The planets which have the most powerful influence on the Earth are nine in number, namely, Surya (Sun), Chandra (Moon), Mangala (Mars), Budha (Mercury), Guru (Jupiter), Shukra (Venus), Shani (Saturn), Rahu (North Node) and Ketu (South Node).
The last two are called the shadowy planets as they do not have physical or celestial bodies like the other planets. Of the two places where the Moon crosses the ecliptic (that is, the path of the Sun), the north point is known as Rahu and the corresponding south point which is exactly 180° away from the former is called Ketu.
In Western Astrology, though some importance is being given to Rahu and Ketu, these planets find little importance in their predictive system. On the other hand, the Western Astrologers have given significant place to the newly discovered planets Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto.
Each planet exercises its influence on the earth according to its strength, position and dignity etc., in the zodiac at the time of birth of an individual or even in day to day affairs.
Movements and Motions of planets
All the planets except Rahu and Ketu perform the double function of not only revolving on their own axis from west to east, but also round the Sun, Saturn is the most distant from the earth.
Jupiter, Mars, the Sun, Venus, Mercury and the Moon come next in order of their distance from the Terrestrial globe. The velocity of each planet diminishes as its distance from the Earth increases.
While Rahu is associated with power and affluence. Ketu is considered more spiritual. Helping the Humans to develop their nobler and spiritual interests and to facilitate attainment of Moksha or Salvation. The planets exercise their influence on the life on this planet, according to their placement, strength and dignity in the Zodiac at the time of birth.
The Sun is the centre of Solar System and radiates solar energy towards the Earth from its distance of 92 millions of miles. In spite of its great distance from Earth, solar energy regulates life on this planet.
Similarly other planets like Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Venus, Mercury, the Moon who have varying orbits and are part of the Solar System also exercise influence on life on this globe.
The newly discovered planets, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto are extra Saturnian planets, as their orbits are far away from that of Saturn. Mercury and the Moon are closer to the Earth and are fast moving. These are termed as inferior planets, as their orbits lie within the Earth’s orbit round the Sun.
On the other hand, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, etc. are termed as superior planets. The planets do not have uniform motions. At certain times they are faster in their speed, while at other times they slow dawn or become stationary for a few days. Their irregular movement is of interest to us.
Actually Surya has no motion. His motion is an apparent one, as viewed from the rotating earth. Other Grahas, including the nodes, have varied rates of motion.
The average daily motions of the Grahas, which are not, however standard, are, as follows:
- Surya – 00⁰ – 59’ 10.68 Secs
- Chandra – 13⁰ – 20’
- Mangala – 00⁰ – 31.26’ 46 Secs
- Budha – 01⁰ – 40’
- Guru – 00⁰ – 04’ 59.17 Secs
- Shukra – 01⁰ – 36’
- Shani – 00⁰ – 02’ 00.4 Secs
- Rahu – 00⁰ – 03’ 11 Secs
- Ketu – 00⁰ – 03’ 11 Secs