Planets project the influence of the planets located in the signs they rule. When, for example, Saturn and Mars are located in Cancer, the sign of the Moon, the Moon may take upon their negative natures.
A planet is said to be the "dispositor" of the planets located in the signs that it rules. Generally it will rule over them and make them function according to its nature. If Saturn is in Sagittarius, for example, Jupiter will gain power over it and it will be less malefic than usual. However, if there are several such planets and if they are strongly benefic or malefic, their nature can outweigh that of their ruler, who will come to function like them. Hence to determine whether a planet is benefic or malific, we must also consider whether a planet is the ruler or dispositor of benefic or malefic planets.
In fact, by this principle of dispositorship any planet can come to function like any other. Jupiter can thereby function like a malefic Saturn and Rahu, or Saturn can function like a benefic Venus. The planets thus are points of energy transmission and what energies they transmit depends as much upon their factors of association as their given nature. While the planets do have their specific natures, they do not exist in isolation and can serve to reflect the other planets and their functions. This is simply the relativity of all life. Sometimes one planet may become the "final dispositor" of all the planets in the chart. This occurs if all planets are in signs ruled by one planet or in those of planets located in its signs. For example, of Mercury is in Gemini with the Sun and Venus, Mercury would be their dispositor. If the Moon and Saturn are located in Libra, another sign of Venus, and Jupiter and Mars in Aquarius, a sign of Saturn, then Mercury would become the final dispositor in the chart. Such a planet usually becomes very strong and marks the planetary type of the person.
In this principle of dispositorship is much of the secret of astrology and the key to subtle chart interpretation.
"I know that great being who has the effulgence of the Sun beyond darkness. Only knowing him can one go beyond death. There is no other path for the journey." Shukla Yajur Veda 31.18.
"The Sun has yellow eyes which dispense honey, his body is square, he is pure, bilious (pitta) in constitution, intelligent, masculine and tends towards baldness." Parashari 3.23.
The ancient Vedic religion upon which Vedic astrology is based, the religion of all the ancient world, was the religion of the Sun. The worship of the Sun was primary to all ancient cultures, including the religions and mythologies of our ancient Indo-European ancestors the Greeks, Romans, Celts, Germans and Slavs. It is the oldest and most natural form of human religion, as religion is seeking the light. As such, it is also the religion of the future as we once more return to our spiritual roots in the coming ages of light.
The Sun is a grand symbol with a great mythology, a profound psychological and spiritual meaning. It is the image, the face of Truth itself. The Sun is God, the Divine incarnate in nature. The Sun is the Deva, the deity. To the ancients the Sun was the One God, which was the unity of truth, not an exclusive and jealous deity. In our birth charts the Sun shows our divinity (or lack of it), our unity and point of focus, our center and central purpose in life. It shows the light that we possess and which we aspire to expand.
According to the solar religion of the Vedas, the Sun is the Atma, the Self of all the universe. The Sun is the Divine Being who dwells in the hearts of all beings as the true Self. The Sun is the Divine light and love which is the unity of all life. The Sun is the visible form and presence of the deity. In their worship of the Sun, the ancients recognized the presence and place of God in life. They were bringing the Divine light into life and making of their life and perception a thing of worship.
The Sun symbolizes the cosmic intelligence, pure consciousness or the enlightened Mind. The ancient solar religion was the religion of Divine life and of enlightenment. In much of his worship no images of the God were used. He was lauded in the sunlight, the sunlit path of clear awareness (images or forms, however, were used more commonly in the worship of the Goddess who was the Earth or the Moon). The winged disc of the Sun was used throughout the ancient world to symbolize the soul and its inherent perfection and transcendence of time. The Sun was sometimes worshipped in human representation as the cosmic man, often made of gold, representing the true Man who contains within himself all the Gods.
The saviour or sage worshipped in the ancient cultures was the son of the Sun, the presence of the Sun on Earth, the incarnation of the Divine light of truth. This symbolism is found even in Christianity where Christ is born on the winter solstice, the day the Sun is born again, as the days once more begin to get longer. It is found in Buddhism, where the Buddha as the enlightened or solar being turns the wheel of the law, the Sun wheel.
The first man, the father of the human race, was often seen as the son of the Sun (like the Hindu Manu). He was not always a fallen Adam but an incarnate Christ or enlightened master. The Sun is our spiritual father, our origin and our final resting place. At death the ancients prayed to merge into the Sun, to follow the path of light to the Gods and to the supreme light. That was thought to be the only way beyond sorrow and rebirth.
The human being is meant to manifest the Divine light on Earth, to bring the light of truth into the material realm. As such, we are all children of the Sun, doing the cosmic labor of manifesting the light. We are portions of the sunlight projected to Earth to further the will of the Divine Sun in its creative play. To be conscious as souls we must awaken to this duty. To do this we must awaken from the dream of illusion that we are just creatures of this life and its memories. The Sun dwells within the hearts of all of us as our inner Sun, our inner light and life. Without this inner light, no perception could be possible. Without this inner life, we could not even breathe. Just as there is the movement of the outer Sun through the constellations of the zodiac, so there is the movement of the inner
Sun through the chakras of our subtle or astral body (which reflects our birth chart). We will explore these themes further in our section on Yogic astrology. Nor is the Sun merely the luminary of our local solar system. The Sun is our local manifestation of the cosmic or universal light. It brings to us the light, the life, the love from all the stars, whose children we are. It reflects the light from the galactic center, the central Sun of our galaxy. It connects us with the heart of all life and all the forces of light, consciousness and intelligence. It is connected with the Suns in subtle realms as well as this physical world. It is a doorway to all the domains and powers of light.
All the planets shine with the reflected light of the Sun; they represent different solar rays. Hence there is only real one light, which is the Sun, which is all lights, and is inwardly the light of the mind.
In Vedic astrology, therefore, the Sun is the principle of light, life and love, our true will and perception. It is the most important factor for determining the spiritual life and potentials of the individual. It represents the soul, the causal body or reincarnating entity, whose will is behind our fate. It is also the mind or the mental principle on a lower level as reason, discernment, clarity and illumination.
A well-placed Sun gives intelligence, perception, strength of will and character. It affords endurance, stamina, vitality, positive spirit, direction, courage, conviction, confidence, leadership, independence and straight-forwardness. Without it whatever we may do or accomplish in life will not be ours and will not give us inner strength or peace.
An ill-placed Sun gives lack of intelligence, poor perception, weakness of will and character. It creates lack of endurance, low vitality, melancholy, fear, dependency or servitude, deviousness or dishonesty.
An overly strong but malefically disposed Sun creates pride, arrogance, tyranny and control. It creates much of the same problems as Mars (or Saturn) when too strong. It can give a deceptive charisma and a dominating personality. When the Sun is strong we outshine everyone else for good or ill; depending on whether its disposition is benefic or malefic, conscious or unconscious. A weak but spiritually disposed Sun makes us receptive, wanting to do good and self-effacing. We may lack in confidence and come under the rule of other people. We will seek to sacrifice ourselves but may not know what to give ourselves over to.
The Sun rules the heart, the organ of circulation and vitality, and a weak Sun gives problems here. Inwardly the heart is the organ of intelligence that regulates the life, breath, aspiration and perception. The nature of the Sun in the chart shows who we really are in our hearts. The Sun shows who we are in ourselves, as an individual, as apart from how we appear or what roles we take. It shows how we are with ourselves, in ourselves and by ourselves. The Sun is our sense of self and indicates the level of our self-manifestation. On the lower level, the Sun represents the ego. It shows our impulses towards power, prestige, fame, honor, respect, authority and control--all the things that give value and preeminence to our separate self and personal power. It shows where we shine, how we shine and in what we shine, how we illumine ourselves and our own lives.
On the higher level, the Sun represents our soul as our power of direct cognition. It shows our aspirations, our creativity, our seeking for light and for truth, our integrity, our capacity to transcend external conditionings and be a light unto ourselves. The Sun is who we really are, and with the Sun in the chart is the problem of identity, the search for our true Self, the great enquiry "Who am I". It is this inner search that is the real basis for the psychology of astrology. The Sun directs us towards the yoga of knowledge for the revelation of our inner being.
In terms of family relationships, the Sun represents the father. We can read through it the life of our father, our relationship to him and his influence upon us. It is the role of the father to shape our sense of self, to provide us with direction and self-worth in life. It is the absence, weakness or failure of the father in modern culture that is behind the many ego, identity and self-image problems so many of us today possess. The son needs a beneficent father to give him a sense of self-strength, self-mastery and capacity to function capably in the world. The daughter needs a good father to give her the sense of self-worth, integrity and the capacity to be her self in the world. We can judge this by the Sun in the chart.
The Sun shows the kinds of authority and the values which shape our lives. The Sun represents the king, the president, the political leader. It can indicate the government in general and whatever favors or promotions may come through it. It represents law and order on lower or higher levels, rule and reason. The Sun can represent spiritual authority and along with Jupiter help us understand the nature of the guru or the spiritual teaching we are most likely to follow. It shows our guiding light, principles, values and precepts.
The inner purpose of the Sun in the chart is to aid in our transcendence. It takes us beyond things, negating their limitation. It may raise us to a high level outwardly in life but will inwardly push us beyond that. It operates to negate all things into the self. The Sun tends to deny the ordinary activities of life but only to command the extraordinary, the highest, the best.
The Sun will further us in the highest or most grandiose human strivings. It will give the power of independence, the capacity to become a value or a light unto ourselves and will promote the growth of intelligence. While destructive of form and expression, it elevates the being and the intrinsic worth of things. It does not always give abundance but does give quality. It gives power, fame, mastery and glory but not always wealth or emotional happiness.
In Sanskrit, there are innumerable names for the Sun. Most commonly he is called "Surya", which means the father, progenitor, enlivener, impeller, the source of will, energy, motivation and inspiration, like the Greek Sun god Apollo.
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