Most traditional birth charts drawn up in India have drawings of Sri Ganesha at the top of the documents, honoring him and seeking his guidance and blessings. Ganesha rules over knowledge, mathematics and karma, so his place there is quite appropriate, as Jyotish involves all of these. Yet Ganesha has specific astrological correlations.
SRI GANESHA AS THE LORD OF KNOWLEDGE AND THE GREAT GURU
Ganesha is one of the main Hindu deities, first son of Shiva and Parvati, with one of the five traditional Hindu deity lines belonging to him. He is invoked and worshipped first in all Hindu rituals. Murtis of Ganesha can be found in Hindu homes and temples, particularly towards the entrances but with special sanctuaries as well.
As Ganesha or Ganapati, he is the lord (isha, pati) of the ganas, meaning group, number, word or collection. He rules over of speech, writing, transcribing and compiling. He rules over all systems of knowledge involving numbers, counting and calculation, even computers (note his vehicle is a mouse).
All forms of technical and scientific knowledge come under him, though his influence extends to art, music, dance, poetry and literature, domains more commonly under Devi Sarasvati. Vedic classes usually begin with chants to Ganesha. He governs secret and esoteric knowledge as well.
As Shiva’s son, Ganesha is his manifest form. Shiva is Pashupati, the lord of the animals or bound embodied souls. Ganesha is Ganapati as the elephant is the foremost or chief of the animals or bound souls, their inner guie. Shiva is the Divine word OM in its transcendent dimension. Ganesh is OM as the ground of universal creation and cosmic law.
Ganesha is well known as the remover of obstacles, and his help is invoked from starting new endeavors to facing imminent dangers, all aspects of Muhurta or mundane astrology. He gives us the wisdom to deal with obstacles, including countering planetary and astrological afflictions.
Ganesha rules over karma in general. He shows us how to create good karma and good fortune, and to transcend karma. His form is often used for good luck. He rules over time and its divisions as in various time cycles. He is associated with the Cosmic Mind, Mahat Tattva, which is the basis of all universal laws or dharmas. He is the ruling Cosmic Intelligence and its special mantric and numerical vibratory patterns.
Relative to the practice of Yoga, Ganesha rules over all the tattvas or principles of nature including the gunas, elements, tanmantras, sense and motor organs, as well as functions of the mind. He is connected to all the eight limbs of traditional Yoga.He has numerous forms and expressions guiding us in all affairs in life.
SRI GANESH AND KETU
Among the planets, Ganesha is most associated with Ketu, the south node of the Moon, the headless tail of the serpent. In terms of symbolism, Ganesha had his head cut off and replaced by that of an elephant, reflecting headless Ketu. This relates him to the beyond the mind state which carries the highest wisdom. In Vedic thought the trunk of the elephant is regarded as a higher serpent type energy, which Ganesha controls. He carries the Kundalini serpent energy to the top of the head.
The esoteric side of Ganesha comes through Ketu, holding the knowledge beyond the mind, ego, time and circumstance. Specifically, Ganesha relates to Ketu as Moksha-karaka, the giver of liberation, who grants wisdom, spiritual insight, occult powers, and proficiency in Vedic astrology – another reason why his guidance is always sought in both calculation and reading charts. Ketu is the inner guru.
SRI GANESHA AND JUPITER
I must highlight the planetary connection of Ganesha with Jupiter, which is seldom given its proper place. Ganesha is not usually listed among Jupiterian deities, yet what he offers and dispenses is very Jupiterian. Ganesha is well known to give wealth, health, accomplishment and knowledge, much like Jupiter. This is noted during the yearly Diwali festival, where Ganesha grants shubha and labha, good fortune and gains. In addition, Ganesha’s two wives are Buddhi/knowledge and Siddhi/accomplishment, sometimes equated with the Goddesses Sarasvati and Lakshmi.
There is an ancient Vedic connection between Ganesha and Jupiter we should note. Ganesha as Ganapati, first occurs in the hymns of the Rigveda II.22.2, of Gritsamada Rishi, among his hymns to Brihaspati, also called Brahmanaspati. Gritsamada’s mantra to Brahmanaspati: Gananam Tva Ganapatim havamahe, invoking Ganapati, remains the main Vedic mantra use to invoke Ganesh and to start traditional Vedic chanting and rituals.
This mean an equation of Ganapati with Brihaspati, the deity for the planet Jupiter is evident in the oldest Vedic text. In addition, Vedic Ganapati like Jupiter is connected to the lightning forces of the atmosphere (antariksha), and chastises those who are adharmic. While Jupiter is called Guru and is the guru or guide of the planets, Ganapati is honored as the first guru in Vedic practices. While there are no specific signs of the zodiac connected to Ganesha, the signs of Jupiter, notably Sagittarius, hold a similar energy.
GANESHA AND THE SUN AND MOON
The lord of the planetary group or graha ganas is the Sun. Ganesha is said to have the light of million Suns. While not specifically a solar deity in Vedic astrology, his ability to rule over all the planets is important. He can be invoked for the blessings of any of the planets and to reduce any negative karmas. Relative to the Moon, Ganesha is close to the Goddess that rules over the Moon, who he protects. He dwells in the root chakra or Muladhara from which he can control and direct the Kundalini serpent energy, the Yoga Shakti of the Goddess.
BRIHASPATI AND SHUKRA: JUPITER AND VENUS
Brihaspati and Shukra, the deities of Jupiter and Venus, are inimical to each other as the Guru of the Devas (Jupiter) and the Guru of the Asuras (Venus). In this regard, Jupiter is the brightest of the night stars, while Venus is the brightest star near sunrise and sunset. Both are called Kavi or seer-poet of which Ganapati is said to be the foremost.
SRI GANESHA AND THE NAKSHATRAS
While Ganesha is not given rulership over any specific Nakshatra in the older Vedic scheme, we can equate Ganesha’s energy with several Nakshatras. I am not saying we should limit these Nakshatras to Ganesha but that his influence and qualities can be discerned in them.
Pushya in Cancer (03 20-16 40) ruled by Brihaspati, which marks the place of exaltation for the planet Jupiter at 5 degrees Cancer. Pushya rules over rituals and sacred knowledge on all levels, and is one of the most favorable of the Nakshatras. As Ganapati and Brihaspati are equated, he can be given rulership over Brihaspati’s Nakshatra.
Vishakha in Libra and Scorpio (20 00 Libra-03 20 Scorpion), ruled by Indragni, the lightning force connected to Brihaspati/Brahmanaspati. Vishakha is the name of the brother of Skanda, related to Krittika/Pleiades in Taurus opposite Vishakha in the zodiac. Ganesha and Skanda as the two sons of Shiva are brothers, with Ganesha as the eldest. Vishakha is known for giving wisdom and insight, like lightning.
Hasta in Virgo (10 00-23 20) is associated with Savitar, the wisdom form of the solar Godhead. The day of Ganesh Chaturthi, his manifestation or birthday (Jayanti), usually occurs with the Moon in Hasta, as the fourth tithi (phase) of the bright half of the month Bhadrapada. Ganesha is called Hasti, a name for the elephant with its trunk. The wisdom power, skill and artistry of Hasta Nakshatra goes well with Ganesha.
Bharani in Aries (13 20- 26 40), ruled by Yama, has a connection with Ganesha. Yama in the Vedas is not simply a deity of death but a form of Brihaspati who charts the way beyond death to immortality. Ganesha, losing his human head and gaining a Divine head, indicates this journey.
Jyeshta in Scorpio (16:40-30:00), ruled over by Indra has several Ganesh associations. Vedic Indra and Ganesha are closely connected as Kavyakantha Ganapati Muni, chief disciple of Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi, has indicated. Both rule over the groups of energies (Maruts). Both rule over speech and the mantra OM. Both are connected to the lightning energy and its ability to chastise the powers of ignorance. Both overcome obstacles. Both are deities of the atmospheric realm. Specifically, Ganesha like Indra is called Jyestha, which means the eldest, best or supreme. Ganapati is Jyeshta Rajam Brahmanam in the Vedas, the supreme King of the sages who have spiritual knowledge. Jyeshta is a Nakshatra associated with difficulty. It is regarded as the last of the Nakshatras, with Mula that comes after it as the first. Indra rules Jyeshta for his ability to overcome difficulties and remove negative serpentine energies (vritras). Ganesha has the same role. Jyestha is also associated with Shiva who shares many qualities in common with Vedic Indra, as the supreme deity and the power of OM.
Chitra (23 20 Virgo-06 40 Libra), ruled over by Tvashtar, the form fashioner, architect or artisan of the Devas. Ganesha has his role not only in knowledge but in technological and artistic creations. Tvasthar is a favorite of the Goddesses, much like Ganesh is. This connection though less definite is worthy of examination.
TITHIS OR LUNAR DAYS/PHASES
Ganesha is honored the fourth tithi or lunar day, most commonly during the waxing Moon of the month of Bhadrapada (usually September). The fourth tithi is one of the most difficult tithis. Ganesha helps us overcome its difficulties.
Along with his indications as one of the main Devatas, giver of wisdom and remover of obstacles, Ganesha has many connections with light, time and Vedic astrology. He can guide through the complications of Vedic astrology, time and karma to the highest inner knowledge. All Vedic astrologers should seek his guidance. All Vedic chart readings should begin with mantras to Ganesha like: OM Ganeshaya Namah! Vedic astrologers should look to Ganesha not just in regard to Ketu, but more so in regard to Jupiter.
We must remember the Vedas recognize seven levels of speech, which Ganesha embodies, of which our outer physical based speech is the most superficial. Ganesha, like Agni, has actions on many levels as the organizing power of Cosmic Intelligence, guiding each individual according to their karma. That is why his influence occurs on so many different levels with different forms and aspects.
Jai Sri Ganesha!