Each year, the full Moon in the Hindu month of Ashadha is dedicated to celebrating our gurus. This year’s Guru Purnima falls on the night of July 8th in North America and India, with the Moon reaching peak fullness at 9:07 pm PDT on Saturday. This year, Guru Purnima’s full Moon falls in Purvashada nakshatra (Vedic constellation), in the middle of sidereal Sagittarius, close to the galactic center. The Moon will be opposite the Sun in sidereal Gemini, where we began this lunar cycle.
The Sanskrit word guru is most commonly translated as “teacher.” It refers not only to the mighty spiritual teachers that are often associated with this word, but can indicate teachers in many fields of study or practice. One might have a spiritual guru, a yoga guru, an astrology guru, or even a knitting, cooking, or physics guru. “Gu” is often translated as darkness or ignorance while “ru” implies dispelling, disseminating, or removing. Guru as an adjective often implies grandeur or weight, frequently translated as “heavy,” which is a way that one might describe our most influential teachers. Students of jyotish will also recognize Guru as the name for Jupiter, who even the ancients knew as a large and profoundly influential planet. His influence in our lives is often in the realms of higher teachings and philosophy, and his position in someone’s natal chart can tell us about their path of learning and relationships with teachers. (For more rumination on the concept of guru in general, check out previous years’ articles.)
Each month, as the Moon waxes and wanes his way through the ecliptic, he undergoes 30 phases known as tithis in Vedic astrology. Although the transition is smooth, the tithis are delineated distinctly, and each one carries a certain supportive energy. The purnima phase, roughly a day long, is the fullest phase of the Moon, with the peak of fullness happening at the last moment of the phase (given as Full Moon time), before the light on the Moon begins to recede again as we enter the waning phase.
Purnima is generally thought of as the most auspicious phase of the month, and is positive for most activities, especially spiritual activities. There is a harmony of lunar and solar energy at this time. The Moon influences the ebb and flow of our watery emotions and our state of mind. We are most able to perceive this subtle body within when the outer Moon is fully illuminated. It is also a time where opposite poles within us (and in the external solar system), are both illuminated at the same time. Wherever the Full Moon occurs, it is on the exact opposite side of the zodiac from the Sun. On this Full Moon, the Sun is illuminating the Gemini part of the sky while the Moon’s light brightens Sagittarius for us. We are better able to integrate the two opposite poles within us when this occurs.
Sagittarius Full Moon
The Sagittarius section of the sky carries an energy of optimism and idealism, under Jupiter’s idealistic rulership. With the Moon here we are inspired to act on our beliefs, and share our purpose with the world. There is a great charitable nature here. Sagittarius is opposite from Gemini, where Sun and Moon began this lunar cycle, which is a place of much more practicality and impartiality, ruled by Mercury. On this full Moon we are able to see a better path towards balancing our flexible, curious, intellectual side (airy Gemini) with our passionate and idealistic side (firey Sagittarius).
The Vedic sky is divided into 27 sections or nakshatras, along the same band of the ecliptic as we see the twelve major zodiac signs. These smaller sections give us much more information about the energy coming from that part of the cosmos, and the mood that the planets will take on as they pass there. This Full Moon falls in Purva Ashadha nakshatra, known as “the invincible one.” There is a great deal of optimism and power here, so this could be a great time to face some fears and challenges that require confrontation. The water deity Apas presides here, strengthening our connection to the water element and our inner sensitivity.
As you tune into your own heart under the Guru Purnima full Moon, acknowledge the teachers and gurus who have and continued to support you along your journey. This is a particularly auspicious day for honoring them, upholding tradition, and even setting intentions for new paths of learning or teaching that you plan to follow.
Jupiter, Venus & Saturn
The Guru planet himself is in Hasta nakshatra at the moment, the sign of “the hand,” which adds even more expansion to our opportunities for learning and strengthening our skills. He is also aspecting Venus, who is now in Taurus, his own sign. Venus in Taurus (most of this month), elevates the artistry in our life, bringing more beauty and amplifying our connection with all sensual pleasures — nature, art, music, food, and our surroundings in general.
With this aspect it could be a good month to improve your material situation … but be aware that retrograde Saturn is also aspecting Venus now, having just transited back into sidereal Scorpio. While Jupiter’s aspect helps us to expand in Venusian endeavors, Saturn’s disciplinarian mood may bring up feelings of restriction. Take this as a lesson to broaden your vision and look at the long-term results of your decisions. Indulging in your pleasures now may require a bit of hard-work and commitment because of Saturn’s influence, but that is a reminder of the effort we will need to put forth over time to support our actions.
Jupiter has been in retrograde motion since February 5th, and comes to a stop today before beginning direct motion again for the rest of the year. Over the last few months his apparent backwards motion has made us rethink our values and philosophy, as well as our educational course and relationships with gurus and teachers. After today, that inward reflection will turn into more direct action again, and we will find opportunities opening up around higher learning as well as inspiration.
You may have felt particularly slowed down or inwardly-turned if you are ruled by Jupiter — either Sagittarius or Pisces as your Vedic rising sign — or if you have Jupiter on your ascendant or joined your Moon or ruling planet. If Jupiter is a raja yoga (auspicious) or dhana yoga (wealth) planet for you, it’s likely that things will start picking up for you again.
If you’ve been reconsidering your educational direction or thinking about going back to school over the last few months, Jupiter’s direct motion helps to open up those opportunities. This summer will be a good time to enroll (in general, but always take your personal natal chart into consideration) and begin new educational pursuits or seminars.
Over these last months Jupiter has had rulership over both Venus and Saturn, who were transiting Pisces and Sagittarius, as well as Mercury, Sun and Mars, who passed through Pisces for about a month each. Jupiter is the planet of hope and optimism, so his backwards motion may have dried up our enthusiasm and positive outlook a bit. Now is a great time to come back into alignment with your faith and your trust in the universe.
Jupiter will spend the next few months finishing his course through sidereal Virgo, before transiting into Libra in mid-September. If you missed the Jupiter in Virgo forecast for your sign, be sure to join my mailing list to download now. Keep an eye out for the new forecast for Jupiter in Libra, due out around September.
It’s no surprise that Rohini is known as the Moon’s favorite nakshatra, it’s one of mine as well. This Thursday, May 25th, at 12:45 pm PDT, the exalted Moon will join the Sun in the middle of Taurus, in Rohini nakshatra. We can give thanks for a warmer and cheerier month ahead, as we begin the cycle with a more peaceful disposition in the mind and heart.
The Moon is the planet that affects our emotions, and sets the tone of our mental thought patterns. Moon is exalted in Taurus because of the stable (fixed) nature of this grounded earth sign, which is ruled by Venus, the planet of pleasure, beauty, and harmony. We all know what it feels like to have turmoil and too many waves of change in the mind and heart, and we feel happier when the Moon has a happy and solid place to rest, such as Taurus.
Within Taurus, this New Moon falls within the Vedic nakshatra (star-sign) called Rohini, “the reddish one” or “the growing one.” Of all the twenty-seven nakshatras visited by the Moon each month, he was said to linger longer here, treating Rohini as his favorite. (In Vedic lore, the nakshatras were said to be the wives of the Moon. Though we do think of the Moon and Venus as planets with feminine qualities, the deities of the planets are thought of as gods while the nakshatras are goddesses.)
Rohini image from Trivedi click for link
Rohini correlates with the star Aldebaran, one of the brightest stars in the sky. The warm and glowing nature of this star elicits a sense of abundance and feminine fertility, and it is no surprise that there is a strong association with agriculture here. The common symbol for Rohini is the ox-cart, representing an abundant harvest, commerce, and in general, a fulfilling material existence. There are strong associations with Lakshmi here, the goddess of prosperity. Rohini is also associated with Brahma, the creative force in existence, adding to the sensation of infinite possibilities here. Venus’s rulership over Taurus also adds a quality of luxury, enjoyment, and a strong presence of Mother Nature.
The shakti (power) of Rohini is the power to grow, and this is a great month to focus on growing your material projects this year. The potency to bring dreams into material existence is strong under the new Moon in Rohini, especially with Taurus’ ruler, Venus, still exalted in Pisces. Venus in Pisces helps us connect our desires with our highest potential, and in the 11th house from this New Moon, the potential of fulfilling our dreams and greatest ambitions is added.
The New Moon in Taurus is also joined by Mars, but Mars is past 29 degrees of Taurus at the moment, so not having too fiery of an influence on our minds. The warrior planet lacks some intensity when on the cusp of two signs. He is within Mrigashira nakshatra, however, his own star-sign, which adds some potency and should help to keep our energy balanced. He transits into Gemini on Friday where we’ll need to put more energy into communication and intellectual pursuits, through mid-July.
Venus is finishing his four-month exalted transit through Pisces on May 30th, when he moves into Aries. After sorting through our desires and deeply reflecting on our relationships through this time, we’ll now work on taking action around them. Passions could be elevated for the next month. The 9th of June will bring both the full Moon and the full stop of Jupiter, before he turns direct and begins finishing his transit of Virgo through the summer.
Enjoy the dark Moon night on May 24th, leading into a new cycle on the 25th, and plant the seeds of what you want to grow in the incredibly fertile grounds of the heart and mind this month!
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This Monday, April 10th brings the purnima full moon phase under a mass of retrograde planets. The Moon reaches peak fullness in sidereal Virgo at 11:08 pm PDT. In contrast to the sensitive and dreamy nature of Pisces that led us into this lunar cycle, the Virgo full moon illuminates for us some more grounded and practical ways of looking at the flood of emotions we have experienced lately.
Venus and Pisces
You probably remember my emphasis on Venus this Moon cycle, since the planet of desire and relationships has been having a heavy influence lately. Venus joined the Sun and Moon in Pisces at the start of this Moon cycle, setting the tone for (another) month of really focusing on relationships and how we go about achieving pleasure in this world. Venus has been transiting Pisces since late January, where he’s considered exalted.” This time frame has compelled us to realign our desire with the cosmic desire, taking a look at what our truest desires really are, and seeing how that relates to our most cherished values. Pisces is a place where we can learn to surrender into the divine flow, and also come into much deeper contact with our emotions. It’s also a sign that brings up the possibility of escapism, so if you have that tendency it’s a good time to watch out for it.
Since March 4th, Venus has been on his retrograde course. This semi-rare occurrence (happening once every 18 months), is a time where we seriously back up and reflect on our relationships as well as our pleasures. I have seen a LOT of people experiencing a degree of retreat in relationships as well, feeling more aversion to partners and feeling much more inwardly drawn. We seem to notice everything that’s wrong with the relationship, or the partner, or better yet in our own approach to human harmony. It can certainly feel a bit painful at times, but this is an opportunity for us to become more self-aware, and elevate the way that we approach and behave in our relationships.
What recent revelations have you had about your personal relationship style?
When you check in with yourself and allow yourself to feel your true desires, what do you find?
How do your desires relate with your highest values, philosophy, and beliefs?
Virgo Full Moon
This Virgo full moon is a great time to actually seek and find some tangible methods of implementing that elevated approach to pleasure. Virgo is an earth sign ruled by Mercury (the intellect), so this full moon guides us towards practical and implementable tools to improve our modes of relating, and reaching our desires. Jupiter joins the full moon here, so our belief structures and higher guidance is a strong support right now. We have the chance to take tools from our highest teachings and create daily practices and specific methods that take us towards our goals and desires.
What small daily practice can you add to your life that harmonizes both your desires and your beliefs?
What conscious plan of action can you implement, either on your own or with a partner, to better support your relationships?
This full moon falls within the section of Virgo known as Chitra, “the brilliant.” This is a very potent nakshatra (Vedic constellation) for taking the beauty that we perceive through Venus and birthing it into form in the world. The deity of this star is Vishvakarma, the celestial architect, who reminds us of the cosmic harmonic perfection that is truly an amalgam of beauty and order (think sacred geometry). This concept elicits the understanding that desire and beauty are not exclusive from sensibility and logic.
As your own architect, what steps can you take towards weaving more beauty and harmony into structured practices your life?
So Much Retrograde!
Though the full moon phase usually has us feeling a little bit more active and outward, this time around might really be better served with some personal retreat time. There is a lot to reflect on due to Venus retrograde alone, but on top of that, this purnima also finds Jupiter, Saturn, Mercury, Rahu and Ketu retrograde (the nodes always move in apparent retrograde direction). That’s six out of nine Vedic grahas appearing to move “backwards” through the zodiac. This mass of retrograde planets lasts through the week, from April 9th through the 15th.
This could mean that we will experience a major slowdown in almost all areas of life next week. Don’t worry, this just means that it’s a time to schedule some downtime and go inward. It’s not the best time to plan on starting new ventures or important milestones in life. In the area where I live, this week is spring break for a lot of the schools. A little vacation or retreat could definitely be appropriate right now, as things aren’t really moving forward anyway in terms of work, relationships, education, and communication. But be prepared for a few possible hiccups in travel logistics or scheduling of events.
On the following Friday, the 15th, Venus will turn direct. We will have hopefully found more clarity around our relationships and desires by then, and can begin to better implement our plan of action the between then and the end of May, as Venus continues his journey forward through Pisces.
Shani or Saturn is one of the planets whose retrograde motion recently began. He is the planet governing our commitments, perseverance, and work ethic, so with this motion we may be feeling ourselves slow down, and beginning to reconsider our long-term goals, particularly around career. This retrograde transit lasts from now through August 25th, during which time he will transit back into Scorpio (having only recently begun his journey through sidereal Sagittarius). This will give us the chance to take another last look at the commitments we were working through during his Scorpio transit over the last two years, which are very particular for each individual sign. (Email me for the free Saturn Retrograde in Scorpio e-book if you didn’t get it yet.)
Remember, above all, Saturn is here to teach us patience. With Mars in Aries while Saturn is slowing down, you might feel like a fireball wanting to speed ahead but frustrated at your ability to do so. This week’s mass of retrograde planets is giving you the opportunity to slow things down and turn inward for a minute, reflecting on what is really important.
Retrograde dates to remember:
Jupiter Retrograde: February 5th – June 9th
Venus Retrograde: March 4th – April 15th
Saturn Retrograde: April 5th – August 25th
Mercury Retrograde: April 9th – May 3rd
The purnima full moon phase this month also indicates Hanuman Jayanti, the celebration of the birth of Lord Hanuman. This Vedic deity represents the penultimate devotee, and shows us the immense strength that great faith, humility, and service can bring forth from within us. With all of this retrograde motion, and the powerful influence of the “Venus in Pisces” Moon cycle we are traversing, devotional practice is probably the best medicine. Chant, sing, meditate, and especially, find some ways to be of service, in order to honor Hanuman this Monday.
Mars, the planet of our courage and will, is coming to a stop in his reverse motion today (as viewed from earth), and then will slowly begin moving forward again through the zodiac. Mars has been retrograde since mid-April, and since that time we may have been feeling confused about our strength and courage, or may not have been feeling as much vitality as usual (especially if you are a Mars-ruled person). Mars moving forward again will help us to regain some willpower and self-discipline, but could also put a bit of pressure on our relationships for the next couple of weeks while he remains in Libra. You’ll also feel some energy returning to whatever house Libra is in your chart, and whatever themes Mars rules for you.
In a couple of weeks the forward-moving Mars will re-enter sidereal Scorpio, joining retrograde Saturn once again. If you haven’t read your Saturn Retrograde Forecast yet, now is a good time to do it. The Mars-Saturn conjunction will up the pressure on the commitments you’ve been working on figuring out since March. You will have about one month left in Saturn retrograde when Mars, who governs our force and will, joins Saturn, who relates to our long-term goals and commitments. This will be the time to really decide what direction you are moving (especially in regards to Scorpio’s house in your chart), and take a firm stand before the Mars-Saturn war in late August.
Now is still a great time for a reading if you want to explore how the Mars and Saturn are triggering you around long-term goals and decisions.