Vedic Astrology Forecast: October 2023, Part I
Mars Under Stress, Lunar Nodes Shifting, and Other Major Changes to Watch Out For
October is a symphony of permanence and change. (Bonaro W. Overstreet)
Stroll in an October Park (Oil painting on canvas by Leonid Afremov)
I am dividing my usual monthly update into two articles owing to the many astrological events occurring during this month. In this post, I describe the astrological shifts that will occur during the first half of the month, from October 1 to 15. In the second week of October, I will publish an update about the latter half of the month.
With Mars under multiple levels of stress, and some unpredictable movements by the lunar nodes, there may be some intensified social, political, and economic unrest on a worldwide level during the first half of October. On a more personal level, this month's cosmic energy may also point to relationship challenges, emotional sensitivities, and other types of stress.
Let's see what may be in store for us from October 1 to 15:
September 20 to October 6 (Exact Conjunction on September 28): Mars Will Activate the October 14 Eclipse - A Possible Trigger for Intense Events
From September 20 to October 6, Mars will conjoin the eclipse axis in advance of the October 14 solar eclipse. At this time, Mars will transit within a five-degree effective orb of conjunction with the Sun-Moon position in the October 14 eclipse chart (at 27 degrees Virgo). Mars will exactly trigger the solar eclipse when it transits at 27 degrees of Virgo on September 28.
When a malefic planet such as Mars activates the eclipse chart luminaries either before or after an eclipse (before in this case), it can set off tumultuous events, including geopolitical conflicts, social and political turbulence, weather extremes, mass casualties, and other kinds of natural or human-made disasters.
September 23, 2023 to January 16, 2024: Mars Will Be Combust - Frustration, Conflict, and Power Struggles
Mars will disappear from our view in its combustion cycle which will occur from around September 23, 2023 until January 16, 2024. Combustion occurs when a planet comes near the Sun during its transitory motion. According to Surya Siddhanta, when Mars comes within the distance of 17 or fewer degrees of the Sun on either side, it becomes combust. Combustion has a weakening and aggravating effect on the matters that the planet represents.
When Mars is combust, it can be associated with frustrations, impatience, aggression, and power struggles. Physical exercise, prayers to Archangel Michael, and practicing Hanuman sadhana are very useful for Mars problems. Another great remedy is to chant Shiva mantras which help to cleanse negative energies. The best would be the Maharitunjaya mantra. I like this YouTube version by Shankar Mahadevan.
The Maharitunjaya mantra is addressed to Lord Shiva, the Vedic version of God as the transformative power. By chanting this mantra, Divine vibrations are generated which ward off negative and evil forces and create a powerful protective shield. This mantra protects the one who chants against accidents and misfortunes of every kind.
If you are currently in a Mars cycle or your birth chart is ruled by Mars (having an Aries or Scorpio Ascendant, Moon, or Sun), the combustion cycle of Mars may be more disruptive and annoying for you. This is the kind of thing I examine in an astrological reading in order to understand the areas of life that will be activated.
October 1 to 18: Mercury Will Transit in Virgo - Time to Get Organized and Make Improvements
Mercury will transit into Virgo on Sunday, October 1, at 11:09 AM EDT/3:09 PM UTC, and will remain in Virgo until October 18. Mercury will be in opposition to Neptune from October 1 to 3, which could set the stage for some confusion, disinformation, and miscommunication. This will be a very important time to tune out the noise and stay laser-focused on your own personal and professional endeavors.
Mercury is the planet that rules the Earth element, and it is exalted in Virgo, its “strongest sign." In Virgo, Mercury reflects practical, focused, rational, and clear-headed qualities (except when it is afflicted, as with its opposition to Neptune which I mentioned above). The house in a natal chart occupied by Virgo, where Mercury is transiting, will show how and where this transit will unfold for you individually.
Overall, we welcome Mercury in Virgo as a time when we can get organized and make improvements. This is especially true at this time when Mercury is moving very fast (much faster than normal), which means that a lot can be accomplished quickly.
October 1 to November 2: Venus Will Transit in Leo - Financial, Professional, or Personal Matters May Start to Progress
Venus will transit into Leo on Sunday, October 1, at 3:32 PM EDT. Venus will remain in Leo until November 2. Venus was previously in Leo from July 6 to August 7, during which time it retrograded. As Venus returns to Leo, it will finally complete its post-retrograde shadow period on October 7.
Now the themes of the complicated Venus cycle that defined this past summer (or this past winter in the southern hemisphere) will finally come to a close. The house that Leo occupies in a natal chart will indicate what these themes are. In general, as Venus moves forward through Leo again, financial, professional, or personal matters that were stagnant or uncertain may start to progress. It all depends on the house that Leo occupies in a natal chart and other such influences, as well.
October 3 to November 16: Mars Will Transit in Libra, With Multiple Challenges - Potential for Conflict, Aggression, and Miscommunication
Mars will enter Libra at 8:28 AM on Tuesday, October 3, and will remain in Libra until Thursday, November 16. In its higher expression, Mars in Libra has a warm and affectionate quality, and brings interest in romance and socializing as well as artistic pursuits. These positive traits could manifest in some instances due to the Mars-Venus sextile in place during the month of October.
At the same time, the lower expression of Mars in Libra can dampen a healthy expression of the fire element, which can come across as undisciplined, indecisive, competitive, frustrated, ineffective in negotiations, and clumsy in communications. Unfortunately, these traits may be emphasized due to various factors including Mars combustion, Mars activating the eclipse axis, Mars conjunct Ketu in a 6/8 with Neptune, and because Mars will be entering Libra in a highly malefic state known in Vedic astrology as “atichara.”
Atichara occurs when a planet enters a new sign in accelerated motion. In this case, Mars will enter Libra in accelerated motion, transiting at 40 zodiacal minutes a day, whereas its average speed is only 31 minutes a day. When Mars is atichara, it is considered to be malefic and destructive. This could lead to some significant public disorder and heightened anxiety in the last week of September and the first two weeks of October.
October 5 (And Within Orb of Influence from September 26 to October 11): Mars Will Conjoin Ketu - Suggesting Tendencies for Irritation, Anger, or Violence
Mars will conjoin Ketu within a five-degree effective orb from September 26 until October 11, and their conjunction will be exact on October 5. This combination comprises a variation of Pishacha Yoga, a pairing that denotes the potential for irritation, anger, and violence. (Please note that my calculations are not based on the true lunar nodes, but on the more traditional mean lunar nodes, which have always worked well for me. I do realize this is a controversial topic in astrology).
October 5 (Also in Range of Influence the First Two Weeks of October): Quincunx or 6/8 Between Mars and Neptune - Potential for Deception, Confusion, Fraud, or Danger
During the first two weeks of October, and exactly on October 5, Mars will form a quincunx (6/8 aspect) with Neptune. In many ways, this aspect mirrors the same 6/8 between Neptune and Ketu which is occurring from September until December, and which I discussed at length in a previous article.
This 6/8 aspect between Mars and Neptune highlights the perplexing, bizarre, and desperate times we are living in. During this transit, we should be cautious in order to avoid deception and fraud. We also need to protect our health and avoid taking impulsive actions or making half-baked decisions.
October 9-10: Saturn Opposite Venus and the Moon - Potential for An Economic Crisis or Personal Challenges
On October 9-10, transiting Saturn will oppose Venus. This annual transit may point to an economic or social crisis or personal difficulties in the realm of relationships, health, or finances. In this case, the opposition will occur between Venus at nearly seven degrees of Leo in Magha nakshatra, and Saturn at nearly seven degrees of Aquarius in Shatabhisha nakshatra.
These nakshatras are ruled by Ketu and Rahu, the lunar nodes, which represent the karmic axis, thus further indicating the possibility for some unpredictable events and challenges. The transiting Moon will also act as a trigger by way of its conjunction with transiting Venus. It depends on how these sign positions interface with a natal or mundane horoscope as to the unique effects of this transit.
In the United States Kelleher chart, transiting Saturn will exactly conjoin the natal Moon at seven degrees of Aquarius in the third house. This is part of the ongoing Sade Sati cycle which reflects all the social, political, and economic chaos which have become our nation’s “new normal.”
October 10: Pluto Will Station Direct - Pressures, Accidents, and Conflict
On October 10, at the same time that Venus and the Moon will oppose Saturn, Pluto will also station direct at three degrees and 42 minutes of Capricorn. It has been retrograde since May 1 when it stationed retrograde at almost seven degrees of Capricorn. The period within five days on either side of Pluto’s retrograde or direct station (from October 5 to 15) can activate explosive inner and outer pressures coming to a head.
This transit can thus signify heightened seismic activity, accidents, intense conflicts (war), power struggles, or violence. As Pluto stations direct within a three-degree conjunction with natal Pluto in the United States horoscope, it will also square Mars and the transiting lunar nodes (eclipse points). This is a tense aspect that just exaggerates the corruption, political extremism, and pursuit of ruthless and fanatical goals already underway by the global Plutocracy.
October 10 to November 17: Sandhi Lunar Nodes - A Time of Change and Instability
The transiting mean lunar nodes (which are always retrograde) will be sandhi from October 10 to November 17. This means that they will be transiting on the one-degree edge or cusp between signs, with Ketu transiting from one degree of Libra back to 29 degrees of Virgo, and Rahu transiting from one degree of Aries back to 29 degrees of Pisces.
The cusp where Rahu will be transiting is also known as gandanta, a transformational edge between a fire and water sign (Aries and Pisces). When Rahu moves through this cusp, the world may experience flux, chaos, instability, or the threat of literal or metaphoric storms. This will be an especially important time for us to cultivate compassion and kindness, maintain composure, and stay close to our spiritual practices.
October 10-14: Balsamic Moon Phase - An Opportunity to Rest, Cleanse, and Move Quietly
The Balsamic lunar phase will begin on October 10 when the Moon is 45 degrees behind the Sun. It will end at the New Moon on October 14. This is the Dreamtime Moon when we should move quietly within ourselves in order to regenerate and refresh body, mind, and soul.
This Balsamic Moon phase will be a particularly powerful and intensely emotional one because it precedes a solar eclipse and the beginning of the Navaratri festival. In other words, it will likely be a time of some significant karmic churning.
October 14: Shani Amavasya and Sarva Pitru Amavasya - A Day to Honor The Ancestors, Elders, and the Infirm, Propitiate Shani Dev, Perform Charitable Acts, and Spend Time in Nature
October 14 is a doubly rare and auspicious day in the Vedic calendar, known as Shani Amavasya and also Sarva Pitru Amavasya. Shani Amavasya occurs when amavasya tithi (the day before the New Moon) is in place at sunrise on a Saturday, an event that usually occurs only a few times every year.
This year the amavasya tithi (the lunar day before the New Moon) will commence on Friday, October 13, and will end at the New Moon/partial solar eclipse on Saturday, October 14. Check an online panchanga for the exact timing of the amavasya tithi for your location.
Amavasya tithi and Saturday are both ruled by Lord Shani, otherwise known as Saturn. So when these events occur on the same date, this is an important day to honor Saturn. This is also the day known as Sarva Pitru Amavasya, the last and most important date of Pitru Paksha, the Fortnight of the Ancestors which leads up to the New Moon and then Navaratri.
It is appropriate on this day to offer respect, service, and charity to the ancestors as well as to the elderly and infirm, to make offerings and do mantras and prayers to Shani Dev (Lord Saturn), and to spend time in contemplation and communion with Mother Nature. This year, a New Moon/solar eclipse will occur on this important day at the end of the amavasya tithi (read further).
October 14: Solar Annular Eclipse/New Moon in Chitra Nakshatra - An Opportunity to Release the Past and Enhance Creative Flow
On Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023, an annular solar eclipse will cross North, Central, and South America. It will be visible in parts of the United States, Mexico, and many countries in South and Central America. The eclipse will begin at 4:12 PM UTC (12:12 PM EDT) and end at 7:46 PM UTC (3:46 PM EDT). The partial eclipse will begin at 3:03 PM UTC (11:03 AM EDT) and will end at 8:55 PM UTC (4:55 PM EDT). The greatest eclipse takes place at 5:59 PM UTC (1:59 PM EDT). Use the Word Time Buddy to convert to your time zone if it is different.
A solar eclipse is like a supercharged New Moon. As it occurs with Ketu, the Moon’s South Node, this eclipse indicates the need to face our shadows and make peace with the past in order to open the door to new awareness and new beginnings. In the eclipse, the Sun and Moon will occupy 27 degrees of Virgo in conjunction with Ketu, the Moon’s South Node, which will occur at zero degrees and 49 minutes of Libra (according to the Mean Node calculation).
The solar eclipse will also occur in Chitra nakshatra, the Star of Opportunity, which is connected to the auspicious bright star known as Spica. Chitra brings an emphasis on inventiveness, self-improvement (especially in regard to health matters), and mystical experiences. Make sure to meditate, pray, or chant during the time of maximum eclipse, when the positive results of your effort will be magnified immensely. Please stay tuned for more information in my forthcoming article about the eclipses and transiting lunar nodes.
October 15 to 23: Sharad Navaratri - The Divine Mother Festival of Nine Nights
The Vedic festival known as Navaratri, the Nine Nights of Mother Divine, will be observed from October 15 to 23 this year, in honor of Devi Durga’s eternal battle with the negative power and Her ultimate victory over evil. Durga Mata is an aspect of Adi Parashakti, the supreme goddess or Divine Mother.
Navaratri begins on the first day at sunrise on the pratipada tithi at the New Moon in the Asvina month of the Vedic lunar calendar (which occurs from mid-October to mid-November). Navaratri always comes during a crucial astrophysical and seasonal turning point when our bodies and minds are undergoing a dramatic energetic and physical realignment.
These nine nights are the time to invoke and receive the Divine Mother’s grace. She is said to walk among us now to bring her healing and balancing force into the world. Devotees will be performing rituals and prayers during this time, including fasting, holy pilgrimages and baths, pujas, yagyas, satsang, and darshan.
In one popular system of classification, we worship Shakti in three forms during Navaratri:
1. Durga ~ Power and Purification ~ the first three nights.
2. Lakshmi ~ Compassion and Abundance ~ the second three nights.
3. Saraswati ~ Wisdom and Grace ~ the last three nights.
As you can see, the first half of October may experience some intense energy and distressing events as indicated by the planetary movements. Fortunately, there will also be several uplifting events that should give us a respite from the challenging energy and help us make it through October. In particular, the beginning of the festival of Navaratri should bring some much-needed auspicious energy on October 15.
I hope that this October 2023 Vedic astrology forecast is useful to you and helps you make your plans for October. Stay tuned for my forecast for the second half of October 2023, my monthly astrological calendar, and an additional eclipse article, all coming soon!