Blood Memories book

"Thank you so much for the beautiful reading. I have listened to the recording a number of times, and each time I do, I hear something different, or something else drops a level in my understanding. I was so inspired by your knowledge and clarity that I have signed up to study with you on your philosophy course.” - Fiona C

Get my newsletter... Click here!

As the Old Order Breaks Down

The veils began thinning months ago. At midsummer, Sun commences his journey southward. Darkness slowly increases, imperceptibly at first, obscured by the exuberance and heat of summer. Dakshinayana, the dark half of the year, begins when Sun enters Cancer, around July 15th, according to the sidereal zodiac of Vedic Astrology. The season for solitude, for withdrawal into deeper meditation, contemplation and repose starts creeping in beneath the surface of awareness when summer is still high. 

By now at the Autumnal Equinox—which initiates the darkest quadrant of the year when nights stretch longer than days—the indications are clear. Dryness, cold, and contraction herald the prominence of vata in the natural world. Darkness dissolves borders. Death steps forward as life recedes in the cycles of eternal return. The ancient Celtic festival of Samhain reveres this season of darkness for the clarity it brings to the subtle realms. The veils are thin between the worlds, they say, and the still mind can easily access the spirit land of the dead. The Irish understand autumn to begin August 1st, because already the signs of quietus are apparent for those with eyes to see. 

Seeing clearly is the challenge we face as 2022 comes to a close. If you’re feeling unsettled, it’s no surprise. The times are unstable. Massive change is sweeping the entire planet. But nature provides omens, and it behooves us to pay attention, particularly to the clues apparent in the heavens. The shifting patterns of the stars reflect our life on earth. As above so below—said the legendary sage of ancient Greece, Hermes Trismegistus—and as all the wisdom of India affirms. 

Great challenges lie ahead. But just as light breaks suddenly through the clouds of a dark night, so will this season of woes provide moments of grace. The celestial clues portend surprise,  opportunities for you—as astonishing as a field of sweet watermelons growing out of desert sand.


Mars dominates the second half of 2022. His supremacy coincides almost exactly with the arc of Daskshinayana. Characterised by dynamism, fire, independence, assertion, courage and will power, Mars is the warrior. Whether this energy channels towards life enhancement or life destruction depends upon so many other factors. The months ahead will bring both, for individuals as well as societies. For the extraordinary strength of Mars—which we’ve already experienced this summer—will only increase as we move into the autumn and winter months.

In early August, the Mars-Rahu conjunction in Aries infused Mars with the insatiable desire of Rahu. Rahu is a multiplier, amplifying whatever he touches. Unlike ethical Jupiter, Rahu expands without moral restraints. He is the mafia boss, his cunning serving self-interested gain. Under his influence, Mars tends towards deviance, towards violence when met with resistance. Mars has been swayed by this energy since he entered fiery Aries on 28 June. He received an amplified charge at the time of the exact conjunction—interestingly on August 1st, with the beginning of autumn in the Irish calendar and a fortnight after the official start of Dakshinayana—proclaiming the central theme of the closing months of 2022. The effects of this conjunction linger still—and will receive fresh momentum until well into 2023. 

Recall early August. . . .  Nancy Pelosi visits Taiwan, setting off military threats from the Chinese and raising the tension between China and the USA to a dangerous tipping point. Salman Rushdie, who has been living under the shadow of an Iranian fatwa for decades, is stabbed in the neck before a shocked audience of literary aficionados. Afgan women protesting their oppression are beaten down by the ruling Taliban. The Russian-Ukrainian War drags on, with fresh bombing and deaths almost daily. Monkey Pox—a quintessential Martian disease of painful red lesions—is declared a public health emergency. You can probably identify local events or experiences in your personal life that exemplify in some way this theme. 

That was only the beginning. On 11 August, Mars entered Taurus, and because of his long retrograde cycle will remain there until 13 March 2023, except for a brief foray into Gemini (more on that in a future blog). All this time, Mars remains under the influence of Rahu, since he receives Rahu’s second house aspect from Aries. It’s a powerful aspect, because Rahu is a formidable force, moving through time like a tornado, which leaves in its wake an agitation that takes awhile to settle.  

From 14 June 2022 until 21 February 2023, Rahu casts this aspect from the nakshatra (lunar constellation) of Bharani. A Krura nakshatra (fierce or severe), Bharani has the power to cleanse and purify, to carry away toxins or dross. Yama, the God of Death, governs Bharani, lending his qualities to this star, which is symbolised by the yoni, gateway to life and death. Yama collects souls at the end of life and detaches them from their old form. He facilitates the breaking down, a necessary step in transformation, which in the end furthers positive evolution. But still, pain belongs to the process. Themes of death, rebirth, breakdown and transformation will weave their way through the lives of many during the months ahead. They will erupt onto the world stage with drama and violence according to the triggers of other influences. 

The death of Queen Elizabeth II occurred at this time, her own chart aligning in such a way with the transits of 8 September to precipitate her passing. The end of the second Elizabethan Era marks a turning point. Along with the many other indications of the times —Covid, the economic crisis, the transfer of wealth and power into fewer hands, climate change—the old order has broken down. In the greater cycles of time, all this emerged out of the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction in Capricorn in 2020, which I wrote about then. It marked the half-way point of these conjunctions occurring in earth signs, from 1961 to 2080. But do not fear, something new will emerge out of this chaotic phase of transition. 

All conditioned things are impermanent, says the Buddha. With metaphysics, myth and metaphor, Yoga teaches that same fundamental insight into the nature of our reality. Shakti is the primal energy of creation, the dynamic element of life, always moving and changing. She is divine energy, the life force, pulsing with prana and manifesting all forms in time and space. Impermanence is her essence. Jyotish sheds light upon her endless dance, yet it also points to the numinous ground beyond, where forms dissolve and change has no meaning. With language diverse, all spiritual traditions revere that numinous other. 

During the months ahead, Mars receives malefic influences from Saturn, even though Saturn has retrograded back into Capricorn. Saturn in Capricorn and Mars in Taurus form a mutual sign aspect (rashi dristi). Their two antagonistic energies blend until January 2023, creating an irascible backdrop to events, a frustration easily provoked. Moreover, until the Vernal Equinox of 2023, Saturn resides in the nakshatra of Dhanistha, a demon nakshatra ruled by Mars. Even though a beautiful star evoking music—Shiva’s drum that creates the pulse of duality and Krishna’s flute that mesmerises the gopis to leave their husbands and devote themselves to the Lord—Dhanistha (as most things) also has a dark side. It can signify souls deluded by ego, caught up in beating their own drum and so deaf to the pulse of creation. Because Saturn is debilitated in Mars’s sign of Aries, he’s particularly vulnerable to this delusion when in Dhanistha. 


These themes for the months ahead characterise the chart of the Autumnal Equinox. Yet this chart of 23 September 2022 reveals something else also, a clue pointing to a hidden jewel. Mercury retrograde resides in Virgo, his sign of exaltation, opposite Jupiter’s benefic gaze from Pisces and combust (beside) the Sun within less than a degree. Though combustion hurts the material gifts of a graha, essentially “burning them up”,  it enhances its spiritual qualities. 

Highly malefic in certain circumstances, the Sun is sattvic, at its highest vibration an indication of the atman—the transcendent dimension at the heart of every soul.  Sun’s radiance subsuming Mercury becomes an omen, with the pure sattva of Jupiter adding confluence. Mercury is buddhi, the discriminating intellect, whose highest achievement is jnana yoga, discerning the real from the unreal. According to Vedanta, the real is that which does not change. Beyond impermanence, it eludes all language—the eternal, unborn, undying ground of Pure Spirit. The unreal is the world of change. We live in that world of impermanence, where grasping onto the passing forms brings heartache, because nothing composite endures. 

In the philosophy of Samkhya, the metaphysical framework of Yoga, the buddhi dimension of mind is closest to the transcendent. As Mercury merges for a few days into the luminosity of Surya, significantly right at the autumnal equinox, he forms an incandescence shimmering with visionary potential. Though as always, how intense this effect will be for any given person depends upon their unique chart, an opportunity for breakthroughs in jnana yoga are there for everyone. 

Mercury gains extraordinary strength at this time. He remains retrograde until 30 September, then stations (stands still) at less than 1° Virgo for six days—until 5 October. A planet stationing becomes stronger even than a retrograde planet. The ingress into a sign is a liminal place, a border, unstable in a worldly sense, though opening a door to the subtle realms. These factors reinforce the paradoxical nature of dual Mercury at this time. He is exalted yet combust, stationing yet poised on the edge of a cliff. Mark this moment for the window of grace it offers. Once Mercury starts to move forward, he is swift. Having turned retrograde on 14 September, just before his exact point of exaltation at 15° Virgo, he reaches that point again on 17 October, shortly before the Solar Eclipse (which a future blog will discuss). More confluence for his power!   

A tumultuous time lies ahead. The energy unfolding over these months is intense, unsettling. As a practical aside, it’s not a good time for taking financial risks, unless you really, really know what you’re doing. For most of us, caution and frugality should govern the household this winter. However, Mars indicates courage. His strength, directed towards justice and righteousness, emboldens us to stand up for truth, both in the world (where Orwellian-doublespeak reigns these days) and in the higher dimensions of spiritual practice. 

My prayer for all of you dear readers who made it to the end of this blog . . .  May Mercury as high priest illuminate your consciousness with his brilliant emerald light. May his swift wings carry you aloft the arduous path of jnana yoga to the untold treasures that lie beyond. 

Om shanti 

6 thoughts on “As the Old Order Breaks Down”


    Thank you for our study of such times of trouble unfolding like going through a hall of mirrors in a fairground.

    It seems the situation is adjusting to the Receptive Hexagram of the I Ching with a changing Top line. Translated by Wilhelm and Baynes, the text reads: Dragons fight in the meadow. Their blood is black and yellow. A situation probably similar to WWI and WWII, when both main parties in the confrontation shed their blood, either black or yellow, and of both certainly red…

    The change of this line leads to Hexagram 23, Spitting apart: It does not further one to go anywhere. The recommendation for those above is to give generously to those below in order to maintain their privileged position.

    From vedic and from the inner side of the great wall seems to be coming an eastern wind of good sense. From the Far West too much energies are “hurricaning” around thou…

    Wish you the very best and for your entourage

    Victor Ribeiro Ferreira – Lisbon, Portugal

    1. When different wisdom traditions point to the same phenomenon, we need to pay attention! A very pertinent hexagram that you mention, Victor. Thank you for that insight. Interesting that the I Ching describes the situation as similar to WWI and WWII. I’ve heard Jyotishis speak of similarities between today’s alignments and that of WWII. The recommendation for those above to give generously to those below certainly belongs to the “wind of good sense”. Generous hearts and open minds build bridges of compassion. Many good wishes to you too. Om shanti ❤️

  2. I see a mild and mellow fruitfulness around me in Ireland, in wild blackberries and gourds in my oven I’ve never eaten before, and it gives me comfort and reflects that though the seasons cycle on and the world tumults relentlessly in crises war and hunger, my spirit pains for what is being done, yet there are quiet ways to find joy. It makes me yearn to release a need for control for any imposed routine or order which doesn’t seem to last anyway, makes me realise to drop old narratives as leaves on trees silently falling. I feel myself both giant, breathing silently in my new and treasured meditation practice, a giant breathing in and out with the tides. I also feel tiny that I was once a sperm and egg meeting in ecstasy, being shaped through time and talent to somehow leave a mark of love.

    1. So lovely, Sarah, wild blackberries and gourds, the mellow light of Irish autumn and the cosy warmth of an oven. Joy is there in the small things, the moments of exquisite beauty, which are everywhere. Our breath is the pulse of prana, the life force, same energy that infuses everything, the ebb and flow of the tides of every cell. So lovely your meditation practice—your borders dissolving, you both large and small, you resonating with cosmic love . . . its healing power channelled out to our suffering world with your breath. So lovely to hear from you, Sarah, after so long! Om shanti

  3. Thank you Marianne, fascinating insight as always💕 the challenges of the world at present are at the forefront of everybody’s mind in one way or another and yet there is solace in interpretation through astrology. It is all part of a bigger picture that we as humans will never be privy to.
    I have never considered before that combustion enhances spiritual qualities that is beautiful x

    1. That is so right, Aoife! Jyotish gives solace even as it reveals the challenges we face. Knowledge is power! Divine intelligence has left clues in the natural world, which is the face of the Divine, and Jyotish teaches us how to read them. It fortifies us with tools to navigate skilfully. But even more it fortifies us with profound trust that All truly is Well! More and more I’m beginning to understand how the path of Jyotish resembles the path of the nyamas of the Yoga Sutras.
      Combustion does indeed have a beautiful quality for certain charts. As in everything, other modifying influences determine how it will manifest. Because combustion will dIminish the worldly indications of a graha, those losses might overshadow one’s awareness of the hidden gift in combustion. However, the Sun is sattvic; vibrating at its highest frequency it is divine. It makes sense that a graha immersed in the radiance of a beautiful Sun would grant spiritual boons. I think we can enhance that effect by chanting the Gayatri Mantra to the rising Sun every morning. A beautiful way to celebrate the dawn of a new day. Om shanti ❤️

Comments are closed.