Today I am celebrating my Solar Return, the day the Sun sits at the same position it occupied at birth. My actual date of birth is February 20th, 1951, but due to a phenomenon known as the “precession of the Equinox”, there has been a backward shift in the Zodiac of almost 1 degree over the past 62 years. Over a period of 25,000 years the Zodiac makes a full circle of 360 degrees, spending around 2100 years in each of the 12 signs. This precession accounts for the discrepancy between the Tropical (western) zodiac and the Sidereal (eastern) zodiac of 24 degrees. To offer myself as an example, by the western system I was born with the Sun at 1 degree Pisces, while in the eastern system my Sun lies at 7 degrees Aquarius. According to the Tropical Zodiac I have the Sun, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and the North Node all in Pisces, so for many years I considered myself to be the most Piscean of all the fish—sensitive, emotional, romantic. Much to my dismay, when I had my first Vedic chart done I discovered that, all along I had been an Aquarius—cool, and emotionally detached on one level, but with a rebellious and humanitarian spirit that desires to contribute to the Healing and awakening of Humanity. It kind of all fits somehow. When I was younger I was much more the Pisces archetype—dreamy and moody and romantic, but at this stage of life it is a lot about the work.
Based on the Sidereal Zodiac, I have the Sun, Mars, Jupiter, and Rahu all in the sign of Aquarius, known as “Kumbha” in Sanskrit. Kumbha means a pitcher or water pot. The symbol for Aquarius is a pitcher pouring water out of the heavens. This water represents the cosmic life force that heals, but also brings disruption and change. Aquarius seeks to demolish the old paradigm that has become too stagnant, self indulgent, and materialistic; to radically transform, purify, and stimulate a new spiritual direction. The kumbha represents the body and individualized consciousness. It must release the water, the life force contained within it, in order to merge with the cosmic, or universal energy. Critical to the release of the waters of life for the Aquarian is finding some kind of service-oriented work that seeks to uplift humanity in some way. This is what keeps the juices flowing and prevents one from becoming isolated, ineffectual, and depressed. The down side is to sometimes go overboard in the service to others mentality, which can be detrimental to one’s own physical or emotional well being. The challenge is to balance one’s identification with the pot (the body) and the water flowing out of the pot (service).
Tomorrow, February 20th, is my actual birthday. The gift the Universe is giving me is a conjunction of the Sun and Neptune at 11:19pm PST at 3 degrees Pisces by western reckoning and 9 degrees Aquarius by eastern. The specific Nakshatra (asterism) for this conjunction is called Shatabhisha, “one hundred physicians”. The ruling deity of Shatabhisha is Varuna, the “Lord of the Waters” and “Bestower of Wisdom”, who is the Indian equivalent of Neptune. Varuna holds a pot of Soma, the heavenly ambrosia that rejuvenates and intoxicates. Varuna also holds a bundle of healing herbs which symbolize the energy of Shatabhisha, called bheshaja shakti—the power to heal. It is a perfect place in the heavens for this grand meeting between the Sun and Neptune. One of the gifts of this conjunction is compassion, another is an increased awareness of the spiritual dimension of life. The down side of this conjunction is a tendency towards escapism, a desire to drink a bit too much Soma. It’s a good day for meditation or devotional practices if feeling a need to withdraw due to heightened sensitivity to the emotions of others.