Monthly Vedic Astrology Forecast

Jyotish Forecast Archive

I write a forecast each month about the current planetary placements.

Current Forecast

December 2017

by Kerry Shamblin
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Calculations are done using the Chitrapaksha ayanamsha and the mean node. Timings are based on Mountain Time Zone, US.

Full Moon in Taurus/Rohini December 3

In November, the full Moon was in Aries, and we noticed a Venus-Mars theme that continued to show up through the month. This theme continues with this full Moon, where the Sun is placed in Scorpio, ruled by Mars, while opposite to the Moon, placed in Venus' sign of Taurus.

To thicken the plot, Venus and Mars themselves are placed in one another's signs, a state called parivartana that creates a strong bond between the involved planets. Mars is transiting Venus' sign of Libra from November 29 – January 16, 2018. Venus is transiting Mars' sign of Scorpio November 26 – December 20. When Venus moves to Sagittarius on December 20, this exchange between Mars and Venus ends and an exchange between Jupiter and Venus begins.

When the Moon reaches 18° Taurus on the morning of December 3, it will oppose the Sun sitting in the depths of Scorpio at 18°. Moon will be in Rohini nakshatra, which is ruled by the Moon and Sun will be in Jyestha nakshatra, ruled by Mercury. The nakshatras are the lunar divisions of the zodiac and each have their own planetary ruler, as well as associated divinity. Rohini is ruled by Prajapati, who in turn rules creation and the creatures within it.

This Venus-Mars dynamic is consistent with different aspects of the creative process. Mars gains the materials and makes the calculations while Venus moves and shapes the resources into a beautiful form. In this full Moon, we have the Moon alone in Taurus, with no other planets in the adjacent signs, giving us a lonely but powerful Moon. All of the other visible planets are congregated in Libra, Scorpio and Sagittarius, putting much more weight on one side of the zodiac.

The Moon will be carrying strong energy of the Moon itself plus Venus; this is clearly feminine energy that is quite big and bright but somewhat isolated. Remember that Venus herself will now be closing in on the Sun and we lose sight of Venus for some time until she shifts past the Sun. The next sightings of Venus will be as the "evening star" in January. Venus and Sun will be placed in Scorpio, which puts Venus both into combustion with Sun and into a difficult sign ruled by Mars and Ketu.

It is as if the feminine energy is being put forth in a very clean, bright charge during this full Moon in preparation for some serious, deep transformation that will develop as the Moon wanes and moves into the bucket of other planets who are all located in those three signs on the other side of the zodiac.

Mercury Retrograde in Sagittarius/Scorpio December 3 – 22

Just after midnight between December 2-3, Mercury at 6° Sagittarius will stop in his path and appear to begin moving in reverse motion. Mercury entered Sagittarius on November 23, joining Saturn, and has been slowly treading as he prepares for the retrograde cycle between December 3-23.

Mercury and Saturn exactly conjoin on November 28-29, after which Mercury moves slightly ahead of Saturn. The proximity is still quite significant and this interaction will continue through December as Mercury reverses past Saturn again on December 5-6.

By December 10, backwards-moving Mercury returns to the latter stars of the constellation of Scorpio where the Sun is moving forward. Mercury and Sun conjoin exactly on December 12, move in opposite directions and then Mercury retreats further into Scorpio, conjoining Venus on December 15 at 24° Scorpio.

This point, December 15, is quite interesting. The Mercury and Venus conjunction will be exactly aspected by Rahu at 24° in the sign of Cancer, as well as both being combust in the rays of the Sun. The Sun and Venus have relatively low strength in this position. In addition, the Sun is at the gandanta point between Scorpio and Sagittarius, with the entrance into Jupiter's fire sign, Sagittarius, coming in the afternoon of that day. December 15 is a Friday, let's keep an eye on that day!

Mercury continues to reverse back to 19° Scorpio and resumes direct motion on the evening of December 22. This day, Mercury turns around and finds himself alone in the final sector of Scorpio, as Venus moves to Sagittarius on the morning of December 20.

We like to keep an eye on the other planets with whom Mercury interacts, as his energy is easily absorbed into the agendas of other planets. This retrograde cycle pulls Mercury past Saturn, Sun and Venus and causes us to once again focus on this tight and intense area of the zodiac between Scorpio and Sagittarius that has been highlighted all year due to Saturn's three passes over this zone during 2017.

This could force many of us to use Mercury's excellent analytical and communicative abilities to really go deep into the roots of situations that have been challenging throughout this calendar year. What has not yet surfaced could be jettisoned out from the depths during this final month of 2017. It is important to remember the power of Rahu's aspect on this sensitive zone, giving us the collective craving to unearth the skeletons that may be troubling us and causing deep-rooted suffering.

As a general rule, it is advised to consciously slow down and not over-extend energy or plans when Mercury is retrograde. Mercury's already energetic and sometimes frenetic energy can get even stronger during retrograde cycles, causing a "haste makes waste" environment. Keep going, but put your brakes on. It's also a great time for revision and editing, re-working and refining projects that are already in progress rather than launching new undertakings.

Kala Amrita Yoga December 8 – 20

Kala Amrita Yoga, although not a classical yoga in the old historical texts, is still quite interesting to observe. This will be the fourth instance of this configuration since September when the Moon passes through all of the planets on one side of the nodes. There will also be a short instance from January 5 – 13, which gets broken by Venus moving to join Ketu in Capricorn; Venus moving into Leo in September is what started these instances, which is notable.

To learn more, please review the sections about Kala Amrita Yoga in the September, October and November forecasts.

The idea is that all visible planets are transiting the zodiac signs that lie on one side of the nodal axis formed by the shadow planets, Rahu and Ketu. The full yoga occurs when none of the planets conjoin one of the nodes. A partial version occurs when at least one planet does conjoin one of the nodes, offering an opportunity for that planet to "break" the yoga. Not only do we have this idea of squeezing between two difficult borders, we have the implication that the planets are relatively grouped together such that one side of the zodiac is devoid of planets where the other side is full.

The nodes can indicate unexpected, sudden and/or inevitable events that push us in a certain direction, whether good or bad, desired or not desired. When re-reading that sentence, it sounds a lot like "life in general." Life is full of unexpected, sudden and inevitable events. At almost every stage of life there is some level of not having control over the events that occur to or around you. The combinations that we call Kala Sarpa Yoga and Kala Amrita Yoga seem to give a larger dose of that experience of inevitability that life often serves to us.

During these periods caused by planets grouping together, which happens frequently, we could perhaps expect the unexpected while preparing to surrender with grace to what is needed in the moment.

Sun Enters Sagittarius December 15

The Sun moves through the sensitive degrees between Scorpio and Sagittarius on December 15, spends about a month steadily moving through Jupiter's fire sign and then moves to Capricorn on January 14, 2018. The Sun leaves behind Venus and retrograde Mercury in Scorpio and is closely pursued by the Moon, soon to join the Sun for new Moon.

The winter solstice will come on Thursday, December 21, when the Sun will join Saturn at 7° Sagittarius, which is the region of the zodiac that points the way toward the Galactic Center. Once per year, we have a face to face encounter between Sun and Saturn, who are known enemies, but also father and son. This year, it happens with the Galactic Center as the backdrop.

Sun represents our individual soul and its expression through the ego. Let us think of the ego as the neutral function of a person expressing their own self-concept. That said, one could have a healthy ego or a harmful ego depending upon the self being expressed. When we find ourselves saying, "I am..." we are expressing that Sun quality within us that defines who we think we are.

At the end of an interesting tale, we find that Shani (Saturn) is born as the son of Surya (Sun) from his shadow-wife, Chaya. Upon discovering this, Surya rejects Shani, making them enemies thereafter. Shani is opposite to the Sun with regards to the ego. While the Sun champions the ego and individuality, Shani's job is to downplay this importance, rather stressing the temporary nature of life and the likely demise of individuality that accompanies death.

This polarity surrounding the individual self caused by interaction of Sun and Saturn could be highlighted during this month when Sun is transiting the space currently occupied by Saturn. Saturn tends to trigger negative situations or attitudes, causing us to see half-empty glasses and feel the pressures and responsibilities of life as they weigh heavily upon us. This heavy energy of Saturn could either crush someone or press them into transformation. Thus, we pay attention to where Saturn is treading and clean those areas up as much as possible. We let go of the dysfunctional parts and refuse to allow anything new that will clutter our space.

With this meeting of Sun and Saturn, there may be some confrontation between those who champion individual rights vs those who champion the rights of the collective. I AM vs YOU ARE NOT. Ultimately this could either be a battle that no one wins or a wonderful lesson about how both are true when the proper balance is struck.

New Moon in Sagittarius/Mula December 17

Sagittarius is owned by the planet Jupiter, and as noted above, will be the site of possibly great things this month. The Moon joins the Sun at 3° Sagittarius and in the nakshatra of Mula just before midnight on December 17. While the Moon and Sun will be just a few degrees from Saturn, no other planets join or aspect the new Moon.

The Moon is the ruler of the mind, which includes emotional response and thoughts which drift and churn. What we think and feel essentially defines the world that we perceive (which doesn't always match the reality that other people perceive!) It is also the portal through which we can absorb and reflect the great light of the Sun. How we reflect and mirror light can be seen through the Moon and the Moon governs how we are viewed by other people, as well.

The Moon is strongest when it is full, catching the full face of the Sun from a distance and it is weakest when it is new, nearly nonexistent standing next to the Sun. On the day leading up to the new Moon, one may even feel a lack of energy, increased mental fatigue or emotional sensitivity. This vulnerable Moon will be slipping right into the meeting between Sun and Saturn described above.

All told, this may be a good time to relax and avoid conflict. Rather seek calm environments that promote peace and joy as you contemplate the turning of another western calendar year. Remember this new Moon is still within the period of Kala Amrita Yoga, so surrender to situations beyond your control may be required in some way. This will be more painful for those who are most highly invested in personal agendas.

Mula nakshatra is ruled by the planet Ketu and by the divinity known as Nirriti, the goddess of calamity. If that doesn't get us to sit still and close our eyes, what will? Mula translates as "root," which also relates to this nakshatra being the portal toward the Galactic Center. The idea of calamity extends into dissolution and difficulty. Here we can meditate deeply to find the root of problems and destroy them; that is a positive spin for those who find wrathful deities intimidating!

Venus Enters Sagittarius December 20

Venus is traveling so close to the Sun that by the first week of December, we lose sight of her in the eastern sky before sunrise, a lovely view that has graced many mornings of 2017. This combustion of Venus occurs when she shifts from rising before the Sun to setting after the Sun, or vice versa, as the normal synodic cycle of Venus progresses through time.

Venus transits Sagittarius between December 20, 2017 – January 13, 2018. During this time, Venus moves past both Saturn and Sun, moving ahead of the Sun in the zodiac. This means that the Sun will rise in the morning and then Venus will rise, so it will be already too bright to view Venus. The Sun will set and then we will see Venus above the western horizon, setting after the Sun. Venus remains ahead of the Sun in the zodiac, setting as the "evening star" through most of 2018, again switching positions with the Sun in late October 2018.

During the time Venus is in Sagittarius, we experience a positive combination between Jupiter, ruler of Sagittarius, and Venus, ruler of Libra, where Jupiter currently sits. They occupy one another's signs, creating a parivartana (exchange) between the two planets we call the two teachers. We have had a series of strong parivartana in the past couple of months, and when Venus moves to Sagittarius, it switches from exchanging with Mars, lord of Scorpio to exchanging with Jupiter.

This exchange strengthens both planets, who are naturally auspicious and beneficial. This is especially useful at this time because each of the planets will be sitting with a naturally challenging planet: Jupiter with Mars and Venus with Saturn. While the energy can flow both ways, meaning a difficult planet can mar a beneficial planet just as a beneficial planet can elevate a difficult planet, in this case, the signs that are occupied are also beneficial signs, which gives a better chance for positive results, even from the normally tough planets.

This could be a positive time when it comes to educational pursuits, as well as generally for moving forward in creative projects and relationships. As we wind down the calendar year 2017, let us all resolve to thoughtfully review the events of the year on both a personal and collective level with the help of retrograde Mercury. In the winter solstice darkness, we can re-align ourselves with the Galactic Center, taking rest and solace before we prepare for the Sun's next annual cycle. Happy Holidays to all!

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