Happy New Year

We have now left 2015 behind and have moved into 2016 according to the Gregorian calendar.The true keeper of time on planet earth is marked by the movements of the planets of our solar system and on an “energetic” level the energy of a new year would start with the first New Moon of the year.

2016 is getting off to an interesting start on a planetary level. The first New Moon of 2016 is on January 9th in the sign of Sagittarius. Additionally, Mercury will go retrograde in the friendly sign of Capricorn on January 5th and the Nodal points move into Leo/Aquarius on January 8th. As we all know we are living through historical times of change along with all of the challenges presented during pivotal time periods. The history is not yet written for these times but it does seem as if 2016 is offering its changes early in the year.

As we return to our daily “after the holiday routine” the energy of the New Moon along with Mercury’s impending retrograde motion may cause our physical and mental energy to be lower than we would like for the beginning of a new year. It is best to not overload our days and to move with the slower energy because just as we can’t reverse the tides of the ocean we can’t really change the energy of the motion or placements of the planets.

Mercury being retrograde simply means it is closer to earth and there is no reason to panic or expect the worst from the retrograde. The energy of a retrograde planet is felt the strongest around the days of the beginning of the retrograde (the 5th) and the end of the retrograde (the 25th). It is those few days when it is best to avoid signing contracts or ignoring the possibilities of travel delays as we set up travel plans or appointments.
Mercury is well-placed in Capricorn and with Saturn making an aspect from Scorpio onto his own sign of Capricorn the period from the 5th to the 25th is excellent for editing or reassessing plans and contracts.

The bigger news is the switch of the Nodal/Eclipse points of Rahu/Ketu from Virgo/Pisces to Leo/Aquarius. The eclipse points change approximately every eighteen months and tend to have a fairly large impact on the world as well as on individual lives. Rahu and Ketu play a role in our karma and tend to bring changes, surprises and confusion into our lives. They work along with the planet Saturn to uncover the truth of our being much like the pressure that is brought upon carbon as it is being transformed into a diamond.

Rahu and Ketu are leaving the signs of Virgo and Pisces on the 8th. Those who have charts with either of those signs prominent have experienced challenges and changes in their lives in the past eighteen months. Ketu has been in Pisces the sign ruling ideals, religion, oil, drugs and media. The past eighteen months has seen challenges and changes to our religious institutions, our news media has reached new levels of distrust, oil prices continue to plummet, America has been forced to face up to drug addiction in “respectable” communities and far too many people have lost sight of higher ideals. Ketu can be harsh in handing out truth.

Rahu has been in Virgo the sign of health, retail sales and detail. While Virgo rules health in general it is also specific to the intestinal area of the body along with a secondary influence over digestion. As we reach the end of this time period it is notable that the general public is being advised that the digestion system is important to the immune system and more attention is now being paid to keeping one’s digestion strong and in balance.

As Ketu ripped away the veil hiding the fact that addiction is not only a problem of urban areas we are witnessing Rahu introducing society to the need to move away from jailing drug addicts and looking for ways of treating addiction as an illness. Rahu and Ketu are influences of technology and we have, of course, seen the retail world grow even more through internet sales rather than store fronts. We have also seen the retail world start to correct itself a bit as stores chose to give their employees off on Thanksgiving Day and we’ve seen the beginning of public opinion shifting against the craziness of “black Friday” shopping.

Virgo is detailed orientated and those with strong Virgo in their charts can often find it hard to let go of the details and their minds will often replay details over and over again until anger or outright fear takes over the mind. The saying “can’t see the forest for the trees” is perfect for the sign of Virgo and this tendency has made life difficult these past eighteen months as more and more people became focused on the details that were important to them and the ability to compromise or empathize with others lessened. It will be nice to have the emphasis on this sign shift and hopefully, people will simply be in a better mood as we move through 2016 and minds let go a bit of petty details.

I strongly believe that every planet and movement has a positive side to it. As we’ve moved through these eighteen months in which our ideals and beliefs were so challenged along with the heightened worry brought about by Rahu in Virgo I’ve noticed a shift in the attitudes and lives of many people. We’ve become aware that our institutions need to be changed and along with the insecurity inherent in these times of change we become more responsible for our own health and balance. Many have been forced, due to the influence of Virgo, to take steps in diet, exercise and stress reduction. As our institutions seem so unreliable we’ve turned inward and found security within ourselves. We’ve begun to take chances on our own dreams because the stable no longer seems so stable and therefore pursuing our dreams no longer seems so unsafe. Every planet and movement is good for something.

2016 is going to bring a focus on the “fixed” signs of the Zodiac because Rahu and Ketu will be in Leo/Aquarius both fixed signs and Saturn will continue to be in the fixed sign of Scorpio and aspecting the fixed sign of Taurus. There is stability in the fixed signs along with stubbornness. This emphasis on the fixed signs indicate that for society, as well as individuals, the changes being forced upon these signs will come with great resistance. Rahu is going to be in Leo the sign of big egos and the ego hates to be wrong. Leo is also an indicator of leaders so it is safe to expect that many political leaders will feel justified in not backing down from their own beliefs and desires. (Here in the US both Trump and Sanders have strong Leo influences in their charts – stay tuned .) On a personal level those with Aquarius, Leo, Scorpio and Taurus planets placed strongly in their charts can expect to be forced to learn to be flexible and to give up control of their lives along with more than a few cherished and righteous beliefs.

The positive side of these nodal placements in the fixed signs is that the fixed signs offer stability and slow but sure growth.
Ketu has a strong influence over science/ technology and during the past eighteen months Ketu has revealed just how dark the dark side of the internet can be but as he occupies the sign of Aquarius the inherent nature of this fixed but humanitarian sign will seek to find ways to slow down the darkness. There will be fights, of course, as society struggles to find solutions to the darkness of the internet but whatever solutions are finally agreed upon should bring long-lasting and stable changes. As Ketu affected the oil industry he now moves into the universal and expansive sign of Aquarius and new industries will appear along with an improved picture for our energy needs. Again, because the fixed signs are all involved the changes will be solid and long-lasting.

It is obvious that across this planet far too many of our leaders are greedy, power-hungry and corrupt. Now that Rahu is moving into Leo many of these leaders will face strong challenges and even more shocking revelations than what we’ve seen so far. Rahu can have a far-reaching sphere of influence and it is very possible that during this cycle we will finally see change that moves beyond cable news and gossip websites as Rahu removes the old and creates the space for the new. Of course, it will seem confusing and even frightening to some but no one can deny that change is required. The recent lessons learned through the nodal points being in Virgo/Pisces will serve us well as we take responsibility for our own health, well-being and peace of mind.

Saturn will continue through 2017 to occupy the sign of Scorpio where he will continue to challenge those with strong placements in Taurus and Scorpio. This continues the lessons of the other two fixed signs of Leo and Aquarius to be open to change, to be flexible and to not be so concerned with control – a control which was very much an illusion anyway. Scorpio is the sign of secrets and through its rulership of the second chakra influences the desire nature. We can expect that, with Saturn aspecting Rahu, secrets will continue to be revealed in personal as well as public lives. Saturn will continue to refine the desire nature so that more people will begin to understand that the acquisition of material objects does not really satisfy the need for inner-peace and security.

Finally, a reminder that Vedic Astrology uses “sidereal” time which is the same time used by NASA and therefore the movement of the planets will not match what is designated by the more well-known Tropical/Western Zodiac. Strong planetary placements in specific signs will require a chart to be calculated but everyone knows their day of birth and while not necessarily the strongest indicator of placements in a sign the Sun will be significant. In the sidereal system: Taurus is 5/15 – 6/15; Leo is 8/17 – 9/16;  Scorpio is 11/16 – 12/15 and Aquarius is 2/13 – 3/13 if you were born in during these time periods you are about to enter into a significant time period.

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Planetary Influences for September ’19

Congratulations to all of us who survived the spring and summer of what amounted to a massive traffic jam of planets. This planetary traffic jam can be likened to a one on a busy urban bridge in the middle of the summer surrounded by diesel –fueled tractor trailers.

As the planets begin to disperse, we still have the journey in front of us, and we might be feeling tired, discouraged, and looking for the energy to move forward. What is left is a big conjunction in fiery Leo and, as of this writing, we still have the Sun, Mercury, Mars and Venus hanging out together. Venus has passed the point of close conjunction, but the Sun, Mercury, Mars are still combust as if they are all fighting with one another to be first to hit the clearest lane on the highway. By the 8th of September Mercury, Venus and the Sun will have moved beyond Mars’ degree in Leo. By the 11th, Mercury and Venus will be in Virgo and by the 17th, the Sun will also be in Virgo. At that point Mars will be all by himself in Leo. These movements will bring lighter energy, and it will be nice to let Mars play alone for a while.

The energy of the fall will be lighter and, hopefully, we will be able to recognize and take advantage of a better personal flow in our lives. We can certainly look forward to Jupiter coming home to his own sign of Sagittarius on 11/4/19. Jupiter is not badly placed in Scorpio, and he has certainly brought positive things to those who have strong placements of planets in Scorpio. Scorpio (being an intense sign which has an association with the subconscious mind) has the ability to get very dark in perception and attitude, and I think that Jupiter being in this sign has served the planet by protecting it from going even darker in emotional actions. Going into Sagittarius will allow Jupiter to give the boons for which he is known. Most likely he will not be completely free until Saturn moves into Capricorn on 1/24/2020.

Saturn, as usual, is always the biggest player in the transit journey of the planets. (Transits are the current positions of the planets and interact with our birth chart planets.) It takes approximately three years for Saturn to move through a sign and, during that time period, he will often slow down the progress of the affairs of the house placements and frustrate those who try to push Saturn to give what he doesn’t want to give or to move him faster than he wants to move. Saturn will shed light on the darker side of one’s self and life because Saturn is the truth-bringer. Saturn is also one of the keepers of the karma we brought into our lives to work on this lifetime. Karma, despite what some of today’s teachers are proclaiming, does exist but not as a punishment (that’s a western world concept) for past transgressions. Karma indicates action/work – in other words it indicates that we can work through whatever it is that blinds us to our true identities as unlimited souls. It is karma which brings us back to a physical form, and no other planet shows us the way better than Saturn. Once we are focused on the truth of “being,” Saturn can become a big source of comforting strength.

Saturn does not do particularly well in Sagittarius because Sagittarius, among other things, is about expansion, freedom and prosperity. Additionally, this cycle of Saturn also includes a very close conjunction to Ketu, the South Node of the Moon, and Ketu is known for his own tendency to align with karma. Ketu is an energy that operates through negation and can be very challenging when it comes to ease of mundane life. These two in combination can feel like one is walking through a dark tunnel in which the light has to come from within. They’ve been closely conjunct for a few months and could play a role in why even with the messy planetary summer, we’ve had many do not feel the lightening of the energy around us. Saturn will move into direct motion on 9/17 whereby he will “once again” conjunct Ketu from 9/23-9/30; by 10/14 Saturn will be three degrees past Ketu and on his way to moving into his greatly improved position in Capricorn. Saturn and Ketu operating together will help facilitate neutrality and objective thinking. Try to rise above emotions and be an observer of the actions of others without taking everything so personally.

While it is reasonable for all of us to focus on what our individual planets and karmas indicate, we are always part of a greater whole and the greater whole also deals with karma. Saturn in Sagittarius is currently in the first house or ascendant of the chart of the United States. Saturn and Ketu being closely conjoined in the ascendant of the chart of the US brings about the issue of our country’s own karmic challenges. We are dealing with the racism upon which a great part of America’s prosperity was founded as well as the truth of the fact that, unlike the lore of America being founded for religious freedom, it was always about money and the expansion of empires. Every freedom achieved by the people has had to be fought for – from allowing the common man to vote, to women being able to vote, to removing the legal mandate that gave black people only 3/5 of a human being designation along with stealing this land from those who were here before the Europeans. This is a large number of “original sins” and, in many ways, these anti-human policies have only worsened over the years as we became a world-wide power via war and our corporate structure. Saturn and Ketu are presently showing us all that we’ve become so out of balance that the top-heavy energy is too much for us to function in a healthy manner anymore. Thus, it seems that we no longer even have a functional government.

However, we also had some enlightened people write our original goals and constitution, and the fight to live up to those ideals will continue. Saturn was in Sagittarius (Sagittarius is considered the sign of the oligarchy and the Republican party.) for the crash of the economy in 1929, and it was under a republican/corporate administration that the Great Depression occurred. The economy began to recover once Saturn moved into Capricorn (Capricorn is considered the party of the Democrats and the people.) and began to restore a balance which favored people. Today’s fighters for America are much more savvy and forthright than those in the early 20th century, and I expect that when we restore balance this time, it will be a stronger balance than what was restored for white male Americans the last time. No matter how dark it seems now, we should not underestimate the power of Saturn’s sojourn through his own sign of Capricorn.

On a personal level, once Saturn has moved beyond Ketu in October and Jupiter moves into Sagittarius, we should be better able to see a light at the end of the tunnel. In the meantime, with some focus and detachment, we can also see the light within us which will light up that tunnel.

***Due to the historical significance of this time period I am currently working on an article based on the historical and mundane results of prior placements of Saturn in Capricorn.  It will be published in the near future.

Hot Summer Times

Between now and August 9th, we are going to experience the Lunar and Solar Eclipse cycle, Mercury retrograde, and Mars being in debilitation.  It seems that much of the summer of 2019 will be hot, confusing, and fraught with both personal and worldly challenges.

MERCURY retrograde – 7/7 to 7/31 (Gemini/Cancer)

ECLIPSES – 7/3 and 7/16 (Gemini Sagittarius)

MARS goes into debilitation 6/23 to 8/9 (From Gemini to Cancer)

SATURN retrograde until 9/17 (Sagittarius) closely conjunct Ketu

During times of planetary challenges, there are always opportunities for both personal growth and inner peace if we are prepared and determined to be non-reactive to outer circumstances. The three signs that will see most of the action are Gemini, Cancer, and Sagittarius which are the signs containing the eclipses as well as Mars (until 6/23) and Mercury.  Those who have major placements in these three signs will be under the direct glare of our planetary friends. Major placements would be having the Ascendant, Moon, or Sun in the above-mentioned signs.  However, all of us have these signs somewhere in our charts through house rulership, and the activities indicated by the houses will be heightened this summer.

Mars is currently in the sign of Gemini along with Rahu, the north node of the Moon.  Mars is usually associated with accidents, and Rahu is known for chaos and surprises. Gemini is one of the signs of transportation, weather, and the media which has not been lacking stories of horrific accidents and destructive weather patterns.  I expect weather and accidents to continue be an issue during June and July.

Gemini also rules the nervous system, the intellectual mind, and communication.  Gemini is not known for being a physically strong sign, and having transit Rahu and Mars occupying Gemini can stress out the nervous system while bringing about a higher level of illness related to infections of the lungs and bronchial system.  We are currently experiencing an extra-long flu season along with higher rates of respiratory illnesses. Mars rules the blood as well as infections, which can account for the increase in these illnesses.

Mars can be very hard on the nervous system, which can be our first line of defense in handling the stress in our lives. Far too often, people can’t control their impulses or reactions if the nervous system is challenged. The basic nature of Mars is aggression, anger, and impulsive actions.  Those who have a weakened nervous system are especially vulnerable to the more destructive impulses of Mars.

There will be both a lunar and solar eclipse happening during this time period. Eclipses are known for causing emotions and imagination to become stronger than logic or rational thinking. Mercury is going to be retrograde and involved with the eclipses and the Mars placement.  It can be a challenge to stay detached and emotionally balanced throughout this time period. These configurations are temporary, and losing one’s temper or making foolishly spontaneous decisions can often have a long term negative effect on one’s life and relationships. Allowing our emotions to cause us to curse someone out or impulsively quit a job or end a good relationship (because of the Mars energy) may feel good in the short term, but the long term result can be painful.

Mars will enter Cancer, its sign of debilitation, on June 23 and stay in Cancer until August 9th.  Fortunately, Jupiter will be aspecting the sign of Cancer, offering some level of protection to an unhappy Mars.  Cancer is the sign of home and family which can often be a place of comfort and security.  For those who give in to the lower side of the Mars energy, beware!  Once Mars enters Cancer, there is a possibility that he will bring the results of negative actions taken during the transit of Mars through Gemini right into the home and family.

Travel delays and mistakes are common throughout Mercury retrograde, as well.  This time period is during the eclipses, so it might be hard to distinguish eclipse confusion from Mercury confusion.  As much as is possible, one should avoid new undertakings and complex contracts during this time period.  If traveling, it is important to leave extra time and be prepared for delays.  During most of the retrograde period, Mercury will be placed in Cancer and, while there, he will be with debilitated Mars.  These placements can indicate surprises and poor communication within the home. It is not a time to get unnecessary work done on our homes or to have expectations that teenage children will all of a sudden sprout angel’s wings. It is a time to make sure cars are in good working order, and curfews are enforced.  It is advised to keep meals simple and to choose relaxation over cleaning one’s carpet.  During these weeks, let people be and do not make a big deal over every detail or action that may be annoying to us.

Because the eclipses are taking place in the signs of Gemini and Sagittarius, we can expect that the drama and lies pervading our media will continue, as will the chaos and incompetence of the current administration. I expect during June and July to see more shocking revelations.  Since all of this will be taking place during eclipses and Mercury retrograde, more than a grain of salt should be taken with our information meals.

Given that we can’t control the world around us nor can we escape the influences of the planets on our chakras, energetic bodies, or the mindset of our loved ones, family and community, we are left with finding our own inner balance and harmony as we travel through the temporary influence of June and July.

The basic elements of fire, air, water, and earth permeate our bodies even though these elements are unseen to the naked eye.  Gemini is an air sign, and Sagittarius is a fire sign. Sagittarius, as the opposite sign of Gemini, is influenced by both Mars and Mercury retrograde while the eclipses always affect two signs – in this case Gemini and Sagittarius.  Mars is all fire (pitta) and, when connected to another fire sign and an air sign, the fire can easily become too hot.  Sometimes the simplest and most effective way to handle the energy is through taking care of the physical body.  This time period will respond very well to keeping down our levels of inflammation.  During the summer months, watching inflammation levels is important, and this summer it is really important to be watchful of the foods we eat.  One of the easiest ways to do this is to eat “pitta pacifying” foods:

Apples, Berries, Bananas, Grapes, Papaya, Peaches, Plums, Strawberries

Artichoke, Asparagus, Broccoli, Corn, Cucumber, Celery, Green Beans, Jicama,            Leafy Greens, Mushrooms, Okra, Olives, Peas, Sweet Potatoes

 Apple Juice, Berry Juice, Coconut Milk, Coconut Smoothies, Fig Shake, Goat

 Milk, Mango Juice, Peach Nectar, Pear Juice

 Avocado Oil, Coconut Oil, Olive Oil, Sesame Oil, Walnut Oil.

The air element (Vata) is important to the nervous system, so it is a good idea to work with meditation and the breath in order to keep the air element in balance:

All breathing should be done through the nose only.

Alternative Nostril breathing will quickly bring the mind and thoughts back into balance. Sitting up straight either on a chair with the feet flat on the floor or in meditative posture place the thumb of the right hand on the right nostril and the pinky finger on the left nostril. Close off the right nostril and inhale for four seconds through the left nostril. Hold the breath for two seconds. Release the thumb from the right nostril and exhale for four seconds. Keeping the thumb off of the right nostril immediately inhale for four seconds. Hold for two seconds. Release the pinky from the left nostril and exhale for four seconds. This is one round.  Immediately begin the cycle again by inhaling through the left nostril to continue the breath cycle. Twenty-six repetitions is ideal, but even eleven repetitions will be positive.

Complete breath will calm down frayed nerves and is a good practice before meditation.  Sit as above with the palms facing upwards, touch the thumbs to the index fingers on both hands, close your eyes, and begin long slow breathing through the nose.  If you are not used to doing this breath, inhale for four seconds, hold the breath for four seconds* and exhale for four seconds. *If you have high blood pressure, heart problems, or find that your body is uncomfortable during the hold only hold the breath for a moment.  If you have other concerns, you should speak with your health care provider.

Mudra

Mudra is the Sanskrit word for seal and most often involves the placement of the fingertips.  These positions work on a subtle level to enhance energetics.  The pinky is assigned to Mercury and holding the tip of the thumb to the tip of the pinky while breathing or even sitting in a traffic jam or business meeting this simple action will signal a calming influence throughout the nervous system.

2019 seems to be flying by and, given the amount of planetary action taking place, I believe the months of June and July will go by quickly.  All of the days throughout this time period will not be challenging which means there is no reason to cower and hide.  There will be good days, as well, and it is important to participate in activities which bring simple fun into our lives, so…. swim, hike, watch funny movies, and take breaks from the daily grind whenever possible.  Just remember to take good care of yourself and those around you during this summer.

 

2019 Spring Equinox

The 2019 Spring Equinox will be exact at 5:58 pm eastern time on March 20th. It will take place with a Leo rising which is opposite Mercury retrograde in the sign of Aquarius.  At 8:45 pm eastern time the Super Full Moon will be exact with the Moon being in Virgo and the Sun in Pisces.  Not every equinox takes place during a Full Moon and Mercury retrograde.  This equinox matches the unique times in which we live.

Generally both the equinoxes and the solstices will be accompanied by an increase in universal energies which can be felt by some and we can notice people being more nervous or enthusiastic during the few days surrounding the celestial events.  This year’s energy is more pronounced by Mercury retrograde and the Full Moon. Additionally, on March 22nd Mars will move into the sign of Taurus and the eclipse points on the 23rd will move into Gemini/Sagittarius.  All of this activity portends more craziness in the world of politics and media along with individuals feeling confused and nervous.

There is not much we can do about the outer world but we can take steps for our bodies and personal lives. It is important to realize that many of our thoughts are more heightened now than usual and that personal relationships can become stressed. Perhaps it is not the best time to solve our relationship issues as there will be too much fear and confusion due to Mercury being retrograde and the eclipse points changing signs.

In my view the key here is Mercury the ruler of the nervous system as well as the intellectual mind. Mercury is not only retrograde but is also the ruler of Virgo (ruler of the Full Moon) and Gemini (the ruler of Gemini the new placement for Rahu).  Virgo is also the ruler of the health and the opposite sign is Pisces is where the Sun (Full Moon is indicated by the Sun and Moon being in opposite signs) is placed during the Full Moon.  Pisces is a water sign and indicates emotions, ideals, dreams and spiritual/philosophical beliefs.  Pisces is the last sign of the zodiac and for the equinox indicates the end of winter as we move into the warmer weather of spring.  It indicates the time when we begin the shed the old for the new and it can be important to pay attention to the health as indicated by Virgo’s involvement.  It is the interplay of these two signs which makes this time of the year a good time to physically cleanse the body of the old as we get ready for the new.

The attention to health that is normal for the Spring Equinox is important this year because there is more planetary change than usual for the 2019 celestial events.  As we cleanse the body we should focus on the nervous system as well because of the Mercury influence – a strong nervous system keeps us steady and helps with the development of equanimity during this time period.

In addition to supporting the nervous system through foods, herbs and vitamins a few minutes of meditation each day will work to our benefit.  One of the easiest and most efficient ways to calm down an over active nervous system is through deliberate breath work.  These techniques do not have to be difficult or time consuming.

All breathing should be done through the nose slowly and with deliberate intent.  As you inhale pay attention to the stomach moving away from the spine (expanding) and on the exhale pull the stomach towards the spine.  (If you have high blood pressure or issues with the heart do not hold the breath in for more than 1 second.)  Provided you do not have health issues simply sit quietly and inhale for 3 seconds, hold for 3 seconds and exhale for 3 seconds for anywhere from 2 to 11 minutes. This will begin to calm down the nervous system and clear the mind of racing thoughts.  Make sure the spine is straight and that the feet are flat on the floor if you are not sitting in a traditional meditation posture.

Alternative nostril breathing is another technique which works on the nervous system and balances the hemispheres of the brain.  One can also simply close off the right nostril and inhale and exhale through the left nostril for a quick balance of nervous anxiety.

Calming music, warm baths, light meals and moments of quiet are also recommended.  The color green is good for Mercury – walking in nature and having some plants in your home environment can have a subtle effect.  For people who are into stones malachite, jade, peridot or other green stones can be beneficial.

Often just taking care of the nervous system can be the most important step to having a healthy and peaceful life.  Life is always about change and we are witnesses to major changes happening in the outside world right now. That does not mean we have to suffer those changes if we remember what is unchanged within us and work with the body/mind to not allow ourselves to get too caught up in the surrounding chaos.

Sacred Teachings

I was told by my teacher “that the doorway to higher knowledge will only be open for a short time.” He was referring to the sacred teachings of yoga as well as other disciplines of the mystics. The knowledge offered by mystics was often kept secret from the general population.  This can be viewed as elitist or even selfish by many and certainly in today’s google driven world keeping knowledge secret can be seen in a negative way.

As I observe words like “empowerment” being bandied about in today’s “new age” world I understand why so many teachings were kept secret.  Empowerment has come to mean power to be able to get that job, purchase that house, start that business or even proclaim mastery to others for prosperity.

The journey throughout the ages for mystics has been to uncover the truth of existence and move beyond the suffering of human life.  There are tools which can be used on this journey but at one time to get the advanced tools one had to have substantial training over the course of a long time of preparation. A mystic tool misused can be as dangerous as allowing a child to experiment with a chain saw.

My own formal training has been in Raj-Kundalini Yoga and Vedic Astrology.  The training was intense and took many years.  My training in Raj-Kundalini yoga was regulated according to the strength of my nervous system and my understanding of the principles of the teachings.  I admit that there were times I was frustrated with the slowness but as I observe the yoga world today I know that it was the right training. Today we have certified teachers who train for just twenty-eight days who don’t even seem to know that releasing the force of the kundalini on a weak body or an undisciplined mind can create both physical and mental illness.  Other teachers speak of empowerment to earn large sums of money or mundane prestige while ignoring the core principles of yoga itself.  As an astrologer I often get clients who feel like failures because they chanted the mantras, did the powerful breath techniques and visualizations but did not get the house, the job, the spouse or even the car.  They end up feeling like failures and/or that they did something wrong.  What was wrong was the misunderstanding of yoga or other sacred teachings because the purpose of the inner teachings was not meant for material success. I end up thinking that there were definite reasons for keeping the sacred teachings secret until a person had earned them.

Before the door closes I would like to share some of the sacred teachings as I know them.  Below is a quote from “The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali Commentary by Swami Satchidananda.”

“ABUTTASYCU DYHKHANATMASU NITYA SUCI SUKHATMAKHYATIR AVIDYA.”

Ignorance is regarding the impermanent as permanent, the impure as pure, the painful as        pleasant, and the non-Self as the Self.

Yoga is a valuable system for health, balance and relaxation.  It can be important to pay close attention to instructors who move beyond the physical and begin to speak about empowerment if the teacher does not understand even the above sutra. 

March Comes in Like a Lion

The month of March can be known for erratic weather as winter ends and spring begins.  The planets, during this month, are as changeable as the March weather and do not promise a calm April.  The truth is that no one needs astrology to tell them that we are living in erratic times.  Astrology can, however, give a look at timing and how to make the best of the changes.

This month’s New Moon will take place in the sign of Aquarius on March 6th and will be accompanied by Mercury moving in apparent retrograde motion beginning on March 5th in the sign of Pisces. Mercury will be retrograde until March 27th but will leave the sign of Pisces on March 15th when he re-enters the sign of Aquarius.  The New Moon is known for a low energy level and as Mercury is retrograde and in his sign of debilitation (Pisces) I expect the energy levels to be lower than usual.

This is a week not to push too hard and to try and schedule some time for extra rest.  It is a good time for cleaning out closets and files with an eye towards releasing the past as preparation for the newness of spring along with the vital step of clearing out unnecessary material goods and emotional baggage.  The next Full Moon will take place on the 20th (Vernal Equinox) in the signs of Pisces/Virgo. As we all know, even though spring may officially take place on the twentieth, the time period is actually a time of transition as winter releases its grip.  Along with cleaning out our homes and minds during this month it is a powerful time to physically cleanse ourselves of the heavier winter diets and physical inactivity.  Virgo is the natural ruler of the 6th house of health and Pisces is the indicator of endings which makes this time period perfect for clearing and cleansing with the new beginnings of spring beginning to show itself.

This natural planetary process is always positive but this year it is important due to the big planetary change which takes place on March 23rd when Rahu and Ketu (eclipse points) change signs.  They are moving from Cancer/Capricorn into Gemini/Sagittarius. In Vedic astrology Rahu and Ketu are known to be primary indicators of unexpected events as well as karmic indicators. Rahu represents desires and Ketu often plays the role of the denier of those desires.  Ketu is more concerned with one’s spiritual awareness and human beings seem to have an unfortunate tendency to not think much of spirit until they run into pain and trouble which Ketu can provide.  If one already puts the spiritual above the material Ketu leads the way to the bliss of the truth of our divinity.

The past eighteen months the nodal points have not been well placed in the signs of Cancer/Capricorn. Cancer is the sign of digestion and one’s home life and is ruled by the Moon.  The Moon is an extremely important planet which rules the mind, emotions, the people of earth, food and stability.  Rahu and the Moon are not considered to be friends and when Rahu is in Cancer he can cause havoc on the entire population. Ketu has been in the sign of Capricorn which is ruled by Saturn.  Saturn is the planet which rules the “general” population while Capricorn has an influence on “rulers” as well as big financial institutions.  Ketu being an influence of “denials” has denied us reasonable leadership and we’ve all observed the chaos of the current administration.  While the upper financial classes have flourished the “general” population has suffered from the lack of leadership as well as a continuation of care for people in general.  The opposite sign of Capricorn is Cancer (families, mothers, food) and Rahu’s reaction to the Ketu restrictions has been chaotic, cruel and truly unnecessary.  The nodal points have not been good for humanity in general.  Here in America we’ve been a people who have chosen to not pay attention to politics and these positions of the nodal points have been a very tough wake-up call for everyone.

The nodal points will bring about a shift for everyone once they occupy the signs of Gemini/Sagittarius and should be more positive.  Gemini is ruled by the planet Mercury which is a friendly planet to Rahu. Gemini is a sign of intelligence, curiosity, flexibility and innovation all qualities that work with the basic nature of Rahu. Of course, the nodal points are more challenging than not and I expect us to see media heightening the levels of drama along with more sources of misinformation. It will be important for everyone to become familiar with fact-checking as the changes in our world continue at a fast pace.  What I noticed during the Rahu placement in the sign of Cancer was an uptick in people experiencing stomach problems along with an increasing awareness of mental health issues and addiction as more and more people began suffering from these issues. Under the Gemini influence I expect to see issues caused by stress on the nervous system to become more prominent.  Gemini/Mercury have a strong influence on education and it is possible that the people may start to push back against our educational system as they realize that education is not only for those who can afford private schools.  Policy is another feature of Gemini and we can expect some strong battles over the current failed policies coming from our leaders.

Ketu will move into Sagittarius, ruled by Jupiter, and Ketu is known to do very well in the sign of Sagittarius.  Ketu will move to restrict the sometimes overly optimistic nature of Sagittarius during the next eighteen months.  Sagittarius is one of the indictors of foreign peoples and countries as well as being the indicator of the Republican party.  During the first ten months of Ketu occupying Capricorn (out of the full eighteen months) he will be with the planet Saturn and that shows restriction on the policies, both domestic and international, of the current administration.  Saturn is the people and our government has not been responsive to the general population under this administration nor have our international relationships been favored.  Ketu and Saturn coming together will help restrict further damage.  Jupiter is known as the ruler the legal system, royalty and moral philosophy.  Ketu will work with the energy of this planet to try and restore the morals of our rulers. The legal issues which have engulfed our country will come to a head under the influence of Ketu. Sagittarius is known for being a positive sign and we may well witness times when optimism seems to be at low ebb. It may not be pleasant but more trouble can be caused by hubris than by taking off the rose colored glasses.  Ketu along with Saturn are showing truth which can sometimes feel awful.

We all have individual lives to live and the new positions of the eclipse points will often shift the focus of our day to day lives.  Each of us will have the affairs of the new house placements come into more importance in our lives.  For instance, if Rahu is now going to be in the Ascendant, one can expect a certain amount of restlessness as the Rahu energy seeks something new in one’s life and often during the eighteen month stay in the Ascendant one will change hair styles, health routines, jobs or will have changes brought into their lives.

The nodal points are meant to help us grow throughout our lives and some placements are more challenging than others.  The new sign placements will be easier but given the times in which we live the upheavals will continue for a while but we can always choose to look at life with balance, awareness and inner growth.  During this time period the nervous system will be challenged via the stress of life as well as the fear of change.  It is important to pay attention to the nervous system through proper activity, rest, food, supplements, meditation and the truth of self/spirit.  Ketu will help with spiritual/contemplation practices as he has a concern with spirituality and the truth of existence. The truth of existence has little to do with money, career success or status and it is important to not approach your spiritual practices as a magic bullet for mundane success as that is not truth.  The game is to be in peaceful truth no matter what the circumstances of physical life and at this point the chaos of the changing world makes the inward journey a better option.

Winter Solstice Greetings!

Friday, December 21st at 5:35 pm, Eastern Time, is the exact moment of the Winter Solstice of 2018. For many the Winter Solstice is a time of celebration. It is believed by some that December 25th was chosen as the celebration of the birth of Jesus in order to align with the pagan celebration of Winter Solstice.  I believe that the Winter Solstice is the astronomical New Year as it is the start of the Sun’s movement towards more daylight and less night darkness.

Solstice is also known for an energetic increase and it is a good time for meditation and yoga as the healing energies are heightened.  It is a busy time, but even a few moments spent in contemplation, listening to high quality music or a short purposeful walk will align with the solstice energy as we move into the year 2019.

The Solstice chart of this year is more positive and harmonious than the chart for 2018 which had all of the benefic planets locked into patterns with the malefic planets.  2018 has proven to be a challenging and difficult year for the residents of planet earth.  Because of the epoch times in which we live the challenges will continue but 2019 holds the promise of some ease and more positive support.

We have been watching the higher energy of the solstice taking place in the recent past as people find themselves being more emotional than usual and some are experiencing illness as their bodies begin to show signs of the stresses of 2018.  The high emotions can be attributed to the Mercury/Jupiter conjunction in Scorpio.  Scorpio tends to act like a warehouse for painful emotions which are stored away in our chakras and subconscious minds.  Illnesses will often manifest once the body feels as if it can get the attention it needs after not getting the care it requires during times of overwork, anxiety and challenges.

While none of the high emotions and illnesses feel good it is positive to actually have the energy and space to release the past now that Scorpio is free from the afflictions of the past three years.  Jupiter is now in Scorpio and conjunct Mercury (until 12/31/18). Jupiter will stay in Scorpio until the fall of 2019 but he can’t give his positive benefits if we are so burdened by past hurts that we are unable to feel the positive energies.  Venus is alone in the sign of (Libra until 1/1/19). Libra, the sign of balance and relationship, is the home sign for Venus and beneath the unsettling emotions Venus is offering hope and the true nature of love.  The hope of Venus is a good reason to work with the emotions of the past in order to let them go and walk into the future without the fear of emotional pain.  These placements are auspicious for the astronomical New Year of 2019.

Our friend Mars will be moving into the sign of Pisces on 12/23 which is good news.  Mars has been a challenging and big influence during all of 2018.  He is moving into the sign of Pisces.  Pisces is a friendly placement for Mars and is a water sign.  Just as water is used to contain fire a friendly water sign does have the ability to contain the fiery independent and aggressive nature of the ever errant Mars.  Mars can be a difficult planet to contain and there is only one planet that can harness Mars.  That planet is Jupiter.  Jupiter is currently in the water sign of Scorpio and from Scorpio he will not only be aspecting Mars he will also be in an exchange of signs with Mars (parivartana yoga). This is a powerful placement and gives us all another reason to hold on to hope as we plan for 2019.  Hope is important as long as we keep our mental perspective and not decide that only a million dollar lottery win will solve our problems.

As we close out this year it is good to know that we are ending the year with positive light from the planetary patterns.  This light might not always be easy to see but it is there if we take a bit of time to uncover it within ourselves.  The energy of the solstice will be helpful as we seek this light as will finding some moments during the holiday season to be grateful for what we do have.

 

To celebrate the Winter Solstice and the new year of 2019 I am offering an 11% discount on full and half hour sessions.  This will be in effect until January 16th, 2019.

Happy Holidays to everyone!

Cosmic Gifts At The End of 2018

Cosmic Gifts to End 2018

We are approaching the end of the challenging year of 2018.  The United States is still under the influence of Rahu, the North Node of the Moon, which started in August of 2016.  Rahu is one of the eclipse points and is known for change, chaos, deceit, media, creativity and the unexpected. Rahu’s influence is calculated by what is known as the “Vimshottari System” in which a planet, based on the Moon’s movement, becomes a primary influence for a specific number of years.  Rahu has an eighteen year influence.

A way to understand this concept is to view it as if a natal chart has moved into a town.  The town will influence the chart/person but is not the only influence– there are multiple influences coming from the planets which will affect a person’s life.  I think that New York City is a good example of living in a Rahu influenced location.  New York City is crowded, energetic, filled with people from all walks of life, creative but also driven by money and ambition. To many people it can be an overwhelming place to live and, like Rahu, can be a challenge to the nervous system.  A resident of this city knows that their entire lives cannot be ruled only by the external chaos of the energy of the city.

I lived and worked as a resident of New York for many years.  The energy was always exciting to me but I also always took advantage of the green spaces, the Hudson and East Rivers and had my home set up for cozy quiet.  I have traveled to other locations and noticed that New Yorkers generally had home spaces which were designed with an eye towards quiet and privacy as an offset to the highly charged streets of New York.  This attitude is similar to what is needed to move through the entire country living in the town of Rahu.  We are living through epoch times and what is swirling around us will continue with the losses, gains and change that Rahu signifies but we have ample opportunities to grow and blossom on the inner level of our true selves.

2018 has been challenging on so many levels but as we look towards the end of this year there are elements of the current transits which offer opportunities for growth, self-knowledge and inner peace. I think that last weeks of 2018 present us with the best days of the entire year. If we work with the transits on an inner level we can participate in the Rahu changes in a way that will benefit others and enhance our personal journey in a positive manner. One of the lessons of this time period is that we can’t control the fast paced changes in the world around us but we can control our reactions as well as the quality of our minds.

The benefic Jupiter moved into the sign of Scorpio in October and will stay in this intense water sign for a year.  All of the planets have sign placements which are considered to be friendly to the planet and Scorpio is a friendly sign for Jupiter. This is the first long term station of a planet in the sign of Scorpio since Saturn parked himself in that sign from November of 2014 and October of 2017.  Saturn is the heaviest and most serious of all the planets while Scorpio is the heaviest and most serious of all signs. Many people, especially those with strong Scorpio placements, experienced losses and challenges in their personal lives during the Saturn transit.  Every sign plays its own role in a chart and even without strong Scorpio planets most people experienced some level of challenge from this placement.  For us in the United States Saturn in Scorpio, along with the energy of Rahu, influenced the election of 2016 and the resulting chaos which defines our leadership.  The outer chaos has prevented many from experiencing a sense of relief when Saturn finally left the sign of Scorpio.

Jupiter’s ingress in Scorpio gives us an opportunity to heal and move forward from the influence of Saturn in Scorpio. Jupiter does not necessarily reverse the losses but he gives us all an opportunity to move on from the losses.  Scorpio strongly influences the subconscious mind and the desire nature. It is a deeply emotional sign with a Mars energy which lead towards dwelling on the past and looking for some type of justice in a world that often gives justice via karma rather than giving egos the satisfaction of exact justice.  This can be a hard lesson for Scorpios as they seek to move forward.  Jupiter is the planet which can bring about a change in attitude and show the way towards letting go while at the same time giving positive hope for a better tomorrow.

As the ruler of the second chakra Jupiter is concerned with the nature of our desires and will assist in letting go of desires which no longer serve us.  In addition to desire the second chakra is an important influence in healing the hurts and disappointments which are often stored in the second chakra.  It is believed that true healing does not take place without a healing of the second chakra.  Under Jupiter’s influence support is given towards techniques which work on healing – meditation, reiki treatments, therapy, massages, yoga are all favored at this time.

In addition to Jupiter being in Scorpio as we approach the end of this year we also have Mercury in the sign of Scorpio until the 31st of December.  This is a longer transit for Mercury because he will be retrograde from November 16th until December 6th. Many people are concerned when Mercury goes retrograde and while he can cause problems with contracts, technology, communication, etc., he goes retrograde three times each year and as long as we use common sense the trouble is usually a temporary annoyance.  (It is good that he will not be retrograde during holiday travel.) Mercury retrograde can be an influence on the subconscious mind and indicates a time of reflection and self-understanding.  Mercury is also, like Jupiter, a benefic planet and it is always positive to have two benefics in the same sign.  Scorpio is a water sign which is connected to the subconscious mind and can be overly emotional which often interferes with clarity of thought.  Mercury is the planet of the neutral mind and along with Jupiter is offering us all the opportunity to see clearly into the hurts and disappointment of our lives and what role we played and more importantly what we were meant to learn as we went through whatever experiences challenged us.  It is likely that during the upcoming weeks we will all have moments of memories which can be painful or even grief-filled.  With the optimistic Jupiter pushing us towards the future this is the time when we have an opportunity to let go of the pain and allow the growth to happen.  Many people live a life defined by their pain and loss when in reality the pains and losses become part of the tapestry but should not be the definition or focus of our lives.  Now is the time to drop some of those stories and break free of the grief.  A simple technique that helps the process is the take a few moments during the times of these emotional memories to chant “vam” (vahm) to release the emotions from the second chakra.

In addition to the benefic influence of Jupiter and Mercury being in Scorpio, Venus is in his home sign of Libra.  Venus entered Libra on September 1 and due to his retrograde motion (10/22 -11/17) he will remain in Libra until January 1st.  Venus is a planet of relationship and is very much at home in Libra the sign of relationship.  Venus is much more than relationship as he is considered the teacher of the “assuras” (demons in Sanskrit) – “assura” in my opinion represents the ego.  The higher principle of love is unconditional love based on compassion and the knowledge of love is the best human expression of the “self.”  Venus in this sign will assist us in releasing the fears and pain stored in Scorpio while leading us towards the understanding that we can rise above pain and reside in a place of love as being.  We can use the mantra “yam – yahm” to raise the energy of our pain – especially pain which we hang onto as a victim – to the fourth chakra/heart center.  This will balance the energy while assisting in opening the heart.

We can’t control the outer world and this is a year that has been horrifying for many Americans to live through and the planets have offered very little help until now. However, the transits of the three benefics, are gifting us with a cosmic harmony to end this year if we are willing to heal, expand and live with compassion.

Please note that all positions are sidereal based on the empirical astronomical positions.  This is always important to me for a variety of reasons but for this particular blog it is important to view these placements through Libra and Scorpio – especially with regard to the Jupiter energy.

Jupiter in Scorpio: 10/6/18 – 11/14/19

Venus in Libra: 9/1/18 – 1/1/19 – retrograde 10/22 – 11/17

Mercury in Scorpio: 10/27 – 12/31/18 – retrograde 11/16 – 12/6