Solar New Year, April 2019

Mesha Sankranti (14 April 2019) 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 most Hindu Solar Calendars.

You may be confused about all the different New Year Festivals in India, the home of Vedic Astrology.


The calendars can be grouped in five main variations. Two are solar, three are lunar.

The first solar group starts on the Tropical Equinox, when the day and nights are equal, around 21 March. The Indian National Calendar and the Parsi Navroz are in this category.

The second solar group starts on the Sidereal Equinox, which adjusts for the wobble in the tilt of the earth. It starts around April 14. The calendars of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Odisha, Assam (Bihu), West Bengal and Punjab (Baisakhi) are in this group. The tropical new year shifts away from the sidereal new year by about a day, every seventy years. More on sidereal calendar in Zodiac, equinoX and the Wobble.

The first lunar group starts on the full moon following the equinox. This is Holi, celebrated as new year in Haryana, Bihar, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh.

The second lunar group starts on the new moon following the equinox. This is Ugadi in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telengana, Maharashtra and Konkan; Navreh in Kashmir and Vishu in Manipur.

And finally, Gujrat starts its calendar on Diwali, which falls on a new moon in autumn.

The Sun Enters Aries

When the Sun enters Aries, it is nominally exalted; full exaltation occurs at 10° Aries. Sun is Lord of the 1st house (Ascendant is in Leo), and is placed in the 9th house. The 9th house – home of religious practices, philosophy and higher learning, is a fire sign with the Aruda (appearance) of the 12th house, the house of incarceration, imprisonment, hospitalisation and death. Aruda in astrology means “face to the world”, that is, how someone appears to the world. So Sun, normally sign of the ego (and naisargika atmakaraka, the alternate planet representing the soul) is giving off vibrations of forced seclusion along with the last things – war, famine, plague and death.

The Preacher, the High Priest and the Hierophant all reside in the 9th house bringing into being religious matters, spiritual awareness. This suggests the rise of circumstances where people may rush back to formal religious obeisance in response to their circumstances. Jupiter aspects Sun from Sagittarius, somewhat softening these fears.

We note that the Sun is in Aries in the Drekkana chart (D3) (mental inclinations), we have Sun in Aries in D9 – Navamsha chart (the path of dharma) and Sun is in Aries in D27 – Saptavimsamsha (Bhamsha, strength of the moon, hence – strength of the mind) showing a certain strength in these mental inclinations. There is a suggestion of higher consciousness, higher awareness, perhaps that of Ascension and the higher dimensions. If we follow dharma in all things, we have nothing to fear. If we practice truth, right conduct, love, peace and non-violence in our business and affairs, then we will possess the protection of dharma – Dharmo Rakshathi Rakshitaha. There is nothing to fear.

Jupiter is in the 5th house – the other trikona sign to the Sun – giving the Aruda (appearance) of the 1st house, the house of the body, the state of the soul, the personality and the state of health generally.

The 5th house is the house of children, the house of intelligence, the house of uniqueness, drama and ideals. We find that Saturn and Ketu are with Jupiter in the 5th house, and very much approaching a flame-filled conjunction as Ketu acts like Mars as given in the kuja-vat-ketu rule. Dutiful Jupiter (in a hard place – retrograde in Moola nakshatra and gandanta, in that harsh knot between fire and water signs) is unable to adjudicate between warring siblings, to weak to clarify matters causing cognitive dissonance, and generally unable to give off his customary magnanimously multiplying aspects.

When Jupiter is retrograde, it produces a more internal experience of its energy. Since Jupiter is the planet of dharma, its retrograde motion enhances its spiritual side. This period can be a good one for the introspective process, studying spiritual philosophies, and doing your internal homework. This retrograde period will last from April 10th until August 11th. However, as we are looking at a New Year chart, this influence will last the entire year. (Keep in mind that Jupiter is Year Lord in this chart.)


Aurora is visible at the north pole of Jupiter

We mentioned that Jupiter is retrograde, that is, apparent retrograde motion or retrogression with respect to the rotation of the Earth. It is said that retrograde planets require a task to be done three times. There are three repetitions necessary with every retrograde planet. As Jupiter is parama guru – that is to say, teacher of the higher learning, the remover of darkness from the mind, we look to the higher significations of Jupiter and learning from life’s experiences particularly as Jupiter is gandanta, in the place of extreme knotty life challenges. We should look to jnatum, drashtum, praveshtum (knowing, visualising, entering what is learned).

Knowledge without personal experience is futile. Wisdom lodged within us will be of no avail if it is static. It will only assume the form of mere scholarship. If such learning is brought within the ambit of practice it is creditable.

First, one must stand under the challenge being experienced, the individual learning task. When you learn from reflection on your own experience you naturally take an interest in its meaning, application, variety. Then you develop an urge to visualise those truths at any cost. This is the first stage of Knowing.

In the second stage, you carefully peruse, examine and collect material about such challenges, the individual learning task wherever they may be available. You read and directly visualise them. With great perseverance you enquire, comprehend and enjoy them. Thus you derive some satisfaction that you have discerned certain profound truths. This is the second stage of Visualising.

It is not enough if you make progress in the first two stages. You must experience what is known and seen. By entering the arena of experience, one should feel complete identification with the Ideal. If one contemplates experience and learns from it – coming to a understanding in wisdom and higher consciousness, then when we rise in consciousness we do not do it for ourselves – it is also for the welfare of humanity. What affects one, affects the whole.

This is the task, the challenge of Jupiter retrograde. The retrograde energy will be directed internally, we have the opportunity to examine our challenges, our paths, our calling, our journey, and evaluate what we have learned, the wisdom we have reached – or have yet to reach. TS Eliot said,

“We had the experience but missed the meaning. And approach to the meaning restores the experience in a different form. In a different form, beyond any meaning …”

We need the path to wisdom; Jupiter retrograde – under pressure and delivering pressure to you personally – offers you the opportunity to recover the meaning.

We note that Venus is in the 7th house, and is atmakaraka, the planet representing the soul. The planet Venus is known in Vedic Astrology as Lord Shukra, the celestial poet, son of Lord Bhrigu (var, Bhrugu), and is often thought to be the Indian version of Cupid, an archetype of Valentine and true love and more recently, dispositor of bedroom pleasures and little else. (The god of love in Vedic tradition is called Manmatha, not Shukra.)

Truth, goodness and beauty – these are the attributes of Divinity and true humanness – that is, human beings acting with integrity – vasudeva sarva midam – ever seeking divinity in all things. In Sanskrit, Truth is Sathyam; Goodness is Sivam; Beauty is Sundaram. The planet Venus contains, releases and perpetually flashes forth different patterns of cosmic energy. Whether the ever-changing energies coming forth from Venus raises us up or pulls us down, is largely dependent on how we understand and take up, integrate and apply the energies of the planet. Venus is our sense of divine love, beauty and grace.

From the 7th House, Venus offers walking and communing with Nature, acting in the theatre, gardening, poetry, painting, filmmaking, music and dance – all these things that bring gracefulness and beauty to the lives of others. Without these, we may experience fearfulness, miserliness, and scarcity thinking. Venus has the capacity to link to many, form many friendships and networks, and create enjoyable, graceful social networks for others. Venus prefers to create more linkages rather than taking a commanding role. In this wise – with humility – comes awareness of atma – that is to say, awareness of atma in all, rather than in self, alone. One recognises that Spirit is everywhere, within everyone. This is what Venus offers from the 7th house.

There are many more things we might say about the Solar New Year. It is not a year of bad news, rather, it is a year of opportunity: and it seems that most – if not all – of these opportunities the Solar New Year offers are spiritual opportunities.





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