The planetary periods of Vedic astrology provide an easy and comprehensive system for judging the effects of planets throughout the development of our lives. They can be used in place of more cumbersome systems of progressions and transits, or these can be added to them for fine-tuning. The planetary periods are perhaps the most accurate system for showing how the planets distribute their effects through time and the different stages of our lives. A Vedic chart is worth having done for them alone. A reading is not complete without them. We should all know the periods we are in and contemplate the course of our lives according to how our periods change.
Vedic astrology always considers planetary periods in any reading. It does not require an additional chart or even transits to see this, but is in evidence in the birth chart itself and the positions within it. The Vedic chart gives us a list of planetary periods that provides an overview of the development of planetary forces through our entire life. These periods are very helpful for examining our life and for planning long term goals. They can show us major transitions in our life and character. Most of us undergo major changes periodically. Some of us change personalities in a dramatic way at certain times. The planetary periods provide the key to these events. Some periods may be so different from each other that the whole nature of the destiny, health or personality may change with them.
A few different systems are used for determining the planetary periods. The most common is "Vimshottari Dasha" or "the 120 year cycle", which will be examined here. In it each of the seven major planets plus the two lunar nodes are given periods of from 6 to 20 years. They are in cyclical order the Sun 6 years, the Moon 10 years, Mars 7 years, Rahu 18 years, Jupiter 16 years, Saturn 19 years, Mercury 17 years, Ketu 7 years, Venus 20 years. The order is the same as that of the rulership of the lunar constellations (nakshatras), as the periods are based upon them. No specific rationale is given for these amounts. We notice that the period of Rahu, a shadow planet, is much longer than that of major planets like the Sun and Moon. In order of length the periods are the Sun 6, Ketu 7, Mars 7, the Moon 10, Jupiter 16, Mercury 17, Rahu 18, Saturn 19, Venus 20.
We see something of an order here (16, 17, 18, 19 and 20 equalling 90 and 6, 7, 7, 10 equalling 30) , though it would be more logical if Mars were 8 years in its period and the Moon 9. Still even though we can't quite make sense of it, the system works quite well.
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