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!
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*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.
Full Moon in Taurus December 2017 Rohini
The Moon reaches peak fullness this Sunday, December 3rd, at 1:13 pm PST. This full Moon falls in Rohini nakshatra, in the middle of sidereal Taurus, opposite the Sun and Venus in sidereal Scorpio. The full Moon in Taurus illuminates our potential for being grounded at heart and full of peace of mind.
Taurus vs. Scorpio
We began this lunar cycle on November 18th, with the Sun and Moon joined in Scorpio, bracing us for a month of exploring the depths of our most vulnerable and intense emotions. Under Scorpio’s influence, we face what we know is inevitable — change. This can take a toll on the heart, when we allow ourselves to let go of preconceived notions and attachments, permitting what we hold most dear to evolve and transform, even if that means letting go.
This is a screenshot from the SkyView Free app for Sunday at 8pm. Here you can see the Full Moon in Taurus. Click on the picture to read more about the sidereal zodiac (if you heard the Full Moon was in Gemini this month).
Scorpio is the natural point of “debilitation” for the Moon, the place where our emotions feel most aggravated, unstable, and uncertain. Scorpio is a water sign ruled by fiery Mars, adding passion and a sense of struggle to our emotive nature here. We often go through both inner and outer transformations when Scorpio energy is high. Sensing this potential during the Scorpio lunar cycle, we tend to be more self-protective, knowing that the boat of our hearts may be rocked intensely.
Taurus, where the full Moon is illuminated this weekend, helps us to contact the opposite sensations of those brought on by Scorpio. Taurus is where the Moon is considered “exalted,” where the mind and the heart are elevated, and at peace. Taurus is an earth sign ruled by Venus, helping us to ground the heart and find a sense of stability, while taking a loving approach towards life and allowing pleasure and beauty to permeate our fields of vision. This weekend, tap into the side of yourself that can remain calm and cool, bowing to Mother Earth even in times of intense change.
Within Taurus, Rohini is the specific Vedic nakshatra where the Moon is considered exalted, and where the Moon is full this Sunday. Rohini, “the reddish one” or “the growing one,” was said to be the favorite wife of the Moon. In Vedic mythology, the 27 nakshatras are considered the wives of the Moon, and he was often seen to linger here the longest. The Moon is also the planetary lord for this nakshatra.
Rohini correlates with the star Aldebaran, one of the brightest stars in the night 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 of Rohini with Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity, and with Lord Brahma, the creative force in existence, adding a sensation of infinite possibilities here.
Jupiter and Mars are now joining in sidereal Libra, creating what is known as a Guru-Mangala yoga (alignment) in the sky. This brings together our powers of purpose (Jupiter) with our power to take action (Mars). Under this alignment, we have more ability to direct our energy towards righteous causes, and actions that support our highest beliefs. Though this alignment will last until mid-January, watch out for a planetary war between the two from January 4th-8th, when Mars passes Jupiter and they are within one degree of each other. The energies can be less harmonic when they are so close and “competing” for dominance.
The planet of war and the planet of beauty are now exchanging signs, with Venus in Mars’ sign of Scorpio, and Mars in Venus’ sign of Libra, creating a parivartana yoga. This can help us to harmonize the energies of the two planets, and specifically the areas of life that these two rule in your personal natal chart. This alignment will last through December 20th.
Mercury: Retrograde and Planetary Wars
Mercury begins his retrogression on December 2nd, beginning to creep back towards Saturn, both in early sidereal Sagittarius. This could be positive for some endeavors, as Mercurial and Saturnian energies within us are able to work together towards a common goal (specifically around what these two rule in your natal chart). Less harmony is present from December 4th-7th, when Mercury passes Saturn, creating a planetary war (an internal conflict between our intellectual side and our long-term goals). He’ll continue in retrograde motion all the way back into Scorpio, where he’ll have a planetary war with Venus as he passes the planet of pleasure on December 14th-15th, creating conflict between our sensual and intellectual sides.
The full Moon in Aries will reach peak fullness for this cycle on Friday, November 3rd at 10:22 pm PDT. This full Moon falls in sidereal Aries, opposite the Sun, Jupiter and Venus (all in sidereal Libra). It will be in the Vedic nakshatra called Bharani, a portal of birth, death, and rebirth. Quite a fitting coincidence for the week of Halloween and the Day of the Dead. The veil between realms is thin while the Moon traverses this sign, especially during peak fullness.
Full Moon in Aries
The Aries full Moon illuminates our innate animal instinct and power, as well as our individual strength. Aries is naturally the first sign of the zodiac, and is the masculine (active) expression of its ruler, Mars. Aries energy directs us to find and express our individual strength. It brings out our warrior side, which needs to move through the world in a certain way to survive. With the Moon full in Aries, we are reminded of our most basic drives, and may feel compelled to express our individual strength and courage.
This is especially important this lunar cycle, which began with the Sun and Moon in Libra. The Sun is still in Libra, where he is considered debilitated. That is because during this transit we tend to spend a lot of our energy caring for others and balancing external situations. Self-care is often neglected under this placement, and it is easy to become depleted, physically and spiritually, as we try to balance too much and manage others more than ourselves.
When the Moon waxes to fullness in Aries, we will find more remembrance of what it feels like to be a strong and healthy individual. There is some danger of exerting too much strength here, by getting into arguments, but there is a benefic influence shining on this Moon from the presence of both Jupiter and Venus, opposite, in Libra.
The full Moon within Aries is also in the Vedic star-sign called Bharani, “the bearer. This adds more auspiciousness to the Western associations of All Hallow’s Eve and Day of the Dead. Bharani’s symbol is the yoni (the female reproductive organ), and its deity is Lord Yama, the god of death. This imagery elicits the idea of a portal between the realms of life and death, which will be fully illuminated on Friday under this full Moon.
Whether you are celebrating the Christian or Mexican holidays mentioned, now is an excellent time to contemplate these things, and offer prayers for those who are on a journey between these realms. It is also a potent day to consider what in your life is ready for its death, or composting, and what seeds you are ready to nurture with your energetic womb medicine. Creative energy will be high during this full Moon, especially with the expansive influence of Jupiter and artistic influence of Venus in Libra, giving direct aspects to this Full Moon.
Saturn in Sagittarius
On October 26th, Saturn finally completed his 2.5-year transit of Scorpio and entered sidereal Sagittarius, where he will now remain until January 23, 2020. Throughout this time, Shani (Saturn) will compel us to reexamine our fears and responsibilities, especially where they relate to social service and taking action for our higher principles and beliefs. It’s likely that we’ll see a lot of people getting much more serious about these things, and taking a stand through committed actions that support a social cause or principle.
We will re-evaluate our approach to hard work and commitment to our beliefs, as well as in the specific area of life indicated by Sagittarius in our personal Vedic natal chart. By grace, this will be a period where we are really able to sort through our philosophies and commit only to the highest, and the corresponding actions that support them. It will be a three-year process of re-evaluating our long term goals and values, and reconsidering how we approach hard work and responsibility (in regards to our beliefs, and to the area of life indicated by Sagittarius in our natal chart). For some folks, this is the beginning (or end) of some intense saturnine influences, like Saturn’s “return”, and Sade Sati. (See full article to find out if you are affected.)
During this full Moon we will have an exchange between Mercury and Mars. Mercury moves into sidereal Scorpio (ruled by Mars) on November 1st, and Mars is still transiting sidereal Virgo (ruled by Mercury). The exchange of rulership here adds a harmony between the two planets, mitigating that potential for arguing mentioned earlier. With the planet of courage and strength (Mars) working amiably with the planet of intellect and communication (Mercury), there’s a likelihood that we will be able to express our power with more grace and impartiality.
Jupiter and Venus
Venus will move into his own sign of Libra on November 2nd. This will definitely boost our creative drive. It also adds to the desire to bring more harmony into our relationships, but again, remember that the Sun also in Libra can cause us to make ourselves a little too dependent on them. Be sure you aren’t identifying with your personal power only through interpersonal reflections and interactions.
Look out for a planetary war between Venus and Jupiter on November 12-13. When these two come within one degree of each other in the sky, their purposes tend to fight for dominance within us. Jupiter compels us to stand up for beliefs and higher principles, while Venus drives us towards pleasure and compromise. It’s a time to watch out for compromising on your beliefs, or, on the opposite pole, throwing out a relationship altogether because of a certain principle (at least not on these days of extremity).
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Guru Purnima – Full Moon in Sagittarius
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.