In 1998, while teaching a yoga class, I encouraged my students to get into a routine which would enable them to use the tools of yoga to stay strong because we were about to enter an intense and challenging time period. A couple of days later, I heard that a student had complained that I was being too negative with my comments. To this day, I do hope that she is using the tools and has been able to stay strong. I also wish that I was just being dramatic with my words.

Those of us who were studying astrology and other related fields knew that there was a big shift coming, and many regarded it as moving into “The Age of Aquarius.” I don’t know that many of us truly expected this shift to be as difficult or long as it has been. I do know that many of us are tired and sometimes very discouraged at the chaos and tragedy which seems to be the primary quality of the 21st century. Looking back, the media-driven fear of Y2K seems comical compared to what has actually transpired.

There was a time when the mystical arts like astrology were valued for their predictive abilities, and the deeper teachings were largely ignored unless one was a student of the various metaphysical arts. The truth is that it was easier to predict events in other times because choices and opportunities were rather limited. Today astrology works more like a weather map, as well as a guide for inner growth. I have witnessed great steps being taken by people in terms of strength, consciousness and self-responsibility, and I have been honored to be a part of this awakening for those who choose to work with the weather forecasts and teachings of Vedic Astrology.

Awakenings aside, most of us are truly tired of the day-to-day challenges in a world that appears to have lost its collective mind. Throughout this process, I’ve often been asked my opinion as to when I thought the extreme upheavals would end and, as many of you know, I’ve always been vague. I answered that way because no one has an exact date and, as we all know, life on planet crazy is always going to be a challenge, and I did not want to give false hope nor put anyone into fearful discouragement.

However, since astrology is a science of timing and planetary weather reporting, it is a question for which we should have some type of answer. I believe that in 1998 when Saturn went into his sign of debilitation (Aries)the train of this cycle pulled out of the station. The start date of 1998 means we’ve been working through this energy for eighteen years. Eighteen years is a long time and, at this moment in time, I feel that the train will be slowing down in order to pull into the station around 2019. 2019 is when Saturn will be moving through his final retrograde period in Sagittarius as he begins his approach towards his home sign of Capricorn. Saturn represents stability and in Capricorn we will begin to see stability after all of the changes we have been experiencing. It may seem like a long time, but we have the majority of the years behind us, and we should begin to see life becoming more positive in 2017 when Saturn leaves the difficult sign of Scorpio. At this particular time, we need to keep an eye on life around us but, more importantly, we need to work every day to not give into negative thinking and fear as we finish this journey.

Currently we are in “eclipse season,” and there is never a better time to work on fear and irrational thinking since a primary influence of Rahu and Ketu is irrational fear. Nothing is ever as bad as our eclipse-oriented fear tells us nor, for that matter, is anything as good as the illusion of Rahu’s promises. Until we get to the month of April, we all need to stay grounded and work hard at not allowing negativity to rule our thought processes.

In addition to the eclipses of March 16th and 28th, we also had Mars move into the sign of Scorpio on the 20th of February. Every eighteen months, Mars goes perigee which means that due to the apparent retrograde motion he is closer to earth. For most of the next eight months, Mars will occupy his home sign of Scorpio. He will be sharing this space with Saturn which will, at the least, be very interesting. Mars is going to be the stronger of the two great planets but will not overcome the influence of Saturn completely. As we all know, Mars loves war and Saturn will, hopefully, hold him back with a bit of restraint. Saturn tends to be a very patient influence which can influence life in a maddening manner of delay and slowness – Mars will definitely try to speed up the actions of Saturn. On a positive note, far too often the influence of Saturn can bring about depression along with a good dose of lethargy – the influence of Mars can work to push many to action rather than lethargy.

Saturn has been in Scorpio for a while now, and many of us are familiar with the nature of this placement as “issues” have come back into our lives for the purpose of clarity and healing. Many also have seen repeats of situations in their lives and are being pushed towards a more honest and neutral way of dealing with those issues. This process will be amped up a bit during the next eight months but also affords us all an opportunity to deal with the dross which lingers in our subconscious minds. It may not be fun, but it serves us well for moving forward in a healthy and integrated state of mind.

It is important to keep in mind that Scorpio is related to the second chakra which is not only the chakra of sexuality but is also the main center for desire itself. This means that we all need to be vigilant towards our own “reactions” towards denial of the fulfillment of our desires. Mars in Scorpio will push toward anger and aggression with regard to disappointments. It does not serve anyone or anything to blame others or to walk around in anger because a desire is not fulfilled — especially when it seems as if this is a time during which most of us are not getting what we think we need or deserve. Those moments of frustration are moments to use the TongLin method of breathing in our frustration and exhaling our compassion, offering it to everyone else on the planet who is feeling the same type of painful frustration.

The fires of Mars can be cooled by the simple act of chanting “Om Hoom” and by paying attention to our physical inflammation via the right foods and/or herbs. Exercise, physical projects, laughter, and working with the earth are natural remedies for Mars. Both Mars and Saturn are involved with work which requires tools, and the next eight months are the perfect time to use the tools of health and consciousness to make the most of this energy as we move towards the end of this particular cycle.

Those who have strong Scorpio, Aquarius, Taurus and Gemini in their “sidereal” charts will be particularly challenged during this cycle. Strong Scorpio, Aquarius, Taurus and Gemini can mean having one’s Moon, Ascendant or planets of strength located there and one has to have a Vedic/Sidereal chart calculated to know that.  However, the Sun being located in these signs is based on the the day of birth. In the sidereal zodiac Taurus is 5/14 – 6/13; Gemini is 6/14 – 7/15; Scorpio is 11/16 – 12/14; Aquarius 2/13 – 3/13.  These signs will be prodded by Mars which will offer them the greatest opportunities for growth, success and transformation.  Maris is also courage, energy, and the positive mind.  It is time to stay busy, develop the positive mind, and to avoid — like the plague — blaming others for whatever is not going well in your life.

Due to Mars and Saturn occupying the sign of Scorpio, I’ve decided to give the dates of the upcoming Moon in Scorpio placements since the Moon being in Scorpio may prove to be the most difficult lunar cycle days for the upcoming months:  3/1, 2; 3/28, 29; 4/24,25; 5/21, 22, 23; 6/18,19; 7/15,16; 8/11, 12; 9/8,9. Pay attention to reactions and negative mind on these days.