Jyotish practitioner Sam Geppi regularly discusses the current transits of the planets and how they affect the cycles of our everyday life. While this information can seem esoteric or mysterious, it also provides some insight about and even motivation for us to maintain a steady and consistent practice. Sam is not only a well-known Vedic Astrologer, he is also a long time yoga teacher and practitioner, whose second book is Yoga and Vedic Astrology.
What information can Vedic Astrology give us to support our spiritual practices?
Our astrological chart offers insight into our true nature. It reveals the type of spiritual practices that will be of most benefit to each individual. But at their essence, the spiritual practices are all the same. The four paths of yoga take into account these factors, and balance our imbalances masterfully.
These four paths are Karma, Bhakti, Raja, and Jnana Yoga. Karma Yoga is the path of action; it asks us to act selflessly, to remain unattached to the results of our actions, and to offer up all actions to God. Bhakti Yoga is the practice of devotion, the path of prayer, worship, song, and ritual. Raja Yoga is the eight-limbed path that includes the yamas and niyamas (restraints and observances), asana (posture), pranayama (breath control), pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses), dharana (concentration), dhyana (the absorption of meditation), and samadhi (highest state of consciousness).
There is often an illusion that based on our astrology chart there is some meta-specific practice or mantra that is “just for me” and will unlock the keys to the kingdom. Frankly, a lot of that is our ego finding one more way to be seduced by self-importance.
I think the real benefit of astrology has less to do with prescribing remedies or gemstones, and more to do with understanding the nature of existence itself and our unique role in it. It also gives us the exact timing of why a difficult or supportive period is happening, and how to better understand it. Without this larger astrological context, we often see life through a myopic lens thinking that we are being victimized, punished, or other immature notions.
There are remedies and regimens that are also helpful as we navigate astrological time cycles. But again, most of the spiritual practices do not change if you are engaged in the four paths of yoga and that is good news. You do not need to worry that some big astrological information is missing and making your spiritual growth incomplete.
Doing a balanced and reasonable yoga and meditation practice each day brings greater harmony to your life, as shown by astrology. The same thing is true in Ayurveda as appropriate and balanced yoga, meditation, and mantra practices balance the doshas naturally.
How can we use insights from Vedic Astrology to help us set intentions for the New Year?
The New Year is a time to set a resolve for the future. Astrologically, 2017 will be a time to sharpen our focus toward what inspires us, rather than what we fear. The past two years have been full of imagined fears, both personally and culturally, with an emphasis on the dangers presented by “the others,” whether they are other cultures or other political parties.
The planet Saturn showed these tendencies as he moved through Scorpio over the past two years. On January 26, 2017 Saturn will move into Sagittarius, the sign of choosing hope over fear.
There will be an important Venus retrograde cycle in March and April 2017, occurring in Pisces. This will have us reflecting on the nature of higher love, desire, and compromise with others. The more we elevate our pleasure-seeking in the direction of the eternal source, the better all of our relationships will be, and the less we will seek our happiness in the approval of others.
What does Vedic Astrology tell us about the world in which we live?
Vedic Astrology or Jyotish (the Sanskrit word meaning the science of light) is the study of how the universe works to create beings and experiences according to their karma. The main Vedic astrology text reads like a manual of creation of this world, describing what it actually is and why we are here.
One of the primary reasons our world is in such decline is because we no longer understand these spiritual truths. That is why I have dedicated my life and practice to teaching astrology to as many people as I can. It has been my experience that everyone is interested in learning astrology, once they know what it actually is. Many people think astrology is some kind of fortune-telling system, one more way to help us get what we want but with a mystical spin.
Astrology is not fortune-telling. The planets are not just rocks moving around in the sky, somehow correlating to earthly events. The planets are the specific energies of creation itself. This means that everything falls within the scope of Vedic astrology.
Astrology is the study of who you really are, why you are really here, and why anything is here at all. It answers the most fundamental questions every child (and in fact every one of us) has when they look up in the sky: “Who am I?”; “Why am I here?”; and “Why is anything here?”
Far too often, instead of finding our own answers to these questions, we rely on dogmas and rigid belief systems. Mystical wisdom is essential if we are going to awaken from our current state of disconnect and delusion. Vedic astrology plays a vital role in reconnecting us to these spiritual truths as the world transitions from the darker ages toward the lighter ones.