Insights and Reminiscing

June 14, 2011
Happy Summer Solstice
The summer solstice occurs on June 21, 2011 at 17:16 Universal Time. I am writing about this in relation to the Northern Hemisphere, where I live; in the Southern Hemisphere, the seasons are, of course, reversed.

On the summer solstice, the Sun reaches its highest point of declination (the movement north and south of the ecliptic), when it is located directly overhead at noon on the Tropic of Cancer. On this day, we will experience maximum daylight hours. According to the Hermetic tradition of ancient Egypt, the Divine Sun-God becomes fully enthroned at the summer solstice, when He is thus able to pour forth His most powerful divine blessings upon us.

For three days before and after the solstice, there is a magnetic shift on our planet, when the indwelling planetary spirit undergoes a psychic adjustment. This is similar to the still point in craniosacral therapy, when the craniosacral rhythm comes to a temporary halt so that the body can recharge and readjust to its natural rhythm. These days comprise a very sensitive time of the year, when we should take extra good care of ourselves, making sure to rest and take time to attune with nature.

The summer solstice represents a time of ripening karmas related to all that we have cultivated in the past six months. Around the solstice and into the months of July and early August, we are apt to experience more vitality and expansion than usual, as the enriched Earth energies rise up to meet the down-pour of dazzling solar radiance. Even so, as the days pass well beyond summer, the waning Sun will once more begin to lead us deeper inside.

In the Vedic calendar, the solstices are known as ayanas. Ayana means “course.” Uttarayana marks the Sun’s northern “yang” course (Uttara=north); Dakshinayana marks the Sun’s southern “yin” course (Dakshin=south). Uttarayana culminates at Summer Solstice, when Dakshinayana begins. Certain shastras actually prohibit the celebration of certain important rituals in this weaker half of the solar year which extends from June 21 until December 21. For instance, marriage during Uttarayana is considered to be more auspicious than during Dakshinayana.

Vedic Astrologer David Frawley (Shri Vamadeva Shastri) described the month of June as a month of “karmic unraveling,” and I could not agree more with this statement (and I highly recommend this particular article if you are on Facebook…if not, please email me and I will send the article to you): facebook.com/pages/Dr-David-Frawley

What is happening in a nutshell is that we are in a month with three eclipses—June 1, a partial solar eclipse; June 15, a full lunar eclipse; and July 1, a partial solar eclipse. Of these, the full moon lunar eclipse on June 15 is a doozy. I say this because the Moon is being eclipsed at the fated and potentially perilous gandanta zone of the zodiac, on the edge of sidereal Scorpio and Sagittarius, and also, on the edge of the first house (the most significant area) of the United States (Kelleher) birth chart. Many of the major Vedic astrology shastras describe the edges between fire and water signs as the “gandanta” zones, which carry with them a heavy karmic knot that must be disentangled and released. The gandanta between Scorpio and Sagittarius is considered the most dangerous of all three gandanta areas, in both mundane and natal astrology. Gandanta zones are often so precarious, in fact, that specific karmic remedial measures are suggested for babies born with the Moon in these placements.

When I examine the fixed stars for the lunar eclipse chart of June 15, three stand out as further potential signs of an impending threat. One of these is the fixed star Algol, “The Demon’s Head,” which is conjoined Mars. Mars is important because it rules Scorpio, the sign occupied by the North Node (Rahu), which is eclipsing the Moon. In the eclipse chart, Mars is conjunct the fixed star Algol, which is associated with brutality and suffering. The Chinese astrologers gave Algol the gruesome title “Tseih She,” which means “Piled-up Corpses.” Algol’s influence is sometimes (but not always) indicative of destructive events affecting large numbers of people.

The other two fixed stars that stand out are Lesath and Ras Alhague, both of which are closely influencing the Moon and Rahu, and both of which can relate to poisoning as well as meteorological events like damaging storms. All these factors become even more of a concern because the Sun in the lunar eclipse chart will conjoin natal Mars in the United States birth chart, which was already triggered by malefic Ketu (the Moon’s South Node) in the June 1 eclipse. These are further indications of the possibility of turbulence and some kind of toxic planetary tragedy ahead. Furthermore, Mars is “Bhoomi Karaka,” indicator of the economy. Because of the South Node trigger to Mars in the June 1 eclipse, the economy could continue to be in decline for a while, at least until after the July 1 eclipse, when much of this month’s “karmic unraveling” may come to a conclusion.

There is one redeeming feature of this lunar eclipse chart which gives me hope that any potential danger can and might be mitigated or averted, in that the great benefic Jupiter is transiting in Aries and trining the Moon in Jupiter’s own sign, offering the hope of Divine grace, redemption and protection. For more specific information about this week’s lunar eclipse, check out this article: www.msnbc.msn.com/...very-long-total-lunar-eclipse-coming-wednesday

Another important event this month is that Saturn is stationing direct (moving forward) on June 14, close to the lunar eclipse time, and this is another indication of possible transformational events bringing change and forward movement. With this forward movement of Saturn, positive improvement may occur in regard to events that have been stalled in your life since earlier in the year, but the results of this change may take time to materialize (may not occur until after August when Saturn gains momentum).

Overall, eclipses bring change, which we all know is the name of the game on this material plane. Eclipses can also bring spiritual evolution and an awakening of truth. These eclipses will influence the collective reality as well as each individual’s reality for the next six months, at least. Additionally, the transiting lunar nodes have just changed their axis from Gemini and Sagittarius to Taurus and Scorpio, where they indicate a dramatic shift that will take place in our collective awareness and experience over the next year and a half.

To understand how the Saturn station and these current eclipses and nodal transits will affect you more on a personal level, you would need to have a thorough astrological assessment of your natal and progressed birth chart. In the meantime, during these vulnerable days ahead, it is important to follow the advice of all the world’s great spiritual teachers who teach us to cultivate peace, unconditional love and the joy of spiritual connection within ourselves and with others. By doing so, we can create the vibrational transformation that is needed to alleviate much of the violence, suffering and turbulence that is being experienced in the outer world.

March 22, 2011
Spring into Spring-Transformation Time!
As I write this, we have just passed the Full Moon in Virgo, the constellation relating to self-improvement, health and healing, and we are also approaching the spring equinox, which occurs on Sunday, March 20 at 23:21 UT. The spring equinox marks the time of year in the Northern Hemisphere when Mother Nature rebalances and begins to awaken herself. Spring is also the time of year when we take an especially deep breath and renew our commitment to awakening ourselves, perhaps with a focus on improving health and well-being.

According to Chinese Five Element theory, Wood is the element of spring. It represents new growth and an expansive sense of renewal, the birth of upward moving Yang energy that propels us forward with new vision, hope and determination. The organs of the body associated with the Wood element are the liver, gallbladder, eyes, tendons and ligaments. The liver governs planning, and the gallbladder relates to decision making, so in this season, it is only natural to initiate new beginnings and plan for future activities.

The positive emotions of Wood are kindness, forgiveness, generosity and compassion; the negative emotions are inflexibility, indecision, anger and disappointment. Feng Shui sometimes correlates the Wood element with the Throat Chakra, which governs our will and self-expression. This time of year especially, it is important to honor and express all our feelings, especially those of resentment or frustration, in order to help us release the past and move forward with a light and clear perspective.

To harmonize with the changing energies of spring, we should take brisk walks in the fresh air to open the lung meridian and disperse the tight and stiff “Woody” energy in our tendons and ligaments. If you have a yoga practice, focus on inversions, twists, forward bends and backbends to tonify the liver and gallbladder. A balanced spring detoxification program to cleanse the liver and gallbladder is also important. Clear away clutter in your home and office to create space for new energies to emerge.  As Water is the supporting element of Wood, make sure to drink enough H2O.

Astrology Update
There is evidence that great civilizations have risen and fallen many times throughout Earth’s ancient history. This is apparent in some of the teachings that remain from the golden ages of ancient India and China. During more enlightened eras in the far past, astrologers were likely to make exact predictions that could forestall accidents and calamities. Nowadays, as we are still so far removed from an enlightened age of humanity, astrologers are less able to make specific forecasts that could be used to protect human beings in harm’s way, such as when Mother Nature unleashes her fury. Many first-class astrologers are able to predict dangerous cycles, which can be very helpful toward understanding something about the outer forces bearing down upon us. However, it is a rare modern astrologer who can or will pinpoint disastrous events by exact date, time and place of incident. Such is the unfortunate case in the recent events of Japan’s earthquake, tsunami and nuclear energy crisis. I wish it had been the case that I or someone else was tuned in enough to be able to warn of the precise events that were to transpire, and that those affected would have been tuned in enough to heed such advice and make necessary preparations. Such was not the case on either side.

According to the Vedic understanding, when events happen on a mass scale, this is known as collective or samhita karma. Karma is not a punishment, as is often an erroneous and dangerous assumption. What happens in mass disasters is not a sign that the people of a specific place where the disaster occurs were somehow bad and thus they deserved what happened. Karma is a mysterious balancing force that is not within the realm of comprehension of ordinary human beings. I for one am often lost when I try to fathom the meaning of the human suffering that has been a part of this world since what appears to be the beginning of time.

I do believe that, ultimately, our suffering is a result of living in a duality-based universe, with good versus bad; light versus dark; life versus death, and so forth. In other words, happiness and misery appear to be necessary aspects of this polarized dimension in which we currently exist. On this plane of being, we apparently cannot have one without the other. To ultimately transcend this dimension of duality is the purpose of the spiritual path. The quickest way to do this is to harness the mind; open and develop the spiritual heart; attune the consciousness with higher forces; and devote oneself to spreading love, truth and joy while alleviating suffering.

Paramahansa Yogananda explains the nature of collective karma in God Talks with Arjuna: The Bhagavad Gita, Royal Science of God-Realization.

“On a cosmic scale, the combined karma of groups of individuals—social or racial groups, or nations, for example—or of the world at large, constitute the mass karma of the earth or portions thereof. This mass karma responds to the electromagnetic vibrations of the earth’s cosmic neighbors according to the same laws that affect each individual, thereby inducing beneficial or malevolent changes in the course of world and natural events. A store of good mass karma from living in harmony with divine laws and forces blesses man’s earthly environment with peace, health and prosperity. Accumulated bad mass karma precipitates wars, diseases, poverty, devastating earthquakes and other such calamities. During times of prevalent negative vibratory influences, the individual must thus contend not only with his personal karma, but also with the mass karma affecting the planet on which he lives” (III: II).

The “negative vibratory influences” mentioned above are again not about certain people or groups being “bad.” I am not saying that anyone who suffers deserves it! It is more about so many on this planet at this time being quite far removed from a state of enlightened alignment with the true divine Self within each of us. We have collectively lost our awareness of being divine spirits having a human experience. According to Sri Daya Mata, the late spiritual director of Self-Realization Fellowship, “If man’s moral and spiritual evolution does not keep pace with the upward progress of knowledge and technology, he misuses the power he has acquired, to his own destruction. Indeed, this is the nature of the world crisis we are facing today” (http://www.yogananda-srf.org/HowtoLive/Guidance_and_Encouragement_for_the_Years_Ahead.aspx).

So how do we remedy this difficult situation? Yogis and spiritual adepts teach us that change starts within each one of us. By keeping the soul, mind and body strong, we will be resistant to unfavorable astrological influences. We need to do spiritual practices in order to wake up and realize the divine self within. It’s as simple as that! Again, according to Paramahansa Yogananda, “…By attuning the consciousness to higher forces in meditation elevates man, who may thus avoid the fructification of evil karma; misfortune can be greatly lessened, while the liberating effects of good actions are enhanced. Man and his astral preceptors in higher realms, by mutual communion, can find great good and control destiny. Eventually, by constant contact with spiritual forces, the devotee comes into harmony with the Supreme Creator, Organizer of all higher and lower beings” (III: II).

Modern astrologers are rarely able to make exact predictions for an individual, and it is actually considered unethical to foretell “bad events,” because this would be tantamount to overriding the aspect of free will, and also, it is not ethical to instill fear. Because an individual’s own actions and thoughts go into determining his particular future outcomes, it is best for the astrologer to use indeterminate qualifiers that allow room for the individual to make changes and choices for his future. When difficult cycles are presaged, they are only to be given along with remedial measures that the individual can use to help mitigate the possibility of difficulties. This idea is also applicable to the idea of predicting mass disasters, which apparently can sometimes be mitigated or even averted through the collective agency of our individual and joint prayers and actions.

As we create more harmony within ourselves, and as we support others to do the same, the results of our intentions and behavior extend out and influence everyone else and the entire planet “itself.” Yes, the Earth is a living breathing organism which, like each of us, is constantly shifting. We are told by various wisdom traditions that as humanity’s fear, anxiety, selfishness and greed rise, so does the upheaval in the Earth’s crust, i.e., weather and geo-seismic disturbances are said to become more intense when human consciousness is too aligned with the negative power. Whether this is true or not, what other choice does each of us have anyway, but to come from the place of our highest integrity, to work on ourselves and root out the negative vibrations that we are responsible for creating?

Now, all that said, I have taken a very brief look at the next few months from my astrological perspective. There are many different astrological charts that mundane astrologers use to track collective karma. One such chart is the birth chart of the nation, which I mention below (see chart #1). Another is the Vedic Lunar New Year chart (Shukla Paksha Pratipada), which is set for the New Moon in Pisces every year. This chart gives the astrologer an important means for understanding something about the energetic influences and the collective karmic results for the year ahead. The Vedic New Year chart can be set for any place in the world. I have cast the sidereal wheel and the North Indian style charts for Washington, DC (see Charts #2 and #3 below), for April 3, 2011 at 10:32:18 AM, to learn something about what may be ahead for the United States in the year ahead. I have also connected the United States birth chart with the New Year chart in a bi-wheel combination (see Chart #4 below).

In the Vedic tradition, there are 60 samvatsaras (years), each of which has its own name. The 60-year cycles repeat indefinitely. Occasionally, one of the 60 will be passed over, because this count is based on the zodiacal position of Jupiter, whose period around the Sun is slightly less than 12 years. This 2011 new year begins the samvatsara called Khara, which follows the two past years of Virodhi and Vikruti, all three of which portend danger.

The Vedic New Year in the United States begins on a Sunday, which means the year ahead is ruled by the Sun, and thus according to ancient methods of prediction in Vedic mundane astrology, it promises to be a hotter than usual summer ahead. It is also said that when the Sun is the lord of the year, the country will go to war (march their armies and attack and destroy other countries); the crops may see some failures; there could be a pandemic; and drought. However, the Sun, Moon, Jupiter, Mercury and Mars are all in the auspicious 11th house, which suggests some positive energy overall as planets in the 11th house tend to give good results. As Jupiter is blessing the Sun in this chart in its own constellation of Pisces, and in the lucky nakshatra of Revati, this could be taken as somewhat of a good sign. So as is often the case in the dimension of duality, life will be both good and bad.

Taurus rises at the edge of the sign (29 degrees and 30 minutes), which is indicative of an end to a cycle, and one hopes it means the transitional end of a difficult economic downturn (Taurus is the sign of finance). This 29th degree is called the “anaretic degree” in Western astrology, and indicates some potential for mass confusion in the year ahead, especially related to our knowing what is true and what is valuable. Taurus is the sign in the 6th house (debts and struggles) of the United States (Kelleher) birth chart. Mars (war) occupies the 7th house (enemies) of the United States (Kelleher) chart, and is conjunct the rising sign of the New Year chart; Ketu, the Moon’s malefic South Node, is conjunct Mars in the United States chart (adding fuel to fire), all pinpointing the many domestic and international challenges we are already facing. Rahu, the Moon’s malefic North Node, and Pluto, related to transformation and upheaval, remain conjunct the United States chart ascendant, revealing further dramatic events; political, religious and civil unrest; but also the possibility of innovative technological developments. Mars and Uranus in the New Year chart fall into the 4th house of the United States Kelleher chart, which could foretell some kind of water crisis or water disaster, floods, volcanic eruptions or earthquakes ahead. In addition, the real estate crisis could see a surprising new development, though I am hopeful it could begin to show improvement once Saturn transits into Libra (starting in November 2011).

The United States remains in its Saturn Return (when transiting Saturn is returning to its natal position), a time of karmic readjustment and reckoning. In addition, we are in another epochal cycle in which, every twenty years, Saturn and Jupiter oppose each other in the heavens. This transit is intensified by the presence of transiting Uranus (think “extreme”), which is opposite Saturn and conjunct Jupiter. The current cycle of Jupiter opposite Saturn began in April 2010 and will continue (within exact orbs of influence on and off) until March 2012. The opposition in Virgo and Pisces will be exact one last time on March 28. This oppositional transit of the two planets of dharma (Jupiter) and karma (Saturn) in the axis of Pisces and Virgo reflects transformative outer conditions that force us individually to root out our inadequacies and become more self-aware—all in the process of moving us toward greater fusion with the divine power behind this incredible play of reality that we call “life.” On a collective level, we could say that the Pisces-Virgo axis is about crisis versus redemption. On a worldly level, Saturn opposite Jupiter often sees the overthrow of dictators and change in status quo. This sign axis will soon be shifting, as Jupiter will move into Aries on May 9, 2011 (where it will remain for about a year), and Saturn will move into Libra on November 16, 2011 (where it will remain for about two and a half years). We can expect some significant changes over the next few years, both collectively and personally. For instance, Jupiter in Aries may find us more focused and determined to create innovative and pioneering solutions for many of our problems. Saturn is exalted in Libra, where it reveals a capacity for inner strength, maturity, balanced living, selfless giving and systematic problem-solving. According to mundane astrology, the karmic task master Saturn transiting through his exalted constellation of Libra will see us in better times all around, no doubt.

The other big change in coming months is in the transiting “mean” lunar nodes, which will move from Gemini-Sagittarius to Taurus-Scorpio in the first week of June. One could say it is disturbing to see this in relation to the “edgy” Taurus rising sign of the United States New Year chart, as Ketu will soon transit onto that position. Ketu in Vedic astrology is akin to Mars, planet of war and epidemics. I choose to be hopeful that Ketu here will have some hope of awakening more of the positive power within and around us, as Ketu is moksha karaka, indicator of enlightenment. The lesson for this nodal axis is to let go of attachment to the material world. Rahu in Scorpio relates to the battle between light and dark, good and evil etc., and is a placement for revolutions and revolutionaries. It can reflect the new forms that arise after the destruction of what is no longer valuable.

June 1 will see a solar eclipse (from Japan into NE China extending into Canada and Alaska-see the first map below) and (unusually) another partial solar eclipse will follow on July 1 (this one occurs in the S. Hemisphere below Africa-see the second map). In between will be a lunar eclipse on June 15. Astrologer Joni Patry wrote an excellent article about eclipses which can be accessed on the Saptarishis Astrology Web site. She mentions that the months leading up to an eclipse can see major karmic events along the eclipse path, such as what happened in Japan. What does this mean to have all these eclipses and the lunar nodes changing signs in June? Well, for one thing, I feel that if you have some important plans in the making, it may be best to do them in April or May or save them for July or August, since eclipse periods can be times of some instability or change (in this case they are occurring throughout the month of June). Of course, such matters need to be fined- tuned through a personal consultation with an astrologer, as there are always “work-arounds” and special considerations that apply to one’s own natal horoscope.

View the charts and maps for this Astral Harmony Update

January 13, 2011

Astronomer Parke Kunkle says that due to changes in the Earth's alignment the dates of many zodiac signs have changed, according to NBC. In addition, there may be a 13th Zodiac sign: Ophiuchus. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/13/new-zodiac-sign-dates-oph_n_808567.html#s223863&title=kristin_leigh

Numerous news organizations have been all over this report, and my phone has been ringing off the hook with questions about it.

Clearly, this is not a groundbreaking discovery. Astronomers and astrologers have been long aware that the tropical zodiac used by many Western astrologers is no longer aligned with the stars. This zodiac “error” is one of the main reasons that astronomers say they object to astrology.

The fact is that the archetypal tropical zodiac used by many Western astrologers has slipped off the actual zodiac due to precession of the equinoxes, the slow backward movement of the stars in relation to the earth, which is (theoretically) caused by the Earth’s tilt and wobble. Instead of aligning with the stars at all, tropical astrology now aligns with the seasons. For instance, the tropical zodiac attributes the 0 point of Aries to the spring equinox, even though the spring equinox, at this time in history, is not aligned with the constellation of Aries at all. Due to precession, on the spring equinox, the Sun currently rises at about 6 degrees and 40 minutes of sidereal Pisces. The actual observable zodiac is known as the sidereal zodiac, and it is the one used by Western Sidereal astrologers as well as Indian (Vedic) astrologers.

Many "Siderealists" believe that the tropical zodiac is based on a mistake. For more on this topic, I recommend this absorbing article by Western Sidereal astrologer Ken Bowser: http://www.westernsiderealastrology.com/articles/MountainAstrologerInterview.pdf

Many brilliant and highly successful astrologers don’t buy the idea of the “zodiac mistake,” and they continue to use the tropical signs with great success in their work, so it is not my intention to disrespect this other school of thought, because it works well for those who use it. However, I do disagree with the tropical zodiac on theory simply because it uses the same names of the constellations but is no longer aligned with them, and no tropical astrologer has even been able to explain to me why this is. I learned astrology through the tropical system originally, though I began to turn toward the sidereal zodiac in the early 70’s when I studied the work of the late great psychic Edgar Cayce, who pointed out the flaws in the tropical system and recommended taking into account the changing equinoxes, in effect advocating the sidereal zodiac. I turned to Vedic astrology in the mid 90’s and found the sidereal zodiac to be more accurate for my purposes.

All the astrological positions, including the Sun sign, move back about 23-34 longitudinal degrees from the tropical to the sidereal zodiac. So when you switch over to the sidereal system of Vedic and Western sidereal astrology, it is likely that your Sun sign will change, if you were born near the end of the sign.

Here is a list of the approximate dates for the Sun signs in the sidereal zodiac for the current year:

Sun Sign (The sign on the
eastern horizon at sunrise)

Approximate Sidereal Dates

1. Aries

April 14-May 15

2. Taurus

May 15-June 15

3. Gemini

June 15-July 16

4. Cancer

July 16-August 17

5. Leo

August 17-September 17

6. Virgo

September 17-October 17

7. Libra

October 17-November 17

8. Scorpio

November 17-December 16

9. Sagittarius

December 16-January 14

10. Capricorn

January 14-February 13

11. Aquarius

February 13-March 15

12. Pisces

March 15-April 14

Regarding Ophiuchus, it is not a “new sign” as is being reported.  Ophiuchus was one of the 48 constellations listed by the second-century astronomer Ptolemy, and it remains one of the 88 modern constellations. It lies between Scorpio and Sagittarius, atop Scorpio. Actually Scorpio and Ophiuchus share much of the same space, and have many similar qualities according to astrology. Ophichus is not one of the 12 main constellations of astrology, but it can be used to fine tune the effects of a large section of Scorpio.

January 2, 2011 New Year
Thousands of dead birds fell from the Arkansas sky this weekend...nobody is quite sure (yet) about what caused this to happen: http://www.cnn.com/2011/US/01/02/arkansas.falling.birds/index.html?hpt=C1

Some are calling this an inauspicious omen for the New Year, which arrives on the heels of another ill omen in Arkansas in which 100,000 fish have just been found dead in the Arkansas River: http://www.cnn.com/2011/US/01/02/arkansas.fish.kill/

An omen is a forewarning that indicates change, whether for good or bad. When birds and fish die en masse like this, the omen is of course bad. Dead fish indicate financial loss, and dead birds indicate disappointments and turmoil. However, I believe that each of us, if we want, can use this information to create greater understanding and harmony, in other words, to transform ourselves and create other more auspicious outcomes. How do we do this? First, perhaps, by remembering what the Buddha said, “With our thoughts, we make the world.”

Next, we can look to the animals themselves. Every animal family has a spirit, known as its totem, and each one has gifts to share with the human world. For example, the fish totem teaches us about movement and transition as well as awakening to intuition. Many of the birds that were killed were Red-winged Blackbirds, whose totem teaches us to listen to intuition that will help us connect in a balanced way to Mother Nature and all life. Some of the birds were Starlings, whose animal totem teaches us about the importance of working together in unity for the betterment of all people. http://www.starstuffs.com/animal_totems/dictionary_of_birds.html

The fish and bird kills could indicate an environmental hazard in the area, and at the same time, these events may be linked to a global environmental crisis. That these kills occurred a few days before a solar eclipse is of special interest to astrologers, as eclipses also are omens that can indicate a sea change (a huge transformation). When omens occur together in a series like this, they indicate synchronicity, the experience of two or more events that are apparently causally unrelated occurring together in a meaningful manner.

The solar eclipse on January 4 occurs in the nakshatra (lunar sign) known as Purva Ashadha (Purvashadha) ruled by Apah, one of the eight Hindu demigods (Vasus). Apah can be translated as "atmosphere" and relates to the waters of the earth as well as the air. The eclipse occurring in this nakshatra highlights matters related to Apah, and the effects are somewhat inauspicious because the Sun and Moon are flanked by malefics Mars and Rahu in the eclipse chart. Given these omens, we might expect some challenging issues to arise in the coming year related to clean air and water. For a deeper understanding of the current eclipse cycle and how it affects you personally, I am available for private consultations in the month of January.

View Chart Here
January 2 Chart

December 21, 2010 Winter Solstice
The solstices mark the moment when the Sun apparently stands still for three days and changes course, thus separating the year into two distinct cycles, a waning cycle of diminishing worldly power (Dakshinayana) from June 21 to December 21, and a waxing cycle of rising worldly power (Uttarayana) from December 21 to June 21.

Winter Solstice (Yule) occurs on Dec. 21, 2010 at 23:38 UT. "Yule is when the dark half of the year relinquishes to the light half. Starting the next morning at sunrise, the sun climbs just a little higher and stays a little longer in the sky each day. Known as Solstice Night, or the longest night of the year, much celebration was to be had as the ancestors awaited the rebirth of the Oak King, the Sun King, the Giver of Life that warmed the frozen Earth and made her to bear forth from seeds protected through the fall and winter in her womb. Bonfires were lit in the fields, and crops and trees were "wassailed" with toasts of spiced cider."~ Yule Lore:

The winter solstice ushers in wintertime and the season of the water element. As the source of all life, the water element represents the cleansing power of nature. The water element is closely tied with the parasympathetic nervous system, that part of the autonomic nervous system that enhances relaxation and healing. The water element streams from the second chakra, the energy center that directs physical and emotional health. The positive pole of the water element is located in the chest and heart chakra, and the negative pole is in the feet. When the water element is balanced, we feel more receptive, accepting and kindhearted, and can expand into our higher spiritual nature. When the water element is imbalanced, we can lose the state of "flow" and experience mistrust, confusion or despair.

Suggestions for creating harmony and balance in the season of the water element revolve around allowing our energy to let go and sink down inside us:

  • Stay warm, slow down and rest. According to Chinese medicine, we should go to bed early and rise with the Sun, and take a little rest in the afternoon between 3-5 PM, if possible.
  • Eat warming, nourishing foods.
  • Enjoy playful time with those you love.
  • Be mindful and contemplative.
  • Nurture creativity.
  • Release your aspirations and allow your expanded self to guide you instead.
  • Treat yourself to gentle healing sessions such as massage, rebirthing, Polarity/energy balancing, Ayurvedic treatments and acupuncture.
  • Move your body with an open, tender heart.

View chart for Winter Solstice

Astral Weather Forecast: As many of you already know, we have an extraordinary holiday season this year, with a lunar eclipse on December 21 followed two weeks later by a solar eclipse on January 4, 2011. To have a solar eclipse at the beginning of the year indicates a year of great change and opportunity ahead. Certain astrologers have pointed out that the transits of the planets on this year's winter solstice are much more extreme than those predicted for the end of the Mayan long-count calendar on December 21, 2012. For example, astrologer Sam Geppi (Sadasiva) gives a fascinating talk about this in his recent podcast titled "The Real "2012"-Upcoming Eclipse December 21, 2010." Sam also explains that the Sun, Moon and Earth align in an eclipse, thus joining together the essence of the physical body (Earth) with the Paramatman (Sun) and Jivatman (Moon), which is the reason that eclipses amplify spiritual power and trigger transformative events. Sam further discusses that this coming lunar eclipse and the transit position of the Moon may indicate some unsettling energy or a disturbing event(s) in the coming weeks. You can download Sam's fascinating discussion by opening this link:

I am often asked about my thoughts about 2012. I have done a little reading and a great deal of meditating on the topic, but remain unsure that this will be a time of devastating upheaval. Perhaps the reason for my uncertainty is that I believe that we have the power to change our reality; thus, a good deal of the future remains undefined. There are two books I highly recommend on the 2012 topic. Believe it or not, the first is called "The Complete Idiot's Guide to 2012: An Ancient Look at a Critical Time" by Synthia and Colin Andrews:

The second is "The Mystery of 2012: Predictions, Prophecies and Possibilities" by Sounds True:

One of the most common 2012 theories is that when the Sun rises on the winter solstice in 2012, it will align and cross over the center of the Milky Way Galaxy and will eclipse it, that is, the disk of the Sun will line up with the galactic center and cover it at the same time that the Sun appears to stand still. This date also represents the end of one of the Mayan calendars. The Sun is not actually crossing over the center of the galaxy; rather, what is happening is that from our perspective, the solar system is crossing an arbitrary meridian plane drawn near the middle of the galaxy. It is theorized that this rare event will activate a vast magnetic "reboot" of our solar system, which will open an interdimensional portal that will allow higher levels of numinosity to flow from the spiritual center of the galaxy to our planet, thus causing a great purification and beginning of a new world cycle.

There are several different opinions about when this event is expected to happen, but from what I can ascertain, it is probably not going to be represented by just one event. This is because, as 2012 researcher John Major Jenkins has explained, the Sun occupies only half a degree of space and takes 36 years to cross this center line of the galaxy. That is, the Sun's disk aligns with the galactic equator at winter solstice for about 36 consecutive years. Many of the New Age teachings and the Native American and Mayan prophecies indicate that we are already in an era of change, and 2012 simply will mark the peak of this cycle. If that is true, it is also possible that this coming eclipse cycle of 2010-2011 could instead mark the peak of the cycle.

There are several significant differences in the 2010 and 2012 solstices, in addition to the fact that December 21, 2010 has a lunar eclipse that will not occur on December 21, 2012. For instance, the Moon in the 2010 chart is in Ardra nakshatra, which indicates the likelihood of some "stormy times" ahead. In the 2012 chart, the Moon is in Pisces/Revati, which reflects the end of a cycle. Another difference between the two astrological charts is that the Sun's disk will be slightly closer to the exact center of the galaxy in 2012 than it is in 2010 (see attached dual sidereal wheel charts). This is presuming that the galactic center is at ~6 degrees 20 minutes of sidereal Sagittarius. In this respect, it appears that the end of the Mayan long-count calendar in December 2012 does match up with the Sun's near-exact conjunction of the galactic center.

The Mayan Chilam Balam predicts that the Earth will experience devastating changes in this era, such as the melting glaciers. Various 2012 researchers believe that we will be experiencing increased seismic activity as a direct result of the melting glaciers. An increase of solar activity in the next few years is a well-documented scientific fact, and this may also directly influence the potential for Earth changes. That aside, as Vedic astrologer Joni Patry says, "This is a transformative time where our consciousness is going through a metamorphosis." Joni has a lot of other important ideas and predictions to share on her Galactic Center Web site:

Of course it is possible (and also a delightful notion), as various authors have conjectured, that a 2012 global kundalini awakening will take place due to various geomagnetic shifts caused by the galactic alignment and strengthening solar flare activity. I believe that a global consciousness awakening is already occurring due in part to computer, Internet and cell-phone technology, which allow instant communication on a mass scale. As an extension of the human nervous system, these devices could very well cause an evolutionary leap of human consciousness. This is what one would expect in the ascending "electric age" (Dwapara Yuga), a 1200-year alternative yuga (age) that the late Jyotishi Swami Sri Yukteswar believed began in 1699 AD. This idea of an awakening humanity is an idea touched on by Sufi teacher Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee in The Mystery of 2012 ("An Awakening World"). According to Vaughan-Lee, the WWW "aligns us to participate consciously in the changes taking place at the heart of life...the Internet [Indra's Net] not only reflects but also enacts life's living oneness, its capacity to evolve and adapt, to quickly and continually reconfigure itself in an endlessly shifting web of connections." If we truly are in an ascending yuga, there is potential for ongoing evolutionary progress to be made on our planet. Paradoxically, in much of the 2012 material, we are challenged to awaken to the reality of our cosmic consciousness in the larger cycles of time, and to avoid the place of fear that is so intense now when so many are concerned that the end is nigh. Perhaps as we awaken toward a realization of global oneness, we can reverse many of the geologic, economic, political and social crises that we now face.

In regard to the current month, it is somewhat unusual to have an eclipse on a solstice, but this is not a singular event by any means. For instance, Prince William of Wales was born on the day of a solar eclipse that occurred on the day of a summer solstice. He was born ~8 hours after the eclipse and less than two hours after the exact moment of summer solstice (birth data June 21, 1982 at 9:03 PM Paddington, England). Of course, this grand "coincidence" leads many conspiracy theorists to surmise that Prince William is the rebirth of the ancient druidic Sun King. But, I digress.

According to "Mr. Eclipse" (Fred Espenak), "A total eclipse of the Moon occurs during the early morning hours of December 21, 2010 (for observers in western North America and Hawaii, the eclipse actually begins on the evening of December 20). The entire event is visible from North America, Greenland and Iceland. Western Europe will see the beginning stages of the eclipse before moonset while western Asia will get the later stages after moonrise. During a total lunar eclipse, the Moon's disk can take on a dramatically colorful appearance from bright orange to blood red to dark brown and (rarely) very dark gray." www.mreclipse.com/LEdata/TLE2010Dec21/TLE2010Dec21.html The exact time of the lunar eclipse, known as Chandra Grahan according to Vedic astrology, will be at 3:17 AM EDT on December 21, 2010; however, you will need to check the exact time in your local area. Note that the eclipse will begin partially about two hours before its peak, and will extend partially almost two hours afterward. The winter solstice will occur the next evening, still on the 21st, at 6:38 PM EDT. The partial solar eclipse, or Surya Grahan, will take place on January 4, 2011 at ~8:50 AM UT in parts of Europe, North Africa and Central Asia.

Eclipses tend to bring change in general, and they affect the whole world even though not occurring over every area. The geographical areas of the eclipses, however, tend to receive the greatest impact in terms of upheaval or change. The eclipses have been in the Sagittarius-Gemini axis for the past year (where the lunar nodes are transiting), where they will continue in this coming cycle. Sagittarius lies in the direction of galactic center, thus indicating its influence as a spiritualizing force. The evolutionary goal of Sagittarius is to develop the opposing qualities of Gemini; thus, this current eclipse axis reflects a collective evolutionary task related to bringing spiritual energies into ordinary reality. We do this in our own lives by living in the present moment, invoking the power of spirit in every act and consecrating our bodies as vessels of unconditional love. During the coming eclipse cycle, we should spend as much time as possible in a peaceful inner state of contemplation, as the outer world in the coming weeks could be fraught with some fear and uncertainty. We are reminded that inner practices performed during eclipses have a way of generating enormous power to burn karma and open higher consciousness.

September 21, 2010 Fall Equinox
Autumn (fall) in the northern hemisphere begins on the equinox occurring on Wednesday, September 22, 2010 at 11:09 PM EDT. From the Latin “aequus”/equal and “nox”/night, the equinoxes occur when the Sun in its apparent path along the ecliptic crosses the celestial equator, and day and night are of equal length all across the earth. The fall and spring equinoxes mark seasonal cycles as well as cycles within the human energy system. The two are very much connected, “As Above, So Below; As Within, So Without.”

The Earth has an electromagnetic field separated by the equator into the northern and southern hemispheres. The magnetic flow of the northern hemisphere moves clockwise, and that of the southern hemisphere moves counterclockwise. The terrestrial equator projected out onto the celestial equator forms a band of zero magnetism. On the equinoxes, the Sun passes over this zero field, creating a still point in which the Earth’s magnetic energies reach their lowest ebb, at which time the entire Earth becomes intensely bathed in higher astral (spiritual or cosmic) forces. This period of increased etheric radiation extends from the day before to the day after the equinox, so for about 48 hours total. Hence, the time around the fall equinox marks a turning point, a time of rebalancing, rebirth and intense change, when not only the Earth herself but also each one of us begins to turn more inward. This is why the fall equinox has long been celebrated as an annual revival by most of the world spiritual traditions. As the natural world (in the northern hemisphere where I live) begins to let go and draw within, so are we asked to take time for inner reflection and healing in order to restore balance to our lives.

The energy of the fall season is all about “letting go and letting God.” This is because the element associated with fall is Ether (Akash), the prime latent elemental force that endlessly flows directly from Divine Source through all of creation. Ether is associated with the element Metal in the Chinese Five-Element system, and is associated with the Vata dosha of Ayurveda (Vata = Air + Ether). According to Dr. Randolph Stone, creator of Polarity Therapy, the Ether element is “the river from which all other rivers [elements] flow.” In the fall season, nature gives us an opportunity to deeply reconnect with this ultimate source of our power.

The basic qualities of balanced Ether are spaciousness, tranquility, humility and acceptance. Ether evokes feelings of grief and contraction when it is imbalanced or obstructed. In other words, we experience the sorrow of loss and a sense of meaninglessness when we are disconnected from Source. By allowing ourselves the space to grieve and mourn our losses, we can bring balance. In addition, the Ether element flows more freely within us when we remain fully grounded in the present moment; when we acknowledge and speak our truth; and, when we align our willpower with purpose. The part of ourselves that is beyond form and flux is revealed through the Ether element. Through a regular practice of meditation, inner stillness and listening, we can open the channel of Ether and access a profound sense of inner calm.

Stepping down through the higher chakras, Ether is seated in the throat chakra, where it influences the thyroid gland (metabolism) and is associated with willpower; communication; creativity; truthfulness; and, integrity. From the throat center, Ether concentrates in the cerebrospinal fluid, and then moves out into the lymphatic system, and then, into the synovial fluid of the joints. As many parts of our bodies are full of space, Ether is everywhere besides just in the joints, cerebrospinal and lymphatic fluids; it is in the ears (and thus relates to hearing); all the intracellular and extracellular spaces; sinus and nasal passages; the lungs; mouth, stomach and intestines; uterus; bladder; and, kidney spaces. With so many bodily systems and networks being activated in the season of Ether, it is clear why this change of season has a powerful effect on our health and well-being.

Additional Astral News
“It’s always something!” How often do we hear this or say it ourselves! As a universal astrologer observing the daily motion of the celestial bodies, I understand that the constant flux of the celestial bodies is but a projection of the inner consciousness that governs all aspects of the natural world. The movement of the astronomical objects against the zodiac can be likened to sansara (samsara), the ever-moving wheel of life in which we are continually reborn, according to Eastern thought.  Just as one challenging astrological aspect moves out of place, along comes another! Nonetheless, I offer my astrological clients hope via certain insights and prognostications of various “positive” trends. I suggest empowering spiritual and healing remedies to help mitigate challenging events and, optimistically, to help open doorways to more beneficial cycles ahead. The greatest remedy is to have a regular practice of inner listening and spiritual union with the divine “I Am” consciousness. According to the great yogi-saint Paramahansa Yogananda, “He who is persistent will realize God. So try your best to make meditation a regular experience in your life.” Even as the heavens are marching on and everything around us is in constant flux, we can take refuge in the constancy of a regular spiritual practice. The more that we develop ourselves in Spirit, the more joyful and purposeful life becomes, and the more we get to live under the “law of grace,” and less under the “law of accident.”

That said, what is going on in the cosmic flux? Well, there are several items worth reporting, but due to time constraints, I can mention only a few. Currently and until the end of the year, Venus is in a protracted transit of Libra, which brings a focus on relationships. There will be many opportunities for all of us to learn about ourselves through the projections we place on others. From September 6 until October 19, Venus and Mars travel together in the constellation of Libra. This is a combination for passion and for some, illicit romance. Generally, in relationships, personal desires will be frustrated; confusion may abound; opinions may be very strong and controversial; compromises may be necessary; and ample opportunities for personal transformation will be afforded. Venus will retrograde from October 8 until November 19, a period that can bring certain unexpected reversals or the need for re-assessments in a relationship. Once Mars leaves Libra on October 19 and through the end of the year, any conflicts you have been experiencing may have an opportunity to heal, and social activities should be quite pleasant through the end of the year.

The other item of interest is related to Pluto’s conjunction with Rahu, the Moon’s North Node. Pluto is an outer planet related to destruction and transformation. Rahu’s energy is akin to that of the outer planets Uranus and Neptune, a combination for sudden energizing and shocking changes that come “out of the blue.” For the past four years, Pluto has been traveling back and forth near or across the plane of the Galactic Center (~6 degrees Sidereal Sagittarius). In Vedic astrology, the Galactic Center is considered to be the source of divine truth and light. When Pluto conjoins this area of the zodiac, a huge planetary shift is indicated, as many new ideas are awakened and old paradigms altered.

Rahu entered (within a 10-degree orb of influence) the conjunction with Pluto in Sagittarius in April 2010, and will remain within a 10-degree orb conjunction until March 2011. Both Pluto and Rahu will conjoin exactly on November 9, 2010 at ~9 ½ degrees of Sagittarius (See Chart One/A or B). This conjunction is even more influential because it also involves the trigger of the Moon, which will be very close, at 8 ½ degrees of Sagittarius.  These are not only within orb of the Galactic Center but they are closely conjunct the Rising Sign (an extreme point of influence and power) of the United States (Kelleher) birth chart (See Chart Two/A or B). The latter is controversial due to some uncertainty regarding the actual time, but if it is the true birth chart of the United States, then the November 9 conjunction will most likely have some profound impact on the United States in the coming months.

As far as I can ascertain, the last time that Pluto and Rahu conjoined in Sagittarius was during a solar eclipse on November 28, 1266, 734 years ago, when both were at nearly the same degree of longitude as the coming conjunction (See Chart Three/A or B). During 1266, two interesting events occurred in Europe. The first was the War of the Disinherited, a prolonged civil war that involved a massive breakdown of law and order in England. The second was that Marco Polo’s father and uncle, Niccolò and Maffeo, reached Kublai Khan’s capital in Dadu, present day Beijing, China. This was a momentous cultural event in European history that was the first significant contact that opened up diplomatic and trade relations between Europe and the Far East. Does the 2010 November conjunction indicate similar kinds of cultural and political transformation, perhaps a civil war, or possibly an encounter with a foreign culture or even an extra-terrestrial intelligence?

When Rahu and Pluto influence each other as in this conjunction, there is the possibility for war, violent attacks or other dangerous events. One could expect something like mass hysteria; political, corporate or economic upheaval; scandals; turbulent events; or criminal behavior. A huge release of some kind of power is possible, and this could have some obliterating impact, as Pluto represents transformative power and Rahu, expansion of power. In Sagittarius, this transformation can be related to any of our educational, religious, media, or political institutions. Specifically, the exact conjunction occurs in Mula nakshatra, ruled by Niritti, Indian goddess of transformation.  
Pluto and Rahu are currently involved in a mutable grand cross involving Saturn in Virgo, Jupiter and Uranus in early Pisces, and Ketu in Gemini. This configuration has been ongoing and indicates collective uncertainty and restlessness as well as certain extreme political and economic conditions that we have seen of late, such as the Tea Party political movement and the huge number of home foreclosures. Jupiter, the dispositor of Rahu and Pluto in Sagittarius, will retrograde back into Aquarius on Nov. 2, and will be in a weak position at the edge of Aquarius and Pisces throughout November and December and into early January, so it may not have its typical protective ability to allay difficulties related to Rahu and Pluto.

During the New Moon on December 5, Mars and Mercury will conjoin Pluto and Rahu (See Chart Four/A or B). Then, during the New Moon Solar Eclipse on January 4, 2011, Mars, the Sun and Moon will all conjoin Pluto and Rahu (See Chart Five/A or B). These transits indicate that a powerful event or related events may take place in the months ahead. I prefer to envision this as something powerfully “good,” such as a revolutionary new discovery or breakthrough that will have a positive impact and contribute to a worldwide awakening of peace, compassion and prosperity. As the wheels of samsara grind on, may you be comforted and supported by the good works you do; by the love of friends and family; and ultimately, by the realization of your own true nature. Happy Fall!

View Charts



June 21, 2010 Summer Solstice
The Summer Solstice is the time when the Sun is at its northernmost point in the sky (southernmost point in the Southern Hemisphere), when it appears at noon at its highest altitude above the horizon. This year’s Summer Solstice occurs on June 21 at 7:28 AM EDT, officially marking the first day of summer and the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. The Summer Solstice also begins the waning half of the solar year, known in Vedic astrology as Dakshinayana or Pitrayana (the nighttime of the gods, and the path of the ancestors). It is said that the Sun’s waning cycle (from December 21 to June 21) is ideal for the worship of and focus on Lord Shiva, nature’s active, male principle; and the Sun’s waning cycle (from June 21 to December 21) is best for worship of and focus on Shakti Ma, nature’s female, passive principle.

In this current fiery season, we are warned to be cautious, and to avoid reckless, egoistic and impulsive behavior.  Ayurveda (the Vedic Science of Life) recognizes seasonal cycles and makes dietary and lifestyle recommendations in accordance with the changing seasonal conditions reflected in nature and human physiology.  In the summertime, measures are usually taken to restrain the heat (Pitta Dosha), but this is a highly individualized matter that is best decided via professional consultation with an Ayurvedic physician. I can personally recommend Dr. Suhas K. Kshirsagar, BAMS, MD, of Kerala Ayurveda (he does phone consultations): http://www.ayurvedaonline.com/ayurveda-clinics/aptos-ca/aptos-practitioners

The summer solstice (June 21) is associated with the first harvest, and thus energetically represents a time to pause, enjoy and appreciate what has been created in the past six months. In the process, it is a good time to evaluate one’s progress and make any necessary changes. The three days on either side of the solstice are supercharged with subtle, spiritual energy, but these days can also reflect some shakiness, so it is important to stay grounded and focused. In addition, two eclipses will occur in the coming days and weeks, on June 26 (partial lunar eclipse), and July 11 (total solar eclipse). These eclipses are occurring in the sidereal Sagittarius-Gemini axis, which relates to learning, communicating, sharing information and creating balance between what we know intellectually (reason and logic) and what we know in our hearts (optimism and faith). Eclipses always bring personal and societal change. At the same time, the coming eclipses are intensely activating the United States birth chart, which represents our collective destiny. So, the weeks ahead can reflect some unsteadiness as we reorient and move in a new direction. It is always important to cultivate compassion and ahimsa (non-violence), to slow down and listen within for guidance. This is even truer around eclipses.

Certain astrological indicators look potentially arduous in the second half of the year. We should prepare for the possibility of continuing ecological, societal and financial upheaval in the months ahead. Rather than fearing the necessary transformations that are always part of our world, please keep in mind that our inner reality helps to create outer events. In other words, ongoing difficulties “out there” are mitigated by conscious individual effort. As poet and cultural historian William Irwin Thomson so brilliantly articulated, “For the first time in human evolution, the individual life is long enough, and the cultural transformation swift enough, that the individual mind is now a constituent player in the global transformation of human culture.” This follows the ancient Buddhist teaching, “With our thoughts, we create the world.” During my recent travels, I have listened to many astute and esteemed astrologers speaking on the mundane astrological forecast for the United States. The general consensus of my colleagues and mentors seems to be that the world economy will begin to show a marked improvement by late 2011. So, there is (always) hope on the horizon. Om shanti, shanti, shanti (peace, peace, peace).

Special Note:
Every time I think about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, I feel overwhelmed and paralyzed with disbelief and grief. I notice that my friends have a similar reaction. We can hardly speak of it. However, my friend Julie Swietlik just sent me a link to a prayer sent from alternative researcher Dr. Masaru Emoto, author of several best-selling books. He believes that water has the power to create peace on our planet. Emoto’s research has demonstrated that by holding the intention of peace toward water, we can bring peace to our world. Dr. Emoto has shown that, just like the samples of water that he tested, so human health is also influenced by negative and positive thoughts, words and emotions.  This prayer came at the right time, just as I was putting together my newsletter. It gave me hope and I wanted to pass it on. Thank you for sharing this, Julie.

Every time we think of the oil spill, and at least twice a day, let’s pray and send light to the water in the Gulf of Mexico, as Dr. Emoto has recommended:

To the water, whales, dolphins, pelicans, fishes, shellfishes, planktons, corals, algae and all creatures in our Gulf of Mexico:

I apologize.
Please forgive me.
Thank you.
I love you."
--Dr. Masaru Emoto


March 15, 2010 Pisces New Moon:
Happy New Year

Traditionally, the Vedic Lunar New Year begins at the New Moon in Pisces, which occurs this year on Monday, March 15 at 5:04 PM in Washington DC (see Chart #1 below). Though many observe the New Year on January 1, the Vedic New Year theme of renewal may be more accurate since it aligns with the essence of the spring season that begins on March 20 at 1:32 PM (EDT). In order to discern the collective karma for the year ahead, we erect the New Year chart for the capital of the country in question. Such a chart reflects the shared karma of a nation or group. Keep in mind that the New Year chart is just one of many charts that we use to make mundane forecasts. Here follow some of the most important highlights:

1. Leo rises at ~5 degrees. Leo is sometimes called the most occult constellation because it is related to spiritual power. It gives an individualistic, creative and restless tone to the New Year chart. It also may reveal surprises and sudden events ahead.
2. The Rising sign (Lagna or Ascendant) is in the nakshatra (lunar sign) of Magha, the Mighty One, associated with the fixed royal star Regulus, which traditionally, when rising, confers wealth, but also scandal, violence, trouble, sickness, fevers and acute disease. In the navamsha of Taurus, the rising sign may represent some necessary reorganization of economic policies. The shakti (power) of Magha is the power of the astral body to release itself from the physical body, and this ties into a repeating theme of this chart related to death and transformation. In the first decante of Leo, this Ascendant may also foretell the death of a great world leader.
3. The 1st house is hemmed by malefic planets, Mars in the 12th house and Saturn in the 2nd, which in Vedic astrology is called Papa Kartari Yoga. This hemming in by two difficult planets reveals some stress on the chart as a whole, and may suggest further financial, social and health pressures for the United States in the year ahead. Also, there could be many devastating forest fires and explosive events related to the position of Mars in its debilitation sign in the 12th house of loss.
4. Jupiter is in Aquarius in the 7th house, which can signify constructive foreign relations, but because of the placement of the asteroid Chiron and the outer planet Neptune with Jupiter, there is also the possibility of some kind of treachery from our known enemies.
5. The ruler of this chart is the Sun, which is always conjunct (at the same longitudinal degree) as the Moon in a New Moon chart. The Sun and Moon are together with Mercury, Venus and Uranus in the malefic 8th house of death, misfortune and transformation. This placement denotes potential losses through financial speculation; compulsive fears in the mass mind; sudden, unexpected problems of all sorts, but especially continuing concerns about the global financial system. The focus of so many planets in the house of death and transformation may signify the possibility of a mass catastrophe. On the plus side, some astounding breakthroughs in technology and science are indicated by the conjunction of Uranus with Mercury and exalted Venus.

The chart that I use for the United States is the Kelleher chart. I have superimposed the New Moon chart over the Kelleher US chart (see #2 chart wheel below). A few points stand out:
1. Ketu (the malefic South Node of the Moon) in the New Year chart is conjunct the United States chart's Sun within 2 degrees. Ketu is an enemy to the Sun. Here, it implies the prospect of devious acts toward the United States and its government, as well as epidemics and turmoil in the financial sectors.
2. Neptune and Chiron are now in an extended transit of Aquarius, and this will continue for several more years as they transit back and forth across the natal Moon (the public sector) of the US chart, revealing several possible patterns, including a surge of apocalypticism and utopianism; cultural disorientation; alarming weather patterns and earth changes; political instability; a rise in addictive behavior; increased susceptibility to disease; the birth of new religious movements; large-scale philanthropy; and a greater interest in art and spirituality. Jupiter is also in Aquarius now, giving some positive impact and protection to the US Moon.
3. There's more.for instance, the United States is in its Saturn Return, a time of turmoil that will ultimately lead to new beginnings.
4. Pluto continues to transit over the US chart Ascendant until the fall, enhancing deep-seated feelings of instability.

As I contemplate some of the likely problems mirrored in these mundane charts, I am reminded of my ethical obligation that precludes predictions of looming misery and disaster. Besides, I understand that astrologers cannot predict the future with absolute conviction because karma is not entirely fixed. For this reason, there is validity in using open-ended and indefinite terms, such as "perhaps, possibly, could, may and might." If I make a suggestion about certain difficult trends or situations, I have a responsibility to reframe these matters, to provide an alternative, empowering perspective with a more constructive outcome.

So then, what's the point of astrology? Simply, astrology clarifies our strengths and shortcomings and shows us how to maximize positive potential while turning challenges into opportunities. However, the stars and planets of astrology do not cause events to happen. They merely reflect the karma that each one of us has set into motion. Just "as above, so below; as within, so without," the heavenly bodies direct us back to ourselves. We are living in a holistic holographic universe in which we are not passive observers. Rather, we are powerful creators dreaming our world into reality. I am always hopeful that we can change the world, and as the adage goes, "change begins within." Our individual thoughts and actions play an enormous role in determining our collective future.

One piece of hopeful astrological news is that malefic Mars will finally leave his debilitation sign of Cancer on May 27, and we can look forward to this, as Mars has been in an extended transit of Cancer since last October! This is the worst transit placement for Mars, the planet that relates to our will, energy and motivation. With Mars in Cancer, we often find it difficult to act on our inspiration, and we can become easily frustrated or feel overwhelmed by inertia, and we can even have difficulty letting go of bad feelings.

For more good news, the benefic planets ("good guys") Jupiter and Venus will transit through their own signs for much of this next year-Jupiter in Pisces, from May 3, 2010, to May 9, 2011; and Venus in Libra, from September 2 until January 1. In Pisces, Jupiter will be in a position of strength in the 4th house of the US chart, possibly signifying a gradual improvement in the national mood and the real estate market. These benefic transits suggest divine protection and positive energy, and even though the New Year chart indicates the chance of further testing times ahead, I trust that we will still be blessed with enough grace, prosperity, wisdom and good fortune to see us through.

Living Fearlessly
By Paramahansa Yogananda

"Turn the spotlight of your attention inward, away from the limited visible man. The physical body has backaches and stomachaches; it suffers deterioration in old age; it is the nastiest little animal! Always crying and whining for something. The visible man cannot bear a bad fall; and he sometimes shrinks at even a pinprick; the invisible man is unhurt by anything. He is free. He can banish all the troubles of the physical body. The invisible man within you is what you are. 'The One who pervades all things is imperishable. Nothing has power to destroy this unchangeable Spirit' [Bhagavad-Gita 11:17].We are coming to that evolutionary period during which we will realize increasingly that we are really invisible beings, or souls. To live only in the consciousness of this visible body of flesh is spiritually retarding, for the body is subject to the sufferings of disease, injury, poverty, hunger and death. We should not desire to think of ourselves as this visible, vulnerable, destructible body.By increasing our knowledge of this invisible self we will be able to control the man visible, as great masters do.How will you gain such control? First you must learn to live more in silence; you must learn to meditate."

For more of Yogananda's inspiration, here are some important links, to the SRF Web site http://www.yogananda-srf.org/ and the Ananda Sangha: http://www.ananda.org/

January 15, 2010 New Moon Solar Eclipse in Capricorn:
The Dalai Lama has said that even though humanity faces many difficulties and challenges, progress is always being made somewhere, and this is no less true in 2010. The year began on a lunar eclipse and will be followed by a solar eclipse on January 15. Because of this and other astrological aspects (such as an extended transit of Mars in its debilitation sign and a square between Saturn and Pluto), I believe there will be ongoing unrest and uncertainty in the coming year, but then, what’s new in the material world, right? There are also many positive forces at work in 2010, and I believe that the current eclipse cycle foretells a year of gradual improvement in many areas. For instance, the great benefic Jupiter has left its debilitation sign of sidereal Capricorn, which means that economic advancement is now more likely. Jupiter is transiting in Aquarius now, which always brings out the more positive qualities of hope, innovation, growth, adventure, luck and good will among humankind.

The current week has some intensity! Saturn will retrograde on January 13 (until May 31), conjunct the zenith (10th house cusp) of the United States equal house chart, possibly indicating stalled negotiations and a reappraisal of the government health care reform bill. Saturn square Pluto indicates that the government may have to face grave conditions, including war. On a personal level, when Saturn retrogrades, we may revisit certain choices that we have made in the past. These next months will also be a good time to get organized and work hard, and to focus on health. A long, cold winter and flu season and issues of high unemployment may also be indicated relative to Saturn’s retrograde motion and the eclipse in Capricorn (Saturn’s sign).

The Sun will enter sidereal Capricorn early in the morning of January 14. This ingress marks an annual astrological and spiritual festival in India called Makar Sankranti (Pongol), a sacred time of year when the solar force begins to expand to herald a new, positive direction to the world. This year, Makar Sankranti also marks the beginning of India’s Kumbh Mela, the largest religious pilgrimage in the world that will last until May, which brings auspicious energies to the entire planet due to the powerful focus of spirituality in this event.

A solar central annular eclipse occurs on January 15, 2010 at 2:06 AM in Washington, DC (see chart #1 below). During an annular solar eclipse, the moon’s disc covers the center part of the Sun, leaving only a “ring of fire” around the edge of the Sun. The path where the eclipse will be seen extends across parts of Africa, certain Indian Ocean islands, and the southern and south-eastern tips of India, Myanmar and parts of China (see chart map #2 below). This eclipse will be visible in parts of India starting around 12 PM and lasting three hours or so. The maximum time will be around 2 PM IT, when three-fourths of the Sun will be obscured. Though the eclipse will not be visible in other parts of the world, its powerful magnetic effects will have a global influence. Even so, the areas along the eclipse path will be more prone to disturbances and transitions in the coming year. During the time of the eclipse, it is recommended that we fast and perform spiritual practices which are enhanced by the powerful highly charged atmospheric eclipse energies.

The January 15 solar eclipse will be the longest eclipse of the 21st century, which indicates that it may have profound, far-reaching consequences. What kinds of consequences might that indicate? Well, in general, eclipses are known as cosmic regulators that bring change, for good or bad. During eclipse cycles, we are often provoked by external circumstances to confront and bring to light our psychological issues, the shadowy parts of our unconscious that we have repressed or denied. We do this work by facing and healing our inner demons, withdrawing our projections from others and accepting responsibility for our own thoughts and actions.

Solar eclipses are super-charged New Moons that can reflect temporary disruptions and breakthroughs as well as new possibilities. The three days leading up to and following the eclipse are not a good time to make major decisions, and this is especially true if the eclipse triggers your natal chart. When an eclipse touches a planet in the chart, that planet’s potential may be activated, but only after a period of destabilization. What is set into motion by the eclipse may come to fruition in the next six months or even beyond that. The house and sign position of the eclipse in the natal chart often indicates where the new beginnings will occur. All of these matters are very personal and can only be judged by a careful astrological reading of your chart.

The eclipse is in Capricorn, which is ruled by Saturn (currently transiting in Virgo, the sign of health), and this may be yet another indication of the continuing accent on health care reform. Capricorn also shines a spotlight on practical matters in general; building and construction; agriculture; the economy; big business; government and politics; mines and minerals; and earth changing events (like earthquakes, global warming, volcanoes and avalanches). The eclipse itself takes place in the fourth house of the Washington, DC eclipse chart, opposite a debilitated Mars, revealing the likelihood of more turmoil in real estate and financial markets as well as the automobile industry. Record home foreclosures may continue for a while, but we may be surprised to hear about some new, innovative programs designed to address the problem, since the Sun and Moon in the eclipse chart are flanked by benefic planets Mercury and Venus, and Rahu (the north node of the Moon) is in Jupiter's sign of Sagittarius.

With Rahu's transit in sidereal Sagittarius, we see the eclipse cycle of the past 18 months transitioning away from the Cancer-Capricorn axis, the area of the zodiac that deals with emotional and material security. The presence of the transiting lunar nodes and eclipses in this axis for the past 18 months has magnified our collective insecurity. Now, this dynamic of fear can shift in a more positive direction, as the nodes are now in Sagittarius and Gemini, where they bring a more expansive focus on commerce; communication; religion and philosophy; beliefs and ideals; technological innovation; and education. Mercury has been retrograde for the past three weeks, and will station and move forward about nine hours after the eclipse on January 15, which may bring a rush of new energy. If you feel you have been "chasing your tail" a bit lately, this may begin to shift and you may begin to feel less muddled and more productive.

#1chart 2


Friday, October 20, 2009
The October 18th New Moon in Libra sets the stage for the next month as well as the New Year in several religious traditions of India. Libra is a cardinal constellation ruled by the planet Venus, and both relate to relationships, cooperative ventures and the need to maintain equilibrium inour ever-changing, often tumultuous world. Libra rules the kidneys, and just as the kidneys purify the blood to maintain the body’s homeostasis, Libra signifies (among other things) how we balance our own needs with those of others.

Many of us may be tested and may feel uneasiness within ourselves and in our relationships in the coming weeks, as the Moon conjoins debilitated Sun in Libra. Both are weakened in their early degrees of longitude (58 minutes/less than 1 degree) and both are involved in a stressful T-square with feisty Mars and the karmic axis (lunar nodes). The New Moon also conjoins the Midheaven (a point of tremendous power) of the United States (Kelleher) chart, which can have a collective effect, as in a karmic event or experience that affects many people at once.

The Sun and Moon are in the auspicious nakshatra of Libra known as Chitra, the “shining one” represented by a single bright star, Spica (alpha-Virginis), which the ancient Vedic seers associated with the divine celestial architect Tvashtar. The section of Chitra in which the New Moon falls is very much about creating harmony within ourselves and with our work and relationships. As Chitra is very creative, this may also be a good month ahead for self-development, home-improvement or an artistic project.

As the New Moon is afflicted in Chitra, we may see some dramatic events unfolding on the world stage. Mundane astrology says that when the Sun and Moon are afflicted in the New Moon chart (as in this case and especially because they conjunct the United States chart's Midheaven), the ruler and the government might face grave difficulties; and, there may be landslides, mining disasters, fires, volcanic eruptions, and seaport or water disasters. On a brighter note, we may hear news of an astounding technological discovery or breakthrough, as well.

View Charts for New Moon in Libra

Click on thumbnail to view full size PDF charts

chart 1

chart 2

chart 3

Friday, August 18, 2009

The New Moon in Virgo this month conjuncts Sun, Mercury and Saturn, opposite Uranus in Pisces and aspected by (square) Mars in Gemini. Saturn and Uranus are on the edge of their respective signs, indicating many changes and a sense of uncertainty. This configuration reflects great focus and intensity as well as a tendency for worry, frustration, fear, unsettling experiences and extreme sensitivity. Mercury has been retrograde in Virgo since September 8, which can make us feel we are running in circles, feeling overwhelmed with everyday "kitchen-sink reality." Mercury will go direct on September 30, which should offer a little relief.

In the chart set for Washington, DC, the South Node (Ketu) in the eighth house reveals the possibility of a violent public tragedy, further economic concerns or a health crisis in the coming month. We may be in for a severe respiratory and/or gastrointestinal illness outbreak, as Mercury is retrograde in Virgo and conjunct the Sun, Moon and Saturn in the 10th house, and as Mars aspects this stellium of planets (Mars produces epidemics). Certainly, with all these malefic significations in Virgo (the sign of health), the debate over universal healthcare may rage on, but with perhaps a new twist.


The Autumnal or Fall Equinox occurs on Tuesday, September 22 at 5:18 PM EDT. From the Latin “aequus”/equal and “nox”/night, the equinoxes mark the two moments a year when the Sun in its apparent path along the ecliptic crosses the equator, and day and night are of equal length all over the earth. The equinoxes mark seasonal cycles as well as those of the human energy system. The two are very much connected … As Above, So Below; As Within, So Without.

The Earth reboots her energy system at the Fall Equinox, and this temporary destabilization is mirrored in our own energy systems. Kundalini (earth) energy flows intensely around the equinoxes, but we may also feel quite sensitive or unsteady at this time, too. I recommend that you avoid beginning any important projects from Sept. 21-23. This window is an important time for taking measures to harmonize body and mind. Now is the time to see your acupuncturist or chiropractor, massage therapist or holistic practitioner for a seasonal tune-up. Yoga and meditation are particularly helpful, as well.

The Autumnal (Fall) Equinox begins the fall season in the Northern Hemisphere. Fall is associated with the element of *metal* in Chinese five-element theory. As the days grow shorter in the Northern Hemisphere, the air becomes cooler and drier, and the trees begin dropping their leaves. We may also begin to feel a decline in our energy levels. This is a time for us to let go, to allow ourselves to deeply feel our longings and release our sorrows.

The metal element of autumn relates to the lungs and the colon in the body. Now is a good time for a colon cleanse! Hydrate and nourish yourself well to support your lungs. Take long hikes or any enjoyable aerobic exercise that stimulates your breath. Do pranayama! Open your heart to the sky! Eat spicy foods.

The balance point of the Fall Equinox is a valuable opportunity to prepare for the next cycle in our lives. Take time out of your busy schedule to pause and reflect, to examine what it is in your life that may need some readjustment. Remember that you are a spiritual being having a human experience, and create a ritual to reconnect with Spirit in some way. Be grateful for the fruits of all your efforts made since the Summer Solstice last June, and offer the seeds toward your dreams for the future.This New Moon marks the beginning of Navaratri (Sept 19-28), the sacred Hindu festival honoring the Divine Mother Shakti, who pours infinite blessings upon us during these nine auspicious days and nights. May you be blessed and held in Her embrace now and always.

To protect yourself from the swine flu or other contagions, follow this advice from the CDC:
• Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after using it.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
• Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
• If you do get the flu (or any contagious illness, for that matter), stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.

I keep Black Elderberry syrup in my fridge to take at the first sign of a respiratory bug. Non-vegetarians may also want to keep a bottle of Standard Process Congaplex on hand to take for lungs and immune system in case of an illness: View Here

In addition, best-selling author and integrative medical specialist Dr. Andrew Weil suggests: “ … taking a daily antioxidant, multivitamin-mineral supplement, as well as astragalus, a well-known immune-boosting herb that can help ward off colds and flu. Also consider mushroom-based immune modulators such as Host Defense or Mycosoft Gold.” Please see Dr. Weil's web site for more details: Avoiding-Swine-Flu

View Charts for Virgo Moon

Chart -1
Chart -2
Chart -3

Click on links to view full size PDF charts

Friday, August 14, 2009 The August New Moon occurs on Thursday, August 20, 2009, at 6:01:35 AM in Washington, DC. To astrologers, the New Moon is a time for new beginnings. In mundane forecasting as well as in most lunar calendars, the New Moon marks the commencement of the new lunar month. We examine the lunation chart for the month and use it to prognosticate the impending cycle of events. For those of us following lunar calendars, August 20 is understood to be the first of the new month! In the Muslim lunar calendar, this New Moon marks the beginning of the month-long fasting period of Ramadan. However, for technical reasons, the beginning of Ramadan will not be officially observed until August 22 this year: www.qppstudio.net/public-holidays-news/2009/usa__united_states__002582.htm

The August 20th New Moon and its influence will extend until the next New Moon on September 18, 2009.The New Moon occurs once a month when the Moon and Sun line up to rise and set together. A day or so before the New Moon, we can usually see a thin crescent Moon before sunrise in the eastern sky; and a few days after New Moon, we can see a thin crescent Moon for a short while after sunset in the western sky. However, the actual New Moon cannot be seen at all since its light is obscured by the Sun.

I cast New Moon charts (see below) for Washington, DC (political home of the United States) and New York City (financial hub of the global economy). I also looked at Philadelphia, the birthplace of the United States (Kelleher chart), and Boston, where the Sun and Moon are exactly on the Ascendant (rising constellation/at sunrise). What is most striking about these charts is that their Ascendants are in the precarious gandanta zone, spanning late Cancer and early Leo.

The Ascendant is the constellation rising on the intersection of the eastern horizon and the meridian at the time of birth (in this case, the "birth" is for the exact moment of the New Moon). The Ascendant is a main seat of power of any astrological chart, and having it in the gandanta reflects the possibility for some complexity, intensity or uncertainty. For more on the gandanta points, I recommend Vedic astrologer Komilla Sutton's excellent article titled "Gandanta: The Spiritual Knot," which can be accessed on her web site: http://www.komilla.com/pages/Gandanta.html

These ascending gandanta placements indicate the potential for some collective vulnerability and tumultuous events throughout the world in the coming lunar month. Such matters are also indicated by a preponderance of sandhi (edge) planets, that is, planets located near the beginning or ending of their respective constellations. Not only are the rising constellations for the East Coast urban center charts sandhi and gandanta, but most of the other planets are also sandhi in the global lunation chart.

There is some disagreement about the exact limits of a sandhi planet. Most sources would agree that a planet in the first or last degree of a constellation is most sensitive. In the gandanta placements, we often use the first pada (3 degrees and 20 minutes) of a constellation on either side of the edge to mark an area of sensitivity. Sun and the Moon in the lunation chart are at 3 degrees and 31 minutes, just past this edge, but their condition still appears to be close enough to the edge to attract my attention. Also, many of the planets are within the six-degree edges of weakness used in the Baladi Avasthas of Jyotish:

  • Sun and Moon-3 degrees 31 minutes Leo
  • Mars 2 degrees 36 minutes Gemini
  • Mercury 0 degrees 28 minutes Virgo
  • Jupiter 27 degrees 19 minutes Capricorn
  • Venus 28 degrees 35 minutes Gemini
  • Saturn 27 degrees 31 minutes Leo
  • Rahu and Ketu 4 degrees 42 minutes Capricorn and Cancer
  • Uranus 01 degree 42 minutes Pisces
  • Neptune 01 degree Aquarius
  • Pluto 6 degrees 47 minutes Sagittarius

Sandhi placements are potentially weak, restless and indecisive. They are not always able to manifest their energy in a direct, clear and balanced way. Sandhi placements can indicate the necessity for some kind of adjustment, healing or karmic release. Due to their sandhi placements, the Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Saturn and the outer planets may be considered to be in some kind of weakened condition, and this could be potentially knotty in the coming month. The planets are the representatives of human life, and we prefer that they reflect our strength rather than our weakness. Yet, seeing our weakness reflected back to us, we may have an opportunity to use this information to face our shadow issues and consciously choose to create more strength within ourselves.

A similar theme of weakness appears in the pattern of the bi-wheel chart posted below. In this chart, I have superimposed the lunation chart over the United States (Kelleher) chart. Pluto is transiting the 1st house at 6 degrees and 47 minutes Sagittarius; opposed both natal and returning transit Mars in Gemini at 2 degrees and 36 minutes; squaring Saturn at 27 degrees and 31 minutes of Leo and Mercury at 0 degrees and 28 minutes of Virgo flanking the cusp of the 10th house; and squaring Uranus at 1 degree 42 minutes Pisces on the 4th house cusp; Saturn is also opposing Uranus. All of these aspects are within a 6-degree orb. The lunation Mercury is close to a conjunction with transit Saturn and both are conjoined natal Neptune in the Kelleher chart. This forms a mutable grand cross near the all-important angles of the chart, which reflects some sensitive or chaotic energy. Uranus on the 4th house cusp in early Pisces can be a significator of shocking disruptions, natural disasters, violence, accidents, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

Saturn conjunct the fixed star Denebola crowns the chart with the potential for large-scale calamity; epidemic disease; more upheaval in the real estate markets; or political volatility related to big government reform. Rahu (the Moon's North Node) remains conjunct natal Pluto in the second house of finance in the United States chart, which holds the focus on some continuing economic uncertainty. This financial crisis may take a slight turn for the worse in the coming weeks as Saturn moves toward an exact conjunction with natal Neptune. Transit Pluto continues to pass close to the United States chart Ascendant opposed Mars, where we see some reflection of global tension, war and upheaval.

The transit Sun in the nakshatra of Magha is afflicted by its opposition to transit Neptune, which indicates the enduring crisis of faith in America's government as well as in big business. This aspect also reflects the growing problem of piracy in the global shipping industry. There is likely to be further news and debate in various world governments about the necessity of arming shipping vessels.

An important United States leader could be in danger, or at least will be facing ongoing public criticism. We may continue to see a higher level of public revolt against big government power plays. Warring factions of society will continue to be at great odds with each other.

So, OK.the current Leo lunation chart is unstable and the times remain quite unpredictable, so how can we "keep it together?" Well, we can use the heart-centered energy of Leo to help us overcome our weaknesses and remain focused! The late Western astrologer Isabel Hickey said that one of Leo's keywords is "dominion.This does not refer to dominion over others, but rather, it means dominion over our own uncontrolled drives. As sign number 'five', Leo shows a need for order and harmony manifested through will and character...the greatest gift a Leo can bring to the world is an understanding heart."

The New Moon in Magha chart certainly seems to indicate the time of change upon us. I also see this trend in the current transit of Saturn, which remains in a constellation for 2.5 years and will finally be leaving the constellation of Leo and moving into Mercury's constellation of Virgo on September 9. Saturn was in Cancer for 2.5 years before transiting through Leo. In both these constellations, Saturn is said to create hardship on an inner and outer level. Much of the malaise and unrest in the world could be attributed to the past five years of Saturn's transit in Cancer, where it signifies some lack of peace and abundance, and then in Leo, where there can be some difficulty maintaining joy and vitality.

Saturn energies may flow more easily in the sign of Saturn's friend Mercury, where much of Saturn's discipline and constructive organizational power can be used to iron out the necessary details to help create more harmony in the world, especially in matters related to business and finance, communication, environmental and health matters.

In the meantime, as Vedic astrology personifies Saturn as an old man near the end of his life, we often see that he gets a last little bit of juice and comes more alive to stir things up and create some final unrest when he nears the end of the constellation (as in coming weeks), i.e., he often packs a last punch before he changes constellations. Because of this, we could experience delays in our plans, and could have a tendency to feel more anxiety, disappointment, melancholy or lack of faith in the coming weeks. Some of Saturn's greatest lessons are around developing tolerance, self-discipline, responsibility, and spiritual detachment, so his often-harsh lessons are not in vain.

The Moon in Magha chart represents the global transformation we keep hearing about. It also reflects the seasonal shift as we move quickly toward the end of the summer fire season. There is some sensitivity and vulnerability in this movement from one state to another. The fire energies can be out of balance as they are shifting over, creating some frustration and potential for excess and even violence. At the same time, we may have more than the usual ability to go with the flow and adapt to changing circumstances. Though we may feel restless or indecisive at times, we can also access heightened levels of creative and spiritual energy in the current cycle.

This New Moon reminds us to take it easy and to be gentle and mindful. Ask for help from others when needed. Pray to your ancestors and teachers for guidance and support. Settle your disputes and seek peace instead. Study sacred knowledge. While the New Moon rises at dawn and sets at twilight, use these two special, power-packed liminal times of day on August 20 to perform spiritual rituals and practices. The New Moon is a wonderful time to commune with nature, connect within yourself and set your intentions for the coming month. Please note that in the days leading up to the New Moon (the balsamic phase), we often need to be more quiet than usual, to allow ourselves some added rest...so, enjoy!

May All Beings Be Happy and Free of Suffering!

View the 7 full size New Moon charts in PDF format

Wednesday August 5, 2009

“In summer, the song sings itself. ”
~William Carlos Williams

Keeping with my ancient ancestral traditions, I like to keep track of the traditional Celtic feasts that honor Mother Earth and her seasonal cycles. This month's festival is Lammas, the cross-quarter fire celebration marking the fullest height of summer. Though traditionally celebrated around August 1, Lammas technically occurs this year on August 7, the halfway juncture between Summer Solstice and Autumnal Equinox. This is a time in the northern hemisphere to step back and enjoy the first fruits of summer's harvest!

A supercharged Full Moon/Appulse Lunar Eclipse occurs on August 5, 2009, inside this Lammas window of power (please see the eclipse charts posted below). This eclipsed Full Moon in Sidereal Capricorn opposite the Sun in Sidereal Cancer continues the dynamic of the recent eclipse cycle, playing out some tension that we may feel related to security versus responsibility.The question remains.how do we create a secure inner base and find peace in the midst of our ever-changing outer world? How can we stop and enjoy the fruits of the harvest when the outer world seems so chaotic and uncertain?

The Full Moon falling in the Hindu lunar sign (nakshatra) of Shravana may hold a key to this dilemma. The basic orientation of Shravana is toward inner silence. If possible, try to find time to tune in and observe the inner silence in the hours preceding or following the Full Moon (8:55 PM EDT on August 5). According to the great spiritual master Paramahansa Yogananda, "Peace emanates from the soul, and is the sacred inner environment in which true happiness unfolds." Yogananda also advised us to avoid angry, fearful and restless thoughts...to turn off the static of our "mind radio." By doing so, and instead finding the time to regularly receive the Great Silence within, we can tap into a deep reservoir of the “peace” which St. Paul said “passes all understanding.”

May your heart be always overflowing with the fruits of your good works, and may your song always sing itself!

Click on the image below to view full size PDF

Monday July 20, 2009
According to NASA's Eclipse Web Site, "On Wednesday, 2009 July 22, a total eclipse of the Sun is visible from within a narrow corridor that traverses half of Earth. The path of the Moon's umbral shadow begins in India and crosses through Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar and China. After leaving mainland Asia, the path crosses Japan's Ryukyu Islands and curves southeast through the Pacific Ocean where the maximum duration of totality reaches 6 min 39 s. A partial eclipse is seen within the much broader path of the Moon's penumbral shadow, which includes most of eastern Asia, Indonesia, and the Pacific Ocean." www.eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/SEmono/TSE2009/TSE2009.html

This site shows a beautiful animation of the eclipse: www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Solar_eclipse_animate_(2009-Jul-22).gif

This solar eclipse will be the longest on the planet until 2032. It will last so long because it occurs while the Moon is close to perigee (closest to Earth). In the Western hemisphere, the eclipse will occur on July 21, and in the Eastern, it will be on July 22. A solar eclipse takes place when the Moon passes between the Sun and the Earth so that the Sun is totally or partially covered. According to astrology, a solar eclipse is a highly charged New Moon that brings planetary and personal upheaval. As the heavens mirror life on Earth, a solar eclipse can reflect a drop in vitality while bringing to light any issues blocking or depleting our life force.You may have been going through some extreme ups and downs recently, or you might be going through some important transformations, or just having some great revelations, all of which we might attribute to the eclipse energies working their magic of change-change-change!

Yes, we feel the results for many weeks before the eclipse, during the day of the eclipse itself, and for the next six months and even for many years. Any strong personal effect depends on whether it is occurring close to (within 5-6 degrees) a natal reference point, mainly, the Sun, Moon and Lagna (Ascendant). An astrological reading can pinpoint how the eclipse will affect you personally. For more on eclipses in general, please go back and read my extensive blog post on January 23, 2009: Go to link

The eclipse path extends from India, China, a few of the Japanese islands and the South Pacific Ocean (see map of path below). Any one of these areas may become a geopolitical "hot spot" in the coming months, especially because the Sun is eclipsed in its mrityu bhaga (fatal/harmful degree) and also, in mid-October, malefic Mars will transit across the eclipse point in its debilitation sign, which can act like a trigger of potentially chaotic or violent events.

In addition, mundane astrologers believe that we may see an amplification of storms and seismic activity in coming months, particularly in the areas along the eclipse path. This is even truer because the trans-Neptunian planet Vulcanus is close to (within 4 degrees) the eclipse point. Postulated by the German astrologers Alfred Witte and Friedrich Sieggruen in the early 20th century, Vulcanus is one of eight hypothetical planets used by Uranian astrologers. I have found that these points, especially Vulcanus, can add depth to astrological analysis, and I often consider them when they are closely influencing the traditional planets and luminaries, as in this case.

Vulcanus represents strength, force, violence and extreme power, and can have an explosive force similar to that of an erupting volcano. Clearly, there are powerful "negative" forces on the planet and within each of us that need to burst open and clear away so that we may awaken and evolve into our full potential.

The eclipse chart for Washington DC (see below) reveals a stressful fixed grand cross, which the late Western astrologer Isabel Hickey described as a karmic pattern related to the misuse of will. This aspect pattern may have a potentially disruptive influence on individuals and nations. The solar eclipse occurs in Cancer, the constellation that relates to the needs of the heart, nourishment, deep security, home and family. How do we resolve our collective insecurity, heal ourselves and ultimately, create peace and balance on our beautiful planet? How do we "come home" to our true Self that is free and in the flow of divine grace? These are matters that may come into stronger focus for each of us now and during the coming months.

Because electromagnetic energies are intensified during an eclipse, it is believed that any spiritual practice performed during this time will have an auspicious and magnified effect. Thus, many yogis and spiritual masters recommend that we meditate or perform mantra recitation during the eclipse. The maximum intensity of the eclipse will occur at 2:35 AM UT July 22 (10:35 PM EDT on July 21) but the eclipse will also have an effect for about 2.5 hours on either side. Keep in mind that even those not along the eclipse path are affected by the total planetary "reboot" of a solar eclipse!

One appropriate mantra to perform during the eclipse period is a sloka (verse) from the hymn associated with the Sun (Surya) that was recited by Sage Agastya to Rama on the battlefield before he fought with Ravana (in the ancient Sanskrit epic Ramayana). I was initiated into this mantra by my teacher Ram Dass during a class many years ago at Naropa. It is called the "Meditation of the Sun in the Heart".and it goes, "Aditya-Hridayam Punyam, Sarva Shatru-vinashanam," and as I learned it, this means, "Keep the Sun in your heart, and all evils will vanish from the world." While repeating it, imagine a brilliant, flaming Sun burning brightly in your heart. This Sun is brighter than a thousand suns.it is the Divine Sun within each of us that burns away all the illusion and suffering of the world.

Click on the image below to view full size PDF

Sunday, July 5, 2009
A penumbral lunar eclipse will take place on July 7, 2009. This will be the second of four lunar eclipses in 2009. In a penumbral eclipse, the full Moon enters the Earth's penumbral shadow; the light from the Earth is partially blocked; and, the Moon grows dimmer. The eclipse may be seen rising over Australia after sunset on July 7, and setting over western North and South America (including Hawaii) in the early hours before dawn on July 7. "According to NASA, this penumbral eclipse is only of academic interest since the magnitude is just 0.156 at the point of maximum eclipse. Therefore there is only a little chance for seeing any of the eclipse's dimming effect." www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/lunar-eclipse-july-7-2009.html

According to astrology and other occult traditions, eclipses bring change, and often the changes come before and after the actual eclipse according to key trigger points. For instance, such events may occur later on when another planet crosses the eclipse point or a point opposite. For instance, we might watch what happens when transiting Mercury crosses exactly opposite the eclipse point on July 11; or when Venus crosses the opposite point on August 14; or when Mars crosses the opposite point on Sept. 20.

Full Moon energy is powerful, but during an eclipse the Moon's light is briefly absent, so in the weeks before and after, we have an opportunity to reflect on important personal and professional issues. For example, we might examine how we are nurturing ourselves and our relationships. Is there some place in your life where you need to take more responsibility for your actions (karma)? It might be a good time to take a look at such matters within your own psychological process.

In a personal reading, I would look at any points in your natal chart that might be closely triggered by the eclipse. In addition, as the Sun and Moon are in opposite astrological signs during a lunar eclipse, I would examine the transiting Sun-Moon axis superimposed on your natal chart to understand more about your specific "growing edge" at this time.

In general, the eclipse falls in Sagittarius. More specifically, the Moon is in Sagittarius and the Sun in Gemini (sidereal positions). Gemini-Sagittarius emphasizes how we must learn to balance our higher and lower minds; test our beliefs and ideals; find purpose and meaning; cultivate wisdom; and most importantly, lighten up and enjoy the miraculous game of life!

The Moon is eclipsed at 21 degrees and 24 minutes of Sagittarius. This is closely conjunct the auspicious fixed star Vega (alpha Lyri) in the nakshatra known as Purva Ashadha, in its highly fortunate Pushkara Navamsa ruled by Venus. I believe that Vega was one of the three "Messengers of Light" in the ancient Babylonian tradition, and so I feel that this eclipse reveals a gift. The gift is reflected in the Sun's position in Gemini conjunct the lucky fixed star Canopus, the "Pathfinder," which relates to the divine spiritual masters (rishis) of ancient India.

The Full Moon in Sagittarius has special importance in the Hindu calendar, and is known as Guru Purnima, a day for honoring one's teachers (gurus). In the Hindu tradition, Guru Purnima is a sacred day to honor the great sage Vyasa, the "guru of gurus" and "father" of the Vedas, the Puranas and other important spiritual scriptures. For all, Hindus and non-Hindus alike, Guru Purnima is a wonderful time to perform spiritual practices and receive grace from the divine realms, especially during the time of the eclipse (8:37 AM UT to 10:39 AM UT, with the strongest time being from 9:21-9:38 UT). To convert UT to your time zone, I recommend this online calculator: www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/converter.html

Two weeks after the lunar eclipse, we have a solar eclipse in Cancer! Stay tuned for further updates!

Eclipse Chart #1Click to view large charts

Saturday, June 20, 2009
It is important to consider a Solstice chart in mundane astrology, as this chart is one of many used to examine the collective karma of a nation. The Solstice chart will be active for the next six months. For the United States, the chart is set for Washington DC on June 21, 2009 at 1:45 AM. Pisces is rising on the eastern horizon. Jupiter, the traditional ruler of Pisces, is conjoined Neptune, the modern ruler of Pisces, in the 12th house, in the sidereal constellation of Aquarius. This promotes spiritual truth seeking, patriotism, and international humanitarianism. Jupiter and Neptune make a fortunate trine to the Sun in the fourth house, which reflects some overall positive energy.

Solstice Chart #1Click to view large charts

At the same time, Pluto (death, transformation and secret activities) is conjoined the Midheaven of the Summer Solstice chart in the nakshatra of Mula, a section of Sagittarius that has a destructive nature but also relates to the pinnacle of material achievement and the beginning of the spiritual quest. Pluto is also transiting across the United States chart Ascendant, and thus can signify some extreme results.

This is especially so because Pluto is in opposition to the Sun in the Solstice chart. The Sun, which represents our government, occupies the fourth house, the land and people of the United States in this chart. Uranus, which relates to unforeseen events, eruptions, shocks and upheavals, is located in the first house-the heart of the chart. All three of these (Pluto, Sun and Uranus) are forming a stressful T-square pattern.

Pluto is an indicator of socialism and massive government spending; dictators, totalitarian regimes and revolutions; treachery; secret and diabolical acts of terror; hidden matters of all kinds; big business; global wars; assassinations; catastrophes and mass tragedies; nuclear energy and weaponry; contagious and infectious diseases; and, floods. Any of these matters may dominate the news in the next six months as Pluto crowns this chart with the potential for sudden transformational events.

Yet, the Ascendant Pisces is in the fortunate nakshatra known as Revati, which is ruled by Pushan, a nourishing solar deity and a significator of good fortune and wealth. Interestingly, the chart ruler Jupiter is in Dhanishta, another nakshatra associated with wealth. Both of these asterisms signify the ability to see and experience the good parts of life. The Moon, though waning and thus somewhat weak, is in its favorite nakshatra, Rohini, where it also gives the potential for some peace and happiness.

There is a strong focus on the economy in this chart, but with mixed results, i.e., some ups and downs, but I do see that there could be some gains over time because of the Grand Trine between planets in the Earth/Artha (wealth) houses 2, 6 and 10, indicating that if we stay focused on the work before us, avoid selfish actions and negative thoughts, and offer assistance and kindness to others, progress can be made.

In his gripping new book titled Fractal Time, visionary author Gregg Braden explores the 2012 mystery and the enormous changes occurring on our planet now. He discusses our ability to use "choice points to affect our future in a conscious way." Braden makes a compelling argument for the fact that history repeats itself in cycles of time, but he also offers this important caveat: "If we know that the time is ripe for the conditions to appear, we can take extra steps-such as global prayers, sensitive dialogue, and measured tolerance toward tense situations-to be certain that we don't fall into the ancient trap of where the cycles may have led in the past."

This Summer Solstice is a particularly wonderful time for rituals and celebrations, as both Revati and Dhanishta (important nakshatras in the United States Solstice chart) relate to music, drumming, dancing and celebrating. I know of two very special Summer Solstice prayer festivals:
1. The Live H20 Concert for the Living Waters will take place from Friday through Sunday, June 19-21, 2009 in over 30 locations around the world and on the WWW. "This historic concert/meditation, inspired by Dr. Masuro Emoto and Dr. Len Horowitz, unites millions around the world in giving LOVE and THANKS to the LIVING WATERS of Earth. The 7-foot, crystal inlaid Grandmother Drum sets the tone of LOVE's resonant frequency (528 hertz), joined by renowned performing artists from 9 global stages and hundreds of other hosts sites worldwide. The event culminates June 21 as all unite in music, prayer, drumming and song, setting a new global pulse of love, prosperity, unity and peace for all life. Join online and on the inner planes": www.liveh2o.org/
2. World Peace and Prayer Day: All Nations, All Faiths, One Prayer! "The Summer Solstice is said to be a powerful time to pray for peace and harmony among all living beings. Grandmother Earth's gifts, the air, water plant, animal and rock nations must be allowed to heal if we are to live in harmony with Her": www.wolakota.org/wppd.html

Sunday, May 24, 2009
The New Moon marks the beginning of the new lunar month. It always occurs when the Sun and the Moon reach the same celestial longitude, which is known as a conjunction in astrology. The current New Moon falls in Sidereal Taurus, the sign of the Moon's exaltation, where it typically gives grounded sensibility, abundance and a zest for life. Even though this particular Moon is weakened somewhat by being in the 12th house and conjunct the Sun (among other technical astrological factors), it is on the whole favorable and strong. It gives us the potential for spiritual understanding and charitable, humanitarian action in the coming month.

The New Moon chart for Washington, DC has Gemini Rising conjunct the fixed star Mirzam (Beta-Canis Majoris), which is a second-magnitude star located in the paw of one of Orion's hunting dogs (See Charts #1 and #2 below). Mirzam is called the "Announcer" and thus indicates that this next lunar month may bring a public proclamation of some significance to the world. This will likely have to do with a foreign or business matter (and could even relate to foreign enemies), as Gemini rules the seventh house of the US (Kelleher) chart, which relates to such matters. For all of us, communication will be an especially important area of focus this month, but we may be tested in this area, as well. With the New Moon, Sun and Mercury in the twelfth house, some may benefit from a quiet retreat in order to gain insight that will improve communication.

The rising nakshatra is Ardra, which indicates a stormy month ahead, both literally and figuratively. This is doubly so as the ruler of Ardra, Rahu (the Moon's North Node), is located in the eighth house of change, upheaval and transformation. Ardra is within the constellation of Orion, which holds a dimensional portal through which souls descend into the Earth plane. Thus, the turbulent lessons of Ardra are always purposeful for the evolution of humanity, no matter how harsh they can be.

Retrograde Pluto remains very close to the galactic center at ~9 degrees of Sagittarius, and forms the focal point of a Yod (also called the finger of fate or finger of God). A Yod is formed by two planets that are sextile (in this case the Sun/Moon/Mercury conjunction is sextile the Moon's South Node Ketu), and both these are inconjunct (150 degrees) Pluto. This forms a "fated" and potentially stressful aspect that may precipitate some turbulence in the coming month, possibly related to public health, finance, transportation or communication. On an individual level, it is important to pay attention to our own situation and be aware of any tendencies to feel more compulsive or pressured than usual. Some may be feeling at a stalemate or overwhelmed by outside forces.

Mercury, the chart ruler, is at the 0 degree point of Taurus, adding an additional flavor to the New Moon energy. Whenever a planet is at the 0-degree point, it is considered weak and unable to manifest its essence as fully as we would like. This means we may see more than the usual disruptions in communication, transportation or business this month. At the same time, when a planet is at the 0 degree of a sign, it has an initiatory spirit, which is also evidenced by Mars in the New Moon chart. Mars is at 0 degree of Aries (in the 11th house of aspirations and pursuits), where it is strong and reflective of our creative and transformative nature. This is a good month to harness our fire energy and use our warrior nature for overcoming limitations and manifesting goals. With the two planets of technology at the 0 degree mark, it is possible we will soon hear news about a radical new technological or scientific breakthrough.

The Sun, Moon and Mercury are in the nakshatra called Krittika, the "Star of Fire," and thus we see a repeating theme related to harnessing the fires of transformation. Krittika's shadow side relates to obsessive desires, aggression, selfishness, lust and obstinacy. Our spiritual efforts this month may best be focused on overcoming these egoic weaknesses in order to positively transform our world. There is some hope for us to heal and improve ourselves as Saturn recently moved forward (on May 18) after being retrograde since December 31, 2008. Jupiter is well placed in Aquarius in the auspicious ninth house, where it is aspecting the all-important first house. The first house represents a microcosm of the whole chart, so benefic aspects are always most welcome here! Also blessing the chart is Venus, the auspicious fifth house ruler, exalted in Pisces in the tenth house, where it crowns the chart with good fortune.

Mercury has been retrograde since May 8 and will go direct on June 1. When Mercury is retrograde, communication, transportation and business matters can be more challenging. By the end of the first week of June, many of our Mercury problems will have settled down.

We have an interesting alignment of Jupiter and Neptune on May 27, 2009, which will occur again in December 2009. In Mundane astrology, conjunctions of the outer planets are considered to be vital events that resonate for a long time. Jupiter is a planet of expansion and wisdom, and occupying the benefic ninth house, it is favorable for spiritual, commercial and cultural affairs.

Neptune is a higher octave of Venus, planet of love and harmony, and it relates to art, mysticism and idealism (on the plus side). On the less evolved side, Neptune can relate to turmoil, deception and unwholesome escapism. In Mundane astrology, Neptune is often considered to be a harmful influence associated with criminal undertakings.

One's hope is that the conjunction is mostly beneficial because these two planetary giants conjoin in Sidereal Aquarius, which relates to spiritual empowerment, group consciousness, faith, truth, knowledge and scientific innovation. As Neptune and Aquarius both deal with humanitarian goals, and Jupiter is so positively placed in Aquarius, and both are fully aspected by their dispositor Saturn, it is likely that some of Neptune's more constructive characteristics could take precedence. The conjunction of Jupiter and Neptune in Sidereal Aquarius is quite rare, as the last time I could find that this occurred was in 1690, the year that the first piston steam engine was invented.

What is even rarer is that the planetoid Chiron joins the conjunction of Jupiter and Neptune! Chiron is half comet/half asteroid and belongs to a group of similar bodies named after the Centaurs, the legendary beings of Greek myth who were half man/half horse. Chiron, considered the greatest of all Centaurs, was an astrologer and oracle who had supernatural powers of healing. In the end, he received a mortal wound and sacrificed his immortality to allow humankind to obtain the use of fire. Similarly, the cometary body of Chiron relates astrologically to themes of sacrifice and liberation.

Chiron was first "discovered" in 1977 around the time that the holistic health care movement began to really take off, and thus it relates to alternative methods of wellness and self-improvement. Orbiting between Saturn and Uranus, Chiron is often called a bridge between what is traditional (Saturn) and what is transformative (Uranus). Chiron conjunct Jupiter and Neptune may indicate that we need to stay rooted in our traditions while also moving forward in our evolutionary process. Chiron also reveals that we must stop projecting our shadow onto others; heal ourselves of our emotional baggage; deal with our addictive behaviors; and learn how to access our own inner wisdom.

Health, healing and spiritual purification are certainly principal themes in the chart for the Jupiter-Neptune conjunction set for May 27, 2009 at 4:05:52 PM in Washington, DC (see chart #3 to follow). This chart, which will resonate for many years to come, has the conjunction of Jupiter, Neptune and the "Wounded Healer" Chiron occurring in the sixth house of health, illness, and tapasya (purification). Further, the ruler of the chart, Mercury, is retrograde, sandhi and conjunct malefic Mars in the eighth house of chronic illness. These placements seem to reflect the ongoing health care crisis in America.

These placements also reveal the likelihood that we will hear more scandalous reports about our naval and military forces, and also, issues related to substance abuse may be highlighted. The nakshatra Hasta rises, likewise pinpointing an emphasis on health and healing. This is something I have been thinking about a good deal lately, as Saturn (lord of karma) will soon move into the constellation of Virgo (Sidereal zodiac: September 2009), where it will remain for 2.5 years. Saturn's transit through Virgo may reflect some dramatic changes in the health care industry as well as greater public interest in natural health care and the production of a healthier, more sustainable food supply.

Click on charts to view full size pdf

Wednesday, April 29, 2009
The following commentary regarding the current swine flu scare was sent to me by Vedic astrologer Edith Hathaway. Thank you, Edith, for sharing your astute insights!
(Updated May 1, 2009/Copyright Edith Hathaway) :

It would appear that with transiting Rahu-Ketu on the Capricorn-Cancer axis (until Nov. 17, 2009), this type of flu situation could continue for awhile. However, the more intense period could coincide with tr. Mars' aspect to the Cancer-Capricorn axis - also affecting natal Mercury-Rahu in Cancer in the USA 8th house (Kelleher chart). This may have started as an incubation period with tr. Mars in Capricorn from late January 2009. If so, then it is possible the worst could be over when tr. Mars exits Aries on July 4, 2009. Tr. Mars is in Aries May 24 thru July 4, 2009 - just in time for two big holiday weekends in the USA. Currently tr. Mars in Pisces aspects Dasa lord Mars in Gemini in the USA chart, from April 15 thru May 24, 2009. This coincides with the first news reports world-wide of the influenza in Mexico, and its spread globally. The virus was first clinically identified as a new strain on April 24, 2009.

Transiting Mars will be in Cancer for 8 months, from Oct. 6, 2009. Within the year, we have one more period (Oct. 6 thru Nov. 17, 2009) when tr. Mars influences the tr. Rahu-Ketu axis in Cancer-Capricorn. How much this combination is alleviated by Jupiter's presence in Capricorn (thru Dec. 19, 2009) is hard to estimate, as we currently have tr. Jupiter in Capricorn, up thru May 1st, when it dips into Aquarius thru July 31, 2009. However, the great benefic Jupiter is not able to be as benevolent when in its sign of debilitation. It will have that effect again soon when it turns retrograde in Aquarius (from June 15, 2009). I look upon the upcoming tr. Jupiter-Saturn opposition, especially when exact in Aug. 2010, as providing more needed solutions, especially to financial issues.

In the USA chart, the current Vimshottari dasa is Mars-Rahu, which runs from Feb. 23, 2009 to March 13, 2010. The last time Mars-Rahu dasa occurred in the USA chart (Feb. 21, 1889 through March 12, 1890), influenza attacks spread in some localities throughout the USA and the rest of the world. Called "the Russian flu," this 1889-1890 pandemic spread to the USA by Dec. 1889. It affected 40% of the human race in the 1889 - 1890 era. Below is a quote from Wikipedia:

"Some believe that the 1889 - 1890 Russian flu was caused by influenza A virus subtype H2N2, but the evidence is not conclusive. It is the earliest flu pandemic for which detailed records are available. In 1889 it 'began in Russia and spread rapidly throughout Europe. It reached North America in December 1889 and spread to Latin America and Asia in February 1890. About 1 million people died in this pandemic.'" *


While it is noteworthy that a pandemic occurred during the last Mars-Rahu dasa, in reviewing the USA chart, it is difficult to tell how much this current epidemic is a product of fear. (At the moment it is just on the edge of being officially labeled a "pandemic.") With Mercury-Rahu in the 8th house of the USA chart, we see the American genius for salesmanship, public relations, film-making, and effective myth-making. Rahu's involvement in the planetary combination makes it less easy to discriminate between the actual flu and fear of flu. However, given the prevalence and speed of global communications, preventive measures taken against the flu could definitely reduce flu cases as well as fatalities. At the same time, such measures will impact travel and tourism, and are doing so already. With 8th lord Saturn in the 3rd house of the USA Vedic 2009 New Year chart (from March 26, 2009), we may see a significant decrease in travel by Americans up through mid-March 2010. It is already happening for economic reasons.

Since Saturn is retrograde in the current USA Vedic New Year chart (thru March 15, 2010), it also impacts the 2nd house of finance as well as most financial houses and thus - through virtual aspect - the 4th house of real estate as well, slowing sales and pulling down home prices in most areas. Since travel and finance both face some contraction through Saturn's influence, we can see the impact on the U.S. economy. Reviewing the 6th house of public health in the USA New Year 2009 chart - with 14:11 Gemini Ascendant - we note that 6th lord Mars is in the 9th house in Aquarius. Its sign lord is Saturn, and its nakshatra lord is Rahu, continuing the above themes and causing problems through confusion, fear, but also to some extent through the actual disease. Mars is in Shatabhisha nakshatra ruled by Varuna, god of the waters, and symbolized by one hundred physicians! Even so, this Mars is contained in a Shubhakartari yoga, surrounded by classic benefic planets Jupiter and Venus. Thus, Americans may be protected to a large extent through effective public information and preventive action, including a large storehouse of anti-flu vaccine.

When we examine the Vedic New Year 2009 chart for Mexico, with 12:22 Taurus Ascendant, Mexico's 6th house of public health can suffer more than the USA, as Venus rules this house and is not only severely combust, but retrograding in Pisces, thus acting as if debilitated. Its sign lord Jupiter is debilitated, and its nakshatra lord is Saturn. Saturn in turn is in a Nadi yoga (an exchange of nakshatra lords) with Venus, creating a powerful exchange of their energies. As Saturn and Venus are in 6 - 8 house relationship, any benefit the yogakaraka planet Saturn can bring to Mexico's 2009 New Year chart is reduced. Thus, it can be said that public health in Mexico is negatively impacted in 2009, up through mid-March 2010.

The current transiting action on the Cancer-Capricorn axis (thru mid-November 2009) also impacts the US financial debt situation, being in the 8th house of the USA chart. The "toxic assets" situation is featured through this time, as well as through USA Mars-Rahu dasa, which ends March 13, 2010, within two days of the next Vedic New Year. Practical solutions are more likely to come with the Jupiter-Saturn opposition in 2010, as I said earlier.

Monday, April 27, 2009
WHO Raises its Pandemic Alert Level on Swine Flu!

“Happiness is your nature. It is not wrong to desire it. What is wrong is seeking it outside when it is inside”
~Ramana Maharshi

As a professional astrologer, I am not in the business of making ominous predictions. First, it is considered unethical to make dire forecasts. Second and perhaps more importantly, the future is not etched in stone. We do have the power to change the course of events through our collective thoughts and actions. Third, astrology is not an exact science; it is often said that even the best astrologers are only about 60-75% accurate in their predictive ability.

That being said, I want to comment on the recent announcement by the World Health Organization that the new swine flu virus might cause a pandemic, though they also admit that they are not sure about this. Author and spiritual leader Louise Hay teaches that the metaphysical cause of flu lies amid our negative thoughts, primarily fear. Knowing this, and living pretty much constantly under the anxiety that our fragile world and global civilization are in profound crisis, is it any wonder that we might be teetering on the edge of a possible flu pandemic?

This new swine flu is evidently an H1N1 strain similar to the one that caused the 1918 Influenza Epidemic, commonly known as the Spanish Flu or La Grippe, which killed anywhere from 20-50 million people throughout the world. Unlike many flu epidemics that target the very young, elderly and infirm, the 1918 flu killed mostly healthy young adults. It came in four different waves lasting from early 1918 until mid-1920. Some experts feel that this new swine flu strain has all the signs of a pandemic, but others believe it may be no worse than normal flu.

Is a coming pandemic "in the stars"? European astrologers in the middle ages understood that the celestial bodies govern all life on earth, and so they attributed the flu/influenza to the "influence" of celestial forces (i.e., "influenza" is Italian for "influence"). Well.the current planetary transit of Pluto conjunct the all-important Ascendant of the United States Kelleher chart, close to the Galactic Center (the massive source of our spiritual power), is an indication of powerful global change. Pluto's essence is of death and rebirth. It brings upheaval and subsequent regeneration, and doubly so in its current transit through the lunar sign of Mula, which is governed by Nritti, goddess of death and rebirth.

Uranus and Saturn have been in opposition on and off for the last year, and they will be exactly opposite once again in late summer and early fall, signifying a relentless state of international crisis and upheaval. These outer planet transits and the coming 2012 Mayan date shift indicate that we are in the midst of a tremendous process of global transformation, which certainly could include a worldwide epidemic. Many astrologers have already predicted a pandemic based on various astrological factors; for example, transiting Saturn and Uranus were in opposition during the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918-1919.

The United States Kelleher chart (see below) includes Mercury, planet of respiratory illnesses (flu), in the eighth house of fear, illness, death and transformation. The July 22, 2009 solar eclipse will activate natal and transit Mercury in the eighth house, indicating that there could be an imminent national health crisis and it could be related to a respiratory illness. This is especially so because in this July eclipse, the Sun and Moon will be eclipsed by Ketu, the Moon's South Node. The Sun rules our health and vitality, and the Moon relates to the public, and Ketu is the significator of mass epidemics (again, in the unfortunate eighth house). Ketu will remain in Cancer hovering around Mercury in the eighth house until mid-November 2009, so it is possible that the worst threat could be between now and the end of the year.

Saturn (significator of karma clearing, illness and misfortune) has been transiting in sidereal Leo for the last two years, where it will remain until September 9, 2009. Saturn in Leo mirrors the pessimism, malaise, depression and fear that seem to have taken over our collective bad dream. Often, Saturn brings its greatest challenges near the end of a sign transit (such as the one approaching in the summer months), and there are further disturbing trends indicated in the October astrological calendar.

I am beginning to sound like a hypocrite making dire predictions. But I am not, really. We have an opportunity here to change how we perceive this so-called threat. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "Fear defeats more people than any other one thing in the world." One of the most important messages given to us by Jesus of Nazareth is that love drives out fear. As a co-creator with God, will you choose fear or love? It is quite simple. Fear is the reality of the ego that believes it is alone against the world. Love is the experience of unity in knowing that there is no power "out there." Your Higher Being holds all the power within you, and your Higher Being is the same Being that is within everyone and everything! This Being is eternal and blissful by its very nature. Anything less than this is a delusion.

Though the chance of a flu epidemic is possible, underlying this potential threat is a far worse condition related to negative thinking. We can wake up from this situation by performing our spiritual practice and offering love and assistance to others, remembering that we are "spiritual beings having a human experience" and not vice versa. Each of us has an opportunity to root out our own faulty thoughts and emotional patterns so we can awaken in divine grace. In so doing, we heal the world. The choice to awaken into love versus fear is the true test of this year's astrological opposition between Saturn and Uranus. Furthermore, Jupiter is moving into Aquarius from May 1 until the end of July, when we can more readily manifest hope, optimism, wisdom and divine grace.

It is most important in times of stress or uncertainty that you take good care of yourself. Besides spiritual practice, mindfulness, and charitable service, it is always important to eat a healthful diet and include regular aerobic activity in your routine. Do yoga or a martial art to strengthen and balance your body-mind-spirit. Get enough rest. Make sure to take health supplements that support your immune system. Cultivate peace and harmony in all your relationships. Visit your chiropractor, acupuncture, osteopath or holistic practitioner for a healing treatment. Have on hand some Elderberry Syrup or Extract to take at the first sign of the flu or exposure to it (Elderberry is proven to be effective in killing the virus), and stock up on anti-viral homeopathic remedies (see links below). Most importantly, choose love instead of fear. Oh, and wash your hands!

Here are some related links that may be of interest:

View chart full size by clicking on chart

Monday, April 20, 2009

“When there is a start to be made, don't step over! Start where you are.”
-Edgar Cayce

This week we are moving toward a powerful New Moon in (sidereal) Aries on Friday, April 24, 2009 at 11:22:33 PM (EDT/Washington, DC). The waning Balsamic Moon that leads up to the New Moon will occur in Pisces on Wednesday and Thursday (April 22-23). The Balsamic Moon in Pisces would be a great time to clean out old "stuff" and let go of anything that is no longer serving your best and highest interest, to make way for the New Moon in Aries, which is always a superb time to initiate new projects and establish new patterns and practices that you feel inspired to follow.

The chart for this lunation (see below) has a Scorpio Ascendant in the nakshatra (lunar mansion) known as Jyestha, which is ruled by Indra. According to Dennis Harness (Dayananda) in his brilliant book titled The Nakshatras, Indra is "the King of the Gods and protector of heroes.the divine warrior and 'dragon slayer'. [who] rides the mighty elephant, carries the thunderbolt and demonstrates the power of truth." The third section of Jyestha, where this lunation Ascendant falls, is in the humanitarian sign of Aquarius, reflecting a theme of advocacy and protection for the underprivileged.

The Aries lunation falls in the sixth house of the United States New Moon chart, which places emphasis on debt, national employment, public health matters, disease, armed forces, and labor groups. As the Sun and Moon are rulers of the ninth and tenth houses of this chart, their conjunction forms a very auspicious combination of power and purpose known as dharma-karma adhipati yoga. This bodes well for aforementioned sixth house matters especially because these luminaries are in the divine healing sign of Ashwini, ruled by the Ashwin twins, radiant mystical beings who bring illuminating bliss and healing to everything they touch.

The Sun and Moon in Ashwini bring a focus on health and healing as well as the tendency to make quick improvements in all necessary areas of life. In terms of the mundane US chart, it is likely that unemployment will begin to show some decline in the coming months as President Obama's administration continues to reel in the financial sectors, especially those related to consumer debt. We will probably soon witness radical new credit regulations, such as the lowering of consumer interest rates and tighter limits on consumer borrowing. Healthcare will also be in the news, and many new jobs will be coming out of the healthcare sector.

Retrograde Saturn in the tenth house is not so favorable in a mundane chart, especially as it is doubly malefic for a Scorpio chart as a natural malefic (difficult planet) and ruler of a malefic house (the third house of ego/desire). This placement reflects the government's intense focus and determination to try and meet the many challenges we face; we will surely witness more bad economic news, war tragedies, international conflict and political upheaval. Nonetheless, Saturn crowning the chart also reminds us that each of us can help to overcome these collective challenges by cultivating enlightened understanding and unconditional compassion for the human condition.

Mars is a very important planet and mostly a positive influence in the lunation chart as well, since it rules (disposits) not only the Scorpio Ascendant but also the Sun and Moon in Aries. Mars is in Pisces conjoined exalted Venus, which signifies heightened passion in our relationships and a deeper connection with our spiritual power. It seems that this aspect between Mars and Venus may be a good one for the stock market. However, this is a tough call because Uranus, planet of shocks, accidents, turnarounds and surprises, is also conjunct Mars and Venus, so one might also expect volatility. The United States Kelleher chart has Pisces in the fourth house of real estate and agriculture, and the conjunction of these planets here may stimulate a positive trend in these realms of activity.

Many of us astrologers are thrilled that Jupiter will be entering sidereal Aquarius on May 1, where it will stay until late July. Jupiter, the planet of banks and banking, has been traveling in its debilitation sign of Capricorn since December 10, where it has been less than fortunate for the banking industry and where it reflects some of our collective pessimism. Jupiter will return to Capricorn on July 31 and will remain there until December 20, when it will enter sidereal Aquarius again. I believe that Jupiter is the esoteric ruler of Aquarius, where it gives very propitious results as a vehicle of divine love, truth and wisdom in service to humanity. This transit of Jupiter in Aquarius will be a much more uplifting and joyful time for all of us.so en-joy while it lasts!

To view chart full size click on chart image

Thursday, April 2, 2009
The big news for me in coming days is the Hindu festival of Ram Navami, celebrated this year on April 3, the ninth day of the shukla paksha (waxing Moon) in the lunar month of Chaitra. Ram Navami marks the birthday of Lord Rama, the Hindu Sun God who was an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. In some parts of India, Ram Navami is celebrated as a nine-day festival that coincides with Vasant Navratri, dedicated to the female power (Divine Mother Shakti)

Lord Rama was an avatar of dharma, a great warrior-king who personified righteousness. His birth is celebrated at the time of year when the Sun is growing in strength and beneficence in the northern hemisphere. By observing the sacred birth of Lord Rama, we connect with the solar logos-the heart of the cosmic blueprint, the source of all light and life. In astrology, the Sun represents charity, courage, willpower, worldly success, good fortune, joyfulness, wisdom, purpose and compassion, all qualities embodied by Lord Rama. By celebrating his birth, we welcome the renewal of our own divine essence.

The bija sound for Rama (Ra-Ma) is ram (sounds like rom), which is also the sound that resonates with the third (manipura) chakra, located at the juncture of 72,000 nerve endings in the solar plexus, about an inch and a half above the navel. The manipura chakra is the color of sparkling yellow (like the Sun). Manipura gives us the fire to achieve our dharma, our path and purpose in life. In the physical body, the third chakra governs metabolism, the process by which digest and assimilate food. On an energetic level, when the manipura chakra is open and flowing in harmony with our entire energetic system, we are able to translate our thoughts and desires into balanced action.

According to Swami Satyananda Saraswati in his book Kundalini Tantra:

Manipura is derived from two Sanskrit words: mani meaning jewel and pura meaning city. Therefore, manipura literally means city of jewels. In the Tibetan tradition, this chakra is known as mani padma, which means jeweled lotus. Manipura is a very important center as far as the awakening of kundalini shakti is concerned. It is the center of dynamism, energy, will and achievement, and it is often compared to the dazzling heat and power of the Sun, without which life on earth would not exist. In the same way that the sun continually radiates energy to the planets, manipura chakra radiates and distributes pranic energy throughout the entire human framework, regulating and energizing the activity of the various organs, systems and processes of life. When deficient, it is more like the glowing embers of a dying fire rather than a powerful intense blaze. In this state, the individual is rendered lifeless, vitality deficient and devoid of energy. He will be hindered by poor health, depression and lack of motivation and commitment in life. Therefore, the awakening of manipura is an important precedent, not only for the sadhaka, but for anyone who wishes to enjoy life more fully.


I recommend focusing on your manipura chakra during the month of April when the natural solar essence is growing in force and our emotional and physiological digestive systems may need a tune-up.

One great way to open and strengthen the third chakra is with a Polarity Therapy exercise called the Woodchopper, so called because it mimics chopping wood. Place your feet parallel and a little wider than hip distance apart. Bend your knees slightly to protect your lower back. Clasp your hands together and raise them above your head with arms extended upward. Inhale and slightly arch backward. Next, slowly and carefully exhale while hinging from the hips and swinging your arms down between your legs. With the next inhale, slowly raise the body up with clasped hands above your head, and then again, exhale, swinging down as you continue the same movement. Always be careful not to force the body, but let it swing naturally from the hips in order not to hurt your back. While we swing down and chop the wood, we make a "ha" sound that resonates with the fire element frequency. Do this exercise 5-10 times and then close your eyes and rest a moment to allow the change to integrate.

In order to enhance your attunement to the solar force this month, it may also be helpful to respectfully arise before the Sun every morning, as you would rise to greet an elder or an important personage who walks into a room where you are seated. As the Sun comes up, meditate on the solar disk and take its essence into your heart and solar plexus chakras. Close your eyes and sit in meditation, visualizing the Sun in your manipura chakra, and chant quietly within yourself (or aloud) the biha sound "ram." Imagine the sound spinning your manipura chakra in a clockwise motion (from your right up and around and down the left). There are a few powerful astrological events happening this month:
1. On April 5, Pluto will retrograde (thus magnifying its already intense energy) within a zodiacal degree of the Ascendant of the United States Kelleher chart (see Kelleher transit chart below). Pluto will remain retrograde until September 12. This transit generally has the potential to create opportunities for mass karma clearing, and this is especially so for those of us operating under the collective karma of the United States. Pluto will make many of us feel pressured to let go of what is no longer working for us. This retrograde cycle may see an intensification of the planetary economic transformation. On an individual level, we can each do our part by consciously regenerating ourselves physically, psychologically and spiritually.
2. Uranus will move from sidereal Aquarius into Pisces on April 7, where it will remain until October 2009. Whenever an outer planet changes signs like this, we often see major changes and upheaval, and because this is Uranus (a planet of revolution and upheaval), we may expect to see some shocking transformative events unfolding in coming months. I say this also because Uranus will remain in the first 3 degrees and 20 minutes of Pisces until October. This area of early Pisces corresponds with the fourth section of the nakshatra known as Purvabhadrapada, which can be intensely negative and focused on themes of religious and socio-economic persecution. More optimistically, Uranus represents levels of awareness beyond the limited perspective of duality. During Uranus' transit in Pisces, we may experience the impulse to let go of old worn out ideas and birth new, more expanded ways of thinking and being.

Here are some links to a few of my favorite monthly astrological forecasts for April, which contain more details of current astrological events:





You can also email astrologer Haizen Paige ( haizen@haizen.com ) and ask to be on his illuminating monthly newsletter titled the "Cosmic Palette"

Wednesday, March 18, 2009
The next few weeks are a time of tremendous spiritual power and creative potential. First, on Friday, March 20, 2009 at 11:44 UTC (7:44 EDT), we have the Vernal Equinox, the beginning of springtime in the northern hemisphere (and autumn in the southern hemisphere). Two times each year on the equinoxes (March 20 or 21 and September 22 or 23), the Sun's path is directly across the celestial equator.

On the equinoxes, day and night are nearly of equal length throughout most parts of the world (“equi” means equal, and “nox” means night). The equinoxes are thus seen as balance points in the Earth's seasonal cycle, when Mother Earth undergoes an electromagnetic reboot. With intention, we can access the tremendous outpouring of creative life energy that naturally accompanies this shift.

Vernal Equinox in the northern hemisphere is traditionally celebrated as a time of rebirth when the solar cycle begins to expand. The days are becoming longer and warmer as the natural world is beginning to come back to life. Aptly, in the Persian calendar (northern hemisphere), the Vernal Equinox marks the beginning of the New Year, when the seasonal wheel of the year turns toward the light and daylight becomes the ascendant power.

Spring is a time of miracles when our psychic power expands its ability to create meaningful change. In tune with the natural expansion of creative forces during Vernal Equinox, we can use this time to meditate on what we want to create in our own lives in the coming year. Let go of the past and all preconceived notions about what “should” be and ask your Higher Self to show the way to your most joyful and abundant creative path. Listen within to know which direction to take. Observe the signs that will be shown in your outer environment and in your dreams and reflections. Trust your inner knowing to guide the way.

The New Moon in (Sidereal) Pisces occurs six days after the Vernal Equinox. In Jyotish Vedanga, the New Moon in Pisces is used as a Lunar New Year chart. This chart is set for March 26, 2009 at 12:05:55 in Washington, DC (see links below). Just as we can use the spiritual energies generated by the Vernal Equinox to help us tap our creative power, we can use the New Moon energies to help us sow the seeds of our inspiration. By the summer solstice in June, this inspiration will deepen and develop further.

I personally have let go of the desire for limiting outcomes and instead am learning to trust my infinite Higher Self to design my life for me. It's much more fun this way! So on the Vernal Equinox, I will treat myself to an inner process of clearing and letting go of restrictive patterns to make way for whatever my Expanded Self wants me to experience in the New Year. Around the New Moon, I will set into motion whatever is placed in my path that feels inspiring and worth exploring.

The New Moon on March 26 is also very special as it marks the beginning of a very sacred Hindu festival called Vasant (Ram) Navaratri, the spring festival of the “Nine Nights of Mother Divine,” which lasts until April 4. This Navaratri is also known as Chaitra Navaratri as it is observed during the Hindu month of Chaitra (March to April). At this time, the universal creative power (shakti) is at its peak. Spiritual practice offered at this time is said to assist both inner and outer progress.

Navaratri is a mystical time when divine grace comes down to Earth in full power to assist humanity. On the first three days/nights, we invoke the shakti (power) of the goddess Durga to help us cut through worldly illusions and remove all impurities and obstructions to the realization of real wisdom. The next three days/nights, we ask the goddess Lakshmi to awaken us with her grace, joy and infinite abundance. In the final three days, we invoke the creative wisdom of the goddess Saraswati to bestow us with the knowledge of our true nature!

What exactly is this “divine grace” that comes down to Earth to assist us during these nine sacred nights? I recently listened to Caroline Myss’ illuminating CD series titled “Channeling Grace: Invoking the Power of the Divine.” Myss, always so eloquent, explains that grace is “…the breath of God — an invisible essence beyond intellect that moves swiftly amongst us…grace is as real and tangible as sparkling sand on the beach … It's ready to dramatically transform your life at any time — if you are willing to acknowledge and embrace it.” During the luminous Navaratri season, this essence of grace flows more freely than usual. The numerological significance of the 11:44 Universal Time of the Vernal Equinox confirms that this spring/Navaratri season in particular can be a time of blissful awakening into grace, as these are master numbers: 11 relates to spiritual awakening, and 44 signifies sheer magic!

I recommend the following two excellent articles analyzing the mundane aspects of the 2009 Pisces New Moon Annual (Varsha) chart:
1. Astrologer Christina Collins Hill's thoughtful piece for the American College of Vedic Astrology's March newsletter can be accessed here: www.vedicastrology.org/0309_pisces_newmoon.html
2. Astrologer Joni Patry's insights are always valuable at: www.galacticcenter.org/blog/joni-s-blog/march-2009-news-from-the-stars.html

Friday, February 27, 2009
This past week, we saw the passage of the gigantic green Comet Lulin close to the Earth. Because it is a magnitude 5 comet, this newcomer to our solar system has been visible to the naked eye in certain parts of the world: science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2009/04feb_greencomet.htm

Comet Lulin is from somewhere beyond our solar system. It is moving swiftly (60,000 miles an hour) and in the opposite direction of the planets in our solar system. It is already on its way out, though we might continue to see it in coming days, at least until Sunday and especially with binoculars: media.skyandtelescope.com/documents/Comet_Lulin_Feb13.pdf

In mundane astrology, the appearance of large comets indicates great calamities like violent earthquakes, pestilence or famine. Because Comet Lulin was discovered in China two years ago, one wonders if China will be particularly in the spotlight.

To mundane astrologers, the appearance of this eccentric space visitor is an omen that portends the great crises and transformation already occurring in the world. Comet Lulin appeared at its brightest in the fixed constellation of Leo, which traditionally is indicative of foreign wars and invasion. Leo also relates to fires; children and education; the entertainment industry; overpopulation; world rulers and governments; and stock markets, and any of these matters can be highlighted in the near future. In the US Kelleher chart, Leo occurs in the ninth house, which reveals the potential for some kind of religious scandal or crisis.

Comet Lulin appeared brightest near Saturn (astrologically a restrictive and karmic reckoning influence) and the fixed star Regulus (Alpha Leonis), which relates to world leaders. There is the possibility we will witness the overthrow or death of an important world leader or government. I choose to believe that the Royal Star Regulus is an emissary of Divine Will, and that this omen signifies the higher forces working to bring harmony and balance to our planet.

Friday, February 20, 2009
The Hindu festival of Maha Shivaratri (Great Night of Shiva) occurs on the New Moon/13th night/14th day of the waning Moon (Krishna Paksha) of the lunar month of Phalguna (February-March). Because I love Shiva, this year I am particularly pleased that Maha Shivaratri occurs on my birthday, which I share with my husband David—February 23.

Who is Shiva and why is this important? Lord Shiva is an aspect of the Hindu trinity along with Brahma and Vishnu. Shiva is known as the Destroyer or Transformer. According to the great Siddha yogi Baba Muktananda, “Shiva is the One Self of All. The entire world is seen as a play of the consciousness of Shiva.” In _The Secrets of the Siddhas_, Baba wrote, “Shiva, the Self of all, has already been attained…The way to self realization is the recognition of one's own Self as Shiva, and this occurs through spiritual techniques. You are perfect, you have come from perfection, you live in perfection, and this perfection is the Supreme truth.”

The ancient festivals of the Hindu tradition were devised by Vedic sages who understood the importance of ritual to assist harmonious synchronization with natural cycles. For example, Maha Shivaratri occurs at the juncture between winter and spring in temperate climates. After this Shiva New Moon, the sap will begin to rise in the trees in these warmer zones. Similarly, in my community of Waimea on the Big Island of Hawaii, we have been having cool and rainy “winter weather,” but after this Moon, spring will come, bringing warmer, dryer days and nights. The body and mind undergo tremendous strain during such transitions, so festivals like Maha Shivaratri can offer time out (or should I say “time in”?) for rejuvenation.

Similarly, there is profound occult significance to Maha Shivaratri. Shiva's favorite time of year occurs on the darkest Moon at the end of the lunar year, when winter has attained its deepest point. Shiva the Destroyer and the Most Compassionate One comes most alive at this time, as He is that seed aspect of divine consciousness deep, deep within each of us.

Shiva represents our higher nature that dissolves the illusion of our mind's separateness in material reality. On this darkest night at the end of the lunar year, higher forces in harmony with nature help us to see the phantasmagoric world for what it is, to gain control over the limited mind (as in the dark Moon/Moon=mind), so we can see beyond the limiting patterns of reality into the true nature of the One Self in Shiva.

It is typical for us to experience confusion, fear and turmoil leading up to Maha Shivaratri, and afterward, for those who are thus attuned to spiritual realities, a rain of blessings will often occur. It is traditional to observe Shiva's favorite night of the year by staying up all night chanting, meditating, fasting and praying. To attune to this special event, please find some time on Sunday night into Monday morning to celebrate in your own way. If you are fortunate to have a spiritual community to chant with, this is a wonderful way to tune in. Find a way to still the mind and Know that this Stillness is Shiva, your Own True Self.

Charity and pilgrimage performed on Sunday or Monday would also be helpful. Do yogic practice and work with raising the light from the lower chakras to your Third Eye. Become the pillar of Lord Shiva's light. If you chant Aum Namah Shivaya or any number of other Shiva mantras on His special night, it is said that you will be blessed in the most profound ways imaginable. If you do not have one, perhaps you want to treat yourself to a Rudraksha prayer mala to commemorate this special occasion. Rudraksha beads are called the “tears of Shiva” and are very protective and strengthening for anyone who wears them.

One of my favorite Shiva mantras is the Shiva Mahamritunjaya Mantra. You can see a lovely puja to Shiva accompanied by the mantra chanted by Sri Ashwinkumar Pathak here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=ClxgIS-_X_g

I also recommend my friend Sam Geppi's/Sadasiva's excellent blog for more information about this blessed celebration: blogs.astrology.com/vedic_astrology/2009/02/maha-sivaratri-celebration.html

Blessings of Lord Shiva!

Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2009
I recently received an email that had been initiated by a Western astrologer, promising an extraordinary cosmic awakening into the Age of Aquarius on February 14th. I do not mean to be a killjoy, but those of us using the actual observable sidereal zodiac agree that we will not reach the Age of Aquarius for at least a few more hundred years. According to the late and highly esteemed Western sidereal astrologer Garth Allen (AKA Donald Bradley), "This is definitely not the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, no matter what the song proclaims or opportunistic astrologers may say. Scientifically and historically speaking, the Aquarian Age will commence in the year 2376 A.D."

Why all this confusion? Well, the answer lies somewhat in the fact that we have two zodiacs! The zodiac used by most Vedic and some Western astrologers is the sidereal zodiac, which is aligned with the actual constellations of the zodiac. On the other hand, most Western astrologers use the tropical zodiac, which is aligned with the seasons via the equinoxes. The tropical zodiac begins at the vernal equinox when the ecliptic (apparent path of the Sun) intersects the celestial equator every year around March 21-22. Tropical astrologers call this point of intersection 0 degrees Aries, but today, it actually has nothing to do with the constellation of Aries. For instance, on March 21 this year, the Sun will be at about 7 degrees of sidereal Pisces, i.e., receiving cosmic radiations from the constellation of Pisces, not Aries.

When the tropical zodiac was created about 1700 years ago, the starting point of the vernal equinox coincided with the constellation of Aries, but through precession of the equinoxes, the vernal point has since been moving backward (westward) against the framework of the stars. Precession of the equinoxes is due in part to the gravitational attraction of the moon and sun on the equatorial bulge of the earth, which causes the earth to wobble and its axis to describe a cone similar to a spinning top. As a result, the celestial equator (the plane extending from the Earth's equator) moves on the celestial sphere, whereas the ecliptic (the apparent path of the Sun) is not affected by this motion.

Thus, the equinoxes, which lie at the intersections of the celestial equator and the ecliptic, move on the celestial sphere. Similarly, the celestial poles rotate on the celestial sphere, so that there is a continual change in the star at or near one of the poles. After a period of about 25,800 years (a Platonic Year), the equinoxes and poles lie once again at nearly the same points on the celestial sphere. Also once during each Platonic Year, the starting points of the sidereal and tropical zodiacs coincide. After this, the points will separate from each other by one degree of arc for each subsequent 71.5 years.

The astrological ages are linked with precession of the equinoxes. There are at least two different ways to divide the Great (Platonic) Year into twelve astrological ages. The method I ascribe to is to divide the Great Year into twelve astrological ages of equal lengths of around 2,160 years each, reflecting the movement of the vernal point through the sidereal zodiac. Thus, the spring equinox moves from one constellation to the previous one every ~2,160 years.

Currently the Sun at vernal equinox stands in front of the constellation of Pisces, so we are in the Age of Pisces, but in a few more hundred years or so, spring equinox will be observed in front of the constellation of Aquarius, and we will be in the Age of Aquarius. Because the constellations do not have actual lines of demarcation, it is difficult to know exactly when this will occur, but most sidereal astrologers agree that it will commence sometime between 2117 and 2600 A.D.

Though we are not technically in the Age of Aquarius yet, the fact that there are no separating edges between the constellations indicates that we are in the process of moving toward Aquarius, and thus we are beginning to receive the influx of Aquarian energies that relate to democracy, scientific breakthroughs, technological innovation and the awakening of consciousness. Aquarius is the sign of the Water Bearer who carries the kundalini shakti (spiritual essence of truth), which we hope can awaken humanity from its ancient slumber. Aquarius is forward thinking and inventive, known to be interested in healing, occult wisdom, higher knowledge and humanitarianism.

We want to be in the Age of Aquarius now because we presume this era will bring humanity into a Golden Age of peace and oneness. However, according to my calculations (based on the teachings of my guru Sri Yukteswar), the Golden Age in which all beings will live in total harmony (Sat Yuga) is still about 5000 years away, and will occur in the Age of Sagittarius. For now, we are still in the Age of Pisces, an epoch that has seen the gradual growth of compassion and humanitarianism linked with strong religious influences.

Astrological ages aside, there are many other cycles in which humanity moves. For instance, I will be writing in the future about the mystery of 2012 and some of my thoughts about the coming changes that the 2012 winter solstice alignment could have in store for humanity. Most importantly, it is said that regardless of the epochs and cycles of humanity, each of us has the power to awaken into higher consciousness. So no worries.if you want to be in the Age of Aquarius already, it is your prerogative to jump ahead!

Sunday, Feb. 8, 2009
There will be a full moon/penumbral (appulse) lunar eclipse on February 9, 2009 at 9:49:09 AM EST, the first of four lunar eclipses in 2009. This eclipse follows the annular solar eclipse of two weeks ago. The eastern parts of Canada and the United States (USA) will miss the eclipse because it begins after moonset. Observers in the western parts of Canada and the USA will have the best views with moonset occurring sometime after the mid-eclipse. To catch the entire event, one must be in places such as Alaska, Australia, Eastern Asia (India), Eastern Europe, Hawaii or New Zealand.

The Penumbral Eclipse Begins at 12:38:46 UT
The Greatest Eclipse: 14:38:15 UT
The Penumbral Eclipse Ends: 16:37:40 UT

To convert UT to your time zone, check this out:

Also, here are some links in case you want to know more about the eclipse:

Please note that the electromagnetic shifts created by the eclipse may extend for many weeks on either side of February 9, even if the event is not visible from your location.

In the eclipse chart, the Sun, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Rahu, Neptune, and Chiron are conjunct in Capricorn opposite the Moon and Ketu in Cancer (Moon eclipsed in late Cancer). The rising sign for the Washington, DC eclipse chart (shown below) is at 43 longitudinal minutes Aries, which signifies a powerful surge of quick action, new beginnings and unparalleled change. I anticipate some leavening of the national morale since the Ascendant is in the nakshatra of Ashwini, which relates to quick and miraculous healings.

The Sun, soul of the chart, is conjunct Chiron, an asteroid that also relates to healing. And the Moon is in its own sign of Cancer, a sign of healing as well as family, home and inner security. The Sun, indicator of government and its leaders, is part of a large and influential stellium in the tenth house in Capricorn. This mundane chart shows the incredible changes afoot in the heart of the United States, particularly in regard to current economic conditions and large government initiatives.

On a personal level, eclipses stimulate the electromagnetic field of the Earth, causing secret energies to open up. A Lunar Eclipse is a powerful full moon that can bring forth shaky, emotionally charged parts of ourselves buried in the dark of our subconscious. These "shadow" issues surface around the lunar eclipse so that they can be healed and released. We may be feeling great emotional turmoil and a desire to take some action around this time. Lunar eclipses generally bring up relationship issues. Because the Sun and Moon are in opposing astrological signs, light may be shed on areas of conflict that need resolution.

The Moon is eclipsed in the nakshatra called Ashlesha, whose shakti is the power to inflict poison. Be cautious of danger in the coming days and be wary of those who would inflict harm on others. The Moon is eclipsed in the fourth pada of Ashlesha, which relates to illusions of all kinds. Those who have been deceptive may experience retribution as their lies come into the light.

The Sun is in the nakshatra Dhanishta, which can indicate potential for earthquakes. It is interesting that Dhanishta is ruled by Mars, which is also the ruler of the Washington, DC eclipse chart (ruler of Aries Ascendant). Mars is exalted in Capricorn at this time, and is thus part of the Capricorn stellium, which reveals our potential for important action and achievement. We may be able to get away with taking calculated risks, but we all need to be gentle and careful in coming days and weeks to avoid health problems, danger, anger, pride and impatience (the shadow issues that are potentially ignited by the eclipse). On a positive note, Mars in Capricorn gives the potential for fiscal improvement.

As always, use the hours before, during and after an eclipse for spiritual sadhana..meditation, prayer and ritual performed now will bring exponentially positive effects.

Click on images below to view as PDF full size

Friday, Jan. 23, 2009
Re: The Solar Eclipse of Jan. 25-26, 2009: Think "Unicorns"!

Eclipse addendum.
I wanted to mention that eclipses are powerful times for spiritual practice like meditation, prayer and ritual. In Kundalini: Aghora II, author Robert Svoboda shares the Tantric view of eclipses according to his teacher Vimalanada: "Eclipses are excellent for people like you and me because their gravitational effects multiply the effect of our sadhana [spiritual disciplines]. If you do one hundred repetitions of your mantra during an eclipse, it is like doing one hundred thousands on an ordinary day. If you offer one oblation into the fire, it is like a thousand oblations. And nothing beats this time for offering prayers and performing rites for your deceased ancestors.Never look at an eclipse; the rays have a very disturbing effect on the mind. A pregnant woman should no even go outside during an eclipse, lest her child be affected. Take nothing internally, not even water, while the eclipse is going on and for as long as possible, up to twelve hours before and after. If you follow this niyama, you can make any eclipse work for you."

The exact times of the eclipse are:
1/26/09 from 6:06 to 9:52 AM UT (exact ~7:55 AM UT)
1/26/09 from 11:36 AM to 3:22 PM (exact ~13:25 PM IST)
1/26/09 from 1:06-4:52 AM EST (exact ~2:55 AM EST)
1/25/09 from 10:06 PM to 1/26/09 at 1:52 AM PST (exact ~11:55 PM PST)
1/25/09 from 8:06 PM to 11:52 PM Hawaii Time (exact ~9:55 PM HT)

1. Solar and lunar eclipses are important to mundane astrology and reveal significant global events over an extended time after the actual eclipse.

2. We have the year's first eclipse, an annular solar eclipse, on January 25 or 26 depending on your area. I use Washington, DC, as it is our nation's capital: The solar eclipse in Washington is on 1/26/09 at 2:55:16, followed by a lunar eclipse two weeks later on 2/9/09 at 9:49:09 AM (is that a lot of 9's or what?).

3. I recommend Fred Espenak's NASA web site to learn more about the astronomy of eclipses: http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/eclipse.html

4. I am discussing the solar eclipse of January 25-26 now, but hope to write more later about the lunar eclipse of February 9. Eclipses are said to have the most influence in the areas where they are visible, especially where they are on the meridian at the moment of central eclipse. The solar eclipse will be visible from a wide track that covers the Indian Ocean and western Indonesia. A partial eclipse will be seen within the much larger path of the Moon's penumbral shadow, which includes the southern third of Africa, Madagascar, Australia (but not Tasmania), southeast India, Southeast Asia and Indonesia. (See astro-map below).

5. Eclipses occur in cycles called "Saros Series," and each series has a continuing theme. The January 25-26 eclipse is part of Saros Series 131. In the 20th century, this series has reappeared in the following years: 1900, 1918, 1936, 1954, 1973 and 1991. It would be interesting to research this more to see if there is a recurring theme linking the years mentioned. Most importantly, take note and see if you can recall something particularly important happening in your life in 1991. If there was something, then 2009 may bring a completion or deepening understanding related to that experience or event.

6. There are many other astrological methods and rules for reading eclipses. Basically, eclipses indicate change. An eclipse aims a spotlight on a certain area of the zodiac and the horoscope. If the eclipse influences planets or other sensitive points in the astrological chart of a specific entity, related matters will be highlighted for approximately the next six months, until the next series of eclipses.

7. Unless an eclipse occurs in a significant degree and receives enough stimulation from the planets with which it is associated, it may not have a notable "outer" influence in one's life. If the eclipse triggers an important degree in the chart of a person, business or country, the eclipse may be linked to specific dynamic events that will unfold in the months before and after the eclipse! Often, the days around the actual eclipse signal a turning point and new insights discovered. Usually though, such events may not be so dramatic and they may occur more gently and gradually over time. Keep in mind that an astrological reading may help you understand how this eclipse could personally influence you in the next year.

8. Sedona artist, write and astrologer Haizen Paige, aptly describes an eclipse as a "time when everyone stands within the eye of an invisible magnetic wind storm. Even if the outer winds are calm, the inner winds are active, intensified and unstable. Our lives can feel unstable as well and subject to unexpected events of a seemingly unpredictable nature. Eclipses are like fueling stations for our supply of prana [life force], and they signal the transition between the old and new chapters in our life." Check out Haizen's web site at http://www.haizen.com

9. I think of eclipses as rebooting the "bio-computer" of Gaia, our planetary logos, which clears old energy patterns and shifts us in a new karmic direction, even if the eclipse is not specifically affecting a particular planet or key point of a natal chart. We are all connected to Gaia, and so the eclipses will affect everyone, at least on the subtle level if not more outwardly.

10. A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon comes exactly in line between the Sun and Earth, obscuring or eclipsing the light of the Sun from an area on the planet. Astrology considers that the lunar nodes (Rahu and Ketu) block the light of the luminaries in an eclipse, thus signaling endings and beginnings.

11. The solar eclipse often reflects a drop in our energy level as the new moon blocks the sun's light, and this can occur for days or weeks before or after the actual eclipse. Thus, solar eclipses can help to clarify personal issues that are draining or blocking our life force. The months preceding and following a solar eclipse are a time for letting go of anything in our lives that blocks our vitality and deters our growth and well-being. When the eclipse occurs in the same rashi (sign) and nakshatra as our natal Ascendant, Sun or Moon, it can impact our health, depending on other factors.

12. The Jan. 25-26 solar eclipse is in Capricorn, an Earth constellation (Sidereal Capricorn), disposited by Saturn in Leo, a Fixed Sign, which traditionally foretells seismic or mining disasters, drought and decline in agricultural production. The areas that might be most affected include those already mentioned along the eclipse path, in the Indian Ocean into Indonesia, as well as areas (approximately) along the meridians 52 to 80 degrees east of Greenwich, including Russia, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan and India. Another area that could be affected is in Southern California and the other far-western states of the USA, where the Capricorn eclipse stellium is lined up near the nadir of the eclipse chart.

13. Astrologers understand that eclipses have a delayed impact, in that their effects can last six months or more. Transiting planets can be the triggers of dynamic events when they later cross the eclipse point (as Jupiter will do on February 1, and Mars will do on February 12).

14. In muhurta or electional astrology, we know that for six months after an eclipse, a marriage should not be performed when the Moon is transiting the same nakshatra (lunar sign) of the eclipse chart; in this case it will be Shravana in Capricorn. I would also be cautious about beginning anything new and important when the Moon makes its monthly pass here in the next six months.

15. Solar and lunar eclipses always occur consecutively and two weeks apart on the new moon and full moon when the luminaries and Earth are in a certain alignment. According to some tenants of Vedic astrology, if the solar eclipse occurs two weeks after the lunar eclipse, then it reflects a great deal of turmoil and upheaval in the world. If the lunar eclipse occurs after the solar eclipse, times are more peaceful and prosperous. I just am not sure if this is true. For instance, the eclipses last August (2008) occurred in the latter order, yet there has still been a global economic collapse and unrest. Perhaps this rule needs to be fine-tuned to the specific geographical area of eclipse intensity.

16. The planet ruling the sign in which the eclipse falls should be considered, as its significations will color related events. This eclipse falls in Capricorn, which is ruled by Saturn, a planet of responsibility and consequences. Saturn is the headmaster of the "School of Hard Knocks." He teaches us to work hard and deal sensibly with the material world while also maintaining the greater perspective of our eternal nature. One of the most potent of the lords of karma, Saturn forces us to face our past and prepare for the future. Saturn in Leo can make us feel worried, depressed and exhausted. It is even more challenging in this chart while exchanging signs with the Sun.

17. Saturn is also conjunct the fixed blue star Denebola (Beta Leonis) in the "Lion's Tail" (Leo), which is said to trigger major catastrophes. I would not even say this except that I believe we can collectively override the potential for danger and negativity when we follow a dharmic (ethical and righteous) path. As the Buddha said, "With our thoughts, we make the world."

18. On a happier note, Saturn is in the nakshatra known as Uttara Phalguni, in the first quarter that relates to Sagittarius, where it can reveal a more expansive and less difficult outcome, especially because Saturn is auspiciously conjoined the Sun and Moon in their Shastiamsa (60th harmonic) in Aquarius, Saturn's own sign that relates to reorganization, humanitarianism, scientific breakthroughs and the awakening of consciousness.

19. The eclipse chart has six planets in Capricorn, which is called a "stellium" in Western astrology. Some might also include Mars in this grouping, as Mars is right on the edge of Sagittarius and Capricorn. This stack of planets creates a super-charged area of intensity in Capricorn, the most mysterious of all the constellations, which is found in the direction of the Galactic Center. Capricorn is deeply spiritual as well as materialistic, in that it teaches us how to bring spirit into matter. In ancient myth, Capricorn is represented by the magical unicorn, a higher-dimensional angelic being. In Vedic astrology, Capricorn is symbolized by the most ancient of angelic beings known as Makara, who are guardians of the universe.

20. In mundane astrology, Capricorn governs minerals, mining, and mines; other underground places like subways; prisons and cemeteries; big business and industrial development; government and politics; land and commercial real estate; and borders between countries. In the United States (Kelleher) chart, Capricorn occupies the second house of finance, business, death and transformation. Any of these matters related to Capricorn and the second house of the United States chart may be brought into focus now. Certainly, we can see that this eclipse reflects the enormous changes underway in the United States government, including the President's gargantuan economic stimulus plan that is moving through Congress.

21. It is quite likely that one or more of our world's great leaders will expire in the coming weeks.

22. I searched and could not find one instance in which the exact formation of this current eclipse took place in the last 2000 years. However, I am curious about a related solar eclipse that took place on February 4, 1962, in which the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Mars, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn and Ketu lined up in Capricorn (see chart below). I am aware that there are many differences in these two eclipse charts, but I am intrigued by certain similarities. These are mostly related to the fact that in the United States (Kelleher) chart, Pluto and Ketu are in Capricorn in the second house, and are thus triggered by any major Capricorn eclipse-Pluto relates to global wars, nuclear weapons, assassinations and espionage, mass calamities, mob behavior, socialist political movements, terrorism and revolutionary upheaval. Ketu has similar negative significations that are multiplied because of its conjunction with Pluto.

23. On February 3, 1962, the day before the solar eclipse, President John F. Kennedy banned all trade with neighboring Cuba (except for food and medications). This followed Cuba's expulsion from the Organization of American States in January of the same year. On the next day, the day of the solar eclipse (February 4), Castro delivered his "Second Declaration of Havana," his anti-American/anti-capitalistic diatribe calling for all Latin American people to rise up against "imperialists." This event marked a dark turning point in world history that rapidly spiraled into increased tensions between the United States and Russia (and Cuba). The United States resumed atmospheric nuclear testing a month or so later. Russia placed mid-range ballistic missiles in Cuba aimed at the United States in September, which culminated in the Cuban Missile Crisis in October, when the world came to the brink of a nuclear holocaust. A major border conflict also arose on the other side of the world in 1962-the Sino-Indian War, and tensions were also heating up between North and South Vietnam. I am concerned that similar kinds of "border" conflicts and nuclear standoffs may develop in various "hot spots" around the world in 2009 (Capricorn rules the borders between nations). I have actually had a nimitta (omen) about this: the day that I sensed the possibility of a link between the 1962 and 2009 eclipse charts (back in October), Vice President Joe Biden (Senator Biden at the time) made his infamous remark that if Obama were elected, he would certainly be tested in an international crisis within the first six months of his presidency.

24. I could not find evidence of a large earthquake around the February 1962 Capricorn eclipse, though there was an eruption of a volcano in Peru a few weeks before the eclipse, which killed 4000 people. There was also a large mining explosion in Germany on February 7, 1962, which killed nearly 300 miners.

25. The year 1962 also saw the Mississippi race riots that occurred as a result of the admission of the first African-American student to the University of Mississippi in Oxford. Wow.humanity has come a long way from those days, as we continue moving toward a genuine post-racist world.

26. In 1962, the United States economy achieved new records in sales, production, employment and income as it continued to recover from the recession of 1960 and early 1961. The trend was upward throughout the year. The stock market underwent a sharp decline at the end of May and fell in June, but there was almost no harm to the economy, which continued to move ahead to record highs in 1966. The largest income gains of 1962 were in the manufacturing industry, especially durable goods (which relates to Capricorn). I wonder if 2009 will follow a similar up-trend related to this intense Capricorn eclipse focus. I know, I know, everyone is bearish and preaching doom and gloom on the economy, but we could turn it around if we only believed (do I sound like Pollyanna again?).

27. I believe that 1962 was a year for "Big Government" expansion in the United States, which fits with the Capricorn theme of restructuring and rebuilding a new order. However, Saturn was in Capricorn then, and now in 2009, Saturn is not doing nearly as well in Leo, which is one of many big differences between the 1962 and 2009 eclipses.

28. Nonetheless, a few of the most important expansion programs of 1962 included the Trade Expansion Act that ended American protectionism and began building a global economy; the Manpower Development and Training Act of 1962, which was enacted to train and retrain thousands of unemployed workers; a new massive Federal transportation policy; a bill for depreciation reform and industry tax credits; the first major improvement in Food and Drug laws since 1938; and perhaps most importantly, the most far-reaching revision of public welfare legislation since 1935.

29. President Obama has similarly promised to fight unemployment and create millions of jobs, and to reform the government, social programs and the economy, in the true Capricorn spirit of reform and reorganization. It is interesting that the main birth chart we have for Obama shows his Ascendant, Jupiter and Saturn in Capricorn. This seems to fit what is upon us in this eclipse season so near the inauguration of our brave new leader.

30. I am interested in the occult link between Leo and Capricorn in the eclipse chart (Saturn in Leo disposits the Capricorn stellium). The Tibetan Djwhal Khul in Alice Bailey's Esoteric Astrology discussed this mysterious relationship: "The emergence of the consciousness of the spiritual initiate, shining with light and one-pointed [Capricorn] defeats the king of the beasts, the personality [Leo] leading to the triumph of group/world consciousness. This is the triumph of selflessness and illumination over self-consciousness and egocentricity. In myth, the lion is blinded and killed by the piercing of his eye and heart by the long horn of the unicorn." To me, this myth truly captures the essence of what needs to take place in our current world situation but also, it represents the soul's highest purpose in life.

31. President Obama said in his famous Philadelphia speech, ".our future is our choice.if we could just recognize ourselves in one another and bring everyone together - Democrats, Republicans, and Independents, north, south, east and west, black, white, Latino, Asian, and Native American, gay and straight, disabled and not - then not only would we restore hope and opportunity in places that yearned for both, but maybe, just maybe, we might perfect our union in the process." This idea is uncannily reflected in the January 25-26 solar eclipse that takes place in the nakshatra Shravana, whose power is permanent victory through collective strength.

Happy eclipse to all!

Click on image below to view Solar Eclipse Map full size

Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2009
Susan Davis for the Washington Wire of the Wall Street Journal reports: So Nice He Did It Twice: Obama Retakes Oath:

In a move that will disappoint burgeoning conspiracy theorists, President Barack Obama retook the oath of office this evening after Chief Justice John Roberts flubbed the words the first time on Tuesday. In a statement, White House Counsel Greg Craig said they believe the oath taken Tuesday was "administered effectively" but that out of an "abundance of caution" Obama did it again.

At 7:35 p.m. EST, Roberts again swore in Obama in the Map Room. "We decided it was so much fun," Obama joked before again stating the words written in the Constitution. "Are you ready to take the oath?" Roberts asked. "I am, and we're going to do it very slowly," Obama quipped.

The oath took 25 seconds, and the recitation was flawless this time. "Congratulations, again," Roberts said. "Thank you, sir," Obama replied.

On Tuesday, Roberts misplaced the word "faithfully" in the oath of office during the formal ceremony on the west front of the U.S. capital. Roberts recited to "execute the office of president to the United States faithfully," instead of the correct clause to "faithfully execute the office of president of the United States." The error made Obama pause and smile mid-oath and Roberts corrected his gaffe. blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2009/01/21/so-nice-he-did-it-twice-obama-re-takes-oath

This means that we will have three astrological charts to read for Obama's inauguration.

The 12 PM (1/20/09) chart reflects the official time when Obama legally became the President of the United States (according to the rules of the United States Constitution). He was officially sworn in the first time at 12:06:12 PM (1/20/09), so both of these charts are important. The third chart will have some things to tell us, as well, set for 1/21/09 at 7:35 PM.

I am sure that many Western/Tropical astrologers are excited that Obama was sworn in a second time after the Moon moved out of void-of-course. As I have mentioned on other occasions, it is not recommended to begin anything auspicious during a void-of-course Moon. This does seem to be a stroke of good luck, an example of something positive coming out of something that initially seemed to be a mistake. As I have learned.there are no mistakes in our magical world!

However, I use the Sidereal zodiac and am not so concerned about void-of-course Moon. I have posted a Vedic/North Indian style chart below for Obama's second swearing-in (below). The Ascendant (constellation rising on the eastern horizon) is in Leo, the sign of courage, leadership, vitality and creativity. The Ascendant is in the nakshatra known as Magha, which is associated with the fixed star Regulus and the Pitris, guardian angels whose special purpose is to watch over the evolution of the human race. They intervene only when we have gone seriously off course (as we have). My sense with this placement is that Obama is truly protected and guided by higher universal forces, and that he also is in deep alignment with the principles and ideals of America's Founding Fathers, as Magha relates to our familial and cultural roots.

Saturn (ruler of the sixth and seventh houses) is in the first house exchanging signs with the Sun in Capricorn in the sixth house, which creates a few yogas (combinations). One is the Maha Parivartamsha Yoga (when the rulers of houses 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 10 or 11 exchange signs), which suggests the powerful authority and command that will be wielded by Obama and his administration. Another is the Parivartana Dainya Yoga, which gives tremendous strength to the Sun and Saturn (for both good and bad), and indicates the likelihood of a great number of difficulties, debts and obstacles-but we already know that our new President is facing enormous challenges like these.

A main theme of this chart relates to "serious business and tough work ahead." But.there is always hope! The hard work will pay off, over time. We as a nation may begin toughening up and getting back to our humble roots in the coming years. Mars, the planet of purpose and power for this chart, is well placed in the fifth house, indicating the bold, innovative and strategic problem- solving we can look forward to in this new administration. There are also several indications showing improvement in business and financial matters for the United States over time, for instance, the rulers of the second and fifth money houses are joined together in the sixth "growing" (upachaya) house, where matters show improvement over time and with effort.

Astrologer Edith Hathaway mentioned to me that there were two "nimittas" (omens or prophetic signs) in Obama's inauguration program. The first was Justice Roberts' mistake in misplacing the word "faithfully" in Obama's swearing-in ceremony.

According to blogger Andrew Steele of globeandmail.com, "It was a fitting beginning to the power struggle that will shape American domestic politics for the foreseeable future.some of the greatest presidencies were struggles between a progressive president and a conservative Supreme Court Chief Justice." www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20090120

The second nimitta was Senator Ted Kennedy's seizure that caused him to collapse at the inaugural luncheon. It appears that this incident was a foretelling of rapidly changing events in the Washington political scene. Just today, one day later, Kennedy's niece Caroline announced she is dropping her bid for Hilary Clinton's New York Senate seat, (presumably) over concerns about the health of her uncle Ted, who has been suffering from brain cancer.

One wonders if the second swearing-in ceremony is also an omen suggesting Obama's duality of ideas, heart or consciousness, perhaps symbolizing his "post-partisan" stance as one who promises to bridge the gap between opposing political parties. Or. maybe, the second swearing in is just what it looks like, Obama's attempt to do things the right way. It certainly represents what we astrologers know to be true, which is that Mercury retrograde (which is in force from Jan. 12-Feb. 2) can certainly reflect mix-ups and breakdowns in communication, technology and travel. With Mercury retrograde, we often have to go back and re-do something again. Sound familiar?

Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009
12:05 PM was the official swearing-in time of Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States. Legally and officially, he became the President at exactly 12 PM, but I will use the 12:06:12 chart because it reflects Obama's mana (life force) at the moment when he swore to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America.

I have been studying the astrology charts of Obama's inauguration as well as for George W. Bush's (GWB's) inauguration in 2005 (see charts below). Presidential Inauguration charts are used to predict the impact of a new President as well as the impending karma of the country in question. Thus, Obama's inaugural chart can foretell the outcome of the next four years for America during the new administration. I find it interesting to compare the two charts and also to do a "post-mortem" on GWB's inaugural chart to see what we might learn.

Looking at GWB's inaugural chart, it is easy to see some of the difficult challenges faced in the last four years, most notably related to the tumultuous lunar nodes in the most important 1/7 axis (conjunct the Sri Pati house cusps), and worse, the placement of chart ruler Mars (ruler of the Aries Ascendant) in the most difficult sector of the astrological chart, the eighth house of debts, chronic worry, shocking upsets and seemingly unending misfortune. The typically "lucky" ruler of the ninth house (Jupiter) is in the unfortunate sixth house, where it exchanges signs with Mercury, ruler of the sixth house of debt and turmoil, and this reflects some of the trouble we have seen in recent years.

In Obama's inaugural chart, the chart ruler Mars is in the most fortunate sector of the chart, the ninth house. It is also in Sagittarius, the auspicious ninth sign of hope and optimism, which lifts up the good fortune of the chart as a whole, indicating this incredible wave of optimism and expectation that so many are feeling now. Here, Mars also speaks to the near-religious fervor expressed by so many of Obama's supporters, who apparently see him as somewhat of a savior archetype. All this hope can have an affirmative outcome, for sure, as we create our collective reality with our thoughts. As we project so much positive energy toward Obama, he seems to be a worthy one to reflect it back to us. The occupation of the chart lord in the ninth house offers the strong possibility for some truly auspicious outcomes for Obama's Presidency.

Mars is in the tenth house of the bhava chart, which is even more promising though quite indicative of the kind of vigorous and broad-reaching government actions promised by Obama in his "fresh new course." Mars in the ninth house and sign can also reveal that Obama will face ongoing terroristic threats from foreign enemies motivated by self-righteous religious zeal.

The time around noon is the best time of day for such an important event as a Presidential inauguration, when the Sun, significator of leaders and government, is strong and well placed at the top of the chart conjunct the Midheaven (MC). What excites me a great deal about Obama's inaugural chart is a little thing called cazimi, an Arabic word that means "in the heart of the Sun," which occurs when a planet (in this case, Mercury, planet of business, trade and communication) is conjunct the Sun (the soul of the chart) within 17 minutes of arc. This cazimi is close... within 6 zodiacal minutes!

British astrologer Deborah Houlding says that cazimi creates a "state of solar-empowered brilliance, where the two planets are fused to act as one." www.skyscript.co.uk/aquacharts.html. Vedic astrologers do not even consider cazimi, and many modern astrologers reject it as well, but I have found it to be quite rare and exceedingly significant.

For Aries Rising charts, Mercury, ruler of the third and sixth houses, represents the potential for highly skilled problem-solving talent arising out of diligent effort and pure, rational thinking. The cazimi combination of Mercury with the Sun, fifth ruler of luck and inspiration, in the tenth house and the tenth sign (Capricorn) of government, indicates that this new administration may live up to many of the high hopes being laid at its feet. Cazimi Mercury seems to reflect the "empowered brilliance" of Obama and his administration.

I do not want to be a naysayer, but there are many problems ahead for Obama and the United States in the coming years. For example, malefic Rahu is also in the tenth house of Obama's inaugural chart, conjunct a debilitated, weakened and poisoned Jupiter (planet of banking), and these are aligned the Sun and Mercury, and all are disposited by retrograde Saturn conjunct Denebola, a fixed star linked with upheaval, terrorism, natural catastrophes and disasters.

In Mundane astrology, the Moon represents the ordinary people and matters of a public nature, and is thus a very important matter to analyze in this kind of chart. In Western Tropical astrology, the Moon is at the dangerous edge of Scorpio and is void-of-course, neither of which is considered a positive indication. When the Moon has moved past its last aspect but has yet to enter the next sign, this is void-of-course. It is believed by some Western astrologers that nothing of importance should be started under a void-of-course Moon, and I understand that some Western astrologers actually asked Obama to change his inauguration time because of this fear!

In Vedic/Sidereal astrology, the Moon is at 5 degrees and 48 minutes of Scorpio- back 24 degrees from its Tropical position. The Moon is not void-of-course when we use the positions in the Sidereal zodiac, as it is sextile the Sun, Mercury and Jupiter. However, the Moon is in its debilitated sign of Scorpio in this chart as well as in the Tropical/Western chart. The Moon in Scorpio reflects the public's state of chronic fear that will likely continue in the coming years.

Moon in Scorpio in the eighth house reveals the revolutionary changes upon us at this time in our political, social and economic history. We can look forward to unbelievable innovations in science and technology in the next four years. Yes, we will likely continue to experience enormous socio-economic challenges. However, the eighth house also represents spiritual purification and transformation, so these challenges really do have a higher purpose.

The Moon's ill-placement in Obama's inaugural chart also makes me wonder if our country is facing the threat of destructive floods, a nuclear event or mass poisoning, though I am not sure if the mass poisoning I am sensing is real or metaphoric. Regarding the latter, I feel that our current state of national debt and overall insecurity are ultimately a result of profound national malaise and unending negative emotions being pumped into our collective reality, through not only the media but also through our own individual participation!

Finally, the combinations (yogas) of vara/tithi/nakshatra (VTN) in the election/muhurta charts for both inaugurations vary dramatically and give me hope that we will be on a better course in the next four years. In the Bush inaugural chart, there are three of these combinations that translate as "loss," "tearing out" and "very unlucky" (ashubha). There is one VTN yoga in the Obama chart which translates as "a combination that dispels difficulties." If anyone wants to know more about this topic of VTN yogas, please see Ernst Wilhelm's book titled Classical Muhurta, or feel free to email me at Juliana@astralharmony.com

I've just scratched the surface here. There is so much more commentary one could make on these charts alone or in comparison to the horoscopes of the United States, GW Bush and Obama. And speaking of going beneath the surface, Kepler College will be presenting a cross-cultural comparison of the astrology of President-Elect Barack Obama, Vice-President Elect Joe Biden, the inauguration, and recap predictions for the national election. Join Kepler on January 20, 2009 from 5:30 to 7:30 PM PST from wherever you live. All you need is a computer and internet connection. Invite your friends-the more the merrier! Register at www.kepler.edu . Also, for a detailed analysis of Obama's election, I highly recommend Edith Hathaway's incredibly detailed insights into political astrology at www.29eagles.com/election/edith/edith7_feb08_early_talk.html . Edith will be giving a radio interview on Inauguration Day with astrologer Norma Jean Ream at 4 PM PST on Jan. 20: www.siriusstartalk.com. After Jan. 20, this interview can be accessed at www.siriusstartalk.com/showarchives.

Monday, Jan. 12, 2009
I am reading a wonderful, amazing and mind-boggling book titled Breaking Loose from the Money Game: Mind-Blowing Strategies for Changing the Rules of a Game You Can't Win, by Robert Scheinfeld (John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken New Jersey, 2006). I highly recommend this book! www.bustingloose.com

Busting Loose from the Money Game could just as well be called How to Wake Up and Enjoy the Human Game. The idea is that our lives are a miraculous game of our own creation. Nothing new here.but for some reason, the ways in which these ideas are presented feel fresh and exciting to me.

Many of the ideas presented by Robert Scheinfeld are radical, but they also correspond with the sacred, timeless teachings of spiritual mystics, holy persons and adepts of all traditions, especially those of the Far East. The suggestion that our lives are a miraculous game fits with the idea of Lila in the Hindu tradition, in which all reality is the result of the creative play of the one divine absolute creator (God or Brahman). The great Swami Baba Muktananda said that the world we experience is simply a play of consciousness.

Another aspect of the Busting Loose paradigm matches the idea of Maya in Advaita Vedanta philosophy. Maya is the illusory physical reality in which our consciousness has become entangled. Nothing is real here in Maya. it is all a big dream in the mind of God. Everything at its core is made of light energy!

Some of the basic assumptions that Scheinfeld proposes are (I am listing these mostly verbatim from his book):

1. There are hidden forces driving what happens in the world that few people ever find out. By understanding and learning to tap these hidden forces, tremendous power can be unleashed and used to create miracles in your life.

2. Who you are is a wonderfully adventurous spirit ever eager to expand yourself and your experiences. The Human Game is no big deal to the real you. The real you knows that everything here is an illusion of your own creation.

3. A deeper order of reality has been found by quantum physicists in the form of a gigantic field of intelligent energy that some call the Zero Point Field [or the Matrix], which exists as energy with infinite potential that hasn't yet been formed into anything and from which anything can be created.

5. When Consciousness focuses on the Field with a specific intent to create something, that state of infinite possibility collapses into a single possibility determined by that intent. In Quantum Physics, it's called "collapsing the wave form." Once the collapse takes place, the illusion of the physical universe is created, physical particles appear in that illusion and combine in specific ways to build the intended objects and living things we interact with in our daily life.

6. The Human Game is being played entirely in consciousness and every detail is custom designed by your Expanded Self to support you in the precise way you want to play it.

7. Scheinfeld uses the metaphor of a hologram, the illusion of something physical, to describe how we create our individual patterns of reality and then add tremendous amounts of power to these holograms through our beliefs, judgments and consequences, so that the holograms pop out appearing to be absolutely real. This idea is very similar to what the great yogi Paramhansa Yogananda said about our lives being like a moving picture show in the eye of God.

Scheinfeld gives practical solutions to help us wake up and enjoy the journey of life by reclaiming our power from limiting patterns and then collapsing the limiting patterns so that we can open fully to our true state of infinite joy and abundance. I have just skimmed the surface here.there's so much more here. I am deeply grateful that Scheinfeld and his book have magically popped into my hologram!

Buy this book!

Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2009
Mundane astrology is the branch of astrology applied to world affairs and world events (mundus is the Latin word for "world"). There are a variety of ways to cast mundane charts. As an example, national affairs can be evaluated from the horoscope set for the time and place of an inauguration or the signing of a treaty, charter or constitution. Many astrologers are studying the chart for Barack Obama's inauguration on January 20th at 12 PM. This chart may reveal some important trends ahead for not only Obama's administration but also for the United States and the rest of the world.

A variety of celestial phenomena are also important for mundane forecasting, including lunations (new and full Moon cycles), planetary stations, comets, conjunctions of planets, eclipses and ingresses. The latter term refers to the entry of a planet or luminary into a particular sign. *Please note that I use the Sidereal zodiac exclusively, whereas most Western astrologers use the Tropical zodiac that is about 23-24 degrees ahead of the Sidereal zodiac due to Precession of the Equinoxes.

I am interested in Jupiter Ingress charts for a few reasons. Jupiter is the planet representing abundance, luck and grace. He is called Guru (teacher) in Jyotisha, the astrology of India. Jupiter's transit comprises 12-13 months in one rashi (constellation), thus making the Jupiter Year a much longer cycle than the transits of the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, and Mars. Jupiter is very important to national and world affairs because it rules national finance and commerce; banks and bankers; interest rates; business in general; foreign relations and international trade; politics; government; religious, moral and cultural conditions; and, prosperity and peace.

Master Vedic astrologer Chakrapani Ullal has eloquently expressed the impact of Jupiter in astrology: “Jupiter is the planet of expansion. It is second to the Sun in size and second to Venus in brightness. Situated 476 million miles from the Sun, its girth is wider than the sum total of all the other planets combined; this magnificent mass alone commands attention. Among the ancient philosophers, Jupiter was recognized as a celestial father, the patriarch as well as royalty, the King. His indisputable status is evidenced by the breadth of his gaze and the expanse of his gestures. His rulership is a victory over materialism, for while wealth and good fortune fall within his domain, his supreme path is the search for truth.[1]

Jupiter departed Sidereal Sagittarius and entered Capricorn on December 9, 2008. Jupiter will be moving very rapidly through Capricorn until May 2, 2009, when it will enter Aquarius. Jupiter will retrograde in Aquarius on June 16, and on July 31, will re-enter Capricorn, where it will remain until Dec. 20, 2009.

Jupiter is considered an esoteric ruler of Aquarius, where it functions very well. In Capricorn, however, Jupiter is debilitated, where it shines the light on certain elemental imbalances that force us to confront our relationship with the material world. In the United States (Kelleher) chart, Jupiter in Capricorn occupies the Second House of finance. Here, it can indicate frustration, fear and hardship related to family life and finances.

Jupiter in Capricorn can actually be very positive for business matters. The problem is that this transit, being so focused on material reality, can have a cold and calculating effect to the point where we lose track of our lighter side, our moral obligations and our spiritual purpose. On the plus side, Jupiter in Capricorn can help us fine tune our goals and desires and give us the impetus and focus to bring them down into practical reality.

Planets in Capricorn encourage us to mature throughout life, and the astrological house of our own personal horoscope that is occupied by Capricorn describes some of our most important lessons. This year, we may receive a special gift from Jupiter related to these particular lessons, especially if we can cultivate Saturnian tolerance and patience. Remember.“slow and steady wins the race.”

The angelic unicorn is the esoteric symbol of Capricorn, according to Djwhal Khul in Alice Bailey's Esoteric Astrology: “The single straight horn of the unicorn represents the penetrating spiritual vision of the brow chakra or third eye. The unicorn imagery symbolizes the Capricorn journey from duality and worldly ambition to one-pointedness, vision and spiritual aspiration.” In Capricorn, Jupiter may bring opportunities, especially when we remain aligned with our higher wisdom. Be realistic and proactive and decide what you want your reality to be, and make it happen. This is what Jupiter in Capricorn is about.

Jupiter indicates new beginnings when in Cardinal signs like Capricorn. In the next year, we will see a huge awakening of the Earth element, which is concerned with keeping life viable and sustainable. The most positive emotions of the Earth element are courage and contentment. When imbalanced, fear takes over. We can balance and harness the Earth element energy by cultivating structure and discipline, working hard and staying grounded in the present moment. Saturn will be a very important influence on Jupiter in 2009, as it is the ruler of both Capricorn and Aquarius.

Please stay tuned for further discussion on the Jupiter Ingress charts for 2007-2008 and 2008-2009.

[1] Jupiter: The Divine Guru, www.vedicastrology.com/articles/articlejupiterpart1.htm

We have archived 2008 blogs here. Please feel free to continue reading Insights and Reminiscings from Juliana or sign up for her outstanding newsletter.