It’s Shanivaar, the day of Saturn (Shani) who requires some extra attention now as he transits in the nakshatra gandanta between sidereal Scorpio and Sagittarius for most of 2017. The gandanta (gand-knot and anta-end) refers to a karmic knot or transformational point between a water and fire sign: Pisces-Aries, Cancer-Leo and Scorpio-Sagittarius. The gandanta is also a weak juncture point between the solar and lunar zodiacs and often points to a sense of drowning, asphyxiation, loss of control (or need to let go control), and fear of death. Planets and chart points placed here reflect the eruption of many karmic problems, which on the plus side offer the potential for tremendous soul growth.
The most difficult of all three gandanta zones is this one between Scorpio and Sagittarius, as it resides on the edges of the galactic equator in the galactic center of the Milky Way, a sensitive area presided over by two ancient, fierce Kali-esque goddesses named Jyestha (Dhumavati) and Niritti. It is said that here in this section is where the gods and demons go to fight their greatest battle. In other words, the war between the light and dark reaches a climax in this zodiacal section, and with Lord Saturn’s sojourn here, it looks like a violent and disruptive time ahead. Divisiveness and polarization among the people will also reach a whole new level as Shani, Lord of Truth (Sat Graha) seeks to balance karma.
Saturn as Lord of Karma is the most dreaded of all planets. He is the planet of fated events, disease, perversity, oppression, calamity, psychological limitations, abuse, bad luck, pain, suffering and death. He is significator of the Vata dosha which governs all movement in the mind and body, including breath, blood flow, elimination of wastes, and the movement of thoughts across the mind. Saturn is the planet ruling the nervous and musculoskeletal systems. His nature is harsh, contracting, drying and limiting. Saturn’s highest purpose is to help us awaken to our eternal nature as divine beings, but sometimes his methods are less than kind. Remember that in Greek myth, Saturn (Cronus) eats his own children, indicating just how scary he can be as the shadow of our inner and outer world.
Saturn gains strength at the end of a sign, and this strength is for good or bad depending on multiple factors we have to examine when we analyze natal and mundane horoscopes. Saturn will be in the last degree of Scorpio, which gives the highest potential to wreak havoc, from January 16-27, 2017. In this period, the days from Jan. 18-20 look to be especially challenging as Mars will square Saturn while they are also exchanging signs (this exchange has been happening for months now which is yet another aggravating factor). Saturn will be in the last degree of Scorpio again from June 20-July 5, 2017, and again (last time) from October 14-26, 2017. Additionally, Saturn will be in the difficult nakshatra gandanta – which spans from 26 degrees 40 minutes sidereal Scorpio to 3 degrees 20 minutes sidereal Sagittarius – for an inordinate amount of time:
- December 26, 2016 to March 16, 2017.
- April 27, 2017 to November 28, 2017.
That’s around 293 days, the majority of 2017, that Saturn will be in the nakshatra gandanta. The last time Saturn transited in the Scorpio-Sagittarius nakshatra gandanta was in 1987 into early 1988 for only about 119 days total. During Saturn’s transit here in the Scorpio-Sagittarius gandanta in 1987, there were several notable airplane crashes, as well as the worst peacetime sea disaster in history, the sinking of the passenger ferry MV Doña Paz in the Philippines, which had collided with an oil tanker leaving over 4,000 people dead. During this period, the Congressional Committees Investigating The Iran-Contra Affair published their final report, and there was a small tsunami in Alaska, and also a ferry accident in Europe and a typhoon in the Pacific. Also in this period, we saw the Queen Street Massacre in Melbourne, Australia, and the King’s Cross Fire in London.
The current Saturn transit can bring forth very difficult tragic events and experiences on the world stage, but how it affects each of us will depend on our own individual karma, which can be assessed by a well-seasoned Vedic astrologer. We would look at where the Saturn transit falls in relation to our own natal chart, and would also consider multiple other astrological conditions at play in our natal, transit and progressed charts (dasas). Charts with strong placements in Saturn-ruled Capricorn and Aquarius (especially the Ascendant, MC, Sun and Moon) may be quite challenged, as will those with significant points and planets in the Scorpio-Sagittarius nakshatra gandanta. In terms of the mundane forecast, there are horrendous events happening everywhere all the time. The world is so out of balance and “in transition” now, and evil seems to be afoot more than ever, so it is hard to know if all these violent events that are happening are escalating under this transit, or if this is just the new normal.
During difficult Saturn cycles like this one upon us in 2017, it is more important than ever to cultivate peace, equanimity and self-discipline. I would say it is also important to act, not react, as much as possible when difficult Saturnine things happen. Spiritual practices like yoga, martial arts, prayer and meditation are imperative. Yagyas/pujas and specific mantra japa, special herbs, flower remedies and gems or gem elixirs are helpful (which can be prescribed by a Vedic astrologer), especially if Saturn is afflicting your chart. Stay hydrated and well-nourished. It is beneficial to follow a constant routine and schedule as much as possible. Use frankincense, sandalwood, juniper and cedar in the form of oils and resin incense to balance Saturn energies. Any physical exercise helps, and it is especially helpful when performed out in nature. In fact, any time spent in nature, and especially in mountainous areas, can be a healing balm for all Saturn problems.
Om Sri Saneeswara Bhagavan!
Hail to you Lord Saturn, Dark One, Beautiful One.
Seated in a restful asana, riding with the crow…
Worshiped in the Universe, Celestial firefly…
He’s a blissful One carrying a dark blue parasol,
Praised one, a brahmin, Lord Saturn, Lord of all.
Tamasic one, sober one, smeared with dark blue paste.
God who is the lord of the beasts, he is the God who flies,
He’s the lord of all creatures that travel in the sky.
Lord in the form of duty, granting wealth and peace.
He’s infallible, immovable, contemptible and cruel,
God in the form of knowledge, and of ignorance too,
Destroying the root of ignorance,
All lives he does transform…
Giving whatever is desired, a giver of dispassion,
To those whose minds absorbed in him express their great devotion.
I bow down to you, Great Lord, shadowy Sun…
Om Sri Saneeswara Bhagavan!
With all my heart and soul…
The above is based on the 108 names for Lord Sani (Shani/Saturn) and some of it is an excerpt from a delicious book I highly recommend called Driven by the Divine by Frances Kozlowski).