Monthly Vedic Astrology Forecast

April 2016

by Kerry Shamblin

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

Venus Transits Pisces March 31 – April 24

After a period when we have had many planets positioned in the fixed signs, things are beginning to flow, first with Sun entering Pisces on March 14 and Mercury following on March 18. The next to enter Pisces is Venus, which is the sign of exaltation for this planet that provides attraction, relationship and the vital beauty of life.

Venus will uplift Mercury for the last few days of its transit through Pisces, which is the sign of debilitation for Mercury. Venus will also be sharing space with the Sun until Sun enters Aries on April 13. Venus is in a slow pursuit of the Sun; we see a conjunction finally on June 5. The combustion of Venus occurs when it is 10 degrees or less away from the Sun; this will begin on April 30 and extend until July 13.

Combustion of a planet occurs by proximity to the Sun, the idea being that the planet's energy is consumed by the mighty power of Surya (Sun), leaving it difficult to see and sense that planet's energy. It is not that the planet becomes less powerful, its just that the expression of the planet is drowned in the glory of the Sun.

Let us enjoy the shine of Venus this month as it transits through Pisces from March 31 – April 24! Since August 2015, Venus has been rising in the morning before the Sun; this will be the last full month when Venus can be seen, as it begins the combustion phase and passes the Sun. Venus will be seen again in the evening beginning in July 2016.

Venus oscillates between the role as herald of the morning, rising in the morning before the Sun and the role of guardian of the evening, shining in the west after sunset. East is the direction of the Sun and west is the direction of Saturn. These two planets rule the concepts of individual self and ego (Sun) and dissolution of self and ego (Saturn.) Venus, as the planet of connection, relationship and oneness seems to dance between these two concepts as time unfolds, which reflects in our own human process of making a balance between individuality and unity.

This transit of Venus through Pisces coincides with the final weeks of Venus being visible in the morning. Pisces is ruled by Jupiter and is the final sign in the sequence of the zodiac signs, symbolizing endings and transitions to new beginnings. The question is, what concepts can be shed or what situations can be altered that will support our individual growth toward being a better partner, artist, friend or member of society?

Jupiter as the lord of Pisces is the support for Venus as it transits there. Jupiter is currently retrograde in Leo with Rahu. This is a call for careful discernment as we flow from one stage of Venus expression to the next. There may be confusion about what and who are helping or harming your process. Therefore, move slowly, listen closely to the guidance you are offered and choose carefully.

Mercury Transits Aries April 2 – June 7

Mercury usually skips quickly through a sign; when we see a two-month transit it is due to a retrograde cycle, which Mercury will run from April 28 – May 22, all within the sign of Aries, the fire sign ruled by Mars.

Although in the "friends" scheme, Mars, ruler of Aries, and Mercury are not considered natural friends. Aries is "enemy" territory for Mercury. However, we always try to make the best of things, so lets understand why Aries may be difficult for Mercury. Although Mars and Mercury may not be friends, in practice it seems that they are effective work mates. The detached, flexible and analytical mind of Mercury brings energy to projects that Mars has carefully planned and provisioned.

Mercury's agenda is all about currency, exchange and movement. Mercury is happy when things are flowing and traveling, when transactions are being made, when conversations are occurring. Aries is perhaps intense for Mercury due to the very pointed, focused agenda of Mars in his fiery form.

For this two month period, we may have good energy for work, but the Mercury-mind, ever desirous of keeping things moving in the easiest way, may balk at agendas and plans that are too focused and directed. The question is, who is stronger in this relationship right now, Mercury or Mars? Who needs to make concessions and who needs to make efforts?

Mars is very strong currently, being positioned in his own sign of Scorpio and accompanied by Saturn. The initiative and power of Mars is currently internalized and focused due to the placement in Scorpio. This April and May could be a good time to choose discipline while participating in Mercury-related activities; sticking to the plan that Mars lays out could be quite beneficial and productive.

Keeping this disciplined mental attitude could be most challenging while Mercury appears to be retrograde, from April 28 – May 22. By April 28, Mercury will have reached 30° Aries. The retrograde cycle returns Mercury to 21° Aries on May 22, when he resumes direct motion.

Aries rules the head, so the mishaps of Mercury retrograde my flow through the thought processes and decision trees during this round. Too much thinking, over-analyzing and spontaneous decisions should be reined in as much as possible during this time. A good outlet for excess Mercury energy is taking a walk in a natural setting, which also calms down Mars.

With Mercury's retrograde cycle, that makes four planets energized by retrograde motion: Jupiter, Saturn, Mars and Mercury. Jupiter and Rahu from Leo are both extending their influence to all of the fire signs, which means that Mercury in Aries will also receive the impact of this powerful conjunction occurring in the sign of Leo. This may be particularly supportive of projects that focus on education and teaching.

What to make of all of the retrograde energy? This may signal a period of backpedaling, slow growth, retreat and reorganization. It's not that we can't act, it just may be slow and unpredictable as we step in new or opposite directions. It's also an invitation to look behind and learn from lessons of past growth because: cycles! What you think you may have already learned may beg to come back and sink deeper but require some sacrifice.

New Moon in Pisces April 7

The Sun and Moon join together at 24° Pisces in the pre-dawn hours of April 7. Pisces is ruled by the planet Jupiter, currently transiting Leo and putting Jupiter and Sun into an exchange of signs, strengthening and supporting each planet. The Moon joins into this Jupiter-supported energy while Sun and Moon are both in the nakshatra (lunar mansion) Revati, lorded by Mercury and by Pushan, the protective shepherd who helps feed us as we transition and move on.

Wednesday, April 6 would be a good day plan for a light schedule of work in favor of quiet time to oneself. This is amavasya, the day leading up to the moment of the new Moon, when the Moon's energy has waned to its lowest point in the month. This can often cause low energy in the body and mind.

The new Moon of Pisces is also accompanied by the exalted Venus, bringing in that energy to this turning point. In the still moments of this passing vulnerability, may we listen and learn how to soften in whatever way will allow our next phase to sprout and blossom.

Sun Transits Aries April 13 – May 14

A week after the new Moon, the Sun moves on from Pisces and enters Aries, his sign of exaltation. The Sun joins Mercury, who remains in Aries during the entire transit of the Sun due to the upcoming retrograde cycle of Mercury.

Sun is becoming stronger in the northern hemisphere during this time of year and we can direct the massive light of the Sun toward our new beginnings, initiating projects and encouraging the growth of our newly sprouted seeds and directions.

The combined aspect of Jupiter and Rahu will also be felt by the Sun as it travels through Aries. Jupiter's golden, positive influence supports the exalted Sun. Rahu's shadowy glance may obscure clarity and introduce a bit of self-doubt or confusion, but ultimately we remember that the Sun is the ruler of Leo, where Rahu and Jupiter are positioned. The righteous influence of Jupiter and Sun should be somewhat stronger than the darkness that Rahu offers.

Mars Retrograde Begins April 16

Planets in their own sign, like Mars in Scorpio currently, are strong and able to act. Retrograde planets are also strong, but further introduce the quality of reversal, latency and unexpected results. Mars has been moving toward retrograde Saturn, but this retrograde cycle of Mars from April 16 – June 30 will further delay the exact conjunction of these two tough planets.

Mars begins the retrograde cycle at 15° Scorpio, still in the nakshatra of Anuradha. By June 3, Mars is still in Scorpio but re-enters the nakshatra Vishaka, which spans the signs of Libra and Scorpio. On June 17, Mars reverses into the sign of Libra, regaining direct motion on June 30 at 29° Libra.

Going forward, Mars re-enters Scorpio on July 12, heading for his inevitable meeting with Saturn. Saturn resumes direct motion on August 13 at 16° Scorpio, while Mars is at 11º Scorpio (both in the nakshatra Anuradha.) Mars catches up quickly to Saturn for an exact conjunction at 15°47' Scorpio on August 23, in the last degree of Anuradha.

This conjunction of Mars and Saturn in Scorpio is an extended dance, with the retrograde cycle of Mars drawing out the steps. Mars stepping into Sagittarius on September 17 will be a milestone in this 8-month sequence that Saturn and Mars are making in Scorpio. Mars is our use of force and Saturn is our use of restraint. Unless they are knowingly working toward a common goal, they are working against one another.

Saturn joined with Mars in Scorpio will bring out dynamics where fear and courage collide, where we see the interaction of ice and fire, stop and go, denial and acquisition, collective and individual. With all of this said, recall the advice earlier that Mercury stick to Mars' plan. Let us bear in mind that even Mars may be erratic, pressed or unstable; perhaps Mercury should offer to chime in on the planning stage, and agree to stick to his own plan to stabilize the progress of whatever project is at hand.

Full Moon in Libra April 21

The Moon becomes full just before midnight on Thursday, April 21 (Mountain US.) The Moon will be at 9° Libra opposing the exalted Sun at 9° Aries. Libra is ruled by the planet Venus, currently exalted in the sign of Pisces, further enhancing the strength and charm of the Moon on this night. It should be noted that Venus is not only in Pisces at this time, but at this full Moon will be very close to the exact degree of exaltation.

Any efforts in trying to heal or balance relationships that require a redistribution of self vs. other energy will be well supported during this time. When the situation can't or isn't changing (reflected by the many planets in the fixed signs now), we have to change our hearts, our minds and our actions in order to bring forth balance and renewal.

Venus Transits Aries April 24 – May 19

The graceful Venus departs exaltation in Pisces for a transit Aries from April 24 – May 19. Venus joins Mercury and Sun in Aries, heading for that state of combustion as Venus dives into the great effulgence of Surya, on the road of transition to evening star.

Venus and Mercury are natural friends, and each have a similar relationship with Mars, ruler of Aries, which deposits Venus into an enemy sign, just like Mercury. But now there are two, and Venus' presence in Aries may act to temper and support Mercury, especially during the retrograde cycle from April 28 – May 22.

We will see how Venus is performing in Aries in the May forecast, as well. Just as Aries can be intense for Mercury, its intense environment is challenging to Venus, as well.

Jupiter and Saturn Continue Retrograde

By month's end, we will have four planets in retrograde state, two slower-moving planets (Jupiter and Saturn) and two faster-moving planets (Mercury and Mars.) Jupiter is currently in the nakshatra Purvaphalguni within the sign of Leo. Saturn is in Jyestha nakshatra within the sign of Scorpio.

Here are the dates when each of these planets in retrograde motion will regain direct motion: Jupiter (May 9), Mercury (May 22), Mars (June 30), Saturn (August 13). This sequence of planets regaining forward motion will end with the turn-about of Saturn in August. At that time, we also see the Jupiter-Rahu conjunction ending with Jupiter's move to Virgo on Thursday, August 11 and the Mars-Saturn conjunction ending September 17.

The hand of cards we've been dealt at this time is quite complex and challenging. At the time of this writing, retrograde Saturn at 23° Scorpio is exactly aspecting retrograde Jupiter at 23° Leo, making a very strong bridge between the signs of Leo and Scorpio which are hosting some rather fascinating combinations of planets. Mars from Scorpio is also aspecting Ketu in Aquarius, tying in that sign as well. So we still have a good number of planets set in the fixed signs until August/September.

This indicates that there may be difficulty in moving and shaking things in our world, especially things that are set in stone and long-established. This could be both positive and negative, depending on the level of motivation to either keep or destroy well established foundations.

The planets to do the moving and changing will be those that are free of this framework that has been established by Saturn and Jupiter while supported by Mars and Rahu: Sun, Moon, Mercury and Venus. With singular purpose, flexibility of thought, steadiness of mind and creative interaction, we can flow through the obstacles, delays and difficulties that may present themselves during the next five months.

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