This coming full Moon night also falls on the longest night of the year in the northern hemisphere, the winter solstice! The solstice, December 21st, is the day when the Sun is at its farthest course south of the equator, making for the longest day in the southern hemisphere and the longest night in the northern. The Moon will be bright and waxing in its fullest Moon phase, purnima tithi, on this night, approaching maximum fullness in sidereal Gemini at 9:49 am PST on Saturday, December 22nd. Moon lovers, take this chance to enjoy the most moonlight you can get in one night, until this coincidence next occurs in 2094!
Full Moon in Gemini
The full Moon will reach maximum illumination at 6° sidereal Gemini, opposite the Sun at 6° sidereal Sagittarius. Also in Ardra nakshatra, this Full Moon is aligned with the outer reaches of our galaxy, stretching towards far distant space. This energy is appropriate for the winter solstice, which is a deeply yin time of year as we become more still in the lengthy hours of darkness, allowing more space in our beings, and in between our bouts of activity.
Ardra, also Arudra, is a turbulent place, however, ruled by Lord Shiva in the form of Rudra, the fierce bringer of storms. Though there is a certain energy of renewal here, it is the type of renewal that comes after difficult or destructive situations. The full Moon here can help us to truly let go of some of the things from the past year that we no longer need, but for some it could be a chaotic-feeling process.
The winter solstice is when the Sun is farthest from its northern course, allowing the night hours to exceed the day, the further you go north. It is also a turning point in the cycle of light, and after this point in time the light will slowly begin to return and the days lengthen. The solstice and the days surrounding are like a still point, however, like the powerful moment between exhalation and inhalation. Consider incorporating an awareness of this moment in the breath cycle into your meditation practice during this time of year.
It is somewhat paradoxical that we will experience the solstice and the full Moon together, as the winter solstice is a time to be very inward, and full Moon energy usually draws us out into a more extroverted state. Gemini is a dual sign that helps us to look at both sides of life, however, so it is also appropriate. With all things, there is a lesson coming forth to teach us about balance, and how to balance these energies, nourishing our inward nature while likely participating in some kind of gatherings or celebrations that draw our energy outward.
From the 22nd through the end of the year will be a waning phase for the Moon, and during this lunar cycle in particular, it is a potent time to allow yourself to let go of all the baggage from the past year, allowing it to compost and creating fertile ground for the next year to come (just as Shiva, the cosmic composter, brings this energy through the stormy rains).
Though the holidays are a time to celebrate, it’s important to be careful right now of overexerting your yang or active energy, and to recognize the real gift of cultivating yin during these dark months. It is a time to create more inward space for your body, mind and spirit. The dormant season of winter is a time to nourish and rejuvenate, and it’s important not to let these celebrations become depleting.
Jupiter and Mercury will be engaged in a planetary war (graha yuddha) from midday on December 20th through early morning on the 22nd. During this time the two planets will be traveling within one degree of each other, in sidereal Scorpio. This can bring up an internal conflict between what we strongly believe (philosophically, spiritually, or politically), and what makes sense in a practical, earthly way. This war can also create a paradox between two or more areas of your life, those ruled by Jupiter and Mercury in your individual natal chart. Check out your chart and pay attention to the interaction of what these planets rule for you over the next few days.
Venus is nearing the end of his four-month transit through sidereal Libra. Strong and powerful in his own sign, the ideals of beauty, pleasure and harmony have been forefront for many of us over the last few months. This transit began on August 31st, and Venus then appeared to slow to a halt and then travel in retrograde motion through Libra from October 5th through November 15th. This retrograde stint gave us a chance to really closely examine our relationships, as well as our approaches to happiness in general.
As we move forward through these last weeks of Venus in Libra, we should be integrating some of the lessons we have learned through this transit. What have the past few months taught you, and how can you proceed with more wholeness? What are your methods for seeking pleasure, and are these working for you? If not, what needs to change? When you get what you think you want, are you truly happy?
Venus is the planet that reminds us that we aren’t usually truly happy if our pleasure comes at the expense of someone else’s whom we care about. How are you at compromising in your relationship? Is it too little, or too much, costing one of you (and thus both) the happiness you deserve? What kind of boundaries do you have with others in general, and are those working for you (or them)?
This transit may also have gotten you in touch with the way you handle sensual indulgences, be it food, drink, shopping, sex, or intoxicants. The drive may have been turned on high during this period, with a chance to slow down and scrutinize your methods during the weeks of Venus Retrograde. Moving into the new year, as Venus transits into sidereal Scorpio on January 1st, take the opportunity to harvest and integrate the lessons you have learned about yourself, and your own Venusian nature.
As we come into the New Year I will be adding more updates on what to expect, as well as co-hosting a Webinar on 2019 Transits with a number of my Jyotish colleagues. Be sure to tune into the webinar, stay on the free mailing list, and consider getting an individual reading to see how the coming year’s transits will affect you personally.
Many blessings and Happy Solstice!
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.
Mercury retrograde has begun again as we approach the darkest day of the year on the winter solstice tomorrow (northern hemisphere bias). It’s natural to feel more inwardly drawn than usual during these days, so take it easy on yourself if you feel like hanging back from the party or social atmosphere. We’re getting the smallest dose of the Sun’s energy right now, who is responsible for our feelings of connection with divine strength, power, and inspiration. We’re in the most yin time of year, so the sensitive receptivity of the divine feminine is highly perceptible.
Take some time to be quiet and sit in the stillness, reveling in the amazing potency of the moment between the exhale and the inhale (on a solar scale). It’s a moment to feel our roots reaching deep into the earth, into the depths of the inner abyss. (Incidentally, the Sun is in Moola nakshatra at the moment, “the root” constellation in the center of the galaxy. The goddess Nirriti presides here, a fierce version of Kali who wields her powers of death and destruction.)
The winter solstice represents death on many levels, as we have reached the end of the annual solar life cycle. Now is a time for letting go. Release all that has happened in the last year and let the candle blow out where need be. It’s also a time to give thanks for all that’s come and gone, to celebrate it with gratitude, and acknowledge its place in the eternal timeline. We can then allow our vessel to empty in preparation for the new energy that is to come.
Following some days of darkness, the return of the light of Surya (the Sun) is coming soon. He will once again infuse the world with his solar breath. The new solar cycle gives us the opportunity for another year of growth, and recession, expansion, and contraction.
If you’re in the southern hemisphere, jump for joy and celebrate the peak of Surya’s cycle towards you! Revel in the ecstatic moment between the inhale and the exhale. Give thanks for the energy that has filled your cup thus far this year, and prepare for the germination process now that your seeds have been planted. The wheel of time is the only constant backdrop to our existence here.
Om Namah Shivaya
Om Kali Ma
Om Suryaya Namaha
Personal 2017 Readings are available now, scheduling throughout January.
Summer Solstice Sagittarius Full Moon: Roots Run Deep
Roots run deep on this summer solstice Sagittarius full Moon, occurring Monday, June 20th at 4:03 a.m. PDT. This full Moon falls in Mula (or Moola) nakshatra, meaning “root,” a Vedic constellation towards the center of the Milky Way. Though technically in Sagittarius, we locate this Vedic star-sign around the tail of the scorpion in Scorpio constellation. Ketu, the south node of the Moon who helps us to channel our hidden psychic wisdom, has a strong influence in Mula.
Surya, the Sun, is reaching the brightest point on his northern course. Here he will illuminate the emotions of the deepest parts of our soul and psyche, lighting up the full Moon, opposite in Mula. (Read more about Surya and The Summer Solstice here.) The energy of Mula has to do with digging to the bottom to reach the root of things. This full Moon may call you to dig deeper into something you have felt curious about. Research and investigation are well-supported, and you may unearth some undiscovered truths. Now is a great time to begin to deepen your knowledge, especially about things like astronomy or astrology. You can also honor and connect with the energy of this full Moon by working with roots, herbs, or medicine.
Be careful, however, because Nirriti is the deity for this nakshatra. She is a dark goddess who conjures death and destruction. She can help us to get to the root of matters by destroying illusion and awakening buried mysteries. She can force us into deeper states of surrender and devotion by her calamitous influence. She may “uproot” us or something in our lives in order to help us to see what is below the surface.
Alongside her devastation, she offers us spiritual tools to face such transformation. She gives the courage and insight needed to explore our own deep hollows from this tamasic nakshatra. Sagittarius’ ruler, Jupiter, still joins the radical and obscuring Rahu in Leo. This could add some strange energy to our discoveries.
Sexuality is heightened around this full Moon, as we touch base with our primal force, so this is a good time to revisit any tantric practices you have learned. The muladhara (base) chakra, our “root support,” deserves attention now. This will help us to harness Mula’s potential energy on this summer solstice Sagittarius full Moon.
The Moon is almost in alignment with the galactic center in sidereal Sagittarius. Sun and Venus are on the opposite side of the earth, in sidereal Gemini, reaching out towards deep space. There is a high vata nature in this area of the sky, the Mercury-ruled air sign. Be careful not to move too fast or try to keep score in your relationships. Venus is still combust, so the heat of this solstice Sun could make us quick to feel discontent when we don’t get what we want.
The dual nature of this sign will cause you to jump quickly from one desire to another. A partner may have trouble trying to keep up. You might also get exhausted if you spend too much time over-analyzing, or try to accomplish too many things at once. The cosmic alignment is elevating the air and fire elements this month, so take some time to connect with the earth and the water elements to bring yourself more balance.
We feel more heated over personal connections, now that retrograde Mars has moved back into sidereal Libra. This directs some of our energy towards strengthening our connections and working to see how balanced they are, but we’re still not able to assert ourselves in a straightforward manner. Do your best to avoid turning everything into a fight. Mars will begin moving direct again in July.
Saturn is just about opposite to Mercury at the moment, so communication can be slow or strained. We may feel fear or hesitation about expressing ourselves, or may take a more serious tone than intended.
The Mula full Moon is actually a great time to go inward, because this nakshatra is really supportive of meditation. Even though the Moon is full, don’t be afraid to take some time to yourself. Enjoy the radiant power of the Sun shining forth from within you, and remember that he is the planet who brings the opportunity for enlightenment. There is a great potential to illuminate some deep knowledge on this summer solstice Sagittarius full Moon.
To see where this full Moon falls across your chart, and what deep knowledge it makes available to your life, you can request a personal Vedic Astrology reading.
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Happy Solstice, Full Moon, Christmas and New Year!! The winter solstice on December 21st was the turning point in the annual Sun cycle. It was the darkest day of the year in the northern hemisphere, as the Sun reached the furthest point in his southerly course as seen from Earth. From now forward we experience the return of the light, as the Sun begins his northerly course and daylight hours get a bit longer each day. The winter solstice and the days around it bring a still point before the new beginning of the annual solar cycle. This is similar to the still point that we experience each month before the New Moon begins the lunar cycle, bringing with it renewal and a fresh energy for that cycle related to the position of the planets at that time.
The December solstice passes while the Sun is aligned with Sagittarius constellation and the core of the Milky Way galaxy, in the Vedic constellation or nakshatra called Mula (or Moola). Sun is also in Mula on this coming Full Moon (December 25th!). Mula literally means “the root” (muladhara = root support) and represents the energy of roots — origins, deep meaning, and life rising out of the darkness. The deity for Mula is Nirriti, a dark goddess who relates to death and destruction.
This symbolism reminds us of the great opportunity for spiritual growth associated with this part of the sky and this time of year. It is when we let go of the material that we can begin to pursue deeper spiritual meaning (and then light can dawn!). With the physical death that occurs in nature at the end of the solar cycle, we are offered a moment for stillness and contemplation. As daylight begins to return, we can recognize that the physical death of winter is actually just a period of transformation–that life continues and grows again each year with the coming of the new cycle.
The Full Moon occurs in Ardra nakshatra (within the constellation of Orion, near Gemini) on December 25th at 3:12am PST. The brightest moonlight of the cycle is on the night of December 24th! Ardra is often translated as “moist,” “fresh,” or “green,” and represents the energies both of destruction and renewal. Its deity is Rudra, a destructive and stormy form of Shiva. The symbolism of the storm also illustrates both the purifying and nourishing power of rains, which wash away impurities and feed the seeds and soil to allow new life to sprout.
The alignment of the Full Moon in Ardra and the Sun in Mula offers great opportunity for transformation, rebirth and renewal. It is not surprising that this occurs around the time of the solstice, and the holiday of Christmas. The prevalent energy of Ardra, however, is its intensity, which may be a quality we feel during the transformation and rebirthing happening at this time. Whatever storms have been brewing in your life or nature, you may feel a peak in the upheaval around this Full Moon.
Allow the winter storms to aid in your own personal renewal and refreshment. This is a good time to witness and accept the death of stagnant and collapsing energies from the last year and last season. Let loose on the reins and let all your endeavors rest for a moment while you enter the void before new beginnings. You can align yourself with the pure and mysterious energy of this space through practicing meditation. What is washed away in the storm will be composted and recycled, later to become the fuel for your new endeavors in the coming year. Allow yourself to pause and sit with the stillness, and discover its deeper meaning as you connect with the root of your own heart. This quiet moment of listening will help your desires and purpose to become clear, so that you can enter the New Year in more alignment with your goals and dharma.
Enjoy this magical time of winter stillness. Happy Solstice, Full Moon, Christmas and New Year!