Monthly Vedic Astrology Forecast

December 2011

by Kerry Shamblin

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

Mars Occupies Leo December 1 - December 31

December is the second of eight months that Mars will occupy Wall Street, I mean Leo. Though I jest, its not difficult to see the parallels. Mars represents power and how we as humans relate to power and resources. Mars has a youthful, pioneering and fiery energy, and without it, people would be much easier to control and subdue.

Leo, ruled by the Sun, the Sovereign among the planets, is very much the domain of the status quo. It is symbolic of royalty, leadership and central authority. Leo has the ability to hold and maintain power and resources, while Mars' relationship with power has more to do with seeking, exploring and utilizing.

The collective global movements that aim to deconstruct economic and social systems that support an elite class that holds the lion's share of power and resources are very much a reflection of Mars energy manifesting through the lens of Leo.

With both Mars and the Sun (ruler of Leo) having in common the tendency toward self-centeredness, it's interesting to see the play of these similar energies. On one hand, we have people fighting to protect self-interest (Mars), and on the other we have people fighting to retain that which has been gained by exercising self-interest (Leo.)

On a personal level, we may experience themes that involve power struggle and resource allocation. There may be a sense of “personal discovery” as we delve deeply into hidden places within our own psyche. We will have the opportunity to regard firmly established systems from a fresh but challenging perspective of direct experience and consideration.

Mars from Leo also aspects his own sign of Scorpio, currently hosting Rahu, the Moon's north node, and Mercury, retrograde until December 13. Rahu acts mysteriously as an amplifier that will bring issues long buried to the surface via Mercury, our agent of communication and exchange.

There could be even more buried scandals coming to the surface, as the impetus for change and accountability grows among people who share the common vision of serving truth and justice so that all may thrive. People will feel more comfortable about coming forth and speaking in the name of what is right. Resources that are taken from below the surface of the earth, like coal, oil and natural gas are ruled by Scorpio. Mercury retrograde in that sign is like the proverbial canary that's taken to the mines to report on safety. Let's see what comes up.

Saturn Occupies Libra December 1 - December 31

As Mars from Leo calls attention to that which is bubbling beneath the surface, Saturn continues his slow entrance through the early degrees of Venus' Libra. Libra is associated with the scales, and the Sanskrit name for Libra is "Tula" which translates to "balance." The theme for finding balance will be present for Saturn's transit through Libra during the next 3 years.

Saturn gives his influence to the third, seventh and tenth signs from his position. This month, the only planet to be directly influenced by Saturn will be Jupiter, currently occupying Aries, the seventh sign from Libra. This condition actually remains through April 2012, when Jupiter moves into Taurus.

Jupiter and Saturn have opposite tendencies. Jupiter is expansive, positive and growth promoting. Saturn is constrictive, negative and subtractive. The lessons that each one teaches are essential for creating balance in one's life and actions.

Jupiter and Saturn are located in Aries and Libra, respectively, and ruled by Mars and Venus, respectively. Aries and Libra are both "cardinal" signs that are domains of action and initiation. Both signs encourage creativity, exploration and activity.

Jupiter and Saturn in opposition offer us a check and balance system in which we are urged to evaluate our actions in light of how they will affect goals. Saturn generally offers us the sometimes difficult gifts of limitation and restriction; we are urged to explore the concept that acquisition and attraction sometimes create sticky situations that require responsibility that we are unwilling or unable to fulfill. As Saturn settles into this new position, we may experience Saturn's gift of loss in some way. The true gift is the experience of detachment, the endurance required to move through difficulty and the strength that is the result of enduring difficult situations.

At the same time, Jupiter offers us the gift of hope, the desire to grow and to acquire new knowledge and tools. We stand in a channel in which the flow offers us situations in which we can practice both "yes" and "no." Each choice can be one step closer to or one step further away from creating healthy, sustainable balance.

Full Moon Total Eclipse in Taurus December 10

The Moon reaches the apex of the cycle begun on November 24 early in the morning of December 10. The full Moon occurs when the Sun and Moon occupy opposite signs, and the Moon is able to fully reflect the light of the Sun, becoming strong and bright.

Rahu and Ketu, also known as the "nodes of the Moon," are points in space that indicate where eclipses occur when the Sun and Moon conjoin them. The Moon will join Ketu in Taurus and the Sun will join Rahu in Scorpio to create a full lunar eclipse. The eclipse will be readily visible to central and eastern Asia and Australia, as it occurs during the night. From Africa to central Asia, the eclipse can be seen during moonrise (sunset) and for North America, the eclipse can be seen at moon set (sunrise.)

Eclipses are traditionally seen as negative influences, as our greatest sources of light are swallowed by shadows. In a sense, they create an environment of vulnerability, and we are encouraged to sit for a moment in contemplation as our luminaries and guides are darkened. It is an opportunity to sit with insecurity, darkness and fear while at the same time connecting with the light that dwells within.

The Sun and Rahu in Scorpio are joined by retrograde Mercury, and aspected by Mars from Leo, already a setup for exploration and analysis of the dark corners that many of us avoid at all cost. The Moon becomes full and eclipsed while in Venus' sign, lending us courage, creativity and vulnerability as we regard the darkness.

This temporary condition of darkness mimics the annual journey into darkness (for the northern hemisphere) that culminates in the winter solstice on December 22. We are invited by the darkness to slow our actions and assume a posture of surrender and humility from which we can move up and out, into the light, as it slowly emerges and guides us.

Mercury Resumes Direct Motion December 13

Always an added challenge during holiday season is a Mercury retrograde cycle. Mercury retrograde in the sign of Scorpio begins on November 25, Thanksgiving Day for those in the United States, and resumes direct motion on December 13.

The first layer is that Mercury retrograde effects are generally standard: difficult communication, unreliable plans, technological mishaps and gaps, transportation glitches. The general remedies for this include: slowing down, double checking, light agendas, flexibility, extra attention to speech and writing and Mercury's gift to everyone, a sense of humor.

The second layer is that Mercury's nature makes him easily influenced by other planets. So, his situation with Sun and Rahu in Scorpio takes our capacity for communication and exchange deep below the surface. In general, this could be difficult in the face of trying to create merriment and brightness.

There is a choice here. 1. One could barrel through in an attempt to prepare for holidays and pretend like we're all riding along in a one-horse open sleigh without a care in the world. 2. One could slowly approach the holiday season with a sense of deep thoughtfulness about the reality of how life is unfolding around us, making careful choices in consideration of creating and maintaining the balance that Saturn encourages at this time. The consequence of choosing #1 could lead toward a state of frazzled, unsatisfied imbalance.

At any rate, the effects of Mercury retrograde can often be felt up to a week before and after the actual retrograde period. With Rahu occupying Scorpio, we have somewhat of an amplifier action on Mercury, so leave those Mercury remedies in place through the solstice.

Sun Enters Sagittarius December 16 - January 15

Shortly after Mercury resumes direct motion, the Sun moves away into Sagittarius, Jupiter's fire sign. Each year, this brings to mind the Sun's position during the winter solstice, which is roughly in the direction of the Galactic Center, which we would reach if we set out in the direction of the early degrees of Sagittarius. The Sanskrit word for Sagittarius is "Dhanus" which translates to "bow." This is akin to the western view of Sagittarius' symbol as the archer.

Both symbols urge us to point ourselves toward the center and quest until we reach the core of our being. Each year before the winter solstice, the Sun moves through the depths of Scorpio, where we use that powerful light to explore the dark corners and root out that which no longer serves. Then we emerge from that crucible into a new journey. The Sun in Sagittarius pushes us toward new horizons and encourages the planting of seeds that will crack and grow as the season evolves toward spring.

The Sun in Sagittarius also helps to create a triad of powerful and fiery energy. Jupiter is the ruler of Sagittarius and is currently located in Mars' fire sign, Aries. Mars, ruler of Aries, is located in the Sun's fire sign, Leo. This sets up a very powerful base for decisive movement and positive growth. If change is desired, these three planets located in the three fire signs should be harnessed for forward movement as the new year dawns.

Venus Transits Capricorn December 16 - January 8

Venus also moves signs on December 16, from Sagittarius to Capricorn. This puts Venus into an exchange of signs with her friend, Saturn. Saturn occupies Venus' air sign, Libra, while Venus makes a quick journey through Saturn's earth sign, Capricorn. What to do with this?

How about gracefully getting down to the business of creating beautiful and practical situations and things? How about connecting with others under the auspices of making the world in which we live a place where each person is considered on equal ground for a chance to work and love? How about making a poetic attempt at striking a pose that balances love and effort? How about introducing devotion into work projects? The possibilities are myriad.

New Moon in Sagittarius December 24

Just a couple days after the winter solstice, we begin a new lunar cycle when the Sun and Moon conjoin in the early degrees of Sagittarius. This occurs at about 8° Sagittarius, in the lunar mansion called "Mula" which translates as “root.”

The Moon's energy ebbs considerably as it wanes, and is at a most vulnerable, receptive state when new. Having come from a full eclipse just a fortnight before, the Moon enters Sagittarius and joins the Sun in a weakened state. The beautiful aspect of this is that Moon symbolically reaches a state of emptiness and openness to the Sun's energy, allowing for the filling of the vessel with the reflected energy of the Sun as the Moon waxes. It's very romantic, actually.

This occurs in the lunar mansion that points in the direction of the Galactic Center, Mula. This very fiery and active nakshatra cuts straight to the heart of things, like an arrow well aimed. There is also the theme of roots; roots penetrate deep places, much like the theme of Scorpio, which is in extreme proximity to the stars of Mula. Mula is ruled by the goddess Niritti, who rules destruction, calamity and the path that they open toward rebuilding and new growth.

This would be a good time to realign with the concepts of destruction and calamity. When we hold tightly to material constructs, destruction is frightening. When we can gain perspective and see destruction as instrumental to converting the corrupt, spent and decaying into fodder for new growth and building, we can find a healthy expression for that energy.

The day of the new Moon is generally best for withdrawal and consolidation of energy. Try to make this period of time between the solstice and Christmas day very easy and nurturing. Aim for getting major activity done by Wednesday, December 21, so that you are able to settle in for a good reboot through the solstice and new moon.

Jupiter Resumes Direct Motion December 25

As if on cue, Jupiter, so bright in the early morning sky, stations for a moment on Christmas day, and resumes direct motion. Jupiter, the planet of joy, spiritual pursuits, positivity and expansiveness is known as “Guru” in Sanskrit, which translates as "guide/teacher.” Jupiter has been following an apparently retrograde course since September.

When planets are retrograde, especially ones with positive associations, like Jupiter, we can sometimes feel the repression of positive movement and growth. With Jupiter's retrograde status compounded by Saturn's entrance into opposition with Jupiter, things feel especially hard to move and initiate.

The ideas are there and possibilities can be sensed, but initiation has not been realized. With Jupiter resuming forward motion in Mars' fire sign, Aries, we may meet with new possibilities and cleared paths toward goals. Not that obstacles will disappear or be removed, but our ability to surmount them will become more powerful.

With the triad of fire signs currently being occupied by Mars, Sun and Jupiter, all in forward motion for now, as we move into the new year we are boosted by a powerful, fiery energy. This comes with enthusiasm and with warnings. The Sun and Mars have very strong self-centered tendencies. The Sun is tempered by its location in Jupiter's sign and Mars is tempered by Jupiter's occupation of Aries. Both are tempered by Jupiter's aspect. We are all fortunate to be guided by wisdom as we put forth our efforts.

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