Vedic astrology is an ancient practice that originated in India and has spread across the world. It involves the interaction of planets, moon and its nodes with earthlings. The effect of the position of these celestial objects in the cosmic map at a given time is said to cause certain effects on specific aspects of life as a whole; spiritual, mental and physical. My venture into astrology was out of boredom and need for meaningful company. As a teen like many of us, had read Linda Goodman’s sun signs and was intrigued by it.
A good friend encouraged me to read books about Vedic astrology and I got hooked. My understanding generally grows with expressing it creatively and I applied the same to the very basic of astrology, the planets. As I looked for a unique way of representing planets, I came across one of the folk art forms of India, Madhubani style that mostly depict man and his association with nature and the scenes and deities from the ancient epics. Traditionally done by women on freshly plastered mud walls and floors of huts, the colors are derived from plants as well as rice flour. Generally, every inch is filled by paintings of flowers, animals, birds, and even geometric designs.
The navagrahas, or the nine visible planets/ elements of solar system are not just part of Indian astrology but also worshiped as Gods and have as special place in temples. Sun along with the visibly five planets( Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn) and the solar and lunar eclipses are revered in Indian culture. They are placed in a particular fashion facing specific directions in most temples. While all the other planets face away from the sun, who faces the east, Moon alone faces the sun.
In this depiction the planet’s vehicles are collared with their astrological houses symbolically and colorfully while the grain that is specific to the planet forms the busy background.
Sun- white, wheat and lord of Leo
Moon- pale yellow, rice and lord of Cancer
Mars – red, red lentils and lord of Aries and Scorpio
Mercury – green, green gram and Lord of Gemini and Virgo
Venus – white, Lima beans and Lord of Taurus and Libra
Jupiter – yellow, Garbanzo beans and Lord of Sagittarius and Pisces
Saturn – blue, Sesame, and Lord of Capricorn and Aquarius
Rahu ( dragons’ head) – all colors, horse gram, Co-ruler of Aquarius
Ketu (dragon’s tail)–black, urad dal, Co-ruler of Scorpio