Monthly Vedic Astrology Forecast

Jyotish Forecast Archive

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

Current Forecast

May 2018

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.

Mars Transits Capricorn May 2 – November 5

Mars transits through his sign of exaltation, Capricorn, from May 2 – November 5 and will be joining the south node of the Moon, Ketu. This combination of Mars and Ketu through Capricorn lasts five months and could be the most notable planetary transit of 2018.

Ketu, the "headless one," is the counterpart of Rahu, the head that was once attached to the headless body of Ketu. Together, these "shadow planets" of Vedic astrology form an axis that cuts through the zodiac, and which moves in the opposite direction from the progression of the other visible planets through the zodiac. This is the nodal axis, which when joined by the Sun and Moon either during a new Moon or a full Moon, will yield an eclipse.

The churning effect of the Rahu-Ketu axis becomes a significant factor when understanding the natal chart or current transits of the planet. While Rahu signifies intense desire for worldly experience, Ketu has desire only for liberation from the suffering of the world. Rahu drives us toward the world while Ketu lifts us toward the divine.

Rahu and Ketu among the planets are given only co-rulership of one sign each. Rahu joins Saturn as co-ruler of Aquarius and Ketu joins Mars as co-ruler of Scorpio. Saturn is associated with the element of air, which also applies to Rahu. Mars rules fire, and Ketu becomes fiery as well. Both of the nodes have a tendency to agitate or destabilize the signs and houses that they affect.

Rahu and Ketu entered the signs of Cancer and Capricorn respectively in August of 2017 and move in reverse motion through these signs over the span of about 1.5 years. They move to the signs of Gemini and Sagittarius in January 2019, so will continue to affect Cancer and Capricorn through the remainder of the calendar year.

In the planetary cabinet, Mars is the general and Ketu is the standing army. This alone gives the sense of the potential power that can be generated by this combination. With Mars also enjoying exalted status in Saturn's earth sign, Capricorn, we can also expect the best results and highest expression of Mars' energy. We count on Mars for observation, strategy, protection, strength and focus.

Ketu, whose direction is upward, will serve to uplift Mars even further during this conjunction. Having no specific attachment to worldly outcome, Ketu's energy will support the plans and actions of Mars. Ketu affords us intuitive understanding and internal spiritual direction; the meditative prowess of Ketu creates a calm setting for the executive ability of Mars in Capricorn.

Capricorn is ruled by the planet Saturn, whose challenging influence makes this sign known for promoting the tenacity to work through difficult situations. Capricorn is the natural tenth sign of the zodiac and corresponds with the tenth house of the horoscope, which indicates the karma we do in the world to support our life. The tenth house is the pinnacle of the "artha" trine. Artha is one of the four aims of life and is concerned with material support. Other artha houses are the second, where we see resources and the sixth, where we see the struggle for physical health and well-being.

Mars is the chief planet we look to when we need to create, procure and protect our wealth, health and career path. The power and prowess of Mars has many applications, for example military, law enforcement, building, design, medical, farming, mechanics, engineering, mining and drilling.

Mars transiting through Capricorn for five months is lengthy, due to a retrograde cycle of Mars which begins on June 26 when Mars reaches 16° of Capricorn after recently passing by Ketu. This keeps Mars very close to Ketu as he grinds in apparent reverse motion, passing by Ketu for the second time, then resuming direct motion at 5° Capricorn on August 27. Once Mars resumes forward motion, a third pass of Ketu occurs around the time of the vernal equinox, September 20-22. Mars continues through the late degrees of Capricorn as autumn develops, moving into Aquarius on November 5.

The retrograde period of Mars could produce some intensity, as an exalted and retrograde planet can sometimes fall a bit from its best behavior. Retrograde planets can be unpredictable and subject us to strong desires having to do with the planet's nature and location. Again, this retrograde period extends from June 26 – August 27.

The lord of Capricorn, Saturn, will be retrograde for the entire transit of Mars and Ketu through its sign. Saturn assumed retrograde motion in Sagittarius on April 17 and resumes direct motion on September 6. This retrograde status of the planet ruling the sign where the Mars and Ketu transit occurs adds another layer of complexity into the analysis of how this transit could affect both individual and collective experience.

Depending on the role of the planets and signs involved with this transit, as well as personal planetary and sign periods, this Mars and Ketu experience from May – November may manifest differently for each person. A common thread is the potential for harnessing a great deal of power and focus to the ends of accomplishing significant work that requires planning, discipline and forbearance.

Mars, Saturn and Ketu are not social planets, so we may be feeling and applying this intense power potential in private, personal or internal ways rather than externally.

Another thing to mention is that during this Mars-Ketu conjunction, we will also experience our second eclipse pair of 2018, which will be happening in the Cancer-Capricorn axis.

Generally, we see eclipses come in pairs, one solar eclipse and one lunar eclipse. This summer, we get two partial solar eclipses (July 12-13 and August 11) and one total lunar eclipse (July 27-28.)

The July 13 partial solar eclipse has both Sun and Moon in the late degrees of Gemini, so they are close enough to Rahu for a partial eclipse effect. The total lunar eclipse of July 27 will be the most dramatic, with Sun and retrograde Mercury joining Rahu in Cancer while Moon and retrograde Mars join Ketu in Capricorn. The August 11 partial solar eclipse sees Sun, Moon and retrograde Mercury joining in the late degrees of Cancer, far enough away from the Rahu-Ketu axis that this is only a partial eclipse.

I've made a video that reviews the details of this transit, as well as going further into considering its effects specifically for each of the signs.

Mercury Transits Aries May 9 – 26

Mercury pushes his way out of a lengthy transit through Pisces on May 9, moving into Aries for a short stint until May 26, when he moves to Venus' earth sign, Taurus. Aries is a fire sign, ruled by Mars, and during this transit of Mercury, also aspected by the exalted Mars from Capricorn. That is a lot of power for the quicksilver surfer, Mercury, to ride.

The exalted Sun will only be in the equation for the first five days, and then moves to Taurus. Nonetheless, this could be quite a powerful transit of Mercury, fueled by the power of Mars and balanced by Jupiter, who is currently retrograde in the sign of Libra, giving a full aspect to Mercury and the sign of Aries.

Mercury rules communications, management of finances, and short/quick projects, interactions or travels. This could be a good window for really pushing through tasks that require the power of Mars and the alacrity of Mercury.

Venus Transits Gemini May 14 – June 8

During the first half of May, Taurus is quite well appointed, as its ruler, Venus has been present there since April 19, but evacuates to Gemini early in the day on May 14. Venus is currently visible in the evening sky after sunset; the further away it is from the Sun, the more we can enjoy the sight of Venus.

Venus is moving quickly through the signs at this point, keeping that distance from the Sun. By June 8, Venus will have already moved to Cancer, joining Rahu and lending some watery softness to the fiery Mars-Ketu combination in Capricorn during that time, which is June 8 – July 4. This overlaps with the beginning of the Mars retrograde period which begins June 26. We will look more closely at Venus in Cancer for the June forecast.

Venus does well in Mercury's air sign, Gemini, and should provide good energy for pursuits that require creative communication, diplomacy and flexibility. Venus will not be feeling the fire of Mars and Ketu at this time, but will come under the gaze of retrograde Saturn, currently aspecting the signs of Aquarius, Gemini and Virgo from his placement in Sagittarius.

This mid-point of May sees Venus and Sun changing signs on May 14, followed by the new Moon in Taurus on May 15. This could be a small pivot as we begin to put energy toward projects newly begun, making adjustments and getting our new setting dialed in.

While Mercury, Venus and Sun are beginning to roll along on new ideas and vistas, we may encounter some delays and resistance due to Jupiter's retrograde status in Venus' sign and Saturn's retrograde status in Jupiter's sign. Our heads and hearts may be well in the game, seeing how to move ahead, but our feet and legs may be a few steps behind, as Jupiter and Saturn are deeply concentrated on the roots of growth potential and foundational stability.

This could cause frustration in the sense that our energy, vision and inspiration are focused on creating new scenes while at the same time, we get dragged into addressing practical details and availability of resources that hamper the smooth flow of our creative vision. As always, we are better off slowing down and checking those details, revisiting plans and building strong foundations (because it is always a wise idea to listen to Saturn!)

Sun Transits Taurus May 14 – June 15

The Sun gives Mercury some space in Aries when he moves to Venus' earth sign, Taurus, from May 14 – June 15. After Venus moves into Gemini, the Sun takes Venus' place in Taurus for his one-month transit there.

Sun is considered to be in an enemy sign while in Taurus (remember that Venus rules Libra also, where Sun is debilitated.) This plays out as a bit of a struggle between the "me" (Sun) and the "we" (Venus) once again, but its always a good opportunity to learn more about how much to assert oneself in relationship or collaboration situations.

For the first couple of weeks in Taurus, the Sun has a nice position. No malefic influences are coming directly from either Saturn or Mars, with the addition of enjoying a nice yoga caused by Mercury and Venus flanking the Sun in adjacent signs. This spreads out the energetic, positive and inspirational energy of Venus and Mercury, allowing those two planets to function without getting blazed out by the powerful Sun.

Taurus is Venus' fixed earth sign, associated naturally with enjoyment of the material world that supports and feeds us. Taurus is more suited to sustenance and continuing than beginning new things, so this could be a good month to put energy into projects that are already underway. Venus' influence on Taurus could inspire us to beautify our surroundings or in general put more time into enjoying the environment, including the enjoyment of eating, growing and preparing of food.

This is a month of respite for the Sun. As it moves to Gemini, it will receive the aspect of Saturn. When it progresses to Cancer, it joins Rahu and receives the aspect of exalted Mars. Sun then moves to Leo and continues to get Mars' aspect, after that, moving to Virgo, the Sun again receives the aspect of Saturn. So, enjoy this month when the Sun allows us to sit in the fields, watching the butterflies and flowers in peace.

New Moon in Taurus May 15

Just hours after the Sun reaches Taurus, it is joined by the Moon at 1° Taurus for the moment of the new Moon in the pre-dawn hours of Monday (soon to be Tuesday), May 15. This conjunction of the Sun and Moon occurs in the nakshatra (lunar mansion) of Krittika, which is ruled by the Sun.

The Mars-Ketu conjunction is big news for 2018, but one of the themes that came forward from the annual charts cast at the new year to me was the conjunction of Sun-Venus-Saturn in Sagittarius. The Sun-Venus energy generally brings forth the difficulty that we face with individual expression (Sun) vs. uniting with others (Venus.) With the Sun doing his first transit of Venus' signs during 2018, we may really see this theme come into action.

Krittika nakshatra within Taurus is further a perfect ground in which to explore this theme, as it is ruled by the Sun, and Taurus itself is ruled by Venus. The last three of the four padas (sections) of Krittika span the first ten degrees of Taurus. This new Moon moment on May 15 could be the start of a new period in which we can collectively experience the striving for balance between Sun and Venus.

Healthy relationships can thrive when those involved are strong individuals. More specifically, when each member of a relationship is self-fulfilled, they are able to come together to share their whole selves, not as means to fulfill missing parts of themselves. When one has missing pieces and seeks them in another, this affects the harmony of the relationship, or if one person too strongly asserts their individual desires, this could damage the balance in the relationship. Striking this healthy balance requires balancing the Sun and Venus energies.

Krittika is ruled by the Sun and its symbol is a razor, implying cutting, which can be harsh but it can also be used for personal grooming! With this in mind, use the tender moment of the new Moon to set some intentions about how to re-shape your individual personal expression, if necessary, to create a better connection with other people. This could be outer shaping, such as refining your interactions or look, or it could be inner shaping, done through examining how the ego reacts when interfacing with others.

Venus, the lord of Taurus and the dispositor of the Sun and Moon combination on this day, will be in the student's seat while transiting through Gemini. This shows a flexibility and open mindedness about learning new ways to relate and join together.

With all the intensity generated by the Mars-Ketu combination, as well as having both Jupiter and Saturn in retrograde status, we are provided a perfect challenge for love and compassion to take the lead. We are all in this together!

Mercury Transits Taurus May 26 – June 9

Mercury joins the Sun in Taurus on May 26, gaining speed after his last retrograde cycle and jetting ahead of the Sun by the first week in June. This will put Mercury in a state of combustion, which is essentially proximity to the Sun from our point of view.

Combust planets tend to dissolve in the bright orb of the Sun, but Mercury experiences this so frequently that we can expect no other planet to weather it better. Mercury also tends to join and mimic the other planets that are close by, so we can expect Mercury to help out with the new Moon "razor" project that was initiated mid-month.

Mercury is well-placed in Taurus and will create an exchange of signs with Venus, who is currently in Gemini, a Mercury-ruled sign. This parivartana (exchange of signs) boosts both of these already energetic planets. We enjoy this until June 8, when Venus moves to Cancer, which is nearly this entire transit of Mercury through Taurus.

Mercury and Venus together are energetic, enthusiastic, creative and fluid. This transit should support communications, artistic endeavors, education, entertainment, networking, social life and dietary changes.

Full Moon in Scorpio May 29

The Moon is waxing during the second half of May, becoming full at 15° Scorpio on the morning of Tuesday, May 29. The lords of Scorpio, Mars and Ketu in Capricorn, will only be four degrees apart from one another, showing a great deal of intensity for this full Moon moment.

There are a number of planets that will be in close range by degree, and therefore the aspects that may be caused will be intensifying. Sun and Moon will be at 15° Taurus and Scorpio. Rahu and Ketu will be at 15° Cancer and Capricorn. This puts an exact aspect of Rahu on the Moon for this day. Additionally, Mars at 11° Capricorn is close to joining forces with Ketu at 15°. Saturn at 14° Sagittarius will be opposing Venus at 18° Gemini.

When the going gets tough, it is natural for us to look to the beneficial planets to help and guide us, chiefly, Jupiter. At this time, Jupiter has very little influence on many of these factors, some of which could be challenging or intense, for example, there is no aspect from Jupiter onto the Mars-Ketu combination.

The other factor is that Jupiter is currently retrograde, which can cause a reversal in the results that the planet gives. We count on Jupiter for buoyancy, positivity and growth in general. At this time, with the retrograde status, even Jupiter may be struggling to find the positive in things. Jupiter remains retrograde until July 10, so until then, we may have to fall back on Venus to find creative, compassionate solutions. Venus is strong in Gemini until June 8 after which time Venus gets into Rahu's territory. It may be a good time to get organized and make moves before mid-June.

This full Moon at 15° Scorpio occurs in the nakshatra of Anuradha, ruled by the planet Saturn and by the deity Mitra, lord of friendship and treaties. With the power potential represented by Mars and Ketu in the hands of the Moon this day, we can hope that Mitra guides us toward finding peaceful and practical solutions.

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