Vedic Predictive Astrology



Mars Summer Subtlety

It's For The Planets?

Published August 6, 2003



Note:  All Forecasts are suitable for printing


     Often this summer, after referring stressed clients to Patricia Flores for a Mayan Healing Massage, Patricia remarks how deep the healing is, round-eyed in her sweet Guadalajara accent, "Itís for the planets?"

     "Yes," itís for the planets, I reply.  
A quizzical Mayan look.

     "Remember the May 28 Summer 2003 Major Summer Transits Forecast?" I ask.  Well, of course, she doesnít really, for Patricia's refer- ence is mostly otherworldly, and perhaps some of you donít either - for more mundane reasons, of course
     Recent Forecasts have been lengthy and laborious to read for several reasons, not the least of which is their complex unraveling of the threads of shifting planetary influences during this historic time.  
     Also, Mars' energy has been building stress, both globally and person- ally, thus creating intense concerns that distract from calm arcane discuss- ions of planetary symbolism.

       After glancing at the morning newspaper or watching the evening TV news, who has the interest or patience to grind through a dry Vedic Astrology treatise?

     For these reasons, the previous Forecast, Trends For The 2nd Half 2003 was purposely concise.  Yet, as Mars is now popularly viewed as a tremendously dominant celestial influence, it is worthwhile to examine in some depth what Mars actually portends this summer and fall as the major summer planetary transits of Mars, Jupiter and the Moon's Nodes occur.

     The media have turned Mars into a summer celestial celebrity because of its brightness and for the several space probes headed there now because its proximity shortens the trip.  The Western Astrological community heralds Mars for its being closer to Earth than it has been for tens of thousands of years, claiming its qualities to be uniquely powerful.  Together, this attention on Mars has been educational for astronomers and astrologers alike,  but close attention to the facts reveals some astrological spin.

     Yes, Mars will be close.  However, hereís a succinct astronomical explanation by NASA in its July 3 Science News report, Approaching Mars, clarifying the Earth/Mars transit and dispelling  the proximity overstatement.

 On June 1st Mars was 12.5 arcseconds across and it glowed like a -1st magnitude star.
  On August 27th it will be twice as wide (25 arcseconds) and six times brighter    
   (magnitude -2.9).

Left: Frank Reddy, author of Celestial Delights, created this animation showing how Mars will swell in size be- tween June and August 2003. Click on the image to view the complete movie spanning all of 2003.

     Much has been made of the fact that the August 27th encounter with Mars is the closest in some 60,000 years.  Neanderthals were the last to observe Mars so favorably placed. This is true.  It's also a bit of hype. Mars and Earth have been almost this close many times in recent history. 

     Some examples: Aug. 23, 1924; Aug. 18, 1845; Aug. 13, 1766.  In each case Mars and Earth were approximately 56 million km apart.

     Astronomers call these close encounters "perihelic oppositions." Perihelic means Mars is near perihelion--its closest approach to the sun.  (The orbit of Mars, like that of all planets, is an ellipse, so the distance between the sun and Mars varies.)  Opposition means that the sun, Earth and Mars are in a straight line with Earth in the middle.  Mars and the sun are on opposite sides of the sky.  When Mars is at opposition and at perihelion--at the same time--it is very close to Earth.

     August 27th is indeed the best perihelic opposition since the days of the Neanderthals, but it scarcely differs from other more recent ones.  That's fine because all perihelic oppositions of Mars are spectacular.


   The University of Texas McDonald Observatory, confirms NASA's findings and is exacting in stating that on August 27,  "At 4:51 a.m. CDT, Earth and Mars will pass 34,646,437 miles (55,758,006 km) from each other -- their closest approach in about 60,000 years. (Many encounters have come within a few thousand miles of this distance, though. In 1924, for example, Mars passed only about 13,000 miles farther than this year.)"  Western Astrology's claim that Mars is now a transforming influence of unparalleled significance is thus inaccurate and exaggerated.  Further, if you scrutinize astrology articles about Mars, you'll find scant specific information.
     Vedic Astrology differs from the simplistic Western Astrology view that Mars must be exceptionally potent because it is uniquely proximate.  Vedic Astrology, with its manifold techniques to specifically measure planetary strengths, has conflicting views about planets in astronomical proximity to the Earth.  The strength/proximity issue is evaluated in relation to retrograde, when the earth's faster motion appears to 'lap' the outer planets  - Mars, Jupiter and Saturn - and hence when these planets are closest to the earth and brightest as well.  For example, David Frawley, in Astrology Of The Seers, states that retrograde "is usually a sign of strength," but the text also states that, "Retrograde has an internalizing effect on a planet's energy."  

     This dichotomy is echoed in other learned texts on Vedic Astrology, all of which are grounded in the ancient scriptures that give the craft its depth, consistency and reliability.  James Braha clarifies these conflicting views on retrograde motion in The Art And Practice Of Vedic Astrology, by explaining that the power of proximity (and accompanying astronomical brightness) creates "an intense force within the person's consciousness and internal processes.."  but that, "On the outer level, a retrograde planet is never strong and active.  It is neutral or passive."  Braha's concludes that retrograde planetary energy is powerful and "latent,' giving rise to increased free will. 

     Here's the key, then, to understanding retrograde motion: The ancient scriptures do say that retrograde planets are strong, but in ancient India internal growth (spirituality) took priority over external worldly achievement.  
     The scriptures retrograde statements claiming strength therefore must des- cribe spiritual strength, the power to achieve self-realization, which means full knowledge, or truth. 
     Viewing Mars retrograde in this more subtle way means that Mars' vital nature stimulates a tightly focused and deeply penetrating search for truth during the current retrograde - July 30 - September 20. 

      That is, by retrograde motion turning Mars' normally outward  aggression into inward reflection, the dreaded planet of war becomes a force for truth, and by association, ethics and justice.  This demonstrates Mars' spiritual power, perhaps only emerging during its retrograde motion.  

     Yet, Mars is also in forward motion during remainder of its 6 month transit through Aquarius that began June 3 and ends December 6 - the intervals before and after its retrograde.  So, from June 3 to July 29 and again from September 21 to December 6, we would expect Mars to act in its typically selfish, aggressive and carelessly destructive fashion.

     Even though the other 8 planets continue to play their roles independent of Mars, events this summer appear to conform to this way of understanding Mars during its truly potent close approach to the Earth this summer and fall.  We have seen  forward outward aggressive Mars energy costing lives in Iraq and Israel/Palestine, as well as bringing a popular uprising against leaders.  Suddenly in June and July, the great majority of who felt Bush and Blair were unassailable in their military victory in Iraq begin objecting to questionable statements by these two leaders. Inquiries are being held now in London and in September in Washington DC.  

     Commensurately, the administrations in the US and England spitefully fought back against the insurrection with Martian vigor, defending their militarism and selfish economic policies with aggressive truth-twisting.  Mars, after all, cares only about the end, not the means, and is thereby the liar in the planetary lineup.  On a personal level, forward-moving Mars in Saturn's sign of Aquarius brought packages of divisiveness and oppression to peoples' doorsteps - deliveries of arising challenging karmas that force change.  (Note: This Mars transit impacts everyone, but those with planets in Aquarius, particularly Rahu or Ketu, are most adversely affected.)

     With retrograde inward reflective Mars since July 30, violence has toned down, and the political search for truth accelerates as the dispute focusing upon justice - lying is lying and cannot be tolerated.  Still, Mars remains Mars, and it's ongoing presence in Aquarius keeps the anxious pressure in all life's venues. 

     After Mars finishes its retrograde motion September 20, and becomes again its normal outward aggressive self, the ethics issues against Bush's neo-conservative gang and agenda that were clarified during Mars retrograde will heat up.  The battle for Bush's resignation will be joined.  Economic despair, Mideast violence and perhaps even a showdown with North Korea will further inflame the political fires.


Copyright 1999-2004 Doug Riemer

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