Monthly Vedic Astrology Forecast

May 2020

by Kerry Shamblin

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


Sailing into Destiny

May dawns with the Moon in its own sign of Cancer, waxing, and transiting through the signs on the uncrowded side of the Rahu-Ketu axis which currently stretches across the zodiac between the signs of Gemini and Sagittarius.

Last month, I mentioned the pulses of Kala Sarpa Yoga that we'd be experiencing in the next months. This planetary combination is not described in the classics and on top of that has an intimidating name that implies being a powerless victim who is in thrall to time marching on. Let's frame this energy in a different way.

The Rahu-Ketu axis slowly reverses through the zodiac with its head (Rahu) pointing in one direction and its tail (Ketu) extending in the other. Let us think of navigating the cosmic ocean in a ship where Rahu is the bow and Ketu is the stern. The Rahu-Ketu axis runs through the center of the ship, what we can think of as the keel, that cuts through the water and gives the ship direction.

The phenomena called “heeling” occurs when a boat leans over to one side because of wind, load and other factors. One side of the deck gets very close to the water and the sensation of falling in becomes very real and imminent. An inexperienced sailor can get the feeling of panic when a boat heels to one side, as one feels unable to restore balance in an environment where one has no control.

When all of the planets are grouped on one side of the Rahu-Ketu axis, our collective boat is going to heel toward that side, and it feels like we're all sliding into the drink. The need to create an immediate sense of balance becomes desperate. When we are just a passenger and not a captain in this situation, we may feel quite powerless and not know what to do.

The main point to remember is that we “feel” like we're all sliding into the drink. Don't let this feeling be the driver in practical decision making. Realize that we are in a collective boat with the power to make individual re-balancing actions. Keep your head and recognize that the first thing to re-balance is the mental perception of things. This is reflected in the fact that it is the Moon that sails through the zodiac once per month, allowing us to shift the ballast in our boat, keeping us afloat and moving forward with a more even keel.

While we may feel like we are heading for calmer waters because of this temporary perspective given by the Moon from April 29 – May 10, mid-May promises some major shifts, with three planets beginning retrograde phases.

Mars Transits Aquarius May 4 – June 18

Speaking of feeling powerless, the planet that is in charge of how we manage and deploy our power, our fire and our resources, Mars, will be shifting out of his sign of exaltation, Capricorn, and into neighboring Aquarius on May 4 for a six week transit.

Mars out of balance can cause anger, aggression and domination. A healthy, happy Mars guides us toward practical use of resources, logical campaigns, problem solving and protection. Mars in Aquarius can go either way, and each individual can choose kindness/patience over meanness/irritability to push the Mars energy in the right direction.

Aquarius is the sign of the masses, the collective mass of humanity that we are. Mars in Aquarius could be an amazing opportunity to march forth with the intention of protecting and serving others. From Aquarius, Mars will also aspect the signs of Taurus (where this is a lot of action going on this month), Leo and Virgo. People with prominent placements in these signs may feel the power of Mars propelling them toward service on the high road or aggression on the low road.

The nature of Aquarius, Taurus and Leo is that of the “fixed” signs. Those with strong fixed signs in the native horoscope can tend to be strongly rooted, which makes initiative, change and adjustment painful at the most or uncomfortable at the least. Mars, with his problem-solving prowess, may be insisting on changes that can keep us safely housed, fed and healthy. We may see these “insisted upon” changes being met with great resistance; after all, deeply rooted things are the bastion of stability and safety.

This is a time to explore our courage to change. Sharpen your risk assessment tools and get ready to face the music as it plays you out of one scene and into the next.

Full Moon in Libra/Vishaka May 7

In astrology when we are assessing the chart of an individual, analyzing the condition of the Moon tells us a story about how the person thinks, feels and reacts. One of the things to study is how other planets are affecting the Moon by conjunction, aspects, etc. When the Moon is isolated in a chart, it may reflect that a person tends to feel isolated, whether by choice or circumstance. This may show a need for “alone time” to recharge, while at the same time tending to fall prey to loneliness.

During this first ten days of May, the Moon is waxing, gaining strength and enjoying alone time. This is an opportunity to shift some of that weight to the other side of the boat, giving us perspective and a bit more balance so that we can make choices that aren't inspired by panic.

At about 4:45 am (MDT) on May 7, the Moon reaches fullness at 23º12' Libra, within the lunar mansion (nakshatra) of Vishaka. The Moon catches the strong light of the Sun from that exact degree in Aries at this moment, bringing some clarity to polarized issues.

Remember dear Mars has embarked into the humanitarian sign of Aquarius. While the Moon has some time to think, sitting alone on the deck railing of the SS Universe, at this moment of fullness, the masses are on its mind, as the lords of Aquarius (Saturn and Rahu) are the only two planets, aside from the blazing Sun and his messenger Mercury, to be aspecting the Moon during this moment.

The full Moon in Libra each spring helps us to plow anew the field of passionate play between Mars and Venus, the rulers of Aries and Libra, opposite signs, masculine and feminine, fire (spirit) and air (thought.) Both of these signs fall into the “movable” category, so we may have some ability to initiate change and plot our course toward moving mountains during this time.

Pay attention to the turbulence provided by the aspect of Saturn and Rahu to the Moon at this time. Extreme energy must be put forth to stay grounded in both thoughts and emotions. Rahu thoughts can come in the form of paranoia and misinformation. Saturn thoughts can come in the form of fear and anxiety. Be ready for this, armed with the intention of hearing the more evolved thought forms of Rahu and Saturn.

Rahu is a genius, an innovator and helps us to leap quickly for opportunities. Saturn is practical, experienced and patient. Decide ahead of time to reach for the higher fruits. Resolve to keep the mind steady and strong, perceiving these Saturn and Rahu influences like the wind which will come and go but seem overwhelming during the moment that they pass.

Vishaka nakshatra sits within Venus-ruled Libra while itself being lorded by Jupiter. These two planets represent the two courses of human existence that we must attend to in order to lead a balanced, healthy, evolutionary life. Jupiter represents the divine order or natural law, which we can try to manipulate but ultimately must obey, truths such as: the Sun rises in the east, water finds the path of least resistance, fire is transformative and all extensions from those type of roots. These truths branch into most aspects of our life and are refined in the realms of education, science, medicine and philosophy. Venus represents our human challenge to live in community as individuals. Here, Venus leads us through the exploration of social laws. How we interact on every level with one another and the planet(s) themselves is reflected in Venus' domain of relationships, connection and creation.

Vishaka reminds us that we must pay attention to both forks of this tree of life. While we may tend to polarize toward one or the other depending on our nature, ultimately, we have to straddle that divide and listen to both of these great teachers.

Mercury Transits Taurus May 8 - 24

On May 8, Mercury bounds out of Aries ahead of the Sun and makes his way quickly past Venus' current position in her own sign of Taurus. While Mercury and Venus are friendly, it is almost as if we see Mercury streaking through the fertile fields of Taurus in a rush to reach his hometown of Gemini, where he will spend most of the summer after he arrives there on May 24.

Not only are Mercury and Venus friendly with one another, they are friendly with everyone! This pair of planets has the quality of rajas (active energy) in common. Mercury and Venus are enthusiastic and energetic. If you want something done, ask a busy person!

Circling back to the idea of making changes in a fixed environment, let us remember that Commander Mars from Aquarius is pushing hard on Taurus and the planets transiting therein. When we are thinking global, we can think in terms of armies and health care providers, law enforcement and food production being forced to make changes to deeply established systems and procedures. When we are thinking personal, we can think of courage to initiate changes as we confront deeply rooted habits and beliefs.

Venus and Mercury indicate things like communication, education, creativity, gardens, art, writing, social connection, foods, medicines, plant realm, ideals, earth, air and water elements. Putting our energy and enthusiasm in this direction could be a strong remedy for adjusting to changes that are uncomfortable, unstable and unknown.

Saturn Retrograde in Capricorn May 10 – September 29

It can sound sensational to stress that we are going into a retrograde-heavy phase. We are going into a retrograde-heavy phase! But here's the un-sensational part: Jupiter and Saturn give us a retrograde phase every year, Mercury does three retrogrades per year, Venus and Mars go retrograde occasionally. During this particular week in mid-May, Saturn, Venus and Jupiter will all go into a retrograde phase. In June, Mercury joins them. For one week in June, four planets will be retrograde. So what does that mean?

(I almost never talk about the outer planets that Western astrology uses: Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. However, I will mention now that Pluto, who moves so slowly and just crossed into sidereal Capricorn, will be starting a retrograde cycle on April 26 as well. Just to increase the retrograde team by one more player.)

Remember the story about the SS Universe with Rahu at the prow and Ketu at the stern? The SS Universe is always sailing upwind, meaning that the natural motion of the Rahu-Ketu axis is retrograde. All of the qualities that we attribute to Rahu, the mad captain of the SS Universe, can be overlaid when we are trying to analyze what a retrograde planet signifies.

Here's a list: reverse, opposite, unexpected, desirous, chaotic, masquerading

If we apply those retrograde words to Saturn's keywords, that could help us to understand Saturn's messages for his 4.5 month retrograde period through September.

Here's a list: slow, heavy, cold, cautious, detached, deliberate, limiting, practical

We would expect Saturn in its own earth sign of Capricorn to be slowly plodding toward a practical goal. (Saturn in Capricorn Jan 2020 – Jan 2023.) Retrograde Saturn in Capricorn could unexpectedly change course, lighten the load and take the easy way out. A cautious course of limitation could reverse and open the way toward liberal expansion. Is this good or bad? Good for what and bad for what? Depends on the exact situation that we are considering.

Saturn retrograde may see us taking risks where it doesn't seem prudent. We may have to move swiftly at the cost of security. We may have to make liaisons when we're accustomed to going it alone. We may reverse course on what seemed prudent three months ago. This retrograde Saturn may help to re-balance the heeling on the SS Universe, but remember that the wind will continue to blow, the tides will continue to change and underlying fear will continue to bombard our decision making process.

Addressing this underlying anxiety and fear could be the most powerful way to handle the unexpected that arises over the coming months. Question everything, retain Saturn's qualities of practicality and deliberation and discern when to move, where to move and how quickly to move.

Venus Retrograde in Taurus May 13 – June 25

Venus is well situated in Taurus, her own earth sign. In the April forecast, we learned that Venus was going to be posited in Taurus from March 28 – July 31. This lengthy stay is due to a retrograde period that spans from May 13 – June 25. During this time, Venus will slip out of our view as the Sun approaches. The exact conjunction of Venus and Sun is on June 3. The amazing sight of Venus in the west in the evening will give way to Venus as “morning star” phase, when it will rise prior to the Sun and be seen in the pre-dawn, eastern sky.

Venus is the indicator for relationships, politics, entertainment, creative productions and contracts; each time Venus has a retrograde period, we are experiencing the transformation of Venus' appearance in the sky, which implies shifts and edits when it comes to these subjects. The retrograde phase is the first part of that transformation.

This five week period may see us recreating our social structures and relationships, as well as the many facets of life that support those things: sharing meals, entertaining, gatherings, concerts. Just as Saturn in retrograde may tend to reach out in a cautious way, which is opposite his tendency to detach, we may see the very connective Venus step back quietly during this re-invention phase, giving new meaning to the now ubiquitous term, social distance.

While this may be a time where we reconsider our relationships, our foods, or friends and our creative flow with Venus retreating into the blaze of the Sun, the comforting part is that Venus will be transiting in the fertile fields of her own sign of Taurus. This is a signal to connect with the bounty of the Earth and find ways to rejuvenate the body, mind and spirit through this transformational time that is requiring deep work and courage to change.

Sun Transits Taurus May 14 – June 14

As the planet that rules our individual self expression, the magnificent Sun enjoys a comfortable, supportive environment in his exaltation sign of Aries, but nonetheless moves out of Aries and into Taurus for a reliable month-long transit from May 14 – June 14.

Sun joins Mercury and retrograde Venus in Taurus and knows just what to do with the aspect coming from Mars in Aquarius. The Sun represents fathers, governments, leaders and executives. When the Sun goes to Taurus, the Venusian environment forces him to take account of others, the collective and the whole.

This is a good moment to point out that in addition to getting a push from Mars during this time, Taurus is also receiving an aspect from Jupiter who currently occupies the early degrees of Capricorn. This adds some wisdom, positivity and growth potential to all of the exploration and transformation that retrograde Venus is indicating.

In the context of the Sun passing through the retrograde Venus rebirth experience, this is also a call to deeply examine how our individual needs, quirks and differences need to be factored into the project. Now is the time to dig deep and identify how to care for ourselves and make ourselves whole so that we are our best selves when we move toward relationship and connection with others.

Jupiter Retrograde in Capricorn May 14 – September 12

Planet number three in the retrograde train joins up on May 14 as Jupiter begins a four month retrograde cycle. The April forecast has a good list of Jupiter's upcoming itinerary, which takes him back to Sagittarius on June 29.

For six weeks, from mid-May until end of June, we see a debilitated and retrograde Jupiter in Capricorn. Jupiter is the champion of growth, prosperity and positivity; he's “for the kids!” The cold, earthy environment tends to challenge the buoyancy of Jupiter; what if we apply those retrograde concepts like reverse and opposite?

This retrograde status could help Jupiter help us, but Jupiter is still in the state of debility. We think of the doctors and clerics on the front lines of this pandemic battle, struggling up an endless mountain (Jupiter in Capricorn) in a state of exhaustion. The retrograde status may boost Jupiter's efforts in an exalted way, allowing a flow of hope, faith and spiritual power to bring some solace and healing.

This may also show that collectively, we are in a non-growth state, a recession of positive growth, sent to ground zero to re-build from the foundations.

This brings us to considering of the strength of this wave of retrograde motion, at this time, in the midst of a global pandemic, the like of which hasn't been seen for over a century. The high tide has receded, revealing an empty beach, littered with detritus. We are in a time of fundamental regrouping and reassessment.

Even if we aren't doctors on the front line, each of us has been brought to a point of deciding who and what lives and what dies. The sad reality of letting go of years of effort has settled upon the shoulders of millions. May we all find the compassion and strength to stand together as we wait for the tide to come back in.

Rahu Reaches Mrigashira May 20

The Rahu-Ketu axis moves in a herky-jerky fashion, wobbling its way in retrograde motion. For this reason, there are two calculations to show the position of this axis: True Node and Mean Node. The true node calculation is exact at any given moment and the mean node is an average position that smooths out the motion of the axis.

If we look at the true node calculation, we will see that sometimes the axis is going in direct motion and sometimes it is retrograde. That is the “wobble.” The mean node calculation eliminates the forward motion into a constant, smooth retrograde motion. Most traditional Indian jyotish practitioners use the mean node in chart interpretations.

When looking at transits, as this forecast does, it is interesting to look at the situation with both calculations at times. The COVID-19 pandemic was born during the time that Rahu was in Gemini (since March 2019) but more specifically when Rahu was in the nakshatra of Ardra, which sits in Mercury-ruled Gemini and is lorded by Rahu himself. This is a very strong position for Rahu, lord of the masses, unexpected global issues and chaotic times.

Rahu is on his way out of Ardra, which could signal that we are on to the next phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the first phase having been the inception and initial spread. The true node Rahu shifted from Ardra to Mrigashira on April 21, 2020 and mean node Rahu shifts to Mrigashira on May 19, 2020.

Mrigashira is named “the searching star,” and spans between Taurus and Gemini. The Gemini portion will give us the analytical genius of Mercury added to the problem-solving of Mars, who rules Mrigashira. This next phase of Rahu's COVID-19 project could be touchy, with both the highs and lows of both Mercury and Mars being stirred up. Certainly, it points toward using technology and tactical wisdom to quell the chaotic global disaster in which we are collectively placed at this time.

This “repair” phase will again shift when Rahu moves out of Gemini and into Taurus. The true node Rahu shifts September 19 and the mean node on September 24. This will feel like a bigger shift, because both sides of the axis will be shifting whole signs. Rahu to Taurus and Ketu to Scorpio.

On the other side of the axis, Ketu, the headless one, has been transiting through the nakshatra Mula since mid-January 2020. Mula sits within Jupiter's positive sign of Sagittarius and is ruled by Ketu himself, making both nodes extremely powerful for this period between mid-January and mid-May, 2020. Even more intense is the archetypal ruler of Mula, Nirriti, the goddess of death and destruction.

So, while Rahu moving to Mrigashira may begin to offer some active solutions and remedies, we are still seeing Ketu dragging through Mula until September. Phase two (this astrologer's own timeline), from mid-May to mid-September, when the nodal axis shifts whole signs, could prove to be quite challenging, especially in the context of retrograde Jupiter and Saturn.

New Moon in Taurus/Krittika May 22

The waning Moon wanders again to the heavy side of the SS Universe by May 10, joining Ketu, and makes her way past Saturn, Jupiter and Mars, attempting to bring compassion, food and care to the world as she herself is losing steam.

The exhausted Moon slides into the arms of the Sun at 8º Taurus on May 22. We may be feeling a sense of hopelessness here, take a couple of days around this time to pause and refresh. Concentrate on good food, quiet moments and the promise of Mother Nature cradling us as always.

Krittika nakshatra spans between Aries and Taurus and has the Sun as its planetary lord. We will be looking to our sense of leadership to assess our position and guide us toward how to rejuvenate ourselves. This can be external leadership, certainly, but it is also an opportunity to access our inherent, internal wisdom by unplugging from the barrage of confusing, chaotic outer messaging.

Take a break, stop and assess. There are many arrows pointing toward another major pivot on both personal and collective stages.

Mercury Transits Gemini May 24 – August 1

Just after the new Moon moment, Mercury charges into Gemini, his own sign, which is also the current residence of Rahu, the mad captain. For over two months, we will see Mercury strongly placed here and giving us hope that Mercury's quick thinking, flexible nature and great intelligence will help us all to rein in the chaos of Rahu. Mercury can't stop the roller coaster, but he can show us how to ride.

By the end of the month of May, Mercury will be exactly conjoined with Rahu, obviously clothed in proper PPE. Could this be the time when all of the frantic work to find vaccines, remedies and cures for SARS-CoV-2 finally resolves into a tangible answer? Possibly. Could this be the moment when facts and data prevail over shadowy, unfounded theories? Hopefully.

Rahu is impossible to control, but Mercury is the best planet to manage Rahu. It is comforting that for nearly the remainder of Rahu's time in Gemini, dear Mercury will be monitoring the situation, doing triage, creating remedies, upholding supply chains, maintaining lines of communication, keeping the marketplace active and all with an enthusiastic outlook. This is a positive feature to the upcoming landscape of Summer 2020.

Mercury will do a retrograde cycle from June 18 – July 12, which keeps him in his own sign of Gemini for such an extended time. At this time, both Venus and Mercury are well placed and strong; these are our current best helpers, especially as Jupiter is bogged down in a tough place with heavy company. Keep your spirits up, connect with friends, educate yourself, connect with nature and use good foods and wholesome choices to keep yourself immune in body, mind and spirit. We will get through this.

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