Monthly Vedic Astrology Forecast
I write a forecast each month about the current planetary placements.
May 2017by Kerry Shamblin
Calculations are done using the Chitrapaksha ayanamsha and the mean node. Timings are based on Mountain Time Zone, US.
Mercury Resumes Direct Motion May 3
The western calendar month of May begins with the Moon waxing in the late degrees of Gemini, while three planets remain in retrograde motion: Jupiter in Virgo, Saturn in Sagittarius and Mercury in Aries. By end of day on May 3, Mercury will have resumed direct motion at 1º Aries, after which we see Mercury begin to move in regular motion through the stars of the constellation we call Aries. This journey of Mercury through Aries completes on June 3, when Mercury crosses into Taurus.
As humans who observe the movement of the planets across the backdrop of the star groups that we have named as constellations and asterisms, we get information from tracking the correlation of worldly events to these movements and positions that is largely anecdotal and subjective. For instance, we may notice that each year at a certain time, similar events occur in our lives that we can attribute to the Sun passing through a certain constellation that has specific significance for us personally. Or we may notice that when Mercury is retrograde that the same types of events occur in our lives. This information can be used in attempts to avert difficulty or optimize efficacy despite being mostly anecdotal evidence.
The nature of most of our astrological observations being so, it still makes sense to keep some type of order and process to cataloging our findings if we are going to use astrological positions to explain worldly phenomena. In that spirit, its important to understand astrological processes like apparent retrograde motion.
The retrogradation of planets does not imply that they are throwing their engines into reverse and zooming backward through space. The apparent backward motion of a planet through a section of the zodiac is only that: apparent. It appears that a planet is moving through territory in reverse fashion, but this appearance is only an illusion created by our perspective from Earth. What this apparent movement of a retrograde planet is doing is causing us to focus strongly on a certain spot within the zodiac through the lens of that planet, concentrating our energy and observation, much like the ability to watch a video while stopping and repeating certain sections in order to fully absorb the meaning.
The thing about repeating certain segments of a video is that it slows down forward progress overall. While we can get detailed information from the small section that we are reviewing, we won't be moving forward with the rest of the story. This can be quite enriching if we are focused on the details of a certain segment but it can also be frustrating if our goal is to move forward in the storyline.
Perhaps the drama, frustration and mishaps associated with retrograde planets could be avoided or downplayed with conscious surrender to the condition of minute focus on a certain scene within the story. Rather than rushing ahead, we calmly sit back and re-watch, re-watch, re-watch with patience and humility as the retrograde planet gives us the chance to understand a detail that may be difficult to digest.
In the case of Mercury in Aries, we are seeing a very energetic planet moving through a sign associated with initiation, movement and beginnings. With Mercury in Aries, we have the stage to cheerfully begin new projects and chapters. The retrograde factor may have made these new beginnings a bit up and down, especially with the aspect of Rahu in the mix.
Mercury initially entered Aries on March 27, skipping joyfully forward through the first third of Aries until April 10, when someone put the tape on rewind. What we thought was going to be a smooth start into new territory may have been sent back for a do-over. The three weeks from April 10 – May 3 has forced a review of the initial beginning and sent us back to square one, literally back to 1° Aries, the initiation point of the zodiac. Rather than mourning for lost time and resources, celebrate this period of rewind and review and understand the opportunity for re-doing what may have been lacking the first time.
This next month of Mercury cruising through Aries gives us the chance to start over, relatively unmolested by too many other voices in the room. Mercury is easily influenced by other planets and can tend to merge his agenda with others under just the slightest pressure. The retrograde cycle will have moved Mercury out of combustion with the Sun, giving Mercury some space and by mid-May, Sun will have moved into Taurus.
This space afforded to Mercury through this second-chance forward movement through Aries should be great in terms of Mercury-related projects: communication, marketing, business, financial management, studies, transportation, etc.
Full Moon in Libra/Vishaka May 10
Speaking of retrograde encounters, as Mercury shifts into direct motion on May 3, the waxing Moon approaches the ever-retrograde Rahu in Leo, followed by an encounter with retrograde Jupiter in Virgo before moving into Libra where the Moon becomes full at 27° Libra, specifically in the lunar mansion of Vishaka, on Wednesday, May 10.
Vishaka nakshatra is ruled by the planet Jupiter and spans between Libra and Scorpio. Being the Libra portion, this brings the influence of Venus into the full Moon, which is auspicious due to Venus' current exaltation in the sign of Pisces. The Jupiter rulership of Vishaka also places Moon and Jupiter into a nakshatra exchange on this day, as Jupiter is currently placed in the nakshatra Hasta, ruled by the Moon.
Vishaka's power comes from collecting and channelling energy. The two deities associated with this nakshatra are Indra, lord of storms, and Agni, lord of fire, both forms of dynamic power. The symbols associated with Vishaka are a potter's wheel and an archway. A potter's wheel enables the creation of vessels from raw materials, while an archway symbolizes moving from one state to another, both of which draw on this concept of gathering and moving energy.
With the Sun in Aries and Moon in Libra, both are occupying signs that are moveable in nature, meaning good for getting things started. In general, many of the planets are strong during this time and positioned to function positively. During the week between Mercury resuming direct motion and the Moon becoming full in Libra (May 3-10) we may feel particularly focused and energized to reach a bit further ahead in our current projects and relationships.
Sun Enters Taurus May 14
After the full Moon, the Sun enjoys a few more days in Aries, its sign of exaltation, before moving on to Taurus, joining Mars there on May 14. The Sun is quite powerful in Aries (ruled by Mars) and enters a slightly different environment in Taurus, which is ruled by Venus. Whatever final forceful pushes that need to happen in order to get things off the ground will be better done before the Sun moves to Taurus.
Sun joining Mars in Taurus will create a hot and fiery pair in a sign that is ruled by watery, soft and beautiful Venus, currently exalted in the oceanic Pisces. This pairing is a compounding of the planets associated with heat and fire, but aside from this couple, the other planets are all enjoying space during this month. With the planets (grahas) spread into various signs, this creates a good environment where they can function and express without too much conflict. When planets become stacked within one sign, it is just like too many people occupying and communicating within one room. It becomes unclear who is saying what and whose agenda is whose.
While we see Venus, the ruler of Taurus as watery in nature, we see Taurus itself as an earth sign with a fixed (sthira) nature. Taurus is an even sign, which we see as feminine, with Venus also being feminine, yet the symbol for Taurus is a bull. This brings in the concept of Venus representing the spark of life through male virility. Sun in Taurus can become thus an extremely potent and fertile time.
The Sun moving into Taurus also frees Sun from the aspect of Rahu, currently positioned in the Sun's own sign of Leo. While the Sun is extremely powerful in Aries, he was still subject to the obscuring energy of Rahu there, which can create confusion that prevails over clarity. The Sun may be less powerful in Taurus, but the added cleanliness and clarity could be well worth it.
New Moon in Taurus/Rohini May 25
Further highlighting this point of Taurus being a fertile field, the Moon joins the Sun at 11° Taurus on Thursday, May 25 for the new Moon. The lord of Taurus, Venus, will remain in exaltation through this new Moon, but moves into Aries on May 30.
The nakshatra Rohini is the more specific site within Taurus where the Sun and Moon join this month. Rohini is known as the Moon's favorite nakshatra and is lorded by the Moon itself. Rohini's ruling deity is Prajapati, lord of procreation and the popular symbol of Rohini is a cart or chariot. The energy of Rohini comes from Venus and Moon, blending to form a powerful section of the zodiac that implies creative conveyance.
The day leading up to the new Moon known as amavasya is provided for us to bring things to closure and rest. Light activities and meditative practices are recommended. The moment of the new Moon varies according to location; in Colorado, USA this moment comes just around 2pm on May 25. After that moment, the waxing phase immediately begins and Moon will be traveling through Rohini for the remainder of the day, until about sunrise of May 26. The afternoon of May 25 may be good for "planting seeds" that you wish to sprout during the waxing phase between May 25 – June 9. This can be taken literally or metaphorically.
The only hard energy on this new Moon is Mars, only in Taurus for one more day after the new Moon. Mars' presence in Taurus can be somewhat subdued by the Venus influences, especially with Venus strongly exalted in Pisces, so overall, the gentle energy of Venus will prevail. Venus is the host of both the full Moon and the new Moon in May.
Mars Transits Gemini May 26 – July 10
Since April 12, Mars has been transiting the sign of Taurus, and like the Sun, receiving the cleansing and beautiful energy of Venus, who rules the sign of Taurus and who is currently well-disposed in Pisces. While in Taurus, Mars also receives the aspect of Jupiter, which is considered an auspicious influence that keeps Mars on the right path.
This well behaved Mars in Taurus is also aspecting Rahu and Saturn with his 4th and 8th aspect, perhaps checking and channelling the chaotic and windy nature of these two planets that many consider to be difficult. Rahu and all that he touches can become quite unpredictable, unclear and chaotic in nature. Saturn and all that he affects can create situations of disappointment, pressure and sorrow. The main sites affected by Saturn and Rahu at the moment are not just where they are positioned, but also where they mutually aspect, which are currently the signs of Virgo and Aquarius.
The point of this explanation is that its difficult to deal with the energies of Rahu and Saturn and during this time when Mars is still in Taurus, Mars offers a tool for subduing the pressure and chaos to some extent. This will of course require what Mars demands: discipline, focus and resilience. If the power of this nice Mars can be directed toward the difficulties life is presenting, it may be instrumental in navigating through with grace.
On May 26, Mars moves from Taurus into Gemini which will shift the way in which Mars is able to drive us all forward. Mars moves through Gemini from May 26 – July 10. The first week of this six week period is especially dynamic as Mercury, ruler of Gemini, and Mars will be in an exchange of signs. Mercury will be in Aries through June 3.
From Gemini, Mars will be aspecting both Jupiter in Virgo and Saturn in Sagittarius, as well as energizing all of the dual signs: Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces. Where Mars is and where Mars pushes influence become work sites. It is best to channel the fire and power of Mars with plans and agendas in order to keep the flow of energy coming from Mars at a controlled and efficient level.
Both Saturn and Jupiter will remain in their retrograde states throughout May. Jupiter in Virgo resumes direct motion on June 9 and Saturn regains direct motion on August 25 after having already moved back into Scorpio. Recall the suggestion that the retrograde cycles of planets are really pulling us to focus on a small segment of the zodiac over which they are zipping back and forth for a spell. The planets in retrograde are strong, they can act contrary to their usual behavior and they can certainly point to areas that need focus and attention.
Mars is a master of observation with penetrating gaze and awareness. Maximize the power of Mars as you focus in on those areas of life that need a fix.
Venus Enters Aries May 30
Venus has been positioned in Pisces, its sign of exaltation, since January 27. The retrograde cycle of Venus from March 4 – April 15 transported Venus from appearance in the western sky in the evening to appearance in the eastern sky before sunrise. For the remainder of the year, we will see Venus in this guise if we rise before the Sun. This extended transit of Venus through Pisces has been a source of positivity, especially with the added aspect of Jupiter from Virgo aspecting his own sign of Pisces and Venus therein.
Beautiful Venus moves into Mars' sign of Aries on May 30, shining through the muddled aspect of Rahu through June 28, when Venus can occupy her own sign for a period. This transit is therefore quite brief compared to the long stay in Pisces. This initial plunge from Pisces to Aries does include Venus traversing the gandanta, the knot that exists between the sign that ends the zodiac (Pisces) and the sign that begins the zodiac (Aries.)
This could bring us all to some point of pushing through to the other side as we see the month of May coming to a close. Venus is the natural significator of relationship, beauty, creative process, artistic expression and social interaction. The extended stay of Venus in Pisces may have provided a sweet vantage point from which to consider these departments of our life. Especially with the transition that Venus made during the first third of 2017, we may have been re-weaving our own relationships to relationship itself or to other Venusian concepts such as creation.
When Venus first enters Aries, Mercury will be finishing its transit there, but this puts both planets of the rajas guna (energetic) in a sign strongly associated with beginnings (Aries). With both planets and sign receiving the planetary aspect of Rahu, we may see some unexpected events when it comes to the matters of Venus, Mercury and Aries in our lives during this period at the end of May, beginning of June.
It should be noted in saying that Venus has been in exaltation since January 27, we are taking the entire sign of Pisces. The exact degree of exaltation will be reached by Venus by mid-day on May 26; this exact exaltation lasts for about one day. Let this be a great time to mark and remember the great extended blessing of Venus' long transit through Pisces.