Hope everyone is doing well. Before getting to the astrology, I want to tell you about another temple I visited last year in India. I know some of you are probably going a bit stir crazy, so hopefully this provides a welcome distraction to everything that’s happening in the world!
The temple is Kedarnath, a legendary site dedicated to Shiva which sits on the top of a mountain. It is “accessible” either through a 14km upslope hike, or by helicopter. Because we (my wife and I) had just completed a 3 day hiking trip to Gangotri and back, we were a little unenthusiastic about having to do another long hike, so we chose to travel via helicopter.
(this photo of Kedarnath is from the Indian government - it was too cloudy on the day to get any good photos)
They say that the Vedic deities demand sacrifice before they give you your blessings, and it was only during this trip to India that I fully understood what that meant. We encountered obstacles and delays that tested our determination everywhere we went. And for Kedarnath, it was no different…
On the early morning drive to the helicopter pad, we were stopped for an hour because of a rockslide. These rockslides happen pretty frequently on the mountain roads, and everyone gets out of the car and hangs out till the government trucks come to clear the rocks. Finally, the rocks were cleared and we were along our journey, but the delay caused us to lose our position in the helicopter queue, so we were now at the back of the line.
When we finally got to the helicopter pad, we learned that Kedarnath is 3,600m above sea level, and so is almost always shrouded in clouds. Because helicopters aren’t allowed to fly without clear visibility, we were told to wait for the clouds to part before we could fly up. Well, 5 hours later, we were losing hope that we would be able to go, which would be really disappointing because our itinerary had allocated only one day for this trip. Everyone ahead of us in the queue had already given up, asked for refunds, and gone home. We had nothing to lose, so we thought we would just stick it out to see if the clouds would clear.
Suddenly, the helipad on Kedarnath messaged down to our pilot that we were clear to fly - there was a 10 minute gap in the clouds - we were going up! Only 3 or 4 helicopters made it up that afternoon, and I felt really fortunate to be included in that group.
Kedarnath Temple is amazing. There is a feeling of untouched purity and raw power that I have not felt anywhere else. The temple has two chambers - the outer chamber is surrounded by stone carvings of the 5 Pandava brothers, the most famous of which is Arjuna, the archer in the Bhagavad Gita. Also carved in the walls is Krishna (an avatar of the divine Vishnu) and Draupadi (the brothers’ wife - no that apostrophe wasn’t a mistake, they all loved Draupadi). All of these stone wall carvings face Nandi (Shiva’s bull), who sits in the center facing the inner chamber. As you walk into that second chamber, you are greeted with a huge black stone representing Shiva. The aforementioned feeling of raw power pervades everything here. It feels very old.
No one actually knows when the temple was built, but so the legend goes, after the great war that occurred at the end of the Bhagavad Gita, the 5 Pandava brothers came to Kedarnath to ask Shiva to remove their karmas so they could go home. After a bit of back and forth, Shiva removed their karma, and the 5 brothers were granted their enlightenment. As a token of their gratitude, the 5 brothers then constructed Kedarnath Temple, and it still stands today, after more than 5000 years of continuous use.
After we asked the priest to conduct a ceremony for us, we headed back to the helicopter, but our adventure was not over yet. The clouds still had not parted, and we were forced to stay the night on the mountain. Luckily, we managed to get a room in a nice inn, and it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. After sunset, we attended the special night ceremony at the temple - a really nice end to a very long day.
Mars in Aries
I hope you enjoyed reading about my trip last year - now back to the skies!
Mars is in Aries from Aug 17th 2020 to Oct 3rd 2020, and then again from Dec 24th 2020 to Feb 21st 2021. Aries is Mars’ home sign, where Mars feels really comfortable, and a place where its competitiveness and ambition can be expressed easily into the world. The role of Mars in Aries is to initiate something in your life quickly. Mars is a fiery planet and Aries is a fiery sign, and so like a forest fire, a Mars in Aries event manifesting in your life is sudden, quick, and immediately obvious.
An example of Mars in Aries is, of course, Muhammad Ali:
Independent of the astrology, I actually can’t think of another person who expresses the Mars in Aries energy as well as him. His famous quote “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” and frequent knockouts capture the Mars in Aries action perfectly, and his career of choice is also appropriately competitive and war-like.
How does Mars transiting Aries affect you personally? Well, I’ve written out some mini-predictions to try and answer this question. Of course, there are many other things that fill out the picture of your life (most of it individualized from your birth chart), but this transit will show one small perspective. I have arranged these mini predictions according to your Vedic Sun signs; you can find your Vedic Sun sign by finding which date range includes your birthday. Please read the birth times carefully as your Vedic Sun sign can be different from your Western one (reason here). If you know your Vedic Ascendant sign or your Vedic Moon sign, the predictions corresponding to those signs are also applicable to you.
Aries (April 14th to May 14th): Is there anything you want to get rid off, or is something no longer serving you? Mars is transiting your first house and rules your 8th house, so it makes this period a good time to remodel and reprioritize things in your life. On side note, if you notice yourself feeling a little angrier than normal, just do a high intensity workout, I think you’ll feel better after!
Taurus (May 15th to June 14th): Mars is transiting your house of spirituality, making this a great time to start (or delve deeper) into any energy-based spiritual practice. This could be yoga (feel the prana flow through your body), or tai chi or chi gong (feel the chi being channeled through your body), or any meditation practice (feel the kundalini rise up from the base of your spine).
Gemini (June 14th to July 16th): This period is a good time to work towards achieving your goals, especially health related goals. If you have been neglecting your exercise routine, now would be a good time to set some goals to get back into it. In addition to exercise related goals, this Mars transit gives you an extra dose of energy that may give you the edge needed to accomplish and manifest your desires.
Cancer (July 17th to August 16th): Mars is transiting your house of career, giving you an extra boost of leadership and authority at your job. Now is the time to take charge and demonstrate your leadership abilities. Mars is also the planet of getting stuff done, and you might find yourself more productive and better at executing your plans during this transit.
Leo (August 17th to September 16th): This Mars transit forms a combination that may allow you to buy a house, especially if your personal planetary cycle is supportive of this activity. If not, this Mars transit is a great time for learning things, especially technical topics like math and engineering, and also topics related to energy-based practices like yoga and martial arts.
Virgo (September 17th to October 16th): This Mars transit makes your experience with communication a little complicated, and even a little combative sometimes. If you see this happening in your life, put a little extra attention into noticing your reactions to other people’s speech, and also how you respond. Noticing is half the battle - just bring awareness into the situation and let it go, and everything will be okay.
Libra (October 17th to November 15th): Mars is transiting your house of relationships. If you are in a relationship, this transit will bring a little more excitement into the physical aspects of your relationship. You may also find your partner exercising more. If you aren’t in a relationship, Mars here gives you an extra boost to finding a partner, so if you’re out and see someone with nice eyes (I guess we’re all wearing masks…), maybe strike up a conversation!
Scorpio (November 16th to December 15th): This transit brings an extra energy boost to your health and exercise routine. If you have been neglecting your exercise routine, now would be a good time to get back into it. On the flip side, Mars in this transit brings a little extra heat into your physical body, so make sure you drink lots of water!
Sagittarius (December 16th to January 14th): This Mars transit is a great time for learning things, especially technical topics like math and engineering, and also topics related to spiritual energy, like Kundalini and Prana. Mars in this transit also forms a combination that produces losses through investments, so maybe be a little more conservative if you trade shares (there’s a joke somewhere here about Sagittarius the archer and Robinhood the trading app)
Capricorn (January 15th to February 12th): This Mars transit forms a combination that may allow you to buy a house, especially if your personal planetary cycle is supportive of this activity. If not, this Mars transit may initiate some changes in your house, whether it’s just moving things around or changing things around the house.
Aquarius (Feb 13th March 14th): This Mars transit makes your experience with communication a little combative sometimes, especially at work. If you see this happening, put a little extra attention into noticing your reactions to other people’s speech, and also how you respond. Noticing is half the battle - just bring awareness into the situation and let it go, and everything will be okay.
Pisces (March 15th to April 13th): Mars is forming a combination that may bring you an improvement in your financial position. Specifically, it gives you a little boost to your savings ability, so if you have been trying to save to buy something, this period is the time to get saving!