Mesha Sankranti for 2018 takes place on 14 April 2018. Mesha Sankranti is also known as Maha Vishuva Sankranti. According to Vedic astrology on this day the Sun enters Mesha Rashi or Aries Zodiac. This day marks the beginning of the New Year in many Hindu Solar Calendars.
Various Solar calendars followed in India e.g. Oriya calendar, Tamil Calendar, Malayalam Calendar and Bengali Calendar mark the first day of the year (or Vishu Kani for Malayalam calendar) based on Mesha Sankranti. Solar calendars follow different rules to mark the first day of the year depending on exact time of the Sankranti.
The New Year in Odisha is calculated based on solar system of calendar calculation. Sun transits to Mesha Rashi or Aries on this day. Vishuba means Equator and Sun is over the Equator on this day. The special drink Pana is served on the day. It is made of pulp of Bilva (wood apple or bela), coconut gratings, and cottage cheese. The drink is seasoned with ginger and black pepper.
The Tamil New Year, Varsha Pirappu or Puthandu, is observed on the first day of Tamil month Chithirai, the first month as per traditional Tamil Calendar. In 2018, the date of Varsha Pirappu or Tamil New Year is April 14. Chitirai 1 is an auspicious day for Tamil speaking people in India (Tamil Nadu) and across the world, especially in Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia and South Africa.
A major highlight of the Tamil New Year is the viewing of ‘Kanni’ – meaning auspicious things. Legend has it that viewing auspicious things on this day will bring good fortune throughout the year. After viewing the Kanni, it is time for a ritualistic bath. After the bath, it is time to draw the ‘Kolam’ or Rangoli (Tamil New Year Kolams). The ‘kolam’ is believed to bring good fortune to the family members. Then, the doorways are decorated with mango leaves.
At the time of Solar New Year, we look to the heavens to see the placement of the planets. In Sagittarius, a planetary war (graha yudda) has been occurring between Saturn and Mars. At the day of writing, this war is still occurring as Mars is with the Orb of influence of Saturn. Prashna gives the Orb of influence of Saturn as 9° … Saturn is 15°02′ Purva Ashadha; Mars is 21°08′ Purva Ashadha. This conflict between Mars and Saturn will continue until Mars is beyond the influence of Saturn.
The likely outcome of this is sudden outbursts of temper, impatience, verbal outbursts and for Mars driven people, retreat in to laziness until the next outburst arrives. For Saturn focussed peoples, time will move slowly, albeit with friction, frustration and perceptions of time being wasted. As both planets are in Jupiter’s sign, the negative effects will multiply, as Jupiter is a multiplier of his effects.
One way of overcoming this is to recall positive aspects of the human person and what we are all capable of. In the Chamakam, the 3rd Anuvaka expresses positive aspects and desires of the human person, “peace is within me, perseverance is within me, excellence is within me and similar aspirations. At times of friction during challenge of planetary war, one could recite the 3rd Anuvaka daily, and at times of personal challenge. Grace demands effort and any effort we put in to become a better person is worth the while. For some, this will bring discipline, focus, respect and strength. For others, this may elicit detachment, practicality, tenacity and maturity.
You can download the 3rd Anuvaka here
Sun Transits Aries April 13 – May 14
The Sun moves from water sign to fire sign. This is called gandanta (the knot). Gandanta refers to the junction signifying end or a new beginning and in the zodiac the three points of Zero degree Aries, Leo and Sagittarius in the junction of the Fire and Water signs shows the Gandanta. These are called Brahma Nabhi (Navel of Brahma the Creator). The Gandanta stretches for 3° 20’ on either side of these points.
Gandanta is often called “the knot” and it is a place of particular karmic challenge. These challenges are recognised by the individual as recurring lessons or tests in this lifetime. They are particularly deep insertions into our character and behaviour and call for constant inner surveillance within. While the Sun is in a particularly challenging place in the horoscope, we may be alert to such challenges and seek to reform our character and inner flaws.
Mercury Direct in Pisces April 15
Mercury has been retrograde in Pisces where it is debilitated. Two negatives make a positive, so the effects of Mercury retrograde have been cancelled. This allowed the intuition of Pisces to combine with the swift intellect of Mercury to produce vivid imagination, along with creative and intuitive solutions. Now the double negative is gone, Mercury moves direct on April 15. Imagination, communication and swift transfer of data and information will slow down until Mercury reaches the sandhi border between Pisces and Aries. Make allowances for SNAFU in communications.
Saturn Retrograde in Sagittarius
From April 17 until September 6 Saturn will turn retrograde and once again, Saturn will be in Mula nakshatra. The return of Saturn to Mula, which means “root,” could be challenging some of us to look within to what causes “hell” for us. What is outside of us, we draw to ourselves. So it behooves one and all to look within during this period of time and meet our worst scenario, and put effort to make change. It may be of benefit to think about what we think about all day long and challenge those outdated tapes and messages that go around and round inside our heads. Hinduism teaches yad bhavati tad bhavatum, as the feeling, so the result. This world is reaction, reflection, resound, and when planet Saturn presents us with our personal hell, we have the opportunity to change the narrative. We can tell that nagging inner voice, “No more”. We can go back to our dreams and change the dream. We can call on the Angels and Spirit Guides for help. The area of your horoscope occupied by Sagittarius may give some clues as to the domain of life in which this may manifest on a personal level.
There is a two week period around April 18 when Saturn will “station” (be stationary) before moving retro. In this time, it is possible for feelings of anxiety or fear might increase. Try to stay centred within yourself whenever such feelings come. Chant the 3rd Anuvaka given above, do yoga, meditate, follow your spiritual exercises with diligence in this time. You feed the body three times a day; feed the soul three times a day also (at the sandhi times). Both Saturn and Jupiter will be in retrograde motion for a three-month time, through mid-July.
These Hubble Space Telescope images, captured from 1996 to 2000, show Saturn’s rings open up from just past edge-on to nearly fully open as it moves from autumn towards winter in its Northern Hemisphere (source: https://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/science/saturn/)
Venus Transits Taurus April 19 – May 14
Venus will leave Aries (where the heat has been on – particularly in relationships with Jupiter retrograde aspecting Venus ) on April 19 and move into its own sign of Taurus where matters are more relaxed, more grounded, a sense of balance prevails and life is generally more satisfying. Taurus is the farmer’s sign, with all the heath and rudeness of nature, birth of animals, the crops and their seasons, the good rains and their absence and the challenges that brings. Venus in Taurus calls us to get in touch with the coarse, earthy groundedness in our lives.
Some call this messy art, some do scrapbooking, some do retro with pieces of music, while others get their hands and knees dirty in the garden, in the flower beds, in the compost and the community vege gardens. Any and all efforts to ground ourselves brings a healthy balance to the inner instruments of action within us, the jnanindriyas. After all, common sense is based on our inner groundedness, is it not?
A New Year
The Lunar New Year heralded the year of Vilambi, when the Moon entered Aries. There will a new moon in Aries on April 15. With both the Sun and Moon in the gandanta area, we get the opportunity to manage the mind and face the lifetime choices we made, the prarabdha karma we selected to bring with the soul in this lifetime. This time of planetary war, this time of going direct and other planets going retrograde, and the Sun/Moon combination of gandanta at the beginning of Aries tells us that life is change, and the one thing that never changes is the antaryami, the inner resident in our hearts. She/He is available to us all the time, 24/7, the give of life, the giver of light, the giver of Divine Love. Sarva karma bhagavad preetyartham – Do all actions to please God; then have your New Year in the Divine Presence.
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