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April 14th-20th: Into the Fire

We begin this very active week with the Sun entering Aries early on Saturday the 14th, where it will remain until May 14th. The Sun is in exaltation in Aries, making this an easeful transit that flows without interference. The Sun entering Aries will have the effect of defining personal boundaries and helping to allow activity and action to be taken without as much emotional reactivity. The previous month amplified sensitivity, which allowed for greater empathy but also for more distraction. We will now be able to do our work in a more authoritative manner with added focus of purpose. With Mars in Sagittarius now, there is fire and passion that can work wonderfully for achieving goals and implementing physical change, although the current retrogrades may require that we move a bit slower in the process.

Mercury retrograde ends on Sunday the 15th, although we will be in the shadow period until May 5th. Coming out of Mercury retrograde will aid with mental focus and the ability to communicate our ideas and feelings to others with more clarity. Delays are lifted or softened. The shadow period is the time between when a retrograde ends and when the planet is able to get beyond the point it was at when the retrograde first began. We are retracing our steps, so to speak. Mercury is retracing the degrees of Pisces, finally moving forward to new ground on May 5th as it enters 23 degrees Pisces. This very long transit of Pisces is not the most comfortable territory for Mercury, who is debilitated in the sign. This lengthy transit (which will finally come to a close on May 9th, when Mercury enters Aries) places communication in a more emotional, intuitive realm. Interactions may be more abstract and not definite. It will be difficult to make plans, and we may need to wait a couple weeks until the shadow period ends to come at certain issues from a completely new perspective. We may get in our own way if we attempt to push for clear understanding in relationships or business dealings before then. A vague agreement may be all we can ask for until that point.

The new moon in Aries occurs on Sunday, bringing with it a renewed spark. This is the “spring cleaning” moon. Aries gives us physical vitality and strength, and the new moon is a time for shedding and removing what no longer aids us on our path. This is a useful day for literal spring cleaning of the house or environment, or for more energetic cleansing through exercise, stretching, or cleaner eating. It will be difficult to sit still during this day, however, and the mind may be restless. Channeled activity is a good idea; intentions that are set upon simplifying and purifying will have the best results. The moon will be at 2 degrees Aries in the lunar mansion of Aswini, the horse goddess. This is the first lunar mansion and so has a fresh, new energy. Aswini has a low tolerance for boredom and stagnation, and activity and action will spur us on throughout the day.

On Tuesday the 17th, Saturn will enter retrograde. Saturn’s retrograde takes place in Sagittarius, beginning at 16 degrees and traveling back to 9 degrees Sagittarius before resuming normal motion on September 6th. We will discuss this in depth over the next few weeks and months, checking in on its effects in tandem with the Jupiter retrograde that is still going strong. The main thing to remember during this time is that greater levels of freedom will be desired in different arenas of our lives (through the Jupiter retrograde), but the Saturn retrograde will force these to constrict more than is comfortable. This is an ongoing, give and take process that will slow down progress but not halt it. We may take two steps forward and then one back. Saturn will require us to deal with karmic work upfront and honestly. We are not able to skate by Saturn unnoticed into the wide open fields of Jupiter. We have to pay our toll and then are allowed to move forward. I will be doing a video post soon helping you to identify which areas of your life this retrograde may impact based on the house position of Saturn in your Vedic chart.

This intense week closes out with Venus entering Taurus on Friday the 20th. This transit lasts for roughly three and a half weeks. Venus rules over Taurus, and so is at home for the duration. This increases grounded creativity, allowing for more manifestation to occur in the physical realm. Venus is now well out of the combustion range from the Sun, helping the planet of love and beauty to shine fully in its own unique light. The Venusian energies pair perfectly with those of Taurus, resulting in sensuality and gentle, harmonious interactions should we allow them. This is a romantic transit, but is realistic at the same time. Taurus plants our feet firmly on the earth, and enhances creativity in a way that is intimately connected with the planet and the natural world. Music and dance will feel very natural, as will exercise and sport for others. This earthy transit balances out the more fiery, ungrounded energy coming from Sun in Aries and the Sagittarian Saturn retrograde. It gives us a definite, realistic outlet for our energy and creativity to flow.

April 7th-13th: Retrograde Season

This week is devoid of any new major transits of any kind. When there are no major planetary transits, this doesn’t necessarily equal a quiet week. We are still feeling the effects of the heavy Mars/Saturn contact from last weekend, and Mercury and Jupiter are still continuing their retrograde cycle. Saturn will be entering retrograde on April 17th, so it will be useful to utilize the time leading up to that to prep ourselves. We will dive more deeply into Saturn’s retrograde next week, but for now we will look a little into what we can expect.

Saturn’s retrograde cycle will take place in Sagittarius, beginning at 16 degrees and traveling all the way back to 9 degrees Sagittarius in September. Seeing as this retrograde will last five months, the lessons are spread out. While they may be intense, it differs from a Mercury retrograde, whose complexities are packed into just a few weeks. A Saturn retrograde is more like a good story, with an introduction, build-up, climax and conclusion.

Jupiter will be in retrograde with Saturn through mid-July, so the next few months will be more confusing, with greater clarity coming by the end of July. While Jupiter retrogrades affect our ability to expand our sphere of awareness and influence, Saturn retrogrades impact us on a more karmic level. Saturn tends to look for the chinks in our armor and remind us of them, sometimes in uncomfortable ways. In Sagittarius, the sign Jupiter rules over, Saturn is much more intimately connected with the Jupiter retrograde. While we may wish to expand our awareness, there are some issues in perspective that may hold us back from seeing the big picture. We’ll have to deal with our perceptions of ourselves and others. We can only see the world through the lens we are given, and it is up to us to keep this polished and clear. Our unique viewpoint allows us an individualized view of the world, but Jupiter longs for more. Jupiter wants to see things in an even wider scope. This will impact things like study, travel, business and expansion in literal and figurative ways.

If you look at your Vedic chart and see which house Sagittarius is in for you, you will be able to see where the Saturn retrograde will be operating. I will do a video soon about the different houses and how the Saturn retrograde could impact each.

In the Vedic world, Aries season does not begin until Saturday the 14th when the Sun enters the physical celestial zone of Aries in the night sky, actively beginning the solar sidereal calendar for the year. We are still in the Pisces zone of collective consciousness, and it is easy to sink a place of confusion or feel overwhelmed. There is a lot of energy zooming around, and more sensitive people could feel barraged by this. As more planets shift over into Aries, it should be easier to make a clear-cut choice and not be so influenced by others. Our energy will start to take on more pronounced boundaries.

March 31st-April 6th: Chipping Away

This week’s energies are tied up in the full moon on Saturday the 31st, taking place in the Vedic domain of Virgo, in the lunar mansion of Hasta. As with any full moon, the focus is on harvest and culmination. The two week period leading up to a full moon is ideal for receiving, refining and beginning to work toward something new. This is in contrast to the two week waning period of removing what no longer serves, and focusing more on shedding and simplifying.

In Virgo, the full moon’s energies are more solitary. There is less focus on community and outreach, at least in the way of implementing immediate change. We are forced to draw inward and get in touch with our physical reality. This is a time for self care, and focus on our own physical and mental health. Despite the demands of others and the outside world, it is more beneficial at this time to tap into what your body needs from you at this time. While self care is always important, the Virgo full moon demands it from us rather than offering up a polite suggestion. If you are feeling sick, run down or drained, consider what your body is asking of you. Do you need more rest, better food, more water? Do you need to take time away from people who make you feel taxed or overwhelmed? Consider the small ways in which you can begin to incorporate these changes into your life. You don’t need to get it all correct the first time. By making small shifts and being kinder and more patient with yourself, you can work towards health on all levels.

This moon is in the lunar mansion of Hasta, or skilled activities. This is a perfectionist’s moon, and while we will likely be motivated and ambitious during this time, a need for total perfection can hold us back from accomplishment. By taking the time to be patient and loving with one’s self, this can be alleviated to some degree.

This will be important to remember as Mars and Saturn come into conjunction on Sunday the 1st at 15 degrees Sagittarius. Mars and Saturn have a reputation as being harsh or malefic in Vedic astrology. I think this is all relative, but they do tend to pack a heavy punch, especially when paired up together. Saturn restricts what it touches, and as it comes into contact with Mars on Sunday it can slow down activity and energy. The two planets offer up tension in the domain of Sagittarius, which wants to be active, expansive and adventurous. Saturn makes us slow down and rethink our every move, while throwing Mars into the equation can create a hopeless frustration to push on ahead anyway. If we attempt to do this anyway, our wheels spin out and nothing ends up getting done. Unfortunately, Saturn is the lord of the manor and there’s no outsmarting him. Saturn is not evil and doesn’t create restriction; the planet shows us where we are limiting ourselves and forces us to slow down and think about what we’re doing and why. This feels so uncomfortable for most people that Saturn transits have gotten a bad reputation as a result. Sometimes Saturn does bring intense changes and pain, and so the best way to manage this is to do our homework. In the midst of the Mars/Saturn tension this week, see where it is you want to go and keep chipping away at it. You may not get there overnight, but every little effort is seen and recognized for what it is. Keep going.

(Also: the Shop page is now up and running. Charts and transits coming soon. There are tarot and I Ching readings available at present.)

March 24th-30th: Slow and Steady

We are in the process of a slow, deliberate energetic build this week. While there are not many planetary contacts or transits to speak of, the main feeling is one of gathering energy and beginning to formulate the next step of the journey. The last two weeks were slower and more internal, but now we are beginning to move toward action. This requires beginning to take notice of the external world and figuring out how we fit in with it. Whatever we hope to manifest in the world can be helped along by now focusing our attention on the things around us: people, places, situations.

Venus shifts into Aries this week on Monday the 26th. This is a speedy transit, only lasting until April 19th. From March 1st to now, Venus was exalted in Pisces. When a planet is exalted during a transit through a sign, its energy can be expressed gracefully, easily and in a way that is simple for most people to navigate (unless their own birth chart is dissonant to it). Now in Aries, Venus’s energies are diminished slightly, though are by no means restricted. Aries is more direct and action-oriented, and typically we are inspired to take chances or risks during a transit of the first sign of the zodiac. Venus impacts our relationships and partnerships, as well as our eye to see art, beauty and the divine. Aries is so driven and fiery that it can be difficult for the energy to slow down to give an adequate look at the big picture. With Venus traveling through its zone, the Aries energy can best be honed by taking skillful and deliberate action rather than flailing about in an effort to do something, anything. It’s a restless vibration, which can make some uncomfortable. It can feel as though we can’t do enough when it comes to our creativity and intimate relationships. There may be too many plans and not enough time in the day to accomplish them, or so it could seem.

The key here is to lower the expectations slightly. Instead of trying to keep the next twenty steps in your mind’s eye, look at the next few. It will be easier to accomplish more once the Sun enters Aries in mid-April. Venus is acting as a scout here, and allows us to take the preliminary steps while we may wait until later in April to take tremendous leaps. These baby steps are absolutely necessary, and can lay the groundwork for positive change later on. By trying to leap too soon, we may stumble and set ourselves back. Consider this as you interact with those closest to you, and as you work on creative type projects this week and next.

March 17th-23rd: Action and Assessment

This weekend’s new moon in Pisces could have been described as the shedding moon. This is a time to cast away the things that don’t serve us anymore. Even if there are still things in your life that feel limiting or constrictive, recognizing what makes you feel this way is good work and it will be easier to begin to shift toward a fuller realization of what you seek. A lot of this work will be mental, in that we may have to change the way we think about things, or open up to new perceptions. If we are unwilling to do this work, we can be met with tension. We will likely have to drop judgments about ourselves and others during this time. As the moon begins to wax again on Sunday the 18th, we start to build toward the fiery energy of lunar Aries. While the new moon was for recognizing what you are ready to release, the coming week will be for beginning to implement this. If you are ready to make changes, you will likely need to take inspired action.

The Vernal Equinox is on Tuesday the 20th, bringing spring in the northern hemisphere and autumn in the southern. This is the point in the year when the Sun crosses the celestial equator heading north. Energy increases and we strive toward action and activity, or else may feel restless.

Mercury retrograde begins again this Thursday the 22nd. The retrograde period will last until April 15th, with the shadow period extending beyond that until May 5th. The retrograde begins at 23 degrees Pisces and will retreat all the way back to 11 degrees Pisces (on April 15th), when it will resume normal motion and continue making its way forward through Pisces. We don’t reach new ground (beyond 23 degrees Pisces) until May 5th. Mercury normally spends about three weeks in a sign, but because of this retrograde will be in Pisces for twice that time. This is excellent for spirituality, psychic development and sensitivity and empathy toward others, but it may be challenging for work in the material or physical sectors.

Mercury retrogrades are common enough, happening a few times each year, but their energy still impacts a lot of people. Part of this is the strengthening of the retrograde through so many people believing in its power in our society, but also because our society runs on the things that Mercury rules over. Mercury rules over speed, communication and zippy technology. It is highly impatient, and having to be slowed down by the retrograde really muffles its positive qualities. Our society is much like Mercury, in that we live in a fast-paced world and rely heavily on instant communication through our technology. When a retrograde hits, it doesn’t mean that all the computers and phones will go on the fritz (although that sometimes happens!) or that progress of all kinds will stop or slow down. It impacts the energy; anytime an energy pattern is disrupted our reactions to it determine whether that energy will manifest in the physical world. The Piscean retrograde makes this especially so, since the energy is caught up in the intuitive, feeling world of Pisces. We may feel as though our own progress is slowing down, or that it is harder to communicate with those around us. By fighting this energy we manifest situations that exemplify the Mercury retrograde (or at least our perception makes it seem like this is so). This doesn’t mean you should lay back and do nothing during a Mercury retrograde, just that you may need to adjust your expectations. You can still accomplish your goals, but you might have to throw out your time table and make sure that you back up all data. Curves appear on a road that seemed relatively straight before; roadblocks crop up. If you try to barrel through them, you could crash your car and leave your wheels spinning. It may be best to slow down, reassess and figure out an alternate route. This is the best analogy for the Mercury retrograde energy and how to operate within its confines.

The shadow period (April 15th-May 5th) is less intense than the full retrograde time, but requires us to retrace our steps in order to break new ground. We may have to deal with some issues we thought we had already solved, or encounter some familiar faces from the past. This period can be very illuminating, and can allow us to react to these old situations in a new way. Shadow periods are wonderful for breaking old patterns or bad habits, since it is easier to spot them overall.

March 10th-16th: Go Deep

This week belongs to the Piscean waters, with the Sun entering the Vedic territory of Jupiter-ruled Pisces on Wednesday the 14th. The Sun joins Mercury and Venus here in Pisces, which has the impact of heightening our awareness and sensitivity. Pisces is attuned to the collective consciousness and so feels the plight of all of humanity. This is helpful for healing and for delving deeply into situations to understand them on a greater level. Pisces is changeable and oscillates between many facets, so it will be more challenging to remain stable and fixed of purpose while the Sun transits the watery realm (until April 13th).

In order to successfully work with the energies this month, you will need to surrender yourself to the current and allow it to carry you downstream. This requires faith and confidence in your own ability to handle whatever comes your way. It will be difficult to navigate through if you are not willing to dive in deep. Surface level interactions with others will be few and far between. This combination of Sun, Mercury and Venus being in Pisces for the next two weeks will propel nearly every contact we make into the unfathomable depths. This can relate to emotional connections, intimacy or spiritual revelation. As we work through this transit, we will find the ties we have to others may shift or fall away. Jupiter, Pisces’ ruling planet, is currently in retrograde as it passes back through Libra. This retrograde will directly influence the Pisces season, and can rearrange our desires and partnerships in surprising ways. By holding too tightly to previous ideas or expectations, we can create unnecessary suffering for ourselves. This is such a changeable time; if you are not happy with the way things are shifting, hold on – you may discover that they shift back before July when the retrograde ends.

We are working our way toward the new moon in Pisces next weekend, the final new moon of the current astrological cycle. This is a time for shedding, and allowing all that does not serve us to fall away. This may require sacrifice or compromise, but will allow room for renewed passion and energy to come in for the upcoming Aries transit. We will have to look deep into ourselves and allow healing to occur. More on the Piscean new moon to come in next week’s forecast.

March 3rd-9th: Swinging of the Scales

This week begins with Mercury entering Pisces on Saturday the 3rd. Mercury typically only spends a few weeks in a sign, but due to the upcoming retrograde (beginning on March 22nd) the time will be extended, meaning this Mercury in Pisces period will last until May 9th. This is a bit of an unpleasant locale for Mercury to transit, and in Vedic astrology the planet of communication is considered to be debilitated in Pisces. Mercury is a planet driven by logic, technology and analysis. The watery, idealistic, abstract qualities of Pisces tend to confuse Mercury, who prefers a more direct approach. During this two month period, there will tend to be a line of conflict between rational thinking and more intuitive or spiritual ways of looking at the world. This conflict can come up between two people, between groups of people or even inside of one’s self. The tendency toward confusion will be greater during this time, so it will be important to be honest and direct with yourself and others as much as you can. The Mercury in Pisces effect is akin to a whirlpool and can sweep us up in its pull. We are likely to experience new and exciting ideas and ways of looking at the world, but we will have to be willing to adjust our beliefs and views accordingly.

Mercury will be aided by Venus, who is also transiting Pisces at this time. Venus is considered exalted in Pisces, and will be able to assist Mercury while the two share the sign. By the time the retrograde hits later this month, Venus will be traveling on to Aries so will leave Mercury alone to handle the disorienting waters of Pisces (starting March 26th). We can prepare for this time by utilizing the positive poles of the Venus in Pisces transit: compassion and empathy for humanity, and a cosmic creative connection that allows us to spread beauty and art that is divinely inspired. We can spread this in both a literal creative way and also in the way we approach the world, by staying connected to the source.

Mars provides a fire as it steps into Sagittarius on Wednesday the 7th; this transit will last until May 2nd. Mars aids us on the physical plane by giving us motivation, energy and momentum. The Sagittarian flavor will provide us with a restless sort of wanderlust and need to expand our horizons. We may wish to break out of old routines or let go of limiting beliefs that kept us feeling trapped and cornered. Mars in Sagittarius desires unlimited horizons and open skies. Saturn is currently in Sagittarius as well, and will influence Mars as it shifts toward conjunction with Saturn. Any time Saturn enters into a conjunction with a planet, it sobers its energy and will require it to take on more structure and boundaries. This is a strange effect when it takes place in Sagittarius, since the sign usually rejects limitations. We may need to balance out our desires for expansion with the more linear timetables of Saturn. Saturn will aid Mars by keeping the fiery energy from overextending and burning out, but we will need to exercise patience as it will also slow down the process. While Mars in Sagittarius will make us want to leap forward, Saturn in Sagittarius reminds us that we should wait until we are sure we have some solid ground to land on.

This big week continues as Jupiter enters the retrograde cycle on Thursday the 7th. This retrograde takes place in the sign of Libra, and will last until July 10th. Jupiter is currently located at 29 degrees Libra, the final degree. When a planet is at this 29 degree mark, there is a sense of discomfort as it seeks to cross into the more stable 0 degree placement of the following sign. It’s a bit like the elements in the periodic table that seek out that extra electron in order to stabilize. Jupiter gets halted in its tracks because of the retrograde and will slide all the way back to 20 degrees Libra before resuming direct motion in July. Jupiter in Libra has encouraged us to expand our partnerships and relationships with others, but here in the retrograde period there is some shakiness. Jupiter may act in unpredictable ways as it retraces its steps. Our connections with others may shake apart, reform or dissolve entirely. We may feel uninspired in certain configurations and choose other ones that seem unexpected. The need for balance may manifest in surprising ways. The Libran scales swing back and forth during this four month period, which is bound to keep us on our toes. This should primarily affect working relationships and creative partnerships.

February 24th-March 2nd: Revelation

This week is primarily about the building up of energy toward the full moon on Thursday the 1st, which will be at 18 degrees Leo in the Vedic calendar. Full moons are culminations of the past month’s lunar cycle, and this one centers around the image we show to the public. There could be a change in how we wish to be perceived, or in how those close to us view us. This could come into conflict with the face we show the world. This is a highly creative full moon that can provide a lot of fiery energy to complete projects or begin to undertake an old project on a whole new level. We may have to reveal parts of ourselves that were previously hidden, which can feel uncomfortable and strange. Leo full moons connect us to our inner child, and it can be a useful exercise to allow ourselves to consider the wishes of the childlike part of ourselves in balance to the more logically minded adult.

The karmic nature of the Leo full moon can be examined if we look at the lunar mansion this full moon takes place in, Purva Phalguni. This nakshatra (lunar mansion) in Leo enhances sensual pleasures, abundance and the creative force. In the karmic wheel of all things, unfulfilled desires lead us toward continued time on the earth plane. This nakshatra is one of reaping rewards and creating matter on this plane, but the downside is that it can highlight the dual nature of reality. That which can be created can also be destroyed, or at least it may appear so from our vantage point. The way out of this is to recognize that transformation is a fact of life, and nothing that once existed can ever really be destroyed. By holding on too tightly to transient things we can create unnecessary suffering for ourselves and others.

Venus enters Pisces on Friday the 2nd, where it will stay until the 26th. Venus is considered exalted while transiting Pisces, and so this should be a pleasant yet brief transit. Venus enters into a parivatana yoga with Jupiter in Libra during this transit, as the two planets are each in the sign that the other rules over. This is an energetic exchange that allows the two planets to team up and work together. Some planets play more easily together, and Venus and Jupiter are definitely amicable with one another. This exchange brings in a heightened spiritual quality to the way we express love, and connects us with those on a similar wavelength. The drive to travel is heightened, although some may find a way to explore through study, meditation or simple connection with others. Venus will transit Pisces alongside Mercury, providing ample creative inspiration for the duration.

February 17th-23rd: Tap In

This is a very quiet week astrologically, with not much happening save for lunar transits. These types of respites are useful for taking a breath, and checking in with the body and subtle energetic systems to see where you are at and where it is you’d like to go. By delving in and becoming present, it is then a lot easier to flow with more intense transits as they arise. It may be useful to look into your own personal Vedic transits this week (the free app AstroSage is beneficial if you want a brief overview).

We begin the weekend with Mercury in superior conjunction to the Sun at 5 degrees Aquarius. This is a fleeting moment, as speedy Mercury will pull away and run forward in the zodiac, chasing after Venus. As with any solar conjunction, the superior conjunction of Mercury to the Sun will lessen the powers of the planet. The light of the Sun can feel inspiring and uplifting, but it may be difficult for thoughts to connect or to communicate properly with others. Technology may have some glitches. This will recede as Mercury creates more distance from the Sun, and by Monday the 19th the capacity for mental clarity increases.

The moon enters Pisces on Sunday the 18th. As the Earth’s satellite waxes, the Piscean energy allows us to connect deeply with the cosmic sea. This is an excellent time to meditate, and get in tune with the inner self and cosmic consciousness of humanity and the universe. This process is different for everyone and may not be so esoteric as it sounds. While some may prefer lighting a candle and sitting in silence, others may enjoy taking a bath, or going for a walk in nature. The ways and means will differ, but the experience is one of communion that aligns you with the undercurrent of life, the true center.

This Piscean lunar transit takes us to Tuesday the 20th, when the moon shifts into Aries. The gandanta knot between Pisces and Aries is especially noticeable, since they are the last and first signs of the zodiac. The domain here takes us from the lunar mansion Purva Phalguni into Aswini. Purva Phalguni is the world tree goddess, akin to the tree of life. Here we are in touch with the roots and offshoots of creation. Aswini requires more grounding and is much more centered in the here and now, and as this lunar mansion is entered into on Tuesday there is a sharp snap-back if you are sensitive to such things.

Aries moon transits are useful for taking action; we shift into the Aswini lunar mansion at the first degrees of Aries, which is called the horse mansion. Like a horse, we charge forward, maybe without even knowing which direction we are moving in. The energy of Aswini pulls us into impulse and can create a restless sensation.

Wednesday belongs to the Bharani mansion of Aries as the moon continues its transit here. The Bharani mansion is passionate and artistic. Early Vedic astrologers believed when the moon transited this sign that turbulence would emerge in order for humans to hone their skills of compassion. Those born during this time are said to have powerful shamanic abilities, making this a great day for connecting with nature and animals.

Thursday and Friday the moon will be in Taurus, providing a bit more centering and the ability to tap into worldly ambitions with a little more ease. This is the last week of the Aquarian parade of planets, as Venus will shift into Pisces at the start of March. Enjoy the electric current of Aquarius and allow your imagination and ideas to soar into outer space.