March of 2014 starts out with three planets stationing and changing direction in the heavens. Mars stops in the heavens 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. Mars 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. The 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.
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.
Venus 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. This 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.
After 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.
Further, 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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