Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are. —Chinese Proverb
We live in a universe that functions by laws that are predictable, repeatable and understandable. Contrary to what it may feel like planets also follow these laws and they are not in the business of handing out rewards and reprisals. They simply implement natural laws or karmas that uphold the structure, equilibrium and existence of the universe.
The Sanskrit word for planets is Grahas, which translates to "grab hold", "seize" or "possess" and each planet has its own unique function. No one is completely immune to the sway of the planets on our destiny or our health.
Polarity of Relaxation and Contraction
The law of polarity states that everything has an opposite. There are three kinds of planetary influences: Somya or cooling and relaxed (Jupiter, Venus, and waxing Moon) & Krura or fiery and contracting (Sun, Mars, Saturn, waning Moon, Rahu and Ketu). Finally, neutral Mercury can go either way depending on the planets it is conjunct with.
Somya planets are more accepting, supportive, encouraging and stress-free, in allowing us to manifest the indications of the house and sign. Krura planets are harder, demanding, stressful and contracting. They can also produce good results but only after some struggle, which forces us to let go of aspects of our personality that are resistant to the balance of natural law.
Equilibrium of these universal energies sustains the universe as well as our body, mind and soul.
Jupiter Saturn & Mercury
Let us look at the two opposing forces Jupiter and Saturn as complementary energies of the natural law of polarity; expansion and contraction, hope and despair, luck and self-effort that go hand in hand. If we push our luck too far with the optimism and over confidence of Jupiter we will eventually end up at Saturn's doorstep. On the other hand if we accept Saturn's forlorn path, strive to rise to our burdens and responsibilities unperturbed we will eventually find Jupiter's luck waiting to welcome us.
Jupiter's influence in our chart teaches us that natural law is brimming with joy and abundance. It encourages us to dream big and expand our horizons. Saturn's influence teaches us that natural law can be merciless and harsh and that we need to be realistic, seek shelter and contract our prospects. As such Jupiter guides us towards the pursuit of meaning and purpose, such as philosophy, Yoga, meditation, and Saturn towards more practical goals of preservation and survival.
While Jupiter contemplates distant journeys to access universal Truths, it is Saturn that builds the roads for the journey. Mercury's intellectual aptitude, information gathering and connecting the dots, helps Jupiter and Saturn respond quickly to changing environments and move between the two extremes.
All three are necessary for any individual, family, community, nation or system to survive.
Soma Agni and Marut - Three cosmic elements of Prana
Similarly in SVA Ayurveda, prana, or the universal life force, is made up of three cosmic elements - Soma, Agni and Marut.
Soma is the lunar cooling, stabilizing and growth giving component of pranic energy. Agni is the fiery solar, transforming and warming component energy. Marut is the space or air element - the intelligence of creation circulating, moving, delivering the necessary ingredients to the cells and organs in the right amounts and at the right time.
When Soma is low, the body cannot build and the cells are deprived of energy, when Agni is low the body cannot perform the necessary chemical transformation such as digestion. When Marut is low the intelligence of the body (ie. (neurotransmitters, hormones etc.), become deficient and autoimmune diseases set in, eventually even cancer.
Everything in nature is dominated by one of these three forces, including vitamins, minerals, herbs and food.
Magnesium, Calcium Vitamin D
The synergy of Jupiter's exuberance, Saturn's caution, and Mercury's flexibility to adjust as needed brings harmony in our physical, mental and spiritual life as well as our physiology. A balanced ratio of Magnesium, Calcium and Vitamin D is a similar example of nutrients necessary for the body to thrive.
According to my teacher Vaidya Mishra, calcium is the Soma, cooling predominant element. Vitamin D is the Agni or heating, transforming element - its main role in the body is to increase the flow of calcium into the bloodstream by promoting absorption of calcium from food. Magnesium is the Marut, the intelligence that decides how much needs to be transformed, transported and when.
Calcium Magnesium Ratio
Research shows that humans evolved to eat a diet with a ratio 1:1 of calcium to magnesium and of course spend lots of time outdoors absorbing the sun's rays for Vitamin D. However, in most modern diets, the ratio seems to be averaging about 3.5 calcium to 1 magnesium. Some have even suggested that it is as high as 10 calcium to 1 magnesium in the American diet.
Our obsession with calcium propagated by the dairy industry, poor diet, over supplementation with calcium, soil depletion and pharmaceutical drugs that leech magnesium is creating a serious imbalance causing the intelligence of the body to be lost.
Furthermore, the body holds and keeps a reserve of calcium but magnesium is flushed out daily and must be replenished regularly. While, calcium is a good thing, too much of anything is against natural law and eventually leads to chaos. Indeed, In 2011, a British Medical Journal sounded the alarm that "Risks outweigh benefits for calcium supplements".
Furthermore, it turns out that all the enzymes metabolizing vitamin D require magnesium as a necessary co-factor.
Physiology of Contraction and Expansion
Calcium's job is to contract the cells and if magnesium levels are insufficient in the body in relation to calcium then calcium moves into the cells but doesn't get ushered out, contracting and keeping the tension high in the cells. This leads to anxiety and "fight or flight" state in the body even when the circumstances don't warrant such a response.
Our muscles, including our heart muscle, also thrive on the balance of expansion and contraction, cooling off and heating up. When a muscle gets a message from the nervous system to act it contracts and when the signal is over it returns to its natural state of relaxation. It is Jupiter that helps us relax, Saturn contract and Mercury that sends the message to the nervous system to go between the two as necessary.
The problem is that most of us in contemporary society have too much Mercury, due to over exposure to media, computers and information and we end up in a chronically semi-contracted state because we are not able to switch off the activity of the nervous system. Furthermore, there are vibrational frequencies emitted by wireless technology (EMF and EMR) that mimic the fire ( agni) and air (marut) elements and interfere with the cooling, stabilizing elements in the body (soma).
Unfortunately, the constant state of tension in the muscles and nervous system leads to hypo or hyper function of the organs and further depletion of magnesium. A vicious cycle and downward spiral in our physical and mental acuity progresses unless balance is restored before too much damage is done to the body.
Traditional Ayurveda was always practiced alongside Vedic Astrology, as together they help optimize both the factors of our health and our destiny.
Many Vedic Astrologers today give planetary remedies or counsel but they do not account for physiological etiology that may be causing the hardships in a clients life, such as anxiety due to nutritional deficiencies or hormonal imbalances.
At the same time many modern Ayurvedic doctors could benefit in fine tuning their remedies, if they included the factors of planetary influence on their clients health, especially the planetary periods (dashas).
Single remedies of any kind should be avoided as overuse, underuse and superficial use of anything in nature results in difficult karma, including health problems. Having said that, I am seeing good results by prescribing magnesium to everyone with Saturn or Mercury out of balance, especially during their dashas (planetary period) or sade sati, as they are prone to magnesium depletion.
From a physiological perspective, if you are feeling over burdened (Saturn) and/or excessive mental restlessness (Mercury) with symptoms such as anxiety, ADD, insomnia, muscle cramps, pain, unexplained fatigue, abnormal heart rhythms, muscle spasms, numbness, depression, or twitches and tics, low levels of magnesium could be to blame.
The SVA Ayurveda tradition that I am studying under recommends transdermal magnesium through oils and lotions applied to the skin rather than oral ingestion, which is usually hard on most digestive systems (especially during Saturn dasha, as he contracts and slows down the digestive system).
Here is a link to the magnesium cream that I use in my practice. To learn more about Medical Astrology and Ayurveda please check out the Ayurveda page on my website.