Monthly Vedic Astrology Forecast

February 2017

by Kerry Shamblin

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

Mercury Transits Capricorn February 3 – 22

After a very strong two-month transit through Sagittarius, Mercury moves swiftly forward into Capricorn for a quick trip from February 3 – 22. While in Sagittarius, a sign ruled by Jupiter, Mercury enjoyed a boost of strength due to Jupiter's current placement in Mercury's sign. This was an exchange that benefitted both Jupiter and Mercury, persisting for most of December and all of January. This was supportive to all things Jupiter and Mercury, especially in the way of getting things to flow, which is a gift of the dual signs Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces.

While the aspects of Rahu are not agreed upon by all astrologers, this astrologer believes in Rahu aspecting like Jupiter (1,5,9) plus the additional aspect of the 2nd place from Rahu, the sign that most recently held Rahu and still holds the lingering smoke of his transit. With Rahu currently in Leo, we see Rahu's effects in Leo, Virgo, Sagittarius and Aries. This means that Rahu's ability to eclipse and confuse also strongly affected that lovely exchange between Jupiter and Mercury. All the fake news that was fit to print! When Rahu is acting on any other planets and signs, we need to exercise discernment with diligence in that area.

With Jupiter still in Virgo, Rahu will continue to affect there strongly, but Mercury himself will escape this Rahu experience for a short time as he moves through Capricorn. With Saturn having moved into the sign of Sagittarius on January 26, we now have a formation of difficult, separative planets flanking the sign of Capricorn: Saturn in Sagittarius on one side and Ketu in Aquarius on the other. If any sign can take such a squeeze, its Capricorn, but we can see why Mercury is perhaps racing through that rocky territory.

With Mercury free of the distraction and confusion of Rahu for a few weeks and additionally receiving the planetary aspect of Jupiter from Virgo during this Capricorn transit, it is a great time to crank out the hard work generated by the fantastic ideas discovered and created while Jupiter and Mercury were in exchange.

Saturn is the ruler of Capricorn where Mercury is transiting and Saturn is currently in Jupiter's sign. Jupiter is currently in Mercury's sign, so there is a triangle of energetic support between these three planets. Saturn supports Mercury's energetic effort with discipline; Jupiter supplements Saturn's limitations with positivity. Mercury energizes Jupiter with a youthful desire for movement. Get moving! (Slow and steady wins the race.)

Jupiter Retrograde in Virgo February 5 – June 9

After a short few weeks of all planets moving in regular zodiac motion (except the nodes, Rahu and Ketu, of course), the great Jupiter begins a retrograde period starting at 30° Virgo on February 5 and reversing to 20° Virgo, resuming direct motion on June 9.

It seems even people who don't follow astrology have heard about "Mercury Retrograde." The phenomena that people report during this common Mercury transit are noticeable. Retrograde planets aren't really putting themselves into reverse orbit; their backward motion through a small section of the zodiac is due to the relationship of the orbits of the Earth and Mercury and how that displays to us on Earth.

From an astrological perspective, these retrograde planets seem to behave erratically when re-tracing a small portion of the zodiac. The retrograde planet is actually in strength and it can also act as if it is in the sign opposite to where it is. Retrograde can also indicate a latency or reversal of the planet's normal indications. Interpreting the effects of retrograde planets is tricky. Just like interpreting the effects of the nodes is tricky and unpredictable, as they are naturally retrograde.

The natural indications of Jupiter are growth, increase, abundance, knowledge, wisdom, spirituality, truth. This department of life may get a bit hard to read and understand during the next four months. While we can say that these things may slide backward, we can also apply the idea that Jupiter will behave as if in the opposite sign, which is Pisces, Jupiter's own sign. That is positive.

Another way to look at this transit is that we can review all that occurred recently while Jupiter was transiting in forward motion through the last ten degrees of Virgo, which would have been from November 10, 2016 – February 5, 2017. This is a good time to review, renew and/or reverse the ideas, lessons and financial decisions made during that time.

This Jupiter retrograde cycle roughly corresponds with the extended transit of Venus in Pisces from January 27 – May 30, 2017. Venus will be retrograde and opposite to retrograde Jupiter from March 4 – April 15, 2017. We will look more at that in the March forecast, but begin to think about how that transit may play out. Venus is exalted in Pisces, but when retrograde acts like it is in the opposite sign, which is Virgo, Venus' sign of debilitation. Which occurs at the same time that retrograde Jupiter is acting like it is in the opposite sign, which is Pisces, Jupiter's own sign.

Full Moon in Cancer – Lunar Eclipse February 10

February brings our first of two pairs of eclipses for 2017. On February 10, the Moon opposes the Sun from 29° Cancer, in the lunar mansion (nakshatra) of Ashlesha. The Sun sits at 29° Capricorn, and we here on Earth right in between. It is our own planet Earth who causes the blockage that darkens the Moon temporarily, with the help of those abstract points in space that we call Rahu and Ketu.

Astronomically, we are experiencing a penumbral lunar eclipse on February 10, 2017, visible to nearly all of the countries of the world except those in far east Asia, Australia and the Pacific islands. While this eclipse is visible to many, the nature of penumbral eclipses is that they are often hard to detect or differentiate from a normal full Moon.

In an astrological sense, we attribute this to the fact that the Moon and Sun (and Earth) are aligned with the nodal axis, Rahu and Ketu, but loosely; the Moon will be at 29° Cancer while Rahu is at 10° Leo, a span that is small enough to cause a penumbral eclipse but large enough that it is not a total lunar eclipse. Rahu is still in Leo while Moon is in Cancer and Ketu is still in Aquarius while Sun is still in Capricorn.

Let us dwell for a moment on the power of eclipse, delivered to us by Rahu and Ketu. This axis exists in all horoscopes; implying that part of our collective experience as beings on Earth includes this phenomena of living with shadows. Actually, the planets, including Rahu and Ketu are all referred to as "graha" which translates as "seize." The word for eclipse is "grahana" implying "seizing." So all planets in a sense can grab us, but the ones who are really skilled at it are Rahu and Ketu, the ones who eclipse. The other side of this drama is with our sources of light, chiefly the Sun and Moon. Our story of life is how we dance between periods of light and shadow.

That is why eclipses are so dramatic. The Sun is the primary source of light. The Moon is the one who reflects and regenerates that light. Rahu gets the job of eclipsing our minds. Ketu casts a shadow on our bodily selves. Wherever in the zodiac we are feeling the effects of Rahu and Ketu as they transit, it becomes particularly highlighted during the actual eclipses of the Sun and Moon. Rahu is currently in the sign of Leo, while the Moon will be in Cancer, bringing both of those signs into the eclipsed arena.

This eclipse on February 10 allows the shadow to fall over our mind, represented by the Moon, in its strength: Moon is in Cancer, its own sign and it is also full. But the shadow doesn't completely blacken the Moon. As stated above, in some cases this type of eclipse isn't even observable. What a great time to stand in the shadow with one foot in the light. Go out hunting for blind spots and hiding places. Mark them on your mental maps so that they become familiar. Knowledge is freedom.

That said, the power of Rahu is strong and the Moon is quite passionate. This combination would become then an eclipse of strong passion; this could be used consciously to tame the fluctuations of the mind through any number of means.

Sun Enters Aquarius February 12

While it is divine routine for us to watch the background of stars change behind the planetary bodies as we orbit the Sun, in the moments of living through those planetary influences on our rotating stage, we are forced to walk our talk, sometimes in uncomfortable circumstances, even if we can predict and prepare for it. Each year, the Sun walks through the territory of Saturn, his enemy. And Saturn, mutual enemy of the Sun, must host this most individualistic and bright force. For the northern countries, this walk of the Sun through the cold, windy wild lands of Capricorn and Aquarius corresponds with the winter months.

The Sun continually beams the message that individual power generation is a fact of life. The Sun represents the individual nature, sovereignty, leadership, ego and the unique mission of each soul. When too strong, too weak or under difficult conditions, the Sun can cause an imbalance in those departments such that the I, ME, MINE mentality prevails or suffers.

Sun and Saturn interactions often feel like a study in the proper recipe for healthy self-expression. On February 12, Sun moves from Saturn's sign of Capricorn into Aquarius, a sign co-ruled by Saturn and Rahu. Currently Ketu occupies Aquarius, which automatically invites the energy of Rahu on the other end of the axis, empowering the container for this concoction, which is the sign of Aquarius itself.

With Saturn newly positioned in Sagittarius, he extends his energy right into Aquarius by his 3rd sign aspect. With Rahu also aspecting Aquarius from Leo, we see both lords of Aquarius giving full aspect to that sign and all that occurs there, which this month includes the transit of Sun, Mercury and the annular solar eclipse at the new Moon of February 26. This could be quite dramatic, after all.

This will be the second year in a row that Sun gets into an eclipse pattern during his transit through Aquarius, as Ketu had just entered Aquarius prior to the Sun's transit in 2016. The Sun's transit through Aquarius is always controlled by Rahu and Saturn, difficult planets that tend to stir things up and lead toward destruction. But this time, both of those planets are also fully aspecting Aquarius, so that breeze may become a storm when it comes to pushing individual agendas, the work of the Sun.

Mercury Transits Aquarius February 22 – March 10

Ten days after the Sun pushes into Aquarius, Mercury follows, again moving swiftly through the sign of the wind from February 22 – March 10. Mercury will approach and conjoin the Sun at 23° Aquarius on March 6, continuing to move quickly ahead of the Sun and into Pisces on March 10. When any planet gets into the orb of the Sun's power, the expression of that planet tends to blend in with the Sun's.

It's a good idea to keep an eye on the positions of the outer planets, especially Saturn, Jupiter and the Rahu/Ketu axis. These slower-moving entities are influential in creating a framework. It's also good to have an eye on the planets who rule the signs where these outer planets sit. Currently, Saturn and Rahu are dispositing Ketu in Aquarius. Jupiter is dispositing Saturn in Sagittarius. Sun is dispositing Rahu in Leo and dear Mercury is dispositing Jupiter, currently retrograde in Virgo. Therefore, Mercury is linked to the functioning of Jupiter, so Mercury's movement through the Rahu/Ketu axis may stall, block or confuse the motivations of Jupiter.

The challenge here is remaining clear in order to discern truth. Mercury rules communication and exchange, which covers so many aspects of life including conversation, writing, media and markets. Saturn's aspect on this Mercury transit indicates the requirement of deliberation and detachment. Rahu's aspect on this transit demands extreme mental balance and poise to avoid falling into obfuscation.

Mercury has wonderful gifts and energy but his weakness is that he is easily overpowered by the forces surrounding him. In this case, we are talking about Rahu, Ketu, Saturn and the Sun, four powerful forces that have the reputation for difficulty. Taking time away from too much stimulation in order to remain anchored in one's own strength could be helpful during this time.

New Moon in Aquarius - Solar Eclipse February 26

When the Sun and Moon join on Sunday, February 26, it is at 15° Aquarius, in the nakshatra of Shatabishak. This is just five degrees away from Ketu, which causes an annular solar eclipse visible to select places in the southern parts of Africa and South America.

An annular solar eclipse is the kind that creates the beautiful ring of fire around the darkness created by the shadow of the Moon, which lies between the Earth and the Sun during a solar eclipse. Those in the zone of the greatest eclipse will see this; no places in the northern hemisphere will see the greatest eclipse.

Astrologically, we see Ketu eclipsing the Sun with the help of the Moon's shadow as Mercury joins in the combination. Ketu's nature is to block and guard any movement that isn't supportive of his agenda, which is liberation. With both luminaries and Mercury, the planet ruling the informational mind and the networks that connect our minds, all involved in this momentary blockage, we are being ushered by Ketu into the deepest of meditative states. Free from mental chatter and ego for a moment, we may be able to reach the quiet depths that lead us toward freedom.

This combination of four planets occurs in Aquarius, ruled by Rahu and Saturn, but also within the nakshatra Shatabishak, also ruled by Rahu. Shatabishak translates as "100 medicines" or "100 healers" and implies the use of medication as a method of healing. This concept can be extended to "manipulation of imbalance through substance" which is expressing that healing can come through effort and innovation.

Circling back to the idea that we are living this life on Earth in a dance of light and shadow, we get a couple of big chances this month to face our collective and individual shadow. That which is lurking where we cannot or will not see may be the pathogen which is causing an imbalance that upsets our entire lives. These moments of darkness are opportunities to face what is thriving there, giving us the ability to identify and disarm that which may be causing us pain.

Since we are talking about this opportunity being offered and abetted by planets like Rahu, Ketu, Saturn and Sun, you can expect that the magic healing tonic has ingredients including separation and detachment, a bitter serum indeed. It is not going to be easy or pretty, but it is a good time to understand what needs to be left behind in order for health to be restored.

Venus in Exaltation

With those difficult marching orders on the table, let us remember and celebrate the wonderful energy of exalted, direct Venus in Pisces throughout this month. While Venus is sharing space with Mars, also transiting Pisces until March 1, Venus is much stronger than Mars in this sign, which allows us the space to see how creativity, compassion and love can become stronger than use of brute force that comes from raw power.

The answers that lie in the shadows may be heard through songs and paintings, through the healing nature of togetherness and relationships. Venus is on the edge of her own transformation. These are the final weeks of Venus shining brightly in the west after sunset. In early March, Venus begins a retrograde cycle, coming closer to the Sun and slipping closer to the horizon, disappearing from sight. By early April, we see Venus transformed to our morning herald, shining in the east before sunrise.

Not only is Venus shifting roles, but this change occurs in Pisces, the final sign of the zodiac that leads us back to the beginning, where we make our own transformation and move forward. Keep in mind this potent and transformational energy of Venus as you navigate through the next four months.

Venus carries a spark of life that energizes us. Through Venus we are inspired to create and connect. Through the difficulties of this first chapter of 2017, this energy of exalted Venus is teaching us how to make beautiful art out of life's challenges. This is the remedy.

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