by Chakrapani Ullal
This New Year, March 2012 to April 2012 bears the unmistakable stamp of Mars and Saturn. It is a challenging year, but a year that will deliver us to better conditions, better times ahead. Knowing the outlook is generally good, with a marked improvement by the January, 2013, year-end period, one might brace themselves for some tough going, take precautions where possible, but basically, keep the faith, confident that these difficulties, too, shall pass.
Mars is a natural malefic, and often has a role to play when there are problems to face. Because it plays such a significant part in the
affairs of our country this year, I would like to start by reminding you of the US natal chart, and the prominent position that Mars
plays in the planetary set-up of the country. The U.S. chart has Mars in the 7th house from the Rising Sign, Sagittarius, (along with 3 other powerful
planets: Sun, Jupiter and Venus) strongly aspected by Saturn from the 10th house. Saturn is in a position that provokes all of these planets, each
in different ways. The 7th house is the house of foreign affairs. Further, Ketu is in the 2nd house in Capricorn, Moon is in Aquarius
in the 3rd, retrograde Mercury and Rahu are in the 8th. It is a very powerful chart, as I have explained previously, the principal seat of strength
being the 7th house, with regards to the planets deposited there, the weakest point being the constricting, agitating influence of Saturn upon those
planets. None-the-less, for a country to have such power in the domain of foreign affairs gives clear indication that the United States will always
hold a place of prominence in the world, regardless of the shifting tides in world powers. It also suggests that the identity of the country, with
regards to the outside world, is inexorably connected with Mars. Mars is well known as the warrior planet, but it is also associated with youth, charm
and magnetism, and it promotes confidence – a “take charge” kind of attitude. Mars bestows a competitive spirit, and the desire to win. One can see
how Mars is tied into the American identity with regards to these defining qualities, including the fact that America has had a strong military presence
in the world for much of its history.
Regarding Mars and the current period, as you know, the Vedic system of astrology has a unique method for determining when any given planetary influence
is fully operating, that being the Dasha’s. The Dasha cycles allow us to know when a planet, either benefic or malefic, is expressing its full strength.
This means, in the case of the U.S. chart, when it entered into the Mars Dasha some years back, the Martian influence became much more pronounced.
As it happens, the U.S. natal Mars is largely benefic, however, it also has a strongly malefic side, given certain conditions, as in this case, with
regards to its ties with Saturn. Since 2008, the U.S. Natal chart has been operating under the Mars Major Dasha continuing until 2015,
(a 7 year cycle), resulting, amongst other things, in continued U.S. troops present in other countries across the globe. The Mars Dasha effectively
underscores the Martian qualities inherent in the U.S. Natal chart, and this Nandana year further heightens the Mars influence through an unusually
long Mars transit, operating for approximately one problematical year, (in different signs). It began November 2011, and continues until December 2012.
A typical Mars transit would be about 45 days. However, beginning in November 2011, Mars commenced a nearly 7-month transit in Leo, completing in June,
and thereafter continuing on in other malefic circumstances until December 2012. This is a lot of malefic Mars with which to contend.
Along with Mars, Saturn has an important role to play in this drama of delivering problems and more problems. It is the catalyst for Mars malefic activities by virtue of its aspect on the natal Mars. The two planets are linked, because of their natal relationship, and continue to work in tandem, resulting in how we experience the current Mars influence. As you may know, when making my annual forecast, I am evaluating essentially three horoscopes: the Nandana chart, Washington DC for this year, March 22, 2012, to April 10, 2013; The American Natal chart, Philadelphia, 1776; and President Obama’s chart, (in his capacity as the U.S. chief executive). Each of these horoscopes contributes to the portrait of America at this point in time. Each aids in our understanding of the issues we will be facing in the upcoming year, and how to best characterize the environment of America during the present period, moving forward.
The Vedic year is based on a lunar calendar which begins each New Year when the Sun and the Moon are together (new moon) in Pisces, generally falling somewhere
between March 14 and April 14 each year. This year, the first day of the Vedic New Year (called Sukla Paksha Pratipada) was on March 22 at 10:37 a.m.,
Washington DC. Rather than January 1st, this is the time the Vedic astrologer would celebrate the New Year. From an astrologer’s point of view, the
first day of spring, the dawn of new life, is the beginning of the New Year cycle. It is the most auspicious time for starting new projects or undertakings,
as that venture will be in harmony with the thrust of nature, giving an extra push to usher forth a new entity or new life.
The Nandana chart has Taurus rising, vargotama (very strong) Ketu in the rising; Mars in Leo retrograde in the 4th house;
Saturn exalted and retrograde in the 6th, Libra; vargotama Rahu in the 7th, Scorpio; Sun, Moon and retrograde, debilitated Mercury in the
11th, Pisces; Jupiter and Venus are in 12th house, Aries. This is a planetary set-up for mixed results. The Vedic Calendar assigns a Sanskrit name
to each year within a 60-year Jupiterean cycle that suggests an underlying theme, or agenda for the upcoming year. This year, that word is “Nandana”,
a word that conjures ideas of happiness, comfort and enjoyment. This would suggest that by the end of the Nandana year, (April 10, 2013); there will
have been growth in the overall happiness and stability of the people. It suggests that the worst will soon be over.
Given the fact that the recent period of years has been fraught with struggle and suffering for many, this is encouraging news. The idea is that by the end of this Nandana year, we will be on the upswing, in a general sense. That, of course, lends a certain optimistic spirit to the whole of what we are looking to in the year ahead. Unfortunately, in 2012, we will have to first survive Mars and Saturn, not an easy task. It would appear that this year could be a “darkest before the dawn” kind of experience in that there are significant challenges indicated before we emerge to the other side. However, many of the more problematic influences are resolved, in measure, at the end of the calendar year, 2012. The early months of 2013 will be less trying.
In the initial months of this Nandana year, we are in a particularly challenging period because of the current Mars transit, and because of the situation
with Saturn. As I have oft spoken with regards to life during recent years, conditions in America, and in the world at large, are very much influenced
by Saturn. Happily, Saturn moved into its best sign, Libra, in November 2011. Although this signaled relief from
Saturn’s oppressive influence, the affect has been delayed. We will not actually experience the benefits until the end of August 2012, because Saturn
has been retrograde, offering snippets of relief from Virgo, but essentially shifting back and forth from Virgo to Libra. Saturn will not be firmly
settled down in Libra until August, at which point things will slowly begin to be better.
The transition of Saturn into Libra signifies a shift of momentous energy, and, as such, takes some time to mature into the fullness of its power. However, Saturn is a very powerful planet, and in Libra, the full expression of its beneficence is powerful indeed. This Saturnian influence will continue to grow in strength, culminating in November 2014. What this means to us is an energetic shift, especially in fields regarding health and healing; agricultural products; innovations or inventions and developments in technology, or approaches to food products related to health and healing; as well as general improvements to the conditions of the common man. Areas relating to these general subjects will enjoy increasingly greater support, growth, recognition and profitability. So we see that Saturn, at long last, is moving into a positive position, which signals better times ahead. However, there is still Mars to deal with. Mars, the planet of war, violence and destruction is sitting in the 4th house of the Nandana New Year’s chart of USA, bringing a general feeling of malaise, frustration and challenge to the air. This Mars is a powerful influence and affects nearly everyone in some way or another.
The Mars transit casts a long shadow on life in America, 2012. It brings particular problems or incidents with which one has to cope, and it also causes aggravation to the mind. It brings worry, tension, anxiety and uncertainty. The transit proceeds as follows: November 2011 began Mars’ transit in Leo, remaining until June 22, 2012. Mars then moves into Virgo, where it opposes Sun, Moon, Mercury, three planets, a lot of opposition. Then, August 4 until September 29, it transits into Libra conjunct Saturn, creating more stress and aggravation. Then, in September it moves into Scorpio until November 29, where it comes into contact with malefic Rahu. After nearly a year transit of one troublemaking situation after another, Mars finally alights in Sagittarius on November 9, 2012. Although this is not a favorable placement, it is not a full-scale problematical situation. Finally, at long last, on December 19, 2012, Mars enters Capricorn where it is exalted, powerful and beneficial. This will be cause for celebration. Therafter, the Mars transit in Aquarius, and then Pisces, at the end of the Nandana year, are reasonably favorable. In the meantime, Mars will have brought a great deal of challenge. The Mars transit is a significant and consequential underlying influence in the current period because it amplifies the seven-year Mars influence currently operating. This means a greater incidence of violence, agitation, revolutionary tendencies and expressions of rebelliousness, and violence due to desperate conditions of one kind or another. Environmental and climatic conditions will continue to be abnormal resulting in extreme temperature conditions that can bring flooding, tornedos and hurricanes, amongst other affects. We will continue to experience a greater incidence of natural calamities of any variety. There will be greater incidence of fire, explosions and accidents. All of these phenomena will be in evidence to a greater extent than we have witnessed before. This is the influence and power of Mars. As we approach December, the Martian influence will gradually subside, although it is operating, to some extent, until March 2013.
The problematic Mars transit began in November 2011 with retrograde Mars in Leo, which is a fiery sign. When a planet is retrograde (moving backwards), its malefic influence is intensified. So what we have here is a potent malefic in a fiery sign, resulting in the enhanced possibility for accidents of different kinds, including fire and explosions. Mars in Leo is accident-prone in general; this is the amplified version. This also brings a general tendency for disputes, disagreements and violence. When we talk about accidents, there will be incidents at large, and also the tendency for people to be involved in freak accidents, or accidents of some kind. The Mars transit in Leo begs for caution in any circumstance involving fire, certainly. Also, depending on the individual’s native planets, especially regarding the placement of Mars, one should take extra care with regards to the potential for accidents. One need not be paranoid, but simply take extra precaution; be a little extra careful. June 22, when Mars moves into Virgo, an unfriendly house, and in opposition to three planets, it continues the conflicts, disagreements and violence, but it is no longer strongly associated with fire. Rather, Mars in this situation is more about the potential for disagreements, arguing, and debating; essentially it is about conflict. Thereafter, August 4, Mars moves into Libra, where it comes into contact with Saturn; not smooth going. Libra is a neutral house to Mars, so it is an improvement on the Virgo situation, however, Saturn is a powerful planet and Mars conjunct Saturn will bring delays and obstacles. This placement is considered unfavorable, but not oppressively so. In September, when Mars enters Scorpio, it comes in contact with (Nandana and transit) Rahu, bringing frustrations and a tendency for health complaints, allergies and skin conditions.
Throughout this period there will be a greater incidence of virus and unknown diseases due to the influence of debilitated Rahu in Scorpio, and debilated
Ketu in Taurus. Rahu and Ketu (dragon’s head and dragon’s tail) are generally considered poisonous in nature, and bring diseases that
cannot easily be diagnosed, traced or treated; often they are associated with some kind of virus. Essentially, this planetary set-up, from mid-2011
until January 2013, brings unusual stress or tension of unknown origins, and can be connected to mysterious symptoms, misdiagnosed illnesses, and general
confusion regarding conditions that have not been previously witnessed. This is a condition that we can see during the above period given this planetary
Moving on to matters of the American economy; recovery, in significant measure, is not indicated because an essential component of recovery is tied up with the real estate market, and mortgage situation, and that area is not favorably indicated. This is due to Mars position in 4th, in the Nandana chart, where it is not a benefic. The 4th house has to do with property matters. Regarding unemployment, Saturn is retrograde in the Nandana chart in the 6th house, which has to do with employment, not a favorable set-up for substantive improvement. Slow progress is indicated, but generally speaking, large segments of the population are forced to accept work below their education and experience. Employment figures will not accurately reflect the status of the people with regards to their overall satisfaction and prosperity regarding their work circumstances. As far as education, because Mercury is the planet of education, and it is ruler of the 5th house, debilitated and aspected by malefic Mars, education does not enjoy the extra support needed for expansion or progress. There are no noteworthy advancements indicated within the education domains, especially with regards to higher education in the professional fields.
What does President Obama’s chart contribute to our greater understanding of the current influences operating? Based on the birth data
available, Obama is passing through the major cycle of Jupiter, and the last Jupiter sub-cycle, Rahu, which began March 2010, running until July 2012.
The Rahu sub-cycle in Jupiter is generally considered a negative cycle, and represents one of the more trying periods of Obama’s life. As such, we
cannot expect any significant improvement for Obama until he completes Rahu in July 2012. Thereafter, Obama is beginning the major cycle of Saturn,
which is considered the best Dasha for his rising sign, Capricorn. This begins the most productive period of his life. Obama rose from relative obscurity
to the highest office of the land by virtue of his Jupiter major cycle, sub-cycle of the moon, which was exalted in the 5th house at the time of the
election. This was enhanced by the placement of Saturn in his rising sign, Capricorn, along with Jupiter, giving him what we call Divine Grace, or
good luck. However the Mars sub-cycle thereafter, March 2009-March 2010 was not particularly strong, followed by malefic Rahu, which is less favorable
still. These factors, as well as other challenging planetary influences, resulted in Obama not being as effective as he might have been, as suggested
by his planets.
With regards to the upcoming election, it is not possible to predict the outcome without the birth data of the Republican contender, most likely, Mitt
Romney. However, starting July 25, when the Rahu cycle ends and the major cycle of Saturn begins, things will slowly improve, considerably, for President
Obama. Noteworthy, also, regarding Obama and the election period itself, November 2 through November 16, 2012, is a most auspicious time for him. He
will be in the major cycle of Saturn, sub-cycle of Saturn, minor cycle of Saturn, and minor-minor cycle, (Nov. 2 – 16) is the Moon, which, if you will
recall is exalted in the 5th. This suggests that it will take a strong opponent to beat him.
In conclusion, the Nandana year 2012 is not particularly inspirational, however, in Nandana 2013, there is a general improvement. As we come into the next
Vedic year, from April 10, 2013, more progress will be in evidence than we have seen since 2008. One thing that you can say as a result of the difficult
recent years; we are, as a people, stronger and more resourceful. This is the reward of facing hardship and struggle. It is not the result of an intellectual
process. Rather, we find we can handle more than we thought, and only the experiences of life could bring us to this understanding. At this point,
with regards to the national psyche, the idea comes - we have made it thus far, we are managing; we don’t know how, but somehow we will continue to
find a way... As a result of this shift in thinking, the people are more empowered, less fearful. This represents a kind of important growth. This
is my thinking as to where we are in this Nandana year. I do appreciate the opportunity to share with you my understanding of the current astrological
Beyond this, my intention in these annual forecasts is to offer you a primer, of sorts, with which to better familiarize you with basic planetary influences and how they operate. I hope this will aid and deepen your understanding of astrology, and how it can help you make sense of the world around you, and your place within it. For context to this Nandana year’s forecast, you may wish to consult my website for forecasts from past years. Warm regards to you all. May I extend the hope that despite life’s ups and downs and many challenges, that you may find peace and contentment in the simple pleasures. They are often there, all the while, for the taking…
Chakrapani April 12, 2012