The planets in the birth chart indicate the challenges one has to face in life's pilgrimage due to causes generated by the individual's past actions. This is called karma, the ultimate law of justice which rules all life. It suggests a kind of determination that exists in nature. In this connection a great sage has said, "A child is born on that day and at that hour when the celestial rays are in mathematical harmony with his individual karma. His horoscope is a challenging portrait, revealing his unalterable past and its probable future results. The chart shows what we are now because of what we have thought and done in the past. Astrology, by providing us with a blueprint of our attachments, problems, talents, and mental tendencies, offers us a way of not only realizing in a specific sense exactly what our karma is, and helping us work with these confrontations within and without, but also a way of beginning to rise above and gain a perspective on this karma."

Further, astrology does social good by propagating, indirectly, that one must try to sow better, in order to reap better. So the correct understanding of Vedic astrology is that it is a blend of free will and predetermined destiny. But this does not mean that astrology implies any fatalism or rigid determinism. Of course, there are persons to whom astrology does not apply, awakened souls who are masters of their own destiny. Such people are sages who control their own senses and also the five elements of the universe. They control the time and the creation; in other words, the planetary effects are controlled by them. Such great beings' free will prevails over the tendencies of the planets. They can do and undo things. This is why the great sage Parasara says: "Oh! the best among Brahmins! I tell you the maximum longevity for various beings: for Gods and sages it is limitless."

So astrology has been given to humanity to help guide them by making them conscious of their patterns and tendencies in this life according to what are called the four Puru-sharthas, or guidelines for conscious living. They are: 1 ) Dharma(right conduct), 2) Artha(wealth and finances), 3) Kama(pleasure and entertainment in the earthly domain), and 4) Moksha(ultimate liberation). That is why when astrology is practiced with right knowledge and understanding and the client has the right spirit, it helps them rise above the challenges, thereby enabling one to reach higher goals and evolution of life towards God consciousness.

July Outlook

The disposition of planets in the month of July is significant, especially their position at the New Moon on 15th July 1996, for Washington D.C. at 12:15pm. The rising sign is Virgo with Rahu in the rising sign. Saturn is in Pisces in the 7th house in conjunction with Ketu and aspecting the rising sign and Rahu very strongly. Mercury, the ruler of the rising sign and the 10th house Gemini, is placed in the 11th house in Cancer but occupies the constellation of Saturn which carries a malefic influence. Venus and Mars are situated in Taurus in the 9th house also aspected by malefic Saturn.

The Moon and the Sun are in the 10th house in Gemini, occupying the constellation of Jupiter, and aspected by benevolent Jupiter. The aspect of Jupiter on the Moon and Sun is very positive, however Jupiter is a malefic planet for Virgo rising, and therefore supports the negative influences of Saturn. Moreover, Saturn also aspects retrograde Jupiter in Sagittarius. Even though there are many malefic aspects for the month of July, it has some good contributions to make. Mercury in Cancer supported by Sun and Moon in Gemini and aspected by Jupiter makes education a priority in the minds of people. Sun's placement in Gemini may give political support for this agenda.

People will also be interested in the idea of supporting education of religion or spirituality. During the rest of the year, there will be more activities in this field. Generally the whole year promotes education, religion and spirituality.

The placement of Mars and Venus is in Taurus, Mars in its own constellation and Venus occupying the constellation of Moon. Therefore, social activities, family functions and celebrations will be on the increase. More than the usual number of marriages will take place this month.

The health of the general population will receive more and more attention these days, primarily because of the increase in health problems. It is possible during this period doctors will have difficulty diagnosing health problems, due to the increased activity of Rahu and Ketu.

Economic conditions continue to show progress. Attention to high-tech industries continues throughout this year. Even though people are optimistic about economic progress, there will be a section of people who will be skeptical and pessimistic about economic progress.

Government at the White House seems to be strong and opposition is showing signs of weakening. Important political leaders should take care of their personal safety as well as their health in July and August. Controversies and infighting between parties are expected. Conflicts or controversies in religious organizations may come to light as well. Farmers should be watchful for weather vagaries during this month, which could cause harm to agriculture.

Sri Chakrapani Ullal is a world-renowned Vedic astrologer from South India. He can be reached at: 12044 Kearsarge Street, Los Angeles, CA 90049 Ph: 310/476-9942 Fax: 310/471-3205.