Just in case you missed the news, Mercury, that old trickster, turned retrograde yesterday morning and will remain so until April 4th. The gift of Mercury retrograde is to slow us down a bit with unforeseen difficulties and delays, so we don’t just go on charging blindly ahead in our lives, sometimes to our peril. It is a time to work on completing unfinished business in both the physical and emotional realms, to reflect on the recurring patterns (physical, mental, and emotional) that sometimes create havoc in our lives, and to make some course corrections. This is a wonderful time for Swadhyaya (self study), for reconnecting with the sacred texts and recommitting ourselves to our Sadhana.
The big news tonight is the annual conjunction of Venus and Jupiter at 10:54 pm. If the sky is clear tonight after sunset, these two bright planets will be clearly visible above the western horizon. Jupiter is called the great benefic and Venus the lesser benefic, so you would think that when they come together it would be a very positive union. Most western astrologers subscribe to this view, but Vedic astrology has a slightly different take on this “Yoga” (conjunction). Venus, called Shukra in Sanskrit, represents the Divine Essence involved in the creative process. The Shiva Purana tells the story of Shukra being born from the vital fluid of Lord Shiva after He was aroused by Vishnu in the form of a beautiful, seductive woman and ejaculated. Shiva’s semen represents the Divine creative energy, which, through the Venusian impulse, is scattered throughout the multitude of beings. Venus guides social evolution, strengthens personal relationships, and stimulates the urge for physical union.
Venus is traditionally considered to be the teacher of the Daityas (demons) while Jupiter is considered to be the preceptor of the Devas (gods). The primary distinction between the Devas and Asuras is Ahamkara, the ego, which is considered to be a demonic quality. Egoism, or the idea of the separate self, is the root cause of human manifestation. Shukra, as the teacher of egoistic beings like the Daityas, has the task of preserving and nourishing them in an ordered existence by providing a code of social behavior called the Dharma Shastra. The Venusian impulse involves us in material attachments, accentuating the thirst for life, which leads to rebirth. It produces attraction for physical well-being and social status, human relationships, artistic talents, and sensual and sexual pleasure. Although it gives us appreciation for spiritual knowledge, Venus is not particularly interested in liberation, preferring to keep us on the wheel of birth and death—the realm of generation based on duality. Jupiter’s influence, in many ways, is opposite to that of Venus. While Venus transmutes spirit into matter in a scattering and dividing process, Jupiter strives to return us to a state of unity and wholeness, to transform materiality into spirituality. Jupiter is completely unified with the ascending evolutionary force, fully surrendered to the Divine Will. His every action demonstrates his concern in the welfare of others and the evolution of humanity. Jupiter is called “Guru”—the dispeller of darkness
I woke up this morning thinking, “This is really going to be a great day,” but soon reality set in and it was a day filled with challenges, like any other day. Venus and Jupiter did not rescue me—indeed, they seemed to embody the struggle, the age-old battle between the Devas and Asuras.