This morning at 0307, we entered into the Summer Solstice here on the west coast of North America (Thursday, 21 June 2018, 0307 PST). With the Summer Solstice, the Sun reaches both the highest point in the sky, and northernmost point from the equator (northern hemisphere).
In this current reading for the Summer Solstice, I will be assessing the ascendant from the vantage point of PST time zone, and thus our experience of summer here on the west coast of North America. All calculations and interpretations from the science of Vedic Astrology.
CHECK OUT “FURTHER READING,” FOLLOWING THIS ARTICLE FOR MORE INFO ON:
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN VEDIC AND WESTERN ASTROLOGY
Here is the birth chart below: (South India chart format)
AT 0307, 21 JUNE 2018, LOS ANGELES, THE SIGN RISING IN THE HORIZON IS ARIES
Even before looking at the chart, we already see an auspicious beginning, as the birth of Summer happens for us right before Brahma Muhurta—the last quarter of the night leading into the sunrise. In the Vedic tradition, a new day actually begins with the rising of the sun, considering this as the “dawning of the day.” Similarly, the zodiac sign rising in the horizon at the time of one’s birth is considered to reflect how one comes into the “dawning of his life.”
The atmosphere of Brahma Muhurta is quiet and still, it is that Sandhi (transition) between one day and another, and we can take part in its subtle, quiet power. And so, this time is considered favorable for accessing a strong cosmic power—imagine the strength of stepping into the day already charged with spiritual energy, alert and awake to the magnificence of life and one’s reflection of it; versus: the day bursting forth, and we being asleep for this powerful transition. But while we may not arise before the sun comes up, we can see this reflect the concept of being alert and awake through the transitions to develop our spiritual energy—that during those moments when we feel most awkward, vulnerable, and fearful, are the most crucial times for us to remain focused, and the very opportunities we are seeking for expansion.
For more information on Brahma Muhurta, check out this article with Sadhguru of ISHA Foundation: isha.sadhguru.org/brahma-muhurta
The days have grown longer to culminate in the longest day at the Summer Solstice, but right afterward, the Sun begins its southerly descent down the horizon, and the days begin to grow shorter—like moving into the waning phase of sunlight on Earth. earthsky.org puts it well, “thus even in summer’s beginning, we find the seeds of summer’s end.” I find it helpful to conceptualize the degree of sunlight we receive on Earth like this:
- Winter Solstice = new sun
- Spring Equinox = 1st quater sun
- Summer Solstice = full sun
- Autumnal Equinox = last quarter sun
So if we are in a waning phase during the Summer, why do we experience the hottest days in this season? The Farmer’s Almanac offers a concise explanation:
Earth’s atmosphere, land, and oceans absorb part of the incoming energy from the Sun and store it, releasing it back as heat at various rates. Water is slower to heat (or cool) than air or land. At the summer solstice, the Northern Hemisphere receives the most energy (highest intensity) from the Sun due to the angle of sunlight and day length. However, the land and oceans are still relatively cool, due to spring’s temperatures, so the maximum heating effect on air temperature is not felt just yet. Eventually, the land and, especially, oceans will release stored heat from the summer solstice back into the atmosphere. This usually results in the year’s hottest temperatures appearing in late July, August, or later, depending on latitude and other factors. This effect is called seasonal temperature lag.
We experience this waning phase as an overarching theme of maturation, before the harvesting season. This is the time when the year’s lessons are allowed to deeply root, nourishing themselves richly from our preparations and care. A great time to become aware of what one’s efforts and contributions have created. And becoming aware, we can bring more focus on the maintenance of these creations—whether that be through fortifying/modifying the soil, pruning, or weed-whacking! And this is an auspicious time for this indeed…
The ascendant in Aries reflects a very passionate, adventurous, and confident approach to the Summer season. Aries is that part of us that is driven, empowered, self-willed, determined, competitive, aggressive, courageous, pioneering, as it is the masculine expression of Mars. We see that Mars is in the sign of Capricorn, where it is exalted—empowered by its most favorable conditions, and thus has the potential to be highly intelligent, harmonious, and refined, showing a potential to channel our will and determination into focused, practical action. Mars in Capricorn shows a Mars-Saturn connection (Capricorn is ruled by Saturn), and even with the refinement of Aries’ usually impulsive nature in the controlled, practical sign of Capricorn, there is a quality of coldness very possible here, including aloofness, or even emotional distance; much like the energy of a workaholic. Ketu, an eclipse point of the Moon, is seated very close to Mars. Ketu shows us that a foundational part of spirituality is non-attachment, and reminds us of Karma Yoga, the Yoga of Divine Action—being fully engaged/present to the action of the moment, but being completely unattached to the fruits of one’s labors. Ketu often teaches us this by taking things away. So interestingly, this season may bring forth deep spiritual lessons through a loss of the very fruits we have watched grow into the Summer—deepening our connection to the spiritual lesson that we are not our stuff, nor our accomplishments and titles.
Also, with the Sun in Gemini, seated with Gemini’s ruler, Mercury, this season bodes a great deal of intellectual boundary breaking. We will have a strong impulse to ask bold questions as well as find ourselves taking bold approaches to finding “answers.”
And as it is always the Aries lesson, during this season it is advisable to heighten one’s awareness of others, and keep close to the heart the Libran principle: to consider my needs and desires equal to an other’s; seeking to soften the harshness of the brut within us with more grace. (for more info on Aries energy, cross-reference “New Moon in Aries” article, 15 April 2018: okakaya.com/new-moon-in-aries)
Bottomline: the Summer Solstice marks the beginning of the waning phase of sunlight upon the Northern Hemisphere, ushering in a time of spiritual maturation—becoming witness to what our year’s efforts are beginning to bring forth. We have the opportunity to observe these creations and modify or fortify our efforts toward the final fruits of our harvest to come. As the Summer Solstice occurred at 0307 PST, here on the west coast of North America, we see a reminder of the importance of being awake during the pivotal transitions of our life—to be fully “there for ourselves,” especially during our most trying times. With the Ascendant being Aries, it is advisable to keep the Libran principle close to our hearts—harmonizing “me” and “other” as polarized parts of the complete picture of “us.” And with Aries’ ruler Mars in Capricorn with Ketu, being prepared for going forth with focused and determined efforts toward our contributions into this world, but being equally prepared to let it all go, understanding that we are not this material phenomenon, but consciousness itself remembering itself. This is an auspicious time to ask bold questions and follow your curiousity, unfettered by imagined restrictions.
Beautiful Summer Season!
Jane Oka Kaya Shin
Summer Solstice is the longest day of the year, meaning this day has the most minutes of sunshine, but interestingly, we experience the earliest sunrises about a week prior to the Summer Solstice, as we actually have days that are longer than 24 hours due to the arc of the Earth’s transit around the Sun at this time of year. Here is a brief overview of the Summer Solstice from the Farmer’s Almanac:
The word “solstice” comes from Latin ‘solstitium’—from ‘sol’ (sun) and ‘stitium’ (standing), reflecting the fact that on the solstice, the Sun appears to stop moving in the sky as it reaches its northern—or southernmost point. After the solstice, the Sun appears to reverse course and head back in the opposite direction.
Many of us will notice that this is the same phenomenon that we experience at the Winter Solstice, but in reverse of course, as we experience the longest night during that time of the year.
The almanac continues:
In temperate regions, we notice that the Sun is higher in the sky throughout the day, and its rays strike Earth at a more direct angle, causing the efficient warming we call summer. Because the sun is highest in the sky on this day, you’ll notice that your shadow (at noon) is the shortest it will be all year.
And earthsky.org gives us their astronomical perspective:
Each solstice marks a “turning” of the year. Even as this northern summer begins with the solstice, throughout the world the solstice also represents a “turning” of the year. To many cultures, the solstice can mean a limit or a culmination of something. From around the world, the sun is now setting and rising as far north as it ever does. The solstice marks when the sun reaches its northernmost point for the year. After the June solstice, the sun will begin its subtle shift southward on the sky’s dome again.
Thus even in summer’s beginning, we find the seeds of summer’s end.
Longest day for Northern Hemisphere, but not the latest sunset. The latest sunset doesn’t come on the day of the summer solstice. Neither does the earliest sunrise. The exact dates vary with latitude, but the sequence is always the same: earliest sunrise before the summer solstice, longest day on the summer solstice, latest sunset after the summer solstice.
Shortest day for Southern Hemisphere, but not the latest sunrise. The latest sunrise doesn’t come on the day of the winter solstice. Neither does the earliest sunset. The exact dates vary with latitude, but the sequence is always the same: earliest sunset before the winter solstice, shortest day on the winter solstice, latest sunset after the winter solstice.
For the complete article, check out: earthsky.org/solstice
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN VEDIC AND WESTERN ASTROLOGY
This and all other articles that I present, are an intimate sharing of my study and spiritual practice of VEDIC ASTROLOGY, which differs a great deal from the mainstream Western (Tropical) Astrology most of us have been exposed to since we were children. A reflection of the Western astrological system can be seen in any “Sunday newspaper horoscope” or the like, which shows the zodiac sign the Sun was in on the day we were born. However, what most people don’t know is that these dates do not coincide with what is in the sky in real time; meaning, the placements that Western astrologers are going by are not a reflection of the sky today in the 21st century, but rather, where the celestial bodies were in relation to the sky back near the 3rd century! An example of this I ran into recently, is seeing astrological articles written about the Summer Solstice happening during “Cancer season”—referring to the Sun being in Cancer at the time of the Summer Solstice. However, today in 2018, and for some centuries now, the Sun is located in the sign of Gemini, making this “Gemini season”, and not “Cancer season.”
Below is a chart comparing the dates of the Sun’s transit through the signs in both systems. For those born mid-month, the Sun sign may be the same for both systems (depending on the exact day); for everyone else, however, our Sun sign is actually one sign back from what we had in the Western system. This is due to “Precession of the Earth’s motion” around its axis.
The Earth’s axis rotates (precesses) just as a spinning top does. The period of precession is about 26,000 years. Therefore, the North Celestial Pole will not always point towards the same starfield. Precession is caused by the gravitational pull of the Sun and the Moon on the Earth, and is about ~50 arc seconds per year.
SUN SIGNS of the Vedic and Western systems:
|No.||Zodiac Signs||Vedic astrological calendar
|Western astrological calendar
|1||Aries||Apr 13 – May 14||Mar 21 – Apr 21|
|2||Taurus||May 15 – Jun 14||Apr 22 – May 20|
|3||Gemini||Jun 15 – Jul 14||May 21 – Jun 21|
|4||Cancer||Jul 15 – Aug 14||Jun 22 – Jul 22|
|5||Leo||Aug 15 – Sep 15||Jul 23 – Aug 23|
|6||Virgo||Sep 16 – Oct 15||Aug 24 – Sep 23|
|7||Libra||Oct 16 – Nov 14||Sep 24 – Oct 23|
|8||Scorpio||Nov 15 – Dec 14||Oct 24 – Nov 22|
|9||Sagittarius||Dec 15 – Jan 13||Nov 23 – Dec 21|
|10||Capricorn||Jan 14 – Feb 12||Dec 22 – Jan 21|
|11||Aquarius||Feb 13 – Mar 12||Jan 22 – Feb 19|
|12||Pisces||Mar 13 – Apr 12||Feb 20 – Mar 20|
Okay, so now that we have a better understanding of what calendar is being used in this assessment, let us move on to a discussion of the ASCENDANT. So yes, those born within the same date range will have the Sun in the same zodiac sign—this we refer to as the Sun Sign. However, another equally important (if not more important) consideration is the ASCENDANT or “rising sign.” According to the EXACT TIME OF ONE’S MANIFESTATION, we can calculate the ascendant—the sign rising in the horizon at the exact time of birth.
So let’s say 4 babies were born on the same day in the same hospital, but at different times: 6am, 12noon, 6pm, and 12midnight. All 4 babies would have the same sun sign, but each of them would have a different ascendant. And although these babies would definitely share qualities with each other, there would be a distinct difference in their personalities due to their rising sign, which has (in many cases) the strongest impact on one’s personality. The rising sign shows the “dawning of one’s life,” and sets up where the “fields of one’s life” begins (the “houses”), in addition to that, however, it shows what the main filter of experience will be, and what planetary influence will be the primary guiding principle.