January 10th: Full Moon Lunar Eclipse in Gemini/Punarvasu
January 15th – September 23rd: Ketu in Mula
January 23, 2020 – April 28, 2022: Saturn in Capricorn
February 2nd – February 28th: Venus Exalted in Pisces
February 16th – March 9th: Mercury Retrograde
February 17th – July 15th: Kala Sarpa Cycles for half the month
March 22nd – May 4th: Mars in Exalted in Capricorn, with Saturn
March 28th – July 31st: Venus in Taurus
March 29th – June 29th: Jupiter in Capricorn
April 25th: Akshaya Tritiya
May 10th – September 28th: Saturn Retrograde
May 12th – June 24th: Venus Retrograde
May 14th – September 12th: Jupiter Retrograde
June 29th – November 18th: Jupiter back in Sagittarius
June 5th: Full Moon Lunar Eclipse in Scorpio/Jyestha
June 18th – August 16th: Mars in Pisces; again October 3rd – December 23rd
June 17th – July 12th: Mercury Retrograde
June 21st: New Moon Solar Eclipse in Gemini/Ardra
July 4th: Full Moon Lunar Eclipse in Sagittarius/Purva Ashada
August 16th – October 3rd: Mars in Aries
September 9th – November 13th: Mars Retrograde
September 12th: Jupiter Direct
September 23rd: Rahu & Ketu move into Taurus and Scorpio (Mean node; Sep. 19th with True)
September 28th: Saturn Direct
October 3rd – December 23rd: Mars in Pisces
October 13th – November 3rd: Mercury Retrograde
November 18th: Jupiter in Capricorn
November 30th: Full Moon Lunar Eclipse in Taurus/Rohini
December 14th: New Moon Total Solar Eclipse in Scorpio/Jyestha
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Maha Navaratri 2019 is upon us! In this important Hindu holiday, we celebrate the Goddess through “the great nine nights” (nav = nine, ratri = night). This festival will run from September 29th through October 8th, the first ten days of this new lunar cycle. Goddess, Devi, Shakti, Durga, Divine Mother—the many names and forms all represent the dynamic and fluid feminine power that enlivens all of existence.
She is the creatrix, the warrioress, the nurturer, the purifyer, the protector. While she’s in the innocent and fertile maiden so is she the wise and learned crone. Both the nurturing mother, and the one who gives “tough love.” The impassioned lover, the devoted bhakta, the disciplined yogini. We see Goddess 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 celebrating the supreme feminine power in all her glory, and the many blessings she bestows upon us.
As with most Hindu celebrations, this festival correlates with the lunar calendar, and thus begins on the first day of the waxing Moon after the New Moon of September 28th. The celebration is through the “nine nights” of September 29th through October 7th, and into the tenth morning known as Vijayadashami, “the day of victory.” Worship during Navaratri is most generally dedicated to Goddess in the form of Durga, the demon-slayer, but there is much nuance and variation to practice and forms of celebration throughout India. Above all, Navaratri is a community celebration of the Divine Mother, and the love, abundance and protection she gives.
There are many Navaratri celebrations throughout the year, but the fall-time Navaratri is the most widely celebrated, and is thus called Maha Navaratri – “the great nine nights”. It correlates with the time of the harvest, a time to give thanks for the abundance of the year’s work. Grains and crops are often offered to Devi as part of the celebrations. Ritualistic worship (puja) typically occurs in homes and temples throughout the nine nights and into the tenth morning of celebration.
The Many Forms of Goddess
In Kerala and other places in India, the first three nights of worship are dedicated to Durga (the invincible), the next three to Lakshmi (Goddess of prosperity), and the final three to Sarasvati (Goddess of learning). Durga, also celebrated as her incarnation of Kali, helps us to destroy and remove the negative tendencies in our minds and hearts, freeing us from the obstructions to our spiritual and material pursuits. Lakshmi helps us to cultivate positive qualities like compassion and devotion, and leads us towards both spiritual and material prosperity. Sarasvati assists us in attaining knowledge and wisdom, through the illumination of our consciousness. She aids in awakening sattva, the quality of purity, and the flow of prana, the vital breath. After removing inner and outer obstacles and cultivating prosperity through virtuous qualities, our devotion, service, and practice help us to attain a state of peace, bliss, and oneness.
In the Kali Kula (Kali school of worship) in northeastern India, Sarasvati is worshiped on the first three nights, followed by Lakshmi on the next and then Kali/Durga on the last three. Sarasvati, Lakshmi, and Kali/Durga (Kali emerged from Durga) are also known as the consorts of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. The Goddesses, therefore, provide the shakti to the cosmic processes of creation, preservation, and death (transformation), similar to their male counterparts. Consequently, worship in this manner is dedicated to the cycles of life and Mother nature, through birth, then sustenance, then death. Death is not a complete stop, but allows for the regeneration of energy into a new cycle once again.
9 Forms of Durga
Throughout India, the nine nights of Navaratri are often dedicated to 9 different incarnations of Durga, allowing the worship of many different aspects of Shakti in a gradual evolution. You can read the stories and significance of these 9 goddesses here, or a more a brief introduction, here:
“Daughter of the mountain”; creative energy, muladhara (root chakra), awakening; Awaken your connection with Goddess today or initiate a new venture, calling on Shailputri for new beginnings.
The ascetic; tapas, discipline, devotion, strength, wisdom, creative abundance; Good day for fasting and meditation, connection with svadhistana (sacral chakra).
Warrioress; protection, courage, grace, manipura (solar plexus); Destroy your internal obstacles by offering them to Chandraghanta.
Creatrix of the “cosmic egg”; strength, health, happiness, success, relationships; Connect with the vital Sun energy and the anahata (heart chakra) today.
“Mother of Skanda/Kartikeya”; motherly love, nourishment, protection, purity; Call on divine truth through the vishuddha (throat chakra), invoking Skandamata to lead you towards victory.
Warrioress who destroyed Mahishasura (the buffalo demon); victory, devotion, strength, removing obstacles; Meditate on these qualities of Goddess through the ajna chakra (third-eye) today.
“Dark/black night,” representing a fierce form of Durga/Kali; darkness, death, surrender, dissolution of pain; Connecting with the sahasrara (crown chakra), remember that Divine Mother offers love, compassion, and many blessings even in hard times. Even in the midst of apparent darkness, and helps us to go beyond the boundaries of the material body-mind and connect with spirit.
“Great white goddess”; detachment, purification, renewal, protection, virtue; Through detachment and devotion, we emerge purified, shining and radiant after surrendering in the dark night. Rejuvenative herbs and foods are good today.
Goddess of “siddhis”; magical, spiritual or mystic powers and blessings, fulfillment of desires, devotion, divine union; Invite Goddess to reveal her presence to you everywhere and in every moment.
Personal Practice Ideas for Navaratri
If possible, it is great to reduce our workload and gather with community at local temples or places of worship. We can also create a little time and space at home and conduct some personal practices to celebrate Goddess energy. Dive into your own heart to connect with the inner Goddess in the ways that resonate most with you! Here are some ideas to do at home or with a group throughout the nine nights of Navaratri:
Create a sacred space, a Durga altar, or a Goddess altar. Even if you already have one, you can refresh it in some way or rearrange it specifically for Navaratri. Include images or statues of the Goddess(es) you have a relationship with. This could be according to one of the groups of forms above.
Even if you don’t have much time, dedicate at least a few minutes each day to connecting with the Divine Mother in front of your altar, calling her energy into your life and being.
Write in your journal about what qualities of Goddess you perceive and connect with. What aspects would you like to strengthen or to cultivate more deeply? Write any and all prayers and offer them to the form of Goddess that appeals to you.
Offer light to illuminate Goddess’s power, helping her to shine more brightly into the world and your life. You can light a candle by the altar and keep it burning when you’re at home. You can even keep an electronic tealight on symbolically when you are away.
Offer flowers or grains (even a small dish of dried rice) to celebrate Devi in the form of mother nature, fertility, the abundance of the harvest, and the cycle of life.
Offer incense, bells, water, or food if you feel called, by placing it on the altar, or mentally offering it to Goddess throughout the day. You can also offer something symbolic of your own work or practice, whatever you have been cultivating for harvest through the year. In offering this you surrender the fruits of your efforts to the Divine Mother.
Some people choose to fast in some variation, if this is something you have practiced before. This might include fasting during the day, fasting with only milk or fruit, or abstaining from alcohol and non-vegetarian foods during Navaratri.
Chanting the Devi Mahatmyam, a verse to the Goddess, is a common practice during the nine-night festival. You can also chant another Goddess mantra or songs that are special to you and your relationship with Devi.
Jai Ma Durga!
Personal Vedic Astrology readings and forecasts are available Here.
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Tonight brings a dark Moon as the Moon joins the Sun in sidereal Virgo. Exact New Moon in Virgo will be at 11:26 am PT on Saturday, September 28th. This begins a Virgo cycle that will help us to connect with the earth, the feminine, and draw ourselves more inward as we enter the season of the Sun’s decent in the northern hemisphere.
We’ve just passed the equinox on September 23rd, the time where night and day are of equal lengths, and we are now entering the yin season where the hours of darkness will exceed the hours of light. This first full lunar cycle begins in Virgo, a feminine earth sign, that encourages us to ground out some of the activity of summer and turn inwards as we come upon this darker season.
Virgo is also ruled by Mercury, the planet of the intellect, which will get us thinking about practicality and logistics this month. Have you planned your store for winter, getting together everything you need and tying up loose ends in the world before your period of inward attention and maybe even hybernation? Mercury is still technically joining the Sun and Moon in Virgo as we begin this cycle, but will be passing into Libra the next day. Venus and Mars also join in Virgo now, making our nights especially dark as these three stay close to the sun and only Jupiter and Saturn are visible. Venus remains debilitated in Virgo for just a few more days, until October 3rd.
This New Moon occurs with Sun and Moon in Hasta nakshatra, the sign of the hand. Hasta is a place that allows us to hone our skills, both manual and intellectual. It offers us a “craftiness,” whether literal, or of mind. This is a good time for getting into any hands-on work that requires dexterity, as well as for business dealings or other organization that requires tact and skill. Hasta is ruled by Savitar, the Sun God, while also linked to the Moon’s influence, and its animal is the female buffalo.
The New Moon this month brings one of the largest Hindu festivals of the year, Maha Navaratri. Navaratri means “the nine nights,” and beginning with the first Moon phase after the dark Moon, the Goddess Devi is celebrated through many forms for the following nine nights and ten days. In North America Navaratri will be celebrated from September 29th through October 8th, with October 8th being the 10th day of Victory (an auspicious time for starting new endeavors, after 9 nights of worship). In some places Navaratri celebrates the goddess Durga in nine of her forms, while 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. Read more about Maha Navaratri 2019 here, and stay tuned for daily updates on how to connect with the many forms of the Goddess.
Kala Sarpa & Nodal Influences
This year’s festival could churn up even more internal difficulties than usual … offer them to the Goddess! We are currently under a Kala Sarpa cycle, with all planets to one side of the Rahu-Ketu axis, and will be in this alignment until October 6th. This can bring up more shadow energy and sticky spots than usual, especially if you are running a Rahu-Ketu dasha or have these planets prominently in your chart. It’s all the more reason to join the festivities and offer worship or some kind of spiritual practice during these days.
The good news on the nodal front — Saturn and Ketu will finally be separating a bit, and will leave their 1-degree proximity on October 1st! With Mean Node calculations, Ketu and Saturn have been joined within one degree of each other since April 25th! This will begin to slowly take some pressure off in the area of your life shown by Sagittarius, or those ruled by Saturn.
Leo New Moon
The Moon is now in the amavasya new Moon phase, waning to total darkness to begin a new lunar cycle tonight at 3:37 am PDT, on August 30th. The Sun and Moon join in sidereal Leo, with Venus, Mars and Mercury all nearby. Sun, Moon and Mercury align with the Vedic nakshatra Magha, “the mighty one,” while Mars and Venus are in Purva Phalguni.
A Leo cycle can bring us in touch with our own inner strength, as Leo is ruled by the Sun and is in essence the royal seat in the zodiac. The Sun’s hot rays work to burn off our impurities, moving us towards our own sattvic nature as is the nature of the Sun. With Mars, Mercury, and Venus all combust as we begin this cycle, Sun is the predominant force in the sky and his message reigns supreme.
His message may be telling you to step into your power and take responsibility over your “dominion.” It could be showing you where you’ve had enough — enough fighting, lusting, or intellectualizing — and need to align with the higher power within. A less intelligent outcome could be a greedy grasping for power, so watch that you pay attention to how you are wielding your energy.
Magha nakshatra is symbolized by the throne and spans the first 13°20’ of sidereal Leo. We can connect with the inner king of queen from here, and consider the ethics that come with regality. Magha is ruled by the Pitris, the ancestor deities, which indicates this is an important time to connect with your past lineage. The planetary ruler here is Ketu, which also brings in ties to the past and the subconscious. On this dark Moon night, open yourself to dive within and see if there is any inherited karma that is speaking to you or influencing your life now.
Combust Planets, Wars, & Debilitation
Mars is highly combust — one degree away from the Sun and Moon, while Venus is still slightly combust, within five degrees, and Mercury is within 4. This makes it a challenging time for achieving things ruled by these planets, so it’s not the most auspicious day for beginning new ventures in battles, love or learning.
Mars will be combust within 3 degrees of the Sun from August 24th through September 11th. From September 2-4 Mars and Mercury will go through a planetary war, while being combust at the same time (Mars being exact with the Sun on September 2nd). Again, not the most auspicious days to begin Mars- or Mercury-ruled projects. On September 9th Venus enters Virgo, his sign of debilitation. With Venus here the intellect rules over the desire-body, which can add a scrutinizing or business-like attitude to your romantic endeavors. Mercury and Venus enter a planetary war between September 11th and 15th.
Saturn & Ketu
Saturn and Ketu are coming closer and closer once again, for their third exact conjunction of this year on September 15th (two days after the next full Moon). A few days after that, Saturn will station and go direct on September 18th, while Ketu will continue in his ever-retrograde motion, and the two will finally begin to separate. The last six months may have brought particular challenges in the area of life shown by Sagittarius in your natal chart, or affected you deeply if you have Moon or other prominent placements there.
Jai Ganesha, creator and remover of obstacles! Ganesh Chaturthi will be celebrated on September 2nd, the 4th (chaturthi) waxing Moon phase (tithi) of this lunar cycle. This is an auspicious time to call on the elephant God (if you know him) to help clear a path in your life. Lord Ganesha is also associated with the planet Ketu, the ruler of Magha, where this lunar cycle begins. On Ganesh Chaturthi we can celebrate him through puja and prayer, and it is often customary to build a statue (out of natural clay), for our worship, and then release him into a body of water on the tenth day of prayer.
Personal readings are available and will help to explain how all of these alignments affect your chart and life in particular.
We can bask under a full Moon in Sagittarius tonight, as the Moon waxes towards total fullness opposite the Sun tomorrow at 2:38 pm PDT in Uttara Ashada nakshatra. With the Moon within degrees of south node Ketu, and the Sun (in sidereal Gemini) close to north node Rahu, this will bring in a partial lunar eclipse, the second eclipse of our summer series. Saturn is also joining Moon and Ketu, while Venus joins the Sun and Rahu. Due to the Hindu month we are in, this full Moon lunar eclipse also coincides with Guru Purnima, the auspicious Hindu holiday for honoring our teachers.
Sagittarius Full Moon
This full Moon is at the very end of Sagittarius, at 29°57’, pretty much on the sandhi point of transition between Sagittarius and Capricorn. Nevertheless, having been in a Gemini Sun cycle for the last month or so, this full Moon will highlight for us the way that inspiration and higher teachings can help us when we are stuck in an intellectual or just playful mode of being. This is the second full Moon in Sagittarius in a row, with the last one occurring in the early degrees of sidereal Sag in June. This once in a “blue Moon” event just means that we get to double up on the Sagittarius lessons.
It’s a fitting time for Guru Purnima, therefore, as Jupiter, or Guru in Sanskrit, is the ultimate teacher. Guru Purnima is a time for honoring all teachers, but particularly any spiritual teacher or satguru in your life. It is an auspicious time to connect with your teacher and teachings, to offer back reverence and come closer to that which guides you towards your best self. Under the full Moon in Sagittarius, our heart is illuminated as well, and more easily comes into alignment with higher teachings.
Uttara Ashada (or Uttarashada) is the Vedic star-sign or nakshatra that bridges the end of Sagittarius and the beginning of Capricorn. It is translated as the “latter invincible one,” and has to do with victory and achievement. It is ruled by the ten Vishvadevas, the lords of dharma, and is also associated with the Sun, the sattvic purifyer. This full Moon is a time to let impurities burn away as we align ourselves with purpose and principle, orienting ourselves towards spiritual as well as worldly victory. This nakshatra’s animal symbol is the male mongoose, making it the only nakshatra (of the odd 27) that does not have a female counterpart.
The eclipse that coincides with this full Moon (maximum eclipse at 2:30 pm Tuesday) will make this an even more powerful Guru Purnima. As the shadow of the earth comes partially across the Moon, we may feel cut off from our minds and hearts, or feel a sensation of darkness over the heart as shadows surface that we are not usually fully aware of. This is the perfect time to dive into sadhana and connect with your guru, asking her to help remove any blockages, while doing your part by looking at and acknowledging what is there.
Eclipses offer us an opportunity to go deeper into what ails us, and through conscious interaction with this, we can move a lot of energy at this time. For those of us who aren’t willing to look at what’s up (or just haven’t noticed that this opportunity is being presented), eclipses can feel like they are wreaking havoc or bringing up extra stress in our lives. This is a good time of year to receive a personal reading, which can offer insight into where this eclipse is hitting your chart and life, and help you to discover ways to work with the planetary energies. This eclipse cycle is the first of three that will occur with the nodes along this axis, from now through next summer.
Lunar Eclipse Visibility, July 16, 2019
Venus is closely aligned with Rahu during this eclipse, which could make some of the shadows come up particularly around our relationships and how we go about seeking happiness in the world. Saturn, opposite with Ketu and the Moon, can teach us to balance this pleasure-seeking with the commitment and hard work that is needed to reach our long-term goals.
Venus will transit into Cancer on the 22nd, and travel there through August 16th. With Venus in the open-hearted sign of the Moon, this is an important time to watch your boundaries, as they can tend to spread wide open under this placement.
Mercury has been traveling in retrograde motion since July 7th (and also engaged in a planetary war with Mars from July 7th-9th). He will enter another war, this time with Venus, on July 24th and 25th. This can pin our desires and pleasures against our rationalizing intellect, with Venus winning this war due to his more luminous appearance in the early morning sky. (Mercury will be barely visible, as both planets are rising during the dawn, just before sunrise). Mercury transits back into his own sign of Gemini for a day or so on the 30th, before stationing and turning direct on July 31st, the next New Moon.
This is a great time to have a personal reading– either an Initial Reading (includes looking at the eclipses) if this is your first time working with me, or an Eclipse Reading if we have had a previous session.
The Sun and Moon come together to begin a new lunar cycle at 1:51 am PDT on April 5th. They will join in sidereal Pisces in the nakshatra called Revati, the last of the 27 star signs of Jyotish. This New Moon brings with it the springtime nine-night celebration of the goddess, known as Chaitra Navaratri. Though often less celebrated than the fall-time equivalent, this holiday is an important counterpart as we recognize the blooming of the life cycle, made possible by the sacred divine feminine.
The Dark Moon will be in sidereal Pisces, at 21°. (If you aren’t familiar with the sidereal/star-based vs. tropical/seasonally-based zodiacs, review my article here!) Pisces is the last of the twelve major signs, and thus relates very much with letting go, especially on the materially plane, and surrendering to spirit or a higher power. Ruled by Jupiter (literally “Guru” or the teacher), the Pisces cycle will help us to get more in touch with our highest values and philosophies. As a water sign, we are also more intuitively driven this month. Your dreams and visions can reveal a lot during this cycle, and inward reflection and meditation can be potent on this Dark Moon (April 4th-5th).
In addition to being in the final rasi, this New Moon is also in the final nakshatra, the Vedic signs that the Moon visits for one moon phase each, each month. Meaning “the wealthy,” this sign brings grace, kindness, and compassion. It is ruled by the deity Pushan, the celestial shepherd who provides nourishment and protection, both to herds (of animals) and also to people on safe journeys. This star often brings a love of animals and people with a natal Moon here often work with animals or have strong relationships with pets. The actual animal symbol is the female elephant, another auspicious symbol in India.
After the Dark Moon night, the first nine nights of this cycle will be the springtime Navaratri celebration, in the Hindu month of Chaitra. The nine nights are a time to get in touch with the Goddess energy, apparent and emergent as we enter the spring season in the northern hemisphere. There are so many forms to the goddess, and she truly offers us an immense well of abundance through all facets of life. This is a good time to get clear on what you are calling in, and trying to manifest with the grace of the goddess by your side.
Recent Nodal Transit
The nodes on all counts are officially transiting Gemini and Sagittarius now, with Rahu in Gemini and Ketu in Sagittarius. This new nodal cycle will last until September of 2020. Whichever houses these are in your chart will be effected, especially around the times of the eclipses, this July, December-January, and next June-July.
Saturn & Ketu
Not only is Ketu in Sagittarius, but he is approaching a close conjunction with Saturn. This could pile up a lot of stressful energy in the area of your life indicated by Sagittarius, unfortunately for most of this year. They’ll be joining within one degree (mean node calculation) at the end of this month, on the 25th, as Saturn slows to a halt and begins retrograde motion on the 29th. Since Ketu is always “retrograde,” the two will then be traveling together through the whole summer, until Saturn turns direct on September 18th, and they finally break their one-degree proximity on October 1st.
How will this affect us? It’s difficult to say exactly because they have somewhat conflicting energies… thus you can expect to feel this type of push-pull conflict in the Sagittarius area of your life. Saturn puts on the pressure, makes us do the hard work to meet our goals, have patience, and endure. On the other hand, Ketu often compels us to throw our hands up and renounce the task at hand, feeling so critical of it that we often want to let it go completely. We can dive into an exploration of this transit over your personal chart in an Eclipse Reading.*
Jupiter & Venus
Jupiter is also joining Saturn and Ketu in Sagittarius now, hovering in the early gandanta degree as he slows to a stop and begins retrograde motion on April 10th. This will send him back into Scorpio on the 22nd. His presence in his own sign of Sagittarius could normally be uplifting to the situation there, but in his current condition he may not be as helpful as usual. The gandanta energy could make him weaker, while the retrograde condition is actually a strength (he will be quite bright in the sky in the coming months). Remember that he is also the ruler of this Pisces new Moon, so this “mixed” stuck/inspired energy could also seep into the general tone of the month ahead.
Venus will be moving into Pisces on the 15th, however, where he is exalted, which could bring some upliftment and more happiness into our lives, though he will also be conditioned by the mixed opportunities that Pisces’ ruler Jupiter offers right now.
*If this is your first reading with me, I recommend starting with the longer life-course reading, which will include a look at the current transits and how these affect you, in addition to your general karma, strengths, and challenges.