From today through Wednesday morning (PDT) there is a really graceful alignment of planets in the sky. Five planets are either in their own signs or their signs of exaltation. This combination or “yoga” in Vedic astrology is a powerful one, and grants auspiciousness to activities undertaken during this time. Mars and Venus are in signs that they rule (Aries and Taurus, respectively), and the Sun, Moon, and Jupiter are in their signs of exaltation (Aries, Taurus, and Cancer). This means that we will find it easier to connect with our courage and strength for acting (Mars), with spirit and illuminated consciousness (Sun), with peace and contentment in our hearts (Moon), with finding happiness and beauty in life, and through compromise and relationships (Venus), and with our senses of higher purpose, hope and optimism (Jupiter). We will have five exalted or sva planets (in their own signs) again when Moon passes through his own sign, Cancer, from Friday through Sunday morning. For the next two days, however, with the Sun and Moon exalted, we are in the auspicious Hindu holy days of Akshaya Tritiya. The “tritiya” refers to the third day of the waxing moon, and each year on the third day after new Moon in Aries, both Sun and Moon are exalted (Sun in Aries and Moon in Taurus). “Akshaya” means “never diminishing” and is associated with prosperity and wealth. This is a good time for beginning both material and spiritual ventures. With Mars and Sun in Aries, we already have a lot of potency for initiating activities, and with Moon also exalted, this aligns us with our heart’s truest contentment. Moon is exalted in Taurus because the emotions are able to rest peacefully in that fixed earth sign. It is a Kapha dosha sign, which supports the emotional body because it is less prone towards restlessness and anxiety. With a full spirit and peaceful heart, and a strong connection to your strength, pleasure and purpose, do some work these days on manifesting your dreams.
Some times of day are even more potent than others for setting your goals in motion, and as well you may find this window especially graceful for activities related to the specific houses affected in your chart.
The Moon reached its peak of darkness for the month and joined the Sun at 4°21′ sidereal Aries today just before noon Pacific time. This begins the Aries cycle, where we will really feel the planets fueling our strength forward in new endeavors and our spirit into illuminated heights. Sun is exalted here, and Aries, the Ram, is ruled by Mars, a fire planet that brings us strength and courage. It is the first in the sequence of the 12 zodiac signs, or Vedic Rashis, representing all kinds of initiations and beginnings. The Vedic zodiac is further divided into 27 divisions or nakshatras, and this new moon in early Aries falls in the first nakshatra of the 27–Ashwini, the horse woman (often thought of as the twin horses). The new moon is generally a good time for starting anything new, laying foundations, or planting seeds, and this Aries new moon is especially potent for that with the added strength of Mars’ courage, Sun’s exalted capacity, and Ashwini’s horsepower.
As Aries is the first sign in the zodiac, it also relates to the head and brain. We can actually see the origin of the symbol for Aries (as well as the other zodiac signs) by looking at the human body. In the cross-section of the brain above and the images below, you can see the symbol for the horns clearly reflected in the limbic system of the brain, as well as the third ventricle and the brain as a whole. The third ventricle, which surrounds the thalamus, is known as the “Cave of Brahma” in Kriya yoga, and it is from here that a lot of our human consciousness, experience, and sense of spirit emanate. Within the symmetry of the ventricle, the right and left brains, and right and left thalamus, we can perceive the masculine and feminine, or solar and lunar channels of energy within our bodies and in the gross scale of creation. In this area we also find the hypothalamus, the pituitary and pineal glands. The whole region and its nerve bundles comprise the “third eye,” where spiritual awakening is thought possible, through circulation and purification, activated by meditation.
The deities for Ashwini are the Ashwin Kumars, or divine twin physicians. They bring to this star the power to heal and channel healing energy especially through prayer and spiritual practice. The twin essence of this star is reflected in the symmetrical visual of the brain and the Cave of Brahma symbolism. Brahma, the energy of creation, is also related to this star. The twin physicians were born to the Sun’s wife while she was in the form of a horse. The horsepower behind this star brings magnificent speed and energy for beginning things (just as we see race-horses bursting forth out of the starting gate), but does not necessarily give the stamina to see things through to completion. It is important to choose where you let your energy begin running wild this moon cycle, and channel it towards those endeavors where you will have other (planetary) energies supporting you through as you continue them.
New moon here brings confidence as well as strength, with Mars joining the Sun and Moon in Aries. Mars is the fuel for the fire in our gut, and in its own masculine expression sign, we are able to channel our physical strength, will and courage into our activities. Mercury also joins this trinity today and for the next week or so, but may not be able to take the heat of Sun and Mars as easily. Watch that your words do not become too hot, forceful, or controlling. Instead try to bring forth the Sun’s higher wisdom and practice communicating from the brightness of the spirit, with your higher purpose in mind. This can be brought forth through spiritual practice including serviceful actions, and by purifying one’s body and mind. This is a great time for a springtime cleanse or fast, as well as kicking off a new exercise routine. Great healing and awakening is possible at this time through our efforts to allow the light within us to shine forth and into the world around us.
Today the Sun entered sidereal Aries, meaning it is now between the earth and the stars making up the constellation of the Ram. Vedic astrology follows the sidereal (or star-based) zodiac. You may be thinking “didn’t the Sun enter Aries on March 21st, the spring Equinox?” According to the tropical zodiac used in Western astrology, yes, because in the tropical zodiac Aries’ start is defined by the vernal equinox, or the time when the ecliptic (the sun’s perceived path around earth, from our point of view), intersects with the celestial equator (basically, a circle in space aligned with the equator). Below is a good visual from wikipedia. Basically, we think of the equinoxes as the times when the Sun is directly “above” the equator, giving equal light to the northern and southern hemispheres. Because of the tilt of the earth, this happens only twice a year. From our perspective on earth, the Sun was still aligned with the constellation of Pisces over the last few weeks, and has just crossed into the beginning of Aries’ section of the sky today. We will begin to really feel that springtime burst of energy now and through the next month.
Aries, a fire sign ruled by Mars, is where the Sun is exalted, or able to make the most of its energy. Sun, or Surya, relates to our life-force, health, and physical energy, so we may feel a rush of strength, empowerment, and inspiration coming on during this time. Especially because we have passed the heavy energy of the eclipses, this is a good time to get moving forward with projects and plans for the year (…starting after tomorrow! The very day of transition the Sun is not yet fully established in its new sign). With this forward-moving Ram energy behind the Sun, it’s a good time to check in with your health, do a springtime cleanse, or start a new exercise regime. Sun also represents the Atman, or the higher self. It is a sattvic planet aimed at purification and truth, and offers generously its life-giving energy that sustains everything. When it is in this strong position, we feel the abundance of strength within that lets us not only move forward in individual pursuits but also in ways that help others. Give back to the earth by offering your (Sun’s) energy into her as you start your garden. A strong Sun compels us to align with truth on all levels, so it may be a good time to review your own accountability and responsibilities.
Sun is now joined Mars, the planet of strength and courage, which adds even more vigor to our energy this month. He is also joining Mercury in Aries now, which may feel a bit overwhelming to our sense for reasoning and communicating. Mercury is combust at the moment and approaching Mars as well, so all that heat can add fire to our speech and intellect. Do your best to slow down when communicating and avoid arguing or blurting things out too fast. The intellect is sharp now, so if you haven’t finished your taxes yet, give it a try! Sun is a planet of hard work and responsibility, and Aries brings a power to this pursuit, so it is a good time to check in with yours. We’ll fully engage the Ram energy when the New Moon in Aries occurs on Saturday, April 18th.
Mercury proceeded out of sidereal Pisces and into Aries today. We will likely see a shift in our communication, going from watery, murky, or dreamy to more sharp, precise and perhaps argumentative. In Pisces, Mercury was in its sign of debilitation, where it is not the strongest in its ability to express clearly. This is because Mercury is a planet that seeks to be impartial and organized (it is exalted in Virgo), and Pisces, a water sign ruled by Jupiter, is dreamy, romantic, and imaginative. Aries, on the other hand, is motivated, active, and competitive.
Mercury in Pisces may have hampered our ability to be precise and detail-oriented over the last couple of weeks, with the expansiveness of Pisces’ ruler, Jupiter, compelling us to add our philosophical idealism to communication and our comprehension of things. Furthermore, Mercury was joined with Ketu (a shadow planet) during his jaunt through Pisces, which could have brought subconscious turmoil to the surface through our speech. He was tightly conjunct Ketu during the lunar eclipse, which offered both the opportunity be more analytical about buried emotions or escapist tendencies, but also the potential to be more critical in our speech with others, if we were not introspective about the depths of the rising feelings.
Now, with Mercury entering Aries, we may see less water and more fire suffusing our communication and intellectual processes. Mercury, or Budha, is the planet of the intellect, seeking to gather and organize information. Aries’ ruler Mars is a planet that brings forth our strength and instinct. It often brings strong opinions and a desire to be right, so watch for hot-headedness when it comes to communicating over the next couple of weeks, and try to curb your impulse to argue. We may be able to think quickly, but may also notice ourselves talking too fast. Try to slow it down by consciously applying moments of reflection and checking in with your heart before you speak, especially in any heated discussions. Mercury is moving quickly through the zodiac now and will be transiting out of Aries and into Taurus on the 26th.
Jupiter has been retrograde since December 8, 2014, appearing to move backwards from our perspective on earth. It has also been closest to the earth and brightest from our point of view during this time. The closest alignment was in early February when earth was directly between the Sun and Jupiter. This week it will appear to come to a stop, in sidereal Cancer, between the stars Castor and Pollux of Gemini and Regulus of Leo. It is still very bright, and visible overhead around sunset in California, setting in the west around 4am. It will appear stationary in Cancer for the next couple of weeks, as it slowly begins creeping forward again in direct motion.
Jupiter is the largest planet in the solar system, and its energy brings expansion and growth wherever it lies. It is known in Sanskrit as “Guru,” the remover of darkness, or ignorance. Jupiter’s influence in our natal chart illustrates our philosophy, trajectory, and relationship to our life’s purpose. Its retrograde motion over the past few months brought a great opportunity to reexamine these things and introspect about them. You may be feeling a fresh sense of purpose and clearer direction as Jupiter begins moving forward again now.
Jupiter rules the signs of Sagittarius and Pisces, so the individual themes of the houses that fall here in your sidereal (Vedic) birth chart would have been the ones that you were really focusing on reevaluating during this time. For example, for Virgo rising people, Sagittarius and Pisces are the 4th and 7th houses, so you would likely have been introspecting deeply about your goals in home-life–perhaps real estate or vehicle-related–(4th house), and in relationships (7th house). Jupiter rules two houses and their motifs for each rising sign.
Additionally, Jupiter is the karaka or signifier of children and teachers for everyone. During this time of its retrograde course, we were likely feeling reflective about these people in our lives. It’s possible we felt some discontent or confusion in these relationships, as Jupiter was appearing to move backwards. The grace that is associated with Jupiter, however, made possible a positive introspection period that helped us to sort out what wisdom is serving us towards our higher purpose, and what ideas were not. Jupiter is naturally exalted in early Cancer, meaning that its expansive nature is able to serve us greatly in this feminine water sign, which relates to our emotions and deepest heart-space. Jupiter’s placement here brings the opportunity for inward-reflection and illumination of the divine spark within. The period of retrograde motion added more opportunity for self-examination and emotional awareness. With forward motion beginning again today, we can bring forward the wisdom we have gained during this time of pensiveness, with a renewed and purified understanding of our goals, and the teachings and philosophies that support us in sharing our highest creative potential. Enjoy the beauty and brightness of this planet in the sky, as equally radiant Venus gets closer and closer to it over the next couple of months.
Brihaspati (Guru Graha):