Astrological Highlights: June 2017

Vedic astrology highlights for June 2017

Saturn is in deep Gandanta this month – on the cusp between Sagittarius and Scorpio –  and returns back to Scorpio on June 21st. Jupiter has been retrograde since the beginning of February but moves direct again on June 9th.

Change and Transformation

Saturn in Sagittarius puts an emphasis on fundamental values. Saturn is the planet connected to democracy and also represents the masses. While a benefic Saturn promotes fairness, humanitarianism and sacrifice, Saturn is currently experiencing difficulties while retrograde and in gandanta.

Saturn indicates labor – with this planet nothing comes for free. We often need to work hard in order to overcome the obstacles and delays that Saturn throws our way. However, it is also through Saturn that we can gain a deeper understanding of life and the underlying karma that we are working on either as individuals or collectively. Saturn can teach us patience and humility. Saturn is a slow moving planet that can ground us and help to manifest stability.

However, Saturn is under stress while in Gandanta. Gandanta positions express transformation and change which conflict with Saturn’s slow moving nature. For this reason, Saturn’s retrograde transit at the cusp between Sagittarius and Scorpio indicates instability in which many fundamental changes can occur. This transformative energy can manifest on global levels as well as in our personal lives. Please read my article 10 ways to strengthen Saturn, especially if you are affected by stress and fear during this time.

Heated Communication

In addition to the insecurities brought up by Saturn in Gandanta the planet Mars is transiting the sign of Gemini. This causes both Mars and Saturn to simultaneously aspect one another. This mutual aspect can manifest as a sense of urgency and also as frustration. The energy can be similar to being in rush hour traffic when we alternate one foot between the gas pedal and the brake. We need to make an effort to be patient and to avoid acting impulsively during this time.

On a global level we may experience increased conflicts, especially after June 15th when the Sun joins Mars in Gemini. Gemini is a sign of communication and we will likely experience disagreement and anger. This will continue as Mercury also moves into Gemini on June 18th.

Saturn Returns to Scorpio

While in Gandanta, Saturn will continue to bring forth secrets and scandals. On June 21st Saturn returns to Scorpio, a sign connected to privacy and secrecy. Since Saturn is moving retrograde, we can assume that past actions are being scrutinized. Ongoing investigations are more likely to bring results during this time.

Mercury and Mars in Gemini will be in close opposition to Pluto in Sagittarius towards the end of June. This further indicates a deep need to get to the bottom of issues that have had a lack of clarity. On an individual level there may be things in our past that need to be understood in a deeper way.

Jupiter Moves Direct

On June 9th, Jupiter moves direct in Virgo at the same time that we have a full Moon in Scorpio. Jupiter promotes legal, moral, spiritual and ethical guidance. The earth signs, and the sign of Pisces, will especially feel a renewed strength from Jupiter. The wisdom and counsel that Jupiter emanates are needed at this time.

Here is a beautiful quote by Yogananda that reminds us of our true reality:

With the spreading of the vital rays of the sun, I will spread the rays of hope in the hearts of the poor and forsaken. I will kindle courage in the hearts of the despondent. I will light a new strength in the hearts of those who think they are failures.

I will seek divine safety first, last, and all the time in the constant inner thought of God– peace.

Heavenly Spirit, bless me that I may easily find happiness instead of becoming worried at every test and difficulty.

–Paramhansa Yogananda in Metaphysical Meditations, 1932 edition

Vedic Astrology Dates to Remember for June 2017:

  • May 26th to July 11th   Mars in Gemini
  • June 9th   Full Moon in Scorpio
  • June 9th   Jupiter Direct in Virgo
  • June 15th to July 16th   Sun in Gemini
  • June 18th to July 2nd    Mercury in Gemini
  • June 23rd   New Moon in Gemini
  • June 21s to October 27th   Saturn in Scorpio
  • June 29th to July 26th   Venus in Taurus
  • June 29th Mercury opposition Pluto



Astrological Highlights: May 2017

Vedic Astrology Highlights for May 2017 - Lina Preston at Northern Lights Vedic

Mercury Is Direct Again

On May 3rd Mercury turned direct after being retrograde since April 9th. This further reduces the number of retrograde planets from last month. Jupiter and Saturn are now the only planets still left in retrograde.

Mercury is in Gandanta During First Week of May

However, Mercury turned direct while in deep Gandanta (at 0.10 degrees in Aries).

We can see this influence in trade and other negotiations which have not gone so smoothly. During Gandanta we are influenced by the past and more clarity is needed when we instigate moving in new directions. Gandanta can also be a bit unpredictable.

The events around the French election on May 7th are a good example of the effects of Gandanta. A few days before this event all the emails from the campaign of the candidate Marcron were hacked and leaked– which had the potential to upset the election results.

Mercury is out of deep Gandanta after May 9th but will not make a serious improvement until May 13th.

The Saving Grace of Venus

The bright light of Venus shines on us from Pisces all month and is now direct.

Venus in Pisces brings out compassion. This month can be a good time to heal relationships. Venus in Pisces can also bring out idealism, enjoyment and romance. This can improve an existing relationship or be a good time to meet someone if you are single.

Venus remains in Pisces until May 30th.

Conquering Fear and Uncertainty

Saturn is retrograde and in the Gandanta zone between Sagittarius and Scorpio. While Saturn is in Gandanta we face uncertainty and change. The uncertainties of the impact of Brexit, health reforms, immigration, climate change, tax reforms and many other issues are expression of this Gandanta energy.

On June 21st Saturn will be in Scorpio once again.

Mars casts an aspect on Saturn from Taurus. When Mars enters Gemini on May 26th both Mars and Saturn will mutually aspect one another which puts stress on both planets. This aspect reflects the energy from last year when both Saturn and Mars were together in Scorpio. The stress on Mars and Saturn creates the type of energy that can lead to protests and polarization.

Although this Mars/Saturn aspect creates a difficult energy at the end of the month, there are ways to work with the energy of these planets. As always, meditation and yoga are powerful tools for dealing with stress and challenging circumstances.

“At the center of life’s storms, I stand serene.” –Affirmation from Ananda Yoga


Vedic Astrology in May 2017

Dates to Remember

  • May 3rd    Mercury turns direct
  • May 10th   Full Moon in Libra
  • May 14th   Sun in Taurus
  • May 25th   New Moon in Taurus
  • May 26th  Mars enters Gemini
  • May 30th  Venus enters Aries


Astrological Highlights: April 2017

This month in Vedic astrology... April 2017 astrological highlights

Many Retrograde Planets This April

Seven planets are retrograde this month:

  • Rahu is retrograde in Leo
  • Ketu is retrograde in Aquarius
  • Jupiter is retrograde in Virgo
  • Venus is retrograde in Pisces
  • Saturn goes retrograde on April 5th in Sagittarius
  • Mercury goes retrograde on April 9th in Aries
  • Pluto goes retrograde on April 20th in Sagittarius

While planets are retrograde, it is not easy to start something new. Instead, it is better to focus on things that need repair, healing or reworking. Learn more about how each planet is affected by retrograde.

Mars Wants Action

Mars is the only planet that is not retrograde this month (apart from the Sun and Moon which never go retrograde). Mars is transiting Aries – a sign that likes to initiate and begin new things. This is contradictory to the retrograde energy from the other planets, so we can expect frustration.

Mercury is with Mars in Aries. Mercury likes to negotiate while Mars wants action, is impatient, and tries to push his own agenda.

Mercury turns retrograde on April 9th, indicating a need to rethink one’s approach or strategy. On April 12th, Mars leaves Aries and moves into Taurus.

An Exalted Sun

Just after the departure of Mars from Aries on April 12th, the Sun enters Aries. The Vedic Sun returns to Aries every year in the month of April. It is here that the Sun is exalted.

April and Aries represent spring and new beginnings. It takes light and heat to manifest new life. Nature is assertive at this time and the Sun in Aries suggests assertion, exuberance, and will power.  

The Sun expresses strength in Aries, and this position of the Sun is good for people in positions of leadership and authority. However, unresolved issues represented by many retrograde planets and a very powerful Saturn, suggest a need for caution and discipline at this time.

The Month that Saturn Stood Still

For nine days this month Saturn seems to be motionless. This planet stations at 3 degrees 41 minutes in Sagittarius during the first nine days of April and begins his retrograde motion on April 6th.

By April 30th Saturn’s position still remains at 3 degrees, but will have shifted to 3 degrees 11 minutes.

Saturn is close to the earth and has a great deal of strength during this time. If you have planets around 3 degrees Sagittarius you are likely to experience his restrictive energy. You are also influenced by Saturn if you have planets around 3 degrees in Gemini, Virgo and Aquarius. These are signs that currently receive Saturn’s aspect. Try to act with discipline and focus, and be sure to get plenty of rest. Saturn remains retrograde until August 25th.

A Saturnian Venus in Pisces

Venus moves direct again on April 15th after being retrograde since March 4th. Venus stations close to three degrees in the sign of Pisces. Venus and Saturn are in a close angular aspect and have a strong influence on each other throughout the month.

Venus is normally idealistic in Pisces but may feel disappointment and disillusionment due to the strong Saturnian influence.  

The Outer Planets

The outermost planet in our solar system, Pluto, will also turn retrograde on April 20th in Sagittarius. A retrograde Pluto reveals the hidden effects of power, control and money. Pluto remains retrograde until September 28th this year.

The outer planet Uranus is in Gandanta this month moving from Pisces to Aries. Uranus desires independence but is unstable while in Gandanta. Pluto and Uranus are not part of traditional Vedic astrology but can provide us with additional insights.

This is an excellent time to deepen (or begin) your meditation practice. With many stressful situations in the world it becomes even more important to find one’s own center of peace within.

“You cannot drive the darkness out of a room by beating at it with a stick. But if you turn on the light, the darkness will vanish as though it had never been.”
–Paramhansa Yogananda

Dates to Remember

  • April 5th to August 25th: Saturn retrograde
  • April 7th: Uranus in Aries
  • April 9th to May 3rd: Mercury retrograde in Aries
  • April 10th: Full Moon in Virgo (almost at midnight Pacific time)
  • April 12th to May 26th: Mars in Taurus
  • April 13th to May 14th: Sun in Aries
  • April 15th: Venus moves direct again in Pisces
  • April 20th to September 28th: Pluto retrograde in Sagittarius



How Do Retrograde Planets Influence Us?

Retrograde planets in Vedic astrology


Many people feel a sense of apprehension when they realize that Mercury is about to go retrograde. But are retrograde planets really that scary?

Read on to understand what retrograde really is and some of the astrological effects this can have on a planet in transit.

Do planets really move backwards during retrograde?

Seven out of the nine planetary energies go retrograde. The two luminaries, the Sun and the Moon, can never go retrograde. On the other hand, the two shadow planets, Rahu and Ketu, are retrograde most of the time as they move counter clockwise and contrary to the rest of the planets.

When we look at the motion of planets in our solar system, we won’t find that a planet actually stops in its orbit and moves backwards. However, it can appear this way when seen from the earth.

When I lived in Stockholm, Sweden, I regularly took the train or subway to work.  Often the train I was on would be running alongside another train on parallel tracks. When my train picked up speed, it would appear that the neighboring train was moving backwards. In reality, it was only moving a bit slower than the train I was on. Have you ever had a similar experience?

The optical illusion created by two trains running side-by-side is similar to what we see when a planet orbits close the earth, and let’s remember that the earth is moving as well. When the earth passes a slower moving planet, that planet will appear to move retrograde.

This video helps to visually demonstrate how retrograde motion happens:


What does retrograde mean in Vedic astrology?

Seen from Earth, a retrograde planet will stay behind and appear to move back to its recent position in the sky. Astrologically, this planet has a different expression during its apparent retrograde motion than it does when direct (it’s normal forward movement).

Retrograde often indicates a need to readdress or face matters that were previously overlooked. The karma of a retrograde planet often has an internalizing effect on us.

The expression of a retrograde planet varies according to the nature of the planet, as well as the sign and degrees where retrograde motion takes place. According to Vedic astrology, when a planet is retrograde in the sign that it rules (or is exalted in) it will loose some of its beneficial qualities and behave as if in debilitation. A planet that is retrograde in its sign of debilitation, on the other hand, is said to gain strength. When a planet passes over the same point multiple times (as it does when it goes retrograde), it is given opportunities to improve or perfect areas that have been weak.

How does retrograde affect each of the planets?

Let’s take a look at how each planet’s energy is influenced by going retrograde.

Mercury retrograde

Mercury’s task is to communicate, analyse, and discriminate. Mercury retrogrades three times every year for three weeks at a time. A retrograde Mercury has more internal focus. Mercury may be rethinking something and may therefore seem distracted. In order to avoid misunderstandings. It is important to be extra clear with communications during Mercury retrograde. It is also a good idea to do a back up on the computer and to double check one’s schedule and appointments.

Mars retrograde

Mars retrograde happens every two years and lasts for approximately 2 ½  months. Mars may need to respond to the effects of a conflict or a combative situation. Sometimes changes happen too fast, and perhaps too aggressively, and this could be a time of needed integration. Mars is strategic but with Mars retrograde a different strategy or technique may need to be applied.

Venus retrograde

Venus goes retrograde approximately every 19 months. Venus governs the things in life we enjoy and love. This includes relationships, and a retrograde Venus can bring some changes in these matters. Perhaps it is time to renew a past relationship, or to give more energy to an existing one.

Venus can also influence  finances and there could be a need to look over spendings and to create a new budget.

Jupiter retrograde

Jupiter retrograde occurs every 13 months and lasts for about 4 months. Jupiter governs travel, religion, law, consulting and learning.

Travel plans can change during Jupiter retrograde. This may be a good time to revisit a faraway place, especially if it has historical, educational or spiritual value.

Laws and legal matters may also need attention. During Jupiter’s retrograde it is good to have a second opinion in regards to legal– or medical– advice.

Returning to school in order to finish a higher education is another possibility during a retrograde Jupiter.

Jupiter retrograde is a good time to renew a spiritual relationship with a teacher or Guru.

Saturn retrograde

Saturn’s retrograde period lasts for about 4 ½ months. There is a little bit more than a year between each recurring retrograde period for Saturn.

Saturn is a planet of work and labor. It governs basic structures. When Saturn is retrograde, we want to put constructive energy into reworking, reorganizing or reshaping something. This can be a time of restriction and limitations and Saturn may bring up fundamental security issues.


Remember that the purpose of retrograde planets is to clear the path so that we can move ahead without obstacles. While it is not an ideal time time to begin new projects, you can begin preparing for them and finish old projects.

Most of the planets are in retrograde during this coming month of April 2017. You can read more about how the current retrogrades will affect us in my next post Astrological Highlights for April coming soon.



Astrological Highlights: March 2017

Vedic astrology for March 2017 | Lina Preston, Northern Lights Vedic


During March, 2017 we will experience a strong Mars in Aries and a benefic Venus in Pisces. Jupiter and Venus are both retrograde this month.

The Effect of Mars in Aries

mars-smallMars moves into Aries on March 1st where he will stay until April 12th. Mars is strong in his own sign where he can easily express his qualities of initiative, independence and courage. A strong Mars is beneficial if you are having surgery this month. Mars is assertive in Aries and will defend his territory.

While Mars transits Aries his influence on our individual lives differs depending on which of the twelve sign constellations are prominent for the individual. Read about the positive effects that Mars can have for your rising sign. You can also read the effect of Mars on your Sun and Moon signs. Please note that I am referring to the Vedic astrological chart which differs from that of western astrology.

If Your Vedic Rising (or Sun / Moon Sign) is:

Aries: With Mars transiting your first house (self and body) your energy is high this month and you are able to get a lot done. This is a good month for making lifestyle changes.

Taurus: Mars rules your 7th house (partnership) and is transiting your 12th house (retreat, travel). This can be a good time to do something relaxing and fun with a significant other. Go on a yoga retreat with your friend or take a vacation abroad. Relax and enjoy a massage.

Gemini: Mars is in your 11th house of gain. This is a good time to begin new projects. Mars can give you enough energy to work on your projects and his influence will support your efforts.

Cancer: Mars is in your 10th house of career and you are creative, as well as assertive now. Work of a technical nature is especially supported.

Leo: Mars rules your 4th house of education, home and family. Mars is the planet that represents property and land. For your rising sign Mars is currently transiting the expansive 9th house making this is a good time to invest in your home or property. This month can also give opportunities for expansion of  technical knowledge, for instance it might be a good time to learn more about your computer. Starting new classes – or teaching classes – in fitness and exercise are also favored.

Virgo: This is an especially good time to work with your health by doing yoga or other physical exercise. You may find that your stamina is increased during this transit. A change regarding siblings or your neighbours could come up. Mars is in your 8th house of investigation, so this is a very good time for doing research.

Libra: Mars is in your house of partnership. Your partner is strong, in fact other people may overwhelm you at times. Artistic pursuits are healing for you. If you are involved in business this could be a busy and profitable time.

Scorpio:  You can stand up for yourself against opposition and your own immune system is strong. If you need to have surgery, this could be a suitable time. With Mars in your sixth house this is a good transit for doing things that requires a quick and decisive response.

Sagittarius: Your mind is quick and sharp during this time. If you want to create a new approach to something, your mind will create a good strategy. You have Mars in the fifth house, and this could be a good time to do something active or adventuresome with your children.

Capricorn: If you own land this is a good time to work on developing your property. A strong Mars in the 4th house also makes this a good time to invest in property. This transit is also good for doing home repairs or changes in your current living situation.

Aquarius:  This transit of Mars is good for exerting physical effort . Go on an adventure if you can, you may feel like pushing the limit.If you are involved in sales or communication you can be  assertive and strategic now.

Pisces: Not only are you experiencing the pleasant transits from Venus and Jupiter, but Mars in Aries can increase your income, especially if you are involved in teaching or travel.

Venus goes retrograde

Venus - Vedic AstrologyWe are all lucky to have a well placed Venus in Pisces while Mars is so strong. Venus helps us to experience beauty and compassion, balancing the assertiveness that comes from Mars in Aries.

Venus is retrograde between March 4th and April 15th. Jupiter is also retrograde this month. With both benefic planets retrograde we may see a slow down in the booming stock markets.

A retrograde Venus may bring encounters with past relationships and friends. You may return to an artistic endeavor or revisit a distant place.

The Dance of Mercury & Jupiter

MercuryMercury joins Venus in Pisces on March 10th and will travel swiftly through this sign.  While Mercury is in Pisces he exchanges signs with Jupiter. These two planets also aspect one another so there is a strong connection between them.

Jupiter often has a grand vision but doesn’t pay much attention to the details. On the other hand, Mercury is good with details. However, Mercury is compromised in the sign of his debilitation. Due to these influences, we need to watch out for ungrounded and impractical thinking.

On March 26th, Mercury moves into Aries where he stays until June 3rd. Mercury stays in Aries for a long time due to the fact that he goes retrograde in April.

Dates to remember

Vedic Astrology Transits for March, 2017

March 1st:  Mars is in Aries until April 12th

March 4th: Venus is retrograde until April 15th

March 10th: Mercury joins Venus in Pisces until March 26th

March 12th: Full Moon in Leo

March 14th: Sun joins Venus and Mercury in Pisces

March 26th: Mercury moves into Aries and stays in this sign until June 3rd

March 27th: New Moon in Pisces



Astrological Highlights: February 2017

Vedic astrology forecast February 2017 | Northern Lights Vedic


Astrologically, the remainder of February is influenced by two eclipses, a positive Venus and a retrograde Jupiter.

Mr Toad’s Wild Ride

A Rahu period is sometimes referred to as “Mr Toad’s wild ride” due to the unpredictability and ups and downs that can manifest through Rahu.

According to a respected chart rectification of the United States by Vedic astrologer James Kellegher, the US is currently going through a Rahu period. President Donald Trump and his chief advisor, Steve Bannon, are also both strong Rahu personalities. Curious about Trump’s astrological profile? Read this article from August, 2016.

Rahu defies the establishment, is good at manipulation, and wants to create a new order of things. Rahu is also a good planet for technology and science, so we may see advances in these fields. The Rahu period for the United States began in 2015 and is not supposed to end until 2033.

Two Eclipses in February

The lunar nodes are busy this month with two eclipses. There is a lunar eclipse in Cancer on February 10th. A solar eclipse takes place on February 26th in Aquarius. Eclipses reveal secrets or hidden truths that eventually change our perspective.

Venus Saves the Day

Venus is in for a long stay in its favorite sign Pisces (until May 30th). Venus is a beautiful bright planet known as the morning and evening star. Venus helps bring out heart qualities of Pisces that are much needed today: compassion, connection and healing. Venus shares Pisces with the planet Mars for the entire month but Venus is the stronger planet in this sign. Pisces is also receiving an aspect from its ruling planet Jupiter, helping improve quality of life for people with major planets in this sign.

Jupiter is Retrograde February 5th – June 9th

Jupiter is receiving planetary aspects from both Venus and Mars this month.

Jupiter went retrograde in Virgo on February 5th. A retrograde planet will often return to a project that needs reworking. Jupiter rules legal matters and Virgo is a detail oriented sign also connected to health.

Right around the time Jupiter went retrograde, it was communicated that the new health reform needs more work before it can replace Obama care. Jupiter’s wisdom helped mitigate a chaotic, abrupt transition in health care.

Saturn in Sagittarius

Saturn is now in Sagittarius, a sign connected with travel, law, truth and dharma. This brings legal matters, business, higher education, travel and religion into focus. Morals and ethics are highlighted as well.

Saturn moved into Sagittarius on January 26th. His power to restrict, obstruct and delay was expressed on the night of January 27th when president Trump issued a travel ban for people from seven muslim countries, restricting their entry to the United States. The discussions, protests and actions that followed echo the legal and ethical concerns of Sagittarius.

Saturn stays in Sagittarius until January 24th, 2020, with the exception of moving retrograde back to Scorpio between June 21st and October 25th this year.

Mula Nakshatra – back to the roots

Saturn is also transiting Mula, a nakshatra occupying the first 13’20” degrees of Sagittarius. Saturn’s transit in Mula will last through 2017 (except for the time when Saturn moves retrograde into Scorpio) and much of 2018.

Mula nakshatra is symbolically represented by a bundle of roots. Roots are usually hidden from sight, often buried deep in the ground. An instinct to search beneath the surface makes this a good nakshatra for investigation and research. It is also a good nakshatra for healers, both on a physical and psychological level. In order to find a cure for something one need to find the cause of the problem, which often is hidden from sight. Historians and archeologists that search for facts and knowledge of the past, sometimes literally underground, are also influenced by Mula.

The energy of this nakshatra is fierce and Mula has a power to destroy or damage. In order to plant new seeds, old roots sometimes have to come up. Politically we are seeing a destruction of earlier policies and reforms. Both Mula and Saturn have connections to the root chakra, Muladhara. Saturn in Mula puts focus on issues related to our sense of security and basic values. It can also be linked to fundamentalism.

The goddess Niritti is the deity of the Mula nakshatra in Vedic astrology.

The goddess Niritti is the deity of the Mula nakshatra. Image from


The spiritual symbolism of Mula, is represented by the deity Nirriti (associated with the goddess Kali). This goddess is often feared because she is known as the goddess of destruction. But the spiritual intention of Nirriti is to liberate us from egotism so that we can experience the essence (the root) of who we are. For the person who meditates this is a good time to meditate deeply.

While Saturn transits Mula and Sagittarius, it is especially important that we are truthful and honest, vigilant in pursuing a correct course of action.  We must not get distracted from our own dharmic responsibilities by focusing too much attention outside of ourselves. Saturn will in time hold us all accountable for our actions.


This Month in Vedic Astrology

Throughout February 2017:

  • Venus is in Pisces
  • Mars is in Pisces
  • Jupiter is in Virgo
  • Rahu is in Leo
  • Ketu is in Aquarius
  • Saturn is in Sagittarius

Dates to Remember for February 2017:

  • February 5th – June 9th  Jupiter is retrograde in Virgo
  • February 10th, max at 5:48 pm PST – Lunar eclipse in Cancer
  • February 12th – Sun in Aquarius until mid-March
  • February 22nd – March 10th – Mercury in Aquarius
  • February 26th – Solar eclipse in Aquarius seen in parts of Africa and South America



10 Ways to Make Friends with Saturn in Vedic Astrology

10 ways to make friends with Saturn in Vedic astrology | Northern Lights Vedic

Saturn is associated with our root chakra which expresses a need for security and stability. Making friends with the basic qualities of Saturn will help to ease some of the inner discomfort which many people experience during these days of agitation.

Saturn is currently in gandanta which presents some challenges for us. You can read more about Gandanta here.

1. Develop a healthy daily routine.

Saturn governs time. By developing good habits and a healthy daily routine we can enjoy a sense of permanency even in the midst of change.

2. Put positive energy into your work.

Saturn is a good worker and appreciates when we put out an effort. Organizing your workspace and paperwork, yard work, maintenance, farming or gardening are all activities well suited to Saturn.

3. Find ways to serve others.

Saturn is a planet connected with service and wants us to give support to people in need. What can you do to help the homeless? How can you serve a dying friend? Find an organization you’d like to volunteer with. Serving others is a wonderful way to positively align with Saturn.  

4. Donate to causes that inspire you.

Make a monetary donation or donate your time to good causes. Saturn especially likes it when we donate food. For example, you can distribute food in a soup kitchen.

5. Practice detachment.

Try to not overreact emotionally to situations beyond your control. A favorable Saturn expresses an attitude of even- mindedness and inner detachment. Saturn helps us to realize that we all are part of a bigger picture. He wants us to let go of ego attachment.

6. Live simply.

Saturn sometimes brings unexpected expenses. One way to align yourself with Saturn is to live simply.

Saturn enjoys a simple diet of vegetables, fruits and nuts and is also connected with fasting. Saturday is Saturn’s day and you can honor Saturn by fasting or eating simply on this day.

7. Practice meditation and pranayama.

Practicing meditation helps to focus and calm the mind. Saturn is an air planet and we also benefit from doing breathing exercises. They help to bring our energy under control.

8. Exercise.

When times are turbulent we need to find ways to stay grounded. Walking and exercising will help. When we walk the feet are in contact with the earth which help us to feel well grounded. Enjoy the beauty of nature and remember to breathe.

9. Do mantras for Saturn.

Mantras are sounds that vibrates with a particular energetic quality. There are mantras for strengthening planetary energies and the mantra for Saturn is:  Om Shanicharaya Namah.

10. Wear an astrological gemstone.

Certain gemstones hold and transmit planetary energies. If Saturn is well placed in your astrological  chart you may want to wear a gemstone for Saturn. Have a Vedic astrologer recommend a gemstone for you. The primary gemstone for Saturn is a blue sapphire. Amethyst is a more subtle stone for Saturn that is purifying and brings clarity of mind. Lapis lazuli is also a stone compatible with Saturn and manifests calmness and deep wisdom.


“If we focus on the eternal, we will remain unaffected
by the changing experiences of life.”


Although Saturn has an intimidating reputation, remember that this is a planet of truth that can help us grow. Saturn helps destroy our illusions and wants us to understand that we need not take things personally. Through his influence, we will eventually be rewarded with humility, wisdom and peace.



Gandanta: Karmic Knots of 2017


What is Gandanta in Vedic astrology?

Planets in transit through Gandanta reveal times of transformation and change. Important planets will go through these special zones in 2017 – Saturn alone will be in Gandanta three times. In order to understand how planets in Gandanta may impact our lives in the near future, we must first have a basic understanding of what Gandanta is.

What is Gandanta in Vedic Astrology?

Before I describe the meaning of “Gandanta”,  an explanation of the sanskrit word “Sandhi” is in order. Gandanta is a form of Sandhi.

Sandhi means a connecting place. It can also be translated as a junction. In Vedic astrology sandhi is the connecting place, or junction, between two zodiac signs.

When a planet is about to leave a sign it begins to feel the energy of the next one. The energy is changing at the cusps and therefore a planet which is placed close to a junction between two signs is weakened.

Where fire and water meet

Gandanta occurs at the junction between a water sign and a fire sign. Water and fire are incompatible. We all know that it is difficult to ignite fire when water is present. Gandanta takes place close to the cusps, in the last degree of a water sign and in the first degree of a fire sign. Gandanta occurs between the signs of Pisces and Aries, between Cancer and Leo, and between Scorpio and Sagittarius.  Many Vedic astrologers use a Gandanta Zone that begins at 29 degrees 12 seconds in a water sign (the last 48 seconds) and ends after 48 seconds into a fire sign.

Transformation of Solar and Lunar energy

Gandanta is not only significant for solar astrology, it is also important for lunar astrology. Every day the Moon travels through a nakshatra. The nakshatras of the Moon are divided into three groups, or cycles, of nine nakshatras each. Each cycle ends where a water sign ends. The Lunar energy changes significantly at this junction (Gandanta) and when a fire sign begins, a new cycle of nakshatras will also begin.

Opportunities to untie our “karmic knots”

Planets that transit Gandanta go through transformation. Astrologer Komilla Sutton describes Gandanta as “karmic knots”. Gand actually means “a knot”. Gandanta can be translated as “the knots at the end”, and the energy at Gandanta is entwined and complex. Planets transiting gandanta will bring up deep issues that need to be faced; sometimes collectively, and sometimes individually. Facing these issues  will greatly accelerate the growth of a mature soul.

Planets that travel swiftly through the sky and make a quick transit through Gandanta may not have much of an effect. However, slow moving planets that take longer to transit Gandanta will invariably have a deeper impact.

2017 – A Gandanta Year

What kind of “karmic knots” can we see ahead of us this year by examining transits through Gandanta? Let us examine the slow moving planets crossing gandanta during 2017 – Saturn, Rahu and Uranus.


It is highly unusual to see this planet in Gandanta three times in a year. Saturn will cross Gandanta three times because it will move into Sagittarius on January 26th but then retrograde back into Scorpio again a couple of months later. Saturn will move direct again on August 25th, crossing Gandanta a third time.

Gandanta at the cusp between Scorpio and Sagittarius is the most difficult of the three Gandanta zones, particularly the last degree of Scorpio. After all, it is the tail of a scorpion that inflicts its sting and can hurt us.

Saturn spending so much time in Gandanta expresses uncertainty and instability. Saturn governs structures and foundations. Saturn also likes stability and routines. It is when structures, foundations and reforms fall apart, or change, that we experience fear and uncertainty. This planet will not be settled in Sagittarius until after November 2017. Saturn will stay in this sign until February 2020.

Here are the dates when Saturn will be in deep Gandanta during 2017:

  • January 18th to February 3rd
  • June 9th to July 1st (retrograde)  
  • October 16th to November 2nd (direct again)


Rahu is of the air element and just like air in nature Rahu can be windy one day and calm the next. Rahu always moves retrograde and during 2017 Rahu moves from Leo and into Cancer.

Rahu is in Gandanta from August 2nd to August 30th, 2017.

When Rahu moves into Cancer, on August 17th, Rahu will join Mars. Mars is debilitated in Cancer and the conjunction between Mars and Rahu will be exact on August 25 – 26th. The two planets are also in transit through Gandanta during this time. It is likely to be a time of turmoil.

Solar eclipse on August 21st

This total solar eclipse also takes place with Rahu in Gandanta. The eclipse will pass from coast to coast in the United States and could be a sign of a coming change.

From an astrological point of view the second half of August is the most challenging time in 2017.


While Uranus is an outer planet (not a traditional Vedic planet) it can also offer us additional insight. This planet is expansive and freedom loving but can also be rebellious and unpredictable.

Uranus is in Gandanta as it moves from Pisces to Aries between March 24th to April 21st. This may be a time of turmoil caused by something ending or breaking away. The need for independence is on shaky grounds.

These transits through Gandanta provide us with opportunities for spiritual growth. Check back next week for a new post about personal remedies that will be helpful during times of uncertainty.



Astrological Highlights: January 2017


Vedic Astrology January 2017 - Photo by Wil Stewart

Financial optimism as the year begins

Jupiter governs expansion and growth, while Mercury is the planet for trade and commerce. During January, these two benefic planets are transiting in each others signs, giving some optimism and hope regarding financial growth. In addition Jupiter and Uranus are both expansive planets and their mutual aspect on one another can give some windfalls.

These astrological configurations are at this time also positive for education and learning. Studies in health, healing and law are favored at this time. The retrograde Mercury in Sagittarius goes direct again on January 8th and will remain in Sagittarius for the remainder of the month. A full Moon on January 12th, in Mercury’s sign Gemini, and in Jupiter’s nakshatra Punarvasu, adds to mental optimism.  

Saturn transits into a new sign

The most important event of the month is Saturn’s transition into Sagittarius.

Saturn has been in the sign of Scorpio since November 2nd, 2014. By now we have experienced many of the effects of Saturn in Scorpio; a sign governing transformation, change, secrets and hidden power. We have experienced the powerful effects of underground activity such as terrorism, espionage, hacking and manipulation. Saturn’s aspect on transiting Rahu in Leo, the sign of leadership, has led to an unprecedented election in the US and other difficult power struggles in the world.

Saturn in Gandanta

By now most of us are looking forward to Saturn moving into the next sign, Sagittarius. The problem is that Saturn now has a hard time leaving Scorpio’s energy behind.

During 2017 Saturn will transit the difficult gandanta zone between Scorpio and Sagittarius no less than three times. This is because Saturn will begin to move retrograde and back into Scorpio again once it reaches 3 degrees 41 seconds in Sagittarius on April 5th. The last and first degree (actually 48 seconds on either side of the cusp between Scorpio and Sagittarius) are considered deep Gandanta. Gandanta is the transition zone between a water sign and fire sign.

A planet transiting the Gandanta zone will express this complex energy that often holds a difficult karma. (My blog post next week will be about Gandanta)

The first time Saturn comes into deep Gandanta is between January 18th and February 3rd. The actual transition into Sagittarius takes place on January 26th when Saturn is 0 degrees Sagittarius.

Saturn is of the air element and brings change and turmoil  when transiting the Gandanta zone. We may literally experience more storms. This can be a difficult transition for Saturn who prefers routine and permanency. Saturn governs structures and as foundations change our need for security is challenged.

The Presidential Inauguration

The presidential inauguration takes place on Friday January 20th. Saturn in Gandanta is almost exactly opposite the Sun in Donald Trump’s chart. This is obviously a time of transition of power but amidst instability.

Saturn in Sagittarius

Sagittarius asks that we make an effort to transform low and selfish qualities and aim for higher ideals. Our actions and speech need to harmonize with the truth. Saturn in Sagittarius will ask us to take responsibility for our higher nature. We will need to ask ourselves what is the Dharma and the right way to act. Saturn in Sagittarius is also concerned with law and legal matters. There can be slow or restricted financial growth.

Mars and Venus in Pisces

Mars will move into Pisces on January 20th and will be joined by Venus on January 27th. Venus stays in Pisces all through the winter and spring until May 30. Venus is exalted in Pisces so this is very good news, particularly for mutable signs: Pisces, Gemini, Virgo and Sagittarius. For these signs Venus will be extra powerful since Venus will be in an angle. Venus in Pisces is creative, artistic and refined.



Dates to remember:

January 8th to   February 3rd  –   Mercury Direct in Sagittarius

January 12th  – Full Moon in Pisces

January 13th  to  February 12th –  Sun in Capricorn

January 20th to March 1st  –   Mars in Pisces

January 26th  –  Saturn in Sagittarius

January 27th to May 30th  –  Venus in Pisces

Astrological Highlights: December 2016

vedic astrology december 2016 Lina Preston Northern Lights Vedic astrological forecast


We have had a stormy year politically in 2016 and in the month of December the storms will continue. The Lunar Nodes are powerful making this a time of transformation and change in the world.

As this planet slowly evolves towards increased universality, the borders and boundaries between countries, cultures, men and women become less sharply defined. Currently the world is experiencing a rebellious reaction to this development. This is expressed through increased sentiments of nationalism and less tolerance. Brexit, Trump, and ultra right movements in Europe are examples of this in the west.

The Kala Sarpa Yoga (Vedic planets situated on one half of the zodiac between Rahu and Ketu) was in full effect on the US election day and is in effect again as we enter December.  Exceptions to the present Kala Sarpa Yoga are two outer planets, Uranus and Neptune, but they are not considered to be traditional Vedic planets. Because neither of them are part of the Kala Sarpa Yoga, and Neptune is closely conjunct the south lunar node, these outer planets are very powerful at this time. Uranus is rebellious, shocking and unpredictable, while Neptune is idealistic but can also be deceptive, creating realities that are hard to get a grip on.

Neptune’s conjunction with Ketu, is still close and was exact on election Day. This conjunction can manifest as feelings of confusion and betrayal. Before the election Donald Trump cast doubt on the fairness of the election and after the election there have been others who are not confident of the election results. Vote recounts are underway in some of the states. It appears that we cannot entirely trust what is communicated and that we are manipulated by internet trolls and fake news.

Mercury goes retrograde on December 19th to January 8th

Adding to the present unclarity Mercury will go retrograde very close to the outer planet Pluto on December 19th. When Mercury is retrograde it is harder to keep the facts straight and communication needs to be clear in order to avoid misunderstanding. Mercury conjunct Pluto can be indicative of mistrust and conspiracy, but also of the desire to get to the bottom of something. Mercury moving retrograde so close to Pluto could have a disruptive influence on the Electoral College which will meet on December 20th.  

Presently the planets that rule the lunar nodes, the Sun and Saturn, are both in Scorpio showing the  restructuring of leadership and governments.

Trump in Jupiter Dasha

A surprising shift in the attitude of Donald Trump has been seen after the election. He no longer wishes to put Hillary Clinton in jail. He even finds his former enemy President Obama “a good man” and agreeable. He is presently considering one of his main critics, the republican Mitt Romney, for secretary of state. An astrological explanation of his change of attitude is that shortly after the election Trump’s Rahu period ended. His Rahu/Sun in the tenth house made him quite ruthlessly pursue power. Jupiter is a benevolent planet. So how will it manifest in his life now?

Jupiter rules wealth, law, counsel, children

His own wealth will very likely increase. Jupiter governs advisors, counselors, consultants and ministers. The people he surrounds himself with will be very important. Currently he is putting together the cabinet of the United States. Mercury rules his Jupiter and is placed in Gemini in the 11th house. The placement of his Mercury suggests that his associates are wealthy, diverse and successful in business. Jupiter also governs children and the children of Trump play an important role in his life as well.

Jupiter and Mercury exchange signs in December and January

Jupiter in Virgo exchanges signs with Mercury in Sagittarius at present time (Jupiter rules Sagittarius while Mercury rules Virgo). The Jupiter and Mercury ruled signs are known to be flexible, quick and changeable. Sales and commerce have been strong especially with items involving communication and sales on the internet. People with important planets in Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces could be doing well in their work at this time, especially when the career involves communication, clients or business.

Mars in Aquarius on December 11th

The Moon brakes the Kala Sarpa Yoga on December 5th. Mars is next and moves into Aquarius on December 11th. Mars governs anger and Ketu is also a hot planet. Their combination can create violence. After the new Moon on December 28th; Mars, Ketu and Neptune are very close. Venus joins the planets in Aquarius on this day and the Uranus/Jupiter opposition indicates an unstable time. The last days of this year is a time to be cautious.

Hopefully you can have some quiet time as we move into the New Year. The transition from one year to another is a good time for reflection on what is important in one’s life and on the focus we wish it to have. My wish is that you can surround yourself with positive and inspiring people. That you have reasons to be thankful for good things in your life. And that you can send thoughts of peace and harmony to everyone.


Blessings and Happy New Year,


Dates to remember:

December 2nd – Venus moves into Capricorn

December 10th – Sun/Saturn conjunction exact in Scorpio

December 11th – Mars moves into Aquarius and joins Ketu/Neptune – until January 19th, 2017

December 15th – Sun moves into Sagittarius

December 19th – January 8th, 2017  –  Mercury goes retrograde

December 28th  – New Moon in Sagittarius

December 28th – January 26th, 2017  –  Venus moves into Aquarius, joins Ketu/Neptune/Mars

December 28th  –  Ketu/Mars conjunction

December 30th – Mars/Neptune conjunction

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