Monthly Vedic Astrology Forecast

December 2016

by Kerry Shamblin

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

Mercury and Jupiter Exchange Signs November 28 – February 2

Mercury enters Jupiter's sign, Sagittarius, on November 28 for an extended transit there until February 2, 2017. This long length is thanks to a retrograde cycle of Mercury from December 19 – January 8 which keeps Mercury in Jupiter's sign for over two months. Jupiter is currently transiting through Mercury's earth sign, Virgo, which extends through September 12, 2017. When two planets occupy one another's sign, it puts them into a deep relationship which strengthens both the planets and the signs they occupy.

Mercury and Jupiter have an interesting relationship. While they are not technically "friends" they do share the distinction of being the rulers of the "dual" signs: Gemini and Virgo for Mercury and Sagittarius and Pisces for Jupiter. This implies a commonality of energy that allows for movement, growth and multifaceted awareness. This puts these two planets on either end of the teaching-learning spectrum. When in this kind of exchange of signs, it allows each of these planets to behave as if they are in their own sign, maximizing the strength and skill of both Jupiter and Mercury.

Mercury's enthusiastic and energetic desire for knowledge is greeted by Jupiter's very pure and light offering of knowledge. This is a wonderful period of time to jump onto the teaching-learning continuum and avail ourselves of this window of opportunity to both gain and digest knowledge.

This parivartana (exchange) also strengthens and protects the all of the dual signs: Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces. When one or two of them does well, they all do well. What a concept!

Venus Transits Capricorn December 2 – 28

Venus moves from Jupiter's sign, Sagittarius, into Saturn's sign, Capricorn, on December 2 and spends most of the month moving through to the other side, exiting to Aquarius on December 28. The entire transit is marked by an influence of Saturn on Venus, both by owning the sign Capricorn where Venus is transiting and also by the special 3rd aspect that Saturn is projecting onto Capricorn from Scorpio.

Adding to that, until December 11, Mars is also placed with Venus in Capricorn and will be much stronger due to the exaltation of Mars. During the first third of December, we may feel, in our Venus-ruled realm of relationship, connection and creativity, some level of pressure and heat that may feel uncomfortable.

Capricorn itself is not the sweetest of signs, revealing the rocky slopes that must be traversed if we are to reach our goals and pay our prices. Venus tends to favor comfort and ease, so we may have to buck up, pitch in and help out this month. Even if there is not a reward or treat for our kindness and compassion. Willingly and gracefully walk into situations that may not be pretty or comfortable with open eyes and see what kind of fires you may put out.

Jupiter's aspect on Capricorn from Virgo does offer some hope and warmth that comes in the form of knowledge and experience that do enhance any of Venus' creations. Suffering, difficulty, perseverance and discipline may become unexpected friends as Venus pushes toward the creation of better situations.

Waxing Moon Breaks Final Session of Kala Amrita Yoga December 5

The third round of Kala Amrita Yoga winds up on Monday, November 5 when the Moon moves into Aquarius, joining Ketu. We talked about this strong combination in October and again in November.

The basic idea with this yoga and its sister yoga, Kala Sarpa Yoga, is that all of the seven visible planets are hemmed between the two shadow planets. Both in transit and when found in a horoscope, this yoga can indicate sudden and unexpected changes, accidents, reversals, inevitable circumstances and sticky situations.

This final round of three began on November 22. The pure form of this yoga shows all of the planets in the signs on one side of the nodal axis but with none of the planets conjoining the nodes. When a planet, especially a benefic planet like the Moon, conjoins one of the nodes, it has a chance to break and transform the yoga. This will be the case when Moon enters Aquarius and moves past Ketu starting on December 5.

By the next time the Moon comes around to join Rahu in Leo on December 18, Mars will have moved into Aquarius, joining Ketu. This sets us up for a very interesting mid-month after many shifts and conjunctions occur during the first two weeks of December. As you read these next paragraphs, remember to synthesize the other sections of the forecast into this bigger picture of the Rahu-Ketu role in our current planetary framework.

Let's focus for a moment on the basic roles of the nodes, Rahu and Ketu. First, they form an axis that creates an invisible giant stirring stick whose ends are capable of extinguishing the lights of the Sun and Moon when they move through the axis. This is a fancy way of pointing out that Rahu and Ketu conjoined the Sun and Moon cause eclipses.

This eclipsing capability is rather powerful. We are talking about shadows and obfuscation. We enter the realm where it becomes difficult to discern the truth and to see clearly. When we are beginning to analyze how these nodes affect us, it is good to keep that in mind.

Rahu and Ketu are two parts of a former whole, with Rahu playing the role of the head separated from its body and Ketu playing the role of the headless body. Within the head we have the mind and the senses that fuel the desires that cause our actions. Within the body, we have our network of nerves and impulses that, without being driven by the mind, give us intuitive intelligence.

Rahu is the exploiter, the manipulator, the genius. He will urge us to accomplish our goals and fulfill our desires by whatever means we can perceive. If this means jumping across the border and coloring outside the lines, that will be done. As you can imagine, this sometimes causes problems and sometimes causes amazing inventions. Rahu realizes that diversity is the foundation of survival and revels in the chaos of difference. Rahu doesn't care about color, shape or caste and sees that all of these various differences are essential to the thriving mass of life on planet Earth.

Ketu's only motivation is freedom. Left without a head, the body's intelligence guides us toward a protected stance from whence we can seek liberation. Because of Ketu's limited range of desire, the association with Ketu tends to block the clarity that comes from objective perception; remember, Ketu has no eyes, ears, nose, tongue or mind. On one hand, this can keep us out of the trouble generated by overindulging the senses and emotions. On the other hand, we walk around acting without enough information as if we are sleepwalking, making mistakes.

The Moon moves into Rahu's space in Leo on December 18, moving past Rahu with and exact conjunction happening around midnight as December 19 comes around. December 19 is the day that the Electoral College vote happens in the US. The Moon can be used as a measure of public opinion and was conjoined Ketu on the day of the election, November 2. Association with Ketu can cause reversals; with the Moon as the planet of the public mind, it was surprising on that day when Donald Trump took the election after the public opinion polls had strongly suggested another outcome.

With Moon joining Rahu on this next level of the election process, we may expect a similar upheaval from the public mind. The most notable character in this last bout with Kala Sarpa Yoga will be Mars, in the end. After Moon moves through Leo and into Virgo on the morning of December 20, Mars alone will stand in the way of the nodal axis. Mars' methods of breaking the yoga will likely not involve negotiation or diplomacy. This could be the anger of the people coming to a head and fighting back against oppressive circumstances. We have used the US election as an example, but there are many places on the planet at this time that are seeing the rising of collective anger against the "powers that be."

Mars Reaches Highest Point of Exaltation December 7

Mars comes to highest exaltation at 28° Capricorn, Saturn's earth sign. The lunar mansion Dhanistha, ruled by Mars himself, overlays this position within the zodiac. Mars is very strong, climbing steadily on the heavy foundation laid by Saturn.

Before rejoicing at the use of the word "strong," remember that everything is relative on the good-bad spectrum. In individual and collective ways, we are navigating through circumstances in which the powerful energy, drive and perception of Mars is at its peak. We must think deeply about how we will wield and channel this power and fire of Mars. The master of expansion, Jupiter, and the master of contraction, Saturn, will both be aspecting Mars within the first week of December. This combination of influences upon the strong Mars is favorable in the sense that it gives balance between knowing when to act and knowing when to wait, both of which are necessary in any advancement.

Rahu Enters Magha Nakshatra December 9

Rahu and Ketu will enter into an exchange of nakshatras (lunar signs) from December 9, 2016 – April 14, 2017.

The last time this type of Rahu-Ketu nakshatra exchange occurred (Rahu in Mula, Ketu in Ardra) was from late September 2010 through January 2011. Mula nakshatra is placed in the first section of Sagittarius and is ruled by the planet Ketu. Ardra is placed within Gemini and is ruled by Rahu. Some notable world events from this time frame include: "Diplomatic Cables Release" from Wikileaks, earthquake/tsunami/volcano action in Indonesia and the Arab Spring revolution in Tunisia.

"Nakshatra" is the word for a section of the zodiac when it has been divided into twenty-seven parts known as the lunar signs, through which the Moon moves approximately one per day. The lunar signs overlay the sun signs and further define smaller sections of the zodiac. Interpreting a planetary placement by observing both the solar sign (ruled by the Sun) and the lunar sign (ruled by the Moon) allows us to more deeply understand the subtle meanings of the placement.

This time, we will have Ketu placed in Rahu's sign (Aquarius) and nakshatra (Shatabishak) with Rahu rolling in backward motion through Ketu's nakshatra (Magha) while still in the Sun's sign, Leo. For part of this time, the Sun will also be in Aquarius (Feb 12 – Mar 13, 2017), offering opportunities for eclipses while the Sun travels through the nodal axis. The first eclipse pair of 2017 happens on February 10 (lunar, full Moon) and February 26 (solar, new Moon).

If we can predict sudden and unexpected upheavals from the influence of Rahu and Ketu, with both of them in strength due to this nakshatra exchange, let us keep our eyes open for where the instability will appear.

Magha nakshatra spans the first 13°20' of the sign of Leo, ruled by the Sun. Magha's planetary ruler is Ketu and the associated diety is the Pitris, the ancestors and forefathers. Magha is associated with lineages, especially of rulership due to the influence of the Sun through Leo. The entire transit of Rahu through Leo can be said to encourage the challenge of the establishment by the hungry masses. The problem is that Rahu's penchant for obfuscation can create confusion about what should be retained and what should be destroyed. We can run around shouting for "change" but without really having an idea about what type of change would be productive and beneficial.

The mindless adherence to traditional structures of governance is very prominent in Magha nakshatra. Faith that the good king will take care of his subjects flourishes here. With Rahu moving through Magha from December 9, 2016 until he retreats into the sign of Cancer in mid-August 2017, there is a hungry force that is speaking for the masses and desires changes to the status quo. The nakshatra exchange between Rahu and Ketu extends through mid-April, but Rahu's presence in Magha holds through mid-August 2017. We must remain vigilant about monitoring the forces behind the change we purport to desire; with Rahu's influence, things will not be what they appear and the characters involved are likely wearing multiple masks.

Disclaimer. In true Rahu-Ketu form, there are two ways of tracking their progress: the mean node and the true node calculations. I use the mean node in my forecasting. Be aware in reading other forecasts that different astrologers use different calculations so the exact dates of transits may vary.

Sun and Saturn Conjunction December 10

The annual meeting of the Sun and his second son, Saturn, occurs for the third consecutive year in the sign of Scorpio. The relationship between these two planets has never been smooth and their association in the cold, dark environment of Scorpio can bring forth the roots of any difficult relationship.

Sun has been transiting through Scorpio since mid-November. He glides steadily forward at his reliable average pace of one degree per day toward his meeting with Saturn, which comes on December 10 when the two meet at 25° Scorpio.

Surya and Shani

The eternal debate between the importance of Me and Not Me always flares up when Sun and Saturn associate. These types of snags are perfect opportunities for examining the virtues of a balanced and humble ego structure.

This meeting does occur on a Saturday; in some way or form, be prepared for a blow to the ego from Shani's staff. Remember there is a strong exchange currently between the rulers of Scorpio and Aquarius, the two signs that feature the co-lordship of the nodes, Ketu and Rahu. This gives both the rulers of these signs and the signs themselves some strength. As neither Scorpio nor Aquarius are considered easy signs and none of the rulers are considered easy planets (Mars, Ketu, Saturn and Rahu) we can expect some dosage of difficult situations generated by this current planetary framework. Please read on...

Mars Transits Aquarius December 11 – January 19

Mars departs his sign of exaltation, Capricorn, and enters into Aquarius for a five-week transit on December 11. Mars joining Ketu in Aquarius further strengthens the parivartana (exchange) between the lords of Scorpio and Aquarius as Mars joins his co-ruler of Scorpio, Ketu, and they both exchange with Saturn, co-ruler of Aquarius.

This very powerful exchange strengthens the camp of the mischievous planets, empowering Saturn, Mars and Ketu to participate in the "dirty work" that they are charged with doing. At the same time, we have a fantastic exchange between Mercury and Jupiter, bolstering the "good guys" camp. This is shaping up to be an interesting time period especially as first Sun (December) and then Saturn (January) will be crossing over the gandanta point between Scorpio and Sagittarius.

This gandanta, or knot, is a difficult juncture between a water and a fire sign. There is generally conflict when it comes to the elements of water and fire; this particular gandanta, the second of three in the zodiac, is regarded as the battlefield.

Mars' role is generally as leader of a well-resourced force, such as the general of an army. Ketu is considered the army forces itself. With the two aligned, we can see the possibility of a military advance. This could be, of course, literal or figurative. What kind of battle is brewing depends on both individual circumstances and the mood of the environment in which we find ourselves. Mars and Ketu conjoin at 13° Aquarius on December 27, adding his energy to the Rahu-Ketu nakshatra exchange.

Remember also that Venus, whose main goal is peace and comfort, would prefer diplomacy over any action that involves violence. However, Venus is somewhat caught in Saturn's grip at this time, transiting through Capricorn during the month of December.

Mars from Aquarius is also aspecting Taurus, Leo and Virgo and all planets contained therein, notably Rahu in Leo and Jupiter in Virgo. Mars' fire may be enough to shake the foundations that the fixed signs Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius so highly value.

Full Moon in Taurus December 13

The Moon becomes full at 29° Taurus on the evening of Tuesday, December 13. This full Moon falls in the nakshatra of Mrigashira, which spans the signs of Taurus and Gemini under the rulership of Mars. It is known as "the Searching Star" and has the reputation for endlessly seeking, much like the unending grazing and movement of a deer.

Mars rules Mrigashira and Mars himself will be in his own nakshatra of Dhanistha; also Mars is the Lord of the Day, Tuesday. Jupiter in Virgo is also placed in a nakshatra of Mars, Chitra. Mars from Aquarius will give planetary aspect to both Moon in Taurus and Jupiter in Virgo. So while the lunar energy is at its height, we are also feeling the strong energy of Mars affecting the Moon as well as Jupiter. Strong Mars can make us act without consideration as it can promote impulsive behavior in an "act first, ask questions later (or never)" way. With the Moon also channelling that trigger-finger reaction, beware of becoming overwhelmed by emotion and acting brashly, as somewhere down the line regret for impulsive action may set in.

As mentioned earlier, the Sun travels through the gandanta between Scorpio and Sagittarius in December, specifically December 13-16, during the time of this full Moon. Please exercise caution, especially when it comes to acting on emotion during this time. We are experiencing a challenging set of planetary influences that require us to calculate our actions from a calm position if we wish to go forward with a minimum of strife.

Sun Transits Sagittarius December 15 – January 14

As the Sun moves past Saturn during the first half of December and pushes through the tight gateway between Scorpio and Sagittarius, we may feel that squeeze in our own lives as the Sun represents our cherished individuality that we express on a soul level.

When we look at the instability and confusion that can come from Rahu in Leo, we have to look at strengthening the Sun as our ticket to discerning the real from the unreal. The Sun will always lead us on the righteous path, it is just that it is sometimes difficult to see the Sun when obscured by clouds or other factors. The Sun, having just traversed its debilitation sign of Libra, followed by a difficult transit through Scorpio and past Saturn, has been struggling to be our beacon of righteousness.

Generally, the Sun traveling through the friendly and positive signs of Jupiter renews our sense of what is right and true. But this time, we must recall that the added aspect of Rahu from Leo onto Jupiter's sign of Sagittarius will continue to make it difficult to know right from wrong based on the smoke signals being sent from Rahu's position.

Despite this confusion, the Sun's mission toward the good and true will be much better supported as Sun transits through Sagittarius. This is a good time to focus and get back on track, as after Sagittarius, the Sun must pass through the signs of Saturn: Capricorn and Aquarius. Gather intelligence and analyze well during this month that spans our western calendar new year. Mercury's presence in Sagittarius will be helpful in assessing the situation. The Sun will both benefit from and add to the positive nature of the Jupiter-Mercury exchange.

Mercury Retrograde in Sagittarius December 19 – January 8, 2017

As mentioned earlier, Mercury will be in Sagittarius for a couple of months due to a retrograde period from December 19, 2016 – January 8, 2017. While planets in retrograde motion don't literally reverse their course in orbit around the Sun, they do appear to re-trace their path briefly from our perspective on Earth. Thus, they linger in a section of the zodiac for a spell, making us wonder what they are trying to tell us.

Retrograde planets appear so because they happen to be on a part of their orbit that brings them closer to earth. They are brighter to us and are also strong in astrological indications.

Mercury is an energetic planet. With strength, Mercury is perhaps too energetic. Without a precise plan for funneling this energy, mishaps can occur. Perhaps it is impossible to prevent these funny mishaps and frustrating miscommunications. Instead, if we see this upcoming set of waves as big and energetic, we could perhaps make a plan to harness that energy and accomplish much, especially in the way of the teaching -learning spectrum as mentioned earlier.

Mercury and Jupiter will be energizing the dual signs: Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces. These are the places in the zodiac where real change does happen, where things are left behind and new horizons are perceived.

No matter what the astrological framework operating at any one time, no matter what the government structure, we are still on an individual path. It is up to us to grow, learn and teach the next one. We must find our vehicle and learn to relate to new paradigms, for change is the constant in life.

Mercury retrograde sometimes makes messes, but it also opens doors wider. Go deeply into your learning and evolution. Go back to your old mistakes and learn again. Review the material until it becomes a part of your body. It is easy to collect information and data, to consume and analyze it; this is the fun job of Mercury. The problem is keeping up with digesting the material and making it a part of the soul; this is the expansive job of Jupiter. This Mercury retrograde cycle within the period of exchange with Jupiter is inviting us to digest fully such that information becomes knowledge.

Jaya Gurudev!

Venus Transits Aquarius December 28 – January 26

When Venus enters Aquarius on December 28, she joins the Mars and Ketu combination. What an interesting confrontation, with the fiery and explosive rulers of Scorpio joined by Venus, the watery fire-fighter.

Maybe love is the answer.

New Moon in Sagittarius December 28

The Moon settles into the arms of the Sun just before midnight on December 28, at 14° Sagittarius, in the beginning of Purvashada nakshatra. Retrograde Mercury sits near by, bringing the Sun and Moon into the energy of the parivartana created by Jupiter and Mercury.

This is a Wednesday night, and with retrograde Mercury as the ruler of the day, Wednesday the 28th may be a great day to do the opposite of what you feel like doing, which is likely packing 10 pounds into a 5 pound package. Rahu will be aspecting the new Moon combination very strongly from Leo. Rather sit down, be quiet and listen. Think deeply about where you are putting your energy and efforts. Assure that you are on the correct path. Assess other paths and directions if you find that you are not.

The next day, step forward and make 2017 be a year filled with the reality of practical change based on personal action. Open up to inner wisdom so that right and wrong may be distinguished without fail as you continue on your path.

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