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.”
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.
Mercury stationed retrograde yesterday for three weeks (see previous blog about this), and Saturn will be stationing direct in two weeks on July 10 at 1:12 AM EDT. However, we will begin feeling the shift now because Saturn has just begun traveling at “0″ daily motion. In other words, Saturn is barely moving now so this makes his energy very focused and powerful, and perhaps some of us will feel energetically “heavier” than usual.
Saturn is the astrological power associated with the Muladhara (root) chakra. The Muladhara Chakra represents our survival instincts, self-sufficiency, physical identity, stability, and ambition. Saturn in astrology similarly signifies material reality, structure, illnesses, delays, difficulties, depression, self-doubt, limits, and hard work.
Saturn has been retrograde (appearing to move backward) in its exalted sidereal sign of Libra since February 19. Depending on where Saturn is transiting through one’s own birth chart, and what it is influencing there, and how Saturn is revealed in the natal chart itself, its retrograde cycle (which happens for about 4 1/2 months each year) may for some reflect a time of great effort and hard work with little to show for it. In other words, Saturn’s retrograde cycle can be a time when matters related to Saturn are held back. This may be truer than ever in this cycle, as Saturn is traveling along with the Moon’s North Node Rahu, a combination that creates potential for added frustration, delay, self-doubt, financial worry, chaos and anxiety.
Saturn in astrology is the lord of truth and the lord of karma, and represents where we are being tested and what we need to do to be more disciplined, accepting and patient so that we can go with the flow and fulfill our purpose in an aligned and balanced way. As Saturn begins this slowing down cycle, he is extremely strong and all his significations may be more intense than usual these next few weeks..
I believe that in these next weeks, positive benefit may be derived through focusing on the Muladhara Chakra, and so I recommend a daily Muladhara Chakra Meditation such as several of the great ones you will find through YouTube, Amazon or ITunes.
Besides meditating on and healing through the Muladhara Chakra, we can take this time to reflect on those areas within us and in our lives where we may have been especially challenged since last February. Take stock of the lessons learned and gifts given, because as Saturn goes direct on July 10, we may have a chance to move past certain limitations and open to the next series of karmic opportunities that await us.
In Vedic astrology, Saturn is known as Shani Dev, and he is a great devotee of Lord Shiva. Om Namaha Shivaya! I bow to the divine within myself and within all beings. Om Sham Shanishwaraya Namah. Thank you Shani Dev, for showing us the truth.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- Joni Patry at the Galactic Center in Dallas is one of the finest professional astrologers I know. Her forecasts are comprehensive and hopeful: http://www.galacticcenter.org/world-predictions/world-predictions/what-will-2013-bring.html
- Liz Durkin has written a fascinating blog about 2013 as the Year of the Comet and what this means through the astrological symbolism and various omens. Liz is also a healer and has some important things to say on that front too: http://starworlds.blogspot.com/
- Howard Hamsa Beckman gives an interesting analysis of the year ahead with important information about the new year chart, transits and eclipses: http://www.howardbeckmanvedicastrologer.com/wordpress/
- Dennis Flaherty’s Star Trends: Vedic Astrology Predictions for Winter and Spring 2013, always well-written and illuminating: http://www.vedicsciences.com/vedic-astrology-predictions-2013.html
- Jagdish C. Maheshri, PH.D, also offers some important insights based on his extensive research and unique methodologies:http://www.astroinsight.com/G_comments/Annualpred/2013/index.html
As if Saturn stationing retrograde were not enough excitement for one week, we also have Mercury turning retrograde *(appearing to move backward) on Saturday, February 23, 2013. I use 2 days on either side of that as the stationary period, when the characteristically fast-moving Messenger of the Gods is moving much more slowly than usual, when we really can start to feel the strongest effects on a lot of levels.
Mercury retrogrades for about 24 days 3-4 times a year. This transit has a very big reputation even among non-astrologers as a time when things can and will go haywire! Mercury is the astrological indicator of communication, speech, travel, writing, memory, commerce and transportation, so in some cases when Mercury’s movement is backward (known as “vakri” in Vedic astrology) we can experience delays and snafus in these areas of life.
We are admonished not to sign important contracts during a Mercury retrograde cycle, the idea being that it may not work out or will have to be revised later, but in my experience, this is not always the case. As an example, my husband is a real estate agent and I have seen him broker very successful deals that went through without a hitch during Mercury retrograde times. Often in these situations, his clients had been “on the fence” about buying for some time. It seems that it took the Mercury retrograde cycle to catalyze their desire to re-establish contact and re-visit their desire to buy a new property.
It is a fact that many of the most successful Fortune 500 companies were incorporated during Mercury retrograde cycles. Much of my astrological practice is involved in helping businesses incorporate, and in some cases I have found the best muhurta (electional astrology chart) is during a Mercury retrograde cycle. This is because Mercury is stronger when it is retrograde, and can be well suited for success depending on the individual circumstances; and we also have to keep in mind that a muhurta/elective chart involves multiple considerations on top of just a Mercury cycle.
Many astrologers have discussed that the operative pattern for re-trograde cycles can be found among a variety of words prefixed by “re,” as in this being a time to re-consider, re-organize, re-energize, re-affirm, re-formulate, re-generate, re-define, re-negotiate, re-novate, re-discover, re-consider, etc. How the retrograde cycle plays out really depends on the condition of Mercury in the natal chart, the sign in which Mercury is transiting, as well as aspects and yogas Mercury has with the other transiting planets and with the natal planets of a particular nativity or a mundane chart.
In many instances, I have noticed those who have Mercury retrograde in their natal charts experience the retrograde transit as a re-freshing time that feels more natural and uninhibited than usual. For these natural Mercury retrograde natives, thought processes can begin flowing quite creatively and even more in harmony with higher mind during the retrograde transits.
All that said, I am quite astonished at the rare opportunity this Mercury cycle could offer us all as a collective. Mercury will station in sidereal Aquarius, the sign of the Water Bearer who pours forth the water of life, i.e. spiritual wisdom and healing energy. Mercury retrograding in Aquarius is not at all uncommon, but there is more to this. Mercury will conjoin several other planets during its retrograde cycle while also being disposited by exalted auspicious Saturn (traditional ruler of Aquarius) which is conjoined the North Node Rahu (a destiny point)—and this makes it a potentially extraordinary moment in time.
Thanks to astrologer Steve Stuckey for reviewing the calculations with me, as he confirmed: “The last time the combination of Sun, Mercury, Venus and Mars in Aquarius and Saturn/Rahu in Libra occurred was Feb 9th to 12th, *610 BC.* The time before that was Jan 21st to 24th, 3437 BC. The main problem is needing to have Rahu in Libra also–if we eliminate Rahu and just have the 4 Aquarius planets plus Saturn in Libra, then the last time it occurred was Feb 20th to 24th, 1364 AD. And then many times going further back–1129 AD, 1099 AD, 972 AD, 894 AD, 747 AD and many more.”
The traditional scheme of Vedic astrology does not include the outer planets and other bodies beyond Saturn. If we add those in as many neo-Vedic astrologers like myself will do, we have Neptune and the asteroid Chiron in sidereal Aquarius as well. Mercury will station retrograde at ~26 degrees sidereal Aquarius and move back to ~12 degrees Aquarius when it will station direct on March 17. For any charts having important points or planets within a few degrees of these stationary points or within close significant aspects to these degrees, especially near the 26-degree point of sidereal air signs (Aquarius, Gemini and Libra), memorable events may be triggered before and/or after the retrograde cycle.
In mundane astrology, Aquarius deals with science, invention, and technology; oil and oil wells; media, broadcasting, communication systems and mass marketing; spiritualists, visionary thinkers and alternative healers; aerospace industry, aircraft and pilots; electricity; corporate restructuring, labor organizations, special interest groups, and organizations in general; legislative politics; computer technology; civil rights; and rebels, pacifists, humanitarians, and revolutionary movements. It will be interesting to observe the world news in the next three weeks and see what transpires with some potential intensity and focus noted in these areas. We will see certain important matters of the past being re-activated and re-visited during this cycle, such as the battle between President Obama and Congress over spending cuts which are set to take effect March 1.
My friend Steve jokingly asked me if I think we are going to blast off in the Aquarian Age with this latest transit, and I thought, what a great idea! Technically though, as we sidereal astrologers understand, the real Age of Aquarius will not be upon us for several hundred more years into the future. However, this is an unusual transit of Aquarius that deserves special attention because (most of us would agree) we are truly living in “interesting times” now.
Aquarius correlates with the 17th trump or Major Arcana card of the Tarot, the Star, a symbol of faith, unity, hope and inspiration. While the essence of Aquarius is embodied in this current Mercury retrograde cycle, the inner pressure of the current Saturn retrograde cycle urges us to manifest these aspirations as part of our highest potential. The shadowy aspect of such a powerful fixed signature in Aquarius, when imbalanced, can reveal itself in dark, alienated and rigid thinking and behavior, so it may be more important than ever to remain fluid, flexible and open enough to allow grace and love to lead the way.
Are you feeling it? Saturn is slowing to a rapid halt now for his retrograde station, when he will appear to start moving backward somewhere in the February 18-20 range depending on the parameters we use to establish the exact stationary movement.
The five days before the actual station can be a time of intense mood shifts, financial concerns, apprehension, unease and dramatic shifts in your plans (as well as seismic and atmospheric events). Saturn retrogrades for about four and a half months every year. He will remain retrograde until July 9 this year.
In Vedic astrology, Saturn is called Shani, which means the one who moves slowly, because Saturn takes about 30 long years to revolve around the Sun. As an actual deity, he is personification of time and moves very slowly. He tends to delay matters as a natural course, so when he is retrograde this slowing down affect can be intensified and especially maddening.
Saturn’s purpose is to teach us patience and fortitude. He represents the tests we have to undergo in the material world. He is the irritant that produces the pearl and the pressure that creates the diamond heart.
Saturn symbolizes the psychological shadow that we have to face and integrate in order to be whole and manifest our full potential. He is the representative of the material plane with all its lessons and limitations. Ultimately, Saturn is the divine servant whose hard knocks are meant to reveal the truth about the divine play of consciousness.
Unbalanced, the essence of Saturn can be contracting, fearful, anxious, depressed, or blocked. When balanced, Saturn is the epitome of reform, conservation, organization and practical achievement. He signifies the principle of reality check, limits, boundaries and consequences.
When a planet appears retrograde, its essence is strengthened but internalized, and often delayed or skewed. A retrograde planet will often point to issues from the past that we need to go back and resolve.
A retrograde planet can show us how to move forward spiritually even while it may indicate that we have to experience some delays or restrictions in worldly matters. When we are patient and aware, the Saturn retrograde cycle can be an especially productive time to establish new priorities and transform our ambitions.
Saturn is currently transiting in its exalted sign of sidereal Libra where it puts an emphasis on important relationship or business decisions. Astrologer David Frawley (Vamadeva Shastri) says that Saturn is exalted in the sign of Venus Libra because “here Saturn represents the higher principles of justice, order, and detachment, which are necessary in using our heart energy in the right way, without attachment or bias.”
During the strong retrograde transit of Libra, Saturn will force certain unpleasant issues to come out into the light, and as Sat Graha, planet of Truth, Saturn reflects some potent lessons. This is even truer because Saturn is transiting with the Moon’s North Node Rahu for the next year and a half, and this may be a challenge at times because the essence of these two working together may show itself as workaholic tendencies and added stress and anxiety.
Meanwhile, on a mundane level, Saturn is the significator of the economy; laboring classes; disease; anxiety; misfortune; and sorrow, among other things. During Saturn’s retrograde period, all its significations can at times seem worse than usual. For instance, the economy may surely slow down at some point in the next four and a half months (as one economist said the stock market is very tired right about now).
Per a classical Indian astrology work called Sanketa Nidhi, when Saturn retrogrades, it mostly affects the sign ninth from it, which would be Gemini, the indicator of the stock market and business; as well as communication; transportation; travel; and respiratory or nervous illnesses.
Of course, to understand the nature of this retrograde cycle of Saturn on a really personal level, we would need to analyze it through one’s birth horoscope as well, especially noting the houses it rules natally and the houses it occupies natally and in transit, as well as aspects it makes and so forth.
I feel that during this Saturn retrograde cycle and especially within the next 10 days, we might all benefit from added mindfulness and spiritual practices for centering and grounding, including conscious breathing. As Saturn rules the Mooladhara (base) chakra, keeping one’s energy system connected to the earth can be helpful. As Saturn is exalted in the Anahata (heart) chakra’s sign of Libra, simple awareness of the breath as it moves in and out of the heart can be a priceless practice. Especially when feeling overwhelmed with negative emotions, seek refuge in the heart…
“Breathing in, I calm body and mind.
Breathing out, I smile.
Dwelling in the present moment I know this is the only moment.”
(Thich Nhat Hanh, Being Peace)
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
Saturn is transiting in sidereal Libra currently, and Ketu (the Moon’s South Node) is transiting in sidereal Taurus, both signs belonging to Venus, which in mundane astrology symbolizes currency and its circulation, banks, stock exchange, commodity and cattle markets, revenue and securities, etc. Continue reading