Monthly Vedic Astrology Forecast

January 2015

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

Happy New Year 2015!

Since the Western (Gregorian) calendar is so popularly used internationally, we can look at the planetary positions at this new beginning as a "birth chart" for the new year. Of course, this chart may have a different rising sign depending on location, but the relationships and status by sign placement will be the same for all locations.

Mars will be at its pinnacle of exaltation at 28° Capricorn, Jupiter remains in its exaltation sign of Cancer, exactly opposite Mars at 28° Cancer (in retrograde motion) and Moon is also newly placed in exaltation in Taurus. These three planets all fall into a relationship of natural friendship with one another; the group is completed by Sun, placed in the friendly sign of Sagittarius, ruled by Jupiter.

Sun, Moon, Mars and Jupiter are the rulers of the fire and water signs in the zodiac and these strong placements at the beginning of this Western calendar year could show that 2015 will generally bring us good energy, feelings, focus and expansion if we are able to maintain our resources and energy by not "overspending" and retaining a connection to a source that is revitalizing.

The other camp of planets, Mercury, Venus and Saturn, are also involved in a relationship as the year opens. Mercury and Venus are placed with Mars in Capricorn. Mars is extremely strong and focused here, influenced by Saturn as ruler of Capricorn and also by the planetary aspect of Saturn from Scorpio. Saturn's influence of detachment and discipline can tend to slow down Mars, but perhaps to our advantage.

In a way, Saturn's pressure on Mars can be likened to wearing a pair of steel-toed boots. These boots are made for working. While they are heavy, and may cause us move more slowly and deliberately, they also serve as a form of protection against dangerous objects (such as our own implements and tools) from harming our feet.

So, while slow, deliberate Saturn may hamper the fiery drive of Mars, it is also supporting Mars with a solid foundation for the growth potential offered by the aspect of Jupiter from Cancer. This condition of mutual reception between Mars and Saturn prevailed during the month of December and marks the beginning of our calendar year before Mars moves into Aquarius on January 5.

Mercury and Venus are both comfortable in the sign of Capricorn, ruled by Saturn and also aspected by Saturn from Scorpio. While the energy of Saturn and Mars combined can be serious, sharp and heavy, Mercury and Venus both tend to move darkness and weight in the direction of light and movement. Their influence brings in the elements of humor, love, beauty and exchange to the serious business of Mars, reminding us to keep in mind our inspiration and purpose as we toil away at our projects.

Throughout the year we will observe how the planetary energies ebb and flow as the "weather" changes from month to month. Some of the major planetary events and shifts to note for 2015 include:

  • Jupiter resumes direct motion on April 8 and continues through the last 10° of Cancer as spring becomes summer, leaving Cancer for Leo on July 13, 2015.
  • Saturn continues to plod through Scorpio all year. There is a retrograde cycle from March 14 – August 1, 2015, all within the lunar mansion called Anuradha.
  • The Rahu-Ketu axis moves in backward motion through the signs of Virgo-Pisces for all of 2015, finally changing signs in late January, 2016.
  • There will be three Mercury retrograde cycles in 2015. January 21-February 11 (Capricorn), May 18 – June 10 (Taurus), September 16 – October 8 (Virgo). This is Mercury's year for retrograde cycles in the earth signs.
  • Total Solar Eclipse March 20, 2015. Sun/Moon in Pisces
  • Total Lunar Eclipse April 4, 2015. Sun in Pisces, Moon in Virgo
  • Partial Solar Eclipse September 13, 2015. Sun/Moon in Leo.
  • Total Lunar Eclipse September 28, 2015. Sun in Virgo, Moon in Pisces.

Mercury Transits Capricorn January 1 – March 8

Mercury, the swift planet that rules the earth element, commerce and communication, slides into Capricorn on January 1. Capricorn is lorded by Saturn, a renowned influence of slowness, so the territory of Capricorn is not a place for fast moves due to its connection with the earth element and Saturn. Mercury does enjoy going quickly, and as it turns out, will take nine weeks to make it through one sign, which is not quickly for Mercury.

Since Mercury rules communication and analysis, let's consider what can be done with this brilliant opportunity to slowly, carefully and deeply consider words, data and business matters. Mercury will be in Capricorn so long because of a retrograde cycle that begins on January 21, causing him to slow down, stop, turn around, retrace.

For the first few weeks of January, Mercury will be enjoying the space of Capricorn with his friend, Venus, who moves to Aquarius on January 22. Mercury takes over where Mars began, carrying on the serious project and interacting with Venus in addition. Venus does help to soften the energy in Capricorn during this time. With the combination of Venus, Mercury and Saturn energy, we could find ourselves deeply analyzing our interactions and relationships, pulling back, choosing inaction or silence over engagement.

In this vein, it is a good time to analyze our desire for action and movement and to learn when to draw back or refrain from action even though we are compelled toward it.

Mars Transits Aquarius January 4 – February 11

Mars leaves Capricorn, its sign of exaltation, on Sunday, January 4. This will shift the mutual influence between Mars and Saturn, ruler of Capricorn, but will not totally disconnect. The sign of Aquarius is co-ruled by Saturn and Rahu, so the exchange of signs between Mars and Saturn will remain, as Saturn is currently located in Scorpio, co-ruled by Mars and Ketu.

Saturn's planetary aspect on Mars will be removed when Mars leaves Capricorn, which could create a small release of the brakes on Mars' forward motion. Saturn and Mars aren't natural friends, but they connect in various ways. They are the two planets that share rulership of a sign with one of the Moon's nodes. Also, they have an interesting relationship in the exaltation-debilitation scheme: Mars is exalted in Saturn's sign (Capricorn) and Saturn is debilitated in Mars' sign (Aries.)

As far as harnessing Mars' energy in the best way during this time, it may be advantageous to focus on projects and actions that have already been initiated during Mars' transit through Capricorn. This is a good time for getting deep into the work, building slowly and deliberately. Mars gives a planetary influence to Rahu from Aquarius, bringing Rahu's' passion into play. Obsess in the right direction, if possible!

Full Moon in Gemini January 4

The Moon is in Taurus the first few days of January, waxing and in its sign of exaltation. Then, moving into Gemini, the Moon becomes full at 21° during the evening of January 4, 2015. Gemini is ruled by Mercury and 21° falls in the lunar mansion of Punarvasu, ruled by Jupiter.

The Sun is in Sagittarius, ruled by Jupiter and the Moon is in Gemini, ruled by Mercury. Not only will the Sun and Moon occupy opposite signs, as always on a full Moon, but also their lords will occupy opposite signs. Another notable thing is that the lord of each luminary is located eight signs away. Jupiter is in Cancer, eight signs from Sagittarius, where the Sun is positioned. Mercury is in Capricorn, eight signs from Gemini, where the Moon is positioned. This could signal an opportunity for deep transformation in the realms that these signs occupy in one's chart.

Another note is that during this day, there will be a tight aspect by degree from Saturn to both Venus and Mercury in Capricorn. Further pressure may be felt by Venus and Mercury due to being hemmed between the Sun in Sagittarius and Mars, newly positioned in Aquarius.

We may find ourselves feeling a bit trapped by these influences of challenging planets like Saturn, Mars and Sun squeezing Mercury. The point is that sometimes we need to find the graceful, loving way to find peace and happiness even when we are confined. Remember that Jupiter is still giving an aspect to Capricorn, but it is retrograde, so we may have to dig a bit for our well of positivity.

Sun Transits Capricorn January 14 – February 12

The Sun moves out of Jupiter's fire sign, Sagittarius and into Saturn's earth sign, Capricorn on January 14 for its usual one month of transit. Here is where things can get a bit stiff.

It was one thing when Mars was in occupation of Capricorn because it is exalted and was exchanging signs with Saturn, giving both of these hard-core planets a bit of a boost to do the right thing.

The Sun in Capricorn is traveling through enemy territory; the Sun and Saturn are not friends (although they are related in that Saturn is considered the son of the Sun.) As we may have experienced, family relationships are not always harmonious. Saturn gets to lord and directly aspect the Sun as it travels through Capricorn during mid-January to mid-February.

The Sun represents our individuality, personal will, ego and inherent soul expression. We may feel somewhat oppressed during this month by circumstances both self-created and imposed by the "world." Rahu, the north node, continues to blow smoke into Capricorn throughout the year, balanced by Jupiter's positive aspect from Cancer (although a bit hampered at the moment by Jupiter's retrograde motion.)

The other situation created by Sun's presence in Capricorn is that combined with Ketu in Pisces, we have a hard situation arise in the sign of Aquarius due to Sun and Ketu creating papakartari yoga there. This yoga forms when two difficult planets are flanking either side of a sign. The sign itself and the planets therein tend to suffer or struggle. In this case, we will see a Venus-Mars conjunction in Aquarius from January 22 – February 12.

This presents a challenge. Aquarius is ruled by Saturn and Rahu, two planets that present the greatest lessons in worldly life and ultimately attempt to lead us toward the ideal balance of detachment and attachment. We will pursue this more in the final section of this forecast, Venus in Aquarius.

But let's get back to the Sun and Ketu, who cause the situation. Sun presses us toward individual expression in general, but it is currently in a position of forced humility in Capricorn. Ketu wants only liberation and has concern neither for self nor other. It is currently in Pisces, projecting the truth of cosmic consciousness through the lens of Jupiter's expansive, oceanic sign. This could be a good time to step back from self indulgent behaviors in order to objectively focus on the interaction between self and other as shown by Venus and Mars in Aquarius.

New Moon in Capricorn January 20

After the full Moon of January 4, Moon wanes through the zodiac, first visiting with Jupiter in Cancer January 5-7, which could make some good energy with both Jupiter and Moon in Cancer.

The Moon soon gets into more difficult terrain as it wanes. Moon takes about 2.5 days to get through a sign. In Leo, Moon receives the aspect of Mars and Saturn. Entering Virgo it encounters Rahu. In Libra, the Moon gets squeezed between difficult Rahu and Saturn, occupying the adjacent signs. Next, Moon enters debilitation and conjunction with Saturn in Scorpio, takes a few deep breaths in Sagittarius and then moves into conjunction with the Sun in Capricorn.

The Moon reaches the tender moment of newness just before dawn on January 20 at 7° Capricorn, in the lunar mansion of Uttarashada. Because the Vedic day begins at sunrise, this moment still lands in Monday, the day of the Moon. This nakshatra is ruled by the Sun and by the Viswedevas, which represent all of the gods collectively. This nakshatra is about bringing us to the pinnacle of power and victory through alliance with divinity in our efforts for collective success.

With the Moon as the representative of our mental state, emotions and vulnerability, let us be aware of this dark fortnight; the Moon passes through some trials that give us the chance to practice calm and dispassion in the face of pain, difficulty, annoyance or injustice. The day of January 19 is amavasya, a good time to withdraw from too much or important action in favor of rest, relaxation, worship or meditation.

Perhaps as the Moon wanes, we allow our individual disturbances to fall away behind us so that we can prepare ourselves for new growth in some form of collective situation. Moon and Sun will be in Capricorn, along with Venus and Mercury in the later degrees of the sign, who all receive the benefit of planetary aspect from Jupiter as well as the challenging aspects of Rahu and Saturn. We have a mix of influences on this new Moon.

Mercury Retrograde January 21 – February 11

The first retrograde cycle of 2015 launches with a small thud on January 21 as Mercury stops in his tracks and apparently begins to slide back through the middle degrees of Capricorn. This may slow our collective roll quite a bit with retrograde Saturn both lording and aspecting Mercury for this transit through Capricorn.

As Mercury begins, he is close to both Moon and Venus and by January 25, Mercury falls back into the bright orb of combustion with the Sun, falling away from sight. (For the first half of January, Mercury should be visible with Venus and Mars in the western sky just after sunset.) Mercury is accustomed more than any other planet to combustion, as it is the closest planet to the Sun and seldom far away from the Sun, from our perspective on Earth. But combustion is combustion, and we may find our ability to communicate somewhat lost in the bright solar sphere. It may be that choosing to speak sparsely during this time may be the best plan for avoiding conflict and communication errors.

All of the Mercury retrograde cycles of 2015 occur in earth signs. All of the Mercury retrograde cycles of 2014 happened in air signs (except the last one, which was split between air and earth when Mercury started in Libra and retreated to Virgo.) What this could indicate for this year's retrograde cycles is that Mercury's excessive energy may affect us more in the physical/material realm. System or hardware malfunctions may be the manifestation. Perhaps the beginning of the month could be spent cautiously backing up your data and contacts, getting the transportation and communication devices checked for proper working order and preparing by not over-scheduling for the period between mid-January and mid-February.

With all of the recent planetary activity in the sign of Capricorn, Mercury's retrograde and long transit through this earth sign of Saturn may be calling us to deeply review and analyze our communication, business alliances and educational pursuits.

Venus Transits Aquarius January 22 – February 15

Venus maintains a good speed, moving forward into Aquarius on January 22, joining Mars. Here is where things should really sprout up in the male-female interaction domain. Venus parts ways with the friendly but androgynous Mercury and moves into the arms of masculine Mars, trading peace for passion. We can all take in that trade-off as this transit through Aquarius progresses.

Venus and Mars should look quite striking together in the western sky after sunset throughout January and February as Venus pursues Mars, coming in for an exact conjunction sometime in late February.

Venus is in a friendly sign in Aquarius, but we have a few factors that may distract our planet of love, beauty, comfort and sensuality. First, the hemming in of Aquarius by Sun and Ketu may cause that feeling of being trapped between a rock and a hard place. Venus will try very diligently to make peace through diplomacy at all cost, but with Mars in the vicinity, this may be nearly impossible. As stated earlier, we may be getting more into passion than peace with this transit.

This could be great fodder for the creative process in the sense that we can find beauty in challenge and difficulty. Rather than bemoaning the failure of the peace process, we may have to buck up and work through hard territory in our relationships as January becomes February. Actions may speak louder than words at this time, especially considering Mercury's position and retrograde status. Steady as she goes.

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