dramatic, aggressive, regal, royal, pride, leader, stubborn, persistent, tendency to arrogance. The heart and upper back, the spine.
VIRGO: Meticulous, analytical, critical, fussy, nervous, agriculture, physical health, cleanliness, perfectionism. The bowel, intestines.
LIBRA: Thinking of another first, seeing another's point of view, poor sense of self, fairness, socially active, pleasing disposition, always knows "the right thing to say." The lower back, buttocks, and kidneys.
SCORPIO: Emotionally intense, brooding, mistrustful, suspicious, determined, run by emotions, deeply sexual, secretive, occult, can be vindictive. The genitals and anus.
SAGITTARIUS: Gregarious, socially responsible, interested in religion, travel, foreigners, flexible, but can get stuck in dogmatism. The hips and thighs.
CAPRICORN: Tradition, material success, not taking chances, calculating, intensely physical and materialistic, concerned with appearances. The knees and teeth.
AQUARIUS: Annihilates personal ego, concerned with the group rather than the self, iconoclastic, enterprising, vast intelligence, overly intellectual. The calves and shanks, ankles.
PISCES: Overly emotional, emotionally volatile, lack of ego, tendency towards hypersensitivity and poor send of self, sacrificing. The feet and lymphatic system.
The horoscope is divided up into twelve segments called "houses." Each of the houses has rulership over various aspects of life. Though some Vedic astrologers list 40-50 meanings for each house, we'll restrict them here to the most important. Houses marked in red are viewed as being bad or evil as they rule the problems of life. Planets placed in these "dusthana" houses are viewed as being weakly placed.
1st House: How one projects out to the world, one's name and fame, recognition, personality, the head, brain, and face.
2nd House: Family happiness, gemstones, personal possessions and income, the voice, food. The neck and throat area.
3rd House: The arts, courage, one's younger siblings, music, self-efforts, entrepreneurial pursuits. The lungs, hands, and arms.
4th House: Ownership of fixed assets (land, cars, boats), ability to be happy in life, the mother. The stomach, chest and breast area.
5th House: Children, abortions, amusements, love affairs, having fun, gambling, higher learning, scriptures, chants. Heart, spleen, upper back.
6th House: Enemies, disputes, litigation, debts, illness, kidneys, the intestines, and the colon.
7th House: Competition, marriage, close one-to-one relationships, married life, change of residence. The lower back, reproductive system, buttocks, and kidneys.
8th House: Death, chronic disease, agonies, joint monies, financial windfalls, disappointments, insurance, inheritances, taxes, pelvis, genitals, anus, venereal diseases.
9th House: Spiritual grace, luck, travel to foreign countries, one's father, publishing, higher education, contact with gurus and spirits, religious institutions. Arteries, liver, hips, thighs, bone marrow.
10th House: One's career and success in it, ambition, achievements, the knees, teeth, and bones.
11th House: Achieving one's goals and dreams, income from the profession, blood circulation, ankles, the left ear.
12th House: Sexual pleasure, depression, losses, expenses, spirituality by denying the physical, confinement, places of confinement, suicide, feet.
In the North Indian chart (left), the first house is the one with the Sun and the ASDT (Ascendant) in it. The chart is then read counter-clockwise. The numbers shown in the various houses in the North Indian chart are NOT house numbers, but the sign numbers. So the house numbered "9" is not the ninth house, but the house containing Sagittarius, the 9th sign of the zodiac. In the South Indian chart to the right, the Sun and Ascendant mark the first house. The chart is then read clockwise. Sun and Ascendant are also in Sagittarius. In the South Indian chart, the second box from the left on the top row (the box containing "JUP" in the chart above), is always Aries. Most Vedic astrologers use the North Indian style of chart because it is much easier to see the angular relationships among the planets.
Well, there you have it: A broad overview and introduction to Vedic Astrology. To learn more, consider taking our Introductory Course in Vedic Astrology. To schedule your natal chart reading, click here.