New Moon and Navaratri
Tonight brings the dark Moon, coming towards a Moon-Sun alignment to begin a new Moon cycle on October 16th at 3:31 pm EDT, at the very end of sidereal Virgo (29°46’). This is also the start of the autumnal, Sharada or Maha Navaratri, which celebrates Goddess Durga and many forms of the goddess through on each of the first nine nights of the waxing Moon this month— October 16th through 24th in North America this year.
Though the Sun and Moon align at the end of Virgo, they will move together into sidereal Libra only a few hours after the New Moon moment, thus beginning a lunar cycle with the Sun traveling through Libra. Libra energy is about balance. It is ruled by Venus, the planet of pleasure, harmony, and beauty. In a world that feels so imbalanced, our collective and individual energy will shift in ways that attempt to create greater balance, more compromise, and hopefully more harmony and beauty across the planet. The full Moon on October 31st will highlight Aries energy, Libra’s opposite, drawing us towards expressions of individual strength and will.
The Sun is debilitated in Libra, because when we strive to compromise and take care of others we often do so at the expense of our own self-care. Remember that self-care is especially important this month when the Sun is at its weakest, and the seasons are changing from Pitta to Vata time across most of the northern hemisphere. In Ayurveda this seasonal junction is a good time to do some light cleansing but nothing that is too depleting as we move into vata time.
Mercury, Mars Retrograde
Mercury and Mars are still traveling in retrograde motion in Libra and Pisces, respectively. Mercury will station on November 3rd, election day in the U.S., sending his focused rays of attention and balance towards us. This could be favorable for bringing more rational and practical equilibrium into the political system. Mars will station and turn direct on November 11th, also directing some potent energy towards us, this time martial in nature which could stimulate some violence or fires, though not as drastic as we saw around his last station on October 3rd.
This new Moon aligns with the Sun under Chitra nakshatra, “the brilliant.” This star-sign correlates with Spica, the brightest star in the sky, and bridges Virgo and Libra. It is ruled by Vishvakarma, the celestial architect. Moving from Virgo to Libra it combines both the energy of precision and perfection with that of beauty and grace. What are you trying to construct in the world that could use more architectural precision as well as beauty? This is a good time to call in this energy and channel it into any projects on your plate. Be careful that your inspiration does not lead to overindulgence under this intense nakshtra, whose animal symbol is the female tiger.
The New Moon this month brings one of the largest Hindu festivals of the year, Maha Navaratri. Navaratri means “the nine nights,” and beginning with the first Moon phase after the dark Moon, the Goddess Devi is celebrated through many forms for the following nine nights and ten days. In North America Navaratri will be celebrated from October 16th through October 25th, with October 25th being the 10th day of Victory (an auspicious time for starting new endeavors, after 9 nights of worship). In some places Navaratri celebrates the goddess Durga in nine of her forms, while in other parts of India the festival commemorates Durga/Kali, Lakshmi, and Sarasvati for three nights each.
Devi is the creatrix, the warrioress, the nurturer, the purifyer, the protector. She can be found in the innocent and fertile maiden as well as the wise and learned crone. She is both the nurturing mother, and the one who gives “tough love.” The impassioned lover, the devoted bhakta, the disciplined yogini. We see Devi appear through us in innumerable manifestations. Through her many forms, she teaches us and offers us countless blessings–love, compassion, courage, learning, discipline, surrender, success, enlightenment, and bliss.
This festival is a time for honoring and celebrating the supreme feminine power in all her glory, and the many blessings she bestows upon us. Stay tuned for daily updates on how to connect with the many forms of the Goddess.
Tonight’s Dark Moon brings the Sun and Moon together in early sidereal Leo, at 7:42 pm PDT, close to Mercury, initiating a cycle of solar power where we are driven by the solar energy within as well as externally. This New Moon occurs within the Vedic sign of Magha, “the mighty,” bringing forth a regal energy that empowers us and begs the question of how to use our privilege and strength most effectively. Mars is also strengthening now, as he moves into his own sign of Aries for the next several months.
Leo is the sign ruled by the Sun, the literal source of power for all of us living in this solar system. The Leo cycle can help us to feel strong and inspired as we connect to source energy. When you’re feeling “in your power,” what do you then do with that energy? It’s a good time to check in with that especially as the northern summer draws towards an end. Take advantage of the light and all that you can do with the freedom that the long days offer. September 21st will bring the equinox wherein the days become shorter than the nights and the period of darkness rapidly descends.
Within Leo, Sun and Moon join to begin this lunar cycle in the Vedic nakshatra of Magha, “the mighty.” Symbolized by a throne, this star-sign brings forth a regal energy, gesturing towards achievement, status, and responsibility as well as privilege. It can be identified by the bright star Regulus within the constellation of Leo. Its deities are the Pitris, the ancestors of humanity, and indicates an important time to connect with our own ancestors and lineage. Ancestral karma could be at play in your life more than you realize, and this is a good time to pay attention to what is yours and what may be inherited.
Mars has also moved into his home sign of Aries now, and will transit here with great strength through October 3rd, when his retrograde journey (September 9th through November 13th) takes him back into Pisces again, before returning to Aries December 23rd through February 21st. With both fire planets, Mars and Sun, strong and in their home signs, we have the opportunity now to really harness and direct our creative energy. Be aware also, however, that your pitta could also be aggravated during this time, sending passions and irritability on a dangerous rampage if you are not using that fire for personal purification and strengthening. If you notice your pitta is getting out of hand, be sure to take in cooling activities, breaths, and foods…and avoid your hot yoga for a while.
Since the two fire planets gained strength by entering their own signs on August 16th, we have seen extreme heat waves and deadly wildfires sweeping the West. Watch out for these continuing through at least mid-September while the two are both strong.
A Month for Social Movements
Both Mars and Sun are aspected by a strong and bright retrograde Jupiter, also in his own sign, which could augment their firepower. This aspect could also offer inspiration towards our actions this month, helping them to align with our belief systems. The strong and bright retrograde Saturn, also in his own sign, adds to these four to create a powerful royal yoga that will create many auspicious muhurta (times for taking specific actions) throughout the day.
With Mars and Aries on the ascendant (as it will be in the Eastern U.S. at this New Moon time, and in other locations throughout the day for the coming month), We find the first, fifth, 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th lords all in their own sign. The houses of dharma as well as the houses relating to society and higher purpose are all strong from their lords’ sva nature at this time. With the interplay of Jupiter’s aspect as mentioned above, this could contribute to a lot of ideologically-motivated actions on both personal and societal levels. Remember that Saturn’s influence can be stern and discerning, however, so we will have to acknowledge and incorporate the responsibility and hard work that comes with the passionate actions that spring from our belief systems.
The celebration of Lord Ganesha, who is known as both the creator and destroyer of obstacles, is this Friday/Saturday depending on your location. May he clear the way to a more peaceful and harmonious planetary experience
Praying for positive change.
To see how these transits affect and interplay with your chart and karma, you can request a personal reading here.
Full Moon May 2020
The full Moon peaks tonight at 3:45 am PT (early on Thursday, May 7th) in the nakshatra Vishaka near the end of sidereal Libra. This star is known as “the forked” branches which represent our finding ourselves at a crossroads where we must choose from two directions. In sidereal Libra, we are thinking strongly about balance and compromise, amidst an Aries Sun cycle that highlights individuality. In the coming week, we will see three planets head into Retrograde motion.
Libra Full Moon
Libra or Tula is the sign of the scales, representing the need to weigh and balance things to achieve an equilibrium in our lives. It is ruled by Venus, who is currently strong from his sva position, transiting his own sign of Taurus. Venus compels us to lead with the heart’s desires, to find beauty and happiness over all else. This could be a welcomed influence this week as we have been so heavily under the influence of a strong Saturn and Mars for the last several weeks.
The Full Moon in Libra is opposite a strong, exalted Sun in Aries. This position began an Aries cycle for us on April 22nd. The Aries cycle highlights strength and individuality, but with its ruler Mars in conjunction with Saturn (in Capricorn) for the last six weeks, that individuality took on a much more disciplinarian (and literally isolated) tone. There has been a tight grip of discipline over society through this time (since March 22nd), which may be easing up somewhat now that Mars has moved out of Capricorn (May 4th). Saturn will continue to reign there for the next two years, however, which could keep an air of restriction over society through that time.
Vishaka nakshatra bridges the end of Libra and the very beginning of Scorpio. Known as “the forked one” it is often depicted by forked branches, showing the opportunity for growth by choosing one of two directions. Its rulers are Indra and Agni, the chief of the gods and fire personified, showing the great strength that comes once one of those directions is chosen. We can find a strong devotion under this Vishaka full Moon, if we choose to channel our energy towards our higher purpose.
Upcoming Retrogrades: Saturn, Venus, Jupiter
Over the next week three planets will appear to slow down and reverse direction, entering retrograde motion from our perspective here on earth: Saturn on May 10th (through September 28th), Venus on May 12th (through June 24th), and Jupiter on May 14th (through September 12th). Saturn and Jupiter are actually coming closer to the earth as they enter retrograde motion, and will be approaching their brightest in the sky when they are fully opposite the Sun in a couple of months (mid-way through their retrograde cycles). Retrogression actually lends a certain strength to planets because of this proximity and brightness, so it’s not all to be feared!
The qualities of these planets may become even more intense while we will experience their influence in a more inward manner during retrogression. Saturn, for example, has been teaching us about structure and discipline, and making tough decisions in favor of long term goals. This will continue as he goes through this period of retrogression in Capricorn, but we may begin to look more to ourselves for that discipline, rather than simply feeling burdened to it by the outside forces. With Mars moving out of Capricorn and rules loosening, for example, it is now on us to consider deeply what are the best decisions for our futures. Some sacrifices may be needed as Saturn teaches us about endurance, patience, and personal restriction.
With Jupiter brightening and approaching through his retrograde cycle, our ideas and ideals come under personal scrutiny. It can be an opportunity for our faith to brighten, while also giving us a chance to check in with our worldview in general. As the outside world is changing, is there room for our inner convictions to adapt?
Venus’s retrogression from May 12th through June 24th will cause him to remain in his own sign of Taurus for over four months, spanning from March 28th through July 31st. Under retrograde Venus we slow down and take a deep look at our most significant relationships, especially familial relationships as Venus transits the sign of Taurus. It’s often a time when we get a “blast from the past” and check in with or hear from people with whom we have not spoken for a long time. It’s also an important time to take a look at your intake, and how you relate with luxury and material things. Though these things can be favorable with Venus in Taurus, during retrogression you may notice that you have amassed more than you really need.
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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?
Sun and Moon join in sidereal Aries and bring a dark Moon night this Friday before their exact conjunction on May 4th at 3:46 pm PDT. At 20° of Aries, this New Moon begins a lunar cycle under Bharani nakshatra, the sign of birth, death, and rebirth. Aries ruler Mars is now joining Rahu, which adds volatility to this cycle. The Sun and Moon are nearly opposite the bright and retrograde Jupiter and Saturn, the latter of whom is having a close conjunction with Ketu now, and for the next several months.
Aries – Bharani Cycle
Aries is the sign where the Sun is exalted, meaning our collective health, energy, and sense of strength and power is well-supported at this time. That’s why the springtime in the north often brings us out of our shells, finding inspiration and ready to begin new projects. Aries has a birthing energy within itself, as it is the “let’s go” first sign of the twelve rashis.
Within sidereal Aries, Bharani nakshatra spans the middle section, associated with three bright hot stars in this constellation. This asterism brings a powerful fire energy, an element capable of creation and transformation. Bharani is symbolised by the yoni, the female reproductive organ, and translates as “the bearer.” There is a strong energy for birthing and creating that comes with a lunar cycle under Bharani.
Its Vedic deity, however, is Lord Yama, the god of death. This reminds us that all that begins must eventually end, and in Vedic thought, is then reborn again in a new form. Bharani is known as the star of restraint, yet perhaps that is a lesson that we must strive to learn here, as it can be a very sexual and passionate star-sign. Saturn is debilitated here, showing that discipline and patience do not necessarily come easily.
Mars & Rahu
Mars will transit into sidereal Gemini two days after the New Moon, on May 6th, and join him for about six weeks. These two planets together can create a lot of power, and perhaps violence. Mars has a strong warrior energy, which can be very disciplined with a healthy Mars, while Rahu has the aggressive and forceful energy of an army but without the discipline, or even self-awareness. If you are challenged by Mars in general, are hot-headed, or impulsive, be very aware that these qualities can be heightened during this conjunction.
Mars and Rahu will be joining from now through June 22nd. The volatility may be mitigated, however, after June 1st, when Mercury also joins them in Gemini. Being joined by a dispositor or ruler-of-the-sign can help to stabilize planets and assuage some of the malefic affects.
Jupiter is now in apparent retrograde motion and has transited back into Scorpio from his short jaunt in Sagittarius. On May 6th, he’ll move just past 29°12’ of Scorpio, leaving the heart of the gandanta area (the karmic knot), which may have had us feeling stuck in the Jupiter-ruled areas of your life. Jupiter retrograde is actually an incredibly bright and strong force. Now nearly opposite the Sun (and coming closer to exact opposition each day), he is getting brighter every night, and that auspicious glow can offer luck and prosperity.
There is one particular day of the year that is revered as a day of abundance, auspicious for making investments and starting new ventures. This day is Akshaya Tritiya, is the “third” day of the lunar cycle begun in Aries (it will span from May 6th-7th this year, PDT). It is known as the day of “never diminishing,” hence auspicious for beginning or cultivating that which you would like to grow. People often buy gold or silver, even homes or vehicles, or launch new ventures at this time.
Akshaya Tritiya is auspicious because it is the one lunar phase all year where both the Moon and the Sun are exalted. The Sun is exalted in Aries, while the Moon is exalted in Taurus, Venus’ fertile earth sign. While the body and the active energy principle within can shine with creative strength, the Moon and the feminine principle can rest and be fulfilled.
Retrograde Saturn & Ketu
Saturn stationed and began his retrograde journey on April 29th, just after coming within one degree of the always-retrograde Ketu. The two are now moving together at a snail’s pace, and will remain joined from now through October 1st. They will have exact conjunctions on May 20th, and then again on June 23rd. This conjunction may be taking a toll on the area of your life indicated by sidereal Sagittarius, or at least causing a lot of stress and worry there. Saturn pressures us to think about the big picture, especially our responsibilities, while Ketu compels us to let go of a lot we have held close. Melding these two impetuses will require a determined, and discerning, spiritual focus.
Venus remains exalted in Pisces for a few more days, until he transits into Aries on May 10th. As Bharani’s planetary ruler, this enhances the feminine creative energy we find as we begin this new Moon cycle.
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