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.
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The Moon is waxing towards a full Moon in Aquarius this Friday night, with peak brightness coming at 9:33 pm PDT. The Moon is opposite a powerful and fiery Sun in sidereal Leo, still joined closely with warrior Mars. While the Moon-mind-heart is illuminated this weekend, we can tune into what it means to be of service when we find ourselves in our own autonomous ring of fire.
Full Moon in Aquarius
The Aquarius full Moon is the integrating reflection point of the Leo Sun cycle. Throughout the Leo cycle, we have felt our own strength growing and shining, as Sun shines strongly from his own sign. This cycle began with Sun in Magha, the throne of the zodiac. We’ve been noticing our own inherent power and leadership potential, and getting a sense of what it means to wield our power ethically and generously. We may have also gotten caught up in the power, letting it get to our heads, and feeling a bit entitled to some royal treatment.
As the Moon waxes into Aquarius, our vision broadens far beyond our individual sphere and into the world at large. With so much suffering across the globe, what is truly the best way to shine our inherent divine light? It was a gift from the universe, and one given through grace, and ought not to entitle us to some special treatment, but rather, blesses us with the ability to share it with others. Aquarius brings to mind service, and relates with the image of a sadhu offering himself and his practice for the good of all. As you count your blessings this full Moon, contemplate how you can use them for the uplifting of humanity and the progress of the whole.
The full Moon aligns with the Vedic nakshatra called Purva Bhadrapada, “the one with lucky feet.” This is truly a nakshatra that is helps us to align with a greater purpose than our personal material needs, as it bridges the signs of Aquarius and Pisces. Moving us from Aquarius into Pisces, it highlights the need for surrender to a higher power. Like Aquarius it orients us more towards ideals of improving and helping society, over personal goals. It is fitting as you may be finishing summer indulgences and getting back more into meaningful work with a greater purpose.
Purva Bhadrapada is ruled by Aja Ekapada, the one-footed goat, often associated with Lord Shiva or Nataraj. It is also symbolized by a sword, or the two front legs of a bed or funeral cot. This symbolism shows us that we will need to cut ties with some of the mundane things of life, as we prepare ourselves for the next world or phase of evolution. Though not always literal death, this can symbolize the transition from a worldly to a spiritual orientation.
The Mercury-Venus war could contribute to a sense of seriousness and less inclination towards pleasurable indulgence. The two are at war from September 11th through 15th, while they travel within one degree of each other, competing for our attention (though both are still so close to the Sun that they are not readily visible). Mercury is strong and exalted in his own sign of Virgo, while Venus is debilitated there, so we may feel Mercury is winning out, meaning practicality will take precedence over desire, or even happiness, for a few days.
Saturn-Ketu Exact Conjunction
Saturn has slowed way down as he approaches his stand-still station on September 18th, and Ketu is catching up. The two will have their third and final exact conjunction on the 15th, before they slowly begin to separate as Saturn begins direct motion again after the 18th. In whatever area of life is shown by sidereal Sagittarius in your chart, you may have been struggling between stepping up to the hard work, and renouncing everything for much of this year as these two planets crept together through this sign. If you feel the intense energy again during this conjunction, be sure to go into a mindful practice to help you feel your way through it, and don’t make any hasty decisions out of stress.
We’ve been circling through Kala Sarpa cycles as the Moon circles the zodiac these last few months, passing from one side of the nodes to the other, either joining or leaving the rest of the planets who are clustered on one side of the Rahu-Ketu axis. Kala Sarpa will be on again from September 21st through October 6th. If you have a prominent Rahu-Ketu in your natal chart, or are running a Rahu or Ketu dasha, you may feel more affected by these cycles.
Personal readings are available and will help to explain how all of these alignments affect your chart and life in particular.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.)
The 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.
The coming Full Moon is Monday night, waxing into complete fullness in sidereal Leo on Tuesday morning, February 19th at 7:54 am PST. This full Moon is in the Vedic sign of Magha, “the mighty,” and highlights our sovereignty and individual power, as well as how we use this to serve others (opposite the Sun in Aquarius). With Venus and Saturn at war, however, and Mars strong in his own sign, there may be some friction with others as we attempt to balance personal strength with inter-personal relationships.
Leo is the sign ruled by the Sun, the effective “king” of the zodiac, making Leo a place of authority, power, and inevitably, a sense of hierarchy that is related to leadership/rulership. With the Moon fully illuminated here, our minds and hearts come in touch with our inner power. The Sun is in fact the inner power in all of us, literally fueling life in this solar system, emanating the light and heat necessary for life as we know it.
When we are in touch with this inner light, it elevates us into a position where we are able to take action, shine brightly, and step into our own power. In the best circumstances, we do not hoard this light or power for ourselves, however, but this transforms us into leaders who are able to help take care of others with their abundant light. An example of this is when we see parents, CEOs, and governmental figures using their energy and authority to take care of many many people outside themselves. (This is the higher or proper functioning of the Sun’s light in Leo; when we hoard the Sun’s power for personal gain, it eventually burns us up, as we have seen throughout history.)
To the extent that we do sit in the bright rays of the Sun, absorbing his power rather than sharing it, the healthiest way to use this energy is for self-purification. The Sun is a sattvic planet and his fire is a tool to purify us, to help us elevate into our highest selves. As we bask in the glow of the full Moon in Leo, we will thrive if we can use this energy for both self-purification and outward giving.
The full Moon in Leo is opposite an Aquarius Sun. Aquarius is a sign that relates very much to service of the whole, and often, renunciation of individual power. But with the Sun and Moon in opposite axes here, we can come into contact with more of a balance between the two.
Magha, “the mighty,” is the Vedic nakshatra that spans the first 13 degrees of sidereal Leo, but associated most with the star Regulus. This bright star within Leo constellation emits a regal glow, and elicits feelings of royalty, power, and nobility. Its symbol is the royal throne, and its spirit animal is the male rat.
Magha is ruled by the Pitris, the ancestor deities. With the Moon here, it is a great time to connect with your ancestral traditions, to honor your lineage or teachers, and to tap into your genetic wisdom.
Saturn and Venus will be in planetary war (within one degree of each other in sidereal Sagittarius), on the 17th and 18th, leading up to this Full Moon. In this event, both planets are challenged and weakened, and we may find trouble in various areas of life, including relationships, work, happiness, and patience. Whichever four areas of life these planets rule for you may be under stress this weekend.
After passing Saturn and continuing towards the end of Sagittarius, Venus will face another tough conjunction in a few days as he transits into Capricorn, conjoining Ketu simultaneously. The Venus-Ketu exact conjunction will be on February 24th, at 0° sidereal Capricorn. This could definitely raise some of the shadows in our relationships, as Ketu tends to do. He is also known to increase dissatisfaction, criticism, and aversion, so if you are feeling this way about your partner (or your enjoyment of life in general) around this time, look for what underlying lessons are coming through, but don’t renounce everything in a moment of overreaction to the stress.
Nodal transits and conjunctions can be tough, and they give us the chance to see where we need to do work in our lives. It is best to glean lessons and insight from what is coming through, once you feel clarity around it, but it is advisable not to make hasty decisions out of stress during these transits.
Mercury also transits into Pisces, his sign of debilitation, on February 24th, and will be weak at 0°. With Mercury in Pisces, our analytical thinking tends to get more “colorful” and hopeful. This can be enjoyable and foster creativity, especially if you’re normally more left-brained, but be aware that you may not be as on-the-ball with the details as you usually are. He then stations and goes into retrograde motion on March 5th, the day before the next new Moon on March the 6th.
Mars is sva (in his own sign) in Aries until March 22nd. This can be a good time to get disciplined, and especially to consider picking up a little more exercise and activity as we come out of the winter season. For those with an afflicted or difficult Mars, however, this can lead to more anger and aggression. Be sure to stick with cooling activities if you feel your frustration building and boiling.
If you missed it, be sure to catch the replay of the 2019 Jyotish Transit Summit. We discuss all the major planetary movements and what to expect from them this year. Personal readings are available to look deeper into how this year’s transits will affect your personal astrology.
The Moon is waning towards total darkness and will reach exact conjunction with the Sun for the “New Moon” moment on Saturday, January 5th, 2019, at 5:28 pm PST. The Sun and Moon will join at 21° sidereal Sagittarius, aligned closely with the center of the Milky Way galaxy, in Purva Ashada nakshatra. The Sun and Moon will be in close enough proximity with Ketu (at 3° sidereal Capricorn), to bring about the first eclipse of the year. The partial solar eclipse will occur over eastern Asia and the Pacific, reaching its maximum at 5:41 pm PST, and visible from eastern China, Mongolia, and Russia, as well as Japan, the Korean peninsula, and southwestern Alaska.
This new Moon solar eclipse will occur in sidereal Sagittarius, setting the tone for the coming month with a Sagittarian mood. Sagittarius is an active fire sign ruled by Jupiter, the planet of principles and beliefs. This new Moon will bring forward a healthy dose of principles and opinions, but with the Sun partially blocked by the Moon’s shadow, we may feel overly emotional about these and at the same time, lacking the power to do anything. (You can also relate that sentiment with the area of life mentioned in the Forecast section below). Within Purva Ashada nakshatra, however, we may find more courage from within than seems readily at hand.
This nakshatra spans from 13°20′ to 26°40’ of sidereal Sagittarius, and means the former “invincible” or “unconquered.” It is ruled by Apah (or Apas), the water goddess. Its animal symbol is the male monkey, which brings a playful energy here. Its planetary ruler is Venus and thus also has associations with goddess Lakshmi. The three stars that make up this nakshatra in the night sky take the shape of a fan, and the fan is another symbol for this asterism.
Under its invincible nature, the Purva Ashada new moon is a powerful time to find our courage, despite the feelings of limitation that can be brought on by a solar eclipse. Through the symbol of the fan, we can see one who is adorned in luxury, or one who may hide behind a fan in humility or mystery, but there is a great power that can be hiding there, especially feminine power. The fan can be used to sustain us under pressure, bringing a cooling breeze that feels like the grace of god when the world gets too hot. Though our power may feel hidden, it is there to be tapped into with focus and dedication.
Saturn and Mercury
Saturn and Mercury both join this new Moon in Sagittarius. Saturn is going to have an even stronger role in our lives than usual in 2019, as he will be joining Ketu in close conjunction, within one degree, for over five months. Saturn in Sagittarius can help us to have not only the courage to do what we believe is right, but the stamina and dedication to get it done. Though we may feel a bit muddled by the eclipse (and the current combust nature of Saturn, so close to the Sun), Saturn’s determination will reveal himself more as the month goes on.
There will be a planetary war, however, between Saturn and Mercury, on the 12th and 13th of this month, when the two come within one degree of each other. When two planets are at war, contending for our attention in the same part of the sky, both will suffer, and the things they represent. With Mercury at war, our intellects will not feel as sharp, and it may be hard to pay attention to details or communicate clearly on these days. With Saturn at war, keeping our eye on long-term goals may be hard, and we may feel temporarily deflated and struggle at work. The four areas in your chart ruled by Saturn and Mercury may also suffer, or feel at odds with each other, during this time.
The Solar Eclipse
Though the eclipse may not be visible where you are, its effects are still tangible, and things are probably already gearing up with intensity in the area of your life indicated by Sagittarius. Though Rahu and Ketu are still in Cancer and Capricorn (since August of 2017), they are coming very close to transiting into Sagittarius and Gemini (which will happen in March), and this eclipse is giving us a taste of what is to come during the next nodal transit and the eclipses to occur in 2019 and 2020.
Here are a few of the areas where challenges may be occurring due to this eclipse (and where you need to do the work), based on your Vedic rising sign (there can also be others, when examined specifically, or in a personal natal chart analysis):
Aries — education, faith, foreign travels
Taurus — sudden changes, upheaval, secrets coming to light
Gemini — partnerships, love, business relationships
Cancer — health issues, disputes, litigation, pets
Leo — children, wisdom, authority
Virgo — the heart, the mind, home, mother
Libra — siblings, will, skills
Scorpio — the family, wealth, the mouth
Sagittarius — self-identity, place in the world
Capricorn — loss, loneliness
Aquarius — community, friends, income
Pisces — career, social status
Please join me and my fellow astrologers on January 25th for the 2019 Jyotish Transit Summit Webinar. The webinar is free, and you can register through this link.