This was a question I got today and I felt happy that someone was thinking out of the box, found it quite cute too. At the past few months, several planets went through retrograde and combust phases. It started with Jupiter going retrograde in April, followed by Saturn retrograde. Then we had Mars, Venus and Mercury going combust and retrograde. A few eclipses in the mix, all of this goes on unvaryingly, year after year.
The 5 planets (Tara graha), Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn are subjected to periodic apparent changes in direction i.e. retrograde motion. They also move in different speeds and then there are 8 different types of motions which these 5 get into. The results are affected by the speed of motion. Then these five also participate in something called ‘planetary war’ or graha yuddha. The winner planet dominates the others. They get ‘combust’ if they get close to the Sun which leads to a reduction in their power to give results. So predicting their results needs some looking into.
The luminaries, the Sun and the Moon have constant speeds, they never get retrograde, they don’t get into planetary wars. Moon gets ‘combust’ but then it is more properly the Amavasya, the no-moon bursting with energy and thankfully for just a day a month, you can use it if you know how. Both get eclipsed if they interact with Rahu/Ketu, but that is just for a few hours. These few hours are also full of useable energies, so can’t be completely negative.
The Rahu and Ketu are astral shadow forces, Chhaya graha. These are mathematical calculations and not really a part of our manifested reality. They are permanently retrograde, very rarely the true nodes are direct, which can give interesting results. They do not rule signs or anything so cannot be anyone’s ascendant or anything. Rahu and Ketu are the flow of your ‘desire for experience’. We will ignore them just for this post.
The 5 Tara Graha. If your ascendant lord is one of the 5 planets, Mercury, Venus Mars, Jupiter or Saturn and if they are combust/ retrograde/ or party to a graha yuddha, at your birth then you will carry these energies with you for your current life-time.
A small recap, the ruler of your ascendant sign /first house is the most important planet in your life. The ascendant lord needs to be analysed first in your birth chart to get an idea of how your life is going to unfold. If this planet is placed well, your life is going to unfold nicely. But if this planet is placed in the dushamsthan, or conjunct/ aspected by malefic planets or otherwise not in a position to give auspicious results, you will suffer ill-health, misfortune, challenges, adversity etc. This planet determines
- your physical body,
- your environment and
- how you fit in into your environment.
If you were born with the ascendant lord,
Combust – you can face health problems, especially heat related diseases. Struggles in life are possible as you are overshadowed by males, father figures, seniors etc around you. Often might have to work hard for small gains. The entire horoscope can suffer as the main planet himself is weak and lacks power to give his results. Combustion means Sun is also with him. Sun is a natural malefic so, as it is, going to give inauspicious results. Closer the combustion more severe the results. The only saving grace here would be if the Sun is a functional benefic for the chart, in which case there would be some good results. Or if the Moon is well placed so that the personality remains emotionally stable so as to go through life in a more adjusted way.
Retrograde – if the ascendent is retrograde in the birth chart, then he indicates a rough road for the person. There would be delays, instability, repetitions, blocks, a repressed personality, unable to express himself, often struggling against the odds and heavy karmic issues. If you can concentrate on your spiritual side you can make use of this choice you have made at your birth. The personality goes through the same issues again and again and it can get frustrating. But there is a deep karmic lesson involved so try to be patient and start some spiritual practice. A well-placed Moon as usual is a big asset here too.
Graha yuddha – The winner in a planetary war is always stronger and gives good results as per his placement, lordship, position etc. The aspects of life controlled by this planet will prosper. So if your ascendant planet has won the planetary war, then it is a good thing. All the aspects of life indicated by the other planets who have lost the graha yuddha are going to be in your general control. However if he is the absolute loser here, then it can indicate a few issues in life. If he has lost to a malefic planet the effect will be even more severe. The issues indicated by the planets who have won will have the potential to overpower the personality. If the ascendant lord is anyway affected and loses his potential to give auspicious results, the entire personality can suffer. A benefic Moon is a good thing here too.
Out of the 9 graha of astrology, only 7 can be ascendant lords as they own the signs. So you can have Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Moon and the Sun as your ascendant lords. The two luminaries of astrology don’t get into all this retrograde and stuff. So you might think that its rather unfair on the other 5 planets and we all who have them as our ascendant lords. But it is not so, Cancer and Leo as ascendants would be in my opinion the most challenging ascendant placements. Cancer is one step more challenging than Leo.
Having the luminaries are your ascendant lord ie being born with Cancer or Leo as your rising sign means that you have chosen the following challenges, these are just some which come to my mind, the rest you can work out for yourself.
- The fastest time taken by a graha to change signs is Moon at 2.25days per sign. Sun follows closely at an unvarying 1month per sign. The aspects of life in direct focus change quite fast. (Compare Saturn at 2.5 yrs per sign.)
- The ascendant return is highly predictable at every month for the Moon and every year for the Sun. At every ascendant return your personality, your environment and how these two interact undergoes a sudden change. (Compare Saturn return takes approx 27.5yrs)
- These two do not go retrograde nor get into any of the 8 types of movements. Just one unvarying speed and direction. So life moves very fast, there are no review points in-built in the system. This is in my opinion the biggest drawback. Life moves very fast for Cancer ascendant people, rate of change is high. (Compare Saturn who goes through all the 8 types of movements, giving time and opportunities for the life lessons to be reviewed, redone and understood in its entirety.)
- Now compare them to their mirror, the missing piece in their life, the one they will love, the 7th house, Capricorn/ Aquarius with Saturn ascendant! The slowest coupled with the fastest. If you have one of these 4 signs as your ascendants analyse yourself dispassionately or if you know a Cancer or Leo ascendant person in your life do study him.
- Now Sun and Moon are respectively the self-ego and the astral-self. And they are put in charge of building the physical self/ environment. There is some existential discomfort here, observe these individuals to know what I mean.
So whatever your ascendant and lord is rest assured that this was the best possible option. All have their own challenges and their own highlights. No one is lesser or better than the other. And your higher self chose this before you were born. Trust yourself and walk your path, things are always working for the best!