Astrological Highlights: December 2017

Vedic Astrology December 2017 - Lina Preston Northern Lights Vedic

A Beautiful Full Moon

The Moon is full on December 3rd. It is beautifully situated in Taurus, the sign of its exaltation, and in its favorite Nakshatra – Rohini.

This Moon is also wonderfully supported by an Adhi yoga. Adhi yoga means that the three benefic planets Venus, Mercury and Jupiter are positioned  in the 6th, 7th and 8th house opposite the Moon.

A well placed Moon expresses peace and contentment, making this a good time to pray for peace and harmony throughout the world.

Mercury Retrograde and Gandanta

Mercury is now staying in Sagittarius near Saturn. A combination of Saturn and  Mercury indicates a need for structured thinking, but when Mercury goes retrograde on December 3rd there can be challenges in this respect. A retrograde Mercury indicates a need to rethink one’s strategy. During this time it is wise to carefully check all the details before making decisions.

Mercury will also transit over the Gandanta point between Sagittarius and Scorpio between December 9th and 11th. Mercury is in retrograde between December 3rd to December 22nd and remains in Scorpio the entire month.  

Saturn and the Consequences of Past Actions

An explanation of why so many sexual harassment allegations are surfacing at this time can be found in the nakshatras and in the vedic mythology.

Saturn is a planet of karmic retribution and has been in transit through the Jyeshta nakshatra much of this year. Jyeshta is a nakshatra of sexual potency and power. The deity of Jyeshta is Indra whose qualities include courage, energy, fame, and daring. But a sense of power can bring ego and self-importance and the personal use of power without regard for others has serious consequences. Sexual issues can be one of the challenges. Those with Saturn (or other strong planets)  in Jyeshta need to apply self-discipline in order to realise their great potential.

Saturn is now in transit through the Mula Nakshatra whose deity is Nirriti. Nirriti became Kali in later mythology. Both goddesses are fierce and fearless warriors protecting the oppressed.

With Venus transiting in Scorpio, a sign connected with scandals and sexuality, one might expect that the sexual harassment allegations daily surfacing here in the US and elsewhere will continue. Venus is a planet of sensuality and is exchanging signs with Mars in Libra. This exchange is a 2 / 12 exchange which means that Venus is in the second house from Mars and Mars is in the twelfth house from Venus. A parivartana yoga involving a 2 / 12 combination has challenges involving secrets, expenses and loss.  

Sun and Saturn Highlight the Struggle Between Democracy and Power

The Sun moves from Scorpio to Sagittarius on December 15th. The Sun now joins its enemy planet Saturn. On December 20th – 21st these planets are in exact conjunction. The energy of the Sun (representing power) is constricted by Saturn (which can represent democracy). This can show up as governmental challenges in regards to democratic values, and possibly public protests. Venus joins the Sun and Saturn in Sagittarius on December 20th.  Venus is exactly conjunct Saturn on December 25th.

One way to cooperate with Saturn’s energy is to donate your energy and time to worthy projects and causes. It is good to be generous with donations to inspiring projects and those in need during this time. Donate time to someone who would benefit from your help and assistance.

December 2017: Astrological Dates to Remember

  • December 3rd:  Full Moon in Taurus
  • December 3rd to December 22nd: Mercury retrograde
  • December 8th to December 20th: Kala Sarpa Yoga
  • December 15th: Sun in Sagittarius
  • December 17th: New Moon in Sagittarius
  • December 20th: Venus in Sagittarius

Many blessings for the Holidays and the New Year!



Astrological Highlights: November 2017

Vedic Astrology Forecast November 2017

Saturn is now in Sagittarius

On October 26th, Saturn did his second and final transition into Sagittarius of the year. Saturn went into Sagittarius in January 2017 but moved retrograde back into Scorpio again after a couple of months. Saturn’s long stay in Scorpio (it first went into Scorpio in 2014), brought a focus on investigations, espionage, and many scandals surfacing from the past. This fits with the energy of Saturn in Scorpio, which focuses on deep karma needing to be faced.

Sagittarius looks for expansion, truth and righteousness. In this sign, Saturn can challenge our sense of right and wrong and also bring litigation and court settlements. We will seriously need to examine our basic values and ethics.

Saturn will stay in Mula nakshatra until November 2018

Mula means root and is connected to the root chakra, muladhara. The root chakra represents our sense of security and safety. When facing a problem while in Mula, we will need to go to the root, or the essence, of what needs to be addressed.

Mula is the foundation and relates to the Yamas and Niyamas (the do’s and don’ts of the yogic path) This represents what is ethical and what is right or wrong. Saturn in Mula will insist that we take responsibility for our karma.

Mula can also be destructive. During Saturn’s stay in Mula, foundations may fall apart and change.

The symbol for Mula is the elephant’s goad. The goad is the stick used by the elephant tender to guide the elephant in the correct direction. The symbol represents the pain we have to suffer in order to act in the right way. During Saturn’s stay in Mula, it is especially important to follow our dharma.

Kala Sarpa Yoga November 11th to November 25th

Kala Sarpa Yoga occurs when all planets are hemmed in between the Lunar Nodes. Kala Sarpa Yoga was in effect before the election last year and often manifests a divisiveness and imbalance.

We have been experience it again since September 17th. It will continue until January 8th, 2018, except for the times when the Moon intermittently breaks it. All the planets are between Rahu in Cancer and Ketu in Capricorn.

The Moon moves through all the signs during a month and thus breaks the Kala Sarpa Yoga for 14 days every month.This month the full Kala Sarpa Yoga is in effect between November 11th to November 25th.

A strong Libra brings balance

Venus is transiting its own sign between November 2nd and November 26th. This greatly offsets the divisiveness of Kala Sarpa yoga. Venus and Jupiter in Libra teach us the importance of cooperation, balance and harmony. This is especially good for those with their rising sign, Sun or Moon in Libra, but will be of benefit to everyone.

November 2017 Dates to Remember:

  • November 1st-23rd:  Mercury transits Scorpio
  • November 2nd-26th: Venus transits Libra
  • November 3rd: Full Moon in Aries
  • November 11th-25th:  Full Kala Sarpa Yoga
  • November 15th: Sun in Scorpio
  • November 26th: Venus moves to Scorpio


Astrological Highlights: September 2017

Vedic Astrology September 2017 - Lina Preston

Mother Nature has been expressing the effects of the eclipse and challenging transits during the first part of September. Is there anything else on the horizon?

The Mighty Power of Magha Nakshatra

Following the great American eclipse in the powerful Magha Nakshatra, Mercury (retrograde) stationed at the point of the eclipse (4 degrees Leo).  Mercury was exactly conjunct Mars on September 2nd, and turned direct at the eclipse point on September 5th. Mercury is now moving away from the point of the eclipse but will be conjunct Mars for a third time on September 16th at 13 degrees Leo, still in Magha Nakshatra. This can potentially also be a time of turbulence and disagreement.

The Agitation of Mother Earth

Mercury is of the Earth element. Prithvi Mata means Mother Earth. An afflicted Mercury is quick changing, extremely restless and agitated. In the wake of the Great American eclipse we have been experiencing exceptional hurricanes, enormous amounts of rainfall, a powerful Earthquake in Mexico, record breaking heat and extreme fires in the Western states.

The agitation of Mercury also makes it difficult for Saturn and Rahu. While transiting in Gandanta, Saturn and Rahu have also been transiting in star constellations ruled by Mercury: Jyeshta and Ashlesha. Planets are affected in their transits by how the rulers of the signs they are in are doing and also how the nakshatra (star constellation) rulers are doing. Therefore, Mercury’s agitation also increased the instability of Saturn and Rahu in Gandanta. Both Rahu and Mercury are connected to electricity and millions of people are currently without electricity in Florida.

Those with their rising sign, the Sun or Moon located in Mercury’s signs of Gemini and Virgo may feel challenges now. Mercury will be much more comfortable when moving into Virgo, its most favorable sign, between September 26th and October 13th.

Venus in Distress

All the natural disasters are taking their toll on our sense of comfort and well being.

Venus conjuncts Rahu in Cancer on September 13th. Then enters Leo on the 14th. Venus transits the point of the solar eclipse on September 18th and 19th. Venus is the ruler of Taurus, a sign of stability and abundance, as well as of Libra, a sign of social harmony and balance. An unstable Venus can express tension in relationships and show financial fluctuations.

Jupiter in Libra

The good news is that the great benefic planet Jupiter moved into Libra on September 11th. Jupiter’s wisdom and counsel will aid in the process of cooperation and harmony. Jupiter in Libra will also benefit the two other air signs: Aquarius and Gemini. Jupiter will especially aid good relations for people with Sun/Moon or Rising sign in Aries.

Kala Sarpa Yoga

Kala Sarpa Yoga occurs when all planets are hemmed in between the Lunar Nodes.                                                                                                       Kala Sarpa Yoga was in effect before the election last year and often manifest a divisiveness and imbalance. We will experience it again between September 17th and January 8th, 2018, except for the times when the Moon intermittently breaks it. All the planets are between Rahu in Cancer and Ketu in Capricorn. The Moon moves through all the signs during a month and thus breaks the Kala Sarpa Yoga for 14 days every month.

My next newsletter will expand on some of the long term effects of Jupiter in Libra and Rahu in Cancer.

Dates to Remember:

  • September 5th:  Mercury is Direct again
  • September 11th: Jupiter moves into Libra
  • September 15th: Venus moves into Leo
  • September 16th: Sun moves into Virgo
  • September 17th: Mars conjunct Mercury in Leo
  • September 17th – September 29th: Kala Sarpa Yoga
  • September 26th: Mercury moves into Virgo


Try to stay centered during this turbulent time.

“In the midst of life’s storms I stand serene!”

–Affirmation by Swami Kriyananda





The Astrology of the Great American Solar Eclipse

The Astrology Behind the Great American Solar Eclipse of 2017

The greatly anticipated total solar eclipse happens tomorrow, on August 21st.  A lot of people are paying attention to this rare astronomical event but what is its astrological significance?

Magha Means Mighty or Great

The eclipse occurs at 4 degrees Leo in the star constellation Magha. The symbol of this constellation is a throne expressing the elevated status of the Magha nakshatra.

Magha expresses power and ambition. Just like a king or a queen values the loyalty of people, a person with planets in Magha will also often express loyalty to a country or to a cause.

The Shadow Planet Ketu Rules Magha

Magha is ruled by Ketu whose energy relates to the past. Magha is the constellation of our ancestors. Magha people often have a colorful history.  Magha is also connected to spiritual lineage. Paramhansa Yogananda had a Magha rising sign and he was a spiritual powerhouse. He was also connected to a very powerful spiritual lineage.

Magha people are intuitive and should ask for Divine guidance from within. Spiritually refined people with planets in Magha can be in contact with their spiritual guides.

The Dark Side of Magha

All the planets and star constellations have a positive and a negative expression. People with planets in Magha who are not spiritually evolved can manifest a strong ego. They need to watch out for arrogance, pride, prejudice or even a sense of racial superiority. Those with strong planets in Magha may need to focus on developing humility.

Healing the Past

A solar eclipse hides the light and brings us face to face with darkness. We are experiencing the darkness from a past history of racism and bigotry which included the refusal to see all people as equals. It is this karma from the past that is being brought into the light and needs to be healed so that we can move forward towards true humanitarian values.


Astrological Highlights: August 2017

Vedic astrology August 2017 - Northern Lights Vedic

This August we will experience what is being called “the great American eclipse.” The eclipse is one of the ways we will be feeling the powerful influence of the shadow planet Rahu. Rahu brings change and the unexpected…

A Big Month for Rahu

Rahu in Gandanta

Rahu is in Gandanta the entire month at the juncture between Leo and Cancer. Rahu in Gandanta can truly stir things up and create a sense of uncertainty and unpredictability.

Rahu Moves into Cancer and Ketu Moves to Capricorn

The lunar nodes (mean) will shift signs on August 17th. Rahu will remain in Cancer for 18 months, until March 2019. Ketu will be in Capricorn during this time.

Rahu Conjunct Sun in Gandanta

When Rahu moves into Cancer from Leo (Rahu and Ketu always move retrograde) he will meet the Sun moving (direct) into Leo. Their close conjunction takes place on August 16th and August 17th in deep Gandanta between Cancer and Leo. This reveals confusion around leadership and tumultuous power issues in the world.

The Great American Eclipse

Rahu is considered an enemy to the Sun, the Moon and to Mars. This is because Rahu can block the light of the luminaries and has the power to cause eclipses.

Both a Lunar and a Solar eclipse take place this August.

A partial lunar eclipse takes place on August 7th in the sign of Capricorn.

A total Solar eclipse will occur on August 21st. It will be visible in totality within a band across the entire United States. First it will be seen in Oregon and the last state to experience the eclipse is South Carolina. The last time the United States had a total eclipse crossing 48 states was 100 years ago, in June of 1918.

In the past an eclipse was considered an omen, foreboding a challenge. Indeed an eclipse often indicates a change of consciousness. The darkness is momentarily visible. It enters into our awareness, offering a different perspective. That which has been hidden from sight becomes known.

The eclipse takes place roughly over 4 degrees Leo and if you have any significant planets near this degree, especially the Sun, Moon or Ascendant, you may experience a transformative change in the near future. Although eclipses often have a negative connotation, they can also bring us positive change.

The eclipse will last over two minutes, and the degree where the eclipse takes place becomes activated for the next two years. This means that when planets transit this degree they can trigger a change.

Mercury Stations at the Same Degree as the Eclipse

Mercury turns retrograde between August 12th and September 5th in Leo. Mercury returns to the degree of the eclipse (which can trigger a change) during the first days of September. Mercury stations at 4 degrees Leo, the place of the eclipse, for several days. Mercury will be conjunct Mars and turns direct on September 5th.

The first week of September may end up being more eventful than the time of the actual eclipse.

Mercury governs communication, education, trade and commerce. These areas could be affected.

Saturn Turns Direct on August 25th

Slow moving Saturn turns direct at 27 degrees Scorpio a few days after the eclipse. This means that he is powerfully stationed on this degree the entire month. A strong Saturn can be positive or negative depending on a person’s chart.

Mars Moves to Leo on August 26th

When Mars moves into Leo on August 26th he will meet Rahu and they will both be conjunct on August 25th and August 26th in deep Gandanta. Ambition and competition can manifest as a tumultuous struggle.

Astrological Influences on the US President this August

Because the eclipse happens in Leo (leadership), it will have an affect on many world leaders.

This is a very intense time for Donald Trump. Saturn has stationed very near his Moon/ Ketu which generates a great deal of emotional pressure for him. In addition, Saturn aspects his natal Sun/ Rahu where it manifests as power struggles and opposition.

The Great American Solar eclipse on August 21st may not Make America Great Again in the way Donald Trump had in mind. It occurs close to the President’s Ascendant and Mars in Leo. The eclipse is bringing out secret information. When Rahu moves to Cancer it will add emotional pressure on Donald Trump. When Saturn moves into Sagittarius at the end of October Saturn’s influence will be easier for Trump.

The chart of the United States reveals that the United States is in the first part of a Rahu period which often is tumultuous. (The Vedic astrologer James Kelleher has calculated its birth time based on research: 07/04/1776 at 18:30 in Philadelphia, Pa).

Keep Life Simple

If you can avoid it, do not plan to begin any important activities during the latter part of August and the first week of September. Keep life simple and do not make elaborate plans. It is a good time to clean, get rid of clutter and donate items to charity.

During an eclipse it is helpful to be inward because the energy of an eclipse is also inward. We can gain new insights into life and ourselves if we meditate during this time.

August 2017 – Astrological Dates to Remember:

  • 8/1  Rahu in deep Gandanta between Cancer and Leo all month
  • 8/7 Lunar eclipse in Capricorn
  • 8/12 –9/5  Mercury retrograde
  • 8/16  Sun and Rahu conjunction at 0 degrees Leo
  • 8/17  Rahu in Cancer  0 degree
  • 8/21  Solar eclipse at 4 degrees Leo
  • 8/21  Venus in Cancer
  • 8/25  Saturn turns direct in Scorpio
  • 8/25  Mars and Rahu conjunction 29 degrees Cancer
  • 8/26 Mars in Leo



Astrological Highlights: July 2017

Vedic astrology July 2017

As we enter into the month of July, the Sun, Mars and Mercury are in Gemini. Gemini is an air sign ruling ideas and communication. With so many planets in this sign, there is an abundance of information to be processed.

All of these planets will be moving from Gemini into Cancer this month. Mercury moves into Cancer on July 2nd, Mars joins Mercury on July 11th, and the Sun moves into Cancer on July 16th.

Mars is Debilitated in Cancer

Cancer, which is ruled by the Moon, is a feminine, reflective and nurturing sign very different from Mars’ assertive energy. Mars is therefore considered debilitated in Cancer.

Cancer represents the home and the environment we live in. Even though the transit of Mars in Cancer can be frustrating in some respects, it can provide energy for home improvement projects. It is also a sign where the desire for security is high.

Mercury Transits Cancer and Leo

Mercury travels full speed through Cancer and remains in this sign for only eighteen days. On July 20th Mercury moves into Leo. Mercury is in for a long stay in this sign and does not leave until September 26th. This is because Mercury retrogrades while in Leo between August 13th and September 4th.

New Moon in Cancer

Mars will be very close to the Sun and the New Moon in Cancer on July 23rd. Such a close combination of Sun and Mars makes for a fiery energy, heated emotions, and potential physical fires. This is a perfect time to practice being even minded and cheerful.

Saturn Retrograde in Scorpio

Last month we experienced the unstable energy of Saturn in Gandanta when this planet moved from Sagittarius and back into Scorpio. Saturn represents structure and while on the cusp between a fire and a water sign we can experience fires and accidents involving water and landslides. Saturn is now moving away from the intense Gandanta zone and continuing its retrograde in Scorpio.

Venus is Strong in Taurus

Saturn’s unstable energy is to some extent balanced by Venus in Taurus. Venus, a planet of prosperity, is stable and persistent in this earth sign.  

Venus in Taurus receives aspects from both Saturn in Scorpio and Jupiter in Virgo. We can see both restraint and expansion competing for the attention of Venus. Venus leaves Taurus on July 26th and moves on to Gemini.

Major Eclipses and Changes in August

Next month is very eventful from an astrological point of view. There will be a Lunar and Solar eclipse, Saturn ends his retrograde and moves direct in August, Rahu moves to Cancer and Ketu moves to Capricorn. The solar eclipse on August 21st (referred to as the Great American Solar Eclipse) will be the first time the United States will experience a total solar eclipse from coast to coast since 1918. Prepare for changes coming up!

Astrological dates to remember:

July 2017

  • July 2nd – July 20th: Mercury in Cancer
  • July 8th: Full Moon in Sagittarius
  • July 11th –  Aug 26th: Mars in Cancer
  • July 16th –  Aug 16th: Sun in Cancer
  • July 20th –  Sept 26th: Mercury in Leo
  • July 23rd: New Moon in Cancer
  • July 26th –  Aug 20th: Venus in Gemini



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.



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All text and images © Copyright 2012-16 Elisabeth Preston. All rights reserved.
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