Full Moon April 2021
The Full Moon in sidereal Libra is tonight, Monday, April 26th at 11:31 pm ET. Opposite the Sun, Mercury, and Venus in Aries, the Libra Moon illuminates how we relate to and balance our outer relationships while pursuing our individual goals. In Swati nakshatra, we can take heed not to be blown off course by our environment or by trying to manage too much at once.
Libra is a masculine (outward/yang) air sign, ruled by Venus. It is the opposite of Aries, the natural first sign of individual action, and is where we learn to compromise and balance our relationships and outer activities. The Aries Sun cycle is very much about finding our own course, taking care of our health, and diving into the activities we want to pursue in the coming season. The Libra full Moon reminds us that we need to work with others and, to a certain degree, harmonize our happiness with theirs in order to have an overall positive outcome.
The full Moon resides in the Vedic nakshatra of Swati, “the sword,” represented by a young plant shoot blowing in the wind. Ruled by Vayu, the Lord of Wind, and associated with Rahu, this nakshatra can bring forward both flexibility and possible instability. Make sure to find ways to ground and keep your roots firmly planted under this full Moon. This nakshatra also translates as “the independent” and brings forth an independent nature.
Mercury and Venus are in the midst of a planetary war, traveling within one degree of each other, from April 24th until the 26th (ending just a few hours before the full Moon). In this war our desires are pitted against our intellect, and both Mercury- and Venus-related matters may suffer for a few days, with neither winning out much since both are also very close to the Sun and not visible in the night sky.
Today’s full Moon also brings in the Hindu holy day of Hanuman Jayanti, celebrating the birth of Lord Hanuman, Ram’s greatest devottee. Hanuman is the greatest embodiment of devotion, and shows us the incredible strength we possess that emerges from within when we practice great faith, humility, and service. In addition to traditional pujas (prayer ceremony), you can chant, sing, meditate, and especially, find some way to be of service, in order to honor Hanuman on this full Moon. The most fitting mantra/song is the Hanuman Chaleesa.
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.
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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New Moon January 2021
We have another Dark Moon tonight under which the Sun and Moon align at the very end of one sign (Sagittarius), setting the tone for a month that blends and bridges the energy of two signs as the Sun spends most of this cycle in sidereal Capricorn. The exact New Moon moment is at midnight Eastern time on January 13th (between January 12th and 13th), with the Sun and Moon coming together at 29 degrees and 6 minutes of sidereal Sagittarius. The last lunar cycle began in December with a solar eclipse as the Sun and Moon joined in the very end of sidereal Scorpio.
With the New Moon moment happening in Sagittarius, hours before both Sun and Moon transit into Capricorn, the coming month will carry the energy of both signs. Sagittarius is a fire sign ruled by Jupiter, inspiring us to act on our beliefs and put these into the world through righteous action, standing up for what we believe in and aligning our actions with our vision.
This lunar cycle frees us from the energy of the eclipses of this cycle. When Sun moves into Capricorn, however, we will continue to feel the pressure of Saturn that has been strong over the last year while he has been transiting his own sign. Sun, Jupiter and Saturn will all be joined in Capricorn over the next month (with Mercury and Venus both spending much of it there as well). As Jupiter and Saturn become combust (they are now so close to the Sun as to be barely visible), they may lose some power… The sense of restriction that we feel could be alleviated this month, but our ability to be steadfast and endure difficulties is also weakened, as well as our sense of inspiration with Jupiter going out of sight.
Capricorn energy is about finding stability and the inner strength to work hard for our responsibilities and the structures that sustain us. A feminine earth sign, we can look towards our internal resources this month and make sure we are using our energy for what is most important.
The solar eclipse of the last cycle led into a full Moon in Ardra nakshatra, a star that often brings violence and turbulence forward, especially when associating with the nodes or an eclipse. The violence at the US Capitol during the waning part of the last cycle could be associated with the tone under which the cycle began (dark eclipse energy in transformative Scorpio), combined with the subsequent full Moon in Ardra, still afflicted by the energy of the eclipse.
As the natural 10th sign, Capricorn in the world chart directly relates to government. With four planets here in the coming days (Juipter, Saturn, Sun, and Mercury), there is a lot of pressure (Saturn) on now to create a government, structures, and leaders that will sustain the world, be inspiring, and purify the energy of authority. This bodes well for the US presidential transition in general. On January 20th Moon will be in Ashwini, the first nakshatra, a good placement for transitions.
He will, however, be joining Mars, who is the brightest planet in the sky over the next few weeks. With Mars bright and Saturn and Jupiter nearly out of sight, there is definitely potential for more violence to come (especially having the Moon joined Mars on January 20th itself). Saturn becomes highly combust that day as he goes within 3 degrees of the Sun, which cripples authority structures a bit, as well as our ability to use restraint. Hopefully the powerful energy of the Sun itself in the 10th house of this day’s world chart (and Moon chart) is enough to bring a sattvic purifying energy to the realm of government, with help from Jupiter who is neecha bangha and slightly brighter than Saturn.
The day the Sun goes into Capricorn (January 13th/14th) begins the Hindu solar month of Makara. There is a Hindu celebration in India in honor of “the return of the light,” as we begin the first month after the winter solstice. This is an auspicious time for new beginnings and calling blessings into our lives.
New Moon in Libra and Diwali 2020
The Sun and Moon will join at 29° sidereal Libra tonight, with exact alignment for a New Moon at 12:07 am EST. This Dark Moon night commemorates the Hindu holiday of Diwali, the festival of lights. Tonight will actually be the third but main night of the Diwali celebrations, which began on Dhanteras on November 12th. Be sure to light some candles tonight to celebrate light itself, as we move into the darkest part of the year in the north.
The Sun and Moon again join at the very end of one sign, sidereal Libra, before both moving into Scorpio later the same day. Hence we are beginning the cycle of the Sun in Scorpio, but flavored with a certain Libran energy. The Scorpio Sun cycle is a time that compels us to look deeply into our own deep well of emotion, as Scorpio is both a water and insect sign, driving us towards the flow of emotions that is trapped within our external protective shell. Ruled by Mars, the warrior planet, we can see Scorpio as a spiritual warrior, and this time of year is an important one for exploring our personal vulnerabilities and sensitive places that may need more strength, courage, and healing.
Flavored by the Libra position of Sun and Moon as we begin this cycle, this investigation may lean heavily towards studying how we behave in relationships, what drives us to find balance and compromise, what wounds we are protecting that are keeping us from enjoying the happiness and balance that Venus wants to offer us.
Remembering that while Sun is debilitated in Libra, our sense of strength or our literal health may be weak this month. We continue to contemplate what it takes to maintain our personal strength and not become depleted while also relating with others and seeking outer balance. This is a very important time of year to nourish ourselves, and our inner light, as the outer light is descending. You can also make some herbal tea to nourish yourself during this vata (cold and dry) season. The nature of the Scorpio cycle will show us where we carry inner imbalance that requires some more harmonizing and lightening.
The Sun and Moon join in Vishaka nakshatra, a sign that bridges the end of Libra and the beginning of Scorpio. The “two-branched” sign is ruled by two deities, Lord Indra, the chief of the Gods, and Lord Agni, fire personified. This sign can harness a lot of power and leadership ability, but only once we choose the proper direction. You may find yourself at a crossroads this month and need to call in your guides to help you to choose the right direction, after which a lot of success is possible. The animal symbol for Vishaka is the male tiger.
On the new Moon of the Hindu month of Ashwin (this month), we celebrate Diwali, the festival of lights. The festival began this year on November 12th (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, it 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.
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.
We are now entering the “eclipse season,” as we approach two eclipses that will occur November 30th and December 14th. With the nodes having recently moved onto their new axis—Rahu in Taurus and Ketu in Scorpio—this could activate some latent energy that has been lurking, unresolved in the shadows, in the areas of life that align with these two signs in your Vedic natal chart.
Be sure to watch for any disruptions, and any red flags, over the next month, and be sure not to make hasty decisions out of stress. Sadhana is very important, especially during the eclipses themselves, and doing inner work to investigate what is arising can serve in helping us to make important changes. This is the first eclipse cycle of three that will occur over the next year-and-a-half while the nodes transit this axis, so it is a jumping off point in seeing what work we need to do in these areas of our lives.
To see how the current transits affect and interplay with your chart and karma, you can request a personal reading here.
New Moon and Navaratri
Tonight brings the dark Moon, coming towards a Moon-Sun alignment to begin a new Moon cycle on October 16th at 3:31 pm EDT, at the very end of sidereal Virgo (29°46’). This is also the start of the autumnal, Sharada or Maha Navaratri, which celebrates Goddess Durga and many forms of the goddess through on each of the first nine nights of the waxing Moon this month— October 16th through 24th in North America this year.
Though the Sun and Moon align at the end of Virgo, they will move together into sidereal Libra only a few hours after the New Moon moment, thus beginning a lunar cycle with the Sun traveling through Libra. Libra energy is about balance. It is ruled by Venus, the planet of pleasure, harmony, and beauty. In a world that feels so imbalanced, our collective and individual energy will shift in ways that attempt to create greater balance, more compromise, and hopefully more harmony and beauty across the planet. The full Moon on October 31st will highlight Aries energy, Libra’s opposite, drawing us towards expressions of individual strength and will.
The Sun is debilitated in Libra, because when we strive to compromise and take care of others we often do so at the expense of our own self-care. Remember that self-care is especially important this month when the Sun is at its weakest, and the seasons are changing from Pitta to Vata time across most of the northern hemisphere. In Ayurveda this seasonal junction is a good time to do some light cleansing but nothing that is too depleting as we move into vata time.
Mercury, Mars Retrograde
Mercury and Mars are still traveling in retrograde motion in Libra and Pisces, respectively. Mercury will station on November 3rd, election day in the U.S., sending his focused rays of attention and balance towards us. This could be favorable for bringing more rational and practical equilibrium into the political system. Mars will station and turn direct on November 11th, also directing some potent energy towards us, this time martial in nature which could stimulate some violence or fires, though not as drastic as we saw around his last station on October 3rd.
This new Moon aligns with the Sun under Chitra nakshatra, “the brilliant.” This star-sign correlates with Spica, the brightest star in the sky, and bridges Virgo and Libra. It is ruled by Vishvakarma, the celestial architect. Moving from Virgo to Libra it combines both the energy of precision and perfection with that of beauty and grace. What are you trying to construct in the world that could use more architectural precision as well as beauty? This is a good time to call in this energy and channel it into any projects on your plate. Be careful that your inspiration does not lead to overindulgence under this intense nakshtra, whose animal symbol is the female tiger.
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 October 16th through October 25th, with October 25th 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. Stay tuned for daily updates on how to connect with the many forms of the Goddess.