Be the Hero of Your Story

Vedic Astrology is much more than just predicting timing of events. It’s true physical, mental and spiritual benefits are revealed when it is used primarily as a tool for self-knowledge and self-discovery.  When used in this way there is no other modality that can match the speed at which we can gain inner guidance and inner empowerment. This model is empowering and puts the authorship of our life’s journey in our hands rather than the stars alone. Most importantly this can help us develop skills and dedication that we will need to become the hero our life’s journey.

So, let’s begin our journey …

A thought, or a desire appears in our head…. Where does it come from? Can we be sure that it belongs to us? Are we alone in our head? Are we truly captains of our own ship, or are there forces beyond our control steering the ship?

Who is this thinker “I” “me” or “self” that we identify with and why is Yoga’s main goal to be liberated from this limited aspect of the personality.

Behavioral Epigenetics

Let’s look briefly first at where 21st century science stands on this question. A few years ago, Professor Kerry Ressler, a neurobiologist and psychiatrist at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, became interested in intergenerational trauma. Ressler and his colleague Brian Dias set up an experiment to expose male and female mice with the scent of cherry blossom, while giving the mice small electric shocks. Eventually, as expected, the mice learnt to associate the pain of the shocks with the smell and began shaking with fear just with the smell alone.

What was most unexpected was the discovery that up to four generations of the offspring of these mice, even those conceived through in vitro fertilization, were born sensitive to the cherry blossom smell and demonstrated fear in the presence of the smell.

This study was published in the most prestigious scientific journal Nature Neuroscience in 2013. The revelations of this study certainly had scientist scratching their heads.  Brian Dias noted “The overwhelming response has been 'Wow! But how the hell is it happening?'

These types of experiments are leading the way in the new science of epigenetics, and a new understanding of the importance of environmental influences, both good and bad, such as trauma, diet, lifestyle changes etc., that can modify gene expression without altering the gene code itself, and then pass on the changes to future generations as well.

Ancient Vedic Knowledge

While the scientist might be looking at these new discoveries with awe and surprise, this powerful link between our self-hood and personality and the experiences of our ancestors and their memories, has long been understood in most ancient cultures.  As well as the influence of environmental factors, which are in our control, that can potentially turn these influences of off or on.

In the Vedic culture it is said that we inherit our consciousness from our ancestors. Therefore, there is lot of emphasis on honoring the elders in the family member as well as those who have passed on. For thousands of years in Vedic culture worship and veneration of the family lineage played an important role in spiritual practice. Interestingly, the Vedic texts recommend at least three generations be honored. 

Samskara – Inherited psychological imprints

In Sanskrit these inherited psychological imprints are called samskaras –  which are the accumulated experiences from present and past lives, ancestral memories and our cultural heritage, that are deeply rooted in our psyche. Positive Samskaras lift us up and negative Samskaras are the reason for much of our suffering, as well as the collective suffering of society.

Indeed, the whole system of the Vedic/Yogic culture in India as it has evolved over thousands of years, which includes spiritual practices such Yoga, Mantra, Meditation, Vedic astrology and lifestyle practices like Ayurveda, as well as the prescribed social and cultural norms and rituals, was designed to aid in the transformation and transcendence of our negative Samskaras.

Jyotish –
Illuminates our Samskara

The sanskrit word for Vedic Astrology is Jyotish, which means to illuminate or shine a light upon. So you could say that the Vedic horoscope illuminates our samskaras, or the physical, mental and spiritual consciousness of our family, ancestors and culture that we inherited. Our past life memories that are influencing us in this life are also embedded here.

Ancestral fears such as those carried by the cherry blossom mice will show up in the horoscope and surface in more extreme ways during certain dasha/bhukti (planetary and sub planetary periods) or during certain transits such as sade sati.

It is these strongly entrenched tendencies that make certain life events  fated to occur and make Vedic Astrology such an amazing predictive tool.

Samskara and Karma

The actions that we must perform as a result of our samskaras is what is called karma. Karma in Sanskrit means “what I must do”, So in that sense the word karma is often used interchangeably with duty and obligation, because performing action, burden or Karma that we have no choice but to endure, without feeling like a victim, is probably the most significant spiritual message of the Yogic/Vedic system of knowledge.

While the concepts of samskara and karma are very deeply rooted in the Indian culture, in the west they are often seen with a little suspicion or misunderstood.  However, much of what we are talking about here is not exclusive to the Vedic culture.

Freud, Jung and Joseph Campbell

Let’s look at the intellectual giants of the 20th century like Freud, Jung, and Joseph Campbell who have had a tremendous amount of influence on our culture. They also theorized that we are neither completely transparent to ourselves nor alone in our head. They suggested that our perceptions, actions and thoughts are not always voluntary but rather they may be the result of the workings of the unconscious mind, which accesses stored personal experiences and memories, especially from our childhood. Finally, they brought to light the influence of the collective unconscious, which includes memories and impulses that may not belong to us, much like the mice in the experiment.

The Hero’s Journey

Jung and Campbell studying mythology, comparative literature and astrology saw a similarity of narrative shared by cultures across the world and over thousands and thousands of years. This Jung and Campbell described as being part of the collective unconscious or “timeless truths”, which serve as a template to assist us in our psychological maturation.

Jung suggested that when these collective unconscious contents of the personality are integrated into the conscious personality, then and only then a true personality can emerge.

Because Samskaras or the unconscious reflect our deeply entrenched tendencies that cannot be easily uprooted, we must be careful not to look for quick easy solutions to our predicaments.

Samaskaras are not just our thoughts, but rather they are the thinker itself. In the thinker, they are the one who thinks. In other words, Samskaras run so deep in our mind that they may just be the very spirit and essence of what we consider to be “me.” It’s here that we must wrap our mind around the blurry lines between freewill and destiny.

The Power of Myth

Campbell coined the term monomyth, the common template for a broad spectrum of stories through out cultures and history. He called this universal myth as The Hero’s Journey  and structured it as a circle or a cycle divided into three phases: departure, initiation and return, with several sub stages.

Campbell explained the power of myth as “It would not be too much to say that myth is the secret opening through which the inexhaustible energies of the Cosmos pour into human cultural manifestation.”

Jung was also very interested in the power of story and myth and he suggested that “the reason for evil in the world is that people are not able to tell their stories.”

Kierkegaard, the famous Danish theologian, poet and philosopher, also saw the power and weight of our history and said “life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”

The challenging Hero’s Journey

What Jung called psychological maturation, so our true personality can emerge, or what Yoga philosophy calls transcending and transmuting “the self” is a challenging and difficult hero’s journey.

If you take your favorite modern myths like Star Wars, Harry Potter, or Lord of the Rings, these are stories depicting the difficult journeys we all must undertake to work through our samskaras– we cannot not bury them, avoid them or escape them – we must take them head on. Otherwise, we risk turning our negative Samskaras into what Jung referred to as our “shadow”, which he described as “the part of our psyche that an individual would rather not acknowledge, or the denied parts of the self.”.

Myths and stories across cultures reveal the yearnings fears, aspirations and struggles common to every individual. They also provide the roadmap for ways out of our predicament. The dragons and villains the heroes confront in stories are our difficult samskaras that result in angst, bullies, health problems, failed relationships, jealousy, failures and unfulfilled desires. On his journey the hero also encounters many guides, mentors and supernatural aids to lift him up – these are our positive samskaras. From the astrological perspective the friends and foes the hero encounters show the condition of the planets in our horoscope.

Vedic Horoscope as The Hero’s Journey

It should come as no surprise that the hero’s journey monomyth is also present across cultures in the ancient science of Astrology. 

The long and difficult but most rewarding journey we all must take is  that of the cyclical zodiac, Aries – Pisces and the houses 1-12, which is the process of evolution inherent in nature.

The planets show us the skills the hero will need to acquire and perfect along the way.  

The planetary periods or Dasha  system of Vedic Astrology gives us the roadmap of how our unique story will unfold. 

Healing is Messy

Now in the monomyth like most healing modalities a sequence of stages such as discovery, healing and transformation is suggested. In real life though healing does not come in neat stages, it is messy, disordered and complicated. We may stay in one stage for decades, skip some stages completely or in times of emergency go through all the stages in a matter of days, weeks or even minutes.

All of us will go through numerous hero’s journeys in a lifetime. Furthermore, each of us will have our own distinct rhythm in how our story unfolds. 

Having a deep and unbiased understanding of our story and myth, we can embrace this rhythm, and acknowledge our unique path to self-discovery.

Our unique heroes journey.

In future articles we will look at the 12 main stages of a Hero’s journey using Campbell’s template and how it overlaps with the Zodiac, houses and planets and how this sheds a light on your horoscope


The Course of True Love Never Did Run Smooth

“Eclipses in the sun and moon portend no good to us. Though the wisdom of nature can reason it thus and thus, yet nature finds itself scourg'd by the sequent effects. Love cools, friendship falls off, brothers divide”. King Lear, Shakespeare

In Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night's Dream., the union of the young lovers, Lysander and Hermia is in trouble. Lysander offers comfort “the course of true love never did run smooth”. In vivid Shakespearean style he describes the lover’s passion as “momentary”, “swift as a shadow”, “brief as a lightning” and “short as a dream on midsummer's night”.

Vedic Astrology confirms Shakespeare’s concerns in the play that love can be a  "quick bright thing brought to confusion by the inexorable workings of time and nature”. In Vedic thought cosmic time is a never-ending cyclical process of Sristi - creation, Stithi - continuation, and Laya – dissolution.

We are all aware of the visible cycles of nature, like dawn and dusk that give way to the dark night. And the promise of a new life in spring that cycles into the death of winter. But we need Vedic Astrology to illuminate similar cycles of the mysterious and hidden planetary forces that wield profound influences on our life. That love, friendships and relationships may also be caught in the inescapable web of nature and time is perhaps the most difficult spiritual work that we must do on earth.

Predicting how the relationship will change over time

There is an old saying that women fall in love hoping that he will change, and men fall in love hoping she will not. Truth is, while the fundamental nature of the person you fall in love with will remain constant, their desires, goals, health, interests and passions will change dramatically over time as you and your partner cycle through the planetary influences. Only relationships that are highly accommodating to change or built on a strong foundation of interdependence rather than dependence will survive over the long haul.

Can these changes be predicted?  Can we prepare ourselves, so we are not knocked off our feet when our partner is ready to shift planetary gears? The mathematical algorithms of the Vimshottari Dasha, conceived thousands of years ago still remain relevant today, describing a 120 year cycle (the life expectancy in ancient India), which is divided into nine planetary periods, ranging in length in six to twenty years. Herein lays the answer to how delicate the navigation of long term relationships really is.

In Sanskrit the word for planets is Graha, which means “to grab, seize or possess”. Every time, a Maha Dasha   (main planetary period) and Antar Dasha (sub planetary period) changes it’s as if a different planetary energy seizes our aura. As a result, major life changes occur in our personality, desires, aspirations and circumstances. There are profound changes that occur in our bio-chemistry, neurotransmitters and physiology as well, which explain the cycles of our body/mind health in Medical Astrology.

It is at the crossover of these changing planetary periods that our relationships are most vulnerable to end or improve because the rules of engagement are changing in the consciousness of one or both partners.

Compatibility calculations based solely on the static horoscopes often fail because the active forces of the Dashas are not considered. Two horoscopes may show good innate potential for success of a relationship, but temporary problems due to the Dasha/Antara Dasha period of one or both can doom the relationship.  The reverse can also happen where the compatibility may be poor but temporarily it feels like a perfect fit. This perhaps is the greatest tragedy that all of us have experienced at one time or another.

Love, Marriage and Romance

Historically across cultures and nations marriage and romantic love were considered incompatible. In fact, even today up to 90 percent of marriages in India and 60 percent of all marriages in the world are still arranged by parents and family. The Enlightenment Age of 17th and 18th centuries in Europe, which pioneered the novel idea at that time that life was about pursuit of happiness, led the way for the west to advocate marriage as a contract of love, rather than economics, status or social/family responsibility.

In the 21st century we are not quite so pragmatic as our as our historical predecessors, nor as naive as we were just a few decades ago that love is all you need.  We stand at the threshold of seeing our relationships for what they should be, a personal contract between two equals seeking love, stability, family and happiness. 

Today most of us will have two, three or more “marriages” or long term relationships. I like to think of the changing Dashas as an opportunity to renew our relationship with our partner. Having been married to the same man for 36 years, I can safely say that I am in my third relationship with him.


So let’s look at the potential for change in your relationship as the Maha Dasha changes for you and your partner. This also applies to Bhukti  or Antar Dasha (sub planetary period)  but the impact will not be anywhere nearly as profound. 

The order and number of years for each Maha Dasha:.

1. Ketu 7 years
2. Venus 20 years
3. Sun 6 years
4. Moon 10 years
5. Mars 7 years
6. Rahu 18 years
7. Jupiter 16 years
8. Saturn 19 years
9. Mercury 17 years

The Dasha cycle begins with Ketu and ends with Mercury and then starts back up with Ketu. Ketu is where we are most connected to our divine source and not quite fully ripe for the sensory experiences of the physical body and worldly life. Mercury is where we are fully ripened, experienced and engaged with the rules of success on life on earth. The rest of the planets support our evolution from one end of the cycle to the other.

Like all of nature’s cycles that work in a sequence of defined time periods, the order of the planetary Dasha and how long each Dasha lasts never changes (i.e. Mercury always follows Saturn and Sun is always 6 six years and Venus 20). However, every horoscope runs the planetary periods at different times, depending on which point in the 120 year planetary cycle we were born.

I don't want to over simplify the influence of the Dashas as their expression is unique in every horoscope. However, here you can still get a general idea of what planet is dominating your aura, or that of your partner at any given time by knowing the current Dasha trends.

Ketu - 7 years

Let’s start with Ketu, who functions mostly outside the range of ordinary consciousness. He thrives on the abstract and intangible and easily detaches from institutions and social norms, , including the institution of marriage. He has none of innocence and excitement for the potential of romantic Love.  Indeed, he may even scoff at all the fanfare around the elaborate rituals and ceremonies of marriage.

I had one client that got married in her Ketu Dasha while she was still in graduate school. The ceremony took place in her science lab, costed less than $100, and the celebratory toast was inexpensive Champaign served in test tubes. I can’t imagine a more Ketu celebration!

Many of my clients have hung on in difficult and limiting relationships to let this Dasha period finish and then gone on to have productive partnerships with the same person. Fortunately, for relationships the Ketu period is only seven years long.

Venus – 20 years

Ketu dasha is followed by 20 years of Venus, when our aura shifts from Ketu’s stoic minimalism to Venus’ pursuit of celebrating life, happiness, joy and beauty.

The Sanskrit word for Veuns is shukra, which is the same root in Latin for sugar. Venus can pursue many avenues of finding sweetness in life, such as art, music, food and wealth to explore the tasty world of the senses. However, relating and relationships are generally the major theme of this season.

With Venus our capacity for compromise, diplomacy and negotiation soars, which are all the necessary ingredients for sustaining a relationship. The dry relationship spell of Ketu is followed by peaking pheromones and people usually become more attractive to the opposite sex in this period.

If you are lucky you will fall in love at the beginning of a Venus Dasha and if you have a well-placed Venus (ie not in the twelfth house), you may have a hard time understanding why other people have so much trouble with their relationships.

Venus Dasha also seeks the “beloved” and enjoys the path of devotion. For many devotion to a partner or a cause produces the sweetest of results. When Venus does not produce the lover or the beloved, the pain of separation is also felt most acutely in this Dasha.

The end of the 20-year Venus Dasha shows a dissolution of our infatuation with pleasure, love and romance and should be very carefully navigated if you want to prevail in holding on to your relationship into the next season of the Sun Dasha.

Sun 6 Years

Now let’s say you met the love of your life in the middle of her 20-year Venus Dasha and a decade later she moves into her Sun Dasha, the sweet, devotional energy of her Venus shifts to independence and personal power of the Sun. Suddenly, the urge to find her own voice and identity becomes a formidable force within her. A well-placed Sun in her chart will allow her to shine and carve her unique path in life, which may cause you to question whether she needs you anymore or if she still loves you. A, weak Sun will take a real toll on her confidence, straining your relationship. So it is best that you help her towards self-reliance and personal power, rather than waiting and wanting her to go back to the way she used to be. For those in the Sun period remember to be like the Sun, don’t demand respect and power, earn it like the Sun by giving light and protection to all.

Moon – 10 years

As the hot and fast six-year planetary period of the Sun sets it ushers in the cool and much softer and slower paced ten-year Moon period. With the moon we leave independence behind and seek more connection, interdependence and community. Memories of our childhood flood our mind awakening our inner child, and we seek to nurture or be nurtured. The moon is always looking for the Sun (the other) so it can shine - relationships again becomes a big theme in our consciousness.

The strong Solar, independent man you married in his Sun Dasha now shows his emotional, sensitive and vulnerable side. Feelings are easily hurt, and misunderstandings pile up. If you can grasp your partner’s sensitive side, this is usually one of the best seasons for nesting, nurturing, and building a family life.

Mars – 7 years

That sweet natured lunar poet that you hooked up with in his Moon period who was happy to hang out with you and your sister, cook you guys dinner and even wash up afterwards, moves into the energetic and daring Mars period, and you may find he is spending more time at the gym than in the kitchen.

A strongly placed Mars’ independence and adventurous spirit has no bounds. Energy levels are up, and goals must be met. Audacious Mars is quick to draw the red line in the sand, especially when weak and threatened. Passions also run high, tempers flare up much more easily.  Rather than falling into the inevitable power struggles that Mars brings, encourage your partner to discover their strength and courage and share the dish washing (the poet is still there inside him, just not at the forefront of his mind)!

Mars is usually the greatest destroyer of relationships as this is the season of contest and competition, not compromise and conciliation. Practicing losing to win in the relationship is the best strategy in this period if you are the one running a Mars period and want to hang on to your relationship.

Rahu - 18 years

Unconventional Rahu follows Mars. Moderation and caution go out the window. Whatever Rahu has set his site on, whether quiet reflection, relationships or world domination, will be pursued to an extreme. This is not the season for temperance or constraint. His obsessions and fixations can either spin our life out of control or his drive can be directed towards new discoveries and unimaginable heights.

Rahu is the hunger that brings us into this incarnation and this is the season to eat our fill. The hardest part when working with Rahu is that he usually does not, cannot, listen to anyone (except Jupiter). He must explore and pursue his compulsions until the desire has been exhausted.  Rahu Dasha is never easy on relationships, especially when Rahu’s obsession is relationships. Practice putting Rahu on a diet.

Jupiter – 16 Years

Fortunately, Rahu period does end, and the most benevolent and welcomed Jupiter season follows. Still feeling empty after gorging on Rahu we turn to Jupiter’s higher knowledge and divine grace. Jupiter fills our consciousness with hope, faith and optimism – and a certain confidence in our stride that comes from knowing that our best days are yet to come.

Jupiter is called the guru in Sanskrit and personal growth, Yoga, spirituality, sacred journeys, ethics, philosophy, justice are often the themes of this season.

Jupiter periods are usually very productive and successful for relationships, if you keep your expectations realistic and don’t pin all your hopes and prospects on your partner.  It is important to remember that your desire for personal growth may not match your partners. Usually, the dissatisfaction I hear from clients in this Dasha is "I want someone who is on the same spiritual path with me".

In other words, if are in Jupiter Dasha, you might want your next vacation to be a spiritual retreat in Tibet but your partner may still be hung up on Las Vegas. Be respectful and mindful that even though you might be feeling a very strong urge to transform your life your partner may not yet be ready.  After all, spiritual and personal growth is an "inside job".

Saturn – 19 Years

Sometimes two souls fall in love when one or both of them is under the stern eye of a Saturn planetary period, which follows Jupiter. Saturn requires a more conservative and practical approach to relationships. You could say he is the planet that comes closest to considering an arranged marriage and is the least infatuated with "falling in love". Although this might feel uncomfortable to swallow at first, remember that most marriages were conducted in this way until the 19th century, even in the west. Divorce rates have skyrocketed exponentially since Saturn was taken completely out of the equation of marriage. So, we shouldn't throw the baby out with the bath water as Saturn is the strongest indicator in your chart of the potential to sustain a long term relationship built on duty, responsibility, democracy, and humility.

If your partner turns Saturn on you, he may become more sober, less fun loving, over worked and not so glamorous but rejoice, he is probably the most committed planet to the vows you made at the altar.

Mercury – 17 Years

Nineteen years of Saturn Dasha ends and the curiosity and playfulness of Mercury takes over. Most people are so ready to break loose of Saturn’s shackles and restraints that they demand change in every aspect of their life. They will often blame their partner for being the source of the limitations they have lived with for two decades.  So yes, a “new” relationship is required so that the youthful Mercury energy can explore, discover and learn about life and new opportunities that were held back by Saturn.

Your partner might insist on trading in his functional minivan for a motorcycle! Buy a helmet, and encourage their new-found desire for learning, experimentation, curiosity, mental stimulation and pursuing their interests.

Mercury is prone to excessive stimulation and unfocused action and needs stability to prioritize and assess which doors to open and which to close as their will be so many options. Your partner will need whatever Dasha you are running, except perhaps Rahu,  to help them stay grounded and equanimous.

Cycling back to Ketu

The cycle is complete, and we are back to Ketu. At the start of their Ketu period, I have seen so many people simply walk away from life and all that they have built with Mercury, which often includes their current relationship. Work with your partner’s desire to downsize and embrace some of the simplicity that Ketu forces on you. Marriage during Ketu Dasha and Ketu Sub period, is generally forbidden by astrologers, unless there are some other strong forces keeping Ketu in check.

It is said that expectations are the termites of relationships and accepting change wholeheartedly is the foundation that keeps the termites at bay.  Stability helps build the foundation of a relationship, but it is change that helps us grow and reach new heights. So remember that it is not always the planets fault but rather our own inability to adapt to the new seasons of nature and time.


Trudeau and Trump: Can We Meet in the Middle?

Last month the Prime Minster of Canada, Justin Trudeau and his family visited India on official government business. Trudeau’s visit was hailed as a success as it relates to trade and other issues between the two countries. Unfortunately, the accomplishments were totally overshadowed by, of all things, the Trudeau family wardrobe!!!

Trudeau chose to show his love for the Indian culture and everything Indian, by hiring an Indian fashion designer to dress his wife, children and himself in a series of elaborate and often over the top ethnic Indian outfits. The Trudeau family’s good intentions to embrace the Indian culture backfired. The media was merciless, and twitter was ablaze with negative tweets.

“trying too hard, too flashy”, 
“We Indians don’t dress like this every day, not even in Bollywood films”
“too much choreographed cuteness”
“ridiculously overdressed”
 and my personal favorite…” people after one yoga class”.

The Canadian media was also heavily critical. “Justin Trudeau has become so identified with Kumbaya priorities that he has lost the appearance of leading a serious government”.

Late night comedian Trevor Novah  said “ I don’t know if you have noticed that just as Donald trump becomes more and more un-woke, Justin Trudeau is compensating in the other direction.

There is often an uncanny similarity between extremes – here we have two very different Leo Ascendants,  who share the fatal flaw of Leo types, a flare for excessive showmanship.

Polarity is the foundational principle of Yogic knowledge, as everything in the universe manifests with its opposite, each compensating for the other – Shiva and Shakti, day and night, hot and cold, good and evil, light and shadow, Sun and Moon, and yes even, Justin Trudeau and Trump. Vedic Astrology teaches us how to find the balance point in the polarity to acquire equanimity and harmony in our external and internal environment.

The Myth

"Everybody acts out a myth,
but very few people know what their myth is.
And you should know what your myth is,
because it might be a tragedy.
And maybe you don't want it to be." ~ Jordan Peterson


The horoscope shows our myth, it lays bare the story we are carrying in our unconscious, which then plays out as external events. It is our unique and narrow view of reality, it is not the whole reality - it is incomplete, usually leaning too heavily one side or the other. There are huge knowledge gaps in all our personal myths. Therefore, many of our longings remain unfulfilled because we simply don’t have the tools to get there.

Vedic Astrology as a spiritual science of self-realization urges us to fill in these gaps in our story by gaining a more intimate relationship with the whole. It teaches us not cling to the edges of one or two houses, signs or planets, especially Rahu and Ketu. We do this by embracing the whole zodiac and deepening our understanding of the polarities inherent in our inner and outer worlds.

Yoga, Unity and the Circle

For eons ancient cultures have worshiped the circle to understand the divine. Different cultures have divided the circle into different number of parts. The Yin and Yang symbol is the simplest of all divisions, which consists of just a two-part division. The directions North, South, East, West divides the circle in four parts. The zodiac that most eastern and western astrologers work with divides the circle into twelve 30-degree houses and zodiac signs.  The Mayans had a zodiac with thirteen parts.

Vedic Astrology uses the twelve-part zodiac and also the star constellations, Nakshatras, which divides the circle in 27 parts, each corresponding to the days it takes the moon to orbit the earth. It really does not matter how many parts you divide the circle in, as long as you understand the whole. Indeed, the more concentrated the planets in a 2-3 houses and signs, the more difficult the destiny, the more spread out the planets, the more auspicious the chart, as you will have a broader view of life.

Polarities of the Houses, Signs and Planets

To gain a deeper understanding of the whole zodiac, let us look at the 12 houses and signs, and how each complements its opposite. We will see how the opposite signs, houses and planets urge us to go beyond our comfort zone to create balance and harmony.

Sign: Aries and Libra
Houses: First and Seventh
Planets: Mars and Venus

The first house, or Ascendant, represents our self-identity, self-interest, ego, me and myself. The seventh house of selflessness, co-dependence, companionship and partnership sits exactly 180 degrees opposite to the first. This is probably the most ironic polarity nature asks us to bridge. Building in us an urgent need to preserve our independence, self-promotion and self-significance at all cost and at the same time the deepest longing to acquire a partner, merge with another and form a lasting union. Indeed, Vedic Astrologers also refers to the 7th house as the house of our open or known enemies (12th house is the house of hidden enemies). In a sense our partners also function as our “enemies”, as they challenge and oppose parts of our personality/identity.

This polarity stretches our limits to find the balance point between asserting our personal needs and yet conforming to the person we are relating to.  Swing too far in one extreme and you will spend your life alone and go too far on the other and you will end up surrendering your unique personality and sense of self.

The planets that primarily relate to this polarity are Mars, the ruler of Aries and Venus, the ruler of Libra. Independent Aries/Mars seek individual freedom and diplomatic Libra/Venus prefer compromise and concession.

Signs: Taurus and Scorpio
Houses: Second and Eighth
Planets: Venus and Mars

Both the Second and Eighth houses bring value and self-worth to our life. The second house through tangible experiences that we can touch, feel and see. The eighth through mystical, impalpable and intangible peak experience that challenge the ground under which we stand.

Although these houses are not just about money its important to try to understand them by talking about money first. How do we define our self-worth and bring value, stability and security to our life? Is it on second house terms like having a steady paycheck through our own self efforts? Is it through tangible assets, a house, a savings accounts and a full pantry.

Or is it on eighth house terms, where our self-worth and value system are derived from intangible, abstract, metaphysical and emotional resources. The financial gains in this house are uncertain and not always in our own control, as often they are dependent on other people’s efforts or desires (i.e. inheritance).

The second house undoubtedly seeks security through tangible solutions. The eighth through intense, metaphysical and often crisis driven situations, which deny comfort and peace, but have the potential to make us rich with meaning of life.

The balance point of this polarity is that we cannot develop value and self-worth in life by avoiding our worldly responsibilities, nor can we be satisfied with what we have accumulated without the emotional resources that others provide. Furthermore, second house needs to remember that there is great “value” in the exploring the unknown, mysterious and the shadow part of our life, such as death itself.

Adventurous, secretive and risk-taking Scorpio and its ruler Mars, and the desire, beauty and comfort seeking Taurus, and its ruler Venus guide this polarity.

Signs: Gemini and Sagittarius
Houses: Third and Ninth
Planets: Mercury and Jupiter

This axis deals with our mental or intellectual quest to understand the world. Sometimes the third house is referred to as the “lower mind” and the ninth the “higher mind. I like to think of the third house as a place where we acquire a little bit of knowledge about many different subjects, much like a high school or undergraduate degree. In the ninth house we go deeper and concentrate in one area, much like a PhD, which allows us to create our own original research, new paradigms, and a broader inner awakening and understanding.

The third and ninth house polarity can be understood by this saying -  “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing”. But so is a lot”. The risk of staying too far in the third house realm is that we don’t go deep enough with our knowledge search. We can become too analytical and knowledge becomes a form of entertainment, rather than the means to understand the deeper Truths of our existence. Too far in the ninth house and we risk believing that our knowledge is complete, creating dogma and narrow mindedness.

When the third house stretches to meet the polarity of the ninth house we stay curious and open to new ideas and opinions, but we still cultivate faith in the absolute Truths, without needing to be self-righteous or fanatic.

This polarity pertains to the curiosity, logic and reason of Gemini and its ruler, Mercury and the conviction, faith and inner-knowing of Sagittarius and its ruler Jupiter.

Signs: Cancer and Capricorn
Houses: Fourth and Tenth
Planets: Moon and Saturn

How do we balance the polarity of our private life in the fourth house with the public in the tenth?  We all need a home base, a safe space, a retreat where we feel emotionally secure and nurtured. Free to roar like a like lion or curl up like a cat, without intrusion from the outside world.  Yet, our life is not complete unless we have some type of position in our society, a career, a contribution and a reputation where we are accountable and exposed.

When we swing too far to the fourth house, where we are focused on our inner emotional needs and sensitivities, we risk the Peter Pan syndrome, a refusal to grow up leave Neverland.
The ambition of the tenth house on the other hand can keep us on the road, burning the candle on both ends, hiding feelings and fears in intimate relationship from family, friends and even ourselves. With no time to retreat and touch our home base, or inner alter we may end up physically or emotionally drained and forced to retreat. Often at the mercy of a family member or friend who has to take us into their home.

This polarity comes into balance when we are willing to toil and slog and be uncomfortable in order to meet our responsibilities in the world, yet find time to retreat and refresh without becoming lazy or escapist.

The  sign here is Cancer, the archetypal, nurturing mother of the zodiac, ruled by the emotional and temperamental Moon. On the other side it is the hardened, task master Capricorn with its serious and stoic ruling planet Saturn.

Signs:  Leo and Aquarius
Houses: Fifth and Eleventh
Planets: Sun and Saturn

Fifth house is the house of joy, spontaneous self-expression, risk-taking, creativity and romance. The fifth house is the playground of childlike exuberance for life, where personal creativity, inspiration, hearts desires, and being chosen and special for our talents and personality want expression. The fifth house is the belief that we don’t need to fit in, we can “follow our spirit”, and find our unique and special gifts to share with the world. This house often overlooks the need to participate in what is popular, admired and community minded. But what happens when the free-spirited child in the playground meets other children who want to play in the same space? Sharing the playground means rules and responsibilities for the collective wellbeing and collective creativity, which is the Eleventh House.

In the famous movie Chocolat, a new arrival, tantalizes a small tranquil French town with her creative confectionaries, upending hundreds of years of community tradition of lent. Here the newcomer represents the fifth house and the town and community she disrupts the eleventh house.

This polarity stretches to meet in the middle when wanting to take center stage, takes into account that others too have wishes, dreams and hopes. Participating in the collective, co-operating, but not always waiting for everyone to approve of what we do, so we can still stay true to our uniqueness, is the challenge of this axis.

The corresponding Zodiac signs here are the charismatic, royal, chosen and special Leo with its ruler the Sun,  the King and Center of the solar system, who bows down to no one. And the civic and community minded, progressive Aquarius, with its ruler Saturn, the servant of the solar system. King Leo needs the masses, and the Aquarian masses need the king.  

Signs: Virgo and Pisces
Houses: Sixth and Twelfth
Planets: Mercury and Jupiter

Both the sixth and twelfth houses are called Dushtana or enemy houses in Vedic Astrology. They are seen as houses of loss of identity, self-improvement, service and hardship. The sixth house through order and goals and the twelfth through surrender and chaos.

In the sixth house we focus on self-improvement and service to the self and others, through analyzing, organizing, categorizing and coming up with good strategies and techniques to solve our daily problems. The Twelfth house, often referred to as the house of surrender, loss, and admission of defeat, is where the scaffolding of the personality we have built in houses 1 – 11 is torn down. Here we come to a place of service to all of humanity and to the self, through renunciation of all personal and even interpersonal goals. Hence the twelfth house is also seen as the house of spiritual transcendence and enlightenment.

The polarity here depends on improving our life in the sixth house with techniques, goals and daily routines, and in the twelfth by surrendering to the vast cosmos that does not really need our petty efforts, it simply awaits to fulfill our intentions. The Sixth house builds strength and the twelfth house builds fluidity. The rigid, fearful sixth house often has too many rules and boundaries stretches to meet the fluid, do nothing twelfth house to give us a safe footing in the world, but at the same time stay connected to the transcendent reality.

The signs here are the focused, hardworking Virgo and its earthy and practical ruler Mercury, and ethereal and otherworldly Pisces, with its ruler Jupiter. 

Yoga, Polarity and Balance

All yogic sciences including Asana, mantra, Ayurveda and Vedic Astrology, require a great deal of, strength and practice but also fluidity and surrender in our actions, emotions and thoughts. To truly know and practice this ancient Vedic knowledge requires a razor thin equilibrium between the polarities, which needs fine tuning and refreshing minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day. The key is to neither move too much to one side or another, nor freeze with inaction.

Vedic Astrology helps us to become conscious by alerting us to forces and primary indictors in our horoscope, where we are likely to lose control and fall into extremes.

Emphasis on Asana and sustained effort on the mat will help bring balance into our thoughts, emotions and actions but without deep knowledge of our horoscope and the karmic forces in our subconscious that are waiting to polarize and derail us at any moment, we may be doing our Asana practice in the dark.

Ninth House of Belief, Fate and Fortune

"What is the purpose of our existence?"  “How can we live a more purpose driven life”?

For these broader questions of life, we turn to the ninth house, Sagittarius (the natural ninth house in the zodiac) and Jupiter. These forces in the horoscope are primarily responsible for kindling our search for beliefs that give meaning and purpose to our life. When Dashas relating to these forces awaken in our horoscope we set sail in search for teachers and teachings that can expand our mind, broaden our knowledge and develop a belief system that will answer life’s bigger questions.

More than two decades ago, my Ninth house Jupiter journey began with a simple and short initiation ceremony to receive a mantra from, Amma. When it was my turn in the mantra line the attendant swami (monk) asked me to write down the form of the divine I believed in. Raised in a secular Indian family and very new to the “Guru scene”, I was already feeling nervous and out of place, so I looked incredulously at the swami and said. “I don’t know any form”, in my head I thought “God does not have a form, so I am not quite sure what they want me to say”.  I remember that most people around me were quite comfortable with choosing a name and form. Some chose Krishna, Shiva or Shakti. Some chose Jesus or Mother Mary. Others settled on more universal principles such as Peace, Music, Freedom and Love.

“Formless, formless”, the swami told Amma’s attendant, as I was asked to kneel and then gently shoved closer to Amma – Amma was multitasking, hugging and initiating at the same time, as she so often does. With a family of four already in her motherly arms receiving a hug, she pulled me closer to her with her other arm and showered some flower petals on my head and then her voice boomed in my ear as she spoke the “formless” mantra three times. I was moved out quickly as there were many hundreds waiting their turn.

330 Million Belief Systems

In Hinduism everything in the universe emanates from the ONE ultimate reality, which is the genderless, formless, unknowable and indescribable principle called Brahman. As such, Hinduism is pantheistic, where God and the Universe are the same. But Hinduisms is also polytheistic with thousands and thousands of gods, goddesses and deities.  Although no one has counted all of them, according to Wikipedia there may be as many as 330 million Gods and deities in Hinduism. All these have names and describable characteristics, many also have thousands of names within names re-counting each of their unique exalted traits.

Some deities represent forces of nature like mountains and rivers, others moral codes and some our impulses and desires. Some exalt courage others exalt compromise. Some symbolize an aspect of universal knowledge like music or mathematics. Some create the universe, others destroy, and some help sustain it. Sun, Moon, the planets, Rahu and Ketu and the Nakshatras are also represented by  deities – invoking these deities through myths, ritual and mantras are used as karmic remedies in Vedic Astrology.   

Although the polytheistic side of Hinduism is seen by many as primitive idol worship, this is the most profound and progressive expression of pluralism and tolerance in belief. The ability to choose to believe in the divine form that inspires you, is an ancient tradition in Hinduism and is referred to as your Ishta Devata or personal favorite deity. Traditionally, most practicing Hindu families also had their own family deity known as the Kula Devata, allowing people to worship their chosen form based on family tradition, community and regional practices. One of the reasons Hinduism is the only religion that does not have rituals or systems designed for conversion is because “Truth” or Brahman can be arrived at from millions of differently held beliefs. No religion, belief, philosophy, god or deity has the monopoly on the Truth.

More importantly,  it is not just what you believe but “how” you believe. 
To understand what and how we believe, we turn to the Vedic horoscope.

Ninth House – The house of our Beliefs, Fate and Fortune

The Dharma (belief) houses One, Five and Nine are considered the most auspicious in the horoscope because they are primarily responsible for producing our core beliefs and ultimately our destiny. The first house is our self-image, a well-disposed first house helps us believe in our self and our abilities. The fifth house shows our unique creative self-expression and inspirations – hence the Ishta Devata, or the form of the divine that inspires us can be seen here. The ninth house shows our self-hood in the greater social context. It shows our philosophies, principles, purpose and the spiritual and religious instincts we prescribe to. The Kula Devata, or the core beliefs of our family traditions can be seen here. 

The ninth house is often referred to as the house of long distance journeys, the impulse of this house can prompt us to set sail on voyages of discovery to explore foreign cultures, in search for broader meaning and purpose than that offered by our own social circumstances. Our karma around gurus, teachers and mentors are seen here. People with a strong ninth house also make good teachers and inspirational leaders and attract people seeking mentorship. In today’s world this can also be achieved without physical travel by attending universities, lectures, classes, books and motivational events. Indeed, Google and internet can now serve as a long-distance journey, much like this article in your Inbox.

You can always spot a strong Ninth House person, they will philosophize, proselytize and give meaning to even in the most mundane of situations.  One thing is for sure they will seek some cause, religion, or philosophy to belong to or stand for.

The Ninth House is not just the books we have read, the seminars we have attended or the knowledge we acquired in our head. Although these are part of the Ninth House journey, we have to be careful that our beliefs are integrated at the heart level and not just an intellectual exercise. Gathering information is the domain of the third house, which is opposite the Ninth. Too much third house knowledge and belief can obviate the search for deep and direct experiences, such as meditation or bringing our beliefs into real world experiences,  that the Ninth House requires.

The Ninth house is called both the dharma (belief) and also bhagya (fate and fortune) house because of its potential for self-growth. Combining a more expansive mind with the pursuit of a purpose driven life, it becomes the house of good fortune. As such, the ninth house determines our fate and fortune more than any other house because what ultimately manifest in our life is what we believe to be the Truth in our deepest core -  which is reflected in "how" we believe. 

How We Believe Matters

The ninth house shows how we decide what is true and what is false, what is right and what is wrong. Affliction to the Ninth house, Jupiter or Sagittarius can lead to beliefs that are harmful and counterproductive to our own as well as society’s well being.  Psychologist tell us that we learn to build beliefs faster from harmful experiences than positive ones. Getting caught in inaccurate perception and false beliefs is easy to do. These are not always the product of some external con man or cult leader. It is usually our own unconscious limiting belief patterns learnt in early childhood confirming themselves. Building on themselves harmful beliefs multiply to become misguided core beliefs. “This is how the world works", “this is the right and only way”, “they are either with us or against us”, "if I can just believe in this I will never get hurt again" are all examples of limiting beliefs that are fear driven. Securing these beliefs in place is not faith in our higher calling, but often fear that if we go against the belief, deep personal needs will be harmed.

Afflictions to the ninth house can also make our faith uncertain, impatient and extreme. When what we believe works only a little bit we are most at risk of fanaticism and imposing our beliefs on others. When we our solid and secure in our beliefs we have no need to convince others. Nor do we have the desire to convert or push our agenda on others. Too dominant a ninth house or Jupiter can also make us a slave to our beliefs. Here we run the risk of filling our mind with ideas and beliefs and confirmation bias that can make us closed minded even as we expand our mind. Many religious, political and spiritual groups exploit this human weakness to keep people enslaved to the group.

A well-disposed ninth house is one that is open minded, pluralistic and tolerant. It has faith and high ideals, but never gets boxed into just one way of thinking. It understands that there are countless paths to the divine Truth.

House of Father, Lineage and Hero Worship

The Ninth house is also considered the link between you and your paternal tribe and lineage. As the house of mentorship, it is often attributed to the father figure in your life, as well as the heroes we worship. It shows the type of ethical, spiritual, religious and philosophical mentorship we received from our elders.

My father is a Saturn man, self-made, pragmatic, ethical, hardworking and realistic. My ninth house follows in his footsteps by searching out teachings and traditions, which expose the pitfalls of unchallenged and unquestioned beliefs, even the most well-intentioned ones.  Vedic Astrology has taught me that each horoscope is unique and there are countless ways in which human consciousness expresses itself and takes form. Vedic Astrology as a spiritual path offers a 360 degree view of life, not just vision and transcendence, like many other spiritual practices.

The story of my mantra initiation does have a twist though. After I received the formless mantra, I practiced it sincerely for many months. Until one day I discovered I did have a personal deity (Ishta Devata) that inspired me. It was clear as day when I knew the form that I wanted to worship - the divine essence in the selflessness and sacrifice of Motherhood. One pointed focus on Motherhood is the theme of my maternal lineage. Two years later I was initiated into my new mantra “mother love”, or Amma, which I have used for more than two decades.

Trump's Gandanta Moon: the Karmic Knot is Unraveling

“I hate everyone in the White House”.
“The President seethes as advisers fear the president is unraveling. He seems to be increasingly unfocused and consumed by dark moods”. These were the headlines in a Vanity Fair article this week.

I don’t know if the sources in these articles are reliable and if this is fake news or not, but I can tell you astrologically speaking that the President IS not holding it together. As reported this week, “even by his standards Trump is losing it”.

The spiritual science of Vedic Astrology can best be assimilated through observing firsthand how the theory of astrological principles play out in real life. One of the reasons why, I have been writing so much about Trump the past few months is because while most people hide their planets behind carefully constructed social, ethnic and gender masks – you see his planets stripped and stark naked. Watching him on the world stage is a bonanza for astrologers to study our craft and for our own self-knowledge.

Gandanta – The Karmic Knot

Usually we talk about the houses, signs and planets and Nakshtras.  However, predictions are refined by studying the degree at which a planet or Ascendant is placed, differentiating the lives of people born just minutes or even seconds apart. Specifically, the early or late 2-3 degrees of any Zodiac sign are said to be on sandhi or junction points, where a planet or ascendant is caught between two conflicting energies. The planet is said to become too "old" or too "young" and as such give erratic or extreme results.

The most turbulent and unsettling of these crossover points are where fire and water signs collide – they are called Gandanta or a tightly wound knot ( Gan means knot, anta at the end). As such, Gandanta occurs at the edges of Cancer and Leo, Scorpio and Sagittarius, and Pisces and Aries – where not only the zodiac signs but the Nakshatra signs are also transitioning.

Like any long-held knot the more you tug at it the tighter and more stubborn it becomes.  However, Dashas of the planets placed at these degrees, or important transits of planets like Saturn and Sade Sati, over these points can forcefully release the knot opening the floodgates of our experiences,  traumas and memories, that were securely tied up and hidden in the sub-conscious of the planet. Unless there are other planets strongly anchoring the personality, more often than not this sends life unraveling and out of control as a result.

All of us have karmic knots, indeed the horoscope itself is a map of our childhood experiences and inherited genetic tendencies. However, those with an Ascendant or planets at these Gandanta degrees, usually experience them as much more dramatic collisions with destiny.

Saturn’s transit in Scorpio Nov 2014 - Oct 26 2017
The natal chart is static and remains the same throughout life. But the planets, nodes and the Sun and moon move around the zodiac; interacting with and influencing the natal chart. These interactions are called Gochara in Sanskrit (transits in western astrology).

In Sidereal Vedic Astrology, Saturn has been in Scorpio since Nov 2014 and will finally be changing signs on Oct 26. 2017.  Those of you who have your ascendant or planets in Scorpio, especially the moon, know what I am talking about when I say that Saturn has upended your life and created mayhem in the last two and a half years – thankfully he will not return for 30 years. Scorpio, the natural eighth house of the zodiac is where Saturn’s transits are most painful because during his stay in this sign we learn the lessons of the eighth house the hard way (Saturn’s way) that regardless of how much we try to control life, every life has forces beyond its control compelling us to surrender to “what is” – win or lose.

Trump’s Moon is Gandanta in Scorpio

I have written previous articles on the significance of Trump’s debilitated and moon (emotional filter/how life feels to us) in the fourth house (our roots, family and the collective consciousness of our family/ancestors).  

Here we are looking more specifically at the Gandanta degree of 28.5 of Scorpio in which his moon is placed. Scorpio moon is a very willful and intensely emotional placement in general, but at this degree the negative aspect of these qualities intensify greatly. The transit of Saturn over these degrees pushes the weakness of the planet to the surface.

Astrologer Barbara Pijan Lama describes this Gandanta point as:

"Often there is throughout the life a considerable masking of this hidden weakness via denial or skillful rational management -- until the gandanta planet's period pushes the weakness through the denial barrier and up to the surface consciousness".

Although here she is not talking specifically about Trump or anyone else, you can see how powerfully this applies to Trump. I imagine he and his handlers are trying to keep the knot in place but Saturn transiting his Gandanta moon wants to unravel the knot, fully exposing his dark moods and unstable temperament that has plagued him all his life. His powerful first house with the Yogakarka Mars giving him a Rajayoga ( a planet that confers fame, success, Kingship) will offer him a lot of protection – it is hard to predict how much that will serve to keep his breakdown from the public. The protection will come in the way of Mars - War? General Kelly?).

Mixing Fire with Water

These Gandanta degrees between fire and water signs are considered especially potent because they call for nothing less than the dissolution of the personality we have so carefully built up. Much like the interaction of the fire element with the water element - water begins to boil, fire begins to extinguish and finally both elements evaporate into steam – both completely transformed, leaving no trace of the original element behind. This transformation is akin to what many mystics have described as the ”dark night of the soul”. Be born anew or be destroyed.

Saturn's Gandanta transit over Scorpio and Sagittarius will be felt most acutely between late October and early January.

Do you have planets in the last three degrees of a water or fire signs, especially Scorpio and Sagittarius, where the knot is beginning to unravel?

Where are you mixing fire with water (example, emotions with anger)? Natural phenomena like hurricanes are also formed by mixing of hot and cold air.

Look to the meaning of the planet, the house and sign and you will see what Saturn wants you to entangle and release once and for all.

Remember the knot of our mental/ psychological imprints unravels in its search for healing unresolved karma from our past, as individuals, as nation states and as a world. 

Trump And The Great American Eclipse

“Nations, like stars are entitled to eclipse. All is well provided the light returns and the eclipse does not become an endless night. Dawn and resurrection are synonymous. The reappearance of the light is the same as the survival of the soul”. Victor Hugo

The Sun, our heavenly father and guide who lights our way both in our natal horoscope and in the natural world, will experience a total eclipse on Monday, August 21. Only the heartland of the continental United States will be immersed in total darkness, partial eclipse will be visible in the rest of the United States, Canada, as well as in portions of South America, Europe and Africa, making its astrological influence much more pervasive for the US.

Vedic View of Eclipses

Most ancient cultures have seen solar eclipses as bad omens as they upset the natural order of the world. Ancient Vedic mathematicians were well versed in predicting solar eclipses, as well as other astronomical phenomena, to help us harmonize our personal actions with the events in the natural world . Thousands of years old Vedic literature contains many references to eclipses and their influences.  Both Hindu epics Mahabharata and Ramayana that depict fierce battles of good and evil, also refer to a solar eclipse during the peak of battle.

Eclipses play a very important role in Vedic Astrology, both in your natal chart and world events. In Vedic astrology eclipses not only block out the light of the luminaries, Sun and Moon, but also bring the influence of the lunar nodes Rahu and Ketu who twist and obstruct the creative energies and clarity of the Sun (atman/soul/Higher Self) and Moon (mind/subjective experience/self). In your personal horoscope, an eclipsed Sun or Moon is better suited for introspection, letting go of old karmic baggage and spiritual pursuits than for worldly success.

As such, in the yogic tradition, no initiative of profound importance for worldly success, such as marriage, starting a new business or journey etc., is encouraged around the time of an eclipse. These require the fullness of the Sun and the Moon. Furthermore, the influence of Rahu and Ketu, represent a kind of “fake news” phenomena of the zodiac, as they distort reality and prevent us from seeing the Truth – Rahu throws up smoke and mirrors exaggerating, overstating and amplifying the situation and Ketu understating, downplaying, trivializing the situation. It should come as no surprise that this eclipse is occurring with the energy of Rahu (not Ketu) conjunct the Sun and the new Moon in Leo.

Donald Trump and the Eclipse

All eyes are on President Trump who is very heavily hit by this eclipse. Let us look at some simple astrological calculations as to why both western and Vedic Astrologers are seeing such a remarkable confluence between the eclipse and Donald Trump’s horoscope (Please note the calculations below are for Vedic/Sidereal Astrology which differs by about 24 degrees from Western/tropical astrology).

The solar eclipse is occurring in Leo, which is also Trump’s Ascendant. Ruled by the Sun, Leo symbolizes sovereignty, rulership, regality and celebrities.  The undesirable side of Leo is pride, stubbornness, self-aggrandizing and power grab. At the level of a nation, Leo symbolizes the government, leadership, dictatorship, political power and the regime.

Trump has a Leo Ascendant at around 6 degrees with Mars very close to the ascendant at roughly 3 degrees and the eclipse will occur around 4 degrees. This is extremely significant, as the closer to the degree astronomical events occur the deeper their impact both on Trump the United States and as a result the world.

The Sun changed signs from Cancer to Leo on August 17. Leo’s ruler is the Sun. Whenever a solar eclipse occurs in the sign that it rules, it increases the potential for political conflict, turmoil, threats and revolts against the government and its leaders.

Sun, Moon and Rahu are in the Nakshatra (star constellations used in Vedic Astrology) of Magha in Leo. The symbol for Magha is the royal throne. In other words, the eclipse will hit the rising sign of the person currently on the throne in the US. To make matters more ominous Trump also happens to be born during an eclipse and also has his ascendant in the Magha Nakshatra, which intensifies the influence.

There will be four planets that will be heavily influenced by Rahu during this eclipse - Sun, Moon, Mercury in the early part of Leo, plus Mars at 28 degrees of Cancer. The combination of so many planets under Rahu’s distortions makes for a very volatile mix of energies.

 Yet another intense astrological influence is that of Saturn. In August Saturn is retrograde (moving backwards/very strong) in Scorpio almost to the degree of Trump’s very afflicted Moon (mind/emotions/subjective experience) with Ketu (contracting, isolating) in Scorpio (Secrets/intrigues/scandals). With this once in 30 year transit of Saturn right over Trump’s natal Moon, this is the very peak stage of his seven and half year cycle called Sade Sati in Vedic Astrology. It is creating havoc in his family life (his moon is in fourth house), and with the masses (moon),  that he represents and his mental and physical health. The influence of "hidden enemies" is profound (Saturn in the twelfth house in Trump’s horoscope and Moon the twelfth lord) threatening the throne (Leo/Sun/Ascendant/self).

Mars is a very important planet in Donald Trump’s chart as it is right on his Ascendant, which makes him always “battle ready”. The warrior planet Mars is currently 28 degrees of Cancer smoldering and anxious to get out of this emotional water sign where he is considered debilitated. He is further frustrated due to his proximity to the Sun (called combustion), which is preventing him from lashing out. He will be ready for combat as soon as he moves into Leo on August 26.  With Trump’s natal Mars in Leo at the same degree as the eclipse much pent up rage could be unleashed both by the leadership and the collective masses following the eclipse.

Most importantly, the eclipse is taking place in the ninth house of the horoscope of the United states. Ninth house signifies our higher ideals, morality, beliefs and principles for which we stand. The events of Charlottesville last week have already begun to reflect the eclipses’ influence as these events have challenged the very fabric of our  nation and the principles on which it was founded.

What it means for you?

Don’t panic, the effects of the eclipse are not immediate as many people imagine
- they are felt over a period of time both before and after the eclipse at the global and personal level.

Globally we are all being swept up by this eclipse as the leader and leadership of the of the US comes under its heavy influence.

On a personal level, if you are a Leo Ascendant or have planets in the early degrees of Leo you will feel the effects of this eclipse to a much stronger degree based on their house, sign rulership and indication.

Regardless, we all have a Sun and the solar eclipse is an auspicious time to strengthen the internal powers of our Sun and our connection to the divine father and unity consciousness. Eclipses are seen as ominous in Astrology because they reveal our hidden darkness, anguish and fear, both personally and in  world affairs. Creating a sacred time and space during this period allows us to manifest our inner higher aspiration and uproot these deep seated issues.  

Eclipses can become a profoundly transforming experience once the light returns.

US Elections, Sun & Moon Gender Clash

Sun 5.jpg

I have already commented on the elections in my last two articles, one on Trump and the other on the horoscope of the United States.  I  thought I would use this article as a teaching moment on the masculine and feminine energies of the Sun and Moon, the Yin and the Yang , and how they influence leadership and success.

First a Little Humor, We Need it

Obama, Hillary and Trump are standing at the entrance to heaven. God looks at them and says, "Before granting you a place at my side, I must ask you what you have learned, what you believe in."

God asks Obama first: “What do you believe?"
He thinks long and hard, looks God in the eye, and says, "I believe in hard work, and in staying true to family and friends. and doing right by my countrymen". God can’t help but see the essential goodness of Obama , and offers him a seat to his left.

Then God turns to Hillary and says, "What do you believe?" Hillary says, "I believe passion, discipline, courage and honor are the fundamentals of life". God is greatly moved by Hillary's eloquence, and he offers her a seat to his right.

Finally, God turns to Trump and says, "And you, Donald, what do you believe?"
Trump replies, "I believe you're in my seat".

God Complex

Truth is that there is some level of "God complex" in all of us. 

Just as the outer Sun is the lord of the Solar System, with all the planets revolving around his gravitational pull, reflecting his light and depending on his energy for survival, our inner Sun also craves respect and lordship. As such, a strong and prominent Sun in the horoscope is indispensable for attaining positions of power and leadership.

We all have a Sun, therefore this Father, King , Leader of the Pack,  Trailblazer, The Best, The Highest (and yes even most likes on Facebook) archetype and complex live in all of us.  Donald Trump is unique in that he wears his "Sun" on his sleeve unabashedly and seemingly without any awareness of the social ramifications of self aggrandizing.  

The personality's need for recognition and  respect is expressed in varying degrees and unique ways depending on the placement of the Sun and the current Dasha/bhukti. The inborn karma of a prominent Sun is something we are born with. Usually this leadership quality expresses itself pretty early in life, as even children tend to gravitate towards more Solar, self-confident individuals for new ideas and direction.

The Sun And Moon  - Is Yours Prominent or Evolved?

In Vedic Astrology, the Sun foretells much more than power and ego, on the deeper level, it is also our connection with the universal soul, Atma or Higher Self. As such, the more evolved the Sun, the more anchored we are to the One Universal Consciousness that in Vedic thought is believed to pervade all that exits in the Universe - the Paramatma or the Absolute. The negative traits we associate with the solar or masculine energy like ego, anger, domination, control, pride and power result from a prominent but immature Sun in the horoscope.

A prominent moon is also necessary for leadership. Both the Sun and Moon give different hues to the leadership style and path. The Moon is our individualized "I" consciousness and the soul's (Sun's) reflection on earth. How well placed the moon is shows how anchored we are in matter, reality or the physical world. A powerful moon in the horoscope, gives the ability to influence the masses, and make allies. An evolved moon on the other hand, will have these abilities but in addition, like the sun, it will have a deep understanding of the transient nature of the physical world. It will not get caught up in hyperbole, exaggerations and be over attached to feelings. The negative traits we associate with the feminine/lunar energy such as hyper emotions, hysteria and sentimentality result from an afflicted or immature Moon.

The Evolved Sun is The Hero

The ancient scriptures of Vedic Astrology,  Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra, describe a fully evolved Sun in the horoscope as:

“Honey-yellow eyed is the Sun, square and radiantly pure, of Pitta nature, intelligent, masculine, with but of little hair"

The golden hue of the Sun’s eyes signifies a spiritual nature, and sweetness of honey symbolizes that evolved masculine energy is gentle and sees those whom he is charged with guarding and leading with compassion and caring.

The Sun has a square body, signifies steadfastness, consistency, reliability and also the "stay put" stubbornness of the masculine/yang energy. Physiologically, both male and females with a strong Sun in the chart will tend towards a more square built and wide shoulders (less curves like the moon). Exercise which raises our masculine or Pitta hormones, like testosterone, will also create a more square built.

The Sun, has a Pitta nature of the Fire Element. This give courage, valor, commanding presence and boldness. A strong Pitta constitution is usually required to take the "heat" needed to seek positions of power. The Sun is radiant or luminous because healthy pitta enlightens the personality to take principled action.  It should come as no surprise that another word for the Sun in Sanskrit is Shura, which means a Hero! The Hero Sun can sacrifice his personal desires (Sva Dharma) for the greater good (Societal Dharma).

Oh, I guess I should say something about the hair mentioned in the Sutra above.. in Ayurveda high Pitta is believed to thin out the hair on the head in both male and female, though men tend more towards baldness. So yes, in case you were wondering that is not Trumps natural hair.

Narcissist Dream Or A Hero's Burden

In Western Astrology, the Sun is generally seen as a benefic planet but Vedic Astrology the Sun is a malefic or hardship giving planet - leadership is not narcissist dream but a hero's burden. Sun's dasha/bhukti periods are challenging and require great sacrifice, as they give heavy responsibility with many people depending and counting on us. If the Sun is prominent but not yet fully evolved his periods can bring a crises of self-confidence, as part of the evolution of the Soul to let go the ego's false sense of pride and attachment to power and prestige.

Unfortunately, a corrupted but prominent Sun can catapult an individual to name and fame. False charisma and pride can be very alluring to the followers own desire for super stardom or special status through the leader. This is especially true when the Sun is in close conjunction with Rahu, who will eclipse out the Sun's purity and utilize the Sun's leadership quality to push forward his own agenda through radical and unacceptable behavior. If the Moon is also afflicted both emotionally driven action and pride will drive the leader. 

For a democratic society to survive it is important that the electorate dismantle the loud, forceful, archetype of the Sun and adapt the healthy qualities of a true Sun/Hero.

An All Knowing Evolved Moon

Furthermore, soft power or lunar power must also have an equal place for balanced leadership.
The ancient scriptures of Vedic Astrology describe a fully evolved Moon as:

"Abounding in Vata and Kapha and filled with knowing (intuition) is the Moon of round body, auspiciously eyed, of sweet speech and fluctuating.”

In contrast to the square Sun the  “round bodied” moon describes the feminine nature of our psyche, which is more flexible and movable. While, the Sun responds to permanence and by sticking to things, the moon responds to nuance, shades and hues, remaining open and receptive to change. Healthy feminine energy is depicted as having “sweet speech” because it brings solace and comfort through sensitive speech and understanding the other person's point of view. The Moon's eyes are auspicious, as it sees the good in all things. It is all knowing because it responds from instinct and intuition rather than the masculine preference for logic and action.


Clash of Genders - I don't think so

While it is true that Hilary Clinton's campaign seemed to emphasize lunar energies like "stronger together", personal relationships, collaboration and "sweet speech". It would be an over simplification to see Trump's forceful, divisive and in your face rhetoric as the age old clash of genders issue. There is an intriguing twist of complexity to the gender-based story of this election cycle. I tend to agree with many who have noted that the  candidate who wanted to project hyper masculinity (Sun/Rahu)  might really have been showing traits of hyper femininity.  Many who have studied Trump's speech say that his talking style in hyperbole, exaggerations and repetitions with its emotional rather than factual appeal is more feminine than masculine. I think that this combination of uncompromising boldness (Sun) coupled with saying what his supporters wanted to hear ("sweet speech" of the Moon), allowed him to be exempted for his mean spirited offensive remarks. 


Sun Moon Leaders

Interestingly, research shows that the electorate looks for bold leaders who also speak "sweetly". In other words a combination of Sun and Moon. Apparently, feminine style of speaking is more easy to feel safe with and masculine boldness easier to follow. One interesting study pointed out that emotional language is more effective in a political landscape where the public is lacking hope and need of healing and reassurance (moon) and the more measured masculine expression of a leader prevails in times of stability and prosperity (Sun). Even in our day to day relationships we use these same cues in our dealings with other people.
Remember we all have the Sun and Moon in our horoscope. Sun lights the day moon lights the night, one cools the other heats, one is active the other passive. No one is exempt from the need to be respected (sun) and nurtured (moon).

This yin yang dance of the universe and its perfect equilibrium is shattered by Rahu and Ketu, the eclipsers of the Sun and Moon - their disturbing energy especially conjunct the sun and moon create "shake ups" , dramatic change and entropy, which is also built into life on earth, as part of nature's evolutionary process.  

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