A Planetary Guide to Shelter-in-Place: What to Do, Eat, and Wear According to Vedic Astrology

May 18, 2020

What day is it? Monday, or maybe Tuesday? No, it’s definitely Monday ... I think. If self-isolation has you a little disoriented, Jyotish—also known as Vedic astrology—can help you get realigned according to the guidance of each day’s ruling planet. 

Jyotish recognizes nine planets, or grahas, that play significant roles in our life. (“Graha” translates as something that grasps, or seizes us.) Here we’ll be focusing on seven of those: the sun, the moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, and Saturn. The remaining two, Rahu and Ketu—sometimes called the shadow planets in Vedic astrology—are not designated a specific day (a good thing, because they are very mischievous!). 

Even if you don’t believe in astrology, science and experience validate the effect of the moon’s phases on the tidal pools, our emotions, our sleep, and women’s menstrual cycles. Similarly, when the sun hides itself for weeks on end, it changes our perception. Bleak, cloudy days call for oodles of coffee to get that extra pep back in your step. However, the second the sun shines its light on us, we emerge from our houses and soak up every moment with pure revelry.

The planets are also said to rule the different days of the week:

  • Sunday is ruled by the sun (no surprise there)
  • Monday, the moon
  • Tuesday is ruled by the fiery planet Mars
  • Wednesday is lorded over by Mercury
  • Thursday by sweet and beneficent Jupiter
  • Friday is reserved for lovers and Venus
  • Saturday is Saturn Day.

So what does this all mean? The planets like us to pander to their preferences: If you honor their existence on their respective day, benevolent planets just might bestow their blessings upon you, and malefic planets will ease up on their wrath. 

Not only does following the planets make it easier to figure out what to wear, eat, and do each day, it can help us keep track of what day of the week it is. When someone asks me if it’s Tuesday, I simply look down at my bright red outfit and reply, “Indeed.” 

Sunday: The Sun

What to do: The sun is our soul. You may find that you feel a greater sense of reverence on Sundays. It could be helpful to connect on this day with something that you consider higher than yourself, whether that’s nature, God, animals, etc. The sun is also seen as the father; for some reason, this inclines me to do things I think of as “man jobs” on Sunday—tasks that would make my father proud, like caulking the kitchen sink, washing my car, and tightening the screws on my cabinets. 

What to wear: Dark red and orange represent the sun. Favor clothes that are thicker (I assume this includes comfy sweatpants). 

What to eat: The sun is connected with the bitter flavor—wheat, almonds, saffron, peppercorns, nutmeg, lavender, and chamomile; and, if you choose to imbibe, IPAs, fine wines, and rare liquors. Perhaps breakfast on an almond croissant accompanied by a cup of lavender chamomile tea, and sip a cold one around the grill come Sunday afternoon. 

Monday: The Moon

What to do: The moon is seen as the mother, and she governs our senses and emotions. You may find yourself more sensitive all around on Mondays. (Cue the Bangles’ “Manic Monday.”) Practice self-care on Mondays—a self-massage with oil, Moon Salutations, journaling, getting in the water, allowing yourself to feel all the feels. 

What to wear: Mondays are the day to get out your white clothes—maybe the newer ones in your wardrobe. 

What to eat: Flavorwise, the moon is connected with the salty taste. (Is this because it causes us to retain water? That’s my best guess.) The moon loves rice, melons, coconut, cucumber, milk and dairy products, corn, water, beer, juicy fruits, and stewed fruit. Try hot cereal with shredded coconut, coconut curry, lentil soup with coconut milk … the world is your culinary oyster when using coconut. 

Tuesday: Mars 

What to do: Tuesday, my favorite day of the week, is connected with power, strength, and a little bit of war. Mars is a fiesty planet, seen as malefic, but it can give us a boost when we’re feeling stuck or stagnant. Tuesday might not be the best day of the week to go on a date, or get hitched, unless you like to debate, but it’s a great day to do one thing you are scared of. I’m not talking about sky-diving, but maybe writing a story or posting a video on Instagram of your latest dance moves. Let Mars give you the gumption and bravado you need to hit “publish.” 

What to wear: Bright red is the color du jour for Tuesdays. Makes sense, right? Fire and glory. 

What to eat: Favor pungent flavors to honor Mars. This is the day I like to make Buffalo Cauliflower Wings; Frank’s RedHot sauce never fails to knock my socks off. Mars also gets a kick out of spicy peppers, mustard, garlic, heavy proteins and meats—basically anything that makes your taste buds sing. Mars also loves stimulants such as coffee and black tea. Let’s call it Cold Brew Tuesday.

Wednesday: Mercury

What to do: Mercury is seen as a youthful prince; neither fully benevolent nor fully malefic, he can go either way depending on the company he keeps. Mercury is all about the rational mind and speech, so Wednesdays are a good day for teachers and writers. I purposely schedule myself to teach or do Ayurvedic consultations on Wednesdays because I know Mercury has got my back and my teachings will be effectively communicated.  

What to wear: Wear green on Wednesday—just make sure your clothes are neat and immaculately clean. 

What to eat: Being the most vata of all the planets, Mercury likes all the flavors. Mercurial foods include mung beans, root vegetables, root beer, carrots, parsnips, and fruits that are the result of grafting, like the tangelo and the pluot. My theory on this is that grafting takes a lot of ingenuity, which is brought to you by Mercury. Root beer float day! 

Thursday: Jupiter

What to do: Jupiter is the most beneficent of the planets; he oversees higher knowledge, wisdom, and fortune. This is an auspicious day for most endeavours, especially pursuing esoteric knowledge, like studying Jyotish. 

What to wear: Jupiter is represented by the color yellow. Choose casual, everyday clothes and save your glamorous duds for Friday. Robert E. Svoboda, an expert in Ayurvedic medicine and Jyotish, advises wearing yellow when asking for a favor, as Jupiter has no enemies. (On the flip side, do not wear red when asking for help, as it may catalyze excitement and confrontation.)

What to eat: Got a sweet tooth? So does Jupiter. Today is the day for sweet and heavy foods. Jupiter delights in butter, ghee, cream, pumpkin, squash, berries, honey, dates, olive oil, spearmint, peppermint, and sweet wines. Why not eat a date or two on Thursday? They support iron levels, build ojas (vitality and immunity), and are delicious.

Friday: Venus

What to do: I’m sure it comes as no surprise that Venus, the goddess of love, is the planet related to desires and yearnings. That’s why Fridays are perfect for date night. Can’t go out? No problem: Creativity reigns on Fridays, so comb your favorite food blogs and get cooking; then find a Spotify playlist to conjure up the ambiance of your favorite Mexican, Italian, or Greek restaurant. Fridays are also ideal for breaking out the colored pencils, beads, and watercolors, and letting your inner child play. (Check out our Kripalu Activity Book.)


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What to wear: Like the moon, Venus is connected with white. Variegated colors printed on fine cotton and silk will also do the trick. Venus loves to be well decorated, so feel free to dress to the nines. It’s date night, after all!

What to eat: Venus loves sour flavors, as well as exotic fruits and vegetables, berries, pomegranates, white sugar, candy and confections, flour, and flowering trees. Basically, this is the weekly “have your cake and eat it, too” day. Get fancy and top your cake with edible flowers to get extra credit from beloved Venus. 

Saturday: Saturn

What to do: Last and 100 percent not least is our pal Saturn. Stigmatized Saturn, son of the sun, has been banished to the outskirts of the galaxy, where he slowly makes his orbit, cold and with downcast eyes. Saturn rules sorrow and misfortune. He’s all about rules, service, and loss. I reserve Saturdays for austerity and spiritual practice. Saturn deeply appreciates the chanting of the Hanuman Chalisa. Feeding crows (Saturn’s bird) black sesame seeds is a way to show Saturn some love. 

What to wear: Being a stern and glum planet, Saturn prefers darker hues such as black, blue, indigo, and violet. Being a representative of the mendicant, Saturday also favors old, ragged, or tattered clothes. Blue jeans (once reserved for coal miners and laborers) are the epitome of the Saturn wardrobe. 

What to eat: Saturn is all about astringent flavors, probably because they zap moisture from the mouth (Saturn is a drying planet). Foods to hit up on Saturdays include sesame seeds, beans, peas, alfalfa, peanuts, soy, rye, coarse foods, junk food, bitter herbs and roots, salt, and fermented foods such as pickles, vinegars, and dry wines. Personally, I try to abstain from drinking on Saturdays as to not perturb Saturn, but I’ll never turn down a glass of kombucha, which is a fermented product. 

Whether or not you believe in the power the planets possess, you may find this framework a helpful way to navigate your schedule, wardrobe, and cupboard. At the very least, you’ll know what day of the week it is! 

Lauren Gernady is an Ayurvedic Health Counselor, a 500-hour Ayurvedic Yoga Teacher, a graduate of the Kripalu School of Ayurvedic (KSA), and a former intern and Academic Coordinator of KSA.

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