Astrological Highlights: December 2014 

yogananda christmas quote

The water signs are well represented as we move from November to December. In fact, on December 1st there are seven planets transiting water signs.

A time for patience & discipline

Mars in Capricorn is exchanging signs with Saturn in Scorpio for the entire month. This makes both planets strong but also requires patience and discipline. The quick and impulsive Mars will be slowed down and restricted by slow moving Saturn which can result in frustrations and delays. However, if we discipline ourselves and allow Saturn to guide the activity of Mars much can be accomplished. Be patient, even-minded and do good work!

Blessings from a benefic Jupiter

A benefic Jupiter aspects all of the planets,except Rahu, and helps to keep a positive spirit. During the entire month we find both Jupiter and Mars in their signs of exaltation: Cancer and Capricorn. 

People with Cancer or Capricorn rising signs have two exalted planets in their first and seventh house at this time (self and relationships). The signs ruled by Mars (Aries and Scorpio) also benefit by having their ruler exalted and aspected by Jupiter.

Jupiter goes retrograde on December 8th

If you are awake during the night or in the early morning before dawn on December 8th (PDT)  you may see this beautiful planet at his turning point of the year. Jupiter will be stationary then, and for a few days prior. The slow shift into a retrograde motion occurs at noon on December 8th at 28’14 in Cancer. (PDT)

When Jupiter is stationary and retrograde he often behaves in a non-traditional way. He is strong and close to earth but he thinks differently. He looks at situations from a different viewpoint and can give advice that is unconventional. We are influenced by our past and may find that we need to address something in a new way.

This can be a time to reflect and place more emphasis on inner awareness and growth. Generally, when a planet goes retrograde it is better to finish projects that we have already undertaken rather than starting something new. Jupiter goes direct on April 8th, 2015 (PST)

Full Moon on December 6th

If you get up before sunrise on December 6th, you will see the full Moon.  A full moon occurs at 4:27 am (PDT).

The Moon will be bright and strong in its own star constellation (nakshatra) Rohini. Rohini means red and red is the color for passion. This star constellation is passionate and restless, favoring creativity and comfort.

Venus, Mercury and Sun move into Sagittarius

Four planets – Saturn, Mercury, Sun and Venus – are transiting in Scorpio during the beginning of the month but only Saturn will remain in Scorpio by the end of the month. The other three planets move into Sagittarius during December. We want to be observant of the effect of these planets as they move into Sagittarius. The transit at the junction point between water signs and fire signs can be challenging and unstable. 

Venus will move into Sagittarius on December 5th.

Mercury moves into Sagittarius on December 13th.

The Sun will move into Sagittarius on December 15th.

New Moon on the Winter Solstice

The time before the New Moon is called Amavasya. It is the darkest night of the month. The New Moon occurs on December 21st at 5:36 pm (PDT) This is the time when the Moon begins to move away from the Sun and it gradually becomes brighter. We will gradually see the light of the Moon return again.

Winter solstice (on December 21st) marks the shortest day and the longest night of the year. From this day on the light will increase and the day becomes longer.

With both luminaries at their darkest, this is a wonderful time to reflect, meditate and tune into the spiritual message of Christmas.

Happy Holidays and Christmas Blessings,


Astrological Highlights: November 2014

Scorpio Vedic AstrologyThe month of November is associated with transformation and change. In the Northern hemisphere the leaves are falling and the nights are longer. Astrologically, this month brings a shift of planets moving from Libra to Scorpio. November begins with the exalted Saturn, Venus and Sun in Libra but on November 24th there will be four planets in Scorpio: Sun, Saturn, Venus and Mercury. Saturn’s transit into Scorpio is the most significant astrological event this month. Saturn will move into Scorpio on November 2nd.

Saturn leaves Libra

Saturn spends roughly 2 ½ years in each sign. He first entered Libra in November 2011 and, apart from a few months when he retrograded back into Virgo, has been in Libra ever since. When Saturn transits a sign, there are usually aspects of the sign that we need to work with. For example, we have seen a number of challenges related to Libra while Saturn has been in this sign.

Saturn is a friend of Venus, the ruler of Libra, and he is comfortable in this sign. However, we do need to consider that during Saturn’s stay in Libra he was joined by Rahu for a long period of time. This was not an easy combination. Mars also made an unusually long transit first in Virgo, where he is not very comfortable, and then in Libra, during Saturn’s transit in Libra.

Saturn moves into Scorpio

Saturn comes into Scorpio on November 2nd and will stay in this sign until January 26, 2017.

What can we expect from Saturn’s transit in Scorpio? Saturn is not in his favorite sign, in fact, Saturn and Mars (the ruler of Scorpio) are enemies.

In order to understand what this transit might bring let us examine the sign of Scorpio:

Understanding Scorpio

Scorpio is the astrological sign reflecting transformation. Two powerful planets, Mars and Ketu, are both rulers of this fixed sign. Fixed signs are firm and the energy of Scorpio is intense. We can sense a powerful nature when people have planets strongly placed in Scorpio.

This is a water sign, and therefore feeling oriented, and people with planets in Scorpio may deal with emotions that are too strong for their own comfort. Scorpios also have a tendency to want to be in control.

Scorpios prefer privacy, they may even be shy. Just like the scorpion they can go underground. They tend to be secretive and can have a hidden agenda. This sign can produce both investigators and spies.

People with planets in Scorpio are analytical and intuitive. They can see things that others overlook. Their interest in the unknown makes them good researchers and diagnosticians. They often have an interest in the metaphysical.

Scorpios are often conservative and will try to hold on to what they have. In this sign we find a struggle between darkness and light, and Scorpio can manifest a wide range of people: from the worst of criminals to the holiest of Saints.

Scorpio relates to the eighth house

Scorpio is the eighth sign of the zodiac and has many similarities with the eighth house in a chart. This house also represents transformation and that which is unknown. The hidden nature of this house/sign can manifest scandals (when secrets are revealed), as well as attract enemies and disease. It can also attract the opposite: health, healing, yoga and psychology.

This house/sign is also indicative of our values and resources; banking, insurance, inheritance and pensions come under its domain. It governs life and afterlife.

What can we expect from Saturn’s transit in Scorpio?

Saturn in a sign ruled by Mars may cause frustration and anger. Mars is impulsive and quick to action while Saturn is slow and careful. However, a highly benefic aspect from Jupiter in Cancer will aid in the process of rightful action. Jupiter remains in Cancer until July 2015 and will cast his favorable aspect upon Saturn until then.

Mars is technical and strategic while Saturn gives discipline and control. Saturn in Scorpio favors engineering and computer science. Technological advances can be made.

This is also a time that will benefit the practice of yoga and massage. Saturn can go deep in Scorpio and benefits psychological work as well as philosophical studies.

Saturn in Scorpio puts focus on underground activities. We might experience increased activity regarding terrorism, espionage and earthquakes. We will likely experience increased control and as a result the police, the military and the secret service may have more power. Issues of personal integrity may arise. There may be increased control regarding taxes.

Issues of aging, security and pensions will likely need to be addressed. The work of banks and insurance companies may undergo changes. We will need to take a deeper look at our resources. There may be also be a focus on oil.

In order to understand Saturn’s impact on us as individuals, we need to know which house is represented by Scorpio in our charts. The area represented by this house will be an area of increased focus and responsibility.

The Vedic Sun is in Scorpio between November 16th and December 15th

The Sun will join Saturn in Scorpio on November 16th. An exact Sun/Saturn conjunction will occur on November 18th at 1’55 in Scorpio.

The Sun and Saturn are bitter enemies. The Sun governs authority and Saturn rules democracy. Perhaps there will be clashes between authorities and groups of people during this time. Venus joins Saturn in Scorpio on November 12th and Mercury enters this sign on November 24th.

Mars and Saturn will both be strong

It is important to understand the position of Mars, the ruler of Scorpio, while Saturn is in Scorpio.

Mars is in Sagittarius until November 27th when he moves into Capricorn. Mars is not only exalted in Capricorn, he also exchanges signs with Saturn. (Mars is in Saturn’s sign and Saturn is in a sign ruled by Mars). This makes both planets very strong favoring discipline and perseverance, and work which is approached in a methodical and organized way. Mars will remain in Capricorn until January 4th, 2015.

Befriend Saturn, and make good use of this time of transition!



Astrological Highlights: October 2014

RahuOctober is an intense month with the second pair of lunar- and solar eclipses happening this year. The eclipses take place on October 8th and 23rd. The partial solar eclipse on October 23rd can be seen in much of North America and in East Asia.  Mercury goes retrograde and will transit over Rahu twice during this month.

Sun / Rahu conjunction

As we enter the month of October the attention first goes to Virgo, the sign of health and service. This is the sign where the Sun resides at this time. The planet representing vitality, authority and leadership is approaching Rahu, the north node of the Moon. On October 12th their conjunction is exact.

The Sun and Rahu are enemies. The bright light of the Sun disturbs the shadowy nature of Rahu. However, Rahu has the power to overcome the Sun by casting a shadow over his light.Their incompatibility can result in power issues, as well as anxiety and fear.

Mercury goes retrograde

Mercury, the ruler of Virgo, goes retrograde between October 4th and October 25th. He will transit over Rahu twice during this time: these transits will be exact on October 21st and 29th. Although Rahu likes the energy of Mercury, and Mercury is strong in his own sign Virgo, their conjunction can create confusion. Since Mercury is also retrograde we need to make an extra effort to be clear in our communication. It may be harder to think rationally and to communicate with clarity.

A total lunar eclipse

The full moon and a total lunar eclipse takes place in the sign of Pisces on October 8th. The Moon is situated between Ketu, who connects us with the past, and Uranus who is quick, unpredictable and rebellious. Both planets can manifest sudden changes. Ketu can manifest  rejection. Sometimes we need to examine and reflect on the past but with Ketu and Uranus so close to the Moon changes may happen so fast  that we do not have time to think. We are often unprepared. The position of Jupiter in the sign of Cancer, ruled by the Moon, is well placed and strongly influences the Moon both by aspect and by exchanging signs. This is positive and can enhance our humanitarian and spiritual ideals.

Sun and Venus in Libra

The Sun moves into the sign of his debilitation, Libra, on October 17th and joins his enemy Saturn. Venus joins them both on October 19th which could greatly improve the situation except that Venus will be very close to the Sun for the rest of the month, a condition known as combustion.

Mars enters Sagittarius

The planetary energies become more difficult when Mars moves into Sagittarius on October 18th. Mars will no longer receive Jupiter’s benefic aspect and is instead aspected by Saturn. Mars will now aspect Jupiter and Ketu. During the time of the solar eclipse and throughout the month Jupiter stands alone receiving the energy of three malefic planets: Mars, Saturn and Ketu.

The solar eclipse

The solar eclipse takes place on October 23rd at around 6 degrees Libra in the star constellation Chitra. The main star in Chitra is called Spica. The eclipse will dim the light from this otherwise bright and beautiful star reminding us that sometimes we need to search and dig deep in order to find true light and beauty. We can struggle in darkness but even if something is hidden from sight it does not mean it is not there. The need for self-realization becomes stronger.

As October comes to an end this will also mark the end of Saturn’s transit through Libra during the past two and a half years. Saturn moves into Scorpio on November 2nd. More about that next month!


Astrological Highlights: September 2014

The conjunction between Mars & Saturn ends in early September

The exact conjunction between the malefic planets Mars and Saturn on August 25th reflects some of the tension the world is experiencing as we enter the month of September. During the end of August we have seen a great deal of violence, unrest and natural disasters.

As many as 1,000 Russian troops entered Ukraine on Thursday August 28. We experienced an earthquake near San Francisco on August 24th and on the night of Thursday, August 28, Iceland’s volcanic system started erupting after weeks of earthquakes in the region. On the other side of the world in Papua New Guinea, a large volcano began erupting on August 29th, with smoke and ash spewing out as high as 18 kilometers.

An intense time for Aries & Scorpio

People with Aries or Scorpio Ascendants (Vedic) or those who have many planets in these signs may be experiencing intense situations in their lives during this time. This is because Mars rules Aries and Scorpio, and his conjunction with Saturn reflects this pent up and explosive energy that the world is experiencing. This explosive energy is made stronger by the recent conjunction between Saturn and Rahu when things first got stirred up.

Mars’ energy becomes less strained after September 5

On September 5th, Mars will move from Libra and into the sign of Scorpio. Mars will be much more at ease in a sign that he rules and without the company of Saturn.

However, Scorpions, the symbol for Scorpio,  live in a hole underground and much of Scorpios activity takes place underneath the surface, where it is secretive and hidden from sight. Maybe there will be some surprises during this time.

The good news is that Mars in Scorpio will receive a benefic aspect from an exalted Jupiter in Cancer. Unfortunately Jupiter himself is under some stress due to Saturn’s aspect on Jupiter at this time, but hopefully Jupiter can still guide the activity of Mars into a positive direction. Mars will stay in Scorpio for a month and a half.

Full Moon on September 8 is good for Aquarius

The full Moon takes place in Aquarius on September 8th and the new Moon is in Virgo on September 24th. The full moon in Aquarius is very good for the sign Aquarius because there is also an Adhi yoga for Aquarius. Adhi yoga happens when benefic planets are placed in the 6th house (Jupiter), 7th house (Venus) and 8th house (Mercury) from Moon or Lagna. For those with Moon or rising sign in Aquarius, this yoga provides good support.

Many exalted planets during September

Many planets will be in their own signs or in their exalted positions during the month of September. This makes the planets more comfortable. The Sun is in Leo (his own sign) until September 17th when he goes into Virgo. Mercury joins Rahu in the sign of Virgo (Mercury rules Virgo) from September 1st and will stay in this sign until September 20th.

Rahu strengthened as Mercury & Rahu will be in exact conjunction three times

On September 20th Mercury will move into Libra. However, Mercury goes retrograde between  October 5th and October 26th and returns to Virgo on October 16th.  While in Virgo, Mercury will be in an exact conjunction with Rahu three times due to his retrograde movement: on September 17, October 21st and October 29th.

This conjunction benefits Rahu who can use his intelligence with discrimination. Virgo rules health and Rahu rules drugs, perhaps we will see some progress in treating diseases such as Ebola. For people experiencing their Rahu dasha this conjunction of Rahu and Mercury can be productive.

Venus joins Rahu in Virgo

Venus will join Rahu in Virgo between September 25th and October 19th. In Virgo, Venus becomes debilitated. The reason for the debilitation is that Venus governs love, relationships, enjoyment and comfort and the sign Virgo is mental, analytical with a tendency to be critical. However, the exchange between Venus in Virgo and Mercury in Libra (they are in each others signs) strengthens both planets and improves matters significantly.

New Moon on September 24

The new Moon on September 24 lines up with the lunar nodes. This could indicate a darker energy. The new Moon day is also known as Amavasya–the darkest day of the lunar cycle. This is an excellent day for fasting and introspection.

Enjoy the overall lighter energy of this September!

Astrological Highlights: August 2014

Astrological Sign LibraAs we enter the month of August, the world needs Libra’s skill of negotiation and diplomacy. However, the continued presence of malefics in Libra throughout August keeps this sign from expressing itself positively. We can look forward to September, which will bring an easing of tension for Libra, in addition to relief for Scorpio and Aries.

We continue to see a stressed Libra

Libra is a sign desiring balance and harmony. This peace loving sign has been put under stress during Saturn’s two and a half year stay in Libra. Saturn in Libra teaches us about the importance of cooperation and diplomacy. On his own, Saturn’s disciplined energy blends well with the energy of Libra. However, for the past year and a half Saturn has been accompanied by Rahu, and their combined presence in Libra has brought the world political issues to be faced.

Rahu moved into Virgo, and away from Saturn, on July 13th. Only a day later, on July 14th,  Saturn was joined by Mars, another malefic planet.

Mars first entered Libra in February, then went retrograde into Virgo, and recently re-entered Libra on July 14. With Mars returning and completing his journey in Libra, we are experiencing a continuation of some of the challenges initiated in the spring.

The combination of Saturn & Mars can be explosive

Saturn and Mars have been together in Libra since July 14. Saturn and Mars are enemies, and their energies do not mingle well. Mars is quick and action oriented and gets blocked by a slow and thorough Saturn. The conjunction of these two planets can cause the energy of Mars to become explosive and make Saturn feel uncomfortable when his security is threatened. Mars can be very strategic and bold, and Saturn is organized and methodical. A combination of Mars and Saturn is sometimes seen in war like situations.

All 9 planets aspect the Moon or Cancer during the full moon

The full Moon on August 10th takes place in Capricorn in the star constellation Dhanista.

The ruler of Capricorn is Saturn and Dhanista is ruled by Mars. This combination of rulership by Saturn and Mars in Dhanista often will express a sense of duty. Sometimes there is a struggle between a sense of duty and egoic desires, but Mars is also a warrior capable to fight and defend that which is his duty to defend. The symbol of Dhanishta is a drum and a flute. In this nakshatra we tend to move and sing our song to someone else’s rhythm.

The full Moon on August 10th will have four planets in Cancer: Jupiter, Venus, Mercury and the Sun. All of the nine planets aspect the Moon or Cancer, the sign ruled by the Moon. The ashtamsha Moon can indicate a sudden change.

On the day of the full Moon, Mars is opposite the degree of the Solar eclipse that took place on April 29th, at 14:48 Aries. The energy of an eclipse lingers and can be re-activated by transits such as this one. The eclipse on April 29th was challenging and we can expect to feel some of this energy again.

Ask for inner guidance

The new moon in Leo on August 25th takes place when the conjunction between Mars and Saturn becomes exact in Libra. (22’35”)

The nakshatra (star constellation) where the conjunction between Mars and Saturn takes place is called Vishakha. Transformation takes place in this nakshatra and Jupiter (the ruler of Vishakha) brings wisdom on this new journey towards change.

There is a Jupiter/Venus combination because the star constellation Vishaka (ruled by a currently exalted Jupiter) is placed in Libra (ruled by Venus). Both these planets are related to guidance and counseling.

During the new Moon, the Sun and Moon will be in a star constellation called Magha. Magha means ‘mighty’ or ‘great’. The deity for Magha is Pitris – the forefathers of humanity whose mission is to guide their children, especially during difficult times. It is good to ask for inner guidance during this time.

While the nakshatra Vishaka brings transformation, Magha brings guidance. During this time of transformation, the world needs the wisdom and guidance that Magha, Jupiter and Venus can give.

An easing of tension for Scorpio & Aries on September 4th

Mars moves out of Libra and into his own sign, Scorpio on September 4th. This will improve things for those with rising signs or significant planets in Scorpio and Aries, as these two signs are both ruled by Mars.

This transition will also make Saturn more comfortable in Libra, since he will no longer be in the company of malefic planets. This change will improve things for Capricorn and Aquarius and allow Libra to express his diplomatic skills more easily.

Astrological Highlights: July 2014

July is an eventful month astrologically with many complex planetary influences. Many planets are exalted or in their own signs, yet we will likely continue to experience a great deal of turbulence in the world and an underlying sense of uncertainty and instability. This is mostly due to the lunar nodes changing signs and an especially sensitive approaching conjunction between Rahu and Mars.

Full Moon on July 12th

There will be a full moon on July 12th. The moon will be in Sagittarius, a sign ruled by Jupiter, while Jupiter is at his exaltation point. This is also the time of Guru Purnima, a celebration of Jupiter (Guru). Jupiter’s guidance and wisdom are especially important during this time of change.

Mars and the Lunar nodes change signs on July 13th

Rahu and Ketu, the shadow planets and main indicators for collective karma, are slowly moving towards new sign positions. The lunar nodes are always opposite one another and they have a retrograde motion. Rahu moves from Libra and into Virgo on July 13th . The planet Mars, presently in Virgo, moves into Libra on July 14th. Consequently Mars and Rahu are moving towards one another and will meet in an exact conjunction at the very end of Virgo (29’56’’ degrees) on July 13th. Mars is associated with war, conflict, fire and violence. Rahu and Mars are inimical–Rahu can fan the difficult side of Mars, and Mars can stimulate the air element in Rahu, creating storms.

Ketu, while still positioned in Aries, is under the influence of  three malefic planets; Saturn, Rahu and Mars. On July 13th Ketu moves from Aries, the first sign of the zodiac, into Pisces, the last sign of the zodiac. When planets are positioned within the first 48 seconds of Aries or the last 48 seconds of Pisces they are in a Gandanta position.

Gandanta takes place at the juncture between water and fire signs.  The lunar nodes placed or transiting Gandanta positions reveal complex situations. Gandanta means a karmic knot, and at this time there is tension in places with complicated karma such as Iraq, Syria, Israel, North Korea and Ukraine.

Saturn goes direct while Uranus goes retrograde

Saturn moves direct on July 20th in Libra after being retrograde since the beginning of March.

He will station at approximately 22 degrees Libra and only moves within a 20 second radius during the entire month. Saturn is very strong and a saturnian influence will likely be felt through any planets you have near this degree.

Uranus is stationed at approx 22 degrees Pisces during the entire month and goes retrograde on July 21st, the day after Saturn goes direct. Saturn is in the eighth house from Uranus and Uranus is in the sixth house from Saturn. A six/eight relationship is difficult and causes tension between the rebellious Uranus and the strict Saturn. On July 13th, Saturn will finally be free of the difficult company of Rahu, but will quickly be joined by Mars. Saturn and Mars can be warlike in their combination. Mars will stay in Libra until September 5th .

When Ketu moves into Pisces he will join the planet Uranus. Both Ketu and Uranus can cause things to happen quickly and unexpectedly. Tvashtar, the celestial architect, is the deity connected to the star constellation Chitra and is where both Mars and Rahu will reside. During this time we may see transformations take place. On a global level, Tvashtar’s energy could lead to restructuring, such as the birth of a new country or redefining a nation’s borders.

Ketu in Pisces brings opportunities for spiritual growth

One thing to look forward to as Ketu moves into Pisces is that he will no longer receive aspects from Saturn and Mars. Instead he will receive an aspect from Jupiter, who also is the ruler of Pisces. Furthermore, Jupiter will be in the very degree of his exaltation as Ketu moves into Pisces. Both Ketu and Pisces seek enlightenment and many opportunities for growth, knowledge and spirituality will come during Ketu’s stay in Pisces.

Rahu in Virgo

The ruler of Virgo, Mercury, is also very favorably placed at the time when Rahu enters this sign. Mercury transits his own sign Gemini, and is together with his best friend Venus, as well as the Sun. From Virgo this is an excellent position and gives power to Mercury. This position favors communication and intellect and strengthens the ability to adapt to change.

Virgo rules health. Rahu rules toxins and epidemics. During this time, we need to keep an eye on viruses such as Ebola. However, Rahu can also detoxify, and Virgo is an earth sign connected to service and healing. Once Rahu has established himself in Virgo it is possible that we will put more emphases on healing mother earth. This energy will encourage efforts to clean our environment from pollution, purify our diets and simplify our lives.

Astrological Highlights: June 2014

We have had some challenging months recently, but June brings us many positive astrological influences. During the second half of June, we will see many strong planets in their own signs or in their exalted signs.

Mercury retrograde

Mercury is in the sign of Gemini all month and will go retrograde between June 7th and July 1st. Mercury is in his own sign and remains strong even though it may be a good idea to do backups on your computer and double check your travel information. A retrograde Mercury is not always rational. Up until June 19th Mercury is together with Jupiter in Gemini favoring writing, communication, teaching and learning. Mercury remains in Gemini until July 28th.

Mars is still in Virgo but has ended his long retrograde motion and has been moving direct since May 19th.

We were able to see the quality of Mars in Virgo in the news in late May when a scandal was revealed about the neglect of Health Care for war veterans forcing the Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki to resign. Virgo governs health and service, Mars rules soldiers and war. Aries is the 8th house from Virgo and Aries is under several malefic influences. Virgo has the ruler of the 8th house, Mars, in its sign and an afflicted 8th house may reveal mistreatment and scandal.

Mars remains in Virgo until July 14th when he moves into Libra.

Jupiter moves into Cancer

There is an astrological shift on June 19th when Jupiter moves into Cancer. Jupiter’s transit in this sign will last until July 14th, 2015. This is the sign where Jupiter is exalted and it is especially favorable for people with their rising sign, Moon or Sun in Cancer. It is also good for the other water signs, Scorpio and Pisces, who will enjoy the aspect from Jupiter for just over one year.

When Jupiter is exalted and is placed in an angle of a chart (houses 1, 4, 7 and 10) he manifests a special yoga known as Hamsa yoga. This yoga expresses Jupiter’s best qualities. For those with an Aries rising sign, Jupiter will transit the fourth house (home), for Cancer the first (self), for Libra the tenth (career) and for Capricorns his transit is in the seventh house (others).

Jupiter in Cancer benefits the Moon, the ruler of Cancer. This transit enhances the natural wisdom of the mind, creativity and positive thinking. It can increase our compassion and bring forth a desire to nurture. Jupiter is the teacher and the advisor. Under his guidance we will expand our sense of dharma (right action), our knowledge and sometimes our wealth.

Saturn also is in his sign of exaltation, Libra, and has been in this sign for two years. Jupiter and Saturn will both be exalted until Saturn moves into Scorpio on November 2nd. It is roughly 60 years ago since both Jupiter and Saturn where exalted at the same time. Their combined exaltation puts emphases on social dharma.

Venus moves into Taurus on June 19th

Venus is having a short but stormy visit in Aries, where it has been since May 23rd and will remain until June 19th. Venus is with Ketu and is aspected by three of the main malefic planets; Saturn, Mars and Rahu. Venus governs our comforts and our relationships. Consequently, we may feel stretched beyond our comfort zone in the early part of June.

It is interesting to note that Venus was only about 13 seconds into Aries when the killings in Santa Barbara took place in the evening of May 23rd. Venus went from Pisces, the sign of its exaltation, and into Aries during this day. This early position of Aries is known as the Gandanta point. Gandanta occurs when a planet goes from a water sign into a fire sign and the difference between the elements makes a planet confused. Venus was now also receiving many malefic aspects. Elliot Rodger, responsible for the killings, obviously had serious issues with relationships, rejection, anger and violence. In his chart Mars and Venus are less than a degree from one another and fighting a planetary war. The Gandanta position of Venus, and all the negative aspects, played a part in triggering this tragic event.

However, be ready for a big shift when Venus goes into Taurus, its own sign, and Jupiter moves into Cancer, its sign of exaltation. Both Venus and Jupiter makes their transit on the same day, June 19th, and Venus remains in Taurus until July 13th.

The end of June looks very promising with Venus in Taurus, Mercury in Gemini, and Jupiter in Cancer. This creates many positive yogas, including one called Saraswati Yoga. Like the goddess Saraswati, this yoga favors wisdom, knowledge, music and the arts.

Summer solstice on Saturday June 21st at 3:51 am (PDT)

Many countries celebrate the longest and brightest day of the year of the northern hemisphere. Where I grew up in Northern Sweden, the sun doesn’t go down below the horizon at all. The light stays soft and magical during the night.

Sri Yukteswar, the great yogi and author of The Holy Science, honored and celebrated the summer solstice. It is a very auspicious time to meditate. The planets are especially well placed this year, except for the Moon who travels through Aries with the lunar nodes and receives malefic energy.

On the evening of June 23rd, the Moon will transit Taurus where the Moon is exalted. During the next few days there will be five planets either exalted or in their own signs.

The new Moon takes place  in Gemini on the 27th.

Ketu moves across Gandanta position

The Lunar nodes are shifting into new signs in mid July. The two nodes are always in a retrograde motion and Ketu will slowly move from Aries and into Pisces. Ketu will be in Gandanta position during the last week of June and for most of July. When Ketu moves across the Gandanta position there can be some major events and changes taking place. We are fortunate that other planets are strong during this time.

Astrological Highlights: May 2014

sun-quoteMay begins auspiciously with both the Sun and the Moon in exalted positions. This occurrence is known as Akshya Tritiya, and happens on May 1st this year. It is considered a very auspicious time and a good day for starting something new.

We enter May only a couple of days after the solar eclipse on April 29 in Aries. To understand how the eclipse affects you personally check out the house that Aries rules in your chart. It is possible that this area of your life will undergo some transformation and changes over the next few months. It is good to be open to the fresh and adventuresome energy of Ashwini, which is the nakshatra in Aries where the eclipse took place. Remember that the effect of an eclipse can last many months afterwards.

Different expressions of power

On a global level April was an intense month with a lunar and solar eclipse and challenging astrological configurations. The exalted Sun (leaders, governments) in Aries is still in conjunction with Ketu and under the influence of Saturn, Rahu and Mars. Both Saturn and Mars are retrograde and retrograde planets have a tendency to look towards the past.

The energy from this configuration of planets can be expressed in different ways. It is reflected in the situation in Ukraine where Russians and pro-russians wants to recreate past union with Russia. Russia’s organized military build up (Saturn/Rahu in Libra and Mars in Virgo) is a threat to a break up of this nation.

Another world event with the same configuration of planets, but with a very different expression, happened on Sunday April 27, just before the solar eclipse.  Pope Frances performed the canonization ceremony for John Paul II and John XXIII before a million visitors in Rome and two billion people all over the planet who watched the event on TV. Both the Sun (leaders) and Ketu (planet of renunciation) were transiting the nakshatra of Ashwini, a nakshatra associated with healing and rejuvenation. This indicates powerful spiritual leadership with transforming and healing power. Much effort and hard work went into organizing this event. Spiritual devotion is one of the best remedies for the potentially dark energy during an eclipse.

The Sun will be free from malefic energy after May 15th

The opposition between the Sun in Aries and Saturn in Libra will be exact on May 10th at about 26 degrees. On May 15th, the day after the full Moon, the Sun moves into Taurus where he is no longer influenced by malefic planets. The Sun rules Leo, and this sign will be much more at ease after May 10th. However, keep in mind that the effect of a solar eclipse can last for many months and can be triggered when a planet transits the degree where the eclipse happened. The eclipse on April 29th took place between 14 and 15 degrees Aries. Mars will aspect this degree from his position in Virgo for almost the entire month.

Good News for Virgo and Gemini

Mercury in Aries was under challenging planetary influences during April. In addition to the aspects from Saturn and Rahu in Libra, Mercury has been in a sign ruled by Mars, aspected by Mars and also been in a mutual exchange with Mars. (A mutual exchange means that Mercury is in a sign ruled by Mars and Mars is in a sign ruled by Mercury). Mars is a malefic planet that can put stress on Mercury.

Mercury under stress can cause allergies and respiratory problems. Parts of the United States have experienced the worst season in decades in regards to spring allergies. The difficult respiratory illness MERS in the Middle East has increased as well. Mercury also rules communication and computers. While Mercury has been influenced by the malefics, there have been problems with the security of the internet (Heartbleed) and major issues with internet explorer.

Mercury moves away from the strong influence of Mars when he moves into Taurus on May 5th. This will bring relief for Virgo ascendants who will now have their ascendant lord, Mercury, in the auspicious ninth house.

Mercury will then move swiftly through Taurus and will enter Gemini on May 23rd. Mercury rules Gemini and is right at home in this sign. For Gemini, Virgo, Pisces and Sagittarius ascendants this will create Bhadra Yoga, the highest expression of Mercury. Mercury will have a long stay in Gemini – until July 28th. When Mercury moves into Gemini, he will join Jupiter until Jupiter moves into Cancer on June 19th.

Venus brings an emphasis on relationships in May

Venus will be in Pisces until May 23rd. From this exalted position this planet will be in a mutual aspect with Mars in Virgo which will put an emphasis on relationships, and also on the relationship between our ideals and our actions.

Venus enters Aries on May 24th and is in conjunction with Ketu on May 25th. This will also bring relationships to the fore. Ketu is a planet of renunciation, and during this time we may want to lead a simpler life, giving up luxuries and comforts.

Hand of Destiny

Mars continues to move retrograde until May 19th when he turns direct. Mars moves very slowly, just over two degrees the entire month and stations at around 15 degrees Virgo for the last three weeks of May. From this position he will come close to aspecting the degree of the last solar eclipse in Aries. This indicates that conflicts are likely to continue while Mars aspects Aries.

Mars is currently close to earth and is very strong. He is in a nakshatra called Hasta which is represented by the palm of a hand. The palm of the hand symbolizes our efforts and our ability to see our destinies. While Mars is in this nakshatra, our actions will have an especially strong impact on the future. During this time we can make changes for both good and for bad. It is important to pay attention to our thoughts, our attitudes and our actions. This is an excellent time to pursue a physical practice that addresses both the body and the mind.



Astrological Highlights: April 2014

solar eclipse vedic astrology quoteThe difficult conjunction between Saturn, Rahu and Mars in Libra, dominated the month of March. As we come into April, Mars is alone in Virgo, having moved away from the close influence of his two enemy planets, Saturn and Rahu. Will this bring relief?

With two eclipses and a difficult Mars influence, there are still serious challenges to be faced in April.

Manifestations of the malefic combination during March

Certainly the two great malefic planets, Saturn and Rahu, put a lot of pressure on Mars and brought out his difficult side in March. Among many things we experienced Cold War-style tension between the West and Russia and a potential for war in Ukraine. The tumultuous air element also manifested the mystery of the missing Malaysian airplane.

Mars retrograde in Virgo

Mars retrogrades in Virgo throughout April. He will continue to retrograde until May 19th when he goes direct at 14:58 in Virgo. Mars is very slow moving during this time. Virgos are hard working perfectionists and people with Virgo rising, Moon or Sun in Virgo will need to find ways to relax or their health may suffer. Mars will put them to work during this time.

In addition to the transit of Mars in Virgo, there are many influences between Mars and Mercury, the ruler of Virgo. During their transit in Pisces both Mercury and the Sun, in addition to the rebellious planet Uranus, are under the fiery aspect of Mars. Certainly Virgos, and also Aries and Pisces, need to make an effort to be calm and focused, especially when driving or doing activities that could put them in danger.

This becomes even more important when Mercury moves into Aries on April 20th. This will cause Mercury to be in a sign ruled by Mars (Aries), in addition to being aspected by Mars (Mars gives an 8th house aspect). There is an exchange between Mercury in Aries and Mars in Virgo. Although this may be good for investigation, research and for analyzing computer information and technical data, this exchange can also create stress. Yoga, exercise and massage are good ways to relax for both Virgos and Aries at this time.

A Mercury under stress

During the full Lunar eclipse on April 15th Mercury is in exact conjunction with the impulsive  Uranus and these two planets are also under the fiery energy of Mars. It is a good idea to do your taxes early this year. April 15th is not a good day to be doing something that is stressful or confusing.

Mercury is part of the Annual Solar Eclipse on April 28 (PST) lining up with the lunar nodes and the luminaries. The eclipse receives aspects from both retrograde Saturn and Mars.

Mercury governs communication, commerce, education and trade. He rules over the rational mind and the central nervous system. Mercury under stress can worsen allergies, give respiratory problems and skin rashes. Obviously it is important to rest the mind. Take walks and enjoy nature (if you don’t have allergies); take some time away from computers.

It is better to have a quiet and relaxing day during an any eclipse. It is not an auspicious time for beginning important projects. Do sadhana–meditation, yoga, mantras, pranayama and prayers can do wonders for calming the nervous system. The energy is darkened during an eclipse but the universe is also very receptive to light. An eclipse indicates a change, and spiritual light will make a positive difference on the outcome.

A Positive Venus in Aquarius

Venus is in Aquarius during most of April. This position brings out our humanitarian ideals and these will continue when Venus moves into Pisces on April 28.  Venus in Aquarius is in a favorable exchange with Saturn in Libra which benefits Aquarius and has a positive effect on all the air signs.

Sun in Gandanta on April 13

The Sun makes a transition from Pisces and goes into Aries on April 13. Pisces is the last of the twelve signs and Aries is the first. This is the end of one cycle and the beginning of another.  A transition into a new cycle is not easy–the energy is unclear, partly because a planet is on the cusp between different elements. The water element in Pisces is very different from the fire element in Aries. This transition is followed by the lunar eclipse with the Sun in Aries and the Moon in Libra.

Total Lunar eclipse on April 15 at 12:45 am (PDT)

The full eclipse can be seen in California shortly after midnight and ends before 1:30 am. The entire event is visible from both North America, South America, New Zealand and Australia.

The eclipse takes place at approximately 1 degree Libra. If you have a planet (or especially Rising sign, Sun or Moon) near the degree of the eclipse it will have a powerful effect in your life.

Saturn plays a part in both eclipses this month. He is with the Moon during the lunar eclipse and opposite the Sun and Moon during the solar eclipse. The Sun represents leaders and governments while Saturn represents the people and democracy. Both the Sun in Aries and Saturn in Libra are exalted. The two planets are enemies and their opposition reveals the tension and power struggles that we are experiencing in many parts of the world.

An exact grand cross on April 22

The grand cross consists of two pairs of opposite planets that form a cross. A grand cross with four planets on exactly the same degree will occur on April 22nd. The planets involved are Jupiter, Mars retrograde, Pluto and Uranus.

The grand cross is normally only applied in Western astrology. However, many Vedic astrologers in the West also consider the outer planets and take the grand cross into account.

Uranus in Pisces (vedic calendar) gives a yearning for freedom. Pluto represents transformation, power and control. Jupiter’s influence on these planets can manifest an increased desire for higher consciousness and freedom, but also as an expansion of power and control. The conflict between the need for liberation and the need to keep control of power is strong. With Mars joining as the fourth planet the energy becomes charged and intense.

Annual Solar eclipse on April 28th at 11:15 pm PDT

The solar eclipse will be partially visible in Australia, Antarctica and southern Asia. The eclipse takes place at 14:48 degrees in Aries. If you have a planet (especially Rising sign, Sun or Moon) near this degree this eclipse will have a powerful effect in your life.

The Sun is in Aries aligned with the Moon, Mercury and Ketu and aspected by Rahu, Saturn and Mars, all retrograde.

Remember to give yourself the time to relax and go inward during the eclipse!

Astrological Highlights: March 2014

A month of change

We will continue to feel the changeable and volatile quality of air as the month of March follows in February’s footsteps with many planets in air signs. The first week of March is especially full of change, with Mars and Saturn going retrograde and Jupiter turning direct within a few days of each other.

The emphasis on air signs continues

Jupiter is still in Gemini, while Mars, Rahu and Saturn continue to transit Libra. The new Moon takes place on March 1st in the third air sign Aquarius.

Air signs express communication

This emphasis on communication has been evident in the news after Comcast announced its intention to merge with Time Warner Cable, creating a communications giant. Later in February, Netflix announced a deal with Comcast that will allow them to increase the speed of the presentation of their movies. Facebook has also been in the news after a recent acquisition of the messaging service WhatsApp for $19 billion.

Struggle for social & political change continues

February was a month with many demonstrations and much political unrest throughout the world. Air signs love freedom and in March we still have three malefic planets in Libra. This can create conflict and instability in Libra, a sign that desires harmony and balance.

Aquarius is a humanitarian sign which favors the needs of the many. Saturn, the ruler of this sign, is a planet governing democracy and the masses. The co-ruler of Aquarius, Rahu, has political ambition and desires. Rahu’s and Saturn’s combined transit in Libra puts a focus on social and political reform. Mars’ entry into Libra on February 4th, (where he remains until March 25th when he retrogrades back to Virgo), indicates that change will not come without conflict, clashes and violence. Throughout this coming month Mars will also add to existing stress by casting an aspect on Venus, the planet ruling Libra.

Mars & Saturn retrograde, Jupiter goes direct

The first week of March is unusual because three planets are changing their direction during this week. Mars and Saturn go retrograde and Jupiter goes direct after being retrograde since November 2013. During this first week of March we may feel unsettled since it takes a while for planets to adjust to moving in a new direction.

Mars begins his retrograde motion on March 1st at 3°28 in Libra and goes direct again on May 19th at 14°58 in Virgo. Mars goes retrograde every two years for about ten weeks.

Saturn goes retrograde on March 2nd at 29°15 in Libra. He will retrograde almost 7 degrees until he turns direct again on July 20th at 22°34 Libra. Saturn goes retrograde for about 4 ½ months every year.

What is unusual is that both planets making their transit through Libra turn retrograde almost at the same time. The axis of Rahu and Ketu are always in retrograde motion and the three malefics in Libra – Saturn, Mars and Rahu – will all be retrograde during March.

What does Mars & Saturn retrograde mean?

When a planet is retrograde its energy becomes introverted and we tend to look towards the past rather than boldly moving forward. The assertiveness and the confidence of Mars will diminish. With this type of energy it is usually better to complete projects that were initiated in the past rather than starting something new. Saturn deals with structures and foundations. Sometimes old structures need to be replaced, and this could be a good time to reorganize, restructure, and make sure your projects have a solid foundation before moving on. Libra deals with relationships and agreements, perhaps old conflicts will resurface. This can be the time to address issues in relationships, look over contracts and renegotiate agreements. When Mars retrogrades into Virgo on March 25, he can give insight regarding facts and details, especially those involving technical detail.

Other planetary activity in March

Venus, the planet governing Libra, is in Capricorn and has a special connection with Saturn during this month. With Saturn in Libra (ruled by Venus) and Venus in Capricorn (ruled by Saturn) the two rulers are exchanging signs. This energy expresses a serious and practical way of approaching things. Venus is also receiving an aspect from Mars.

Jupiter’s influence on all the air signs is the grace that makes us open to wisdom and guidance even though situations can be turbulent. Rahu is also casting its aspect on all the air signs and the influence from both of the planets reveal the expansion happening in the field of communication.

The Sun moves into Pisces on March 15th. On the 16th there will be a full Moon in Virgo with the Sun in Pisces. Even though the Sun will be in Pisces there still is activity in all three air signs because Mercury moves into Aquarius on March 12th and Venus will move into this sign on March 31st.

The importance of flexibility

When there is an imbalance of the air element we can feel ungrounded and nervous. Just like a gust of wind can stir up all the leaves and rearrange them on the ground the air element can bring changes quickly. We may need to adjust to new circumstances.

My teacher Swami Kriyananda said that on an inner level we need to develop inner strength and centeredness like that of a downhill skier, and also the flexibility to be able to turn at a moments notice when the need arises.

Breathe calmness

Remember to Exercise, Eat Healthy and Breathe Deeply!


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All text and images © Copyright 2012-14 Elisabeth Preston. All rights reserved.

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