Midsummer’s Eve

Summer solstice, also known as Midsummer’s Eve, marks the first day of the summer season in the northern hemisphere. On this, the longest and most potent day of the year, the Sun reaches its highest northern point and then appears to stand still for three days. The exact standstill first occurs on Saturday, June 21 at 10:51 UTC (12:51 AM Hawaii Time; 3:51 AM PDT; 6:51 AM EDT). It is best to avoid initiating anything of major long-term significance during these three days because the electromagnetic energetic effects of the standstill are slightly “wobbly.”

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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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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. 

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

Happy (Vedic) Lunar New Year!

In the Vedic tradition of astrology, there are many different calendars and systems of reckoning time (kaala chakra). One of the most commonly used methods to determine the New Year is based on the astro-chart for the New Moon in Pisces, which occurs this year on April 10, 2013 at 5:35:17 AM, Washington, DC. This new year is called Vijaya Samvatsara (Year of Victory), repeating a 60-year cycle from the last Vijaya year in 1953. Vijaya is considered a favorable year on the whole.

So how does this new lunar year look through my astrological lens? The very short answer is that it appears overall to be a year of many challenges as well as triumphs. As reflected in the USA Vedic New Year chart in particular, it could be a somewhat remarkable year especially for the global economy.

Questions about world affairs and events come under the branch of astrology known as “Mundane Astrology” or “Mundane Horoscopy,” which analyzes collective karma shared in common via groups of people. As in all branches of astrology, and perhaps even more so with Mundane Horoscopy, professional astrologers are bound by a code of standards and ethics not to make extreme fear-inducing statements about pending turmoil or disaster. Not only is it considered ethically irresponsible to make such pronouncements, it is also not realistic.

What I mean by “not realistic” is that the future is not yet fully determined. What is coming depends to some extent on our thoughts and actions now, and also, let’s face it—the unfolding of karma remains an inexplicable mystery to a great extent. Besides, a lot of what transpires in the future depends on how we choose to interpret events. The ethical standards and guidelines of ACVA (American College of Vedic Astrology) are very clear on these matters: “Astrological variables can manifest in differing events of similar meaning… [and]… astrology cannot predict with absolute certainty the outcome of future astronomical events.”

At the same time, astrologers can certainly project cycles and trends, and in 2013 there are a few significant ones worth mentioning. Here are some highlights of the lunar new year chart set for Washington, DC:

  1. Neptune is not traditionally used in Vedic astrology, but as a Neo-Vedic astrologer I use it according to specific rules. For instance, Neptune becomes very significant when it occupies an angle of the chart, which it is here. In the first house, Neptune is said to “turn things upside down.” If afflicted, there are any number of potentially horrific indications I could discuss. However, Neptune in Aquarius is not badly afflicted, as it is disposited by its traditional ruler, Saturn, which is in the harmonious 9th house in a trine to Neptune and the first house from its exalted sign. I like to think this is an indication of advancing spirituality, cooperation and brotherly love in our societal consciousness. However, Saturn is transiting in a conjunction with the Moon’s North Node Rahu for the next year or so, and this can reflect some economic inflation; political instability; subversive/secret movements; socialistic enterprise; problems with the aviation industry; and perhaps some added focus on the war on drugs, crime, and ongoing fraud and deceptions by the FDA/Monsanto/Big Pharma, the oil and gas industry and our government in general.
  2. Sidereal Aquarius Rising in the USA chart further reflects a focus on socialistic political movements and revolutions; humanitarianism; spirituality; scientific and technological breakthroughs; and corporate reorganization.
  3. The large stellium in the 2nd house brings a focus on the economy. The Moon, Sun, Mercury, Mars, Uranus and Venus in the 2nd house in Pisces are inconjunct Saturn and Rahu (6/8 aspect) and indicate fluctuations in financial markets; loss through fraud; and possibly some kind of bank failure. There could also be a financial panic, possibly around the three upcoming eclipses in April-May and again around the eclipses next fall (October 18 lunar eclipse and November 3, solar eclipse), though this is difficult to say exactly when and if this will even occur as financial markets are not my specialty, and I have noticed, even for financial astrologers difficult to predict. I am hoping the sextile of the Pisces planets to Jupiter in Taurus/4th house will avert any such calamity. It does look like large military expenditures will be necessary. Uranus in particular reflects unexpected gains and losses; general uneasiness; a possible crash/correction of the stock market; and on the whole, the unpredictable nature of the economy this year. The second house also relates to food supplies so there seems to be some important focus here as well. Pisces as the 12th sign (the last, indicating endings) in the 2nd house signifies some karmic closure related to economic trends of the past. I assume this can also relate to the huge changes ahead in mandated health care insurance and also the big revisions that will be ongoing for our tax codes.
  4. South Node Ketu in the 3rd house could point to potential for strong earthquakes as well as a transportation disaster and a significant change in the travel industry.
  5. Jupiter in the 4th house can be promising for real estate investing, but because it is 6/8 with Saturn this may not be 100% true (for example, the real estate market has been struggling with reduced sale inventory, rising prices, and a lengthy and complicated financing process for non-cash buyers). This 6/8 also indicates potential for earthquakes. This inharmonious aspect between the two weightiest planets of dharma (Jupiter) and karma (Saturn) will end on May 31, when Jupiter transits out of Taurus into Gemini and trines Saturn.
  6. Saturn and Rahu in the 9th house/8th from the Pisces stellium point to a strong possibility that this will be yet another year of transformation; some ongoing economic uncertainty; possibly a military showdown; some kind of disease epidemic; as well as troubles with flooding, ships and the shipping industry, the Navy, and aviation industry. Probably we will hear of the retirement or death of a notable high-ranking official or officials in the US government (especially in the judiciary); and also we may experience some commotion in a religious organization or even the death of an important religious leader. The latter could relate to the recent changes in the Catholic Church that continue to rock the world.
  7. In April and May we will have three eclipses, one lunar eclipse on April 25; a solar eclipse on May 9; and another lunar eclipse on May 25. The astrological aspects in these eclipse charts look somewhat “bearish” for the stock market, and there is a dominant and troubling signature for violence, conflict and/or war that is hard to ignore especially in late April and even into the summer months (Ketu conjoined Mars and Mercury opposite Saturn conjoined Rahu in the solar eclipse chart). The essence of what these eclipse charts seem to point to can resonate for months preceding (that means now) and also for months following the actual eclipse events. So, for all of us, more prayer and more light, please! With the lunar nodes transiting in Aries and Libra for the next year, this means the eclipses will occur on this axis which symbolizes the eternal battle between dark and light; the individual versus the collective/self versus other; and war versus peace/conflict versus diplomacy.

I want to share several links to some interesting 2013 astrological forecasts posted on the Web by some of my most respected colleagues and friends, who offer these to the public without charge. It is a great service they provide, and I am personally grateful. You will see they offer some similar and some different perspectives from my own:

New Moon December 13, 2012 (Posted December 10, 2012)

We are moving into the Kali (Darkening) Moon, also known as the Balsamic Moon phase, about three and a half days before the Super New Moon which will occur on Thursday this coming week, December 13 at 3:42 AM. The New Moon will be a “Super” Moon because it will be at perigee, closest to the Earth than is customary. The Super Moon cycle is associated with intensified emotions as well as tides, storm and seismic activity.

On the New Moon day, the Sun, Moon, Venus, Mercury and the North Node Rahu will all be located in the sidereal constellation of Scorpio. The chart cast for the New Moon has an additional emphasis on Scorpio, in that the majority of the grahas are in fixed and water constellations, signifying the fixed water signature of Scorpio.The Balsamic Moon is a time for resting and healing. The Scorpio alignment is about connecting with the deepest, darkest mysteries of life. Scorpio is also emblematic of the battle between light and dark within us, which is further experienced as turmoil out in the world.

In the New Moon chart, the Sun and Moon are in one of the most challenging sections of the zodiac known as the nakshatra gandanta, the last pada (3 degrees and 20 minutes) of Scorpio, which signifies a karmic knot that must be confronted and resolved. This may signify  emotional and physical turmoil and intensity affecting many people in the coming weeks, as well as potential for some difficult events in the world, and some extreme turning points.

On a personal level, the astral energies at play now can assist us to go deeply and quietly within, to examine what we fear the most, let go, and cultivate more joy, love, forgiveness and peace. This pending alignment also fits with a similar theme of the current waning cycle of the Sun. As we move toward the darkest day of the year on December 21 (Winter Solstice-N. Hemisphere), it is natural to turn within and be more reflective.

The main caution here is about the fixed energy of the New Moon chart. Oriented toward achievement, the fixed constellations are associated with ambition, will power, purpose, depth and determination. Perhaps we can accomplish a great deal, but at what price? The conflict arises if we push too hard and forget to rest and listen to our higher guidance. Remember, the waning Moon is fast losing its light, and this can make us more tired or emotionally sensitive and vulnerable than usual.

When not flowing harmoniously, the Scorpio fixed signature can be dogmatic, fundamentalist, rigid, stubborn, and narrow-minded. With this emphasis, we can have a tendency to feel stuck, tight and heavy unless we consciously stay flexible in body and mind. It helps to focus on spirit, move our bodies, keep with a positive message, enjoy nature, and most importantly, soften our hearts and laugh a lot.

There is one more big event this week that I wanted to mention. Uranus, the planet in astrology that symbolizes insight, revolution, technology, higher mind, inspiration and innovation, is stationing and moving direct on December 14, after having been retrograde since July. When Uranus is retrograde, the world may seem less stable than is typical. As it goes direct, there may be somewhat less uncertainty associated with it, though on an individual level, such matters would depend on how it affects each particular natal chart.Uranus is transiting in sidereal Pisces and thus in a benefic trine to the Scorpio New Moon. Here it can reveal intuitive flashes of insight, mystical awakenings, shocking secrets being revealed, shifting stalemates, and remarkable scientific discoveries…overall, some forward movement or even a change in direction in all matters Uranian (possibly including civil unrest in the Middle East).Love and light!

Winter Solstice 2012

I’ve received notices of several different happenings slated to take place on December 21, 2012, including “Birth 2012: Empowering the Movement to Birth a New Era.” Many of my friends and clients have been writing to ask me what is going on with this date.

Over the years, some 2012 researchers have coordinated a Galactic Center-Winter Solstice alignment with the end of a 13-baktun cycle in a Mayan Long Count calendar. This one calendar is believed by some to be ending on December 21, 2012. Some say that on this date, a galactic beam will hit the earth for several minutes and that this galactic light will have an awakening effect on the consciousness of our planet and its inhabitants. Nobody knows for sure. It is all conjecture.

Nice thought though, right? I kind of like the idea that many people will be coming together in prayer and meditation on this day to welcome in a higher frequency of love and light. Maybe a shift in consciousness will result from just that meeting of great minds.

Regarding any such astrological alignment on 12/21/12, it is very complicated. Here is what I know as an astrologer:

First, it is important to understand a few terms: the meaning of “Winter Solstice”; the “Winter Solstice Sun”; and the “Galactic Center.”

1. The Winter Solstice refers to the date every year *around* December 21 when the Sun reaches its maximum southern declination for the Northern Hemisphere (south of the celestial equator). On the Winter Solstice, the Sun at 12 Noon is at the lowest altitude of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. In the seasonal tropical calendar, this is the first day of winter in the Northern Hemisphere and the first day of summer in the Southern Hemisphere.

2. The Winter Solstice Sun refers not only to the Sun’s declination/north or south of the celestial equator on the day of Winter Solstice, but it also refers to its celestial/zodiacal longitude, i.e., its location along the band of the zodiac. On this day, if we cast a chart for sunrise at any given locale, the Sun and the ascendant of the chart are conjunct the center of the plane of our Milky Way Galaxy, known as the Galactic Center.

3. The Galactic Center per the Vedic tradition is known as Vishnunabhi, the Navel of Vishnu, and is considered to be the source of all “light” (spiritual wisdom and power) in our Milky Way Galaxy. It is estimated that the celestial longitude of the Galactic Center is at ~6 deg. 20 min. of sidereal Sagittarius.

What is important to understand is that astronomically, this alignment on 12/21/12 is not unusual. It has already been taking place for the past three decades! Let me explain.

The Sun moves roughly one zodiacal or longitudinal degree per day, so that it moves around the whole zodiac (360 degrees) in a year. In its apparent passage around the zodiac, it comes into alignment with the Galactic Center once every year. The Sun is a disk and not a point, and as seen from the Earth, it spans a diameter of about a half inch to an inch in width. Because of this, the disc of the Sun appears to align with the plane of the Galactic Equator on Winter Solstice each year for a period of about 36 years. This close alignment began in 1980 and will end around 2016. This astronomical alignment is not specific to 2012!

However, there is something very compelling in that this 36-year period from 1980 to 2016 is the first time in ~26,000 years that the Winter Solstice Sun is aligned with the Galactic Center. In other words, it is fairly rare that the day of that alignment occurs in coincidence with the days surrounding the Winter Solstice. This only occurs for several decades once every ~26,000″ years.

Using Lahiri Ayanamsha, I have computed the following sidereal positions for the Sun on Winter Solstice in various years:

1. In 1980, the Sun was at 6 deg. 24 min. Sagittarius; it was closer to an alignment with the Galactic Center at this time than it is in 2012.

2. In 1998, the Sun was at 5 deg. 32 min. Sagittarius. You see it is moving away from the exact alignment now.

3. In 2011 (December 22, 2011 at 5:30 AM UTC), the Sun was at 5 deg. 58 min. of Sagittarius.

4. In 2012 (December 21, 2012 at 11:12 UTC), the Sun on Winter Solstice will be at 5 degrees 57 min. Sagittarius.

5. In 2016, the Sun will be at 5 deg. 54 min.

The gradual yearly movement of the Sun in relation to the Galactic Center is because of precession of the equinoxes, that is, the Galactic Center is slowly drifting backward just like the other constellations, in relation to our planet, due to precession of the equinoxes (which is caused in part by Earth’s tilt and wobble).

In 1800 on Winter Solstice, the Sun was at ~8 1/2 degrees Sagittarius. In 1900 on Winter Solstice, it was around 7 degrees Sagittarius. And by the way, not until ~2550 will we really be in the Age of Aquarius (when the Sun will be rising in Aquarius on the Spring Equinox), and at that time, the Sun will have moved out of Sagittarius and will be at 28 degrees of Scorpio on Winter Solstice!

Some say that on December 21, 2012, the Sun will be eclipsed by the Galactic Center. It is not technically an eclipse in the usual sense of the word; more correctly it is an alignment. These same researchers believe that this alignment is like a rebooting of our Sun’s connection to its Galactic Center, and so after this, we will experience higher frequencies of human consciousness.

Though the Sun is not being eclipsed on December 21, 2012, eclipses do have a place in this discussion. The Pleiades conjoined two different solar eclipses in 2012, which some believe represents the return of Quetzalcoatl. This is said to signify the coming of an awakening world and the emergence of a new world teacher.

IF all of this is true, I believe that it has already been happening and the wave of change has already crested. This is why we have seen so much amazing transformation on the planet since the 1980s, mostly through the rise of technology and communication and the fact that the Internet is enacting life’s living oneness (Indra’s Net), connecting us more as the One Being that we are, which perhaps is in process of causing an evolutionary leap in consciousness.

I recently read an inspiring Facebook post about 12/21/12 by professional astrologer Kenneth Johnson, who is also a serious researcher of ancient and modern Mayan culture. Ken has spent months with indigenous teachers in remote parts of Guatemala and is the author of Mayan Calendar Astrology: Mapping Your Inner Cosmos, Jaguar Wisdom: An Introduction to the Mayan Calendar, and The Mayan Prophecies: The Renewal of the World 2012-2072. Ken writes:

Of course, the Maya themselves have never perceived this [2012] cyclic change as a “doomsday” scenario – that was merely the projection of the Western world’s Christian apocalyptic values onto a culture…with an entirely different world view. They have always seen it – and continue to see it – as merely another important nodal point in an endless series of cycles of cosmic time. The elders of Momostenango are recommending these actions to their citizens for their private moments during the transitional days of December 20 and 21:

  • Turn off the computer.
  • Turn off the cell phone. 
  • Turn off the television. 
  • Experience the beauty of silence.

In terms of time keeping, I usually refer back to the yugas, vast cycles of time which are tracked in the Hindu tradition. Instead of the more traditional yugas, I ascribe to an alternate yuga system that was given to us by Swami Sri Yukteswar, a great saint and Vedic astrologer (and Yogananda’s guru). We are now in an ascending cycle of Dwarpara Yuga, the Age of Technology and Knowledge (per Sri Yukteswar’s reckoning). By my very rough calculations, the Sat Yuga, the Age of Enlightenment in which all beings will be living in a state of full grace and truth, is still some 5500 years in the future.

Sri Yukteswar’s yuga model can help us understand that we are eternal beings who reside within great cycles of time. I like to think that since we are in an ascending cycle, every day there is potential for progress to be made. Ironically, even in the 2012 material which is often seen as apocalyptic, we are challenged to awaken to who we are within all these larger phases of time. And even better, for those who are following a path to enlightened consciousness, one does not have to wait 5000+ years for Sat Yuga…it can happen in the eternal Now.

Love and light to all,

Milky Way Galaxy and Solstice Galactic Plane Alignment, photo courtesy of Earthsky.org: http://earthsky.org/astronomy-essentials/will-earth-pass-through-galactic-plane-in-2012

Fall 2012 Astral Weather Report

During the equinoxes, the Sun at 0 degrees of declination appears to be passing right over the celestial equator. Tropical astrologers consider that the Sun moves into the sign of Libra around the time of the fall equinox, but because sidereal astrologers track the movement of the planetary bodies against the actual constellations, and because of the precession of the equinoxes, the Sun is no longer moving into the true constellation of Libra on the fall equinox. Instead, it is currently found at almost 6 degrees in the constellation of Virgo. It will not enter the constellation of Libra until mid-October. If you want to understand the issue of the two zodiacs more in depth, I highly recommend that you read Robert Powell’s History of the Zodiac and Hermetic Astrology (the latter in two volumes). Continue reading

Happy Lunar New Year!

Happy Lunar New Year! In the Vedic tradition of astrology, there are many different calendars and systems of reckoning time (kaala chakra). One of the most commonly used methods to determine the New Year is based on the astro-chart for the New Moon in Pisces, which occurs around the Spring Equinox every year, this year on March 22, 2012, at 10:37:05 AM in Washington, DC.  This chart is known as the Chaitra Shukla Pratipada. For anyone wanting to know more about the New Year chart, astrologer Steve Stuckey has written an outstanding article published by both Jyotish Star and Saptarishis Astrology.[i]

Samvatsara is a Sanskrit term for “year.” In the Vedic system, there are 60 samvatsaras. The South Indian calculations for the samvatsaras are different from those in North India, and there are also two different ways of ordering the years, but most astrologers today use Sage Varahamahira’s method. Continue reading