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Mars-Saturn 2016

ugust 18th’s Full Moon starts a tense 3-week period, as Mars and Saturn approach their union in Scorpio-Anuradha. These natural malefics and planetary enemies together make the ‘irresistible force meets the immovable object’ paradox, and something’s got to give. Paired in Scorpio they create an atmosphere of secrecy, frustration and getting one’s retaliation in first, though also potential for hard, focused work, deep research and psychic transformation. Conjunctions are the most powerful aspect, yet there’s a grinding of the gears even when Mars or Saturn gaze at each other singly.

Full Moon August 18th 09:26am London.

Mars and Saturn conjoin on average every two years, which on the face of it is not exceptional, yet this year Mars has remained in Scorpio for 211 days instead of its usual 45-days-plus-change. This spiky planetary energy has had a lot to do with 2016's strange and difficult quality that many people have remarked on. Anuradha has associations with grouping together and diplomacy, and a simultaneous Mercury-Jupiter conjunction may be a moderating influence on August 24th, even as Venus makes the transition into its fall in Virgo.

For precedent, we look back to 1984 and the similar conjunction between a long-staying Mars and Saturn, then in Libra. Saturn was dominant in that pairing, and political negotiations in the last throes of the Cold War were tense as always. That year saw nuclear tests by both USA and USSR, while in Britain the IRA attempted to blow up Margaret Thatcher’s whole cabinet. Russia boycotted the Los Angeles Olympics (instead of facing a ban for cheating), Indira Gandhi was assassinated in the aftermath of occupation of the Golden Temple, while in December 1984 there was the largest-ever industrial disaster at Bopal, India. Not all of these events happened during the specific Mars-Saturn period, but show people’s memories for how bad things get is very short.

Mars-Saturn: August 24th 2016, 12:27, London

However, 2016 has echoes even further back to the 1945-6 triple-conjunction of Mars-Saturn, then in Cancer, in the aftermath of WWII. This climate of mutual suspicion and suppressed aggression was the start of the Cold War, and shaped politics in the West for the next fifty years.

At September 1st’s solar eclipse, Venus, planet of diplomacy is weak in Virgo, a placement that lacks balance and self-confidence. While it rises with exalted Mercury and is buoyed by Jupiter, this combination spells a clash of values and possibly religious mindsets. Mercury, recently retrograde may see a return to an old issue, and/or a solution which seems right at the time but not so much when viewed in retrospect. The eclipse in fun-loving Purva Phalguni could see a prominent sex scandal or expose.

Solar eclipse (annular) September 1st 2016, 08:44am, London

Eclipses bring sudden events and dramatize everything, particularly in Leo. With an exact aspect from Saturn throwing in an oppressive, authoritarian quality, somebody will feel backed against the wall and wants to grab attention. Eclipses are also eliminators, where a factor is removed because it no longer fits. This is a volatile, sensitive time, and a karmic test to see how the world reacts to provocation. As the West returns to normality after the August holiday season, there may be a sharp reminder that some problems simply don’t go away.

Despite this rather apocalyptic scenario, there is hope. Jyotish works on Patanjali's axiom, 'Avert the danger that has not yet arisen', and yogic techniques of meditation and yagya exist to calm collective consciousness. This is not wishful thinking or speculation. As our mind level rises, the potential to use astrology in conjunction with mantra vibrations brings out the full promise of both.

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