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 

Vedic Astrology for October 2016

At the beginning of October, Venus (planet of love and relationship) continues its pleasant transit through Libra, its own sign, until October 12, 2016. Allow the harmonizing and empathic higher energies of Libra to predominate. We want balance and harmony in our unstable world and happiness for our loved ones. Let any suffering you are feeling, whether it is sadness, anger, or confusion, be a catalyst for opening the heart further and bring compassion into your personal life and into our world.

scorpioNext, Venus moves into the fixed water sign of Scorpio where it joins Saturn from October 13 to November 6, 2016. We will be tested further, as Venus in Scorpio can bring up issues of attachment or jealousy in love for us to heal. Letting go of “grasping” in love, allowing a more universal and unconditional love to surface. Saturn with Venus can trigger old feelings of restriction or lack of nurturance in love and relationship. Meet these feeling of vulnerability with loving actions – show kindness and acceptance to others and to one’s self, with no expectations. Realize that openness and honesty creates healing and expansion. Cultivating forgiveness is a positive remedy. Allow Saturn, the planet of wisdom and truth, to help us actualize a more mature and responsibility expression of universal love.
Mercury transits its exalted sign of Virgo from October 3 to October 20, 2016 where it joins Jupiter, the great benefic planet. These two planets will exactly conjunct on October 10, at 12 degrees Virgo. If you are feeling more chaos in your life, let this connection of Mercury and Jupiter to help you comprehend a more expansive view of life, with greater insight and understanding. Educational pursuits are emphasized as well as a desire to travel to stimulating locations. Discrimination (learning to make the best choices for all concerned) is a theme, as well as creating more order and clarity in our lives. Watch out for too much mental activity with Mercury in Virgo, as well as intellectual egotism – thinking you are the only one with the answers. Realize your words are very powerful and have great impact. We gain through meditation practices, reading inspirational literature, and deep reflection.

kala-sarpa-yoga

Kala Sarpa-Rahu Ketu http://www.hintastrologu.com

For most of October, Kala Sarpa Yoga occurs, from October 1 to October 11, 2016, and again from October 26 to November 7, 2016. This combination happens when all the planets are sandwiched in between the nodes of the Moon, Rahu and Ketu. Called the “snake of time” this yoga (planetary combination) can bring challenges and restrictions in manifesting our desires, which we may feel more intensely – but there is a positive way through this. Realize that this is a pivotal time in which we are given a greater opportunity to move forward in our spiritual development. Leave behind anger, guilt, or shame (those lower vibrational energies of the past), and acknowledge the importance these lessons held in our personal evolution. Be courageous and willing to break any deep, habitual patterns that have locked you in, healing the original source of the problem. Embrace the more evolved qualities of compassion, gratitude, and especially forgiveness. Be less reactive, more neutral. Find things to do that inspire you and put yourself in environments that bring you peace. A requirement with this planetary combination is to take the high road, and act with the highest ethical and moral standards. With true intention and corrective actions, we can experience some significant breakthroughs!

The Sun transits Libra, its sign of debility from October 16 to November 15, 2016. The ability to effectively compromise with others without losing one’s sense of self is a lesson of the Sun in Libra. We cannot please everyone all the time, but we do the best to respect others’ needs and points of view in a humble way. Mercury joins the Sun in Libra from October 21 until November 8, 2016, and during part of this time (from October 21 to November 2), Mercury will be combust the Sun (using a 4 degree orb). Combustion means the integrity of the planet is somewhat compromised. So with Mercury combust, be clear and precise in all communications or misunderstandings can result. Take care in all business dealings, and be diligent and get the details right. Find the right time to communicate, when you feel grounded and have mental clarity – don’t rush. Meditation, mindfulness, and patience can prove helpful.


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 September

September marks the fall eclipse season with two eclipses – a solar eclipse on September 1, 2016 and a lunar eclipse on September 16, 2016. This means we can experience heightened sensitivity this month, along with possible new revelations, like divine messages, that helps us to get back on track, bringing us deeper healing and transformation. Eclipses could be considered days of “spiritual initiation” and are wonderful days for deep inner work, insight, meditation, and prayer. Material or worldly pursuits are not recommended around eclipse days. Being in positive and supportive environments can be helpful during these events. These are times we need to be more mindful and focused, as occasionally we can feel more mentally confused or too emotionally stimulated around eclipses as sudden shifts can occur.

Solar eclipse on September 1, 2016

Solar eclipse on September 1, 2016

September 1, 2016 brought an early morning solar eclipse (new moon) at 15 degrees Leo in the creative nakshatra of Purva Phalguni. As this eclipse is in the strong sign of Leo, it brings an emphasis on our personal power – are we not standing up for ourselves or are we too over-bearing? Where does our “power” really come from? We may realize we need more creativity or self-expression in our work or in our lives. We are learning to open our hearts, to appreciate and inspire others and be helpful. The deity of Purva Phalguni is Bhaga (god of good fortune), so this eclipse helps us re-define what real prosperity is. Watch for self-indulgence or impulsiveness.

Purva Bhadrapada by Arun Sharma

Purva Bhadrapada by Arun Sharma

On September 16, 2016 (12:05 PM PDT) a very significant and eventful lunar eclipse (full moon) occurs at 0 degrees Pisces inPurva Bhadrapada – quite a spiritual, idealistic, and intense nakshatra. This eclipse can bring deep purification of self as we move toward a higher awareness. Performing activities that stabilize the mind and calm the emotions are positive. This eclipse nakshatra can have two opposing views or positions, so choose pure and enlightened goals. Try not to engage in critical or angry feelings, which is the shadow-side of Purva Bhadrapada. In addition, during this lunar eclipse the Sun changes signs, which is called sakranti in Sanskrit, as the Sun moves from the sign of Leo to Virgo. This can indicate some type of significant “shift” is occurring – whether individually or globally. As it is the Sun transitioning – this means that on the outer level it can bring a change with a leader or in a government, but on a higher, inner level, the heart opens and a deeper soul-connection happens. This can manifest as a feeling of oneness and desire to service to humanity – with the Sun moving to the helpful and healing sign of Virgo.

Also, Mars (the planet of action, courage, frustration, anger, and forcefulness) will be transiting the critical degrees of 29 degrees Scorpio to 0 degrees of Sagittarius (called gandanta) on September 16, 17, and 18, right around the time of the September 16 lunar eclipse. This can bring heightened emotions and passionate or angry actions. This is a good opportunity to practice neutrality or equanimity and be calm. Gandanta means “knot,” and when planets pass through these junctures we are given opportunities for deeper soul growth by transmuting our wounds and old patterns. Knots are not always easy to untie, and so the transit of Mars through these degrees trigger past, ancient issues centering around anger and separatism that we must not resist but mentally shift, or the “knots” gets tighter. The end result could ultimately be a higher, more authentic expression.

Venus in Virgo

Venus in Virgo

For the first few weeks of September, until the 18th, Venus (planet of love and relationship) will be in Virgo, its sign of debility or weakness (having been there since August 25). We may experience some criticalness with loved ones or issues surface around self-love as we demand perfection. So along with Venus in Virgo andthe eclipse energies this month, it is best for everyone to choose love and compassion over selfishness and doubt. It’s suggested to do heart-felt activities and even work with the heart chakra. Diplomacy can be challenged until the 18th, but can be rectified once Venus moves into the friendly and harmonious sign of Libra from September 18 until October 13, 2016. Venus enjoys being in Libra, and so relating to others becomes smoother, more balanced, and peaceful. We also find it easier to negotiate or compromise with others.

At the beginning of the month, until September 21, Mercury is retrograde (having been so since August 30). And on September 9 until October 3, Mercury will retrograde back into the sign of Leo where it joins Rahu, the north node of the Moon. Mercury with Rahu (a shadow planet) can bring a little more challenge for some to accurately perceiving the truth behind communications, the news, or with business endeavors. So do take a little more time to reflect and to evaluate circumstances and one’s own motivations. Use this time to meditate, go on retreat, and take some stimulating educational courses. Be clear and precise while talking with others, double-check travel plans, and back-up electronics. Mercury then goes direct on September 21, 2016, so projects now can slowly move forward with greater confidence. In addition, after October 3, when Mercury moves into its best sign of Virgo and away from Rahu, we experience even better discernment and more mental clarity.

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

The Wonders of Shirodhara

As many of you know, Ayurveda has unique body treatments.  Probably the most unique and representative of Ayurveda here in the west is the Shirodhara warm oil treatment.  What is shirodhara?,  you ask.  Well,  you’ve come to the right place.  In this month’s article, I elaborate on what to expect in a Shirodhara treatment and the reasons why everyone should receive shirodhara on a regular basis.  Enjoy!

often prescribed to reduce the vata dosha...

often prescribed to reduce the vata dosha…

The Procedure
Shirodhara, in sanskrit meaning head (shiro) flow (dhara), is an extremely relaxing treatment in which a skilled therapist systematically pours herbalized warm oil from a copper vessel onto the forehead for twenty to forty-five minutes.  The oil flows from the forehead, into the hair, and then into a vessel which is most likely placed on top of a warming device of some kind, such as a hot plate.  It is then recirculated to the head.  The oil is full of herbs such as  ashwagandha, shitavari, and bringaraj-just to name a few.  The result of the continuous flow of oil is deep relaxation of the mind, the slowing of the breath, and an overall Sattvic demeanor.

Marma Therapy
Shirodhara has the power to calm the mind because the entire treatment focuses on the stimulation of one of the most important points in the body called Ajna, sometimes called Sthapani marma.  Ajna, which is located a little shorter than an inch above the mid point between the eyebrows, regulates tarpaka kapha, helps with memory, concentration, and instilling peace in the mind.  Also, according to Dr. Lad, it is great for eye, nose, and head pathologies including glaucoma and sinus issues.

ajna chakra by pieter weltevrede

ajna chakra by pieter weltevrede

Chakra Therapy
Beyond marma point stimulation, Shirodhara also helps to awaken the sixth chakra, which is also called Ajna.  Ajna chakra is the chakra responsible for insight, intuition, and clarity.  It is often said that this is the best place to focus during meditation.  As many of you know, this chakra is associated to the pituitary gland. Thus, shirodhara has a profound effect on the entire endocrine system.

Shirodhara on Every Street Corner
I had a teacher at the Ayurvedic Institute talk about the need in this country for a shirodhara treatment center on every street corner.  How different our culture would be if we did!  Shirodhara warm oil treatment is an amazing experience.  If you are in need of some deep nourishment, call and schedule one with your local Ayurvedic practitioner today. Namaste.

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

Vedic Astrology for August

August is a very busy month with some intense astrological activity, indicating major shifts, changes, and transformational events can be possible. This month presents a great opportunity to move through life’s stresses with strength and an enlightened perspective.

jupiter and moons

Jupiter and four of its largest moons

First, Jupiter, the great benefic planet of spirituality, wisdom, and finance, moves from the fire sign of Leo, to the earth sign of Virgo on August 11, 2016. Jupiter will remain in Virgo until September 11, 2017. Jupiter stays in a sign a little over a year, so when Jupiter shifts signs it is quite significant. With Jupiter now in the practical earth sign of Virgo, we are not big risk-takers with our finances, but instead find value in organizing and developing realistic and efficient business plans. And as Virgo is a sign of seva or service, Jupiter here may motivate us to do charitable work, helping those in need which uplifts and inspires us. Environmental causes, alternative energy sources, sustainability, and growing organic food are areas of life that are favored as Jupiter travels through health-conscious Virgo. Our focus moves to educational goals, attaining knowledge, and connecting to our true vocation. We do need to watch out for occasional self-criticalness as well as a dose of perfectionism that can block our progress, as we want things pure.

Saturn, planet of discipline, focus and truth, goes direct on August 13, 2016, having been retrograde since March 25, 2016. While Saturn was retrograde in Scorpio, we were forced to honestly face our shadow-self and projections onto others, or we suffered. Now as Saturn moves direct, and hopefully with lessons learned concerning self-responsibility, we move through life with greater maturity, stability, and reliability. Showing respect to all and being dedicated and authentic in our work are positive qualities connected to Saturn.

mercury eustache leseur

Mercury by Eustache LeSeur

On August 19, 2016 Mercury (planet of the intellect) transits Virgo, its sign of exaltation until September 9. During this time Mercury will be with Jupiter which will amplify interest in educational or mental pursuits. Taking writing courses, journaling, or getting published may be an interest. Mercury in Virgo can give us deeper insight into life, and the ability to be more discerning in our choices. Our speech and writings become very inspiring and influential.

A major planetary event occurs when Mars and Saturn in Scorpio conjunct (meet) exactly at 15 degrees on August 22, 23, and 24, 2016. These two planets are “enemies” to each other, so watch for increased volatility, and frustrations rising around this time. Mars in its own sign of Scorpio is quite strong and intense. Mars wants immediate action and self-expression, but Saturn can restrict or delay the assertive energies of Mars, a planet that does not like being held back. Watch for an amplification of anger and making impulsive decisions that you later regret. Refusing to change or shift one’s views out of fear or anxiety is possible. But if motivated by pure intention and strong will, we can rise above these barriers with greater understanding and vision. Positive ways to work with the Saturn/Mars energy are to find healthy outlets for this excessive build-up of energy, such as through physical activity like yoga or tai chi, or even through the creative arts. Allow grace, clarity, and more light to enter your life. Raise your vibration through meditation or mindfulness practices. Know that your actions do matter and have great impact. Be with uplifting people or read inspirational literature. See your purpose as creating peace and kindness in the world.  Forgiveness is one of the best things we can do during this time, as when we truly forgive – we release ourselves of burdens of pain and fear, and then we realize we cannot attack or harm another being.

Venus goes into Virgo, its sign of debility, the very next day after the Saturn/Mars conjunction, on August 25 until September 18, 2016. Venus will then join exalted Mercury and Jupiter already there. Venus in Virgo is learning to be less mental in its approach to love and relationship. This is a time to keep our hearts open, or we can become too critical and analytical. During the time Mercury is with Venus in Virgo (from August 25 to September 9), the debility of Venus is lessened, which helps us to be more loving and supportive of others.

In addition, from August 25 until September 18, 2016, the meeting of the two teacher planets, Jupiter and Venus occurs in Virgo. Jupiter is the teacher of the gods, and Venus is the teacher of the demons in Vedic mythology. This combination presents us with an opportunity to learn and gain understandings (hopefully peacefully) from two different perspectives or levels of awareness. Let the higher energies of this connection help us work together intelligently in this era of increased and extreme polarity that we all feel in the world today.

Toward the end of August, Mars (planet of assertiveness, action, courage) in Scorpio will aspect Ketu (south node of the Moon) in Aquarius, exactly at 18 degrees on August 28 and 29, 2016. This is a time to be extra careful, as it can create overly excitable emotions and thoughts. This is a time to cool down, be patient and non-reactive. Do peaceful activities and be in positive, uplifting environments are remedial measures.

Mercury begins its retrograde phase in Virgo on August 30, 2016 until September 21, 2016.  During the retrograde phase it’s a good time to review plans, research new ideas, and double-check all communications and travel plans. Choose your words carefully and communicate intelligently. Clean out closets and re-organize your home.

Purva Phalguni illustrated by Arun Sharma

Purva Phalguni illustrated by Arun Sharma

And finally, the fall eclipse season begins in the early morning hours of September 1, 2016 at 2:03 AM (PDT), with a solar eclipse at 15 degrees in the fiery sign of Leo in the fierce nakshatra of Purva Phalguni. This is the first of the two eclipses occurring in September (the other one is on September 16). Eclipses are catalysts, and can bring increased awareness and insight. Things may be revealed now that we had ignored or hidden, in order to heal and transform. Do not to fear eclipses, but know they can bring significant changes into one’s life. With this eclipse in Purva Phalguni nakshatra (whose deity is Bhaga, the god of fortune) we become more aware that to really appreciate life, we must share with those we love, and be generous to those in need. The shadow of this nakshatra is over-indulgence, narcissism, and pride. Maybe this is an opening to re-define our values and sensibilities. During an eclipse it is best to be in a peaceful, healing environment as we can feel heightened sensitivity. Ultimately, eclipses are for focusing on our spiritual self, and embracing the light within.

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

Ayurvedic Corner: Fresh Almond Milk

fresh almond milkFresh almond milk is very different than store-bought almond milk. Fresh almond milk is rich and creamy and nourishes the “ojas”. This is a therapeutic remedy for building strength for someone whose vital energy is depleted. You will taste and feel how nourishing it is.

You can substitute other nuts/seeds in place of almonds, some other options are cashews, sunflower seeds, macadamia nuts, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds (with hemp seeds you don’t have to strain). Whatever nut or seed you use, it is important to soak it in water for digestibility and so it will blend more smoothly. When soaking nuts and seeds in water, you must change the water when it gets cloudy, rinsing and replacing with fresh water. They will store in the fridge up to a week if properly rinsed. For straining the nut milk, you can purchase a nut milk bag online. We use a 1 gallon paint strainer bag you can find at a hardware store for a few dollars.

Good for everyone… fresh almond milk pacifies Vata*Pitta*Kapha!

1/2 cup almonds (or other nut/seed), soaked in water at least 8 hours
3 cups warm water
2-5 dates, pitted (depends on how sweet you like soaked in warm water if hard)
1 Tbsp flaxseed, ground or soaked at least 8 hours
1 tsp lecithin (an emulsifier, optional)
1 tsp cardamom or cinnamon (optional)
¼ tsp nutmeg (optional)
½ tsp vanilla

– Drain soaked almonds and rinse a few times
– Place all ingredients in blender (make sure you have removed the pits from the dates)
– Blend for a minute or two until it is well blended
– Pour through a nut milk bag into a bowl
– Twist off the top so it doesn’t spill out and squeeze the bag like an udder until all the milk has been extracted and you are left with the dry pulp. Wring out a few more times to make sure you got all the good stuff. You can discard the pulp or save it to add into dessert recipes.
– Drink the milk fresh or use as a base for smoothies

Makes about 4 cups.

Recipe Source: Mira Murphy from 7 Centers Ayurvedic Cookbook.
Purchase Cookbook: click here

Vedic Astrology for July 2016

We begin the month with three planets in Gemini – Mercury, Venus, and the Sun. Mercury is in its own sign of Gemini until July 10, 2016 which can bring increased desire for intellectual pursuits. But during part of this period, from July 3 to 10, Mercury will be combust the Sun (using a 4 degree orb). Combustion occurs when a planet travels too close to the Sun, and then becomes compromised or weakened. Mercury combust can bring communication problems or issues with travel. Especially on July 6, the combustion is at its height, and in addition, Ketu (the south node of the Moon) in Aquarius, will aspect Mercury and the Sun in Gemini at exactly 20 degrees. This is a time to be clear and focused with all communications, as you may feel more scattered or mentally sensitive.

 

On July 7, Venus moves to the sign of Cancer until July 31, 2016. Venus in the water sign Cancer can increase sentimentality, the need for security in love, and a desire for stronger emotional attachments.  We can feel heightened sensitivity with loved ones, bringing emotional ups and downs or over-dependency.

cancer the crab

Ultimately, Venus in Cancer can give a devotional quality,increasing our emotional openness.  A few days later, on the evening of July 10, Mercury moves into Cancer, joining Venus there until July 26, 2016. The transit of Mercury, a mental planet, through the sensitive sign of Cancer, says our mental impressions are more affected by how we feel, and we can become less objective. Communicating can take on a more intuitive flavor, as we seek a deeper mental rapport with others.  Try not to worry too much or be distracted. Meditation or mindfulness practices can be helpful.

Later, at the end of July as Venus and Mercury shift from Cancer (a water sign) to Leo (a fire sign), they pass through the critical degrees called gandanta (29 degrees Cancer to 1 degree Leo). Mercury goes through these degrees first on July 26 and July 27, followed by Venus on July 30 to August 1. Gandanta means “knot,” and when planets pass through these junctures we are given opportunities for deeper soul growth. Significant issues can surface related to that particular planet transiting these degrees, with the purpose of deeper understanding and healing. It’s important to not resist, but to forgive, and be patient or the “knots” get tighter. Some possible outcomes connected to Mercury’s transit are not allowing the mind to block you from experiencing life, letting go of some old, habitual mental patterns, or even lessons in learning discernment.  When Venus transits the gandanta degrees issues could surface related to self-love and understanding relationship dynamics that now need to be completed and transcended. We learn how to keep our heart open, even in the midst of difficult times for more complete healing.  So let go and be ready for deeper transformations to occur now.

The Sun moves into the sign of Cancer mid-month, from July 16 through August 16, 2016. The Sun in Cancer now brings us closer to our families, friends, and home life. Nurturing and comforting activities are a dominant theme. You may wish to be in a more comfortable and supportive environment.  Issues revolving around personal security, feeling lack of nurturance in life, and having proper boundaries may surface. We are looking for that intimate sense of belonging. Doing things that help us to connect to our deepest self, such as inner reflection or going on retreat are recommended.
mars saturn conjunction in scorpio

On July 12, 2016, Mars will move back into its own sign of Scorpio where it will join Saturn again until September 17, 2016. Mars is strong in its own sign of Scorpio, giving more determination and discipline. We desire action and independence. However, as Mars will be with Saturn in Scorpio, some of its forward motion can be blocked or delayed. We can experience frustration and intensity – and even more so next month (August) when these two planets exactly conjunct. Mars wants us to be strong, courageous, active, and focused. Let Saturn help you with added patience and wisdom, moving through life’s challenges with greater maturity and long-term vision. Saturn helps us develop inner strength, fortitude and perseverance. This is a time to be patient and not give up – you are growing! Be responsible for all you have put into action, and don’t be too self-critical or judgmental. Be with supportive, inspirational people and work for the greater good. Service and charitable endeavors are helpful in developing a wider perspective and a more open heart, along with meditation and yoga.

On July 19, 2016, we celebrate Guru Purnima (full moon of the guru), which is a very significant celebration honoring teachers of great wisdom and awareness. It is also considered a time to solve difficult problems. Guru means “remover of darkness” (“gu” means “darkness,” and “ru” means “remover” in Sanskrit), so this day is perfect for letting go of ignorance, and bringing the light of awareness into our lives. Astrologically, “guru” is also the name of the planet Jupiter, the great benefic planet of high spiritual knowledge and blessings. It is also said on this day (Guru Purnima) that the great spiritual masters channel their blessings to the planet for the purpose of our awakening.  Remember that we each have our own “inner guru” – so use this day to tap into that higher aspect of self through meditation and silence.

 

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

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The Phenomenal Benefits of Epsom Salts

 

8a70cc27-0856-44d9-a73a-0d6da08a5237“Epsom salts have been used by many different cultures for hundreds of years.  They have a number of different beneficial properties and are used in gardening, household cleaning, and detoxifying the body.  These salts are very inexpensive and can be purchased at bulk discounts in garden centers nearly everywhere. Using Epsom salt baths is an advanced detoxification strategy that has remarkable health benefits.

Epsom salt is made up of magnesium and sulfate, which can help improve health in numerous ways. A lack of magnesium-which helps regulate the activity of more than 300 enzymes in the body-can contribute to high blood pressure, hyperactivity, heart problems and other health issues, doctors warn. Sulfate is essential for many biological processes, helping to flush toxins and helping form proteins in joints, brain tissue and mucin proteins.

Regulate Blood Sugar

Research indicates that raising magnesium levels can promote a healthy heart by improving circulation and lowering blood pressure. It also improves the body’s capacity to use insulin. Magnesium is necessary to sustain calcium levels in the blood.

Sulphates are not easily obtained through the food we eat but are absorbed through the skin. These stimulate the pancreas to make digestive enzymes and assist in detoxifying the body. Epsom Salt flushes toxins and heavy metals from the cells, easing muscle pain and helping the body to eliminate harmful substances. 

Detoxification

Epsom salt can assist in eliminating toxins from the body. The magnesium in Epsom salt is required for detoxifying cells. It also helps detox the body of environmental contaminants that can potentially cause ill health.

To enjoy a relaxing detox bath, stir in 1 to 2 cups of Epson salt in a bathtub filled with warm water and soak in it for 10 to 15 minutes, 2 or 3 times a week.

Treats Sunburn

e7430e36-fc85-4f57-9df8-fda78ec98240Epsom salt is very soothing for sunburned skin. Its anti-inflammatory properties alleviate mild sunburn irritation like itchiness and pain. It can even help maintain an even skin tone.

-To treat sunburned hands 

-Another option is to fill a bathtub with lukewarm water and mix in 1 cup of Epsom salt, stirring thoroughly so the salt crystals dissolve properly. Add a few drops of lavender essential oil and soak in the water for 20 minutes.and legs, mix 2 tablespoons of Epsom salt in 1 cup of water and store it in a spray bottle. Spray it on the affected area. Leave it on for 10 minutes, and then take a bath. Do this several times a week to notice improvement. 

Pest control

If you have lawn pests and you’re looking for natural insect control, consider turning to Epsom salt. A spray solution on the lawn can control insects without damaging the grass, and it’s totally nontoxic. Sprinkle some dry Epsom salt to deter slugs and snails.

Fertilizer

Some plants like tons of food, especially roses. Work some Epsom salt into the soil around them to keep them happy, especially during blooming season, when you want them producing beautiful, long-lasting flowers. Palm trees, tomatoes, and peppers are big fans of Epsom salt. 

Soothe Bug Bites

Dissolve 1/4 cup of Epsom salts in a cup of warm water. Cool the mixture in the refrigerator. Apply with a cotton ball to bug bites to soothe pain and itching.

Remove Splinters

According to the Epsom Salt Council, Epsom salt increases osmotic pressure on the skin, which draws foreign bodies toward the surface. Dissolve one cup of Epsom salt in a tub of water and soak the affected area.

For Achy Joints, Bruises and Sprains

Soak in a warm bath with 2 cups of Epsom salts to relieve painin joints, bruises and sprains.

Epsom Salt improves nerve function

By regulating electrolytes.  Also, calcium is the main conductor for electrical current in the body, and magnesium is necessary to maintain proper calcium levels in the blood.

Epsom salt also delivers sulfateswhich are extremely difficult to get through food but which readily absorb through the skin. Medical research indicates sulfates are needed for the formation of brain tissue, joint proteins and the mucin proteins that line the walls of the digestive tract. Sulfates also stimulate the pancreas to generate digestive enzymes and help to detoxify the body’s residue of medicines and environmental contaminants.

Sulfates are important for forming brain tissue, joint proteins, stimulates the pancreas, and mucin proteins.”

 

Source(s): Jeery Park, Natural News

Vedic Astrology May 2016

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Vedic Astrology for May 

At the beginning of May we have four planets in retrograde motion: Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, and Mercury.  These four planets will all be retrograde together from April 28, 2016 until May 9, 2016.  When a planet is retrograde it is traveling closer to the earth, so the planet’s energies become stronger, especially on an inner level. With this many planets retrograde, we are all challenged to reflect and go deeper within.

Some astrologers feel retrograde planetary energies can bring forth lessons from past lifetimes, or even unfinished business from the past in this life arises to work through. These energies can also be more interdimensional in nature and non-linear or less direct. We are integrating a newer, more complete perception of things. So with this in mind, May can be a great month for spiritual growth.

On an outer level, retrograde energies can delay expected results, or we decide to change our minds and alter plans that we had previously made. Sometimes we have to repeat some actions, in order to be more effective. Contemplation, revising, researching, and planning, rather taking strong actions are good strategies, as our inner perceptions are shifting during this time.


c7eabd85-ffc8-4536-a229-9c98f068bfe2Of these four planets, Jupiter (the planet of spirituality, abundance, and our value system), will go direct on May 9, 2016, having been retrograde since January 1, 2016. We may revise how we handle our finances and spending.  Our personal ethics and religious or spiritual beliefs are reviewed, as we integrate more meaningful values into our life. Jupiter retrograde can bring much inner growth. Once Jupiter moves direct on May 9, we start to experience a more renewed sense of abundance and joy, on both inner and outer levels.

Mercury retrograde (which began April 28 and ends May 22) affects our thinking, speaking, all forms of communication, transportation and travel plans. So for the first three weeks of May, Mercury retrograde can sometimes bring misunderstandings with others, so watch your words before speaking. We can also be more pre-occupied with our own thoughts, or feel mental frustrations. Creative outlets, such as working on art projects or writing in a journal, are recommended.  This is also a great time for meditation and going on a retreat. After May 22, we slowly start to move forward with projects and goals contemplated during the retrograde phase, and begin to notice improvements in our communications.

Mars is retrograde the entire month of May and most of June – not going direct until June 29, 2016. Mars retrograde is a good time to heal any inner conflicts that surface. Watch for over-reacting or coming on too strong in certain situations. Competitive situations can be more challenging. We can repress our frustrations, which can later turn into unexpected anger. Consider the consequences of your actions, take your time, and don’t engage with others if you feel out of sorts. Direct this energy into constructive activities, such as volunteering for a favorite cause or charity. With Mercury and Mars both retrograde, we can experience issues with technical or mechanical devices. Backup computers and have vehicles checked and maintained.

Saturn has been retrograde from March 25, 2016 and doesn’t go direct till August 13, 2016. We may experience situations that show us how strong and stable we are, despite what is going on in the outer world. At times, Saturn retrograde can also bring some inner doubt and issues arise around self-worth, our duties in life, and our personal boundaries. This is a time to have trusted, supportive people around you. We are improving our focus and self-discipline, but can feel too serious at times and become overly responsible in certain situations in which we have no control over. Appropriate surrender and letting go of judgment are positive approaches for this transit.

Venus, planet of love, diplomacy, and finance transits its own sign of Taurus from May 19 until June 12, 2016, increasing the need for stability and loyalty in love, closeness to family and friends, and desiring a comfortable environment. Venus in Taurus is positive for artistic endeavors, as well as connecting with the earth and the environment. While Venus is in Taurus it will be opposed by malefic Mars and Saturn, both retrograde in the sign of Scorpio. Balancing opposing views and being diplomatic in our interactions with others could be challenging at times. Despite these possible restrictions, we are asked to connect to our true center, have faith, and open our hearts to the deeper levels of commitment, responsibility, and healing required for all relationships to endure and thrive, both personally and globally. 

 

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