Shani/Saturn is in Purva Ashadha from November 27th 2018 all the way until December 26th 2019. This nakshatra translates to ‘the Unconquered’ and its energy gives a quest for invincibility through challenges and strife. Shani itself is no stranger to struggle and in this fierce asterism creates long-range ambition and a symbolic mountain to climb. Over the coming twelve months you face up to friction and rivalry on the way to being a success and making a final conquest. Though you come with good intentions, this period still suggests a drawn-out contest, where you can no longer tolerate an obstacle or interference in your life. Think carefully before launching a pre-emptive strike, and if you have to hit first, make sure you are prepared for a long campaign.
Shani in Moola through 2018 has been difficult – through the Gandanta zone, otherworldly and unformed; strange qualities for the most material of planets – but now you need to break through decisively. A threat or rivalry comes into the open, and as always with Shani there is an element of pure fate at work, but in Purva Ashadha you can win by being strong and without resorting to all-out war. Progress is slow while Shani is retrograde from April 30th to September 18th, and this passage above all requires patience and willpower.
This transit is part of a concentration of planets in Sagittarius in 2019, including the nodes Rahu and Ketu shifting into the Sag-Gemini axis on March 26th, just ahead of the Brexit date. Ketu coming together with Shani as it stations at 26° Sagittarius from April 24th to May 1st is at the very edge of Purva Ashadha, which gives substance to a hidden quality in your life. Moksha-karaka Ketu shows victory in the invisible realm and making yourself stronger or invincible through long and disciplined meditation. Enlightenment first comes slowly, then instantly, so be careful when sitting underneath a tree...
Purva Ashadha’s symbol is the winnowing fan, used to separate the wheat from the chaff, and it may be better to make this change and insist on the very best, even when it takes twice as long. This is itself a very Shani-like approach. If your own position at work or at home is under pressure, you must be brave and battle to deliver and prove you are truly indispensable. This nakshatra is ruled by Apas, the deity of water, so this element may play a role in your affairs over the next year- swimming, sailing and travelling by ship, or simply spending time near a coastline. In the Vimshottari scheme, Purva Ashadha is ruled by Shani's friend Venus, which shows you can also use tough diplomacy to build alliances rather than to break through obstacles.
On face value, Shani here suggests a time of war and struggle, though recent precedent gives a more nuanced picture. January 1989- February 1990 saw the Berlin Wall come down as the Cold War finally ended. At that time, Shani conjoined Neptune/Varuna in Purva Ashadha, exactly opposed to Jupiter/Guru, symbolizing the bounded and the boundless. This victory was entirely unexpected, even for the Western powers, but came about through tough negotiation and an implacable stance against oppression - along with an historic thawing of Soviet hostility. Arguably, Shani in Purva Ashadha in December 1959 to January 1961 saw the start of the Vietnam War, but that conflict’s first casualties did not occur until December 1961, by which time Shani was in Capricorn.
Given Purva-Ashadha's association with water, we might see trouble or a hidden threat coming from the oceans or through drink or the water table. The UK officially exits the European Union on March 29th (during Mercury retrograde), and in the sign of travel and the nakshatra of the seas, Shani-Ketu may bring issues around fresh water supplies and much happy talk from Westminster about rich trade deals with far-off countries. Certainly Britain will have a battle on its hands to stay competitive ahead of the epochal Capricorn conjunctions in 2020.