Monthly Vedic Astrology Forecast

April 2020

by Kerry Shamblin

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

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Kala Sarpa Rides Again

Just as a snake slithers and pulses across the forest floor, the planets array themselves in pairs, groups and oppositions as they circumambulate at varying rates of speed. From our point of view here on Earth the planets are doing the limbo along the invisible but impactive nodal axis, which is a theoretical alignment that becomes real only during the times when that alignment includes the Sun and Moon. This happens approximately twice a year when the Sun aligns with one side of the axis and the Moon is either with the Sun (New Moon, Solar Eclipse) or the Moon is on the opposite end of the axis (Full Moon, Lunar Eclipse.)

This nodal axis in Western astrology is defined with the north node on one side and the south node on the other side; in jyotisha we call the North node Rahu, the untethered head and the South Node Ketu, the headless body. This intangible axis causes our eclipse cycles during the times when the Sun aligns with either side of the axis. This eclipse energy is something to think about. In the array of the nine planets, there is an order: Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, Rahu, Ketu. The first two are the luminaries and the last two are the shadows that obscure that light. The middle five represent the five elements: Fire, Earth, Space, Water, Air (in that order.)

During the December 26, 2019 annular solar eclipse, the Moon completely lined up between the earth and the Sun, such that the daytime darkened, the disc of the Moon shielded the light of the Sun, and because of the particular lineup, the fiery corona of the Sun was seen around the dark disc of the Moon. That was also the day that a doctor in Wuhan noticed a cluster of an unknown type of pneumonia. Check out the animation on this page on Earthsky.org about this eclipse; the shadow of the eclipse moves over Asia.

If you refer to that December 2019 forecast, even if you just look at the photo, the chart of that eclipse was shaped like an arrow. Rahu alone was in Gemini, in the nakshatra of Ardra. This is a very strong Rahu, exalted in Gemini and comfortable in the unsure territory of Ardra, which he himself rules. Ardra can cause sorrow; Rahu will be transiting through Ardra until May 20th, plus or minus a couple of days, as the movement of the nodal axis is not only in reverse but also wobbly.

During the last days of March, Venus moves from Aries to Taurus and Jupiter moves from Sagittarius to Capricorn, shifting energy and attention to the earth signs, Capricorn and Taurus. By March 30, all of the planets are weighted on one side of the nodal axis arrayed in the formation that modern astrologers have named Kala Sarpa Yoga, which translates as "Serpent of Time Combination."

As time goes by and the planets continue their transits, we oscillate between times when all of the planets are heading toward Rahu (Kala Sarpa Yoga) and times when all of the planets are heading toward Ketu (Kala Amrita Yoga.) Since both Jupiter and Saturn have crossed over the south node, Ketu, in the past year, we have now shifted into a period where we will experience bouts of Kala Sarpa Yoga (KSY) until some of the planets cross over Rahu and restore a balance so that planets will be distributed on either side of the nodal axis once again.

Each month, during these times, it is the Moon alone that will travel through all of the signs of the zodiac, giving us a couple of weeks each month of the KSY and then a couple of weeks when the Moon is creating balance. It is during those times when the Moon is traveling alone through the unoccupied half of the zodiac that we may have more perspective. During the times when the Moon joins all of the other planets on one side of the nodal axis may feel like we are being squeezed by the "great snake of time."

These bouts with KSY will continue until one of the planets (excluding the Moon) crosses over Rahu and enters into Cancer. While Mercury gets close in June, he will begin a retrograde cycle in mid-June which keeps in him step with Rahu. It is not until mid-July that the Sun will lead us into a campaign to restore some nodal axis balance as he moves into the sign of Cancer.

Starting in April and into continuing into mid-July, we can expect these KSY pulses that will start when the Moon enters Sagittarius and last until the Moon exits Gemini. The feeling of Kala Sarpa Yoga is that of feeling confined to a situation with seemingly little choice or escape. It sounds a bit like the nearly global "STAY-AT-HOME" orders that have been imposed by late March 2020.

Mars-Jupiter-Saturn in Capricorn March 29 – May 3

We will be experiencing some collective intensity through April as the transiting combination of Mars, Jupiter and Saturn occupy Saturn's earth sign, Capricorn. Western astrology has a goat as Capricorn's mascot, while Jyotisha has a Makara, a legendary crocodile-like creature. We'll just let that symbolism gel in our minds as we go forward.

On it's own, the isolated territory of Capricorn, the 10th sign of the zodiac, is of the earth element, ruled by Saturn and is a great place to get work done. If you're into a challenge, the satisfaction of reaching a summit after a grueling and dangerous climb, strength and endurance that come after years of discipline and work, well then, Capricorn is your place.

Saturn is comfortable in Capricorn, as it is his own sign. He can go about his quest to destroy illusions, ruthlessly reveal the facts of life and keep track of karmic records with striking accuracy. Saturn entered into Capricorn on January 25, 2020 and will slowly make his way through in a few years. We see him move to his other sign, Aquarius, in January 2023.

From Capricorn, Saturn affects a few other signs with his heavy, slow and high-pressure presence. People with important placements in these signs may already feel this new point of pressure from Saturn since late January: Pisces, Cancer and Libra.

Mars will be moving through Capricorn until May 3 and he also enjoys time in Capricorn, as it is considered his sign of exaltation. Exaltation signs are happy places for a planet, even better than being "at home" in their own signs. Mars is the planet of power and drive; he protects our bodies, health and resources and shows how we are at managing our own portion of earthly power. Because of his temper, we need to monitor how we express fiery Mars energy, which could either be used to fuel or destroy a city, depending on how that energy was being used.

Mars certainly makes his presence known in Capricorn and also aspects his own sign of Aries, as well as Cancer and Leo. (That makes Saturn and Mars both hitting Cancer, so put your armor on, caretakers.)

While Mars and Saturn both are well situated in Capricorn, they honestly aren't the greatest of friends. They begin April in a "planetary war" with one another as they are occupying the same degree (Saturn wins.) Saturn, who tends to slow, limit and obstruct, combined with Mars, who tends to charge, deploy and execute, can be a bit stop-and-go. We may have plans, resources and fuel but be unable to actually execute as we are obstructed by Saturn's immense weight, fear, pain, anxiety, caution, prudence or whichever version of Saturn gets our attention.

The last rendezvous of Saturn and Mars occurred from March 8 - May 3, 2018, while in Jupiter's fire sign, Sagittarius. That may have been a spurt of growth in a certain domain of life that again became sluggish not long after. Jupiter was retrograde and in an uncomfortable sign during that time, not able to help much.

Which brings us to Jupiter, the auspicious Guru, who enters into Capricorn on March 29. While Capricorn is Mars' happy place, it is Jupiter's not-happy place, his sign of debilitation. It is hard to keep buoyant, joyful Jupiter down, but Capricorn is a good place to try. The good news is that Jupiter, who spends approximately a year in each sign, gets to split up his stint in Capricorn, which may give us all a needed positive lift. Here's the timing of Jupiter's transit through Capricorn in the upcoming 18 months:

March 29, 2020. Jupiter enters Capricorn, joining Mars and Saturn, both of whom are stronger. Must make increased efforts at positivity! Jupiter helps Mars to "make good choices" so hopefully we can use this resource as we get through a difficult month.

May 14, 2020. Jupiter enters retrograde period. This actually improves Jupiter's status in Capricorn. Coupled with the fact that Saturn also begins a retrograde cycle on May 10 and Mars is no longer in the picture, this gives Jupiter some room to grow.

June 29, 2020. Retrograde Jupiter walks back into his own sign of Sagittarius. This brings him to re-join the nodal axis, Ketu in Sagittarius and Rahu in Gemini, but the good news is that the nodal axis is on the far end of the sign. This marks the first three months of Jupiter's transit through Capricorn, interrupted by this retrograde back to Sagittarius.

September 12, 2020. Jupiter regains direct motion, 24º Sagittarius. This is just as the Rahu-Ketu axis will be shifting out of Gemini-Sagittarius and into Taurus-Scorpio for the next 1.5 years.

November 20, 2020. Jupiter re-enters Capricorn, joining Saturn, but without Mars this time.

April 9, 2021. Jupiter exits Capricorn and enters Aquarius. Still not his favorite sign, but a hair better than Capricorn and without the direct conjunction of Saturn.

June 21, 2021. Jupiter begins retrograde cycle in Aquarius.

>September 15, 2021. Jupiter re-enters Capricorn!

October 17, 2021. Jupiter regains direct motion at 29º Capricorn.

November 21, 2021. Jupiter exits Capricorn. Until next time, March 2032!

This back and forth also means that Jupiter spends just under 10 months total (split into three sessions) in his sign of debilitation. So we've got that going for us!

While we will go through different phases of how helpful Jupiter is able to be in the next 1.5 years, this particular month, April 2020, may be one of the more notable. With Jupiter encouraging Mars to act in his highest capacity while both are under the watchful eye of strict Saturn, we may have to find extremely creative ways to keep "the office" productive.

Mercury Transits Pisces April 7 - 24

Further challenging the lines of communication will be Mercury's transit through Pisces, his sign of debilitation. Mercury is the planet that represents exchange, transactions, messages, communication, media, medicine, markets and currency.

Mercury's own signs are Gemini (air) and Virgo (earth). In Greek mythology, Mercury is Hermes, the messenger of the gods, depicted with winged feet. Winged feet are great in the air, and even work well on dry ground; but they aren't flippers.

Mercury is a cool kid. He's the only one of the planets who gets exalted in his own sign (Virgo); the original master of pulling oneself up by the bootstraps. That said, Mercury is considered to be debilitated in the sign opposite to Virgo, which is Pisces.

This is a short transit, as Mercury will keep up his pace, and we can also push the boundaries of adaptation using Mercury's cheerful qualities of flexibility, responsiveness and enthusiasm. Mercury is the merchant and the medic, the herald of economic currents.

The COVID-19 pandemic has overtaken the world in only three months. We could now point to the strength of Rahu at this current time, a planetary force for worldly chaos, unexpected scenarios, forces beyond individual control and inspired innovations. Rahu currently sits in his sign of exaltation, Mercury's air sign, Gemini.

This transit of Rahu through Gemini is from March 2019 – September 2020. Like all of the zodiac signs, Gemini holds the energy of three of the nakshatras, the lunar divisions of the zodiac. Rahu is now in the nakshatra called Ardra, which he also rules. This makes Rahu very strong to act and do what he does best. Rahu's stretch in Ardra runs from September 12, 2019 – May 20, 2020.

Rahu spends about eight months in Ardra every eighteen years and many times we experience big events that affect the whole world in ways that make things seem like they'll never be the same.

The last time, in 2001, we saw the Twin Towers fall in NYC and the ripple effects those terror attacks had on the world. In 1982, the AIDS epidemic was identified by the CDC as it began to spread in the US and Europe. In 1963, the first Catholic POTUS was assassinated as the Vietnam War was ramping up. In 1945, WWII ends; after the bombing of Hiroshima, wars have never been the same...

And here we are, staying at home, trying desperately to solve the problem of a rapidly spreading, robust virus that is riding a zinger of a wave of misinformation, and conspiracy theories, right onto our shores. That Rahu, he's tough to manage as most geniuses are; the one planet that's best to attempt it is Mercury.

Even though Mercury is forced to travel, talk and think through water while in the vast, expansive Pisces, it puts him in a position to better deal with the chaos of Rahu, as the signs of Pisces, Gemini, Sagittarius and Virgo are all connected by the principle of "rasi dristi" or the aspects of signs. These quadrants of the zodiac that are considered "dual" signs and they all have communication and reference between them. Mercury gaining Pisces could at least give the scientists, doctors, nurses, merchants, communications systems and distributors some chance to catch up with the crashing wave.

The same energy of Rahu in Ardra that we can thank for the mutation and worldwide spread of a deadly virus (whether by the force of evolution or a deeply coordinated plot, your choice!), is the same energy that would pull the scientists, doctors, researchers and medicine makers of the world together to quickly come up with a defense against it. Mercury moving into Pisces could help us transition from catastrophe to recovery.

Full Moon in Virgo April 7

Mercury enters into Pisces in the early morning of April 7 as the Moon is waxing to its fullest point for the month. On the evening of Tuesday, April 7, the Moon at 25º Virgo directly opposes the Sun at 25° Pisces. This may be a moment when we receive some light and clarity about our current situations.

With both the Moon and Mercury positioned in the dual signs, who all communicate, this has both our informational mind (Mercury) and emotional mind (Moon) focused on how to learn and grow while in a situation that makes us feel stressed, isolated and afraid (remember the Capricorn emphasis.)

The Moon will be full in the sign of Virgo and within the lunar mansion of Chitra, which is ruled by Mars and spans between Virgo and Libra. In Vedic cultures, this full Moon of the month of Chaitra is celebrated as the birth day of the beloved Hanuman, born at sunrise. Chitra nakshatra is lorded by Mars, whose higher vibrations of strength, devotion and service are exemplified by Lord Hanuman.

Chitra nakshatra, with the influences of Mars, Mercury and Venus, is great for designing beautiful and functional items. This idea can be extended through all realms, not just art; each day, we craft solutions both tangible and intangible. Let the ideas, sketches and coding flow through this time as we work with the materials we have on hand.

If you are reading this during the last week of March or first week of April 2020, it is a great time to plant those Victory Garden seeds.

Sun Transits Aries April 13 – May 14

On April 13, the waning Moon moves past Ketu in Sagittarius, beginning the first full pulse of Kala Sarpa Yoga, which goes through April 28, when the Moon moves past Rahu in Gemini. With many states in the US and countries around the globe enforcing "stay-at-home" orders, the feeling of confinement may intensify as this combination colors the last two weeks of April.

Also on April 13, the Sun moves from Pisces to Aries for his predictable one-month stint in his sign of exaltation. This crossing is significant as we are seeing the transit from the final zodiac sign to the first zodiac sign. Mid-April each year gives us this opportunity for a fresh start as the Sun begins its transit through Mars' fire sign.

The first half of April, the Sun will be working through Pisces. This gives us the energy to make decisions about how to wrap up projects and chapters that are calling to be put behind us or used to transition onto new avenues.

As Sun reaches Aries, he is free from all aspects except that of exalted Mars from Capricorn. This is an exaltation chain of influence, so realize that there is some serious dedication and power coming from Mars to back up the new scenarios we are building or the projects we must initiate during this time.

Realize that this is not a soft and fluffy process. We do have Mercury in Pisces and Venus in Taurus on either side cushioning the Sun, but we are talking about moving earth and fire. Exalted Mars in earthy Capricorn aspecting the supremely bright Sun in his sign of exaltation, fiery Aries. Whether its literal earthquakes and volcanos or setting forth in the new world that has been presented in the past couple of months, we are being asked to innovate, reboot and initiate.

So while decisive action is being called for, the Mercury and Venus cushioning the Sun remind us to be compassionate, friendly, humble and flexible during all of this. We truly are all in it together and always have been; the current circumstances starkly reveal that truth!

New Moon in Ashwini/Aries April 22

The exalted Sun is joined by the waning Moon on April 22 at 10° Aries. As the Moon is waning, it loses steam; as she squeezes through the Pisces-Aries gandanta, we may feel individually and collectively exhausted and deflated. This is a good time for a pause and regroup moment.

Ashwini is the first nakshatra of the zodiac, settled in the first segment of the first sign of the zodiac, Aries. Aries is a fire sign, the site of initiation, ruled by Mars and also aspected by Mars at this time. Ashwini is ruled by the planet Ketu, also a fiery presence and is named after the deities known as the Ashwin Kumars, the Twin Horsemen, known for their extraordinary powers of healing.

Mars plays an instrumental role in the process of diagnosis, treatments, surgeries, health care, research and medicines. With his focus, strength, courage, engineering, purpose and vision as a basis at this juncture, we work alongside other energies that lead us toward the process of healing.

When we face the depths we are brought to by illness, hardship and unmet needs, we are blessed to be able to turn to someone, anyone, for aid and guidance toward a remedy. This new Moon may force us to stop and meditate on the question of how to ignite even more deeply stored reserves of power to keep us moving forward.

Mercury Transits Aries April 24 – May 8

Mercury follows the Sun and Moon into Aries on April 24. This will reflect a burst of energy and enthusiasm just after the still point of the new Moon on April 22. As Mercury enters Aries, the Moon joins Venus in Taurus, its own sign of exaltation. Between April 24-26, when the waxing Moon is gracing Taurus, we may receive inspiration that improves our mood and perhaps even results in harmonious, creative effort.

Mercury gets in line with the Sun and steps to. When the Sun says jump, Mercury says, how high?! Although Mercury is technically not friendly with Mars, he is the type to go along with whoever is in charge. This will be a good couple of weeks to harness your energy and focus it specifically on short term goals that will help to correct your course.

The results of these efforts may seem ineffective now, but will pay off in the long run. Mars is giving Aries strength from his position in Capricorn. Just as Rahu can both cause the chaos and then transform it into a party, Mars also has the ability to dip onto either side fiery danger. We need the discipline, focus and execution of Mars but it is extremely important to know that Mars is pointed in the right direction before we pull the trigger. Mars can get us where we want to go, but can also take us over the cliff with the wrong co-ordinates. Make sure your Mercury is being directed by the highest Mars!

Venus in Taurus March 28 – July 31

Some of you may have been watching brilliant Venus in the western sky after sunset. This brilliance will increase as April rolls past. Venus moved to her own earth sign of Taurus on March 28, 2020 and will spend a full four months there due to an upcoming retrograde cycle which will reduce our ability to view Venus as it comes close to the Sun and eventually emerges as "morning star" Venus in the summer.

With the intimidating trio in Capricorn, unbridled Rahu riding through Ardra and Ketu continuing to obstruct Jupiter's Sagittarius, we are all looking frantically for the helpers. Our best bets right now are led by Venus, strongly and brightly standing in Taurus, happy at home. Mercury and the Moon can also help, but they are easily distracted by others and location (Mercury) as well as by moods and phases (Moon.)

Venus is the planet of social connection, material comfort and sensual satisfaction. We all enjoy getting the Venus parts of life: sweet relationships, delicious food, natural beauty, comfortable dwellings, luxurious vehicles. At this point, we are drawing on those things to feed us, stabilize us and keep us healthy.

Overall, the weather pattern could seem rather static through April, with pockets of opportunity as suggested above. There are some shifts coming in May that could make a bit more impact, such as the transit of Rahu out of Ardra on May 20-21 and Saturn, Jupiter and Venus all beginning retrograde cycles during the middle of May.

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