Saturn’s Sojourn through Sidereal Sagittarius

Kurma, or the tortoise Avataar of Shani

 Saturn’s Advent into Dhanu or Sagittarius

On 26th January 2017, Saturn dipped briefly into the sign of Dhanu or Sagittarius, which is ruled by the greatest benefic Brihaspati or Jupiter. During this two and a half year period, themes that we typically associate with Jupiter – expansion, learning, spiritual leanings, raising of human consciousness, spiritual teachers and healers, philosophies and cosmologies, counselling of all kinds – will be prevalent. On October 26th Saturn Moves to Mula in Sagittarius. And leaves Scorpio (jyestha). Both of the signs have strong association with Ketu (The South node of the Moon) . In fact, Saturn and ketu for good part till end of October remain in mutual reception or parivartana . That may help and alleviate the Kal Sarpa Yoga in the sky which lasts till January 2018, when Sun goes into sidereal Makar or Capricorn.

Shani or Saturn’s Vehicle are about 9, Vulture (Eagle) , Crow, Black Dog, Donkey, Deer, Elephant, Horse, Howling Jackal.

Despite, these positive themes, the Vedic view of Sagittarius is typically one of a fierce sign of war and the battlefield. The sign has flavours of Mahabharata, the longest epic poem from ancient India, narrating the Kurukshetra War between 100 brothers, Kauravas and 5 Brothers, Pandavas and their fates.

Within the colossal epic of Mahabharata, lies the Bhagwad Gita, which alone is the philosophical canon of spiritual and strategic advice given by Lord Krishna to Arjuna, one of the five brothers.

 

In the Vedic myth, the sign of Sagittarius is deeply connected with war, religion and dharma or purpose. We certainly are in the thickest of Sagittarian terrain! Its associations with belief systems naturally lead to the question of death – the primary question for all religions.

Enough about the sign, Saturn is Saturn, and in Vedic it has similar significance to its Tropical Zodiac interpretations. The typical view of Saturn being a grim reaper, Lord of Karma, God of time and delays, debt collector and suchlike still holds.

Yet, the Vedic perspective has a deeper spectrum of meaning, rather than just taking it as a planet of sorrow, obstacles and suffering. Its beauty and greatness lies in looking past the usual misery that it is so readily associated. A more realistic approach is to recognize how Saturn can deliver amazing forbearance, discipline and the capacity to achieve what are authentically our deepest hopes and wishes. These life-affirming qualities will manifest if, and only if, we do care deeply enough to stay the course and not flounder with our fears – real or imaginary. Yet, we have to look beneath the veil to look for its deeper import.

The Vedic Myth for Saturn

There is no other planet that can create an inordinate amount of anxiety, panic, and fear as Saturn. If we want to get a true idea of Saturn’s core, we just have to examine the myth.

Surya or Sun was too hot for his wife, Sanjana. Soon into their marriage, she found she could not stand the colossal heat and brightness of her husband, Surya on a daily basis! She was getting darker in complexion and feeling dried and burnt. She needed respite from his intensity, so she set up a plan.

Sanjana arranged for her look-alike handmaid, Chayya, to replace her, while she cooled off in the woods at her father’s expansive residence. She entrusted Chayya with her three children from Surya. The children were two boys, Yama and Manu a girl Yamuna. Later, Yama came to signify the Lord of Death.

Sanjana ordered Chayya to be by Sun’s side at all times and wait until she returned. It is no wonder that ‘Chayya’, in Sanskrit means shadow. How fitting!

Surya, being Surya, barely able to see any difference between them through his powerfully bright rays, took Chayya to be his wife. Chayya conceived and delivered a son called Shani or Saturn. Like his mother, he was born of dark complexion and inherited Chayya’s serious and sombre personality.

Vishwakarma, father of Sanjana heard news of Shani’s (Saturn) birth and was deeply troubled. When he could not stand it any longer, he confronted Sanjana and asked for the truth. Sanjana confessed to having left behind a clone. Vishwakarma immediately ordered his daughter to return to her rightful position in Surya’s house.

Since his birth, there was always a difficult interaction between Shani and Surya. Furthermore, Surya became suspicious of his, unbeknown to him, substitute wife, Chayya, believing she had been unfaithful. He could not fathom just how different and depressively dark his son, Shani was, not just in appearance but in temperament as well. Shani was visibly upset by the way his father treated his ‘real’ mother Chayya.

Plight of Shani became progressively worse, resulting in the deepest of suffering. Through such great suffering, he often went into meditative states looking for solutions and slowly but surely came to be endowed with great powers.

One such power being his dark, woeful vision or glance that had the capacity to destroy and turn things to black dust. Just one Dhrishti or glance from him was enough to cast a dark shadow of ill health and calamity on anyone.

Shani gave such a glance to his father, the Sun God Surya, resulting in his beautiful chariots being burnt to a cinder. Surya, desperate at not being able to comprehend the difficulties with his son, sought the help of Lord Shiva.

With the assistance of Lord Shiva it dawned on him that Chayya was not his wife at all. So Surya went in search of his ‘original’ wife Sanjana at her father’s abode to discover she was gone. Her father had ordered her to return to her husband’s home, however, she disobeyed him and transformed herself into a beautiful mare to wander in the coolness of the woods and streams.

On deep meditation, Surya was able to search for Sanjana. Therefore, he took it upon himself to bring back his beloved authentic wife. He disguised himself as a hunter and sought to lure his wife back to him. He succeeded and there was a glorious reunion in the woods. Later, Sanjana gave birth to twins, The Ashwin Kumar’s, who came to be known as the healing physicians.

Sanjana returned to her marital home. Once at Surya’s house she became livid with Chayya for having violated the scope of her marital duties. Even so, slowly everything started to come back to normal in the household of Surya, the Sun God.

Days passed, and the family were all together under the intense rays of the Sun. Sanjana treated all her kids well, although she did not favour Shani. He stood out in appearance and temperament, and was extremely insular.

A lack of love and warmth from his stepmother Sanjana, as well as a detached father, made Shani quite aloof, depressed and he went into deep meditative states, seeking possibilities of respite. Along the way, he garnered immense powers over the cycle of life and death.

Hanuman the Monkey God as the Saviour of Saturn

Lord Shiva, hearing of the austere penance of Shani, relented by sending his avatar in the form of Lord Hanuman, Vayuputra, the monkey God, to relieve Shani of his suffering. Lord Hanuman is one of principle figures in the epic Ramayana by Sage Ved Vyas. The epic has at its centre, the tale of Lord Vishnus avatar Shri Rama and his battle to rescue his wife Sita from the clutches of the intelligent, yet terrifying King Ravana from Sri Lanka.

Ravana had quite a few powers bestowed upon him, having mystical occult knowledge including astrology. His desire was for his reign to continue through his son, so he had cleverly elected an ‘Auspicious Chart’ for the birth. Ravana had manipulated the birth in such a way, so his son had most of his planets in the 11th house, and nothing in the 12th house of imprisonment, loss and spiritual seeking! To ensure no harmful effects came to his son, he imprisoned the 12th house ruler, Shani or Saturn.

Hanuman, the monkey God, was set for the task of freeing Shri Rama’s wife Sita. He had the powers of invincibility in any warfare. While searching for Sita in the kingdom of Ravana, he heard the weak squeals of Shani, Saturn imprisoned in the deep recesses of the palace of Ravana.

Finally, Hanuman, being Hanuman, managed to find Shani, imprisoned in a cell. Saturn requested Hanuman to free him and he did so. In the process, Shani’s gaze was sufficient to make Hanuman start to disintegrate and darken. Hanuman, asked for Shani to be grateful for freeing him. Shani, being gracious and very grateful to Hanuman, promised him, that devotees of Hanuman would be rescued from the painful sight or ‘Dhristi of Shani. 

Hanuman setting fire to the city of Lanka, by jumping all over the city It was Ravana who captured Lord Hanuman, set his tail on fire.

After striking a special relationship with Shani, Hanuman continued on his mission of rescuing Sita, Rama’s wife. An earlier encounter with Ravana’s men had resulted in Hanuman setting fire to most of the buildings in golden empire of Ravana. Shani promised Ha numan to help him in bringing down the kingdom of Ravana. Shani’s gaze over the Kingdom of Sri Lanka was just enough to turn it into charred piece of black lead and charcoal dust!

Hanuman defeating Lanka, by setting fire to his tail.

Hanuman is the Giver of Sanjeevani. In the Myth he picked up the mountain to get a herb to cure Lord Rama. Such was his devotions for the Lord!

Because of their lively exploits, Shani who was no match for the monkey God was in quite a bit of pain. Hanuman, suggested that Shani massage himself in sesame oil remedy that successfullyrelieved Shani’s suffering.

Traditionally in India, to circumvent any effects of an afflicted Saturn, lighting a sesame oil lamp in the temple of Hanuman, on Saturdays is believed to relieve any suffering.

In the Hindu Mythology, Saturn’s troubles or its Mahadasha (planetary period) can be managed by appeasing Lord Hanuman and all the favourite things of Saturn, such as oil, especially of black sesame and mustard. Donating black clothing or deep fried foods on the day of Saturday is another popular remedy.

 

Aspects of Saturn

Saturn’s infamous period of Sade-Sati, the seven-and-half-year period of its transit over the natal Moon, is often feared and revered in India.

One day in this century, we may live to see situations in our work life where taking an annual sabbatical with Jyotish’s prescription of ‘Sade-Sati’ would be permissible. A year of turn off, tune out and drop out!

In my view, Saturn’s transit of the Sade-sati does not just influence the natal Moon but equally, if not more so, it affects the Ascendant or Lagna. It is akin to re-birth – a massive awakening. Usually, most human beings will face such a pivotal time, twice or maybe thrice in a lifetime.

Shani’s aspects are primarily by conjunctions, of course, but from its natal position include the 3rd, 7th and 10th placements – houses also affected by transit.

In Jyotish, the third house aspect from Shani’s natal position is a sextile, thus, implying the third house is one of ‘Upachaya’ or growth.

In the Kalapurusa – where the natural sequence of houses being first house for Aries – the natural house of Saturn is Capricorn and Aquarius, the 10th and the 11th houses respectively.

The tenth house and the tenth aspect of Saturn certainly points to our highest, most authentic vocation that we stand for. It is the highest angular house, and is the place where we are crowned with the achievements of our focus, energy and emotional aspirations. As long as we are able to do our ‘Karma’ and stay on course, without being overwhelmed by crippling fears, Saturn is happy!

Placement of by transit of Saturn in the seventh house has great strength. Of course, the 7th house is Venus’s natural house! Saturn is exalted in the sign of Libra, Venus’s sign. Indeed, is it any wonder that Saturn in the myth is best friends with Venus. After all, it was Shukracharya (Venus) that helped and taught Shanicharya (Saturn) in the ways of mystical knowledge and occult powers. Hence, they are eternal friends and so conjunction of the two, may not be very cumbersome, as conjunctions with Saturn are so readily feared to be.

Incomplete Karma (Incompletions) from the Past

Use of the word Karma is battered and bruised by overuse. In my view, Saturn’s ability is beyond the karmic reckoning. Even if you did not buy into the Vedic concept of past lives, the idea of our incomplete, unresolved issues with various people, places and situations still looms large.

Yet Saturn’s purpose is to ensure we own up to our demons or shadows, take responsibility for our feelings and our way of being. Saturn’s transit evoke questions of courage. Will we stay the course with dedication and adhere to our ‘Dharma’ with self-love? Moreover, can we achieve this without indulging in the much-loved game of blaming others or the world for our woes?

Saturn’s agenda is simple enough: take responsibility not just for our way of being, but also for every thought, word and action. Now it may sound extreme to most, yet it is one of the fundamental principles towards self-realisation

The Vedic concept of ‘Maya’ or the great illusion is very much Saturn’s terrain, along with Rahu (North node of the moon).

Maya is the veil we experience in the form of outside world. That is nothing but a mirror image of how we feel inside of us.

Self-Awareness is a one of the greatest gifts that Saturn brings to us.

When Gautama Buddha sat under the Bodh Gaya tree, he was grappling with his demons, called Mara. In Sanskrit, Mara is derived from root word Marana and mtyu, meaning killing or that which kills. Those demons or Mara was precisely what he was trying to conquer.

It is fair to say, that responsibility of our emotions, thoughts, feelings is what Saturn desires most. Shani, the God of Karma has deep memory, of lifetimes. Hence, he will recall every debt, every slight there is to be repaid, including all acts of charity and generosity.

In the Indian Mythology, in a blink of Lord Vishnu’s eye, thousands of lifetimes fluttered by, seeking self-realisation.Wherever Saturn’s aspect goes, be it in a natal chart or on mundane level, it will throw up plenty of lessons in the house it transits and the houses it rules. Saturn rules namely Capricorn and Aquarius. Aquarius has dual rulership, Rahu, or North Node of the Moon.

Sojourn into the Sagittarius Nakshatras

In these three long years, starting in 2017, Saturn will visit three different Nakshatras or Lunar Constellations that make up the sign Sagittarius.

First, one is Mula 19th Nakshatra spans from 0 degrees to 13.20 degrees of Sagittarius. This is ruled by Ketu, the south node of the Moon. Saturn is in Mula Nakshatra from 26th Jan 2017 to 2nd March 2018.

In some ways, Saturn’s entry into Mula is extremely tricky and full of conflict. As Mula Nakshatra is home to Gandanta point / Karmic knot point (degrees from approximately 26 degrees of Scorpio to 6 degrees of Sagittarius). During this time if you have planets at these degrees, they are guaranteed to be triggered. Gandanta point is a very sensitive Karmic point, and often planets at these degrees have a do or die quality. Often we feel straitjacketed and there is a feeling of inevitable work to carry out. Karma Lord, Saturn, transiting over these points will bring enormous amount of upheaval, where we may feel our backs to the wall. There is certainly no escape with Saturn.

As Mula Nakshatra is ruled by Ketu, we will have to look to what ketu is doing in the chart by transit as well as natally. Mula is a ferocious constellation, its Goddess Nrritti is said to have powers of destruction. She is similar to Kali, where even her husband, Lord Shiva cannot control her. Her Shakti has the power to destroy and to prevent destruction.

Purvashadha, the 20th Nakshatra, (13 degrees 20’ to 26 degrees 40’ Sagittarius) is yet again a very enterprising and creative Nakshatra, ruled by Venus. Planets here will not feel as ‘fired up’ as with Mula. Its power is to shower the world with creative and nourishing rain. Its power is ‘Early Victory’.

Purvashsdha Nakshatra forms a pair with Uttarashadha, (26 degrees 40 Sagittarius to 10 degrees Capricorn). Its power is ‘Later Victory’.

Sagittarius Nakshatras have a very fierce, piercing and almost cruel quality to it. Saturn will activate it on the world’s stage in abundance.

After the Gandanta point, Transit of Saturn in Jupiter’s sign is considered to function very well. Strong focus on building solid foundations regards philosophies and spiritual ideas that gain momentum.

 

All the people with dual rising signs, such as Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, and Pisces, will be affected by a full aspect of Saturn. All dual signs aspect one another. Saturn’s dispositor, Jupiter will also be in the dual sign of Virgo.

People with natal Moon or Lagna especially in the gandanta point will have their life turned upside down. Indeed, sade-sati brings in its wake a cycle of closure and huge transformations with the mother or mother figures, as well as one’s home. One may leave a long-term career, only to migrate, give it all up and start something completely new.

Aries Lagna or Rising will travel, either on work or work related short stints abroad. Scorpio Moons will still be in their final phase of Sade-Sati, picking up pieces of the past few years of destruction and changes.

Scorpio Rising will be busy giving up what they have done for a good chunk of their adult life and leaving either their partnerships or will be in throes of solidifying new ones. Yet finances and resources will be their focus.

Venus ruled Libra Moons, are just coming out of their Sade-Sati and it certainly is the time when they will begin to feel a spring in their step. Enjoy, as you can make a lot of things happen over the next few years.

Libra Lagna will find their ambitions awakened and taking risks and chances they never thought they could. Short trips and being ‘in’ with the media will certainly flavour the next few years.

Aquarius Moons will have Saturn’s aspect from the 11th house. As from the natal Moon, Saturn will be in their 11th house. This will be of enormous benefit to them. These couple of years, their aspirations, dreams and hopes will be fulfilled. Matters of networks, communities and groups will be work out in their favour. This is definitely the time to dream big, and push the boat of ambitions just that little bit further. You may have to take into account Aquarius’s other ruler Rahu, that traverses through the sign of Leo and Cancer. Rahu in Cancer, sign of the Moon, with Moon is Aquarius, sign of Rahu, there may be slight difficulties with health, work and stress arising thereof.

Aquarius Lagna or Ascendant will experience similar wish fulfillment with Saturn in the 11th house. Over this period, they will experience a manifestation of not just their personal goals but may also involve deep spiritual aspirations as well.

Leo Moons will have Saturn transiting through the house of children, creativity. Invariably, Saturn in trine aspect will invoke all the fifth house agendas. Equally, it will also, invoke long distance travel, possible settlement for extended periods abroad.

Leo Ascendants, ruled by Sun, have a difficult relationship with Saturn as it rules their sixth house of health, work, enemies, discipline and the seventh house of partnerships and contracts. Being in the fifth house, Saturn will bring with it all the possible hurdles of the sixth and seventh house to be resolved. Donald Trump, certainly have a lot to answer for and will be severely tested.

As Saturn rules Government, Employees (Servants), the Oil and Natural Gas Industries, dark treasures hidden at the base of the Earth, we may see Alternative forms of Energy sources coming into being.

With the emergence of ISIS and similar dogmatic organizations, we may perhaps acquire skills and expertise to engage and reach a sustainable solution. As highlighted earlier on Sagittarius, it will be anything but diplomatic or peaceful! Yet, a well learned lesson.

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