Monthly Vedic Astrology Forecast

January 2018

by Kerry Shamblin

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

Jupiter, Rahu/Ketu, Saturn & Mars in 2018

The positions of Jupiter, Saturn and the nodes, Rahu and Ketu, will remain steady throughout the year, with only Jupiter advancing to Scorpio in mid-October 2018. Saturn remains in Sagittarius throughout 2018, while Rahu remains in Cancer and Ketu remains in Capricorn.

Mars pulls a noteworthy six-month transit of his exaltation sign of Capricorn from early May through early November, joining Ketu, who will be sitting in Capricorn for the entirety of 2018, wobbling steadily in reverse motion from the other planets. This is a very strong Mars, and with Ketu is even more solid, as Ketu and Mars together act as the co-lords of the sign Scorpio. This brings memories of 2016, when Mars joined Saturn in Scorpio for almost six months.

Mars in Scorpio is strong based on position in a sign that he owns (as in 2016), but Mars in Capricorn is exalted, making it a bit easier to tease out the highest, most noble qualities of Mars. We can think of Scorpio as a deep hole, a well that beckons us to dig into the subconscious, hidden aspects of life. Scorpio can be challenging, frightening and transformative and Mars transiting there gave us courage to face these depths, which were even more pronounced due to Saturn's presence there, as well.

Saturn and Mars interacting in Scorpio can feel like a push-pull situation; this would have been the feeling that marked 2016. Mars with Ketu in Capricorn is a bit different. There is an upward, climbing energy to this combination that implies progress gained through passing through difficulty. This is Mars exercising strength and discipline to the highest level.

The proximity to Ketu will give Mars a nearly blind, headless dedication to his goal. This could be interpreted as either favorable or unfavorable, given Mars' goals that manifest differently within each person. Individuals with significant horoscope placements in Capricorn may especially feel this year as one in which it is essential to keep climbing by putting one foot in front of the other, deliberately, with discipline and courage.

With Ketu in Capricorn all year, this puts Rahu in the sign of Cancer all year. Cancer is a watery sign, ruled by the Moon and because of Rahu's ability to cast aspects on the places fifth and ninth from his own, this carries Rahu's influence into all of the water signs throughout this year. Rahu's energy can feel unstable, tricky and confusing and will be felt chiefly in the sign of Cancer but will extend to the signs of Scorpio and Pisces.

Where these signs fall in an individual chart may reflect how Rahu's influence will impact each person. For example, if Cancer is one's fourth house, as for an Aries individual, we may see some kind of unexpected or unplanned change in that person's home life due to Rahu's nature of shifting things around.

Rahu's aspect is not always negative! Rahu rules innovation and breaking through situations that feel confining. Thinking outside of the norm is Rahu's great gift. The general effects of Rahu are big ups and big downs, but not necessarily in a discernible order or rhythm. Buckle up and realize that Rahu may be bumpy but his goal is to stir things up so that people can become acquainted with their real desires.

Another positive facet is that Rahu will not be directly aspecting either Saturn or Jupiter during this year, that is until October 11, when Jupiter moves into Scorpio and an exact aspect by degree from Rahu during the first week in November, during the US mid-term elections. Stay tuned!

Jupiter also has the ability to aspect fifth and ninth from himself, so from his current position in Libra through October 11, he affects the signs of Libra, Aquarius and Gemini most strongly, all of the air element signs. Jupiter's presence tends to promote growth, education and depth of understanding. These signs will feel the blessings of Jupiter without the added influence of Rahu.

There was a long conjunction of Rahu and Jupiter in 2016 (on top of the Mars+Saturn activity) in the sign of Leo, which strongly influenced the fire signs as conjoined Rahu and Jupiter were putting aspects on the same signs. The result of this mixed influence of Rahu and Jupiter made it difficult to discern the truth while at the same time Rahu was destroying that which Jupiter was trying to grow.

Jupiter affecting Libra, Aquarius and Gemini is a growth influence in these signs, which by nature are slightly unstable due to the air element defining them. Libra is ruled by Venus, so Jupiter there combines to show growth in relationships, social standing and creativity. Jupiter aspecting Aquarius will promote growth in Saturn and Rahu's sign, which in one way we can see as a melting pot which acts as a container for humanitarian ideals. Jupiter aspecting Gemini will promote growth in Mercury related fields such as communications, markets and education. Saturn will not be able to slow Jupiter's growth capacity by directly aspecting Jupiter during 2018, but we do see Saturn occupying Jupiter's sign.

Saturn occupies Jupiter's fire sign, Sagittarius, through mid-January 2020. Let us understand how this may affect us for the next two years. Sagittarius is a place for positive growth, as it is ruled by Jupiter. Saturn tends to cause pressure and difficulty where he sits, in this case, Sagittarius, but also his aspects can be quite oppressive, forcing people to deal with setbacks, health issues, loss and obstruction. Jupiter is expansive where Saturn is contractive, Jupiter is yes and Saturn is no.

From Sagittarius, Saturn also aspects the signs of Aquarius, Gemini and Virgo, so these places may feel the heaviness of Saturn during the next two years. Of these signs, let us focus on Aquarius and Gemini, as they commonly will receive the aspect of both Saturn and Jupiter through mid-October, 2018.

The combined aspect of Saturn and Jupiter creates a powerful environment. Jupiter could expand infinitely, but Saturn is able to create a container for Jupiter's growth. Saturn gives boundaries and limitations which are so important to creating sustainability. Saturn can cause us to slow down so that Jupiter can guide us toward gaining wisdom of our experiences and growing from them. When we feel the push of both of these great planets, Saturn and Jupiter, we are called to find the balance between no and yes, fear and faith, elders and children, limitation and growth. Those with significant placements in Aquarius and Gemini may feel this combination of Jupiter and Saturn's aspect during most of 2018.

Full Moon in Gemini/Ardra January 1

As we begin to study the smaller trends of 2018, we are met with the cycle of the Moon on the first day of 2018. The Moon will be strong and full at 18° Gemini in the evening of January 1, opposite the Sun at 18° Sagittarius. This is an auspicious event for the first day of the western calendar year.

Gemini and the Moon will be receiving the aspects, as mentioned above, of both Saturn and Jupiter, as well as Sun and Venus also aspecting from Sagittarius. This section of Gemini is defined by the nakshatra Ardra, which is ruled by the dramatic and unstable Rahu and the deity Rudra, a fierce form of Shiva. Ardra therefore holds a bit of dissolution energy, so we may use this to bid farewell to the negativities that may have arrived through 2017 in order to create space for a new story in 2018.

Kala Amrita Yoga January 4 – 13

We have been watching the spells of this unique yoga since September 2017, of which this will be a short, final session. What kicked off this phenomena was Venus moving past Rahu in Cancer, putting all of the planets between Rahu and Ketu for half of the month when the Moon also moved into this zone.

What ends these sessions will be Venus moving into Capricorn to join Ketu on January 13, so this particular set of Kala Amrita Yogas that we saw during September, October, November, December and now January, has a bit of a Venus theme. One can review the forecasts for those months if there is interest, but the idea of this unique planetary configuration is that we enter into periods where we may feel bound into a certain path or set of circumstances that we perhaps would rather escape.

The pure form of this yoga shows all planets contained in the five signs between the nodes, without joining the nodes. The partial yoga shows at least one planet conjoined one of the nodes, and also gives said planet the power to "break" the bind that the yoga causes. In this case, we strongly look toward the vitalizing power of Venus, whose strengths include creation, compassion and connection to lead us toward liberation from confining circumstances. We all do get by with a little help from our friends. Reaching out when you need help and reaching out in order to help could be a good policy for the beginning of this month and year.

Mars-Jupiter Conjunction in Libra January 6

Jupiter will be slowly moving through Libra during this year, including a retrograde cycle between March 9 – July 10, 2018. Jupiter has a positive influence, especially known to bring out the best in Mars, whose fiery, powerful energy is best when directed in a good channel.

Mars joined Jupiter in the sign of Libra on November 29, and comes into exact conjunction with Jupiter at 24° Libra on Saturday, January 6. From here, Mars has an almost exact aspect to Ketu in Capricorn at 23°, perhaps giving a positive spin to the upcoming long transit of Mars in Capricorn later in 2018.

Venus is the ruler of Libra, currently in an exchange of signs with Jupiter, ruler of Sagittarius where Venus sits now. This gives some nice watery balance to the very masculine and hot Mars, who we like to keep cool and calm so that we can enjoy his courage and strength without the added aggression that sometimes comes.

Especially for the matters indicated by the area of Libra in an individual chart, we could see some positive indications as Mars' power is added to Jupiter's positivity. From Libra, Mars aspects Capricorn, as mentioned, and also Aries, his own sign, which is an auspicious boost, as well as aspecting Taurus, Venus' other sign. We appreciate Jupiter's influence on Mars during this transit, acting as somewhat of a mediator in Venus-Mars matters, which can become a passion play between the human masculine and feminine.

Mercury Transits Sagittarius January 6 - 27

After resuming direct motion at 19° Scorpio on December 22, Mercury begins again to move forward through the zodiac, approaching that dramatic border between Scorpio and Sagittarius on January 6, the same day of the exact joining of Mars and Jupiter.

Mercury as a fast-moving planet tends to hit all three of the gandanta points in a bit more than year's time, maybe more times if retrograde cycles are involved. This makes Mercury accustomed to moving quickly through the difficult things in life. The other benefit of Mercury in moving through gandanta is that he is the planetary ruler of all the nakshatras in the water side of the gandanta: Aslesha, Jyestha and Revati. We could interpret that as Mercury's enthusiasm for putting in the work it takes to learn about a subject thoroughly in order to use it as a vehicle for forward progress.

Once in Sagittarius, Mercury has moved through the danger zone and come out in Jupiter's terrain on the other side. Mercury and Jupiter have that eternal student-teacher relationship, so when we see interactions of these two planets, we can benefit by paying attention to studies, honoring teachers and providing support for students.

We say that Mercury is easily influenced by the other planets that he contacts. Mercury will be moving from Scorpio, a sign we can think of a quiet and dark, where he was relatively alone for the last part of that transit, into a very crowded room in Sagittarius, joining Venus, Sun and Saturn.

There is a lot going on in Sagittarius this month, including Venus' superior conjunction (see below) and Mercury's exact conjunction with Saturn that occurs just a few days after he enters Sagittarius, on January 12. Saturn and Mercury meet at 9° Sagittarius for a very brief encounter, as Mercury has begun to pick up speed by this point, moving past Saturn and then running toward Capricorn, where he reaches on January 27, joining Ketu, Sun and Venus.

This is a quick transit, but take advantage of Mercury's placement in Jupiter's domain to catch up on communications, studies and writing that may have taken a dive while Mercury was retrograde and in Scorpio's depths.

We will look at Mercury's transit of Capricorn from January 27 – February 14 in the February forecast.

Superior Conjunction of Venus January 9

Venus spent most of 2017 rising in the east before the Sun. Toward the end of 2017, Venus has been approaching the Sun, which causes us to lose sight of her due to proximity with the Sun. Venus will move ahead of the Sun in the zodiac and begin to be seen in the western sky after sunset during the first week of February. This "evening star" guise of Venus will continue through 2018.

When considering this transition of Venus from morning to evening appearance, we find that we always lose Venus for a time as she walks through the fire of the Sun's presence. This state is called "combustion" and implies that the combust planet is somewhat robbed of its influence due to the strong heat and light of the Sun.

The mythology of the Sumerian goddess Inanna entering the underworld strongly expresses the journey of Venus astrologically as she makes this transition from leading to following the Sun. Let's also remember that when one planet surpasses another in the zodiac from our earth perspective, the faster planet will actually get behind the other in the zodiac, therefore rising later.

With this new set up for 2018, Venus will rise later than the Sun and we don't see Venus each day until the Sun sets. As Venus approaches the exact conjunction with the Sun, she first moves past Saturn on December 25 and then heads into that superior conjunction with the Sun at 26° Sagittarius on January 9, all the while being hidden from sight. Within about ten degrees on either side of the Sun, we can no longer spot Venus while in that state of combustion.

Venus is the ruler of relationships, connections, vitality, creativity and beauty, so we all may be taking at least a minor trip to the underworld in the sense of taking this time to make any internal transformations that are needed to renew or rebirth things in the Venus department of our lives.

Venus Transits Capricorn January 13 – February 5

Since Venus and the Sun are traveling at a comparable speed, this conjunction doesn't break up immediately, but Venus does begin to move away from the Sun, moving ahead into Capricorn one day before the Sun. This puts Venus into Saturn's earth sign for a few weeks, which gives her the chance to break the cycle of the Kala Amrita Yogas that have been occurring since September.

Capricorn is also hosting Ketu for this entire year, so Venus will also pass by Ketu on January 30, which also puts her in the direct line of sight of Rahu, always opposite Ketu. Any planet interacting with the nodes can be subject to sudden conditions or instability, so watch out for that at the end of January as relatively vulnerable Venus struggles to gain enough height and freedom to launch into a clear sky of creative potential. (This comes one day before the total lunar eclipse of January 31.)

By mid-February, we should be able to see Venus in the western sky after sunset. By February 19, Venus exits the range of combustion, which allows us to experience Venus visually once again.

Sun Transits Capricorn January 14 – February 12

The Sun moves from Jupiter's sign of Sagittarius to Saturn's sign of Capricorn on January 14, on the heels of Venus. Each year when Sun passes through Capricorn and Aquarius, we have Saturn hosting Sun, which brings out those themes that force us to reckon with and make adjustments to how we express our individuality.

The Sun, as king of the planets, leads us all toward understanding who we are by encouraging us to define our individual selves. The results of this definition include self-esteem, leadership ability and need for recognition. When we stoke this fire unchecked, we can find ourselves inflated with self importance or when we don't fuel this fire enough, we can end up with a negative balance of self-esteem. Getting our Sun expression dialed in to the right setting helps us find the right balance of "me" within the context of the rest of the world.

Saturn and Sun are walking in opposite directions when it comes to "me." Saturn's natural action is to destroy the desire and need for individual recognition in favor of seeing the end of the big picture, where who we think we are slips away in the sands of time. In this way, in paying attention to both Sun and Saturn within our lives, we can find just the right balance between "me" and "not me."

Therefore, the Sun traveling through Saturn's signs each year gives us the opportunity to review our ego levels. Saturn as lord of Sun for a couple of months during this transit encourages us to drop the ego like a set of clothing on the floor and examine how it is fitting. Repairs, cleaning, re-accessorizing are all things we can do while the Sun moves through Capricorn.

This year, we have Venus traveling with the Sun, encouraging more attention toward relationships and how "me" may act when there is also a "you." The cold, dry environment of Capricorn can be harsh, but it can also provide a practical background for examining how we function with our egos, encouraging us to climb higher or drop lower to make room for interacting on a healthy level with other people.

There is also Ketu in Capricorn; when we see the Sun entering signs that are hosting the nodes, Rahu and Ketu, we must get ready to experience the eclipsing effect as the Sun and Moon inevitably line up with this axis. Read ahead for more on the total lunar eclipse of January 31 which will be followed by a partial solar eclipse on February 15.

Sun will move into Ketu's exact vicinity during the first week in February. Even though we won't be seeing a big solar eclipse like in August 2017, we can still count on Ketu to throw some energetic shade on the Sun as it passes by. Ketu is the headless one, still able to function even without so much personal identity. While this may be frightening or threatening to the ego, we can learn some valuable lessons from these encounters between Sun and Ketu about how to lead with the heart instead of the head.

Mars Transits Scorpio January 16 – March 7

Mars' year in 2018 looks particularly powerful, which is itself an attribute of Mars. Mars will be in good dignity for most of 2018. From mid-January to early March, Mars will transit his own sign of Scorpio and from early May to November will be in exaltation sign of Capricorn. There may be a slight bump in Mars' road as he moves through Sagittarius, encountering Saturn in March-April, but otherwise, we can expect some decent results from Mars this year.

There are a couple of points to really look at while Mars is in Scorpio. First, Mars will be strong and comfortable exercising his power and executing plans while in Scorpio, but he will be under the aspect of Rahu coming from Cancer. Rahu's energy can cause some instability and chaos, so the best laid plans of mice and Mars may suffer some disturbance.

Second, from Scorpio, Mars gives aspects to Aquarius, Taurus and Gemini, which is notable in that he will be joining his aspect power to Jupiter and Saturn's when it comes to the signs of Aquarius and Gemini. This gives some serious Mars power and fuel to add into the expansion-contraction mix that Jupiter and Saturn are throwing at these two air signs.

People with significant placements in these two signs (Aquarius and Gemini) may like to plan some projects for this period of time between mid-January and the first week of March. It is always a good idea to make sure Mars' strong fiery energy has a proper channel in which to run.

New Moon in Capricorn/Uttarashada January 16

By mid-January, all of the inner planets have made moves into new signs where they will remain through the end of the month. The latter half of January will feature a new Moon on January 16 and full Moon (total eclipse) on January 31.

The Moon joins the Sun at 3° Capricorn on the evening of Tuesday, January 16 for the new Moon. This place in the zodiac falls in the nakshatra of Uttarashada, ruled by Sun and spanning from the late degrees of Sagittarius into Capricorn. Uttarashada has the Vishwadevas as the ruling deity, which means "all the gods" and implies divinity as a whole.

The combination of planetary rulers of this new Moon therefore ends up again with Sun and Saturn as the heads, bringing back the idea of balancing the ego. The Moon's energy is always low during this juncture of each month, so we like to encourage a quiet approach to these days that allows for reflection and contemplation.

In addition to Sun and Moon, the others affecting this new Moon are Ketu and Venus joining the luminaries, while the whole group receives the bulging-eyed gaze of Rahu.

This isn't a proper eclipse situation, as the nodal axis is too many degrees away from the Sun and Moon combination, but we can still count on that influence of Rahu and Ketu to make some waves. Hence, perhaps we plan to take a seat so that one doesn't fall far if the ground shifts.

Full Moon in Cancer/Aslesha January 31 – Total Lunar Eclipse

The Moon begins to grow in brightness as the month of January moves toward its end. Because all of the other planets are still in the other half of the zodiac, this is a lonely journey for the Moon, passing no other planets until it joins Rahu in Cancer on January 30. Moon won't be joining other planets as it waxes, but it will receive plenty of aspects from the other planets as it moves along.

On January 31, the Moon moves close to Rahu and into opposition with the Sun at 18º Cancer, in the nakshatra of Aslesha, ruled by the deity Sarpa, the serpent. The Moon will be about 4° from Rahu, which is close enough for a total lunar eclipse.

Aslesha nakshatra, with its serpent energy, is also ruled by Mercury, the swift-moving channel surfer. Add into this the Moon as ruler of Cancer and we get a very mental background for a very mental combination of Moon with Rahu. We see the hungry Rahu swallow the light of a strong Moon on this day, which could lead to dramatic results as that temporary quelling of the Moon could be a bit like "losing the mind."

Opposite to Moon and Rahu in Aslesha, we find the Sun, Venus and Ketu in the sign of Capricorn, nakshatra Shravana, which is ruled by the Moon and symbolized by an ear, implying the receptive nature of this lunar mansion. Mercury is also in Capricorn, but in the earlier degrees, in the nakshatra Uttarashada.

While many planets join into the eclipse axis, neither hard Saturn nor forceful Mars will directly affect it via aspect, nor will benevolent Jupiter. This gives the sense of truly facing a blind spot with all of one's mental abilities, but without too much outside pressure or aid. It's the nodal axis (Rahu and Ketu), the luminaries (Moon and Sun) and the most energetic planets (Venus and Mercury) involved in signs that have quite different environments but that share cardinal/movable quality that is good at pushing through situations.

This full Moon eclipse would be best spent in a calm environment that is nourishing and supportive for the mind. With the energy of Mercury and Venus added to Ketu's headless acting potential, it would be best to be clear about action in order to avoid mistakes. Rahu and Moon combination almost always sets the stage for confusion, and in Cancer, could lead toward emotional disturbance, as well.

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