Monthly Vedic Astrology Forecast

September 2013

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.

What About Ketu?

I've been talking extensively in the past months about the Saturn-Rahu conjunction, which is significant and becomes exact on September 25. Some events in August brought my attention to the mutual aspect between exalted Saturn and debilitated Mars, which will continue through October 5. How does Ketu relate to this equation?

Ketu is currently in Aries, Mars' fire sign. Ketu and Mars are also related in the sense that they are co-rulers of Mars' water sign, Scorpio. Ketu and Mars are similar in nature in that they are intense, fiery planets.

Ketu is the south node of the Moon, the counterpart of Rahu, the north node of the Moon. While Rahu is depicted as either a head without a body or as a serpent's body with the head of a demon, Ketu is depicted as a body without a head. Rahu reflects our desire nature and that which draws us into worldly activity. Ketu symbolizes how we strive to escape worldly life and move toward liberation from the cycle of birth and death. Together they form the axis that when conjoined with Sun and Moon cause eclipses.

In this regard, Ketu is a great ally for those on the spiritual path. Ketu's inspiration draws us inward and inspires us to seek practices that increase our focus along the path toward liberation of the ego, which allows us to be in the world but not of the world.

Aries is the domain of initiation, action, planning and execution. Planets located there get the benefit of heightened perception and focus. Ketu, with its Mars-like qualities, can function well there and may be a good energy to turn toward as we navigate through the dramatic situations that may arise through the energy of the Rahu-Saturn conjunction and the Saturn-Mars aspect throughout this month.

What I'm suggesting is that seeking refuge in some type of spiritual practice, be it meditation, yoga, prayer, volunteering, charity, physical exercise or some type of activity that requires sacrifice of time, energy or resources may be just the remedy when things get tough. I'm not suggesting that ignoring situations that arise is the way to go; we must attend to the problems that present themselves. Making the effort to carve out time for some type of practice amidst the pressure of schedules and "situations" could be helpful, though, to remain grounded and clear within the mind and emotions. Some level of detachment can be very helpful when life becomes overwhelming.

A conscious effort toward liberation and detachment is what we are seeking; not anything close to an escape from reality.

Jupiter Changes Lunar Mansions September 1

Jupiter continues to transit through Mercury's air sign, Gemini, through May 2014. This creates an auspicious aspect from our planet of growth, higher learning and expansion to all of the air signs and the planets occupying them: Gemini itself, where Jupiter is located, Libra, currently housing Rahu and Saturn, and Aquarius, currently not occupied with any planets but naturally co-owned by Saturn and Rahu.

In turn, Rahu aspects in the same manner as Jupiter, so we have the aspect of Rahu also on all of the air signs. This combination of influences, Rahu and Jupiter, could be positive for growth while simultaneously requiring surrender to influences beyond one's control.

Since the outer planets move slowly through a sign, we can track the subtlties by noticing which nakshatras, or lunar mansions, that the planets occupy within a sign. Each sign (like Gemini, Cancer, Leo) occupies a 30° segment of the zodiac band, while each lunar mansion occupies 1°20'. Each sign is therefore overlaid by about 2.5 lunar mansions.

From June 28-August 31, Jupiter transited through the lunar mansion called Ardra which spans the middle degrees of the sign Gemini. Ardra is ruled by Rahu, which put three of the outer planets: Jupiter, Saturn and Rahu all in nakshatras ruled by Rahu.

At around midnight between August 31 and September 1, Jupiter steps into the first degree of Punarvasu, the lunar mansion that spans from 20° Gemini to 3°20' Cancer. Punarvasu means "return of the light," is ruled by Jupiter himself and its deity is Aditi, the mother of the gods.

This move of Jupiter into Punarvasu could create a new sense of growth that comes out of situations that may have been churning and chaotic for the past couple of months. The light may start shining through the clouds bringing new perspective. We still have Rahu and Saturn located in Swati, a lunar mansion also ruled by Rahu, but this transit of Jupiter into a more stable nakshatra could promote positive progress to our growth and learning.

New Moon in Leo September 5

As September begins, the Moon is waning. The Moon when waning is weakening in strength. On September 1, the Moon moves into its own sign of Cancer and toward a conjunction with Mars, who is debilitated in Cancer. The waning Moon doesn't give Mars much help, so we could run into situations around this time that become emotionally frustrating.

The Moon continues to wane, joining the Sun and Mercury in Leo and reaching its exact conjunction with the Sun just before dawn on September 5. This makes our amavasya (the day before the new Moon moment) from pre-dawn on Wednesday, September 4 to pre-dawn on September 5; amavasya marks the lowest ebb of lunar energy in the cycle and is recommended for withdrawal from major activities or decision-making. Please note that these timings are from the perspective of the US and that your local timings can be deduced by using a handy astrological calendar like that offered by drikpanchang.com.

The New Moon occurs at about 20° of Leo, the Sun-ruled sign of our zodiac. The Sun is strong here, which should give a good start to this new cycle. The lunar mansion for this monthly conjunction is Purvaphalguni, which translates as "fully fruiting" and implies the culmination of the creation of something. It indicates ripeness and fruition, is ruled by Venus, and provides the power of creativity and procreation.

Under Purvaphalguni, we seek to enjoy the fruits of our labors and to create beautiful forms both physically and emotionally. This could be a good time to celebrate accomplishment of a certain level of creation and prepare for the next phase, which is harvest.

As the Moon waxes, it will bring us out of our third phase of Kala Sarpa Yoga with the help of Venus, who moves to Libra on September 6, further weakening the Sarpa (serpent), which eventually breaks completely when the Moon enters Scorpio on September 10.

Mercury Transits Virgo September 5-24

The second significant planetary event of September 5 is that Mercury moves from Leo to Virgo around mid-day. Mercury is moving ahead of the Sun after a short combustion period (being so close to the Sun that a planet's natural energies are lost in the powerful emanations of our Sun.) Mercury is the ruler of Virgo and so we should be able to harness Mercury's energy in a very effective and grounded way as Mercury transits his own earth sign from September 5-24.

Mercury as our indicator of communication and exchange should be able to move quickly and effectively forward during the middle part of this month. This will be a good time to regroup and reorganize as we shift from one season to the next.

Although Mercury will be hemmed between the Sun in Leo and the Rahu-Saturn combination in Libra until the Sun changes signs, this won't be a dire position for Mercury. Mercury will be comfortable in its own sign, somewhat like a writer happily ensconced in their office under the influence of some good inspiration and heading successfully toward completing work before a deadline.

Take heart in this burst of Mercurial comfort and plan on getting your ducks neatly back into a row during the middle of September.

Venus Enters Libra September 5

After sunset on September 5, the third big move of the day comes when Venus moves from Virgo to Libra. This is significant for several reasons. First, Virgo is Venus' sign of debilitation and Libra is Venus' own sign, so this will greatly improve the status of Venus. Second, because Venus is the dispositor of Saturn and Rahu, meaning that Venus rules the sign containing those planets, this should also improve the functioning of these planets. Third, Venus moving into Libra further weakens the hold of the Kala Sarpa Yoga, allowing us more latitude in our choices and actions as we navigate through day-to-day life.

With Venus in its own sign, Mercury in its own sign, Saturn in exaltation and Sun in its own sign, leaving only Mars in a state of debility, this improves the astrological weather somewhat, which could be helpful as we approach the exact Saturn-Rahu conjunction on September 25.

Venus passes through Libra rather quickly, moving on into Scorpio on October 2. Take advantage of Venus' influence throughout the month, especially because of the drama that may arise due to the increased planetary activity in Libra. One of Venus' gifts to us is the lesson of compassion that comes through recognizing oneness rather than separation. Venus urges us toward relationship and creativity, love and beauty, comfort and enjoyment.

Even the choice to increase the blessings of Ketu by focusing on spiritual or physical practices is supported by Venus at this time in that Ketu is currently occupying Bharani, a lunar mansion ruled by Venus. Making time to practice is an act of compassion for both the self and others; understanding that stark austerity is not strictly required on the road to liberation could be a result of our meditations this month.

Mars – Saturn Mutual Aspect Exact on September 8

Setting the bouquet of flowers aside for a moment, we get down to some brass tacks. When Mars moved into Cancer on August 18, a mutual aspect between Mars and Saturn was created. Mutual aspect in this case means that Mars casts his energy onto Saturn via his 4th house aspect and Saturn casts his energy onto Mars via his 10th house aspect.

In the past I've used the phrase "driving with the brakes on" to describe how it can feel when Saturn and Mars interact. Mars' tendency is to move forward steadily with courage in order to make things happen (gas pedal.) Saturn's tendency is to move slowly with caution in order to block progress that may create problems (brakes.)

Depending on the state of affairs of each planet in the moment, we can guess who will prevail in this tug-of-war. Currently, Mars in Cancer is not at its strongest. Mars is debilitated in Cancer, an emotionally-charged sign that is more conducive to nurture and organic growth than Mars prefers. Mars wants to forge ahead and get things done, and the environment of Moon-ruled Cancer makes this difficult for Mars.

Saturn, conversely, is at its highest state of function in Libra, moving steadily toward its degree of exaltation. This indicates that caution, slow movement, deliberation and detachment may prevail in any current situations that resemble driving with the brakes on.

For example, you want to move forward with a project; all of the plans are in place, materials have been gathered and you just want to do the work and bring things to completion. Nothing wrong with that! Just then, whoever is funding the project gets cold feet and becomes worried about the process or plan and brings things to a halt. What happens next? Frustration! The reality is that in this situation, the project funder is in control and no amount of crying, yelling or manipulation is going to move things.

This aspect between Mars and Saturn becomes exact at 14º Cancer and Libra, respectively, on September 8. Since Mars does tend to get frustrated in Cancer, and Mars does tend to cause accidents and outbursts, please be careful with driving, vehicles and machinery around this time. Use caution, double check, keep your eyes on the road and your feet ready to press the correct pedals at the appropriate times.

Patience is a virtue and it may be the only answer this month. Another factor in this mutual aspect between Mars and Saturn is that Rahu is within three degrees of Saturn, with the gap between the two entities closing as the month progresses. Rahu contributes a whole new level of chaos and unpredictability into situations; another reason to put more energy into preventing accidents and mishaps. Granted, we can't control every factor, but it doesn't hurt to slow down and proceed with attention and caution.

Venus as dispositor of Rahu and Saturn can also help by reminding us that the other parties in any situaion have their own needs and perspectives that should be honored and upheld. This is not a time where selfishness will help us to win the game. While Venus is the current dispositor of Rahu, Mars is the current dispositor of Ketu, providing another level of passion and drama in our play of life during this time. We may be drawn to trying to manifest our desires but be met with obstacles and frustration. A little attention to Ketu-style activities may be the best remedy during this month, as suggested at the beginning of this forecast.

Sun Enters Virgo September 16

The Sun moves from Leo to Virgo on September 16, joining Mercury. When Sun moves from its own sign to Virgo, there can be somewhat a feeling of losing one's throne or of the self slipping away. Sun in Leo is an expression of being in one's seat, surrounded by one's court, in full glory. The move of the Sun to Virgo changes the perspective a bit, possibly to a more holistic view of things.

Mercury has little interest in power or in ruling over anything; Virgo as its expression is a mutable earth sign where things need to move and shift. The fruit needs to picked, processed, packaged and stored. The emphasis on the glory of a ripe fruit falls by the wayside in favor of the practical issue of getting the fruit to the table. The pageantry wanes and the marketing of the usefulness of the product becomes paramount.

In personal terms, we may feel a loss of focus on ourselves in favor of focus on the process of things. To some, this could feel refreshing and invigorating; to others it may feel empty and taxing, all depending on our natural predelictions. In any case, the Sun in Virgo invites us to process and make use of our fruits.

This is also a good time to check in with our health, diet and lifestyle and to analyze what needs to change in order to restore or maintain balance. Because the Sun represents our soul, we have a good chance to see how what we do and what we eat either feeds or harms us on a soul level through the practical and analytical environment of Virgo. The Sun is in Virgo through October 17.

Full Moon in Pisces September 19

Just before dawn on Thursday, September 19, the Moon reaches its point of fullness at 3° Pisces. The sign of Pisces is ruled by Jupiter, as is the lunar mansion of Purvabhadra, in which this full Moon occurs.

Pisces is Jupiter's water sign and is the final sign of the zodiac. In Pisces we have the ability to see the full range of life's possibilities; with the wisdom drawn from going through a lunar cycle, through a lifetime or through any process, we have a broad range of vision and understanding.

As the end, Pisces asks of us to let go in the process of morphing into the next cycle. As the end, Pisces requires us to face endings but also to accept and prepare for beginning again.

With the shifts of planets at the beginning of the month and with the dramatic conjunction of Saturn and Rahu becoming exact soon after this full moon, we may at this moment feel ourselves at a culmination point, on top of the world with the knowledge that we're going around for another try. The ups and downs of life begin to make sense from the perspective of Pisces, which shows us that the ups and downs are as normal as waves in the ocean. The cosmos dances, generates energy and life goes on.

With the deep wisdom of Pisces, we can feel comforted due to the realization that we have both an extraordinary and yet completely commonplace role in the play of life. While Pisces can feel comforting regarding our place in the universe, it doesn't necessarily dish out clear answers about what to do. There is a certain amount of surrender needed to absorb the full meaning of Pisces; while we may not be given a sure understanding of our direction at this time, it may be a good shot of faith that things are exactly as they need to be.

Mercury Enters Libra September 25

Just like September 5, September 25 may be a significant day as far as the planetary energies go. Mercury moves from Virgo to Libra, joining Venus, Saturn and Rahu.

The planets form two groups of natural friends. One of the groups consists of Venus, Saturn and Mercury, so it is interesting that they are all joining in one sign on the day of the exact conjunction of Rahu and Saturn, discussed further below.

When planets occupy their own signs or signs of friends, they generally function well. With Venus in its own sign, Saturn in its sign of exaltation (also friendly) and Mercury in the sign of a friend, these three planets should play a supportive role for one another.

Things that Mercury, Saturn and Venus have in common are disinterest in power, concern for others and a certain sense of neutrality. Sometimes there is disharmony when too many planets occupy one sign, but on this day, these three friends are spaced far enough apart to be supportive rather than conflicting.

Mercury, the quick mover of the planets, often transits signs pretty quickly. This time, Mercury will remain in Libra until November 30 due to a retrograde cycle between October 21-November 10.

It seems that in the next couple of months, Mercury will play the role of diplomat somewhat, relaying messages, repairing relationships and facilitating exchange of information that could help to make sense of busy or chaotic situations.

Saturn-Rahu Exact Conjunction September 25

Saturn and Rahu become exactly conjunct starting at 7:10 am on Wednesday, September 25. This is the big moment we've all been waiting for, that hopefully won't result in any extremely dramatic events. As has been discussed, these two slow-moving planets will share the sign of Libra for an entire 1.5 years; this just happens to be the moment when they come together exactly.

People or places with important placements near 15º of Libra or Aries may experience some significant events around this time. Because these two planets are so slow moving, this critical time will likely be more of a range than a moment. Starting at mid-day on September 21, Saturn and Rahu will share the same degree (15 Libra) until October 10, at which point they begin to separate and go their separate ways.

Saturn will slowly plod toward its degree of exaltation at 20° Libra while Rahu continues its usual retrograde motion toward the early degrees of Libra. Whatever combination of pressure and chaos that this conjunction may serve up to us, we are glad to have Venus and Mercury present on either side of the combination in order to neutralize, diffuse and offer a sense of friendship and compassion to situations that may arise. Surrender, patience, truth, compassion and dedication to our practices will be the greatest allies during this time.

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