FROM EQUINOX TO EQUINOX:
The Celestial Forecast
By Marianne Jacuzzi, M.A., Jyotish Visharada and Jyotish Kovid CVA, E-RYT-500
The veils began thinning months ago. From midsummer, darkness has been increasing, imperceptibly at first, obscured by the heat of summer. Dakshinayana, the dark half of the year, begins when Sun enters Cancer, around July 15th. The season for solitude, for withdrawal into deeper meditation, contemplation and repose starts creeping in beneath the surface of awareness when summer is still high. By now at the autumnal equinox—which initiates the darkest quadrant of the year when nights stretch longer than days—the indications are clear. Dryness, cold, and contraction herald the prominence of vata in the natural world. Darkness dissolves borders. Death steps forward as life recedes in the cycles of eternal return. The ancient Celtic festival of Samhain reveres this season of darkness for the clarity it brings to the subtle realms. The veils are thin between the worlds, they say, and the still mind can easily access the spirit land of the dead. The Irish understand autumn to begin August 1st, because already the signs of quietus are apparent for those with eyes to see.
Seeing clearly is the challenge we face as 2022 comes to a close. It’s important to pay attention to the omens nature provides, particularly the clues apparent in the heavens. What they portend may seem so at odds with the expectations the present moment suggests. But they hide an inevitability just as astonishing as a field of sweet watermelons ripening out of desert sand.
Mars dominates the second half of 2022. His supremacy coincides almost exactly with the arc of Daskshinayana. Characterised by dynamism, fire, independence, assertion, courage and willpower, Mars is the warrior. Whether this energy channels towards life enhancement or life destruction depends upon so many other factors. The months ahead will bring both, for individuals as well as societies. For the extraordinary strength of Mars—which we’ve already experienced this summer—will only increase as we move into the autumn and winter months.
In early August, the Mars-Rahu conjunction in Aries infused Mars with the insatiable desire of Rahu. Rahu is a multiplier, amplifying whatever he touches. Unlike ethical Jupiter, Rahu expands without moral restraints. He is the mafia boss, his cunning serving self-interested gain. Under his influence, Mars tends towards deviance, towards violence when met with resistance. Mars has been swayed by this energy since he entered fiery Aries on 28 June. He received an amplified charge at the time of the exact conjunction—coincidently on August 1st, with the beginning of autumn in the Irish calendar and a fortnight after the official start of Dakshinayana—proclaiming the central theme of the closing months of 2022. The effects of this conjunction linger still—and will receive fresh momentum until well into 2023.
Recall early August. . . . Nancy Pelosi visits Taiwan, setting off military threats from the Chinese and raising the tension between China and the USA to a dangerous tipping point. Salman Rushdie, who has been living under the shadow of an Iranian fatwa for decades, is stabbed in the neck before a shocked audience of literary aficionados. Afgan women protesting their oppression are beaten down by the ruling Taliban. The Russian-Ukrainian War drags on, with fresh bombing and deaths almost daily. Monkey Pox—a quintessential Martian disease of painful red lesions—is declared a public health emergency. You can probably identify local events or experiences in your personal life that exemplify in some way this theme.
That was only the beginning. On 11 August, Mars entered Taurus, and because of his long retrograde cycle will remain there until 13 March 2023, except for a brief foray into Gemini (more on that below). All this time, Mars remains under the influence of Rahu, since he receives Rahu’s second house aspect from Aries. Rahu aspects the house second to him because it’s the place he has just left. He travels retrograde, so what is a twelfth aspect from Rahu’s perspective is second in the order of the zodiac. It’s a powerful aspect, because Rahu is a formidable force, moving through time like a tornado, which leaves in its wake an agitation that takes awhile to settle.
From 14 June 2022 until 21 February 2023, Rahu casts this aspect from the nakshatra of Bharani. A Krura nakshatra (fierce or severe), Bharani has the power to cleanse and purify, to carry away toxins or dross. Yama, the God of Death governs Bharani, lending his qualities to this star, which is symbolised by the yoni, gateway to life and death. Yama collects souls at the end of life and detaches them from their old form. He facilitates the breaking down, a necessary step in transformation, which in the end furthers positive evolution. But still, pain belongs to the process. Themes of death, rebirth, breakdown and transformation will weave their way through the lives of many during the months ahead. They will erupt onto the world stage with drama and violence according to the triggers of other influences.
During this time Mars still receives malefic influences from Saturn, even though Saturn has retrograded back into Capricorn. Saturn in Capricorn and Mars in Taurus form a mutual rashi dristi, their two antagonistic energies blending until January 2023, creating an irascible backdrop to events, a frustration easily provoked. Moreover, until the Vernal Equinox of 2023, Saturn resides in the nakshatra of Dhanistha, a demon nakshatra ruled by Mars. Even though a beautiful star evoking music—Shiva’s drum that creates the pulse of duality and Krishna’s flute that mesmerises the gopis to leave their husbands and devote themselves to the Lord—Dhanistha (as most things) also has a dark side. It can signify souls deluded by ego, caught up in beating their own drum and so deaf to the pulse of creation. Because Saturn is debilitated in Mars’s sign of Aries, he’s particularly vulnerable to this delusion when in Dhanistha.
These themes for the months ahead characterise the chart of the Autumnal Equinox. Yet this chart of 23 September 2022 reveals something else also, a clue pointing to a hidden jewel. Mercury retrograde resides in Virgo, his sign of exaltation, opposite Jupiter’s benefic gaze from Pisces and combust the Sun within less than a degree.
Though combustion hurts the material gifts of a graha, it enhances its spiritual qualities. Highly malefic in certain circumstances, the Sun is sattvic, at its highest vibration an indication of the atman. His radiance subsuming Mercury becomes an omen, with the pure sattva of Jupiter adding confluence. Mercury is buddhi, the discriminating intellect, whose highest achievement is jnana yoga, discerning the real from the unreal. In the philosophy of Samkhya—which delineates the tattvas of creation emanating out of Prakriti—the buddhi dimension of mind is closest to the pure transcendence of Purusha. As Mercury merges for a moment into the luminosity of Surya, significantly right at the autumnal equinox, he forms an incandescence shimmering with visionary potential.
PARTIAL SOLAR ECLIPSE: OCTOBER
On 25 October, a partial solar eclipse occurs at 7°49 Libra, at 11:48 UCT +1, in the nakshatra of Swati. Ketu resides at 19°36’ Libra and Rahu at 19°36’ Aries. Remember those degrees. The exact degree of an eclipse functions like a landmine, a hotspot that gets triggered by any planet transiting over it in the weeks and sometimes months to come. The exact degree of Rahu and Ketu at an eclipse is also significant, particularly when analysing how powerful an eclipse will be for a particular individual. Anyone with planets on those degrees will experience this eclipse most profoundly. Venus is at home in Libra at the time of the eclipse, but combust the Sun at less than 1°. And all four grahas, Sun, Moon,Venus and Ketu, reside in Swati, a Rahu nakshatra. With its deity, Vayu, the god of wind, Swati exemplifies the energy of vata. The vata planet Saturn exalts here, where the Shakti is the power to scatter like the wind.
Nakshatra significations function like archetypes, indicating the mythic dimension of celestial alignments. The stars belong to svahloka, the celestial realm beyond our solar system, a more subtle plane of existence. Interestingly, this partial solar eclipse in Swati occurs just a week before the Celtic festival of Samhain, when the veils between the worlds reach their thinnest. And Swati is a chara nakshatra—changeable, moveable, ephemeral—facilitating flight into the lokas beyond. Venus combust but strong in Libra echoes the exact condition of Mercury a month earlier at the equinox. Here too is another clue indicating the spiritual potential of this eclipse—for souls evolved enough to see through the veils
However, as far as the world is concerned, and particularly the USA, the solar eclipse indicates the likelihood of something rather explosive. The degree points line up with the chart of the USA, as well as those of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris; and the mid-term elections, scheduled for 8 November, coincide exactly with this eclipse season—occurring two weeks after the partial solar eclipse and aligning with the total lunar eclipse to the day.
On 16 October, Mars enters Gemini for a short sojourn into dwishwabhava air. He crosses right over Mars in the chart of the United States, who resides at 0°40’ Gemini, Seventh House for the USA. The day of the eclipse, Mars arrives at 1°15’ Gemini, just minutes away from Mars in the USA chart. Also, in the chart of the USA, Moon resides at 7°14’ Aquarius (sthira air), forming a tight mutual rashi dristi with the solar eclipse at 7°49’ Libra (chara air). As primal mind, Moon takes in sensory impressions indiscriminately, his fluid nature easily entranced by whatever he receives. The “mind of the USA” refers to the national zeitgeist. A direct energetic charge from the solar eclipse in Libra will ignite it. And so the likelihood of something erratic, explosive or extraordinary happening is quite high, particularly given the context of an intensely polarised American society and election day.
This partial solar eclipse also signifies something profound for the country’s leaders. In Joe Biden’s chart, Moon resides at 7°55’ Aries, directly opposite the eclipse in Libra almost to the minute. In addition, Biden’s Mars sits at 19°32’ Libra, right on the degree point of Ketu, source of the eclipse itself. Libra is Biden’s twelfth house, and Aries his sixth house. These placements suggest themes of loss, closure, and health. How that manifests precisely remains to be seen, but this eclipse could function as a trigger for some big changes for Joe Biden. In his chart, Saturn retrograde resides in Taurus, where for six months this year Mars retrograde will be transiting, under the intense malefic influence of a graha dristi from Rahu in Aries and a rashi dristi from Saturn in Capricorn. For sixteen years Biden has been running the mahadasa of his exalted Jupiter, but on 21 September 2022 he enters Saturn’s mahadasa. Change is coming for President Joe Biden.
In Kamala Harris’s chart, her ascendent sits at 1°18’ Gemini, and Rahu is very close at 2°25’Gemini. At the time of the eclipse, transiting Mars at 1°15’ Gemini will be right over her ascendent, almost to the minute. Shortly afterwards, on 30 October, Mars turns retrograde, stationing for a couple of days at 1°26’ Gemini. Mars the warrior has been in strength for a long time. That strength gets channelled into his point of stationing, coinciding not just with Harris’s ascendent but also Mars in the chart of the USA. In addition for Harris, her lord Mercury resides at 8°05’ Libra, less than one degree away from the eclipse degree. Libra is her Fifth House, place of creativity, fortune, dharma and knowledge. Her lord in this placement receiving a trigger from the eclipse indicates a big transformation ahead for her too. Interestingly, she’s running until mid-January 2023 the dasa of Rahu-Mercury, Rahu sitting right on her ascendent and her lord Mercury in the benefic Fifth House.
After Mars’s station on 30-31 October, his long retrograde cycle begins. Among other things, a retrograde planet signifies past karma coming to fruition, something destined by complex patterns of past action set in motion and fulfilling a purpose not always apparent at the time. Mars returns to Taurus on 14 Nov, remaining retrograde in that sign until 12 January 2023 . He doesn’t move onto Gemini until 13 March 2023. For a total of six months, Mars in Taurus brings to fruition karma indicated by that sign, place of fixed earth and Second House in the natural zodiac. Speech, domestic harmony, food and money are Second House indications, which a powerful malefic Mars will activate over these months. Naturally, channelled through different charts, this energy will manifest in different ways.
Mars’s fiery speech can be a call to justice and truth, the spiritual warrior proclaiming the path of righteousness. Or it can be an aggressive war cry, an enticement to conflict or battle. These energies will play out through the lives of all as well as upon the world stage. Courageous leaders will continue to expose deeper layers of corruption behind the Covid-19 fiasco, just as the voices of propaganda and censorship will amplify to suppress. The Russian-Ukrainian conflict shows no sign of abating during this period. It might escalate, though more likely will remain contained but prolonged, with the chart of Vladimir Putin showing mixed indications for the fall. However, the war will continue to affect the entire world with shortages, supply chain disruptions, inflation, and energy problems — all issues related to the Second House of artha (wealth, resources). However, the tension between China and the USA could erupt into something serious. Mars’s long residence in Taurus coincides with the Sixth House of enemies in the USA chart. In the chart of Xi Jinping, the Sun sits at 0°32’ Gemini, aligned with Mars for the USA. At the time of the solar eclipse, Mars passes over this point twice, sojourning into Gemini and then retrograding back to Taurus. Since Sun indicates ego, character and the self, this eclipse could trigger something significant for the Chinese leader. However, in the 1949 chart of China, Taurus is the Fifth House, and in Xi Jinping’s chart it is the Tenth House, with Jupiter lord of the Fifth House residing. These benign placements provide no confluence for conflict, so the actual outcome is difficult to predict.
Food and money have become major problems around the world, Mars’s long sojourn through Taurus could exacerbate food shortages, price increases, and even famine in certain parts of the world. Taurus represents fertility, the earth fecund with lush vegetation and healthy animal life. Venus owned and sign of Moon’s exaltation, Taurus carries a kapha energy, moist, expansive, and growth-enhancing. It’s the proverbial land of milk (Moon) and honey (Venus). The hot, dry energy of Mars, who by nature is celibate, brings sterility to this place. The aspects of Saturn and Rahu upon Mars, both highly vata, increase the drying effect. It’s said that Saturn passing through the wain of Rohini brings famine to the land. For most of his sojourn in Taurus, Mars will be in Rohini, experiencing mutual rashi dristi from Saturn in Capricorn. Developed countries accustomed to surpluses will have ways to cope with food scarcity, though many will experience financial hardship. Poorer countries will be hit hard by lack of both food and money. With Rahu’s influence
throughout, powerful leaders will attempt to gain control globally over food and money.
TOTAL LUNAR ECLIPSE
On 8 November 2022, election day in the USA, the total lunar eclipse reaches its fullest point at 11:02 am UCT. At that time, Rahu and Ketu are at 18°51’, in Aries and Libra respectively. Sun resides at 21°50’ Libra, debilitated and almost exactly on the point of Saturn’s exaltation at 20°, not a comfortable place for Surya. Mercury and Venus, are both extremely combust, Mercury almost to the minute. With the Full Moon conjunct Rahu and Saturn aspecting Jupiter, every benefic planet at the time of the eclipse is compromised in some way. Recall that Mars in Joe Biden’s chart resides at 19°32’ Libra, in his Twelfth House of loss. Though Mars is Biden’s lord, he also rules the Sixth House of disease and enemies. Sun, indicator of health and vitality, will be in deep fall over Biden’s Mars. Once again, the lunar eclipse as the solar eclipse could bring issues of health and loss to President Biden. Being a Total Lunar Eclipse, the degree points are tight, with Moon at 21°50’ Aries, very close to Rahu—though around 14° away from Biden’s Moon at 7°55’ Aries. Whatever happens on election day, the President most likely will have the presence of mind to deal with it. But some surprise lies ahead with the lunar eclipse. Retrograde Mars will be transiting right over Mars in the USA chart, almost to the minute, as well as over Kamala Harris’s ascendant —all around 1° Gemini or less—not a stable place.
On 13 November, Mars retrogrades back into Taurus, his power in that medium only increasing as the darkness of winter deepens. On 1 December, Mars reaches perigee, his point closest to the earth. Earth travels right between Mars and Sun, amplifying the Martian influence onto our planet; and on 8 December, Mars and Sun are directly opposite each other, with earth in the centre. Mars at perigee is mighty! The phenomenon occurs around every two years, but this year, given the strength of Mars already, its effect will be compounded. Watch for the red planet against the darkness of the mid-winter sky. He will be potent!
OTHER END OF THE YEAR INFLUENCES
Though Mars dominates the last months of 2022, the movement of the other grahas modulate his effects. The slow moving planets, Saturn, Jupiter and the Nodes, exert a steady influence, shaping the quality of a season. The fast moving planets act as catalysts, triggering certain effects as they transit into or over power points along the zodiac. How these transits will impact an individual chart depends upon so many details, which only a careful, personal analysis can make clear. However, these general influences affect all of us, indicating in what manner the zeitgeist is most likely to evolve.
With Rahu in Aries and Ketu in Libra, the First and Seventh Houses of the natural zodiac become prominent. In any horoscope the First House and Seventh House form the axis of truth, the true self and its mirror image. Quite abruptly, history took a sharp turn a couple of years ago with the Covid-19 pandemic and the reaction of governments everywhere with lockdowns, censorship, and unprecedentedly levels of control. The extraordinarily powerful solar eclipse in Sagittarius in December 2019 served as trigger, and the long Saturn-Jupiter conjunction in Capricorn provided the foundation. We have now entered a new phase. What needs to emerge is a new narrative based on truth. The Nodes highlighting the natural axis of truth across the zodiac could help bring to light the nefarious underside of these events.
Saturn remains in Capricorn until January. His influence upon material life is powerful from his home in moveable earth. Disruption of supply chains, of food production, of climate and energy has quickly recalibrated assumptions about the most basic elements of life. Everything is getting reorganised, Capricorn being the place where the right order of materiality comes into focus. Saturn is ruling that process, with control and fear, hallmarks of Saturn, being important tools. Though the Nodes in Aries and Libra indicate new beginnings, Saturn’s continuing strength restrains. For the rest of 2022, Saturn continues to shadow Jupiter in Pisces, as well as Ketu in Libra—his malefic gaze commingling energetically with the eclipses in Libra and Aries this autumn.
But despite Saturn’s shadow upon him, Jupiter remains the greatest beacon of sattvic light in the heavens. From Pisces, he aspects the water signs of Cancer and Scorpio; and through rashi dristi the angles of Gemini, Virgo and Sagittarius, the signs of Mercury and Jupiter, planets of knowledge. He provides the jewel of light to contemplate during these difficult transits. Knowledge—true knowledge about what is real and what is not—provides the most efficacious antidote to fear—the disease most rampant today. Inform yourself as best you can from the widest variety of sources about what is going on (including this article). But then decide yourself how to act! It’s the advice an old Irish priest gave me long ago. “Listen to guidance from everyone,” he said, “then keep your own counsel.” The inner voice that speaks the truth comes into clarity through sadhana. Chanting the names of God in whatever form resonates with you can go a long, long way towards enhancing the forces of light.
Both Jupiter and Saturn turn direct this autumn, Saturn on 23 October at 24°25° Capricorn and Jupiter on 23 November at 4° Pisces. Their forward movement brings us ever closer to the major celestial shifts to happen in early 2023.
JANUARY 2023: THE BIG SHIFT
On 12 Jan 2023, Mars turns direct at 13° Taurus, joining Saturn and Jupiter with the forward moving energy that is bringing in the new. Then on 17 January, the big shift happens. Saturn transits into Aquarius, inaugurating a new chapter, phase two of the most significant historical turning point since the Second World War. When Saturn finally moves into Aquarius, his sojourn in earth, which framed the covid pandemic, comes to a close—its repercussions, however, do not. They comprise the raw material for this new chapter. Also at home in Aquarius, Saturn remains powerful. In fixed air, he is opinionated and contrary, with an affinity for the masses and indignation toward authoritarianism of any kind. These themes will become prominent over the next couple of years, with the rigid ideologies dividing societies becoming even more entrenched.
Saturn’s aspects upon both Jupiter and Ketu end with this transit. But Jupiter still remains troubled. Saturn in Aquarius and Rahu in Aries contain him in a papakartari yoga, and those two malefics also form a mutual rashi dristi, intensifying their malefic grip upon Jupiter. Although problematic for certain ascendents, Jupiter is still, is always Guru. Sadhana directed to him, especially through the form of Lord Ganesha, to whom he is closely related, is efficacious for everyone, particularly during this time of his stress.
Saturn’s sojourn in Aquarius brings challenge particularly to those with ascendent (or Moon) in Cancer, Virgo or Pisces, because Saturn will be over your Eighth House, Sixth House or Twelfth House respectively. Scorpio ascendents will also receive this energy powerfully, with Saturn in your Fourth House, place of the heart, from where he aspects your ascendent as well. But as long as Jupiter remains in Pisces, all of these ascendents will also receive the boon of Guru’s gaze.
Interestingly, this major transit of Saturn coincides with Makara Sankranti in mid-January, the joyous festival marking Sun’s ingress into Capricorn and the beginning of Uttarayana, the pathway of the Gods. This strikes me as another omen—one of those clues the cosmos is revealing beneath the surface of the more obvious alignments. Saturn’s long sojourn through Aquarius begins precisely with the season of expanding light. Despite the challenging alignments and transits ahead, the deeper trajectory is always towards grace. Time unfolds according to an intelligence so much greater than anything we can ever know. Trusting in that wisdom, we have nothing to fear. We can relax into the harmony of the moment and our divine purpose in it.
MERCURY RETROGRADE IN FIRE
From 2 to 17 January, Mercury turns retrograde in Sagittarius, heralding another energetic shift for the New Year. During 2023, Mercury’s retrograde periods all align with fire. Fire signifies change. It is hot, dynamic and potent. Both destructive and creative, it burns away the old to make way for the new. It signifies transformation. Fire is Agni, the vital spark, the life element in everything. The two heads of the God of Fire represent his potential for benevolence or malevolence. His fire animates lightening, the hearth, digestion, the Sun itself. In the natural zodiac, the fire signs coincide with dharma, the soul’s purpose, with something yet to be realised.
Mercury retrograde in fire will bring these themes into prominence. A swifter energy will characterise 2023, with transformation of old forms, both for individuals and societies, unfolding with fresh momentum. Awareness of this energy is vital for directing it towards the positive.
VENUS —MORE GOOD OMENS
On 22 January, 2023, Venus and Saturn form an exact conjunction at 0°36’ Aquarius. Five days after he enters Aquarius, Saturn’s great friend Venus joins him, uplifting him with happiness, beauty, sweetness and love. Though Venus lends these qualities to Shani only briefly, they point to another clue, a potential for hidden blessings. Venus and Saturn together in Aquarius form a mutual rashi dristi with Ketu in Libra. Those three planets coming together create a classical yoga for spirituality, tapaswi yoga. Individuals with Aquarius or Libra as swa (self—so ascendent, atma karaka, sign of Moon or Sun) will experience the effect most powerfully. But those energies are still commingling in the background for everyone, augmenting spiritual purpose. A New Year’s resolution for deepening sadhana will receive a powerful boost from this yoga, which lasts until 16 February, when Venus moves into Pisces.
But the potential for grace continues, because Venus in Pisces has returned to his sign of exaltation. In addition, Venus and Ketu form a parivartana yoga, which lasts until 13 March, because Ketu is in Venus’s sign of Libra and Venus is in Ketu’s moolatrikona sign of Pisces.
Ketu inspiring an exalted Venus heightens the potential for spiritual advancement, the ultimate dharma of every soul. Adding confluence, Venus in Pisces is conjunct Jupiter. They form a precise conjunction at 17°58’ Pisces on 2 March 2023 at 5:45 am UCT. A few days later, on 9 March, Venus reaches 27°, his degree of exact exaltation.
These high points are not to be missed. They provide powerful opportunities for spiritual blessings, and so meet them with puja, prayer and practice — with whatever vehicle you find most efficacious for encountering the divine in all things. Grace will flow, but be prepared for a degree of challenge, because a papakartari yoga still contains Pisces—with Saturn, Sun and Mercury in Aquarius and Rahu in Aries. But challenge emboldens, the fruit it brings all the sweeter in the end.
ONWARD INTO 2023
Mystery lies ahead. Many new alignments take shape in early 2023, suggesting significant change on the horizon. Around midnight UCT, between March 12 and 13, Mars enters Gemini. After his six-month sojourn, which made such an impact upon the second half of 2022, he leaves Taurus. With Mars moving into air (Gemini), Saturn in air (Aquarius), and Ketu in air (Libra), the winds of change are blowing. Be prepared for a new landscape in 2023.
Reference for charts mentioned:
Joe Biden: 20 November 1942. 8:30 am. Scranton, Pennsylvania, USA
Kamala Harris: 20 October 1964. 21:29. Oakland, California, USA
USA: 4 July 1776. 18:30. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Xi Jinping: 15 June 1953. 12:00 Beijing, China
China 1949: 1 October 1949. 15:15. Beijing, China
Vladimir Putin: 7 October 1952. 9:16 am St. Petersburg, Russia