Particularly for rational minds or those who haven’t grown up with the stories of Indian deities, the Gods and Goddesses that are referenced and honored in Vedic Astrology can seem a bit distant or bewildering. But when you take a little time to get to know what they represent, it can help you to understand the forces that are present in creation, as well as the struggles and triumphs that occur in your own life on a day to day basis.
There is a great mystery that lies behind the visible world we interact with in our day to day lives. Realizing this and being open to the knowledge that it brings can set you on the most rewarding journey.
What’s so important about Deities in Astrology?
Thousands of years ago, the celestial sky, planets and stars allowed ancient people to navigate, tell the time, and wonder about our individual and collective place in the universe through stories and ceremonies. The ancient Seers, or Rishis, were the scientists of the day who delved deep in their explorations of the inner and outer world, and found ways to document what they discovered in a way that people could understand.
The symbolism of the deities provided a way for these Seers to explain the intricate workings of time, space, action and energy, and the inner topics of mind and consciousness in a way that people could understand. The stories of Gods and Goddesses and the interactions between them in the heavens became a code – one that can be unlocked with a scientific mindset in order to understand our inner selves more deeply.
Whilst some Gods and Goddesses are widely recognised today, there remain a few which are lesser known. Let’s take a look into 5 of these less-known deities, and understand the meaning behind them and how they can help you in your day to day life.
Vayu - God of the Wind and Air
Vayu, God of the Wind and Air, is connected with prana, the fundamental life force energy. For this reason, though Vayu is a lesser known God, he is considered a very important one, because without that life force, nothing would exist. The ancient Yogic scriptures place great importance on this. Without the act of breath and flow of prana, an organism is unable to sustain the organs of the body. When the prana leaves the body, it leaves behind a lifeless corpse. So prana is considered the basis of life itself.
The Nakshatra, Swati, is ruled by Vayu. The symbol for Swati is a single blade of grass blowing in the wind, reflecting the independent and autonomous nature of this Nakshatra. Swati means ‘The Independent One,’ or ‘The Priest,’ referring to someone who has mastered theology. Swati Nakshatra causes things to move and scatter, which can be destructive unless we learn how to use it to remove negativity. This holds similarities with the wind, which has both positive and destructive powers.
Vayu can be honored through the practice of Pranayama or breath control exercises. The planet Saturn is a Vayu (air element) planet, so breathing techniques are one of the most effective remedies to deal with Saturnian energy.
Another remedy for Saturn is to listen to the Hanuman Chalisa. This is because Lord Hanuman, the courageous and devoted Monkey God, is called Vayu Putra – the spiritual son of Vayu.
Varuna - God of the Oceans and Sky
Varuna is the God of the Oceans and Sky. He is the Mystical Healer, with the power to heal through herbs and medicines. He is also the Lord of ‘Maya’, or Illusions.
He is sometimes referred to as the ‘Midnight Sun,’ or ‘God of the Night Sky,’ as he is active after sunset and influences the west direction, where the sun sets every day. His vehicle is the fearsome Makara, the mythical sea creature or crocodile, whom we call Capricorn.
Varuna is said to have a thousand eyes, which gives him the ability to oversee the whole world. This has made him the Lord of moral law, which he keeps track of by punishing those who do moral wrong. He is however said to be compassionate to those who recognise their wrongdoing, pray and ask for forgiveness.
Historically, Varuna was said to have the task of looking after the celestial ocean of the Gods, from which all rain came to earth, and so he was considered responsible for the rains that watered the crops and made human life possible.
Varuna is the presiding deity of Shatabhishak Nakshatra, which has a strong mystical quality and a reputation for seeking solitude.
He is one of the twelve Adityas, which are offspring of Aditi, the Goddess that represents infinity. Adityas are divine beings responsible for providing all the resources for a zodiac sign. They ensure the proper functioning of the universe. Each zodiac sign has an Aditya, and Varuna is the Aditya for the sign Cancer. When the Sun transits a sign it is said to awaken the Aditya connected to that sign. So when the Sun transits Cancer it is a good time to honor Varuna Aditya. You can do this by chanting the mantra, ‘Aum Ghrini Varuna Aditya.’
align27 calculates for you when to do specific rituals, based on your own astrological birth chart and current transits.
Kali - Goddess of Time and Death
Goddess Kali is infamous for her fierce and destructive nature, as she is depicted dancing wildly, wearing a necklace of skulls and human heads. But she also has a nurturing side that can help us destroy our egos so that we can cultivate our higher selves.
Kali is the feminine form of Kala, meaning ‘time.’ Kali is also directly related to Lord Shiva, the all pervading divine consciousness, and represents a feminine aspect of consciousness. She is awe-inspiring and fearsome, as her power combines the interrelated experiences of Time and Death. If one can honor and love such a fierce figure, it brings a lot of strength and you can come out of fear.
The Nakshatra (lunar mansion), Mula, is associated with getting to the root of the matter, and makes for good investigative research as well as obsessive compulsive behavior. Mula is connected with Goddess Kali, who helps us to see the reality – both disgusting and beautiful, and whose wild dance destroys our illusions.
When a day is under the influence of Mula Nakshatra, it is helpful to connect with its power by chanting the mantra, ‘Aum Sri Mahakalikaye Namaha,’ 108 times to honor Goddess Kali. align27 tells you when to do this, along with other powerful rituals, based on your own birth chart.
Kartikeya - God of War
Kartikeya – also known as Subramanya, Skanda and Muruga – is the God of War and deity of the planet Mars. He is the deity of courage, confidence and wisdom. He is the divine son of the supreme Lord Shiva (The Dissolver) and the Divine Mother, Parvati.
Lord Muruga is unique in that he embodies a rare combination of high valor and supreme intelligence. Kartikeya embodies both valor and supreme intelligence. He is said to have appeared from the flame that emerged from the third eye of Lord Shiva, in order to destroy evil forces and secure Dharma (moral order) on earth.
The Krittika Nakshatra (lunar mansion) is also associated with Lord Kartikeya. This Nakshatra appears as a group of 6 stars more commonly known as the Pleiades and refers to the 6 sisters that cared for Lord Kartikeya.
The mythological story says that there was a Demon called Taraka who was gaining immense strength. He had a blessing from Lord Brahma, The Creator, that only a seven-day old son of Lord Shiva can kill him.
Lord Shiva was meditating in the Himalayas, with no intention of having a son. So all the Gods asked Kamadeva, the God of Love, to get the semen of Lord Shiva. Lord Agni (God of Fire) carried it to earth and six children were born, who were nurtured by the six sisters called the six Kritikas. When Goddess Parvati saw the babies she instantly fell in love with them and embraced them, and the babies became one person with six heads and twelve arms known as Kartikeya. Kartikeya, the warrior of the Gods – slayed Taraka the demon when he was just 7 days old.
When the Moon transits Krittika Nakshatra, or to strengthen Mars in your chart, it is good to honor Lord Kartikeya by meditating on the chant dedicated to him – the ‘Kandha Sashti Kavacham’. Honoring Kartikeya, who represents the planet Mars’ higher qualities, helps us to draw from his strength towards the victory of good over evil – not only in the external world but in our internal worlds also, as one is a reflection of the other.
Kuber - God of Wealth
Lord Kuber is the Lord of Wealth. He is honored on Dhanteras day during Diwali, the Festival of Lights, as people seek his blessings for good fortune, wealth and prosperity. But there are also other days where it is beneficial to remember Lord Kuber.
The mythological story goes that Lord Kuber lent money to Lord Venkateshwara (a form of Lord Vishnu, The Maintainer) for his marriage with Goddess Padmavati (an avatar of Goddess Lakshmi, Goddess of Wealth). This money wasn’t paid back, so to this day, devotees travel to the temple at Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh, India, to donate money in Venkateshwara’s donation pot, so that he can pay it back to Lord Kuber.
On Naga Panchami, where snakes, cobras and Nagas (sacred serpents) are honored and rituals are performed as remedies for Rahu and Ketu, it is good to meditate on a picture of Lord Kuber with a mongoose to enhance prosperity. He is often depicted holding a mongoose, which is the only animal that can successfully defeat a snake.
Another good time to do this ritual is when the Moon transits the Nakshatra, Uttara Ashadha, whose symbol is the mongoose. Uttara Ashadha Nakshatra is about reaching the height of our power and recognition, not so much through our personal efforts but with the support of the divine.
The Kubera Mudra can be practiced anytime for abundance and fulfillment of desires. To practice this mudra, bring the tips of the thumb, index and middle fingers together. Hold this position and bring the ring and little fingers into the palm. With your hands in this position, take a few gentle breaths for a few minutes with the eyes closed.
You can also honor Lord Kubera by chanting the Kubera Mantra:
‘Yakshaya Kuberaya Vaisravanaya dhanadhanyadhipataye
Dhanam Dhanya Samriddhim medehidapaya Svaha.’