I love this time of year. Having passed the equinox on September 22nd, the dark of night comes noticeably earlier. The air temperature, moisture and barometric pressure have taken a definite turn. And the instinct to nest and cozy up at home is on.
From now through the spring equinox, we in the northern hemisphere are in the yin portion of the year, where nighttime exceeds day, and our energy is more naturally directed inward. With fewer hours to be out in the world acting, there is more time to spend still and being. This is a time for the mystic feminine to thrive.
Monday, October 8th will bring a dark Moon night to start the first lunar cycle fully in the yin season. At 8:47 pm PDT, the Sun and Moon align at 21° sidereal Virgo, in Hasta nakshatra. This is a great way to start a season of grounding into ourselves, nurturing our feminine essence and our creative potential. Fittingly, this cycle brings with it the Navaratri festival, the nine nights of celebrating the goddess in her many forms.
Virgo is the feminine earth sign ruled by Mercury. In Sanskrit, Virgo is Kanya, literally the “girl” or the “maiden.” This sign relates to fertility, as well as a pure feminine being. Virgo’s nature compels us to try to take care of everyone and all the details, and as the Sun moves into Libra, his sign of debilitation, later this month, we must be careful not to overexert ourselves and become depleted.
With exalted Mars and Ketu still transiting the fifth from Virgo, this month will call us to explore our creative potential, and what fears and resistance we may hold around that. With Saturn transiting the fourth and Mercury, Jupiter and Venus in the second, there is a lot of energy going towards the home and family this month.
Within Virgo, the Sun and Moon align in Hasta nakshatra to begin this lunar cycle. Hasta is “the hand,” and implies all things crafty. We find potential to take up any number of manual skills or projects this month, as well as utilizing the intellect (Mercury) to craft our situations towards our goals. Ruled by the Moon, this star brings forth our feminine nature and guides us from the heart, so be sure to listen in the stillness of the dark Moon nights.
I just love this Warhol image for Retrograde Venus!
Venus has come to a stop and is entering retrograde motion on October 5th. For all of us, this will be an opportunity to slow down and retrace the steps we have taken towards happiness, as well as look closely at our relationships and our styles of relating. It may feel like a slow-down our happiness or relationships are challenged right now, but every challenge is an opportunity for our own self-development. It’s a good time to work on developing new skills in relating, whether by a communication class, couples’ workshop, or any personal development coaching work.
You may also experience things slowing down in the areas of your life ruled by Venus in your natal chart, different for each Vedic rising sign.
For a few more days, Jupiter and Venus are joined in sidereal Libra, but Jupiter will complete his transit here and move into sidereal Scorpio on October 11th. This next Jupiter transit will last through November 4, 2019. Jupiter in Scorpio can expand our opportunity to connect with the mystic. The depth of self-inquiry and self-development practices will grow during this period. Passions can be heightened and intensified, and our philosophical warrior will be strong.
The nine nights of the goddess is a festival celebrated by Hindus worldwide. Navaratri will begin on the first night of the waxing Moon this lunar cycle, starting October 9th. On each of nine consecutive nights (nav + ratri), we can worship the goddess, Devi, through her many forms. Most notably this festival celebrates the goddess Durga in nine of her forms, but in other parts of India the festival commemorates Durga/Kali, Lakshmi, and Sarasvati for three nights each.
Devi is the creatrix, the warrioress, the nurturer, the purifyer, the protector. She can be found in the innocent and fertile maiden as well as the wise and learned crone. She is both the nurturing mother, and the one who gives “tough love.” The impassioned lover, the devoted bhakta, the disciplined yogini. We see Devi appear through us in innumerable manifestations. Through her many forms, she teaches us and offers us countless blessings–love, compassion, courage, learning, discipline, surrender, success, enlightenment, and bliss.
This festival is a time for honoring and celebrating the supreme feminine power in all her glory, and the many blessings she bestows upon us. Stay tuned for daily updates on how to connect with the many forms of the Goddess.
The Moon will complete his full waxing phase in sidereal Pisces for a full Moon at 7:53 pm Pacific time on Monday, September 24th, just after rising in the East. This full Moon falls in Uttara Bhadrapada nakshatra, the latter “one with lucky feet.” Deep in the twelfth rashi, this nakshatra relates to the depths of kundalini and fertility, and can help us to take a deep dive into ourselves.
This Moon waxes into fullness in sidereal Pisces, the twelfth sign of the zodiac that helps us to move away from the material world and into the realm of spirit, magic, and dreamland. With the Moon fully illuminated here, we can let our imaginations run wild, and follow them playfully into a whimsical exploration of ourselves.
Jupiter rules Pisces, and brings forward inspiration, luck, and a sense of purpose and believing in something. Under the full Moon in Pisces, we have the potential to truly let go and surrender to a higher power, and let loose a bit on the reins of control that we attempt to use to wield our lives. The Pisces full Moon is opposite the Sun in Virgo, the grounded earth sign that keeps us tied to the mundane tasks and activities of organization and planning that help us to live in the material world. During this opposing full Moon, we reflect on how to balance the right amount of control and attention to detail, with the right amount of surrender and faith in something bigger than ourselves.
Without an inspiring motivator or dedicated purpose, however, Pisces can promote escapist tendencies. We may let our imagination lead us into a world of fantasy, where we neglect our earthly responsibilities. There is also the possibility for substance abuse as a means of escape here, so be sure to keep one foot on the ground if you have this tendency. With a healthy internal guidance system, however, this can be an exploratory full Moon that takes you to new levels of self-understanding and surrender to the flow.
Following Purva Bhadrapada, Uttara Bhadrapada is represented by the back legs of a bed or funeral cot, symbolizing the final end of this life where the body is (traditionally, in India) burned and we are completely released from this phase of existence. This star therefore ushers forth the energy of purification, especially purification by fire ritual. The ruling deity, Ahir Bhudhnya, is a serpent with the potential to raise kundalini energy. Our internal power could light up under this full Moon. It is best if we can do some intentional planning or meditation beforehand to cultivate a space for achieving our desired results, and be sure to hold space for integration during the waning phase.
Desires are heightened due to Venus’ sva position, standing strong in his own sign of Libra this month. We will feel more inspired by music, nature, and the arts during this time, and relationships may be coming to the forefront for many of us. Whether intimate or friendly, this transit is a time where we’ll examine our relating style, how we compromise, and what paths we choose to take to achieve personal happiness.
Venus will come to a halt and enter retrograde motion soon, appearing to move backwards through the zodiac from October 5th through November 15th. This happens once about every 18 months, and gives us a chance to reset our relationships and re-evaluate our desires and our plan for happiness. In Libra, this will send us deep into a self-examination of our relating style, and it’s a great time to learn some new tools for compromise and communication with others. You may find people from the past coming forward with unfinished business during this transit, and will need to negotiate a new balance.
Watch out around October 15th, when Mercury and Venus come within one degree of each other for a planetary war. This could pit our desires against our intellect, with passion ruling out over practicality. This is a danger for some through the whole Venus transit, which can heighten our sensual nature and lead towards more indulgence all-around.
Mars & Ketu
Mars has just passed over Ketu for the third time this year, but will remain within one degree of him until just hours before the full Moon on Monday. There may be a sense of achievement and courage rising with this last conjunction. Mars has been in Capricorn, his sign of exaltation, since early March. Mars in Capricorn is when we learn to channel our strength and fire towards our goals and responsibilities, our self-development and self-discipline, and the things that will bring us lasting value.
During this long transit or Mars, he has been joined with Ketu the entire time, showing us the shadow side of ourselves in how we wield our strength, and also how we fight. This may have brought out some aggression, arguments, and accidents earlier this year, but if we were committed to seeing the lessons of Ketu (especially through the eclipse cycle this summer), we may have come out with a deeper understanding of our warrior within. As Mars finishes his transit here over the next six weeks, we have the chance to stand with our own internal strength, knowing where, when, and how to fight, and how to discipline ourselves, in light of the dark spots that have shown themselves over the last few months.
Jupiter Changing Signs
On October 11th, Jupiter will transit from sidereal Libra into Scorpio. He has been in Libra since September of last year. As he travels through Scorpio for the next thirteen months, our inner warrior will be inspired, and the vulnerable spots inside will be inspired by the planet of purpose. This is a great time to study psychology, mysticism, and whatever inspires you in your personal self-development. This will also light up particular areas of your life depending on your Vedic rising sign.
Stay tuned for a personal forecast or sign up for an individual chart reading to see how these current transits will affect your life.
The Sun and Moon will reach exact alignment for a New Moon in Leo at 11:02 am PDT this Sunday, September 9th. In sidereal Leo they join Mercury and begin a lunar cycle directed by the Sun himself, the ruler of Leo. Saturday night brings the darkest Moon phase as the Moon wanes to total obscurity, and is the best time for letting go of the past lunar cycle and preparing for the new.
The Sun is the graha (celestial body or being that grabs us with its force) that we see and experience the effects of the most frequently. Each day he rises and sets, bringing light by day to go out and move out energy through the world, disappearing at night as our energy descends and go into a temporary hibernation. During the Leo cycle, the Sun’s energy is even more powerful, as he is currently seated in his throne, or transiting his own sign of Leo, we could say.
As we begin to notice the hours of the day shortening (or lengthening, depending on your location), as we approach the equinox, awareness of the importance of this light becomes more apparent, and it may be a time where we strive to harness it and more through life as energetically as we can. The Leo cycle makes us aware of our inner light and strength, symbolized by the source energy offered to us from the Sun.
As we go through this cycle it is a time to examine our power and how we are using it. The great strength of kings and queens allows them to be either great samaritans or great tyrants. The highest calling of Leo is to use our power for the good of others, making sacrifices in our personal lives for the duty or responsibility to a larger cause. Four out of five of the last U.S. Presidents had Leo rising or Sun in Leo.
Rising to great power is not generally easy on the individual, however, but it can be purifying. The Sun is considered a krura or cruel planet in Jyotish, meaning he teaches us life’s lessons through more difficult processes. He is also a sattvic planet, however, helping to bring us towards a state of greater peace and alignment. The bright fire of the Sun both illuminates our power and our weakness, our strengths and our shortcomings, and helps to purify us by burning away what is not needed.
This new Moon cycle begins with Sun and Moon joined in Purva Phalguni, the Vedic nakshatra (star-sign) that spans the middle of sidereal Leo. This star, called “the little fig tree” is a star of recreation and relaxation, symbolized by a swinging hammock or the front legs of the bed. In the center of Leo, it shows the leisure that can and should be endured at times in the midst of being busy using our power to take care of our responsibilities. Ruled by the planet Venus and by Bhaga, the god of delight, this star carries a sexual energy and in general draws us towards beauty and luxury.
Venus is now out of sidereal Virgo, his sign of debilitation, and transiting his own sign of Libra, making the pleasure principles even more enhanced this cycle, and for the next several months. Venus will go into his cycle of retrograde motion from October 5th through November 11th this year, remaining in Libra the entire time, and will not leave this sign until January 1st, 2019. The last time we had a long stretch of Venus in one sign, including his retrograde cycle, was with Venus in Pisces from January 27th through May 30th of 2017.
This long stretch of Venus in his own sign will bring positive influence to relationships in general, as well as happiness and prosperity (of course other factors in your individual chart will affect this, but this will be more of a societal trend). We are likely to see a flourishing of the arts, or you may find more interest in art, music, or nature in your own personal life. Like the prior long-stint of Venus in Pisces, his sign of exaltation, it is possible that we will tend towards an over-indulgence in sensory pleasures during this transit, but perhaps less likely. With Venus sva, established in the sing of his self, more stability is possible, as we learn the lessons of appropriate compromise offered by Libra.
Mars, Saturn Direct
Mars and Saturn have become stationary-direct in recent days, with Mars coming to an apparent stop and now slowly beginning direct motion since September 27th, and Saturn stationing fully on September 6th, and will soon begin to make his forward progress through Sagittarius once again. For those of you ruled by either of these planets, or having important issues in your lives ruled over them, you will begin to see things moving in a forward direction again soon.
Mars, however, is still in Capricorn and now once-again approaching Ketu, meaning he will make a third and final exact conjunction with him again on September 22nd. Mars has been in Capricorn, his sign of exaltation, since May 2nd, and will not leave this sign until November 5th. He passed directly over Ketu on June 13th and July 18th, and has been in retrograde motion since July 10th.
Along with two eclipses resulting from the nodal alignments, July also brought the return of the Kaala Sarpa yoga cycles. This indicates an alignment of the planets during which all grahas are on one side of the Rahu-Ketu axis. As the Moon cycles in and out of this half of the zodiac monthly, we experience the kaala sarpa cycles for roughly two weeks at a time throughout this period. We are currently in one of these cycles from September 5th through the 21st. This period can bring up intense shadow work, especially in the realms that have been stirred up for you by this year’s nodal transit and the location of the eclipses in relation to your chart.
Thankfully, we celebrate the birth of the remover of obstacles this week, with Ganesh Chaturthi, on September 12th. The chaturthi or fourth day of this lunar cycle commemorates the birth of Lord Ganesha, whom we can call about to create a more clear path in our lives. On this day we can celebrate him through puja and prayer, and it is often customary to build a statue of Ganesha (out of natural clay), for our worship, and then release him into a body of water on the tenth day of prayer.
Because of an old dispute between Ganesha and the Moon, Chandra, it is advised not to look at the Moon on Ganesh Chaturthi.
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.
The full Moon in Sagittarius will be fully opposite the Sun in Gemini at 9:53 pm PDT on Wednesday, June 27th. This Moon waxes into fullness in Mula nakshatra, the sign of “the root,” but will be closely joining a bright retrograde Saturn, only half a degree away longitudinally. Mars, Venus, and Mercury are all joining the Rahu-Ketu axis, bringing on a strong nodal energy as we approach a set of THREE eclipses to occur over the next two months.
Sagittarius Full Moon
Though we began this lunar cycle with Sun and Moon joined at the very end of sidereal Taurus, the Sun is spending most of this cycle passing through Gemini. Sun-in-Gemini energy inspires a playful and curious mood, as we connect to our inner power through communication, learning, movement, and travel. It brings forth our flexible and adaptable nature, and stimulates us to rely on the intellect and reason.
On the full Moon, our emotional body becomes full with the mood of Sagittarius. In this bhava (mood) we rely on our faith, principles, and ideals more than on skills and reason. As the Sun’s light reflects upon the Moon from Gemini, we find a harmony between our faith and our intellects.
Under the Sagittarius full Moon, we feel the passion of our convictions. With the Moon illuminated in this fire sign, we may be stimulated to take actions that uphold our strongest beliefs. We have the potency to turn our principles into meaningful acts around this full Moon. This is a powerful time to dance around the fires of our inspiration, and let that light shine through us and into embodiment.
Moon Joined Saturn
This Full Moon is very closely joining the planet Saturn, within one half of a degree. Saturn is in retrograde motion at the moment, and, also opposite the Sun, is incredibly bright and about as close to the earth as he gets. With the Moon in such direct alignment with Saturn, there is a tangible feeling of pressure, even amidst the exalted and expanding emotional state that a full Moon brings.
As we sense our principles and beliefs filling us up right now and guiding our actions, we have an acute awareness of the depth and gravity that our choices hold for the future. Saturn is the planet of the long-term, and as such we are very aware of the consequences that will come over time.
In the Vedic nakshatra system, three nakshatras or star-signs bridge sidereal Sagittarius: Mula, Purva Ashada, and Uttara Ashada. Mula is attributed the first 13°20’ of this sign. Aligned with the black hole at the center of our galaxy, Mula translates as “the root,” and has to do with the deepest origins of all things. As we bask in the excitement of the Sagittarius full Moon, and feel the added seriousness from Saturn’s proximity, we are simultaneously aware of our deep roots. The past and the future coincide and we are aware of what is most important right now. The goddess Nirriti presides here, and reminds us of our penultimate death and destruction.
In addition to the powerful influence of this full Moon, the skies are charged with the intensity of the oncoming 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. On tomorrow’s full Moon, Mercury and Venus are joining Rahu while Mars (now stationary-retrograde) joins with Ketu.
The strong influence of the nodes and the upcoming eclipses brings our deep shadow energy forward. The shadows are the parts of ourselves that we are not normally able to see. They are our blind spots, the parts of ourselves that are confused and unable to see the light around certain situations. When we have eclipses, these shadows become more visible, and we are better able to work on clearing them through deeper self-understanding.
Wherever the nodes are transiting in your natal chart, these are the blind spots that are coming to light for you the most right now. These areas of life may be disruptive or disrupted over the next 7 weeks as we pass through this 3-eclipse portal. If you have any planets in your natal chart in sidereal Cancer or Capricorn, specific areas of life may be influenced even more by these eclipses. If we continue to do inner work and self-reflection, we can come through this time with a much clearer understanding of the path ahead, as we re-wire ourselves to stand in more balance around this axis.