For most Vedic astrologers, graha yuddha is an abstract thing. This time it’s different. With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in the pre-dawn hours of February 24th, the planetary war in the heavens has come to Earth.

February and March of 2022 will have seen a highly unusual celestial drama played out. After coming out of a five-week retrograde period that began back on 20 December 2021, Venus went stationary direct on 30 January 2022, and was still moving very slowly when it was overtaken by a fast-moving Mars in mid-February. Technically, planetary war between the two went into effect the day that Mars closed to within one degree longitude of Venus, which occurred on February 11th. Their exact conjunction occurred on February 16th.

Even as Mars overtook Venus, Venus was slowly picking up speed again, such that, even while Venus trailed the red planet, Mars never got beyond the one-degree range that kept them locked in the struggle of a graha yuddha. As Venus picks up speed, it continues to close that gap, and the two will again be exactly conjunct on March 6th. After that, although Venus will overtake Mars and slowly pull away, the two will remain within a one-degree proximity until March 13th, at which point this particular graha yuddha – having spanned an extraordinarily-protracted period of one month – will technically end.

Throughout this period and continuing into April, Mars has been moving very fast relative to its average daily motion. This has brought to the fore some of Mars’s more contentious attributes – bravado, brinkmanship, combativeness, and a command-and-control instinct natural to its kshatriya caste, whose arsenal includes weapons of war.

Although Venus scores major points for both brightness and elevation in this particular war, Mars scores points for speed. As is true of almost every war, there is inevitably damage on both sides, no matter who is technically deemed to be the winner. Such may also be the case on the ground, wherein the juggernaut of Russian military force will certainly overwhelm the smaller Ukrainian military and civilian resistance, but Russia will be wounded as well.

Let’s take a look at Russia’s launch of the Ukraine invasion. According to news sources of the past two days, the Ukrainian presidential administration was briefed at 05h00 local time that Russian troops had invaded Ukraine from the north, starting in Kharkiv at 04h30 (the horoscope shown below). At 05h55, Putin made a televised statement to the Russian nation to the same effect. Thus, the invasion chart has Sagittarius rising.

Based on this chart, let’s assess the prognosis of this military campaign. In taking the initiative, we can assume Russian forces are represented by lagnesh Jupiter, the Moon, and lagna occupants Mars and Venus. Jupiter is mildly combust in the 3rd house. The Moon is debilitated in the 12th house, afflicted by Ketu. Mars and Venus are in planetary war, hemmed by Saturn and Ketu.

None of this looks positive from the Russian perspective, but the reality is, Russian military strength dwarfs that of Ukraine. Common sense dictates that Russia will prevail, but negative avasthas for all three significators suggest there are spoilers, and the campaign will not be the walk in the park that Putin might have hoped for.

Consider the timing. Lagnesh Jupiter will become totally combust in seven days. The waning Moon will disappear entirely in seven days. The planetary war will reach its peak in 10 days. All of this suggests heavy fighting and casualties between the invasion date and March 6th.

Ukraine is represented by the 7th lord Mercury. It has no particular dignity, is associated with a powerful Saturn, and hemmed by both benefics and malefics. The best that might be said of this is that there’ll be a dogged resistance, first from Ukrainian military forces in the field and, subsequently, from the civilian populace in the inevitable Russian occupation. But the prognosis for Ukrainian President Zelenskyy is grim.

The timing of the Ukraine invasion is provocative in light of Putin’s horoscope. Back in July 2018 I posted a lengthy article (Vladimir Putin: the spy who came home with the gold) on my website (navamsa.com) regarding a speculative birth time for Putin originally provided on the Astrodienst site (Astro.com). In that article I made a number of arguments for the horoscope I settled on. Rather than recap them here, I invite interested readers to read the article independently. Here is Putin’s speculative horoscope, assuming a birth time of 09h19 on 7 October 1952, Saint Petersburg, Russia.

Based on this horoscope, Putin is currently running Saturn dasha, Jupiter bhukti. As per a principle of Nadi astrology and Krishnamurti Paddhati, Saturn gives results of its nakshatra dispositor Mars. Mars is in two-fold sambandha with Jupiter, first because they are in Parivartana yoga, and second, because Jupiter aspects Mars when either (or both) disposits the other. I interpret this pattern as provoking military adventurism and diplomatic risk-taking of the highest order.

Observing the same principle as cited above, Jupiter gives results for its nakshatra dispositor Venus. Jupiter and Venus are themselves also in sambandha via mutual aspect, and both are strong. Venus alone gives Malavya yoga, while Venus and Jupiter together form Viparita Raja yoga. Between those two yogas, this suggests a form of reputation-buffing and self-aggrandizement through manufacturing a crisis that holds out the promise of a payoff, the proverbial cloud with a silver lining.

The contemporary graha yuddha between Venus and Mars involves Putin’s lagnesh and 7th lord transiting through his 3rd house, a risky gambit to provoke a fight with a neighbor. Like any chess-playing Russian, however, Putin has an endgame in mind. For clues to that likely trend of development, first be reminded that Putin harbors a long-held belief that the breakup of the USSR was an historical mistake, with his underlying implication that things should be put back the way they were.

The other clue is that his dasha lord Saturn is currently transiting swa-rashi Capricorn, the Motherland. According to Putin’s calculus, notwithstanding Ukraine’s aspirations for national independence, Ukraine belongs to Mother Russia, and he considers it his destiny to bring the prodigal son back home. With one planetary war still in motion, and another coming next month – when transiting Mars in Capricorn passes within a degree of Saturn on April 3-6 – containing Putin’s territorial expansion will test the West’s resolve to bring crippling sanctions to bear on Russia.

Meanwhile, the prospect of Russian occupation has hardened the will of Ukraine. Guerilla war looms, and the clash of malefics Mars and Saturn in graha yuddha next month will risk the commission of war crimes for which Putin must bear responsibility.

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Alan Annand is a longstanding student of Hart deFouw. He’s a graduate of the American College of Vedic Astrology and a former tutor for the British Faculty of Astrological Studies. Aside from his consultation services, he provides private tutoring to students of jyotisha.

He’s also the author of several books. Kala Sarpa is a first-of-its-kind reference text on a unique pattern in jyotisha that is not discussed in shastra yet is part of India’s rich oral tradition. Stellar Astrology, Volumes 1-3 offer a wealth of time-tested techniques via biographical profiles, analyses of world events, and technical essays. Parivartana Yoga is a reference text for one of the most common yet powerful planetary combinations in jyotisha.

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Aside from his Montreal-based crime novels, his New Age Noir crime series (Scorpio Rising, Felonious Monk, Soma County) feature astrologer and palmist Axel Crowe, whom one reviewer has dubbed “Sherlock Holmes with a horoscope.”

Websites: www.navamsa.com, www.sextile.com

You can find his books on Amazon, Apple, Barnes&Noble, Kobo and Smashwords.