Guru Purnima Full Moon Eclipse 2020
Tonight’s Full Moon in sidereal Sagittarius is the auspicious one known as Guru Purnima, a day for honoring our teachers, especially the satgurus and saints who bring light and truth to the world. The Full Moon peaks at 9:45pm PDT tonight, July 4th, and is accompanied by a penumbral lunar eclipse that peaks at 9:29 pm PDT. Though visible from the Americas, Africa, and Western Europe, this eclipse only brings a partial shadow across one side of the Moon. Its effects are being felt profoundly, however, during this cycle of change that has come with the two prior eclipses this summer.
Guru in Sanskrit is often translated as dispeller of darkness, or ignorance. We live with so much suffering as humans, because even through a lifetime most of us are still immature to a degree that we haven’t found peace with the bounty offered to us by divine creation. That is not to say that hardship and real suffering does not exist, but great souls and saints, and even many elders who have “lived through it all” have still been able to find a certain equanimity towards life’s difficulties, along with compassion and an attitude of service, however small, for those who are hurting.
In Yoga Sutra 1.33, Patanjali says:
maitri karuna muditopeksanam sukha duhkha punyapunya visayanam bhavanatas citta prasadanam
“By cultivating attitudes of friendliness toward the happy, compassion for the unhappy, delight in the virtuous, and disregard toward the wicked, the mind retains its undisturbed calmness.”
We could dive into a full discussion of all of these, especially in these trying times. In the last point “disregard” could be also understood as indifference or equanimity … though I believe as humans anger has a place on the path to this level of peace. But the Guru has the ability to bless us with a grace to move beyond this anger and into a place of peace and spiritual strength, despite whatever outside circumstances may be.
The Moon joins “Guru” (Jupiter) in his home-sign of (sidereal) Sagittarius this year. A bright, retrograde Jupiter can be seen close to the Moon tonight… though the south node Ketu also brings his (usually) invisible presence here, creating the shadow effect that will pass over the Moon. (Though of course the actual shadow is a result of the earth’s position, Earth, Sun and Moon are aligned with Rahu and Ketu astronomically, signaling the eclipses.)
Sagittarius is aligned with the galactic center, and is the active fire sign of Jupiter, a planet who guides our values, ideas, and philosophies. This eclipse cycle (including the eclipses of June 5th and June 20th) has brought up a lot of the shadows inherent in our cultural philosophy and values, stirring the pot over such things as hygiene (coronavirus management), race, and of course politics. During tonight’s eclipse, through dedicated practice and Guru’s grace, we may have the opportunity to see some of our cloudy thinking and remove the shadows of ignorance, both individually and collectively, that have hindered us through history.
The Guru Purnima Full Moon eclipse aligns with the Vedic nakshatra of Purvaashada, “the undefeated.” This star-sign brings strength as well as love and compassion, with a feminine energy ruled by Venus and the deity Apas (water personified). It is a place where we may battle over ideas, but ultimately truth will always be victorious in the end.
The nodes have been harnessing strength over the course of this year since mid-February when the Kala Sarpa cycles began (the two weeks of each month when all planets are on one side of the nodal axis). As the Sun moves into sidereal Cancer on July 15th, this will break the cycle, making these periods impossible through the end of the year. These cycles are not entirely rare, however, so we should not attribute current events to this alone (they have been happening every year for the last several.
Jupiter and Saturn continue their retrograde cycles through the fall, giving us an opportunity to dive deep into our philosophies and values and the structures we use to support these, making change particularly at the macro level as they travel through their homes signs of Sagittarius and Capricorn, respectively. Mars will also gain strength when he enters his home sign of Aries on August 16th, and then going through a retrograde cycle from September 9th through November 13th.
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Full Moon Lunar Eclipse
The Full Moon in sidereal Scorpio peaks on June 5th at 12:12pm PDT. It coincides with a penumbral lunar eclipse that will be faintly visible at night in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and Australia, reaching its maximum at 12:24 pm PDT. Eclipses bring forward the energy of the shadow planets, Rahu and Ketu, creating confusion but also bringing to light that which needs attention.
Taurus Cycle, Scorpio Full Moon
We began the lunar cycle with Sun and Moon in Taurus, joining its ruler, retrograde Venus. The Taurus cycle compels us to dig into the earth element, our physical bodies, our relationship with nature, and also, under Venus’s influence, our relationships with others. The earth has actually been thriving during the recent pandemic, as air and vehicle travel are far reduced and our carbon output has lessened significantly.
Moon was exalted in Taurus at the beginning of this cycle, because the mind finds peace on fertile ground whose ruler is the motivator of happiness (Venus). When the Moon is fully illuminated in the opposite sign of Scorpio, the mind and heart must face their most volatile and vulnerable circumstances. The Moon in Scorpio, driven by the warrior planet Mars (Scorpio’s ruler), compels to keep a fierce mind and heart while riding the waves of this unpredictable water sign.
As the natural eighth sign and a place of transition, Scorpio is where we are aware of all that we can lose on this earthly plane … and all that we must lose in order to rebirth again and again into higher versions of ourselves. When unsettled, the mind in Scorpio can go through waves of fear and turmoil while trying to access that which is the deepest, the most vulnerable, and the most sacred within us. With intelligence, the Scorpio Moon can help reveal to us those precious gems within … the innocence and of our hearts and the things and people most meaningful to us.
Lunar Eclipse & Retrograde Saturn & Jupiter
This particular full Moon in Scorpio is likely to bring up some of the fear and turmoil on our journey to the sacred heart, because it coincides with a lunar eclipse. Eclipses often bring extreme stress, illusions (and disillusionment, if we are ready to see through them), and the potential for revelation and change.
Personally my heart feels pretty torn apart these past couple of weeks (the amount of time which is usually the lead-up to the first eclipse of a series). We are seeing as a society (and from what I’ve gathered, a lot on the individual level as well), what is deeply wrong, and the warrior spirit of Scorpio is coming through to fight for the sacred (referring particularly to the protests against systemic racial injustice in the United States ignited by the police killing of George Floyd).
Though Ketu remains in Sagittarius (and Rahu in Gemini), the two are getting ready to make their transit into Scorpio and Taurus, in September, and this is the first eclipse bridging this axis where the nodes will ride for the coming year-and-half. With Ketu eclipsing the Moon in Scorpio today and soon moving there himself, I think that transformation through destruction (both inner and outward) may be a theme that we see over the next two years.
Remember that some of the highest gifts that we can receive from Scorpio are passion (for justice, for example) and devotion (to a higher good). Ketu’s presence adds the ingredient of making us look back at the past, healing ancestral wounds, compelling us to finally change negative patterns that are lingering and ready to evolve or mature. (It also just makes us want to tear sh** down.)
With Saturn and Jupiter both retrograde in Capricorn right now, we are deeply examining the structures and philosophies that guide us. At the onset of this cycle I spoke about how Saturn is asking us to choose new directions instead of holding onto failing systems of power. Systemic racism and state-sponsored racial violence are SUCH a deep part of the United States’ history and very foundation, both structurally and philosophically. It’s bringing tears to my eyes realizing that the introspective power of these retrograde planets may be aiding the collective uprising, helping us to look inward as a society in order to see how deeply these are part of our government and existence, and to stand up and demand a new direction in structure and ideology, if not an entirely new foundation altogether.
As eclipses come in cycles, we have another month to continue to really process the changes that are arising now, as we go through two more eclipses this cycle, on June 21st and July 4th. With the Sun in Ardra on both of those eclipses, it’s likely that some violence and disruption will continue. But the true energy of Ardra is to bring the moisture that allows new positive growth after a storm. Its shakti or divine power is to make gains through great effort, so hopefully we will see more positive outcomes from the protests through this time.
While Venus goes through its retrograde cycle, we have a chance to reexamine our connection with the earth and how we relate to nature and other sensory inputs. Many have been putting a lot of energy towards gardening and spending time in the outdoors. On a personal level, we are taking a look at the people in our lives, taking stock of who is most important to us, as well as realizing those with whom our connections may no longer be as strong as they once were.
The Full Moon today aligns with the Vedic nakshatra of Jyestha, “the seniormost.” This nakshatra has to do with courage, protection, and accomplishment. By the light of this full Moon, I am praying that the courageous protestors are protected and successful. Jyestha is ruled by Indra, the chief of the gods, and also has strong associations with Vishnu, the protector. It is located by the bright star Antares within the constellation Scorpio.
Full Moon May 2020
The full Moon peaks tonight at 3:45 am PT (early on Thursday, May 7th) in the nakshatra Vishaka near the end of sidereal Libra. This star is known as “the forked” branches which represent our finding ourselves at a crossroads where we must choose from two directions. In sidereal Libra, we are thinking strongly about balance and compromise, amidst an Aries Sun cycle that highlights individuality. In the coming week, we will see three planets head into Retrograde motion.
Libra Full Moon
Libra or Tula is the sign of the scales, representing the need to weigh and balance things to achieve an equilibrium in our lives. It is ruled by Venus, who is currently strong from his sva position, transiting his own sign of Taurus. Venus compels us to lead with the heart’s desires, to find beauty and happiness over all else. This could be a welcomed influence this week as we have been so heavily under the influence of a strong Saturn and Mars for the last several weeks.
The Full Moon in Libra is opposite a strong, exalted Sun in Aries. This position began an Aries cycle for us on April 22nd. The Aries cycle highlights strength and individuality, but with its ruler Mars in conjunction with Saturn (in Capricorn) for the last six weeks, that individuality took on a much more disciplinarian (and literally isolated) tone. There has been a tight grip of discipline over society through this time (since March 22nd), which may be easing up somewhat now that Mars has moved out of Capricorn (May 4th). Saturn will continue to reign there for the next two years, however, which could keep an air of restriction over society through that time.
Vishaka nakshatra bridges the end of Libra and the very beginning of Scorpio. Known as “the forked one” it is often depicted by forked branches, showing the opportunity for growth by choosing one of two directions. Its rulers are Indra and Agni, the chief of the gods and fire personified, showing the great strength that comes once one of those directions is chosen. We can find a strong devotion under this Vishaka full Moon, if we choose to channel our energy towards our higher purpose.
Upcoming Retrogrades: Saturn, Venus, Jupiter
Over the next week three planets will appear to slow down and reverse direction, entering retrograde motion from our perspective here on earth: Saturn on May 10th (through September 28th), Venus on May 12th (through June 24th), and Jupiter on May 14th (through September 12th). Saturn and Jupiter are actually coming closer to the earth as they enter retrograde motion, and will be approaching their brightest in the sky when they are fully opposite the Sun in a couple of months (mid-way through their retrograde cycles). Retrogression actually lends a certain strength to planets because of this proximity and brightness, so it’s not all to be feared!
The qualities of these planets may become even more intense while we will experience their influence in a more inward manner during retrogression. Saturn, for example, has been teaching us about structure and discipline, and making tough decisions in favor of long term goals. This will continue as he goes through this period of retrogression in Capricorn, but we may begin to look more to ourselves for that discipline, rather than simply feeling burdened to it by the outside forces. With Mars moving out of Capricorn and rules loosening, for example, it is now on us to consider deeply what are the best decisions for our futures. Some sacrifices may be needed as Saturn teaches us about endurance, patience, and personal restriction.
With Jupiter brightening and approaching through his retrograde cycle, our ideas and ideals come under personal scrutiny. It can be an opportunity for our faith to brighten, while also giving us a chance to check in with our worldview in general. As the outside world is changing, is there room for our inner convictions to adapt?
Venus’s retrogression from May 12th through June 24th will cause him to remain in his own sign of Taurus for over four months, spanning from March 28th through July 31st. Under retrograde Venus we slow down and take a deep look at our most significant relationships, especially familial relationships as Venus transits the sign of Taurus. It’s often a time when we get a “blast from the past” and check in with or hear from people with whom we have not spoken for a long time. It’s also an important time to take a look at your intake, and how you relate with luxury and material things. Though these things can be favorable with Venus in Taurus, during retrogression you may notice that you have amassed more than you really need.
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Full Moon April 2020 and Covid Crisis
The full Moon will rise as the sun sets on April 7th, reaching its maximum brightness at 7:35 pm PDT. Moonrise varies depending upon your location, but in San Francisco the Moon will rise at 7:28, with the Sun setting at 7:39. This will be a beautiful sight, aligned with sidereal Virgo, which will not be visible until later in the night.
Since I’ve been on mostly on maternity leave since October, I’ve honestly been focusing much more on the little being in front of me than on the planetary positions. I relate with the planets in small, personal ways each day according to the days of the week, and the Moon cycle in general, and I charted the year to see what major movements would be happening. And though I analyze the current planetary positions in relationship to natal charts when I’m doing personal readings, I thus far never got the chance to put together any year-long analysis or predictions.
To be blunt … I honestly didn’t see these current events coming. I wanted to make sure I could at least visit the Covid Crisis in my next newsletter, and with baby life, sheltering-in-place, and an Ayurvedic spring cleanse on my plate a few weeks ago, I decided to skip offering the last new Moon update rather than send it out without taking the time to include this info. So, although I’m sure this situation can withstand much deeper analysis than I can offer during these few hours of sleeping baby (and many more decades of study than I have under my belt), here goes…
Let’s start with Saturn. Saturn takes about 2.5 years to transit each sign, meaning it takes him 30 years to transit around the entire zodiac (this is why “Saturn’s return,” i.e. when he returns to the sign he was in during your birth, happens beginning around 27.5-30 years of age). Saturn is the old wise person of the zodiac, the one who teaches us about the long-term consequences of our actions, and about the hard work and commitment it takes to reach our goals. When he comes around, it feels like he sits on your head, putting the pressure on and bringing an air of stern seriousness. “Time to grow up,” says Saturn.
On January 23rd of this year, he returned to his own sign of Capricorn (sidereal). Earth-sign Capricorn is where he teaches us about responsibility and structure. Where we have not been responsible, or where structures we have created are too weak, he will show us this now that he has come back home to oversee things in these areas. Crumbling infrastructure, therefore, is one possible result of this homecoming.
Capricorn is the natural tenth house, and therefore the tenth house for a chart of the entire world. Tenth house relates to government, commerce, and all the activities going on “out in the world” in the middle of the day. Saturn often brings restriction, and a sense of things drying up, so with his return here, we are seeing immense restriction on all 10th-house matters on a global scale, where we literally cannot go out in the world, and careers and commerce are suffering. The pressure is on governments to step up to the responsibility and create new structures to help us through this time.
Saturn will be transiting through this sign through January, 2023 (minus a couple of months in Aquarius mid-2022). We can expect to see some major restructuring in governments and commerce through this time. It is my hope that we end up with systems and structures that are more sustainable, more responsible for the whole. Capricorn is a feminine earth sign that, like a mother, wants to see all her children supported and sustained.
Also in January of this year, on the 15th, Ketu transited into Mula nakshatra, “the root” star at the beginning of sidereal Sagittarius. (Since Ketu moves backwards, he is counting down the degrees of Sagittarius on his way out and into Scorpio in September). Having been joined with Saturn for much of last year in Sagittarius, the combination stirred the pot in the world stage of ideology, pinning many philosophical groups against one another and causing us to analyze our own beliefs and toss out the parts that do not work. Now that Ketu is in the root of the zodiac (literally aligned with the galactic center), he is asking us to dive even deeper into what we believe in—philosophically, spiritually, politically.
Jupiter is currently the bridge between the two houses of Sagittarius and Capricorn, ruling the former (with Ketu in it), and transiting the latter (with ruler Saturn occupying it). This connects Jupiter, Saturn, and Ketu once again, as the three were joined in Sagittarius during part of the end of the year. Connecting Sagittarius and Capricorn connects the 9th and 10th house matters — the ideology of humanity at large, and the manifestation of it on the world stage (in a personal chart, it connects your higher education with your career, and your personal belief system with your outward actions in the world).
This will contribute what can be seen as a paradigm shift as the outward restructuring happens: ideologies that are old and no longer serving are coming face to face with the structures that can no longer support the world’s population to thrive. It may be my own Jupiterian idealism speaking, but I think we will see the dominant framework of corrupt capitalism usurped by one that cherishes all of humanity and cares for us and the earth herself as well. Now there’s some wonkiness due to Jupiter’s technical debilitation in Capricorn, and I’ll talk more about that a bit later…
Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn
Mars in the mix means the warrior energy is there. Mars is currently transiting Capricorn along with Jupiter and Saturn (from March 22nd through May 4th, all 3 are together here). So here’s the deal: Saturn rules Capricorn, and he’s strong here (teaching lessons outlined above, i.e. fix broken structures). Mars is considered exalted in Capricorn, meaning he’s also strong here. It’s where he’s best able to execute his warrior nature under the rulership of “consider-the-consequences” Saturn. Mars finds discipline in this sign, meaning our fiery energy (or that of mother earth) can be channeled toward a specific long-term goal, rather than just exploding out erratically. It can still feel like a war though. (On a personal level, this is a great month to recommit to sadhana, yoga, exercise, or any other practice that requires focus, endurance, and commitment.)
Jupiter is in fact technically debilitated when he’s traveling through Capricorn… This may be what is contributing to what feels like a lack of hope or faith for many people right now. Jupiter gives us these qualities through his expansive nature, but in restrictive, practical Capricorn, optimism is overshadowed by the harsh qualities of what we must endure the real world. He’s dancing with two strong malefics, while debilitated, which is giving the stern hand of Saturn and the fierce sword of Mars seemingly insurmountable power over our inner sense of grace and cheer.
However, because he’s joining both his ruler, Saturn, and an exalted planet, Mars, Jupiter’s debilitation here is also technically doubly neecha bhangha, or heavily modified. That means there’s a chance for the hope and optimism to be uplifted, or for the philosophy to be progressively modified, allowing the positive qualities of all three planets to harmonize. That means our faith could be gradually restored by the courage and strength of Mars and the maturity and endurance of Saturn. It leads me to believe that the situation will not result in the worst-case scenarios that many of us may be imagining right now.
Venus is also strong right now, traveling through his home sign of Taurus (since March 28th). Mother Nature is actually prospering right now, through the lack of air and vehicle travel that is taking place. The skies and lands and waters are actually cleaner than they have been in decades. We are also seeing a lot of person-to-person cooperation all across the globe. There is a sense of friendliness, of neighborliness, of shared humanity during this time of crisis. Venus is spending quite a few months strong this year, as he will turn retrograde on May 12th and remain in Taurus through July 31st. This is a time for kindness, compromise, and caring for nature. I think there will be some reconsideration of our approach to these things during the retrograde period (May 12th through June 24th), and some powerful signs of progress coming out of the tail end of this transit.
Saturn will turn retrograde in Capricorn on May 10th, Venus will turn retrograde in Taurus on May 12th, and Jupiter will turn retrograde, also in Capricorn, on May 14th. This gives strength to all three, and also brings forward a reflective quality around the things that they rule. The structures, the cooperation, and the philosophies by which we live will be under review and revision on a large scale (again, especially due to the positions of Saturn and Jupiter in the 10th and 9th natural houses). Jupiter returns to his own sign of Sagittarius on June 29th, which should feel like a grace-given sigh of relief. Of course, there are still the eclipses to contend with … June 5th, June 21st, and July 4th (more on these in an upcoming newsletter). Things tend to settle down after an eclipse cycle passes, so let’s say that sigh can be completely let out after July 4th.
Full Moon in Virgo
This week, the Moon is coming full in Virgo, the sign of details and control, opposite the Sun who is transiting through Pisces. The Pisces cycle simultaneously makes us feel alone and distant, while also bringing us closer to our faith in and surrender to a higher power. The full Moon in Virgo reminds us of all of the practical and rational things that we need to do, taking care of life’s details, while we are in a mindset of looking for higher answers. Balance is key. Depending on your nature this can be one of the hardest axes to find balance within, whether you tend towards the Jupiterian or Mercurial side of things. As Mercury is currently debilitated in Pisces, we may find it harder to stay focused right now but the full Moon is an opportunity to do so.
This full Moon is in the Vedic nakshatra of Chitra, “the brilliant.” It aligns with Spica in Virgo, one of the brightest shining stars in the sky. It is the sign of the celestial architect, Vishvakarma, so is also very much about structure, or restructure. There is a beauty here, and a love of art and romance. It bridges Virgo and Libra, so the full Moon here encourages us to move from attempts at strict order toward divine balance.
Today’s full Moon also brings Hanuman Jayanti, a celebration of Lord Hanuman, Lord Ram’s greatest devotee. Now more than ever we need to call on his endless well of faith, devotion, humility, and service. This year staying home is the greatest service many of us can do, so let us do it not reluctantly but as an offering to the world and all of humanity.
I promise to continue my analysis of the situation and the rest of this year’s unfolding as time continues and allows. Again, I may be biased, as we all are based on our natal planets, but as your Jupiter-driven friend, I’d say, keep the faith.
May all beings be happy and at peace. 🙏🏼
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Full Moon February 2020
The full Moon in Cancer is Saturday night at 11:33pm PST. Opposite Sun and Saturn, and aspected by Mars, emotionality is high this weekend. Your heart may be feeling extra sensitive but also a lot of pressure and a hint of volatility. Try to get clear on what is really important and let your open heart shine from that place.
This full Moon aligns with Ashlesha nakshatra, at the end of sidereal Cancer. This is a powerful spiritual star-sign that relates with awakening kundalini and other energies from below the surface. Watch out for getting stirred up about something without doing a deep dive into yourself to find the source. Ashlesha’s deities are the nagas (serpent energy) and its planetary ally is Mercury.
Venus remains exalted in Pisces for most of this month (February 2nd-28th). Though this could theoretically be a good alignment for Valentine’s day, it’s actually likely to test any love relationship that isn’t grounded in a shared belief system or higher principles and purpose.
Pisces’ ruler Jupiter is now strong in his own sign of Sagittarius, since early November. Joining Ketu here (now in Mula), we will be compelled through this transit to investigate the source of our belief systems, root out anything that is false, limiting, or simply out-of-date, and let go of past ideas that no longer serve. Simultaneously, it is a good time to go deeper into the source (i.e. texts, history, tradition) of those beliefs and philosophies that do support us.
Jupiter will remain in Sagittarius through March 29th when he’ll transit into Capricorn, joining Saturn and Mars. He’ll begin retrograde motion on May 14th, and transit back into Sagittarius on June 29th, remaining there again through November 18th. He turns direct on September 12th. Ketu will join for most of that time until he leaves Sagittarius for Scorpio on September 23rd.
Saturn has finally returned home to his own sign of Capricorn, making his transit there on January 23rd. He gains a lot of strength in his own sign and will be applying the pressure to make us all look at our responsibilities and commitments, and work hard to create more supportive structures in our lives. Saturn will spend a good five years between the two signs he rules, Capricorn and Aquarius.
You’ll feel his affects even more strongly if you’re running a Saturn dasha, or depending on your lagna (ascendant in your Vedic chart). If you were born with Saturn in sidereal Capricorn (1961-63, 1990/91-93), this begin’s a Saturn’s return for you. If you have your natal Moon in sidereal Aquarius, this begins your Sade Sati (7 years of Saturn), and if your natal Moon is in sidereal Scorpio, your Sade Sati is over, congratulations!
After Mars’ February 7th transit into Sagittarius, this puts all planets except for the Moon either on or to one side of the Rahu-Ketu axis, making the sky ripe for Kala Sarpa yoga cycles. We’ll experience the first of these starting February 17th when Moon enters Sagittarius. These will last for half of each Moon cycle through July 15th when the Sun enters Cancer. This will bring on a stronger nodal presence, which can feel like heavy intensity, especially for those running a Rahu or Ketu dasha.
Be sure to check out my list of Important 2020 Dates in Jyotish here.
The Sun and Moon will join at 10° sidereal Libra this Sunday night, October 24th, at 8:39 pm PDT. This Dark Moon night commemorates the Hindu holiday of Diwali, the festival of lights. October 27th will actually be the third but main night of celebration of this festival, which begins on Dhanteras on October 25th.
The New Moon in Libra will begin a Libra cycle, compelling us to find balance, harmony, beauty, and compromise. Venus will have just left his own sign of Libra, a couple of hours before the New Moon, but has been strong there the last several weeks and during most of the Amavasya dark Moon phase leading up to the exact New Moon moment.
One thing to note about the Libra cycle is that the Sun is considered neecha or naturally debilitated there, so self-care becomes especially important during a Libra cycle. Since the Sun relates to our sense of strength and vitality, and Libra is the sign of compromising (or over-compromising) with others, it is possible that our own strength becomes diminished as we elevate the level of energy and attention we give to those around us. Caring for others doesn’t necessarily translate to depleted health, but it can when we overemphasize the outer world and others to the point of neglecting our own self-care.
This is a very important time of year to nourish ourselves, and our inner light, as the outer light is descending. At the beginning of this cycle, set an intention for a mindful self-care routine this month. Light some candles (or turn on your electronic ones) for Diwali on the Dark Moon night, and if possible, take some time each day to offer yourself some time to nourish and honor your personal light. Self-care practices can include yoga, meditation, chanting, art, or self-abhyangha (oil massage). You can also make some herbal tea to nourish yourself during this vata (cold and dry) season.
This New Moon joins the Sun in Swati nakshatra, a nakshatra that is also known to add to vata conditions, as it gives the power to scatter like the wind, so be aware of restlessness this Dark Moon night. It is ruled by Lord Vayu, wind embodied, and is symbolized by a young plant blowing in the wind, both flexible and strong amidst it. It can be translated as the “priest” or the “sword” and carries hidden spiritual potential from its association with Rahu. The male buffalo is the animal symbol for Swati nakshatra.
Venus, Jupiter and Mercury
These three benefic planets will be traveling together in sidereal Scorpio from October 26th through November 4th, when Jupiter transits into Sagittarius. The conjunction of these three planets creates a Sarasvati yoga during certain times of day, which could offer auspicious muhurtas (moments) for initiating artistic, educational or spiritual activities. If you were born with a Sarasvati yoga in your natal chart, you may find it more activated during these times.
Jupiter in Sagittarius
On November 4th, we will experience a major movement in the cosmos, as Jupiter transits from Scorpio into Sagittarius. Because the outer planets move slower, they spend longer in each sign, so this transit is important because it will take effect for over a year while Jupiter travels through his own sign. Generally that brings strength to a planet, but with the current conjunction with Saturn and Ketu, also in Sagittarius, we could see an intensification of strange and radical ideologies vying for their place on the world stage.
Dhanteras and Diwali
On the new Moon of the Hindu month of Ashwin (this month), we celebrate Diwali, the festival of lights. The festival begins this year on Friday, October 25th (North America), on the 13th waning Moon phase of the previous cycle. This day is known as Dhanteras, or Dhanvantari Tryodashi, the celebration of the birth of Lord Dhanvantari, the father of Ayurvedic medicine. If you practice any healing tradition, especially Ayurveda, this is a good day to give thanks and call in auspicious blessings to your healing path or practice.
Diwali is strongly associated with the Goddess Laxmi, and is a powerful time to connect with her, calling in her blessings for both material and spiritual prosperity. Dhanteras commemorates the day that Lakshmi emerged from the milk ocean in Vedic lore. In India, it is customary to purchase metals on this day — anything from jewelry to new statues to kitchenware (excluding iron), especially silver and gold — as a part of celebrating Lakshmi and calling in more prosperity. The metals can then be offered to your altar and will absorb and amplify the benefits of worship performed over the few days of Diwali.
We celebrate Diwali while the days are getting noticeably shorter and darker, and it is a time to invite more light into our lives, our hearts, and our world. This festival celebrates the victory of light over darkness, which is something to rejoice in and have faith in, even if we can’t outwardly observe it sometimes. Creating positive vibrations internally is the best way to begin growing and spreading them externally.
Diwali also commemorates Lord Ram’s and Sita’s return from exile after fourteen years (a story from the Ramayana). Lord Ram embodies the highest qualities of dharma, devotion, compassion, courage, and leadership. Diwali is also the start of a new lunar cycle, so it’s a great time to go within and summon these qualities to awaken and live through you.
Diwali (also seen as Divali, Deepawali or Deepavali) comes from the Sanskrit words deepa (light) and avali (row). It is traditional to light candles throughout Diwali (opt for electronic tea lights if you’re in a fire danger zone!), inviting the highest light into our homes and lives. The candles are lit to remind us of the inner divine light in us all. Though one flame can be used to light many others, it is not diminished by sharing its power of illumination. We can pray for the peace and happiness of all beings, and each one’s awareness of their inner light.