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Perspective on the Planets: How to understand their diverse meanings
The role of language and communication in our lives’ is profound, and it is also the place where great confusion and misunderstandings arise the most. Vedic Astrology is a type of language to facilitate greater awareness and perspective about ourselves, our lives, the world around us and situational events. The core foundation of this great art and science resides in deeply understanding the planets themselves. There are different meanings and significations that are ascribed to each planet and the planets are categorized, unfortunately, into simple dual categories of “malefic” and “benefic.” Herein lies the problem in understanding the planets, which is inherently a language issue.
Each planet has its higher octaves and lower levels of manifestation, representing many shades of gray, not just black or white, good or bad. Each planet is symbolic. The planet does not directly hurt you, have a personal vendetta against you or vice versa. The planets help to orient us and offer information, and the horoscope or astrological chart is a symbolic map or a portrait of an individual’s life orientation and his/her likely pathways and experiences throughout the lifetime. When you look at a map of a country, the map itself does not have an agenda. It is the observer who puts the meaning on the map.
The planets operate at many different levels. The issue is that we ascribe categories such as “these are the malefic planets” and these are the “benefic planets.” So, the first logical thought that comes to mind is that certain planets represent “bad” features and qualities and other planets represent only the “good” features and qualities of a person or event that is being described. This is a misnomer.
For example, would you want a surgeon who is about to perform surgery on you or a lawyer who has to fight for your rights in court, to have a weak Mars in his/her chart? Of course not. You want the surgeon to possess dexterity, precision, strength, technical skill and the ability to cut precisely and deliberately to offer you a good result with no complications. You want the lawyer to have a fighting, assertive, effective approach, with stamina and resilience, who will go after the other side and fight or debate to the end on your behalf. These are qualities reflecting a strong, powerful, well-directed Mars and the higher octave of the planet is operating in these examples.
Yet, we use the term or category “malefic” to describe the planet Mars. Why? The main reason is that the natural, inherent energy of Mars is independent, forceful, hot, rapid, irritating and aggressive. The energy is not “sweet”, kind, forgiving and easy going. Mars is to the point, direct, active and forceful. So, we use the term “malefic.” Under the right conditions, situations and roles, the expression of strong Mars is greatly desired and required, such as described above. When Mars is frustrated or too strong and out of control, then its expression manifests as an explosion, fire, accident or a major blast, literally or figuratively.
The significations that Mars represents run the gamut from surgery, debates, mechanics, engineering, athleticism, dexterity, strength, motivation, stamina, fearlessness, independence, precision, ambition, assertion, to blood, muscles, fevers, infections, baldness, fires, explosions, bombings, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, argumentativeness, accidents, war, abuse and killing.
The important point to come away with is that there are different “octaves” (higher and lower) of expression for all of the planets. Consider each planet similar to the transmission of a vehicle, in which you can go up to higher gears or go down into in lower gears. Self-determination, the overall personality, the inherent will, and the nature of the desires will determine which gear gets expressed during different stages of the lifetime.
A strong Mars can offer great ambition, stamina, precision and make a great surgeon who can operate for 20 hours and do so successfully. In lower gear, that same strong Mars can express itself as a criminal, a terrorist or a serial killer. With “awareness” the goal is to direct the planetary energy that you acknowledge within yourself to move in a particular gear or direction that you ascribe to it. The energy is there, it exists for you to tap into and that is the beauty of understanding the planets and their inherent significations and meanings. Denying these parts of ourselves only serves to repress individuality and to remain in confusion, darkness, misunderstanding and limitation.
The confusion arises through the use of language to describe certain complex or otherworldly concepts, such as “planets” in an astrological context. When you interpret the word “malefic” as it is applied to a set of planets, this is not necessarily a mean or harmful influence. It can certainly manifest in that direction, but at a “higher” octave, a higher gear, with awareness and targeted direction, that “malefic” style of energy is necessary to achieve a particular objective.
In a second example, another “malefic” categorized planet is “Saturn.” True, Saturn’s inherent nature or influence brings out the challenging, painful, humiliating, disturbing, heavy, demanding, critical and fearful side. One may feel that the demands posed by Saturn are limiting one’s desires and challenging the person to: “wake up” and face the harsh truth about some major aspect of life-----whether that is mortality, aging, physical or health limitations, lack of success, wasting time, making poor past decisions, rejecting opportunities in the past, financial loss, debts, responsibilities, promises made or other commitments. While this may be emotionally upsetting or experienced as a devastating blow, it can also orient the individual to rise to the occasion, or to finally “shit or get off the pot,” to be blunt.
Yet, at the higher octave, Saturn represents our ability to try to improve, to face the truth as it stands, to correct these perceived shortcomings or deficiencies, to strive, persevere, achieve, become more serious and committed or dedicated to something in our lives that matters at some level. Without this Saturnine energy, nothing would get done. Saturn is a great teacher and some lessons are painful. But the outcome can manifest at a much higher level, with greater understanding and perspective after the person pragmatically shifts and makes the necessary adjustments. Saturn reminds us that our decisions and behaviors have repercussions. If the individual refuses to acknowledge the issues, then Saturn ups the ante and gets louder until the problem must be addressed. There is no exit but through.
Someone who has completed the Saturn mahadasha of 19 years will likely know this. You feel as though you have climbed a great tall mountain of life and overcome the hardships and challenges that it posed in front of you. For some people, it is a period of life for enormous advancement and achievement on many levels, not only within the physical or mundane areas of life. It is not something easily explained, but when you go through it in real life, you then understand by experiencing the implications more directly. You realize that Saturn offered you great lessons, a great opportunity to honestly face yourself on a range of mundane, practical as well as spiritual issues, painful, disturbing, upsetting or humiliating as they may be experienced. Once you “wake up” and face the music, then you can potentially get more comfortable in your own skin, to some degree.
In sum, no planet is inherently all bad or all good as it manifests in your horoscope (including Rahu and Ketu), whether it is categorized as a “malefic” planet or a “benefic” planet. How and where that particular planetary energy is applied (the appropriateness, given the situation, for that energy) will make all the difference. A disciplined, thoughtful and mentally-centered person who has cultivated patience and some wisdom will ride the rougher patches more smoothly and will take the energy of the planets up to a higher gear or level of real life expression. This is not the common situation for the masses, but it is something each of us may choose to strive for.
Each planet’s condition represents the modality of how you will express that particular energy across all the domains of life. How you want to respond to life events, which gear you want to express as it relates to that particular planetary energy is within your control, once you become educated and aware of this concept. From this perspective, the language of Vedic Astrology offers us a greater clarity into our deeper selves, our place in the world and how we choose to cultivate and express these energies during this lifetime, for better or worse.
Venus transits into Leo:
On 7/4, Venus moves into Leo where it will reside through the end of the month. Then on 8/1, Venus moves into its debilitated placement of Virgo and will concurrently receive the aspect of Saturn, a much weaker period for Venus at that time. For July, transiting Venus is relatively strong and this bodes well for real estate matters, the arts, creativity, fashion, design and social enterprises. Venus governs housing and real estate matters, as well as financials, pleasures, and relationships. On the financial side, Venus moving through Purva Phalguni and Uttara Phalguni nakshatras bode well for financial dealings involving partnerships, in particular. Leo is a sign that emphasizes all of these matters, as well as family life, children, theatre, movies, drama and music. Venus in Leo is romantic, playful, and desires to be recognized. So, this is a good time to pay attention to relationships, and to recognize people who make a difference in your life. The first half of July is generally a good time to advance a relationship or to start one.
Jupiter turns Direct: Influence on the courts, legal matters
Since the United States is currently running the Rahu/Jupiter period, it’s worthy to pay attention to Jupiter’s movement. On 7/10, Jupiter will turn direct in Libra, Swati nakshatra and then Jupiter moves to Vishaka on 8/2. While in Swati, Jupiter behaves a bit tenuous, changeable, uncertain and unfocused. Libra is a sign that specifically deals with law, justice, mediation and the courts. Jupiter as a planet, represents the law, ethics, philosophy, judges, including the Supreme Court, as well as education, immigration, travel and religion. Separately, recall that Saturn is transiting through Sagittarius (Jupiter’s sign), which puts a critical lens on these same areas until 2020.
Once Jupiter moves direct after 7/10, there will be more movement, decisions and shifting around within these specific domains. I had already predicted a few months ago (see Predictions for the U.S. 2018 – 2020 on my website) that a Supreme Court justice would be replaced during the U.S. Rahu/Jupiter period which started in June 2018. It’s interesting that President Trump plans on announcing his decision for the next nomination for the Supreme Court justice to replace Kennedy on 7/9, right as Jupiter stations (becomes more intense) at 19 degrees Libra. There will be another 1.5 years for more modifications and changes to be made within the courts, the larger legal system, as well as reforms in educational institutions. Religion will become an even greater focal point in the U.S. as it relates to legal rights and freedom of expression. The turmoil and debate on this is far from over.
Review of the Influence of Exalted Mars retrograde with Ketu for July:
You may recall that Mars is currently transiting through its exalted (most powerful) sign of Capricorn for a much longer than usual period this year, due to its retrograde motion in this position. Mars continues to retrograde through Capricorn until 8/27 when Mars then moves direct at 4:29 degrees Capricorn. Mars will eventually exit Capricorn on 11-5-2018. While Mars is retrograding it is also close to transiting Ketu, and on 7/18 Mars and Ketu will be exactly conjunct at 12:15 degrees of Capricorn, setting up a potent eruptive planetary combination, for a few days surrounding 7/18, before and after that date.
This period of Mars retrograding closer to Ketu through the first 18 days of July is a very intense, concentrated phase where Mars is particularly powerful, for better or worse. We have been witnessing several examples of this intensified, churning Mars/Ketu energy all over the world (ever since Mars went into exalted Capricorn), with numerous protests (some violent), restlessness, impatience, irritability, unbridled expressions of anger, widespread shootings, sudden, violent outbursts, intense fires and prolonged, widespread heatwaves, natural gas explosions, earthquakes, and the continued eruption of the volcano on the big island in Hawaii. There have also been heroic rescues and heroic actions alongside these events. Even the rash of notable suicides recently is associated with this Mars/Ketu signature. The heightened culmination of many of these events will manifest in mid-July and begin to settle down as Mars moves away from Ketu and then turns direct at the end of August.
However, during July, Mars will also aspect Mercury transiting through Cancer. Mercury is joined with both the Sun for part of the month, as well as Rahu for the entire month. Moreover, Mercury will turn retrograde on 7/26 and continue to be influenced by Mars, and the Rahu/Ketu axis. This combination at the lower level, reflects more widespread anger, harsh, emotionally-driven, impatient communications and does not bode well for negotiation or mediation situations. Emotions will tend to be over-heated and overtake logical judgment during July and into August.
Mercury Turns Retrograde and is Weak:
With Mercury in Cancer, conjunct Rahu and receiving the aspects of Mars/Ketu, the entire month is suspect for communication conflicts, misunderstandings, road rage incidents, and a host of internet, phone, media and widespread mechanical complications and disturbances. Once Mercury turns retrograde at a very weak (gandanta) 29 degrees of Cancer, on 7/26, the issues only intensify. Mercury will then turn direct on 8/19 in Cancer. With the afflicted Mercury transiting through Ashlesha nakshatra, there may be another major food-borne illness (bacterial) outbreak, or a serious poisoning episode involving the food supply or a prescription medication contamination, especially in the U.S. This may involve a terrorist attempt using Anthrax or some other toxic agent to harm a large group of people on a more global scale, or this may be aimed at U.S. government officials, their offices or the president himself.
The other problem that is likely to arise is the greater possibility of accidents at sea or a war breaking out across ships, due to perceived infringement of territory, overseas in late July. Separately, a greater propensity for heavy, damaging rainstorms, flooding, hurricane formation and torrential rains will likely sweep the U.S. this month into August, which is a bit earlier than the usual forecast weather pattern. The end of July and early August are of particular concern.
With Mercury in this position, it’s helpful to slow down communications, take some extra time with decision-making and try to hold off on negotiations or starting new projects until Mercury gains some strength in September. Expect travel delays, try to be more patient with communications (both written & verbal), favor logic over emotional reactions, and take some breathing room for yourself over the summer months if possible. Try to avoid verbal arguments and confrontations in-person or through social media outlets. Angry communications are going to heat up over the media outlets to a very high degree, with people finding it hard to control their angry speech. The situation will begin to cool off by September.
This is, however, a good time to try to resolve long-standing, chronic health problems, while Mercury is traveling through Ashlesha. It is a good month to release toxins from the body, cleanse and improve your health status. It’s not a favorable time for negotiations, signing documents or starting important projects while Mercury is particularly stressed.