Volume 48

“Hope is the thing with feathers That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words And never stops at all.”

Emily Dickinson

Going Viral

Of course I need to comment on what is a defining time for humanity let alone all of us in our own sphere of influence.

I am asked these days about the Jyotisha implications of all this and though I don’t do mundane astrology, there were ominous portents in the last few years and most particularly in the eclipse patterns that centered on the president.

A solar eclipse, as I am sure all of you know now, has a very narrow path where it is highly consequential. That eclipse path swept across our country in August of 2017 essentially dividing it in half. And more importantly, the eclipsed Sun, Moon and Rahu were all in Magha nakshatra oh so close to President Trump’s rising degree and his Mars. Interestingly, the phoneme “ma” indicates Leo and is also the sound for Magha and of course prominent in Trump’s MAGA slogan.

eclipse path
Eclipse path

Why is this important? The Sun is the ruler, the king and for Trump, it is doubly so as it rules the 10th bhava. Trump was born in a real-deal Lunar eclipse which itself was a portent, given that it made Rahu super powerful (nodes gain power during eclipses). To have a total solar eclipse during such a presidency is an expression of drdha karma. To have one that literally divides the country is a metaphor for everything we see around us.

Donald Trump


And now there is a further division - infected or not infected. Why a virus?
Though it won’t be out for awhile, the latest piece I submitted to The Mountain Astrologer for my column entitled “The Eastern Window” is a re-telling of the story of the churning of the ocean and how Rahu became immortal.

Embedded in all such myths are truisms that, in this case, relate directly to astrological corollaries. To name a couple, Rahu astronomically is unseen as it has no mass or light and yet gives powerful effects. Rahu, in the story, was a foreign agent, indeed an enemy of the devatas, who disguised himself so that he might drink their nectar (life force) to become immortal. This was both a manipulative and highly innovative endeavor but did involve the consequence of Rahu getting cut in half just as he attained immortality.

Therefore in the tradition, vermin, insects and disease vectors such as bacteria, mold and viruses are indicated by the Rahu/Ketu axis. They are foreign intruders that manipulate the body, take it over in unpredictable and innovative ways but many times there is a consequence for the vector itself should the host perish without it having spread to another. Or the host might rally and destroy the vector. Both of these point to the current strategies of isolation, protection for those dealing with patients and for supporting patients as much as possible to rally their immune systems.

So in these days of awe and peril, please stay safe, stay isolated, keep your immune system powerful by reducing stress (highly important), focus on something worthwhile, model for your kids the best values in a time of crisis, use the time to reflect, pray, meditate, re-orient your values and help in any way you can.

May we all live to see better times.

The Coronavirus: An Unprecedented Time for Mankind

note: the following article was contributed by Pooja Mishra, one of my students. This is the first time she has written about a current state of affairs from a Jyotisha perspective. It is so timely and well-written that I wanted to share it with all of you.

Day to day affairs as we knew them have come to a halt. We have been told again and again to practice restraint in the form of hygiene and socializing. No schools for kids. Families staying home, at least living through this uncertainty from the comfort of their home with their loved ones. Businesses are suffering, there is financial uncertainty and restricted travel.
As a fledgling Jyotishi, it intrigues and behooves me to find an explanation for this in the realm of astrological planetary positions and their transit. So where is the action in the sky? One could say it is where the slowest moving impactful outer planets Jupiter and Saturn are - in their own respective rashis of Sagittarius and Capricorn. Interestingly they are both in their own house, dignified, strong and comfortable. So then why this uncertainty and crisis over the world?

Why this Worldwide Destruction?

The answer lies in the shadowy, evasive Rahu-Ketu nodes known for working behind the scenes and creating confusion. Rahu is strongly situated in its own star of Ardra — one of the most difficult nakshatras indicating widespread destruction, calamities and sorrow. It is ruled by one of the fiercest deities, Rudra — the lord of destruction, upheaval of norms of daily life and going against the order. Not only is Rahu strong by being in its own nakshatra but also it is giving its drishti to Jupiter, directly across from it. Jupiter which is naturally characterized as an expansive planet, was also transiting through Purva Ashadha nakshatra during the month of February, which with its symbol of fan denotes aggravation of issues (fanning the issue). Hence, an issue that originated in Wuhan, China within no time has become a worldwide pandemic.

Ketu, on the other side of the nodal axis, is also strong and located in its own star of Mula. Mula — the word itself means the root, implying unseen origins of visible conditions such as germs (viruses) causing diseases. Ketu is in yuti (same house) with Jupiter thus being the main contributor to the issue. Overlaying this is the fact that all planets are within the Rahu-Ketu axis making a Kala-Sarpa yoga (in the serpent’s belly). This further exaggerates the fear and anxiety and intensifies the impact of the issue. This pattern will last for three months starting from February 24th - May 25th. During this time the Moon will be circulating out of this pattern three times - between March 4th -17th, March 31st -April 13th and April 27th - May 10th. This isolates the Moon or the mind and can make the situation seem more unbearable. Now this explains the complete situation we find ourselves in with two dharma planets strong in their own house, and the nodes also strong and located in the most difficult, destructive nakshatras. There are powerful currents flowing in the direction of revival through destruction, upholding the dharma through storms of uncertainty by practicing restraint and staying rooted/grounded (literally) in our home.

Is there some hope?

What should give us hope is the strength and dignity of Saturn and Jupiter. Jupiter is the most benign and benevolent of the navagrahas and is also vargottama (in its own amsha) since March 7th, 2020 in the nakshatra of Uttara Ashadha which implies new beginnings. With Jupiter directly involved with this calamity, one can see the possibility of softening of the hard blow we are dealing with and there are instances of universal camaraderie, wisdom directing proper action on the part of some government officials and the people and, most interestingly, the fact that the virus itself has had the least impact on small children. Perhaps Jupiter being karaka for children has stepped in to protect the kids from this to some extent though that may be changing. It seems things could backtrack when Jupiter enters into its debilitation (nica rashi) of Capricorn on March 29th, 2020, though it will still be vargottama and the debilitation is somewhat modified by being with Saturn who is in its own rashi (swa) , creating a situation known as nica bhanga.

As we pay attention to how the other planetary configurations are shaping up in the coming weeks and months, we find that two grahas, Mars and Sun, will be entering their exaltation (ucca) rashis. Perhaps enlisting the defense department would be an excellent use of these warrior grahas (ksatriyas) lest their energies devolve into arguing and arrogance. Mars, the commander in chief, enters Capricorn on March 22nd, 2020 in and can give the strength and discipline to fight against the formidable enemy Corona Virus. And the exaltation of Sun, the karaka for leadership and government might bring more sattvic and effective leadership. Sun is exalted in Aries starting April 14th, 2020. Hopefully, these planetary conditions should help us cope with this situation.

Another positive indication is that the three months of a destabilizing Kala-Sarpa Yoga pattern by transit will finally end on May 25th, 2020. Literally, it will be Mercury that escapes the belly and is in its rashi of Gemini transiting through the benevolent and expansive nakshatra of Punarvasu. But as Mercury is still yuti with the nodal pattern, it is not until the Sun breaks out into Cancer on July 17th that the pattern is finally broken for the near future.

And the great benefic Jupiter will return to its own rashi of Sagittarius July 3rd and remain there through mid-November giving us hope that after all the devastation, dharma will prevail as our country re-sets in the dawn of a better era.

OM Shanti Shanti Shanti ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः

Ever wonder why the great invocations in the Vedic literature end with OM shanti, shanti, shanti? It is because the tradition teaches us that karmaphala (results of actions) come from three sources: self-generated karma (adyatmika), the karma generated from interactions with other living beings (adhibautika) and those overwhelmingly powerful forces in life, known in the insurance industry as “acts of God” that are beyond human control (adhidaivika).

The COVID-19 virus is adhibautika. It comes from an interaction in our immediate environment with a living entity or, the case of a virus, something that takes over a life form and reproduces.

From Wikipedia, While not inside an infected cell or in the process of infecting a cell, viruses exist in the form of independent particles, or virions, consisting of: (i) the genetic material, i.e. long molecules of DNA or RNA that encode the structure of the proteins by which the virus acts; (ii) a protein coat, the capsid, which surrounds and protects the genetic material; and in some cases (iii) an outside envelope of lipids

Knowing that viruses would be represented by Rahu, we have can resort to the Jyotisha toolbox for some traditional remediations which also operate on the three levels of karma.

From an adyatmika point of view, we should avoid confusion and manipulation. Be very well informed about the situation in your local environment and don’t give in to hysteria and paranoia. Calmly follow the advice of the experts regarding social distancing. Since lipid structures dissolve with soap, wash your hands frequently in the prescribed manner. Immune strength is very important and anxiety weakens the immune system so establish good patterns for eating, sleep and centering. Clearly meditation, yoga and whatever practices you follow are very helpful. Expose yourself to wisdom traditions to balance the manas which might be out of control.

From the adhibautika point of view, give to other beings. This is a time to support those risking their lives serving us in the health professions, the food chain, the communications industry etc. Donations to funds for protective equipment for health care providers is especially critical. Be aware of vulnerable people in your community and your own circle of friends and family. Make those calls and be sure they are OK and connected up with who can help out if need be. If you hear of a project that you can contribute to that directly helps people, try to devote some precious time and or resources to that.

From the adhidaivika point of view, chanting and praying on behalf of our planet to whatever your divinity or universal order might be. Immaculately upholding and modeling right action, a spirit of generosity and calm that has a pervasive influence on all orders of reality and most of all, a thankfulness for all that you have been blessed with in this life.
Hari OM

Teaching Schedule

We are all so fortunate at a time like this to have the option to begin or continue study of wisdom tradition subjects such as Jyotisha and Sanskrit online. I have a robust online sanga at four levels of Jyotisha and three levels of Sanskrit. If you are interested in more information on how that works, please Contact Penny .

Media Corner - The Great Courses +

I can’t think of a better recommendation (other than studying Jyotisha and Sanskrit LO) than checking out The Great Courses+. A one month trial is free and after that, for $16 a month you can stream an unbelievable selection of fabulous courses taught by the top professors in the US.

They are in video and audio format and each lecture is around 35 minutes long. I adored the course on how to appreciate Shakespeare, Intro to Linguistics and am going to dive into some of the astronomy classes. My husband spends hours with the art offerings and my grandson learned all kinds of amazing magic tricks watching the Math and Magic series. Music, History, Philosophy, Cooking - whatever you want. They are beautifully presented, lively and easily digestible.

If you are sheltering with kids and/or home-schooling, this is a treasure. You can stream and watch them or download and save them on your devices. The monthly fee allows for several different devices so family members can access the site on their own devices and watch what they want.