Monthly Vedic Astrology Forecast

April 2018

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.

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Mars-Saturn Planetary War April 1

We experience a full Moon in the sign of Virgo on March 31, after which the Moon begins to wane, joining retrograde Jupiter in Libra on April 1. April 1 is a Sunday, and is the day the Christian churches will observe the holiday of Easter, when the resurrection of Jesus is celebrated and remembered.

As far as the planets go, Easter Sunday will also see the intense energies of Mars and Saturn exactly conjoining at 15º of Sagittarius, within the nakshatra (lunar mansion) of Purvashada. We can expect the entire transit of Mars through Sagittarius (March 7 – May 2) to create some friction with Saturn, but it may be especially pronounced during the end of March/beginning of April due to this proximity between them.

Saturn has been occupying Sagittarius since October 2017 and will remain in that sign through January 2020, so we have some time to experience Saturn's effect there. Saturn will tend to limit, deny or give pressure in the area where he sits, which in this case is Jupiter's Sagittarius, where we expect growth, progress and expansion. This combination may be helpful for creating an environment of practical, slow growth. To avoid frustration, we must find the delicate balance between positive (Jupiter) and negative (Saturn).

Mars coming into this equation is bringing some force and power to add on to Saturn's obstruction and pressure. With Mars, we feel emboldened to push our agendas and either initiate forward movement or dig deeper into what we are already working toward. Mars works well in Sagittarius if he aligns himself with the wisdom of Jupiter, Sagittarius' lord. However, Saturn will tend to obstruct Mars, as with any other planet who comes near. April 1 is that marker for the time of battle to see who is stronger of the two of them.

One way of encouraging the best outcome of this type of meeting would be to aim for the highest ideals that Mars and Saturn can inspire in their respective domains that are overlapping at the moment. For Mars, it would be discipline, focus, respect and strength. For Saturn it would be detachment, practicality, tenacity and maturity. All of these are good responses for any potential conflicts or hardships that may arise around this time. Be ready.

While this exact conjunction happens at the beginning of April, Mars remains in Sagittarius through May 2, when he enters into Capricorn, joining Ketu for an extended time, through November 5. We should be aware of this potential friction between Mars and Saturn throughout the month of April.

Sun Transits Aries April 13 – May 14

Aside from the planetary war between Mars and Saturn on April 1, most of the planets are holding their positions until mid-month. Moon will be waning during the first couple of weeks of April, after the full Moon of March 31.

The Sun moves from Pisces to Aries on April 13. Mars' fire sign, Aries, is considered the exaltation zone for the Sun, so we can expect a show of strength when it comes to matters of the Sun, which include leadership, creative potential, soul-level experiences and individual expression. On a physical level in the northern hemisphere of this planet, we feel the power of the Sun as the plants come to life after the regeneration phase of winter.

We can perhaps be thankful that Mars, lord of Aries, will be somewhat subdued by Saturn's and Jupiter's influence, helping us to avoid too much heat and power all at once. We may want to beware of fanning the flames once Mars moves to Capricorn on May 2, which will put Mars in quite the position to uplift and further enhance the greatness of the Sun in Aries until May 14.

Mercury Direct in Pisces April 15

Mercury will resume direct motion at 11º Pisces on April 15, after a routine but exciting retrograde phase that began on March 22. After resuming direct motion, Mercury will move through the late degrees of Pisces for a few weeks, moving into Aries on May 9.

Mercury retrograde in Pisces is a complicated case. First, Mercury is debilitated in Pisces. When Venus was with Mercury in Pisces, this was actually positive for Mercury, as exalted Venus was able to cancel the debilitation. Venus moved to Aries March 26.

Second, when a planet is retrograde, it will behave as if it is in the sign opposite to where it is. When that planet is also debilitated, as in Mercury positioned in Pisces, that means Mercury will still be in Pisces but act like he is in Virgo, which is his place of exaltation. So, retrograde Mercury in Pisces may actually be quite powerful as far as Mercury goes. Be careful, this may make us think we have things organized when in actuality we are disorganized!

Third, during this year, we see Mercury's retrograde phases happen in the water signs: Pisces, Cancer and Scorpio. Currently, Rahu occupies Cancer and aspects Scorpio and Pisces and being naturally the head of the retrograde brigade, his aspect can amplify that retrograde energy, which can result in confusion, reversals and magnetic, unexplainable desire for things. This could cause a bit more havoc than usual with Mercury getting all of this energy during its retrograde cycles in 2018.

Bottom line is that Mercury gets really energetic and strong during retrograde phases which can cause us to get ahead of ourselves and perhaps miss some details when it comes to, well, anything. Slow down, double check things and don't forget to pack your sense of humor during the first half of April while Mercury remains retrograde.

After April 15, Mercury begins to move forward through Pisces, but not at top speed. He finally wakes up and realizes he's floating in the middle of the ocean without a boat rather than dreaming that he's in his garden at home! Let your mind get itself back on track during the third week of April before embarking onto new projects.

New Moon in Aries April 15

Mercury resumes direct motion a few hours after midnight on April 15 as the waning Moon is moving through the late degrees of Pisces. By that evening, Moon moves into Aries, joining the Sun around sunset at 2° Aries, in the lunar mansion of Ashwini.

We may want to note Sunday, April 15 as a good day to really kick back and let our minds and bodies rest as Moon sinks into the blaze of the Sun and Mercury gets his head back on straight. In the US, this could mean really aiming for getting those taxes filed earlier rather than later!

The new Moon could be seen as juncture of endings/beginnings, and this one particularly may be instrumental in letting go of the old in favor of the new. Moon will be in Ashwini, whose planetary ruler is Ketu and associated deity is Ashwin Kumars, the twin horsemen. Ketu is currently in the sign of Capricorn and nakshatra Shravana, whose planetary ruler is Moon. This puts Moon and Ketu into a nakshatra exchange for this new Moon time. Ketu influence tends to push us toward breaking or turning away from things that no longer hold relevance.

In addition, Aries is a good sign for new undertakings, as it is the first sign of the zodiac. Mars, ruler of Aries is currently encountering Saturn in Sagittarius, encouraging a slow and deliberate approach to growth.

Another influence on this new Moon comes from the wise pair of teachers, Venus and Jupiter. Venus will be in the late degrees of Aries, very close to an opposition with retrograde Jupiter in the sign of Libra. This could be a good time to seek the counsel of the wise teachers as we decide which directions in our life need a new start.

As mentioned earlier, retrograde planets tend to behave as if they are in the sign that is opposite from their actual placement. This means that even though Jupiter is actually affecting the sign of Libra because of his position there, the retrograde period between March 8 – July 10 has Jupiter acting more as if he were in Aries, which could give Jupiter's influence a bit more martial flavor. Jupiter actually performs a bit better while in Aries than in Libra, which Jupiter considers an enemy sign.

But with retrograde motion also implying results that may be opposite from what is normally expected, we could see positive, growth-oriented Jupiter turning his attention toward other things during this five-month retrograde period of Jupiter.

The day after the new Moon, Venus and Jupiter come into an exact opposition at 27° Aries and Libra, respectively. This may be a good day to initiate some actions, as Moon and Venus will both be in the nakshatra Bharani, whose symbol is a female yoni, a symbol of birth and beginnings that come through some creative energy and labor both.

Saturn Retrograde in Sagittarius April 17 – September 6

Mercury passes the retrograde baton to Saturn, who takes retrograde motion on April 17 for a five-month stint of reverse motion through the mid-range of Sagittarius. Saturn begins retrograde at 16º Sagittarius and ends up at 9º Sagittarius, the degrees that span the nakshatra transition between Mula and Purvashada.

The return of Saturn to Mula, which means "root," could be leading us toward revisiting some foundational concepts in some kind of way. The area of the horoscope occupied by Sagittarius may give some clues as to the domain of life in which this may manifest on a personal level.

This will put both Saturn and Jupiter into retrograde motion for a three-month span, through mid-July. Remember that retrograde planets are hard to read and interpret. The desires of that planet may appear opposite, they may perform as if in the opposite sign; this is perplexing in some cases!

But we can get down to a more philosophical level and note that "retrograde" is really an illusion that occurs because of our Earth relationship to some other planet as we both circumambulate the Sun. This is really a visual phenomenon from our perspective, an illusion of reverse motion of another object that is partially caused by one's own movement. This element of illusion surrounds retrograde planets, causing a bit of instability and/or unpredictable behavior when it comes to interpreting the results.

If we apply the same treatment to Saturn, then he would act as if he were placed in Gemini (a friendlier sign for him) but actually be placed and giving results in Sagittarius. Since Saturn is naturally slow and obstructive, do we expect some leniency and cooperation in a very Gemini fashion for the next five months while Saturn retrogrades through Sagittarius? Let us see. For that domain of life that Sagittarius represents, see if the pressure is a bit lighter through September. Further, see if that lack of pressure also comes at the price of foundational instability.

Another point that has been presented in prior forecasts is the idea of Jupiter and Saturn both giving full aspects to both the signs of Aquarius and Gemini through October 11, 2018, when Jupiter moves into Scorpio. When the energies of these two planets are applied in one place, we are forced into finding a balance between expansion and contraction, growth and foundation.

This play of balance even comes when one of these planets occupies the other's sign or especially if they exchange signs. For example, the current position of Saturn being placed in the sign of Jupiter is strongly desiring a slowing of growth. This dual retrograde glance for the next few months that the signs of Aquarius and Gemini will receive from Saturn and Jupiter may push the affairs of those signs into a strong session of finding balance between growth and decay. Since retrograde planets carry the energy of Rahu, the eternally retrograde planet, this next few months could be about honestly recognizing the strong desires that may push us toward either balance or imbalance. Weigh the cost/benefit ratio and see what supports strong structure moving forward.

Venus Transits Taurus April 19 – May 14

Venus stays in the active sign of Aries until April 19, when she leaves the gaze of retrograde Jupiter, the hot company of the Sun, and the rocky territory of Mars' fire sign.

Arriving in her own sign of Taurus, Venus finds some solace and time to rebuild. Venus gets some alone time in her beautifully blooming spring garden, rejuvenating and reconnecting with her creative source as she enjoys space away from the Sun for the next few months. In fact, Venus leaves Taurus the day that the Sun enters. Venus should now be clearly visible in the western sky after sunset as she stays two steps ahead of the Sun.

Venus' time in Taurus roughly mirrors the Sun's time in Aries. Both planets are so strong during this time, and have been telling a story together since the beginning of 2018. The Sun and Venus were conjunct around the new year, bringing forth themes of Me (Sun) vs Us (Venus) while at the same time being conjunct Saturn in Sagittarius. After this encounter, Venus moved ahead of the Sun, out of combustion and finally has cleared the heat of the Sun's strong individual expression, getting some chill time in Taurus.

This could be a great time for people to get really creative with the Sun exalted in Aries and Venus strongly occupying her own sign of Taurus. These two planets have a little space both to shine to their max and also experience the slight bit of space they have between them, while still being close enough to occupy adjoining signs. Maybe this is a good time to test that balance between me and we that is always tricky when it comes to maintaining a thriving, healthy relationship. The "me" has to be strong and clear for the "we" to be strong and clear!

Full Moon in Libra April 29

The Moon waxes its way through the first half of the zodiac during the second half of April, arriving at 16° Libra in exact opposition to the Sun in Aries on April 29. This will be around sunset/moonrise; the Sun almost to its exaltation point and the full Moon joining retrograde Jupiter. Should be quite a sight to behold!

This is a very nice configuration, with Jupiter and the Moon relatively free of negative influences from other planets. Even Venus, lord of Libra, is in a positive environment in her other sign of Taurus, also relatively free of negative influences.

Moon and Jupiter are both in Libra, but in different nakshatras, with Moon in Swati and Jupiter in Vishaka. Swati nakshatra is ruled by the planet Rahu and by the deity Vayu, lord of the wind. The Moon will be in a Venus-Rahu environment that tests our ability to be graceful in strongly shifting wind.

As we move forward, heeding the indications of the planets by letting go of the old, favoring stable growth, exercising patience and focusing deeply, we will have moments when the light comes and we can see the bigger picture, making adjustments to our plans when needed to keep things cohesive and harmonious.

Looking forward to May, we will investigate the upcoming conjunction of Mars and Ketu in Capricorn, which runs from May 2 – November 5. Until then, enjoy the strength of the Sun, the comfort of Venus and even the restraint of Saturn as we experience the unfolding of the spring season.

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