How many planets are there in Vedic astrology?

Technically the solar system has 1 star, 8 (or 9) main planets and infinite number of smaller planets, asteroids and satellites. Our home is planet Earth.

 In Vedic astrology only 9 planets are considered. Seven main and 2 shadowy planets which rule our lives based on their respective qualities (motion, angle, size etc.) and placement in a chart.

Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, and Saturn are actual heavenly bodies whereas Rahu and Ketu’s positions are calculated mathematically.

Vedic astrology ignores planets Neptune, Uranus, and Pluto (there is debate in the scientific community on Pluto). They are simply too far away and small in size to have any mentionable impact on us.

Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus and Saturn can move in the backward direction with reference to the Sun. This backward or retrograde motion is mostly not beneficial as the planets can lose some of their good qualities.

The Sun would does not have any retrograde motion as it is the centre of our universe. The Moon which rotates around the Earth (which in turn rotates around the Sun) in a fixed direction also does not have any retrograde motion. These two planets are the most powerful and auspicious planets in Vedic astrology. Sun representing the Intelligent Quotient and Moon the Emotional Quotient. IQ helps you get there and EQ keeps you there.

Rahu and Ketu are not actual planets and their position is calculated mathematically and is always placed opposite to that of the 7 other planets. In other words their motion is always retrograde.

Now let us come to the individual planets and their general qualities.

1. Sun is the king in astrology, primarily representing the father. It is also linked to the soul, will power and authority. Sun predominant in a chart represents a no – nonsense, intelligent and disciplined person – fit to hold high office, a born leader – fit to motivate others, a large picture person – not interested in details.

2. Moon is the queen in astrology, primarily representing the mother. It is also linked to mind, emotions and sensitivity. Moon shows how a person would act under stressful situations; generally people with an excellently placed Moon are cool, calm and emotionally unflappable, whereas a bad does Moon emotionally destroy. People with the Moon predominant do well in in creative/unstructured fields.

3. Mercury is the prince in astrology, representing strong ‘God Fatherly’ support. It also represents speech. Well placed Mercury can ensure that one lives a life of luxury with all the material comforts and a sweet tongue.

4. Mars is the commander in astrology primarily representing siblings. It also represents energy and courage. People with a strong Mars do not fear action and are often restless. They do very well in regimented fields like the armed forces -leading groups.

5. Jupiter primarily representing the Gen-next. It also represents higher knowledge. A person with a well placed Jupiter has children who bring happiness.

6. Venus represents the spouse and sex life. A person with a well placed Venus is physically attractive, extremely social and enjoys life’s pleasures. Such people also have a very happy life due to their partner.

7. Saturn representing your profession. It also represents hard labor. A well placed Saturn can bestow power, prestige, name and fame by giving fruits as a result of one’s hard work. Saturn does not give anything for free, one has to earn it.

8. Rahu represents everything foreign. A well placed Rahu would give sudden and unexpected gains to a person but away from home. Rahu is mysterious in many ways and its auspicious placement can give benefits more than one can ever expect. Rahu predominant people are risk takers and unpredictable but not unreliable.

9. Ketu represents grandparents and spiritual inclinations. It is tricky by nature and can even pleasantly fool people in whose chart it is auspicious placed! Ketu could bring windfall via lottery winnings or inheritances. Mystics and spiritual leaders have a well placed Ketu.