A Sea Change: Rahu and Ketu Transit to Virgo and Pisces

We begin an astrological “sea change” on Sunday, July 13, 2014, as the true lunar nodes Ketu and Rahu move into a different section of the sidereal zodiac. After having transited through sidereal Aries and Libra for the last year and a half, they are now moving into sidereal Pisces and Virgo for the next year and a half. This is significant as the lunar nodes reflect the main karmic axis (focus of action) for the individual and the collective.

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2014 Cosmic Wheel of Fortune: A Moving Yantra

Fortune, good night, smile once more; turn thy wheel! (Shakespeare, King Lear)

I created a ~three-minute video of the transiting solar system bodies for 2014, which I call the Cosmic Wheel of Fortune. You can see it on YouTube: 2014 Cosmic Wheel of Fortune

Known in ancient and medieval times as the rota fortunae, the wheel of fortune is a metaphor of the turning world. It is often depicted by several wheels within wheels signifying the various celestial spheres. One layer of the wheel is made of the rotating signs of the zodiac which are believed to reflect the fortune and fate of the world. A similar concept is found in the Buddhist bhavacakra, the symbolic wheel of cyclic existence known as samsara or the wheel of illusion. Bhavacakra is also the Vedic name for the sidereal zodiac.

From the geocentric perspective of the earth, the luminaries – Sun and Moon – along with the planets and lunar nodes, are continuously moving around the ecliptic, the apparent path of the Sun that follows the zodiacal wheel. In astrology, these celestial movements are known as transits. As you can see here, the transiting heavenly bodies continuously move and morph into a never-ending array of geometric shapes signifying their shifting relationships with one other.

The transiting bodies are almost always moving except for brief segments of time when the planets appear to station (stop) before their apparent change of direction, whether retrograde or direct. The transiting aspects can be dramatic and intense, sometimes harmonious, and at other times, quite inharmonious. As above, so below; as within, so without, and thus the heavens mirror our world.

I made this video with the Solar Fire Gold astrology software program, and Ezvid video recording software. My video reveals the daily changes of the heavenly bodies throughout the year 2014. I created this as a mini-moving yantra, a meditative device.

As an expression of the phantasmagorical play of consciousness in which we exist, the cosmic wheel of fortune never stops turning. The secret to living in alignment with our full divine power and highest purpose is to stay centered within the true Self which underlies the ephemeral flux…at the center.

We can train ourselves to be centered in this way by using meditative devices like this moving yantra. As the wheel rotates, focus your attention on the center. At the same time, with your peripheral vision, observe the constant motion of the changing celestial shapes around the center. I hope you enjoy it!

If you want to see the transits for a particular day you can just pause the play button. Please note that these are not following the tropical zodiac in use by most western astrologers. Instead, these transits follow the sidereal zodiac which is aligned with the starry sky. However, no matter what the zodiac backdrop we choose, the geometric relationships between the celestial bodies remain the same.

The 2014 Mutable Grand Cross and April Eclipses

Have you been hearing about the astrological grand cross that will occur in its strongest manifestation in the third week of April? This same configuration manifested in January 2014, when it was not exact but was within close range. It slowly starts again now in late March as Mars is within a 10-degree orb of aspect and the new Moon in Pisces joins Uranus on March 30.

The grand cross will continue getting stronger through April and then slowly start to dissipate through the first few weeks of May. You could say this pattern helps define certain dynamics that we are experiencing in the first half of the civil year and especially starting now. Western astrologers who use the tropical (seasonal) zodiac view the grand cross in cardinal signs, but sidereal astrologers who follow the starry sky (like me) are tracking it in mutable signs.

In mid-April and most intensely in the third week of April, retrograde Mars will move into position in sidereal Virgo to form the grand cross with Pluto in Sagittarius, Jupiter in Gemini and Uranus in Pisces. These are tension squares (90-degree aspects) and also t-squares between all four of these planets forming a grand square — Mars and Jupiter, Jupiter and Uranus, Uranus and Pluto and Pluto and Mars. In addition, Mars opposes Uranus and Jupiter opposes Pluto, thus completing the grand cross.

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Happy Lunar New Year 2014: Sri Jaya Samvatsara

In the Vedic tradition of astrology, there are many different calendars and systems of reckoning time (kaala chakra). One of the most common methods to determine the lunar new year is based on the astro-chart for the new Moon in Pisces, which occurs this year at 2:44:39 PM (14:44:39) on March 30, 2014, Washington, DC (for understanding the USA collective karmas we use the location of Washington).








Traditionally, around the start of the lunar new year, temple astrologers install the new calendar (panchanga) during a ceremony in which the year’s upcoming predictions are read aloud, and in their analysis they follow a set of specific guidelines for interpreting these charts. They do this for a particular country, usually India where this system originated, but also the forecast is sometimes given more generally for the world at large. The astrologers collaborate with each other and go into great detail in their predictions looking at the lord and minister of the year and so forth.

This new year is called jaya (nama) samvatsara — year of victory — and as all the samvatsaras do, it is repeating a 60-year cycle. A person born during a jaya year is said to be learned, prosperous and successful. Similar qualities will extend into the collective reality in a jaya year, too. The last time we had jaya samvatsara was in 1954-1955 (from April 3, 1954 until March 23, 1955). Rosa Parks was arrested that year for resisting bus segregation, an event which was a kindling point for the African-American Civil Rights Movement. Rosa Parks will forever be an icon representing victory over racial tyranny and injustice.

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Lions and Tigers and Blood Moons, Oh My!: The Lunar Eclipse Tetrad of 2014-2015

Here we go again with the apocalyptic forecasts. Have you heard about the ominous Blood Moon prophecy? “True believers” say it is an omen signifying the end times, the second coming of Christ and a significant event involving Israel that will soon transpire. I have received many messages and emails asking me if this idea has an astrological basis. The answer is complicated, but first, why has the idea of apocalypse remained so popular throughout history? What is the power in the apocalyptic message? In a Frontline PBS series article titled Apocalypticism Explained: The Resiliency of Apocalyptic Belief, the authors discuss why and how human needs are met by prophetic belief systems such as in this latest craze.

We know that our lives and the world need to change, and we want to believe a great power will swoop in and save us in one dramatic historical moment. As the article states, “…we’re in a bad time now, but things will be better, immensely better, almost immeasurably better in the future. REM had it great. People who believe in apocalyptic teachings say things like, It’s the end of the world as we know it, but I feel fine.”

REM So what is the Blood Moon prophecy all about? Well first it may help to clarify that there are two definitions of a Blood Moon.

blood moonThe first technically correct astrological definition of a Blood Moon is the full Moon that occurs in the autumn season a month after the Harvest Moon. The Harvest Moon is the full Moon that occurs nearest the fall equinox (northern hemisphere). The origins of some of these full Moon names are found in Native American folklore. We find these listed in the Farmer’s Almanac.


The Blood Moon in autumn is also known as the Sanguine Moon or the Hunter’s Moon. It probably appears redder than most full Moons because it rises soon after sunset and is seen low in the sky, shortly after rising, when the atmosphere can make it look reddish. This year’s Full Blood Moon will occur October 8, 2014, which also happens to be a lunar eclipse. Note that a lunar eclipse always occurs on the full Moon, 2-3 times a year, two weeks before or after a solar eclipse which always occurs on a new Moon.

The second definition of a Blood Moon has been misappropriated and sensationalized by Texas-based Christian evangelical minister John Hagee in his 2013 bestselling book called Four Blood Moons: Something is About to Change. He is attributing the term “Four Blood Moons” to the upcoming occurrence of four successive total lunar eclipses, which have no partial lunar eclipses in between them, which will be occurring in 2014 and 2015 (April 14-15, 2014; October 8, 2014; April 4, 2015; and Sept. 28, 2015).

Hagee’s book is reportedly a retelling of an idea that was originally conceived by a controversial pastor named Mark Biltz of El Shaddai Ministries in Tacoma, Washington. Biltz proposes that the Second Coming of the Messiah might take place in the fall of 2015. His Blood Moon theory has become an Internet sensation and has, quite surprisingly, even been taken up by a few Western astrologers. Biltz has also written a book titled Blood Moons: Decoding Imminent Heavenly Signs. 

The “blood” aspect refers to the fact that in a lunar eclipse, which is simply a super-charged full Moon, the Moon and even the sky often turn a coppery red color. This is because the light that illuminates the Moon has passed through the Earth’s atmosphere. On the Moon, it looks like the Sun is setting behind the Earth, and sunsets and sunrises are red for the same reason that causes the moon to appear red during a lunar eclipse.

LunarEclipse_15April2014_mThese four total lunar eclipses occurring in a row are known in astronomy as a lunar eclipse tetrad. The mechanism causing tetrads involves the eccentricity of Earth’s orbit in conjunction with the timing of eclipse seasons. The total lunar eclipse on April 15 marks the beginning of what one Science at NASA video describes as a “remarkable series of eclipses all visible from North America.”

Some proponents of the Blood Moon prophecy say that this lunar eclipse tetrad is a sign from God related to Biblical prophecy that has something to do with a significant “bloody” event that will take place in Israel which will impact the whole world. With the Iranian problem, you can see where this is going. Blitz and Hagee believe there are significant correlations between historical events in Jewish history which occurred during times of these tetrads in the past.

According to Earthsky.com, lunar tetrads are sometimes common and sometimes do not appear at all. For instance, in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, there were none at all. Beginning in the 1st century there were 62 tetrads in total, and the last one occurred in 2003-2004, and the next one after the 2014-2015 tetrad will take place in 2032-2033. Hagee’s argument is that the current tetrad of 2014-2015 is especially important because it occurs on important Jewish feast days. These feasts are based on the lunar calendar (meaning the holidays regularly fall on full and new Moons and eclipses) so in my opinion, this is pretty insignificant.

2014-2015-lunar-eclipse-tetradsNonetheless, tetrads falling on Jewish holy days do appear to be relatively uncommon. The last one was in 1967-1968 and since the 1st century, tetrads occurred on Jewish holy days a total of eight times (including 2014-2015). Critics of Hagee’s prophecy have discussed how he has made many contradictory apocalyptic predictions in the past. He has incurred controversy for his extreme social and religious beliefs and bigoted comments regarding women, homosexuality, Palestinians, Islam, Judaism, Catholicism, Nazism and even Hurricane Katrina. Yet, he has millions of followers who actually believe in his Blood Moon prophecy.

I of course do not personally ascribe to this Blood Moon prophecy and do not agree with Hagee’s use of astrology for doom-saying. Clearly, the world is in transition and there are other astrological events occurring at this time which I would suggest are revelatory of current and coming transformational (though not apocalyptic) events.

I suppose it could be argued that having four total lunar eclipses in a row might reflect a two-year period in which the world at large sees more emotional turmoil than usual, because the total versus partial eclipses exert a stronger electromagnetic influence. This tetrad may mirror an especially intense cycle of change for North America because it is somewhat unusual for four total lunar eclipses to occur in succession in one area as they will here.

What I feel is most important to understand here is that even proponents of the Blood Moon prophecy have freely stated that nearly half of the lunar tetrads falling on Jewish Holidays have never been tied to a significant event! The best astrologers have a prediction rate that is much better than 50 percent. Astrology comprises a whole array of complex guidelines and techniques for the interpretation of eclipses in individual and mundane horoscopes, and a great deal of information needs to be taken into account before such judgments are made.

The April 15, 2014 lunar eclipse will fall close to the ascendant of Israel’s natal chart. These are important signs of significant events and possibly some turmoil but I do not relate that to the Blood Moon prophecy. This chart below shows the Israel birth chart on the inner ring surrounded by the outer ring of the April 15, 2014 lunar eclipse chart. Note that the Moon and Rahu (eclipse point) are in an out-of-sign conjunction (but still very close) to the ascendant, which can point to the likelihood for a great wave of change that is already happening and will happen in Israel in the near future. Mars (the god of war) in the eclipse chart is also close to the midpoint of Neptune and the ascendant in Israel’s chart. [Please note this and all charts are cast with the sidereal (starry sky) zodiac (Lahiri ayanamsha), not the tropical (seasonal) zodiac in use by most Western astrologers.]

SFPageLooking at Israel’s solar return chart for May 15, 2014, powerful retrograde Mars is also close to the ascendant (and first to rise) which can be a sign of a forthcoming (perhaps imminent) significant crisis or conflict for Israel, either related to government, leadership or a foreign affairs matter.

SFPageMore on all of this later… for now, I will leave you with this inspirational quote from the late American Catholic author and mystic Thomas Merton: When you expect the world to end at any moment, you know there is no need to hurry. You take your time, and you do your work well.

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Happy Holy Days

bright-blessingsNow we are moving into the Solstice Still Point which will occur exactly on Saturday, December 21, 2013 at 17:11 UTC. Three days before and after the solstice can be a very sensitive time of deep change in “the force,” when we are well advised to cultivate peace and quiet. On the solstice, Venus will station retrograde (appearing to stop and go backward) in the most mysterious constellation of all, Capricorn, Sign of the Unicorn. This rare Venus station event overshadows the next six months (until the next June solstice) with an important message about the great need now for humanity to embody a more pure expression of mature and selfless love that is expressed through compassionate thoughts, actions and words. This kind of Capricornian love was expressed by the late Italian film director and screenwriter Federico Fellini when he wrote, “We must get beyond passions, like a great work of art. In such miraculous harmony. We should learn to love each other so much to live outside of time… detached.”

Another gentle heads up reminder…Mars is now moving toward an exact opposition with Uranus (which happens every 2 years or so) and this aspect will be exact beginning on Dec. 23rd, which can reflect some jarring or explosive energies and events as well as feelings of restlessness and impulsive tendencies. Thus it becomes even more important that we keep calm, rest, create balance and avoid making any hasty decisions from now and through the coming weeks.

With love and gratitude,

Thanksgiving Harvest

“The thankful receiver bears a plentiful harvest.” (William Blake)

Astral HarmonyBelow is the astro-chart for next Thursday, November 28, 2013, which as you know is the Thanksgiving holiday in the US. (This is a North Indian style Vedic chart (rashi chakra) using the sidereal zodiac/Lahiri ayanamsha.) Venus will be exactly opposite (180-degree full aspect) Jupiter on Thanksgiving, a sociable connection that may be quite fitting for the harvest celebration… but take note, the Jupiter-Venus opposition is often tied to extreme self-indulgence, as in “no holds barred”…so pace yourselves if you will be feasting!

The Jupiter-Venus opposition is actually in place for quite a while, from Oct. 30 to Dec. 5, when Venus will retrograde. The opposition comes back into play from Jan. 6 until Feb. 26, 2014. This transit is not that rare…it happens every year. However, Venus is currently transiting in sidereal Sagittarius and Jupiter in sidereal Gemini, and their opposition in this sign axis occurs only about every 12 years or so. The last time it occurred in this axis was in January 2002.

Venus and Jupiter are known as Shukra and Brihaspati in the Vedic tradition. These two devatas (gods) are often found battling it out in Hindu myth as they represent opposite spheres of influence. Venus (Shukra) represents the material realm, and Jupiter (Brihaspati), the spiritual realm. Because of this, we often hear astrologers talking about the opposition revealing a potential inner or outer conflict between worldly values and desires (Venus) and higher ideals and principles (Jupiter). With this aspect in play, relationship problems can sometimes center around philosophical differences or unrealistic expectations that lead to disappointment.

The Sagittarius-Gemini axis where Venus and Jupiter are transiting now is all about integrating higher principles into ordinary reality. Shri Krishna in the Bhagavad-Gita says that the Deva Guru (Jupiter) and the Asura Guru (Venus) each represent Him, so rather than seeing this aspect as a conflict, I see it as an opportunity for unification. Venus in Sagittarius is deeply humanistic, and Jupiter in Gemini is all-inclusive, and together they can point to a nice period of sweetness and light.

I believe this cycle is a good time to focus on bringing our highest beliefs down to earth and integrating our selves more deeply as vessels of Spirit, which means setting healthier limits and clearer boundaries for ourselves as needed. Exalted Saturn (structure and limits) is aspecting Venus now, and Jupiter is aspecting Saturn, so this could be a great time for that actually: At the same time, the Moon will be transiting with Mars in the sidereal constellation of Virgo on Thanksgiving Day, and Mercury will still be in the Nov. 3 eclipse sign until December, so just be mindful especially on the holiday to avoid criticism that can lead to conflict.



Full Blood (Hunter’s) Moon Lunar Eclipse October 18, 2013

A supercharged Full Blood (Hunter’s) Moon/Lunar Eclipse will occur on Friday, October 18. This one is an appulse or penumbral eclipse in which the Moon moves through Earth’s penumbra (partial shadow) and is slightly, not fully, dimmed.  lunar.eclipse-aHere’s what Earthsky.org has to say about it: “As the Moon rises in the east at dusk (Friday, October 18) in the continental United States, the lunar disk will be partially covered over by the Earth’s faint penumbral shadow. But you’re very unlikely to notice any shading at all on the Moon’s surface. Europe and Africa will be in a better position to see the subtle penumbral eclipse because the lunar eclipse takes place at late night (instead of evening or morning twilight). For the most of Asia, the Moon will be in eclipse as its sets at sunrise..[on] Saturday, October 19… The Moon does not dip into the Earth’s dark umbral shadow during this eclipse, so – at best – the partial penumbral eclipse may be seen as a slight shading of the Moon’s southern limb.”

indexKeep in mind that a week or so before and after a lunar eclipse can signify a time of heavy vibrations, some overall instability and emotional challenges. Unconscious or unresolved issues can surface and trigger a need for action. The lunar eclipse occurs in Aries, a sign of initiative, dynamism and forward momentum. Two weeks after the lunar eclipse will come a solar eclipse in the opposite sign of Libra on Nov. 3. This axis of Aries and Libra points to a focus on all kinds of relationshipsbetween people; between people and circumstances; between mind and body; between matter and spirit; and between nature and humanity.

Most importantly, the Aries-Libra principle is about b-a-l-a-n-c-e. How do I balance my own needs and expectations with those of others?  How do I fulfill my goals and responsibilities while also managing to keep everything else in my life in order? How do I find a sense of equipoise within, remaining centered and peaceful even amid inner conflict? Where might I need to make a compromise in my life? Is it possible to reconcile with the bare hard truth that so much of our world seems way off balance? For all of these dilemmas, some of the best advice I can offer comes from Darwi Odrade in Frank Herbert’s Dune: “There’s no secret to balance. You just have to feel the waves.”

four-in-wave_1580159iAries full Moon can lend an impulsive, irritable or argumentative tone, and this is even more possible because the Moon is conjoined its arch enemy Ketu (the South Node of the Moon) and opposite the debilitated Sun, a combination which can indicate tendencies for ambiguity, thoughtlessness, “brain fog,” distrust, anxiety, antagonism, confusion, and accidents, so please take it easy out there in the coming weeks…be calm and maintain inner peace at all cost.

4ariEclipses prompt and foreshadow change and involve the whole world even if they are not strongly influencing an individual horoscope or geographical area. Sage Varahamihira said that when a lunar eclipse precedes a solar eclipse as is happening now, this foretells unrest in the world, and vice versa. The October 18 event is not a full eclipse; at maximum, only 77% of the Moon’s disk will be in the Earth’s penumbral shadow. Because of this, one could argue that its effects will be less disruptive than otherwise.

Nonetheless, yogis recommend that we rest, meditate, chant, recite mantras or do other kinds of contemplative, healing or creative practices during an eclipse because the subtle powers generated during this time are multiplied and thus are enormously conducive to healing and spiritual empowerment. Fasting from food is undertaken by yogis during the eclipse, which is itself a powerful spiritual discipline but also is done to prevent indigestion which can sometimes occur.

yoga and chakraThe timing for the eclipse is Oct. 18 at 9:53 PM UTC until Oct. 19 at 1:48 AM UTC. The maximum is at 11:50 PM UTC (near the bewitching hour!). This time translated to the US is 5:53 PM to 9:48 PM EDT and 2:53 PM to 5:48 PM PDT, with maximum at 7:50 PM EDT and 4:50 PM PDT.

Usually, I am all for “Full Moon Meditation” and often recommend the rejuvenating and devotional practice of sitting outside under the Moon to soak up the lunar radiance. However, during a lunar eclipse it is not recommended to be outside under the Moon; best is to be inside, especially for those who are either pregnant or facing a health issue.

This information about not going outside during an eclipse is considered to be controversial and not universally accepted. I follow it because it was given to us by Vedic sages who felt that the occult effects of an eclipse can be detrimental psychically and also physically in regard to health and other worldly matters. As the light of a luminary (Sun or Moon) is being cut off during an eclipse, so symbolically does our ability to access the outer light get cut off somewhat, and we are encouraged to go within and connect with the inner light of the divine Self instead. It is my feeling that recommendations for spiritual practice and admonitions about staying inside are much more important during a solar eclipse than a lunar eclipse.

SFPageThe lunar eclipse chart for the collective United States and the government in Washington DC is set for 7:37:39 PM and is erected using the sidereal zodiac (Lahiri ayanamsha), which I exclusively use. You may observe that this chart has the eclipsed Moon in the all-important first house and additionally, a very interesting configuration in the ascendant, or rising sign (lagna), which is considered a microcosm of the entire chart. This ascendant point is at 29 degrees of Aries. Aries rules new beginnings, and the full Moon generally reflects a cycle of fulfillment and completion.

However, this ascendant at the 29th degree of the sign, known as the anaretic or karmic degree, often involves some kind of trouble. This degree reflects the great impasse that is happening in Washington which will most surely be resolved but will be well past overdue. The 29th degree often means that something has to change or is changing with some immediacy, but that there is a problem involved around making a decision. Often the anaretic degree signifies that something is happening with a deficiency (too little and too late). This chart indicates that budget and debt ceiling decisions will most likely be made but will be forced or will only be a temporary fix and will have longstanding repercussions such as another credit downgrade for the US, as has been noted by Washington pundits. 

Eternal Summer – Grateful Heart

As summer winds down and autumn nears closer, I personally look forward to the change. Sometimes, any change will do. The past months have been an intensely challenging time of upheaval on our beloved planet. So many people everywhere are going through personal crises. During such times, I turn to my spiritual teachers for comfort and guidance. For example, A World in Transition: Finding Spiritual Security in Times of Change is one of my all-time favorite books of wisdom by Paramahansa Yogananda. I want to share with you an inspiring quote from this book by Sri Mrinalini Mata, current leader of the Self-Realization Fellowship:

“Man is harassed, unhappy, worried, tossed about by the constant change and turmoil of this world…The ills of society and the world will not be cured by conferences and talk of cooperation and peace if the very persons at the negotiating table have not the peace of true selflessness in their hearts. Nor will peace and prosperity be brought about merely by legislation…the only way this world will change, the only way man is going to be freed from this misery and disturbance, which is day by day poisoning his life and happiness in a slow death of disillusionment, is when he, as an individual, will change himself..in the stillness of meditation.”

Same old story, right? We must change ourselves, through our own efforts, that we may change the world. With themes of change in mind, I have written a blog about a significant astrological transition that just began on August 6, 2013, the Jupiter Return in the horoscope of the United States. I believe that this new cycle officially ends the post-9/11 “dodecade” (a 12-year cycle that transpired since the last Jupiter Return that occurred two weeks before 9/11-2001) and that this recent Jupiter Return ushers in a brand new era. If you read the article, you will see that I interpret this event as a significant and positive development. Though turmoil and destruction will always be part of this temporal world, I have come to trust the divine plan here and believe that progress is being made somewhere all the time.

Jupiter Return (and the United States Kelleher Chart)

The United States just had its 20th Jupiter Return on August 6, 2013! This astrological transit occurs every 12 years when Jupiter returns to its natal place in a horoscope. Western astrology determines the exact moment of a Jupiter Return and casts a chart for the “birth” of this event. Please keep in mind that I am not referring to the seasonal tropical “zodiac” system used by most western astrologers; instead I am referring to the sidereal zodiac of the stars used in traditional Vedic astrology. As in this case, I often apply certain techniques in use by western tropical astrology to the sidereal zodiac chart. The Jupiter Return chart can give a snapshot of the next 12 years relative to Jupiter’s developmental effects. What might some of these effects be?

Well, Jupiter is the lord of dharma per Vedic astrology, so is a very important planet in regard to the harmonious functioning of our world, as seen through an individual chart or the chart of a nation or group (mundane charts). The Jupiter Return chart can track how values and beliefs are shifting, and will show something about educational, spiritual, financial and social progress. It will reveal the measure of positive energy we have to work with in the coming 12 years, as well as where and how to access it. In a mundane chart, it will help us gain a deeper perspective on societal transformation, including economic, cultural, spiritual or religious trends as they evolve through each 12-year cycle.

To my knowledge, Jupiter Return as a transit technique for individual charts has not been mentioned in the conventional popular texts of Vedic astrology. However, the yearly passage of Jupiter into a new sign is used in mundane astrology forecasting through the panchanga. One Jovian year is called a samvatsara and there are 60 all total, so the full cycle repeats every 60 years. Each one has a unique essence and a particular name.

I asked a learned Vedic astrologer friend and colleague about the Jupiter Return as a transit technique. His name is Ashutosh Indoria from Rajasthan, India. He agreed with me that this is not mentioned in the Vedic astrology classics, but that it is a topic of vernacular writing in India. He also discussed with me that it is referred to in religious literature and also is used in timing certain Hindu rites of passage.

For instance, the janeyu sanskar (sacred thread ceremony) performed for boys is completed near the first Jupiter return. The second Jupiter Return traditionally marks the ending of brahmcharya and beginning of grihasth ashram, the married life. The fifth Jupiter Return coincides with the second Saturn Return around age 60 and is commemorated with a spiritual ceremony called shasti poorthi. This age marks the movement into the second half of life, typically considered to be a more spiritually oriented half.

In addition, in a similar vein, the Kumbha Mela, a large religious festival in India, is based around mundane Jupiter Returns known as ingresses, which mark the entry of transiting Jupiter into a new rashi (constellation). They are as follows:

1. Haridwar Kumbha – when Jupiter enters Aquarius (Kumbha Rashi). This is the actual Kumbha.

2. Allahabad Kumbh – When Jupiter enters Taurus (Vrishabha).

3. Nasik Kumbh – When Jupiter enters Leo (Simha).

4. Ujjain Kumbh – When Jupiter enters Scorpio (Vrishchika).

Regarding the use of Jupiter Return as a dynamic technique, I agree with my friend Ashutosh’s astute statement that “Astrology is a constant study and each observation by each astrologer, whether in past, present or future, is as important as any other. In today’s fast-changing world, we nouveau age astrologers have to continue our observations and studies to benefit the next generation of astrologers.” Simply put, as neo-Vedic astrologers, we use what works.

We analyze the Jupiter Return chart for individuals as well as for nations and groups. In regard to the latter, I am analyzing the United States Jupiter Return here. I use the James Kelleher birth chart for the United States and here am using whole-sign charts (rashi chakras) in wheel format based on Lahiri Ayanamsha, i.e., in the sidereal zodiac which I use exclusively. Below, I have posted dual wheels for the previous Jupiter Return on August 26, 2001, and the current one that began last week on August 6, 2013.

The last Jupiter Return chart occurred two weeks before 9/11. It helped set the stage for the tragic game-changing event of 9/11 as well as the post-9/11 “decade.” Actually, my friend Ashutosh and I discussed calling this 12-year period a “dodecade” or “dwadashak” instead of a decade. A “dodeka” means 2 + 10 (Greek). Similarly, in Sanskrit, “dwadash” means 2 + 10 (“dwa” is two and “dasham” is 10). A decade is called “dashak” in Sanskrit, so a 12-year period is a “dwadashak.”

Ashutosh told me this fascinating side story about the dwadashak: “There are some yogis whom I have met who measure their life in dwadashak only. They consider one Jupiter return as the completion of one year. This helps them in slowing down their metabolism, meditating and in prolonged tapasya. As a result, the longevity is also increased.” I especially liked hearing this idea because it means I am not quite five years old yet!

In the 2001 Jupiter return chart, Jupiter and Rahu are in the sixth house and Mars-Ketu are in the 12th. The 6th and 12th houses are called dusthana and/or trik houses in Vedic astrology. They indicate the realm of suffering as well as balancing of karma and learning through “hard knocks.” In this mundane chart, the 6/12 axis and the celestial bodies placed here reflect hidden subversive and criminal actions by the fundamentalist Islamic terrorists who attacked the US on 9/11. This chart is especially difficult due to the malefic aspects on Jupiter itself, which occupies the taxing 6th house of enmity, struggle, catastrophe and war. The economic crisis of the last dodecade is indicated by this 6/12 affliction as well as other factors in this chart, including the Sun-Mercury conjunction in the 8th house of debt and tumult, and Uranus and Neptune (upheaval) flanking the ascendant in Capricorn (sign of material affairs).

The 2013 Jupiter Return has Aries Rising, indicating new beginnings. The chart seems to indicate a much more optimistic forecast for the economy than the last Jupiter Return chart, and matches up with some positive elements in the US Kelleher natal chart. For instance, the fortunate 5th house of the natal chart is brought to this ascendant which reflects some bhagya (good fortune). There are several very positive combinations including Guru Mangala Yoga in the 3rd house, which is also a Raja Yoga; and a New Moon Raja Yoga in Cancer in the 4th house.

The exact full aspect of 9th house Pluto (in Sagittarius) opposite Jupiter reflects continuing political, ideological and religious unrest. This opposition also may indicate much needed transformation in our country’s leadership, and possibly significant changes in the higher educational system and some kind of necessary modification to college affordability and the mounting student loan debt crisis. The Guru Mangala Yoga in the 3rd house is quite auspicious for raising the mental attitude of the people (but hopefully not raising the people to a dangerous fevered pitch), and for bringing innovation to the transportation and communication industries; this also gives a focus on the armed forces, wars, emigration, and foreign trade.

The placement of the Sun, (New) Moon and Mercury in Cancer 4th house denotes a focus on home, family and agriculture. I also sense the possibility of a new wave of patriotism which may rock this country to the core. There may be a rise in sales of home security systems and devices, and the real estate industry looks promising. At the same time, we may have to create innovative solutions to a shelter crisis which may impact not only the homeless but also renters in middle income and aging populations.

There are serious environmental issues showing up too, first in the New Moon in Ashlesha nakshatra (poison) in the 4th house (agriculture, homeland); and second, with Ketu, the Moon’s South Node (significator of toxins) in the all-important 1st house. We are already seeing the reflection of this in the battle against agribusiness giant Monsanto. There is also mounting concern over Japan’s ongoing Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.

The post 9/11 dodecade (dwadashak) has ended and a new dodecade has begun with this new Jupiter Return chart. We can be hopeful in that the 2013 chart is a much more fortunate chart than the 2001 chart was. Sure, with Ketu in Aries in the 1st house; Jupiter conjoined Mars in the 3rd house; Rahu conjoined Saturn in the 7th house (foreign affairs, relations with other countries, wars and international disputes); the series of tension aspects (squares) between Uranus and Pluto continuing through 2015; and the fact that the US Kelleher chart will be moving into the 8th house Rahu dasha in 2015 (more upheaval and transformation), it is clear that the current wave of protests, revolutionary uprisings and military conflicts will continue to sweep the world and affect the United States. The reality of war is not going away any time soon. By some reports, another big threat will be wars fought on a new kind of battlefield, with different kinds of weapons, that is, in the emerging underground world of cyber-warfare (a possible reflection of Mars and Jupiter in the 3rd house in Gemini opposite Pluto).

Ketu in the 1st house and the Rahu-Saturn conjunction in the 7th house may be “wild cards,” a term borrowed from astrologer James Braha for something of an unpredictable nature. Looking deeper, however, the Rising nakshatra is Ashwini, sign of healing and light. Ketu, the moksha karaka (indicator of enlightenment) is at home here with the Ashwini lagna, because it is ruler of Ashwini nakshatra. Overall, this chart gives hope for the future as it points to the reality of more and more people awakening to a higher spiritual truth, which will tend to create greater harmony and balance in the world. SFPage