Monthly Vedic Astrology Forecast

April 2017

by Kerry Shamblin

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

Saturn Retrograde April 5 – August 25

Still moving slowly through the early degrees of Sagittarius since January 26, Saturn hovers at 4° Sagittarius, beginning a retrograde cycle on April 5 that will last over four months and return Saturn to Scorpio for a brief reprise.

Saturn has been adding energy to the quadrants of the zodiac that we know as the dual signs: Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces. The energy is largely being created by the opposition of Jupiter in Virgo and Venus in Pisces, both also in retrograde cycles. We don't think of Saturn moving quickly, but his added energy in the dual signs has pushed shifts and changes, which we do associate with the dual signs.

Saturn's natural indications cover the departments of life that many people love to avoid: suffering, pressure, limitation, separation. Yet, as unpleasant as we can make these facts of life out to be, they actually create balance and practicality when it comes to framing a life well lived. Saturn prompts us to consider things from the perspective of the aged, the infirm, the outcast, the forgotten and from that humble vantage point, to act with respect, caution and deliberation from the platform of ground zero.

This precious base perspective is the key for building a stable life. Saturn assists in providing the balance that negative space offers. For many of us, desire and attachment come too easily; Saturn demands that the counterweight that we all wish to deny be utilized. Saturn's exaltation comes in the sign of Libra, symbolized by the scales. Without the stakes planted firmly in the ground and weighted by stones, our temporary shelters tend to fly away in the wind.

Awareness of Saturn's transits is one of the keys to using astrological information wisely and effectively. The house and sign of an individual's horoscope that is the current location of Saturn's transit becomes a source of experiential learning. In January, Saturn moved out of Scorpio and into Sagittarius for a relatively short time, as on April 5, Saturn begins a four month journey back into the late degrees of Scorpio, returning once again to the complicated waters of a sign co-ruled by Mars and Ketu.

Whatever themes were drawn forth during Saturn's main transit through Scorpio which occurred between November 2014 and January 2017 may be again unearthed and brought to the surface for further consideration.

The "knot" that must be traversed between the water and fire signs called gandanta is a tight spot for Saturn during 2017. The first traverse was during mid-January when Saturn moved toward Sagittarius. The second traverse will be in retrograde motion during June 2017; let us consider one degree on either side of that border between Scorpio and Sagittarius, making our target period from June 7 – July 4, with the actual border crossing back into Scorpio on June 20-21. The third and final push will be the period between October 14 – November 5 when forward moving Saturn crosses the gandanta for the third time, with the actual Scorpio-Sagittarius border being crossed on October 25.

Half of this Saturn retrograde cycle will be in Sagittarius and half will be in Scorpio; we may feel as if we are being dragged backward to face situations that we humbly crawled away from a few months ago. Saturn's new position in Sagittarius may have given some relief in some areas of life, offering perspective on difficult situation. Use this perspective to revisit difficulties with a firm resolve, humility and tenaciousness. This is your chance to really anchor the lessons that Saturn in Scorpio brought to your doorstep.

While these phrases may feel bitter in your mouth, uttering them could be the best medicine and path toward understanding: I was wrong, I was deluded by desires, I don't understand, I will try again. April and May will see Saturn revisiting the early degrees of Sagittarius, bringing into memory the events of February and March. As we rewind these events, let us calmly understand our wrong turns and ego-driven snafus with the intention of making things right the next time.

Mercury Retrograde in Aries/Pisces April 9 – May 3

Mercury will have its own gandanta crossing as it enters Aries from Pisces on March 26, only to make a bit of forward progress and then begin a retrograde cycle on April 9 that returns Mercury to Pisces, with direct motion resuming on May 3.

While Saturn is slow and deliberate, Mercury is quick and erratic. This will be the first of three full retrograde cycles of Mercury during 2017. We rung in the new year 2017 with Mercury already retrograde in Sagittarius; that alone could be a sign of a theme of 2017 being marked by "do overs" and "try try again."

Mercury's next retrograde of 2017 comes from August 13 – September 4 in the sign of Leo, during which time Rahu-Ketu axis begins to shift to Cancer-Capricorn and Saturn resumes direct motion. The final Mercury retrograde of 2017 comes in Scorpio from December 3 – 22.

The first five days of Mercury retrograde in Aries puts a total of four planets in retrograde motion, with Venus being the first to go direct on April 15. This could be a great time (April 9-15) to make lists, check them twice and be very careful about making any big moves that require long-term stability or forward motion.

When planets are in retrograde status, their energy can be considered strong or overwhelming, in some cases "too much of a good thing." Mercury's tendency is to energetically approach situations with the intention of moving through them quickly and efficiently. When this overflow of energy is applied to something such as a conversation, we may encounter miscommunication, even with the best intentions. When it comes to Mercury-related activities during a retrograde period, consciously slowing down and double checking can be a winning plan.

Full Moon in Virgo April 11

The Moon is waxing during the first week of April after the new Moon in Pisces on March 27. Ever moving in forward motion through the zodiac, the Moon grows past Rahu in Leo April 6 – 8 and then joins retrograde Jupiter in Virgo from April 8 – 11.

The moment of the full Moon comes just after mid-night on April 11 at 28º Virgo in the nakshatra (lunar mansion) Chitra. Half of Chitra lies in the late degrees of Virgo while the other half lies in the early degrees of Libra. Chitra means things like "picture," "bright-colored" and "manifold."

With Chitra spanning two signs ruled by the very energetic planets Mercury and Venus and having a designation that implies varied bright, shiny objects of creation, we can draw the conclusion that this bright Moon, joined by Jupiter, aspected by Venus and disposited by Mercury (all three retrograde!) may offer some lovely gems for our consideration. Through digging, reviewing and editing, we may uncover ideas and inspiration that are waiting below the conscious level for our attention.

The other interesting character in this play is Mars, the planetary ruler of Chitra, the only non-luminary planet in forward motion at this full Moon. The luminaries are Sun and Moon, always in direct motion.

How does Mars contribute to pretty pictures when its obvious that inspiration and beauty are so important to creativity? Mars brings us design, planning, purpose and function. We can have an idea to create something, but without materials that Mars attains, it is just an idea. We can be inspired to bring two things together to create a larger and more beautiful whole, but without a design and ability to coordinate manifold devices and tools, our inspiration may rise above the tree line into infinity without being realized into creation.

This full Moon with so many influences comes just as Mars enjoys its last day in its own sign of Aries; mature and full of fire. Let us not ignore the role of Mars in bringing ideas and inspiration into functional form. The power of Mars should not be feared or disdained, but rather cultivated and channelled.

Whatever is being held up by review, rehash and rework at this time could greatly benefit from the sharp eye of Mars who offers us the gift of practical design, strength and courage.

Just hours after the Moon reaches its full point in the late degrees of Virgo, it moves into Libra, activating both Libra and Aries for a couple of days. Libra and Aries are designated as cardinal or movable signs, places in the zodiac where we can initiate action and put things into motion that have been stalled.

Mars Transits Taurus April 12 – May 26

Charged up after the transit through Aries, Mars moves into Taurus on April 12 for a six-week transit through Venus' earth sign. Mars spends the entire year of 2017 in direct motion, having been retrograde last during the extended conjunction with Saturn in 2016.

Interactions of Venus and Mars always have a keynote of passion, despite the differing agendas of these two planets that strongly carry the female/male signatures. Let us further consider the role of Mars in the creative process.

Almost any art or craft including poetry, gardening, woodworking, architecture, music, fine arts, graphic arts, and the list goes on, requires the finesse and beauty that Venus provides as well as the skill, focus and strength that Mars represents. The blending of the gifts of these two planets makes the world a more beautiful and functional place. The opportunity to ride the wave of this combination comes our way as Mars transits through Venus' sign, Taurus.

Further supporting this practical creative energy is Venus in exalted state in Pisces. Although Venus has slipped from the eye's view temporarily due to retrograde cycle that switches Venus from evening "star" to morning "star," Venus begins forward motion on April 15, remaining in exaltation through the remainder of Mars' transit through Taurus.

Mars in Taurus will push his energy also into Leo, Scorpio and Sagittarius affecting both Rahu in Leo and Saturn in Sagittarius. Mars with his direct tendencies and black/white viewpoint can get frustrated with the chaos of Rahu and the reticence of Saturn. This may translate as extreme frustration when it comes to delays and confusion. Why can't people just say what they mean?? What is the hold up?? Knowing this, channel that fire on creative efforts rather than judgements that will go nowhere. Keep the locomotive on track.

Sun Enters Aries April 13

The Sun enjoys the exaltation state in Mars' sign of Aries from April 13 – May 14. In the northern hemisphere, this is the time we feel the Sun's power really begin to shine, causing plants to grow and lengthening the days noticeably.

The Sun will also be approaching retrograde Mercury, putting it into total combustion April 19-20. While combustion is said to burn away the indications of a planet due to proximity with the Sun, it happens to Mercury so frequently (just like retrograde) that Mercury is somewhat accustomed to the numerous encounters with the Sun.

Aside from the Mercury encounter and the general goodness of exaltation, the only direct planetary influence on the Sun in Aries comes from Rahu, currently inhabiting the Sun's sign of Leo. From Leo, Rahu uses its 5/9 aspect to influence both Aries and Sagittarius, putting Rahu's obfuscation onto the Sun and Saturn from a distance. In the Sun's case for this Aries transit, the Sun is stronger than Rahu, giving us all a chance to reach for the light and clarity in the midst of confusing information and circumstances. This is a window where righteousness and truth have a chance to overcome the masquerading ways of Rahu.

Venus Direct in Pisces April 15

Things have been exciting for Venus, having entered into exaltation sign of Pisces on January 27 and then begun a retrograde cycle on March 4, keeping Venus in Pisces through the spring months. The retrograde of Venus has allowed the Sun to pass ahead (late March) and during the first week in April we will begin to see Venus rising in the east before dawn. Venus will be observable in the morning before sunrise until December when it catches up with the Sun and stays too close for us to see for a few months, resuming "evening star" status in March 2018.

After Venus resumes direct motion at 3° Pisces on April 15, we get to enjoy the forward motion in exaltation through May 30 when Venus will transition to Aries. This long transit of exalted Venus could be a true blessing, especially this portion when Venus has resumed direct motion. The only other planet truly affecting Venus will be Jupiter, still retrograde in Virgo and opposite Venus.

This remaining six weeks of Venus moving through Pisces should be supportive of Venus related matters, especially with the great Jupiter also aspecting Venus. Venus brings us knowledge relating to social matters, supports healthy relationships and enables a feeling of connection to others and to the natural environment. This strong Venus can be instrumental in rejuvenation efforts when it comes to health, wealth, happiness and creativity. The Venus-Jupiter opposition also continues to inspire the ingestion and digestion of knowledge.

New Moon in Aries/Ashwini April 26

The dark half of the Moon's cycle begins with the full Moon of April 11 and slides into home for the moment of the new Moon, happening around sunrise on Wednesday, April 26. This joining of the Sun and Moon occurs at 13° Aries within the first nakshatra, Ashwini.

Retrograde Mercury will also be a part of this new Moon energy, indicating that while we may feel we are on the cusp of new beginnings, there may yet be settings to dial in before we actually leap forward. The Moon/Sun/Mercury combination is supported on one side by Venus in Pisces and on the other by Mars in Taurus, indicating that both passion and compassion for our current situations will be key in determining how and when to step out.

The Sun is still extremely strong at this new Moon, protecting the planetary configuration from any doubts cast by tricky Rahu from Leo. As always, the day leading up to the moment of the new Moon is best spent quietly with a light agenda, in this case we are talking about Tuesday, April 25.

With so much strong energy of the planets delivered through retrograde status, we must keep ourselves steady as the spring matures. Venus direct on April 15, Mercury direct on May 3, Jupiter direct on June 9 and finally Saturn direct on August 25 (at which time Mercury will be retrograde again.) From September 5 – December 3, all planets will be in direct motion. This spring and summer is a time when we can go slowly and ensure that we are getting things correct, which sometimes means erasing our work and trying again. Rather than allowing the ego to be frustrated by this, regard these backward steps as the blessings that they are.

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