New Moon April 2021
The Moon and Sun join to make a New Moon at the very end of sidereal Pisces at 10:31 pm ET on the dark night of Sunday, April 11th. This will begin a lunar cycle in which the Sun spends most of his time in Aries, his sign of exaltation. Jupiter, one of the outer, slower-moving planets, has transited into sidereal Aquarius, breaking rank with Saturn who remains in Capricorn.
We enter another lunar cycle during which the Sun begins in one sign just two days before entering another, where he will spend most of the lunar cycle. Pisces is the last sign of the natural zodiac, the end, a place where we connect with the unseen world including the underworld itself. Aries, on the other hand, is a place of beginnings, the true springtime energy where the literal sunlight gives life to the world once again and things begin to grow outwardly. This cycle will connect these two worlds for us, bringing much of the subconscious into light as we begin to take on more activity during this season.
The Sun and Moon begin joined with a debilitated Mercury, which can make us pass up practicality in favor of hopes and dreams. Jupiter rules this femenine (inward-looking) water sign.
The Sun, Moon and Mercury are all in Revati nakshatra as we begin this Moon cycle. The final of the 27 Vedic nakshatras, this sign has to do with journeys, and is ruled by the deity Pushan, the protector of journeys, flocks and herds. We can imagine in particular the journey from life to death as this is the final journey that we all make. Revati means “the wealthy” and is also related to Mercury, Vishnu and Lakshmi. There is a strong association with animals and this nakshatra, and many people with planets here have a strong love of pets or animals.
Jupiter has moved from sidereal Capricorn into Aquarius, lightening his load as he is no longer in his sign of debilitation and joining the heavy presence of Saturn. Jupiter in Aquarius could stimulate some expansion in social programs, scientific innovations, and forward-thinking across society. This new position could stimulate some movement in your life depending on natal planetary positions and the current dasha (planetary period) and bhukti (sub-period) you are running according to your chart.
Mars will leave Taurus just hours after the New Moon, finally parting ways with Rahu, lessening some of the intensity that has built up around their conjunction the past couple of months. His movement will also break the Kala Sarpa cycles, although with only one outlier the nodal alignment can still bring some intensity to current events or those born with these placements in the birth chart.
This New Moon is followed by nine nights that are the springtime celebration of the goddess known as Chaitra Navaratri. These nights are celebrated in homage to the divine mother in her many forms, particularly Durga. This is not as largely celebrated as the fall-time Navaratri (Sharad or Maha Navaratri), but is also significant. This leads us up to Hanuman Jayanti which will be celebrated around the time of the next full Moon.
Full Moon March 2021
The full Moon is in sidereal Virgo this Saturday night, coming in full opposition to the Sun at 2:48 pm ET on Sunday, March 28th. This full Moon is in the Vedic nakshatra of Hasta, “the hand,” signaling our opportunity to be more hands-on in crafting our own reality. The Sun joins an exalted Venus in Pisces, who is currently combust due to the close proximity of the two. Mars and Rahu are also in close conjunction, raising volatility in the world during this full Moon. Jupiter will soon transit into Aquarius, leaving his debilitated transit with Saturn.
Virgo Full Moon
The Sun is currently transiting Pisces, Jupiter’s water-sign that drives us to connect with our inner strength through deep emotional exploration, seeking a purpose greater than ourselves to which we can fully surrender. With Venus also in Pisces (exalted here), our hearts are yearning for this purpose and higher power. For some people, this alignment could stimulate a desire to escape the mundane world. There is the option to do this through intelligent means like spiritual practice and inward-looking journeys, or the potential to choose over-indulgence in escapist drugs, alcohol, or bed-pleasures. Some structured journey-work that integrates the two might be an opportunity this lunar cycle.
During the Virgo full-Moon, the Moon and our minds are illuminated with the energy of the sign that is opposite to Pisces’ deep-diving other-worldliness. In Virgo, we practice managing life’s details and being hands-on through our own efforts. Ruled by Mercury, the planet of the intellect, Virgo is an earth-sign where we figure out how to organize our lives sensibly, very much relying on the material plane to do so.
Within Virgo, the Moon is full in the Vedic nakshatra of Hasta, “the hand.” Under this star we find our inner artisan, our craftiness, our skills at manipulating the world around us, both literally and figuratively. As we approach the coming Moon cycle, during which Sun will enter exaltation in Aries, and our impetus towards action and initiative will come alive brightly, we can try our hands at creating something we wish to manifest under the light of the Hasta full Moon. Hasta is ruled by the solar deity Savitri, and is also one of the Moon’s nakshatras, whose animal symbol is the powerful female buffalo.
Venus, Exalted and Combust
Venus is exalted in the sign of Pisces because Pisces gives us the opportunity to align our desires, relationships, and pleasure-seeking (Venus) with something that aligns with our values and principles (Jupiter, Pisces’ ruler) and is bigger than or beyond our normal, waking, mundane lives (Pisces). Through this month of Venus’s Pisces transit, try to take the opportunity to re-align your romantic and pleasurable pursuits with that which gives you the most meaning, be it your spiritual or philosophical values or a sense of higher power in general.
During Venus’ combustion, however, the Sun is so close to Venus that we cannot see its light at all, and some of the pleasure of life may feel like it is being “burnt up” before it reaches us. Unfortunately, Venus is spending his entire time in Pisces combust this year. Venus has been highly combust (within 3 degrees of the Sun) since March 14th. He remains highly combust during his whole exalted stint in Pisces (March 16th – April 9th), save for the last few hours when he is still quite combust within 4 degrees of the Sun. This is good time to dig deep for the more austere pleasures of life… connecting with the divine energy that is still present even when worldly pleasure may not be.
Mars and Rahu
There has been an uptick in violence the past week as Mars and Rahu came closer and closer together. Their exact conjunction will be on the early morning of March 28th, the night of the full Moon, which could bring even more acts of terror or chaos. In Rohini nakshatra, a sign of commerce, this could have an impact on the stock market and might trigger some extreme volatility there, as well.
Jupiter will transit from sidereal Capricorn into Pisces on April 5th, finally parting ways with Saturn after spending most of the year conjunct and under his debilitating rule in Capricorn. This transit could allow for more opportunity and inspiration in your life, especially in the areas ruled by Jupiter in your personal natal chart. It signals a progressive time for philosophies across society in general, and we can expect to see more progressive and less restrictive movements gaining traction across the world.
Jupiter will enter retrogression in June, putting him back in Capricorn in September for a while before he finally re-enters Aquarius again in November.
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New Moon and Maha Shivaratri, March 2021
The Sun and Moon join near the end of sidereal Aquarius on the dark night of March 12th, with an exact alignment under the New Moon at 5:21 am ET on Saturday, March 13th. Mercury and Venus also join the Moon and Sun in Aquarius, while Saturn (with Jupiter in sidereal Capricorn) once again rules over 6 grahas at the time of the New Moon. Mars and Rahu continue their conjunction in sidereal Taurus, opposite Ketu in Sagittarius, forming a Kala Sarpa Yoga in the sky. Thursday night, the fourteenth night of the waning Moon, marks the Maha Shivaratri celebration this month. Sun and Moon begin this cycle in the Vedic nakshatra Purva Bhadrapada, an auspicious sign for spiritual advancement.
With the new lunar cycle beginning in Aquarius, the coming month may have a quirky and forward-thinking tone, and we may see some scientific advances this month. The Mars Rover landing actually occurred just days after the Sun had entered its Aquarius cycle. Aquarius is in fact very much about service to the greater good. With Saturn strong in his own sign, we could see many significant advances in social support structures right now.
Aquarius is known as Kumbha in Sanskrit, a word for “pitcher” or “vessel.” According to the Vedic texts, the sign Kumbha can be imagined as a man holding a pot, with deep-brown skin, standing in the water. We can see this Aquarian imagery in the sadhus of India (and its biggest ritual pilgrimage day, the Kumbha Mela), who make their lives an offering of service to society through their prayers and Saturnian austerities, while renouncing the individual self. In the Aquarius cycle, we think about how we can serve the whole.
Thursday night, March 11th in North America, the night prior to the Dark Moon night, is the fourteenth waning phase of the lunar cycle. During this month this night is celebrated as Maha Shivaratri. This is the most auspicious night of the year for doing sadhana (spiritual practice). It is traditional on this night to stay up all night fasting, chanting, praying, and meditating. This holiday honors Lord Shiva, the great ascetic, as we recall two stories of great sacrifices that he made protect the entire creation.
One of these is the story of the gods and demons churning of the milk ocean in order to release the nectar of immortality. Before the nectar came up, however, a poison came up first. (This is similar to when we do spiritual practice and begin our path of self-inquiry, and negative tendencies often come to light first, which can be a painful experience. Similarly, during a physical fast or cleanse, toxins can be shaken loose and released first, causing a healing crisis before we continue healing into a freer, happier state of being.) When the poison came up from the milk ocean, Lord Shiva consumed it so that it would not engulf humanity, as a great and noble sacrifice. His wife, Parvati, however, held his throat so that he could not ingest it, thus saving him from being harmed by the poison.
Maha Shivaratri also commemorates the wedding of Shiva and Parvati, which also stemmed from great sacrifice made for the benefit of all humanity. It was said that after his first wife, Sati, perished, Shiva was fully devoted only to his sadhana, meditating for aeons in isolation and renouncing the world. Then the demon Tarakasura began running amock on earth, threatening all of humanity. Brahma foretold that only Shiva’s child could defeat Tarakasura, so the gods devised a plan for Sati to reincarnate as Parvati, and win over her Lord to marriage once again to produce this heir. Shiva was not easily swayed, however, and it was only after Parvati became an ascetic and underwent great penance that he agreed to marry. They eventually produced their son Kartikkeya, who went on to slay the demon.
Thus, this holiday is celebrated through the penance of fasting, forgoing food, water, and sleep, for one night, and simultaneously celebrating the union of Lord Shiva and Parvati, or the masculine and feminine energies of creation, that allows the dance of life to continue. It is an apt time to feel the forces of Aquarius upon us, which compel us to consider our role in society, and in the universe, and what personal sacrifices we can make for the greater good. Even if you’re not able to stay up the whole night, any amount of devotional practice, serviceful sacrifice, or chanting of Om Namah Shivaya on this night can have beneficial affects that are magnified greater than on any other night.
Kala Sarpa Yoga
This year’s Kala Sarpa yoga cycles continue, as Rahu and Ketu appear to cut the sky in half with all planets to one side of the nodal axis. Kala Sarpa can be translated as “black snake” or the “serpent of time,” and intensifies subtle forces on all levels, including inner challenges as well as strengths and yogic combinations in a chart. Mars joins Rahu in Taurus, and tho he will transit out of Taurus and into Gemini in one month, technically breaking the cycle, the intensity brought on by the alignment can sometimes continue when only one planet has crossed to the other side of the sky.
The former “lucky-footed one” is the Vedic nakshatra (star-sign) where Sun and Moon begin this lunar cycle. This nakshatra bridges Aquarius and Pisces and is often represented by a funeral cot, symbolizing the transition from life into death, or ultimate liberation. It is ruled by Aja Epakada, the one-footed goat who is often associated with the image of Lord Shiva as Nataraj dancing on one foot, a fitting image for Maha Shivaratri.
Om Namah Shivaya!
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Full Moon January 2021
The full Moon peaks in sidereal Cancer at 2:16 pm EST on January 28th, opposite the Sun, Saturn, Jupiter, and Venus, all in sidereal Capricorn. This bright Moon illuminates the sign of the heart and the mother, while standing alone in the sky and receiving the aspects of three malefics (Sun, Saturn and Mars), as well as Jupiter and Venus. This alignment challenges us to let the heart shine with pure, unconditional love, while under the influences of stern authoritarianism, the fires of purification and courage, the conditional love of Venus, and the weakened inspiration of Jupiter. This quest is emphasized by Moon’s position in the Vedic nakshatra of Pushya, the nourisher. Read on for more explanation!
Full Moon in Cancer
The Sun traverses Capricorn this cycle, an earth sign ruled by Saturn that brings us into our power by instilling a sense of responsibility, hard work, and structure. It can feel like a lot of pressure sometimes, especially with Saturn transiting there as well, adding a strong, somber tone of maturity to our mental dialogue while he is here (all of last year and this). The opposite, Cancer, is where we find comfort, ease and an open heart, as if nuzzling into the arms of the mother. It is this sensation that is illuminated with the full Moon in Cancer, but, there is a lot of pressure coming from the other influencing planets that may make it feel difficult to stretch open those arms and receive the purity of heart that Cancer has to offer, at least without dismantling some of the entanglements that surround.
In Cancer, this full Moon stands alone, without any planets nearby. Though it is in its own home sign here and gains strength from that, there is a certain loneliness when Moon does not have any planets nearby. Furthermore, the Moon receives direct aspects from Jupiter (combust and debilitated, though neecha bangha), Saturn (sva, in his own sign), Sun, Venus, and Mars (also sva in his own sign of Aries).
The aspect from Mars in Aries can add fire, courage, and a sense of fight to our minds and hearts, that would prefer to be gentle with Moon in watery Cancer. The influence of Sun in direct aspect is what makes the Moon full, in fact, but is still a malefic that challenges us to purify ourselves, often through fire and heat, in order to reveal our pure essence and inner strength. Saturn’s direct aspect is strong because he is in his own sign… a position which has been wreaking havoc on the world through restriction and contraction over the last year. Saturn’s influence on the Moon limits the heart from expanding to its fullest, adding a weight of heaviness, a even a looming sense of doom, keeping us tethered to outward pressures and responsibilities when we wish to go inward, expanding into our inner sanctuary instead.
Jupiter’s presence and aspect does give some inspiration and hope, but even this is dampened by his debilitated position in Capricorn (though somewhat modified and elevated by the presence of Saturn… keeping us grounded to a healthy degree in our inspiration), and by his highly combust position only a fraction of a degree from the Sun (behind the Sun, from our perspective here on earth). That increases the Sun’s power of purification and asks us to burn away what does not serve in helping the heart achieve full openness and connection with the inner sanctity.
Venus’s aspect onto the Moon also influences the heart and mind slightly away from Cancer’s optimal goal of unconditional love, and brings in preferences, pleasures, and the sense of “deserving” something from those we love. Since the outside world often falters in fulfilling our sense of entitlement, Venus aspecting the Moon in Cancer can cloud that unconditional heart with a set of expectations that will create some guarding.
The Moon’s position in Pushya nakshatra continues this theme, asking us to examine unconditional parental love and seeking to find it despite difficult circumstances. Pushya literally means “the nourisher,” and is represented by the nourishing udder of a cow that offers so much sustenance.
It is ruled by the deity Brihaspati (Jupiter), and relates with the story of him adopting Budha (Mercury), the love-child born of Jupiter’s wife Tara and Chandra (the Moon). Despite circumstances, the sattvic Brihaspati loved the child as his own, setting an example of divine parentage without conditions. We must remember, however, that the human relationships of our limited selves, opening the heart without conditions can often result in feelings of disparate give and take—feeling one has been taken advantage of, had boundaries violated, or abuses of kindness and openness.
Our work on this full Moon is to dive as deeply into the heart as we can, and opening it within a safe place. We must strive to connect with the energy of the Divine Mother while examining all aspects of complication that surround our relationship with her (or with our own personal mothers, or fathers).
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Full Moon in Ardra Nakshatra
The full Moon peaks near 15 degrees sidereal Gemini, opposite a Sun and Mercury in sidereal Sagittarius, tonight at 10:28pm EST. The Moon is full in the Vedic nakshatra of Ardra, the “moist one,” a stormy and turbulent place in the zodiac. Saturn and Jupiter are still within one degree but growing further apart tomorrow, ending the planetary war they have waged since December 12th. The Moon will wane its way into the New Year before beginning the first lunar cycle of 2021 on January 13th.
Gemini Full Moon
The lunar cycle began with Sun and Moon at the tail end of Scorpio, in the gandanta zone that bridges Scorpio and Sag’, before moving into Sagittarius soon after for a Sun cycle with flavors of both signs. With the Sun in Sagittarius we try to find our power by aligning our actions with our beliefs, seeking higher purpose in a set of teachings or philosophy that speaks to and inspires us.
With the full Moon illuminated in Gemini, we check in with our Mercurial side, searching for what is practical and fun rather than more serious and “important” feeling. Gemini helps us to see both sides of the coin, or to step into someone else’s shoes, which can help us to see past our own staunch belief systems by which we try to live. It can help us to be a little more flexible, and a little bit less dogmatic, in an age that feels so philosophically polarized across the globe. Hopefully this can help set the tone in the new year, giving us the ability to both live by our beliefs while being willing to dialogue and consider those that are opposite.
Ardra itself is a stormy and turbulent place in the zodiac. It is ruled by Rudra, a fierce form of Lord Shiva, and is associated with many violent and explosive moments throughout history. With the full Moon here we could see acts of outrage, or literal storms that may ravage some parts of the world tonight. Represented by a teardrop, this nakshatra elicits the sensation of grief… grief that must be processed in order for us to move forward. Under the illumination of this full Moon it is a good time to examine your own grief and allow the heart to churn it through so that something new may grow.
The Jupiter-Saturn conjunction turned into a planetary war from December 12th through 30th, while the two planets transit sidereal Capricorn within one degree of one another. Both may have suffered because of this … Saturn, who has put the pressure on this year as he transits his own sign, was probably not able to hold most people in total “lockdown” mode this month as many broke free of his fetters and enjoyed the holidays, whether still in their homes/pods or associating with more friends and family. Jupiter, the giver of hope and inspiration, was also suffering due to the war, and is also debilitated under Saturn’s rule here. The two made a glorious visual in the night sky over the past few weeks, coming closer in conjunction than they have in 800 years.
They will continue to transit Capricorn in conjunction until Jupiter enters sidereal Aquarius on April 5th, until a retrograde cycle sends him back into Capricorn from September 14th through November 20th. Jupiter is debilitated here and though he gets a bit of a boost from Saturn, inspiration, hope, and education will flourish more while he is in Aquarius rather than with Saturn in Capricorn.
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New Moon and Solar Eclipse in Scorpio
The Sun and Moon come together on this Dark Moon night, joining near the end of sidereal Scorpio as they come towards a full conjunction at 11:17 am ET on December 14th for a New Moon in Scorpio. Their conjunction is also aligned closely enough with the south node, Ketu, that it will cause a total Solar Eclipse from 8:33 am through 1:53 pm ET, with the maximum eclipse at 11:13 am ET. The eclipse will only be visible from South America and small portions of Africa and Antarctica.
Total Solar Eclipse
In a total solar eclipse the Moon passes between the earth and the Sun, causing a shadow to appear over the Sun. This only occurs when Earth, Sun, and Moon are also closely aligned with the nodes, Rahu and Ketu, who are thought of as the shadow planets for this reason. These planets represent our deepest subconscious drivers. They are like our blind spots because we are not able to see them. During “eclipse season,” however, the shadows begin to become visible. This is a very important time of year to pay attention to any shadow work / inner demons / red flags that are arising for you. Great transformation is possible if we pay attention and do the work to honor what is being revealed.
This is the first set of eclipses to occur with the nodes in their new positions. Rahu and Ketu entered Taurus and Scorpio, respectively, in September, and will transit here for a year-and-a-half, creating three eclipse cycles on this axis along their way. Whatever house-axis sidereal Scorpio-Taurus is in your natal chart, and whatever planets you have there, will be affected greatly by this eclipse cycles and the ones coming over the next year. This is where you have the most work to do and may be facing the most challenges currently.
On a global level, we experience this eclipse elevating the apparent tension between our desire for material stability (Taurus) and overhauling change, surprises, and even loss (Scorpio). We may find ourselves more dependent upon or obsessed with one of these areas, while not allowing enough room for the other in our lives. In a personal chart analysis we can apply these ideas to whatever is affected in the natal chart.
New Moon in Scorpio, Sun cycle in Sagittarius
The total Solar Eclipse naturally coincides with the alignment of Sun and Moon, thus begins a new lunar cycle with Sun and Moon in Scorpio. As they are currently at the very end of sidereal Scorpio, the Sun will spend most of this cycle in Sagittarius, so we will experience a Sagittarian cycle with some Scorpion flavor. In the Sagittarius cycle we feel the radiant power of the Sun, and our inner power, fulfilled by acts of service and charity aligned with our highest beliefs. Sagittarius is a fire sign (a sign for action) ruled by Jupiter (principles, beliefs, and higher teachings). The Scorpio flavor will remind us that all actions and principles are also vulnerable to change, and this could allow us to find some growth around our inner-most core beliefs.
Jupiter-Saturn War & Total Conjunction
On December 21st, the winter solstice, Jupiter and Saturn will have an exact conjunction at 6 degrees 21 minutes of sidereal Capricorn, owned by Saturn himself. Though they align in the same sign every 20 years, this is the closest visible conjunction of the two in nearly 800 years. The last alignment was in May of 2000, a powerful transition point that ushered us into a new century, a new age of technology with the boom of the internet, and soon after a major change in the tone of society and world politics with the events of September 2001, including a major economic downturn.
The position of Saturn here in his home sign has put a lot of pressure on society already, and is largely related to the global pandemic and the continued constraint that we feel across the world and in our individual homes as well. With Jupiter entering Saturn’s sign, he attempts to bring some understanding, some learning, and some principles for us to work with as we navigate the stern imposition of Saturn in our lives. Can we learn anything from this? Can we check in with our beliefs and make sure that we are acting in accordance with them? Can we act in favor of these and in ways that are responsible towards our long-term goals, rather than frivolous?
The challenge is that, in Vedic thought, when two planets come very closely together, within one degree, it is considered a graha yuddha or planetary war. Who wins? Well, Jupiter is in fact much brighter in the sky, giving him a strong advantage at claiming our attention. But Saturn has proved incredibly strong right now being in his home sign of Capricorn. When two planets are at war, both will suffer to some degree, and their power in our lives may temporarily wane.
We may find that our principles, beliefs, and ideas don’t even feel like they are inspiring us or filling us with the faith we are seeking at the moment. And our efforts to stay strong, determined, and persevering through the shut down—and the other challenges in our lives— may feel depleted. Hold tight! The planetary war between these two runs from December 12th through December 30th.
Since this war is occurring in the 10th sign, hence the 10th house for a world chart, it relates strongly to government. The outright war for power between political figures in the U.S. may not subside until after December 30th, though we can admit it is hurting both sides and the governmental authority itself.
In our own lives, we may find things ruled by Jupiter and Saturn, the associated people, and the houses aligned with Scorpio, Taurus, and Capricorn may all be facing challenges during this month. Within all this there are learning opportunities offered by the planets, if we work to get to know them better and the highest purposes that they have to offer us.
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