One of the modern scientific breakthroughs is what’s constantly being discovered through advancements in DNA. On the level of curing disease, the study of DNA is going to make possible more cures and the prevention of illness through working with the human genes. The information that has become available is also showing human beings’ connections with one another that no one would have even thought possible less than one hundred years ago. There are very few people who would have thought that, through the study of DNA, there are people living in Greece who have genetic connections to Native Americans. One of the ironies of the excitement that some of us find for the proof that “we are all connected” is that we are witnessing global separation causing deep divisions. On a basic level, the human ego seems to have a need to be separate, different, and unique in order to feel special and validated.

However, like it or not, we are not each an island of our own, and we share more than we would like to share. Something we all share is the “planetary weather,” and none of us get to escape it. Transits are simply where, on the constellation belt, current planets reside; today’s transits will be the natal birth chart of a baby born today and, as that baby goes through life, the subsequent transits will have an effect on his/her natal chart.

The faster-moving planets tend to affect us on a short-term basis, and the effect can be as small as Mercury being in a position wherein traffic moves quickly without any incidents and helps make for an easy commute. In other words, the faster-moving planets can be observed as a smaller weather pattern within a season. It may be a balmy forty degree day in February in the north, but it is still winter and days in the teens and single digits are still possible. The slower-moving planets can be looked at as if they are the season itself.

While each of us has certain planets, signs, and house placements which are prominent in our own individual charts, that doesn’t mean that any chart is absent of any planet, sign, or house indicators. The transits of the slower-moving planets will obviously affect those charts which have a natal chart position which happens to fall into the target zone of a slower-moving planet, but each of us will be affected in some way by the slower-moving planets.

For almost two and a half years, all of us have been experiencing the effects of Saturn in Scorpio and, given that Mars slowed down due to retrograde motion, we also went through approximately eight months of Mars being stationed in Scorpio. I know very few people who have experienced an easy time, especially for the majority of 2016.

Those who have their Sun signs in either Scorpio or Taurus would be the easiest people to see as those targeted directly by this Saturn transit because the Sun sign is indicated by one’s birthday, and everyone knows his or her birthday. Please be aware that the dates are different in the sidereal or astronomical system. The Sun is “actually” in Taurus from May 14th until June 19th and in Scorpio from November 16th to December 15th. If you have friends or family members born on those days, you should know that they’ve had challenges in the past two and a half years. Additionally, anyone who has his Moon or Ascendant or other strong planetary placements in these two signs has also experienced the special attention of Saturn. However, both Saturn and Scorpio have certain issues and qualities which are unique to them, and we all have both placed somewhere in our charts. The transits are something we all share and, on some level, we’ve been challenged or affected in some way by the qualities of both Saturn and Scorpio. I would like to give a brief overview of the nature of both Saturn and Scorpio and have chosen to use the words of David Frawley from his wonderful book Astrology of the Seers for their clarity.

“Scorpio is the negative sign of Mars, Fixed Water, the sexual organs of the Cosmic Man, a scorpion. It shows a need for balance and stability on a deeper or psychic level.

“Scorpio is a very profound and mysterious sign. As the negative or physical side of Mars, Scorpio people are often soldiers, policemen, or athletes. They like to use their martial force on a physical level and can be prone to the use of force.” When mentally developed, they have a good capacity for research and inquiry and may become chemists or surgeons. More evolved Scorpio types like to explore the depths of the mind and may have an interest in the occult and Yoga(Tantra).

“Scorpios can be very intelligent and perceptive but are cautious, hesitant to reveal what they really think, or to expose themselves. They are usually passionate and can be very attached sexually. When unevolved, they are prone to vice, perversity, or the underworld side of life. They have an active subconscious and must keep their emotions clear and pure, free of envy and attachment or they can get stuck on an emotional level; yet by this sensitivity they may develop a philosophical disposition and profound insight that the other types rarely attain. They can be caught in their solar plexus and the accumulation of personal power. They need to surrender to the heart. The higher side of Scorpio is symbolized by the eagle, the profundity of vision and transcendent need to subdue the serpent.

“Saturn is traditionally the most difficult of the major planets, the legendary king of the malefic. He has been feared throughout the centuries as the great God of Death – the significator of death, disease, poverty, separation, ugliness and perversity. Saturn brings limitation and obstruction, hindrance in self-expression and in self-manifestation, which may become oppression and adversity. (As Jupiter is the great affirmer, Saturn is the great negator. As Jupiter is the God of joy, he is the God of sorrow. As Jupiter is the optimist, he is the pessimist. As Jupiter shows the joy inherent in all life, Saturn reveals all life as misery.

“Saturn is the significator of disease, old age and death – the great enemies of humans which overcome all life bound by time. As the most distant in orbit of the major planets, he is the major influence we all must face in the end.

“Though the power of Saturn to limit or destroy what it influences should not be underestimated, its positive values must be considered as well. Destruction is the necessary counterpart for creation, as decay and death are required for new life and growth.

“Our great fear of Saturn has measured the degree of our attachment to the material world and our inability to face the ultimate issues of our existence. Saturn shows us the limitation of this realm, which is the necessary but painful lesson we must learn to find our way into the unlimited.

“Saturn causes poverty, deprivation and want. He keeps us in bondage or servitude, under the domination of others, and under the rule of external forces. Yet Saturn also causes us to retain what we possess. Saturn indicates property, land, and fixed assets. Those who obtain wealth through a well-disposed Saturn may become misers and will carefully hold on to what has, with such difficulty, been acquired.

“In the lower sense, Saturn is a selfish planet; in fact, we could say that Saturn is the planet of selfishness. It indicates our most deep-seated and obstinate ego drives towards self-protection. Saturn is our survival instinct, which becomes our need to maintain our separate existence, and is more basic and stronger even than our sexual drive (1st chakra). Furthermore, as the planet of the ego, Saturn is also the planet of fear upon which the ego is based (1st chakra). Only Jupiter has the power to really subdue or to balance out his influence. As Jupiter elevates Saturn, Saturn gives Jupiter a greater detachment and more objective perception.

“Saturn is in many respects not only the lowest of the planets but also the highest. Its lesson is the most difficult but the most rewarding. Saturn is the grandfather spirit and law giver, our guiding ancestor. Saturn is the yogi in meditation. He can give complete detachment and independence. A well-placed Saturn is thus necessary for the spiritual life. In fact, it is necessary for creating anything of enduring values in any domain of life. Saturn gives the concentration, the sense of detail, the discipline and seriousness necessary to win the great challenges of life. A strong Saturn protects the life.” (David Frawley, Astrology of the Seers)

It is easy to see that we have not been under the easiest of energy once Saturn took up residence in the sign of Scorpio. In many ways, we have had the two most intense and difficult energies in astrology join forces and, to add insult to injury, a dose of the fiery and aggressive Mars decided to join the party for eight months. If you are tired, discouraged, confused, or just angry, it is understandable since this has not been an easy part of our earthbound journey. It has been, of course, harder on some depending upon the disposition of their individual charts but, because of the fact that the entire planet shares the transits, very few people have not been affected.

Every planet is good for something, every sign has its positive attributes, and every house gives us an opportunity for growth. I have seen individuals who have been stuck in the morass of misunderstood emotions rise like the phoenix as the truth of Saturn lit up the natural ability of Scorpio to reveal the subconscious mind. I’ve seen people confront their own habits truthfully and allow the Scorpio power of regeneration to heal their bodies through sound health care and changed habits. I’ve seen people finally discover their true passions and move forward professionally. We’ve seen societies moving forward with an understanding of the civil rights of gay people, and we’ve seen some parts of America actually acknowledging our broken justice system. It’s been the truth of Saturn glancing at and paying attention to the underbelly of individuals and society. It’s been painful, it’s been rough, and we see where the work needs to be done collectively and individually.

On January 27th of 2017, Saturn will move out of Scorpio into Sagittarius which will give us a reason to exhale. Saturn will move along in forward motion in Sagittarius until, as is Saturn’s path, he starts his retrograde motion. The retrograde will be in the sign of Sagittarius until June 22 when he reenters Scorpio for a final visit until October 26th. While in the sign of Scorpio he will resume forward motion on August 24th. In some ways, we will all be experiencing the opportunity to revisit what we’ve learned and, for those who have managed to avoid learning or transforming, the period from June 22 until October 26th is a chance to do something about taking responsibility for the ability to achieve self-knowledge, transformation, and inner peace. It will be fourteen years before Saturn enters the sign of Taurus, at which point the ability to focus on our emotions, desires, and transformation falls under the mastery of the Saturn energy. Regardless of what each of us does individually, we are seeing the beginning of the lessening of the intensity of Saturn in Scorpio.

“Only Jupiter has the power to really subdue or to balance out his influence.As Jupiter elevates Saturn, Saturn gives Jupiter a great detachment and more objective perception.”

Sagittarius is Jupiter’s sign,and what we will all share as Saturn moves into Jupiter’s domain is a more positive energy which includes movement, generosity, grace and, most importantly, the return of hope and an easier pathway to goodwill. There is always continuity to the planetary movements and, just as we enter the darkness of Scorpio to explore the underbelly, we come out of the underbelly hopefully with more knowledge and the desire to fix what was found on the underbelly. Jupiter will be there to assist. The choice is, as always, up to us.

In my work, I am always seeking not only to look at what the planets have to say, but also to assist in offering tools to help in the quest for better self-knowledge and a healthier, stronger body and mind. As those who’ve known me for a while know, I often will recommend yoga, mantra, meditation, or pranayama.

Life can sometimes have a wonderful synchronicity and, just as I am finishing up the intense energy of the Saturn in Scorpio and I’m getting ready to give my usual advice to heal and balance through yoga, I find the perfect book to recommend to everyone to assist in their own process.

The Yoga Toolbox by Jan (Durga) Ahlund, available at: might be the single best yoga manual I’ve seen. The author, a fellow teacher trainee back in the 1990s, is someone I’ve known for years. We shared an intense training in the old “gurukul” style of one-on-one training with a single teacher. This was not a twenty-eight day intensive – – it took eighteen months of four classes per week along with special workshops and required sadhanas and studies to get a Level One certificate and years to move to Levels Two and Three. Durga went through the same system, moved on to became a Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapist, and then developed and teaches the Yoga Teachers Training Course worldwide for the Babaji’s Kriya Yoga Organization.

Durga is known for her mastery and love of the physical positions of yoga – she was better at the postures than our own teacher – and she found sacredness and healing to the postures that I never was able to achieve. If truth be known, I would do the postures just waiting for them to be over so I could meditate or chant afterwards.

As I moved on to Jyotish, she moved on to a deeper study through Babaji’s Kriya Yoga and many trips to India. The result of all of her work is this book which, in a masterful way, manages to meld the ancient teachings with the words and understanding of the 21st century. The clear explanation of the yogic principles behind the postures, along with the physical and mental benefits of the postures, makes this a book for now. Durga’s understanding of Hatha Yoga allows her to clearly explain how to do each posture she recommends along with ample photographs to add to the instruction.

It is a perfect book for those who are determined to take better control over their body, mind, and spirit.

I would like to thank my good friend Laura Cerenzio (Atma Amita) for editing this blog.