The Moon is waning towards total darkness as he approaches the Sun in late sidereal Libra. The dark Moon night of November 6th will precede the “new Moon” moment at 9:02 am PST on Wednesday, November 7th, when Sun and Moon align exactly in late Libra, in Vishakha nakshatra. This will begin a lunar cycle in the mood of Libra, and also bring in Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights. With Venus already powerful in the sky right now, this lunar cycle will cause us to focus even deeper on relationships, harmony, and happiness in our lives, and examine closely how we seek to fulfill our desires and find love on the human plane.
Libra is called Tula in Sanskrit meaning “scale” and is depicted as such in both eastern and western astrology. The natural seventh sign, opposite Aries, Libra is where we recognize our reflections, seeing the other who is opposite to us, and learning how to travel through life balancing our individual instincts with our need to create harmonize with those around us, often people with opposite will or nature.
Venus is the ruler of Libra, and Venus governs the human nature within us that seeks pleasure and happiness. While Mars gives us an instinct to assert ourselves strongly and survive, Venus brings in awareness of our pleasure centers and what is sensually pleasing in our field or bodies. A large part of the happiness we seek comes in the form of other people, coinciding with Libra’s “seventh sign” placement.
The problem with other people, however, is that they don’t always want exactly what we want. If it is a loved one, family member, or someone with whom we need to deal on a regular basis, we begin to notice that if we meet our individual desires completely at the expense of their happiness, we won’t actually be happy in the end. We need to learn how to compromise some so that both parties will be happy enough with a situation (and this is easier said than done). The flip-side is when we over-compromise, putting another’s desires entirely before our own, and ending up just as miserable as if we had completely ignored theirs.
During this Libra cycle, Libra’s lord, Venus, is joining the Sun and Moon from the onset. He is strong as he travels through his own sign (sva), and even stronger due to his retrograde position (albeit only visible for a short time in the morning currently, since he is traveling so closely to the Sun). This position will give us extra support as we try to navigate the waters of compromise, and insight to be able to reflect back on what we are doing to try to attain happiness. It will help us to see what isn’t working, and gives us the opportunity to try to forge a new path moving forward.
It’s important to look at our own part in conflict and disharmony, and adopt a new attitude or method towards finding happiness and harmony. Venus comes to a halt and turns direct on the 15th, so be sure to take notice of all the insights being offered now and make your plan for how you will move forward.
The Sun and Moon are coming together at 21° sidereal Libra for this New Moon, which aligns with the Vedic star-sign known as Vishakha, “the forked branches.” This star is sometimes represented by a set of forked branches, but often as a triumphal archway, indicating that success is possible after doing the difficult work of deciding between two paths. This is even often interpreted as a marriage archway. This star is ruled by the deities Indra and Agni, the chief of the gods and the fire deity, respectively, and can give us quite a bit of power and determination. Under Jupiter’s influence, this nakshatra can be helpful in learning to overcome conflicts and refining our method of compromise and success. Be aware, however, there can be some self-righteousness here due to Jupiter’s and Indra’s influences.
The Sun is considered neecha or naturally debilitated as he travels through Libra. Since the Sun relates to our sense of strength and vitality, and Libra is the sign of compromising (or over-compromising) with others, it is natural that our individual power can sometimes feel lessened while we elevate the level of energy and attention we give to those around us. Caring for others doesn’t necessarily translate to depleted health, but it can when we overemphasize the outer world and others to the point of neglecting our own self-care. This is a very important time of year to nourish ourselves, and our inner light, as the outer light is descending. Venus’ coincidence in Libra can help us to navigate this balancing act.
Hindu culture recognizes this descending light outside, and it is on this New Moon (in the Hindu month of Ashwin) that we celebrate Diwali, the festival of lights. It is a time to invite more light into our lives, our hearts, and our world. This festival celebrates the symbolic victory of light over darkness. At this time we commemorate Lord Ram’s and Sita’s return from exile after fourteen years (story from the Ramayana). Lord Ram embodies the highest qualities of dharma, devotion, compassion, courage, and leadership. It is also a powerful time to connect to the Goddess Lakshmi, calling in her blessings for both material and spiritual prosperity.
Diwali (also seen as Divali, Deepawali or Deepavali) comes from the Sanskrit words deepa (light) and avali (row). It is traditional to light candles throughout Diwali, inviting the highest light into our homes and hearts. The candles are lit to remind us of the inner divine light in us all. Though one flame can be used to light many others, it is not diminished by sharing its power of illumination. We can pray for the peace and happiness of all beings, and each one’s awareness of their inner light.
Monday, November 5th precedes Diwali with the holiday known as Dhanteras or Dhanvantari Tryodashi (commemorating the birth of Lord Dhanvantari). It is the thirteenth day of the waning Moon in the Vedic month of Ashwin. Lord Dhanvantari is known as the “father of Ayurveda” and the “physician of the Gods.” (Ayurveda is the system of natural medicine from India that is a sister science to yoga and Jyotish.) If you practice any healing tradition, especially Ayurveda, this is a good day to give thanks and call in auspicious blessings to your healing path or practice.
This day also marks Dhanteras, the first day of the Diwali festival. It commemorates the day that Lakshmi emerged from the milk ocean in Vedic lore. In India, it is customary to purchase metals on this day — anything from jewelry to new statues to kitchenware (excluding iron), especially silver and gold — as a part of celebrating Lakshmi and calling in more prosperity. The metals can then be offered to your altar and will absorb and amplify the benefits of worship performed over the few days of Diwali.
After six long months of conjunction in sidereal Capricorn, Mars and Ketu are finally separating. On November 5th Mars leaves Capricorn and crosses over into Aquarius. This has been a complicated transit, as Mars journeyed through his sign of exaltation, strengthening our courage and will, but was simultaneously plagued by Ketu’s fear and confusion.
With a retrograde stint topped with a set of three eclipses in the summer, we had a lot of time to try to understand our deepest fears and how they influence our courage and will (especially in areas of your life ruled by Mars or aligned with Capricorn). Moving forward, we will feel some of the pressure lift from these areas, and hopefully we were able to glean a lot of learning from the visible shadows presented throughout this transit.
Personal readings are available here to help you to better understand your relationship with each planet and how the current transits may affect you.
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.
Tonight’s dark Moon brings the third and final eclipse of this summer’s eclipse season. The exact time of the New Moon will be at 2:58 am PDT, with the partial solar eclipse reaching its maximum at 2:46 am. This eclipse will only be visible from Scandinavia, Greenland, northern parts of Asia and northernmost Canada. Though the last eclipse, of July 27th, carried a bit more intensity, this one is still adding a good degree of stress to the atmosphere. We should feel energies settling a bit more after its passing.
New Moon in Cancer
This eclipse occurs as the Sun and Moon come together in late sidereal Cancer, joined in this sign by Rahu, the north node, and a still-retrograde Mercury. Opposite, in sidereal Capricorn, lie Ketu and still-retrograde-and-exalted Mars. As we enter a new lunar cycle led by Cancer energy, we will go through this month with an acute awareness of our emotions, and sensitivities will be high. To be honest … it could feel like a tidal wave. Rahu’s presence here in Cancer works to exaggerate that sensitivity and those emotions even more, so try to be as gentle and caring with yourself as possible.
Cancer is the sign of the divine Mother, a water sign ruled by the Moon. The divine Mother, in her infinite compassion, is open and receptive to everyone and everything. Cancer is the sign of the heart, and we come into our own hearts more deeply when so many planetary energies are gathered here. Even those who may not usually have a “sensitive” nature will be much more attuned to their feelings during this month.
The presence of Rahu, however, can be disturbing and aggravating, and can lead us forward quickly in confusion. For this reason, Rahu’s presence in Cancer often causes us to open our boundaries too wide, allowing ourselves to get hurt while in this sensitive state. Working on balancing these boundaries and feelings with structure and responsibility has been one of the lessons of this Cancer-Capricorn eclipse cycle.
Cancer is the sign of the heart and the emotions, while Capricorn, opposite in the sky, teaches us about doing the responsible thing for long-term results. Throughout this year-and-a-half transit of the nodes through these signs (August 2017 – March 2019), we’ve been examining where in our lives we led our feelings lead too much, neglecting responsibility, or where we are too rigid, without acknowledging the heart. The eclipses help us through a process of learning around this, and as we see our patterns (the shadows that are revealed), we are able to make positive changes in our lives.
This axis is also affecting two particular houses in your natal chart, and learning to balance those energies is a personal task that is different for each of us. (If you haven’t downloaded it, be sure to get the Free E-Book with forecast for your sign, here.) This transit and series of eclipses may also be affecting any planets that you have in these signs natally, as well as the areas of life they rule for you.
The Moon and Sun coincide in Ashlesha nakshatra during this eclipse, the sign of the water snake, called “the entwiner.” This nakshatra can be located in a ring of stars within the western constellation Hydra, the water-serpent. Ashlesha is represented by a coiled snake, and is ruled by the Nagas, the serpent deities of wisdom. This nakshatra has a lot to do with discovering what is coiled deep within, so an eclipse here has the potential to churn up some deep-seated emotions that have not been felt for a while. It also has the ability to stir kundalini, so if you are doing spiritual practices, be prepared for some possible strong waves of energy.
At the same time, the snake also contains a poisonous venom. Because of the intensity of this eclipse and the surrounding alignment, it is quite possible for some of what gets stirred up to have a toxic quality. Like other detoxification processes, however, it is sometimes necessary for the toxins to filter through the body after they are dislodged, before being released back to the earth. Drink lots of water following this eclipse, but Indian tradition says that it is best not to eat, drink, or be outside during the eclipse, lest we absorb more of its negative affects. With any difficulties that arise, offer them back to the divine Mother, and call upon the cleansing power of water to help you through.
Mars has been retreating steadily towards the beginning of sidereal Capricorn since he entered retrograde motion on June 26th. Those people ruled by Mars are feeling particularly affected, as their normally driven energy seems to be going in the opposite direction, and further confusion is added due to the conjunction with Ketu. Mars is still in his sign of exaltation, which would normally help us towards putting a lot of energy into structures and goals, but there have been many delays and frustrations due to the other influences.
Mars will come to a stop near the end of the month, beginning direct motion again on August 27th and transiting over Ketu once more in September. He will remain in Capricorn through early November.
Venus entered sidereal Virgo, his sign of debilitation, on July 31st. Virgo is a sign that is very much about practicality, ruled by Mercury, the planet of the intellect. There is a lot of precision here, and factuality, while Venus is the planet of desire, which is often not practical. The fulfillment of our desires can feel curbed by the intellect while Venus transits here, and our creative pursuits can take on a more linear dimension.
At the same time, this can help us to see more clearly when it comes to relationships and desires, and take on an analytical view that is sometimes refreshing. Due to the alignment of planets at the beginning of this lunar cycle, however, watch out for arguments in relationships, as Mars is volatile and sensitivity is high.
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.
New Moon in Taurus
Tonight is the Dark Moon Night, with no Moon visible since he is rising and setting in alignment with the Sun today. The Sun and Moon come into exact conjunction to begin a new lunar cycle on Wednesday, June 13th, at 12:43 pm PDT. They coincide in sidereal Taurus, and the Vedic nakshatra of Mrigashira, and bring on a month of intense Venusian energy.
The new Moon happens with Sun and Moon at 28°39’ of sidereal Taurus, bringing the second Taurus cycle in a row, as last month’s new Moon was at 0°30’ of this sign. Taurus is a four-footed earth sign ruled by Venus. Known as Vrisha, the bull, Taurus energy is strong and committed. Due to the four-footed nature, things we begin this month may not easily change directions later, but will carry a rather forward-moving momentum. Also a fixed rashi (sign), we may be feeling a little more stubborn about things this month, and not as flexible as at other times.
With earth-sign energy prominent, this is a great time to connect with mother nature, and all things of the material world. Crystals, jewels, clothing, plants, herbs, and home accoutrements may be catching our attention more than usual right now. Food and drink and other sensory pleasures are also more appealing (so be mindful if you have indulgent tendencies). Under the rule of Venus, the planet of pleasure and worldly love, the Taurus new Moon sets a fertile ground for new ventures in these arenas.
As we begin this cycle, Venus is traversing sidereal Cancer, the sign of motherly love, and a place where selfless devotion can be found. This gives us the opportunity to elevate our human relationships and harmonize them with our devotional nature. Venus in Cancer can also lead to boundaries that are too wide open, however, so keep a discerning awareness there too. Rahu is also joining Venus in Cancer, which can exaggerate our desire nature and make us a little obsessive towards sensory pleasures or relationships. As Venus transits here, our shadow side in relationships becomes more visible for examination.
In the Vedic nakshatra system, three nakshatras or star-signs bridge the 30° portion of the sky designated as “Taurus”: Krittika, Rohini, and Mrigashira. Mrigashira’s “territory” lies half in Taurus and half in Gemini, while the actual stars of this nakshatra are located in the constellation Orion, on his right shoulder. Known as the “deer’s head,” this star-sign emits a gentle and graceful energy, which we will feel as we enter this lunar cycle. Like a deer, however, the energy here can verge on being timid, and skittish, giving us the potential to startle easily. Also like the deer, there is a wandering nature to this nakshatra.
Mars and Ketu
Just hours after the new Moon, Mars and Ketu will reach exact alignment or conjunction, at 4:25pm PDT on June 13th. Despite the gentle and loving position of the Moon and Sun at this time, this moment has some intense explosive potential. Some surprises could come to light today, or in the days surrounding, especially relating to those things indicated by Mars in your individual natal chart.
While Mars is transiting Capricorn, his sign of exaltation, we, on the one hand, have opportunities to really hone in our discipline, courage, and skill, anchoring these things towards our earthly goals and responsibilities. On the other hand, Ketu’s confusing, critical, and resistant nature can run amok on these attempts. As the node of the subconscious past, we could find latent resistances coming to the surface. For spiritual seekers, there is potential here for overcoming these internal blockages. Overall, however, surprises and distress may arise during this conjunction.
Because Mars will be entering apparent retrograde motion on June 26th, he will actually pass over Ketu twice more and have two more exact conjunctions with him this year: on July 18th, and then again on September 22nd. His retrograde journey may cause us to feel some slow-down or back-tracking in the areas of life he rules in our individual chart.
We can begin gearing up for some stronger nodal influences this summer, as the next new Moon, on July 13th, will bring the first of a set of three 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. What’s more, starting July 16th we will enter a roughly two-week Kala Saarpa period (with all planets to one side of the nodal axis), which will recur four times more before the end of the year. The eclipses and Kala Saarpa cycles will influence you specifically in the areas of life indicated by sidereal Capricorn and Cancer in your natal chart, and also strongly depending on any planets that are found within those signs.