New Moon in Virgo in Chitra Nakshatra and Navaratri
As we complete the most recent lunar cycle which brought two powerful eclipses, we are settling into the effects and transformation that they brought to our lives. The solar and lunar eclipses of September were the last of a series to occur with the nodes in sidereal Virgo and Pisces, where they have sat since July 2014. Lessons that we have been working on through this time have taken on a new light, and many of us are now ready to face change and growth, whether it be in career, relationships, residence, or other important areas of life that have recently transformed.
The New Moon in Virgo in Chitra nakshatra occurs on October 12th and offers us a day (and night) of stillness and darkness to sit with the changes, go inward and reflect, and prepare for the next lunar cycle. This Dark Moon phase will be from around 3pm PDT on October 11th until 5:05 pm on October 12th, at which time the Moon and Sun will be at a conjunct longitude (commonly called the New Moon). This conjunction happens near the end of Virgo constellation, in the Vedic nakshatra called Chitra. After that point the Moon begins its waxing phase, and the new lunar month.
Chitra means “the brilliant” and is a very creative place in the zodiac. The deity for Chitra is Vishvakarma, the divine architect of the cosmos. This month we will feel inspired to create and to perfect our creations, just as the architect creates the universe in perfection. We will be attracted to investigate the mystery behind that divine creation. Gemstone medicine is powerful now, as gems are a symbol of this star. Chitra also relates to magic, and it is a time to tap into the powerful forces of magic within ourselves, and let them shine brightly.
Beginning this cycle in Virgo, and with Sun and Moon joined with exalted Mercury there, we feel Mercury’s influence compelling us to seek understanding, and to organize the details around our creative pursuits. The second half of Chitra falls in Libra (as will the Sun during much of this lunar cycle), and under Venus’s influence, we may also feel called to balance our relationships this month. Mars is the nakshatra ruler for this star, and he brings us an energy, along with the fire element, that helps fuel along our creativity. There may be more emphasis on sexuality this cycle. Chitra is itself a balancing point in the zodiac, being the middle (14th) of the 27 nakshatras, so we seek harmony in all things as we prepare for the next season.
For most of this cycle (through November 2nd), we also experience the influence of Jupiter, Venus, and Mars all joined in Leo. This will make us give a lot of importance to the things all three of these planets represent (beliefs, desires, and personal will). At times this could create conflict (especially when they pass over each other in close conjunction), but in general it gives us a lot of energy. Jupiter in Leo energizes our belief systems, giving our philosophies a lot of weight in our decision-making process. Venus in Leo makes our desires come to the forefront, and we must be careful not to be too indulgent or selfish when it comes to getting what we want (whether it be in relationships or in our pursuit of beauty and recreation). Mars in Leo adds extra fire to the planet of action, will and energy, which could be good for our personal physical discipline, but could also cause us to get aggravated and argumentative over our philosophies and desires. Turn that Martian energy on yourself instead of getting hot-headed with others (read: time to reboot your workout routine or asana practice!). Sun’s rulership of Leo gives us the opportunity to work on purifying and refining all of these things this month–our beliefs, our desires, and our instinctual energy driver.
During the first nine days and nights of the waxing Moon this month, Navaratri is celebrated (starting October 13th in North America). Literally the “nine nights,” this is a Hindu festival dedicated to worshiping the Goddess, Devi, in her many forms, for nine days and nights. As the night represents darkness and ignorance, we pray to her to help reveal and remove our shortcomings, bestow blessings, and confer wealth and knowledge. We face the darkness and call on the Divine Mother to remove it and let the Atma, or the pure divinity within each of us, shine forth. Navaratri worship can include creating a special altar to the Goddess, and making daily offerings including flowers, food, incense, light (a flame), ghee, as well as prayer, fasting, meditation, mantras and bhajans (devotional songs). The Devi Mahatmya (a.k.a. Chandi Path), the story of Durga, is a traditional text to read throughout this festival. In some places Devi is worshipped over the nine nights in reverence to nine incarnations of Durga: Shailputri, Brahmacharini, Chandraghanta, Kushmanda, Skandamata, Katyayani, Kalaratri, Mahagauri and Siddhidatri. Occurring in the fall-time in India and the northern hemisphere, this Navaratri also coincides with the harvest season, and is a great time to give thanks for the abundance of the harvest and pray that it carries us through the winter season.
In some places, the first three nights of Navaratri are dedicated to Goddess in the form of Durga or Kali, who help us to destroy and remove negative tendencies in our minds and hearts, cleansing them of impurities that create obstructions in our spiritual and material pursuits. The next three nights are dedicated to Goddess in the form of Lakshmi, who helps us to cultivate positive qualities, like compassion and devotion. She helps us to achieve spiritual and material prosperity. In the final three nights we worship Goddess as Sarasvati, who assists us with learning and attaining knowledge and wisdom, through the illumination of consciousness. She relates to prana, the vital breath, often associated with chi or life-force. Through our devotion, service, practice, study, and meditation (all forms of yoga), we allow prana to flow freely, helping us to exist in a state of peace, bliss, and oneness. The tenth day of Navaratri is known as Vijayadashami, the day of victory. After calling upon the Divine Mother’s presence and qualities to arise from within us for nine days and nights, we emerge victorious, basking in Her light and virtues. This will be an auspicious time (October 22nd) for beginning new ventures, especially creative and spiritual pursuits.