The month of May brings a lot of activity to Taurus, where planets congregate in transit and much pitta - fire energy is present in a fixed, earth sign. The month of May also hosts the festivals of two of the ten Avatars in this manvantara: Narasimha Jayanthi and Kurma Jayanthi, the half-man and tortoise avataras.
Venus in Gemini May 2 - May 30
Venus moves into Gemini and exchanges lordship with Mercury. Venus in an air sign brings fresh ideas and motivation to change one’s environment. There may be boundaries for inner and outer; the inner environment of elegance, grace and wisdom is more important. Surprisingly, Venus will not be aspected by many planets this month and sends aspect to Jupiter’s house of Sagittarius, where unrequited love may be experienced by some. Mars will be aspecting Sagittarius at the same time, so make sure that you are practical where the object of your affections is concerned. No need to be pushed into rushed relationships which go nowhere fast; this is a time of “crash and burn and move on” as they do say …
Full Moon in Libra May 4
The full moon will be in Libra on this day, and moving through a nakshatra owned by Rahu, the shadow planet that causes desire. The Moon will also be in a scissors yoga, between Rahu and Saturn – this is a time to take extra care to be grounded and to only act on what one knows to be practical and true. What is practical, what is true comes from your character bank, something you have built up over many years. So take care not to feel small within, not to feel judged nor “hemmed in” by circumstances nor blown around by the wind. Rather, act on your foundations, your values. There will be great temptation to follow fleeting desires. Master the mind and be a mastermind.
Mars in Taurus May 4 - June 15
Mars, fire planet, in Taurus, a fixed, earthy sign of stability and perseverance. Here, take the energy of Mars during it sojourn in Taurus to plod away at your goals and make sure you don’t get a temper up over silly, passing things. Mars will aspect the Sun’s sign Leo, Scorpio – where Saturn is retrograde – and Sagittarius. The full aspect of Mars on Saturn causes Saturn to aspect back and drive Mars’s fire into the ground. Hence, the time of tectonic plate shifting, earthquakes, and unexpected ground shifts. Be careful the ground is not pulled out from under your own self; hold on to what is steady and true. Mars will also Mercury as companion – where Mercury is Lord of Taurus during Venus’s transit of Gemini; there is exchange of lordship. While Mercury is neutral to Mars, Mars is enemy to Mercury so intelligence may take a beating. Take the slow, coarse earthiness that Taurus has to offer and make time to ensure you have the facts right. After all, Mercury will be temporary Lord and may take his time despite Mars shoving fire and drive and vigour under Mercury.
Sun in Taurus May 14 - June 14
Crowded House! Mars, Mercury and SUN in Taurus, and all aspecting Saturn and being aspected by Saturn in return. Mars and Sun are mutual friends and get along just fine. Sun is neutral to the temporary Lord Mercury whereas Mercury counts Sun as one of its friends. Sun and Mars are both pitta nature, so we may expect things to get rather heated in enclosed, limited environment. As Saturn is seven times more powerful than the Sun, and enemies with both Sun and Mars there may well be a thorough shaking up of affairs that we took for granted as stable, grounded, fixed. Saturn, dry, air, vata nature in water sign Scorpio, the sign of hidden matters, may well cause hidden matters to emerge amidst this fire month in Taurus. As Taurus is a fixed sign, be careful that you do not appear selfish, stubborn and don’t erupt defending your boundaries. Take care of yourself and balance your day with a sensible routine of effort balanced with recreation, exercise balanced with meditation or your spiritual practice.
New Moon in Taurus May 18
Now the new moon this month – takes place in Taurus. Mars, Mercury Sun and Moon in Taurus – this moon, while exalted is afflicted by Malefics Mars, Sun – and because Mercury is in proximity to two malefics, Mercury becomes a temporary malefic itself. There is also aspect from Saturn, so we may be feeling hard done by, restricted, and quite morose at this time. We may even be looking and speaking hangdog for a day or so. Saturn has a task to face us with experience, forced, dry, arid, hard: stand your ground with your character bank and ENSURE you balance your days and recharge your batteries daily with exercise and meditatio at this time. And treasure good company for what it is, just that, good company. Do not be attached to good times for life is a cycle of good and plenty, hardship and endurance. Your character bank will enable you to endure this new Moon with a cheerful mien.
Mercury Retrograde in Taurus May 19 - June 11
Venus leaves Gemini on 1 June; Mercury loses its temporary lordship of Taurus and goes retrograde in the face of pitta, fire-based planets Sun and Mars. Both Sun and Mars leave Taurus together around 16 June, so Mars will have hot company for this period. Retrograde is latin, it means “do good with a firm foundation” … in many respects, we take a step back from the hurly burly and din that Sun and Mars push Mercury into and look to the foundations of what we know to be true. While walking in front of Shiva might be a trepidation laced with fire, we look to our foundation, get the facts right and do things with rectitude and poise: Shiva and Parvati are refinement. This is what Mercury retrograde offers us.
Narasimha Jayanti - Saturday 2 May
Narasimha Jayanti celebrates the incarnation of Lord Vishnu in the form of Narasimha (half man – half lion) to save his devotee Prahlada from the demon Hiranyakasipu. Narasimha is the fourth of the ten avatars of Lord Vishnu. In this tale, Hiranyakasipu is referred to as a demon: there are humans who know the right thing and do the right thing; this is true humanness. There are humans who know the right thing and pervert their intellect and mind, and do the wrong thing. This form of life is called demonic, even though it has human form. So you will understand why Hiranyakasipu is called a demon as the tale unfolds ...
Hiranyakasipu had obtained a boon from Brahma that he could not be killed by man or beast, by day or by night and from inside or outside. And also he could not be killed by any weapon.
After receiving such a powerful boon, Hiranyakasipu conquered heaven and earth and declared himself as God and asked people to worship him and not Vishnu.
But Hiranyakasipu’s son, Prahlāda, was a staunch Vishnu devotee and disobeyed his father. The whole kingdom worshipped Hiranyakasipu; but in his own house his son worshipped Vishnu. The father tried all means to change his son, but he failed miserably. He then tried to kill but each time the young boy escaped from the clutches of death with the blessings of Vishnu. He would chant, "Om Namo Narayanaya"
Fed up with his son, one day Hiranyakasipu challenged Prahlada and, looking to a stone pillar, asked, ‘If your god is omnipresent, is he in this pillar also?’ Prahlad answered, ‘HE is present in the pillar and even in the rust.’ Hearing this Hiranyakasipu slashed hard on the pillar with a sword.
Suddenly, Lord Vishnu emerged from the pillar in the form of a Narasimha - half man-half-lion and slew Hiranyakasipu at dusk. Narasimha killed the demon Hiranyakasipu by keeping him in his lap and tearing his heart with bare hands thus overcoming all the boons the demon had attained from Brahma.
The man-lion, symbol of courage, stgrength and will-power relates to the planet Mars. Worshipping Narasimha allows us to transform anger, wrathfulness to divine righteousness and the fostering of dharma, right action; this transforms and uplifts our Mars energy.
Kurma Jayanti - Sunday 3 May
KURMA Avatar is the second incarnation of Lord Vishnu. In this incarnation Vishnu took form as a tortoise. In the saga of the ongoing battle between gods and asuras (demons), at one time the gods lost their strength. This was due to the curse of the sage Durvasa, who had presented a garland of flowers to Indra, king of gods, who carelessly gave it away to his elephant Airavata who promptly trampled it. Due to this indiscretion, the sage cursed the gods upon which they lost all of their might.
The Devas approached Vishnu for help. He directed them to add medicines, then churn the milk ocean using Mount Mandara as the churning rod. He told them to ask the asuras to help them lift the mountain in exchange for a share of the nectar of immortality which would ensue from the churning. Both the devas and the asuras churned the ocean using the serpent Vasuki as the rope. At the start, playing a Machiavellian trick, Indra, king of the gods asked the asuras for the head end of Vasuki. But asuras suspecting foul play, took the head end, only to be deceived as the poison from Vasuki was slowly weakening them. But as churning was proceeding the mountain was sinking. It was then that Lord Vishnu took the form of the tortoise KURMA and kept the mountain afloat. As soon as the bowl of amrita, the nectar of immortality was out, the asuras grabbed it. Then Lord Vishnu took the form of Mohini, a beautiful maiden, and seduced the asuras into letting her distribute the nectar and also to abide by her order of distribution. As soon as the devas were served the maiden disappeared thus deceiving the asuras and giving the devas the advantage.
Saturn relates to the tortoise incarnation of Lord Vishnu. This is the great tortoise of the directions that carries the universe on its back. The adhara, the basis of all the universes is the Divine. Hence, the tortoise is the symbol of stability, steadiness and support of all that is. Saturn is a strong and hard planet and can be a great support in life if we use the energy correctly. Keep in mind that the planets may raise us up or pull us down. As human life is always faced with choice, it is up to us how we utilise the subtle energies that the planets transmit within us. Worship of Kurma avatara grants strength and support of the foundational powers of the universe, transforming and uplifting our Saturn energy.