In Vedic astrology, the navagrahas are nine; there are nine planets in the birth chart. However, the sages predicted the discovery of more planets (upa-grahas) and now we the trans-saturnine planets Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, what are called outer planets in Vedic astrology. Like Abhijit, they are normally not accounted unless there are confrontations not accounted for in the birth chart. In normal ud-yoga, the outer planets are given notice when they change signs. Here, Neptune has moved back to Pisces after a retrograde turn in Aquarius. Neptune will remain in Pisces for 37 years.
Most of those who practice Vedic astrology disregard the outer planets Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. Literature of Vedic Astrology only uses the traditional nine grahas: Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn and lunar nodes Rahu and Ketu. However, Neo-Vedic or contemporary Vedic astrologers attend to the outer planets when they change signs, when they change nakshatra, or turn retrograde. There is no rulership, dignity or debilitation assigned to the outer planets. Outer planets are known by their effects.
Orbs of Influence
Orbs of Influence occur when a planet approaches another planet within specific degree. In Vedic Astrology, all the planets have specific orbs, ranging from 15° for the Sun, 12° for the Moon, and 9° for Jupiter and Saturn. Mercury and Venus have orbs of 7°, Mars has an orb of 8°. Outer Planets such as Uranus, Neptune and Pluto have (traditionally) used orbs of 3°-5° to register their influence. Orbs of Influence are particularly useful in understanding birth charts, when planets are very close together; it alters the both the strength of the planet as well as the influence on the native
Uranus was discovered through the telescope on March 13, 1781 by William Herschel, while Neptune’s path was calculated – using Newtonian method by John Couch Adams and Urbain le Verrier in 1846. A similar process led to the “discovery” of Pluto. The existence of a significant gravitational body-mass in the area was cosmologically predicted long before Pluto was actually “discovered”. It was predicted because Pluto’s effects can be seen on other objects/fields in his region.
Effect and Outer Planets
When we have effects in the life of a person, and the standard horoscope does not offer any explanation; nor varshpala, mandi, gulika; like this, there are unexplained effects. It is then we look to the outer planets Uranus, Neptune, Pluto. At one time it used to be said that Uranus was a “higher octave” of Mercury, Neptune a “higher octave” of Venus, and Pluto a “higher octave” of Mars. It is thought now, given the advance of humanity into the Golden Age (4th and 5th dimensions) that these descriptions lack finesse and that archetypes might be considered, instead. The great Swiss psychiatrist, C.G. Jung once wrote “that which we do not face in the unconscious, we will live as fate”. Outer planets are thought to be significators of unconscious material (archetypes, the human shadow) that is presented to us when they change signs.
We understand that certain effects can be assigned to Uranus, Neptune and Pluto – standard attributions – Uranus as creative and potentially chaotic, Neptune as inspirational but potentially delusional, and Pluto as darkly transformative: these all ring true. Vedic Astrology assigns deities to planets, and according to the ancient palm leaf called Vasistha Nadi, the names of the grahas or planets (yet to be discovered) would be Prajapati (Uranus), Varuna (Neptune), and Yama (Pluto). As Neptune is moving from Aquarius to Pisces, we focus on the effects of Neptune, with Varuna as Presiding Deity.
Varuna Peyarchi: Neptune to Pisces
On 18-19 February 2023, Neptune transited from Aquarius to Pisces and is currently sandhi 0.00° Pisces (deprived of energy) where it will remain for a little more than three weeks. Sandi means “deprived of energy” so the effect of Neptune moving to Pisces will not be pronounced for some time.
As referenced earlier, we look to outer planets when they change signs. Neptune has capacity for non-attachment, infinite love and beauty, charity, altruism, bliss and rapture, and awareness of divinity, transcendence of duality.
Neptune likes to transcend, to merge, to flow, to melt, to yield. Neptune can accept changes, allow a changing environment, and can love selflessly and impersonally. This is an important capacity of Neptune, for most young people and youth take love as a matter of possession and territory – possession of someone’s mind, and territory of their body. Nothing could be further from love. Dreams of love and idealism, infatuation and attachment all have to have both feet on the ground and squarely detached with your own boundaries intact around YOU.
Neptune is traditionally seen as the planet that imagines, envisions, dreams and inspires. While Neptune offers all that, and more: to fantasize, to heighten, one has to keep their feet on the ground or end up helpless, spaced out, dissolving into chaos, and prey to drugs and the unconscious mind. One can self-destruct, abdicate all responsibility and end up sabotaging themselves. While Neptune – always near the Collective Unconscious – offers access to the psychic realms, and psi experiences – these can all be achieved with self discipline, self-control and self-respect. Psychedelic drugs and the like are not necessary to achieve this. You can reach the same high meditating as those people who tell they get a high using bongs.
What will Neptune’s transit in Pisces bring? One would hope for a gentler, kinder, more spiritually inspired world. However, this is not historically what we have seen before. Neptune represents secret plots, rebellions, and sedition, and Neptune in Pisces will be a time of tremendous idealism associated with an urge to dissolve tired old paradigms and world views in favour of a more charitable universal vision. We live in an era where significant changes have taken place (our great-grandparents would not recognise our modern, electronic world – except, perhaps, for the radio and print news. So much has changed with living, co-habitation, housing, working, travel, child-care centres and the gig economy.
Pisces is a water sign, a moksha sign, and harbours great spiritual awareness, creative achievement, and compassionate action. But when disconnected from the All, from peers, society and culture, in its lower expression, Pisces has a tendency for escapism, deception, and delusion. This is the signification of the fish going in two directions, we can pull towards separation and duality, we can pull towards the experience of everything is Atma, and the lifting of the veil of illusion.
Neptune in Pisces provides the impetus towards transcendence of duality, unity consciousness, surrender and non-attachment. So Neptune in Pisces seeks to transcend, to merge, to surrender, to sacrifice, to let go and let God. On the other hand, Neptune seeks to dream, to inspire, to glamorise, to idealise, to imagine, to envision, to fantasise, to intuit, to enchant, to beguile. In summary, the positive benefits of Neptune are accessed when we are grounded and following dharma.
About Lord Varuna
Lord Varuna is revered in Hinduism as the God of water and his sway extends to the underwater world. The Hindu Goddess Varuni is his consort and a Makara serves as his mount. According to the Puranas, he is the son of sage Kashyapa and one of the twelve Gods considered as Adityas, owing to their origin from the Mother of Gods, Aditi. Varuna possesses the lordship of the waters and was entrusted with the task of overseeing the clouds and rains. He is thus known as the king of waters and controls the Oceans, Seas, Rivers, and all other water bodies. During the Mahabharata period, the great Pandava, Arjuna was hailed as the son of Lord Varuna. It is also widely believed that praying to him protects us from thunder and lighting.
Aum Jalabimbaye Vidmahe
Nila Purushaye Dhimahi
Tanno Varunah Prachodayat
Om, Let us meditate on the reflection of water
O person of ocean blue, give me higher intellect
And let the God of water illuminate my mind