Full Moon, Lunar Eclipse & Guru Purnima

Full Moon, Lunar Eclipse & Guru Purnima

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.

Guru Purnima

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

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.

Lunar Eclipse

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

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 Retrograde

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.

Total Solar Eclipse and New Moon, July 2nd, 2019

Total Solar Eclipse and New Moon, July 2nd, 2019

This month as the Dark Moon and the Sun come together, the Moon will cast his shadow fully across the Sun for a Total Solar Eclipse in sidereal Gemini, on Tuesday, July 2nd. The eclipse maximum will be at 12:22 pm PDT, just a few minutes after the exact New Moon (Sun-Moon alignment) at 12:16 pm. The time from the very beginning to end of the eclipse will be from 9:55 am through 2:50 pm PDT, but it will only be visible from the southeast Pacific and a few places in South America (see map). Nevertheless, we will feel the effects worldwide, as the light of the Sun (our strength and connection to source) is temporarily blocked out, due to the Moon’s close proximity with the shadow planet, north node Rahu.

Total Solar Eclipse and New Moon July 2nd 2019

Total Solar Eclipse

We’ve already been experiencing the effects of this eclipse for several weeks (possibly as far back as a month, when the last lunar cycle began). The Sun has been in the same sign as Rahu and the nodes have also gathered power by amplifying that of the two malefics with whom they’ve been conjunct. Saturn has been conjunct Ketu, in Sagittarius, since March and has been moving within one degree of him since late April, while Rahu was conjunct Mars in Gemini from May 6th through June 21st. When the nodes join another planet they intensify the power of that planet, and both Mars and Saturn are ones who have tougher lessons to teach us.

This eclipse, and the following lunar eclipse on the July 16th full Moon, will bring to the forefront any shadow work that we have to do along the Gemini-Sagittarius axis. In a general sense, this means you will see the imbalance between your practical, analytical mind, and your idealistic action-oriented motivations. There are many layers to add to this, however, due to the conjunction of Saturn with Ketu (and until recently, Mars), with Rahu, Sun and Moon. You will be seeing your shadows or imbalances in the areas of life indicated by Gemini and Sagittarius in your natal chart, and any planets you have there natally will also be affected.

Gemini New Moon

The Gemini cycle, beginning on this New Moon, is one ruled by Mercury, the planet of the intelllect. Gemini, or Mithuna, “the twins,” is a dual air sign, one which brings a lot of movement, especially of the mind. It is a place where we are able to step into another person’s shoes, or to see both sides of a situation or argument. You may also feel that you have too many ideas coming in (obsessive thoughts much?), and with Rahu here now, you may also have too many words coming out. Be careful of your speech this month, and make sure what you choose to say is true, necessary, and kind. This is a month where only one or two out of three could prove sorely insufficient.

Ardra

Furthermore, the Sun and Moon are coinciding for this New Moon in Ardra nakshatra. Ardra is known as “the moist one,” but is not as gentle as that might sound. It is ruled by Rudra, a fierce form of Lord Shiva, and the one associated with storms. The moisture comes from a turbulent tempest, and we may experience some destructive forces of nature or human nature occurring on or near the solar eclipse in Ardra.

Mars Debilitated

After his amplified six weeks with Rahu, Mars has now moved into Cancer where he is debilitated. Mars is the warrior, the inner fighter (who motivates our outer fighter), and the planet of concentrated action. In Cancer, he becomes neecha or debilitated because Cancer is the gentle, watery sign of the Moon. It is a place of comfort and nurturing. This could give our fiery spirit a chance to take a break and soften a bit, but you may find yourself lacking the courage or strength needed for certain activities.

Mercury and Mars will be in a planetary war, graha yuddha, from July 7th-9th, just as Mercury stations and begins retrograde motion (July 7th). The war between these two can pin our rational side against our gut and inner power. With Mars debilitated and Mercury sva in his own sign, you may find the intellect winning out over the gut.

 

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.

Full Moon in Scorpio, May 2019

Full Moon in Scorpio, May 2019

We’ll bask under the full Moon glow on Friday night, as the Moon journeys toward total fullness at 3° sidereal Scorpio on Saturday, May 18th at 2:11 pm PDT. Just barely in Anuradha nakshatra, this full Moon is close to the degree where Moon is debilitated, but is greatly enhanced by two factors: full illumination by the Sun (exactly opposite), and conjunction with a bright and Retrograde Jupiter.

Full Moon in Scorpio

With the Sun transiting sidereal Taurus right now, there is a latent sense that our inner power is connected to the earthly realm. We’re drawn towards things we can touch, getting our hands dirty in the earth, connecting with crystals, herbs, and other Venusian physicalities. As the Moon waxes into fullness in Scorpio, however, the emotional mind feels strongly connected to the watery element. Scorpio in particular, is place where we often find turbulent waters, as it is ruled by fiery and passionate Mars, and can bring a lot of uncertainty and change by its own nature.

It is for these reasons that the Moon is considered “debilitated” in early Scorpio. The mind needs a steady place to rest, and it can be difficult to find that amidst the emotional passion of this sign. This Moon is gaining a huge amount of support, however, that can allow us to find a lot of advantage despite this tenuous location in the zodiac. When the Moon is full, the emotional mind and heart are bright and strong, catching those rays of the Sun directly and being most illuminated.

Additionally, being joined by Jupiter is a great boon for the Moon, as Jupiter can add inspiration, grace, luck, and optimism to the mind and the situation. This Jupiter in particular is incredibly bright (you can see them together over the next several nights), being in retrograde motion and coming closer and closer to being fully opposite the Sun as well.

That means it’s a great Full Moon to draw out your inner spiritual warrior. This is the higher potential of a Moon in Scorpio, and this particular full Moon sets us up nicely to access this. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by all the emotions and vulnerability that are coming up, call upon those teachings (Jupiter) and support systems that you have found in this life, because they are close at hand to guide you through and out of any mucky stuff that’s coming up. The fullness of the Moon will allow your heart and mind to shine brightly through any shadowy spots.

Anuradha

This Moon is in the early degrees of Anuradha nakshatra, which can be translated as “after Radha” (implying devotion), or “later success.” Ruled by Mitra, a god of friendship, the energy of this star fosters cooperation and kindness. There is a good chance for later success, after effort, and often in far-away places from where one started. The full Moon here will take on a more jovial quality, so we can hopefully lighten our hearts in the midst of some of the intense energy being raised by the nodes.

Mars & Rahu

Shadows are definitely at hand, as we are facing some pretty intense alignments on both sides of the nodal axis right now. Mars and Rahu are joining in sidereal Gemini (since May 6th, and until June 22nd). Mars can be aggressive, activating our natural instincts for self-protection and survival, while Rahu can be explosive and aggressive because he is just so agitated and overwhelmed, as well as confused. These two together can stimulate a lot of arguments, heated debates, misunderstandings, and just plain harsh language (I’ve noticed these things in people around me a lot this month so far).

If you’re naturally fiery, be aware of this alignment, and especially of how Mars and Rahu could seep into your communication, being in the sign of Gemini right now. The danger of this conjunction may be somewhat mitigated on June 1st, when Mercury joins them in Gemini. Joining as their impartial ruler, Mercury may be able to hone the volatility into a more practical and level-headed argument. If you’re clear and directed, this could be a time to speak up for things that you really believe in, as a lot is being churned up on the opposite side of this axis, by Saturn and Ketu in Sagittarius.

Ketu & Saturn

Ketu and Saturn are now traveling so closely together that they are really opening a doorway into latent unconscious energies. Ketu brings up a lot of things from the past, while Saturn helps us to look at the future, and tells us what we must do in the present that is difficult in order to get where we want to go. In the sign of Sagittarius, a lot of big ideas (philosophical, spiritual, political) may be under scrutiny right now.

Ketu can show us where things went wrong in the past, and Saturn can help us to take a stand to correct things for the future. Of course, ideologies differ, and under what can be visibly seen as a very polarized chart, the ideas under scrutiny may be coming from two vastly opposing sides. Expect the intensity of this feeling of polarization to have one peak around May 20th (when Saturn and Ketu come into exact alignment at 1:05 am, mean node calculation), remain high through October, and last through the end of the year, while they remain in the same sign.

Personal Effects

The polarization of Mars-Rahu and Saturn-Ketu is probably having a transformative affect on your personal life in the areas of life shown by sidereal Sagittarius and Gemini, as well as those areas ruled by any planets that you have in either of these signs. You can book a personal reading to better understand your personal chart, and this will include a look at the effects of the current transits and what they mean for your life this year.

Full Moon in Chitra & Hanuman Jayanti

Full Moon in Chitra & Hanuman Jayanti

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.

Hanuman Jayanti

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!

New Moon in Revati & Chaitra Navaratri

New Moon in Revati & Chaitra Navaratri

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.

Pisces Cycle

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).

Revati

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.

Chaitra Navaratri

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.*

new moon in revati

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.

Maha Shivaratri, New Moon & MUCH MORE

Maha Shivaratri, New Moon & MUCH MORE

The Moon wanes in sidereal Aquarius on the dark night of March 5th, approaching the exact Sun-Moon alignment for a New Moon at 8:04 am on Wednesday, March 6th, beginning a new lunar cycle. Leading up to this will be Maha Shivaratri, “the great night of Lord Shiva,” on March 4th. This is an auspicious night for prayer and penance, and the benefits of sadhana are multiplied by the Moon’s position and the collective vibration.

Maha Shivaratri

Monday night, March 4th, 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 perhaps 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, and we can recall two stories of great sacrifices that he made protect the entire creation.

One of these is the story of the churning of the milk ocean, which the gods and demons were doing 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. He 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 this 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.

new moon aquarius 2019 vedic

Aquarius Moon Cycle

The Sun and Moon meet in sidereal Aquarius to begin this lunar cycle. 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.

Saturn both rules Aquarius and is aspecting the Sun and Moon here (from sidereal Sagittarius) at the time of this New Moon. Saturn brings to us awareness of the long term and the bigger picture, and through this masculine or active sign, compels us to make commitments and offerings to something greater than ourselves and our momentary happiness. This is a great month to consider a new way that you may be of service to your community or to society.

Purva Bhadrapada

The New Moon cycle begins with the Sun and Moon in the Vedic nakshatra called Purva Bhadrapada, the former “lucky footed one.” 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.

nodes in gemini sagittariusNodes Are Changing Signs!

With a mean node calculation, Rahu and Ketu will transit into Gemini-Sagittarius on March 6th. (Under a true node calculation, they will not change signs until March 23rd; See Technicalities: Mean vs. True Node section below if you want a little more info about nodal calculations.) Regardless of the calculation used, March is a month of transition for the nodal energy. With the nodes in Cancer-Capricorn for the last year-and-a-half, we collectively felt a dichotomy between listening to the heart and following our emotions, against doing what is practical and responsible in an earthly way. It was a chance to balance these two things as well, learning to create a harmony between the practical and the emotional.

Throughout the coming transit of Rahu and Ketu through Gemini and Sagittarius, we will be feeling a polarization between curiosity, fact-finding and learning in an intellectual way, versus taking actions based on our principles and beliefs. Sometimes the intellectual mind does not agree with our fiery passions. This transit will be a time to learn to balance the two. With opinionated Sagittarius on one side, and communicative yet flexible Gemini on the other side, we may learn new ways to communicate and interact with those who oppose us in ideas, stepping into another’s shoes while still maintaining and honoring our personal beliefs and philosophy.

For each natal rising sign, this coming transit will affect a particular axis of learning in your life. You will be more able to see and work with some of your blind spots in these areas throughout the coming year-and-a-half long nodal transit. These things will especially surface around the bi-annual pairs of eclipses (coming this year in July and December).

Mercury Retrograde

Mercury stations and begins apparent retrograde motion on March 5th, the day before the New Moon. He is also currently debilitated in sidereal Pisces, so this time period could have us a bit mixed up around some details, and possibly challenged with communication and accuracy. He’ll retrograde back into Aquarius on March 14th, before returning to direct motion on the 28th.

Jupiter Gandanta

Also during the first half of this lunar cycle, Jupiter will enter the last 48 minutes of sidereal Scorpio (one muhurta), on March 15th. This region of the sky, called gandanta or a “knot,” is considered one of the most difficult places in the zodiac. It spans for one muhurta before and after the 0° point between sidereal Scorpio and Sagittarius, as well as those regions on the cusp of Cancer-Leo and Pisces-Aries (however, this gandanta location is often considered the most difficult. (Some astrologers may consider it spanning up to one or even two or three degrees to either side of the cusps.)

Normally, a planet transits through this zone rather quickly. Jupiter is currently slowing down, however, and will come to a stationary halt at 0°14’ of sidereal Sagittarius on April 10th, before beginning retrograde motion and passing back into Scorpio. He will threrefore be traveling the gandanta zone all the way from March 15th until May 6th (or longer if the zone is interpreted as wider).

Though Jupiter will be dipping into his own sign from March 15th through April 22nd, the fact that he will remain in gandanta at this time will not bring the added strength that we would expect from a sva graha. Those who are ruled by Jupiter may feel a bit “stuck” in various ways throughout this transit. It is important to be patient and keep up with sadhana during this time. Additionally, he will be joined by both Saturn and Ketu during his time in Sagittarius, both of which can be challenging companions.

Technicalities: Mean vs. True Node

Rahu and Ketu have been transiting through the Cancer-Capricorn axis for nearly 18 months, and are getting ready to make their transition into the Gemini-Sagittarius axis, for the next 18. The date of this transition will vary whether you are using the “mean node” calculation or the “true node” calculation. To simplify this as much as possible, we must realize that the nodes do not have planetary bodies that can be observed as the other grahas can be. (The grahas are “the forces that grab us,” including the Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, Rahu and Ketu.)

nodesThe nodes, astronomically are the places where the Sun’s and Moon’s paths intersect. The ecliptic is the apparent paths that the Sun travels “around” the Earth. The Moon’s orbits is not completely flat or parallel with the Sun’s, but slightly inclined, so that it passes this line and is sometimes to the north of it, sometimes to the south. We can measure astronomically and by observation when these crossings happen. To get the mean node, we take an average distance between these two points based on how many days it takes the Moon to get from one to the other. The true node is calculated using a method that also accounts for the slight wobble of the earth and the Moon’s orbit around it.

Some astrologers favor using the “mean” node calculation while others prefer the “true.” These two calculations of the node will sometimes put them about one degree apart, which is noticeable in cases where, in a natal chart, someone’s node is on the cusp of two signs (it may be in one sign using mean node and another sign using true node). It also affects the date of transition between signs that we observe when talking about nodal transits. In both cases, it is best to observe for yourself (use a lot of charts for case studies) and see which makes the most sense to you. I prefer using mean node calculation.

 

Personal Readings are available to help you understand your individual natal chart and how these transits will affect your upcoming year.

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