Friday, May 6th, 2016 brings the new Moon in Bharani nakshatra, the womb star, a portal of life and death. Bharani is one of the 27 divisions of the sky visited by the Moon each lunar cycle, and is known as “the bearer.” Its symbol is the yoni (the female reproductive organs), and its deity is Lord Yama, the god of death. This star brings the strong potential for death and rebirth this lunar cycle. (Side note… any Game of Thrones fans?) The dark Moon night is Thursday in most places, and is an excellent time to contemplate what in your life is ready for its death, or composting, and what seeds you are ready to nurture with your energetic womb medicine.
The new cycle begins at 12:29 P.D.T. on Friday, with Sun, Moon, and Venus all in Bharani nakshatra, which falls in the middle of sidereal Aries. This will bring out our creative and nurturing energy, as well as our sexuality and passion. Mars’ influence on Aries makes this is a very willful nakshatra, which will make us very headstrong this month. It also brings the courage and the will to purify ourselves and follow our hearts. Now is the time to birth your passions into being, and nurture what you want to see grow this season.
Bharani is also known as the “star of restraint,” due to Yama’s influence. “The bearer” is both the one who creates and nurtures, and the one who endures or bears hardships. Lord Yama relates to death as well as to spiritual discipline, which we often choose to undertake when the awareness of our ultimate death dawns in our consciousness. This is an excellent time to adopt and endure some self-discipline aimed at self-purification, as part of the process of nurturing your goals and creations.
You could synthesize these energies of Bharani by designing a new sadhana practice for yourself to support your goals, especially one that includes yogic regimens of self-restraint, such as a cleansing diet or a new exercise routine. With Sun exalted in Aries, we are compelled to purify ourselves, using Mars’ courageous energy to strengthen our health and our connection with source. It’s not too late for a spring cleanse (you may actually have more impetus to do one now than before). With Sun in Aries, we remember our inherent strength and connection, and our power to share that light by putting it into action. Aries gives us the courage to step into our power and shine our brightest.
Since Jupiter and Rahu are both still in the Sun’s sign of Leo, this also adds potency to the heated ideological debates still happening in the U.S. political campaign. Jupiter directs his aspect onto Sun, Moon, Venus, and retrograde Mercury, all in Aries on this new Moon. Don’t be surprised if some of the passions being birthed right now are sprung from extremist philosophical convictions. Because Jupiter is retrograde, many people have recently had a change of heart around their belief systems, and because Rahu is joining him, many of the philosophies recently adopted are radical and revolutionary.
Saturn and Mars are also both in retrograde motion, joined in sidereal Scorpio. This has been causing more than a few disruptions, and has shaken us into awareness of our fragility and the sudden changes that seem to keep happening throughout life. Since this is the 8th house from this new Moon in Aries, this just adds to the transformative energy for death and rebirth offered in this cycle.
Mars and Saturn will be joined in Scorpio through most of the summer, which is an unusually long conjunction for these two planets. It could be challenging, as both Saturn and Mars help to teach us the hard lessons in life. This Saturn retrograde transit is showing us where in life are reevaluating our long-term goals, and Mars adds the explosive fire of transformation to this process.
Last but not least, Mercury is also in retrograde motion, and joins Sun, Moon and Venus in Aries on this new Moon. This means we have the chance to go back and finish some communication or correspondence that was not yet finalized. On the other hand, it can also mean that some of your Mercurial efforts get a bit jumbled or delayed (missed appointments or overlooked messages). If that’s the case, try to tap into the patience that retrograde Saturn is trying to teach (after all it’s only 3 more weeks). You can bring forward the best that these planets have to offer, by engaging in quiet meditation or service for Saturn, and self-discipline for #Mars. This can help you to replace fear, anxiety and anger with wisdom and courage.
To help you understand how this awesome lineup of planets is affecting your chart, I’m offering personal Vedic astrology chart readings with an extra emphasis on the retrograde planets’ effects in your life.
It’s an auspicious full Moon and Hanuman Jayanti this week! This full Moon falls at 8 degrees of sidereal Libra, opposite the exalted sun in Aries, and brings the celebration of Hanuman Jayanti (the birth of Lord Hanuman!). In Vedic astrology, the sky is divided into 27 sections. These are constellations or stars called nakshatras, and there is one for each night of the moon’s transit in a lunar cycle (they were said to be the 27 wives of the Moon). The nakshatras are even more specific than the 12 major constellations we know from Western astrology. Each nakshatra has a special significance and brings a powerful energy that is related to both a Vedic deity and a planet.
This full Moon will occur at 10:24 p.m. PDT this Thursday, April 21st, in the nakshatra called Swati, “the independent one.” The symbol of Swati is a young plant blowing in the wind. The energy of this star evokes our sense of independence, but also represents the struggle that we can feel while trying to assert our place in the world. Its deity is Vayu (wind personified), who is the father of Lord Hanuman, also associated with this star. Swati is related to the shadow planet Rahu, adding a deep psychological quality and offering the chance to tap into our hidden power (Rahu is often related to kundalini energy).
There is a large vata quality to this star, which can cause a restless mind. With the full Moon here, we may have a sense of our great internal potency, but feel a good deal of nervousness about it at the same time. We can ease our sense of agitation by channeling that energy into worship, and contemplating the qualities of Lord Hanuman. He demonstrates that even our restless monkey minds can be tamed through one-pointed focus on devotional service, such as he has. Swati is also the nakshatra where Saturn, the planet of service, reaches exaltation.
How fitting that this full Moon also brings the Hindu holiday Hanuman Jayanti! This is a time for celebrating Lord Hanuman’s divine qualities. Hanuman is the greatest devotee of Lord Ram, and exemplifies loving selfless service. He embodies many virtues, including service, strength, devotion, courage, humility, and morality. In some places, the celebration of Lord Hanuman’s birth will be even greater than that of Lord Rama’s (last week). This is because of the value we see in the qualities that arise in a devotee’s heart and mind through practicing love for one’s deity. These lead us into actions of love and service, and spread peace and happiness throughout the world.
How can we celebrate Hanuman Jayanti? Begin at sunrise, if possible, because that is when Hanuman was born. It is customary to fast from sunrise until sunset on Hanuman’s birthday. You can offer him sweets, bananas, flowers, prasad, puja, or mantra. The Hanuman Chalisa is the supreme Hanuman mantra. Chant a few or many of these throughout the day. For times when you can’t do that, simply chanting the name Ram (aloud or silently) will also be a potent offering into the collective consciousness of prayer on this day. The power of prayer increases exponentially with more people joining in unison. You can also read passages from the Ramayana.
Many temples will be celebrating Hanuman Jayanti on the 21st (in North America), the actual Chaitra Purnima (the 15th moon phase of this lunar month, Chaitra), but some are hosting gatherings on the weekend to offer more devotees the chance to commune. (Note: In India, this year’s full Moon and Hanuman Jayanti falls on April 22nd.)
Other influences to be aware of this full Moon:
Moon is being lit from across the earth by an exalted Sun, who is now transiting Aries’ part of the sky. With sun in the powerful sign of Aries, ruled by Mars, we have the courage to share our light and our power, and to purify ourselves with the discipline of Mars and the inspiring energy of Sun. Purification can definitely include turning your attention onto your physical health this month. Now is a great time to reignite your exercise routine and do some dietary cleansing to strengthen your physical body. As yoginis know, the body is the vessel for the soul, so taking care of your temple will also create a purification of mind and heart, and a vibrancy of spirit. This placement also strongly supports cultivating some yogic discipline. The energy of the full Moon falling in Libra reminds us to find balance while pursuing energetic purification.
Expect some potential intensity, as well, because Aries’ ruler Mars has just turned retrograde, and is now headed back towards an also-retrograde Saturn (from our vantage point on Earth). Both are in sidereal Scorpio. This could create some conflicts, both internally and externally. Saturn puts on the pressure and tries to make us slow down, proceed with caution, and re-evaluate our commitment to long-term goals, especially around how we approach internal transformation. He urges us to seek enduring structure to support our deep-seated vulnerability. Mars, on the other hand, wants us to take courageous, warrior-like action, and immediately destroy anything that is standing in the way of overcoming our fears. The combination of these two is like pressing the gas and the brakes at the same time, creating a potentially explosive situation.
Rahu and retrograde Jupiter are still joined in Leo (you can see Jupiter there every night), and continue to foster a period of extremist beliefs on both personal and societal levels. Watch out for self-righteousness. For some good news, on the other hand, Venus is in his nakshatra of exaltation at the moment (Revati). This gives us the chance to elevate some of our earthly sensual desires into desires for spiritual upliftment and liberation from material focus. At the same time, if you have a tendency to escape reality or go overboard into dreamland, you may find yourself taking that to the extreme right now.
Vedic Astrology chart for Full Moon on April 21st/22nd 2016
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!
As a special gift to help you navigate through this time, I’ve put together a Free e-Book on Rahu, Ketu, and the Eclipses for the 12 Vedic Rising Signs , which includes a forecast for your personal sign!
Eclipse periods are some of the best times to book a personal reading to help you to understand your personal karma and to process the energy brought up by the nodes.
Top Image Credit: “Eclipsed? Not totally” by James Jordan, CC license Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic
The Moon will be at its fullest on Monday night! Tuesday, October 27th brings the peak of the full Moon in Ashwini nakshatra at 5:05am PDT. Ashwini is the first constellation in the order of the zodiac, comprised of the two bright stars Hamal (alpha arietis) and Sheratan (beta arietis) on the side of Aries closest to Pisces. Ashwini refers to a horse-woman and carries horse-power with it. In it lies the energy we require to get moving and power through things. We may feel a sudden burst of energy around this full Moon, and can attempt to harness that power towards our goals and the new direction we’ve found after emerging from the transitions of the recent eclipse cycle.
The deities for this star are the Ashwin Kumars, the divine physicians, and this full Moon brings their great healing potential. This cycle began with Sun and Moon in Chitra, related to Vishvakarma, the celestial architect who inspires creativity and perfecting the structures we create. With the full Moon in Ashwini, we can call upon the celestial physicians to help heal and strengthen the places we need divine medicine to move forward in strength on our creative journey. These juices flow from deep within you, and now is a chance to get in touch with your self-healing potential.
It’s a fortunate time for this opportunity, because there are a few factors that may have been making us feel spread a little thin this month. The Sun, the planet of our vitality and inner power, entered his sign of debilitation (Libra) on October 17th. When Sun is in Libra we tend to place more emphasis on trying to please others and balance relationships than we do on taking care of ourselves. Sun in Libra can fashion us the peacemaker, trying to negotiate a good deal for everyone else but sometimes forgetting about our own self-care regimen.
Furthermore, Sun will be in the nakshatra called Swati during this full Moon, which is a place in the sky that often scatters everything like the wind. Try to center your energy before taking big strides, and hold tight to the reins (through focus and practice) so the horse-power of Ashwini doesn’t pull you astray. On top of this, vata dosha (cold, dry, and windy) naturally increases during fall and winter, so in the northern hemisphere we are facing increasing vata, which can also make us feel scattered and depleted. With all of these factors, be sure to take the time to care for yourself this month. It’s a good time to start bundling up and nourishing yourself with warm soups, cozy baths, and moisturizing oils. The full Moon in Aries will remind us of how we feel about our personal strength, so it will be a good time to check in and reconnect with your own health and well-being, while calling upon the healing energies of Ashwini.
We may also be feeling inspired as well as overwhelmed by the pile-up of planets in sidereal Leo–Jupiter, Mars, and Venus. These three are conjunct this month, which amps up the energy we feel behind our philosophies, will, and desires. We can see this bright cluster on the eastern horizon just before sunrise. The confluence of these planetary energies can support each other if we do the work needed to introspect and synthesize them towards our highest purpose, but they can also be at odds with each other when the planets get too close for comfort (within one degree celestial longitude).
For example, on October 15th-17th Mars and Jupiter were so close that we may have faced some blow-ups over our philosophies. If our actions weren’t totally in line with our values, there might have been explosive shifts to help propel us into alignment. October 24th-26th brings a tight conjunction of Venus and Jupiter, which could bring up a discrepancy between our values and our relationships and pleasurable pursuits. We could be facing some tough choices about compromising. October 31st-November 3rd, Mars and Venus are closely conjunct, which will pin our individual will against our ability to compromise. It could be a pivotal time for healing relationships and moving forward. The three planets are in Purva Phalguni nakshatra during this full Moon, which brings the energies of relaxation and rejuvenation. With all of these planets in Leo, the fiery sign of the Sun, we have the opportunity to purify ourselves and clean up our energies so that we feel totally oriented in the right direction in all areas of life. On the night of November 2nd both Mars and Venus will enter Virgo (where Venus is debilitated), joining Rahu, which could make us face romance in a more practical, analytical way, but could also intensify our desires.
During the full Moon in Ashwini nakshatra on October 27th, give thanks to the divine physicians and bask in the healing energy of the Moon!
Don’t forget to change clocks back in the U.S. on November 1st!
The New Moon happens tonight at 9:13pm Pacific time. Sun and Moon join in Taurus, beginning the new lunar cycle in the Vedic nakshatra (star-sign) of Krittika. Krittika is known as “the cutter” and is represented by a razor or an axe. It is also associated with a flame, as the deity for this star is Agni, the fire God. This is the birthstar (Moon’s star-sign) of the guru Amritanandamayi Devi (or Amma, “the hugging saint”). Guru literally means “remover of darkness,” or ignorance.
Like Krittika, a good guru has the ability to cut away the illusion or darkness that does not serve, in order to help us see clearly. The quest of spiritual aspirants is to experience universal truth both internally and externally. This lunar cycle will be a great time for cutting away ignorance and illusions in order to deepen our understandings of Self and purpose. It is a good time to clarify our intentions for the year. The Aries cycle before this gave us a boost of energy, but may have been headstrong without considering the long-term benefits. Taurus is more grounded and slow-moving than Aries, so we may be able to come to terms with what is more practical in our plans for this year now. It is ruled by Venus and relates to our hearts, comforts, values and surroundings.
Taurus or “Vrisha” is the sign of the bull. This large, four-footed creature has a strong will, and Taurus is a fixed sign. This is a time to stay focused on our goals, especially as related to our surroundings, and also be careful not to be too stubborn about them. This new cycle begins with Sun and Moon joined with Mercury and Mars (in Taurus), and opposite Saturn (in Scorpio). This may bring a strong tendency to over-analyze (Mercury) and then over-react (Mars) to things this month. Saturn’s influence, opposite Mars, could bring frustration to the impulses to vocalize and act out. We may want to go forward based on our gut feeling and analysis of the situation, but may feel caught up by fear or stress that keeps us from taking action. When you feel that stagnation, turn to practices that can help you engage the Taurus energy one task at a time. This could include a little redecorating of your home space, cooking a meal or tending to the garden. Since Venus is the ruler of Taurus, fulfilling small desires in the realm of aesthetics will be satisfying. Sketch or paint something to allow that Venusian energy to flow.
Venus relates to earth, water, and air, so bring these elements into your spiritual practice. Feel into your rocks and crystals to study the energies that are coming up inside of you. Keep a fountain bubbling or visit a nearby body of water to let your prayers flow. Burning some incense, sage, or palo santo will help purify your home or altar space for this new cycle, and will also bring in the air element and the fire element (the deity of Krittika). Pray for the Divine Universe to cut away what you don’t need this cycle, and allow your purest goals and visions to manifest. Despite the challenges of the Mars/Saturn opposition, Taurus can bring us the determination needed to follow our hearts. Taurus is the sign of the Anahata or heart-chakra.
Heads up! Mercury goes retrograde tomorrow, until June 11th. It may be a time to reorganize our thoughts and revisit communication that needs to be clarified, but watch for the influence of Mars and Saturn bringing heat and pressure to your desire for coherence.