In Vedic astrology, or Jyotish, we utilize five true planets (Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus and Saturn), the Sun, Moon and the North and South nodes (Rahu and Ketu). These are not the same as the nodes used in Western astrology. We also have twelve houses of the zodiac, from Aries to Pisces. Each occupies an arc of 30 degrees, so the zodiac is a total of 360 degrees. The planets “transit” or move through the zodiac in their own fashion and pace. They move from Aries to Taurus to Gemini… The nodes always move backwards, or in retrograde motion.
The planets, like us, enjoy being in their own place or somewhere more luxurious. The seven planets each “own” constellations of the zodiac. They have their own property that they own free and clear – no mortgage. Mars rules Aries and Scorpio. Venus rules the adjoining houses: Taurus and Libra. Mercury gets the next ones: Gemini and Virgo. The Moon gets Cancer and the Sun is regal in Leo. Jupiter owns Sagittarius and Pisces. Saturn is the only planet to own two adjoining houses: Capricorn and Aquarius. So the planets are happy when they are in their own sign. They can also be in the sign of a friend or an enemy; and they can be exalted or debilitated. When a planet is exalted it’s in a high state, like being at a spa. It’s well taken care of and can give optimal results (all other factors being equal). When a planet is debilitated, it’s as if it’s living in a run down hotel or apartment in need of major repair. It is weak and does not perform well (all other factors being equal once again). Ideally, we want exalted planets or planets in their own sign to see favorable results.
Last year, we had a very unusual situation where Mars was debilitated (or fallen) in the sign of Cancer for 8 months. Many people reported having difficulties during this time. When Mars is in Cancer, it is at its weakest state of all twelve signs of the zodiac. Mars is the planet of action, it is a kshatriya or a warrior. Mars rules the blood in the system of Ayurveda. Ayurvedically speaking, Mars and Sun are Pitta planets. Mars likes to be active and is courageous, decisive and fiery.
When Mars is in Cancer, there is a tendency for people to feel stifled in taking appropriate action, some may resort to passive-aggressive behavior, and there is a greater tendency for more conflict and tension. It is also a time to be more vigilant when driving as there is a greater tendency for accidents when Mars is weak. This year, Mars goes into debilitation from September 9 through October 30.
In Jyotish, people experience planetary cycles from birth through death. The sequence is determined at birth, and is based on the placement of the individual’s natal Moon. For those that are in a Mars cycle, or dasha, they will likely feel Mars’ debilitation the most. Same for those in a Mars bhukti or sub-cycle. Also those who are undergoing the dasha of a planet which is natally placed in a sign ruled by Mars (Aries or Scorpio).
What this means to any specific individual additionally depends on what house Cancer rules for each individual. For an Aries ascendant, Cancer is the fourth house of the zodiac. For a person with Aries rising in the sidereal zodiac (which is about 24 degrees different than the tropical zodiac used in Western astrology), they may have some challenges with fourth house themes such as arguments with mother, car problems, or repairs around their home.
For a Cancer ascendant, Mars is debilitated in the first house of the self. They may feel a great deal of pressure internally and want to let off a great deal of steam, but are unable to find the appropriate outlet. This can cause them to be short-tempered and irritable.
To make the astrological scenario even more dynamic, Venus goes into debilitation from September 10 through October 3. Venus is considered to be debilitated in the sign of Virgo. Venus is the planet of love, beauty, and creativity. People in a Venus dasha or bhukti need to be careful not to rush into new romantic pairings which they could later regret during this time. It’s also a time when some may feel creatively stifled. This is again contingent on what sign the person’s ascendant is and where Virgo falls in their chart.
Regardless of the ascendant, it is important to see the situation as objectively as possible. Take a breath, step back and try to accurately assess the situation and your reaction to it. Don’t rush to jump to conclusions or take hasty actions. Seek the advice of a trusted friend or professional if the issues continue to be troubling. Be clear on what your needs and goals are with any given situation. Give yourself the space that you need to reflect on the situation and make sound decisions with the best intentions. Also realize that these are temporary transits and that the planets will only be in these placements temporarily. For those who have these placements in their natal charts, any qualified astrologer can determine if there is modification of debilitation created and offer suggestions to augment this placement, which begins with counseling.