Ayurvedic Corner ~ Ayurveda and Juicing

     Ayurvedic tradition does not always include juicing as a healthy practice I must say. It is considered part of the detox culture, usually full of vata people fasting on juice, further aggravating their vata. I remember in nutrition class at Dr. Lad’s school, being the voice of defense for juicing. I raised my hand and piped in “I know that Ayurveda doesn’t give much attention to juicing, but we can’t ignore its benefits! It’s amazing for prana, it’s so hydrating, and it is able to cleanse and nourish the blood without taxing digestion!” There was the usual response, “it always depends” and then we moved on.

Juice
Juice with everything!
Juice Guy
Here we are in spring, the most wonderful season for juicing, for cleansing and lightening the tissues in preparation for the heat of the summer. In this season, it is important to clear the system of any “ama” (toxicity that clogs the channels) so that the ama does not get “cooked” inside the body when it gets hot, and so the heat can escape the body through clear channels. So, how do we juice…. ayurvedically.

First of all, long fasts in Ayurveda are considered harmful to Agni (except maybe for kapha who can withstand longer fasts). I found this out most recently when I decided to go on a 5-day juice fast and found that it made my situation worse! I would have benefited greatly from 2 or 3 days of juicing to allow my system to reset itself, but after 5 days, my agni was so starved – not enough fuel for the fire, and drowned in liquid – it went out and left me with more problems. Everyone will be able to tolerate different amounts of time – maybe 1 day, maybe 6 days – we cannot generalize how many days, but be aware of your agni!

Second of all, what are you juicing? Every substance will have a different quality. Ayurveda is a medicine of qualities, so how can we choose our juices based upon our unique constitutional makeup?
  • Kapha dosha: Be careful how sweet you make your juice! If you are juicing all carrots, and oranges and apples and sweet fruits, this could be throwing the sugars out of whack and be careful here with propensity towards diabetes! Focus the juice more on greens, celery base and beet and add ginger to the juice!
  • Pitta Dosha: Be careful of the citrus, sour fruits (like pineapple) and beets! I was juicing with so much beet and lemon for cleansing purpose and ended up getting outraged over a situation that had nothing to do with me! PITTA. Pitta’s will be helped by the bitter greens, cucumber and celery and pomegranate.
  • Vata dosha: Be careful of the greens and cabbage family plants like cabbage and kale. Vata’s can do more of the sweet things like carrot and beet juice (root vegetables) and apple, orange, etc. There is a great juice called super orange with carrot, orange, ginger and turmeric. Vata can also benefit from fresh ginger in the juice, to help the potential gas that may come from the greens. Also, scoop off the foam from the juice, that is air element and could cause gas.

 

Juicing in the Middle East

 

Juice Guy

The juice master…

Here in Palestine fresh juice is everywhere! There are little juice bars on almost every corner and you can order fresh juice in every café. Fresh pomegranate juice…. WOW. It is so much cheaper than the $5 juice you are used to in the US and it is so full of prana! My theory on why it may be so popular here is that the sun is sharp and it gets so hot and dry in the summer.  The juice is so hydrating (with all the electrolytes) and refreshing on those hot days! Sraddha and I were walking through the Old City Jerusalem one VERY unseasonably hot day. We were weary and still so far from home and stopped for fresh pomegranate juice. Pomegranate pulls heat out of the blood – amazing for pitta in rakta. We were completely revived and able to make it home after that. However, much of the juice here (at least in this season) is citrus. Orange, grapefruit, lemon and mint is very common everywhere. The Middle Eastern people LOVE their sour. They are not the pitta types that attach to the spicy foods like people in the southwest, or Mexico who must have their chilies. But they put lemon on EVERYTHING! They LOVE their lemon and have natural fermented foods with almost every meal (great for probiotics, not great for pitta). Lemon is to them, what salt is to Americans – it brings out all the flavor. Sour taste increases pitta and many people here have an increase in pitta. Just like in Mexico, or Italy, these are passionate people. Their environment is hot, and their food is pitta increasing through the sour taste, so for that, the citrus juices are not ideal. Luckily, they also have pomegranate, fennel and mint. Their “lemonade” which is always with fresh lemon and way less sugar than in the states, is blended with mint making it a lovely green color.

At our favorite juice shop, just a block from our apartment, the juice man is like the community doctor. People come in and tell them they have a sore throat or this problem or that problem and he creates a juice for their ailment. He has the wildest combinations and you can also create your own combinations. They save the papaya seeds for us because we requested them for their anti-parasitic qualities, although he thinks we are quite strange for eating them. I love to get their green shot – SO BITTER! And I add it to my lemon and mint juice with ginger and fennel, and Sraddha gets her grapefruit juice. This has become our almost daily ritual…

Mira Murphy was the Ayurvedic Chef for 7 Center’s for 6 years. She left to study the clinical aspect of Ayurveda at the Ayurvedic Institute with Dr. Lad. and graduated 2 years ago as an Ayurvedic Practitioner  and will return to 7 Centers in May  to cook for the upcoming Yoga Therapy training. Interested in an Ayurvedic consultation?  Email: Mira

The Adventures of Lionheart, Temple Cat Tourist

About that Wall…
Walls can be fun for climbing and good views

Building walls seems to have been a favorite past time of emperors from China to Rome to establish borders and separate the “cream from the milk” so to speak. For example, Hadrian’s wall was built by the Roman army, creating the north-west frontier of the Roman empire for nearly 300 years. A biography written 200 years later said Emperor Hadrian ‘put many things to right and was the first to build a wall 80 miles long from sea to sea to separate the barbarians from the Romans‘.

Sounds familiar?
Building a wall can be grueling, expensive and take years however taking one down can be a real party and happen in a day… like the dramatic dismantling of the Berlin wall in 1989, reunifying Germany and changing the course of history.

 

Art by Victor Landeta, Berlin, Germany
Now remnants of the wall are the canvas for street art
like this series of portraits of Nobel peace prize winners.
 
Currently the Israel’s Separation Wall around the West Bank
is the subject of the latest political art project by
that cat Banksy, an anonymous British street artist.
Built next to the Wall in Bethlehem,
the Walled Off hotel is designed in decadent British colonial decor
and boasts of “having the worst view in the world”.
And the best hummus.
Only a mountain goat could climb this wall 
 Perhaps the next step in consciousness  is to become obsessed about bridges.

Vedic Astrology for May 2017

May is a month of mentally moving forward, experiencing clearer perceptions, as we let go of old mental clutter, and start fresh as Mercury goes direct. The Sun in Aries the first half of the month can bring increased vitality and inner resolve. With the transit of Mars this month, we are directed to be more disciplined, and be less reactive and more patient.  With Venus exactly opposite Jupiter mid-month, be open and invite divine grace and inner guidance to flow through your life.
Aries by Dutch artist Jofra Bosschart

On May 3, 2017, Mercury, planet of communications, the intellect, and discrimination, goes direct at 0 degrees Aries – the very first degree of the zodiac which is also a gandanta degree (spiritual knot), located on the cusp between a water and fire sign. This seems significant, as it adds a greater emphasis on letting go of past memories, worries, or beliefs that no longer serve you. This is a time to be even more discerning with how we communicate with others – with honesty, clarity, and no hidden agenda.

With Mercury transiting Mars-ruled Aries until June 3, watch for impatient speech or reacting too forcefully, and instead become a creative problem-solver.  Realize we are not our thoughts. With Mercury in Aries, focus on clearing up any misunderstandings you have had in the past – and do so with no expectations and an open heart.  This is a good time to commit to a regular meditation practice or take that class you have been putting off. We can slowly begin to move forward now with more certainty and confidence.

The Sun transits its exalted sign of Aries until May 14, 2017, which brings energy, vitality, and directness. The Sun here is very individualistic and this transit can begin a cycle of self-discovery. Aries is self-initiating and pioneering, but sometimes need to learn patience, moderation, and sharing. The Sun in Aries likes to inspire others and brings forth new ideas. Participate in uplifting activities!

Next the Sun begins its transit through the fixed earth sign Taurus from May 14 to June 14, 2017. Our inspirations become more grounded and real. Now we focus on what is truly valuable to us, and let go of the superficial. We long for more stability and commitment in our lives. Be a little more adaptable and less stubborn. This is a creative and fertile time. Spending more time in natural surroundings and connecting with good friends and family are positive expressions.

On May 18-19, 2017, Venus exalted in Pisces will exactly oppose Jupiter retrograde in Virgo at exactly 19 degrees. These two planets have been opposite each other for quite a while – since January 27 when Venus moved into Pisces, and this will end on May 30, 2017 when Venus moves to Aries. But now they will aspect exactly on May 18-19, connecting these two teacher planets (Jupiter is the teacher of the gods, Venus is the teacher of the demons). This can increase our interests in higher knowledge, esoteric subjects, and healing modalities. And with Venus in the sign of Pisces for such a long time (four months), this indicates we are all striving to understand and express the higher vibrations of Venus – like unconditional love, compassion, devotion, and deep healing.

Also, Saturn is aspecting retrograde Jupiter, which can temper the indulgence and excess that the combination of Jupiter and Venus can sometimes express, giving us some restraint and maturity. This helps us to sense our “inner prosperity” and motivates us to express this “abundance” outwardly by donating our time to worthy causes, or by simply helping our friends or family members in need.

Jupiter photo by Nasa
On May 26, 2017, Mars, planet of action and energy, moves to Gemini until July 11, 2017. Mars and Mercury will create a Parivartana Yoga, with Mars in the sign of Mercury (Gemini) and Mercury in the sign of Mars (Aries) for a few days – from May 26 to June 3. Parivartana Yoga joins these two planetary energies tightly together.  Mars sees Mercury as an enemy, while Mercury sees Mars as being neutral. So watch for frustrating communications, angry words, or taking things too personally. Stop and think things through before speaking. This can be a positive combination for analyzing situations and being a good problem-solver if one is patient. Take the time to include others in decision-making.

In addition, as Mars begins its transit through Gemini it will oppose Saturn in Sagittarius at 1 degree on May 28 and 29. These two planets are not very friendly with each other, so as they face off we experience increased frustrations and possible delays in the actions we take. It’s important not to give up, but move through these barriers with grace and peace. We are asked to be more responsible, truthful, and learn from the seeds we have sown. Take more time to understand all sides of an issue before making important decisions.

 

Debra Infante, Vedic astrologer, can be reached at (928) 639-0623 or by email for astrological consultations, either in person or by phone.

Vedic Astrology for April 2017

April brings increased retrograde energies, with four planets (Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, and Mercury) in retrograde motion at least part of the month. When a planet is retrograde, its vibrations are turned inward and it can even become a more powerful time as unresolved issues surface to be reviewed and overcome. Then as the planets go direct, we are able to make better decisions with greater awareness. These retrograde energies will be especially strong for 7 days, from April 9 through April 15, 2017, when all four planets (Venus, Jupiter, Saturn and Mercury) are retrograde.

 

First, on April 5, 2017, Saturn, the lord of time, karma, and truth, goes retrograde at 3 degrees Sagittarius. It will eventually retrograde back into the sign of Scorpio on June 20, 2017 and

Nasa Photo of Saturn

doesn’t go direct until August 25, 2017 at 27 degrees of Scorpio. Saturn will again be passing through the significant and challenging degrees called gandanta, which means “spiritual knot,” as it retrogrades and then goes direct this year. Old patterns, barriers, and fears that arose in January and February 2017 can slowly be revived once again this spring, summer, and fall for our review, understanding, and correction.
In general, most of this year we are given great opportunities to come into alignment with the highest energies of Saturn, which include connecting to one’s true self, taking responsibility for the consequences of one’s actions, becoming more self-disciplined, and embracing the need for equality, peace, and respect in our relationships and in the world. Saturn retrograde can bring up issues of self-doubt or limitation to be healed and transformed. Inner tensions arise if we are out of integrity, as Saturn requires honesty. But don’t be so hard on yourself. With Saturn retrograde we are developing more strength, patience, and proper detachment. Let go of things that no longer serve you. Time spent alone may be more appealing.  But watch for too much isolation or worry. Spending time in nature or being in supportive and peaceful environments are positive remedies.

Jupiter, Mercury and Virtue, detail, by Dosso Dossi, 1524

 

 

Mercury, planet of communications and travel, goes retrograde April 9 until May 3, 2017. During the retrograde phase it’s a goodtime to review plans, research new ideas, and clean out closets! Back up your computer. Choose your words carefully. Listen and be fully present with others. This is a good time for inner reflection, meditation, and contemplation. Venus, planet of love, relationships, and finance, still retrograde in its exalted sign of Pisces since March 3, 2017, goes direct on April 15, 2017. While retrograde we reassess and re-evaluate our romantic relationships, our ability to do self-care, and our financial situations. This is a time to re-define what is truly valuable to us. Unfinished business connected to old love patterns can surface to be acknowledged and transformed. Even strong, existing relationships can sometimes be strengthened during this time. Forgiveness and compassion are good remedies now. Once Venus goes direct, we have more clarity about real love and what is most important to us, so we can move forward.

Jupiter, planet of spirituality and prosperity has been retrograde since February 5, 2017 and will be retrograde a few more months, going direct on June 19, 2017. During Jupiter retrograde our abundance is experienced on an inner level. We are not as concerned with the material aspects of life, and are more concentrated on creating peace of mind and finding our center, which is priceless! This year, Akshaya Tritiya (a very auspicious day in the Vedic calendar), occurs on April 28, 2017. This positive day occurs each year on the third lunar day of the waxing moon in either April or May, when the Sun and Moon are both exalted. Traditionally, any venture begun on this day grows and brings prosperity. According to ancient legend, this is the day when the sacred Ganges River descended to the earth from heaven.

 

Debra Infante, Vedic astrologer, can be reached at (928) 639-0623 or by email 
for astrological consultations, either in person or by phone.

The Adventures of Lionheart, Temple Cat: Bad Dreams or worse the Nightmare

All dreams are not created equal. While a bad dream will give a scare or make a temple cat anxious, a nachtmerrie  (in Dutch) will cause one to immediately wake up from a nap usually at the climax of fear. “The word “nightmare” is derived from the Old English “mare”, a mythological demon or goblin who torments others with frightening dreams. Subsequently, the prefix “night-” was added to stress the dream aspect.”1

Blue dog feels the Collective angst

A common experience found among most of the population at one time or another, it is more chronic for children who can start having nightmares at age 2 and peak around 6 years old.

Jackson (the temple dog ) who recently turned three, has a lot in common with children and seems to be in the midst of an intense cycle of dreaming. Nightly he can be seen pedaling his feet in his sleep accompanied by short frantic yips.  Is he running after Mr. Jackrabbit or has he gotten lost in a series of Blue Dog paintings and found himself in Washington DC?

I’ve got you now…haha

 

Xena claims to have a recurring nightmare about fat orange cats showing up in various paintings. Odds are that it’s not random – there’s probably symbolism in her dream related to something that she is struggling with in her life.  Image reversal therapy is suggested to rewrite bad dreams replacing them with something more pleasant. Visualize the new narrative and be confident that the new dream will trump the old.

How to prevent nightmares from occurring?
Common folk wisdom has suggested to avoid nighttime snacks (i.e. Friskies Ocean fish in cheese sauce) and cut down on wine and the bedtime toddy.  Keep good smells wafting through your bedroom like flowers and essential oil in an atomizer. Put on a nature sound CD and fall asleep to the calming sounds of humming bees, chirping crickets or peeping baby birds ready to fall out of nest.

1 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nightmare

Ayurvedic Corner: A Classical Ayurvedic Perspective on Sleep

Do you have problems sleeping? If yes is the answer, you’re not alone. According to sleepeducation.org, 30-35% of Americans have episodes of insomnia and 10% have chronic insomnia. As a health practitioner, I see many people with irregular sleep patterns.  Many can’t go to sleep and stay asleep. Many more (an estimated 9  million Americans) need to take pharmaceutical drugs to help in the nightly endeavor. What does Ayurveda say about sleep? For this month’s article, I explore the subject of sleep and dive into this fascinating topic using the classic and formative Ayurvedic text, The Charaka Samhita. Enjoy!

Charaka on Sleep
In The Charaka Samhita Sutrasthana chapter 11 line 35, Charaka writes, “When the mind including the sensory and motor organs is [are] exhausted and they dissociate themselves from their objects, then the individual sleeps.” In order for this dissociation to occur, tamas has to settle into the body. Tamas is one of

Tamas has to settle into the body and mind for this kind of rest

three mahagunas (great universal attributes) associated with inertia, darkness, and heaviness; all of which are needed to get and stay asleep. Charaka goes on to write that the effects of proper sleep include happiness, nourishment, strength, virility, knowledge, and life. Conversely, the effects of improper sleep include misery, emaciation, weakness, sterility, ignorance, and death.

Napping
Charaka continues to assert that sleeping during the day is prescribed for those who are exhausted by such things as singing (interesting!), studying, sex, walking long distances, the elderly, the young, and the injured.  (Just to name a few from the text.) Furthermore, day sleeping is indicated in the summer season for everyone because the nights are shorter and Vata gets aggravated by the absorption of fluid in the body caused by the heat of the sun. Because of this, we naturally need more sleep to nourish the bodily tissues or dhatus. Just make sure not to nap in any other season, especially if your Pitta and Kapha are aggravated, as napping during the day increases both of these doshas. Also, it is advised not to seek sleep after eating food.

For Improved Sleep
According to Charaka, the best cures to ensure a smooth and deep sleep include massage, bathing, oleation, intake of soup of domestic marshy and aquatic animals (interesting!), intake of a

Saffron has a mild sedative effect to calm the mind and nerves

special rice with curd, intake of milk, an unctuous substances, alcohol, mental pleasures, smell of pleasant scents, a comfortable bed and home, and sleeping at a proper time. Warm milk with a ½ of a teaspoon of soma formula, or saffron turmeric milk are two go-to recipes I suggest for those who have sleeping problems. For the later recipe, only ½ teaspoon of turmeric is needed with just a pinch (a small thread) of saffron. Add coconut sugar to taste.

Overall, proper sleep is an important aspect of healthy living. This fundamental principle was known even in the time of Charaka, which is said to have been approximately 5000 years ago. This has just been an introduction to the classical point of view into the subject of sleep.  I hope it has given you a glimpse into The Charaka Samhita, as well as shed light on some basic aspects of sleep. Namaste.

Melissa Camacho, guest writer, is a licensed acupuncturist and Ayurvedic practitioner in Sedona. To contact her, please click here.

Vedic Astrology ~ March 2017

This month, with Venus exalted and retrograde, and Mercury debilitated in Pisces, the focus is on self-love, improving our relationship skills, communicating from the heart, and coming back to our true values. Letting go of judgement, respecting others, and being less impulsive are also important lessons with Mars in Aries.

Mars, planet of action and assertiveness, moves into the fiery sign of Aries on March 1, 2017 until April 12, 2017. Mars is the ruler of the sign of Aries, and feels comfortable transiting its own sign. We are more spontaneous, pioneering, and adventurous. Being too impulsive, getting angry quickly, and having lack of follow-through are the challenges with Mars in Aries.

Aries transcript of Kitab al Bulhan, Ottoman Islamic miniature

Aries transcript of Kitab al Bulhan, Ottoman Islamic miniature

It is recommended to take time when making important decisions and to consider others’ point of view. Listening well and acknowledging others is very important now. Instead of focusing on the differences you may have with others, try to see what you truly have in common. Be more self-controlled and less reactive. While Mars is strong in Aries, we want to invest our time in activities that bring us more energy and vitality, like beginning a yoga practice or other self-improvement modalities. We want simplicity and directness in dealing with others. To be more centered and vital we must move through any anger or fear-based issues now with grace and forgiveness.

Venus, planet of love, relationships, healing, and finance goes retrograde from March 4, 2017 until April 15, 2017 in its exalted sign of Pisces. Re-evaluation of your current relationships is a possible theme with this transit. Even an old partner can reappear in order to complete some unfinished business or to have closure. This is a time to uncover your true motives in love. Issues concerning self-worth, lack of support, and compromise can arise for us to feel and heal.

We may feel even more emotional and vulnerable at this time – especially with Venus retrograde in the sensitive and sympathetic

Constellation of Pisces

Constellation of Pisces

sign of Pisces. We want deep, intimate connections with others, but try not to romanticize or idealize too much. Be real and heart-felt. We may be tested in matters of love and integrity. Have clear boundaries and be discriminating and self-responsible. Real love does not expect anything in return. Realize that it is through relationships that we learn and evolve in profound ways. When Venus is retrograde, prosperity and financial issues can also surface to understand and review, as our values may shift. Our perceptions in love and finance are not as clear when Venus is retrograde, and we can make choices too quickly with highly-charged emotions. With this in mind, this is probably not the best time to make important decisions about love, relationships, or finances until the retrograde period is over. Then we can see with renewed insight, and be more objective. Devotional practices that focus on spiritual love and compassion for all are positive expressions with Venus retrograde.

Mercury, planet of communications, moves into Pisces, its sign of debility on March 10, 2017 until March 26, 2017. Mercury will be with exalted Venus, which reverses some of its debility. Mercury in Pisces is less concerned with details, and somewhat indirect with communications. Speaking with clarity and greater discernment is indicated to avoid any misunderstandings. With Venus retrograde and Mercury debilitated this month, take the time to understand and speak honestly with your significant others, and you will be rewarded. Meditation, mindfulness practices, and pranayama (conscious breathing) are good remedies.

On a positive note, Jupiter, the great benefic planet, aspects both Venus and Mercury in Pisces this month which adds spiritual support and helps us find creative solutions to some of the challenges that can surface this month in relationship and love.

Debra Infante, Vedic astrologer, can be reached at (928) 639-0623 or by email for astrological consultations, either in person or by phone.

The Adventures of Lionheart, Temple Cat

The Three Doshas

In Ayurveda, the doshas Vata, Pitta and Kapha refer to our physical constitution made of the five elements. The unique combination of one’s doshas becomes a barometer of balance and true nature although usually one leads the pack!

Vata-Air/Ether

The word Vata is derived from a Sanskrit root meaning movement and initiates all life processes that are dynamic in nature. It brings a thought from the memory to consciousness and transfers current experiences into memories.

In human physiology Vata controls blood flow, elimination of wastes, breathing and the movement of thoughts across the mind.*

It’s very Vata to:

– Have a delicate stomach and throw up on the bed

– Change one’s mind often ( “I want to go outside, No I want to be inside, I think I want to go outside)

– Inclined to be skitterish, quick to react to sound 

– Walk, talk and eat quickly all at the same time

– Have a lot to say about the woes of being sensitive

 

 

Pitta – Fire /Water

The word Pitta is derived from the Sanskrit meaning heat or burning. Pitta governs all transformations in the physiology, from the digestion of food to the metabolizing of feelings, emotions and sensory perceptions.*

It’s very Pitta to:

– Be hungry and think about food all the time 

– Have lots of energy, can’t get enough of exercise or walks

– Competitive game player especially with balls and sticks

– Like being in control and enthusiastically herd others

– Be territorial and pee on things

 

 

Kapha – Earth/Water

The word Kapha means to bind or hold together and governs the structural integrity of the body, from giving it mass and stability to protecting it from the outside environment. It gives strength, stability, and endurance — both physical and psychological — and promotes human emotions and compassion and governs immunity and resistance against disease*

Its very Kapha to:

– Mull things before deciding which lap to sit on

– Wake up slowly, lie in bed for a long time… like all day 

– Like to be cozy and snuggle

– Seek emotional comfort from eating

– Have graceful pear shaped movements, liquid eyes and a gliding walk 

When the doshas are not in balance this is called one’s vikruti and can bring attention to what doshas need to be pacified. Still in the throes of winter and love of food, the derangement of kapha dosha has birthed new nicknames. Temple cat Xena is affectionately called “my little sausage” by Uta and temple dog Jackson, who has little definition between his neck and shoulders, comes running to Jackson Stout. 

It will all change in Springtime with a diet…maybe.

* Resources http://www.hindupedia.com/en/Three_Doshas

Vedic Astrology for January

January is a significant month of transformation, as a major planetary event occurs with Saturn changing signs, moving from the water sign of Scorpio to the fire sign of Sagittarius on the evening of January 26, 2017 (MST).
Famous for its rings,
Saturn is said to have at least 62 moons

Saturn is the slowest moving planet in Vedic astrology, taking approximately 2 ½ to 3 years to move through a sign, therefore it has great impact when it changes signs. In addition, Saturn will transit through the challenging gandanta degrees this month, and especially intense energies may surface from January 16 through February 6, 2017, when Saturn transits 29 degrees Scorpio to 1 degree of Sagittarius.

Gandanta means a “spiritual knot,” and when planets pass through these junctures, moving from a water sign (in this case Scorpio) to a fire sign (Sagittarius), we are given opportunities for deeper soul growth if we choose. We must release old, ancient wounds and habitual patterns from the past that revolve around Saturn significations, or they will persist. If we can move through this important shift of Saturn with grace and non-resistance, there is the potential for personal healing and increased awareness on the planet.

From January 1 to January 26, Saturn will be completing its transit through the transformative sign of Scorpio. We can experience increased pressures to face our shadow, the unconscious & subconscious aspects of self, as we bring in more light. Saturn, being such a wise teacher planet, really wants us to evolve, and so exerts more tension on us, motivating us to quickly detach and release our fears, anxiety, and drama, so we can be a better witness to life. With Saturn in Scorpio it is important not to blame others for things we were responsible for, acknowledging our part in challenging situations. We may go through profound transformation in the process, or even a little upheaval, as we uproot strongholds of resistance. Intense feelings and emotions can surface during this process. We are uncovering our authentic self as we become more empowered.

Next, as Saturn transits the Jupiter-ruled sign of Sagittarius for three years, from January 26, 2017 to January 24, 2020.

an older map of the constellation Sagittarius

Education, knowledge, ethics, and uncovering the deeper wisdoms of life are major themes of Saturn in Sagittarius. We become more realistic and practical, and we desire to transform beliefs that separate or polarize. We welcome universal principles that uplift and inspire. The sign of Sagittarius loves truth and freedom, and so with Saturn there, we are learning to be more patient and tolerant of others’ beliefs.

The challenge with Saturn transiting Sagittarius can be a hesitancy to speak up or share our knowledge when needed, or others may want to impose their beliefs in a controlling manner. Frustrations arise when we experience life in a narrow, constricted way. Our ethics may be under scrutiny and are tested. This is a time to walk your talk, with Saturn in Sagittarius.

Developing deeper heart connections with others is helpful and can support this transformation. Meditation and pranayama (breath work) are also great aids. We are yearning to access a deeper purpose in our lives. Ultimately, with increased clarity (Saturn) and a sense of fairness (Sagittarius), we can make wiser decisions for our future.

Also at the end of January, Venus (planet of love, relationship, the arts, and healing) moves into Pisces, its exalted or best sign, on January 27, 2017. Venus will stay in Pisces a long time this year, over four months, from January 27 until May 30, 2017. This is because Venus will go retrograde in the sign of Pisces this spring. Allow the healing energies of Venus to bring more compassion, gentleness, and kindness into the world. Life can be rather empty if our heart is closed. We desire more uplifting and loving connections with family and friends. Inviting more devotional/spiritual content or creative expression into to one’s life is a positive outlet for Venus. We connect to Venus by working with the heart chakra and honoring the Divine Feminine.

Debra Infante, Vedic astrologer, can be reached at (928) 639-0623 or by email for astrological consultations, either in person or by phone.

Vedic Astrology for December 2016

Venus and Mars conjunction

Venus and Mars conjunction

Venus (planet of love and relationship) moves into the sign of Capricorn on December 2 until December 28, 2016. Venus in the earth sign of Capricorn wants consistency and reliability in relationship, but also can be cautious and too controlling. Being comfortable with our vulnerability and sharing our hearts more freely without judgment are important lessons. Venus joins exalted Mars (planet of initiative and energy) in Capricorn for a short period, from December 2 until December 11, and these two planets together bring a “passionate wiring” prompting the need to be creative, spontaneous, and inspired. But watch for occasional agitation.

On December 10, 2016, the Sun and Saturn transiting the fixed sign of Scorpio will conjunct at exactly 24 degrees, which can amplify and bring into focus the deeper issues of imbalance in our lives and in the world. Work on creating more reciprocal energies in your personal and work relationships. Be more authentic, and channel your energies into those areas of your life you feel will give you the greatest internal growth and self-expression, which then creates greater personal happiness. You may feel motivated to become more organized and efficient at work and at home.

Ketu, the south node of the moon

Ketu, the south node of the moon

Mars (planet of action and courage) moves into the fixed sign of Aquarius on December 11, 2016 through January 19, 2017. Mars will join Ketu, the south node of the Moon, already in Aquarius. These two pitta and fiery planets will eventually connect exactly at 11 degrees Aquarius on December 26 and 27, 2016, when their energies accelerate. This combination can bring feisty and argumentative behavior, with a tendency toward passive-aggressive expressions. The Ketu aspect on Mars creates more indirect and manipulative energy. We have to be more disciplined, focused, and straightforward with all the actions we take. Motives may be hidden, so take extra time to be clear with self and others, and try not to be impulsive. Mars and Ketu can also be accident-prone, so be mindful. We can feel uncomfortable and resist taking needed actions, while projecting this inner fear onto others. Lessons surface about taking personal responsibility for what we do. This is a time to honor your courage and inner strength, and not give up. Realize how powerful you really are. Direct this energy toward your true goals with confidence and commitment.

A few days later, on December 14 and 15, 2016, the Sun passes through the challenging gandanta degrees of 29 Scorpio and 0 Sagittarius, signifying the need to untie “karmic knots” or long-held blocks that revolve around the significations of the Sun. Remember that when planets pass through these junctures, between a water sign (Scorpio) and a fire sign (Sagittarius), we are given opportunities for deeper soul growth, freeing ourselves of old patterns that no longer serve us. Becoming aware of any fears or wrong beliefs that prevent you from deeply connecting to your soul (Sun) is recommended. Problems with our identity, self-esteem, career choices, or paternal relationships are held up for deeper reflection and can ultimately be transformed and healed. Then from December 15, 2016 until January 14, 2017, the Sun transits the fire sign of Sagittarius. The Sun in Sagittarius gives high idealism and humanitarian instincts. We dislike hypocrisy and want truth.

Mercury gb2940dff-8979-462b-9332-b299b646a6c7oes retrograde in the sign of Sagittarius on December 19, 2016 until January 8, 2017. Be clear with all types of communications, double-check travel plans, and be prepared for any technical or computer issues. This is a positive time of review and inner reflection, perfect for the end of the year.
The winter solstice (in the northern hemisphere) occurs on December 21, 2016, which signals the rebirth of the Sun and the beginning of winter. This is the shortest day and longest night of the year. The solstice can be a magical and contemplative time, as we celebrate renewal, hope, and spiritual rebirth. Let go of old programming and irrational fears that do not serve us. Offer respect and gratitude for the coming light and all you have been given this past year. It is a powerful day for meditation, prayer, self-examination, and setting intentions, as we welcome a new beginning.

On Christmas day, December 25, Saturn in Scorpio aspects Venus in Capricorn exactly at 26 degrees. Stability and familiarity bring us more comfort now. We may revive old family traditions or rituals that previously had deep meaning for us, and that now bring a welcomed sense of connectedness and continuity. Let go of old frustrations and unrealistic expectations. Relax, and be more unconditional, flexible, and understanding with others.

Debra Infante, Vedic astrologer, can be reached at (928) 639-0623 or by email for astrological consultations, either in person or by phone.

 

photo credits:
mars and venus
ketu 
winter solstice