Sunday’s full Moon in sidereal Leo illuminates a more independent part of the sky, contrasting to the Aquarian New Moon and solar eclipse we experienced two weeks ago. The full Moon peaks at 7:53 a.m. PST on Sunday, so the brightest waxing Moon night is Saturday, the 11th. Sunday also brings the Hindu holiday Holi, the “festival of colors.”
The energy of Aquarius that began this lunar cycle compels us to think about the bigger picture, the greater good, and how we may offer our service into society at large. Through the healing nakshatra of Shatabisha, the solar eclipse energy of February 26th helped us to realize the potential of our personal healing journey contributing to our offering of service. The full Moon in Leo this weekend reminds us of our individual strength and power. Before we are able to serve others well, we need to feel strong in our own light.
Leo is the sign that reminds us of our own strength in a sattvic way, as he is ruled by the Sun, the sattvic planet of purity and illumination. Our highest potential through Leo is to connect with our own divine strength and use it for good and generous ends (rather than selfish). Benevolent leadership is a positive manifestation of this potential. Leo gets a bad rap sometimes as being bossy and overbearing, but this happens when we try to possess the divine strength of the Sun rather than let it shine forth. When we allow the source light to pass through us, purify us, and illuminate outwardly, we find a peaceful sense of self-establishment by which we can support others into their power as well, rather than feel threatened by it.
The nakshatra of this full Moon is Uttara Phalguni, a radiant constellation that bridges Leo and Virgo. The energy of this star-sign signifies the relaxation and rejuvenation (found once we establish our own power in Leo), but reminds us of returning to work and the details of life, as it crosses into Virgo. The deity who rules here is Aryaman, an emblem of friendship, nobility, and generosity. The austere mood of the Shivaratri and the previous new Moon is contrasted by this full Moon of rejuvenation.
Venus is holding a strong influence in the sky right now, as he continues his journey of exaltation through the sign of Pisces. He entered Pisces at the end of January, and is receiving a powerful aspect from his ruler, Jupiter, who is directly across the sky in sidereal Virgo. This relationships gives us the opportunity to bring our desires (coming from Venus) into alignment with our principles and beliefs (influenced by Jupiter).
Since March 4th Venus has been retrograde, appearing to move backwards through Pisces from our perspective here on earth. Venus retrograde only occurs once every 18 months, so this is a rare opportunity to go inward and become more introspective about our desires, which usually follow an outward, seeking direction. We may be doing a lot of re-thinking of relationships at this time, or may find past acquaintances popping back up into our lives to complete some unfinished business.
Be especially careful of allowing arguments to go too far, as breaking relationships is also a potential during this Venus retrograde. Mars, the planet of war and fire, is currently in his own firey sign of Aries. This can add some extra heat to arguments, and makes us feel particularly headstrong and independent (especially in addition to the full Moon in Leo). With Venus retrograde in Pisces, there’s opportunity to surrender our desires and allow our values to take the upper hand, but there’s also the potential that we will choose to break from relationships, as Pisces carries a strong energy of releasing and letting go.
Rahu, Ketu & Saturn
Though we have passed the eclipses for this cycle, Sun and Moon are still in the same signs as Rahu and Ketu, separated by about 20 degrees, so there is still some shadow energy working through our fields. Saturn’s influence on the Sun during this time continues to pressure us into aligning ourselves with a higher purpose, however, so don’t pass up any opportunities for service. It will prove to be very purifying during this time.
This full Moon also commemorates the Hindu festival of “Holi,” as the last full Moon coming before the Spring Equinox. This is a joyful festival of renewal, best-known for its colorful celebration in which people throw bright powders at each other. The playful combat is a way to let go of any past aggression held over the past year and start anew with forgiveness and friendship.
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Sunday begins the New Moon cycle and brings with it a powerful eclipse whose alignment offers some deep healing opportunities. The annular solar eclipse will be visible from much of Africa, South America, and Antarctica, and will coincide with the exact time of the darkest Moon phase at 6:58 a.m PST (14:58 UTC) on Sunday, February 26th. This eclipse occurs with the Sun, Moon, Mercury, and Ketu all in sidereal Aquarius within the Vedic nakshatra of Shatabisha.
Aquarius is a sign ruled by Saturn, and it is where we remember something greater than ourselves. It is where we become inspired towards universal service, and to offering effort into society and for the greater good. Saturn, the planet of pressure and time, is aspecting the planets of this eclipse from his recent seat in sidereal Sagittarius, compelling us even more deeply to stand up for our principles and beliefs, and commit ourselves to these through hard work.
Shatabisha is the Vedic nakshatra that most elicits the concept of healing. It is the star of the “100 physicians” or the “100 medicines,” and is ruled by Varuna, the deity of the cosmic waters. With many planets under the influence of this star, we are strongly called towards our journey of self-healing, trying many different medicines and healing techniques to get there. Having Ketu here, eclipsing the Sun and the Moon, presents the opportunity to go deeply into our subconscious blockages and find release from past karma and trauma.
The Greater Eclipse Cycle
This is the third solar eclipse that has occurred since Rahu and Ketu transited into the Leo-Aquarius axis in January of 2016 (download the Free E-Book and Forecast by Sign for this transit if you haven’t yet!). Throughout this time, we have experienced shadows and blockages coming up around the themes of the Leo-Aquarius axis. On a broad scale, this relates to the balance of personal power and universal service that we play out through society. On an individual level, it has raised questions around the house-themes of Leo and Aquarius in the personal Vedic birth chart.
We have been uncovering layers of our own karma through this time, and discovering where change is needed in our lives–either through a change in our actions or a change in our thoughts. Our personal challenges become most apparent during the eclipse windows, which have occurred this month, as well as during August and March of 2016. Though these windows can be difficult times, the power of the lunar nodes helps us to see where we are stuck. With self-awareness and observation it becomes less difficult, but when we are not paying attention or are clinging to our own attachments, the eclipses can feel like they are wreaking havoc on our lives.
Since this is the third and final pair of eclipses during this transit of Rahu and Ketu, it is a time for really reaching some clarity around the lessons being brought up over the last year-and-a-half. Eclipses do cause confusion and are inauspicious in general, but as we do the work of self-inquiry and practice astute awareness, we can gain insight and more light after going into the darkness of their shadows. The healing power behind Shatabisha nakshatra may present us with some different medicines, or practices, to assist in our evolutionary process, assisting us in learning how to flow better with the cosmic waters.
In addition to the healing energy of this nakshatra, we are receiving the powerful gift of deep meditation offered by the Shivaratri holiday. Maha Shivaratri (or Sivaratri) is “the great night of Lord Shiva,” celebrated in India and around the world each year on the 14th night of the waning Moon this month. This year it falls on the night of Friday, February 24th into Saturday the 25th, around the world (except for mid-Australia/Japan and Eastward, where it falls on the 25th/26th).
On Shivaratri, it is a common practice to stay up the whole night in meditation, fasting and praying. This commemorates the sacrifice made by Lord Shiva when he kept the poison that arose from the milk ocean in his throat in order to protect the entire creation. In this story, his wife Parvati held his throat to keep him from consuming the poison, and thus this holiday also commemorates the union of masculine and feminine forces, Shakti and Shiva, yin and yang. In many places this is represented by a celebration of Shiva and Parvati’s wedding, and one may see large statues of the two paraded about town and worshiped.
Shiva and Parvati represent the path towards awakening consciousness through the ascetic side of yoga, and the practices of tapas and renunciation. By renouncing food and sleep for one night, particularly on the night of Shivaratri, we can gain some of the benefit of the austerities that these two performed for aeons. Tapas, or austerities, are yogic practices of undergoing difficult situations in order to gain more patience, as well as deeper understanding that we are in fact the eternal soul and not the body-mind with which we normally identify.
On this Shivaratri, as we approach the transformative energy of the eclipse in Shatabisha, the opportunity for overcoming the challenges and shadows of our minds is great. The power of group meditation occurring all over the world also contributes to this. With the energy of Aquarius behind us, let us offer the fruits of our practice towards the peace and happiness of all beings on earth, and spread the benefit for the greater good.
Mantras for Maha Shivaratri:
Om Namah Shivaya (the panchakshari mantra – “I bow down to infinite consciousness”)
Tyagenaike Amrtatvamanashuhu (by renunciation alone, immortality is gained)
Transformation Portal: Full Moon and Lunar Eclipse Friday
The Full Moon in sidereal Cancer on Friday brings with it a penumbral lunar eclipse (February 10/11) that will be visible from most places on earth, except for Australia and the south Pacific. The Moon reaches maximum fullness at 4:33 p.m. PST, with the eclipse peaking at 4:43. This eclipse is part of a longer series of eclipses that we’ve been experiencing for the last year. Rahu and Ketu, the lunar nodes, have been transiting the Leo-Aquarius axis through this time, bringing pairs of lunar/solar eclipses last March and September, and this month. Download my Free E-Book about this eclipse series if you haven’t yet!
The nodes on the Leo-Aquarius axis raise questions about personal power versus universal service. Last year through the US election cycle we saw an intense play for personal power on the large scale, with extremist viewpoints (Rahu) rising into the place of authority (Leo). With Ketu’s shadow energy casting doubt in the sign of Aquarius, ideas of oneness and service to society at large have faced heavy criticism. On a personal level, we experience the controversy of this duality in our own lives, and question where and how we seek power and offer service.
Last year, Rahu’s lust for power in Leo was highly dogmatized due to Jupiter’s conjunction with him there (through September). This brought beliefs and values under the influence of the radical, obsessive and insecure shadow planet. In August Jupiter moved on into Virgo, however, putting our values and attention under a slightly more practical perspective. Most recently, on February 5th, Jupiter’s motion turned retrograde, which gives us the opportunity to back up and rethink some of the ways that we approach our beliefs and apply them in our lives. We may be second-guessing our relationships with our teachers at this time, or considering going back to school for some more education.
Saturn also made a major transit recently, moving into sidereal Sagittarius in the end of January. This puts the planet of commitment in the sign of inspired action, and will compel us to persevere and stand up for what we believe in. This transit will span the next three years, save for a brief period later this year when Saturn’s retrograde motion takes him back into Scorpio. The influence of Saturn in our personal lives during this time can be immense (this begins Saturn’s return and/or Sade Sati for many). He will bring pressure as he helps us figure out how to really stand behind and take action for our beliefs, particularly in the area indicated by Sagittarius in your chart.
This Full Moon falls in the end of the water sign of Cancer, adding a heavy emotional component to our experience this month. The eclipse energy here can help us to see some of our deepest shadows, particularly in how we handle ourselves emotionally. Cancer is the Moon’s own sign, and the capacity for receptivity here is great. We may feel our hearts wide open during this Full Moon, but with this also comes a sensitivity and vulnerability that can throw us off balance under the shadow influence of the eclipse.
In particular, the Moon will be in the Vedic constellation (nakshatra) of Ashlesha, the sign of the water serpent. This nakshatra has to do with deeply coiled energies and hidden potential (kundalini specifically). It is ruled by the Nagas, the serpents of wisdom. There is a potential for great awakening as the Moon is eclipsed in this sign. We momentarily feel cut off from the light of emotional intelligence during a lunar eclipse, and are forced to become aware of the dark shadows that obscure peace in our hearts. Bringing awareness to these can help us to break free from them, uncoiling our own inner mess and helping us blossom into wisdom.
Connecting with the heart and the water element is important during this Full Moon. What’s more, Venus is currently exalted, having moved into Pisces at the end of January. He will transit here for the next four months, giving us the potential to elevate our relationships and the ways we pursue our desires. In Pisces, Venus is under Jupiter’s rule, which can inspire the planet of pleasure to get in line with our values. It’s also another water sign, the last of the 12 major signs, and a place that compels us to surrender to the divine flow. With Saturn pushing our commitment onto our principles, from Sagittarius, and Jupiter helping us with the earthly details, from Virgo, this all adds up to a huge growth opportunity around this eclipse.
The solar eclipse of this eclipse-pair will come on February 26th. Eclipses come in pairs, and we feel the intense energy of the cycle from a few weeks before the first until soon after the second. This is the third pair of eclipses in the larger cycle, since last January when Rahu and Ketu moved into Leo and Aquarius. During the next pair of eclipses, in August, they will be right on the cusp of Cancer and Capricorn. Between now and then we will really finalize implementing the lessons and changes brought up throughout their Leo-Aquarius transit, and we will begin exploring our shadows along the Cancer-Capricorn axis.
To help you make sense of these major astrological events, I am offering individual readings to look at Saturn, Venus, and the Eclipses, or you can request a 2017 Reading to talk about the effects of all three.
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A penumbral lunar eclipse will be visible from most places on earth this Wednesday, including North and South America (except Eastern Brazil), India, Asia, Australia, the Pacific, Antarctica and the Arctic. The greatest moment of the eclipse happens at 4:48am PDT on March 23rd, just before the peak of the Full Moon at 5:01am.
We’re now halfway through this lunar cycle, which began with a Total Solar Eclipse and a huge pileup of planets in sidereal Aquarius. I’ve heard from many people that this stirred up a lot of issues in their lives, including a lot of deep psychological work. The first eclipse brought forward our shadows around the dichotomy between universal service and our own self-empowerment and personal values, and pushed us to unearth limiting beliefs and negative patterns around the themes of the house that Aquarius is in our personal Vedic chart (download my Free E-Book with the Forecast for your Sign if you haven’t yet!).
The Full Moon point in a cycle is the time to reflect back on the energy that started us out and take a look at how to integrate that energy in a new way. This Full Moon falls in sidereal Virgo, just beyond the Aquarius-balancing sign of Leo. This compels us to look even further, beyond harmonizing the energy that was eclipsed, and into a transformative level. It pushes us to get really clear about the details of whatever shadow work came up for us around March 8th. We need to get down to the nitty-gritty and re-organize our patterns of thinking and behavior, and find some practical routines that will help us to move forward, free from the shadows that have arisen.
The eclipse occurs with the full Moon in the same Vedic sign where Rahu resides, Uttara Phalguni. This Vedic nakshatra bridges Leo and Virgo. This is a very powerful star for helping us to balance universal-love and self-love, which were areas that the solar eclipse challenged us to integrate better. Uttara Phalguni is a star of charity and generosity, ruled by the Sun, and brings forth an energy of leadership, courage, and care for society. It is also related to relaxation, reminding us that we must care for ourselves in order to be able to care for others. Its deity is Aryaman, a deva of friendship, companionship and kindness.
As Rahu’s shadow obscures the Moon in this sign during the Lunar Eclipse, we might feel cut off from these benevolent qualities, and may struggle to find contact with our emotional bodies. It is best not to eat or drink during the eclipse, and not to look at it directly. Instead, do practices like chanting or meditation, and call forth the highest lessons that the eclipse has to offer you. We could either fall into emotional confusion, or we could take this moment to consciously embrace emotional detachment, and step into a space of Virgoan practicality, as we examine the shadows brought forth by the eclipse.
The Mercury-ruled, down-to-earth sign of Virgo aims to give us a much needed sensibility to balance the intensity of our inflamed beliefs (resulting from Jupiter and Rahu in Leo). Watch out though — on the other side of the sky, Virgo’s ruler Mercury sits in combustion and debilitation, in close alignment with the Sun in sidereal Pisces. This could make us a little more steam-headed than usual (as Sun boils Mercury in Piscean waters!), and less on track with those details we so wish we could get organized. Remember that this eclipse cycle is part of a larger one that is running from now through mid-2017, so we will have more chances to get it right.
This lunar eclipse will drive you deeper into exploring the themes of the Aquarius-Leo house axis in your chart. It will be especially potent for anyone who has prominent planets or a rising sign in Uttara Phalguni nakshatra.*
This Full Moon also kicks off the Hindu holiday of “Holi.” In this sportive festival (much like a new year’s celebration), people throw colored powders at each other, as a way to playfully let go of any aggression held from the past year. It’s a time to forgive and start anew, coming just after the Equinox, a balancing point of the solar cycle. It is a fresh start for Mother Nature in the northern hemisphere (great time for a spring cleanse!). If you’re in a place where you can celebrate Holi, go out and playfully participate! Use this collective energy of renewal to help you with the transformative process thrust upon you by the eclipses!
Get ready for another compelling planetary motion later this week, when Saturn comes to a stop and then begins his Retrograde course from now through August. This will give us a final chance to do some deep work around our commitment to transformation, as Saturn’s last period of retrograde motion in Scorpio.
*I’m still offering a special Eclipse Reading Package to help you to navigate through this 1.5-year transit of Rahu and Ketu! You’ll get 3 personal readings around each of the 3 eclipse cycles during this period.
This coming New Moon on March 8th packs a powerful punch, bringing with it a groundbreaking total solar eclipse. This will be the first in a series of eclipses to occur with the lunar nodes, Rahu and Ketu, on the sidereal Leo-Aquarius axis. The nodes moved into these signs at the end of January and will transit here until August of 2017, affecting us deeply in whatever areas of our lives are influenced in our personal charts. We will experience 3 eclipse cycles (pairs of eclipses, one solar and one lunar) during this transit–one now, one in September, and one in February of 2017. (Don’t miss my Free E-Book with lots of info on this transit and how it will affect your sign!)
This solar eclipse on the New Moon will set the tone for a tumultuous lunar cycle. The New Moon cycle begins at 5:54pm PST on March 8th, in sidereal Aquarius. The total solar eclipse (peaking around the same time) will be visible from Southeast Asia, most of Australia, the South Pacific and Indian Oceans and Hawaii. The effects will be most perceptible in these areas, but everyone will feel the disturbance at some level.
During the eclipse, the Sun’s light will be blocked out as he and the Moon align with Ketu, who casts a shadow of self-doubt and criticism on the planet of vitality. The results will be feelings of confusion and disconnection from our sense of strength, individual power, and our connection with Source (all things represented by the Sun). This is adding to our already diminished sense of personal empowerment that can come while Sun is in Aquarius, the sign of service and humility.
This solar eclipse, as well as the lunar eclipse to follow on March 23rd, will bring up a lot of our personal shadows around the quest for equilibrium between universal service and self-empowerment. This theme will continue through the broader year-and-a-half eclipse cycle we have entered.
At the time of the eclipse, Mercury and Venus join the Sun, Moon, and Ketu in Aquarius. This will add Ketu’s feelings of confusion, doubt, and aversion to our collective emotional body (the Moon), to our intellectual and analytical side (Mercury), and to our desirous, pleasure-seeking nature (Venus).
Don’t be surprised to see a chaotic departure from inner peace, rational thinking, and cooperative behavior around this eclipse.
This could be aggravated even more by Jupiter and Rahu, who oppose this New Moon cluster from Leo. Their conjunct energies are causing folks to become more and more amped up and self-righteous over their principles and beliefs. (Polarized election madness!) Saturn aspects the duo from his menacing position, joined Mars, in Scorpio, which puts the pressure on even more.
Mars casts his aspect onto the stellium in Aquarius. This could throw some fuel on the potentially explosive fire of transformation that is happening there with the eclipse. Mars in Scorpio gives us the chance to bring forth our warrior-like courage, which we will need in facing all of the disturbance and potential change arising.
This eclipse occurs with Sun, Moon and Ketu in the Vedic nakshatra called Purvabhadrapada. This star-sign falls on the constellation well-known as Pegasus (on the stars Alpha-Pegasi and Beta-Pegasi), bridging the Aquarius and Pisces regions of the sky. As such its symbol is a funeral cot, or bed, related to the fire of purification. This helps to prepare us to enter the darkness of the unknown to be met in Pisces.
The eclipse here will drive us strongly towards purification and transformation. This is for our higher purpose and spiritual development, but it may not be without some difficulty. The deity for this nakshatra is Aja-Ekapada (“the one-footed goat”), who is related to Rudra, a destructive aspect of Lord Shiva. This star is associated with darkness and black magic, which lays the groundwork for a very powerful eclipse.
Eclipses are times when we can literally see shadows in the sky, and they are opportunities to see the ugly psychological shadows lurking in our own subconscious. These need to be uncovered and released so we can free ourselves from them. This is a very important time to do sadhana (spiritual practice) and Self-inquiry, so we can know ourselves better and become enlightened by this gift of seeing what is normally in the dark.
This opportunity is amplified because Sunday night (Pacific, Monday in India) brings the Hindu holy time known as Maha Shivaratri (“the great night of Lord Shiva”). This is the most auspicious night to offer oneself into spiritual practice, in worship of Divine Consciousness. It is typical to stay up all night, fasting and engaging in worship such as mantra, chanting, meditation, and puja. With the eclipse so close at hand, this is an extremely potent time to call upon the light of consciousness and purification.
In Vedic tradition it is thought that the negative energy of the nodes pervades the atmosphere during the time of the eclipse, and it is therefore best not to eat or drink during this time. (The eclipse window is from 3:19pm to 8:34pm PST.) It is also best to refrain from looking at the eclipse directly, or being outside in its atmosphere, especially if you are somewhere the eclipse will be visible.
One more thing to add to the mix on this powerful New Moon: March 8th is also International Women’s Day! Let’s use this transformative time to honor and elevate the sisters, mothers and daughters of this world!