Monthly Vedic Astrology Forecast

January 2017

by Kerry Shamblin

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

Mercury Direct at 5° Sagittarius January 8

Mercury resumes direct motion on Sunday, January 8, becoming the first planet to make a major move in 2017. Mercury retrograde began on December 19, carrying us through the holiday season.

This retrograde cycle of Mercury occurs in the sign of Sagittarius, which is lorded by Jupiter. Jupiter is currently in a one-year transit of Mercury's sign, Virgo, putting these two planets in an exchange of signs that bolsters both planets as long as Mercury remains in Sagittarius.

Because of this retrograde cycle, this exchange is extended for two months, from November 28, 2016 – February 2, 2017. In general, this exchange could be supportive of both educational pursuits and financial management. Jupiter and Mercury together form the classic pairing of teacher-student relationship. Both planets are also associated with finances: Jupiter rules the growth of resources while Mercury governs currency and markets.

Retrograde periods of planets mark a time when the planet itself is strong due to closer proximity to Earth. Since Mercury's strength is movement and exchange, this can become too much movement and energy and it can be tempting to try to fit in too much activity, communication, shopping, studying, etc. Less is more, perhaps, until Mercury resumes direct motion. The last three weeks of January will be a great time to enjoy the Jupiter-Mercury exchange.

Full Moon in Gemini/Punarvasu January 12

The Moon is waxing as 2017 begins, having begun to grow after the new Moon in Sagittarius of December 28. Just before sunrise on January 12, the Moon reaches its fullness at 29° Gemini, ruled by the planet Mercury. This degree falls into the nakshatra (lunar mansion) of Punarvasu, translated as "return of light" and ruled by the planet Jupiter.

This full Moon's placement is another echo of Jupiter and Mercury currently interacting, with Moon being placed in the nakshatra and sign of those two planets. Moon further brings harmony and light to the Mercury-Jupiter exchange already in effect. The ruler of Gemini, Mercury is in exchange with Jupiter, the ruler of Punarvasu. In addition, this full Moon is receiving no harmful aspect by challenging planets.

The moment of the full Moon also happens as Wednesday becomes Thursday and these are the two days ruled by Mercury and Jupiter, respectively. This will be a great couple of days (Jan 11/12) to open up to positive change and new perspective.

Sun Transits Capricorn January 13 – February 12

The Sun spends one month in each sign, progressing through the zodiac at a very dependable pace of about one degree per day. Just after the full Moon, the Sun departs Sagittarius for Capricorn, exchanging Jupiter for Saturn as the host of his regal transit.

While in Sagittarius, ruled by Jupiter, the Sun was heavily affected by Rahu, aspecting the Sun from the Sun's own sign of Leo. Prior to that, during the transit of Scorpio, the Sun was conjoined Saturn, which isn't comfortable for either of those planets.

Moving into Capricorn, the Sun once more falls under the heavy influence of Saturn who both rules Capricorn and is currently aspecting Capricorn from Scorpio. This will shift slightly mid-way through the Sun's journey through Capricorn, as Saturn moves out of Scorpio on January 26.

Capricorn is an earth sign, ruled by Saturn and generally considered a tough spot due to Saturn's generally heavy, cold presence. The Sun, even though on its northern course after the winter solstice, still has some struggles with shining its brightest during this time (in the northern hemisphere.)

This particular transit of Sun through Capricorn is interesting because Saturn, the ruler, will be shifting signs in the middle of it. More on Saturn's change of signs below, but as you read that description, remember that the Sun, the natural indicator of personal individuality, ego and the soul, will likely be feeling such a shift.

Because Capricorn has the reputation for serious work and difficulty, like the symbol of the mountain-climbing goat, it is a good time to get your head down and put your soul into those difficult tasks that offer great rewards.

Graha Malika, Moon in Libra Jan 19-20

Graha Malika translates as "garland of planets" and occurs when the planets are spread out into a chain of adjacent signs. This is a significant thing to note because of two points. First, planets function well when they have space and are not competing with other planets for expression in the same sign. Second, when this garland appears, it often indicates a chain of events that becomes significant for an individual in their horoscope or for all of us collectively.

When the waning Moon reaches the sign of Libra, we will see this garland for a couple of days, January 19-20. Starting with Rahu in Leo, we progress to Jupiter in Virgo, Moon in Libra, Saturn in Scorpio, Mercury in Sagittarius, Sun in Capricorn and ending with Ketu/Venus/Mars in Aquarius.

It is more difficult to predict what this could mean on the world stage, but in an individual chart, we look at the houses that start and end the garland to get a clue about what that configuration means for an individual horoscope. Since this does occur during the time of the US Presidential inauguration, we can muse on the malika beginning in the 9th house of the US and ending in the 3rd, assuming the Sagittarius rising chart of the US.

Mars Transits Pisces January 20 – March 1

To continue the thought about the graha malika yoga above, Mars moves to Pisces early on January 20, stretching that garland one more sign, for that day. With that being the inauguration day, we have the garland stretching from the US 9th house to 4th house. That means the malika starts with Rahu and ends with Mars, with the nine planets spread into eight different signs. Mars ending up in the 4th house of the US chart shows perhaps an aggressive new leader arriving in the White House, pushed our way by Rahu in Leo, who starts the garland.

This transit of Mars through Pisces will last about six weeks, during which time the main interaction to note is that between Mars and Jupiter, currently in the sign of Virgo, which is opposite to Pisces. This gives Jupiter two ways to influence Mars: first by being the ruler of Pisces and second by the opposition aspect. Of course, Mars also gets to aspect Jupiter in this scenario, but Jupiter may have the upper hand due to his rulership of Pisces.

Jupiter is an excellent force to pacify Mars. At his worst moments, Mars can push us toward aggression and self-centered behavior. Unless there are clear directives and plans, an inflamed Mars can act in regretful ways before considering consequences. Therefore, Jupiter's gaze upon and hosting of Mars during this period is a positive force.

In better moments, perhaps with the assistance of Jupiter, we can express Mars energy in a higher way, through discipline, focus, observation, strategy and design. Since Mars' energy is very fiery, Pisces itself can be like a remedy for Mars, providing watery coolness.

Joining Mars on January 27 is Venus, another force for cooling things off and giving outside (the self) perspective to our collective Mars expression. With no other planets besides Jupiter and Venus affecting Mars as he transits Pisces, we can hope that the two great teachers (Jupiter and Venus) will be able to influence and sculpt the strength of Mars toward positive ends.

Mars, controller of power and force, can tend to cause accidents and injuries. Pisces rules the feet. Watch your step.

Saturn Enters Sagittarius January 26

Since November 2, 2014, Saturn has been transiting the sign of Scorpio. On average, Saturn spends about 2.5 years in each sign, completing an orbit around the Sun in about 29-30 years. Saturn is not in a hurry. He will wait. He will repeat the simple, painful lessons until you understand.

From Scorpio, Saturn affected a few other signs by his gaze: Capricorn, Taurus and Leo. Saturn gets his message across via pressure, obstruction, heaviness and separation. That means you feel squeezed, blocked, oppressed, empty and alone when under the heavy influence of Saturn. People with significant chart placements that include those four signs may have felt this on some level during the past couple years.

Saturn crosses the border between Scorpio and Sagittarius on January 26. The pressure is relieved in one area and shifts to another, for Saturn is slow but relentless. These gandanta places, the karmic knots, show up in the transition between the water and fire signs in the zodiac; in recent months we've seen Mars, Venus, Mercury and Sun all cross this battlefield.

Since the movement of Saturn is so ponderous, this crossing may be impactive. The last time this epic slow-motion battle occurred was December 16, 1987. Saturn proceeded to transit Sagittarius until March 20, 1990 and then dipped back into Sagittarius due to a retrograde cycle from June 20 – December 19, 1990.

After five months in Sagittarius, Saturn will be dipping back into Scorpio from June 20 – October 26, 2017. So all the Scorpio, Capricorn, Taurus and Leo people will have a breather starting in January, but Saturn will be back to Scorpio to make sure we "get it" in June.

In the meantime, from January 26 – June 20, 2017, Saturn will be previewing the more sustained Sagittarius transit to come, which will impact most strongly the signs of Sagittarius, Aquarius, Gemini and Virgo. After the retrograde cycle back into Scorpio, Saturn again moves through Sagittarius from October 26, 2017 – January 23, 2020.

As we know, Saturn has an interesting affinity to Rahu, as they are the co-rulers of the sign of Aquarius. Their methods may seem quite different, but some of the results of their influence can seem similar. With Rahu currently occupying Leo, he receives Saturn's aspect from Scorpio. When Saturn moves to Sagittarius, the tables turn and Rahu aspects Saturn. This will hold for the first section of Saturn in Sagittarius from January to June; after that we have a brief return to Saturn aspecting Rahu again during the retrograde back to Scorpio, followed by Rahu's move out of Leo and into Cancer in August, which turns the tables back to Rahu aspecting Saturn again until Saturn moves once again into Sagittarius.

Saturn and Rahu are both associated with the element of air, vayu, holding the power to move things like the wind, drying and dissipating. This volleying of aspect between these two challenging, blustery forces between July 2016 – October 2017 has been a force of change, especially as fixed, stable signs of Leo and Scorpio have been the nexus. If it has seemed that things are shaken up during the latter part of 2016, expect a similar energy in 2017, with a twist thanks to Saturn's move into Sagittarius.

Saturn in Sagittarius, as mentioned, will also push on the sign of Virgo, currently the location of Jupiter until September 11, 2017. This creates an opportunity for finding that crucial balance between expansion and contraction, growth and limitation, confidence and caution. Saturn (limitation) will aspect Jupiter (growth) but Jupiter (expansion) will be the ruler of Saturn (contraction.)

Finding that balance between Jupiter and Saturn is a constant theme in navigation through life. So while the weather may be blustery and challenging, we get a chance to really practice how to find that balance. Grace is the ability to walk through trials while maintaining a place for joy in the heart.

Venus Transits Pisces January 27 – May 30

The day after Saturn's big move, we see Venus move into Pisces on Friday, January 27. Pisces is considered the exaltation sign of Venus, so this will be a positive transit. Due to Venus retrograde cycle, this passage through Pisces will be extended to over four months, ending on May 30.

Venus joins Mars in Pisces, who will both be opposite Jupiter, currently in Virgo. Mars moves quickly through Pisces relative to Venus, exiting to Aries on March 1.

We will explore how Venus is faring through the coming months, but overall, this transit of Venus is very positive; it will uplift all of the dual signs and the planets located therein: Gemini, Virgo (with Jupiter), Sagittarius (with Saturn) and Pisces (with Venus and Mars.)

The dual signs hold the space for movement, change and transition. This flow should be especially strong from February through May 2017. Venus and Jupiter are both positive forces in this change cycle, encouraging healthy growth, purity and harmony. Saturn may demand some level of separation from that which causes attachment to old forms while Mars will do the job of breaking bonds. Forward movement offers the promise of new horizons but requires the relinquishment of that which ties us to past or defunct situations.

New Moon in Capricorn/Shravana January 27

After Venus moves into Pisces on January 27, the Moon joins the Sun in Saturn's sign of Capricorn at 15°, in the nakshatra (lunar mansion) of Shravana, ruled by the Moon itself.

This monthly meeting of Moon and Sun marks the low point of energy for the Moon as it slides between the Earth and Sun, obscured from our sight. The day leading up to this moment is good for rest and light activity; especially this month with both Saturn and Venus making moves to new sign positions at this time, it would be a good time to pause and then pivot.

Jupiter from Virgo will aspect the new Moon, while Saturn is the lord of Capricorn, again encouraging us to find the balance between heart and mind before we rise up once again to begin our work.

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