Monthly Vedic Astrology Forecast

April 2014

by Kerry Shamblin

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

Venus moves into Aquarius March 30

Venus moves through Aquarius from March 30 – April 28, the second time we are experiencing this exchange between Venus and Saturn-Rahu since they have been joined in Venus' sign in January 2013. Venus rules Libra where Saturn and Rahu are placed while Saturn and Rahu are the co-rulers of the sign of Aquarius.

The last exchange occurred between February 21 - March 16, 2013. A quick review of the events of that period of time indicate that we may be seeing a small increase in natural disasters and accidents during this time, as well as an increased level of armed conflicts and attacks. This is due largely to the passionate nature of Venus, as ruler of relationships between people, coming into a direct exchange with Rahu and Saturn, rulers of Aquarius. Rahu and Saturn are currently situated in Venus' air sign, Libra. This gives a great deal of strength to all three planets involved.

Last year when this transit occurred, Jupiter was in Taurus, Venus' sign. This time, Jupiter is in Gemini, giving direct influence on all of the air signs, including Libra where Rahu/Saturn are stationed and Aquarius, where Venus will be.

Jupiter's influence is generally auspicious, so could help to mitigate any selfishness or wanton destruction; rather this could be a good time to introduce positive growth into relationships and creative projects (which may require some dissolution or destruction of forms that are acting as obstacles or are obsolete.) Jupiter can give us the wisdom to know what is supportive and what is obstructive.

Mars Continues Retrograde Cycle in Virgo

Since March 1, Mars has appeared to reverse direction through the zodiac signs of Libra and Virgo, separating from the shadow planet Rahu and Venus' sign of Libra. Mars will resume direct motion on May 20 at about 15° Virgo.

Here is a really good article about apparent retrograde motion on Wikipedia. Check out the diagram at the top-right of the article, showing what happens during a Mars retrograde cycle.

Which brings us back to the fundamentals of astrological perceptions, which are Earth-centric, making astrology really the interpretation of planetary positions as relative to Earth, which is relative to our human perspective. What is really happening is we, as Earth, are coming up on Mars, on the inside track, overtaking him at our slightly faster Earth pace. Coming up close on the inside. Hello Mars.

Mars is the planet which represents power, which is how we fuel our actions and desires. How we acquire and manage our power is up to us; we can obsessively pursue power to protect ourselves or we can selflessly channel our power in order to protect the greater collective. These are human choices.

The sign of Virgo, where this retrograde cycle of Mars is taking place, sets the stage to analyze our use of power. As we (Earth) approach Mars, we are taking hold of our own relationship to power, with the background of Virgo illumating this, we can learn about how grasping and holding power may affect our health on many levels. For example, a good work-life balance could make for a healthy individual. Or a system that hoards water for future farming could destroy an ecosystem by robbing it of a natural flow of water. We must look at all levels of how our actions affect the balance.

This transit is a great time to assess and reorganize our personal and collective systems. Call it an efficiency check. There are some upcoming shifts in the outer planets this year that we can harmonize by aligning to systems that are healthy and robust.

Planets passing through Pisces come under the direct gaze of Mars; for the Sun, exact opposition with Mars comes on April 9-10 and for Mercury exact opposition to Mars comes on April 16. The Sun as representative of the self/ soul and Mercury as representative of the informational mental process may need to be analyzed during this time as to how they may be helping or hindering the natural relationship to power and drive that Mars represents. Sun and Mercury will be going through Pisces, which is cyclically the last sign in the zodiac, a place of endings in preparation for beginnings.

Is your communication in line with your true feeling? Is your soul in line with your power management? Are you sacrificing anything that you shouldn't be? Are you taking responsibity for your health?

Mercury Transits Pisces April 3-20

Mercury plunges into its sign of debilitation, Pisces, on April 3, quickly paddling to the other shore, which is Aries, on April 20.

All planets pass through difficult or enemy signs, as well as supportive, friendly signs. Mercury functions best in Virgo and struggles most in Pisces. Think of Mercury's main function as communication. Pisces is like a great ocean, which makes communication difficult for many reasons.

There is something that rescues Mercury from this watery fate this month, which is an exchange that occurs with Jupiter, the ruler of Pisces. Jupiter is currently in Gemini, Mercury's sign. When planets participate in this type of exchange, it strengthens them both, and in the case of Mercury in Pisces, becomes a great performer rather than debilitated.

With Jupiter playing the role of the teacher and Mercury that of student, this could be good time to assimilate and digest knowledge, bringing a deep understanding of that which we are attempting to learn. This may not solve the problem of underwater talking, but Jupiter could assuage the frustration by encouraging the other half of communication: listening, receiving and comprehension.

This time, with Mars occupying Virgo and waterlogged Mercury looking squarely in that direction, perhaps our best bet with Mercury is to surrender to the ocean and float by quietly. The suggestion here is passive observation of our urge to give and take.

Mercury carries the quality of rajas, which is active and energetic. Pisces, ruled by Jupiter, carries the calm, positive and light energy that we call sattvic. Perhaps in the energy assessment that we are conducting under the leadership of Mars, we can allow our mental energy some rest and rejuvenation.

How much energy can we save through non-action? How much energy does action require? Are we wasting energy through either action or non-action? Could we conserve energy by changing our decisions to do or not to do?

The first half of April will be very good for this type of introspection, analysis, observation and research. The second half of April could be dramatic and catalytic due to the first eclipse pair of 2014 occurring in the signs currently occupied by Ketu and Rahu: Aries and Libra.

Sun Transits Aries April 13 – May 15

Speaking of debilitation and exaltation of planets, the Sun happens to shine brilliantly in the sign of Aries, which is the fire sign ruled by Mars. The Sun moves through Aries from April 13-May 15.

That said, the eclipse-causing entity that we know as the shadow planet Ketu is currently in occupation of Aries, as it was last year when Sun travelled through Aries. A solar eclipse occurred there on May 10, 2013. The configuration of this one (April 29, 2014) is similar to last year's: Sun-Moon-Mercury-Ketu in Aries opposite Saturn-Rahu in Libra, the difference being that last year's also had Mars in Aries, which could have been even more fiery.

So, we're getting another chance to pass through this gateway of the mind. With a few variations, but the two planets of the mind, Moon and Mercury, and of the soul, Sun, become shadowed by Ketu, the planet who is only concerned with liberation. Out of any planet, the Sun is most vulnerable to the shadow of Ketu, as the desire for liberation can carry away even the ego and sense of self.

This Ketu energy could be used very strategically in the sense of passing through an important rite of passage. This conjunction of Sun and Ketu, which is exact on April 18, occurs in the lunar mansion of Ashwini, where Ketu is currently positioned. Ketu is also the planetary lord of Ashwini, a nakshatra whose power is the ability to quickly reach things.

Full Moon in Libra – Total Lunar Eclipse – April 15

As the Moon waxes during the first half of April after the new Moon of March 30, it passes by Jupiter in Gemini on April 6-7 and Mars in Virgo on April 13-14. We then experience a full Lunar Eclipse on April 15. Lunar eclipses can be viewed from anywhere on the night side of the earth. This one occurs at 7:45 am UT (1:45 MST) on April 15, so should be visible for all of North America, the Pacific and most of South America.

During a lunar eclipse, we lose sight of the Moon because it disappears in our own shadow (we being Earth.) The earth is between the Sun and the Moon during a full Moon; the nodal axis (Rahu and Ketu, the "shadow" planets) will align with the Sun and Moon in such a "total" way that the shadow of the Earth obscures the otherwise brilliant Moon that is receiving the full face of the Sun (as is the case on every full Moon.)

The Moon represents the consciousness, our sensitive and emotional mind that reflects the inner and outer conditions of our existence. The node that is causing this darkening of the Moon is Rahu, which represents the deepest human desires that are so strong that they can overshadow even the brilliant mind and strongest soul.

The exact opposition of Sun and Moon occurs at 1:43 am MST at 1°13' Aries (Sun)-Libra (Moon). April 14 is the Moon's day, which technically lasts until sunrise of April 15, so this eclipse also occurs during the day of the week on which we usually honor the Moon.

Eclipses are believed to be powerful juncture points, often marking dramatic events, either internal or external, that seem to fatefully influence the courses of our lives. This eclipse of the Moon sees the Moon surrounded by retrograde energy, calling for a stop, a dimming of energy to the mind.

The best response to this type of planetary energy is generally quiet, slow, meditative and withdrawn. Provide a calm, settled environment for the mind, knowing that darkness will arrive and stay a short while. In that darkness, listen. The Moon and Rahu are with Saturn, who offers the message of truth for those who are silent enough to listen.

Jupiter will also be aspecting Moon/Rahu, with Rahu returning the aspect to Jupiter. Perhaps we can take this eclipse as an opportunity to calm the mind and open up to the influence of wisdom in whatever form it may come, gently slipping into our beings from the side.

The placement of the nodes in the signs of Venus and Mars also point to the affairs of those planets: love, relationship, beauty, devotion (Venus) and power, drive, function and service (Mars.) These may be the areas of life most affected by this eclipse and the annular solar eclipse on April 29.

People with significant birth chart placements (like the ascendant, Moon or Sun sign) in the signs of Aries or Libra, could face some significant events around this time. Many have been quite affected by the placement of the nodes here since January 2013, especially with the Saturn-Rahu conjunction in Libra.

Mercury Transits Aries April 20-May 4

Mercury moves out of debilitation but into the bright warm arms of the other planets in Aries, Sun and Ketu, on April 20. This puts Mercury in a perfect position to join in fully with the eclipse energy of April 29.

Since Mercury is easily influenced by other planets nearby, we need to understand that our capacity for communication, analysis and exchange could come under the thrall of the strong Ketu-Sun energy that is surrounding the eclipses.

This is a further call for calming the mind and embracing the silence. This is not the time for deciding and acting, it is the time for listening, realigning and perhaps making an outline, if you must.

It would be a great time for a cleanse on any level: dietary, media, house, car, etc.

The movement of Mercury from Pisces to Aries sees our youthful and good-humored hero trudge through both sea and desert. In both cases, keeping the mouth closed keeps the sea and sand out. The point is, we are on the brink of a series of planetary movements as the year progresses. We are being invited to perceive the true conditions of our lives so that we can make intelligent decisions about how to use our energy. To see, we must pay attention. To pay attention, we must listen and look.

Aries bathes Mercury in the energy of Mars, who is currently bathing in the energy of Mercury as he rewinds through the sign of Virgo. This gives Mercury and Mars a special boost during this period when Mercury transits Aries while Mars transits Virgo. They both get to function as if they are in a friendly sign, which does support the theme of observation and analysis discussed earlier in the forecast.

The most difficult part may be looking and listening without jumping into action. Consideration is recommended before action at this time due to the eclipse energy combined with the retrograde energy of Mars and Saturn. It seems to be a time of restructure and repair; blazing forth with brand new ideas may be difficult at this time.

Heads Up: next Mercury retrograde cycle: June 7 – July 1 in Gemini. This will be during the time when Jupiter moves from Gemini to Cancer on June 18.

Venus Enters Pisces April 28

Venus moves from Aquarius to Pisces on April 28, just before the solar eclipse of April 29. Pisces is the sign of exaltation for Venus, who transits through Jupiter's water sign until May 23.

Venus connects us with other beings, with the earth, with love, affection, sexuality and creativity of all kinds. There is a passion that comes through Venus that is sweet and true; while in Pisces, that sweet passion becomes immersed in the endless well of universal truth and life.

While the eclipse pair and the retrograde energy, not to mention the long-standing Rahu-Saturn conjunction, may be conspiring to make our path rocky and uphill all the way, Venus in Pisces will sweeten the deal, allowing us to see the beauty, symmetry and completion that is offered through the "uncontrollable" life situations that seem to conspire against our personal agendas.

Venus in Pisces may help us to perceive, as long as we are in that mode, how to allow our creative energy to dissolve a bit so that we can prepare for the new forms to come.

New Moon in Aries – Annular Solar Eclipse – April 29

The Moon joins the Sun, Mercury and Ketu for an annular eclipse of the Sun on the morning of April 29, 6:03 am UT (0:03 am MST.) The full eclipse will be visible only from Antarctica, while a partial eclipse will be seen in the southern Indian Ocean and Australia. This is an annular eclipse, meaning that the Moon is in line with the Sun but the disc of the Moon is smaller than that of the Sun, leaving a bright ring around the disc of the Moon. Hopefully someone in Antarctica will get a great photo.

While this is astronomically an annular eclipse, in astrological terms it is like a total eclipse of the heart and both parts of the mind, in classic Ketu style. The heart is the Sun and both parts of the mind are Moon and Mercury, but the most striking part of the line up is the corona of fire that will surround the dark disc of the Moon as it passes in front of the Sun. This is a symbol of Ketu itself, a flaming perfect circle that surrounds the liberated heart and mind.

Perhaps the reason that eclipses like this were so feared in ancient times had to do with the trouble this type of alignment makes for those involved only with the level of life that we consider as the material realm.

Liberation of the heart and mind is not concerned with worldly affairs. We call liberation "moksha" the fourth of the four aims of life; the first three exist to support this fourth. This eclipse may show us a gateway to living a more liberated life. The key is to allow the freedom of both heart and mind, trusting that the resource of love is infinite.

The lord of Aries, Mars, projects its energy into Aries from his position in Virgo, while Mercury participates in this exchange as the lord of Virgo placed in Mars' sign. This creates an interesting support system to this eclipse pattern, further encouraging us to open our senses fully on every level in order to perceive in a very intuitive way how we are resourcing and applying our power and energy.

We may find that we have been trying much too hard.

Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery; none but ourselves can free our minds.
– Bob Marley

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