Namaste, and blessings for the New Year. As the signs of celebration 

fade, it is worthwhile to explore some of the notable astrological and 

astronomical events of the coming year.  Far from being a typical year, 

2014 is noteworthy in that some of the best combinations, as well as 

the worst, will take place.


The exaltation of any planet is considered highly auspicious. For each 

planet, one sign stands out as the place where it functions optimally.


The year begins with Saturn in Libra, it's exaltation sign, where it will 

remain until Nov 2. This is a powerful transit, subject to some limiting 

conjunctions, mentioned below. As Saturn takes almost 30 years to 

traverse the zodiac, spending roughly 2.5 years in each sign. The last 

time Saturn was in Libra was 1985, and the next time will be in 2041.


Jupiter's exaltation sign is Cancer, which it visits once every 12 years, 

since Jupiter takes that long to complete one trip around the Sun. 

On June 19, Jupiter enters Cancer, remaining there until June, 2015.


The double exaltation of Saturn and Jupiter can only happen once every 

60 years: 2 Saturn cycles and 5 Jupiter cycles. This last took place in 

1954/55, and will again take place from June 19 to Nov 2, 2014.


The next time these two will align as such is in 2073; of course at 

times Jupiter will not reach Cancer while Saturn is in Libra; in fact the 

next double exaltation after 2073 will be almost 400 years later, in 2453.


Multiple exalted planets is a great blessing for Muhurta (selecting auspicious 

times for action), as well as in one's birth chart.


Multiple exalted planets are also a factor on Akshay Tritiya (day of victory), 

which falls on the third day of the waxing Moon while the Sun is in Aries (it's

exaltation sign). Invariably the Moon will be in Taurus, so also exalted; this 

day always falls between mid-April and mid-May, and in 2014 lands on May 1, 

a highly auspicious day for new beginnings, as not only are Sun, Moon, and 

Saturn exalted that day, Venus is as well.


Some conjunctions are less auspicious, and put a damper on the otherwise 

good effects. The year begins with Rahu conjunct Saturn, a condition that 

ends on July 13 when Rahu enters Virgo. Rahu and Saturn become conjunct 

roughly every 11-12 years. During their conjunction, if Mars also joins them, 

it sets up one of the most potentially devastating combinations in astrology. 

Mars and Saturn become conjunct roughly every 2 years. Due to their opposite 

natures (Mars is hot, Saturn is cold, Mars is aggressive, Saturn repressive, 

etc.), this tends to bring out extremes of one sort or another. When Rahu 

becomes conjunct a planet it can magnify the effect – thus if Rahu is with 

beneficial planets, it may become more beneficial; if with malefic planets, it 

makes them more malefic. As Mars and Saturn are both natural malefics, their 

three-way combination with Rahu is highly charged! This has occurred only 

twice in the past 50 years (in 1968 and 2002), and will again occur in 2014, 

from Feb 4 to March 24, when Mars retrogrades back to Virgo. By the time 

Mars re-enters Libra on July 14, Rahu will have just left.


For any conjunction, some people are more affected than others. In particular, 

people with Moon in Libra will be most affected by the Mars-Saturn-Rahu 

conjunction, as well as those with Moon in the water signs (Pisces, Cancer, 

and Scorpio).


Any discussion of the year would be incomplete without mentioning eclipses.  

An annular solar eclipse is when the Moon eclipses the Sun at the point in 

it's orbit where it is farther from the Earth, and so appears smaller in the sky 

than the Sun, not quite covering all the Sun's disc. Such an eclipse occurs 

on April 29, however the visibility is confined to Australia (partial phases), 

and Antarctica (maximum visibility).


On Oct 23 a partial solar eclipse will be visible across North America, specially 

the West Coast.


2014 will see two total lunar eclipses, on the night of April 14/15 and during 

the early morning hours of Oct. 8. Both of these will be visible in North America. 

Although the Vedas strictly advise against any viewing of eclipses, lunar 

eclipses are completely harmless, at least at the physical level.


During eclipses, it is beneficial to abstain from eating/speaking, and to increase 

spiritual practices: meditation, mantras, etc.


With best wishes,


Jyotish Astrologer

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