“There is a universe within you – a kingdom of many thousand constellations – so make your own destiny.”
For as long as humanity has existed, we’ve looked up at the stars for guidance. We wonder what our destiny may be, where we’ll end up, who’s the one for us. We travel in caravans through the star lit nights, and into the horizons, sit around fires listening for signs, and find secret quiet places in a house where a wise old woman can read our fortune from tea leaves, coffee cups or tarot cards. Some things are meant to be, I do believe in that – while others we create ourselves with the magic of our hearts, intention and hands.
There is a saying that when we have a desire in our heart, we are destined to experience it because otherwise we would not have had that desire in the first place. I know this to be true. Destiny, is in a way, connected to desire. This is why when we follow our true heart’s desire, we are inevitably following our destiny. Some paths we pave ourselves, others are written for us. In every step we take, choices will be made by us. And yet, sometimes there is something older than us, more ancient than time, that calls us towards itself, again and again.
The word desire comes from the Latin desiderare: “to long for” which comes from de sidere, or “from the stars.” Our desires are our gifts from the stars, as they truly guide our heart towards our destiny. Our love and longing actually lead us towards our greatest paths: l’amor che move il sole e le altre stelle… “the love that moves the sun and the other stars.”
If we have a strong desire for something – this means that we are meant to experience it because otherwise we would not have had that desire in the first place.
We incarnated in a physical body because we had unfulfilled desires from past lives and these desires generate the birth and the driving force throughout our life. By following our heart’s desires we are therefore following the path of our destiny to fulfill our soul’s purpose.
Often times in life, the strong feelings that we suddenly experience towards something, when we are mystically being drawn to it, as if heart-led and fairy-led, are the precursors to the physical manifestation.
Because what you seek is seeking you.
Our heart is an intuitive center. The first thing that it does is that it scans the collective consciousness and then it embodies that as a feeling, as an idea, as a passion or as an inspiration. In other words – by the time we get that desire, there is already a need for it created in our world, desiring us in return, yearning to be experienced by us. This means that all the messages that are truly coming from your heart are a part of what you came here to experience and contribute to this world as you express your unique self. Everything is interwoven in our world and our heart accesses it all.
The heart knows, always.
Atmakaraka – Knowing Your Heart’s Desire
In astrology, there are many ways to find our soul’s purpose and destiny. The most popular one is our North Node, or Rahu, which shows us what we came here to experience so that our soul advances further. We can also look at our ascendant, as this is sometimes referred to as the unfulfilled desires from the past which propelled us to reincarnate. And then there’s the atmakaraka.
According to ancient texts of Jaimini Sutra, our atmakaraka planet, also known as our soul planet, provides great insight into the area of life our soul longs for. Atma means soul and karaka means indicator/to create. In essence, our atmakaraka shows our soul’s desire and purpose.
How do you find your atmakaraka?
Your atmakaraka is the planet that holds the highest degree in your natal chart, regardless of the sign and house. Since it is sensitive to degrees, you need to know your birth time because the Moon changes degrees every few hours.
To find your atmakaraka, I want you to look at the following planets in your natal chart: Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. These are known as the visible planets, and your atmakaraka is the one with the highest degrees.
For example, let’s say your Moon is at 12 degrees Taurus and your Venus is at 2 degrees Scorpio. This means that your Moon is your atmakaraka. You can also look at its house placement, planetary rulership, aspects and sign for further information. If it’s in the third house, and conjunct your ascendant ruler, it will certainly influence its meaning. In fact, if your atmakaraka is conjunct your ascendant ruler – it is said that it will be much easier for you to fulfill your soul’s desire in this life.
Some schools of thought in astrology include the North Node or Rahu as part of the atmakaraka calculations – but I don’t. The North Node is not a planet but an astronomical point in the horoscope just like our ascendant is only an astronomical point, which we don’t include neither. What I have found based on my experience and knowledge, is that it is not appropriate to include the North Node for atmakaraka calculations, or any of the karaka calculations. I personally look at it in depth separately, and then combine it all together for a deeper understanding on the soul’s path.
So let’s look at very briefly what each planet means if it is your atmakaraka, regarding what your soul desires to learn and understand in this life.
SUN ATMAKARAKA: WHAT IS LEADERSHIP?
“Honey-yellow eyed is the Sun, square and radiantly pure, O’ Twice Born, of Pitta nature, intelligent, masculine, with but little hair, O’ Twice Born” – Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra: Nature and Form of the Grahas
The Sun is hot and illuminates, but such natives need to be careful not to burn everything and everyone around them, including themselves. They seek success, power, fame and status, and hold great value for higher positions. There is nothing wrong with this of course, but they need to be mindful of their values while climbing the ladders.
During this life, they will be faced with lessons surrounding power and authority. They will learn that power is not everything and what true power really is. They may be faced with situations through which they need to learn self-control and understanding what values they hold and align to.
The Sun represents the divine masculine energy and true to this embodiment, these people are initiative, courageous and dynamic. On the negative side though, when masculine energy is under-developed or misused, these natives may become arrogant, angry, controlling and dominating.
They need to overcome their ego and become more humble despite their desire to rule. The Sun is a king indeed, but a true king has compassion and nurtures the more vulnerable. Often, and falsely, we associate the quality of nurturing with the feminine energy but in reality, it’s part of the healthy divine masculine energy – to protect and lead with humility, compassion, care, and kindness is how a king builds a long-lasting kingdom. Only then these solar souls would transcend the lower vibrational energy of the ego’s hunger for authority and power – and truly become the respectable inspirational leaders that their soul desires and came here to be.
Music is also important for them, so learning to play instruments can be something soothing and rejuvenating for their holistic well-being.
MOON ATMAKARAKA: WHAT IS TRUE LOVE?
“Abounding in Vata and Kapha and filled with knowing is the Moon of round body, O’ Twice Born, auspiciously eyed, of sweet speech, fluctuating and love sick” – Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra: Nature and Form of the Grahas
Many of these natives are natural healers, empaths and psychics, particularly clairvoyants, claircognizants and clairsentients. They have an inner knowing and they must learn to trust their intuition and inner feelings despite others and even when it is conflicting with others’ information/viewpoints.
Their gentleness and softness attracts many people towards them because their presence is naturally healing and soothing. Because of their empathic, giving and loving nature, their lesson is to learn to receive and be taken care of by others as well. And because of their helpful nature, they need to remember that “helping doesn’t mean taking crap” – so when someone mistreats them, they should walk away.
They need to learn the difference between true love and fake love – especially since they have such a strong desire for relationships and to unite with the oneness from which we all came from. It is their destiny to experience unconditional love – not just to give that to others but to also receive it abundantly.
Having a stable and comfortable home environment is of absolute importance to these natives, as they need to feel safe and grounded to be able to allow the brilliance of their feelings to flow within them. With such a sensitive watery nature, lunar souls are here to feel their feelings and then through that bless everything and everyone around them with the purity of their hearts – which could be expressed through their creative talents or just mere presence.
They should be very mindful, discerning and careful of who they surround themselves with because they absorb the energies of others – and so they need authentic connections with people who are supportive and kind. They also need to learn to allow themselves to be happy and nurtured by others, and learn to set boundaries, so that they don’t feel drained or taken advantage of because of their gentle nature.
The Moon is changeable and sensitive, and these natives are too, but this is their charm. They need to accept all of their waving emotions and not be too hard on themselves no matter what they are feeling. Life expands and withdraws like breath in our lungs, like the ebb and flow of waves – and through all of our emotions is just life, and God, experiencing itself in a way it could not have otherwise. Their ability to master the emotional worlds of the deep seas will lead them to excel in careers related to healing, counselling, emotional intelligence and the creative arts.
They love music and humming/singing will be very soothing for them especially when they feel low. Crystals, glitter, jewels and anything that sparkles are also things that attract them and are good for them and their well-being. Lunar souls are very creative and talented, and make amazing dancers, artists, writers, and poets. If they are a writer, their words are usually extremely beautiful and heart moving, and always carry threads of their natural healing and soul soothing abilities. Particularly if the Moon is conjunct Mercury, these souls are born natural healers, and many become doctors, spiritual guides or famous authors and poets.
Everything these lunar souls do is heart-centered, emotionally moving and full of love. They have the ability to touch the hearts of everyone in their life through their presence and sweet magical speech. As they evolve to become the embodiment of the divine feminine energy, they shine their light of love on our world, leading the way towards humanity’s healing.
MERCURY ATMAKARAKA: WHAT IS COMMUNICATION?
“The most excellently formed, of metaphorical speech, and taking pleasure in laughter is Mercury, having Pitta, having Kapha, O’ wise, and of Vata nature” – Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra: Nature and Form of the Grahas
Mercurial souls are all about communication – writing, speaking, texting, social media and anything online – and come with various talents of the left-brain. They are analytical, witty, good-humored, versatile and driven by curiosity. They have active minds and need to learn new things as they love information. Their main desire is intellectual superiority and they love details. What they need to learn the power of the mind, so that they don’t get overwhelmed while also keeping themselves intellectually curious rather than gossip-y. They need to learn to purify their thoughts through meditation and gaining pure knowledge.
These natives should stay away from gossiping, and learn to control, and refine, their speech. They need to remain honest at all times, as well as to avoid mind games and dominating conversations. As they learn to listen to others, they have the opportunity to learn the art of real communication rather than shallow fill-in-the-space words. To feel good, they need to engage in daily conversations which are intellectually stimulating and fun. They do, however, need to watch their restlessness and make sure they find time to relax, so that they don’t feel stressed because of their constantly active minds.
Another thing that these souls need to remember is that it is okay to change jobs and interests, and even friendships, and not to feel guilty about that. They are meant to experience themselves in a more of a childlike manner in this life, which is explorative rather than routine. Freelancing and entrepreneurial positions may suit them better because it would give them the freedom of flexibility; or as an alternative, they may like jobs which require a lot of detail-oriented work to keep them stimulated. During the times when they feel bored, they should remember that the remedy to boredom is gratitude – and renew the “old” they already have.
While these natives are all about gathering information, they need to understand that we are always constrained to the limits of the human mind and our conditioned beliefs, so it is impossible to know everything. Surrendering and having the humility to realize that, is important. Life itself and the unseen/unwritten/unnamable are usually the biggest learnings of all.
Lastly, Mercury behaves as an “apprentice” and is a gender-neutral planet, so while they are great at impersonations due to their changeable nature, they should establish their own unique individuality and be honest about who they are.
VENUS ATMAKARAKA: WHAT IS PLEASURE?
“Pleasing, lovely formed, the most splendid and beautifully eyed is Venus, who is poetical, abounding in Kapha, of Vata nature and curly haired” - Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra: Nature and Form of the Grahas
It is soothing for them to be surrounded by beauty, arts and comforts. So if they feel stressed they should go to a gallery, listen to music, take a bath/shower, light sweetly scented candles, garden, paint/draw or do anything they love that’s creative and beautiful to them. They are masters at knowing how to relax and take time for themselves – and through this they also teach other on self-care. They also know how to have a truly indulgent time and engage all their senses – but they need to learn not to overindulge in pleasures.
While we should never deny ourselves any pleasures, we must learn not to indulge to the point of becoming slaves to our lower appetites. They should also be careful not to get addicted to certain behaviours, so that they keep their energy flowing purely and healthily. Getting plenty of sleep is good for them as it is a creative aphrodisiac and soothes them.
Venusian souls often face many situations where they would have to re-evaluate their values and morals in relationships or towards the finer things in life. Their soul desires relationships, sensual pleasures, luxury and wealth, and as such, their spiritual lesson becomes to accept relationships as they are and to control their lust/sensuality. They need to learn that true intimacy is not sex – it is about vulnerability and emotional depth. Long-term relationships take a lot of effort and work, and things always transform as we are stirred by the wildish soul of another in love and intimacy. But it isn’t always about passion – and relationships go through their own phases. What these need to learn is that each phase of a relationship is beautiful – and to see the true beauty of things, situations and people – which is often hidden from the eyes.
Rather than changing partners as quickly, they can use their creativity and the imagination of their romanticism to transmute and re-energize any stagnations in a connection. They should stay away from idealizing – nothing in life is a perfect painting. As Shakespeare said, “Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds.”
It is also helpful for them to learn the power of harnessing sexual energy, so that they channel it creatively. This would help them tune into and connect to the abundant flow of energy. Taking care of their relationships and understanding their own relationship to their desires will be a major theme for them in this life, and they should try to stay away from casual sex and cheating.
These natives should also learn to make decisions based on what truly fulfills their heart rather than what satisfies their temporary desires. While they are here to experience the finer things in life and experience themselves through their senses, they should also remember that the truest treasures are those found not on the surface but in the emotional depths of our soul.
MARS ATMAKARAKA: WHAT IS PASSION?
“Cruel with red eyes is Mars, moving to and fro, of torn form, Pitta nature, angry, with a lean medium-sized body, O’Twice Born” – Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra: Nature and Form of the Grahas
Natives with Mars as their soul planet need to learn these lessons. Fire, just like all else in nature, has dual-energy. It can bring life or destruction depending on how we use it. Do we want to cook or burn the house? Learning how to control and transmute fire energy is crucial for these natives.
A good Mars is actually essential for our health and well-being, but it can also bring physical problems if misused or suppressed. Faith and trust are big lessons for these natives as they learn to tame that powerful energy. How much faith and trust do we have in life to surrender and not always push or try to control situations, peoples and outcomes?
Mars loves to win and is very ambitious. These souls are courageous, fearless, passionate, confident, and have independent minds despite other’s opinions. But they need to learn to control their temper, aggression, and anger. There are no bad emotions – all of our emotions are needed and purposeful, as all carry important messages for us and what our body needs. However, we need to learn the healthy ways of expressing/channeling them.
Anger too is not necessarily a “bad” emotion. It can be extremely motivating and it is usually our body’s way of telling us that something has been suppressed for too long, or that our boundaries have been crossed – so now it needs our attention and awareness to be addressed, healed and released. As any other emotion, we need to understand what it is telling us on an inner level, rather than lashing out at someone.
These natives also have the tendency to be controlling, and they need to learn that controlling behaviours are a part of distrust in themselves and in life. They can sometimes become very assertive and need to learn to be gentler in their approach and speech, because others might see them as harsh, arrogant or domineering. They also need to learn to accept defeat, learn patience and to let go of control. Passion is a gift, is a virtue, is a trust and it embodies perseverance in itself. With patience, the fire energy of Mars can become empowering, protective, inspiring and motivating.
JUPITER ATMAKARAKA: WHAT IS WISDOM?
“Large-bodied is Jupiter, and also tawny haired and eyed, of Kapha nature, intelligent and proficient in all Shastras” - Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra: Nature and Form of the Grahas
What they need to be mindful of is not to become too preachy and judgmental. There is certainly an air of “know it all” around them, and it’s because they certainly know a lot, but the humility to realize that as human beings we’ll never truly know it all deserves to be treasured and accepted. This is where wisdom comes in: Understanding that some things should be experienced be others rather than us telling them what it is.
The statement “My truth is not your truth, is not The Truth” is something they’ll need to learn as theirs is not the absolute truth, and that everything in life is a perspective. Once maturing into that wisdom, they can become great teachers, spiritual guides and mentors. A good teacher is someone who allows their students the freedom to understand and realize their own lessons and walk their own paths. A good teacher guides, supports and inspires. A good teacher is someone who is also a student – as they are devoted to continuing to learn and expand their own dimensions of perception.
As Jupiter is a planet of purpose and inspiration, these natives feel they need to find their purpose, perhaps from a young age. Something to remember is that our purpose may not always be as largely framed as we think, nor is it a destination – it is a path we walk throughout our life. Not everything in life has to fulfill some grand scaled purpose on a world stage, nor should it be analyzed philosophically. As important as it is to see things from a higher perspective, and to see the forest for the trees, we should also understand that some things in life cannot easily be seen as such yet – and time and patience are needed. Surely, all has a higher purpose, but when we are sad it sucks and it’s hard – and we should be careful not to dismiss sadness and pain, and distract ourselves from the healing we need.
Jupiter souls desire expansion, which includes personal development and awareness. They have to learn to tolerate other people’s ideas, opinions, perspectives and thoughts. And when their ideas get challenged, this is an opportunity to allow themselves to expand their own inner world. They should be careful not to become know-it-alls but to rather learn to listen to others and speak with them, not at them, learning humility and their own limitations of knowledge.
Being supportive of others will bring them inner fulfillment. As Jupiter also rules the father, male figures and also children in our lives, these natives need to learn to respect and develop good relationships with their father, professors, husbands (spouse) and take care of their children. Part of the greater Truth is that our minds can only expand when we truly open up to others and learn about their unique perspectives.
SATURN ATMAKARAKA: WHAT IS RESPONSIBILITY?
“Thin and long-bodied is Saturn, and yellow-eyed, Vata natured, large toothbed, indolent, lame and having coarse hair, O’ Twice Born” – Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra: Nature and Form of the Grahas
Achieving anything in life is hard but Saturn essentially teaches us the perseverance and strength to ultimately achieve our goals, as well as relate to other people. By being connected to sadness and sorrow throughout their life, these natives develop a deep understanding of suffering and then have the tremendous opportunity to guide others through their own hardships. Responsibility may not be an exciting word, but it is a rare quality, nowadays on the extinction list of humanity, and it is, unfortunately, for most people only learnt through obstacles and hardships.
For example, to learn to be responsibility with someone’s heart in love when we hold it, when they’ve given it to us, we may need to have ours broken in someone else’s hands. To learn to be more delicate, considerate and empathic, we might have to face some harshness or coldness from another. Such experiences through life can either harden us, or we may choose to rise above them and soften in tenderness, and then become wiser, completing our initiation of maturity.
From a young age, these natives usually face a lot of hardships. Life may give them situations in which they experience sorrow and grief, as well as witnessing the pains and sufferings of others. There might be long periods of aloneness, loneliness and isolation. Or they may just feel lonely and isolated even when surrounded by others. They would have to learn surrender, sacrifice, perseverance and how to deal with sadness, tapping into their inner strength.
Witnessing sorrows and sadness actually helps them to heal themselves as it brings into awareness their own grief which usually resides deep within. This opens them up to have more compassion and kindness toward themselves and then, towards others.
Saturnian souls grow to have true endurance, responsibility and the ability to carry burdens, which is admirable and honourable, but they should be mindful of these traits because they can sometimes stay in unhealthy situations for too long out of misunderstood responsibility. These natives also need to learn not to be so critical of themselves (and of others) and not to be so hard on themselves (and on others). How we treat ourselves is how we treat others, so if they find themselves being harsh on others – they should become aware that they are actually harsh on themselves, so they break the cycle within them.
Their ultimate purpose is not to inflict on others the pain they’ve felt and feel, but to try to alleviate it. Saturn also has a way of showing us our weaknesses – and so these natives have to learn to be more flexible in their views and let go of rigid outdated beliefs and expectations.
Personal healing work, as well as helping others will be of benefit to them. Charity work is also helpful as they learn to be of service to others and have more humility. Another thing to remember is that Saturn is a slow-moving planet and represents old age, so these natives ripen later in life. What would be of benefit is doing routine work – and to do their work slowly, steadily, mindfully and intentionally. Their desire is to be dutiful and like a good wine, it takes time and effort, but there is always a taste of sweetness at the end.
To read more of my articles, browse through my publication Art of Love.
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