Monthly Vedic Astrology Forecast

December 2014

by Kerry Shamblin

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

Saturn and Mars Exchange Signs

Opening day of December, 2014 shows us a host of planets in the mystical sign of Scorpio: Saturn, Mercury, Sun and Venus. This could be a harbinger for an energetic and transformational holiday season. Mars, ruler of Scorpio, is exalted in Capricorn while Jupiter, ruler of Pisces, is opposite Mars, exalted in Cancer. The Moon will be waxing and conjoined Ketu, the south node of the Moon, during the first couple of days of December.

Mars moved to Capricorn on November 27, and moves through his exaltation through the new year, changing signs again on January 5, 2015. With Mars in exaltation, the signs he rules will also benefit: Aries and Scorpio.

Scorpio is a complex environment as December opens, due to the presence of the planets there, especially Saturn, who remains in Scorpio through October 2017. Where Saturn sits, we can expect pressure and challenge; in response to this we can struggle against the pressure or find a way to use it to our advantage.

Mars and Saturn have an interesting relationship. Mars is impulsive, driving and power-seeking. Saturn is slow, deliberate, dispassionate and limiting. They are not natural friends and have different camps with which they affiliate. Mars is exalted in Saturn's sign of Capricorn, but Saturn is debilitated in Mars' sign of Aries. A classic example of a complicated relationship!

Mars benefits from being in the disciplined, earthy sign of Saturn, Capricorn. The goal-oriented, boundary-marked environment of Capricorn turns out to be a great, safe place to channel the fire of Mars, which is what we will be experiencing through January 5, 2015. From Capricorn, Mars also has his unique ability to aspect four signs from his position, so in this case, his own sign of Aries, which could confer much energy and ability to that sign as well. So the Aries friends among us, with exalted Mars transiting through the tenth from Aries, could experience a boost in career or work during this transit.

The complexity comes when we think of the relationship between the two signs where Mars and Saturn are currently located, Capricorn and Scorpio. By the convention of "rasi drishti" or sign aspects, these two signs (and the planets contained therein) will have the ability to mutually aspect one another. So there is a great deal of commerce and energy exchange between these two signs this month due to the presence of Mars and Saturn. Saturn's planetary aspects also include the 3rd place from where he sits, which is Capricorn in this case, so we feel the pressure of Saturn not only in Scorpio but also in Capricorn.

And again we come back to our personal relationship with pressure and how we face it. Pressure can squash people, ideas and projects. Pressure can make gems form. Pressure can extract essential qualities or ingredients. Pressure can drive in a wedge. Pressure can cook things faster. How can we combine in a safe and effective way the fire of Mars and the pressure of Saturn? The mission is yours should you choose to accept it.

One of the global issues that could come under close scrutiny during this next few years of Saturn in Scorpio could be the method of hydraulic fracturing. While the ever-increasing need for fuel (Mars) drives the market, those who seek to profit may ignore the health and environmental concerns being raised about the danger of this extraction process, which is very reminiscent of Saturn in Scorpio energy. Saturn as lord of karma will surely require that appropriate payment be made in our quest for extracting hidden storehouses of energy, literally and metaphorically.

Venus Transits Sagittarius December 5-29

Venus breaks out of the bright orb of the Sun on December 4th, beginning after that to appear in the west at sunset. Thus begins a period of Venus as evening star, when Venus rises and sets after the Sun, which lasts through August, 2015, when retrograde Venus again comes into conjunction with the Sun.

This upcoming journey of Venus as evening star will bring the planet of love, compassion and beauty into contact with several other planets before reuniting once again with the Sun. In January and February 2015, Venus shares space with Mars as they move together through Capricorn and Aquarius. When Mars and Venus reach Pisces, they move through Venus' exaltation where Ketu is currently placed, from mid-February to mid-March 2015. In April, Venus finally pulls ahead of Mars and travels solo until the sign of Cancer is reached on May 30, when Venus joins Jupiter. The two teachers, Venus and Jupiter, stay together through July, when Venus begins a retrograde cycle that brings her closer to the Sun for another transformation.

With this itinerary ahead, we can focus on the beginning of the journey that starts in Jupiter's sign on December 5. Like Mars and Saturn, Venus and Jupiter are not natural friends and reside in two different camps, as well as having a unique relationship. Jupiter and Venus are considered the two teachers amongst the planets, so there is the common goal of education and growth. However the types of students are different as well as the methodology of teaching.

Venus is in neutral territory in Sagittarius. As our "new Venus" emerges within our own experience this month, we may feel as if we are faced with learning and growing in an unfamiliar environment. Let us be prepared for this new adventure and not reject valuable lessons that we may encounter, simply because they may seem out of place or inappropriate to our situation.

This is Venus emerging as the evening star; we see through the Venus cycle this slow oscillation between seeing Venus in the east during the morning and seeing Venus in the west during the evening. Venus embodies the qualities of oneness, love, compassion and beauty; these manifest strongly in our human pursuits of creativity and relationship. Venus as the evening star announces the evening, and as morning star announces the day, the coming of the Sun.

We may see that Venus' reign as evening star will highlight the feminine, sensitive qualities of Venus. Our creative processes may become inspired by the subconscious or dream realms. In our relationships, we may have to employ the use of passivity and surrender more than action and aggression to keep a balance working between self and other.

This beginning for Venus may require some transformation and surrender due to Venus' position in Sagittarius, flanked on one side by Mars in Capricorn and on the other by Saturn in Scorpio. The diamond-like quality of Venus can endure this pressure, but as humans we are still soft and vulnerable. Make sure to secure a safe and comfortable pod for the current emergence of creative energy that is squeezing through Sagittarius.

Full Moon in Taurus December 6

The Moon becomes full at 21° in its sign of exaltation, Taurus, which is ruled by Venus. The Moon gains strength as it waxes, culminating in power when it becomes full. In addition, the exaltation status of the Moon gives it strength. Further, the Moon's sign of Cancer is currently occupied by exalted Jupiter. A triangle of positive power is formed because Jupiter is the ruler of Sagittarius, where Venus is currently positioned, and Venus is the ruler of Taurus, where the Moon is full on this day.

The moment of the full Moon happens before sunrise, so it is technically still Friday, but we should enjoy the energy of this strong Moon on both Friday, December 5 and Saturday, December 6. This is an auspicious time (December 4-6) with Venus emerging as evening star, and Moon, Jupiter (still direct) and Mars all in exaltation.

It will be a good time for social interaction, family time and holiday preparations. With Saturn in Scorpio, we are seeing an aspect to the Moon, so keep things slow and focus on the deeper meaning of things rather than the surface glamor. Additionally, keep those that are elderly, infirm or alone in mind and attempt to bring them into your social gatherings.

Jupiter Retrograde December 8, 2014 – April 8, 2015

As is common in astrology, there are many opinions about the nature of planets that are both exalted and retrograde or debilitated and retrograde. What can we expect from exalted Jupiter as it becomes retrograde on December 8 and travels in apparent reverse motion through the stars of the sign Cancer?

Planets when retrograde gain "chesta bala" which is strength to act. This implies that while Jupiter is retrograde, we may have to struggle more to gain the fruits indicated by Jupiter. We all expect exalted Jupiter to shower us with abundance, knowledge and spiritual fulfillment. With the retrograde status in effect, we cannot expect this shower without doing some work of our own in these arenas.

Another aspect of retrograde planets is that they can give unexpected, unusual or reversed results. For example, it may be difficult to access spiritual knowledge during this Jupiter retrograde period (but we can work for it!) It may be easier to access material knowledge or abundance, which Jupiter also grants (but we still have to work for it!)

For individual charts, one has to see which house Jupiter is transiting currently in the chart and also make note of the houses Jupiter rules in the chart. The results of those houses may reverse or become difficult to access during this period.

An example is the US Chart that is commonly accepted as Sagittarius ascendant. That makes Jupiter the ruler of the 1st house (of self) and the 4th house of (home, land, country.) Jupiter is exalted and currently transiting the 8th house of the US chart, which could indicate a big transformation in how the US is received and perceived by other entities as well as by its own people. Since Jupiter entered Cancer, the economy of the US has been doing well, on an upward swing after a slow first quarter 2014. We may see a slowing or reversal of this trend as Jupiter moves through the retrograde cycle. The 8th house can show "resources of others" so it could be that we see some type of withdrawal of economic participation from other countries when it comes to the US, or perhaps a rise in lending interest rates.

Jupiter is currently transiting the nakshatra Ashlesha, which is ruled by Mercury and its deity is Sarpa, the lord of the serpents. This is quite a transformational nakshatra and the last part of it, where Jupiter is currently located is considered to be a "gandanta" region. There are three gandanta points in the zodiac, at the junctures between water and fire signs. Planets traversing these regions are assisting us in getting through difficult situations or "karmic knots."

Jupiter entered gandanta on November 3, in forward motion, and then reverses movement at 29° Cancer on December 8. In reverse motion, Jupiter exits the gandata on January 12, 2015. We may look back one day at this two month period and realize that an extreme move had been made during this time. We may be required to go through some deep karma during this time, but in the long run, it supports our spiritual progression immensely. An interesting note on the karmic challenge offered by Jupiter in Ashlesha gandanta is that the navamsa (ninth harmonic) position of this placement puts Jupiter into the sign of Pisces, showing spiritual completion and regeneration. Have heart! The difficulty, if it arises, is worth it!

Mercury Transits Sagittarius December 12 – 31

Mercury follows Venus and precedes the Sun into Jupiter's fire sign, Sagittarius, on December 12. As always, fleet-footed Mercury moves quickly, making his way closer to his friend Venus as December progresses and toward a more comfortable sign, Capricorn, on December 31.

Mercury, like Venus, is not a natural friend of Jupiter, but each of them gets along well enough with Jupiter to consider Sagittarius as neutral territory. Mercury also has the ability to aspect his own signs of Gemini and Virgo from the sign of Sagittarius, as well as giving his planetary aspect to Gemini as well. This could be supportive of learning, which may be helpful given that we need the flexibility, openness and diplomacy of both Venus and Mercury as we may be facing lessons in unusual or new environments (as mentioned in the above section about Venus in Sagittarius.)

The dual nature of the sign of Sagittarius combined with the dual nature of Mercury himself could be quite useful in adjusting to new locations and paradigms at this time. We have to be flexible, cheerful and willing to learn as we navigate new environments. Mercury affords us these abilities, allowing us to find the bright side of difficult moments and learning how to move forward despite pressure and change.

Sun Transits Sagittarius December 15 – January 14

The Sun continues his stately pace, moving from Scorpio to Sagittarius on December 15 for a month-long transit. The Sun is happy in both Scorpio and in Sagittarius, but this year Sun may feel some relief exiting Scorpio due to the presence of his enemy, Saturn, currently positioned there.

When Sun enters Sagittarius, Venus and Mercury are already in transit there, each moving steadily forward away from the Sun. The three planets will be hemmed between two challenging planets, Mars in Capricorn and Saturn in Scorpio. So the exchange we are getting between Saturn and Mars as discussed above is also creating a squeeze on the sign of Sagittarius and the planets passing through it.

Because we have an earth-centric way of looking at the planets in the signs, it is fun sometimes to acknowledge that it is we who are moving through the signs and the great Sun who is staying fixed (relatively speaking.) As we circumambulate the Sun, we see the backdrop of stars changing. Behind the Sun are the stars of Sagittarius (which we can't see because the Sun is too bright.) Jupiter, ruler of Sagittarius, is exalted, but retrograde. The Sun is our means of individual self expression, so the influence of Jupiter during this transit of Sagittarius may cause us to dig a bit deeper to receive a clear message about who we are or what we want.

With the firm support of Saturn and Mars, the planets in Sagittarius including Sun, Mercury and Venus, could lead us on a wild adventure of self-discovery that begins this month.

After sunset starting around December 4, as mentioned we will begin to see Venus as the evening star, setting shortly after the Sun. Mars will be joining Venus, and for awhile Mercury, in the early evening western sky for much of the winter.

Winter Solstice New Moon in Sagittarius December 21

The Sun and Moon join at 6° Sagittarius at around sunset on Sunday, December 21. It is from here that the Sun will again move in its northern course and the days begin to get longer in the northern hemisphere.

This new Moon solstice occurs just at the degree which points the way to our galactic center. It is Sagittarius and specifically the nakshatra called Mula, "the root." During this time of year, in our current era, we experience this pull toward the center of our galaxy, toward our roots and origin, at the winter solstice. Mula is ruled by the planet Ketu, the headless shadow planet who is bound for liberation.

In a certain sense, we can call this a combination new Sun, new Moon where in the quiet and dark, we can settle into stillness and contact the source of who we are, lose our heads and our minds and re-set our course.

Joining the Moon and Sun in Sagittarius are Venus and Mercury, with Venus leading the way after her recent rebirth experience. The delicate, diplomatic, flexible and creative combination of Venus and Mercury are a lovely and friendly buffer for this tender new Moon that requests that we descend to the depths of our soul.

The day preceding this conjunction, from the evening of December 20, is amavasya, the day when the Moon wanes completely. It is a good day for withdrawal from important worldly activity in favor of stillness.

Perhaps this is a good plan for the upcoming holiday activities. Consider planning for some calm reflection and rest during the weekend of December 20-21.

And then enjoy the holiday season as the Moon waxes, joining exalted Mars December 23-25 and aspecting its own sign of Cancer holding Jupiter. Jupiter in the retrograde/exalted state may bring up unexpected but inevitable outcomes as it aspects Moon and Mars during Christmas celebrations.

As we head toward new year, the planets hold their places as the Moon moves forward, through Pisces and a meeting with Ketu on December 27-29. And then into exaltation in Taurus as the clock strikes midnight on December 31, 2014.

Well wishes to you and yours this holiday season.

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