The Sun and Moon are coming together again for a dark Moon (the amavasya lunar phase) tonight, February 3rd. They will come into complete alignment for a “New Moon” at 21° sidereal Capricorn tomorrow, February 4th at 1:04 pm PST to begin a new lunar cycle. Now is a good time to go inward, taking a break from too much activity, and let go of some of the past month’s energy as we prepare for the new. The Sun and Moon meet in the Vedic nakshatra of Sravana, the star of hearing.
This new lunar cycle will begin under the energy of Capricorn, with Sun and Moon joining both Mercury and Ketu there. Capricorn is the feminine earth sign ruled by Saturn, the disciplinarian. Under Capricorn energy we look at ourselves and see where we need to be more responsible and committed, where our lives are calling for more structure and hard work. Saturn can give perseverance, so wherever you set your sights and goals now will have support in the coming month.
Yet at the same time, we may see that the benefit comes from reducing activities and keeping order and routine. We may find ourselves putting more things in order in our physical worlds, and also paying attention to our general level of groundedness. Near the end of winter, and after the usual business of the holidays, it is a really good time to allow for more stillness in your life, before the energy of spring comes on and calls us outward again.
Because of Ketu’s conjunction here, we may feel some residual “eclipse energy,” which helps to show us blind spots and blockages. We have experienced this energy along the Cancer-Capricorn axis for nearly a year-and-a-half now, as Rahu and Ketu have transited there, and this month may be a final phase of integrating those lessons in our lives before the nodes move into Gemini and Sagittarius.
Within the Vedic zodiac, this New Moon aligns with Sravana nakshatra, the star-sign of hearing, listening, and learning. This promotes a great energy for acquiring knowledge, both inner and outer. As we turn inward and listen with the inner ear (through meditation and other mindful practices), great wisdom can be revealed. This nakshatra is also associated with learning from oral traditions, and supports communication in general. As Mercury joins Ketu during this New Moon, we have a chance to release some blockages around communication, or reveal some ancient or inner wisdom, but be very alert with this as the nodes can also be quite unpredictable.
Venus & Saturn
Venus and Saturn are now joining in Sagittarius for a few weeks, until the 21st. Their energies can complement each other as Venus reminds the disciplined Saturn that we need to enjoy life as humans, while Saturn reminds Venus to use some discernment and not over-indulge in sensory pleasures. They will come within one degree of each other, as Venus passes Saturn, from February 17th-18th, causing a graha yuddha or planetary war. During this time, the things ruled by both planets can suffer (per your individual chart), and in general we may feel a great inner struggle, as our natural inclinations for pleasure seem in great conflict with our long-term goals and commitments. Commitment in relationships in particular could feel stressed during these days.
Mars and Jupiter have been exchanging signs, with Mars in Pisces and Jupiter in Scorpio, creating a certain harmony between the two for several weeks. Mars will move into Aries on the 5th of February, coming into full strength in his own sign and Moolatrikona position as he transits 0° to 12° Aries. This time could be beneficial for Mars-ruled people especially. Everyone has Mars ruling something in their charts as well, and these areas may have gone through a great deal of difficultly last year during the 6-month Mars-Ketu conjunction in Capricorn. The coming transit will be a time to harness strength again in these areas.
If you missed it, be sure to check out the 2019 Jyotish Transit Summit from last month! Myself and four other astrologers go over all the major planetary movements and what to expect for the coming year!
The Moon is waning towards total darkness as he approaches the Sun in late sidereal Libra. The dark Moon night of November 6th will precede the “new Moon” moment at 9:02 am PST on Wednesday, November 7th, when Sun and Moon align exactly in late Libra, in Vishakha nakshatra. This will begin a lunar cycle in the mood of Libra, and also bring in Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights. With Venus already powerful in the sky right now, this lunar cycle will cause us to focus even deeper on relationships, harmony, and happiness in our lives, and examine closely how we seek to fulfill our desires and find love on the human plane.
Libra is called Tula in Sanskrit meaning “scale” and is depicted as such in both eastern and western astrology. The natural seventh sign, opposite Aries, Libra is where we recognize our reflections, seeing the other who is opposite to us, and learning how to travel through life balancing our individual instincts with our need to create harmonize with those around us, often people with opposite will or nature.
Venus is the ruler of Libra, and Venus governs the human nature within us that seeks pleasure and happiness. While Mars gives us an instinct to assert ourselves strongly and survive, Venus brings in awareness of our pleasure centers and what is sensually pleasing in our field or bodies. A large part of the happiness we seek comes in the form of other people, coinciding with Libra’s “seventh sign” placement.
The problem with other people, however, is that they don’t always want exactly what we want. If it is a loved one, family member, or someone with whom we need to deal on a regular basis, we begin to notice that if we meet our individual desires completely at the expense of their happiness, we won’t actually be happy in the end. We need to learn how to compromise some so that both parties will be happy enough with a situation (and this is easier said than done). The flip-side is when we over-compromise, putting another’s desires entirely before our own, and ending up just as miserable as if we had completely ignored theirs.
During this Libra cycle, Libra’s lord, Venus, is joining the Sun and Moon from the onset. He is strong as he travels through his own sign (sva), and even stronger due to his retrograde position (albeit only visible for a short time in the morning currently, since he is traveling so closely to the Sun). This position will give us extra support as we try to navigate the waters of compromise, and insight to be able to reflect back on what we are doing to try to attain happiness. It will help us to see what isn’t working, and gives us the opportunity to try to forge a new path moving forward.
It’s important to look at our own part in conflict and disharmony, and adopt a new attitude or method towards finding happiness and harmony. Venus comes to a halt and turns direct on the 15th, so be sure to take notice of all the insights being offered now and make your plan for how you will move forward.
The Sun and Moon are coming together at 21° sidereal Libra for this New Moon, which aligns with the Vedic star-sign known as Vishakha, “the forked branches.” This star is sometimes represented by a set of forked branches, but often as a triumphal archway, indicating that success is possible after doing the difficult work of deciding between two paths. This is even often interpreted as a marriage archway. This star is ruled by the deities Indra and Agni, the chief of the gods and the fire deity, respectively, and can give us quite a bit of power and determination. Under Jupiter’s influence, this nakshatra can be helpful in learning to overcome conflicts and refining our method of compromise and success. Be aware, however, there can be some self-righteousness here due to Jupiter’s and Indra’s influences.
The Sun is considered neecha or naturally debilitated as he travels through Libra. 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 natural that our individual power can sometimes feel lessened while 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. Venus’ coincidence in Libra can help us to navigate this balancing act.
Hindu culture recognizes this descending light outside, and it is on this New Moon (in the Hindu month of Ashwin) that we celebrate Diwali, the festival of lights. It is a time to invite more light into our lives, our hearts, and our world. This festival celebrates the symbolic victory of light over darkness. At this time we commemorate Lord Ram’s and Sita’s return from exile after fourteen years (story from the Ramayana). Lord Ram embodies the highest qualities of dharma, devotion, compassion, courage, and leadership. It is also a powerful time to connect to the Goddess Lakshmi, calling in her blessings for both material and spiritual prosperity.
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, inviting the highest light into our homes and hearts. 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.
Monday, November 5th precedes Diwali with the holiday known as Dhanteras or Dhanvantari Tryodashi (commemorating the birth of Lord Dhanvantari). It is the thirteenth day of the waning Moon in the Vedic month of Ashwin. Lord Dhanvantari is known as the “father of Ayurveda” and the “physician of the Gods.” (Ayurveda is the system of natural medicine from India that is a sister science to yoga and Jyotish.) 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.
This day also marks Dhanteras, the first day of the Diwali festival. It 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.
After six long months of conjunction in sidereal Capricorn, Mars and Ketu are finally separating. On November 5th Mars leaves Capricorn and crosses over into Aquarius. This has been a complicated transit, as Mars journeyed through his sign of exaltation, strengthening our courage and will, but was simultaneously plagued by Ketu’s fear and confusion.
With a retrograde stint topped with a set of three eclipses in the summer, we had a lot of time to try to understand our deepest fears and how they influence our courage and will (especially in areas of your life ruled by Mars or aligned with Capricorn). Moving forward, we will feel some of the pressure lift from these areas, and hopefully we were able to glean a lot of learning from the visible shadows presented throughout this transit.
Personal readings are available here to help you to better understand your relationship with each planet and how the current transits may affect you.
The Sun and Moon will reach exact alignment for a New Moon in Leo at 11:02 am PDT this Sunday, September 9th. In sidereal Leo they join Mercury and begin a lunar cycle directed by the Sun himself, the ruler of Leo. Saturday night brings the darkest Moon phase as the Moon wanes to total obscurity, and is the best time for letting go of the past lunar cycle and preparing for the new.
The Sun is the graha (celestial body or being that grabs us with its force) that we see and experience the effects of the most frequently. Each day he rises and sets, bringing light by day to go out and move out energy through the world, disappearing at night as our energy descends and go into a temporary hibernation. During the Leo cycle, the Sun’s energy is even more powerful, as he is currently seated in his throne, or transiting his own sign of Leo, we could say.
As we begin to notice the hours of the day shortening (or lengthening, depending on your location), as we approach the equinox, awareness of the importance of this light becomes more apparent, and it may be a time where we strive to harness it and more through life as energetically as we can. The Leo cycle makes us aware of our inner light and strength, symbolized by the source energy offered to us from the Sun.
As we go through this cycle it is a time to examine our power and how we are using it. The great strength of kings and queens allows them to be either great samaritans or great tyrants. The highest calling of Leo is to use our power for the good of others, making sacrifices in our personal lives for the duty or responsibility to a larger cause. Four out of five of the last U.S. Presidents had Leo rising or Sun in Leo.
Rising to great power is not generally easy on the individual, however, but it can be purifying. The Sun is considered a krura or cruel planet in Jyotish, meaning he teaches us life’s lessons through more difficult processes. He is also a sattvic planet, however, helping to bring us towards a state of greater peace and alignment. The bright fire of the Sun both illuminates our power and our weakness, our strengths and our shortcomings, and helps to purify us by burning away what is not needed.
This new Moon cycle begins with Sun and Moon joined in Purva Phalguni, the Vedic nakshatra (star-sign) that spans the middle of sidereal Leo. This star, called “the little fig tree” is a star of recreation and relaxation, symbolized by a swinging hammock or the front legs of the bed. In the center of Leo, it shows the leisure that can and should be endured at times in the midst of being busy using our power to take care of our responsibilities. 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.
Venus is now out of sidereal Virgo, his sign of debilitation, and transiting his own sign of Libra, making the pleasure principles even more enhanced this cycle, and for the next several months. Venus will go into his cycle of retrograde motion from October 5th through November 11th this year, remaining in Libra the entire time, and will not leave this sign until January 1st, 2019. The last time we had a long stretch of Venus in one sign, including his retrograde cycle, was with Venus in Pisces from January 27th through May 30th of 2017.
This long stretch of Venus in his own sign will bring positive influence to relationships in general, as well as happiness and prosperity (of course other factors in your individual chart will affect this, but this will be more of a societal trend). We are likely to see a flourishing of the arts, or you may find more interest in art, music, or nature in your own personal life. Like the prior long-stint of Venus in Pisces, his sign of exaltation, it is possible that we will tend towards an over-indulgence in sensory pleasures during this transit, but perhaps less likely. With Venus sva, established in the sing of his self, more stability is possible, as we learn the lessons of appropriate compromise offered by Libra.
Mars, Saturn Direct
Mars and Saturn have become stationary-direct in recent days, with Mars coming to an apparent stop and now slowly beginning direct motion since September 27th, and Saturn stationing fully on September 6th, and will soon begin to make his forward progress through Sagittarius once again. For those of you ruled by either of these planets, or having important issues in your lives ruled over them, you will begin to see things moving in a forward direction again soon.
Mars, however, is still in Capricorn and now once-again approaching Ketu, meaning he will make a third and final exact conjunction with him again on September 22nd. Mars has been in Capricorn, his sign of exaltation, since May 2nd, and will not leave this sign until November 5th. He passed directly over Ketu on June 13th and July 18th, and has been in retrograde motion since July 10th.
Along with two eclipses resulting from the nodal alignments, July also brought the return of the Kaala Sarpa yoga cycles. This indicates an alignment of the planets during which all grahas are on one side of the Rahu-Ketu axis. As the Moon cycles in and out of this half of the zodiac monthly, we experience the kaala sarpa cycles for roughly two weeks at a time throughout this period. We are currently in one of these cycles from September 5th through the 21st. This period can bring up intense shadow work, especially in the realms that have been stirred up for you by this year’s nodal transit and the location of the eclipses in relation to your chart.
Thankfully, we celebrate the birth of the remover of obstacles this week, with Ganesh Chaturthi, on September 12th. The chaturthi or fourth day of this lunar cycle commemorates the birth of Lord Ganesha, whom we can call about to create a more clear path in our lives. On this day we can celebrate him through puja and prayer, and it is often customary to build a statue of Ganesha (out of natural clay), for our worship, and then release him into a body of water on the tenth day of prayer.
Because of an old dispute between Ganesha and the Moon, Chandra, it is advised not to look at the Moon on Ganesh Chaturthi.
Tonight’s dark Moon brings the third and final eclipse of this summer’s eclipse season. The exact time of the New Moon will be at 2:58 am PDT, with the partial solar eclipse reaching its maximum at 2:46 am. This eclipse will only be visible from Scandinavia, Greenland, northern parts of Asia and northernmost Canada. Though the last eclipse, of July 27th, carried a bit more intensity, this one is still adding a good degree of stress to the atmosphere. We should feel energies settling a bit more after its passing.
New Moon in Cancer
This eclipse occurs as the Sun and Moon come together in late sidereal Cancer, joined in this sign by Rahu, the north node, and a still-retrograde Mercury. Opposite, in sidereal Capricorn, lie Ketu and still-retrograde-and-exalted Mars. As we enter a new lunar cycle led by Cancer energy, we will go through this month with an acute awareness of our emotions, and sensitivities will be high. To be honest … it could feel like a tidal wave. Rahu’s presence here in Cancer works to exaggerate that sensitivity and those emotions even more, so try to be as gentle and caring with yourself as possible.
Cancer is the sign of the divine Mother, a water sign ruled by the Moon. The divine Mother, in her infinite compassion, is open and receptive to everyone and everything. Cancer is the sign of the heart, and we come into our own hearts more deeply when so many planetary energies are gathered here. Even those who may not usually have a “sensitive” nature will be much more attuned to their feelings during this month.
The presence of Rahu, however, can be disturbing and aggravating, and can lead us forward quickly in confusion. For this reason, Rahu’s presence in Cancer often causes us to open our boundaries too wide, allowing ourselves to get hurt while in this sensitive state. Working on balancing these boundaries and feelings with structure and responsibility has been one of the lessons of this Cancer-Capricorn eclipse cycle.
Cancer is the sign of the heart and the emotions, while Capricorn, opposite in the sky, teaches us about doing the responsible thing for long-term results. Throughout this year-and-a-half transit of the nodes through these signs (August 2017 – March 2019), we’ve been examining where in our lives we led our feelings lead too much, neglecting responsibility, or where we are too rigid, without acknowledging the heart. The eclipses help us through a process of learning around this, and as we see our patterns (the shadows that are revealed), we are able to make positive changes in our lives.
This axis is also affecting two particular houses in your natal chart, and learning to balance those energies is a personal task that is different for each of us. (If you haven’t downloaded it, be sure to get the Free E-Book with forecast for your sign, here.) This transit and series of eclipses may also be affecting any planets that you have in these signs natally, as well as the areas of life they rule for you.
The Moon and Sun coincide in Ashlesha nakshatra during this eclipse, the sign of the water snake, called “the entwiner.” This nakshatra can be located in a ring of stars within the western constellation Hydra, the water-serpent. Ashlesha is represented by a coiled snake, and is ruled by the Nagas, the serpent deities of wisdom. This nakshatra has a lot to do with discovering what is coiled deep within, so an eclipse here has the potential to churn up some deep-seated emotions that have not been felt for a while. It also has the ability to stir kundalini, so if you are doing spiritual practices, be prepared for some possible strong waves of energy.
At the same time, the snake also contains a poisonous venom. Because of the intensity of this eclipse and the surrounding alignment, it is quite possible for some of what gets stirred up to have a toxic quality. Like other detoxification processes, however, it is sometimes necessary for the toxins to filter through the body after they are dislodged, before being released back to the earth. Drink lots of water following this eclipse, but Indian tradition says that it is best not to eat, drink, or be outside during the eclipse, lest we absorb more of its negative affects. With any difficulties that arise, offer them back to the divine Mother, and call upon the cleansing power of water to help you through.
Mars has been retreating steadily towards the beginning of sidereal Capricorn since he entered retrograde motion on June 26th. Those people ruled by Mars are feeling particularly affected, as their normally driven energy seems to be going in the opposite direction, and further confusion is added due to the conjunction with Ketu. Mars is still in his sign of exaltation, which would normally help us towards putting a lot of energy into structures and goals, but there have been many delays and frustrations due to the other influences.
Mars will come to a stop near the end of the month, beginning direct motion again on August 27th and transiting over Ketu once more in September. He will remain in Capricorn through early November.
Venus entered sidereal Virgo, his sign of debilitation, on July 31st. Virgo is a sign that is very much about practicality, ruled by Mercury, the planet of the intellect. There is a lot of precision here, and factuality, while Venus is the planet of desire, which is often not practical. The fulfillment of our desires can feel curbed by the intellect while Venus transits here, and our creative pursuits can take on a more linear dimension.
At the same time, this can help us to see more clearly when it comes to relationships and desires, and take on an analytical view that is sometimes refreshing. Due to the alignment of planets at the beginning of this lunar cycle, however, watch out for arguments in relationships, as Mars is volatile and sensitivity is high.
Tonight’s waxing Moon is leading up to a powerful full Moon in sidereal Capricorn, peaking on Friday, July 27th at 1:21 pm PDT. On the dark side of the earth, this will coincide with a Total Lunar Eclipse peaking at the same time, but lasting in its entirety for 1 hour and 43 minutes, making it the longest lunar eclipse of this century. The full Moon is in extremely close proximity to both Mars and Ketu, bringing forth a lot of internal fire and intensity surrounding and throughout this eclipse.
Eclipses – Shadow Forces at Play
This is the second of this summer’s series of 3 eclipses, but this one is perhaps the most intense due to the Sun and Moon’s close conjunction with the nodes and Mars. The Sun and Moon are at 10°39’ of sidereal Cancer and Capricorn, respectively, while Rahu and Ketu (the nodes) are within about one degree, at 11°47’, and Mars is at 9°52′.
The nodes wield a heavy influence from this position, and we may feel a deep discomfort in our physical and emotional bodies during the eclipse, but also over the course of days or weeks leading up to it. This is related to the subconscious forces within us rising to the surface, calling our attention to the areas that need the most work. The mythology behind Rahu and Ketu points to “demonic” energy, or negative internal drives that lead us in the wrong direction until we learn to rise above them. The nodes create a lot of confusion, but as these shadows become visible during an eclipse, we have the opportunity to see where the problems lie and make efforts towards change.
This lunar eclipse occurs on the Capricorn full Moon, when the Moon is directly opposite the Cancer Sun. During the Cancer Sun cycle we find our strength through our emotional body, and by following the sensations of the heart and our human desire for comfort, love, and care. With Rahu so closely joining the Sun in Cancer, however, emotions can be extremely exaggerated and confusing during this time.
As the Moon waxes into fullness in the opposite sign of Capricorn, our emotional bodies (normally) find peace by embracing structure and responsibility, in this grounded earth sign. With Ketu’s presence here, however, we may feel or see a strong resistance to structure and commitment, as Rahu’s obsessive nature, in Cancer, draws us instead towards emotional intensity.
A great opportunity of this eclipse is to see where and when we let our emotions get the better of us, and also where and when we may need to stand more firmly in our commitments and take responsibility for our actions. The intensity of Rahu and Sun in Cancer can also cause us to have wide open boundaries, while the eclipse of Ketu and Moon in Capricorn shows us where we can use some more structure.
Saturn, Capricorn’s ruler, is always stern and still in retrograde motion, bringing extra cause for serious reflection around these themes. A total lunar eclipse can be draining on the heart, however, so it’s important to be more gentle with ourselves and more inward on this full Moon than we normally are during this lunar phase.
This eclipse will particularly effect you in the “houses” that are Cancer and Capricorn in your Vedic chart, as well as any planets you have there natally. If you’ve not downloaded it yet, you can receive the free e-book with an eclipse forecast for your sign, after joining the free mailing list here.
In general, Indian tradition advises against starting any auspicious activities during an eclipse, or really doing any worldly actions in general if it can be avoided. The best practice is to do some type of sadhana such as meditation, prayer, mantra, or quiet reflection. It is advised not to eat or drink during the eclipse, and not consume anything after that has been left out during the eclipse, as the atmosphere is said to carry a negative energy during the eclipse. The eclipse will occur from 10:14 am – 4:28 pm PDT, with the total eclipse lasting from 12:30 pm – 2:13 pm PDT.
In addition to the powerful emotions brought on by the solar-lunar-nodal positions during this eclipse, Mars is also bringing a lot of fire by his proximity. His close conjunction with the Moon (within one degree) will bring forth a warrior-like passion. Still moving in retrograde motion, and traveling through his sign of exaltation, we may be experiencing some deep-seated animal instincts arising. Any anger or enthusiasm that has been brewing beneath the surface may rise alongside the shadows of the eclipse.
Mars will have reached exact opposition to the Sun some hours before, so he will be at his brightest as he travels right next to the Moon tonight and tomorrow night. His powerful light shining on us presents the chance to find our inner warrior and use his strength to strengthen ourselves, taking this chance to embrace responsibility, self-discipline, and commitment, as well as to create more structured boundaries around us. The confusion and surprising/explosive nature of Ketu, however, could cause this inner warrior to arise in a fume of anger if we are not careful.
Mercury is also conjunct Sun and Rahu in Cancer during this eclipse, as he is stuck in the gandanta zone (the karmic “knot”) at the end of Cancer near Leo. He’s now in stationary-retrograde motion there. This can add an intense strain to communication. Being in Ashlesha nakshatra (the sign of the water serpent and kundalini), there is the potential for sharp poison to come through our words at this time, but also for conversations that lead to real inner transformation.
The Moon and Ketu lie in Shravana nakshatra at the time of this lunar eclipse, the sign of listening. While Mercury is in such a challenged but potent position, we should remember that a huge part of communication lies in the listening. Pay close attention to the words you are hearing and the conversations you are having around this eclipse. Furthermore, it’s time to listen deeply with the inner ear, and ask for the great spirit(s) to speak to you and guide you through the shadows that are arising.
Eclipse periods often feel like they are disruptive, because we often hear and experience things that are unwelcome or cause stress in our lives, but these things give us a great opportunity to see where we can create change, and grow into the people that we really want to be. This eclipse particularly shows us where we need to balance our emotions, boundaries, and responsibilities, and also balance the two houses (or areas of life) shown by Cancer and Capricorn in your Vedic natal chart. Our prayers and willingness to inquire and self-reflect around this time can lead to great change and greater balance.