A “rare astronomical alignment” will occur from January 20 until February 20, 2016, an event that astronomers say hasn’t occurred since December 2004 to January 2005, in which five naked eye planets ~ Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn ~ will be visible together in an arc formation about an hour before sunrise in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. All of them except Mercury have already been visible for most of January in the pre-dawn sky and Mercury will join their group on January 20, and the Moon will also join in from January 27- February 6.
You may be surprised to learn that this is is not actually a significant “astrological alignment” per se. Usually in astrology, an important alignment will involve planets in a variety of close angular relationships in their movement east and west or north and south of the ecliptic. In such astrological alignments, the planets influence each other within limited areas of the zodiac, reflecting an intense expression and possibly some imbalance. For instance, we will see this during the eclipses in March when many planets line up in the constellations of Aquarius and Leo.
Here instead, we have the planets parading in a consecutive series of sidereal constellations: Jupiter in Leo, Mars in Libra, Saturn in Scorpio, and Venus and Mercury in Sagittarius. Saturn, Mars, Venus, and Mercury will all be in the southern declination, and toward the end of their parade will also be close in declination ~ known as parallel ~ which means in or near the same area south of the celestial equator, which can be an intense configuration and one that is sometimes seen during major seismic events.
For instance, astronomers point out that the last time we had a similar lineup with Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Venus and Mercury in a consecutive sign array was in December 2004 to January 2005. At that time, we also had the deadly Indian Ocean earthquake and disaster (December 26, 2004), but one big difference then versus now is that then there was an actual astrological alignment known as a stellium conjunction, with four planets in one constellation (Scorpio) and in the southern declination, which created a certain added imbalance and intensity.
During this upcoming display, the planets also form longitudinal relationships with each other. For instance, there are a few 2/12 (semi-sextile/~30-degree) formations which often involve struggles and the need for surrender, sacrifice or compromise: Saturn with Mars, and Venus and Mercury with Saturn. On the other hand, there are a few 3/11 (sextile/~60-degree) formations which are considered beneficial and harmonious: Mars with Venus-Mercury, and Jupiter with Mars. As usual in our world of extreme polarities, we will see mixed results.
In natal “birth chart” astrological analysis, Vedic astrology incorporates the Nabhasa Yogas, a large group of important celestial combinations based on the patterns of planetary placements in the houses and signs. We can look at these in mundane astrology to an extent. For instance, here in this “alignment,” the Nabhasa yogas (Sankhya variety) would involve the seven main grahas (the five visible planets sans the nodes but including Sun and Moon) spanning either five or six signs/houses depending on the exact date and placement of the Moon, which means that in their arcing spectacle, the planets are fairly distributed and balanced which can be good for certain kinds of worldly matters in general.
Another interesting point is that Saturn is in the middle of this lineup, with Jupiter-Rahu and Mars on one side, and Venus-Mercury and Sun on the other, with the quick-moving Moon coming in and out. In Vedic astrology, the planets have natural and temporal friendships. Planets placed in houses “3 in front and 3 behind” another planet are considered temporal friends, which is nice now for Saturn, the lord of karma who has this temporarily very friendly support from all the grahas!
However, the overall chart is fairly imbalanced in that *almost everybody* is on one side (one hemisphere), indicating perhaps that for some, there could exist a feast or famine mentality or just some overall intensity and sense of isolation, or at least, some unusual sense of pressure and also, quite a lot of the typical “us versus them” divisiveness operating through the mass mind.
In Vedic astrology, the planets (grahas) represent divine beings as well as living qualities within us and within the external world, and as they make their rare procession here, they allow us to actually see them (most of them) all at once, which is like a special darshan, a lovely opportunity to receive their blessing and commune with and honor the divine powers that they all represent. It is as if they really are coming together for us here in the magical pre-dawn time for us to connect with them all together in one special moment of unity.