This word “planets” brings to our mind the nine planets of our solar system, namely, mercury, venus, earth, mars, jupiter, saturn, uranus, neptune, pluto. But when it comes to astrology, the planets that have powerful influence on the earth are, namely, Sun (surya, ravi), Moon (chandra), Mars (mangal, kuja), Mercury (buddha), Saturn (shani), Rahu and Ketu. The last two are called shadowy planets (chhaya grahas) as they do not have physical or celestial bodies like other seven planets.

Uranus (also called Herschel), Neptune and Pluto also possess an important position in astrological studies but they have a different and advanced context. Although, according to studies Pluto is now a dwarf planet and has been removed from our solar system as a “planet” but Pluto is still sitting relaxed in astrological studies. In Hindu predictive Astrology, however, we do not generally give importance to them, because they are at very great distance from the earth, and very slow moving planets. Their influence is more on mundane affairs that is, events affecting masses as a whole and not on individuals.

Let us talk about the movements of planets, Saturn is the most distant from the earth. Jupiter, Mars, the Sun, Venus, Mercury and the Moon come next in order of their distance form the terrestrial globe. Thus we see that Moon is nearest to the earth so it is the fastest planet in zodiac. The velocity of each planet diminishes as its distance from the earth increases.

Let us talk about the motions of planets which is another interesting thing to know. You may have heard that planets move in forward as well as reverse or backward direction. Rationally thinking people may question how can a planet have reverse direction?

Actually, planets are always direct or forward in their motion, but in the course of their journey in the zodiac they are obstructed by certain invisible forces, as a result of which they become stationary for a while, get backward movements and again after sometime, they regain their natural courses. It is also said that actually the planets never move backwards but appear to move in this manner as seen from the earth. This phenomenon of going backwards or reverse is called retrogression. Sun and Moon are always direct and Rahu and Ketu are always retrograde. The other planets have both direct and retrograde motions.

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