Monthly Vedic Astrology Forecast

January 2004

by Kerry Shamblin

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

Happy New Year January 1

All signs are pointing toward 2004 being a very Mercurial Year, especially with our New Year beginning in the midst of Mercury's retrograde cycle in Jupiter's fire sign, Sagittarius. The bulk of Mercury's retrograde cycle has occurred in the lunar mansion of Mula, which means "root." The meaning of this nakshatra lies in the concept of destruction being essential to transformation. It evokes the difficulty that lies in balancing the security and familiarity of tradition with the need for expanding in new directions, into unfamiliar territory. Because of the attachment to the comforts and regularity of living the status quo, it often takes extreme measures to push us out of the nest that confines and restricts our growth and into a greater and often more chaotic field of knowledge and options. The explosive nature of Mula falls into the "demonic" category of lunar mansions as specified by the old-time astrological sages. Indeed, one of our most explosive modern transformational events, the attack of September 11, 2001, occurred while Mars and Ketu were conjunct in Mula. To me, the recent earthquake in Iran which reportedly caused the death of 30,000 humans (over seven times the death toll of the WTC disaster) is one example of the destructive nature of Mula, which housed the Sun and Retrograde Mercury that day, December 26, 2003.

Mercury remains the host of Saturn in Gemini through September of this year and will become the host of Jupiter in his earth sign of Virgo in September. My feeling in general about the upcoming year is that the first part, essentially up until September, will be marked by the Mercurial message "change is inevitable" being met with the violent resistance of the old school regime. Mars will move through the early signs of the zodiac, Aries and Taurus during the first quarter of 2004, and toward a confrontation with Saturn in May. Things are likely to heat up in May and June as Saturn and Mars come into conjunction. The Martian force of power and control overtakes the Saturnine guardian of detachment and restraint. Look out for the US to make a bully style stand by attempting to show force and control in other countries and at home this late spring and summer (even more so than it already is.) The month of August looks interesting because of a conglomeration of planets in the fire sign of Leo, including Mercury who will do a retrograde cycle there in the latter half of August as Jupiter moves from Leo to Virgo. As September arrives, Saturn will move into Cancer and Jupiter will have recently moved to Virgo, which could prove to be a very transitional period as the presidential election draws near. Both of our slow moving outer planets will be moving into signs in which they are not entirely comfortable, which fulfills the omen of Mercury's New Year position in Mula by providing the kind of chaotic backdrop that falls when unfamiliar territory has been entered. Saturn in Cancer brings images of survivors on a life raft, while Jupiter in Virgo brings visions of the revered teacher performing menial service. It will be interesting to witness the ups and downs of public opinion as the last quarter of this year unfolds. Mars will come into conjunction with Ketu in mid-October, which will give the explosive potential for some pre-election drama.

Because I believe that we as individuals reflect the general behavior of the human race on this planet, I find it interesting to translate how the trends that affect us all will manifest in our individual lives. Will we heed the message that tells us to move to the next place on our journey? Will we ignore it, refuse to believe it? How loudly and violently will the universe have to yell at us to let go and move on? Will we courageously and joyfully explore the potential of the unknown? How will we respond to the new information and concepts that confront us? Where will we place our allegiance, and personal power as an expression of who we are?

Planets on the Move January 5 - January 25

As for the month of January specifically, Mercury stations direct on January 6, while on January 5 Jupiter begins a retrograde cycle that lasts through the first week of May. Saturn is currently retrograde as well, in Gemini; this may lend a certain push-pull feel to the month. We partly feel like holding on to what feels comfortable despite disfunctionality, and we partly feel that realistically we must be prepared to boldly move into the next phase. At least the first few weeks of January would be best spent in preparation and reflection. When Mars moves into Aries on January 25, the time for planning and action will have come.

Full Moon in Gemini January 7

The full Moon this month occurs on January 7 in the sign of Gemini. Mercury stations direct on January 6 in Sagittarius, setting the stage for a powerful full Moon conjunct retrograde Saturn opposite Mercury and the Sun, who occupy Jupiter's fire sign, Sagittarius. Wow. What does that mean?! It may feel like the culmination of a period of change and shift that leaves us wondering which direction to go. Don't struggle too hard if your outer circumstances feel like a storm at sea or your activity level overwhelms you. The time to focus will come. Use the light of the full Moon to illuminate the grand illusion and to confirm that you are a small fish in a big sea. This is an important perspective to know as you arrive at the start of a new round during the new Moon in Capricorn on January 21. As the month wraps up, you may find yourself hunkering down for some serious progress in your chosen arena. Focus and plan, move ahead on the path, and try to integrate the experience of being a small part of a large thing into your individual path and goal.

Best wishes to all for the New Year.

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