Dennis Flaherty



Vedic Astrology
Predictions for 2014

November and December

We are all thankful now that the stormy celestial weather patterns of October are behind us, featuring two eclipses and a Mercury retrograde aligned with stormy, shadowy planet Rahu. November and December promise better celestial weather.

As predicted in the last Star Trends, Mercury's retrograde with the stormy, shadowy planet Rahu precipitated volatility in business and the stock market. Further, my forecasts around sports and scholastic scandals both emerged in the UNC educational program where student athletes enrolled in "shadow classes" that they rarely or never attended to improve their grade point average. The scandal goes back over a decade and has resulted in more educational oversight on the university level. Thankfully, Mercury will be finally leaving the storm planets behind as we enter the month of November.

On Election Day, November 4th, Mercury will leave the storm planet Rahu in Virgo behind when he enters the constellation of Libra and aligns with the benefic planet Venus. Mercury's alignment with Rahu, up to and including Election Day, should make the midterm elections very unpredictable, with the possibilities that some electoral contests may not be clear until days after the election. Mercury's alignment with the materialistic and stormy planet Rahu will continue the trend of massive cash infusions by special interests in both party's candidates. It will probably set a new record of financial cash campaign contributions for both parties. Be prepared for a wild ride for these midterm elections. Mercury will leave Rahu and align with the benefic planet Venus for most of November so that the direction of business and market trends will tend to move away from volatility. Mercury and Venus in Libra will be particularly beneficial time for those born under the Vedic Sun sign of Libra, October 16th to November 16th or have their Vedic Moon or rising sign therein. It will also portend an easing of stress for those born under the Vedic Sun Sign of Aries opposite Libra April 14th to May 14th or have their Vedic Moon or rising sign therein. Venus's alignment with Mercury for most of the month promises happy holiday festivities and feelings of more connectedness and clearer communication with friends, partners and family. Mercury's alignment with Venus throughout the holidays portends a good shopping season, with many fine deals on technology product upgrades, or even better deals on last generation technology closeouts due to those upgrades. Remember, when Mercury is aligned with benefic planet like Venus, never buy retail!

The stellar news for November of 2014 will be the ingress of the planet Saturn into the constellation of Scorpio, which will take place November 2nd. In Vedic astrology, Saturn is the slowest moving of the planets in the spectrum of visible light, as he spends 2½ years in a constellation. It takes Saturn 29½ years to complete his circuit around the Sun, the same circuit it takes us here on earth only one year to complete. This means the last time Saturn was in Scorpio was almost 30 years ago.

In Indian cosmology Saturn represents the last of the luminous planets, for beyond Saturn there are other planets but they are not visible to our unaided sight. Other planets are recognized beyond Saturn, but are in a different category as non-luminous planets. Therefore, Saturn represents the end of light and the onset of darkness. He is the planet that represents the concept of limitation, as his distance from the Sun stands in testimony to the limits of light. In India he is recognized as the "Sat Graha," the planet of truth. It is Saturn's job to remind us that the world is not a place of infinite possibilities, but a place of finitude and limits. In whatever part of our chart Saturn is transiting, he is reminding us that there are limits to these areas of our lives. He is a herald that the light of day is leaving this part of our life. Fear not, it will return, but at light's end it is time for repose as darkness sets in. Simply stated, darkness is only the absence of light, nothing more. It is not to be feared — the light will return in the endless cycle of light into darkness, and darkness into light. But for now, the light is leaving and darkness calls us to rest and repose. It is time to turn away from the fading light without and turn within.

The limits of light and life are not to be feared, rather, they should be respected with grace and dignity. It is only when we are speeding along and pushing those limits that Saturn reminds us rudely of the speed limit, for when you hit the proverbial wall you cannot work harder or smarter, you must slow down and stop. Limits are not open to collective lobbying or bargaining. They are not just a good idea; they are the universal laws that we all live under. Saturn reminds us to hurry up and slow it down if we have exceeded these limits.

If you were born under the Vedic Sun of Scorpio, November 16th to December 16th, or have your Vedic Moon or rising sign therein, you will be experiencing Saturn's effects for next 2½ years. The other fixed constellations of Taurus May 15th to June 15th, and Leo August 17th to September 16th will also experience the deescalating effects of this Saturn transit. Time management issues will emerge for natives of these constellations. Be careful not to overcommit, or over extend yourself under Saturn's influence. You simply cannot be all things to all people all the time. There are simply too many people and too little time!

Saturn will remind you that there is not enough time, that the light is fading and you must take some of that fading light for yourself, particularly for those of you who have your Vedic Sun, Moon or rising constellation in Scorpio. I urge all of you to define and work within the limits of your responsibilities to work, family and community, but balanced with self-care, and self-reflection. This precious self-time will help to restore your fatigued spirit to meet the continuing responsibilities that will present themselves during Saturn's long transit. Upon doing this, if you start to experience feelings of guilt, self-doubt, or grief, you are really overdue for a break! Talk to a friend or get a referral to a favorite therapist so you can get over your sense of a limitless self. The sages of India say the first rule on the spiritual path is to get over yourself, and Saturn can be a good friend towards this reality-based realization, if you will slow down and take the time to listen. For those Scorpions and other fixed constellations who worship the cult of speed and the notion of doing more with less, Saturn's timely reminders of the limits of life will seem cruel, but if that is what it takes to slow you down and allow you to catch your breath, then that's the way it is.

As I have mentioned many times in these columns, Saturn is an indicator of the science of Yoga. The science of Yoga urges self-inquiry and self-care through the practice of asana. Yogis consider time as breath, so breath management, or pranayama, helps to reduce stress of our daily lives and allow us to enter into a state of calm during stress. Yogis believe each being has only so many breaths allotted to them; indeed the breath of life is limited, not limitless. How do you want to spend the breaths you have been allotted? Do you want to spend them like a hamster on the stressful wheel of life, or like the deliberately paced, long-lived tortoise? The study of the spiritual science of Yoga can help you to slow down the stress and aging process so you can reclaim some of those breaths from your stressful responsibilities and give them back to yourself.

Scorpio is a water constellation, and on the mundane or worldly level of astrology, Saturn will collectively bring into our awareness that the seemingly endless supply of clean water is indeed limited. Global warming scientists have already raised the alarm that due to changing weather patterns and accelerated warming of the polar ice caps we will experience continued flooding in some areas, with persistent drought in other areas. The limits of the world's oceans and fresh water streams and aquifers to absorb environmental pollution will continue to draw both public and political debate. Saturn in a water constellation will once again sound the alarm on the limits of the world's water resources, from agrarian water needs to the needs of all water-based industries, such as fishing, and water usage in fracking in the petro-chemical industry. Limits aren't just a good idea. They are very real, natural thresholds that must be honored.

The month of December continues the alignment of Mercury and Venus, first through the constellation of Scorpio and later through the constellation of Sagittarius. Once Mercury enters Sagittarius on the 13th of December, consumer confidence should be buoyed, and continuing low oil prices will give the public the perception of momentarily having more money. The holiday shopping season should have a spirit of confidence for all concerned. Watch the tendency to overspend this holiday season, particularly on luxury goods, with Venus being strong. The money you are saving on heating oil and that weekly gas bill should be set aside in savings, as the Gods of Oil can always seem to find a reason to resume the escalating price of oil, once the elections and holiday season are over.

The whole month of December will feature Mars exalted in the constellation of Capricorn. Those born under Mars constellations will feel more competitive and exhilarated this holiday season. If you were born under the Vedic Sun sign of Aries April 14t to May 15th, or have your Vedic Moon or rising sign therein, as well as those born under the aforesaid Scorpio, you will feel like your get-up-and-go has momentarily returned. Caution here, for although Mars will be in Saturn's sign of Capricorn powerfully exalted, Saturn will also be in Mars sign of Scorpio at the same time. This planetary combination is called by the name mutual reception, as each planet is in each other's constellation. They become completed, connected in their effects. So, although you might feel you got your "mojo" back during this time, your projects will likely take much longer than anticipated, so plan accordingly.

Along with Aries and Scorpio, If you were born under the Vedic Sun sign of Capricorn January 14th to February 13th, or have your Vedic Moon or rising constellation therein, you will probably experience feelings of frustration if you race too quickly this month in regards to your cherished outcomes. Again, wisdom suggests you pace yourselves very deliberately to journeys end, much like the sure footed goat that is the symbol of the constellation of Capricorn. Concerted deliberation is called for this month if you wish to reach your goals. The Saturn/Mars combination is tough on all perfectionists for these appear to be the most imperfect of times! The wisdom of Saturn suggests it may be far better to see oneself as a perfectionist in recovery, rather than practice, during this holiday alignment!

The celestial planets of light, Venus and Jupiter, along with Mercury, are in benefic constellations from December 13th onward, so enjoy the holiday lights and festivities for this December promises to be a more grateful holiday season. Unsubscribe from the doom and gloom fear-mongering blogs, magazines and newspapers, or better yet, recycle them as packing and wrapping paper for your favorite gifts this holiday season. There will be lots of time for doom and gloom to be named later.

The Winter Solstice arrives on December 22nd this year. This special date is the last day of the dark half of the year in most calendars. It is the darkest day of the year, so the world celebrates this day with numerous festivals of light. Why? To remind us all that on this day the limit of darkness has been reached, and from this day forward the light will gradually return daily, until once again light and dark are balanced the world over on the Spring Equinox. Light, as symbol of hope, has a predictable cycle that that gives grace and joy the world over. Darkness also has a predictable cycle, and it is not to be feared, but rather revered as a time of rest and repose. You would be well advised to follow Mother Nature's lead this December and shed the withered leaves of your weary worldly responsibilities, for if not now, when? There is no growth in the outer world north of the equator come this time of year, for darkness calls us to root ourselves more firmly in the rich soil of friends and family. Make that your priority this holiday season, and as the light gradually returns once passed the Winter Solstice, the outer world will call you yet again to resume your worldly responsibilities in the grace of that increasing light.

September and October

As we celebrate Labor Day this year we will be experiencing very different celestial weather than when the summer first started. Since mid-June the planet Jupiter has entered his most powerful constellation, the constellation of Cancer. Jupiter, the principal planet of light, is powerful in Cancer because this constellation represents the summer Solstice north of the equator, where the light reaches its greatest duration, heralding nature's growing season. The constellation of Cancer represents home and family, and Jupiter's light in Cancer represents a growing season in these areas of life. Jupiter comes to this placement once every twelve years and remains in each constellation he transits approximately a year. You need to look no further back than the summer of 2002 to 2003 where increasing growth in the housing market was responsible for growth in the economy. Once again housing starts have increased and real estate markets appear to finally be coming back from the housing collapse.

If you were born under the Vedic Sun Sign of Cancer (July 16th - August 16th) or have your Vedic Moon or rising sign therein, you will feel an increased sense of optimism concerning home and family. If you own a home, you may wish to expand or remodel in welcoming new planned family members. You may also wish to move to a more desirable neighborhood or community that is more user friendly to family. This is a time of growth for Cancers — just be sure you do not over reach. The material and spiritual growth that Jupiter will foster in Cancer is generally good for all, but there is a dark side to Jupiter's growth. Sadly, growth is not necessarily experienced equally or proportionately across all economic classes.

Since Jupiter has been in Cancer you have seen and will continue to see more mega merger monopolistic activity. Witness Rupert Murdoch's media empire, 21st Century Fox, attempts to acquire Time Warner, following Comcast's acquisition of Time Warner Cable, and AT&T’s acquisition of Direct TV. These monopolistic mergers, if approved by Congress, will only consolidate power in the media industry and directly decrease competition, which will be shortly followed by price increases. The same trend is happening in manufacturing as well, with Electrolux's attempt to acquire GE Appliance, making Electrolux the sole mega giant in the appliance industry, again decreasing competition through monopolization.

This is nothing for labor to celebrate this Labor Day. These mega mergers create enormous financial growth exclusively for those who broker these deals, less so for shareholders. For labor, these mergers flatten wages by eliminating competition, diversification and innovation in so-called free markets. You see, a high tide no longer raises all boats — only the mega boats rise, leaving all others in their wake.

It is truly hard to believe as we come to this Labor Day that it has been just over a century since the anti-monopolistic Sherman Antitrust Act was employed to break up Standard oil. In the words of John Sherman, "The purpose of the Sherman Act is not to protect business from the working of the market; it is to protect the public from the failure of the market." The anti-trust spirit of the breakup of Standard Oil was enacted under a Republican administration. It is hard for labor to grasp today that these current mega mergers have been and are currently taking place during the second term of a supposedly labor-friendly Democratic Presidency, that of Barack Obama.

Since mid-July, Rahu and Ketu, the planets of storm and shadow, have changed constellations. Rahu has left the constellation of Libra and moved into the constellation of Virgo, while Ketu has left the constellation of Aries, and moved into the constellation of Pisces. These planets move in opposition to one another and stress the constellations they transit, as these are now the constellations where the eclipses take place. As storm planets they bring storm and conflict, leaving a shadow of a doubt in their wake. When Rahu moved into Virgo it aligned with Mars in mid-July with explosive results. Mid-July was punctuated by several sudden air disasters, escalating war and conflict in the Crimea, Gaza, and the specter of increased US military involvement in Iraq and Syria.

If you were born under the Vedic Sun Sign of Virgo (September 16th - October 16th) or have your Vedic Moon, or rising sign therein, or if you were born under the Vedic Sun Sign of Pisces (March 14th - April 14th) or have your Vedic Moon or rising sign therein, the storm planets will now be challenging you. The nature of storm brings feelings and perceptions of destabilization leading to frustration and anxiety. This is a perfect time for natives of these constellations to take up yoga, or enroll in a meditation class to reduce those increased disturbed feelings. Give it a try. These age old remedies really work. You may wish to examine the works of the world renowned Yogi BKS Iyengar, who just passed away last month. Yoga really does work to reduce stress/anxiety and increase health and longevity. The late Mr. Iyengar lived to 95 years of age.

Further, since the mid-July the planets Mars and Saturn have aligned in the constellation of Libra leading to a dark demoralized outlook for those born under the constellations of Libra and Aries. Mars entered the constellation of Libra this past February of 2014, and due to his retrograde cycle, this frustrating planetary condition has lasted much, much longer than usual. Noted comedian and entertainer Robin Williams stunned the world when he succumbed through suicide to these seeming interminable planetary conditions, as he had the constellation of Libra rising in his nativity. Many times life mimics art, and art mimics life. In Robbin William's 1998 fantasy film What Dreams May Come, Williams plays the title character who is killed in a car crash, but upon arriving in heaven he finds that his wife, played by Annabella Sciorra, in her grief has succumbed to suicide. As a suicide she cannot enter heaven, so in an act of supreme love, Williams' character abandons heaven to rescue his beloved from the pains of hell. We only wish our love for Williams could have rescued him from the pangs of his personal hell. I won't ruin the ending for you, but if you are a fan of the late Williams you will want to see this film in memory of him.

On September 4th Mars will finally leave his interminable alignment with Saturn in Libra, and in early November Saturn will finally leave the constellation of Libra. If you were born under the Vedic Sun sign of Libra (October 17th to November 16th) or have your Vedic moon or rising sign therein, or if you were born under the Vedic Sun sign of Aries (April 14th to May 14th) or have your Vedic moon or rising sign therein, you will finally start to experience relief when these transits have concluded come November, as the extremely negative planetary patterns you have experienced for the last year and a half will ease up come the holidays. If you are a native of these constellations, take a moment to celebrate, as these two constellations have been beleaguered by the worst celestial weather since January of 2013.

When Mars leaves Libra he will enter his own constellation of Scorpio where he will remain until the middle of October. With Mars strong the will to achieve and move forward will accelerate during his time in Scorpio. If you were born under Vedic Sun sign of Scorpio (November 16th to December 16th) or have your Vedic Moon or rising sign therein, you will experience a surge in energy and determination. Mars' transit for you will bring a welcomed time of progress and a return to your usual enthusiasm.

Mars is also the God of War, and as his strength returns during the fall, this time will fuel the wars in the Crimea and the Middle East. These wars have seemingly been endlessly festering, and the world will need to take care, for peace is not likely to break out with Mars return to strength. We are rather to see a resumption of war and conflagration that may consume us all. With Mars strong war is likely to escalate during September and October, as each side will be renewed by the strength of Mars in wishing to achieve victory. Pick your fights carefully during these days, as conflicts should only be assumed on behalf of your dharma and vision. Conflicts that are not yours should be avoided, for in the end there are no winners in such conflicts.

As 2014 is an election year in the United States, it is almost predictable that US military involvement in Iraq and Syria will continue to escalate as no sitting US President will back down on the war course for fear of hurting his constituency by being perceived as weak as mid-term elections loom in November. Do not fool yourselves into thinking our own Congress and Senate can resolve anything in such a pervasive adversarial environment while Mars is strong. Obama may try to deflect the critics of his Presidency through what he believes will be a limited engagement in the Middle East, but the planetary omens are for a much longer engagement. He will need to be careful not to end up a lame duck after the elections.

It is astounding and beyond belief that we have been at war in Afghanistan since 2001 under the presidencies of both Bush and Obama. This will be a difficult time of trial for western hegemony for this US president, as perceived leader of the free world. He will be challenged to go to war in Iraq and Syria, not just the rhetoric of sabre rattling, but in all probability when he goes to war he will find an unwilling allied western coalition to go with him. Europe has been equally if not more ravaged by the great recession than the US, and both Europeans and Americans are equally tired of war. Meanwhile, with Mars strong, watch eastern hegemony as Russia continues to leverage Ukraine away from the European Union, and China's struggle with Japan in the South China Sea has the potential to erupt at any moment during this contentious time.

MercuryThe month of September concludes with Mercury, the planet of finance, sports and gaming, lining up with the storm planet Rahu in Mercury's own constellation of Virgo. This occurs before third week of September. Financial, gaming, and sports scandals often emerge under such patterns, so keep a sharp eye out and don't gamble with yours or other people's money during this time. Mercury is also an indicator of scholastic exams, technology and transportation. Scholastic cheating and transportation infrastructure problems have the potential to be exacerbated by storms that will surface under Mercury's prolonged entanglement with Rahu. It is best not to purchase any tech gadgets or upgrades at this time, but wait until the storms are over and all the bugs have been worked out when Mercury becomes free of the storm planets later in November.

Since the Fed has just recently cut back on the financial stimulus, there will be increasing fears about the stability of financial markets, and the stability of the economy in general and the recovery in particular. Look for markets to be volatile towards the end of September, but as Mercury enters Libra on the 20th of September, and exchanges with Venus from the 24th on, the month should end with those fears momentarily calmed.

Many changes are in store for the month of October, as this month will feature two eclipses and Mercury's retrograde cycle. On October 4th Mercury will retrograde in the heaven as he begins his journey back from the constellation of Libra into the previous constellation of Virgo. He will re-enter the constellation of Virgo on the 16th of October where he will remain until the 4th of November. Mercury will once again line up with the storm planet Rahu in close proximity during the 19th to the 22nd. This portends to be a time of financial uncertainty, as Mercury's alignment with the storm planets will take place between two October eclipses.

The Federal Reserve recently rejected the regulatory plans of the eleven largest banks, for their solvency plans during times of crises, that were created as a regulatory aftermath to the previous financial collapse six years ago. Although the plans have been rejected, amazingly the FED still allows all these banks to operate under basically the same guidelines that led to the collapse in the first place. So hypothetically it could happen again unless these financial centers pass muster.

October 8th will feature a total Lunar Eclipse at 21 degree of the constellation of Pisces, and a partial and final Solar Eclipse in the constellation of Libra at 6 degrees. If you were born under the Vedic Sun sign of Pisces (March 14th to April 14th) or have your Vedic Moon or rising sign therein, or if you were born under the Vedic Sun sign of Libra (October 17th to November 16th), these eclipses portend stormy times and a rocky month for those celestial natives.

RahuFurther, Rahu is a deity of storm and bad weather and his alignment with Mercury in the past has brought the extreme weather now attributed to global warming. We saw the effects of this weather in the fall of 2012 when Hurricane Sandy allowed Barack Obama to play the role of hero in sending relief to the eastern seaboard in his successful Presidential reelection bid. Let us see if the storm gods again prevail to once again put this President in the role of a successful rider of the storms for his constituency. Mercury's prolonged alignment with Rahu will not conclude coincidentally until November 4th, Election Day! What a wild political ride these planetary aspects promise for the coming US elections.

Lastly, Mercury is principally a planet of commerce and money, as the Latin root merc proclaims. His alignment with Rahu off and on from September to the first week of November speaks to a time of volatility in business and financial markets. The third quarter reports at the end of September may not be satisfying, or may seem questionable to weary investors. They may seek to retrench to ease their financial anxiety during the prolonged stressful alignment of Mercury and Rahu. A recently released report by Sentier Research, which draws its conclusions from census data, reveals that the median income has consistently fallen, when adjusted for inflation, from when the so called recovery began in 2009. This stands in contrast to the soaring stratospheric record-breaking heights of the stock market. Once again it does seem it is a tale of two economies that are not meeting in the middle, but further diverging along the lines of extreme inequity. If you are skittish about the market's instability it might be best to sit on the sidelines during this turbulent time of the eclipses and Mercury Rx. However, some of the worlds' greatest financiers, such as JP Morgan, were born with their Mercury aligned with Rahu, but you have to have nerves of steel, or a bankroll financed by steel, to make a fortune in today's arbitrage and finance.

Whether today's financial stresses are for you, or not, you can always study yoga and meditate. I guarantee it will calm your frayed nerves during the storms of September and October.


May and June

Now that the challenging eclipses of April are over, the good news for May is that the planet Venus moves to the sign of its exaltation. The exaltation of a planet brings out its best qualities, and the best qualities of Venus symbolVenus are its ability to inspire that sense of togetherness that is the cornerstone of all good relationships. In the astrology of India, Venus is said to be of the Brahmin Caste, a planet that is learned, especially in regards to the arts. The spirit of the arts is to inspire, thereby creating powerful feelings of connectivity that ameliorate those other less than pleasant feelings that we are going it alone. Venus will remain in the constellation of Pisces until the 24th of May, and this will be the highlight of the month.

For those born under the Vedic Sun Sign of Pisces March14 - April 14, and Vedic Sun Sign of Taurus May 15th - June 15th, or those who have their Moons in these constellations, this month will feature an inspirational time of connectivity to those people and things you love. All activities and events that are related to the arts, human resource, and entertainment will flourish in general and contribute to alleviating the celestial hangover from the challenging eclipses of April.

The second celestial event of May is the stationing of the planet Mars in the constellation of Virgo. Mars has been retrograde and very close to the earth in this constellation for the last couple of months. When close to earth Mars intensifies the conflict threshold for everyone, creating volatility and the likelihood of war. Mars will stop in the heavens and start to move forward on May 19th. For those of you born under the Vedic Sun Sign of Virgo September 16th - October 16th, Pisces March 14 - April 14th, and Aries April 14 - May 14th, or those of you who have the Moon in these constellations, Mars has been creating one hell of a time. It has been a challenging time to get to one's desired goals and outcomes, at times seemingly impossible. When planets stop in the heavens they become exceedingly powerful, and Friends get togetheras Mars slows down in preparation for his stationing he will thankfully be under the gaze of loving Venus in the opposite constellation of Pisces for most of the month of May. Exalted Venus will have a calming and cooling effect on Mars' pent up demands. Make sure you schedule a festive party with good music, good friends, and perhaps a good drumming circle to drum out the old Mars energy. Mars, under the exalted gaze of Venus, is a loving sight to behold. It will be a positive time to connect and socialize. Venus will soften Mars' competitive, often alienating behavior. Make love, not war, as the saying goes!

The difficult planetary energy, however, is still haunting the constellations of Aries and Libra. If you were born under the Vedic Sun Sign of Aries, April 14th - May 14th, and Libra, October 17th - November 17th, or have your Moon in these constellations, the difficult obstructive planetary patterns continue until the 14th of May, at which time the Sun leaves the eclipse zone. Surya the Sun will shine with more radiance and enthusiasm in our lives as he enters Venus constellation of Taurus, particularly with Venus exalted for most of May. After that time, the obstruction softens some, and you should start to feel some of the fog and doubt lift that has been clouding your energy and perception. This will be a welcome, but brief respite, from the entropic energy that has troubled our Aries and Libra friends since early February of this year. Use this time wisely to refresh and recharge your depleted energies. Later in May Mercury moves into his own constellation of Gemini, which should increase clearer communications in general. Mercury will remain in Gemini for a protracted stay, gracing the constellation of Gemini until the end of July.

Venus momentarily gets caught up once again with the challenging planets at the tail end of May and early June, but worry not. Venus will again emerge in the second half of June for an extended stay in some of his favorite constellations, and later in the summer align with the other planet of light, Jupiter.

The month of June will feature several stellar events — the best, perhaps most profound month of the year. Venus will leave the eclipse zone in Aries and enter his own constellation of Taurus on June 18th. A very sweet time for an uplifting dinner with friends and a good glass of white wine (Venus' color is white). At the same time Jupiter symbolJupiter enters the constellation of Cancer, his placement of exaltation. Both Venus and Jupiter are naturally benefic Brahmin planets. Experiencing them both in their places of power for almost a month is truly a treasured period of time. Further enhancing the auspicious placements of Venus and Jupiter will be Mercury's placement in his own constellation of Gemini, where he will remain until the end of July.

When Jupiter, Venus and Mercury are all placed in their own constellations, or places of exaltation at the same time, this creates one of the most uplifting combinations in Vedic astrology — the beloved Saraswati yoga. Her Yoga will run the second half of June to the first half of July. The confluence of these benefic planets will be like the confluence of three great rivers quenching a parched landscape; one that has been scorched by eclipses and malefic planets these last months. Saraswati will bless all constellations, and offers relief to the beleaguered constellations of Aries and Libra as well. The dry topography of our lives will seemingly spring forth with inspiration and joy during the reign of her yoga. Saraswati yoga will be particularly brilliant during the Summer Solstice. This is the brightest time of the year north of the equator.

Saraswati, the goddess of enlightened epiphanies, muse of knowledge, will grace us all during the second half of June. Select your favorite artist, sage, teacher, or prophet and attend that special secular or sacred event to drink deep the gathering grace she offers. Now is the time to dust off your negative karmas, put on your white dress, or your white suit, and dance in the light of the Summer Solstice once again. Let Saraswati's yoga remind all you weary travelers that there is always light and inspiration at journey's end. Find your song, or write if need be. Purchase that work of art, or create it yourselves, read that book you have been trying to find time to read, or write one yourselves, so that you will never forget this eternal truth. Further, in the second half of June, all the principal planets will be in benefic constellations, excepting Ketu, the shadow planet. This is an auspicious planetary time to start new endeavors, for the light of the benefic planets is strongest at the Summer Solstice.

Planets Jupiter and SaturnMost importantly, the overarching event this summer of 2014 is Jupiter and Saturn will simultaneously come to their constellations of exaltation. Jupiter comes to Cancer every 12 years, while Saturn comes to Libra every 29-1/2 years, and they simultaneously, like clock work, arrive to exaltation every 59 to 60 years in this grand celestial cycle. This is a very special celestial event that will run from the middle of June to early November 2014. The last time Jupiter and Saturn were both exalted was almost 60 years ago, from January to the end of September 1955. These are the planets that speak to our social dharma, our place in the world.

Sixty years ago, the economic growth that exalted Jupiter offered was experienced by a growing middle class, and an exalted Saturn offered that class a sense of stability. Today, in our time of increasing inequity, the middle class is by all accounts stagnant or in decline. The economic prosperity that Jupiter's coming exaltation promises seems not to be shared by the middle, but rather increasingly by the class at the top.

The resultant destabilization at the bottom of the social pyramid continues to be well documented by many sources. Thomas Piketty, Capital in the Twenty-First CenturyOnly recently discussed are the societal consequences of perceptions of extreme economic inequity coupled with perceptions of a lack of socio-economic mobility. You see, perceived inequity appears not to be an insurmountable problem as long as people perceive they can eventually grow out of it by their own merit.But perceptions of inequity, coupled with perceptions of a lack of socio-economic mobility, unfortunately lead to perceptions of economic hopelessness. Together, these perceptions will have a devastating impact on the social dharma of the bottom of the social pyramid: some think for many years to come. Don't take my word for this: read Thomas Piketty's highly acclaimed economic historical thriller Capital in the Twenty-First Century, destined to become an economic classic. The economic realism of Piketty's research is a well-aimed salvo in the continuing debate of the declining fortunes of the middle class and societal values. This debate will only continue to grow in volume during the current unwinding. Stay tuned: Jupiter and Saturn are about to come to exaltation and this debate just beginning. It is far from finished.

March and April

March of 2014 starts out with three planets stationing and changing direction in the heavens. Mars stops in the Stop, no-confusion, and clarity signsheavens in the constellation of Libra on March 1st, and Saturn stops in the constellation of Libra on March 2nd, where they both begin their retrograde movement. Jupiter stops in the heavens on March 6th in the constellation of Gemini and begins his forward motion. With so many planets changing direction in early March, it will be hard to tell the forest for the trees, as personal and world events will appear to stop and start, creating a thoroughly confusing picture.

The more salient issue in March will be the alignment of the four most malefic planets in Vedic astrology; Mars, Saturn, Rahu, and Ketu. While the naturally benefic planets in Vedic astrology are characterized by their capacity to reflect white light in the darkness, naturally malefic planets are characterized by their incapacity to reflect white light, and thus their inability to effectively bring light into the darkness. Those aforesaid four malefic planets are Mars and Saturn, Rahu and Ketu. Mars' spectrum of light falls in the red category, while Saturn's spectrum falls in the pale yellow, and the shadow planets, Rahu and Ketu only reflect the black and white spectrum of shadow. The perspectives they create during the times of their alignment are often perspectives that are dark and opaque, tending towards the extremes of black and white. They figuratively, as well as literally, cast a shadow of a doubt.

Mars, Rahu and Saturn will be transiting the constellation of Libra aligned opposite Ketu in the constellation of Aries until March 23rd. These weeks during March will appear obstructive and confusing for those prominently born under the constellations of Aries and Libra. For those born with the Vedic Sun sign of Aries from April 14th to May 14th, or the Vedic Sun sign of Libra from October 17 to November 17th, or if you have your Vedic Moon in the constellation of Aries or Libra, you may find this time lacking in illumination, as important concerns, and persistent problems, appear to again be bogged-down, entrenched or unyielding.

In light of the intense planetary congestion in Aries and Libra, you may examine life events through a glass darkly during the transits of the dark planets. If possible, it is best to defer important decisions to a more auspicious time when the dark planets are not arrayed so negatively. When negatively aligned the planet Saturn delays, whereas Mars often infers urgency to the events at hand, creating a perspective of rage or crises where one did not previously exist. During most of March, Mars' alignment with the dark planets portends profound feelings of ineffectuality, self-defeat, and, at times, extreme fear and desperation. If you find yourself in this position regarding important matters, if possible, defer your judgments to later March at the earliest, or seek council and help to improve your perspective. After March 23rd Mars leaves the other three malefic planets and retrogrades back in the constellation of Virgo, where he is freed from the entropic effects of the fears and shadows of the dark planets. Harry Potter and Herminie would agree — it is best not to take bold action during the reign of the dark lords!

During April the Aries/Libra constellational axis will be under less pressure, with Mars having moved. But those born under the aforesaid constellations of Aries and Libra will still remain challenged until the shadow planets, Rahu and Ketu, leave these constellations. This is not until mid-July, so patience until then is the best course.

The Vedic Sun sign of Libra, from October 17th to November 17th, and Taurus from May 15th to June 15th, are both ruled by the planet Venus. During all of March and most of April, Venus will be in a planetary exchange with Saturn. Venus will be in Saturn's constellations of Capricorn and Aquarius, and Saturn will be in Venus' constellation of Libra. During this time you may want to reach out to friends, family, and loved ones, as you may perceive you are not spending enough time with the people you really care about. Saturn's effect on Venus does indeed create a bit of an emotional vacuum in relationships, but absence is said to make the heart grow fonder. Take the time to spend time with the people that are important to you, not just the people you work with, or for that matter, the people you perceive are working you!

The salient celestial events of April are several and mixed in their effects. The quality of our discernment and judgments will improve after the 3rd of April, as Mercury and Jupiter will be in a planetary exchange. Jupiter will be in Mercury's constellation of Gemini and Mercury will be in Jupiter's constellation of Pisces until April 20th. Jupiter's light expands and illuminates Mercury's earthy perspective skyward. This will be a brief utopian time to begin new studies, particularly of a literary or artistic nature. It will also be a good time for travel, particularly for those born with the Vedic Sun sign of Gemini, from June 15th to July 15th, and Pisces, from March 14th to April 14th.

Although Mars will be emancipated from the maleficence of all those malefic planets in Libra, you must never forget he still is Mars; the planet of war and conflict. Expect conflict and volatile situationsMars will rise as an evening planet starting in early April on the 8th, as that is the day he will come opposite the Sun. This simply means that when the Sun sets in the west, Mars will rise in the east as darkness falls. When Mars rises as an evening planet he is very strong and very opinionated about what he desires. For those born with the Vedic Sun sign Virgo, from September 16th to October 16th, and Pisces, from March 14th to April 14th you will feel his heated effects. All the frustrations and confusion in March will reinforce Mars to act boldly during his evening reign. Events will heat up and quickly combust. Mars will intensify all his engagements. This can portend a time of war and conflict, global warming, etc., so proceed very careful regarding all conflicts, as there is a tendency toward escalation. This will be of particular concern during the April eclipses that occur in the 2nd half of the month, as in the 2nd half of April Mars comes opposite the iconoclastic rebellious planet Uranus in the constellation of Pisces on April 23rd. This has the potential to be an explosive, unpredictable period of time.

April features two eclipses. There will be a total lunar eclipse on April 14th and an annular solar eclipse on April 28th. The lunar eclipse will be very close to Mars, thus very volatile. lunar eclipseThe lunar eclipse will also be very close to Tax Day, so you would have to a lunatic to wait until the last minute to file your taxes this April! Conflicts abound during the end of April, so keep a close watch on international events in the Crimea and Middle East. People will feel more worked up, and more worked over, so tread carefully lest you inadvertently "slip the dogs of war." For those born with the Vedic Sun sign of Aries from April 14th to May 14th, and those born with the Vedic Sun signs of Libra from October 17th to November 17th, this will be a more vitriolic time than usual. Try to take some time off if the going gets too tough, for when the going gets tough, the tough go on vacation! Try to embrace a personal perspective that you truly have more time to deal with events than the world seems to currently present. You don't have to solve all your problems during this problematic time. As Mary Poppins would say, you don't have to be a super fragile expeditious person during total lunar eclipses and Mars' reign as an evening planet! Don't be led down the path of false rage and false crises. Hurry up and slow down all non-essential areas of your life and save your precious energy for a less fragile time to regain that familiar feeling of forward momentum.

Lastly, Venus will enter the constellation of Pisces on April 27th and remain therein until May 23d. Venus is exalted in the constellation of Pisces; being Venus most powerful placement. Here Venus will be very capable of creating conditions of love and connectedness, which are the foundations of diplomacy. Venus in Pisces will aspect Mars in the opposite constellation of Virgo and gradually begin to assuage Mars' tendency toward heated conflict. Hang out with those you love, and feel the joy and gratitude of having people such as this in your life. It does not get any better than this, irrespective of the planetary weather. Get through April intact and you should feel more optimistic as we enter May with Venus exalted.

January and February

I want to extend warm New Year wishes to all of you for 2014. In the spirit of these fast changing times I am revising my Star Trends column to be sent every other month staring this January, so you will receive my celestial updates six times a year.

The exciting celestial news for January and February of 2014 is the full alignment of the two brightest planets in the heavens! Venus and Jupiter will be in full aspect until the final days of February in the opposite constellations of Sagittarius and Gemini. This is good news.

Astrological sign for VenusVenus became the brightest planet in the heavens in December and early January, as Venus began its retrograde cycle last month. This is the time when Venus comes to perigee; its closest approach to the earth. When Venus approaches the earth, its brightness intensifies. The intensity of Venus during perigee increases our drive for connectedness and intimacy in relationship. It stimulates our need for the inspiration that closeness brings. A broken heart mended with a safety pinThis increased stimulation often stresses interpersonal relationships, for not all relationships are capable of the intimacy we desire. Venus at perigee therefore becomes a stressful time for existing relationships that cannot fulfill our feelings of increased intimacy. This often leads to familial and romantic stress, resulting in a reexamination of self in the search for love, closeness, and connectedness with others.

Venus will intensify this self-examination during the time he comes to conjunction with the Sun, from January 6th to the 16th, combusting the Sun on the 11th. Combustion is an astrological term which means the planet comes to exact alignment with the Sun that it disappears and cannot be seen in the heavens until it gains distance on the Sun.

The desire for closeness, connectedness, passion and love becomes inflamed by Venus' combustion with the Sun. Due to this imbalanced intensity, marriage is not advised during this time, for people can get burned in love by fever, hotter than a pepper sprout! New relationships may start during this time, but be wary of the combustion, as it represents a surge in love that cannot really be sustained. Venus will reappear in the heavens on January 17th when it has gained proper distance from the Sun. It will reappear as an early morning star, rather than an evening star, which can deflate the heated romance out of those Venusian nights. After all, love may start on the up elevator culminating on the highest floor of your favorite hotel after the Sun has set. However, relationship, commitment and marriage start on down elevator to the ground floor as the Sun rises, and learn to do the daily dharmic grind.

Venus/Jupiter aspect brings people closerAfter Venus' combustion, the Venus/Jupiter full aspect will herald an auspicious time for relationship, spiritual advancement, and the inspirational arts and learning in general. It will be particularly fortunate for those Vedic Sun signs Gemini (born June 15 - July 15) and Sagittarius (December 16 - January 13) leading to increased feelings of intimacy, connectedness, and love. If you have your Vedic Moon in Gemini or Sagittarius, you will find this time more easy going, more pleasurable time to be with loved ones and friends. But, if you have been wearing that T-shirt lately that sadly proclaims, "I use to be a people person, but people ruined that for me," this could be the time to restore your faith in the right kind of positive people.

For those born in the Vedic Sun signs of Virgo (September 17 - October 16) and Pisces (March 14 - April 13) this will be a good time move to a more desirable location, or find more meaningful employment with the possibility of advancement if you perceive you are in a dead end job. The light of the Venus/Jupiter full aspect will be active till the 25th February. Where there is light there is always the potential for growth, when the right seeds are planted.

As we enter February of 2014, on the 4th the planet Mars will enter the constellation of Libra. Here Mars will join the challenging planets Saturn and Rahu that have been aligned in Libra since January of 2013. The Saturn/Rahu planetary combination has been discussed in prior 2013 Star Trends, if you wish to read our archives to familiarize yourselves with the planetary energy. In short, the alignment occurs every eleven years, and historically has led the U.S. into conflict and war in the Middle East these last decades. The difficult planetary combination will continue until mid-July of 2014.
The U.S. narrowly avoided war in the Middle East with Syria in the fall of 2013, and this was under the direction of President Obama, who had just won the Nobel Peace prize the year before! We are not out of the war woods yet, and Mars in Libra will heat up the inherent propensity for conflict that the Saturn/Rahu alignment brings during his time in Libra.

Frustration, delays, and breakdown in communicationsFurther, Mercury will retrograde on February 6th, right after Mars enters Libra. Mercury retrogrades have the notorious reputation of being associated with communication breakdowns and technical difficulties. As we rely more on the electronic media this becomes problematic during times such as this. This energy of Mercury RX, coupled with Mars aligning with other malefic planets, foretells a time of frustration, delays and breakdowns in communication that will trend to exaggeration and distortion, not always the time to make our best decisions. February heralds to be a frustrating, obstructive month. Don't be in a hurry, and watch your step!

The Vedic Sun signs of Libra (October 17 -November 16) and Aries (April 14 - May 14) will find the going more difficult than others. Also, if your Vedic Moon is in Libra or Aries, you will experience this difficult energy more intensely, perhaps in your own family circle. It is important for those of you in this celestial category to keep yourselves surrounded by positive, thoughtful, and uplifting people, who you believe have your best interests at heart. This strategy will help build a support sangha to build your morale during this difficult month. In the large scheme of things, these problems are only temporary delays, not the end of the world. Stay on your dharma, despite the delays and you will get there. Yes, a little later, but later is so much better than never.

It is best to avoid negative, fear-based people as much as possible during February. They will only bring out the frustrating, obstructive indications that the planets portend. The war hawks, who gain by conflict, as well as the blame-storming crowd, who elevate themselves at the expense of others, will be out in full force this month. When able, limit your precious time with such people, as they do not have your well-being at heart. Stay present. Stay in the moment and stay your ground. Remember the old adage: "When the going gets tough, the tough go on vacation." Seriously, this can be a good time for a retreat or vacation, to pull out of the fray and recharge, even for a short time. It helps to remember once again what normal feels like so you can put your conflicts in perspective.

Mercury will turn direct on the New Moon the last day of February. March will feature clearer communication and will bring a very different perspective. Thank your lucky stars that the bright light of the Venus/Jupiter full aspect will be in effect until February 25th. Find that light in your lives during this month and never let it fade away. The recording artist Leonard Cohen said it succinctly in his song Anthem: "Forget your perfect offering ... everything is broken ... everything has a crack in it ... that's how the light gets in." The perception of failure, my friends, is nothing more than enlightenment dressed up in work clothes.

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