Monthly Vedic Astrology Forecast

January 2019

by Kerry Shamblin

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


Venus Enters Scorpio January 1

On either side of the New Year's celebrations, we see the two energetic (rajas) planets, Mercury and Venus, changing signs, helping us to usher in the new calendar year with a wave of enthusiasm and passion. Mercury changes signs from Scorpio to Sagittarius on December 31, 2018 and Venus moves from her own sign of Libra into Scorpio on the morning of January 1, 2019.

This breaks up the combination of Jupiter and Mercury in Scorpio, sending Mercury across the gandanta point between Scorpio and Sagittarius on New Year's Eve. This is actually a symbolic gesture from our messenger, Mercury. It would benefit us to take a look at that for a moment.

The sequence of signs follows many different patterns simultaneously, one of which is based on the element of the signs, starting with fire and proceeding with earth, air and water. This cycle repeats three times through all of the zodiac signs. When one cycle ends and the next begins, we transition from a water sign to a fire sign. This happens at three points in the zodiac: between Cancer and Leo (1st gandanta), between Scorpio and Sagittarius (2nd gandanta) and between Pisces and Aries (3rd gandanta.) As is evident, the two elements of water and fire tend to work in different directions. Water can destroy fire by overwhelming it with moisture and fire can destroy water by evaporating it with its heat.

These transitions from water to fire signs have gained the name of "gandanta" which translates to "knot" or "joint." There is a transition between ending and beginning at these joints, between dissipation and initiation. Each of the three gandanta in the zodiac has a different nature based on other factors. The second gandanta between Scorpio and Sagittarius is between a fixed sign and a dual sign. We see this spot in the zodiac as a battlefield where it is difficult to let go of the established order (fixed sign Scorpio) in favor of moving to a seemingly unstable, unfamiliar environment (dual sign Sagittarius.)

In 2017, Saturn crossed the 2nd gandanta three separate times because of some well-timed retrograde cycles as it shifted between Scorpio and Sagittarius. The faster moving planets move through this gandanta more frequently; on average, the Moon (1x per month), the Sun (1x per year), Mercury (1x per year), Venus (1x per year), Mars (1x per 2 years), Jupiter (1x per 12 years), Saturn (1x per 28 years), Rahu and Ketu (1x per 18 years). When the outer planets move through the gandantas, it is a bit more significant as it happens both more slowly and also infrequently. 2017 was Saturn's year. 2019 will be Jupiter's.

Mercury moving through this joint at the new year is like a harbinger for that event toward which we will be growing through November 4, when Jupiter crosses that border between Scorpio and Sagittarius. The gandanta technically includes the 3º20' on either side of the border, but the degree on either side is really where we can feel the strong gandanta effects. Jupiter will be in that zone from October 30 – November 9, 2019.

On the morning of January 1, Venus also moves signs, which again gives a hint about what we can expect for the remainder of the year. Venus is the planet of connection, creative juice and relationships and will be moving from a comfortable position in her own sign of Libra to a new, more challenging spot in Scorpio, joining Jupiter.

A couple of things are shown by this. First, Venus signifies comfort and happiness and is going into a situation that is remarkably less comfortable. Scorpio is lorded by Mars and Ketu and can be quite deep, intense and challenging, which is a tad disturbing to lovely, diplomatic Venus. We could see collectively that we are all pushed to face the intense situations that often lurk beneath the surface of things.

Second, we assume that Venus also will be moving through the gandanta sooner rather than later, as her speed won't keep her in Scorpio long. Venus gets into that knot on January 28 and pushes through it on January 29 into Sagittarius, exchanging the company of Jupiter for that of Saturn.

This month, therefore, would be a great time to actively dive deeply into the subconscious realms with our dear Venus. Exploring the depths of relationships, breaking through the ice that may be blocking deeper connections, mining for the good materials with which to fuel creative projects. There are great teachings awaiting us all this month as the two gurus, Venus and Jupiter are leading us into realms of deeper understanding.

Again, these explorations may require some discomfort, shows of strength and perhaps a bit of suffering, but the promise of progress, freedom and foundation should be inspiring during the moments of lonely shivering that may arise during this initial month of 2019.

NEW MOON Partial Solar Eclipse in Purvashada/Sagittarius January 5

Yet another early January sign that invites us into the larger canvas of 2019 will be the New Moon partial solar eclipse on the evening of January 5, 2019. This will be one of the most notable astronomical events of the year. The eclipse occurs as the Sun and Moon join at 22° Sagittarius and will be visible in eastern Asia; the maximum eclipse occurs at about 1:30 am GMT on January 6. The eclipse will either be on January 5 or 6, depending on location. For example, in Delhi, the eclipse will be around 7:00 am, just before sunrise on January 6.

The portion of Sagittarius between 13°20' and 26°40' is known as Purvashada nakshatra, ruled by the planet Venus and by the deity known as Apas, the lord of the waters. This is a watery planet and a watery deity that manage a portion of a fiery sign, Sagittarius. This water and fire theme is arising again, the first time being in the study of the gandanta principle.

Purvashada nakshatra will be the site of this new Moon solar eclipse of January 5-6, with Sun, Moon and Saturn joining in Purvashada. Ketu will be causing the eclipse and the reason for its "partial" status is due to the distance of Ketu from the Sun/Moon combination. Ketu currently occupies the 4th degree of Capricorn, in the nakshatra Uttarashada, making the distance about 10 degrees between Ketu and the Sun/Moon. Still, this is an eclipse event and we can see it as perhaps a preview of the overall theme that we can see astrologically repeating through 2019.

Apas is associated in later literature with Varuna, so we can associate both of these lords of the waters with Purvashada. Yet another log on our water-fire fire comes through when we consider that Agni, the lord of fire, is also known as an offspring of Apas.

Purvashada will become a very important scene as the year goes on. After this eclipse event that opens the activity within Purvashada, the Sun will be moving into Capricorn, and into closer proximity to the shadow of Ketu. Slow-paced Saturn will linger in Purvashada throughout 2019, moving into Uttarashada on December 26, 2019. Mercury will be the next friend to visit Saturn, making an exact conjunction on January 13 and moving out of Purvashada about a week later.

Venus approaches Saturn during February, making an exact conjunction on February 18. Saturn in Purvashada's next visitor will be Ketu, who enters Sagittarius through his natural retrograde motion in March. By May, Saturn reaches the far boundary of Purvashada, meets up with Ketu and himself begins a retrograde stretch. Thus begins a notable conjunction of Ketu and Saturn in the sign of Sagittarius and more specifically in the nakshatra of Purvashada that persists through late December 2019 when Saturn moves out toward the latter degrees of Sagittarius.

This extended joining of two challenging planets (Saturn and Ketu) in an invigorating environment (Purvashada/Sagittarius) should have us paying attention as it will impact each individual horoscope as well as the collective trends that display throughout the year. The fire-water environment of Purvashada can be extremely purifying. Both fire and water are known for their roles in purification and cleansing.

On another level, this is an environment of intense learning, seeking of knowledge and questing for deeper understanding. Both Venus, ruler of Purvashada and Jupiter, ruler of Sagittarius are the two guides that lead us into the wisdom of the natural order of things (Jupiter) and the harmony of interaction between beings (Venus.) Interesting to note that Jupiter and Venus will be co-habitating in Scorpio through the month of January.

This eclipse event that kicks off 2019 should be clearly displaying the shadows that block the clarity that is needed for the pursuit of wisdom. The presence of Saturn in the eclipse energy, who will remain and combine with the eclipse-causing Ketu through the remainder of the year, is urging us to take responsibility for how we are reversing the natural flow of the waters and corrupting the power of fire.

This can be taken on either a micro or macro level as we apply these musings to our individual lives and also to the world stage. At whatever level, the themes that arise strongly for 2019 involve taking physical responsibility for the creation of corruption in our natural environment. This involves resisting the temptation to turn a blind eye toward our own faults, whether it be the way our industries contend with their waste products, the way we choose to eat foods that we know are not nutritive or the way we build structures that do not support the environment.

We will return to this theme of responsibility, purification and cleansing again and again throughout the year, as we unearth together the mystery of how to exist in physical form in a dirty, dangerous world that insists on continual transformation and eventual decay, all the while gracefully and joyfully evolving on our soul's journey.

Sun Enters Capricorn January 14

The Sun's ingress into the sign of Capricorn is celebrated annually as Makara Sankranti. Makara is the Sanskrit name for Capricorn that translates as "crocodile." Makara is an earth sign that is ruled by the planet Saturn, and with a name like crocodile, you can imagine that it is an environment that requires some attention and caution.

The Sun runs immediately into the field of influence created by Ketu, the eclipse-causing south node of the Moon that is associated with the blocking of worldly activities in favor of pursuing liberation in whatever form. Ketu's nature is fiery, akin to that of Mars, with whom he shares rulership of the sign of Scorpio, Mars' water sign.

The Sun in Capricorn is considered a bit compromised due to his rocky relationship with Saturn and proximity to the nodal axis tends to destabilize the steady light of the Sun. This can result in real time as self-doubt, hesitation, mistakes in judgement and reduced discernment.

Here again, we have another omen of the influence of Saturn and Ketu holding strong through this calendar year. The Sun, who guides us to right action and inspires our sense of leadership, will be starting the year with Saturn and then moving into Saturn's sign to encounter Ketu. This gives us all an opportunity to learn how to tap into our intuition and look inward for guidance, finding a still, humble stance which becomes a necessity when the outer environment is dark, dusty and confusing.

Mercury Enters Capricorn January 20

Just after the solar eclipse new Moon of January 5, Mercury skips forward into combustion with the Sun in Sagittarius (who was also combusting Saturn during the eclipse.) Combustion is a state a planet reaches when in close proximity to the Sun. The idea is that the planet's energies are subsumed into the bright orb of the Sun, making it difficult to discern its effects.

Mercury will quickly charge forward, gaining on the Sun, following him into Saturn's earth sign, Capricorn, on January 20. On January 31, Mercury gains on the Sun going into complete combustion and then begins to move ahead of the Sun. The dance between Sun and Mercury is a constant as we pay attention to the movement of the planets, as Mercury always appears rather close to the Sun.

Mercury functions well in Capricorn, as its lord, Saturn is a friend of Mercury, who also has rulership of an earth sign and an air sign. Mercury, our champion of transactions and communications, is a very practical planet that helps us keep on ticking. The environment of Capricorn is best traversed slowly and deliberately because of the steep slopes and uneven terrain; Mercury tends to enjoy a speedy pace, so we could benefit by consciously slowing down to avoid glitches and mistakes. Especially since Ketu, the indicator of mistakes due to "headless" action, is also present in Capricorn during Mercury's transit there.

Employing Mercury retrograde remedies during this time that he transits Capricorn may be a great idea due to Rahu's influence, aspecting Capricorn from Cancer. Rahu and Ketu, always in retrograde motion, have the power to whip Mercury up and ramp up the energy, which can look like Mercury in retrograde. Slow down, double check, review, revise, reorganize!

Mercury moves out of Capricorn and into Aquarius ahead of the Sun on the evening of February 6. This is a quick transit, less than three weeks. Mercury is on the move! Use this energy to slog through the difficult parts of the pathway while seeing the obstacles as learning opportunities.

FULL MOON Total Lunar Eclipse in Pushya/Cancer January 20-21

The second eclipse of 2019 comes at the full Moon on January 21, when the Sun and Ketu will join in Capricorn (Uttarashada) while the Moon and Rahu join in Cancer (Pushya.) This will be a total lunar eclipse visible to all of North America and South America, perhaps the most visually stunning eclipse of 2019.

Depending on location, this eclipse will occur either on January 20 or 21. In the US, where the eclipse is at highest visibility, the moment of greatest eclipse happens late in the evening of January 20. The Sun sits in the last quarter of Uttarashada nakshatra at 7° Capricorn, just a few degrees from Ketu while the Moon moves into opposition at 7° Cancer, in the nakshatra of Pushya, near to Rahu.

The Moon is the ruler of the sign of Cancer and in its full state is extremely potent positioned there. The Moon is the queen of the night, the ruler of emotions, the one who reflects the light of the Sun. Like our fluctuating minds and moods, the Moon changes guise each day, waxing and waning, gliding through the zodiac, visiting with all of the other planets once per month as it makes its rounds. The feminine principle is embodied in the Moon, difficult to control, extremely attractive and naturally comforting.

Rahu has been reversing its way through Cancer since August 2017 and will shift into a strong position in Gemini in March 2019. As the significator of worldly desire, Rahu's energy is unstable, unpredictable and chaotic. This doesn't do much to help stabilize the Moon or the mind, but there is also the theory that the one who can calm Rahu is the form of the divine mother, who resides in the sign of Cancer. Since Rahu tends to amplify whatever situation that he affects, his presence in Cancer has acted to elevate the principle of feminine power somewhat during this transit.

This particular lunar eclipse event could signal a shift in how we are perceiving and processing the worldly input that feeds our thoughts and emotions. The idea of an eclipse is that a shadow is swallowing the light, throwing us into a temporary state of blindness; we can feel lost and directionless, which is why it is not advisable to do important actions around the time of an eclipse. At these times of obvious instability, it is a good idea to schedule some blank spaces into the calendar. Any form of spiritual practice is potent during eclipse times.

Pushya nakshatra is considered to be one of the most auspicious, ruled by the planet Saturn and by Brihaspati, the teacher of the gods, also known as his form of the planet Jupiter. This region of the zodiac is potent and creative, bestowing wisdom and foundation. Do not be surprised if the foundations be shaken temporarily during the first and third weeks of January due to the eclipse energy.

Venus Enters Sagittarius January 29

Coming full circle back to Venus, who moved into Scorpio on January 1, we are seeing our planet of vitality, creativity and connection move through the 2nd gandanta at month's end. This first month of 2019 truly has all of the preparations necessary for sailing into this new year.

Venus spends January in Scorpio with Jupiter, giving us one month of "dwi guru yoga," which translates as "joining of two teachers." We see this in the depths of Scorpio, which will perhaps encourage some deep self-reflection.

Look out for Venus approaching and passing Jupiter January 21-23. This puts the two planets into very close proximity, which we call "graha yuddha" or planetary war. The two planets struggle to express their agendas while in the same degree of the zodiac. December 20-22, 2018 gave us a graha yuddha between Jupiter and Mercury in Scorpio. We can experience this sometimes as a collision of energies that can be disruptive, but not necessarily negative.

This theme of traversing that joint between Scorpio and Sagittarius continues with Venus moving through it on January 29. This could signal a deep transition in the state of all things Venus on a personal level, which could mean relationships or creative process. On a collective level, Venus is involved in the interaction of peoples, so we could see some significant political and diplomatic actions toward the end of January. We count on Venus as our minister in charge of diplomatic relations but here Venus must cross the battlefield. Moving from water to fire is challenging to all, but especially to soft and gentle planets like Venus and Moon.

We will continue to follow Venus as she swims further into Sagittarius in February, toward a meetup with Saturn in her own nakshatra of Purvashada. Our exploration of taking responsibility for the cleansing and purification of the waters during 2019 will continue. The waters of our planet are crucial for life; we must care for and protect them every day in every way. This extends right down to our physical bodies, which are largely water! Take care of yourselves, loved ones, plants, animals and the environment in which our waters run. You are that!

Look for the Helpers

Mars entered Pisces on December 23 and will transit through Jupiter's water sign through February 5. Another water-fire combination, with Pisces a watery sign and Mars a fiery planet. This puts Jupiter and Mars into parivartana, a powerful and beautiful combination in which two planets occupy the other's sign. Both planets become elevated and empowered as if they were occupying their own sign.

Mars has the reputation as a member of the malefic gang, but we know that even bad guys can do good things, and this is especially true for Mars when under the supervision of Jupiter, his natural friend. Mars just needs wise advice! Jupiter, currently in fiery Mars' watery sign of Scorpio will also gain some strength and elevation as Mars in Jupiter's sign will be infused with the wisdom of Jupiter. Enjoy this very enriching energy through the entire month of January, for these are the helpers at this point!

If what we are being offered this month and in fact, during the coming year, is to contend with the gandanta energy, the puzzle of how to work with water and fire without everything getting destroyed, then we could use some help, most likely. The two planets who naturally have dominion over both fire and water are Jupiter and Mars, who each rule both a fire and a water sign in the zodiac. This month especially, both of these planets will be in great dignity and strength, relatively unaffected by negative influences.

In real world situations, the Jupiters are the religious figures, advisors, teachers, lawyers, judges and healers. The Mars figures are protectors, military, police, paramedics, farmers, surgeons, builders. This is an empowering time for the truth (Jupiter) to prevail. We may experience some disintegration during this coming year that is necessary for restructuring our paths and ways of growing. While they may not always be able to save everyone, the helpers are there. It is in their nature to catch us when we fall and help us rebuild our lives. They are those people listed above, but they are also a part of each of our individual human makeup. The energies of Jupiter and Mars are present and potent within each person to some degree. Tap into that energy this month and stock up for the year to come.

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