Our hearts’ sense of comfort and happiness may feel some relief starting today, as Venus moves from sidereal Aries into Taurus. Venus rules our relationships, sense of art and beauty, and how we go about seeking happiness and pleasure. In Taurus, Venus can relax into the earthy comfort of this feminine earth-sign it rules. Since March 12th, Venus was in Aries, the masculine, “get-up-and-go,” fire-sign ruled by impulsive and aggressive Mars. That put some “me-first” drive behind the planet of compromise, love & happiness, which may have put some strain on our relationships and ability to work things out with others. Venus was also paired with Mars during most of that time, adding more obstruction to its goals of happy mediums, loving service and devotion. Before its stint in Aries, this graha was transiting Pisces alongside Mars in a planetary war, as well as hampered by its conjunction with critical Ketu. All that fire and pressure did not do much to help our inner sense of peace and love, nor did the intensity and illusion brought on by the eclipses that occurred simultaneously over the last few weeks.
We’re now moving out of the eclipse cycle, and Venus will be in Taurus for the next month, orienting us towards contentment and connecting to devotion through the earth-element. Planets are generally strong in their own signs and better able to express their goals. Taurus is a place related to comfortable and beautiful physical surroundings. The feminine expression of Venus, as well as a fixed-earth sign, planets here are able to relax, ground, and enjoy the simple and sweet fruits of the earth. The Moon is exalted here in Taurus, relaxing and expanding our hearts in the quality of contentment. Venus is opposite Saturn here, getting a direct aspect, so we may even feel a bit of pressure to really ground into Taurean satisfaction. The extreme of planets here is the potential to be stubborn about our desires for comfort and luxury, or sensual desires in general. There will still be more willingness to compromise than we found with Venus in Aries, however, but watch for sensual indulgence or attachment to certain ideas about security.
Earth-element relates to the sense of smell, so augmenting your happiness through fragrant flowers and essential oils will be especially potent now. Simple pleasures can be found in food, crystals, scents, and connecting to the warm soft ground. Adding some new art or beautiful objects to your home or altar will also be gratifying. Fostering this sense of comfort and beauty around us can be a step in our spiritual process, if we make it an offering to the divine, and a practice of reflecting what we are also doing inwardly to beautify our hearts. This is Venus’s higher capacity. Make a beautiful painting of your mind and adorn your inner vision with love, compassion and devotion, things that will bring joy and comfort to you and those around you.
Jupiter will turn direct later this week, giving us a renewed sense of inspiration and connection to our teachers and belief systems.
Transformative energies are running high as we are still in an eclipse cycle, with a Total Lunar Eclipse occurring in sidereal Virgo this Saturday, at 5am PDT. It is also the Full Moon, which is the only time when a total lunar eclipse is possible. This eclipse will be visible from most of Asia and Australia, at moonrise, and from most of North and South America, at moonset. The eclipse will begin around 3:15am PDT, will the total eclipse occurring for just five minutes, from 4:58-5:03 am, finishing just before moonset at 6:59, a few minutes after sunrise. The tail end of the earth’s shadow covering the moon will be visible in the twilight hours of dawn on the West Coast of North America.
Though the shadow is physically caused by the earth centering between the Sun and the Moon, it is also when the Moon is closely aligning with the shadow graha called Rahu, or the North Node, an astronomical point on the lunar orbit. When Rahu and Ketu (the South Node) are directly perpendicular with the earth’s orbit around the sun, during new and full moons, solar and lunar eclipses occur. This alignment with the nodes can feel like an unsettling force, as it brings to the surface a lot of energies that are often lurking in the shadows of our subconscious.
On the new moon in Pisces, two weeks ago, we experienced the Solar Eclipse, as the sun and the Moon aligned with Ketu, as well as with Mars. This brought staunch beliefs and opinions to the surface, which may have come out in an explosive manner. It began the Pisces cycle where we really started examining our tendencies towards fantasy and escapism, or felt ourselves getting lost in the vast emotional ocean, as Pisces is a water sign ruled by Jupiter. In its higher capacity, Pisces helps us to surrender and let go into the spiritual unknown, following creativity and intuition. This eclipse likely made visible certain areas of life that we were avoiding dealing with, especially areas where we tend to be critical and overly certain of ourselves (Ketu). It also brought the opportunity to let go and surrender. Mars’ conjunction here brought the possibility for confrontation around these issues during this process. Inward reflection has been necessary during this time, to clean out the dusty corners of our own psyches and murky emotional pools.
Now, with the full moon of this cycle occurring in Virgo, we examine the opposing energy to Pisces, which is the need to be practical and down-to-earth in our routines and fulfillment of desires. Virgo, on the other side of the zodiac, is an earth sign ruled by Mercury. Virgo energy likes to be discriminating, practical and organized. With the full Moon here, we feel in our emotional bodies this drive to do practical work, create or maintain solid daily routines, and to be responsible and efficient in our actions. With Rahu’s alignment bringing earth’s shadow over the Moon, however, we may feel disconnected from our emotional bodies during this time, and frustrated in our efforts to be grounded. The stress and eagerness associated with Rahu may disturb the coolness of the mind (the Moon), and our efforts towards practicality may take on a hot-headedness. Furthermore, Mercury, the ruler of this Virgo eclipse, is now joined Ketu in its sign of debilitation, Pisces. This further frustrates Mercury’s ability to be truly discriminating and impartial, as it is overwhelmed by the emotionality of Pisces and the gut cynicism of Ketu.
This eclipse occurs in the lunar nakshatra Hasta, “the hand,” ruled by the Moon. Hasta is a star whose energy brings efficiency with writing, drawing, and all dextral and industrious pursuits. With Rahu here we feel an overwhelming urge to master these things, and to implement some effective handiwork, both literally and figuratively. With the Moon being eclipsed, however, this desire becomes unconscious, and may be a accompanied by fear and illusion (Rahu), and not as rational as Virgo energy tends to be. We need to examine closely what kind of maneuvering and strategizing we are practicing with our hands, as our minds may be motivated in part by Rahu’s obsessive exaggeration, and we may be trying too hard to control the structures and routines we wish to implement.
Pisces and Virgo fall on certain houses in each individual’s chart. Whatever houses these are for you, the themes they represent will be ones that you are examining in particular during this time, and where you may be experiencing tension, disruption, and/or revelation. We will have another set of eclipses in these signs during September of this year, so there is a great opportunity to refine ourselves and our energies around these house themes between now and then, and to examine them closely again when the eclipses return.
As always, a powerful remedy for the disruptive aspects of the eclipse is spiritual practice, which will also help us to harness the positive potential of refinement and transformation that it brings. Meditation and mantra will help us to fall into the positive Piscean virtue of surrender to divine flow, as well as to cool the mind that feels disturbed and obscured in its conjunction with volatile Rahu (which began today). During this time, watch for where you feel a compelling but frustrated desire to organize everything around you. Take time to reflect and do personal grounding practices instead, like some gardening, walking or sitting on the earth, or re-organizing your energy with crystals. Earth element also relates to the sense of smell, in Ayurveda, so burning some sage or incense regularly will also help you to ground and to clear the hazy energies.
As many Hindu holidays are aligned with the lunar calendar, this full moon brings the celebration of Hanuman Jayanti, the birth of Lord Hanuman. Hanuman is Lord Rama’s greatest devotee, and symbolizes the qualities of strength and devotion. He is the son of the wind which represents prana, the breath of life and vehicle of yogis. We can learn from Hanuman, especially on this Pisces cycle eclipse in Virgo, the power of surrendering to the Lord and using our skills and hands for service to higher purpose. It is through this that we find our greatest strength. Hanuman’s monkey form represents the restless or “monkey mind” in humans, but his devotion shows us that through one-pointedness and repetition of the Lord’s name, we have the ability to tame the mind and achieve our divine potential. Hanuman was said to have been born at sunrise, the same time we will experience this eclipse in the Americas, so it will be especially potent to call in his energy by reciting the Hanuman Chalisa throughout this eclipse.
This full moon also coincides with the Jewish holiday Passover, which is also aligned with the lunar calendar. This celebrates the time when God freed the Israelites from slavery under the Pharaoh of Egypt. We can also see this as a symbol for the liberation within that is attained by virtuous rather than unprincipled actions. Friday is also Good Friday in the Christian calendar, commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus, two days before Easter Sunday, celebrating his resurrection. (These holidays are also calculated according to the lunar cycle, being observed on or after the first full moon of spring, after the equinox.) We see here symbology of the rebirth we can attain when we allow the ego to die and Self-knowledge is born. This is a potent message around the eclipse, where we must call in faith, release doubts and ignorance, and discern higher truth in order to to overcome the negativities stirred in the mind by conjunction with the nodes.
Do your best during this eclipse to calm the mind through connecting to the earth in simple, practical ways. Examine where you desire more detailed structure in your life in contrast to where you have avoided it to go with the flow, and contemplate what balance might look like. Look at your fears that are being revealed around both sides of that spectrum, and orient your mind towards God or your higher Self. Wait until after the eclipse has passed to complete communication and implement any major changes, to harness some discerning distance from the pressure and illusion unveiled by the nodes. Next week Venus moves into Taurus, and Jupiter turns direct. This may bring more ease in our relationships and a new burst of clarity around our philosophies.