New Moon Solar Eclipse in Gemini
The Sun and the Moon align once again, near the end of sidereal Gemini, for a New Moon at 7:48 pm PDT on Thursday, July 12th. Shortly after that, at 8:01 PDT (3:01 am UTC on Friday the 13th), a partial solar eclipse will reach its maximum, over the Southern Ocean between Australia and Antarctica. The partial eclipse will be somewhat visible from southeastern Australia, Tasmania, and the southern tip of New Zealand, but its shadow effects will stir the energetic pot all over the world.
Image from NASA
Eclipses occur when the Sun and the Moon align with each other (on a New Moon / Solar eclipse), or opposite each other (on a Full Moon / Lunar eclipse), while also in close proximity with the nodal axis (Free Eclipse E-Book Here). The nodes, Rahu and Ketu, are astronomical points in the sky determined in relation to these eclipses, and are the points where the Sun’s and Moon’s paths appear to cross. When the nodes come into close alignment with the Sun and Moon, we have eclipses, and we see the shadows cross in front of those heavenly bodies.
Since ancient times, the nodes have been known to bring forth shadow energy—the subconscious and latent forces that drive us but that are hardest for us to understand or see clearly. They, along with the seven visible bodies (Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, and Saturn), are known as the grahas, or “forces that grab us.” We can see the other grahas clearly on a regular basis, and are more aware of the ways in which they influence us. But the nodes are largely invisible, driving us at subconscious levels.
Around the times of eclipses, however, we are more able to see the shadows. This can be both disruptive, if we are not prepared to handle our challenging internal forces, but also revelatory. When our own shadows come to light and become visible, this is our opportunity to work with them, embrace them, and grow through awareness of our own challenging tendencies. The period of time leading up to and throughout “eclipse season” can show us what we really need to work on, and gives us an opportunity to realign some things in our lives that are out of balance.
The current “eclipse season” began a couple of weeks ago (usually the effects can be felt 2-4 weeks before the first eclipse), and will last through the lunar eclipse of July 27th and the second solar eclipse on August 11th.
This eclipse occurs on a new Moon in Gemini, with Sun and Moon aligning at 26° sidereal Gemini. Gemini is the outward sign ruled by Mercury, where we let our curiosity, playfulness, and intellect lead our actions. This often leads to a lot of socializing, investigating, and communicating. Gemini is one of the most flexible signs, in its dual nature and represented by a pair of twins. With the lunar cycle beginning in Gemini, this curious, flexible, and outward nature will rule as we move forward into the month.
With the Sun being eclipsed here, however, the shadows of our Gemini nature come to light. Perhaps we lean too much towards flexibility and playfulness, and fail to take a stand for what we believe in. This new Moon / solar eclipse also aligns with the Vedic nakshatra Punarvasu, a star of renewal. There is a great energy of abundance here, and the lunar cycle beginning here is usually auspicious for bringing in many blessings. Under the eclipse energy, we must be more aware of what we call into our lives. This star-sign is often represented by a bow or a quiver of arrows, showing that we must be careful as we take aim.
During this new Moon, Saturn casts his gaze on the Sun and Moon from his opposing position in Sagittarius. His transit there is putting on the pressure for us to really commit to our beliefs, and discern the course of action that is most in alignment with our highest ideals. Wherever we might be a bit “wishy-washy,” this is likely to be revealed during this eclipse cycle. Whichever houses Gemini and Sagittarius are in your chart, they are likely to be effected by this eclipse, and you will see where your life is out of balance and in need of re-calibration.
Rahu in Cancer
Though Sun and Moon join near the end of Gemini, Rahu, the shadow planet influencing this eclipse, is positioned in early Cancer. Though his energy will disrupt themes of the Gemini-Sagittarius axis during this eclipse, he is also grinding away at the shadows of Cancer throughout his year-and-a-half long transit here. (If you have not yet read my full report and forecast for your sign, you can download it for free by joining my free list). Whichever areas of your life are indicated by sidereal Cancer and Capricorn (and by any planets that you have there) are the places where you’re doing a lot of internal work during this nodal transit.
Mars and Ketu
Mars and Ketu are in extremely close proximity again, as Mars has appeared to move backward in retrograde motion since June 26th. They are now within one degree and will have another exact conjunction on July 18th. The combination of these two warrior-like planets can bring a lot of violence and upheaval, especially in the area of your life indicated by Capricorn in your Vedic natal chart, and the areas ruled by Mars. You may find your courage weakened yet also feel enraged throughout this conjunction.
Mars will continue in retrograde motion through the end of August, causing those areas of life to slow down or change direction for us. After moving direct, he will then pass by Ketu once more on September 22nd. The two will not part signs until November 5th. This is an important time for sadhana, especially if Mars is prominent in your chart.
Jupiter turned stationary-direct on July 10th. This may have beneficial effects for the education industry at large, which has faced a lot of upheaval since he went into retrograde motion on March 8th. Moving forward again in sidereal Libra, the sign of balance, we can hope to see some more equality in this area in the coming school-year. Areas of your life ruled by Jupiter may have slowed down or taken a turn during this time as well, and will begin to have more forward-moving momentum soon.
*With all of the intense influences happening right now, this is a very useful time to receive a personal reading to see the effects on your individual natal chart, to better understand how each planet is affecting your life specifically.
New Moon in Taurus
Tonight is the Dark Moon Night, with no Moon visible since he is rising and setting in alignment with the Sun today. The Sun and Moon come into exact conjunction to begin a new lunar cycle on Wednesday, June 13th, at 12:43 pm PDT. They coincide in sidereal Taurus, and the Vedic nakshatra of Mrigashira, and bring on a month of intense Venusian energy.
The new Moon happens with Sun and Moon at 28°39’ of sidereal Taurus, bringing the second Taurus cycle in a row, as last month’s new Moon was at 0°30’ of this sign. Taurus is a four-footed earth sign ruled by Venus. Known as Vrisha, the bull, Taurus energy is strong and committed. Due to the four-footed nature, things we begin this month may not easily change directions later, but will carry a rather forward-moving momentum. Also a fixed rashi (sign), we may be feeling a little more stubborn about things this month, and not as flexible as at other times.
With earth-sign energy prominent, this is a great time to connect with mother nature, and all things of the material world. Crystals, jewels, clothing, plants, herbs, and home accoutrements may be catching our attention more than usual right now. Food and drink and other sensory pleasures are also more appealing (so be mindful if you have indulgent tendencies). Under the rule of Venus, the planet of pleasure and worldly love, the Taurus new Moon sets a fertile ground for new ventures in these arenas.
As we begin this cycle, Venus is traversing sidereal Cancer, the sign of motherly love, and a place where selfless devotion can be found. This gives us the opportunity to elevate our human relationships and harmonize them with our devotional nature. Venus in Cancer can also lead to boundaries that are too wide open, however, so keep a discerning awareness there too. Rahu is also joining Venus in Cancer, which can exaggerate our desire nature and make us a little obsessive towards sensory pleasures or relationships. As Venus transits here, our shadow side in relationships becomes more visible for examination.
In the Vedic nakshatra system, three nakshatras or star-signs bridge the 30° portion of the sky designated as “Taurus”: Krittika, Rohini, and Mrigashira. Mrigashira’s “territory” lies half in Taurus and half in Gemini, while the actual stars of this nakshatra are located in the constellation Orion, on his right shoulder. Known as the “deer’s head,” this star-sign emits a gentle and graceful energy, which we will feel as we enter this lunar cycle. Like a deer, however, the energy here can verge on being timid, and skittish, giving us the potential to startle easily. Also like the deer, there is a wandering nature to this nakshatra.
Mars and Ketu
Just hours after the new Moon, Mars and Ketu will reach exact alignment or conjunction, at 4:25pm PDT on June 13th. Despite the gentle and loving position of the Moon and Sun at this time, this moment has some intense explosive potential. Some surprises could come to light today, or in the days surrounding, especially relating to those things indicated by Mars in your individual natal chart.
While Mars is transiting Capricorn, his sign of exaltation, we, on the one hand, have opportunities to really hone in our discipline, courage, and skill, anchoring these things towards our earthly goals and responsibilities. On the other hand, Ketu’s confusing, critical, and resistant nature can run amok on these attempts. As the node of the subconscious past, we could find latent resistances coming to the surface. For spiritual seekers, there is potential here for overcoming these internal blockages. Overall, however, surprises and distress may arise during this conjunction.
Because Mars will be entering apparent retrograde motion on June 26th, he will actually pass over Ketu twice more and have two more exact conjunctions with him this year: on July 18th, and then again on September 22nd. His retrograde journey may cause us to feel some slow-down or back-tracking in the areas of life he rules in our individual chart.
We can begin gearing up for some stronger nodal influences this summer, as the next new Moon, on July 13th, will bring the first of a set of three eclipses. There will be a partial solar eclipse on July 13th, a total lunar eclipse on July 27th, and another partial solar eclipse on August 11th. What’s more, starting July 16th we will enter a roughly two-week Kala Saarpa period (with all planets to one side of the nodal axis), which will recur four times more before the end of the year. The eclipses and Kala Saarpa cycles will influence you specifically in the areas of life indicated by sidereal Capricorn and Cancer in your natal chart, and also strongly depending on any planets that are found within those signs.
Full Moon in Scorpio and Anuradha
The Moon is waxing into fullness tonight, reaching total opposition with the Sun at 7:20 am P.D.T. on Tuesday, May 29th. This full Moon aligns with Anuradha nakshatra, in the middle of sidereal Scorpio, opposite the Sun and Mercury in Taurus. Flanked by retrograde Jupiter and retrograde Saturn in the adjacent signs, this Scorpio Full Moon packs a powerful punch for devotion and transformation.
Scorpio Full Moon
Yes, there may still be a few of you who are thinking that the Scorpio full Moon was last month — if this is you, read up on the sidereal zodiac here, and refer to the star-map in title photo. If you’re a star-gazer or have been following my blog, you know that astronomically, the Moon is aligned with the constellation of Scorpio tonight.
We began this lunar cycle with both Sun and Moon aligned in Taurus, the steady earth-sign that brings forth our desire for stability and groundedness. As the Moon becomes fully illuminated in the opposite sign of Scorpio, our sense body contacts a feeling of being on the edge, facing uncertainty some watery emotional rides. The Moon is considered exalted in Taurus, which offers our minds and hearts a place to feel secure, and is considered debilitated in Scorpio, the sign that raises our deepest vulnerabilities to the surface when the Moon is full here.
Vulnerabilities are ultimately related to things like love, devotion, and deep bonds. We are only afraid of losing what (or whom) is important to us, that which has a special place in the deep chambers of our heart. This Scorpio full Moon therefore will illuminate our deepest passions, while reminding us simultaneously that we cannot hold too tightly to them, for there is an ebb and flow to everything.
There is a great power for emotional rebirthing and transformation around and under this Moon. Scorpio’s quest is to find the emotional and spiritual courage to love fearlessly, with total devotion, while knowing that there may be turbulence and change at different points along the journey. You may recognize this mood or pattern if any planets in your chart are located within Scorpio.
There are three Vedic nakshatras or star-signs that bridge sidereal Scorpio. Anuradha and Jyeshtha lie entirely within Scorpio, while Vishaka’s sky portion has three-quarters in Libra and one in the beginning of Scorpio. Represented by the lotus flower, and located around the star Antares, Anuradha has to do with concepts of devotion and success after difficulty. It is also a sign associated with friendship.
Saturn and Jupiter
Last night, the Moon was closely aligned with Jupiter, and shared the sign of Libra with him for a few days before moving into Scorpio. The Moon-Jupiter conjunction brings a lot of inspiration to our hearts and minds. This is augmented by the fact that Jupiter is retrograde, nearly opposite the Sun himself, and incredibly bright right now. This bright Jupiter can add a lot of grace to our emotional state as we enter the challenge of Moon going through Scorpio for a few days.
As Moon leaves Scorpio, he will then be joining Saturn as he transits Sagittarius for the next couple of days. Saturn is also retrograde, nearly opposite the Sun, and quite bright. This will help us to strengthen our resolve, and know where our efforts are needed going forward, after any transformational processes that occur on the full Moon.
Lunar Return :: Alternative “Birthdays”
Last week was my solar return, AKA my “birthday” in Western standards, but I’m celebrating my lunar return tonight. It got me thinking that this would be interesting to share, as others may also want to consider celebrating astronomical/astrological anniversaries, instead of just Gregorian.
By birthday, we usually mean the date (month and day) on the Gregorian calendar that is the same as it was the year we were born. By solar return, I mean the time that the Sun returned to the exact degrees in Taurus where it was on the day I was born. Now, because the Sun only progresses one degree every 72 years, my Gregorian birthday is still the same as my solar return. My lunar return, however, happens tonight. This evening, the Moon phase (tithi), the rashi (Scorpio) and the nakshatra will all be the same as the night I was born. It doesn’t happen that these three coincide every single year, so I’m considering this one special.
Take a deeper dive into what’s up in your chart with a personal reading.
The Sun and Moon will coincide on Tuesday morning at 0°30’ sidereal Taurus, less than an hour after the Moon leaves Aries to join the Sun here. The exact time for the New Moon is 4:48 am PDT on May 15th. This begins a lunar cycle under the energy of Taurus, in the Vedic nakshatra of Krittika, “the cutter.” Following the Aries cycle of initiation, this month will help us to bring ourselves and our goals into fuller embodiment, as the Sun traverses the Venus-ruled earth sign of the bull.
Taurus, or Vrishabha in Sanskrit (“the bull” or “mighty”), is a strong and steady sign that guides our attention towards the beauty of the natural world. Taurus, a four-footed sign, is good at moving forward with strength and fortitude, but finds it more difficult to change direction quickly. The fertility of the earth is lush during this lunar cycle, and our minds and hearts are focusing on what pleasures bring us the most happiness.
Of course, happiness is not a given, but this month is a time to seriously look at our desires, and what lights up and fulfills our hearts. The flip-side of this examination will come on the full Moon in Scorpio, when we come in touch with the fragility and impermanence of all we hold dear. The overall tone for the month, however, is to really pay attention to our surroundings, and make sure that what we keep around us, both in terms of company and possessions, are truly making us happy.
This new Moon also aligns with the Vedic nakshatra Krittika, located by the seven stars known as the Pleiades in the west. This nakshatra bridges the 30° portions of the sky attributed to Aries and Taurus. Though mostly within the Venusian sign of Taurus, Krittika begins in Mars-ruled Aries and is itself under the influence of the Sun.
It is ruled by the Vedic deity Agni, the lord of fire personified. Represented by an axe, flame, or razor, Krittika brings forth sharp and purifying qualities, which can be used to help us to cut or burn away what is not needed. There is also a motherly and nurturing quality to this star, from the association with Venus, as well as with Kartikeya, the warrior son of divine Mother Parvati. The satguru Amma (Amritanandamayi Devi) was born under a Moon in Krittika, and emits this sharp and penetrating yet loving light of purification.
Ketu and Mars in Capricorn
This purifying potential may be especially useful this month, as there is some challenging energy emanating from sidereal Capricorn, as both Ketu (the south node) and exalted Mars are now aligning there. Ketu’s presence can lead to misdirection of energy, accidents, confusion, or unexpected loss. Mars, the warrior, brings a cutting fire-power, and when placed in earth-sign Capricorn, his sign of exaltation, helps us to turn courage into discipline and structure.
The combination of Mars and Ketu, however, could lead to some unexpected acts of violence or intensity. The Kilauea volcano’s violent eruption began on May 3rd, the first full day after this conjunction began. The higher potential of this combination is the possibility for strengthening our psychic powers and wisdom, so sadhana will be incredibly important during this time.
This Mars-Ketu conjunction is going to last for nearly six months, as Mars will transit Capricorn from now through November 5th, and Ketu is taking up residence there for the entire year. Mars’ stint here is so long because he will be in retrograde motion for part of that time, from June 26th through August 27th. During that time, you may find Mars-ruled themes in your life slowing down, and may encounter some deep insights over these. The potential for some upheaval prior to these revelations is definitely strong, especially during the eclipse window from early July through mid-August, as we pass under two partial solar and one total lunar eclipse.
The full Moon peaks on Sunday, April 29th at 5:58 pm PDT in sidereal Libra, directly opposite the Sun in Aries. This is the turning point in the Aries lunar cycle, which began two weeks ago as the Sun and Moon came together in the Mars-ruled sign of individual strength and courage. Now, with the full Moon in Venus-ruled Libra, our relationships are illuminated and we examine the compromises and reflections that help us to truly integrate our individuality into a happy existence. This full Moon is also aligned with Swati nakshatra, the Vedic star-sign related to the wind element, and also a place of great independence.
Libra Full Moon
As we began the Aries cycle our attention was on our individual strength, power, and will, as we felt the cosmic encouragement to move ahead into new endeavors. Sun in Aries gives us a great sense of our connection to source, and the courage to translate that into actions. It was an auspicious time for new beginnings, augmented by Akshaya Tritiya, just after the new Moon of April 15th.
As the Moon now becomes fully illuminated directly opposite from the Sun in Aries, our emotional body resonates strongly with the Libran concepts of beauty and harmony. Relationships come to the forefront, and we become aware of the need to incorporate those we care for into our new ventures, and to compromise where appropriate, realizing that our individual happiness can only be as good as the state of our closest relationships. Venus and Libra illuminate our human experience and the need we have for intimacy and closeness. Close social bonds actually support the evolutionary imperative to survive which Mars stimulates in us.
The Libra full Moon also connects our minds and hearts to Venusian concepts such as art, music, and the beauty of the natural world around us. This is a good weekend to spend time in nature, around the arts, or with those we love, recognizing that the pleasurable side of life is integral to our other endeavors.
Within Libra, this full Moon falls at around 15°, aligning with the Vedic constellation known as Swati, “the independent one.” As a Rahuvian nakshatra, this part of the sky does elicit a degree of independence, and we strive to balance that with our relational nature. This nakshatra is ruled by Vayu, the lord of wind, and as the Moon transits here we must watch that our mind does not become too scattered, flitting quickly from one idea to the next. Connecting with earth and water elements would be helpful this weekend to ground these energies.
Jupiter is joining this full Moon in Libra, adding a helpful optimism and an expansive feeling to the heart. Jupiter is also directly opposite the Sun right now, and in retrograde motion, so we will see an incredibly bright “full” Jupiter very close to the Moon tonight, and incredibly close to the Moon on Monday night. Jupiter is generally a benefic planet, who adds grace, inspiration, and good luck, but can also bring forth some difficulty if he is a more difficult influence in your natal chart.
Mars & Saturn
Mars is moving into sidereal Capricorn on May 2nd, ending his conjunction with Saturn but beginning one with Ketu. Mars will transit Capricorn for 6 months, moving in retrograde motion for part of that time. Being in his sign of exaltation, Mars in Capricorn can bring great strength and discipline, and more courage and conviction for us, especially in those areas of life he rules in your natal chart. His conjunction with Ketu during this time, however, will also bring up shadows in those areas of life, and possibly force us to undergo some major changes and processes of detachment with those things. You can receive a deeper examination of this transit as part of a personal natal chart reading.
Mercury remains in Pisces, his sign of debilitation, until May 9th. Continue to watch for emotion overwhelming your sense of practicality. Our emotions are also highlighted and heightened by the Moon’s conjunction with Jupiter this weekend, and by Rahu’s continuing transit of Cancer throughout this year.
The Moon and the Sun align again this Sunday, April 15th at 6:57 pm PDT, in the early degrees of sidereal Aries. They join in the Vedic nakshatra called Ashwini to begin this lunar cycle, the first of the 27 Vedic signs just as Aries is the first of the 12 major zodiac constellations. This new Moon night is the perfect time for planting the seeds of what you want to grow in the coming months.
Aries is naturally a place of beginnings, a fire sign ruled by the energetic Mars, who helps us to move towards what we need to survive. With Venus also in Aries this week, this new Moon will compel us to really go for our desires, using Mars’ strength to bring what we want into being. We are likely to feel more physically strong this month, as Sun transits Aries, his sign of exaltation. As the Sun relates to purification, this is also a great time to purify ourselves, physically, mentally and spiritually. Starting a new exercise regime, sadhana (spiritual practice), or cleanse is likely to have more traction if you begin it this week. Choose your actions wisely, as the direction we move under the new Moon of the Ram has a powerful momentum and can be difficult to change.
The new activities we begin have an added power due to the Sun and Moon’s positions within Aries, as they align with the nakshatra Ashwini at the beginning of this cycle. Three Vedic nakshatras (star-signs) bridge the larger sign of Aries: Ashwini, Bharani, and part of Krittika. Ashwini being the first of all 27 nakshatras, there is the most momentum here for new ventures. Furthermore, Ashwini is known as “the horsewoman,” is ruled by the Ashwini Kumaras, the horse-headed twins of Vedic mythology. They bring a strong horsepower to any planets or activities influenced by this nakshatra. They are known as the physicians of the gods, and carry a potent healing energy as well.
Akshaya Tritiya – Day of Abundance
Three days after the new Moon in Aries, we come upon a special day of the year known as Akshaya Tritiya, on April 18th. On the third waxing lunar day (the tritiya phase) of the Aries cycle, the Moon transits Rohini, within Taurus, his placement of exaltation. With both the Sun and the Moon exalted at the same time, a portal of abundance is opened. Across India and the Hindu world this is seen as an auspicious day for new beginnings, marriages, and investments of all kinds, especially in gold or golden items. Akshaya refers to the idea of never-diminishing prosperity, so investments made on this day are expected to have great returns.
Jupiter adds some grace to activities we begin on or around this new Moon, as he gazes at the Sun-Moon-Venus conjunction from nearly directly across the sky, in sidereal Libra. Jupiter is powerful at this time, and could be considered a “full Jupiter.” He is in retrograde motion, nearly as close to the earth as he gets, and he is on the opposite side of the Earth from the Sun, so is incredibly bright in the sky (just as the Moon is brightest and “full” when he is directly opposite the Sun from earth). Jupiter brings the power of inspiration, grace, luck, and expansion, so even though he is retrograde, his proximity to earth and his brightness will add these qualities to the endeavors we undertake at this time.
Mercury, Mars & Saturn
Mercury appears more-or-less stationary at the time of this new Moon, having just turned from retrograde to stationary direct in the early morning of April 15th. He also continues to transit Pisces, his sign of debilitation, but without the elevating presence of Venus that was there some weeks ago, so issues of communication and mental acuity could be a bit murky at the moment.
Mars and Saturn continue their conjunction in the sign of sidereal Sagittarius, but as Mars is now moving away from Saturn there is less hostility than in their war of two weeks ago. You may still feel immediate urges at-odds with your long-term goals, or a conflict between the things ruled by Mars and Saturn in your natal chart. The two will no longer be sharing a sign once Mars moves on into Capricorn (his sign of exaltation) on May 2nd, where he’ll transit for a whopping six months. Look for my Mars-in-Capricorn forecast to see how this could affect you (you can join my free mailing list here).
In honor of Akshaya Tritiya, I’m offering 20% off natal chart readings from now through the 19th! Use coupon code AKSHAYA at checkout.