Monthly Vedic Astrology Forecast

August 2017

by Kerry Shamblin

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

Full Moon Partial Eclipse in Capricorn/Shravana August 7

The Moon begins August in the waxing phase, becoming full at 22° Capricorn on Monday, August 7. This full Moon will yield a partial eclipse due the to Sun-Moon axis being only nine degrees away from the Rahu-Ketu axis. The Sun and Moon joining the nodal axis during a new Moon or full Moon is when we see eclipses. This partial lunar eclipse is followed by a quite well publicized total solar eclipse that occurs on August 21.

Last month, it was mentioned that the sign Taurus is currently receiving planetary aspects from both Saturn and Jupiter, bringing the energy of balance between expansion and contraction into the sign of Taurus. In the same exact way, Capricorn is also receiving this balanced energy coming from the planetary aspects of Saturn and Jupiter. Saturn aspects the signs Capricorn, Taurus and Leo from his position in Scorpio and Jupiter aspects Capricorn, Pisces and Taurus from his position in Virgo.

The aspect of Jupiter is especially beneficial to the Moon during this eclipse as Mars is also joining in the eclipse energy, placed very near the Sun in the sign of Cancer. Mars debilitated in Cancer can act out in frustration or aggression and with the strong aspect to the Moon, ruling emotional processes, this could create aggravation in the mind; the protective influence of Jupiter also upon this full Moon should provide some steadiness within the mind.

This eclipse pair of August arises at the same time that the nodal axis, the bodiless planets Rahu and Ketu, are also changing signs. Because eclipses by nature are "swallowing" the light of the Moon and Sun, our greatest luminaries, and because the nodal axis by nature moves in reverse direction from the planets with bodies, we may see this month as a pivot point around which some restructuring occurs.

Eclipses are traditionally believed to bring unwelcome negative energies, but in the spirit of change and evolution, we understand that the unstable energies of Rahu and Ketu, the eclipse causers, are essential to stirring things up to the point that changes are forced.

The Moon in Shravana is strong, but remember that there is a partial eclipse of these indications as well. Shravana is ruled by the deity Vishnu, the sustainer of the universe. Vishnu supports life and holds things together. The symbol for Shravana is an ear, indicating the process of gaining wisdom through listening, shruti. We may be especially sensitive to input that comes through the sense of hearing during this time.

Mercury Retrograde in Leo August 13 – September 5

During June and the first part of July, Mercury was racing through the signs. During the first two weeks of August, Mercury begins to slow his forward progress and comes to an apparent halt on August 13 as a routine retrograde cycle for Mercury begins at 18° Leo.

During the following three weeks, Mercury inches his way backward through the first half of Leo, coming again to a halt and returning to regular motion at 5º Leo on September 5.

Retrograde cycles of the planets show a time of increased energy or influence of that planet by nature of the fact that the retrograde planet is hovering and concentrating in a certain zone of the zodiac for a time. Faster moving planets like Mercury give us short retrograde cycles (about three weeks) while slower moving planets like Saturn give longer retrograde cycles.

Saturn has been in retrograde since April 2017, having moved backward into Scorpio on June 21. From Scorpio, Saturn has aspect to the signs of Capricorn, Taurus and Leo and so will be aspecting retrograde Mercury (as well as the whole solar eclipse configuration.) Saturn's energy tends to slow and obstruct and while retrograde, this may feel even more powerful. Mercury's energy reaches toward speed and movement and this may become even stronger while retrograde.

This aspect of Saturn to Mercury is a serious influence of keeping things slow and steady, which may feel uncomfortable for the speedy Mercury. This application of the brakes may actually be the best thing to temper Mercury retrograde. Take the patient, plodding approach of Saturn to balance the impulsive and impatient Mercurial tendencies.

Retrograde Mercury periods are excellent for revisiting works in progress with an eye for editing and reorganizing. While the finish may be pushed out due to this slowing and reversing, the work may become more polished and presentable as we take a second look while we re-write and revise.

This short retrograde cycle of Mercury may have distinct phases after the first half passes. On August 25, Saturn resumes direct motion, which may lessen the brakes on Mercury a bit and on August 26, Mars emerges from Cancer into Leo, joining Mercury and adding his own penchant for power and drive into Mercury's realm.

Sun Enters Leo August 16

A few days after Mercury enters Leo, he is joined by the Sun, the ruler of the sign of Leo. This puts the Sun into a very powerful position which will boost the effect of the Sun as our force of leadership and independence. This year, the Sun's transit through Leo has a few other sources of input that may complicate the clear, strong expression of Sun in Leo.

First, we have Rahu at the very early degrees of Leo getting poised for shifting signs. More on that in the next section. Second, we do have Saturn's aspect coming into Leo, which is quite contrary to the Sun's influence. While the Sun is the champion of our individual nature and ego purpose, Saturn is dedicated to destroying the illusion of separate, individual egos. When our inner Sun becomes imbalanced toward too much focus on the individual self, Saturn's task is to devise ways of creating balance by forcing attention toward the collective.

Mars joins the Sun and Mercury in Leo by August 26, which makes the Sun's team much stronger in this battle between self and no-self. This fiery conglomeration of power in the fire sign of Leo could causes tempers to flare quickly, especially when there are threats to the sovereignty of the self or ego.

In this case, Saturn's influence could be uncomfortable, but also a handy remedy to avoid confrontation. Sometimes its better to say nothing and take no action if it means avoiding a senseless confrontation; this is Saturn's wisdom. The question becomes whether the battle is worthy when the only thing being protected is an ego.

Rahu-Ketu Transits Cancer-Capricorn August 2017 – March 2019

The Rahu – Ketu axis is wobbling as usual in reverse motion from the regular motion of the planets. From mid-August through the first week in September, we can consider the changing of signs for Rahu, from Leo into Cancer and Ketu, from Aquarius into Capricorn. The reason for this date range rather than a specific moment is due to the wobbly nature of the nodes.

The nodal axis can be reckoned in two ways, by regarding the "mean" nodal position or the "true" nodal position. Due to the wavering nature, we can average the back and forth of the nodal position and see the "mean" node. Or we can see the "true" node by noting the exact position of the node on that day, realizing that the next day it may move the other way for a bit of time.

The mean nodal axis is set to change signs just after midnight on August 18, while the true nodal axis will change signs just after midnight on September 9. Thus, let us view this entire date range as a shift of signs for our two shadow planets, Rahu and Ketu.

Rahu and Ketu will occupy Cancer – Capricorn for about 1.5 years, until March 2019. Because of the strong influence of the nodal axis on each person, it would be unusual if this period of time wasn't calling for a shift or rotation in a new direction, in some area of life. The last transit of Rahu-Ketu through Cancer-Capricorn was roughly from January 1999 – August 2000. Look back to that time to get clues about how this current transit may affect a certain domain of life. Due to that time bridging the western calendar millennia change, some people were preparing to party like its 1999 while others were stock piling supplies under the belief that it was going to be the end of the world as we knew it. As it turned out, January 1, 2000 had not much more to offer us than life as usual.

For those with strong placements in the sign of Capricorn, for example, they may feel a shift in the realm of relationship, as Rahu is moving from Leo into Cancer, which is the 7th house from Capricorn, signifying relationships and interaction with other people. With Rahu having moved through the 8th house from Capricorn (which is the sign of Leo) for the past 1.5 years, these people may have been feeling a desire for personal transformation on a very deep level. With Rahu moving through this gandanta or karmic junction point between Leo and Cancer, perhaps they will see the unraveling of a problem that once held so tightly. This will allow for a new cycle of desires in the realm of relationship given the recent transformation that may have opened new avenues.

For Capricorns, this will coincide with Ketu entering Capricorn, perhaps shifting the focus from inner transformation that came from letting go of something held dear toward an opening toward sharing with others and less attention on the self. In this way, we can analyze the effects of the nodal axis shift for each sign.

Venus Transits Cancer August 20 – September 14

Venus entered Gemini on July 25 and so spends most of August moving through Mercury's air sign. This is a great combination for creativity that calls for Mercury's skills of communication and exchange of ideas. Venus and Mercury have affinity in the sense of being energetic planets, so Venus in a Mercury-ruled sign allows us to get things done gracefully.

While Venus in Taurus has the luxury of occupying its own sign, as Venus just enjoyed, Taurus is under the opposite aspect of Saturn, so there may have been some effects of Saturn's pressure upon Venus. Add to this the positive energy of Jupiter from Virgo that may have kept Venus somewhat buoyant. When Venus entered Gemini, this may have lightened things up a bit, as Gemini is currently receiving no malefic aspect from any quarter. This holds true for Venus until August 20, when Venus joins Mars and Rahu in Cancer.

Venus as significator for relationships, creative efforts and social contracts will be diving into a normally friendly environment (Cancer) with some challenging characters (Mars and Rahu), like jumping into a kiddy pool that houses an electric eel and a small shark. Thus, let us take this into account and prepare with some form of protection.

Any encounter with Rahu can be obfuscating, even for bright and clear planets such as Venus. Mars will stay in Cancer only for about six days after Venus' entrance, which is nice for both Mars and Venus, but may trigger some unexpected circumstance which arises from August 20-26.

After August 26, Venus alone remains in the room with Rahu until September 14, after which Venus pushes through that gandanta between Cancer and Leo in the footsteps of Mercury, Sun and Mars. What is interesting to note about this movement of Venus into Leo is that it will create a new set up for a series of Kala Amrita Yoga, a form of Kala Sarpa Yoga in which Ketu takes the lead. The pure form of this yoga occurs when all of the planets are hemmed on one side of the nodes, specifically in the signs between where the nodal axis sits, i.e. not joining with the nodes in their sign.

This Kala Amrita Yoga (KAY) cycle will last from mid-September through mid-January 2018, after Venus passes all of the other planets and finally joins Ketu in Capricorn. During the half of the month that Moon is between Ketu and Rahu, the KAY will subside and when Moon passes Rahu each month, it will re-engage. We will keep track of that starting in the September 2017 planetary forecast.

Focusing again on the time that Venus joins Rahu in Cancer, August 20 – September 14, we can expect Rahu effects (unexpected, unstable, chaos) in the realm that the sign of Cancer rules in our individual charts, and likely in the areas signified by Venus (relationship, entertainment, leisure, creativity, vehicles.) Expect the unexpected, prepare for the unknown, and also open up to inspirational innovation.

New Moon Total Solar Eclipse in Leo August 21

The new Moon total solar eclipse of August 21 has been perhaps the most speculated upon and collectively watched upcoming eclipse in my personal memory. The Great American Eclipse. Even the United States Postal Service has issued a special stamp that in very Rahu fashion, one can manipulate with one's finger! The eclipse can be temporarily removed by placing a finger on the Moon that graces the stamp.

The last total solar eclipse that affected the US in a similar fashion was 38 years ago on February 26, 1979, when Rahu and Saturn were very close in the middle degrees of Leo and the Sun and Moon joined Ketu, Mars and Mercury in the sign of Aquarius. This eclipse was highly visible the Pacific Northwest region of the United States, and in looking for any major happenings in that area around the time of that eclipse, we can note the collapse of a section of the Hood Canal Bridge on February 13, 1979 due to a fierce wind storm. This incident occurred before the solar eclipse, but we can see the sensitivity of the eclipse points being triggered in that region.

Even more interesting to compare with the current eclipse is the total solar eclipse of June 8, 1918, whose path was seen across the United States. Similar to current circumstances, Rahu had just squeezed through the gandanta between Sagittarius and Scorpio aspecting a host of planets in the United States' 6th house (according to the Kelleher chart of the US.) Placed in the 6th house were Ketu, Sun, Moon, Mercury and Jupiter. The 6th house is known as the house of health and disease, as well as visible enemies.

What ensued after this eclipse was the flaring up of one of the most notable pandemics in recorded history. Estimates are that in total, about 50-100 million people worldwide perished from this flu over its course from 1918-1919 (while Rahu transited Scorpio.)

While that 1918 eclipse affected the US 6th house, this current eclipse affects the 8th and 9th house, so rather than a crisis of health, we may be seeing a destabilization in the moral and financial sector. As Rahu moves from the US 9th house to the US 8th house, we could see the US falling down as a world leader as former allies step away and abandon what seems to be a crumbling structure.

This current eclipse will be readily visible from a long path that cuts through the United States from northwest to southeast. Astrologically, eclipses are believed to cause dramatic effects or disruptions when they line up with sensitive placements in individual or locational charts.

The action of a total solar eclipse is that the light of the Sun is being physically blocked by the Moon itself. Rahu and Ketu, the shadow causers, are really a rotating zone of alignment that, if entered concurrently by the Sun and the Moon, will cause an eclipse. The entering of this eclipse zone together can only happen at a full Moon (lunar eclipse) or new Moon (solar eclipse) and will occur in a pair, two times per year, when the Sun and Moon enter the Rahu-Ketu zone.

Astronomically, Rahu is the north node of the Moon and Ketu is the south node of the Moon. Their power is to eclipse the light of the Sun and Moon by a play of shadows. Astrologically and symbolically this pair of nodes, Rahu and Ketu, hold great power as forces that churn the soup of life on earth through their ability to manipulate our root sources of light and life, the Sun and Moon. This is why even those who don't look at life in astrological terms are still drawn to the dramatic effects of eclipses.

Let us take the chart for Casper, Wyoming, US at the time of greatest eclipse.

North Indian Style chart Eclipse
South Indian Style chart Eclipse

The two charts above are the same moment depicted in two different ways, using the common formats of North Indian style (left) and South Indian style (right) charts. This moment is 12:30 pm on Monday, August 21, 2017 at Casper, Wyoming, US. This is using the Chitrapaksha Ayanamsa and mean node reckoning. If the true node was being used, Rahu would appear in the sign of Leo rather than Cancer, joining the Sun/Moon/Mercury combination.

Any dramatic effects of this eclipse will come likely to those who have significant placements in Ashlesha and Magha nakshatras, in the late degrees of Cancer and the early degrees of Leo. The opposite location in the zodiac, which holds Ketu, may also feel some effects in the latter degrees of Capricorn and the early degrees of Aquarius.

Aside from Rahu, Sun and Moon who are the key players in the eclipse phenomenon, we have retrograde Mercury and debilitated Mars within influential distance from the eclipse zone. As we know, Mercury retrograde can cause overly frenetic energy exchanges and debilitated Mars can exert a level of frustrated power. Taking all of this into account, we are faced with interpreting what type of events this astronomical event may precipitate.

At this point, let us calmly regard this event and assess on the whole how much the play of the planets across the field of stars can really govern our collective and personal lives on Earth. As an astrologer, this writer obviously has some fundamental belief in the correlation between the "above and below." While many people are making reservations to stay in a place where they can experience the eclipse in totality and NASA is warning people against faulty eclipse viewing glasses, there are other people that cling to the traditional belief that any eclipse should not be observed for fear of negative repercussions.

From a philosophical perspective, eclipses are dramatic because they represent the idea that despite all good works and right intentions, there are unseen forces in the world that drive destiny, over which we have very little influence or control. Rather than struggling to understand the exact ways in which this particular total solar eclipse will exert its power over people and places, I find myself settling into the contemplation of the correlation between intention and acceptance.

The grain of sand that causes the irritation that eventually leads to the formation of a beautiful pearl is like fear that is held in the mind. In an astrological explanation, this is Saturn causing discomfort in the mind that drives us toward seeking peace and wholeness over fear and pain. The pearl, as the gem stone that represents the Moon, is a symbol of a beautiful, calm and whole mind that has developed in spite of raging tides and an unsupportive environment. The cultivation of this type of mind seems to be one of the primary goals of life on earth. Let us all remember this as we observe the extremes of life and the potential dramas that the play of the planets delivers to us in our day-to-day lives.

Saturn Resumes Direct Motion August 25

August is the first of three months in which we are seeing some major shifting. The eclipse pair kicks it off with the added factor of the nodal axis beginning to shift. The other heavy move is the resumption of direct motion by Saturn at 28° Scorpio, in the nakshatra of Jyestha and not too far from re-entering Sagittarius through the zodiac's second gandanta on October 25.

Already slow-moving by nature, Saturn's return to direct motion has him at stationary for a bit, hovering over that small zone in the zodiac we can measure as 28° Scorpio. During the next couple of months, Saturn slowly covers these final two degrees of the intense sign that is co-lorded by Mars and Ketu. This is the final pass for Saturn in this sign for another 26+ years, so it is up to us to intently concentrate on the messages coming from Saturn during this time.

The overall theme of Saturn in Scorpio for individuals can be found by analyzing Saturn related events in our personal lives that corresponded with the time between November 2014 and present. Saturn's effects in different signs can be quite pronounced, especially as relating to the houses in individual charts, so this shifting of Shani into Sagittarius on October 25 for his next chapter may deliver a new set of challenges and evolutionary opportunities to explore through January 2020.

Mars Transits Leo August 26 – October 12

On August 25, Mars blazes through Rahu's eclipsing presence and proceeds in regular motion through that very same gandanta on August 26, from watery Cancer to fiery Leo on the heels of the Sun, already in its own sign of Leo since August 16.

At the moment that Mars enters Leo, the Sun and retrograde Mercury are also conjoining at 10° Leo, and all three planets will be contained within the first part of Leo that is known as Magha nakshatra, ruled by the planet Ketu and the Pitris, the deities connected with our forebears and ancestors.

This is also the zone that just hosted the total solar eclipse, so we are treading some sensitive, possibly even volatile territory with Mars, who tends toward aggressive, immediate response to stimulus.

The other notable factor is that with Mars in Leo and Saturn in Scorpio, these two planets are participating in a mutual aspect of one another, which is nearly as powerful as conjunction. Remember the effects of the prolonged conjunction between Saturn and Mars in Scorpio during the period between February and August 2016. We could see echoes of that time with Saturn restraining Mars (and the other planets in Leo) while at the same time Mars pushes on Saturn to move forward through the difficult transition between Scorpio and Sagittarius. If Saturn represents fear and caution, Mars is the champion of courage through trial. Let's do this!

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