Monthly Vedic Astrology Forecast

October 2014

by Kerry Shamblin

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

Saturn's Final Month in Libra

Shani (Saturn) has been moving slowly through his sign of exaltation, Tula (Libra), since November 14, 2011. The planets that move slowly through the signs of the zodiac, such as Shani, give us the chance to experience that sign's energy in a sustained way that also includes variations contributed by the movement of the other planets.

Saturn can be a relentless task master, so there is little chance that he will let us off easy during this last month in Libra. Whatever small lessons still to learn may be delivered as he gathers his strength and moves from Libra to Scorpio on November 2.

The Librans among us may be quite tired from the pressure of Saturn over the past few years. But remember, this is the kind of pressure that turns coal into diamonds. While we may have endured much including loss, disappointment, exhaustion and grief, we have also learned how to cope with these difficult or negative experiences with grace, humility and detachment, which is just what Shani gives us each day as we walk slowly through our lives.

Even if we don't define ourselves as "Libra," the sign of Libra still exists in each individual's birth chart, giving flavor to a certain domain of life. So in some way, Saturn has been shaping and sculpting us. If you can define which area of your own life that the sign of Libra touches, spend some time this month to sit quietly and ask Saturn what else there is to understand before he moves on.

Libra is ruled by the planet Venus and provides an environment for the expression of Venus. This is Venus' air sign, and air signs rule the realm of thought and ideas. Venus is what prompts us to desire connection, love, peace, comfort and beauty. When we apply this to Libra, we see Venus in a very social, creative light. Social not only in the sense of friendship or partnership, but also in the sense of "I'm happy when others are happy."

Saturn in Libra is a great balancer in approaching this subject of love, harmony and relationship, which commonly involves two or more people. Each person brings a unique set of desires that are supported by an ego. Mixing two or more people in a situation becomes one of the most fascinating experiments.

When we can recognize our own set of desires and attachments, then step back far enough to see that others have their own set, then step another step back and get perspective on what needs to exist in order for all parties involved to live happily, then we are just starting to approach relationship from a Saturn perspective.

Shani teaches us the value of limitation, detachment, determination, patience, silence, foundation and boundaries. It doesn't take much effort to realize how each of these qualities is essential to relationship. The effort comes in the application.

For example, an overblown ego makes it difficult to relate and find compassion for others and an underdeveloped ego makes it difficult for an individual to find compassion and care for the self. Creating a healthy ego that can both care for the self and for others is our general task and Saturn has been working hard these past three years to deliver lessons that lead us toward understanding these concepts through practice.

Take advantage of this last month of Saturn in Libra to shore up your relational foundations, mark your boundaries and let go of that which is preventing health in relationship.

Mercury Retrograde October 4-25

All this talk about lessons brings up the idea that we are all students. We see how we approach learning through the energy of Mercury, always eager to stretch the mental and physical capacity. As the planet of communication and exchange, Mercury is essential to the learning process. When we assume a youthful, flexible and cheerful stance, we are ready to learn.

Keeping up on the latest things is one of Mercury's past times. Doing that requires us to cheerfully face rolling with the changes by learning how to navigate new environments. The need to constantly learn that exists in the commerce of this world has its place, but sometimes the influx of words, materials and lessons can be overwhelming.

Taking a few weeks to dam the flow of new material and reviewing what has already been acquired could be quite rejuvinating, if we let it. Perhaps rather than becoming filled with apprehension that Mercury will enter a retrograde cycle this month, let's instead see it as a needed time of review where we can sit with our recently assimilated lessons and allow them to digest.

Mercury assumes retrograde motion at 9° Libra just before mid-day on Saturday, October 4. This puts dear Mercury about 17 degrees away from Saturn on one side and 15 degrees away from Rahu on the other, much like the story about the rock and the hard place. The difficult lessons that have been dealt in the past 1.5 years may be looming on either side like shadowy pillars, awaiting their ultimate assimilation into your understanding.

This beginning week of October is the week to approach your "study sessions" with discipline. Distractions will creep along, do not allow them to work. Review, edit, practice and communicate about what you are focused on understanding. The sign of Libra is ruled by Venus; Saturn and Mercury are both friendly to Venus and so are well situated. Let's refresh the idea here that some of these lessons we're reviewing may have something to do with Libra and Saturn, as mentioned in the first section of the October forecast.

Mercury will move in retrograde motion through the first section of Libra, re-entering his own sign of Virgo on October 15 and bringing him increasingly close to to Rahu, the north node of the Moon and "head of the dragon." Rahu and Mercury will make another conjunction during this retrograde cycle on October 24. The first conjunction of Mercury and Rahu in this retrograde cycle series occurred on September 17. Mercury then resumes direct motion on October 25 and re-conjoins Rahu in forward motion on October 29.

Since Mercury is particularly easily influenced by proximity or aspect by other planets, we should think about how this may manifest. The first conjunction of these two during mid-September may have sparked some events that will re-emerge in some way as of mid-October, when Mercury returns to Virgo and another two encounters with Rahu. We may see the resolution of these issues as Mercury resumes direct motion and moves forward past Rahu during the last week of October. Mercury re-enters Libra on November 4.

Mercury is also influenced by planets occupying his signs, so for as long as Rahu transits Virgo (until January 2016), we may feel this influence on Mercury. Rahu tends to amplify energy, but also creates confusion that comes from overwhelming and irrational desire. The confusion arises because of the strong urges caused by Rahu interfering with our informational mind (Mercury) attempting to analyze and determine the practical value of things and actions. Rahu is also naturally retrograde, so this reverse energy may affect our Mercury expression through the entire Rahu transit of Virgo.

This may in fact feel like a mild form of Mercury retrograde that persists through the next 15 months. In order to build a resistance to this type of environment, it would be great to make a conscious effort for clarity in communication at every turn. This means both in receiving and in transmitting! Another remedy to build in to day-to-day communication would be an understanding that this condition exists and that it may be likely that the person who is talking to you will be unclear or that the person to whom you are talking may hear a completely different message than the one you are struggling to deliver clearly.

So, this month particularly, remember the remedies to help keep Mercury calm: one thing at a time, slow down, practice patience, follow a health routine including regular meals, sleep and exercise, moderation in media consumption, focus, focus, focus!

Full Moon Total Eclipse in Pisces October 8

Meanwhile, in Pisces, the Moon reaches its strength on October 8 at 4:50 am, Mountain time US. The full Moon occurs when the Sun and Moon occupy opposite zodiac signs and eclipses occur when the Sun and Moon align with the nodal axis, the signs occupied by the shadow planets, Rahu and Ketu.

This total lunar eclipse sees the Moon at 22° Pisces conjunct Ketu and Sun at 22° Virgo conjunct Rahu.

One of the dictionary definitions of the word "eclipse" is: a reduction or loss of splendor, status, reputation, etc. The Sanskrit word for eclipse is "grahana" and has other meanings such as: seize, perceiving, capture, taking. So the idea is that the power or light of the eclipsed planet (in this case, Moon) is being captured by the nodal axis.

Since it is Ketu that is grasping the Moon during this eclipse, we examine the desire of Ketu, which is only for liberation and freedom. The Moon represents our consciousness, emotions and ceaseless, ever-changing flow of thoughts. The Moon is this part of our mind that is nearly impossible to change consciously or to control, hence our gravitation toward techniques designed to help us in this regard such as meditation or yoga.

This full Moon eclipse in Pisces may cause us to feel like we are freeing our minds or losing our minds, perhaps depending on the individual situation. We could use this energy in a positive way to consciously quiet our mental chatter in an attempt to connect with the true condition of our minds.

The Moon will be in Revati nakshatra, the final lunar mansion in the zodiac cycle, so there is some sense of completion of something in order to move forward in a renewed manner. With Ketu's involvement, we may be looking at letting go of something (mental habits, wrong thinking, emotional distress?) such that this renewal or regeneration can take place.

The Sun (with Venus) will be in Virgo, ruled by Mercury and more specifically in Hasta nakshatra, which is ruled by the Moon. The Moon and Mercury are both planets that we associate with different parts of what we call "the mind." Sun, Venus and Rahu will be on the other side of the eclipsed Moon and through their position and connection, we are offered an amplified message from our soul about what it is that we desire deeply, in our heart. With Ketu quieting the mind that chatters, feels and reacts, we can perhaps gain a quick, shadowy vision that may inspire a creative rebirth.

Moon-Jupiter in Cancer October 15-17

As the Moon wanes, it moves through the first section of the zodiac and comes into the sign of Cancer in the early evening of October 15, joining Jupiter there for two days, exactly conjunct on October 17. This is an auspicious meeting of two planets in good dignity. If we look back to the full Moon eclipse of October 8, we may at this time be getting comfortable with (or at least identified) what must go in order to clear the space.

Allow the mind to settle as Moon continues to wane, for it must pass through the territory occupied by Rahu, and Saturn and on into the next eclipse of the pair on October 23 at the new Moon.

The meeting with Jupiter mid-way between full and new Moon should be a good re-charge for the Moon, strong because of being in its own sign of Cancer and further bolstered by the presence of Jupiter in its sign of exaltation, Cancer. We may be able to receive good advice and guidance during this couple day window.

Sun Transits Libra October 17-November 16

The Sun represents our heart, true selves and soul in the astrological context. The actual Sun is a self-generating power source that we as humans connect to and rely on greatly. A healthy Sun in a chart grants the native self-confidence, identity, individuality and leadership ability. When the Sun is in its own sign of Leo or in its sign of exaltation, Aries, the Sun is strong, and these types generally exude these solar qualities.

Libra, opposite to Aries, is the territory where Sun struggles most to express itself, known as the debilitation sign of the Sun. Libra is Venus' air sign and Venus is the planet related to love, relationship and recognition of the sameness between self and other. In order to love and connect, one must be humble and willing to compromise, to lose oneself, in a sense. The Sun faces difficulty with these things, hence the difficulty for the Sun as it moves through Libra.

This year, the Sun is supported by the ruler of Libra, Venus, as it transits its debilitation sign. Venus is currently in combustion with the Sun, so close that we no longer see Venus in the morning sky. There is a 90 day period that the Sun and Venus travel closely together, the exact conjunction coming on October 24.

The joining of the Sun and Venus as a part of Venus' cycle recalls the energy of the new Moon, when Sun and Moon conjoin. This New Venus occuring in its own sign and granting some cancellation of debility to the Sun seems to be very significant in light of the final portion of Saturn's transit of Libra combined with the eclipse pair of October. With the finish of one phase, we begin the next.

Mars Transits Sagittarius October 17-November 26

Mars begins the month of October in full strength as he moves through his own sign of Scorpio. Having separated from Saturn and moved into Scorpio on September 5, Mars has been receiving a nice aspect from Jupiter in Cancer but will slip out of that as he moves into Sagittarius on October 17.

Mid-October is somewhat a pivot with Sun, Mars and Venus all changing signs within a two-day period. The Sun moves into its sign of debilitation, Venus moves out of debilitation into its own sign and Mars moves from his own sign to a friendly sign.

Jupiter is the ruler of Sagittarius and Jupiter and Mars are friendly with one another. Mars moves out of receiving an aspect from Jupiter while in Scorpio and into giving an aspect to Jupiter from Sagittarius. This creates a good dynamic between these two friendly planets. The energy that Mars commands benefits from the wholesome guidance of Jupiter.

For the first couple weeks of Mars' transit through Sagittarius, Saturn will also aspect Mars from its position in Libra (until Saturn moves on November 2.) This always puts the brakes on Mars; if we can know in advance that we will be ready to move and work with Mars' fire beneath us yet we will be in some way obstructed by caution, indifference or the pressure of responsibility, we can work with that.

In fact, the aspect of such a mature and strong Saturn is something we should welcome humbly; haste makes waste. The wisdom of moving slowly, deliberately and in complete truth is one of the greatest blesings.

Venus Transits Libra October 18-November 11

Venus is in an interesting position. Beginning October in Virgo, Venus' sign of debilitation, there will be some relief from the parivartana (exchange) between Mercury and Venus as they occupy one another's signs while in a temporally friendly position to one another. Mercury is conveying support to Venus through this transit through Virgo, further intensified by the presence of Rahu.

Then, during the pivot point of the month from October 15-18, Mercury moves back into Virgo (still supporting Venus with his presence) while Venus continues forward into Libra on October 18. The parivartana ends, but both Mercury and Venus will be able to stand strongly on their own by virtue of inhabiting their own signs.

During this entire time, we need to acknowledge that Venus has been in combustion with the Sun within 10 degrees. This state of combustion of Venus that occurs while Venus is direct and in the morning sky is called the heliacal setting and began on September 17. The exact Venus-Sun conjunction will be October 24. The combustion lasts until Venus moves beyond 10 degrees ahead of Sun on December 4, when Venus rises as evening star.

This combustion of Venus happens due to the size and power of the Sun. Each planet is a devata (deity) on a physical level, another devata is assigned for the mental level (adhi devata) and another for the soul level (pratyadi devata.) For the Sun, the adhi devata is Agni and the pratyadi devata is Shiva. Agni is depicted as having two heads, one that gives blessings and one that purges and cleanses. This shows the dual nature of the Sun, at once giving life and destroying.

The process of a planet approaching the Sun and then departing mimics this dual nature of the Sun. As Venus approaches (from mid-September to October 24) we are seeing the face of Agni that is cruel, causing suffering, sins are committed, mistakes are made, the karma that needs to occur will occur. After October 24, Venus begins to move ahead of the Sun and we will see the other face of Agni, that which bestows spiritual and material benefits when we realize our errors and work toward righting the wrongs we may have done.

This description sounds rather dramatic, but the point is to realize that we are constantly "burning and building" karma as we go through our lives. Since the planet currently undergoing this transformation is Venus, we can recall the story of Venus doing 20,000 years of penance to Shiva and being rewarded with the Mrta Sanjivani mantra, otherwise known as the Mahamrityunjaya mantra, revered for its life-giving power. It would be beneficial to recite or listen to this mantra during the period of Venus' combustion, through December 4.

It should also be noted that this combustion is occuring when Venus is strong but the Sun is debilitated and that also present is exalted Saturn. This creates an interesting chemistry that calls in keywords like relationship, ego, detachment, love, concession, forgiveness. Quite a time of renewal and cleansing for the sign of Libra.

New Moon (Partial Solar Eclipse) in Libra October 23

The chemistry is further enriched by the partial solar eclipse caused by the proximity of Rahu to the Sun and Moon on October 23. This eclipse will be widely visible from the US and Canada.

Rahu is in Virgo at 25° and the Sun/Moon (+ Venus!) combination will all be at 7° Libra. Actually, the Sun and Moon meet at 6°22' Libra, just at the very end of the lunar mansion Chitra, which begins at 23°20' Virgo, spanning Virgo and Libra and including Rahu, Sun, Moon and Venus all within its borders during this eclipse.

The lunar mansion Chitra is ruled by the planet Mars and by the devata called Twashtar, the architect who is said to have created the three worlds out of pieces of the Sun. The theme of Chitra is creation of forms that endure (Twashtar was a smith) and through this work to do good karma.

The Sun, already debilitated, will also be partially eclipsed, allowing our two watery planets, Moon and Venus, a dark moment to dream up a new way of finding honor in our own creation. In the darkness created by Rahu as it eclipses the Sun during this day and in the calm, cool darkness created by the Moon's proximity to the Sun during the night, we must listen deeply for direction.

Some may think that the eclipse is "partial" because the nodes and Sun/Moon are in different signs (Virgo and Libra.) This is not exactly right; it is partial because of the distance between the node and the luminaries. Although two signs are involved, the fact that the lunar mansion perfectly spans all parties involved is quite notable. We must understand how Chitra really does evoke the transition between Virgo and Libra.

Virgo and Libra are ruled by Mercury and Venus, the two planets in the pantheon that are classified as "rajas," the active and passionate guna, or state of being. These are the planets to call to get the party started. The energy of rajas is certainly important in the act of creation or inception, and we can assume that Lord Twashtar had a good measure of that behind him in his task of creation of the three worlds.

October promises to be an exciting month, astrologically speaking. The planets always move us forward; knowing the plan can be quite helpful in getting along gracefully, and still, we can never really know the story until we are turning the pages.

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