Vedic Astrological Monthly Outlook:  August 2017

THE GREAT SOLAR ECLIPSE of 8-21-2017:  What’s this all about?

By now, it’s a major news event:  the Total Solar Eclipse will be sweeping across the United States on August 21, 2017.  What’s so unusual about this particular solar eclipse is that it is a “Total” solar (new Moon) eclipse covering the U.S. exclusively, which means the 70-mile band (width) of the full eclipse will impart complete 100% darkness over the region in which it directly passes in the U.S. on this date.  The U.S. has not seen an exclusive total solar eclipse passing only across this country since before the founding of the nation in 1776.   This very rare event will enter the United States at 10:19 A.M. PDT off the pacific coast at Yaquina Head, Oregon.  The path of the solar eclipse (in its zone of totality) continues on a southeasterly diagonal path, passing across Idaho, and finally exiting the country through Charleston, SC at approximately 2:49 P.M. EDT, then dissipating over the Atlantic Ocean.  

Astrologically (using the sidereal zodiac), this eclipse takes place at 5 degrees Leo, in the nakshatra of Magha.  So, individuals with planets at this critical degree or between 2-8 degrees Leo will experience a stronger, more direct influence in their life experience as compared to those who have no planets there.  Exactly what aspect of your life will be directly influenced by this solar eclipse is completely dependent upon which planet is involved, which house it resides in and which rulership house(s) the planet governs within a given chart.  

Even if you have no planets or important chart points in Leo, you are still going to experience some repercussions associated with this eclipse, especially if you are U.S. citizen.  As a country, the U.S. has been experiencing the Rahu mahadasha since October 2015.  During the mahadasha of Rahu, a solar eclipse (which involves Rahu’s conjunction with the Sun and the Moon), makes the eclipse even more powerful, salient and meaningful for the U.S. as a country.  Rahu is the “planetary point” which represents unconventional behavior/concepts, ignoring social norms, separating from others, breaking boundaries, intense grasping for more, search for opportunity, advancement, recognition and material gain---- all for better or worse and at any cost.  Some of this will include great discoveries in technology and medicine and other aspects related to this include seizing resources at the risk of harming the natural environment (e.g. worsening global warming effects).

Moreover, in the U.S. chart, the Moon is at 7:14 degrees Aquarius in Shatabhisha, in the 3rd house, and will be directly influenced by an opposition aspect on the day of the eclipse. The 3rd house governs communications and war for a country.  Shatabhisha is a nakshatra specifically linked to medicine/healing/health care and addictions.  The crisis involving health insurance in this country is not going away any time soon and this eclipse highlights the need for the U.S. to make a sacrifice and deal with its expectations involving health care delivery and insurance costs. The expectations have to change and some type of sacrifice has to be made to solve the problem (if you deeply understand the meaning of Shatabhisha).  The opioid addition crisis in the U.S. has skyrocketed and this is highlighted here as well.  This has to be contained, or it will get worse over the next two years.   

The eclipse itself is taking place within the 9th house of the U.S. chart which is the house governing prosperity, higher education, law, judges, and long-distance travel (immigration & migration) as well as dealings with foreign countries.   These are the specific areas that will be deeply influenced in the U.S., not on the day of the eclipse itself, but for the coming 2 years.  Eclipses give us a premonition about what is ahead for us in the years to come.  Why two years?  Because with this particular eclipse it will generally last about 2.35 minutes as it passes through a given city or area.   The general rule of thumb is for every one minute, the influence of an eclipse lasts for one year in the area where it passes.   The eclipse effect is stimulated by future transits of planets that cross that exact eclipse point during the next two years, in the case of this particular solar eclipse. 

Magha is a nakshatra that is specifically associated with death, as its deity the Pitris are ruled by Yama, the god of death.  Death also refers to endings of situations and realities. Magha’s shakti is the power to “leave the body.”   We are likely to witness more souls leaving their physical bodies during August and September, than is normal.  It is possible that one of the Supreme Court justices will pass away or become so ill that he/she has to leave the bench, within the next two months.  

Magha’s connection to the past, one’s ancestors and the family is also salient.  The tendency to remember or reconnect with family members arises with this eclipse, especially if there are issues to be resolved or healed.  

An eclipse can portend making a completely new start with your life and ending a major phase or approach to your life.  It can be very freeing and cathartic from that perspective.  This eclipse can reflect a major ending, destruction, upheaval or transformation in some particular aspect of life that will manifest during the next two years, or require the full two years to complete.

Magha refers to the “throne” or the elite class, the one who sits on the throne (including judges), and none other than the current president of the United States, Donald Trump.  What’s even more fascinating is that President Trump has his Lagna (1st house) sitting in Magha (Leo) at 6:51 degrees and his Mars is also in Magha at 3:40 degrees.  So, Mr. Trump is getting the full weight of this eclipse experience on his back.  Mars rules the 4th and 9th houses in his chart, so these areas are particularly under the gun. The 4th house involves his many real estate ventures.   The 9th house is also the house of the advisor, as well as dealings with foreign countries.  He will have to confront his own views on receiving advice and how to accept it or reject it, as he just chose a new “Chief of Staff,” a former military general (Mars).  He will also have to deal directly head on with going to war (Mars in his 1st house), which is on the horizon for the U.S. Notice how the upcoming eclipse is already affecting Trump’s orientation and decision-making with a militaristic emphasis.  It’s also prompting a great deal of change and upheaval.

During a total solar eclipse, there is complete darkness, as the Moon blocks the Sun’s light from the earth.   When you are not expecting it, darkness can be scary (what lurks in that darkness?).  You can not see clearly without light and you lose some control.  Think of the night time, in total darkness, when life comes to a stop, it is a still moment, when activity stops and people retreat inside (unless you live in NYC).  It is a time for replenishment, turning within, slowing down, allowing the body and mind to integrate the previous day’s efforts.   

Similarly, during an eclipse, the darkness tells us to turn inward, reflect, review, regroup and stay still in the calmness of the phase.  It is not a time to begin new projects, make major commitments or accept offers for at least three days on either side, surrounding the eclipse. 

On the mundane level, if a person stares at the Sun during a total eclipse, he will burn his eyes out and damage the optic nerve.  If you try to capture a photo with a camera or cell phone camera in the path of the eclipse, it will blow up your phone!  It’s that intense and powerful externally and internally.  

 On the positive side, it is an excellent time for tuning into your higher purpose, to clear the air, let go and go deeper within, to be still amidst the outer darkness in the world.  It’s not always comfortable looking within and coming to terms with what you see.  The eclipse reflects that uneasiness as the darkness descends upon you during the day when it is not normal.  It’s uncomfortable, odd and uneasy.  

During this month, a lot of people will become agitated for reasons that they don’t understand.  So, they start trying to make major changes or decisions to get rid of the discomfort---- just when they should stop, slow down and turn in for the night.  It’s as if they are driving too long at night on a long journey and they refuse to stop and get some rest and perspective.  This leads to mistakes, accidents and confusion.  

This is a time, of all times, to pay attention.  You will notice a lot of phrenetic activity around you and especially in the U.S. throughout the month.  Take note, stay still and centered.  Don’t fall prey to the irritations, the blow-ups, arguments, invitations to fight, and wild roller coaster that others are riding this month.  With the eclipse falling in the U.S. 9th house, along with Mercury, the discord centers around legal matters, philosophy, education, religion, spirituality and foreign countries (immigration), especially long distance travel matters. 

Life does not generally stop for difficult transits.  But, this is one where it would be wise on August 21st to stop for a few hours as the eclipse comes closer to your part of the U.S., tune in, meditate, pray, turn off your cell phone, stay silent, experience the darkness and see what comes to you over the several days surrounding this highly unusual eclipse experience.  

Mercury turns retrograde on 8-12-2017:  Communication Complications

To add to this intensity, Mercury turns retrograde in Leo on 8/12 and will continue to retrograde until 9/5 when it turns direct in Leo.  On the date of the eclipse, 8/21, Mercury will be at 14 degrees Leo.  However, as Mercury retrogrades closer to 5 degrees Leo all month, the impact on Mercury becomes stronger.  Mars also joins into this fray as of 8/26 when it moves into Leo.    While Mercury is retrograde, expect complications/confusion with communications, and past unresolved problems, relationships or situations will tend to rise up to greet you once again.  

Magha has to do with family and relatives and the other nakshatra that Mercury will traverse while retrograde, Purva Phalguni, associates with relationships and marriage.  This Mercury retrograde period may coincide with former relationship partners coming back into your life or trying to contact you, especially if there is any unfinished business.  This can also be a time for finalizing a decision about a divorce, breakup or good-bye to a partnership, business or personal.   Consider the fact that Mercury is intimately wrapped up with this solar eclipse and with Mars (as of 8/26) in this location of Leo, making for very intense, direct encounters or experiences during August and early September.  

This particular Mercury retrograde period focuses on communications in relationships and clarifying intentions or needs/desires from the past leading into the present. If a family matter has been brewing, this is the period where it is likely to come up for attention and resolution.   

Mercury retrograde usually correlates with increased travel delays, mechanical breakdowns, technical glitches, power/telecommunications outages, miscommunications and appointment or timing mix-ups.   The aspect of Saturn will also influence this Mercury, so it’s harmed greatly by both Mars and Saturn this month.   Anticipate a high propensity of knee-jerk, frustrated reactions to statements especially regarding children, family matters, education, philosophy, religion, spirituality and political beliefs.  Expect more shakeups in the upper echelon of the White House and other government branches while this transit is taking place.   The pressure and restlessness will increase enormously within U.S. government and across the world.  

In this regard, the major concern is over quick, impulsive decision-making on major issues that require a great deal of understanding, background and perspective.  Under such a Mercury retrograde as we will experience in August, the mind tends to be restless and aggravated, characterized by a rapid firing of neurons which over stimulates the brain.  Thus, it is best to keep your opinions and speech in check and to hold back on all major decisions where possible.  At least wait a little longer before you immediately act on a major decision, which will impact your life greatly.   Just ask yourself, “if this decision does not work out in my favor, do I have an easy way out?”  Or, “am I trapping myself into a corner with this decision?”   As a general rule, if it has a “no return” or difficult return policy (such as in marriage or buying a house), it’s best to hold back on that decision during most of August.


Mars Transit into Leo:   A Lesson in Patience

As discussed above, Mars will transit into Leo on 8/26 and continue transiting there until 10/13.   While in Leo, Mars will cross the 5 degree Leo eclipse point on 9/4, stimulating eclipse effects around that time.  Mars will also join with Mercury by degree on 9/3, intensifying communication problems described above.  This may also be a period where intense wind storms, hurricanes, fires, volcanic eruptions and earthquakes are more pronounced.  

By itself, Mars in Leo is in a friendly sign and it would normally be a great time to exert oneself, be assertive, and activate projects.  However, this time, Mars is also influencing a Mercury retrograde as well as receiving a challenging aspect from Saturn, and Mars is also aspecting Saturn, simultaneously.  This is a combination for frustration, irritation, impatience and war, verbal or otherwise.  It’s a violent period and hard on the nerves.  

It’s not a time where diplomacy or verbal communication will be of use since Mercury is so stressed and harmed under these conditions.   Try to take some space, especially if you feel angry, frustrated or ready to blow up at someone.  The fewer worldly transactions you can manage this month, the better.  

When Mercury and Mars join and are stressed by Saturn, communications are badly affected and bound to lead to misunderstandings, confusion, angry, impulsive speech or angry reactions and overall heightened impatience with people.  Trying to negotiate or influence others this month will be difficult, so it’s not a good time for contracts or deal making.  

In sum, there is a lot going on with the planets during August and into September, reflecting an intensifying experience, especially in the U.S. which will experience a very rare total solar eclipse this month.   The period is best approached as a time to look deeply inward, to stay still, centered, and even-tempered.  Even in the midst of uncertainty and chaos, find a calm, quiet space within yourself that is solid and wise.  Focus on that point, rather than respond to the outer discord surrounding the atmosphere at this time.  It’s not a beneficial time to try to argue your viewpoint, no matter the subject.  It may be a time of great change and realization in your life, and with the letting go and redirection, a new pathway, and fresh perspective can offer a brighter future ahead.  Take it slow this month and be observant.