Atmakaraka Planet: What Is Your Soul Purpose?
There is a universe within you – a kingdom of many thousand constellations – so make your own destiny
According to ancient texts of Jaimini Sutra (Vedic Astrology) our atmakaraka planet (also known as our soul planet) provides great insight into the area of life where our soul longs to advance. Atma means soul and karaka means indicator/to create. Our atmakaraka shows our soul’s desire and purpose.
How do you find your atmakaraka?
It’s the planet that holds the highest degree in your natal chart (regardless of the sign and house). Since it is sensitive to degrees, you do need to know your birth time because the Moon changes degrees every few hours.
Once you open up your chart, I want you to look at the following seven planets: Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. Your atmakaraka is the one holding the highest degree. For example, let’s say your Moon is 12 degrees Cancer and your Venus is 2 degrees Pisces. Out of the two, the Moon holds the higher degree and so it is your atmakaraka. You can also analyze its house placement, rulership, aspects and sign.
As an introduction to help you interpret your soul planet, here are each of the planets listed below – describing the soul’s desires, lessons, and purpose.
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
Solar souls are born with the desire to lead and inspire others. They love to shine and are magnetic, intelligent and active. These natives are very motivated to be the best that they can be. They love to be in positions of authority. Many of them can be found in politics, business and performing on stage where they can stand out.
The Sun is hot and illuminates, but such natives need to be careful not to burn everything around them (including themselves). They seek success, power, fame, and status and hold great value for higher positions. During this life, they will be faced with lessons surrounding power and authority – that power is not everything and that they need to learn to self-control. 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, they 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 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. Only then would they 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.
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
Lunar souls are the most nurturing, compassionate, intuitive and caring of all. The Moon is the natural mother and represents the divine feminine so having this as a soul planet shows someone who is extremely connected to the unconscious world and the emotional body. 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 toward 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 – to unite with the oneness from which we all came from. It is their purpose 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. They should also be 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 so 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 breaths, like the ebb and flow of waves – and through all of our emotions is just life experiencing itself in a way it could not have otherwise. Their ability to master this will lead them to become masters of emotional intelligence.
They love music and humming/singing will be very soothing for them especially when they feel low. Crystals, glitter, and jewels are also things that attract them and are good for them. Lunar souls are very creative and talented; and make amazing dancers, artists, writers, and poets. Particularly if the Moon is conjunct Mercury, they make natural healers, doctors and many of them become famous authors.
Everything they do is heart-centered, emotionally moving and they have the ability to touch the hearts of everyone in their life through their presence and sweet 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 toward 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 computers) and come with various talents of the left-brain. They are analytical, 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. They need to learn the power of the mind so that they don’t get overwhelmed. They need to learn to purify their thoughts through meditation and gaining pure knowledge.
They should stay away from gossiping and learn to control 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. 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.
Another thing 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 which is explorative rather than routine or consistent. Freelancing and entrepreneurial positions may suit them better because it would give them the freedom of flexibility; or as an alternative, 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.
While these natives are all about gathering information – they need to understanding that we are always constrained to the limits of the human mind, 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 learning of all.
Lastly, Mercury behaves as an “apprentice” and is a gender-neutral planet, so while they are great at impersonations – 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
Venus is the planet of pleasure, sensuality, arts, luxury, creativity, comforts, relationships, love, beauty and romance. Venusian souls are here to learn the process of creativity and to express themselves creativity in any/all areas of life – even if just by decorating the house, cooking new dishes, re-organizing and making new styles from old garments. 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, garden, paint/draw or do anything creative. They are masters at knowing how to relax and take time for themselves – and through this they also teach us self-care. They also know how to have a truly indulgent time – 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 behaviors so that they keep their energy flowing 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 to the finer things in life. Their soul desires relationships, sensual pleasures, luxury and wealth. 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. And yet, each phase of a relationship is beautiful.
Rather than changing partners as quickly, they can use their creativity and 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 and they should 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, 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
Mars is a warrior planet – he is the drive, the passion and the fire. Mars doesn’t need to be validated or accepted by others – he is secure, direct and confident. Red-eyed as he is, he can either be the most passionate lover and protector of those he loves or he can become the hot-tempered angry energy that would eventually alienate everyone around him.
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. 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 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 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 them are needed and purposeful. However, there are healthy ways of expressing/channeling them.
Anger is not 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; so now it needs our attention and awareness to be healed and released. So as any other emotion, we need to understand what it is telling us on an inner level, rather than lashing out at someone.
They also need to learn that controlling behaviors 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 and domineering. They also need to learn to accept defeat, learn patience and to let go of control. Passion is a gift and when used wisely, this energy can be empowering, protective and motivating.
Jupiter Atmakaraka: What is knowledge?
“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
Jupiter is all about expansion of knowledge particularly in the areas of philosophy, spirituality, teaching, religion and anything of higher purpose. These natives love to teach and share their knowledge and they will often find themselves in these fields as a profession as well.
They need to be careful not to become preachy and judgmental. 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. They can become great teachers and mentors but only if they understand what a good teacher is. A good teacher is someone who allows their students the freedom to understand and realize their own lessons. A good teacher guides supports, and inspires. A good teacher is someone who is also a student – 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. Something to remember is that our purpose may not always be as large framed as we think – not everything in life has to fulfill some grand purpose and be analyzed philosophically.
Their soul desires 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 rather to 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 children in our lives, they need to learn to respect and develop good relationships with their father, professors, husbands (spouse) and take care of their children. Our minds can only expand when we truly open up to others and learn about their unique perspectives.
Saturn Atmakaraka: What is hardship?
“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
Saturn has been given a bad rap for awhile now. Known as the lord of karma, suffering, hardship and his cold emotionally detached nature, many people fear his position in their charts. But I want to offer this perspective to those who have this planet as their atmakaraka. You have the opportunity to learn incredible discipline, improvement and refinement of your soul.
Achieving anything in life is hard but Saturn teaches us the perseverance and strength to ultimately achieve our goals. 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.
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 sorrows and sufferings of others. There might be long periods of being alone and loneliness. They would have to learn 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. This opens them up to have more compassion and kindness toward others.
They have endurance, the ability to carry burdens and feel a sense of duty which is honorable but they should be mindful of these traits because they can sometimes stay in unhealthy situations for too long out of “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 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 that they break the cycle.
Their ultimate purpose is not to inflict on others the pain they’ve felt 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/expectations.
Personal healing work as well as helping others will be of benefit to them. 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 and steadily. 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.
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