The eclipses will take place on April 15th (Lunar) and April 29th (Solar). The unusual surprises will continue as will the edgy emotions many are feeling and exhibiting at this time. Eclipses tend to operate on emotions, impulsivity and, far too often, upon emotions that are buried in the subconscious mind. The weeks of the eclipse energy can be filled with people reacting on an almost primal level, the strongest reactions coming from “fear.” During eclipse energy this “fear” is best described as “False Evidence Appearing Real.”

Vedic Astrology gives the name Rahu to the North Node of the Moon and Ketu to the South Node of the Moon. Though they have names, they do not actually have any physical mass since they are simply the points on the ecliptic path which mark the eclipses of the Sun and Moon. The absence of physical properties for Rahu and Ketu is one of the reasons that eclipse energy operates through illusion, desire, fear, and emotional drama. Unfortunately, during these times we human beings in physical bodies experience this energy, and the reactions of people all too often bring the energy into negative mundane actions – bringing the illusions into physical reality.

Rahu is particularly drawn to power, celebrity, and the media and, therefore, an attitude of healthy skepticism toward the media is wise at this time. For instance, expecting to find survivors of the Malaysian plane crash to be found in a black hole or on another planet is an illusionary expectation which will not be fulfilled. It is reasonable to have expectations of the news filled with events caused by people acting on negative emotions or from mental instability since those stories will be in greater abundance than usual. Ketu is a more detached and dissociative influence that is drawn to science, meditation, technology, and sometimes depression or hopelessness.

This eclipse is most intense for those who have planets in Aries and/or Libra. Libra is the sign of relationship and balance while Aries is the sign of individuality and aggression. An emphasis on these two signs has been taking place for approximately two years already and we see this playing out on a social level as the world grapples with the notion of individual freedoms versus the needs of society. In personal relationships, many partnerships and families have been struggling to find the balance between individual needs and the compromise required for successful relationship. Some relationships will end in this cycle while others will shift and grow. Because Saturn is involved, there are some people who will not find an easy exit from the conflicted relationships because – – well, it’s Saturn, and he doesn’t favor changing directions quickly no matter how much the ego may be screaming for relief. It’s karma, and we all dance to it in one way or the other.

Rahu and Ketu are without the physical mass of a planet but still have a place in our natal charts and play a big role in the day-to-day transits. One of the primary reasons I took up the study of Vedic Astrology, known as “Jyotish” in Sanskrit, was my appreciation for the remedial techniques offered in this system. “Jyotish” translates as the “Science of Light” – – the light being the inner light that some call self, soul, or consciousness. Jyotish is connected to the teachings of Yoga and Ayurveda and, through the tools it offers, we can use all of the cosmic movements in a positive and healing manner.

Rahu and Ketu affect all of us even though they do not have physical mass. The seven primary planets all have houses and signs that they rule as well as chakras they directly influence. (Chakras are best defined as places of energetic influences which are the generally unseen energetic influence behind the physical manifestation of the human body. It is this energy that is often the missing link to physical healing despite medication, surgery and therapy.) The eclipse points are outside the seven primary planets and their corresponding chakras and yet have a profound influence on our lives because Rahu and Ketu are involved. How do we deal with them?

The influence of Rahu and Ketu can be profound, karmic, and deeply mystical but, for the purpose of this article, we are looking for a way to move through the next month in a neutral mindset with the goal of non-reactive inner peace. Since neither of the eclipse points has been assigned to any sign or house, we can look toward the signs they occupy as the best way to handle these wayward travelers. Of course, the houses they occupy will indicate what areas of life will be most affected, but the houses can only be known on an individual chart basis. However, we all have Aries and Libra somewhere in our charts and we can look to the planets ruling those signs for remedial relief.

Libra, which is the bigger player in this particular eclipse, is ruled by Venus. Fortunately, Venus is going to be well-situated during the eclipse cycle. He moves into the sign of Aquarius, where he will join Mercury, on the 31st of March. Aquarius is a positive placement for Venus and this year will enjoy the optimistic and positive energy of a Jupiter aspect. While this will not undo the basic nature of the eclipse, Venus will serve to help us keep fear in the realm of “false evidence appearing real.”

In Western Astrology, Venus is known as the planet of love and creativity; Vedic Astrology also recognizes the same attributes. However, in the Vedic system Venus has rulership of other important aspects of life. In the ancient teachings, Venus is named “Shukra” or the teacher of the “Asuras.” In this capacity he is given rulership over learning with an emphasis on the “shastras” (sacred and spiritual teachings). “Asuras” technically means “demons” but is understood to mean “those people, habits and desires” that will drag us into our lower energies and block us from being “awake” spiritual beings. From this perspective, it is easy to see how Venus became the ruler of love, but the love that is meant is not the sexual desire that is often mistaken for love.

Venus rules the fourth chakra which is located at the center of the chest area. The fourth chakra is the balance point between the lower three chakras and the upper three chakras. Many believe that the “Star of David” is an ancient symbol of the balance of the chakras – – anyone who happens to own one should take it out and wear it during this eclipse time period. The fourth chakra is a chakra of expansion and compassion. This chakra, in balance, can assist in helping to make decisions based on both neutrality and compassion. It is also an important point for prana (the energy behind our breath), and the fourth chakra responds well to breathwork.

The simple act of long, deep breathing with the hands gently placed on the fourth chakra can work well for stress relief as well as compassionate expansion. The traditional prayer pose can be used as well by placing the open palms over the entire chest area. For those who like to breathe or meditate with visualization, the simple visualization of seeing a clear, emerald green light in the chest area of the body will work to balance this chakra. For those who are familiar with and resonate with chanting, the bija/seed sound for the fourth chakra is “yam.” This should be chanted by stretching out the “a” making sure the short “a” is being used (“as” as in father) – the “m” is short and natural.

Because Venus rules the shastras, writings of truthful and uplifting spiritual or philosophical works will help you to connect with the higher energy of Venus. The reading of a book that has served to elevate you will work to keep the mind away from the negative Rahu thought patterns. Since Rahu and Saturn are still sharing zodiacal space, it is best to avoid the influences that bring fear, lower desire, or depressive thought patterns.

Venus has a connection to music and, during this time period, listening to uplifting and positive music will stir the peaceful nature of the fourth chakra. It is advised to stay away from music, places, or people that stimulate the second chakra of desires. Rahu has no discretion when it comes to desires – – better to trust the Venus energy at this time. Venus rules Friday, and the energy of Venus responds well to beauty and fragrance. During the next few weeks, a soothing bath with uplifting scents on a Friday will serve as a positive and elevating activity. The simple act of bring home flowers on Friday and placing them in a sacred or special spot in the home will soothe the heart and work to clear away the negativity.

Of course, the eclipse points work in pairs, and there is another planetary influence at play here. As is all too often the case during this time period, we need to take into consideration the planet Mars. Red in color, fiery and aggressive by nature, Mars is the influence that will try to undo all of the peace, harmony, cooperation and compassion of the Venus-ruled fourth chakra. Mars is the influence which will lead the mind and emotions to righteous anger, impatience, aggression, and impulsivity. No sane person would ever argue that there is no shortage of people or situations that can lead to the proverbial “blood boiling” point. However, in quiet moments of calmness, most of us would agree that actions fueled by anger generally do not turn out well. Since the overriding topic for the past couple of years has been individual needs versus the needs of the many – – as well as the individual desires versus the needs of relationship – – I expect that there will be a heightened climate of conflict during this eclipse cycle. However, on a personal level there is also, due to the transformational nature of the eclipse points, the possibility of positive change with regard to relationship conflict. This is a good time to process out those disappointments and heartaches which lurk in the deeper recesses of our emotional minds.

Mars can actually be helpful in the transformational aspects of this time period. The key is to use the Mars energy in a positive manner rather than in an angry or aggressive manner. Mars likes engagement in life and rules the third chakra. The third chakra is what many exercise systems refer to as the “core” which, if kept strong, goes a long way toward physical strength and endurance. Obviously, any form of exercise that centers on the core is going to work to balance the third chakra. It is important to address the high level of Mars energy by finding a way to use the energy in a manner that does not involve ranting and raging about all of the challenges of human life. Any vigorous exercise will work well with Mars energy.
Mars is currently in the sign of Virgo, which is the natural ruler of health and work. During this time period, the demands of jobs and work could be more intense than usual and, since we are speaking about Mars, I doubt that bosses will be especially appreciative of the extra effort put forth. Virgo is also a sign of details and Mars a planet of math – – this is a good time to take care of personal accounting, filing, cleaning out closets, and spring cleaning after a very long winter. All of these activities will help to balance the Mars energy in a positive, achievement-oriented way. Since Virgo is the ruler of health, it is important not to ignore illness or inflammation and not to court accidents by impatient activity.

In addition to using the Mars energy to clean out closets and files, it also can be helpful to use the Mars energy to cut the cords with past hurts and disappointments. This should not be done through aggression toward others, but instead should be focused on letting the past stay in the past by releasing it. Burn journals and mental visualizations in which you say what needs to be said to someone from your past, followed by affirmations that forgive or at least understand the lessons offered, will help defuse the Mars energy. For some, boxing, running, or even mopping the floor can be a physical releasing of the past which will prepare the ground for a peaceful present.

The third chakra is the chakra of laughter, and one way of working with the Mars energy is to watch a comedy or to arrange a phone call or social outing with friends who have a good sense of humor. In addition , chanting the Mars bija/seed sound can be helpful for third chakra balance. “Ram” is the bija sound for this chakra – – like the above “yam” it is said with a long short “a” and a shortened “m.”

The third chakra is known as the “manipura” which can be translated as “jewel.” Visualizing the third chakra with a shining jewel is helpful for balancing the energy. Bhastrika breath is one of the most helpful breathing techniques for the third chakra and should be used by those who know how to do this breath. If you choose to stick to long, deep breathing, pay extra attention to the stomach pushing away from the spine on the inhale and pulling the stomach toward the spine on the exhale.

Finally, the biggest challenges from the Mars influence during this eclipse will be anger, frustration, aggression, and acting on impulse. If the mind begins to move in a more negative Mars direction, simply close off the right nostril and breathe for two or three minutes through the left nostril only; this will help to cool down the mind. Every single time we keep ourselves from acting from anger or aggression, we empower ourselves and that empowerment helps to build a strong third chakra which, in turn, helps us to use the Mars energy for its highest good – – which is the power to live our lives in a productive, meaningful way with the laughter of the third chakra adding to the joy which we are rightfully entitled to when we take on a human body.