I am a New Yorker who appreciates living in four seasons. I like the longer nights and cooler temperatures of the winter season. There is usually a slower pace to life in January and I like moving into a new year at a relaxed pace. The new year of 2024 feels, so far, like a speeding train.

It’s not as if I expect a rose garden in 2024 and we are all advised to accept, as graciously as possible, that we are living through and witnessing particularly tumultuous times. Even in such historic times there are moments that are simply more notable than others and this is one of those moments.

Sometimes I feel as if my parents should have just named me “Mars” because it seems that it is what I speak about most often. While they didn’t name me “Mars” I was one of the three children in the family born under the Mars ruled sign of Aries. Mars has been a companion for my entire life. Fortunately, he no longer befuddles or throws me into tantrums.

In my years of working with Jyotish I’ve noticed how many people, born in the USA, have natal charts that interact for good or bad with the natal chart of the United States. This should not be surprising as we all tend to carry with us certain traits we have in common with others in the country. Sometimes the aspects to the natal chart of America will bring about a shared energy or mood. If we look at the history of this country it is varied and often filled with contradictions which is reflected in the natal chart.

The chart for America has a Sagittarius rising sign and is aspected by Jupiter, in Gemini, which is the ruler of the ascendant. Jupiter has given the US many, many benefits not the least of which was being the first country to gain independence from the massive British empire. Of course, the country remained and remains close to the United Kingdom. In addition to Jupiter there are three other Gemini placements – Venus, the Sun, and Mars.

These four planets are in the angular and powerful 7th house. The 7th house rules politics, diplomacy, legal matters, and partnerships. Obviously, the Sun and Mars together, will tend towards war and conflict without which America would not have gained its independence from Mother England. Venus and Jupiter account for the high ideals of America which are often challenged and sometimes ignored. This powerful conjunction acts as a balance for or force against the philosophical and generous nature of our Sagittarius Ascendant.

Immediately following Gemini is the sign of Cancer which, in the USA chart, contains Mercury conjunct Rahu in the 8th house of money. This aspect has, unfortunately, allowed the country to build upon the “fortunes of war” as well never fully putting the oligarchs and their class system into their proper place. Mercury conjunct Rahu is illogical and can account for a criminal mind set and this aspect would account for the slavery and racism deep in the roots of America “prosperity.” The natal chart is a snapshot of the potential and karma of the subject. America’s natal chart is a chart of movement which is why the nation keeps changing and, hopefully, will continue to evolve towards its lofty goals.

While the natal chart is a picture of a moment in time the planets keep moving and today’s placements are known as transits and the transits will affect that natal chart. Currently the natal Venus, Sun, Mars and Jupiter are being aspected by the strong conjunction of Mercury, Mars and Venus in the Ascendant sign of the United States (Sagittarius). All planets have the “opposition” aspect which means that the opposite sign is activated by the placement of a planet. Sagittarius and Gemini are opposite signs which make both signs very active right now. Additionally, in another way that Vedic Astrology is unique, it assigns Mars an aspect that includes the 8th sign from his placement. Only Mars aspects the adjacent sign as well. This means that Mars is also aspecting the Mercury/Rahu conjunction in Cancer in the natal chart of the US.

It is not imaginary that it seems as if there is a general sense of irrationality surrounding us right now. You are likely not incorrect in thinking that the behavior of the customer service person you had to engage with while simply trying to get an error fixed was rude. Yes, the child in your life might be exhibiting a bit more rebellion than usual. This current planetary pile-up can affect all of us and the often misunderstood “free-will” can also mean that we are free to react or not to the emotions and drama of others.

These can also be moments of creative, spiritual, or conscious breakthroughs if we don’t get caught up in fear, outrage, or negative thoughts of a temporary situation. It can be a challenge, but we don’t lose if we strengthen our patience and increase our compassion. While walking through this energy we can also apply patience and compassion to ourselves as well. Mars responds well to activity, food, and laughter. Take that walk and then plan for a delicious dinner and a funny movie. The Moon will move to Leo and away from Mars on the 27th; Mercury moves into Capricorn on 2/1 and Mars moves into Capricorn on 2/6. The intensity of this current moment in time will lessen and this week is the height of the energetic friction. Those who have not given into impulsivity and anger of this moment will be relieved to find their lives still intact and that they found a new movie and great recipe to add to their lives.