Indian Vedic Astrology or rather the way it is practiced today has become a tool to instill fear in the minds of people. People flock to astrologers for their birth chart analysis and for astrology guidance and suggestions. Once they get a reading, there is a tendency to become dependent on star positions for favorable outcomes and given any unfavorable transits or malefic planetary positions, people tend to lose faith in themselves.
This brings me to the question I frequently hear from clients: Should we believe in astrology or not?
Today, if you allow yourself to be controlled by astrologers, you will have lost connection with your natural self. If you feel that by doing some upayas to appease the planets, or by wearing talismans or gemstones you are protecting yourselves from the evil effects of planets, it is a sad state of affairs. This belief and dependency on the planets will isolate you from the loving Universe and makes your feel small and alone.
Before you explore the benefits of astrology, know that the Universe is totally in your favour. All planets are working favorably only for you. The ultimate goal of the entire play of life is “Self Realization”. What this means is that you have to realise your loving, compassionate, truthful, abundant, playful and all-encompassing Self. Ultimately, you are the Universe and Universe is in you. There is no separation. All was created for you, by you and in you.
Understanding the true meaning of Vedic Astrology
As a soul you have to take several births in order to realise yourself. Your astrology chart at the time of birth depicts your evolution status from past births and the unfinished lessons that you have to learn. At one level, your birth chart is a karmic blueprint of your past. In course of your time on earth, different planets will teach you their lessons as per their dashas and mahadashas. It is up to you to learn these lessons and empower yourself with the truth of existence. You can either evolve to go beyond these lessons or to remain stuck in despair and misery. Praying to the planets, chanting their mantras and strotras, wearing their Yantra, Rudraksha and Gemstones will tap into benevolent planetary energy to an extent and this can help you learn these lessons in an easier manner.
Let us review briefly the lessons of different planets.
Lessons of Saturn
The much feared Saturn or Shani is the ruler of Capricorn. In Vedic astrology, Saturn is a cold, hard planet most often associated with restriction and limitation. Where the nature of Jupiter is expansion, Saturn tends to constrict. On the face of it, the themes of Saturn may seem depressing, but Shani gives structure and meaning to the world. Saturn is well aware of the limits of time and matter. He reminds us of our boundaries, responsibilities and commitments. By giving us hard knocks during his transits and planetary periods, Saturn makes us aware of the need for self-control, handling responsibilities, facing our fears, boundaries and limits.
Saturn is the planet of discipline and is associated with father or father/authority figures. The rules and regulations imposed on us in childhood by authority figures including parents and teachers may not always have been pleasant, but they did help us understand the world around us. In the same way, Saturn’s lessons actually help us grow and take charge of our life.
Lessons of Jupiter
The ruler of Sagittarius, Jupiter is also called “Guru” the Teacher. In Vedic astrology, Jupiter is the planet of knowledge and higher wisdom. Jupiter usually seeks insight through knowledge. Some of his virtues include morality, self-confidence, hope, honour and the law. Jupiter is easily the planet of higher purpose, reach and possibility. Guru is generally associated with optimism and growth (on all planes, material, mental and spiritual). He teaches that we can grow in life only if we tap and develop our uniqueness, wisdom and understanding to realise our self-worth. Jupiter sometimes creates lessons of competition and loss of self-worth. This is so that we realise and cultivate wisdom and unique qualities within ourselves. Else we cannot evolve in this lifetime.
Lessons of Sun
As the giver of life, the Sun in Astrology represents your conscious mind and your will to live. The Sun is your basic identity and denotes Self Realisation. It also represents your overall vitality and vigour. The Sun guides the native and is considered “the boss” in a birth chart. It reflects the present or the “Here and Now”. It teaches that you have maximum potential only in the Now. The past is long gone and future is yet to come. So release the past through acts of forgiveness and let go. The Sun teaches you lessons in evoking your self-power instead of handing over power to others.
If well placed, the Sun makes you purposeful, direct and proud. On the negative side, it can make you haughty, self-centered and judgmental. In a birth chart, the position of the Sun represents a person’s life purpose and way they will leave their mark in the world. The Sun’s placement by house shows the area where your personalities tend to shine. The areas associated with that house reveal the experiences that enrich your sense of individuality and shape your sense of pride. You tend to express and focus your Sun sign qualities in these spheres.
Lessons of Mercury
Mercury, the ruler of Gemini and Virgo is the messenger of the Gods. It is the planet that rules your expression and communication, whether you are flowery in your speech or in written words, concise in your choice of words or business-like, your Mercury determines even your personal communications. Mercury also rules your heart chakra. People with malefic mercury go through intense ups and downs in relationships until they learn the lesson of right communication, thoughts and actions.
Well placed Mercury in the chart makes you inquisitive, curious, communicative and versatile. On the negative side, you can be high-strung or nervous, nit-picky, indecisive, and overly technical.
Mercury’s placement in signs or rashis shows your style of communication. Through its placement in houses Mercury reveals where natives have a voice and the areas they tend to intellectualise. Mercury affects the planets it aspects with a desire for communication and exchange of information. Also the planets that aspect Mercury affect the way you communicate. A prominent Mercury in the birth chart points to wit, liveliness and curiosity.
Lessons of Moon
The Moon is the ruler of Cancer. It is a sensitive planet representing your deepest personal needs, basic habits, reactions, and the unconscious. The Sun acts, but the Moon reacts. Your moon governs your spontaneous reactions and feelings. It determines your emotional mind. In general, the Moon is associated with the mother and with feminine energy. It is responsive, receptive, and reflective. The Moon is our spontaneous and instinctual reactions.
The Moon rules over the ebb and flow of activity and energy. It is the mediator between the inner world and the outer world. Where the Sun is rational, the Moon is irrational. Habitual behaviors and prejudices are all ruled by the Moon.
If you have a strongly placed moon in the chart, you are imaginative, creative, fearless, emotionally balanced, adaptable and introspective. A malefic moon makes you prone to emotional instability, fears, insecurity, making you moody, restless and irrational.
Lessons of Venus
In Astrology, Venus has dual rulership over Libra and Taurus and rules two main areas of your life, love and money.
“Love and money” is a simplistic definition of Venus. It rules your sentiments, what you value and the pleasure you take in life. Grace, charm, and beauty are all ruled by Venus. Through Venus you learn about your tastes, pleasures, artistic inclinations and what makes you happy.
Venus shows you how you spend your money, the types of gifts you buy, and how much you spend on leisure and the kind of leisure you prefer. Those with a badly placed Venus learn lessons with respect to earning money, saving money, enjoying money, attraction of money and safeguarding of money. To give this lesson, Venus creates situations where they lose money or end up in debts or face discontentment or an occasional shortfall of money. Once lessons are learned, these natives are blessed with abundance.
Venus also rules your attachments. It rules attractiveness, both the ability to attract and attraction to other people and things. Venus energy is harmonious and people with a prominent Venus in their charts often play peace-makers. In Venus you find the need to be appreciated and to appreciate. Venus rules the arts, love and romance, beauty and the beautifying process, money, entertainment, leisure, sensuality, and comfort.
When you are “acting out” your Venus, you compromise, make peace, become loving, and act with taste. On the negative side, you can be self-indulgent, self-centered, vain and superficial.
Lessons of Mars
Mars, the God of War, is the ruler of Aries. In astrology Mars is the planet of energy, action and desire. Mars rules animal instincts for aggression, anger, and survival. This is the planet of action. With Mars, there is no contemplation before action. The drive associated with Mars differs from that of the Sun in that it is self-assertion rather than assertion of the will; it is raw energy rather than creative energy.
Mars rules your survival for stability in life. Those with malefic Mars face lessons of instability in personal life, career or mind until they learn how to cope, face the circumstances, release their fears and find stability.
Mars is the force that gets you out of bed in the morning; it governs your drive and desire, and your active energy. When you are “acting out” your Mars, you are assertive, directed, forthright and adventurous. On the negative side, you can become impulsive, rash, impatient, aggressive and forceful.
Lessons of Rahu
Rahu represents the head of the celestial snake. As a demon, it tends to take people away from their dharma and tempt them to self-destruction. But Rahu has a very definite purpose in doing this. It wants you to learn, taste and feel everything so that from the full satiation of your senses you turn a new leaf on the path of self realisation and find true enlightenment. On the physical plane, Rahu gives you insatiable desire to achieve and to conquer. Once you have reached the pinnacle of achievement, you realise that the success you achieved has not brought happiness because you were, in fact, chasing an illusion. Many cults in India preach satiation of all your desires so that you can learn the lesson that fulfilment of desires does not bring true happiness.
Lessons of Ketu
Ketu is the lower part of the celestial snake. Ketu causes great impediments in your paths. It sets up roadblocks, traffic jams and boulders in your journey of life. It causes pain because it wants to change your psyche. You learn to leave your excess baggage of past Karma behind. Travel lightly into this existence so that you understand the areas you need to address and those that should be left behind. People who are unable to harness the power of Ketu or understand its karmic path can be led to a sorrowful existence. Ketu is doing its work to produce in you the enlightenment that will lead to true enlightenment and honour. The effect of Ketu-induced problems is like going through the ritual of fire from which you emerge stronger and more powerful to take on the problems thrown at you.