So the other day I was at the park, feeding the swans dandelion leaves which I noticed they really love.
And that instantly made me think of the mutual planetary friendship between Sun and Mars. How did one lead to the other?
Well, one of the Sun's names in Sanskrit is Hansa or Hamsa, denoting birds of passage such as the swan. Mars is the Graha ruling the bitter taste, and greens such as dandelions are representative of a healthy bitter taste. So at the park, right before my eyes, Mars was delighting the Sun.
Now, this was just an anecdote to set the mood for the following more technical article :) Please beware that connecting different significators may not always result in the accurate planetary relationship. So let me explain the correct relationships below.
Before proceeding, I just wanted to say, coming from a Western Astrology background - Vedic astrology has so much more depth and fullness, and so many cool mythological stories to illustrate and make you remember all the concepts.
One of the main fascinating things I learned from Jyotish that I had never heard of before are the relationships between the planets. The embodied Grahas aka Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter and Saturn, can naturally be friends, enemies or neutral to one another and the interesting thing is that the relationships are not necessarily mutual! Yes, there is such a thing as unrequited astral love :)
The Sun has Moon, Mars and Jupiter as friends, Mercury as a neutral and Saturn and Venus as enemies. Given the common situation that the Sun is in the same sign as Venus, these two will starve eachother. And I just want to add this 'juicy' explanation about the relationship with Saturn: in mythology, Saturn is the lame son of the Sun and Chaya (Shadow), which was a clone of the Sun's wife and had taken her place unbeknownst to the Sun. So you can see how that can lead to less-than-cordial feelings between them.
Let's move on to the Moon, who has no enemies! Sun and Mercury are his friends and the rest of the planets are neutral. It's interesting to think about this situation, as even when the Moon is debilitated, it's not going to give a bad avastha at least :)
Now, what about Mars? The only batchelor among the Grahas can rely on three friends: Sun, Moon and Jupiter, while Venus and Saturn have a neutral stance to him. His only enemy is the next planet we will talk about, Mercury.
So Mercury is the enemy of Mars, but the belligerent-by-reputation planet responds to Mercury's attitude by being indifferent- neutral. Jupiter and Saturn are the two other Grahas neutral towards Mercury, while the Sun and Venus are friendly to him. Such a shame that the planet he is friendly towards, the Moon, happens to be his only enemy. And, in the good tradition of troubled mythological families, the Moon is Mercury's father.
Jupiter is usually known as the most auspicious Graha, and the guru. Even so, he has two enemies: Mercury and Venus. I really didn't expect this inimity between the two Brahmin planets (but it makes sense mythologically as well. No, this time they are not father and son).
Venus, as I mentioned above, is in mutual inimity with the Sun, and also has the Moon as an enemy. Mercury and Saturn are his friends, while Jupiter and Mars are neutral.
Last but not least, Saturn, the most dreaded name in the astrological realm, is actually the biggest 'victim', with the highest number of enemies of all planets: Sun, Moon and Mars. I guess I can illustrate the Moon being enemy to Saturn as - the Moon and Saturn being roomates, the Moon keeps buying all sorts of stuff since he always wants new things, while Saturn the minimalist is pulling his hair out trying to create less waste and reuse objects (which the Moon calls: old junk) as much as possible. But not all is dark for Saturn since he can count on his two friends, Mercury and Venus, to cheer him up.
One of the main things surging from the natural relationships of the planets is the concept of Laajitadi Avasthas - describing the 'feelings' of the planets in your chart, which reflects in how you actually get to feel about things. Conjunctions, aspects and being in the sign of enemies will hurt. Being with friends or receiving aspects from them , or in their sign, or being in a good dignity can make you proud or delighted. There are funny situations when planets are debilitated but in a natural friend sign, which will provide some delight. And another twist: Saturn will make any planet he's with, even his friends, feel starved (unfulfilled). The Sun will agitate (frustrate) any planet he shares a Rasi with, also regardless of friendship.
The Laajitadi avasthas are such a vast topic, but I'll do my best to summarize their effects: if you have good avasthas, even when inauspicious events occur, you are able to push through and have a good attitude, as compared to when you have less desirable avasthas and less important things make you stumble really badly. However, as with all things in life, most people have a mix of avasthas and it's the astrologer's role to actually assess how they will affect you.
If you want to study more on the subject, you can check out Ernst Wilhelm's book Graha Sutras and Laajitaadi Avasthas classes on astrology-videos.com - I can't recommend this website enough as it's a very valuable encyclopedia of knowledge.
Because I like symmetry, I'll end in the same note as I started and leave you in the company of the bitterness-inclined birds of passage portrayed in the picture below :)
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Research and musings on astrological topics I find interesting