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.
The Moon will complete his full waxing phase in sidereal Pisces for a full Moon at 7:53 pm Pacific time on Monday, September 24th, just after rising in the East. This full Moon falls in Uttara Bhadrapada nakshatra, the latter “one with lucky feet.” Deep in the twelfth rashi, this nakshatra relates to the depths of kundalini and fertility, and can help us to take a deep dive into ourselves.
This Moon waxes into fullness in sidereal Pisces, the twelfth sign of the zodiac that helps us to move away from the material world and into the realm of spirit, magic, and dreamland. With the Moon fully illuminated here, we can let our imaginations run wild, and follow them playfully into a whimsical exploration of ourselves.
Jupiter rules Pisces, and brings forward inspiration, luck, and a sense of purpose and believing in something. Under the full Moon in Pisces, we have the potential to truly let go and surrender to a higher power, and let loose a bit on the reins of control that we attempt to use to wield our lives. The Pisces full Moon is opposite the Sun in Virgo, the grounded earth sign that keeps us tied to the mundane tasks and activities of organization and planning that help us to live in the material world. During this opposing full Moon, we reflect on how to balance the right amount of control and attention to detail, with the right amount of surrender and faith in something bigger than ourselves.
Without an inspiring motivator or dedicated purpose, however, Pisces can promote escapist tendencies. We may let our imagination lead us into a world of fantasy, where we neglect our earthly responsibilities. There is also the possibility for substance abuse as a means of escape here, so be sure to keep one foot on the ground if you have this tendency. With a healthy internal guidance system, however, this can be an exploratory full Moon that takes you to new levels of self-understanding and surrender to the flow.
Following Purva Bhadrapada, Uttara Bhadrapada is represented by the back legs of a bed or funeral cot, symbolizing the final end of this life where the body is (traditionally, in India) burned and we are completely released from this phase of existence. This star therefore ushers forth the energy of purification, especially purification by fire ritual. The ruling deity, Ahir Bhudhnya, is a serpent with the potential to raise kundalini energy. Our internal power could light up under this full Moon. It is best if we can do some intentional planning or meditation beforehand to cultivate a space for achieving our desired results, and be sure to hold space for integration during the waning phase.
Desires are heightened due to Venus’ sva position, standing strong in his own sign of Libra this month. We will feel more inspired by music, nature, and the arts during this time, and relationships may be coming to the forefront for many of us. Whether intimate or friendly, this transit is a time where we’ll examine our relating style, how we compromise, and what paths we choose to take to achieve personal happiness.
Venus will come to a halt and enter retrograde motion soon, appearing to move backwards through the zodiac from October 5th through November 15th. This happens once about every 18 months, and gives us a chance to reset our relationships and re-evaluate our desires and our plan for happiness. In Libra, this will send us deep into a self-examination of our relating style, and it’s a great time to learn some new tools for compromise and communication with others. You may find people from the past coming forward with unfinished business during this transit, and will need to negotiate a new balance.
Watch out around October 15th, when Mercury and Venus come within one degree of each other for a planetary war. This could pit our desires against our intellect, with passion ruling out over practicality. This is a danger for some through the whole Venus transit, which can heighten our sensual nature and lead towards more indulgence all-around.
Mars & Ketu
Mars has just passed over Ketu for the third time this year, but will remain within one degree of him until just hours before the full Moon on Monday. There may be a sense of achievement and courage rising with this last conjunction. Mars has been in Capricorn, his sign of exaltation, since early March. Mars in Capricorn is when we learn to channel our strength and fire towards our goals and responsibilities, our self-development and self-discipline, and the things that will bring us lasting value.
During this long transit or Mars, he has been joined with Ketu the entire time, showing us the shadow side of ourselves in how we wield our strength, and also how we fight. This may have brought out some aggression, arguments, and accidents earlier this year, but if we were committed to seeing the lessons of Ketu (especially through the eclipse cycle this summer), we may have come out with a deeper understanding of our warrior within. As Mars finishes his transit here over the next six weeks, we have the chance to stand with our own internal strength, knowing where, when, and how to fight, and how to discipline ourselves, in light of the dark spots that have shown themselves over the last few months.
Jupiter Changing Signs
On October 11th, Jupiter will transit from sidereal Libra into Scorpio. He has been in Libra since September of last year. As he travels through Scorpio for the next thirteen months, our inner warrior will be inspired, and the vulnerable spots inside will be inspired by the planet of purpose. This is a great time to study psychology, mysticism, and whatever inspires you in your personal self-development. This will also light up particular areas of your life depending on your Vedic rising sign.
Stay tuned for a personal forecast or sign up for an individual chart reading to see how these current transits will affect your life.
The Sun and Moon will reach exact alignment for a New Moon in Leo at 11:02 am PDT this Sunday, September 9th. In sidereal Leo they join Mercury and begin a lunar cycle directed by the Sun himself, the ruler of Leo. Saturday night brings the darkest Moon phase as the Moon wanes to total obscurity, and is the best time for letting go of the past lunar cycle and preparing for the new.
The Sun is the graha (celestial body or being that grabs us with its force) that we see and experience the effects of the most frequently. Each day he rises and sets, bringing light by day to go out and move out energy through the world, disappearing at night as our energy descends and go into a temporary hibernation. During the Leo cycle, the Sun’s energy is even more powerful, as he is currently seated in his throne, or transiting his own sign of Leo, we could say.
As we begin to notice the hours of the day shortening (or lengthening, depending on your location), as we approach the equinox, awareness of the importance of this light becomes more apparent, and it may be a time where we strive to harness it and more through life as energetically as we can. The Leo cycle makes us aware of our inner light and strength, symbolized by the source energy offered to us from the Sun.
As we go through this cycle it is a time to examine our power and how we are using it. The great strength of kings and queens allows them to be either great samaritans or great tyrants. The highest calling of Leo is to use our power for the good of others, making sacrifices in our personal lives for the duty or responsibility to a larger cause. Four out of five of the last U.S. Presidents had Leo rising or Sun in Leo.
Rising to great power is not generally easy on the individual, however, but it can be purifying. The Sun is considered a krura or cruel planet in Jyotish, meaning he teaches us life’s lessons through more difficult processes. He is also a sattvic planet, however, helping to bring us towards a state of greater peace and alignment. The bright fire of the Sun both illuminates our power and our weakness, our strengths and our shortcomings, and helps to purify us by burning away what is not needed.
This new Moon cycle begins with Sun and Moon joined in Purva Phalguni, the Vedic nakshatra (star-sign) that spans the middle of sidereal Leo. This star, called “the little fig tree” is a star of recreation and relaxation, symbolized by a swinging hammock or the front legs of the bed. In the center of Leo, it shows the leisure that can and should be endured at times in the midst of being busy using our power to take care of our responsibilities. Ruled by the planet Venus and by Bhaga, the god of delight, this star carries a sexual energy and in general draws us towards beauty and luxury.
Venus is now out of sidereal Virgo, his sign of debilitation, and transiting his own sign of Libra, making the pleasure principles even more enhanced this cycle, and for the next several months. Venus will go into his cycle of retrograde motion from October 5th through November 11th this year, remaining in Libra the entire time, and will not leave this sign until January 1st, 2019. The last time we had a long stretch of Venus in one sign, including his retrograde cycle, was with Venus in Pisces from January 27th through May 30th of 2017.
This long stretch of Venus in his own sign will bring positive influence to relationships in general, as well as happiness and prosperity (of course other factors in your individual chart will affect this, but this will be more of a societal trend). We are likely to see a flourishing of the arts, or you may find more interest in art, music, or nature in your own personal life. Like the prior long-stint of Venus in Pisces, his sign of exaltation, it is possible that we will tend towards an over-indulgence in sensory pleasures during this transit, but perhaps less likely. With Venus sva, established in the sing of his self, more stability is possible, as we learn the lessons of appropriate compromise offered by Libra.
Mars, Saturn Direct
Mars and Saturn have become stationary-direct in recent days, with Mars coming to an apparent stop and now slowly beginning direct motion since September 27th, and Saturn stationing fully on September 6th, and will soon begin to make his forward progress through Sagittarius once again. For those of you ruled by either of these planets, or having important issues in your lives ruled over them, you will begin to see things moving in a forward direction again soon.
Mars, however, is still in Capricorn and now once-again approaching Ketu, meaning he will make a third and final exact conjunction with him again on September 22nd. Mars has been in Capricorn, his sign of exaltation, since May 2nd, and will not leave this sign until November 5th. He passed directly over Ketu on June 13th and July 18th, and has been in retrograde motion since July 10th.
Along with two eclipses resulting from the nodal alignments, July also brought the return of the Kaala Sarpa yoga cycles. This indicates an alignment of the planets during which all grahas are on one side of the Rahu-Ketu axis. As the Moon cycles in and out of this half of the zodiac monthly, we experience the kaala sarpa cycles for roughly two weeks at a time throughout this period. We are currently in one of these cycles from September 5th through the 21st. This period can bring up intense shadow work, especially in the realms that have been stirred up for you by this year’s nodal transit and the location of the eclipses in relation to your chart.
Thankfully, we celebrate the birth of the remover of obstacles this week, with Ganesh Chaturthi, on September 12th. The chaturthi or fourth day of this lunar cycle commemorates the birth of Lord Ganesha, whom we can call about to create a more clear path in our lives. On this day we can celebrate him through puja and prayer, and it is often customary to build a statue of Ganesha (out of natural clay), for our worship, and then release him into a body of water on the tenth day of prayer.
Because of an old dispute between Ganesha and the Moon, Chandra, it is advised not to look at the Moon on Ganesh Chaturthi.
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.
The full Moon in Sagittarius will be fully opposite the Sun in Gemini at 9:53 pm PDT on Wednesday, June 27th. This Moon waxes into fullness in Mula nakshatra, the sign of “the root,” but will be closely joining a bright retrograde Saturn, only half a degree away longitudinally. Mars, Venus, and Mercury are all joining the Rahu-Ketu axis, bringing on a strong nodal energy as we approach a set of THREE eclipses to occur over the next two months.
Sagittarius Full Moon
Though we began this lunar cycle with Sun and Moon joined at the very end of sidereal Taurus, the Sun is spending most of this cycle passing through Gemini. Sun-in-Gemini energy inspires a playful and curious mood, as we connect to our inner power through communication, learning, movement, and travel. It brings forth our flexible and adaptable nature, and stimulates us to rely on the intellect and reason.
On the full Moon, our emotional body becomes full with the mood of Sagittarius. In this bhava (mood) we rely on our faith, principles, and ideals more than on skills and reason. As the Sun’s light reflects upon the Moon from Gemini, we find a harmony between our faith and our intellects.
Under the Sagittarius full Moon, we feel the passion of our convictions. With the Moon illuminated in this fire sign, we may be stimulated to take actions that uphold our strongest beliefs. We have the potency to turn our principles into meaningful acts around this full Moon. This is a powerful time to dance around the fires of our inspiration, and let that light shine through us and into embodiment.
Moon Joined Saturn
This Full Moon is very closely joining the planet Saturn, within one half of a degree. Saturn is in retrograde motion at the moment, and, also opposite the Sun, is incredibly bright and about as close to the earth as he gets. With the Moon in such direct alignment with Saturn, there is a tangible feeling of pressure, even amidst the exalted and expanding emotional state that a full Moon brings.
As we sense our principles and beliefs filling us up right now and guiding our actions, we have an acute awareness of the depth and gravity that our choices hold for the future. Saturn is the planet of the long-term, and as such we are very aware of the consequences that will come over time.
In the Vedic nakshatra system, three nakshatras or star-signs bridge sidereal Sagittarius: Mula, Purva Ashada, and Uttara Ashada. Mula is attributed the first 13°20’ of this sign. Aligned with the black hole at the center of our galaxy, Mula translates as “the root,” and has to do with the deepest origins of all things. As we bask in the excitement of the Sagittarius full Moon, and feel the added seriousness from Saturn’s proximity, we are simultaneously aware of our deep roots. The past and the future coincide and we are aware of what is most important right now. The goddess Nirriti presides here, and reminds us of our penultimate death and destruction.
In addition to the powerful influence of this full Moon, the skies are charged with the intensity of the oncoming 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. On tomorrow’s full Moon, Mercury and Venus are joining Rahu while Mars (now stationary-retrograde) joins with Ketu.
The strong influence of the nodes and the upcoming eclipses brings our deep shadow energy forward. The shadows are the parts of ourselves that we are not normally able to see. They are our blind spots, the parts of ourselves that are confused and unable to see the light around certain situations. When we have eclipses, these shadows become more visible, and we are better able to work on clearing them through deeper self-understanding.
Wherever the nodes are transiting in your natal chart, these are the blind spots that are coming to light for you the most right now. These areas of life may be disruptive or disrupted over the next 7 weeks as we pass through this 3-eclipse portal. If you have any planets in your natal chart in sidereal Cancer or Capricorn, specific areas of life may be influenced even more by these eclipses. If we continue to do inner work and self-reflection, we can come through this time with a much clearer understanding of the path ahead, as we re-wire ourselves to stand in more balance around this axis.