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2016 in prospect

Saturn transits Scorpio for the whole of 2016, continuing his lessons of transformation, intense focus, sexuality and healing. People with personal planets in the second half of Scorpio will be tested and stretched beyond the point they consider necessary - or even possible! Take heart if you feel singled out, as your experience will have a karmic quality, with heavy dues, but high potential. Saturn has exacting standards and makes us an expert and connoisseur when we step up.

Those with the Moon in (sidereal) Scorpio especially are in peak Sade-Sati, the emotionally maturing period everyone goes through at thirty year intervals. If this is your first Saturn-Moon transit, prepare for a transformation, and you will be a quite different person by the end of the year.

Saturn will also be in Jyeshta nakshatra throughout 2016, a Saturn-ruled asterism which reinforces the message of thoroughness and patience. Jyeshta’s symbol is an umbrella, and the UK in particular is currently absorbing lessons of constructing adequate flood defences. Jyeshta is also associated with Alakshmi, the elder sister of Lakshmi Devi, goddess of prosperity. Alakshmi rules everything opposed to her younger sister: greed, misfortune and arrogance – the pitfalls of become rich. This could be an omen for the supposed economic recovery and learning the mistakes of the last banker-fueled boom period.

In the news, stand by for more revelations of ‘historic sexual abuse’ as Saturn in Scorpio sets the scales right.

The message of boundaries and staying within limits is repeated by Jupiter in Leo aspected by Saturn until August. These two are the planets of boom and bust, stick and twist, which together symbolize slow building and fixing the roof while the sun shines. On the personal level too, they show modesty and a definition of our personal code. Unlimited expansion is not for everyone and we all have to work within boundaries. Jupiter goes retrograde on 8th January, turning from the very end of Leo back into Purva Phalguni nakshatra by mid-Feburary (until May 9th). This nakshatra is ruled by Venus and is associated with pleasure and the arts.

Jupiter moves into Virgo on 12th August, the sign of its enemy Mercury and a generally lower-key affair after the theatrics of Leo. Still, Jupiter escapes the dread gaze of Saturn, which suggests that going quietly about our business serves us better than a grandiose scheme which doesn’t get off the ground. Those with a (sidereal) mutable ascendant: Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces, along with fellow earth rising signs Taurus and Capricorn will do best from Jupiter in Virgo.

There is an inherent conflict for Saturn in a Mars-ruled sign, between prudence and instant results. Mars itself, planet of energy and conflict, stays in Scorpio from February to September: twice its usual duration. It comes together with Saturn in August, and shows a ‘drilling-down’: either exploring a subject in great depth, or actual mining for things underground – gold, oil, natural gas. Along with perennial issue of wars over oil, I expect the controversy over fracking to become ever-more heated.

Mars and Saturn conjoined shows people acting out of fear; with frustration, tension, and get–your-retaliation-in-first. Again, this is politics-with-the-gloves-off. On the plus side these planets show concentrated effort. Mars in his home sign holds sway here, and together with Saturn, planet of work and discipline, brings potential for focused, forensic energy into a long-overdue task. A diet, fitness or rehabilitation programme could go extremely well: give yourself a deadline and just go for it.

Mercury will be retrograde from 6th to 25th January, so everyone will be reviewing the past year and thinking about 2016 their resolutions/sankalpa. This three-week window will let you decide how serious your gym subscription and plans for daily yoga really are.

Other Mercury retro periods are 28th April – 22nd May and 30th August – 22nd September. (Pedants and paranoiacs might want to look at the Mercury shadow and mirror phases too!)

In addition to Jupiter retrograde, 9th January brings another major movement. The Moon’s nodes, Rahu and Ketu, enter Leo-Aquarius for the next 18 months, showing the axis around which 2016’s solar and lunar eclipses will revolve.

2016 Eclipses:

March 9th 01:35am Solar 24° Aquarius Purva Bhadrapada

March 23rd 11:42am Lunar 8° Virgo Uttara Phalguni

September 1st 08:44am Solar 14° Leo Purva Phalguni

September 16th 18:46pm Lunar 29° Aquarius Purva Bhadrapada

Eclipses are stress-points that show restlessness, sudden change, anxiety and inspiration, and they centre around something in our lives getting eclipsed. Our attachment might be personal, material or emotional, but the eclipse shows a transition when we no longer need a particular form of security - whether or not we actually realize it. Eclipses also dramatize everything, and the rule of thumb is not to make a major decision until at least three days after the event. Vedic astrology considers eclipses to be inauspicious for most material purposes, certainly for a new enterprise, though outstanding spiritually. Chanting and meditation during the eclipse is said to have many times its usual power.

The lunar eclipse on March 9th falls exactly opposite Jupiter, with a close aspect of Saturn. This is a time of impulsiveness when there will be a clamour for instant action.

In January, Rahu in Leo joins Jupiter exactly at 29 degrees of this sign, a rare event. Together these two planets embody opposing values: Jupiter is the Guru symbolizing spiritual knowledge, truth and right action, whereas Rahu is all desire, materialism and dirty politics. Jupiter plays by the rules – creates them – while Rahu rebels and cuts corners. A potted definition of this pair in a natal chart (Guru-Chandala Yoga), shows either a very spiritual person who struggles financially, or a very rich person with major soul lessons to learn.

United Kingdom unification chart. 1st Jan 1801, 00 hrs, London.

The UK’s national horoscope, in fact, has this Rahu-Jupiter configuration (mutual aspect) and is a notably secular country with a history of expedient political deals and alliances. It bills itself as a beacon of justice and fairness, but Britain never loses an opportunity to act in its own self-interest, often ruthlessly. Jupiter-Rahu is canny and calculating, and the UK made an Empire through creativity, commercial enterprise, divide-and-rule politics and sheer greed. What is more, the country is in a Rahu-Jupiter period throughout 2016, which should see greater prosperity, particularly from mid-May to mid-September, but also manoeuvring and double-standards. No change there!

Crucially, the United States will also be in a Rahu period through 2016. It has come out of its seven-year Mars phase and so should be less bellicose abroad, though everything is relative. With the Presidential election at the end of the year, America will be looking for something different. Rahu’s material influence sees vulgar populism having its appeal after the cool detachment of the Obama years. Still, Rahu rules outsiders and there is nothing more left-field than a socialist running for public office in the USA.

Rahu-Jupiter aspected by Saturn, planet of mining, shows Mammon worship, of gold in particular, and extra-particularly black gold: oil. There will be media manipulation, false flags, greed, hypocrisy; in short, the whole Machiavellian trick-bag that passes for modern political wisdom. Surely too, there will be a clash of personal faiths and philosophies and religion, or this will be used as a cover. There may be a genuine attempt at understanding and mutual respect, or – more likely – the use of a particular belief to justify a pre-emptive strike or power-grab. This intense period lasts until August 12th when Jupiter moves out of Leo.

From a Western astrology standpoint, the series of seven Uranus-Pluto squares 2012-15 is over. This period saw a clash between radical, guerrilla-type initiatives versus corporate hierarchies and national power; the little guy versus the state. Broadband-era social media in particular made it increasingly hard for governments to keep the lid on secrets and to manipulate the news.

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