Movements of the Nine Planets/Graha

There was a question on the movements of the planets and I love math and geometry so couldn’t resist writing this high on numbers post.

Planets move around the Sun in at a constant speed and in one constant forward motion. (Heliocentric model). But when we see them from earth, they seem to go through various types of movements in the sky (Geocentric model). It is all about perspective, your position, the ‘frame of reference’ which we studied in physics in school is ultra-important. The path of the planets as seen from the Earth is called the geocentric epicycloid motion and it is a beautiful geometry, it is a spiral in space, ever evolving. Here are some images I picked out from the internet, but I suggest that you try to find some animated models so that you can appreciate the true beauty of the planet’s apparent motions.

Movements of the Nine Planets/Graha

This above is the annual motion of the Sun, Mercury, Venus and Mars as seen from the Earth. One circle is the path of one complete revolution of the planet around the Sun but as seen from the Earth.

Movements of the Nine Planets/Graha

This beautiful geometry above is the apparent movement of Venus as we see from the Earth. As Venus revolves around the Sun 5 times, its path makes this lovely 5 pointed star around the Sun from our perspective from Earth.

Movements of the Nine Planets/Graha

This is the geocentric epicycloid path of Jupiter, it is 12 Earth years long, Jupiter makes one revolution around the Sun in 12 Earth years. So his path makes this springy design as seen from the earth in 12 of our years. And Saturn’s path around the Sun as seen from the earth, he makes one revolution in about 30 Earth years, so his path is even more springier! The outermost circle is the 360degrees of the zodiac (Bhaa-chakra).

Life apparently and quite visibly goes in spirals!

When we look out from our Earth, we see that the Sun and the Moon move only in the forward direction. They move elliptically so their speeds vary a bit, but not very much, they can be considered to be moving at a constant speed. The 5 Tara graha, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn move in these following eight types of movements (as listed in the Suryasiddhant written by Mayadanav). The two chhaya graha, Rahu and Ketu are a bit confusing, unless you have your astronomical concepts clear. Rahu and Ketu are mathematical points where the orbit of the Moon cuts the ecliptic. Generally people average out this calculation and use a ‘mean’ Node value. If you use Mean Nodes you will always have them moving retrograde at constant speed. And for horoscopes of souls at lower levels of evolution (post here), this much is enough. But if the chart is of a soul on a higher plane of evolution or you are analysing your own horoscope, you must calculate the ‘True’ node, ie the exact value of the nodes at the moment of your birth. These then true nodes can be in any of the eight motions as below.

The eight types of movements of the graha in the Geocentric model are,

  1. Vakra – Retrograde, when the planet in the motion reverse to the usual forward motion and apparently moves backward into the zodiac. e.g. Saturn goes retrograde on 11th May 2020.
  2. Anuvakra – When a retrograde planet goes back into the previous sign continuing in its retrograde motion. His speed has now slowed down a bit. Jupiter will do this when will reverse direction on 14th May 2020 and go back to Sagittarius on 30th June 2020.
  3. Vikala – no movement, the graha seems to be stationary. This can be for hours or upto 5 days days depending on the planet. e.g Saturn seems to stop /stambhit, for about 5 days before he changes his apparent direction of motion while Mercury is stationary for just a few hours. The True nodes can be stationary for days during a series of eclipses.
  4. Mandatara – forward motion but very slow
  5. Manda – slow forward motion but faster than than Manda
  6. Sama – the regular average speed forward motion
  7. Chara – is faster than the previous Sama
  8. Atichara – when a planet in forward motion is moving really fast and often enters the next sign moving really very fast, e.g. Jupiter had entered Sagittarius in Nov 2019  and he moved really fast and entered Capricorn in Mar 2020 covering one entire sign in 5 months!

If you have a sense for figures this is a useful diagram where you can see how the motion of the planet in the spiral goes apparently faster, slower, stationary, forward or retrograde etc. The numbers 1 to 8 are the above 8 motions of the planet in the curving spiral of the apparent motion. This spiral below would be the spiral section of the planet’s geocentric epicycloidal path which I have put above.

Movements of the Nine Planets/Graha

So now you know how the 8 types of motions are generated in the planet’s path as seen from the Earth.

The average time taken by the planets/ graha to cover 1 deg of the zodiac from the slowest to the fastest., ie Saturn = 29days 18hrs, Mean Nodes = 18days 21hrs, Jupiter = 12days, Mars = 46hrs, Sun = 1day, Venus = 15hrs, Mercury = 6hrs, Moon = 1.45hrs.

And the mean distance the graha cover daily in arc-degrees, arc-minutes and arc-seconds, from the slowest to the fastest, Saturn 2’, Mean nodes 1’15”, Jupiter 4’52”, Mars 37’, Sun 59’8”, Venus 59’8”, Mercury 59’8”, Moon 13deg10’36”

Now you have to find out what was the speed of the planets at the time you are interested in. Eg 12th Apr 2020, 9am Delhi, (you have to find this speed data online, this data is from Parashar Light).

Movements of the Nine Planets/Graha

So now if you compare it with the mean speeds which I have given above. Sun is moving a bit slower than average. Moon is moving a slightly faster than average. We would say that Sun and Moon are in ‘sama’ motion. Venus has slowed down, ‘manda’. Mars, Mercury, Saturn and Jupiter are moving significantly faster than their average speeds.

We need to check the speed of the graha to analyse its results, but very few astrologers will get into such analysis depths. The direction of its motion, retrograde/forward is also quite important to make sense of its effects in our life.

I have written on the current Saturn retrograde in this post, about Jupiter going retrograde in this post and about Venus retrograde in this post here.



Movements of the Nine Planets/Graha

Speeds of the planets and their results

A quick and fast post today.

By now you must know that the fastest moving graha is the Moon (2.25 days in one sign), then Mercury, Venus, Mars, (these three spend variable periods from 1- 6 months in a sign), then Jupiter (1yr per sign) followed by the Nodes Rahu/Ketu (1.5yrs per sign) and the slowest being Saturn (2.5yrs per sign).

Now take a look at your chart, note where the planets are placed and do a quick analysis of their karakatva (what each one of these represents in your life and its ability to give results), you can simply write down 5-7 keywords for each.

To get a general idea of karakatva, try and mix and match the keywords of

  1. planet itself (also look if it is combustretrograde, exalted, debilitated etc which will modify the results.)
  2. the house of the chart it is placed in, does it get any special ‘powers’ because of its placement?
  3. the sign of the zodiac that it is placed in, this can modify the results.
  4. the houses of the chart which it owns (if is the ascendant or dushamsthan, or the maraksthan or which trikon?)
  5. and if you are feeling confident, try to add the keywords of the planets aspecting and conjoint it (if any) (malefic, benefic, enemies, friends etc). (There are more things which will modulate the results but this much is enough for a start.)

for e.g., if your birth Moon is placed in the 3rd house with Jupiter, in Virgo, these will be the keywords perhaps.

  1. Moon = mother, emotions, security, comforts, sub-conscious, astral, liquids, youth
  2. 3rd house = courage, boldness, style of communication, how well you defend yourself or project yourself, siblings, trades you get into
  3. Virgo = service, sufferings, karma you choose to work through, mental analysis, mental strength, intelligence, organised, methodical
  4. Moon owns Cancer, here it will be the 1st house/ascendant = the entire personality, the environment, and how these two interact with each other.
  5. Jupiter = expansion, humanitarian, philosophic, likes teaching and learning too, helpful

Getting these together will be the first basic step in analysing how this Moon will function in the chart.

Speeds of the planets and their results

Now what I was writing about, the speed with which events flow in your life. To analyse your life, try to remember the past one year and try to correlate the speed with which events happened in your life. Maybe one aspect of your life was on high speed for a few months, then the focus shifted and something else gained speed, something stopped and some other thing went in reverse? Then pull out your software and look at which planets own which aspects of your life and second what was happening on the transits front?

A few examples to get you thinking,

If your Moon (the fastest one), is either the lord of the 10th house or placed in it in your birth chart. You might find yourself getting emotional in your profession. You might be required to perform under emotional pressures and in quick-moving situations. If there are malefic energies involved here you may find yourself in complex situations, where you made commitments without being ready, or get into trouble professionally for mixing business with emotions. The rate of change associated with your profession will be high. You might shift jobs, or travel more etc.

Moon also represents your mind-set so if you observe your emotional self, you change every 2.25days as the Moon transits one sign in 2.25days. Emotional context changes very fast, so is linked to the fasted graha, Moon.

If your Mercury is placed in the 11th house or its lord, you might find that your gains in life are from fast moving things. (He shifts signs every month or so, becomes combust so very often and retrograde; changes his apparent direction of movement three times a year, quite a happening planet if you think of it!) Maybe you gain from stocks, or through trade of fast moving goods, or you are a motivational speaker/writer who talks/writes a lot. A surgeon who does emergency or difficult surgeries. You might earn from different sources which keep on changing. You will be quite systematic about your money, savings and investments. There might seem to be blockages from time to time, where your gains seem to be stuck but the block clear up surprisingly quickly too.

So you might find the aspects of your life controlled by Mercury to be quite dynamic and quick changing. And Mercury also represents your intelligence and analytical power in general. You have to be quick thinking but not so ‘quick’ that you seem fickle minded. So Mercury, a little slower than the Moon, but still comparatively fast, is linked to your mental processes.

Speeds of the planets and their results

Now the slower ones are your Jupiter, then Rahu/Ketu and the slowest is Saturn. So events linked to the karakatva of these planets will move rather slowly in your life. These planets get retrograde and combust too for months at a time, so their lessons have a lot of ‘revision’ inbuilt in them. They teach the deepest lessons linked to karma, deep wisdom and maturity thus naturally take their time over it.

The slowest Saturn takes a full 30yrs to complete one round of the zodiac. He is linked to ageing, karma, duty, responsibility, restriction, discipline etc, all of the really slow moving stuff. All these things are basically ‘maturity’, which takes time. So the slowest graha is about growing up and then growing old! So when you look into your chart you will see that Saturn’s speed is inextricably linked to the aspects of life he controls. For e.g. if he is placed in your 2nd house or is its owner, you might find events connected with your family to changing very slowly and wealth generation and accumulation to be slow and restricted.

Similarly for Rahu/Ketu and Jupiter. The houses/signs which they are linked to will be quite the slow moving aspects of your life.

Now the planets have several types of movements, written about it here. Mercury, Venus and Mars move through varying speeds and tend to get combust, retrograde etc quite frequently. So events in your life linked to these will be quite dynamic and visible. See if you can correlate what really happened to you in the past one year and these events from your chart. (This is another way of analysing transits)

Some aspects of life require to be on high speed and some aspects of life you savour better with age. Strangely this is also linked to astrology!


Speeds of the planets and their results