The Sun and Moon will coincide on Tuesday morning at 0°30’ sidereal Taurus, less than an hour after the Moon leaves Aries to join the Sun here. The exact time for the New Moon is 4:48 am PDT on May 15th. This begins a lunar cycle under the energy of Taurus, in the Vedic nakshatra of Krittika, “the cutter.” Following the Aries cycle of initiation, this month will help us to bring ourselves and our goals into fuller embodiment, as the Sun traverses the Venus-ruled earth sign of the bull.
Taurus, or Vrishabha in Sanskrit (“the bull” or “mighty”), is a strong and steady sign that guides our attention towards the beauty of the natural world. Taurus, a four-footed sign, is good at moving forward with strength and fortitude, but finds it more difficult to change direction quickly. The fertility of the earth is lush during this lunar cycle, and our minds and hearts are focusing on what pleasures bring us the most happiness.
Of course, happiness is not a given, but this month is a time to seriously look at our desires, and what lights up and fulfills our hearts. The flip-side of this examination will come on the full Moon in Scorpio, when we come in touch with the fragility and impermanence of all we hold dear. The overall tone for the month, however, is to really pay attention to our surroundings, and make sure that what we keep around us, both in terms of company and possessions, are truly making us happy.
This new Moon also aligns with the Vedic nakshatra Krittika, located by the seven stars known as the Pleiades in the west. This nakshatra bridges the 30° portions of the sky attributed to Aries and Taurus. Though mostly within the Venusian sign of Taurus, Krittika begins in Mars-ruled Aries and is itself under the influence of the Sun.
It is ruled by the Vedic deity Agni, the lord of fire personified. Represented by an axe, flame, or razor, Krittika brings forth sharp and purifying qualities, which can be used to help us to cut or burn away what is not needed. There is also a motherly and nurturing quality to this star, from the association with Venus, as well as with Kartikeya, the warrior son of divine Mother Parvati. The satguru Amma (Amritanandamayi Devi) was born under a Moon in Krittika, and emits this sharp and penetrating yet loving light of purification.
Ketu and Mars in Capricorn
This purifying potential may be especially useful this month, as there is some challenging energy emanating from sidereal Capricorn, as both Ketu (the south node) and exalted Mars are now aligning there. Ketu’s presence can lead to misdirection of energy, accidents, confusion, or unexpected loss. Mars, the warrior, brings a cutting fire-power, and when placed in earth-sign Capricorn, his sign of exaltation, helps us to turn courage into discipline and structure.
The combination of Mars and Ketu, however, could lead to some unexpected acts of violence or intensity. The Kilauea volcano’s violent eruption began on May 3rd, the first full day after this conjunction began. The higher potential of this combination is the possibility for strengthening our psychic powers and wisdom, so sadhana will be incredibly important during this time.
This Mars-Ketu conjunction is going to last for nearly six months, as Mars will transit Capricorn from now through November 5th, and Ketu is taking up residence there for the entire year. Mars’ stint here is so long because he will be in retrograde motion for part of that time, from June 26th through August 27th. During that time, you may find Mars-ruled themes in your life slowing down, and may encounter some deep insights over these. The potential for some upheaval prior to these revelations is definitely strong, especially during the eclipse window from early July through mid-August, as we pass under two partial solar and one total lunar eclipse.
The full Moon peaks on Sunday, April 29th at 5:58 pm PDT in sidereal Libra, directly opposite the Sun in Aries. This is the turning point in the Aries lunar cycle, which began two weeks ago as the Sun and Moon came together in the Mars-ruled sign of individual strength and courage. Now, with the full Moon in Venus-ruled Libra, our relationships are illuminated and we examine the compromises and reflections that help us to truly integrate our individuality into a happy existence. This full Moon is also aligned with Swati nakshatra, the Vedic star-sign related to the wind element, and also a place of great independence.
Libra Full Moon
As we began the Aries cycle our attention was on our individual strength, power, and will, as we felt the cosmic encouragement to move ahead into new endeavors. Sun in Aries gives us a great sense of our connection to source, and the courage to translate that into actions. It was an auspicious time for new beginnings, augmented by Akshaya Tritiya, just after the new Moon of April 15th.
As the Moon now becomes fully illuminated directly opposite from the Sun in Aries, our emotional body resonates strongly with the Libran concepts of beauty and harmony. Relationships come to the forefront, and we become aware of the need to incorporate those we care for into our new ventures, and to compromise where appropriate, realizing that our individual happiness can only be as good as the state of our closest relationships. Venus and Libra illuminate our human experience and the need we have for intimacy and closeness. Close social bonds actually support the evolutionary imperative to survive which Mars stimulates in us.
The Libra full Moon also connects our minds and hearts to Venusian concepts such as art, music, and the beauty of the natural world around us. This is a good weekend to spend time in nature, around the arts, or with those we love, recognizing that the pleasurable side of life is integral to our other endeavors.
Within Libra, this full Moon falls at around 15°, aligning with the Vedic constellation known as Swati, “the independent one.” As a Rahuvian nakshatra, this part of the sky does elicit a degree of independence, and we strive to balance that with our relational nature. This nakshatra is ruled by Vayu, the lord of wind, and as the Moon transits here we must watch that our mind does not become too scattered, flitting quickly from one idea to the next. Connecting with earth and water elements would be helpful this weekend to ground these energies.
Jupiter is joining this full Moon in Libra, adding a helpful optimism and an expansive feeling to the heart. Jupiter is also directly opposite the Sun right now, and in retrograde motion, so we will see an incredibly bright “full” Jupiter very close to the Moon tonight, and incredibly close to the Moon on Monday night. Jupiter is generally a benefic planet, who adds grace, inspiration, and good luck, but can also bring forth some difficulty if he is a more difficult influence in your natal chart.
Mars & Saturn
Mars is moving into sidereal Capricorn on May 2nd, ending his conjunction with Saturn but beginning one with Ketu. Mars will transit Capricorn for 6 months, moving in retrograde motion for part of that time. Being in his sign of exaltation, Mars in Capricorn can bring great strength and discipline, and more courage and conviction for us, especially in those areas of life he rules in your natal chart. His conjunction with Ketu during this time, however, will also bring up shadows in those areas of life, and possibly force us to undergo some major changes and processes of detachment with those things. You can receive a deeper examination of this transit as part of a personal natal chart reading.
Mercury remains in Pisces, his sign of debilitation, until May 9th. Continue to watch for emotion overwhelming your sense of practicality. Our emotions are also highlighted and heightened by the Moon’s conjunction with Jupiter this weekend, and by Rahu’s continuing transit of Cancer throughout this year.
The Moon and the Sun align again this Sunday, April 15th at 6:57 pm PDT, in the early degrees of sidereal Aries. They join in the Vedic nakshatra called Ashwini to begin this lunar cycle, the first of the 27 Vedic signs just as Aries is the first of the 12 major zodiac constellations. This new Moon night is the perfect time for planting the seeds of what you want to grow in the coming months.
Aries is naturally a place of beginnings, a fire sign ruled by the energetic Mars, who helps us to move towards what we need to survive. With Venus also in Aries this week, this new Moon will compel us to really go for our desires, using Mars’ strength to bring what we want into being. We are likely to feel more physically strong this month, as Sun transits Aries, his sign of exaltation. As the Sun relates to purification, this is also a great time to purify ourselves, physically, mentally and spiritually. Starting a new exercise regime, sadhana (spiritual practice), or cleanse is likely to have more traction if you begin it this week. Choose your actions wisely, as the direction we move under the new Moon of the Ram has a powerful momentum and can be difficult to change.
The new activities we begin have an added power due to the Sun and Moon’s positions within Aries, as they align with the nakshatra Ashwini at the beginning of this cycle. Three Vedic nakshatras (star-signs) bridge the larger sign of Aries: Ashwini, Bharani, and part of Krittika. Ashwini being the first of all 27 nakshatras, there is the most momentum here for new ventures. Furthermore, Ashwini is known as “the horsewoman,” is ruled by the Ashwini Kumaras, the horse-headed twins of Vedic mythology. They bring a strong horsepower to any planets or activities influenced by this nakshatra. They are known as the physicians of the gods, and carry a potent healing energy as well.
Akshaya Tritiya – Day of Abundance
Three days after the new Moon in Aries, we come upon a special day of the year known as Akshaya Tritiya, on April 18th. On the third waxing lunar day (the tritiya phase) of the Aries cycle, the Moon transits Rohini, within Taurus, his placement of exaltation. With both the Sun and the Moon exalted at the same time, a portal of abundance is opened. Across India and the Hindu world this is seen as an auspicious day for new beginnings, marriages, and investments of all kinds, especially in gold or golden items. Akshaya refers to the idea of never-diminishing prosperity, so investments made on this day are expected to have great returns.
Jupiter adds some grace to activities we begin on or around this new Moon, as he gazes at the Sun-Moon-Venus conjunction from nearly directly across the sky, in sidereal Libra. Jupiter is powerful at this time, and could be considered a “full Jupiter.” He is in retrograde motion, nearly as close to the earth as he gets, and he is on the opposite side of the Earth from the Sun, so is incredibly bright in the sky (just as the Moon is brightest and “full” when he is directly opposite the Sun from earth). Jupiter brings the power of inspiration, grace, luck, and expansion, so even though he is retrograde, his proximity to earth and his brightness will add these qualities to the endeavors we undertake at this time.
Mercury, Mars & Saturn
Mercury appears more-or-less stationary at the time of this new Moon, having just turned from retrograde to stationary direct in the early morning of April 15th. He also continues to transit Pisces, his sign of debilitation, but without the elevating presence of Venus that was there some weeks ago, so issues of communication and mental acuity could be a bit murky at the moment.
Mars and Saturn continue their conjunction in the sign of sidereal Sagittarius, but as Mars is now moving away from Saturn there is less hostility than in their war of two weeks ago. You may still feel immediate urges at-odds with your long-term goals, or a conflict between the things ruled by Mars and Saturn in your natal chart. The two will no longer be sharing a sign once Mars moves on into Capricorn (his sign of exaltation) on May 2nd, where he’ll transit for a whopping six months. Look for my Mars-in-Capricorn forecast to see how this could affect you (you can join my free mailing list here).
In honor of Akshaya Tritiya, I’m offering 20% off natal chart readings from now through the 19th! Use coupon code AKSHAYA at checkout.
New Moon in Pisces
This Saturday the Sun and Moon join in Pisces to begin a new lunar cycle, at exactly 6:12 a.m. PDT on March 17th. They coincide in Purva Bhadrapada nakshatra, the Vedic star-sign that bridges Aquarius and Pisces. This is truly a turning point in the zodiac, and in the year, as we really start to feel the ices of winter melting away, and the rains of spring washing out the old and nourishing the earth for a new cycle of life to begin.
Pisces is the natural twelfth sign, a place where we complete a cycle, having gone through all the stages of it from beginning to end. Pisces is a sattvic (pure) sign ruled by Jupiter, which guides us towards the highest form of letting go and facing an ending — surrender to a higher power or purpose. It is also a water sign, which brings forward our emotional intuition. It has to do with the most ethereal planes of our existence, awakening the dream world and the subconscious.
This month could really help you to tap into your subconscious landscape and creative potential. The atmosphere is ripe for deepening our intuition and cleansing energetic impurities. Though it is a place of endings, the twelfth sign also relates to the pre-natal state, coming before the first sign of Aries where physical manifestation takes place. Through a practice of meditation, a trance state, or conscious inward investigation, now is a time to discover what lies below the surface and is ready to be birthed during the coming season.
The new lunar cycle begins under the nakshatra Purva Bhadrapada, a sign that bridges Aquarius and Pisces and has to do with the fires of purification (specifically, the funeral cot, where our physical body is burnt away and we truly merge back into spirit). As we approach the spring and summer, the times for heightened activity where we put our goals and dreams into action, we may first need to burn away the last remnants of the previous cycle. As we approach the Aries cycle, which comes next, this new Moon is a great time to cleanse and purify ourselves, especially energetically or spiritually, and let go of what we no longer need so we have our full strength available for the next journey.
Venus & Mercury
Venus and Mercury are both joining the Sun and Moon in Pisces as we begin this lunar cycle. We will experience their influences as the tone is set for the coming month. With Venus exalted in Pisces, we have an opportunity to purify our desires, and bring them into alignment with our higher principles and purpose. With Mercury neecha bhanga (debilitated, but modified by its conjunction with exalted Venus), our intellect and reasoning ability can also help us towards this goal.
Mercury is slowing down at the moment, however, and Mercury and Venus will enter into another planetary war on Sunday the 18th, through the 20th, while they travel within one degree of each other. Both the intellect and the pleasure-center can feel a bit fatigued during this occurrence, though Venus and the desire body are likely to come out stronger due to Venus’ brightness. Mercury will reverse course and go into retrograde motion on March 22nd, through April 15th.
Saturn & Mars
Saturn and Mars are currently in conjunction, transiting the same sign of Sagittarius. There can be an internal discomfort when this happens, as Mars, the planet of impulse and action, approaches Saturn, the slow giant who gives us patience and commitment. It can feel like the gas and the breaks are going at the same time (especially if you are Vedic Sagittarius rising or have prominent planets here). Moreover, the four areas of your life ruled by Saturn and Mars in the natal chart could be in noticeable conflict this month, especially when the two enter a planetary war on March 31st that will last through April 4th.
Jupiter has appeared to be at a near stand-still the last few weeks, stationing completely in early 29° sidereal Libra, and entering retrograde motion on March 8th. Since Jupiter entered the sign of balance and relationships in September of last year, we have seen wide-spread philosophical attention on gender equality. The full stop coincided with International Women’s Day, when many women made a stand by stepping out of the workforce temporarily.
These weeks have also had a lot of slowing-down and renegotiating the balance of power in the education field, as teachers and students alike have walked out in protests for justice. Jupiter is the ruler of this field, and coming to a stop in the sign of balance, then turning around, could lead us to see some major changes here.
In your personal life, Jupiter retrograde may lead to things slowing down or reversing in the areas of life ruled by Jupiter in your personal natal chart. Full forecast and personal readings available here.
The vernal equinox will fall on March 20th this year, when we will have equal hours of night and day all over the world. The northern hemisphere enters the warmer half of the year, while the southern hemisphere enters the colder. The life cycle is waxing in the north and waning in the south, yet at the time there is an evenness that spreads across the globe.
This equinox occurs during the Pisces Sun cycle, calling upon us to really rise and embrace a higher principle, to awaken to spirit and universal equality, and detach from mundane details and differences. Many people think of the spring equinox as Aries time, which it is the marker of in Western astrology and the tropical zodiac. In the astronomical/sidereal zodiac, however, the Sun is still at 5° Pisces during the equinox (see screenshot from Cosmic Watch app). This is due to what is called the precession of the equinoxes, whereby the wobble of the earth has caused our perspective of the zodiac to shift ever so slightly over thousands of years, and thus the spring equinox now occurs with Sun in Pisces.
On this New Moon in Pisces, embrace the opportunity to let go, cleanse, and purify, before the oncoming season of action is upon us.
Full Moon with the Power of Pleasure
This month’s Full Moon will peak in Leo on Thursday, March 1st, at 4:51 pm PST, near the bright star Regulus. It falls in the Vedic nakshatra called Purva Phalguni, a star-sign related to rest, relaxation, and pleasure, ruled by Bhagha, the god of wealth and marriage.
In contrast to the austerity of the Shivaratri new Moon where we began this lunar cycle, the full Moon here bestows the gifts of power, pleasure, and spiritual wealth that come to us based on our merit. Meditation and yogic practices lead to spiritual abundance, just as doing good works and service to the world helps with material happiness.
The Aquarius cycle which began just after Shivaratri has oriented us towards self-sacrifice, and focusing our energy on service to something greater than ourselves. In contrast, the full Moon in Leo illuminates the potential for personal power and prosperity. The lesson of Leo, however, is to use this energy generously, sharing it with those around us, not hoarding it greedily. The nature of the Sun is sattvic, and the true potential of Leo is to purify ourselves and then share our divine light with others. Like the Leonian archetype of the King or the father, one with power is meant to take care of those around him to create happiness for everyone, not only himself.
Purva Phalguni is the second of three nakshatras that span Leo constellation. The first is Magha, “the mighty,” which is all about strength, power, and achievement, symbolized by the throne. After having reached the throne, we may become a bit more carefree and take some time to rest and enjoy life in Purva Phalguni. Enhanced by Venus’ influence, this nakshatra is a place where we seek beauty, luxury, and sexual passion. The full Moon here reminds us of the need for rest and relaxation, after the hard work that has led us to our achievements. Its symbol is a swinging hammock.
The ruling deity here is Bhaga, the god of wealth, marriage, and delight. Similar to Lakshmi, he bestows both material as well as spiritual prosperity. He is said to be blind, sharing this wealth with people of all walks of life. The fruits we receive are based on our merit from past actions, whereby good deeds and spiritual practices yield the most.
Link to Personal Venus Reading
The planet of pleasure has a very strong influence this month. We begin the lunar cycle with Venus making a full aspect onto the Moon from his position in Aquarius (joined Sun and Mercury), enhancing our pleasure-seeking nature. A few hours after the full Moon, Venus will transit into Pisces, his sign of exaltation, where he’ll travel through March 25th. With Venus in Pisces, our desire-nature feels enhanced and more given to wild-abandon, in the free-flowing, other-worldly water sign. If you have tendencies towards over-indulgence or addiction, now is a time to watch these closely. At the same time, the exalted potential of Venus in Pisces is for us to allow our desires to evolve into desires that align with our highest principles, or the divine will itself.
On Friday March 2nd, Mercury creeps into Pisces as well, and will be close enough to Venus to begin a planetary war that will last through the early morning on Tuesday. With practical Mercury debilitated and at war with Venus, you’re likely to experience “heart” winning out over “head” for a few days. After they separate more on the 6th, Mercury may benefit more from his neecha bangha position (wherein his debilitation is modified by joining exalted Venus). At that time, the beauty-seeking nature of the Venus may support Mercury as he navigates the impractical waters of Pisces, where he is normally less comfortable.
As we move away from the eclipse period, we have also moved out of the heavy nodal influence caused by ongoing kala sarpa alignments. When Venus moved into Aquarius on February 5th, he broke the cycle that has continued for half the month since August. We now have the slower-moving planets on one side of the Rahu-Ketu axis, and the faster-moving ones on the other side, so no more kala sarpa cycles are possible until late July.
Jupiter will come to a stop on March 8th before beginning retrograde motion through October 11th. Whatever Jupiter influences in your life may seem to slow down and back up, and call for a lot of reflection through this time. In general, we could all have some second thoughts on education, teachers, or principles while Jupiter is in retrograde motion.
Lessons in Love
With the prominent influences of Venus and Bhaga on this Full Moon, this is a time to really explore your relationship with the planet of desire. Depending on how Venus functions in your natal chart, there is a certain way that he acts through you in general. For some people, an intelligent Venus helps them to make good compromises in relationships, have a lovely aesthetic or artistic ability, and healthy boundaries around sensual pleasures. If Venus is afflicted, it can cause tendencies to overindulge in these things, or have issues around boundaries, relationships, or luxury. Venus also influences two particular arenas in your life, as per your rising sign. Now is a good time to study yourself and your chart to see how your desire-nature arises, and to work on improving your relationship with Venus.
This month only I’m offering personal focused Venus readings, available here.
You can also get a full life course reading to understand even more about your life from the chart.