Life takes us on unexpected twists and turns during our journey. For many who follow Hinduism, when we are feeling a lack of progress, we begin investigating our potential blocks. Our blocks often arise when the planets are misaligned or are not in agreement with our personal path. To rectify, we can offer prayers to the planets, or maintain daily penance in the form of rituals. In Vedic Astrology, we refer to the planets as “Navagraha”, meaning “nine celestial beings”. Each planet has its own story, which are listed below.
Surya is honored on Sunday, of course, as devotees chant mantras and wear the color orange to pay respects. Surya is the source of life-sustaining energy and maintains the orbit of the solar system. It is the source of power, confidence, and self-identity. Associated colors are orange and saffron red, with garnet and ruby. One may pray for a better relationship with one’s father, assistance in bearing a child, and overall assistance with improving confidence.
Chandra is honored on Monday, which is traditionally in many cultures the day dedicated to the moon. Hindus focus on their worship of Lord Shiva on this day. One can wear white, silver, or gray on Monday to focus on Chandra, who is helpful in calming one’s mind. Pearl or moonstone is a wonderful gemstone to commemorate Chandra. When there is a full moon, this is known as “Poornima”, when the moon reflects the light of the soul. One may pray after sunset for mental and physical wellness.
Similar to the Roman God, Mangala is also associated with battle, typically protection of the celestial beings and all beings of Earth. He is a symbol of strength, agility, and courage. Mangala is the focus of Tuesday, when Hindus also concentrate their worship on Lord Hanuman, who embodies the same characteristics as Mangala. One may wear red on Tuesday, and also a garnet stone to show reverence to Mangala. We can pray to Mangala to increase courage in challenging situations, such as a difficult conversation or a new experience.
Wednesday is dedicated to Buddh, which is a planet associated with intelligence and communication as strengths. Lord Vishnu and His various avatars (Lord Krishna) are the focus of worship as well. Typically, when people are experiencing any difficulties with speech, telling stories, or the nervous system, focusing prayer on Buddh can alleviate these issues. One may also wear the color green. Onyx and emeralds are the gemstones associated with Buddh.
Guru is the largest planet in the Navagraha and considered to be the “Guru” to the Gods. Guru is typically the one who removes ignorance, and this planet is affiliated with religion, philosophy, and morality. Hindus focus Thursday for the reverence of Guru. Another parallel with Roman mythology, where Jupiter is considered King of the Gods, Guru has the same position. Guru is associated with the color yellow, and one may also wear yellow sapphire or citrine to enhance the power. Offering prayers to Guru is advised for anyone wanting to obtain blessings in intellectual or career pursuits.
Friday is associated with Shukra, in conjunction with honoring the Goddesses. Goddess Lakshmi is a focus, as she brings prosperity and wealth to her devotees. Shukra is considered to be a teacher to demons, with love being the most powerful force. This planet is closely associated with love and passion. Colors associated are pink and white, and diamonds are designated stones. Shukra may remain in one’s horoscope for twenty years, granting wealth and prosperity.
Saturday belongs to Saturn or Shani. In Hindu tradition, Shani can make or break you. Shani is considered a “dark” planet, associated with challenging life events and suffering. Shani does not hesitate to punish those who engage in inappropriate behavior and activity. Black is associated with Shani, who will be seen with his crow. Sapphire and amethyst are gemstones that are connected to Shani as well. When Shani is favorably placed in one’s birth star or horoscope, one is thought to be able to have a very prosperous life. However, if Shani is not in a favorable position, one may experience trials and tribulations. In late spring, Shani Jayanti, the birthday of Shani, is celebrated with a special prayer ceremony in Hindu temples, which is thought to bring blessings. In addition, praying to Lord Hanuman will make Shani happy.
Rahu (North node)
Rahu is considered to be a shadow planet, with no specific designated day. In visual art, Rahu is pictured as the serpent who consumes the sun and moon, causing solar and lunar eclipses. Rahu is associated with reactive qualities of the ego, such as anger and lust. Also, Rahu can influence fears, obsessions, and uncontrollable desires. Goddess Durga is the main deity who presides. Rahu is associated with the colors blue and black as well. Saturday is a good day to pay penance to Rahu. For those who have Rahu positioned well in their stars, they can have great wealth, high positions, and even successful political careers. There is a time of each day, known as “Rahu Kalam”, lasting ninety minutes. It is recommended that the energy of Rahu is strongest during this time, and it is of benefit for people not to conduct any important business.
Ketu (South node)
Ketu is the second shadow plant, and the name literally means, “comet”. He is depicted as a demon snake tail, and usually with a vulture for transportation, without a head. Lord Ganesh is the presiding deity. Ketu presides over karmic tendencies, good and bad as well as any spiritual or supernatural forces that may be impacting one’s life. His attire is composed of multiple colors and his gemstones are cat’s eye and lapis lazuli. One prays to Ketu for relief from illness and poverty, with Tuesday being the most effective day to do so.
In our lives, there are so many possible influences for our journey. The universe speaks to us through many modes of communication. When we open our hearts and minds, we can hear the messages that are being sent to us. In addition, the attention we pay to cosmic forces can shine light on the dark moments we experience. The power and guidance of our nine planets can enlighten us and provide us the direction to our divine purpose.