I would like to open the mind of the Western astrologer to see the connectedness of our human spirit through the similarities of Eastern and Western astrology and their mythology.
Mythology is the common vein of Mankind. The planets are the symbols or Archetypes of humanity. The stories of the heavens reflect in our daily lives and connect us to the divine. A myth is something that never was but is always happening. It is the common thread of the Human experience, transcending culture and time. We will all experience on some level the lessons we came to learn and how to heal our lives to grow beyond the grasp our collective consciousness has on us.
Graha (Sanskit for planet) means “to grasp”, meaning the planets possess, or control us. It is the Vedic philosophy that the planets are our karma. Karma is based on the belief of reincarnation; our karma is of both good and bad debts from past lives. The planets are the cosmic energy force in a chart. The nine planets (seven planets and the lunar nodes: Rahu and Ketu) have specific meanings, and significations. The planetary rays manifest in various ways in our lives. A planet rules each life experience and different arenas of our lives. They are the key indicators of people in our life, and the different attributes or qualities we have. They are the Archetypes of Mankind. Understanding the true significations of the planets in our lives brings a higher consciousness, releasing us from the Grahas/Planets grasp or hold on us.
Listed below are the keywords for each planet, the part of the body ruled by the planet (medical astrology), Gemstone that emits the color or vibrational field of the planet, day of the week named after the planet, signs the planet rules, exaltation/debilitation, and the mythology comparing the Western (Greek) and Indian myth’s similarities. I will refer to these as in a personal chart. Some key tips are given here to quickly assess the core differences of Vedic astrology not used in Western astrology that will fine-tune your analysis. This must not be applied to the Western Tropical chart. A Vedic chart using the Sidereal system must be used here.
Sun (Surya): The Sun is the life force of our planet. It is the soul and spirit of a chart. It can be an overpowering influence in a chart. If it is too close to other planets it can burn up the planets capability to function properly. This condition is called combustion of the Sun. The Sun works best in the tenth house. Placed here it will give a sense of power and career opportunity. In other houses, its powerful presence can be a bit too much causing problems. For example, in the seventh house it can give a dominating partner and cause marital discord. In the fifth house it can limit children, although a male child is dominate. It can burn the head in the first house causing baldness. The Sun in the third can give courage but trouble with siblings. The Sun in the sixth house will give the capacity to win over any adversaries.
Key Words: Atma-Self, masculine, day, future, soul, physical body and health, heart, life force, courage, pride, ego, vitality, will power, stamina, sense of self, power, fame, glory, inspiration, creativity, leadership, Father, teachers, authority, law and order, bosses, political leader, Kings or Presidents.
Medical Astrology: Heart, blindness, baldness, right eye
Gemstone: Ruby, Garnet — Day: Sunday
Rules: Leo Exaltation: Aries Debilitation: Libra
Mythology: Surya was married to Sanja, sometimes referred to as Twashtri, the daughter of the celestial architect Vishwakarma. His radiance was too much for her to bear, so she had her father cut his radiance down. Sanja could finally see others so she went to visit her parents and placed her shadow Chhaya, in her place to look after her husband. The Sun became infatuated with Chhaya. Upset Sanja fled, disguised in a form of a mare. Upon realizing his mistake the Sun turned himself into a horse and followed Sanja. When they reunited they produced the Ashwins, the two celestial doctors. This myth can refer to the martial discord the Sun in the seventh house can cause.
Moon (Chandra): The Moon is the reflective influence. The Sun sends out its radiance and the Moon reflects it back. It is receptive, and therefore represents the reflective mind giving consciousness. The Moon represents the nurturing, protecting influence that a mother provides. It is the Yin or female influence while the Sun is the Yang or the male influence. In a chart, the Moon likes the support of other planets. The Moon does better when surrounded by other planets. The exception to this is the Sun and Saturn. If the Moon is too close to the Sun, the Moon is dark, and the perception can be darkened. If the Moon is close to Saturn there is depression. Also, when Mercury is too close to the Moon the mind can be overly active. The Moon with Jupiter brings happiness and spiritual knowledge. Jupiter/ Moon contacts are the best. The Moon and the Sun are troubled when near the Nodes of the Moon (Rahu/Ketu). The lunar nodes cause eclipses. The shadow cast on them brings out fears and obsessions. Rahu with the Moon can cause obsessive, addictive behavior. Ketu with the Moon can cause fear, or an odd mother. Ketu with the Sun gives insecurities.
Keywords: The mind, reflective, feminine, night, emotions, sensitivity, nurturing, security, past, past-lives, patterns of behavior, receptivity, caring for others, heredity, Mother, the public or masses, popularity, inner contentment, home, water, habits, subconscious mind
Medical Astrology: Breast, stomach, watery disturbances, edema, phlegm, left eye
Gemstone: Pearls, Moonstone — Day: Monday
Rules: Cancer; Exaltation: Taurus Debilitation: Scorpio
Mythology: The myth of the Moon explains the waxing and waning cycle of the Moon. Daksha Prajapati the progenitor gave twenty-seven of his sixty daughters to the Moon-Soma. These twenty-seven daughters became the twenty-seven nakshatras the Moon visits every night. Soma began to favor and spend more time with one of the daughters, Rohini. The other daughters became jealous and told Daksha. He became enraged and cast a spell on Soma to be childless and die of consumption. The wives felt sorry for Soma and begged Daksha to lift the spell. Since the spell could never be taken away, he lessened it by stipulating that the Moon would regain his strength (light) after he lost his light.
Mercury (Bhudha): Generally Mercury has to do with all forms of communication. This means speech, writing, and publications. It rules the intellect. Mercury was the messenger of the gods. He could travel to the underworld where humans could not go. The underworld is symbolic of the hidden secrets of this world. Mercury can give creative abilities with the hands. Mercury rules learning and education. It is wit and a sense of humor. In Greek mythology, Hermes (Mercury) was a trickster and a thief. Mercury is fast and relates to short quick travels. He rules youthfulness and agelessness. He is the perpetual Peter Pan. Mercury is androgynous like a child before puberty. In both Greek and Indian Mythology there is reference to androgyny. The planet Mercury is very impressionable and will take on the qualities of planets aspecting it. Mercury with Saturn will give a serious, disciplined mind. Mercury with Jupiter gives an optimistic, expansive outlook on life. Mercury with Ketu can give profound perception and with Rahu can cause obsessive thoughts. The Moon is not friendly to Mercury and can give an over active mind. Since the Moon rules memory Mercury with the Moon can give a great memory, but dwells on the past.
Key Words: Communications, speech, writing, commerce, sales, education, ideas, thoughts, school, analytical mind, rational mind, cognitive intelligence, sense of humor, youth, trickster, truth, telephones, television, computers, travel especially short distances, childhood, aunts and uncles, neighbors, adaptability, twins
Medical Astrology: Lungs, hands, arms, nervous system
Gemstone: Emerald, Green Tourmaline — Day: Wednesday
Rules: Gemini and Virgo Exaltation: Virgo Debilitation: Pisces
Mythology: In both the Greek and Indian myths Mercury was the illegitimate son. In Indian myth Mercury was the son of Soma and Tara. Soma abducted Tara from her husband Jupiter, and Mercury was the result. Later on he was so charming that Jupiter adopted him as his own. In Greek myth Mercury was the result of Jupiter’s affair with a nymph (Maia). He later told lies and tricked his half brother Apollo, who was the golden child of Jupiter and Hera (Juno). The implication here lies in deceit and tricks. This refers to the tricks and delusions our mind can play on us. In relation to androgyny in Indian myth Mercury’s wife Ila became a man every other month. In Greek myth, Mercury’s affair with Venus (Aphrodite) produced a Hermaphrodite, a child with both sexes.
Venus (Sukra): Venus is the principle of attraction and therefore rules relationships. Relationships result in procreation. Venus is the creative energy and passion. This not only relates to children but also all forms of the creative arts. It rules the senses, which relates to pleasures of the physical body. This means taste, music, touch, luxuries and aesthetic beauty. Venus refers to a person’s wealth, and comforts in life. Since Venus is physical attraction when it is with Mars it creates a strong sexual attraction. Venus with Rahu can magnify creativity and attraction; with Ketu it will be more of an ascetic. Venus with Saturn gives unsupportive relationships. Venus and Jupiter are archenemies being the leaders of opposing planetary camps. Venus is the Asuras and Jupiter is the Devas. The house they are in together will give contradictions due to their opposing forces.
Keywords: The feminine spirit, beauty, grace, charm, refinement, luxuries, wealth, sensuality, vanity, charisma, glamour, good taste, sexual attraction, elegance, comforts, arts, music, theatre, love, wife in a males chart, pleasure of the senses, sugar, affections, conveyances, flowers
Medical Astrology: Reproductive system, bladder, kidneys, and panaceas-diabetes
Gemstone: Diamond, White Sapphire — Day: Friday
Rules: Taurus and Libra Exaltation: Pisces Debilitation: Virgo
Mythology: In Indian mythology, Shiva was sexually aroused by the sight of Mohini Rupa (attractive seductive form). This seductive vision was created to make Shiva’s semen flow downward to begin the human creation. Shukra means semen. In Greek mythology, Venus (Aphrodite) rose out of the sea foam that emerged after Saturn (Cronus) castrated his father Ouranus (Uranus), the sky god. Aphrodite means, “born of the sea foam.” In Indian myth, Venus was the leader of the Asuras (demons). They possessed the secret of immortality, which releases one from the cycle of incarnations.
Mars (Mangala): Mars is the commander in chief. He is the planet of war. Mars rules the blood and circulation of life force in the body. Mars nature is fiery. If provoked, he will fight. Mars deals with issues of anger. It is the planet of ambition and zest for life. It brings out suppressed energies or inner turmoil. Mars is very impulsive, aggressive and impatient. Mars represents accidents, surgery, wars, and volcanic eruptions. Courage and fearlessness are the positive nature of Mars. Mars is the karaka, or indicator for brothers. Saturn aspecting Mars is a very stressful combination. Mars is action; Saturn is restriction. This creates frustration in the house in which they are placed. Mars with the Sun is very courageous and competitive. Mars with the Moon gives business success. Mars with Mercury will give power with debates, thus skill as a lawyer.
Keywords: Energy, action, passions, male influence, courage, strength, motivations, anger, violence, determination, aggression, injury, accidents, war, military, police, athletic, muscles, blood, sexual vitality, weapons, machines, conflict, can inflict death, fire, selfish, criminal, goal oriented action, self-righteousness, property and real-estate, brothers, enemies, science, guns, knives
Medical Astrology: Blood, head, injuries, accidents, bleeding, headaches, high fevers, inflammation, surgery, burns
Gems: Red Coral — Day: Tuesday
Rules: Aries and Scorpio Exaltation: Capricorn Debilitation: Cancer
Mythology: In Indian Myth Mars relates to Kartikeya, son of Shiva and Parvati. His brother was Ganesh. The parents told their two sons that they would find wives for them. The first son to be married would have to achieve a difficult feat. Ganesh unfairly outsmarted Kartikeya. Disappointed, Kartikeya retreated to the mountains. This symbolizes the difficulty Mars can indicate in relationships. In Greek mythology, Mars was the son of Jupiter (Zeus) and Juno (Hera). He was recognized and feared for his warlike qualities. Venus (Aphrodite) and Mars had a passionate ongoing affair. Another Indian myth claims Kartikeya was born out of the sperm from Shiva, who ejaculated over a seductive vision. He was born to slay the demon. In this myth Mars was born of the semen similar to Venus (Aphrodite) in the Greek myth symbolizing the passionate nature of both planets in terms of relationships.
Jupiter (Guru): Jupiter is the preceptor and teacher of the gods. He was to teach the path of righteousness and spiritual wisdom. He represents God’s grace. Jupiter is expansion and growth. Whatever Jupiter aspects will grow big. This can indicate overweight conditions or a tall stature. Even an expanded organ such as the liver can cause health difficulties. Jupiter deals with the external rituals associated with religion. It is also about judgment and laws pertaining to legal advice and lawyers. Mercury is about lower education, whereas Jupiter is about higher education such as college. Mercury is about short quick travels, and Jupiter is about long distant travels like overseas trips. Jupiter always brings opportunity for growth and abundance. It is the karaka of wealth, happiness and good luck. Jupiter with Rahu can destroy the spiritual integrity of Jupiter. With Ketu profound spiritual lessons will be realized. Jupiter with Mars gives a zeal for life, and spiritual teachings. Jupiter/ Sun combinations (not combust) give optimism and happiness. Jupiter is always prominent in death, for death is the release of physical bondage.
Keywords: Spiritual teacher, guide, truth, religion, philosophy, spirituality, grace, law, the great benefic, fortune, wealth, expansion, higher education like colleges, optimism, generous, joy, luck, self-indulgent, excessive, faith, children, money, husband in a females chart, long distance travel
Medical Astrology: Liver, hips, overweight, edema, high cholesterol, growths such as tumors
Gem: Yellow Sapphire, Yellow Topaz, Citrine — Day: Thursday
Rules: Sagittarius and Pisces Exaltation: Cancer Debilitation: Capricorn
Mythology: In Indian myth, Brihaspati is the deity for Jupiter who teaches the gods (devas) and protects humanity from evil. In Greek myth, Jupiter or Zeus was the king of the gods. As the king, he had the ultimate authority to give immortality or condemn one to a terrible fate. Both mythologies symbolize the ultimate judge or authority and father figure. In some it can be the overzealous know it all.
Saturn (Shani): Saturn is the furthest planet that is visible to the naked eye. It therefore is the slowest and darkest from our perception (outer planets excluded here). Because of this Saturn is perceived as giving darkness, delaying or slowing things down. It is the final boundary referring to the implication of the planet of death and doom. Saturn rules old age. As one becomes disillusioned with life there is misery and frustration. This all is the function of Saturn to strip away everything of this existence to rid one of all desires and attachments. This is what eventually leads one to higher consciousness, and final liberation from the karmic chains of this world. Saturn’s primary function is to lead the soul back to its source, God. Experiences of Saturn are delays, depression, restrictions, set backs, destruction, disease and death. Saturn can exhibit discipline, stability, and give long lasting results. Restrictive Saturn with expansive Jupiter will bring frustration, for Jupiter will expand and give things whereas Saturn will contract and take things away. These planets are very opposite in their meaning and the result is very confusing and frustrating. Saturn with the Sun will inhibit and lower a person’s self-confidence.
Keywords: Discipline, order, structure, dependable, stability, separation, solitude, limitation, obstruction, poverty, death, disease, oppression, pessimistic, worry, fear, bad luck, old age, delays, retards things, concentration, paralysis, depression, stunted, deprivation, bondage, arthritis, bones, skin, degenerative diseases, fixed assets, land, property, endurance and lasting, doubt, phobias, darkness, sorrow, longevity, detachment, decay
Medical Astrology: geriatrics, death, bones and teeth, osteoporosis, arthritis, dehydration, premature aging, cancer
Gem: Blue Sapphire, Amethyst — Day: Saturday
Rules: Capricorn and Aquarius Exaltation: Libra Debilitation: Aries
Mythology: In Indian Myth, Shani is the son of Surya (Sun) and Chhaya, his wife’s shadow (Sanja). This implies the depressive darkness of Saturn. In Greek myth, Saturn was Cronus, who was the child of Ouranos (Uranus) the sky god and Gaia (mother earth). Ouranos feared being overthrown by his offspring and Cronus (Saturn) castrated him. Later Cronus (Saturn) was overthrown by one of his own children (Zeus/Jupiter). This symbolizes the overthrowing of old rules or religions. On a simpler note it symbolizes the problems children have with their fathers and the ways of different generations. This symbolizes the fear of the new to take over and the unwillingness to change.
The Nodes of the Moon are viewed differently in Vedic astrology. In Western astrology the North Node is viewed as a positive force for gain and success, and the South Node is a negative force about what we have already mastered and achieved in our past lives. We are to aspire to our North Node for our future leaving behind our past or South Node. In Vedic astrology Rahu (North Node) and Ketu (South Node) are seen as our karma and destiny. Rahu is our karma, and Ketu is enlightenment through spiritual liberation. In Indian philosophy our desires and our attachments are the cause of our pain and suffering. In Western culture to achieve our desires is a good thing, but at some point there will be a loss. Rahu is worldly attachments and the drive to achieve and possess them. Therefore this is why Rahu is seen as a first rate malefic, but perceived as a good thing to the materialistic Western mind. Additionally our quest for earthly desires robs us from our time spent on spiritual development. Ketu is the opposite extreme of Rahu meaning it is our spiritual quest. Ketu is the indicator of loss because it is at the time of great pain and loss that we grieve and seek God, that which is beyond the pain of this world. Ketu is our spiritual liberation, the release of the chains of our karma. This is perceived as a good thing for Easterners, for God realization is the ultimate gift in their eyes.
Rahu (North Node of Moon): Rahu has the nature of a serpent. It poisons you to the illusions of this world. Our desires are what keep us incarnating here. Under Rahu, things happen. Rahu gives: but with a price. Our most intense desires are granted under Rahu only to discover that too much of a good thing ends up causing our most intense suffering. We may be granted fame and fortune only to realize we have no freedom to go places without being mauled by fans. That family and friends disown us out of jealousy. The fame and fortune we desire only brings us separation and sorrow. Ultimately, the disillusionment leads to the enlightenment of Ketu who detaches and renounces the world for spiritual enlightenment. The nodes are the most powerful of all the planets, for they cause the eclipses of the luminaries, the Sun and Moon. The nodes block out the light or consciousness. Rahu is the material world and all the desires it creates. It gives material things which never give lasting happiness. This is the illusion of Rahu. When these things start to fall away we become obsessed with trying to hold on to them. Rahu deals with fear, obsessive and compulsive behavior. It is about addictions, poisons, alcohol, and drugs. Any planet with Rahu will be magnified greatly in the chart. Rahu will take on the quality of the planet it is next to (in the same sign). This can be good or bad depending on the planet. Rahu with Venus or Jupiter can bring wealth. Rahu with Saturn can cause suffering to the house they are in.
Keywords: Fame, extremes, foreigners and foreign lands, fulfillment of worldly desires, status, prestige, power, worldly success, outer success with inner turmoil, obsessive, addictions, disease, psychic, disturbances, collective trends, epidemics, disturbances, poisons that destroy and heal, medicine, drugs and alcohol
Medical Astrology: Plagues, epidemics, possessions, manic depression, insanity, addictions, hormonal imbalances, suicide, insomnia, hysteria, neurosis, nervous disorders, cancer
Exaltation: Taurus Debilitation: Scorpio
Mythology: In the Indian myth, the planetary gods were lined up to receive the nectar of immortality when a serpent slipped in between the Sun and the Moon. The Sun and Moon told Lord Vishnu, and he hurled a disc at the serpent, slicing the serpent in two. But the serpent had already swallowed the nectar of immortality. From there we have the dragon’s head, Rahu, and the dragon’s tail, Ketu. This also implies the eclipses of the Sun and Moon by the lineup. The head of the dragon symbolizes the trouble our minds and thoughts can create. It is the thinking mind that desires and obsesses over things. The dragon’s tail is the perception one has without the confusion of the mind. It is true perception, intuition or that “gut feeling.”
Ketu (South Node of Moon): Ketu’s function is to cause inner turmoil so the soul will seek the true essence of the individual. Where as Rahu is the material world, Ketu is the spiritual world. It is the headless serpent implying the perception and wisdom that is a gut level knowing. This can give psychic or clairvoyance abilities. Ketu can give a feeling of helplessness. Through humiliating experiences one becomes humble. Self- doubt and lack of confidence are part of Ketu’s qualities. Ketu is a wanderer without roots. It is a fiery force that can cause accident and injury. Most of all, it is the karaka of loss that directs our attention back to the eternal reality. It is the self-realization of our essence with God. Rahu works on the outer material world and Ketu works on the inner spiritual world. Ketu with a planet will have a spiritualizing effect on that planet. If Ketu is with Mars, the nature will be to actively seek the spiritual side of life. Ketu will direct the planets energies to look within the essence of that planet. It like Rahu can cause mental instabilities, mass hysteria, disease and plagues. Ketu can represent poisons like drugs and alcohol. But both Rahu and Ketu can also be drugs or poisons that heal as well. With Mars, the Martian qualities will be withdrawn. Anger will be suppressed, and channeled inwardly. Ketu with the Moon can give psychic abilities.
Keywords: Loss, liberation, perception, wisdom, lack of confidence, negation, self doubt, fantasies, confusion, indecision, illusions, drug addiction and Constellations
alcoholism, psychic influences, fire, injury, death, spiritual insight
Medical Astrology: Psychic disorders, radiation diseases, cancer, surgery and malpractice
Gem: Cat’s Eye
Exaltation: Scorpio Debilitation: Taurus
There are many likenesses with Vedic and Western astrology. Through understanding the similarities I feel the symbology of astrological wisdom becomes alive for me, to feel the connectedness of the divine spirit through all humans and our human journey on earth. The common thread of the ancient mythology of both Greek and Indian cultures transcends time, culture and distance. We are all one and have the same lessons, problems and ultimate healings in any culture in any era.
There are specific differences in each system of astrology and to learn another enriches our understanding all the more. It is like being bilingual and having the richness and broadmindedness of understanding different cultures. This underlies our universal connectedness and leads to ultimate wisdom for all.
- Behari, Bepin. Myths and Symbols of Vedic Astrology. Salt Lake City, Ut: Passage Press, 1990
- Behari, Bepin. Fundamentals of Vedic Astrology. Salt Lake City, Ut: Passage Press, 1992
- Guttman, Ariel. Johnson, Kenneth. Mythic Astrology St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn Publications, 1993
Joni Patry has been a practicing western astrologer and teacher for over 25 years She is a second level certified Vedic astrologer, and is currently on the board and faculty with the American Council of Vedic Astrology (ACVA). As an approved tutor with ACVA she has an entire curriculum to certify her students. As the founder and director of the “Galactic Center” in Dallas, Texas she has built an astrological community through classes and a variety of workshops. She organized the first national conference of its kind “Eastern Astrology for Western Minds” for teaching the Western astrologer Vedic astrology.