Basic Characteristics of the Planets – Phaladeepika 2:1-7

The Planetary Dieties

In verses 1 through 7 of the Second chapter of She Who Illuminates the Fruit (“phala-deepika”), the author Mantreshwara lists the basic intrinsic qualities of the 7 major planets (leaving out Rahu and Ketu, the nodes). The lists appear to be random, but one can find some order in them by looking carefully. I’ll sort them out and re-explain them in an organized format.

Essentially we will learn what each planet inherently represents in terms of:

  • Main & associated characteristics
  • Activities
  • Objects
  • People

Mantreshwara will elaborate on most of these categories later in the chapter. What we are getting here is an introduction to the very core traits of each planet which never really change or vary. These things we are about to list are always associated to the planets we list them with. There will be other things that come later which a planet can represent under certain circumstances. Right now we are not talking about those at all. We are describing the core, intrinsic qualities of the planets.

Main Characteristics

  • The Sun = The all-illuminating soul
  • The Moon = The Mind
  • Mars = Strength
  • Mercury = Intelligence
  • Jupiter = Moral character
  • Venus = Sensual experiences
  • Saturn = Longevity & Stability

Associated Characteristics

The Sun indicates the all-illuminating soul, and by extension: light, alertness, power, valor, victory, patient enthusiasm and ideal career. The Moon indicates the mind and, by extension: tranquility, happiness, beauty, and fame. Mars indicates strength and: enthusiasm, power, ambition & courage. But Mars easily becomes dangerous and indicates cruelty, antagonism, weapons, thieves, enemies, adultery, lies and selfish deeds. Mercury represents intelligence and thus also: quality & truthfulness of speech, eloquence, capacity for learning, education, dexterity in the arts, and recognition from the learned. Jupiter indicates moral character and thus also: generosity, prosperity, goodwill, charity, religious devotion, faith, scriptural knowledge, control of the senses and honor. Venus indicates sensual experiences and thus also denotes: love for the arts, music, dance, perfumes & flowers. She shows ones capacity to act as an advisor and guide, and ones ability to be soft-spoken. Saturn indicates longevity & stability and therefore also: grief (arising from the lack thereof), fear, humiliation, poverty, labor, restrictions & disciplinary actions, impurity, filth and confinement.


  • The Sun = Traveling, especially in forests and mountains.
  • The Moon = Bathing, especially in the sea
  • Mars = Fighting, competing
  • Mercury = Recreational activities
  • Jupiter = Teaching & advising
  • Venus = Sex, enjoyment, marriage
  • Saturn = Dying

Mercantile Objects

  • The Sun = Gold & copper
  • The Moon = Silver, pearls & bell-metal
  • Mars = Clays & bricks
  • Mercury = Oyster (I’d like to research the author’s cultural significance of this)
  • Jupiter = Treasuries, banks
  • Venus = Wealth
  • Saturn = Iron & debt

The Moon also indicates dear and tender objects of comfort, and fruits & flowers. Venus’s “wealth” includes the home, vehicles, clothes, & jewelry.


  • The Sun = Father
  • The Moon = Mother
  • Mars = Siblings (we compete and fight with them =) )
  • Mercury = Uncles & nephews, friends
  • Jupiter = One’s children
  • Venus… Mantreshwara conspicuously did not mention a person in connection with Venus. One assumes Venus indicates the spouse. The translator indicates that Venus indicates the wife in a male horoscope only. In any case Mantreshwara did make a clear statement on this.
  • Saturn… Servants

Personal Thoughts

I find it interesting that Mercury provides the dexterity and talent for arts, yet Venus provides the affection and love for the arts. Both are required to make a good artist, and this is why a good Mercury/Venus conjunction can promote artistic talent. However this combination happens quite frequently. Why are there not more artists? Because in addition to a good Mercury/Venus combination we certainly need an important and prominent Moon – the indicator of appreciation for beauty and ability to be known and become famous. So, on planetary factors alone (i.e. not considering houses, signs, nakshatras, aspects, or harmonics, etc.) one would expect good combinations and placements for these three planets: Moon, Mercury and Venus in the charts of those with significant artistic skill.

I also find it interesting that Mercury represents recreation while Venus represents enjoyment. Mercury’s recreation is a relaxing, witty affair. Venus however represents direct sensual enjoyment and pleasure. Again, the combination of these two planets in appropriate houses and signs makes life quite nice.

– Vic DiCara