Monthly Vedic Astrology Forecast

December 2015

by Kerry Shamblin

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

Venus Transits Libra November 29 – December 24

Venus moving from Virgo to Libra means Venus moving from debilitation sign to own sign; this should be an improvement for all things Venus, including relationships, general happiness and creative efforts. This could bring a renewed sense of energy and motivation.

Venus' new position in Libra frees Venus from some intensity that may have come from the proximity to both Mars and Rahu while in Virgo. But, this transit through Libra also comes with the pressure of papakartari yoga on Venus, which means there are difficult planetary influences coming from the signs on either side of Libra: Rahu and Mars in Virgo and Saturn in Scorpio. The idea of papakartari comes through in the English phrase "between a rock and a hard place."

So, for Venus indications, we may not be out of the woods yet, but at least Venus in her own sign gives strength and may allow us on a personal level to gain new perspective when it comes to how we are relating and connecting. There will still be pressure on Venus because of the hard-pushing neighbors, but at least there will some space to find creative solutions.

This may be helpful in making the holiday season merry and bright; we are inspired by Venus, still strong in the morning sky in the east before sunrise. During this dark time of year as the days continue to be shorter, we can draw from the brightness of Venus to strengthen the fabric of our friendships, family connections and social circles.

With Mars and Rahu in Virgo, we will keep an awareness that there are aggressive and chaotic forces in the world that threaten to destroy this fabric. With Saturn and Sun in Scorpio, we will not be able to escape the feeling of insecurity that comes from not knowing what difficulties are bubbling below the surface. Choose to be a light in times of darkness and invite others through your offerings of love and peace to join with you.

Mercury Transits Sagittarius December 5 – 26

Mercury skips out of Scorpio and into Sagittarius just before midnight on December 5. Scorpio is co-ruled by Mars and Ketu while Sagittarius is ruled by Jupiter. Thus ends the parivartana (exchange of signs) between Mercury and Mars, which could have brought a good deal of focus to Mercury and a portion of flexibility to Mars (Mercury entered Scorpio on November 16.)

Mercury will likely be happy in Sagittarius for a couple of reasons. First, there is freedom from conjunction with other planets for about 10 days until Sun moves to Sagittarius. Second, Mercury receives the benefit of being in Jupiter's sign while at the same time receiving a positive aspect from Jupiter. Mercury is the eternal student while Jupiter is his eternal teacher. This could be a great period for receiving teachings, studying or initiating an educational pursuit.

We talk about planets aspecting, which we call graha dristi, the gaze of a planet. The twelve signs also have unique ways of aspecting one another, carrying the influence of the planets within them; this is called rasi dristi, the gaze of a sign. The dual signs, Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces all share the ability to aspect one another. So, in this sense, Mercury will feel the impact of the Rahu and Mars combination coming toward him from his own sign of Virgo. In the same way, Mercury will be able to influence Virgo and the planets in it. Mars also has the ability to aspect four signs from himself, which gives even more attention to Mercury from Mars.

This configuration may subject us to impulsive behavior, excessive activity, aggression or erratic actions. Keep in mind that there is still a limit to what can be accomplished well in a day. Try to maintain focus and avoid becoming spread too thin. Make a conscious choice ahead of time to listen to Jupiter's wise council rather than succumbing to the temptations of Rahu or the impatience of Mars during this time.

New Moon in Scorpio December 11

The Moon wanes through the first part of December, moving through a series of conjunctions with many of the planets, starting with Jupiter in Leo (December 1-3), continuing with Mars+Rahu in Virgo (December 4-6), Venus in Libra (December 7-9) and finally Saturn+Sun in Scorpio (December 9-11.)

Since the Moon represents our mental state, pay attention to the fluctuations of the mind during this first third of the month. On the days when Moon is in Virgo there may be more disturbance, irritation or aggression due to the volatile energy that can be promoted by the Mars+Rahu combination. During the Moon transit through Scorpio, there may be lack of motivation, depression, or mental fatigue due to the influence of Saturn.

The moment of the new Moon comes at around 3:30 am on December 11, with Sun and Moon joining at 25° Scorpio, which falls in the nakshatra (lunar mansion) of Jyestha. The largest influence on the new Moon will be Saturn, also in Scorpio 15°, but in the nakshatra of Anuradha. Saturn's presence can always slow things down and keep them cool, which is actually a good idea on the day leading up to the new Moon. That means that withdrawing from excessive activity on Thursday, December 10 may be advisable as the lunar energy can be quite low as it completes the waning part of its cycle.

A positive note to this new Moon (and the days when Moon is in Scorpio prior to the moment of the new Moon) will be the presence of two benefics on either side of Scorpio. This is called shubakartari yoga, the happy counterpart to papakartari yoga, as mentioned above. Mercury will occupy Sagittarius while Venus will be supporting from Libra. This indicates that we may want to make an effort to reach out to friends, dive into creative projects or put energy into studies during this few days to maintain our sense of well-being and balance.

Sun in Sagittarius December 16 – January 14

After the Sun's meeting with the Moon, the two move forward through the gandanta point between Scorpio and Sagittarius. Gandanta means knot, and there are three points in the zodiac that are considered gandanta, specifically the junctures between the water and fire signs (Cancer – Leo, Scorpio – Sagittarius and Pisces – Aries.)

Both in individual charts and during current transits, planets placed in or moving through the gandanta points can experience difficulty or cause suffering. Generally, the indication is that there is some type of karmic blockage that must be surpassed. Just as with any knot or tangle, patience and persistence are required in order to straighten things out and smooth the way.

We can focus on the final degree of Scorpio and the first degree of Sagittarius as the zone to watch. The waxing Moon will move through it around mid-day on Friday, December 11, just after the new Moon.

A few days later, the Sun pushes through the gandanta, starting early in the morning of December 15 and clearing the difficult degree just after midnight on December 17. Thus, we focus on Tuesday and Wednesday, December 15-16 as days that could be challenging or stressful.

Once Sun clears the difficult waters, it reaches a better dignity in the sense that it will no longer be sharing space with Saturn, who considers Sun an enemy. Additionally, the Sun will move into a close and beneficial relationship with Jupiter during the entire transit through Sagittarius.

Jupiter and Sun will be placed in one another's signs; Jupiter rules Sagittarius and Sun rules Leo, where Jupiter is currently placed. This exchange of signs is called parivartana and will be beneficial to both planets involved, giving them strength as if they are in their own signs. Even Mercury, also placed in Sagittarius, will benefit. This is positive for all planets involved. Additionally, Jupiter from Leo casts his glance onto Sagittarius and Aries and any planets transiting those signs through August 2016.

For the first week of the Sun's transit through Sagittarius, Sun will also receive the energy of Mars through Mars' ability to aspect four signs from where he is placed, currently in the late degrees of Virgo. This could create an environment in which it is too easy to lose our cool and calm. We can appeal to watery Venus as the firefighter during difficult moments. This means make a conscious effort to empathize with and relate to others if we begin to spin into ego-driven frustration or aggravation. Need for attention and recognition is most easily assuaged by giving attention and recognition to others.

Mars Transits Libra December 23 – February 20, 2016

At around sunset on December 23, Mars marches forward, leaving Rahu behind in Scorpio and joining Venus in Libra. This very loose conjunction will last a bit over a day before Venus moves on into Scorpio. December 24 is Christmas Eve and with Mars' entrance into Libra, keep in mind that the holidays are to celebrated rather than conquered!

Within the next few days after Mars enters Libra, Venus exits Libra, the Full Moon occurs in Gemini and Mercury shifts signs into Capricorn. This will spread the planets out into a string that extends from Leo to Capricorn, giving them all enough room to move and express.

This two month period while Mars occupies Libra should be interesting. The sign of Libra has been under pressure for a full two year period due to the occupation of the Saturn+Rahu combination from January 2013 – July 2014 and then subsequently the movement of Saturn and Rahu in opposite directions, which has created a squeeze (papakartari yoga) on Libra from the signs on either side. This will finally be relieved when Rahu moves to Leo on January 29, 2016.

However, that movement of Rahu, and Mars moving to Scorpio on February 20, 2016 is going to create a new set of circumstances that will set the tone for the year of 2016. We will discuss this more in the January 2016 forecast, but in brief, we will see Rahu and Jupiter in occupation of the same sign, Leo, from January 29 – August 11, 2016 and also an extended pairing of Saturn and Mars in Scorpio from February 20 – September 17, 2016.

Therefore, looking ahead to those conditions, it may be wise to get our game plans ready during the next couple of months. This means we may want to finish up projects, clean up things that are disorganized and let go what is no longer relevant to our broader purposes. A good exercise may be to make a list or outline of personal goals for 2016 and bring awareness to what may be an obstacle to and what may be useful to achieving those goals. Mars always appreciates a good plan of action!

Venus Enters Scorpio December 24

Just after Mars moves into Venus' sign of Libra, Venus moves out of Libra and into Mars' sign of Scorpio, creating a parivartana (exchange of signs) between Mars and Venus that will extend through January 18, 2016, when Venus moves forward into Sagittarius.

This will likely be the best relationship between Venus and Mars in very recent past history. Starting in August 2015, Venus and Mars traveled closely together through the signs of Leo and Virgo, finally separating when Venus moved forward into Libra in late November. While there can be an obvious attraction between Venus and Mars, the interaction between the two can cause too much energy and drama.

This exchange allows both Venus and Mars to behave as if they are occupying their own signs, giving them power and stability. With Venus in Scorpio, this allows us to feel comfortable relating to perhaps difficult situations that require our travel into deep or dark places. At the same time, Mars will still have power but be softened in his action while he is in Libra and while Venus is in Scorpio.

Venus is friendly with Saturn, currently positioned in Scorpio. This can lend stability and practicality to Venus. Allow the creative process or the building/growth of relationships to be shaped by the slow, steady and cautious nature of Saturn. Now is not the time for rapid development. Focus on projects that require patience and depth as the calendar year transforms to 2016.

Full Moon in Gemini December 25

It appears that Saint Nicholas will be delivering gifts by the light of the full Moon this holiday season. The Moon reaches its apex of brightness and strength at around 4:00 am on December 25, opposing the Sun exactly while at 10° Gemini in the nakshatra of Ardra. The Sun will be sitting at 10° Sagittarius in the sign of Sagittarius, within the nakshatra of Mula.

The opposition of Ardra and Mula calls into play the action of the nodes, Rahu and Ketu. Rahu is the planetary ruler of Ardra while Ketu is the planetary ruler of Mula. Even more interesting is that Rahu currently in Virgo and Ketu currently in Pisces will make all four of these planets in angles to one another, bringing energy and attention to all of the dual signs: Sun in Sagittarius, Ketu in Pisces, Moon in Gemini and Rahu in Virgo.

Although the western calendar doesn't strictly coincide with astronomical reality, the change from one year to another does brush shoulders with the winter solstice, when the "day" portion of a day is the shortest in the Northern hemisphere, this year in the wee hours of December 22.

This final full Moon of 2015 gathers in the light of the Sun and Moon, with the shadow of the karmic axis of Rahu and Ketu. This light and shadow plays in the mutable, dual signs, signaling change, flexibility and movement. As we are close to the edge of the nodes (Rahu and Ketu) changing signs in late January, this could be our signal to get ready to shift.

The nature of the shift is described by the dual signs and where they fall within our individual natal charts. For those with significant placements in these dual signs, this happens in the angles of the chart, houses 1-4-7-10, which bring into play the self, the home, the relationships and the career.

We should also examine Mercury and Jupiter, as they are the rulers of the dual signs Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces. Jupiter and Mercury will both be at 29º of the signs that they occupy on this day, Leo and Sagittarius, respectively, with Mercury receiving an exact aspect from Jupiter. Jupiter, the eternal teacher will be bestowing blessings on Mercury, the eternal student. This is a good time to place oneself squarely in the flow of receiving wisdom, blessings and light. Merry Christmas!

Mercury Enters Capricorn December 26

Quickly moving Mercury gathers his gifts and moves on into Capricorn the next day, December 26, for a transit through Saturn's earth sign. Mercury does well in Capricorn, but will return to Sagittarius soon enough due to a retrograde cycle that begins in Capricorn on January 4 and ends back in Sagittarius on January 25, 2016.

Apparently the lessons from Jupiter are not quite complete and need some review, as Jupiter also begins a retrograde cycle on January 7, 2016 that lasts until May 9, 2016.

That means that Mercury will be hovering around the signs of Capricorn and Sagittarius for a couple of months. Mercury will not move into Aquarius until March 1, 2016. While Mercury is in Sagittarius, either in forward or direct motion, he receives the aspect of Jupiter and the benefit of being in Jupiter's sign. While in Capricorn, he receives the energy of Saturn, both through Saturn's lordship of Capricorn and by Saturn's ability to aspect three signs from where he sits.

The influence of Saturn on Mercury can be positive. The two are natural friends and the slow, deliberate nature of Saturn can balance the quick and spontaneous nature of Mercury. Mercury in Capricorn is a good time to add some seriousness and silence to Mercury's naturally bubbly and talkative nature. A good time to practice listening and patience while we put some grounding to Mercury's short flights of fancy.

This current span of Mercury in Capricorn will be December 26, 2015 – January 13, 2016, when Mercury's retrograde motion returns him to Sagittarius. Mercury then moves through Sagittarius in reverse motion, changes direction and heads forward back to Capricorn on February 8, 2016. After that, Mercury, learning the virtue of moving slowly, wends his way through Capricorn during the next three months, moving into Aquarius March 1, 2016.

As we close this calendar year, I wish all of you and yours peace, calm, prosperity, health and happiness. Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Hari OM!

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