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Difficult times ahead? We’ve got a remedy

You’ve probably had the experience of seeing an astrologer or reading your horoscope and being told challenging circumstances were ahead. In fact, you don’t need astrology to tell you that life can, at times, be difficult. It’s part of the human condition. Usually a Western astrologer will caution a client to brace for difficult planetary influences or offer a light at the end of the tunnel in the form of an expiration date, for example, “Just wait until Saturn moves off your Moon and you will feel a lot better!”

In India, where astrology has been practised uninterrupted for more than 2000 years, there is a tradition of transforming difficult planetary influences via what are called “remedial measures”. In this article, let’s explore how you can put these time-tested techniques to work for you. Even if you have no idea about the details of your chart, if you can identify the type(s) of problems you’re experiencing, you can use these remedial measures to good effect. If you do know the details of your chart, you will be shown how to apply this information on a deeper level. Remedial measures offer you an opportunity to proactively manage challenging life circumstances.

A brief history

Modern Indian and Western astrology are siblings of the same parent. The idea of looking at the planets in relation to a person’s birthdate arose around the same time in India and in the Greek-speaking ancient world, at a time when colonies from the Hellenistic empire were established in India. While Western astrology has had a rough go of it historically, because both the Church and the scientific revolution have been harsh critics, in India astrology has always been dialled into the culture and a part of the typical Indian’s religious experience. Even though the techniques of Indian astrology developed differently to those of Western astrology, the remedial measures concept can be applied to both systems.

“Both the progress and downfall of people, and the creation and destruction of the universe, are all under the administration and authority of the planets.” — Brihat Parasara Hora Shastra

Visible planets

Indian astrology was developed at a time when only the planets visible to the naked eye were used: Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus and Saturn. To this list, two other points were added: the two points in the sky where eclipses occur. These points are called the Nodes of the Moon in Western astrology, and Indians call them Rahu (North Node) and Ketu (South Node). A result of the Earth’s and Moon’s orbits around the Sun, these points are always moving, but only cause eclipses when the Sun, Moon and Earth align.

With their enormous power to block out the light of the Sun and Moon, Rahu and Ketu were considered significant enough influences to be granted planetary status. Together they make up the traditional nine planets of Indian astrology. The Greek word for planet means “wanderer” but the Sanskrit word for planet is graha, which means “that which seizes or influences you”. Remedial measures address the influences of these nine planets.

Karma and karaka

Most native Indian religions include a doctrine that we have lived several lives and, over the course of those incarnations, have accumulated karmas or consequences from the actions of past lives. Your horoscope or birth chart is a map of those karmas allotted to this life. The planets are viewed as the agencies through which those karmas are delivered to you. For example, if you find yourself frequently arguing with your intimate partner, it could be that you were born with Mars, the planet of arguments, in the 7th House, the House of Partnerships.

In India, astrology has always been … a part of the typical Indian’s religious experience.

The job of the Indian astrologer is to help guide you through that karma by helping you utilise opportunities and minimise difficulties. In this case, you might consider taking up a martial art or joining a debate club so that the oppositional energy of your Mars placement has another outlet: a literal sparring partner. Remedial measures like these offer you a way to express a planet’s influence so that it serves rather than hinders you.

Indian astrology holds that each planet is a karaka or signifies specific life experiences. For example, Venus signifies love, while Jupiter signifies wealth and children. If you have difficulties with your children, it could be that your Jupiter needs help. Think about your life and the problems you are experiencing. Make a list by topic and read the following sections for help. They are broken down by topic so you can find what you need easily.

Applying remedial measures

The key to all remedial measures for any planet is to understand that they require volitional action. You must apply time and intention to your effort. One way to do this is by fasting on the day of the planet. This is a time-honoured way to transform inauspicious influences. For example, you can do a simple food fast from sunrise to sunset on Sunday, the day of the Sun — but be sure you get permission from your healthcare provider that it is safe for you to do so. Another way to remediate an unfortunate influence is donate money or time to charities or individuals who are ruled by the planet. You can take any keyword for a planet and turn it into a charitable action.

Each planet rules a day of the week: Sunday for the Sun, Monday for the Moon, Tuesday for Mars, Wednesday for Mercury, Thursday for Jupiter, Friday for Venus and Saturday for Saturn. Tradition holds that Rahu is allotted to Saturday, Ketu to Tuesday. However, if you know your birth chart, you can use the planetary day of the ruler of the sign where Rahu and Ketu are placed. For example, if your Rahu is in Scorpio, Tuesday would be an appropriate day as Mars rules Scorpio. If your Rahu or Ketu is conjunct a planet, say Ketu conjunct Jupiter, you can use that planet’s day, in this case, Thursday for Jupiter. For each of the following remedies, it is auspicious to begin them on the appropriate planet’s day, during a waxing Moon (while the Moon is getting brighter, going from new to full).

The planets and you

These keywords represent the areas of your life affected by each planet:

Planet Keywords
Sun Health, vitality, father, soul, government, authority figures


Mind, mother, tranquillity, memory, emotional turmoil, sleep
Mars Siblings, courage, goal-oriented action, property/land, litigation, anger, acute disease, accidents, impatience


Education, commerce, students, speech and eloquence, dexterity, astrology


Wealth, children, teachers, higher education, spiritual/religious matters, overindulgence, growth


Marriage, love, sex, women, vehicles, laziness, harmony


Debt, chronic disease, employment, discipline (or lack thereof), anxiety, loneliness, perseverance


Fears, compulsions, addiction, delusion, science, international travel, individuality, insight


Intuition, spirituality, compassion, fanaticism, impulsiveness, impatience



If your vitality seems rundown, if you are constantly have problems with authority figures or if relations with your father are in need of improvement, the Sun may be the planet to remediate. The strongest remedial techniques require you to invest time, energy and/or charity to modify your karma. That said, there is a folk remedy that instructs one to throw copper coins into flowing water to help with Sun issues. The Sun is a planet of honour, so living your life in an honourable way is a great way to strengthen the Sun.

Volunteering to help local government with a project or to be a volunteer staffer for a politician are two other options. You can also cultivate kindness towards your father or, if that is impossible, practise being kind to fathers in general. You can do some activity for others that is dear to your soul. Bright red is the colour of the Sun, so wearing that colour is said to strengthen its influence when weak. All these options will strengthen the benefic (good) aspects of the Sun and reduce any inauspicious influences. It is also said that feeding a goose will help.


If your mind seems out of sorts, if your tranquillity or sleep is disturbed or if you are having trouble with your mother, the Moon may be the planet you need to remediate. White is the colour of the moon, so wearing white clothes or being in an environment filled with white will help. Any charitable activities towards mothers, farmers or anyone in a nurturing role (such as nurses) will transform Moon energy. Feeding a partridge or crane is a traditional remedy. Giving donations of rice or milk (two white-coloured foods), bathing in running water and, perhaps most importantly, being kind to your mother or motherly figures in your life will help greatly in remediating Moon issues.

Remedial measures offer you a way to express a planet’s influence so that it serves rather than hinders you.

The Moon rules the mind in Indian astrology. This is your whole mind, your perceptual field as well as your emotional nature. Adopting a meditative practice, a good remedy for all kinds of life circumstances, is especially helpful for your mind. As Monday is the day of the Moon, you would want to begin any of these activities on a waxing moon Monday. This principle holds true for all the planetary days and remedies.


If you are constantly squabbling with your siblings, if you find yourself coming up short in the courage department, if you are quick to anger or are accident-prone, Mars may need your attention. Mars is first and foremost the planet of action and movement and, when you have problems around Mars-ruled topics, it can indicate you need more activity in your life. This can be as simple as exercise. Daily workouts, hatha yoga, Tai Chi and Qiqong all involve the body in physical activity and give a place for the Mars energy to constructively manifest.

More traditional remedies include making an offering of red lentils into running water, feeding roosters, vultures or other birds of prey, and being kind to your siblings. You can also volunteer through charitable organisations to be a “big brother” or “big sister” to young people who are experiencing adversity. Blood red is the colour of Mars, so wearing clothes of that colour can also help.


If you’re having trouble with your education, if you find yourself tongue-tied when asked for an opinion, if you are having business problems or if students are giving you a hard time, Mercury may be your planet of interest. Mercury rules two very important spheres of activity in the 21st century: communication and business. The word “mercantile” comes from Mercury. Luckily, the modern world has an abundance of remedial measures for Mercury including phones, computers, radio, television, books and the internet, all of which fall under the purview of Mercury. Utilising any of these communication tools can help with your Mercury afflictions.

Traditional remedies include charitable giving of time or money to students or education, offering mung beans to running water and even feeding a parrot, or keeping one as a beloved pet. Green is the colour associated with Mercury, so wearing green or surrounding yourself with the colour green will help. Even increasing the number of green plants around you is said to be beneficial. Astrology is ruled by Mercury and, as such, reading this article — indeed the entire publication — is helping your Mercury!


Money woes, difficulty with your children, conflicts with teachers and problems with overindulgence can all be signs of Jupiter problems. To remediate, consider volunteer work for your local church or religious institution. Jupiter also rules institutes of higher education and law, so donating to or serving a college or university, or volunteering at a law centre for the underprivileged, can help. Charity or service on behalf of children is a great way to remediate how Jupiter is manifesting in your life.

Traditional remedies include wearing or surrounding yourself with the colour yellow, planting yellow flowering plants and feeding a swan or pigeon. And while it is unlikely a city-dweller will have this opportunity, elephants are ruled by Jupiter so any act of kindness towards them will result in some remediation.


Venus-ruled topics are vital to your happiness. If you are having trouble in your marriage, if love or sexual issues plague you or if your car is giving you chronic problems, your Venus may be asking for help. It has been said that your automobile is a reflection of yourself; in Indian astrology, Venus rules your modes of transport, so kind attention to your vehicles can reward you with pleasure from other areas of life. Venus also rules women in general, so doing good by women is a powerful remediation for Venusian problems.

The colour white is also associated with Venus, as it is with the moon, but it is said that any beautiful article of clothing is Venusian. Wearing white or beautiful things in general can help strengthen Venus. If your Venus is weak, you will want to avoid wearing old-looking or messy clothes. Donating to your local artists, musicians or community theatre is also a good Venus remedy. If you can find a peacock to feed, all the better.


Saturn is a planet with a lot of negative associations in the east and west. As the ruler of hard work, delay and perseverance, its energies are usually at odds with the lazy modern want-it-today mentality. If you’ve ever heard anyone wistfully daydreaming about winning the lottery, that person is not exemplifying Saturn’s traits. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to transform Saturn’s apparently harsh hand in life. The homeless are ruled by Saturn, so volunteering in a homeless shelter, soup kitchen or the like can help. The elderly come under Saturn’s rule, so volunteering at a hospice or aged-care Home gives a great place for that energy to manifest.

The Sanskrit word for planet is graha, which means “that which seizes or influences you”.

Black and dark blue are the colours of Saturn, so wearing clothes of those colours will strengthen Saturn. Developing your own self-discipline will go a long way to alleviating Saturn problems. If you can demonstrate discipline and perseverance in your life, even something as simple as vowing to eat an apple a day before 11am, it will give Saturn a place to manifest. Any disciplined daily practice will help. Meditation, exercise or keeping commitments are but a few of the possibilities. Reptiles are ruled by Saturn, so being kind to your friend’s pet snake or lizard, especially feeding such animals, will help with Saturn. The bird associated with Saturn is the crow. Black animals, especially cows or dogs, can be taken care of as a remedial measure.

On my last trip to India, I was told to remediate my Saturn by offering a chapatti (an Indian bread) to a black dog or cow. There are lots of black cows and dogs all over India, and a seemingly infinite supply of chapattis. However, I couldn’t seem to locate both at the same time. Near the very end of my stay, I was residing at a place with a skittish black dog that kept a wide berth between himself and people. Not thinking I would have any luck feeding him, I slowly approached with chapatti in hand. To my surprise, he took it and promptly ate it. Then, he followed me back to the residence and, to the shock of all present, sat among us. I took that as a good omen and indeed my Saturn afflictions alleviated.


Perhaps you find yourself obsessing or worrying over matters beyond your control, have trouble with international Travel or find yourself repeatedly deluded. Rahu may need your attention. In addition to the above, Rahu may exhibit qualities of the planet it is with in your chart, or qualities of the planet that rules the sign it is in. It is said that when Rahu problems manifest in life, one should avoid tobacco. This could be because Rahu rules poisons. Rahu rules electrical items, so charity work involving the giving of technology to the poor will help. Science is also within the domain of Rahu, so donations or volunteer work in any area of scientific innovation or exploration would be good. Feeding a gull or even reptiles (same as Saturn) will also influence Rahu.


Ketu is said to be the most spiritual planet of the birth chart. In Indian mythology, Ketu has no head and is thought of as egoless. Therefore, when Ketu becomes active in your life, it is looking for a spiritual outlet. If there is none, if you are so busy with work and family and play that you take no time to express a spiritual life, Ketu may begin to take things away from you. One way to identify if Ketu is a problem is when you suddenly notice a series of losses, one after the other. This is a sure sign of Ketu’s influence. Cultivating a spiritual practice in whatever religious tradition you fancy is a great remedial measure.

More traditional remedies for Ketu include giving donations or performing charity work for monastics of any religious denomination, from Benedictine to Buddhist. Experiencing a monastic retreat personally would be another option. You could take care of a dog that is of mixed black-and-white colour and feed it daily to ameliorate Ketu afflictions. Last, donations of limes and bananas are said to soften Ketu’s influence. The owl is the bird associated with Ketu so if you have the opportunity to care for one, seize it.

Going deeper with your own chart

If you have a copy of your birth chart, know what houses your planets rule and where they are placed in your houses, you can take your analysis to a deeper level. To do this in the traditional way, you would recast your chart using whole sign houses and a sidereal zodiac.

First, note the house associated with the topic you’re concerned about. Then, look to the ruler of that house and consider any planets placed in the house in question. For example, if you want to improve your love life, in addition to remediating Venus you can also remediate the ruler of the 7th House and any planets in the 7th House.

You don’t want to go crazy and remediate all nine planets; that will spread your energy too thin. Pick your most pressing problem and the planet you feel most exemplifies the issue and invest time remediating it. Once you are satisfied with your results, move on to number two.

The outer planets

If you know that Uranus, Neptune or Pluto are influencing one of the traditional nine planets in your chart, or will be influencing a planet by transit, you can strengthen and remediate the planet receiving that influence. For example, if Pluto is going over your Moon and you feel disturbed or want to do something about it, you can strengthen or remediate the Moon.

While nothing is a panacea, the Indian tradition of remedial measures has helped countless people deal constructively with otherwise difficult planetary influences. Yes, it takes a little sacrifice of time, money or effort. However, you will find your efforts rewarded as life opens to new possibilities and your mind is increasingly filled with equanimity.

Kenneth Miller

Kenneth Miller

Kenneth D Miller, MA, is a practising astrologer in San Diego, California, USA. He received his Master’s degree in the history of astrology from Kepler College. He holds the title of Jyotish Kovid from the Council of Vedic Astrology. In addition, Kenneth has made a study of Hellenistic, medieval, renaissance and modern astrologies. He is one of the few professional astrologers with a working knowledge of all five of these traditions. You can email him at kenneth@celestialintelligencer.net.

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