New Moon in Pisces
This Saturday the Sun and Moon join in Pisces to begin a new lunar cycle, at exactly 6:12 a.m. PDT on March 17th. They coincide in Purva Bhadrapada nakshatra, the Vedic star-sign that bridges Aquarius and Pisces. This is truly a turning point in the zodiac, and in the year, as we really start to feel the ices of winter melting away, and the rains of spring washing out the old and nourishing the earth for a new cycle of life to begin.
Pisces is the natural twelfth sign, a place where we complete a cycle, having gone through all the stages of it from beginning to end. Pisces is a sattvic (pure) sign ruled by Jupiter, which guides us towards the highest form of letting go and facing an ending — surrender to a higher power or purpose. It is also a water sign, which brings forward our emotional intuition. It has to do with the most ethereal planes of our existence, awakening the dream world and the subconscious.
This month could really help you to tap into your subconscious landscape and creative potential. The atmosphere is ripe for deepening our intuition and cleansing energetic impurities. Though it is a place of endings, the twelfth sign also relates to the pre-natal state, coming before the first sign of Aries where physical manifestation takes place. Through a practice of meditation, a trance state, or conscious inward investigation, now is a time to discover what lies below the surface and is ready to be birthed during the coming season.
The new lunar cycle begins under the nakshatra Purva Bhadrapada, a sign that bridges Aquarius and Pisces and has to do with the fires of purification (specifically, the funeral cot, where our physical body is burnt away and we truly merge back into spirit). As we approach the spring and summer, the times for heightened activity where we put our goals and dreams into action, we may first need to burn away the last remnants of the previous cycle. As we approach the Aries cycle, which comes next, this new Moon is a great time to cleanse and purify ourselves, especially energetically or spiritually, and let go of what we no longer need so we have our full strength available for the next journey.
Venus & Mercury
Venus and Mercury are both joining the Sun and Moon in Pisces as we begin this lunar cycle. We will experience their influences as the tone is set for the coming month. With Venus exalted in Pisces, we have an opportunity to purify our desires, and bring them into alignment with our higher principles and purpose. With Mercury neecha bhanga (debilitated, but modified by its conjunction with exalted Venus), our intellect and reasoning ability can also help us towards this goal.
Mercury is slowing down at the moment, however, and Mercury and Venus will enter into another planetary war on Sunday the 18th, through the 20th, while they travel within one degree of each other. Both the intellect and the pleasure-center can feel a bit fatigued during this occurrence, though Venus and the desire body are likely to come out stronger due to Venus’ brightness. Mercury will reverse course and go into retrograde motion on March 22nd, through April 15th.
Saturn & Mars
Saturn and Mars are currently in conjunction, transiting the same sign of Sagittarius. There can be an internal discomfort when this happens, as Mars, the planet of impulse and action, approaches Saturn, the slow giant who gives us patience and commitment. It can feel like the gas and the breaks are going at the same time (especially if you are Vedic Sagittarius rising or have prominent planets here). Moreover, the four areas of your life ruled by Saturn and Mars in the natal chart could be in noticeable conflict this month, especially when the two enter a planetary war on March 31st that will last through April 4th.
Jupiter has appeared to be at a near stand-still the last few weeks, stationing completely in early 29° sidereal Libra, and entering retrograde motion on March 8th. Since Jupiter entered the sign of balance and relationships in September of last year, we have seen wide-spread philosophical attention on gender equality. The full stop coincided with International Women’s Day, when many women made a stand by stepping out of the workforce temporarily.
These weeks have also had a lot of slowing-down and renegotiating the balance of power in the education field, as teachers and students alike have walked out in protests for justice. Jupiter is the ruler of this field, and coming to a stop in the sign of balance, then turning around, could lead us to see some major changes here.
In your personal life, Jupiter retrograde may lead to things slowing down or reversing in the areas of life ruled by Jupiter in your personal natal chart. Full forecast and personal readings available here.
The vernal equinox will fall on March 20th this year, when we will have equal hours of night and day all over the world. The northern hemisphere enters the warmer half of the year, while the southern hemisphere enters the colder. The life cycle is waxing in the north and waning in the south, yet at the time there is an evenness that spreads across the globe.
This equinox occurs during the Pisces Sun cycle, calling upon us to really rise and embrace a higher principle, to awaken to spirit and universal equality, and detach from mundane details and differences. Many people think of the spring equinox as Aries time, which it is the marker of in Western astrology and the tropical zodiac. In the astronomical/sidereal zodiac, however, the Sun is still at 5° Pisces during the equinox (see screenshot from Cosmic Watch app). This is due to what is called the precession of the equinoxes, whereby the wobble of the earth has caused our perspective of the zodiac to shift ever so slightly over thousands of years, and thus the spring equinox now occurs with Sun in Pisces.
On this New Moon in Pisces, embrace the opportunity to let go, cleanse, and purify, before the oncoming season of action is upon us.
Jupiter Retrograde Begins:
Hold-Ups in Education and Movements for Equality
For the last several weeks, Jupiter has been slowing down as he approached the last degrees of sidereal Libra. He is now at a near-full stop, around 29° Libra, and will begin the slow back-up into retrograde motion tomorrow, March 8th. The change technically happens at 8:04 pm, PST, but from our perspective here on Earth, Jupiter will appear pretty much at a stand-still all week. As the planet of teaching and philosophy is stationary in the sign of balance and harmony, we are seeing movements across the world where people are stopping their work in protest for more equality — from students and teachers’ unions to women at large, as March 8th also coincides with International Women’s Day.
Jupiter in Libra
First of all, if you’re saying “Libra, I thought Jupiter was in Scorpio?,” I’m referring to sidereal Libra, meaning that Jupiter appears to be aligned with Libra constellation as we see it from Earth. You can see Jupiter rising in the west between 11 – 11:30 pm PST this week, and tonight you can see both Jupiter and the Moon close together around the Libra-Scorpio juncture. Here is a screen-shot from a new astronomy app that I’ve been using called Cosmic Watch, showing a map of the sky at around 11:30 pm on March 8th. Vedic astrologers typically use the sidereal zodiac, which is true to the astronomical zodiac that we see from Earth.
Libra is called “Tula” in Sanskrit, which literally means balance, or scale. In both the east and west this constellation was seen as such, and perceived as a place with the energy potential to measure and harmonize. Before finding balance in a situation, however, we often come face-to-face with some major imbalances in Libra. With Jupiter, the planet of philosophy, belief, and inspiration, transiting here since last September, we have seen increasing movements for equality across the globe, even more so than in recent years.
Balance for the Sexes
Ruled by Venus, and naturally the 7th sign, Libra’s energy has a lot to do with relationships and sexuality, and finding balance therein especially. In October, shortly after Jupiter’s transit here began, the Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment news broke, propelling an onslaught of further allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination across Hollywood and other industries.
The revelations became a movement, inspiring and empowering women to bring light to the inequality, sparking a worldwide crusade to abolish decades (and centuries) of imbalance between the sexes. Jyotish is all about light, and when the light of the Sun shines on Jupiter, in Libra, philosophy at large becomes oriented towards the concept of balance.
Balance for Teachers
Jupiter is also the planet of teaching, learning and education, being called “guru” in Sanskrit. As Jupiter has been slowing to a stop in recent weeks, we have seen those in the very profession of teaching literally stopping their work, in a movement for more balance and inequality in their salaries and benefits. Guinea, Argentina, Great Britain, and West Virginia teachers have held strikes that received worldwide attention, and in some cases have already resulted in a positive balancing of equity.
As Jupiter grinds to a stop this week, a lot of attention in the news has been focused on the imbalances in the education profession, and the teachers themselves have been stopping work in protest. Though some movements are over, Oklahoma and Kentucky may soon follow suit, and Britain’s university professors’ strike will continue through next week, during this stationary-retrograde movement of Jupiter.
On March 8th itself, the very day that Jupiter is completely stopped, and shifts from direct to retrograde motion, it will also be International Women’s Day. Across the world, protests and marches of women are planned, including many walk-outs from the workforce, to show the world what it would be like without women. This halt is in hopes of balancing the gender gap (the lower pay that women receive systemically) and the treatment of women in the workplace.
Following the mass shooting in Florida last month, students across the country have also been stopping their work in protest for more rights and equality, and perhaps even more simply for the right to feel safe and happy (as Venus is also the planet of happiness). A large school walk-out took place yesterday in Baltimore, and a nationwide march is being planned for March 14th, when students will “March for Our Lives” in a movement to evolve gun legislation to make schools safer.
Jupiter will continue his retrograde motion through July 10th of this year, and during this time we may see a lot of re-balancing happening in the world of education and philosophy. The women’s equality movement has been growing steadily over the last few years, and now is a time where we could see a major paradigm shift in the widespread mentality take hold with firmer grip.
In education, President Trump has suggested arming teachers, attempting a strange kind of re-balancing that has received little support so far. I think that the recent movements by teachers will continue strongly this summer as the education system attempts to balance itself in a changing world.
On a personal level, we may all be experiencing some backtracking and re-thinking of personal philosophies during this Jupiter Retrograde period, including personal, political, and even spiritual viewpoints. With Jupiter appearing to move backward there is a chance to scrutinize our beliefs, seeing where there is room for re-balancing ideas within ourselves, and perhaps moving forward in slightly new directions when Jupiter begins his direct motion again in the fall. Re-thinking one’s direction in the learning arena is also possible during this time, with many new ventures in education possible this year.
Forecast for Your Vedic Rising Sign
Even more specifically, Jupiter’s stationary and retrograde motion may cause a current slow-down (or halt) and some heavy reconsideration and change of direction between now through October, in the two specific areas of life ruled by Jupiter in your personal Vedic natal chart. These are the areas to watch for changes during Jupiter Retrograde, based on your personal Vedic rising sign
Aries — education, higher philosophy, relationships with teachers; your habits around isolation, escapism, foreign travel, meditation
Taurus — how you deal with loss & change, secrets, and the mystic side of life; friends, community, income, social standing
Gemini — relationships, especially romantic partners, sexuality, and your general tendencies with compromise; work and career
Cancer — how you deal with hard work, daily duties, pets, and people who challenge you; higher education & philosophy, relationships with teachers
Leo — your creative expression, passions, and children; ways you deal with loss & change, secrets, and the mystic side of life
Virgo — your home, sanctuary, vehicles, real estate, or mother; your relationships, partners, and how you work with others
Libra — your hobbies, interests, siblings, and gut instinct; issues of hard work, daily duties, pets, and people who challenge you
Scorpio — your money, possessions, immediate family; children, creativity, and passions
Sagittarius — your health, sense of self/identity, and individuality; your home, vehicles, mother, or real estate
Capricorn — your tendencies around solitude, isolation, escapism, meditation, or foreign travel; your hobbies, interests, siblings, and gut instinct
Aquarius — your friends, community groups, income, social standing
Pisces — your work & career, and your individuality, health, or sense of self/identity
You may find yourself stuck, or backtracking, but then hopefully evolving, in these areas of life during Jupiter’s retrograde transit of Libra, now through October. Because Jupiter is in Libra, there is a particular opportunity for you to bring more balance into your life in these areas this year.
Personal Jupiter Readings are available to help you see deeper into your chart and life at this time.
Full Moon with the Power of Pleasure
This month’s Full Moon will peak in Leo on Thursday, March 1st, at 4:51 pm PST, near the bright star Regulus. It falls in the Vedic nakshatra called Purva Phalguni, a star-sign related to rest, relaxation, and pleasure, ruled by Bhagha, the god of wealth and marriage.
In contrast to the austerity of the Shivaratri new Moon where we began this lunar cycle, the full Moon here bestows the gifts of power, pleasure, and spiritual wealth that come to us based on our merit. Meditation and yogic practices lead to spiritual abundance, just as doing good works and service to the world helps with material happiness.
The Aquarius cycle which began just after Shivaratri has oriented us towards self-sacrifice, and focusing our energy on service to something greater than ourselves. In contrast, the full Moon in Leo illuminates the potential for personal power and prosperity. The lesson of Leo, however, is to use this energy generously, sharing it with those around us, not hoarding it greedily. The nature of the Sun is sattvic, and the true potential of Leo is to purify ourselves and then share our divine light with others. Like the Leonian archetype of the King or the father, one with power is meant to take care of those around him to create happiness for everyone, not only himself.
Purva Phalguni is the second of three nakshatras that span Leo constellation. The first is Magha, “the mighty,” which is all about strength, power, and achievement, symbolized by the throne. After having reached the throne, we may become a bit more carefree and take some time to rest and enjoy life in Purva Phalguni. Enhanced by Venus’ influence, this nakshatra is a place where we seek beauty, luxury, and sexual passion. The full Moon here reminds us of the need for rest and relaxation, after the hard work that has led us to our achievements. Its symbol is a swinging hammock.
The ruling deity here is Bhaga, the god of wealth, marriage, and delight. Similar to Lakshmi, he bestows both material as well as spiritual prosperity. He is said to be blind, sharing this wealth with people of all walks of life. The fruits we receive are based on our merit from past actions, whereby good deeds and spiritual practices yield the most.
Link to Personal Venus Reading
The planet of pleasure has a very strong influence this month. We begin the lunar cycle with Venus making a full aspect onto the Moon from his position in Aquarius (joined Sun and Mercury), enhancing our pleasure-seeking nature. A few hours after the full Moon, Venus will transit into Pisces, his sign of exaltation, where he’ll travel through March 25th. With Venus in Pisces, our desire-nature feels enhanced and more given to wild-abandon, in the free-flowing, other-worldly water sign. If you have tendencies towards over-indulgence or addiction, now is a time to watch these closely. At the same time, the exalted potential of Venus in Pisces is for us to allow our desires to evolve into desires that align with our highest principles, or the divine will itself.
On Friday March 2nd, Mercury creeps into Pisces as well, and will be close enough to Venus to begin a planetary war that will last through the early morning on Tuesday. With practical Mercury debilitated and at war with Venus, you’re likely to experience “heart” winning out over “head” for a few days. After they separate more on the 6th, Mercury may benefit more from his neecha bangha position (wherein his debilitation is modified by joining exalted Venus). At that time, the beauty-seeking nature of the Venus may support Mercury as he navigates the impractical waters of Pisces, where he is normally less comfortable.
As we move away from the eclipse period, we have also moved out of the heavy nodal influence caused by ongoing kala sarpa alignments. When Venus moved into Aquarius on February 5th, he broke the cycle that has continued for half the month since August. We now have the slower-moving planets on one side of the Rahu-Ketu axis, and the faster-moving ones on the other side, so no more kala sarpa cycles are possible until late July.
Jupiter will come to a stop on March 8th before beginning retrograde motion through October 11th. Whatever Jupiter influences in your life may seem to slow down and back up, and call for a lot of reflection through this time. In general, we could all have some second thoughts on education, teachers, or principles while Jupiter is in retrograde motion.
Lessons in Love
With the prominent influences of Venus and Bhaga on this Full Moon, this is a time to really explore your relationship with the planet of desire. Depending on how Venus functions in your natal chart, there is a certain way that he acts through you in general. For some people, an intelligent Venus helps them to make good compromises in relationships, have a lovely aesthetic or artistic ability, and healthy boundaries around sensual pleasures. If Venus is afflicted, it can cause tendencies to overindulge in these things, or have issues around boundaries, relationships, or luxury. Venus also influences two particular arenas in your life, as per your rising sign. Now is a good time to study yourself and your chart to see how your desire-nature arises, and to work on improving your relationship with Venus.
This month only I’m offering personal focused Venus readings, available here.
You can also get a full life course reading to understand even more about your life from the chart.
New Years Full Moon
Many blessings for the new year, astrology lovers! This lunar cycle will peak with a full Moon at 17° sidereal Gemini, on January 1st at 6:24 pm PST. On both December 31st and January 1st the Moon will wax into fullness, fully reflecting the light of the Sagittarian Sun onto Earth, as we step into 2018.
New Years Challenge: Look at the Sky!
Now I know that some of you are already very familiar with Vedic astrology (jyotish, the science of light) and the sidereal zodiac, but each month I get at least one person commenting or questioning why I would say the full Moon is in Gemini (for example, now), when they’ve heard it is in Cancer.
Well, one can begin to understand this by engaging in the first limb of jyotish, referred to as gola (observational astronomy). The study of astrology began as a love of astronomy, when people would actually go out and look at the sky, watching the way that light bounced off of and around the stars and planets. It wasn’t just about looking at a calendar or computer program to know where the planets are.
We can still engage in this practice when using the sidereal zodiac with Vedic astrology, because this “star-based” zodiac correlates with what we see in the sky.* Here are some screenshots for January 1st from the astronomy app called SkyView Lite, showing the Moon in sidereal Gemini, and Mars and Jupiter in sidereal Libra, Mercury in sidereal Scorpio, and Saturn, Venus, and the Sun closely joined in sidereal Sagittarius. Gemini is where you will be able to locate the full Moon on January 1st, and these photos show where one would see the other planets if not for the fact that they are currently “up” during the day (early birds might catch Jupiter and Mars).
Western astrology, following the tropical zodiac (which says this full Moon is in Cancer, and that Saturn is in Capricorn), is a system that is based more on the seasons, than how we see the stars and planets. It has its own applications and relevance, but my articles are written from the Vedic perspective, using the sidereal zodiac, hence… Full Moon in Gemini! Read the full article on the two zodiacs HERE.
Full Moon in Gemini
So then! What does the full Moon in Gemini mean, as we hurtle through space and into the next calendar year? We began this lunar cycle with the Sun, and Saturn, in Sagittarius. That type of energy compells us to be vigilant with our beliefs and opinions, and to make sure that all of our actions are in close alignment with them. It’s a very passionate and opinionated time of year, as the Sun crosses the Jupiter-ruled sign of righteous action, with stern and serious Saturn casting a strong influence. Saturn’s presence here forces us to look hard at our beliefs, and sort through the dogma to get to the most authentic core.
The full Moon in Gemini, on the other hand, offers a reflection point to all this serious philosophical digging. Gemini is a sign that is much more flexible, impartial, and willing to see both sides of the situation. This doesn’t mean that we cast our guiding principles aside, but it means that we take a moment to stand in the other person’s shoes, play the devil’s advocate, and imagine a world where there’s a synthesis between what we believe is right and the opposite of that, and are willing to engage in conversation around it.
Within Gemini, this full Moon falls in the Vedic nakshatra known as Ardra, “the moist one.” This constellation is one of the most violent and stormy places in the zodiac. Its ruled by the deity Rudra, a fierce form of Lord Shiva, and has to do with the destruction and dissolution brought on by storms. After the deluge, however, the earth is moist and fresh and ready for new life to begin. As we reflect on the practicality of our beliefs and the ways we might engage our intellect to relate with and understand our opposites, we can look for ways to break down parts of our rigidity that don’t serve the situation, and let dogma dissolve so that truer sensation may arise.
On the external level, we often see major upheaval or violent events occur in society when Ardra energy is strong. All the more reason to use this New Year celebration to pray, meditate, and envision more light, peace, and positivity spreading across the globe.
In addition to the full Moon in Ardra, we’re about to enter the last major Kala Sarpa (“black snake”) period for a while, as all the planets traverse one side of the Rahu-Ketu nodal axis (from January 2nd – 19th). There will be one more partial cycle after that, from January 31st through February 5th, when Venus finally passes out of Capricorn (where Ketu lies), breaking the potential for any more Kala Sarpa cycles til August. During these periods, life can feel extra intense, and whatever karma is already stimulated in your life by the transits (in relation to your natal chart), will be magnified.
On top of that, we’re entering another eclipse cycle, as we approach two eclipses to occur on January 31st and February 15th. The total lunar eclipse on the 31st will be visible from Asia, Australia, India, the Pacific, and western North America. The partial solar eclipse on the 15th will only be visible from Antarctica and southern South America. Though there may be slightly less intensity in places where the eclipses aren’t visible, they nevertheless tend to stir up shadow work we are doing in a particular area of life (read your forecast in the free e-book available here).
Finally, we’ll be underneath a planetary war between Jupiter and Mars from the 4th through the 8th, so be aware of your animal instinct fighting with your higher beliefs. There may also be conflict between some specific areas of life, relative to your natal chart.
May you start the new year full of planetary inspiration, gazing upon the full Moon in Gemini!
Book a personal 2018 Vedic Astrology Reading with me now! Sessions done by phone or Skype.
*Save for a few cases when the observable constellation spans more or less than its 30° attributed “portion” of the ecliptic.
New Moon in Sagittarius in Mula Nakshatra
This Sunday, December 17th, we begin a new lunar cycle at 10:31 pm PST with the Sun, Moon, and Saturn aligning in early sidereal Sagittarius. This Sagittarius cycle will lead us into the new year, with the Moon reaching fullness on January 1st. The Sun and the Moon will come together at 2° of sidereal Sagittarius, aligned closely with Saturn at 5° and oriented towards the galactic center, and Mula nakshatra.
Sagittarius carries the energy of its ruling planet, Jupiter into action. It is a fire sign, and a masculine, or yang, sign, both qualities that help us to transform our inspiration, ideas, and beliefs into real actions in the world. Whatever principles, philosophies, or beliefs you hold, this month is a time to propel them forward and spread your inspiration to others. Jupiter is also joining with Mars at this time, adding a potency of power to our ability to move with righteous purpose.
Of course, a caveat to this is to watch against acting with blind faith, but to really dive into yourself and let your authentic personal faith shine through. Sun’s and Moon’s position in Mula nakshatra, and close to Saturn, will help with this.
Mula (or Moola) nakshatra is the Vedic constellation which translates as “the root.” As the literal center of the galaxy (when we look past Mula, we are looking into the galactic center), planetary energy here compels us to find the deepest truth within ourselves, our beliefs, and everything. Planets here encourage us to be investigators, researching and probing until the deepest layers of truth are revealed. Though technically in the early degrees of Sagittarius, Mula aligns with the tail of the Scorpion, and brings up imagery of both poison and medicine, and the idea that poison can be medicine as it shocks us into transformation. The deity for this star is Nirritti, a dark form of Goddess Kali who relates to destruction and death.
As the Sun goes down on the night of the solstice (December 21st), we experience a little death, as the solar year ends and we await the new one to arise. This completes the cycle of the Sun from its northernmost course to its southernmost, and will be the shortest day of the year in the northern hemisphere, and the longest in the southern. This is a powerful night for going inward, being still, and practicing rituals for letting go of the past and what no longer serves.
Saturn’s conjunction with Sun and Moon adds a level of seriousness and fortitude to this powerful transitional cycle. Saturn, or Lord Shani, is the slowest-moving planet, and stimulates us to find more maturity and wisdom. He adds a weight of seriousness that reminds us that actions have consequences, and helps us to call forth our inner old wise person. We want this inner sage to weigh in as we probe our depths to see which our beliefs are worth supporting through effort and actions as we enter the new year.
We enter our final lunar cycle of the year under a Kala Saarpa yoga, with all planets on one side of the nodal Rahu-Ketu axis in the sky. This increases the level of intensity in everything in our lives, especially around deep inner work that we are doing. Though we may not be comfortable with letting go of our accustomed mindset, the alignment of the planets now is primed for some big changes to take place, especially around philosophy, beliefs and ideas.
The final Kala Saarpa for this season will run from January 2nd through January 19th, after which time the Sun will have passed Ketu, and we’ll have another 6 months free from this bi-monthly cycle. These cycles will continue for roughly half the month during roughly half the year, until December 2019.
Planetary Wars & Upcoming Eclipses
With so many planets so close together, we continue to have planetary wars this month as a number of planets cross within one degree of each other. Venus and Saturn come head to head from December 24th through 27th, bringing up some possible conflict between relationships and work, short-term desires and long-term goals. Mercury goes direct on December 23rd. January 4th through 8th, Jupiter and Mars engage in a planetary war, during which our animal instincts may seem to feel in conflict with our mentally held belief system.
The conflict among these planets will take form specifically in your life around the specific things each planet rules in your individual natal chart. We’ll also be entering a new eclipse cycle in January, with eclipses occurring in parts of the world on January 31st and February 15th (free forecast download at somyadevi.com if you haven’t received it yet!).
Be sure to stay on the list and watch for a new years’ cheat sheet with important dates for 2018!
Many blessings as we head into the New Year.