Monthly Vedic Astrology Forecast

July 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, Jupiter, Saturn Retrograde

July begins with three of the planets in retrograde motion, which can cause an increase in unpredictable events. Retrograde motion can promote opposite than normal results from the planets, or at least erratic behavior that is pushed by these planets.

Mars is the most recently retrograde in his sign of exaltation from June 26 – August 26. While Mars is quite powerful in his sign of exaltation, this two months of retrograde motion may push Mars toward erratic, aggressive actions. Especially as Mars is close with Ketu, this puts him under the direct aspect of Rahu, currently in Cancer. With Rahu as the major influence on Mars at this time, we could all benefit by controlling and containing our power such that moments of frustration do not result in disastrous outcomes.

We count on the benefic planets, especially Jupiter and Venus, to guide, control and convince the malefic planets to be on their best behavior. By July 5, Venus moves out of Cancer and takes her eye off of Mars, while Jupiter begins July in retrograde motion in Libra, frustrating his generally positive energy and also putting him out of range of control of Mars. This unchecked and retrograde Mars will be something to watch during July and August.

Jupiter begins to help a bit by resuming direct motion on July 10, but that leaves both Mars and Saturn in retrograde motion with Jupiter lacking direct aspect to either of those malefics. Saturn is ruler of Capricorn where Mars is currently located and Jupiter is the ruler of Sagittarius, where Saturn is currently located. Jupiter's direct motion should therefore give at least Saturn some stability until it resumes direct motion on September 6.

Venus Transits Leo July 5 – August 1

While Venus normally does well in Cancer due to the similarities between Moon (ruler of Cancer) and Venus, this last trip involved sharing space with Rahu and receiving the aspect of Mars from Capricorn, which may have taxed Venus' ability to put out the fires that Mars causes. Rahu with Venus could also cause disturbances to Venus related matters such as relationships while at the same time providing blasts of creative inspiration, leaving us with the good, the bad and the beautiful.

Venus moving into Leo for a rather quick jaunt should be supportive of gaining clarity when it comes to relationship matters, particularly in focusing on regaining the ability to find and express one's individual point of view in the context of relationship. Venus in the Sun's sign of Leo brings forth that recurring theme of how to balance the "me" with the "we."

Venus is not completely free of negative influence in Leo, as Mars will still be able to aspect Venus, and this time from retrograde status. In some traditions, Rahu is considered to have an aspect on the sign second from his position, which puts his chaotic influence on Venus as she moves from Cancer and through Leo. So, we're not exactly out of the woods yet and the fire danger is still high. Venus moving through a fire sign may be hard pressed to provide enough moisture to quell the disturbances generated by Mars/Ketu and Rahu.

Jupiter Resumes Direct Motion July 10

Around June 18, Jupiter's retrograde motion pushed him back into the nakshatra (lunar mansion) called Swati, which runs from 6°40' Libra to 20°00' Libra. Swati is ruled by Rahu, an agent of the wind, and this location of retrograde Jupiter could perhaps intensify the feeling of being lost in the wilderness without a guide, which can arise when Jupiter is at odds with his regular abilities.

Jupiter regains direct motion on July 10 at 19°14' of Venus' air sign, Libra, and will begin to make forward progress once again. This should give us collectively a boost of positivity and an urge to resume growth and education.

Through the remainder of July, Jupiter will regain speed in the forward direction, finally moving out of Swati nakshatra into Vishaka nakshatra on August 1. This brings a bit of stability and positivity, but we have to realize that Swati nakshatra, with Rahu's influence, can be quite challenging and unstable, blowing us around like stalks of grass in the wind.

Jupiter spends roughly one year in each sign and has been in Libra since September 11, 2017. We see Jupiter move into Scorpio on October 11, 2018. We should expect good results from Jupiter in Scorpio, which is a friendly sign for Guru. Jupiter moves through Scorpio from October 11, 2018 – November 5, 2019. As Jupiter moves out of Libra and into Scorpio, we may feel a shift in our desire, especially when it comes to spiritual direction, seeking of knowledge and wisdom practices. The past two years as Jupiter moved through Virgo and Libra, we may have found ourselves trying to grow the material and social aspects of our lives, struggling just to feel stable.

With Jupiter moving into Scorpio and then Sagittarius in late 2019, we may return to deeper spiritual practices, reflected in the devotional nature of the sign of Scorpio and the divinely adventurous terrain of Sagittarius. With the shift of Jupiter over the second gandanta (karmic knot) of the zodiac in November 2019, we may feel collectively and individually, either literally or figuratively, that we are at war with our demons during that juncture of time.

Use this last few months of Jupiter in direct motion in Libra to create order with social and business contacts, find the balance between the material and spiritual sides of life and prepare to move through the gateway symbolized by the nakshatra Vishaka in the sky, which Jupiter enters on August 1.

New Moon in Gemini/Punarvasu July 12 (Partial Solar Eclipse)

As Jupiter regains direct motion in Libra, the Sun and Moon join on July 12 at 27° Gemini in the constellation of Punarvasu, which means literally "light again." We would expect that this constellation would herald a return to positive, creative and abundant times. This could be true, but perhaps after some trial and error.

A couple of major factors work against this idea of birthing a new era of light. First, the new Moon itself is considered weak and spent, as well as unable to provide light during the dark nights. Second, although not extremely close, the Sun and Moon are close enough to Rahu, currently shadowing the neighboring sign of Cancer, to experience a partial eclipse.

Eclipses are either solar or lunar, with lunar eclipse happening during full Moon and solar eclipse happening during new Moon. The Sun is eclipsed by the Moon blocking the view of the Sun from Earth (solar eclipse.) The Moon is eclipsed by the Earth blocking the sunlight from reflecting on the Moon's surface (lunar eclipse.)

This article has a nice graphic that shows the relationship between Sun, Moon and Earth during eclipses.

Rahu and Ketu, the eclipse points or Moon's nodes, are abstract points that indicate the possibility of eclipse when the Sun and Moon line up with the axis that the two points create. Symbolically, they are the shadow planets that show the path that each being takes between material and divine experience. The nodal axis itself travels in retrograde motion compared to the normal motion of the other planets. The overall motion is retrograde, but the true motion wobbles back and forward, creating a small, vibrating field of influence for each of these nodes.

This concept of the shadow helps us understand how a partial eclipse happens even when the Sun and Moon are 15-16 degrees away from the placement of Rahu, as they will be on July 12. So, we don't have a total covering of the Sun by Rahu, just partial, giving a small challenge to "return of light" but not a complete shut down!

A positive aspect will be coming to the Sun and Moon combination from Jupiter, recently having returned to direct motion, which for Jupiter is akin to "returning to light." Punarvasu nakshatra is ruled by the planet Jupiter itself, so will appreciate the good will. This nakshatra's deity is Aditi, the mother of the Vasus, the lords of light.

Punarvasu promotes revitalization through the moisture that comes through Jupiter and the Moon (Punarvasu spans into the sign of Cancer, ruled the mother, the Moon) and the air element that comes through Mercury and its sign of Gemini. Because of the weak Moon and partial eclipse, we can make an effort to bring forth and retain moisture where it is needed to help promote positive growth, goodness and light.

A general note about eclipses, which generally come in pairs, but this summer will come in a trio. Eclipse energy is connected to the power of the shadow planets, Rahu and Ketu. Due to the wobbly motion of their axis, the situations and associations connected with them tend to have lack of foundation, which includes instability, sudden changes and surprising incidents. This summer's eclipse season will affect the months of July and August, which roughly corresponds to the period that Mars will be retrograde in Capricorn, very close with Ketu.

This factor compounds the "wobbly" nature of nodal influence, as planets when retrograde tend to lose some of their stability. Mars will not only be retrograde, but also paired with Ketu during this trio of eclipses, so we can expect a bit of instability, sudden change and volatility through July and August.

Sun Transits Cancer July 16 – August 16

The Sun moves from Gemini to Cancer on July 16, fully entering into the nodal axis which will cause a total lunar eclipse when the Moon opposes the Sun on July 27.

The full Moon of June 27 seemed to yield intense results for many, which was indicative of the strain caused by the opposition of Sun in Gemini and Saturn in Sagittarius. The Sun-Saturn mutual aspect can bring forth themes of animosity in relationships or situations that are already under strain due to ego imbalances. As the Sun moves out of exact opposition with Saturn in early July, we may see some destruction or loss in our wake as we motor ahead.

Keep in mind that the Sun sails forward into Cancer with not only the humility brought by an encounter with Saturn but also the inaugural Rahu energy, soon to come, hinted at through the partial solar eclipse of July 12.

July 16, the Sun moves out of the opposition with Saturn and into the sign of Cancer, which puts him in the pool with Rahu and Mercury, soon to be retrograde and very much involved in the Sun's annual transit through the Moon's sign, Cancer.

This also puts Sun in opposition to the Mars/Ketu combination in Capricorn, essentially adding heat to the already smoldering and ready to ignite energy caused by the exalted general Mars and his army, Ketu. This puts the never retrograde Sun in the eclipse axis, supported by retrograde Mars. We may be challenged to set a sure course during this month span between July 15 – August 15. Expect obstacles, change of plans and sudden events that challenge the expression of individual wants and needs.

If you begin thinking, "But what about what I want?" it may be due to this Sun in the sign of Cancer, making his way through eclipse territory. This is "smoke on the water" with Rahu in Cancer, illuminated by the Sun. We may be faced with multiple decision points that stretch us between throwing fuel on a fire or mustering up calm, cool and patience. Get ready as things will be moving quickly. Plan to bring extra water, literally or symbolically in the form of understanding and compassion.

Mercury Retrograde in Cancer July 25 – August 18

By July 25, the waxing Moon has joined Saturn (retrograde) in the sign of Capricorn and Mercury will have reached the final degree of Cancer and begins a retrograde cycle that pulls Mercury back into the hazy environment of Cancer which holds Rahu and Sun. Mercury retraces his steps back to 18º Cancer, where he resumes direct motion once again on August 18.

Once Mercury begins rewinding through Cancer, that gives us a plethora of retrograde energy with Saturn, Mars and Mercury all holding retrograde status at once and in addition, we have Mars and Mercury both amplified in the nodal axis.

Mercury isn't at his most skillful, energetic and efficient level while in the water signs, which stems from the debilitation in Pisces. However, we have a couple of factors of mitigation that my modify this difficulty. First, retrograde status tends to reverse the situation for the planet, so this could be beneficial for Mercury to be able to communicate and exchange in the midst of a difficult environment.

Second, Mercury will be traversing the nakshatra (lunar mansion) of Ashlesha during this entire retrograde cycle. Ashlesha has Mercury himself as planetary ruler, so this gives Mercury some foothold and comfort, as well. Ashlesha is also governed by the deity Sarpa, the lord of serpents. This gives this zone of the zodiac a very electric and intense energy.

All of Mercury's nakshatras occupy the final portion of each water sign, which are also the gateways to the gandanta points that lie between the water and fire signs. The nakshatras that lie in the first portion of the fire signs are all ruled by Ketu, the south node. These junctures in the zodiac require us to approach difficult obstacles with the eager and open mind of a student (Mercury) and as we pass through the uncomfortable learning situation, we emerge with a sense of liberation on the other end (Ketu.)

Full Moon in Capricorn/Shravana July 27 (Total Lunar Eclipse)

After encountering Saturn, the Moon moves into Saturn's sign of Capricorn and glides in between Mars and Ketu as she becomes full on July 27. Retrograde Mars will be at 10°, the Moon at 11° and Ketu wobbling around 12° Capricorn while the Sun is opposite at 11° Cancer with Rahu at 12° and retrograde Mercury at 30°.

This creates a total lunar eclipse, visible in parts of Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia.

This event will be the icing on the cake of an astrologically intense July that is rife with retrograde energy and the strong influence of the nodes. The overall weather calls for hot and dry with a chance of thunderstorms. With thunderstorms come water but also lightning, which can easily ignite an already smoldering situation.

The two benefic ministers of the planetary cabinet, Venus and Jupiter, are the only planets to escape the direct influence of this total lunar eclipse and the surrounding retrograde energy. Therefore, we look to them for advice, soothing and aid as we navigate this precarious stretch of time.

Unfortunately, during this eclipse Venus sits in Leo, an enemy sign, while Jupiter sits in Libra, an enemy sign. Each of these guides has its own set of challenges during this time, so it may be difficult even to connect with the knowledge, advice or compassion that is sorely needed during this time. Saturn alone may be able to whisper that this too shall pass, giving us the inner strength to stand up and struggle to find buoyancy and balance either in an outgoing tide or mountainside on fire.

The Moon will be in the nakshatra of Shravana (with Ketu) while Mars has already reversed further back in the zodiac to Uttarashada nakshatra. Shravana is ruled by the Moon and has the ear as a symbol, implying the receptivity of the Moon in the act of hearing and absorbing information. With the eclipse factor in effect, this may bolster the difficulty of being able to gather input through the senses and logically process the information through the mind. With Ketu in the mix, we may be forced to exercise intuition to guide us when we feel lost during this time.

This intense astrological patterning continues through August with the second partial solar eclipse and Venus entering debilitation in Virgo. Collectively and/or individually, we may experience some turbulence during July and August. Remember our allies are Jupiter and Venus, but they also face challenges. It will take effort to create calm spaces where we can rejuvenate and reflect. Try to build in time to do this through solitude, walking in nature, meditation, prayer or other devotional practices.

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