One of the many New Year charts used in Vedic astrology is based on New Moon in Pisces, when Sun and Moon come together in the same celestial longitude in Pisces constellation, which is called the Chaitra Shukla Pratipada that refers to the first synodic lunar day (tithi) of the waxing Moon in the Vedic month of Chaitra. It is believed that Lord Brahma created the universe on this very day. This Vedic New Year is also called Vikram Samvat, as well as Gudi Padwa in Maharashtra, and Ugadi in Telegu.
This year, the Chaitra Shukla Pratipada tithi starts in the night of Monday, March 27 for Washington DC, and the horoscope for the Vedic New Year for the US is calculated for this date and time. However, the New Year lord for not only the US but also Europe is calculated for the following day on Tuesday, the day of Mars, which is the day on which the pratipada tithi is in place at sunrise (March 28). In India, the New Year will occur after sunrise on the 28th, so Wednesday, March 29 (ruled by Mercury) will be the day celebrating the Vedic New Year, and Mercury will be the lord of the year in India. The beginning of the Vedic New Year also marks Vasant Navratri, the nine-night spring festival of Mother Divine when Devi Durga comes down to bless the world and her children at the beginning of the New Year.
The samvatsara for this new year is called Hemalamba. A samvatsara is a Sanskrit term for “year.” In the Vedic system, there are 60 samvatsaras and these are described in Brihat Samhita in Chapter VIII: Jupiter’s Course (Jovian years). Each samvatsara carries a particular essence that correlates with its Sanskrit name and also is related to its group ruler. The samvatsara for 2016-2017 was Durmukha, which Sage Varahamahira labeled “utterly baneful.” Many people would agree with that assessment for 2016.
The samvatsara for 2017-2018 is the fifth (or 31st) of the 60 year-cycle, called Hemalamba, which is the first of a group of five years ruled by the Manes, who are of two kinds: they are the children of Lord Brahma, known as the Prajapatis, who are great rishis, progenitors, and protectors of the earth, the animal kingdom, and the human race. The Manes are also known as the ancestors who inhabit their own loka (region or dimension) and are worshiped in many Vedic/Hindu rituals. Varahamahira says that Hemalamba will bring “stormy rains accompanied by the six-fold calamities.” This also fits with the fact that Lord Agni (fire) always rules the first in a series of five-year samvatsara cycles. Jataka Parijata says one born this year will be “ill-natured and will ardently pursue agriculture and other operations.” Jataka Bharanam by Dhundiraja says that if one is born this year, he will have comfort and convenience.
Another viewpoint on the Hemalamba year was given by the Agasthiar Siddha Guru Parampara Siddha Lineage in Tamil Nadu, India. Their term for Hemalamba is “Hevilambi” and they say that 2017 has several important aspects including “Soorya [Surya] Vidya Shakti,” and that what is important in this year is that we make sure to select the right time to do anything: “During this year, there will more than the usual propensity to make time related mistakes. Thus Lord Soorya reminds us that we need to pay attention to time, which is our most precious resource.” This makes sense in a year ruled by the Manes who are the progeny of Prajapti, Lord of Time. And Agni, God of Fire, also rules this year, and he represents the Sun/Surya/”Soorya which also oversees time. This year it will be more important than ever to really listen to one’s own intuition as well as employing a skilled muhurta/elective astrologer for timing important events.
The last time we had Hemalamba year was 1957-1958, and here are a few highlights:
- Baby Boomer births peaked.
- The Soviet Union launched the first space satellite Sputnik 1, and also tested the first successful ICBM.
- The Asian flu pandemic killed 150,000 people worldwide, and Hurricane Audrey, an extremely destructive tropical cyclone, demolished Cameron, Louisiana and killed hundreds of people.
- The first round-the-world nonstop jet plane flight was accomplished.
- The first artificial heart was invented.
- The Civil Rights Act of 1957 was enacted, establishing the United States Commission on Civil Rights.
- President Eisenhower federalized the Arkansas National Guard and sent troops to Little Rock, Arkansas “to prevent anarchy” in the wake of the “Little Rock Nine” school integration crisis.
- India successfully held its second general elections and the Indian people gave decisive support to the Indian National Congress and its policies.
Hema means gold and Lamba means Lakshmi, and one might infer that this means financial prosperity, but maybe not so, as an economic recession occurred in the last Hemalamba year (1957). Financial Vedic astrologer Barry Rosen has shared some interesting thoughts about the economy in the Hemalamba year in a recent article posted on his Applied Vedic Astrology website. Rosen looked at events in two different past Hemalamba years and concluded that automobiles, gold, technology, and infrastructure will be a primary focus this year as suggested by past events.
On or around the first day of the Lunar New Year, the new calendar (panchanga) is installed in a Hindu temple ceremony in which the year’s upcoming predictions are read aloud. This is done for a particular country, usually India where this system originated, but also the forecast is sometimes given more generally for the world at large. The astrologers collaborate with each other and go into great detail in their predictions, looking at the lord and minister of the year and so forth. The latter is based on the solar New Year chart when the Sun enters sidereal Aries which will occur this year on April 13, 2018 which is a Thursday, so the minister of the year for the USA, Europe, and India is Jupiter (lord of Thursday), given that the day in Vedic astrology goes from sunrise to sunrise, and in all these places, the Sun enters Aries between sunrise on the 13th and before sunrise the 14th.
We study the various New Year charts to understand the general overview of the nation and its citizenry in the coming year. I am only analyzing the US chart for the sake of brevity, and because this is where I am primarily concerned as a resident. I focus here mostly on the rashi chakra “whole sign chart” rather than the chalit or equal house charts. Vishakha nakshatra rises at 26 degrees 16 minutes of sidereal Libra in the navamsa of Taurus in the lucky pushkara section. Raphael’s Mundane Astrology says the last 10 degrees of Libra (decanate) indicate distress and losses among the upper classes. However, Vishakha is represented by the triumphant archway and can reflect tremendous new growth and development. Ruled by lords Indra and Agni, this nakshatra can be fiercely fixated on achieving certain goals. The symbolic doorway or archway also indicates a fork in the road and new directions being taken in our country and by its government.
Libra and Taurus are both ruled by Venus, which gives a strong material drive and ambition, but we have to look at the placement of Venus in the chart to see the outcome. Venus is the lord of the chart in the sixth house in a stellium with the Sun and Moon and squared by Saturn. The sixth house has special reference to the armed forces, war, common people, national food supplies, disease in general, health care issues, and national employment. The lord of the chart in this house along with the Sun and Moon have some unfavorable qualities based on a multitude of astrological factors, indicating that the health of the populace could suffer in some way; and/or that healthcare insurance issues will remain somewhat unresolved or unsatisfactory; there will be some continued general gloominess among the working classes; the Navy could have some setback; and, a prominent servant (or servants) of the state may die.
Significant storms, especially those involving flooding (as with hurricanes) are also possible as indicated by the fact that Venus, the chart ruler and main significator of the water element, is retrograde (strong) and conjoined the Moon who is also significator of the water element. The Moon is also naturally represented by Lord Varuna, god of sky and storms, and they are in the sixth house of storms, accidents, and other kinds of calamities in the sign of Pisces (water) in Uttarabhadrapada nakshatra, whose deity is Ahirbudhnya, Serpent of the Deep (oceans).
Saturn (karma, democracy, and truth) is in the third house in Sagittarius, Mula nakshatra, in the second pada of Taurus navamsa. Saturn is aligned with the Galactic Center, the ultimate source of divine light, wisdom, creative power, and transformation for our world. Saturn is also conjoined the Punya Saham/Arabian Part of Fortune which reflects a very fortuitous influence on Saturn. The birth charts of two great American statesmen and Founding Fathers, President George Washington and Ben Franklin, each have Saturn conjoined the Part of Fortune. This is a combination which supports justice and true democratic ideals.
Saturn is also the auspicious yoga karaka for this chart, being the ruler of the fourth and fifth houses that combine power and action with good fortune and opportunity. So Saturn’s influence is very powerful. This placement can actually be a positive indication for improvement in ongoing trade deficits, and can be good for the music, publishing, entertainment, and transportation industries. The third house rules communication and media. Saturn as Satya Graha (Lord of Truth) in the third house in a strong and favorable condition may actually support a trend toward more openness and honesty in all forms of personal and public communication. However, Rahu is aspecting Saturn by his fifth trinal aspect. Granted, Rahu is well placed for prosperity, but Rahu’s aspect may represent a serious threat to democracy and the Trump administration by members of the fake media, Congress, shadow and enemy elements within the US, and foreign interference.
Related to public communication, perhaps with Saturn (truth) in the Galactic Center in the third house (media), and with the ruler of the third house in the twelfth house (hidden matters), public awareness will continue to grow in regard to the lies and deceptions of a mainstream media which conspiracy theorists believe is the propaganda arm of a Deep State shadow government. Vedic astrologer SueAnn McKean pointed out to me that Rahu is aspecting both Saturn in Mula nakshatra and Mercury in Ashwini nakshatra, both Ketu-ruled asterisms, and Ketu is in Shatabisha nakshatra which relates to spying, underground activity, and hidden agendas. The lunar nodes Rahu and Ketu (shadow forces) are giving rashi drishti (sign aspects) to the lagna, midheaven and Mars-Mercury; and with Uranus (an awakening force) conjoined Mercury (communication/media), it is further indicated that certain dark elements could be exposed.
Mars is the lord of the day and hence lord of the year, as mentioned before. Mars is also final or sole dispositor of all the grahas (Sun, Moon, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, Rahu and Ketu), meaning that they all are bowing down to Mars through a dispositor chain of command. For instance, Rahu is in Leo ruled by the Sun who is in Pisces ruled by Jupiter who is in Virgo ruled by Mercury who is in Mars-ruled Aries. And so it goes with all the grahas that go back to Mars as their final lord. Thus, Mars is a powerful driving force of the chart and will have the final say this year. He is the karaka of the military; law enforcement, crime and violence; political party fanatics; intelligence agencies; patriotism; infectious diseases; damaging storms; accidents; fires; drastic changes in laws; and manufacturing industries.
However, Mars is very strong and favorable in the seventh house in Ruchaka Yoga in Aries. Having the year lord and final dispositor in a powerful position can indicate some prosperous conditions. When Mars is in his own sign (Aries or Scorpio) or exalted (Capricorn) and in one of the angles (1, 4, 7 or 10), this is one of the Panchamahapurusha Yogas. It means the Bright One or the Warrior Combination and represents the best of Mars in his capacity for pioneering, drive, and the ability to forge alliances.
Mars in Aries may also be good for the economy as second lord from the lunation, and also being second lord in the seventh of the main chart. It can give powerful gains in manufacturing, and signify growing strength in law enforcement and the armed forces. The seventh house governs all international affairs, including wars. If Mars were afflicted, this would indicate something perilous for US foreign policy and relations. However, it is not afflicted here and so can indicate that the armed forces and foreign allies will be emboldened in their capacity to fight the nation’s known enemies. The main challenge of this Mars is that he falls in the extremist nakshatra of Bharani, which reflects the fanatical nature of these known enemies as well as the dangerous power needed to fight them.
Mercury is also in the seventh house and is quite ineffective; however, Mercury is not really receiving an aspect by Mars as they are quite far away from each other so not really in a strong sambhanda/conjunction. Mercury is afflicted by Uranus, but at the same time, is receiving a fortunate aspect from Jupiter (using exact aspects/sphuta drishti). Afflicted Mercury in the seventh house can indicate “diplomatic blunders, breaking of treaties, commercial and trade disputes with foreign countries, and general disagreement in international affairs.” (Raphael’s Mundane Astrology). The nature of Uranus with Mercury can also represent some serious communication glitches related to international affairs. However, the aspect from Jupiter may help to soften a little of this potential concern.
The ruler of the tenth house of executive government is the New Moon, and the ruler of the eleventh house of Congress is the Sun, which is conjunct the Moon, and both are locked together with retrograde exalted Venus, which some say acts debilitated (weakened), and which is also debilitated in its navamsa (further weakened). They are all in the sixth house of conflict and dispute in the somewhat combative Scorpio navamsa. Need I say more? Well, yes, actually. Always hopeful, I look at the full aspect from Jupiter to the Sun, Moon, and chart lord Venus, and feel this gives some possibility of protection and cooperation, even though Jupiter is somewhat adverse based on various astrological indicators.
Jupiter is the day lord for the Solar New Year/Sun in Aries ingress chart, and Jupiter is in the twelfth house of the New Moon chart and retrograde (held back) in Virgo, Chitra nakshatra (ruled by warrior Mars), and in Leo navamsa which relates to secrets. Jupiter is the ruler of the third and sixth houses and located in the twelfth, which can point to problems with national health and healthcare, complications with international affairs, hidden enemies of the state, and deception and conflict among the all branches of government, including the judiciary. Jupiter is also opposite Uranus indicating great revolutionary impulses and opposition and separation among the common people. Yet the sixth lord in the twelfth is a Vipreet (Viparita) Raja Yoga, which means that problems can ultimately be conquered.
Vedic astrologer Christina Collins wrote an excellent article about the Vedic New Year chart in last month’s issue of Jyotish Star eMagazine which can be accessed for free online. Christina’s summary of the US New Year chart really encapsulates what I also feel is the deepest message in this chart: “What must happen in the US is balance (Libra Rising) with its ruler Venus exalted in the sixth house, by staying on track in the dharma, and being in service to others [sixth house Venus/Sun/Moon], which for the Sagittarius rising USA birth chart means the pursuit of happiness and freedom.” To this I say a loud amen and thank you to Christina, and to all of my readers, I thank you and wish you a blessed new year ahead, and with this special prayer:
May the winds, the oceans, the herbs, and night and days, the mother earth, the father heaven, all vegetation, the sun, be all sweet to us…Let us follow the path of goodness for all times, like the sun and the moon moving eternally in the sky…Let us be charitable to one another…Let us not kill or be violent with one another…Let us know and appreciate the points of view of others…And let us unite.