Monthly Vedic Astrology Forecast

January 2013

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 Continues Transition to New Signs

The Rahu-Ketu axis is the nodal axis. They are abstract points along the path that the planets travel through the zodiac that denote where eclipses will occur when the Sun and Moon align with these points. In Western astrology, they are known as the North (Rahu) and South (Ketu) nodes, but have slightly different significations. The nodes are always located exactly opposite one another, 180 degrees apart in the zodiac, and when this axis shifts, we may feel significant change because of these two "shadow planets" influencing different areas in our charts.

Last month, I talked about this shift and will continue the discussion here. I'm looking at this transition period as lasting from mid-December to mid-January based on the difference between the mean and true node. Read last month's discussion.

What I'm finding and feeling during this transition is that the lessons and urges of Rahu in Scorpio are very much coming to a head, causing both deep inner spiritual transformation for some and violent, aggressive actions for others. These are, in a basic way, the more and less evolved expressions of Mars, ruler of Scorpio. Rahu is depicted as the head of a demon, so when we feel that our desires spring from our mind without regard for the rest of our being, we can feel Rahu's influence. This puts great stress, therefore, on the state of our minds and the actions that follow. A calm mind can urge us to do kind and selfless actions where a disturbed mind can direct us to do horrible things.

The other side of the equation is Ketu in Taurus, ripening and readying for this shift. Taurus is the realm of physical manifestation and sensual enjoyment, ruled by Venus. The higher expression of Venus energy is devotion, love and celebration of beauty while the lower expression is attachment, illusion and glamor. Ketu is the part of the demon that is a body without a head. Through Ketu we can become quiet and attuned enough to life that we act and sense by feeling through our bodies rather than reasoning with our minds. The final days of Ketu in Taurus may find some of us becoming completely quiet, masterful and healthy in our bodies and physical existence while others of us may recoil from the physical world to the extent where we cannot recognize the support and beauty of our material realm and end up feeling isolated and separate.

Depending on where this axis falls in our birth chart, we are all exercising through the lessons of Rahu and Ketu in different ways and domains of life. The commonality lies in what is expressed above. The shift to new signs will be an interesting inversion. Ketu will move to Aries and Rahu will move to Libra. The inverted sense of things involves Venus and Mars and their rulership of the signs that Rahu and Ketu occupy both before and after the shift. Our new paradigm, for the next 1.5 years will see Ketu operating in Mars' fire sign, Aries, and Rahu operating in Venus' air sign, Libra.

Ketu moves from Venus' earth sign to Mars' fire sign, where really, the function of Ketu could feel a bit more productive. Ketu and Mars are similar in a way; they are both masters of physical discipline and exercising the detachment required to perform difficult actions. Ketu in Aries will be a good position for adopting physical practices that benefit our bodies, for example, martial arts, yoga, establishment of gardens or crops, meditation or study that requires focus.

Rahu moves from Mars' water sign to Venus' air sign. With this shift, we may feel a shift from emotionally driven action to philosophically inspired movement. We may feel less pressure on our minds from the turmoil of depth and feeling (Rahu in Scorpio.) Instead, we may be able to think more universally which opens our minds to a broader menu of choice. On one hand, this could be quite expansive and humanitarian, but without proper grounding could lead to indecision and inability to choose a clear path. That proper grounding can come from a good application of the Ketu in Aries energy. Establishing or deepening a physical practice will be a good foundation as we reach for the stars and expand our minds into new directions.

Mars Exalted in Capricorn Jan 1-24

Mars actually moved into Capricorn on December 18, and continues through his sign of exaltation through January 24. Planets can function to their highest capacity when they are in an exalted state. Mars as our planet of power, drive and forward motion can skillfully get things done when located in Saturn's earth sign, Capricorn. One of our common symbols of Capricorn is the mountain goat atop a peak, showing the determination, courage, skill and fortitude that it takes to reach a goal. Mars has excellent structure in Capricorn to channel the fire and energy that he embodies. Here, we can get things done. We can give form to our energy and reach goals.

Mars has been the subject of difficult environments since his passage into Virgo in June 2012. Virgo is not a supportive place for Mars, and neither is Libra. Mars made it into Scorpio in September, his own sign, but had to contend with Rahu for power. The transit through Sagittarius was a turn-around period for Mars, but he was still subject to the aspect of Saturn, which slows down the Mars drive. This passage through Capricorn should feel really great for some of us, as far as getting down to business.

The exact degree of exaltation for Mars comes at 28º Capricorn. Mars reaches that peak on January 22-23. We should be feeling the sense of reaching our goals after weeks of dedicated work at that time. The simple message of this transit of Mars in Capricorn is: get to work! This position of Mars should be powerfully driven in a disciplined way. A good use of the energy may be to formulate a goal and really point your nose in that direction. Write it down. Make a plan and stick to it. Take advantage of the planetary backing and enjoy the feeling of accomplishment when you make it to the top of that hill.

Venus Transits Sagittarius January 4 – 27

Venus moves from Scorpio to Sagittarius on January 4, following her friend Mercury who moved into Sagittarius on December 27. The exodus of planets from Scorpio may provide a warmer, brighter outlook in general. The deep, dark arena of Mars' icy water sign can be "intense" in many ways, so with both Mercury and Venus moving into the warmer, fiery sign of Sagittarius there could be a sense of surfacing into the sunlight, of moving forward, of looking ahead and long-range planning.

Venus represents the human capacity for love, connection and compassion. Through Venus we experience the oneness and togetherness that leads us toward feelings of happiness and appreciation of beauty. With Venus transiting through Sagittarius, we put that capacity for love and relationship to work in an environment of positive, adventurous expansion. With Mercury and the Sun also in occupation of Sagittarius, we have a few weeks to put our hearts forward and expand into love and relationship through compassionate communication.

Venus and Jupiter also gain a special relationship while Venus passes through Sagittarius, one called parivartana yoga, which occurs when two planets exchange signs. Jupiter currently is placed in Venus' sign Taurus, while Venus will be passing through Jupiter's Sagittarius. Since both of these planets are natural benefics, we have hope that this relationship between these two good planets will support positive actions during this time.

While we may feel the basis of positive vision and forward thinking, Jupiter's retrograde status may keep things in the inspired, planning stages, but should nonetheless be supportive in helping us see ahead and lay groundwork. An especially helpful aspect could come from a difficult arrangement based on the distance that Jupiter and Venus share between them. This could actually reveal potential difficulties that may arise with planning or relationships, giving the opportunity to overcome obstacles or transform difficulties before they actually manifest.

On so many levels, we have been recently required by the planets to be patient and humble, to wait or surrender, to sacrifice or release. This has cleared the deck so that we can have clean and clear beginnings. With the nodal axis change almost finished and Jupiter resuming direct motion at the end of January, we're almost ready for those first steps in new directions.

New Moon in Sagittarius January 11

2013 begins as the Moon is waning after the full Moon of December 28. Traveling alone as she becomes concave, the Moon eventually encounters Saturn on January 6 and Rahu on January 7. Because the Moon's energy becomes weaker as it wanes toward the monthly conjunction with the Sun (new Moon), these encounters with Saturn and Rahu could create a bit of depression and turbulence at the end of the first week of January.

Between January 7 and January 11, the Moon continues to wane, but moves into calmer territory in the company of Venus and Mercury in Sagittarius. The moment of the new Moon comes at around noon on Friday, January 11. The day preceding that moment is amavasya, running from the late afternoon of January 10 to mid-day on January 11. This is a good time to limit activity and to set intentions for the upcoming lunar cycle.

The new Moon falls in the nakshatra called Uttarashada, "the Universal Star." Uttarashada's motivation is liberation, its planetary ruler is the Sun, the associated deities are the Ten Vishwadevas and its power is to grant clear victory, apradhrisya shakti. This nakshatra spans the last part of Sagittarius and the first part of Capricorn, but this particular conjunction of Sun and Moon occurs in Jupiter's Sagittarius.

We therefore get the influence of the Sun (through Uttarashada) and Jupiter (through Sagittarius) as we begin this new lunar cycle. The symbol of Uttarashada is an elephant's tusk, bringing to mind the power of lord Ganesh and his gift of removing our obstacles. This new Moon is a great time to plant the seeds of the actions that you will take as the Moon waxes. We have the support of unchallengable victory and clear, purposeful action. This new Moon, combined with the power of exalted Mars, could be the break in the clouds that many of us have awaited. Think carefully of where you wish to apply your energy and of which victories seem most sweet.

Sun Enters Capricorn January 14

Sagittarius is generally a positive, outgoing sign where action is free and easy. However Saturn's position in Libra during the next couple of years will throw the brakes on the activities born of the Sagittarius spirit due to his aspect from Libra. While this could feel somewhat irritating based on our desire to expand, learn and live large, we can welcome the caution that Saturn brings to our adventures. Deliberation and slow movement often make things turn out to be more safe and secure in the long run.

The Sun moves from Saturn's aspect and into Capricorn on Monday, January 14 to spend his annual month in Saturn's earth sign. This year, the Sun, friend to Mars, gets a boost by sharing this transit with exalted Mars. This amplifies and focuses that energy of exaltation so that we can concentrate our efforts on our goals. If your eyes are on the prize and your heart is in the game, you should find progress to be steady this month.

Saturn-Rahu Share Libra January 14, 2012 – July 12, 2014

With the true nodes finally settling into place on January 14, the nodal axis transition will have completed and we can look ahead to the next 1.5 years as Rahu-Ketu transit the signs of Libra and Aries, respectively.

One of the main features of this transit is that Rahu and Saturn will be sharing occupation of Libra for the next 1.5 years. This is a significant conjunction of two slower-moving planetary forces that will likely manifest for each of us individually based on where this transits the birth chart and collectively as well.

Because this is a "slow" conjunction, the period of time when these two bodies get close within five degrees may be the most notable. Starting in August 2013, Saturn and Rahu will move to within five degrees. Saturn will be moving forward through Libra and Rahu will maintain its usual retrograde motion. Exact conjunction occurs September 11-22, 2013, and separation begins at the end of October 2013. Rahu moves into Virgo July, 2014 and Saturn moves into Scorpio November, 2014.

To explore the natures of Rahu and Saturn and how they will act in combination within the environment of Libra is the topic on hand. Both Saturn and Rahu fall into the category of "natural malefic" planets, meaning that they generally have the tendency to bring difficulties. The beauty of confronting difficulty comes in our handling of the situations that ensue. The grace, strength and wisdom that result from walking through life's trials are what makes us grow as human beings. Given that truth, we can be grateful in advance for the situations that may arise due to the Rahu-Saturn conjunction in the next 1.5 years.

Saturn is the planet of limitation, contraction and karma. Through developing a relationship with Saturn we learn responsibility, detachment and the beauty of truth, difficult as it can be sometimes. Saturn in Libra, Venus' air sign, is in its place of exaltation, meaning that the highest qualities of Saturn can be expressed. Saturn is the karmic leveler, reminding each of us that life is short, that our actions must be accounted for and that not one of us is worth more than any other. In Venus' philosophically creative sign, we get the chance to put the theory of Saturn into action. Through discussion, art, socializing and even revolution, the things that need to change have the opportunity to change. Change often requires destruction of old forms, and Saturn is here to help us with that portion of the show.

Rahu, the shadowy planet that causes eclipses when aligned with the Sun and Moon, is a planetary force that draws us into worldly action, fuels our actions through curiosity, craving and desire and generally makes life dramatic and interesting. Rahu is associated with the world, the public, the masses, with natural disasters and plagues, with fame, with ghosts and demons, with addiction. On the bright side, when Rahu isn't causing trouble and is functioning in a higher capacity, can grant us creativity, connection with other people and the ability to see beyond the mundane world.

The combination of these two strong planets should be quite active. The general theme may be one of revolution. Discontent with present conditions, desire for a more beautiful world, attraction to underlying truth and destruction of illusion: these feelings may come to a head under the conjunction of these two planets, urging us forward to a creation of a new world wherein the humanitarian basis of Saturn is amplified and spread through the pervasive channel of Rahu.

The environment of Libra is described by the air element, so the change to come may very well be born on the wind. We may face literal wind events that are destructive. There may be fires and drought given the right conditions. Overall, we are looking at the cold, dry and windy qualities of Saturn in the airy environment of Libra. Creating a personal haven that is calm, earthy and moist could be a great balancing factor when the winds of the world's motion become too much.

Mercury Transits Capricorn January 15 - February 1

Mercury speeds through Capricorn during the last two weeks of January, bearing his message of positivity gained from his transit through Sagittarius. Mercury gains speed, moving quickly past the Sun and out of combustion with the Sun by January 22.

Mercury also gains freedom from Saturn's aspect as he moves out of Sagittarius and into Capricorn. We may find it easier to say what's on our minds or speak from our hearts without fear. Be careful of how things come out, once you are feeling that freedom; Mercury is sharing space with a very strong Mars until January 24, which could encourage aggressive speech. Work on the neutral quality of direct communication without having to use your words as missile weapons.

The last week of January will see Mercury, Sun and Venus in Capricorn together (without Mars.) We'll have the blessing of a full Moon, the culmination of a "victorious" lunar cycle and a basis for compassionate communication that lifts us toward our goals as we find firm footing on the path for our new calendar year.

Full Moon in Cancer January 26

The Moon becomes full during the evening of Saturday, January 26 in the sign of Cancer, the Moon's own sign. This is the culmination of the cycle begun on January 11. This occurs in the lunar mansion (nakshatra) called Pushya, considered one of the most auspicious nakshatras.

Pushya is located entirely within the sign of Cancer, so it carries the energy of the Moon itself; its planetary ruler specifically is Saturn, so there is a combination of structure, restraint and nurture that makes this asterism a place of good fortune and purification. The power of Pushya is brahmavarchasa shakti, the power to create spiritual energy.

Saturn, currently exalted in Libra, will aspect the Moon at this time, further solidifying the auspicious influence of Saturn to create lasting spiritual forms and practices. The full Moon also falls on Saturday, the day of the week associated with the planet Saturn. Planning a ceremony (not wedding, though) for this day would be quite a good idea.

Jupiter Resumes Direct Motion January 30

Jupiter began its current retrograde cycle on October 4, 2012, moving back through the portion of the sign Taurus that is covered by the lunar mansion called Rohini. The power of Rohini is growth; with the expansive nature of Jupiter in reverse motion, we have had a period where growth and expansion seem to be difficult to grasp. Jupiter regains direct motion on January 30 at 12° Taurus.

Retrograde motion of planets is an interesting study. The results that retrograde planets give vary according to their nature, but the common theme is a reversal, slowing or latency of that planetary energy. During these retrograde times, we have the opportunity to deeply immerse ourselves into the fundamental actions of the planets, to review our intentions and actions surrounding that realm of life.

Jupiter is an opposite to Saturn in the sense that Jupiter represents expansion where Saturn gives limitation. Jupiter is positive to Saturn's negative. Jupiter gives us hope and faith where Saturn arms us with caution and practicality. It is Jupiter at work when we seek guidance and wisdom or when we expand our consciousness through higher education and spiritual practices.

Jupiter's direct motion could signal new steps forward. Access to growth and expansion should become available where we were met with sluggishness during the autumn season.

Jupiter and Saturn are both currently placed in signs owned by Venus. Venus rules our human capacity for love, connection and devotion and is expressed through relationship and creative artistic pursuits. While Jupiter and Saturn occupy Taurus and Libra at the same time, we may be feeling the need to balance our approach to relationships and creativity. Exploring the boundaries and expanses of love and finding a healthy balance between self and other and between holding on and letting go will be a theme for the remainder of Jupiter's transit through Taurus, which ends in May 2013.

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