Mars Enters Aries & Navaratri turns to Laxmi

Mars Enters Aries & Navaratri turns to Laxmi

Today Mars moved into sidereal Aries, the Cardinal Fire sign it rules. Aries expresses the masculine, or extroverted, nature of Mars, so it is likely we will feel a lot of impetus to send our energies outward and start new projects in the world in the coming weeks. Mars gives us warrior strength, will, and energy, but also strong opinions and a stubborn ego at times. You may find yourself encountering potential anger or arguments over principles that feel very black-and-white to you. Try to slow down and consider the affects before acting or arguing, even though you may be feeling very impulsive. We are still in an eclipse period, so with all the subconscious and emotional matter that is getting stirred up to the surface, make sure to align your energetic pursuits with what is really serving. This alignment does bring a strength that will support the new endeavors we aspire to accomplish this year, but planets in Aries do not change direction easily, so be aware that whatever propulsion you set yourself into may be the one you follow for a while. It’s a good time to get exercising again, or to call in discipline to your yogic pursuits.

Mars is now aspecting retrograde Jupiter and Saturn from his new position. This could give a boost of energy to how you are processing our studies and philosophies (retrograde Jupiter), so also watch out for getting argumentative over these, fighting with teachers, or the complete destruction of principles you have held close in the past but have reconsidered lately. If this is truly for your highest good, the energy could be a great service, as we are in the final two weeks of Jupiter’s retrograde course, and may be finalizing the expulsion of bad ideas in our philosophical reanalysis. Try to take things as slowly as possible, however, before destroying something in a moment of passion.

Mars is now both aspecting and ruling Saturn, who is retrograde in Scorpio. Saturn’s position here is giving us a sense of responsibility and commitment to facing deep fears and hidden parts of ourselves. Mars’ position in Aries will activate this process even more, bringing energy and willingness to that sense of commitment. It could be a good time to start practices that empower this process, like trauma release exercises and ones to deconstruct limiting beliefs. Saturn is in the nakshatra Anuradha, which supports exploring our sensitivities and also seeking cooperation in friendships.

This is important especially because Mars is joining Venus here in Aries, which could present a dichotomy of conflict within us. Venus is the planet of compromise, and agreeability, while Mars works to support our personal survival and instincts with an animalistic tendency. Venus in Aries has trouble compromising, therefore, and we may have been noticing this since his movement here from Pisces on the 12th. It can bring up passionate feelings about whether our compromises are fair or not. With Mars joining this already high-strung Venus, take extra care with your relationships. Use Mars’ rulership of and aspect on Saturn in Scorpio to turn that fervor inward. Mars and Venus are with the Moon in Aries until tonight, so we may feel this dichotomy especially intensely in our emotional bodies today. Mars’ new position will have more specific effects on the houses it is influencing in your individual chart, and the themes they represent in your life.

Goddess-Lakshmi-1Today is also the fourth day of Navaratri, so we turn our celebration and worship to the goddess Laxmi, the embodiment of spiritual and material prosperity. Worshiping her qualities such as happiness, grace, wisdom, devotion, and purity, can help bring these about. This will support the higher potential of Mars, which is the strength and courage to be disciplined with ourselves and our inner and outer energies, rather than reckless like a wild animal. Laxmi’s four hands represents the four objects of human pursuit in life (the Purusharthas)–dharma, artha, kama, and moksha (living a truthful life, material prosperity, happiness, and spiritual liberation). Use Mars’ energy to strengthen your yogic objectives as you give homage to the goddess, pursuing a harmonious existence.

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World Water Day: Honoring the Water Goddess

World Water Day: Honoring the Water Goddess

Today is World Water Day!  All over the globe we are coming together to honor the earth’s waters and the water element. We especially bring our awareness to water in her physical form, the rivers, lakes, streams, and oceans, and the rains and groundwaters that support our life here on the planet. A synchronized prayer for water is intended for 6pm PST. We call in the rains to nourish the earth and cleanse all that needs to be washed away. This is a good day to practice water conservation through shorter showers, remembering that much of the world’s population does not even have the abundance of water that an average shower takes for their whole day’s supply. You may find a local group performing a cleanup of rivers, lakes or beaches, to offer some energy back to the sacred waters. This is especially potent added to the current astrology climate, where we just experienced a Solar Eclipse in Pisces on Friday. This was in the nakshatra Uttara Bhadrapada, which, like Pisces, relates to the deep emotional waters within us. Much has been churned up to the surface, so offering our prayers to this element will help smooth the fluidity of cleansing. We are also on the third day of Navaratri, the Hindu festival to the supreme goddess, Devi. Water is considered a feminine element as it relates to the emotions, and in Hinduism is embodied in the form of the goddess, Ganga. She is the personification of the holy river Ganges, considered to have the power to cleanse all impurities from the mind of the spiritual seeker. All waters on earth, especially those in which we offer our prayers, are considered extensions of Ganga. The water element is also represented by the concept of Soma, which refers to the mind and the feminine moon, and the cool, purifying liquid that descends during meditation creating a state of bliss. (This is the counterpart to Agni, the fire element relating to the Sun which rises from the root.) Today, give homage to the water element and the goddess to allow those cooling energies to sooth and nourish all life on earth, both internally and externally. Om Gam Gangaye Namaha

Happy Navaratri! Nine Nights of the Goddess

Happy Navaratri! Nine Nights of the Goddess

Happy Navaratri! Today begins the Hindu holiday of the “Nine Nights” that celebrate Devi, the Divine Mother Goddess, in her many forms. Two major Navaratri celebrations happen each year with the change of seasons, in March/April, bringing in the spring, and in September/October, celebrating the harvest and preparing for winter. This Navaratri begins on the first day of the lunar month Chaitra, the first month of the Vedic calendar year. The goddess represents the “Shakti” or divine energy that is the vehicle through which we experience life in order to know “Shiva,” representing the divine consciousness behind it all, and so we celebrate her. For three nights each we worship the goddess in the forms of Durga, Laxmi, and Sarasvati. These goddesses represent the stages we must go through on our spiritual journey to reach the state of pure consciousness bliss. Durga is often known as the “demon-slayer.” This symbolizes the demons or negative tendencies of our minds that we must destroy in order to move forward in life with peace in the heart and mind, as well as the external obstacles we must overcome. Laxmi is known as the goddess of wealth or prosperity. This represents not just material wealth, but a spiritual wealth we seek to acquire in the form of virtues, or positive qualities, like compassion and devotion. Sarasvati, riding a swan, the highest-flying bird and vehicle for prana (the breath and life force that sustains us), represents the higher knowledge that can be attained after we purify ourselves, as well as all kinds of knowledge that we study and practice in our service. The divine truth realized through these three (through different forms of spiritual practice) is indeed the peace and oneness of pure consciousness bliss. Navaratri is a good time to practice yoga, meditation, and rituals to bring about divine-mother qualities in ourselves and in the world. Especially with the chaotic energies that are accompanying the solar eclipse of today, focusing on spiritual practices and mindfulness is especially important in the coming days. Allow the demons to be destroyed, and call upon your higher qualities to attain peace and lightness within yourself, and then let it spread to others so all of creation can be uplifted in harmony.

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Powerful Solar Eclipse in Pisces on the New Moon and Vernal Equinox: March 20, 2015

Powerful Solar Eclipse in Pisces on the New Moon and Vernal Equinox: March 20, 2015

Friday brings the convergence of Sun, Moon, Ketu (the South Node), and Mars in Pisces for a full Solar Eclipse, and hosts a potent batch of astrological beginnings. It is the vernal equinox, when daylight equals nighttime hours, and all life starts a growth spurt under the increasing sunlight and warmth as springtime blossoms. It is also a New Moon, and each new moon is also the beginning of a cycle where we will process the energies related to a certain zodiac sign (Vedic Rashi). This particular new Moon also initiates the first month of the Vedic lunar calendar, Chaitra, hence it is like the first day of the new year in this calendar. Eclipses are powerful times for transformation, and yoked with this assemblage of transformative energies, we can anticipate some major upheavals (especially in northern Africa, Europe, and northeast Russia, where the eclipse will occur) . As we are approaching the eclipse it is likely that we’ve been feeling these forces already.

This eclipse and New Moon are occurring in early sidereal Pisces, in the nakshatra Uttara Bhadrapada, at 2:36 am Pacific time on March 20th. Pisces is a dual or mutable water sign, ruled by Jupiter. Emotions run deep in Pisces, and even deeper under the star Uttara Bhadrapada, which is ruled by the celestial serpent, Ahirbudhnya. Serpent energy is related to Kundalini and other deeply hidden emotional waters. We can expect some of these to rise to the surface around this Eclipse. Uttara Bhadrapada relates to the funeral cot and the process we go through after dying, so it is possible to experience a reawakening through this eclipse, if we allow the death of what no longer serves.

Eclipses in general are able to reveal a lot of energies that are otherwise subconscious or buried. Ketu, the South Node, relates to karma that we have done a lot of work with in the past (in past lives and childhood), and have gained some wisdom with, but are still finishing the process. Whichever themes Ketu represents in your chart, you may be experiencing these potently at this time. You will also be working with the house energies of whichever house Pisces is in your chart.

KetuDuring the solar eclipse, the Sun’s light is literally being blocked out by the shadow graha Ketu, so it can feel very disconcerting. (Though it is the Moon that crosses in front of the Sun, it is actually passing over the spot in the sky where Ketu is located, thus the shadow graha emerges.) Subconscious fears arise and seem to swallow our brilliant life-force. Your inner disapproving parent may be coming out now, and perhaps explosively, with Mars conjoining this eclipse. The Pisces energy may compel us to try to hide from these forces, by escapism into drugs, alcohol, or television. If this need for isolation is felt, offer yourself the chance to grow through it constructively by practicing meditation, journaling, or examining your dreams. Take special care to be gentle in your interactions with others, as latent grievances may be coming up with a lot of charge.

If we apply ourselves to the opportunity of inner work around this eclipse, great transformation is possible. Ketu may have harnessed certain convictions into our being that may no longer be serving us, and this is a good time to uproot them (we may not have a choice). Take time with a journal and write down your values and goals, and what things are holding you back that you need to let go of. Now is a very powerful time for kundalini awakening and movement. Saturn rules both Anuradha, where it began its retrograde course on Saturday, and Uttara Bhadrapada. Both nakshatras are related to kundalini, and Saturn’s retrograde motion in Scorpio is giving us the opportunity to dive deeper into our commitment to transformation.

eclipse-march-20th-chartThe benefic planets are also influencing this eclipse, so there may be a certain grace aiding us along even amidst the disturbance. Pisces’ ruler Jupiter is aspecting this eclipse from its retrograde position in Cancer, shining its bounty of wisdom towards the shadowed cluster. It is also aspecting retrograde Saturn, offering a grounding philosophy towards the eclipse nakshatra’s ruler. Look to your teachers and philosophies to help anchor yourself in a supportive cradle through this process. Mercury and Venus are surrounding the eclipse on either side, in Aquarius and Aries, respectively. You may begin to process the emotional churning with the intellect, and finish it with a stronger desire to compromise and see everyone’s happiness improved.

Take good care of your nervous system during this time. The high emotional intensity of Pisces and Uttara Bhadrapada, coupled with the added heat and potential aggravation of Mars, could lead to an overload of stress as limiting beliefs are being broken down. Honor yourself with alone time to work with everything that is coming to the surface. Apply soothing oils and bathe frequently during this time if possible. As we begin this Pisces moon cycle and the new lunar year, with the added force of the Uttara Bhadrapada eclipse, set your intentions for what type of emotional cleansing and rebirthing you need, and how you want to see yourself emerge into this new cycle. The hours surrounding the peak of the eclipse are a powerful time for spiritual practice, especially if you are on the side of the planet where the eclipse’s shadow is visible.

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Happy Holi! Full Moon in Leo

Happy Holi! Full Moon in Leo

This full moon will occur tomorrow morning in sidereal Leo, in the nakshatra Purva Phalguni. Tonight the moon will be at its fullest during the waxing phase, before beginning its waning phase around 10:06 am Pacific time, tomorrow, March 5th. This marks the midpoint of the Aquarius cycle which began on February 18th. Aquarius brings our attention to worldly and societal issues, bringing attention away from the focus on our individual needs, wants, and power. Sun in Aquarius makes us focus our light and life-force towards community and universal service. The full moon in Leo shines a light on that royal part of the sky which is a place of great power, where an individual can find the strength of a King. During this cycle we may have been feeling less individual strength as our attention has moved towards broader issues. The full moon in Leo brings the opportunity to see the contrast between the feeling of disempowerment, and true empowerment in its highest form. This true empowerment is in fact selfless and generous, like the light of the Sun.

The Sun rules the sign of Leo, and is a sattvic planet. It represents the eternal Self, the source of all life, or the atman. It has the ability to illuminate and to purify. In its highest capacity, the energy of the Sun leads us towards truth and self-discovery. As the physical Sun gives its light freely, allowing all life on earth to sustain while asking nothing in return, the evolved energy of Leo mimics that of a universal father. In enlightened practice, this energy impels us to act like a father who works tirelessly to support his family, or a wise King who rules justly to ensure the happiness of all in the kingdom. The lesser quality of the Sun and Leo can appear when one attempts to use Sun’s power selfishly, to enhance the ego or one’s personal authority. With Sun in serviceful Aquarius this cycle, we will struggle with this contrast if we attempt to use the power of full Moon in Leo to strengthen our personal dominion rather than serve the common good. Instead, give thanks for the divine energy of the Sun that is the source of all our strength and power, and offer it back to the world.

Purva Phalguni is a nakshatra ruled by Venus, the planet of love and pleasure. Its deity is Bhaga, the god of delight. Its symbol is the front legs of a bed, or a hammock, representing relaxation and recreation. This star and part of the sky are associated with creativity, charm, and beauty. Incidentally, the Hindu festival “Holi” is celebrated on this full moon. Holi is a joyful festival which is like a new year in many ways, celebrated on the full moon before the spring equinox. During this festival, people take to the streets and celebrate together, young and old, in a playful manner that involves throwing colored powders at each other and smearing them all over each other. It is also known as the Festival of Colors. By playing in this way, people may symbolically and sportively “attack” each other to take out a little aggression that may be lingering from past conflicts. The symbolism of this allows people a way to put arguments and old wounds to bed, to forgive and forget and celebrate in joy for the start of a new year.

This is a great full moon for honoring the light and divine power within us, which gives us the ability to take compassion on others and renounce using our power for harmful or selfish things. We can instead use this power to uplift society through humble service.

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