Monthly Vedic Astrology Forecast

January 2016

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 2016!

The first day of 2016 will be a Friday, with the planets nicely arranged into a necklace starting with Jupiter in Leo, the Moon in Virgo with Rahu, Mars in Libra, Venus with Saturn in Scorpio, Sun in Sagittarius and Mercury in Capricorn.

The planetary movements of 2016 are certainly interesting to note, with the most prominent being the conjunction of Jupiter and Rahu for an seven-month period beginning in late January.

Additionally, there will be a prolonged conjunction of Mars and Saturn in Scorpio during roughly the same timeframe, from February - September 2016. We will look more in depth as each new month arises through these forecasts.

One of the most frequently asked questions when I mention an upcoming transit or conjunction is: Is that going to be bad?? My reply is always: Bad for what or good for what? Remember, the results of actions of people and the happenings in the world cannot be read in black and white. What may be good for one person or country could be destroying another. A great question to consider: How can I make the best of this transit?

Saturn Transits Jyestha Nakshatra

November 2, 2014 marked Saturn's entrance into the sign of Scorpio and he will exit to Sagittarius for good (until the year 2043) on October 25, 2017. This means almost a three year involvement with the sign of Scorpio (minus about 5-6 months at the beginning of 2017 when Saturn dips into Sagittarius.) Since November of 2014, Saturn has moved through the few degrees of Vishaka nakshatra (lunar mansion ruled by Jupiter) that are found in the early portion of Scorpio and through the nakshatra called Anuradha, ruled by Saturn himself.

Just as planets function well in signs that they rule, they can also function well when transiting nakshatra that they rule, so we can assume that Saturn was in decent strength and function while in Anuradha, from November 30, 2014 - December 27, 2015. That means we may have been dealt some strong lessons, but they were ones that pushed us deeper and farther into self-understanding, hopefully forcing us to let go of destructive, ego-oriented behaviors.

So, for the next year approximately, we will see slow-moving Shani in the nakshatra of Jyestha, except for the time between July 9 – September 17, 2016 when Saturn returns to Anuradha nakshatra due to a retrograde cycle. The full retrograde cycle of Saturn in 2016 is March 24 - August 13.

Jyestha nakshatra is ruled by the planet Mercury and by the devata Indra, regarded as king of the devas (divine beings.) Jyestha translates as eldest, senior or pre-eminent. It marks one side of the 2nd gandanta (karmic knot) in the zodiac, joining with Mula nakshatra to create the battlefield that exists between the forces of light and dark.

Although Saturn may not be in a friendly sign while in Scorpio (ruled by Mars and Ketu), Scorpio is neutral to Saturn. His work of reminding us that life is difficult and peppered with hardship and obstacles will go on quite well as he finishes the transit through Scorpio.

What can we expect from Saturn's time in Jyestha nakshatra from December 27, 2015 – January 26, 2017? Jyestha is ruled by Mercury, a planet that can signal learning, movement and change. Mercury rules the three nakshatra that are at the front side of each gandanta point, the final four pada (3º20' sections) of the water signs, in this case, Scorpio.

Change may be the keyword for this Saturn transit through Jyestha. The detached and relentlessly practical nature of Saturn will be taking us through the dark, uncomfortable territory of Jyestha, where the desire to protect and defend arises out of necessity due to insecurity and fear in an unstable environment. Saturn by nature can engender feelings of fear and anxiety, which if recognized and redirected can push us toward acting with courage and strength.

In a collective sense, this time of Saturn moving through Jyestha could be a call for revolution. Saturn's tendency is to uphold traditional ways such that stability is maintained. Mercury's rulership of Jyestha indicates a more open, youthful approach that supports learning new ways of operating that increase speed, mobilization and efficiency. Indra's influence on Jyestha brings in the courage of the dragon-slayer, giving the power to rise up and conquer. When Saturn goes to battle, he does not wear armor nor carry metal weapons. In fact, due to Saturn's depiction as old and lame, he would prefer to avoid battle. When pushed, Saturn will fight and defend quite strongly with his staff.

Saturn's presence tends to create a feeling of pressure and limitation. This may translate as feeling somewhat trapped in a situation that brings up fear or helplessness. Depending on where this transit is occurring in a personal birth chart, this sense of impending battle with dark forces may arise in some domain of life.

Saturn Schedule for 2016-2017

December 27, 2015: Saturn enters Jyestha nakshatra, still in the sign of Scorpio
March 24, 2016: Saturn begins retrograde cycle at 23º Scorpio (Jyestha nakshatra)
August 13, 2016: Saturn resumes direct motion at 16º Scorpio (Anuradha nakshatra)
September 17, 2016: Saturn enters Jyestha nakshatra, still in the sign of Scorpio
January 26, 2017: Saturn enters Sagittarius (Mula nakshatra)
April 5, 2017: Saturn begins retrograde cycle at 4º Sagittarius (Mula nakshatra)
June 20, 2017: Saturn continues retrograde back into Scorpio (Jyestha nakshatra)
August 25, 2017: Saturn resumes direct motion at 28º Scorpio (Jyestha nakshatra)
October 25, 2017: Saturn enters Sagittarius (Mula nakshatra). No return to Scorpio this cycle.

Mercury Retrograde January 5 – 25

The great messenger Mercury gives us a clue about 2016 by kicking off the year with a retrograde cycle that begins in Capricorn, sees Mercury retreat into Sagittarius and then take direct motion again on January 25.

Mercury re-enters Sagittarius on January 13 and then makes an exact conjunction with the Sun on the morning of January 14 at 30° Sagittarius as the Sun moves forward into Capricorn and Mercury retreats into Sagittarius.

Thus, Mercury trades the aspect of Saturn for that of Jupiter. Any planet transiting through Capricorn will feel the gaze of Saturn while Saturn sits in Scorpio. Any planet transiting through Sagittarius will feel the gaze of Jupiter while Jupiter sits in Leo.

The appearance of Mercury moving retrograde as it boomerangs through the solar system puts Mercury just a bit closer to the orbit of the earth; this intensifies and promotes the expression of Mercury. However, there are two different influences that may dampen this. First, while Mercury is in Capricorn, Saturn's oppressive influence can slow Mercury down (this may feel frustrating when you're trying to "do something real quick.") Second, Mercury is in a state of combustion during most of this retrograde period. That means that the Sun has the say ultimately in what Mercury is doing, as the two planets are so close that weaker Mercury is drowned by the influence of the Sun. (Combustion of Mercury will be from January 9 – 20.)

At any rate, many people report mischief with electronics, transportation and communication while Mercury retrograde cycles occur. Just a heads up to keep it cool and calm during this time.

Jupiter Begins Retrograde Cycle January 7

And Mercury's clue is... It's retrograde time! Review, revisit, rewind, regrow, regroup, re-establish, revert, reinvent, recycle, retreat!

Jupiter reaches 30° Leo and then commences a retrograde cycle on January 7 that will extend through May 9, 2016. This apparent backward motion will take Jupiter from 30° to 20° Leo during this four-month period. After resuming direct motion, Jupiter will move into Virgo on August 11, 2016.

This retrograde cycle of Jupiter will mirror the retrograde cycle of Saturn through Jyestha. These two slow-moving planets in retrograde will overlap between March 24 – May 9, 2016. Saturn gives his 10th planetary aspect to Jupiter while Saturn is in Scorpio and Jupiter is in Leo, further pressurizing and possibly stabilizing the situation.

Again, we are looking at the transformations that we are invited to make by Jupiter and Saturn, especially Saturn from the nakshatra Jyestha. The retrograde motion of each of them may show our resistance to making necessary changes or releasing old patterns. Maybe this is a chance to reinvestigate which elements we need to keep and which need to be discarded.

Additionally, Mercury will be retrograde again from April 28 – May 21 (in the sign of Aries.) Oh yes, Mars will be retrograde, also, from April 16 – June 30, taking him from Scorpio back to Libra. That is four retrograde planets from April 28 – May 9, the day that Jupiter resumes direct motion.

New Moon in Sagittarius January 9

The Moon moves in to join the Sun at 26° Sagittarius, in Purvashada nakshatra, during the evening of Saturday, January 9. This makes the 24 hour period leading up to this event our amavasya, a time when it is good to limit heavy activity in favor of rest, withdrawal or meditation.

Sagittarius' ruler is Jupiter while Purvashada's planetary lord is Venus. Here we have the influence of the two planets that guide and teach us. This would be a good time to give thanks to teachers and plant seeds for the upcoming year in terms of both teaching and studying matters. With Jupiter's newly retrograde status in effect, this may signal a year in which we can review material that has already been offered, integrating it more deeply into our wells of knowledge.

Mercury's similar retrograde status at this new Moon points toward the inner student undergoing review of material, as well. After the Moon begins to wax on the evening of January 9, we can begin to move forward in our projects and plans, but be wary of going too quickly with the unstable influence of retrograde planets in effect.

The name of the game this month, and possibly for the first three quarters of 2016, will be to move slowly with deliberation.

Sun Transits Capricorn January 14 – February 13

The Sun moving out of Sagittarius meets with retrograde Mercury just before shifting signs into Capricorn. Sun will be losing the exchange of signs with Jupiter from Leo as it moves from Sagittarius. The wintery grip of Saturn may seem to close in on the Sun as it moves into Capricorn, where Saturn is the ruler and Saturn is also giving its aspect to Capricorn from Scorpio.

The warm glow of the holiday season may fade quickly this year with Sun falling into Capricorn. Saturn's strong influence may create a hard environment, especially with the addition of retrograde Jupiter joined with Rahu as it moves into Leo later in the month.

While this may not be a completely inspiring period of time, it will be excellent for getting things done, especially tasks that may seem like drudgery or require repetitive activity. This said, it may be a good idea to make a list and gather materials during the first part of January. Get fired up and enthusiastic about the difficult tasks before the Sun moves to Capricorn, as it may be difficult to find motivation after that.

Venus Transits Sagittarius January 18 – February 11

Before Venus moves to Sagittarius on January 18, let us look at Venus' status in Scorpio for the first part of January. Scorpio is always difficult territory for Venus, but this time, Venus gets a boost of strength from Mars, who is ruler of Scorpio and also positioned in Libra. This exchange of signs benefits both planets, lending strength to Venus and compassion to Mars.

Venus in Scorpio also passes by Saturn, getting into a state of planetary war with the planet of distress on January 8. This may not be the best day for a first date! Additionally, the waning Moon may create a feeling of low energy during this weekend. Not to mention Mars' influence, with which we may be inspired to relate aggressively.

Once Venus moves to Sagittarius on January 18, the temporary relationship with Mars is broken up and Venus joins retrograde Mercury, who will both receive the aspect of retrograde Jupiter. Jupiter is aspecting Sagittarius and ruling it, so this further supports the idea of growth of knowledge through review of already presented materials.

Venus and Mercury travel together through Sagittarius as Mercury resumes direct motion. They move into Capricorn during the first part of February, both occupying Saturn's earth sign through February.

Full Moon in Cancer January 23

The waxing Moon reaches its own sign of Cancer and gets to full strength on the evening of Saturday, January 23, just after the Sun sets. Both Sun and Moon will be at 10° Capricorn and Cancer, respectively, with the Moon full in the auspicious nakshatra of Pushyami.

This full Moon is relatively unafflicted by any negative influences. This could be our moment of clarity and inspiration during the month that Sun runs through Capricorn. The coldness of Saturn affecting the Sun through rulership of Capricorn and affecting Moon through rulership of Pushyami is a good influence on the mind. From this, may we gain stillness, calm and clarity.

Rahu and Ketu enter Leo/Aquarius January 29

The grand finale of January 2016 will certainly be the movement of the nodal axis on the evening of Friday, January 29. Rahu, the head without body and Ketu the headless body, together form our nodal axis, which when aligned with the new or full Moon, cause eclipses. This axis naturally moves in retrograde motion through the zodiac, stirring the lives of all creatures who inhabit this planet Earth.

There are two ways of viewing the movement of the nodal axis, which moves in retrograde, but very irregular motion. The "true node" calculation measures the exact position of the node and the "mean node" is the position of the node based on an average of the actual motion. Among astrologers, there is not a consensus about which one is "right" and there may be virtues to looking at the nodes in each of the ways. The dates given here are for the calculation based on "mean node." The "true node" shift actually comes on January 9, 2016. That said, we can see this entire month as a period of time in which we are experiencing that shift of nodal axis.

Rahu and Ketu have been positioned in Virgo and Pisces, respectively, since July 12, 2014. The axis takes about 1.5 years to move through a pair of opposite signs. When the axis shifts on January 29, Rahu will be in occupation of Leo and Ketu will be in occupation of Aquarius through August 18, 2017.

These signs, Leo and Aquarius, will be the new temporary site of our solar and lunar eclipses for the next 1.5 years. The first eclipse pair of 2016 will be a total solar eclipse on March 8-9 and a penumbral lunar eclipse on March 23. The second eclipse pair of 2016 begins with an annular solar eclipse on September 1 and a penumbral lunar eclipse on September 16.

It is a good idea to investigate one's birth chart to see which houses this nodal axis shift will be affecting. The action of the nodes is generally swift, unexpected and destabilizing. Depending on the status of the nodes in the individual chart, they have the power to give, take, block and upset things in the domains where they are transiting.

The other major factor in this upcoming transit will be the proximity of Rahu to Jupiter from January 29 – August 11, which is when Jupiter moves into Virgo. For many, this upcoming extended transit has become the object of worry and distress. While Jupiter seeks to expand and grow in a wholesome and righteous manner, Rahu tends to exploit and manipulate in order to gain objectives.

While planetary energies can manifest in how things "happen to us," meaning that we have little control, we always have some amount of choice in how we react to and deal with the results of such happenings. The influence of Rahu and Jupiter on one another may play out much like a duel between our own inner forces that control doing things the right way or doing things the easy way. Both Rahu and Jupiter have their virtues and vices; in all matters, we can choose to strive for the highest vibration of any energy. That would be my advice for the entirety of this transit.

For example, Rahu can show great desire; Jupiter can inspire us to grow and evolve. Put those two together and pick a subject to dive into with passion as the months of 2016 unfold. This conversation about Rahu and Jupiter will be continued...

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