Monthly Vedic Astrology Forecast

November 2003

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.

Lunar and Solar Eclipses November 8 - November 23

Welcome to November 2003. There will be two full eclipses this month: a full lunar eclipse on the evening of November 8 (the full Moon) and a full solar eclipse on November 23 (the new Moon). The lunar eclipse will be visible for people in Europe and in the evening sky of the East coast of the US. The solar eclipse will be spectacular for those in Antarctica and other regions of the southern hemisphere. In addition, we will be entering the 5th month of Mars six month stay in Aquarius. Mars, although dimmer in the sky now than in August, is still prominent in our night sky.

The lunar nodes, Rahu and Ketu, are the "planets" that "cause" eclipses. First off, Rahu and Ketu are not actually planets, but the ancient seers saw the influence of these abstract points in space as so important that they were elevated to the status of planets. Secondly, Rahu and Ketu dont really "cause" eclipses, they set the stage for eclipses. Picture Rahu/Ketu as an axis with the Earth at the center. As the Moon circles the Earth, it goes through different stages of relationship with our other great luminary, the Sun, creating what to us appear as the different phases of the Moon. The Moon is "new" to us when it completely disappears from our sight because it is in line between the Earth and the Sun. A couple of weeks later, when the Moon is "full" it is called so because the Earth is then between the Moon and the Sun. The light of the Sun blasts around the Earth, totally illuminating the Moon for us at night.

When a lunar eclipse occurs, it is actually our perception of the Earth's own shadow, cast from the light of the Sun, obscuring for a short time our view of the Moon. When a Solar eclipse occurs, the Moon is passing between the Earth and the Sun so that it obscures our view of the Sun for a short time, because by some divine plan, the Moon and the Sun appear to us as approximately the same size even though the Moon is much smaller and closer to us than the Sun, which is much larger yet further away.

The reason that there are not eclipses every new and full moon stems from the tilt of the earths axis. Because the earth rotates at an angle to the sun, we have our seasons: the Sun "travels" toward the south in the winter if you live in the northern hemisphere and remains low in the southern sky, giving us short days, and in the summer the sun rides high in the sky and gives us long days. The Moons position does a similar flip-flop, opposite to that of the Sun. This band in which the Sun and Moon travel holds the constellations that make up the zodiac, and at the exact center of this band lies an imaginary ring around the Earth called the ecliptic. The axis that Rahu and Ketu form intersects the ecliptic, and they mark the places where the Sun and Moon can be eclipsed if they are in the right place at the right time.

Rahu/Ketu circles around the ecliptic like the other planets, but in reverse motion, retrograde. It takes about 18.5 years to make the full turn of the zodiac. The force that it represents in our lives is that of karmic balance: the actions associated with the karmic retribution supplied by these "shadow planets" are often compelled by forces, both inner and outer that we feel are beyond our control. So Rahu/Ketu moves slowly across the sky, spending about 1.5 years in each sign of the zodiac and bringing attention to each sector of our karmic pattern in turn, especially being activated through eclipses. Rahu/Ketu very impersonally, abstractly makes its rounds, and occasionally the Sun and Moon positions are such that eclipses occur.

The meanings of the word "eclipse" are: The partial or complete obscuring, relative to a designated observer, of one celestial body by another; a temporary or permanent dimming or cutting off of light; a fall into obscurity or disuse; a decline. In this way, I interpret the power of the celestial eclipses to mark the ending of old karmic patterns. For most of us, letting go of any portion of our existence can feel painful, even regarding things that do us no service or actually cause us harm. Therefore Rahu/Ketu influence can bring karmic jolts, sometimes pleasant and unexpected boons and sometimes painful accidents or illnesses, that carry us forward in a direction that balances our life whether we like it or not.

An inherent part of the eclipse cycle after the darkening is the return of light, power, regeneration, the beginning of a new cycle. Perhaps you can identify a part of your life that feels ready for a change: an ending, a new beginning. Rahu/Ketu is ready to play its game of lights and shadows this month. Rahu/Ketu can give everything and then take it away in order to show that "everything" was an illusion all along, a process that can give the most pain if the truth is resisted and the most liberation if the truth is accepted. Rahu/Ketu wants to show you the truth of existence. The question is, do you want to see it?

Planets on the Move November 8 - November 22

Rahu is currently in the late degrees of Aries, a Mars ruled sign. The full Moon eclipse of November 8 will occur then, in a sign influenced by Mars. Mars transformative, powerful and directed energy has been in the astrological headlines for months now, and will continue to be powerful throughout the month. During the latter half of October, Mars intensity was somewhat diffused by the airy Libran energy being kicked up by Venus, Sun, and Mercury, not to mention amplified by Ketu. But already the trio of planets is heading toward Mars intense and transformative sign, Scorpio. Venus entered Scorpio at October's end and cruises through, exiting November 22. Mercury goes from Libra to Scorpio on November 8, ducking out just in time to be too affected by that eclipse energy. The Sun goes into Scorpio on November 17. So, as this month progresses we see Mars gaining even more dominion over some of the other planets.

The area of our lives where Mars has been poking at us for the past few months possibly feels like a battlefield by this point. If you have not yet set a course for transforming the part of your life in question, things will remain violent until your attention is aroused. Resistance is futile. The good news for those who have chosen to engineer something new in this regenerative time is that with discipline and responsibility, forward progress on your road will be increasingly available. Mars is entering a new lunar mansion on November 22 that supports determination, dedication and courage for our endeavors.

The thing to remember about powerful Mars right now is that he is strongly influenced by Saturn, due to Mars' placement in Saturn's sign of Aquarius. This means that much of Mars' energy can be harnessed and controlled by exercising the saturnine qualities of responsibility, detachment, and focused attention. Saturn's dispassionate acceptance of karmic law is also useful when confronting the life churning events brought forth by Rahu/Ketu's travels through both our collective and personally oriented zodiac placements. In general, planets like Rahu/Ketu and Saturn are much easier to befriend if you are willing to look beyond the material aspects of existence into a realm where your individual consciousness dissolves into something much larger than usual self-centered perception. These forces want us to take responsibility for our acts in the world (Saturn) so that we can truly perceive our place in the world, our soul's purpose (Rahu/Ketu.)

Reports of accidents, illnesses, deaths, breakups, and calamities of many varieties have been way up in the past few months, at least to my ears. Mars energy represents power and generally we get hurt when we lose respect for or attention to the power that we represent. Avoid calamity by consciously directing your power: mean to do things, enact your intentions, plan and execute. Take responsibility for your desires, your passions, and build outlets for them. Realize that the momentum generated by your movements in the world has the power to cause yourself and others both harm and exhilaration. Make sure that you approve of what you plan to do so there will be no hesitation when the time comes to act.

Thanksgiving day looks well endowed for the usual getting together with loved ones, feasting, merriment, and giving thanks. The Moon and Venus will be in Jupiter's celebratory sign of Sagittarius that day. Eat, drink, and be merry! Until next month

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