Monthly Vedic Astrology Forecast

December 2012

by Kerry Shamblin

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

Rahu – Ketu Axis Begins Transition to New Signs

By December 5, Rahu and Ketu will be entering their final degree of transit through the signs of Scorpio and Taurus, respectively. Since the nodal axis moves in retrograde motion through the zodiac signs, this final degree of transit for these two shadow planets shows the very tenuous state of transition that all planets undergo as they move from sign to sign.

There are a few things to consider during this time of transition, which will really be during the next couple of months, December 2012-January 2013. First, the path and movement of the nodal axis is very irregular in its path and speed. This has lead us to consider the "true" path of the nodes, which exactly marks their position, and the "mean" path of the nodes, which takes an average of their speed and position. Because of the wobble caused by the earth's axis in relationship to the Moon's path, the nodes actually do travel in direct motion sometimes, but most often in retrograde motion. The tracking of this actual position is the "true" node. But because these nodal points are actually without substance, most astrologers consider the average motion of Rahu and Ketu, which is always retrograde, and this is the "mean" node.

Without getting into this debate of which node to follow, the information that I want to convey is that the "mean" nodes will change signs from Scorpio/Taurus to Libra/Aries on December 22. The "true" nodes will change signs on January 13. We can therefore consider the whole month from mid-December to mid-January as a transition of these nodes.

Why is this so important? The nodes, Rahu and Ketu (in western astrology they are known as North and South nodes, and have slightly different indications) have the power to cause eclipses of the Sun and Moon, which happens in pairs about twice per year. Our latest eclipses were in November 2012.

Rahu and Ketu are an axis moving in opposite direction of the motion of the planets. If you can picture a flow of people going around an object in one direction, and then a couple of people pushing against that flow traveling in the opposite direction, you get the sense of disruption and churning that Rahu-Ketu causes in life, not only collectively but certainly on an individual basis.

Rahu and Ketu bring things into our lives and take things away from our lives that are often challenging, but when faced with the best that we can muster, often propel us forward as we evolve spiritually in life. When the nodes change signs, which is about every 18 months, they have become very mature in the signs that they occupy and can often bring the lessons of those signs to a head, creating intense and challenging situations. Knowing where the nodal axis is transiting in your own chart can be very helpful. Rahu and Ketu are currently in that mature state in their positions at the early degrees of Mars' Scorpio (Rahu) and Venus' Taurus (Ketu.)

The natures of Scorpio and Taurus are fixed, stationary and solid. They are good signs for bringing form and completion. There could be a sense in your individual story right now of one chapter finishing and another beginning. As with all chapter transitions, there could be a bit of excitement, danger, uncertainty or difficulty that leads to the events of the next chapter.

The natures of Libra and Aries are initiatory, active and creative. They are good signs for beginning new things and taking action to create new scenarios. Like Scorpio and Taurus, these signs are also ruled by Mars and Venus, but the nodes will be switched in the planetary rulers. Rahu in Scorpio is ruled by Mars whereas Rahu in Libra is ruled by Venus. Ketu in Taurus is ruled by Venus whereas Ketu in Aries is ruled by Mars. Same same but different.

As we observe the nodal axis change, we will feel a shift within our daily lives as well, especially in the domains that the nodes transit in our charts. Ketu in Aries will be a good position for starting new spiritual practices or activities in life that require discipline, inner focus and detachment. Rahu in Libra will be a good position for creating new social connections, reaching forward philosophically and immersing into creative pursuits.

Knowing this shift is coming for all of us can help to make choices that are in harmony with that flow. We can prepare for resistance and churning caused by the nodes in a new department of our lives and realize that its all a part of the flow of life directing us to evolve and open to a more spiritual perception of our existence and circumstances.

Mercury Transits Scorpio December 5 – 26

It sounds simple: Mercury Transits Scorpio. Let's do a quick review of Mercury's recent movements, though. On November 6, Mercury began a retrograde cycle in Scorpio, retreated through the early degrees of Scorpio and back into Libra on November 18, continued to retrograde through the late degrees of Libra for another week and resumed direct motion on November 26.

Within a two week period, Mercury will roll backward past 27° Libra (the degree of the November 13 total solar eclipse) on November 20 and then spends the first week of December re-tracing his steps, hopping over that eclipse degree again, in forward motion, on December 3.

And all of this back and forth of Mercury is a dance between the cave-like arena of Scorpio and the socially pertinent milieu of Libra with Rahu as a dance partner. Mercury as ruler of communication and exchange of goods, data and energy is a very important energy in our day-to-day life. With the smoky, confusing quality of Rahu involved in this re-re-reprise of Mercury, we may have found it difficult to communicate, especially due to ambiguity about desire and motivation that seems to be coming from hidden parts of the psyche.

Mercury dipping back into Libra may have brought some light and understanding, and perhaps a bit of ease in self-expression due to Libra also being occupied by Venus, ruler of Libra, and Saturn, the stern but truthful force that perhaps urged Mercury for a spell to sit quietly for a few moments before trying to speak.

On December 5, Mercury returns to Scorpio, into the ghostly clutches of Rahu, currently in occupation of the early degrees of Scorpio as he prepares to change signs. Mercury is easily influenced. Running into Rahu again, we may see our way of communicating morph Rahu-style. After all Rahu moves retrograde, Mercury just did that, so they have a lot in common right now.

At this point, we have to acknowledge the holiday season. Mercury loves to buy and to sell. To shop, to market, to bargain hunt, to score a deal. Rahu loves to seduce, convince and tempt. Let's all be very aware of how easy it is to fall into the holiday shopping/decorating/gifting frenzy that is the "holiday season" in many western countries. While we're either fully participating or digging our heels in against the frenzy, we can be sure that we are in the clutches of Mercury and Rahu, riding a sleigh toward exhaustion and possible bad decisions.

A good remedy to falling prey to holiday exhaustion and overindulgence lies just 12 houses away from Scorpio, in the sign of Libra. Saturn, exalted in Libra, will be there for us: sitting in the light, thinking of others in a very true and realistic way, remaining calm and silent in the face of the glamor of it all. Remembering the detachment that Saturn offers us, we find our silent night, holy night through the holiday season.

The short advice is that Mercury in Scorpio under Rahu's influence could really drag one beneath the surface, the result being that we could lose touch with what's really true and important. Keep the ultimate goal of universal love in mind and pay extra attention to the karma you create through your actions at this time.

Venus Transits Scorpio December 11 – January 3

December begins with Venus, along with Mercury and Saturn, in her own sign of Libra. Venus, Mercury and Saturn are all natural friends, and generally have harmonious relationships with one another, doing well while in occupation of one another's signs. The first five days of December, we have the planet of communication (Mercury), the planet of love and relationship (Venus) and the planet of truth and restraint (Saturn) all in occupation of the creative and idealistic sign of Libra.

Even though Rahu is on the horizon of also entering this sign, we should have a good chance to see things clearly for what they are during this first portion of the month. Mercury exits into Scorpio on the 5th, then Venus follows behind on December 11th, holding her breath, taking the plunge and paddling quickly to keep up with her friend Mercury. Venus runs into exact conjunction with Rahu as she enters Scorpio.

We can view Mercury and Venus as a pair during this month, making their way through the dark waters of Mars' sign, Scorpio. Just as we are entering the darkest time of the year in the northern hemisphere, Mercury and Venus will also be traversing a sign that draws us below the surface of things.

When we find ourselves in a chilly, dark environment, we often notice ourselves contracting away from the discomfort and fear of darkness. If we can relax our shoulders and open our hearts, listening for the drips of water in the dark cave in which we sit, we may find that we can perceive more than we assume. This is a time to reach deep within and listen to the song of our heart; in the stillness, we may get a glimpse of the mysterious inner fire that drives us.

The beauty of Venus and Mercury traversing this place together gives us reassurance that while we are required to face the difficulties of life as an individual, the truth is that our friends are nearby, doing the same, and this creates confidence that we are not alone and that we aren't even separate.

If your loved ones are traversing difficult situations at this time, the best help you can give is to let them know that they are not alone. Or if you are walking with fear through challenging places, try to relax a bit to feel the presence of others and to know that you are not alone in the darkness. It is through this connection and exchange of love that we become strong enough to face challenges.

New Moon in Scorpio December 13

Venus and the waning Moon walk past Rahu and into Scorpio on the same day. The Moon in the early degrees of Scorpio is in its state of debilitation and in addition, the waning Moon becomes weaker as it moves toward the new Moon phase.

The Moon and Sun will join early in the morning on December 13 in the lunar mansion named jyestha, which translates as "the eldest." This new Moon is in the last degrees of both jyestha and the sign of Scorpio and marks the territory where we reach great maturity in our relationship with material manifestation.

Jyestha is ruled by the planet Mercury and also gets the influence of Mars as ruler of Scorpio. While the fixed nature of Scorpio implies bringing things to completion, the mutable nature of Mercury points the way toward a next phase through further learning.

The day leading up to the moment of the new Moon, amavasya, begins just before dawn on Wednesday, December 12 (12-12-12!) and extends to the early hours of Thursday, December 13. This is a good time to gather in your energy and take it slow and easy, contemplating upon what's coming to completion and also upon what is emerging on the horizon.

At this time, we will have Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus and Rahu all in occupation of Scorpio. This grouping will be flanked on either side by Saturn in Libra and Mars in Sagittarius. This condition of having difficult planets (like Mars and Saturn) on either side is called papakartari yoga, and can create the challenging feeling of being caught between a rock and a hard place.

What is the way to deal with this feeling of powerlessness that may arise due to the planetary configuration at the middle of the month, just at the time when all is expected to be merry and bright? When you're sitting in the middle of your living room, surrounded by strands of broken lights, feeling the pressure of making everything feel warm and fuzzy, who will be there to inspire you and lead the way out of the darkness? Watching from across the zodiac, chuckling and ever-merry is our fearless leader, Jupiter, occupying the middle degrees of Taurus and creating an expansive aspect to the many planets in Scorpio.

Jupiter is what causes us expansion, joy and faith as we move along our path in this life. Amidst the darkness and chaos, Jupiter is there to lead us toward the light in a positive, cheerful and contented manner. So if you find yourself feeling squashed into a position of powerless frustration and despair, close your eyes and ask Jupiter for a little bit of inspiration, knowing that you are where you are meant to be and opening yourself to the expansive lessons of whatever situation presents itself.

Sun Transits Sagittarius December 15 – January 13

The Moon begins to wax on December 13, moving into Sagittarius, leading the way into better times. The Sun follows closely behind, entering Sagittarius on December 15. The Sun represents our soul, our life's purpose and our spiritual identity. Moving from Scorpio to Sagittarius with the Sun is like emerging into an exciting new adventure after a period of intense transformation. This happens of course each year for us and beautifully enough during the time we call the winter solstice.

The Sun joins Mars in Sagittarius, giving quite a bit of courage and drive as we move forward with our lives, plans and actions. We can begin to feel some warmth and fire as we look toward the future, inspired by our desires and that which seems to naturally float our boats.

This winter solstice has been particularly hyped by the many and varied statements about the "ending" of the Mayan calendar on December 21, 2012. We could go on all day about the portents of the implications of this issue. But lets go on just for a paragraph or five about it.

My first reaction to this nervous excitement about the calendar ending is that well, when our calendar ends every year, we just cycle to a new one. Most ancient cultures agreed in the perception that time is cyclical and not linear, so the idea of us hitting a wall in time suddenly and everything falling apart and the world ending seems a bit unrealistic to me.

The center of our galaxy lies in the direction of 6° of the sign Sagittarius, in the lunar mansion called Mula, which appropriately enough means "root." Due to the precession of the equinoxes the point in the zodiac where the solstices occur changes slowly over time. Our winter equinox has been happening in the vicinity of 6° Sagittarius since 1900 and is just now moving out of that vicinity slowly through the years. Just like the Moon's nodes, the degrees wobble a bit. Last year's solstice occurred at 5°23' Sagittarius and this year's will be at 6°9' Sagittarius.

When we look at the vastness of space and the spiraling cycles of time, its hard to imagine that there would be one day where everything comes to a head and then falls apart. Looking at the scales of hundreds and thousands of years, we see that things change in trends and tides with certain intense and notable events peppering the landscape of time in order to mark and note the trends. It could be that with our 12-21-2012 date we could see some of that pepper sprinkling down from the mill of time to mark the overarching changes that we see in our world. Remember the earthquake/tsunami of December 26, 2004? That was a rather notable event that happened around a winter solstice that occurred on the degree of the galactic center.

My personal belief about this collective fear and apprehension about the "end times" is that it is rooted in the collective subconscious of humanity. As a species, I think we have a desire to evolve spiritually and to connect with the source, which some people call God, some call the Tao, some call The Great Spirit. As a collective group, we have been undergoing some intense changes on the material plane in the past 200 years which have caused both great advances in giving us extended lifespans and comfort in our physical lives but have also led to a very real crisis in the balance of life on our planet due to the disregard of the environmental and social impacts that our "industrial revolution" has required. The intuitive instruments that are our bodies can sense that we are headed toward disaster if we keep moving forward with this disregard, just as a deer in the forest can sense an oncoming storm or fire. What we really are yearning for is a deeper connection with The Great Spirit that is embodied in our planet and its creatures, including ourselves and our fellow humans.

If we turn to the Vedic ages, which are cycles within cycles, the view that I ascribe to is that we are currently in the ascending portion of Kali Yuga, the age of darkness and iron, the nadir of the great cycle of time. That means that we're on our way up toward the light and the ages of enlightenment (again!) So the uncomfortable condition of evolving through a certain level of barbarism and environmental and social disregard is upon us. For those of us alive during these times we face the task of choosing light over dark, others over self, and love over fear. By reaching out and connecting with others, with animals, with plants, with rocks and with the sweet life of our planet and the larger arena of our solar system and galaxy, we are acknowledging our oneness with the light of the universe.

If you find yourself feeling fear and apprehension about natural disasters and plagues and aliens invading on December 21, perhaps reading the opinions of our dear friends at NASA will help calm things in your mind. If you're feeling pretty settled with it all, let your light shine calmly and brightly as a beacon for others. The lesson is love.

Mars Transits Exaltation Sign Capricorn December 17 – January 24

Mars, our capacity for channeling power and energy though our actions, moves from fiery Sagittarius into Saturn's earth sign of Capricorn on December 17 and takes about five weeks to march his way through. Capricorn is Mars' sign of exaltation, which means that Mars can function in his strongest, highest capacity in this sign. Capricorn is "cardinal earth" which means that it is good for initiating action that requires work in the physical realm. In Capricorn we can allow Mars to help us climb or move mountains if that's what we want.

During the time that Mars gains power and we all start putting our noses to the grindstone and getting stuff done, the planets in occupation of his Scorpio will quietly depart and emerge into different realms. Mercury enters Sagittarius on December 26, Venus enters Sagittarius on January 3 and Rahu slips into Libra during the latter part of December.

So as our winter begins and the Sun begins its journey toward strength in our northern hemisphere, and our planets shift signs, we have some choices ahead of us about how and where to place our energy. The first part of the month, with the focus on the planets in Scorpio is really calling for some deep contemplation about new directions. With two eclipses and Mercury retrograde in the rearview mirror, we have the space to learn from our mistakes and difficulties and to integrate those lessons. As the year ends and a new one begins, we have the fuel to start new projects and really put our energy forward.

Mercury Enters Sagittarius December 27

Mercury emerges from watery Scorpio and glides on into Jupiter's fire sign, Sagittarius, on the morning of Thursday, December 27. Bearing the message of the coming of the new season and new year, we have our planet of communication, exchange and movement as a guest in Jupiter's fire sign for fewer than three weeks, until January 15.

Mercury's evacuation of Scorpio has a few implications. First, Mercury moves out of a positive aspect from Jupiter, although a bit heavy due to Jupiter's retrograde motion. Since Mercury is easily influenced by the planets with whom he shares space or from whom he receives aspects, he sometimes assumes the demeanor of those planets. Mercury's position in Scorpio with his aspect from Jupiter and recent retrograde cycle was positive and hopeful but a bit bogged down. This could have resulted in difficult communication when it came to the practical day-to-day things but with the caveat that it may have been appealing to dig in deep and talk about serious things in a ponderous manner.

Second, Mercury moves into an aspect from Saturn in Libra. While Mercury may feel more free and fired up to express and move while in Sagittarius, we have a bit of brakes applied with Saturn looking on. This could be very positive in the sense that Saturn is a channel of truth and responsibility. Saturn's influence on Mercury keeps him honest and grounded, which can be very helpful when we consider the "word – sound – power" trifecta.

Third, this fast movement into Sagittarius is going to propel Mercury forward toward a combustion period with the Sun from January 8-24. This means that the Sun will somewhat take over the influence of Mercury as he squeezes by our great luminary and we can expect that time period to be much about ourselves and our own forward movement.

Last, Mercury leaves Venus to clean up after the very intense party in Scorpio. Rahu will have slinked, grinning, into Libra as Ketu stepped stoically into Aries. This leaves our two priestly planets, Jupiter and Venus, looking across the zodiac at one another, blessing the domains of Taurus and Scorpio which have had the occupation of Ketu and Rahu for the past 1.5 years.

As our calendar year comes to an end, it may feel particularly relevant. It coincides perfectly with that new chapter that the planets are ready to provide. The grace with which we transition is up to us.

Full Moon in Gemini December 28

Our final full Moon of 2012 occurs as the Moon waxes her way opposite the Sun, reaching that moment of fullness in the wee hours of the morning of Friday, December 28. The Sun will be at 13° Sagittarius, in the nakshatra of Mula, still within the domain of the galactic center. The Moon will be at 13° Gemini in the nakshatra of Ardra.

Somehow, the planets continue to tell such a magnificent story, filled with meaning, beauty, art and a little drama.

Remember that our nodes, Rahu and Ketu, are changing signs at this time. If we revisit the beginning of this forecast, we'll acknowledge that due to the wobbly nature of things, we're looking at this change as a short period of time rather than one day: mid-December to mid-January. This full Moon comes somewhat in the middle of that period. The Sun will be in a nakshatra ruled by Ketu while the Moon will be in a nakshatra ruled by Rahu. The meaning of this: cosmic poetry and harmony. A reminder that as we dance through life, we embody the cosmic dance, a balance of will and surrender, kneeling humbly to our lessons and stretching gracefully toward our potential.

One of the symbols of Ardra is a raindrop, recalling the calm potential of renewal after a storm. The chaos and destruction that we encounter in life is inevitably followed by a quiet, calm moment where we see clearly through the prism of a raindrop or a teardrop and know that as a human being our mission is to see our potential and evolve with whatever steps we can make toward that future.

It is time to integrate all that we have learned and experienced and decide how to proceed. When we remember our environment and view things from the perspective of being a part of a greater whole we are fully supported as we stretch up and out toward the next part of our journey. Use the clarity of this raindrop to see what's ahead and set your feet and intentions toward that next destination.

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