Phaladeepika Chapter 1 – Initial Facts about the Signs

She Who Illuminates the Fruit (Phaladeepika) comes roaring out of the gate by barraging us with a downpour of various somewhat disconnected or unexplained facts. This is not a fault in the book, because, as I mentioned in my introduction, it’s not intended to be a paperback that people read, but a reference manual that teachers and masters use.

Here are some of the facts.

Parts of Your Body

There are 12 signs and 12 twelve houses and they echo each other in many ways. Get used to referring to the signs not by name but by number, because that’s the ancient Indian convention, and it’s really quite handy for the computer program going on in the mind of an astrologer. A house and sign of a given number pertain to a specific area of the body. So in other words if you want to know something about a person’s physical body – this is your first reference point. Please highlight the word first. It is not the only reference point but it the fundamental one.

Actually, even that statement has to be put in better context. The fundamental reference point for anything pertaining to the physical body is the First House. Period. The First House gives you the entire overall picture of the physical and tangible nature of the person. However, you can “zoom in” to that first house picture by expanding the body to cover all the 12 houses and signs. It’s like when you click on an application on an iPhone, and then the thing zooms in an expands to fill the whole screen. You can see the entire physical body in the 1st House – and you must look there first to get the overall picture of what’s going on with the physical body! After that, you can “click on” the 1st House to “expand” it, “zoom in” on it. When you click on the 1st house it takes up all 12 houses and signs as follows:

  • 1 (i.e. 1st house and 1st sign, Aries) = head
  • 2 = face (and throat)
  • 3 = breast (we are talking about below the next to the solar plexus, and it includes the arms and hands)
  • 4 = heart
  • 5 = stomach
  • 6 = waist (abdomen)
  • 7 = pelvic area
  • 8 = sex organs specifically
  • 9 = thighs
  • 10 = knees
  • 11 = calves
  • 12 = feet


If you are trying to figure out where something happens, or where something went, your first reference point is this next list correlating the 12 signs to 12 different types of places

  • Aries = Forests (high forests, dry forests)
  • Taurus = Farms (nice fertile, healthy farms)
  • Gemini = Bedrooms
  • Cancer = Very deep water (chasms with water)
  • Leo = Mountains
  • Virgo = Farms (with crops growing, a harvesting farm)
  • Libra = Stores, Business places
  • Scorpio = Caves, holes
  • Sagittarius = Palaces (government buildings)
  • Capricorn = Forests (wet and damp ones)
  • Aquarius = Artist studios (potter’s places)
  • Pisces = Water (seas & oceans)

Effect of the Signs on the Planets

To be honest, I have no idea why Mantreshwara chose to open with those two lists. Its seems so arbitrary and random to me. Maybe there was some reason, or maybe he wasn’t overly concerned with editing. In any case, the next section makes more sense to come at the beginning of the book. In it he is going to explain how the signs relate to the planets: who owns which signs? Exaltation and debilitation signs (and degrees); Mooltrikonas (planetary “roots”).

I’ve already explained these things elsewhere at length so I’m going to be brief here.

Who Owns What

The signs are places that belong to the planets, who are people. People “own” places, and the places people own look and feel a lot like the owner.

Cancer (4) Moon / Sun Leo (5)

Gemini (3) Mercury Virgo (6)

Taurus (2) Venus Libra (7)

Aries (1) Mars Scorpio (8)

Pisces (12) Jupiter Sagittarius (9)

Aquarius (11) Saturn Capricorn (10)

Exaltation and Debilitation Signs and Degrees

Planets feel very comfortable and capable when they are “at home” (see above list of homes). But they also have one sign the prefer even better, it’s like their “vacation spot” – their exaltation sign; and have one sign that they really dread being in – their debilitation sign.

Planet | Exalted in | Debilitated in

  • Sun | Aries | Libra
  • Saturn | Libra | Aries
  • Jupiter | Cancer | Capricorn
  • Mars | Capricorn | Cancer
  • Venus | Pisces | Virgo
  • Mercury | Virgo | Pisces
  • Moon | Taurus | Scorpio

From the way I’ve grouped this you may notice that the debilitation sign is always the opposite sign from the exaltation sign. You may also notice the pairs of opposite planets.

As you will soon be learning from a dozen or so different angles, not every degree in the same sign is the place at all. Here’s your first introduction to this fact: exaltation degrees. It’s pretty old news that planet’s have exaltation signs, but a lot of people don’t realize (or account for) the fact that within that exaltation sign, there is a particular degree of the sign  that makes the effect most pronounced. (a degree measures the space within the sign. Each sign has 30 degrees). The closer a planet is to that specific degree, the more pronounced the effect of exaltation becomes.

  • Sun: 10º
  • Moon: 3º
  • Mars: 28º
  • Mercury: 15º
  • Jupiter 5º
  • Venus 27º
  • Saturn 20º

The same exact thing is true of debilitation. Take Mars for example. He is exalted in Capricorn. But as he gets closer to 28º Capricorn the effect of that exaltation gets more and more pronounced. In Cancer, Mars is debilitated, but Mars at 28º cancer is fully debilitated, while Mars at 4º Cancer is not.

Planetary Roots (Moolatrikona)

Every planet has a “root” in the zodiac, which is (with only the Moon as an exception) always somewhere within one of the signs the planet owns. Mainly this is useful for figuring out and deducing other fundamental astrological principles and not directly for chart interpretation. But it is said that a planet in it’s root is somewhat different (slightly stronger and “better”) than being in the area of the house that’s not within it’s “root”. Here are the roots of the planets:

  • Sun: ≤20º Leo
  • Moon: 4 – 20º Taurus. So Taurus is the exalting sign of the Moon, but only the first three degrees of Taurus actually exalts the Moon, technically speaking. A Moon past three degrees and up to 20º is technically not exalted, but is in her root. And past 20º she is neither exalted nor in her root, she’s just in Taurus.
  • Mars: ≤2º Aries. Mars has the smallest root area of any planet.
  • Mercury: 16 – 20º Virgo. This is similar to the Moon. We learned that Virgo exalts Mercury. Then we clarified that 15º of Virgo is the highest exaltation. Now we learn that past 15º and up to 20º is not technically an exaltation for Mercury, but is it’s root. Past 20º Virgo is neither Mercury’s exaltation nor root, it’s his ‘home’.
  • Jupiter: ≤10º Sagittarius
  • Venus: ≤5º Libra
  • Saturn ≤20º Aquarius. Saturn has the largest root area of any planet. Saturn is fundamentally the strongest planet in the sense of tenacity and depth of power (“roots”). Mars, though the planet of warfare and anger, has the weakest root. That’s why Mars has a lot of energy but little long term stamina.

Other Facts About the Signs

Lot’s more lists follow…


Some signs are human, some are animal, some are aquatic, and one is an insect. This is handy sometimes to understand what type of being will cause or be the focus of an event. And I’ve also heard and seen it be useful in describing a person’s proclivity to be talkative. Human signs talk a lot. Animals don’t “talk” but they are communicative. Fish and insects are pretty darn silent.

  • Human: Gemini, Virgo, Libra, Aquarius, & Sagittarius (only the first half)
  • Animal: Aries, Taurus, Leo, Sagittarius (only the second half of it), & Capricorn (the first half)
  • Fish: Cancer, Pisces, Capricorn (the second half of the sign)
  • Insect: Scorpio

Day or Night

Some signs have more inherent strength during the day, and some at night. There’s a reason for this, and it’s interesting. We discussed what planet’s own what signs, right? Well, originally only the Sun and Moon owned anything. They are the king and queen of the heavens. But the planets requested property from the Sun and Moon, and therefore they were gifted various constellations. But the underlying fact remains that the true owner of each sign is either the Sun or the Moon. And this fact plays out by making some signs stronger in the sunlight (during the day) and others stronger in the moonlight (at night)

The Sun is the original and true owner of all the signs that rise with their “face” first. This is literal. If you draw pictures of the constellations, the ones whose head rises over the horizon first belong to the Sun (include Libra in this batch). So the signs that originally belong to the Sun (and are thus strong during the day, rising face first) are signs 5 – 9, and sign 11. That is, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, and Aquarius. The signs that originally belong to the Moon (and are thus strong during the night, and do not rise face first – or those with two faces in either direction) are signs 1-4, 10 and 12: Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Capricorn.

This means that the houses created in a chart by the Sun’s signs are a little bit inherently stronger if the person was born during the day. And visa versa. The first house is particularly important of course. Being born during the day for a sun-owned sign, or during the night for a moon-owned sign makes the first house (and thus the chart overall) a wee bit stronger.


Next Mantreshwar, in one verse (verse 9 or chapter 1), gives six other lists classifying the signs in different ways.

  • Signs have a pattern in which they evolve. This pattern is either: Moving in a specific direction; Standing firm and still; or  Oscillating here and there. Sign 1 (Aries) moves, sign 2 stands fixed, sign 3 oscillates. Then continue the pattern (4 moves, 5 is fixed, 6 oscillates, 7 moves, etc.)
  • Each sign has a relative place which can be: Threshold; Outside; or Inside. Again, just follow the pattern. Sign 1 indicates a threshold (doorway). 2 is outside, 3 inside, 4 threshold, etc.
  • Each sign has a genus-species type kingdom – being either Mineral, Vegetable, or Animal (including human beings). Sign 1 is mineral, 2 vege, 3 animal, etc.
  • Each sign refers to a direction: Sign 1 is East, 2 is South, 3 is West, 4 is North, etc.
  • Each sign is male/female (odd or even) and therefore also either harsh or gentle. All the odd numbered signs are male and harsh. All the even numbered signs are female and gentle.

– Vic DiCara