The new moon cycle begins in Taurus on May 22nd at 10:38 AM PDT, in the Vedic nakshatra of Krittika, “the cutter.” Taurus is a feminine earth sign ruled by Venus, and Venus joins the Sun and Moon in Taurus on this dark moon tonight along with Mercury. Both Mars and Jupiter cast their aspects here, while Saturn, Jupiter, and Venus are all in retrograde motion.
A Taurus cycle compels us to get into our physical bodies, focus on things close at hand, and find the simple beauty that comes from nature, foods, and pleasurable activities. Amidst the pandemic, the stars are supportive this month to help us focus on family and the simple pleasures around the home. Fitting with the season, this is a good cycle to work on gardening and to beautify your indoor and outdoor as well as inner landscapes.
On a spiritual level, Taurus helps us to forge ahead (sometimes with a stubborn, “bull-headedness”) in our chosen direction … it can sometimes be hard to change directions, however, so it is important to set some intentions and orient yourself properly on this dark moon night before the cycle begins. Mars’ aspect onto the new Moon adds some firepower to the mix, while Jupiter’s glance adds a breeze of wisdom and grace.
Krittika means “the cutter,” and this star helps us to cut away that which we do not need. It is ruled by Agni, fire personified, which also helps us to cut and burn away the excesses that we may have been carrying. On this new Moon night it’s a great time to cut or clear away anything that is weighing you down or getting in your way. Literally cutting plants, hedges, foods, or hair are good activities we perform that also symbolize some of the inner cutting we must do on our vasanas (negative tendencies) and unnecessary attachments.
This star is symbolized by a razor, axe, or flame. There is also a feminine nurturing quality to this star, as it relates with Lord Kartikeyya who was suckled by six pleiades (this nakshatra is the cluster of seven stars known as the pleiades). This is the birthstar of Mata Amritanandamayi Devi (“Amma”), a great saint who is known for her power to cut through negativities and also nurture endlessly as the divine Mother.
Three Retrograde Planets: Venus, Jupiter and Saturn
Venus, Saturn, and Jupiter are all traveling in apparent retrograde motion at the moment, giving them strength and an inward-oriented power. When Venus is retrograde we have an enhanced ability to reflect upon our relationships. This can include doing some work on your patterns (and creating better ones), as well as re-examining old relationships or reconnecting with people from your past. It also lends us the ability to examine our relationships with sensory pleasures in general, perhaps redefining our relationships with food, drink, or substance, or unearthing some of our creative energy that has been left dormant.
With Jupiter retrograde we must look deeply at the philosophies, creeds, and spiritual beliefs that guide us. It is a good time to reconnect with scripture or teachers, and really examine yourself inwardly for how your belief structures are working and supporting you. It can be a great time to re-commit to spiritual practice, as Jupiter is getting closer to earth and brighter in the sky during the first half of this retrograde cycle (the whole cycle is from May 14th through September 12th).
Under retrograde Saturn we examine our long-term goals, our work and the ways we commit to support ourselves, and the very structures under which we live. You may find this period is an opportunity to restructure or redefine the work you do in the world, or your understanding of what are the most important things that you are working for. Saturn retrograde can also teach us more about self-control and self-discipline, but also the need to let go of external attachments and rely more on our inner strength. Meditation is one of the greatest remedies for Saturn.
Saturn and Covid
Saturn is currently strong in his own sign as well as strong due to his retrograde transit, and, in Capricorn, is a large part of the force that is restructuring the outside world during this Covid crisis. He brings restriction and contraction, and in Capricorn, forces us to examine the structures that support us, particularly as a society. This retrograde transit could bring some relief but it asks us to choose new directions when he begins to move forward again, surrendering more to the greater good, rather than trying to hold onto systems of power that have been failing.
The full Moon in sidereal Leo is on March 9th at 10:47 am PDT. This is the height of an Aquarius cycle that began with the New Moon on February 22nd.
Full Moon in Leo
The Leo full Moon highlights our individual power center, amidst a cycle of Aquarius wherein we’ve been drawn to really consider the whole, and what is best for the world at large. Though Aquarius energy can be very beneficial in this way, promoting universal good acts and attitudes of service, it can also sometimes cause us to sublimate some individual qualities and yield personal power for “the greater good.”
Under the full Moon in Leo, we are reminded that the two are not exclusive. Under this Moon, the heart is illuminated on Leo’s throne, the place of unlimited personal power, where we can feel our individuality and autonomy and simultaneously know that we can do great service from this place of personal strength. If you’re in the midst of an election decision, this is a great time to feel into your heart for what is right, while already contemplating what is best for the whole.
The Full Moon’s nakshatra is Purva Phalguni, spanning the late middle of Leo, and known as the “former red one.” It is a star of recreation and relaxation, symbolized by a swinging hammock or the front legs of the bed, reminding us that leisure is a necessary part of life even amidst service and leadership. Ruled by the planet Venus and by Bhaga, the god of delight, this star carries a sexual energy and in general draws us towards beauty and luxury.
Mercury is at the end of his retrograde cycle, stationary-retrograde during the full Moon, turning stationary-direct some hours later. This brings a lot of intellectual focus to this full Moon, and you may find you are able to work something out — or communicate something through with someone — that you have been wanting to finalize the details around for a while.
Mars and Saturn
On March 22nd, Mars will join Saturn in Capricorn. Mars is exalted here while Saturn is sva, in his own sign. The combination of these two planets here could help us to channel great focus and discipline, especially around hard work that needs to be done. On the other hand, if you have certain planets here such as the Moon, the transit of the two malefics could bring a lot of psychological stress and pressure. Mars will travel here through May 4th. The two will be in a planetary war from March 29th through April 4th, weakening one or both, likely Mars being that it is Saturn’s own sign.
This full Moon is also Holi in India, the “festival of colors.” It is the last full Moon coming before the Spring Equinox. This is a joyful festival of renewal, best-known for its colorful celebration in which people throw bright powders at each other. The playful combat is a way to let go of any past aggression held over the past year and start anew with forgiveness and friendship.
There will be a full Moon in Bharani nakshatra in sidereal Aries on Monday night, reaching full waxing brightness at 5:35 am PST on Tuesday, November 12th. This is a powerful Full Moon for new beginnings as the Moon transits Aries, the first cardinal sign, and receives an aspect from its ruler Mars as well as the full brightness of the Sun.
Full Moon in Aries
The Aries full Moon is the integration point of the Libra cycle we began on Diwali in late October. The Sun in Libra is debilitated and compels us to put a lot of energy into balancing things, and people, outside of ourselves. As the Moon transits Aries and is fully illuminated by the Sun, we may be able to tune in more with our individual strengths and stop emphasizing other people so much.
Both Mars and the Sun will be in Libra, opposite this full Moon, directing a lot of strength back at it. This alignment will brighten our hearts and minds, bringing courage, strength, and determination. Mars is strengthened by the fact that he will be exchanging signs with Venus, in Parivartana Yoga. As Mars rules Scorpio (where Venus currently transits) and Venus rules Libra (where Mars will be as of Sunday morning), the two will lend a harmonizing and supportive energy to each other as they “visit each other’s houses.”
The Moon will be fully brightened in Bharani nakshatra, the one known as “the bearer.” This can imply both the creative act of bearing, i.e. a child, and also gestures towards the spiritual austerity type of bearing, i.e. difficulties. This nakshatra is a portal of birth and death, as it is ruled by the deity Yama, the Lord of Death, but symbolized by the female reproductive organs. Related to both Venus (as nakshatra graha) and Mars (as rashi ruler), it further emphasizes the cooperation of the two — allow the masculine warrior energy within us and the feminine happiness principles to harmonize.
Jupiter Has Entered Sagittarius
Jupiter made a major transit last week, finally passing into sidereal Sagittarius for good after a quick visit earlier this year, having spent most of the last 13 months transiting sidereal Scorpio. Jupiter has now returned to his own sign of Sagittarius and will hold a natural strength here for this new 13-month transit. This will strengthen our idealism, and our commitment to explore and act upon our highest beliefs. It may encourage many people to pursue learning and education, as well as more wisdom and spiritual depth.
Jupiter joins Saturn and Ketu, already here, who have been stirring the pot in terms of idealism and philosophy on the world stage. We will continue to see tensions around firmly engrained belief systems, but also the energy and movement to break down old patterns of operating through systems that have been in place for a long time. Look for some major shifts in the dominant philosophical voices that may occur around the eclipse cycle at the end of this year.
Mercury Retrograde and Rare Transit
Mercury also joins the Sun and Mars in Libra during this full Moon, aspecting the Moon fairly closely and adding an intellectual perspective to our felt experience this week. Having been traveling in retrograde motion since November 7th, Mercury will be passing directly between the earth and the Sun on November 11th. This somewhat rare occurrence is known astronomically as a Mercury Transit. It last happened in 2016, and will not come again until 2032. Those with special protective telescopes or binoculars equipped with protective solar filters will be able to see a black dot passing across the Sun during this time.
What can you bear in the name of happiness that requires more strength than you thought you had right now?
The full Moon will be illuminated in sidereal Capricorn on August 14th, reaching totality at 5:29 am PDT on the 15th. Opposite the Sun in watery Cancer, this full Moon ties in a grounded Saturn energy, bringing us back to earth for a moment in what may be a highly emotional month. The fire energy has also been riding high these current weeks, with Venus highly combust next to the Sun, and Mars now moving through Leo. This full Moon occurs under Dhanishtha nakshatra, the star of wealth.
Capricorn Full Moon
We began this lunar cycle with Sun and Moon in Cancer, aligning our minds and spirit with the cooling waters of the heart. As the Moon becomes illuminated in Capricorn, it’s in an earth sign and under the rulership of Saturn, who reminds us that there’s more to life than the waves of the emotions. Moon in Capricorn helps us to remember what’s most important, to slow down and steady ourselves, and to commit to a path of action that aligns with our long-term goals. It’s a time for creating structure and embracing stability, stabilizing the fickle mind that can change at a moment’s notice when guided by water alone.
The Full Moon aligns with the Vedic nakshatra called Dhanishta, “the wealthiest.” Dhana means wealth, and this implies prosperity of both a material and spiritual nature. Bridging sidereal Capricorn and Aquarius, Dhanishtha can bring wealth, innovation and success. It is also known as a musical star, symbolized by a musical drum, showing that it is a place where we can really attune to the cosmic rhythm. It is ruled by the eight Vasus, the elemental gods of nature.
After four months in retrograde motion, Jupiter stationed in sidereal Scorpio on August 11th, and is very slowly beginning his journey forward through the zodiac again in direct motion. Jupiter direct may help you to begin moving forward again in the Jupiter-ruled areas of your chart and life, which have been under heavy contemplation or re-consideration for several months. Collectively, Jupiter’s direct motion will show us more conformity of ideas and beliefs. For example, with Jupiter retrograde this year we have seen a lot of nuanced political platforms coming forward from a huge array of candidates, and as he moves forward we will see fewer of those as people solidify their support around certain “big” ideas.
Venus has been traveling very close to the Sun this month, within 3 degrees since August 2nd. When this happens, he is so close to the Sun that his brightness is no longer apparent to us. Venus has not been visible to most of us since mid-July, and will not be seen again til late September, which makes it challenging to harness the blessings of Venus—happiness, pleasure, and inter-personal harmony. He is traveling close to the Sun and will actually pass directly behind the Sun, from our perspective on earth, on August 14th, for an exact conjunction then. He will stay within three degrees, in high combustion, until August 25th, though he will not reappear for another month after that. Both Venus and the Sun move into Leo on the 16th, adding more strength to the Sun and more fiery independence to the side of us that is meant to compromise.
Mars Venus War
Mars is also currently in Leo, since August 8th, adding fire to fire and increasing our courage and will significantly, after the month of debilitation while Mars traveled through Cancer. Mars-ruled folks may notice some of the oomph coming back, and a little less emotional heaviness. Mars will soon face some other challenges, however, as he simultaneously comes into combustion as well as a planetary war with Venus. Mars and Venus go to war August 22nd-26th, with both highly combust within 3 degrees of the Sun. This can present challenges in Mars- and Venus- ruled areas of your life, and with managing both our will and our desires appropriately. Mars will become fully combust (aligning exactly with the Sun) on September 2nd.
We’re in the time of year where all planets are on one side of the nodal axis (between or joined Rahu and Ketu), save for the Moon who travels from one side to the other for half of each month. Kala Sarpa can exacerbate challenges for those who have a prominent nodal placement in the natal chart, or are running a dasha of Rahu or Ketu currently. This cycle begins on August 25th and runs through September 9th. Sadhana is the best remedy for nodal challenges.
Personal readings are available and will help to explain how all of these alignments affect your chart and life in particular.
Today begins the Taurus Moon cycle for this year, with Sun and Moon aligning exactly in sidereal Taurus early this morning (June 3rd) at 3:02 am PDT. In the fertile earth sign of Taurus, ruled by Venus, this dark Moon is inspired and uplifted in his sign of exaltation, while opposite a bright and graceful Jupiter.
Taurus is the feminine earth sign ruled by the planet Venus. During the Taurus cycle, we may be more inspired to connect with the earth and the earthly elements around us. This is a good time for meditation with crystals and herbs, and utilizing gemstones and sweet juicy fruits as part of your offerings or remedies.
The dark Moon time is a good opportunity to hit the reset button each month. There may have been a lot of tensions building up throughout May due to Rahu and Mars together in Gemini, and the few days around the New Moon are a good time to cleanse and start a new cycle afresh. Sadhana will be important this month as well, as we are approaching an eclipse cycle in July.
This Taurus cycle begins with Sun and Moon in Rohini nakshatra, “the reddish one.” The Moon’s nakshatra of exaltation, Rohini was said to be the favorite of the 27 “wives” he visited each month. There is a warm, nourishing, fertile energy here, ripe for beginnings of all sorts. The animal symbol of the male serpent also elicits sexual energy, while the symbol of the ox-cart relates to abundance through commerce.
Rahu and Mars
The two most aggressive planets are currently approaching each other in sidereal Gemini, as Mars makes his way forward and Rahu steadily creeps back through the degrees of this rashi. The last month may have brought up a lot of tense and aggressive communication, with a lot of harsh language in particular. This may be tempered now by Gemini’s ruler, Mercury, having joined the two malefics on June 2nd… But keep awareness of this conjunction over the next three weeks, especially on June 14th when Mars and Rahu come into exact alignment.
Eclipse Energy Building
We are now one month, one Moon cycle away from this summer’s eclipses. The first will be a Total Solar eclipse on July second, on the new Moon, with a partial lunar eclipse to follow on the full Moon of July 16th. Eclipse energy can usually be felt starting 2-4 weeks before the first eclipse of a set, so we may be experience the disruption already.
Eclipses are the times when the shadow grahas, Rahu and Ketu, become visible, and likewise our internal shadows begin to show themselves as well. Whatever areas of your life are located in Gemini and Sagittarius, this is where you are experiencing the nodal transit for a year-and-a-half. This is where you may feel disturbance over the next several weeks, as the eclipse energy stirs the pot and brings things to the surface that need your attention.
Time to offer that attention to what is arising! Challenges are what help us to grow, like when we break down muscle tissue exercising in order to rebuild it stronger. The imbalances in your life along the Sagittarius-Gemini axis are likely becoming harder and harder to ignore, as Rahu and Ketu shake the dust out of the corners. If we meet what is arising with mindfulness and a desire to grow, we can make new strides during eclipse season. But if we fight against the challenges and attempt to remain the same, eclipses can turn things in our lives upside down and bring more stress than necessary. Sadhana and prayer are especially helpful now.
Five Malefics Joining
The energy of this eclipse season is augmented by the conjunctions of Mars and Saturn with Rahu and Ketu, respectively. Four malefics are joining forces on the same axis—and when Sun moves into Gemini on the 15th, all five malefics will be together! The so-called “malefics” are the planets that offer us growth and blessings through challenge. They teach us the lessons of perseverence, discipline, self-awareness, and purification. As we embrace these we are able to gain the benefits of their light—longevity, strength, power, and mystic knowledge, to name a few.
Venus and Jupiter
Venus and Jupiter, along with Moon, are three so-called “benefic” planets, on the other hand, those that bring us their blessings usually through more pleasant intervention. Venus will be transiting into his own sign of Taurus later on June 3rd, bringing strength to the alignments at hand. During the polarized chart of the malefics all in alignment, the strong sva Venus will be opposite an incredibly bright and retrograde Jupiter.
Jupiter is getting brighter and brighter each day as he approaches “fullness,” or being directly opposite the Sun. A nearly full Moon will join him there on the nights of June 14th and 15th, bringing a lot of grace to balance the strong malefic alignments happening.
Personal readings are available and will help to explain how all of these alignments affect your chart in particular. Many interesting affects may be happening with such a concentration of energy in the sky.