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.
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.
The Sun and Moon are getting closer and closer as we head towards a Dark Moon night this coming Wednesday. The New Moon in sidereal Cancer will be exact on July 31st at 8:12 pm PDT. This completes the previous lunar cycle which brought on the eclipses that affected many people in deep ways, especially those running dashas of Rahu or Ketu.
The Cancer cycle could be a chance to cool down a little and come back into the heart after the heady and philosophical cycle of Gemini-Sag, with all the added eclipse energy. Cancer is the Moon’s sign, the sign of the Divine Mother and her nourishing waters. Spend time in a body of water this month, and connect with your own internal waters (feelings!) around this New Moon. Cancer is the fourth sign naturally, relating to the heart and the breasts, and is feminine or yin, helping us to direct our energy inwards.
Within Cancer, the Sun and Moon are joining in the Vedic nakshatra called Pushya, meaning “the nourisher.” Symbolized by the udder of a cow, this star-sign gives a sense of abundance and sustenance. It can elicit a strong sense of family and responsibility, relating to both the divine mother and the divine father. Its deity is Brihaspati, a form of Jupiter who showed generosity and unconditional fatherly love in the story of how he adopted Mercury (a love child between his wife and the Moon). Fertility is strong under this star, and could be throughout this Moon cycle.
Mars Debilitated, Venus Combust
Mars is still traveling in Cancer, his sign of debilitation, for another week until he enters Leo on August 8th. Mars-ruled folks may feel their usual fight and fire is diminished, or that they’re needing more comfort and cuddling than normally.
Venus is also transiting through Cancer. He is already traveling fairly close to the Sun, but he’ll enter the highly combust zone (within 3 degrees), on August 3rd. With Venus so close to the Sun, we may find some of our worldly pleasurable pursuits feeling “burned up” by the purifying power of Surya. Relationships could be under a lot of pressure, or it may just be so hot where you are that it’s hard to enjoy anything. Venus reaches total combustion when he aligns with the Sun on August 14th, and won’t leave the 3-degree proximity zone until August 24th. (Looking at a 6-degree orb, Venus won’t leave combustion until September 4th.)
Jupiter Turning Direct
After several months, Jupiter is finally slowing down in his retrograde journey back through Scorpio, and will station and turn direct on August 11th. As he begins his journey forward once again, you’ll notice affects the most directly on the areas of life ruled by Jupiter in your chart, and depending on the unique placement of planets for you. In a general sense, we may notice things changing directions somewhat in the broader ideological field, as we have had a period of retrospection over principles and beliefs for the past several months.
Kala Sarpa Cycles
This New Moon finds all the planets in between the two nodes, on one side of the sky, creating a Kala Sarpa alignment. We’ll come under this alignment for half the month from now through December. When the Moon is on the same side of the nodal axis as the other planets, Kala Sarpa is on, and when he transits from Capricorn through Taurus, it is off. This can intensify the effects of the nodes, especially for those who have prominent nodal placements in the natal chart, or are running cycles of either Rahu or Ketu, bringing shadow work and intensity to the surface.
Mercury Turning Direct
Mercury is completely stationary at the time of this New Moon, turning “direct” less than an hour after the Sun-Moon conjunction. For those of you who have felt the Mercury Retrograde effects strongly this month, you can breathe a sigh of relief!
The next full Moon is on August 14th-15th.
This is a great time to have a personal reading– either an Initial Reading if this is your first time working with me, or an Eclipse Reading, if we have had a previous session, can help you to integrate the lessons that arose during the eclipse cycle.
Sun and Moon join in sidereal Aries and bring a dark Moon night this Friday before their exact conjunction on May 4th at 3:46 pm PDT. At 20° of Aries, this New Moon begins a lunar cycle under Bharani nakshatra, the sign of birth, death, and rebirth. Aries ruler Mars is now joining Rahu, which adds volatility to this cycle. The Sun and Moon are nearly opposite the bright and retrograde Jupiter and Saturn, the latter of whom is having a close conjunction with Ketu now, and for the next several months.
Aries – Bharani Cycle
Aries is the sign where the Sun is exalted, meaning our collective health, energy, and sense of strength and power is well-supported at this time. That’s why the springtime in the north often brings us out of our shells, finding inspiration and ready to begin new projects. Aries has a birthing energy within itself, as it is the “let’s go” first sign of the twelve rashis.
Within sidereal Aries, Bharani nakshatra spans the middle section, associated with three bright hot stars in this constellation. This asterism brings a powerful fire energy, an element capable of creation and transformation. Bharani is symbolised by the yoni, the female reproductive organ, and translates as “the bearer.” There is a strong energy for birthing and creating that comes with a lunar cycle under Bharani.
Its Vedic deity, however, is Lord Yama, the god of death. This reminds us that all that begins must eventually end, and in Vedic thought, is then reborn again in a new form. Bharani is known as the star of restraint, yet perhaps that is a lesson that we must strive to learn here, as it can be a very sexual and passionate star-sign. Saturn is debilitated here, showing that discipline and patience do not necessarily come easily.
Mars & Rahu
Mars will transit into sidereal Gemini two days after the New Moon, on May 6th, and join him for about six weeks. These two planets together can create a lot of power, and perhaps violence. Mars has a strong warrior energy, which can be very disciplined with a healthy Mars, while Rahu has the aggressive and forceful energy of an army but without the discipline, or even self-awareness. If you are challenged by Mars in general, are hot-headed, or impulsive, be very aware that these qualities can be heightened during this conjunction.
Mars and Rahu will be joining from now through June 22nd. The volatility may be mitigated, however, after June 1st, when Mercury also joins them in Gemini. Being joined by a dispositor or ruler-of-the-sign can help to stabilize planets and assuage some of the malefic affects.
Jupiter is now in apparent retrograde motion and has transited back into Scorpio from his short jaunt in Sagittarius. On May 6th, he’ll move just past 29°12’ of Scorpio, leaving the heart of the gandanta area (the karmic knot), which may have had us feeling stuck in the Jupiter-ruled areas of your life. Jupiter retrograde is actually an incredibly bright and strong force. Now nearly opposite the Sun (and coming closer to exact opposition each day), he is getting brighter every night, and that auspicious glow can offer luck and prosperity.
There is one particular day of the year that is revered as a day of abundance, auspicious for making investments and starting new ventures. This day is Akshaya Tritiya, is the “third” day of the lunar cycle begun in Aries (it will span from May 6th-7th this year, PDT). It is known as the day of “never diminishing,” hence auspicious for beginning or cultivating that which you would like to grow. People often buy gold or silver, even homes or vehicles, or launch new ventures at this time.
Akshaya Tritiya is auspicious because it is the one lunar phase all year where both the Moon and the Sun are exalted. The Sun is exalted in Aries, while the Moon is exalted in Taurus, Venus’ fertile earth sign. While the body and the active energy principle within can shine with creative strength, the Moon and the feminine principle can rest and be fulfilled.
Retrograde Saturn & Ketu
Saturn stationed and began his retrograde journey on April 29th, just after coming within one degree of the always-retrograde Ketu. The two are now moving together at a snail’s pace, and will remain joined from now through October 1st. They will have exact conjunctions on May 20th, and then again on June 23rd. This conjunction may be taking a toll on the area of your life indicated by sidereal Sagittarius, or at least causing a lot of stress and worry there. Saturn pressures us to think about the big picture, especially our responsibilities, while Ketu compels us to let go of a lot we have held close. Melding these two impetuses will require a determined, and discerning, spiritual focus.
Venus remains exalted in Pisces for a few more days, until he transits into Aries on May 10th. As Bharani’s planetary ruler, this enhances the feminine creative energy we find as we begin this new Moon cycle.
To see how these transits affect your chart specifically, join me for a personal chart analysis based on your birth time and place.
This month the Full Moon falls in sidereal Libra, opposite an exalted Sun in Aries, on April 19th at 4:19 am PDT. This means the bright waxing full Moon night will be April 18th in most places, and this will also indicate the night to celebrate Hanuman Jayanti, the birth of Lord Hanuman, Lord Ram’s greatest devotee. In addition to this full Moon and holiday, April is bringing some serious alignments, with Saturn, Ketu & Jupiter all piling up in sidereal Sagittarius, and all soon-to-be retrograde.
Chitra/Libra Full Moon
The full Moon will become fully illuminated at 5° sidereal Libra, opposite an exalted Sun at 5° sidereal Aries. With the Sun transiting Aries this month (April 14th- May 14th), our sense of individual power is strengthened by virile Mars’ rulership here. As the Moon waxes into Venus-ruled Libra, opposite this Sun, we are reminded that our individual happiness is nothing if we cannot harmonize with others, specifically those who are most important to us. A Libra full Moon helps teach us to compromise and value the other, while maintaining our center and not allowing our sense of strength to depend on those outside of ourselves.
The Moon will also be aligned with the Vedic nakshatra Chitra, “the brilliant.” Bridging Virgo and Libra, this star-sign helps us to bring physical manifestations into this world with an heir of grace, beauty, and harmony. It is ruled by Vishvakarma, the divine architect, who created the heavens in all their sparkling perfection. This nakshatra is symbolized by a shining jewel, and its animal symbol is the female Tiger, the mount of Durga. There can be great creative potential under this Full Moon, as well as a heightened sexual passion.
Venus Exalted & Mercury Neecha Bhangha
Venus, Libra’s ruler, is currently transiting Pisces, his sign of exaltation. With Venus in Pisces, we have the potential to let our desires come into alignment with the highest good, as Pisces is a place of surrender, ruled by Jupiter. Pisces is also the place of the dream world, fantasy, and escapism, so as the planet of pleasure transits here, there is also the potential to get caught-up in these things. With healthy planetary connections, however, we can utilize this energy to tap into some potent dream-seeds, bringing them into reality as we work with the celestial architect.
Mercury is also transiting Pisces right now, which for him is the place of debilitation. Due to exalted Venus’ conjunction here, however, Mercury’s “neecha” or fallen status becomes neecha bhanga, meaning the debilitation is modified. That means that strong Venus will give some strength to the normally weak Mercury-in-Pisces. Be aware, however, that the nature of Mercury in Pisces is still there. Mercury is our analytical, rational, intellectualizing side, so he’s going to behave rather unpredictably while he’s in the sign of dreams, hopes and fantasy (and your “rational” mind may lead you in a different direction than usual).
Saturn, Ketu & Jupiter: All in Sagittarius & Retrograde
Thus has begun one of the most major transits to look out for during 2019. The conjunction of these three planets is a rare occurrence on its own. Now, granted, Jupiter has only recently transited into Sagittarius, then turned retrograde on April 10th, and will retreat back into Scorpio in a few days, on April 22nd.
The increasing proximity between Saturn and Ketu, however, is highly unusual, in the amount of time that this proximity will last, due to Saturn’s upcoming retrograde cycle. Ketu always moves in “retrograde” motion, going backward through the zodiac as we calculate him. Right now (at the time of the full Moon) Ketu is at 27°43’ Sagittarius (Mean Node calculation), and decreasing those degrees each day, while Saturn is at 26°19’ Sagittarius, and slowly increasing his position.
Saturn is slowing towards a stop, however, before beginning his retrograde journey on April 29th. A few days before this happens, Saturn and Ketu will come within one degree of each other, on April 25th. After the 29th both will be slowly moving in the same direction, “backwards” through Sagittarius, and will remain within one degree of each other for six whole months, until October 1st.
This is going to cause a lot of tension, particularly in the area of your life indicated by Sagittarius in your natal chart. Saturn compels us to slow down, persevere, commit to our goals, and do the hard grinding work that is necessary to reach them. Ketu can also make us slow down, but he often inspires us to retreat from the mundane aspects of life, often renouncing whatever area of life he touches, by natal position or by transit. He brings confusion, and often forces us to let go of things previously held dear.
As these two transit across the sky together, there will be an internal dance between committing to the struggle and wanting to let go completely. To no surprise, sadhana is going to be one of your most helpful tools for elevating the potential of how both of these planets are affecting your life.
This weekend brings a potent festival for upping your devotional practice and attitude, with Hanuman Jayanti on the purnima Full Moon phase this month. 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.
Marked by the first full Moon after the spring Equinox, this full moon marks the weekend for Easter and Passover as well, which are also determined by the lunar calendar.
Jai Jai Jai Hanuman!