Full Moon in Leo, Holi & Retrograde Venus
Sunday’s full Moon in sidereal Leo illuminates a more independent part of the sky, contrasting to the Aquarian New Moon and solar eclipse we experienced two weeks ago. The full Moon peaks at 7:53 a.m. PST on Sunday, so the brightest waxing Moon night is Saturday, the 11th. Sunday also brings the Hindu holiday Holi, the “festival of colors.”
The energy of Aquarius that began this lunar cycle compels us to think about the bigger picture, the greater good, and how we may offer our service into society at large. Through the healing nakshatra of Shatabisha, the solar eclipse energy of February 26th helped us to realize the potential of our personal healing journey contributing to our offering of service. The full Moon in Leo this weekend reminds us of our individual strength and power. Before we are able to serve others well, we need to feel strong in our own light.
Leo is the sign that reminds us of our own strength in a sattvic way, as he is ruled by the Sun, the sattvic planet of purity and illumination. Our highest potential through Leo is to connect with our own divine strength and use it for good and generous ends (rather than selfish). Benevolent leadership is a positive manifestation of this potential. Leo gets a bad rap sometimes as being bossy and overbearing, but this happens when we try to possess the divine strength of the Sun rather than let it shine forth. When we allow the source light to pass through us, purify us, and illuminate outwardly, we find a peaceful sense of self-establishment by which we can support others into their power as well, rather than feel threatened by it.
The nakshatra of this full Moon is Uttara Phalguni, a radiant constellation that bridges Leo and Virgo. The energy of this star-sign signifies the relaxation and rejuvenation (found once we establish our own power in Leo), but reminds us of returning to work and the details of life, as it crosses into Virgo. The deity who rules here is Aryaman, an emblem of friendship, nobility, and generosity. The austere mood of the Shivaratri and the previous new Moon is contrasted by this full Moon of rejuvenation.
Venus is holding a strong influence in the sky right now, as he continues his journey of exaltation through the sign of Pisces. He entered Pisces at the end of January, and is receiving a powerful aspect from his ruler, Jupiter, who is directly across the sky in sidereal Virgo. This relationships gives us the opportunity to bring our desires (coming from Venus) into alignment with our principles and beliefs (influenced by Jupiter).
Since March 4th Venus has been retrograde, appearing to move backwards through Pisces from our perspective here on earth. Venus retrograde only occurs once every 18 months, so this is a rare opportunity to go inward and become more introspective about our desires, which usually follow an outward, seeking direction. We may be doing a lot of re-thinking of relationships at this time, or may find past acquaintances popping back up into our lives to complete some unfinished business.
Be especially careful of allowing arguments to go too far, as breaking relationships is also a potential during this Venus retrograde. Mars, the planet of war and fire, is currently in his own firey sign of Aries. This can add some extra heat to arguments, and makes us feel particularly headstrong and independent (especially in addition to the full Moon in Leo). With Venus retrograde in Pisces, there’s opportunity to surrender our desires and allow our values to take the upper hand, but there’s also the potential that we will choose to break from relationships, as Pisces carries a strong energy of releasing and letting go.
Rahu, Ketu & Saturn
Though we have passed the eclipses for this cycle, Sun and Moon are still in the same signs as Rahu and Ketu, separated by about 20 degrees, so there is still some shadow energy working through our fields. Saturn’s influence on the Sun during this time continues to pressure us into aligning ourselves with a higher purpose, however, so don’t pass up any opportunities for service. It will prove to be very purifying during this time.
This full Moon also commemorates the Hindu festival of “Holi,” as 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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Amidst all these retrograde planets
, (Saturn, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter) we can sigh a breath of relief this weekend with the onset of Akshaya Tritiya and Jupiter direct!
We’ve just entered an auspicious alignment and a window of abundance! Now through tomorrow night, the Sun and Moon are both in their signs of exaltation (sidereal Aries and Taurus, respectively). This means we are feeling the best parts of these planets shining through us. We feel empowered and generous, connected to source, and peaceful in our hearts and minds.
Tomorrow in particular (the third lunar phase of this month), is known as AKSHAYA TRITIYA, the day of “never diminishing.” Each year, on the third day after the New Moon in Aries, Sun and Moon are both exalted. This creates a powerful portal day for calling wealth, prosperity and abundance into your life (both on the material and spiritual levels). With a full spirit and peaceful heart, take advantage of this auspicious time and plant the seeds for manifesting your dreams! Anything you begin today will grow bountifully.
Sun is exalted in Aries because Mars’ rulership there brings a feeling of courage and strength to the planet of our vitality and spiritual illumination. Moon is exalted in Taurus because the often-turbulent and ever-flowing emotional body finds comfort and stable ground in this Venus-ruled earth sign.
Even more good news… Jupiter is finishing his retrograde motion and going direct on Monday! This will open another doorway to prosperity, and we will start feeling more clear about our purpose and beliefs, as well as around matters of education and teachers. Jupiter is Guru, and when he’s going backwards a lot of things can feel confusing as we question our philosophy and the teachings we value. With Akshaya Tritiya and Jupiter direct, the flow of grace feels less obstructed!
Remember though, Saturn, Mars and Mercury are still retrograde, so we need to reflect on our long-term goals, summon our courage, and double-check details with whatever you’re putting in motion. To enhance your receptivity to the best of what Sun and Moon have to offer, honor both in your practices today. You can do both surya namaskaras and chandra namaskaras, or try some nadi shodhana (alternate-nostril breathing) to harmonize the solar and lunar energies flowing through you. In the spirit of abundance, share your energy and your gifts through loving service or charity, and that karmic investment will come back to you multiplied.
Friday, May 6th, 2016 brings the new Moon in Bharani nakshatra, the womb star, a portal of life and death. Bharani is one of the 27 divisions of the sky visited by the Moon each lunar cycle, and is known as “the bearer.” Its symbol is the yoni (the female reproductive organs), and its deity is Lord Yama, the god of death. This star brings the strong potential for death and rebirth this lunar cycle. (Side note… any Game of Thrones fans?) The dark Moon night is Thursday in most places, and is an excellent time to contemplate what in your life is ready for its death, or composting, and what seeds you are ready to nurture with your energetic womb medicine.
The new cycle begins at 12:29 P.D.T. on Friday, with Sun, Moon, and Venus all in Bharani nakshatra, which falls in the middle of sidereal Aries. This will bring out our creative and nurturing energy, as well as our sexuality and passion. Mars’ influence on Aries makes this is a very willful nakshatra, which will make us very headstrong this month. It also brings the courage and the will to purify ourselves and follow our hearts. Now is the time to birth your passions into being, and nurture what you want to see grow this season.
Bharani is also known as the “star of restraint,” due to Yama’s influence. “The bearer” is both the one who creates and nurtures, and the one who endures or bears hardships. Lord Yama relates to death as well as to spiritual discipline, which we often choose to undertake when the awareness of our ultimate death dawns in our consciousness. This is an excellent time to adopt and endure some self-discipline aimed at self-purification, as part of the process of nurturing your goals and creations.
You could synthesize these energies of Bharani by designing a new sadhana practice for yourself to support your goals, especially one that includes yogic regimens of self-restraint, such as a cleansing diet or a new exercise routine. With Sun exalted in Aries, we are compelled to purify ourselves, using Mars’ courageous energy to strengthen our health and our connection with source. It’s not too late for a spring cleanse (you may actually have more impetus to do one now than before). With Sun in Aries, we remember our inherent strength and connection, and our power to share that light by putting it into action. Aries gives us the courage to step into our power and shine our brightest.
Since Jupiter and Rahu are both still in the Sun’s sign of Leo, this also adds potency to the heated ideological debates still happening in the U.S. political campaign. Jupiter directs his aspect onto Sun, Moon, Venus, and retrograde Mercury, all in Aries on this new Moon. Don’t be surprised if some of the passions being birthed right now are sprung from extremist philosophical convictions. Because Jupiter is retrograde, many people have recently had a change of heart around their belief systems, and because Rahu is joining him, many of the philosophies recently adopted are radical and revolutionary.
Saturn and Mars are also both in retrograde motion, joined in sidereal Scorpio. This has been causing more than a few disruptions, and has shaken us into awareness of our fragility and the sudden changes that seem to keep happening throughout life. Since this is the 8th house from this new Moon in Aries, this just adds to the transformative energy for death and rebirth offered in this cycle.
Mars and Saturn will be joined in Scorpio through most of the summer, which is an unusually long conjunction for these two planets. It could be challenging, as both Saturn and Mars help to teach us the hard lessons in life. This Saturn retrograde transit is showing us where in life are reevaluating our long-term goals, and Mars adds the explosive fire of transformation to this process.
Last but not least, Mercury is also in retrograde motion, and joins Sun, Moon and Venus in Aries on this new Moon. This means we have the chance to go back and finish some communication or correspondence that was not yet finalized. On the other hand, it can also mean that some of your Mercurial efforts get a bit jumbled or delayed (missed appointments or overlooked messages). If that’s the case, try to tap into the patience that retrograde Saturn is trying to teach (after all it’s only 3 more weeks). You can bring forward the best that these planets have to offer, by engaging in quiet meditation or service for Saturn, and self-discipline for #Mars. This can help you to replace fear, anxiety and anger with wisdom and courage.
To help you understand how this awesome lineup of planets is affecting your chart, I’m offering personal Vedic astrology chart readings with an extra emphasis on the retrograde planets’ effects in your life.
It’s an auspicious full Moon and Hanuman Jayanti this week! This full Moon falls at 8 degrees of sidereal Libra, opposite the exalted sun in Aries, and brings the celebration of Hanuman Jayanti (the birth of Lord Hanuman!). In Vedic astrology, the sky is divided into 27 sections. These are constellations or stars called nakshatras, and there is one for each night of the moon’s transit in a lunar cycle (they were said to be the 27 wives of the Moon). The nakshatras are even more specific than the 12 major constellations we know from Western astrology. Each nakshatra has a special significance and brings a powerful energy that is related to both a Vedic deity and a planet.
This full Moon will occur at 10:24 p.m. PDT this Thursday, April 21st, in the nakshatra called Swati, “the independent one.” The symbol of Swati is a young plant blowing in the wind. The energy of this star evokes our sense of independence, but also represents the struggle that we can feel while trying to assert our place in the world. Its deity is Vayu (wind personified), who is the father of Lord Hanuman, also associated with this star. Swati is related to the shadow planet Rahu, adding a deep psychological quality and offering the chance to tap into our hidden power (Rahu is often related to kundalini energy).
There is a large vata quality to this star, which can cause a restless mind. With the full Moon here, we may have a sense of our great internal potency, but feel a good deal of nervousness about it at the same time. We can ease our sense of agitation by channeling that energy into worship, and contemplating the qualities of Lord Hanuman. He demonstrates that even our restless monkey minds can be tamed through one-pointed focus on devotional service, such as he has. Swati is also the nakshatra where Saturn, the planet of service, reaches exaltation.
How fitting that this full Moon also brings the Hindu holiday Hanuman Jayanti! This is a time for celebrating Lord Hanuman’s divine qualities. Hanuman is the greatest devotee of Lord Ram, and exemplifies loving selfless service. He embodies many virtues, including service, strength, devotion, courage, humility, and morality. In some places, the celebration of Lord Hanuman’s birth will be even greater than that of Lord Rama’s (last week). This is because of the value we see in the qualities that arise in a devotee’s heart and mind through practicing love for one’s deity. These lead us into actions of love and service, and spread peace and happiness throughout the world.
How can we celebrate Hanuman Jayanti? Begin at sunrise, if possible, because that is when Hanuman was born. It is customary to fast from sunrise until sunset on Hanuman’s birthday. You can offer him sweets, bananas, flowers, prasad, puja, or mantra. The Hanuman Chalisa is the supreme Hanuman mantra. Chant a few or many of these throughout the day. For times when you can’t do that, simply chanting the name Ram (aloud or silently) will also be a potent offering into the collective consciousness of prayer on this day. The power of prayer increases exponentially with more people joining in unison. You can also read passages from the Ramayana.
Many temples will be celebrating Hanuman Jayanti on the 21st (in North America), the actual Chaitra Purnima (the 15th moon phase of this lunar month, Chaitra), but some are hosting gatherings on the weekend to offer more devotees the chance to commune. (Note: In India, this year’s full Moon and Hanuman Jayanti falls on April 22nd.)
Other influences to be aware of this full Moon:
Moon is being lit from across the earth by an exalted Sun, who is now transiting Aries’ part of the sky. With sun in the powerful sign of Aries, ruled by Mars, we have the courage to share our light and our power, and to purify ourselves with the discipline of Mars and the inspiring energy of Sun. Purification can definitely include turning your attention onto your physical health this month. Now is a great time to reignite your exercise routine and do some dietary cleansing to strengthen your physical body. As yoginis know, the body is the vessel for the soul, so taking care of your temple will also create a purification of mind and heart, and a vibrancy of spirit. This placement also strongly supports cultivating some yogic discipline. The energy of the full Moon falling in Libra reminds us to find balance while pursuing energetic purification.
Expect some potential intensity, as well, because Aries’ ruler Mars has just turned retrograde, and is now headed back towards an also-retrograde Saturn (from our vantage point on Earth). Both are in sidereal Scorpio. This could create some conflicts, both internally and externally. Saturn puts on the pressure and tries to make us slow down, proceed with caution, and re-evaluate our commitment to long-term goals, especially around how we approach internal transformation. He urges us to seek enduring structure to support our deep-seated vulnerability. Mars, on the other hand, wants us to take courageous, warrior-like action, and immediately destroy anything that is standing in the way of overcoming our fears. The combination of these two is like pressing the gas and the brakes at the same time, creating a potentially explosive situation.
Rahu and retrograde Jupiter are still joined in Leo (you can see Jupiter there every night), and continue to foster a period of extremist beliefs on both personal and societal levels. Watch out for self-righteousness. For some good news, on the other hand, Venus is in his nakshatra of exaltation at the moment (Revati). This gives us the chance to elevate some of our earthly sensual desires into desires for spiritual upliftment and liberation from material focus. At the same time, if you have a tendency to escape reality or go overboard into dreamland, you may find yourself taking that to the extreme right now.
Vedic Astrology chart for Full Moon on April 21st/22nd 2016
This coming New Moon on March 8th packs a powerful punch, bringing with it a groundbreaking total solar eclipse. This will be the first in a series of eclipses to occur with the lunar nodes, Rahu and Ketu, on the sidereal Leo-Aquarius axis. The nodes moved into these signs at the end of January and will transit here until August of 2017, affecting us deeply in whatever areas of our lives are influenced in our personal charts. We will experience 3 eclipse cycles (pairs of eclipses, one solar and one lunar) during this transit–one now, one in September, and one in February of 2017. (Don’t miss my Free E-Book with lots of info on this transit and how it will affect your sign!)
This solar eclipse on the New Moon will set the tone for a tumultuous lunar cycle. The New Moon cycle begins at 5:54pm PST on March 8th, in sidereal Aquarius. The total solar eclipse (peaking around the same time) will be visible from Southeast Asia, most of Australia, the South Pacific and Indian Oceans and Hawaii. The effects will be most perceptible in these areas, but everyone will feel the disturbance at some level.
During the eclipse, the Sun’s light will be blocked out as he and the Moon align with Ketu, who casts a shadow of self-doubt and criticism on the planet of vitality. The results will be feelings of confusion and disconnection from our sense of strength, individual power, and our connection with Source (all things represented by the Sun). This is adding to our already diminished sense of personal empowerment that can come while Sun is in Aquarius, the sign of service and humility.
This solar eclipse, as well as the lunar eclipse to follow on March 23rd, will bring up a lot of our personal shadows around the quest for equilibrium between universal service and self-empowerment. This theme will continue through the broader year-and-a-half eclipse cycle we have entered.
At the time of the eclipse, Mercury and Venus join the Sun, Moon, and Ketu in Aquarius. This will add Ketu’s feelings of confusion, doubt, and aversion to our collective emotional body (the Moon), to our intellectual and analytical side (Mercury), and to our desirous, pleasure-seeking nature (Venus).
Don’t be surprised to see a chaotic departure from inner peace, rational thinking, and cooperative behavior around this eclipse.
This could be aggravated even more by Jupiter and Rahu, who oppose this New Moon cluster from Leo. Their conjunct energies are causing folks to become more and more amped up and self-righteous over their principles and beliefs. (Polarized election madness!) Saturn aspects the duo from his menacing position, joined Mars, in Scorpio, which puts the pressure on even more.
Mars casts his aspect onto the stellium in Aquarius. This could throw some fuel on the potentially explosive fire of transformation that is happening there with the eclipse. Mars in Scorpio gives us the chance to bring forth our warrior-like courage, which we will need in facing all of the disturbance and potential change arising.
This eclipse occurs with Sun, Moon and Ketu in the Vedic nakshatra called Purvabhadrapada. This star-sign falls on the constellation well-known as Pegasus (on the stars Alpha-Pegasi and Beta-Pegasi), bridging the Aquarius and Pisces regions of the sky. As such its symbol is a funeral cot, or bed, related to the fire of purification. This helps to prepare us to enter the darkness of the unknown to be met in Pisces.
The eclipse here will drive us strongly towards purification and transformation. This is for our higher purpose and spiritual development, but it may not be without some difficulty. The deity for this nakshatra is Aja-Ekapada (“the one-footed goat”), who is related to Rudra, a destructive aspect of Lord Shiva. This star is associated with darkness and black magic, which lays the groundwork for a very powerful eclipse.
Eclipses are times when we can literally see shadows in the sky, and they are opportunities to see the ugly psychological shadows lurking in our own subconscious. These need to be uncovered and released so we can free ourselves from them. This is a very important time to do sadhana (spiritual practice) and Self-inquiry, so we can know ourselves better and become enlightened by this gift of seeing what is normally in the dark.
This opportunity is amplified because Sunday night (Pacific, Monday in India) brings the Hindu holy time known as Maha Shivaratri (“the great night of Lord Shiva”). This is the most auspicious night to offer oneself into spiritual practice, in worship of Divine Consciousness. It is typical to stay up all night, fasting and engaging in worship such as mantra, chanting, meditation, and puja. With the eclipse so close at hand, this is an extremely potent time to call upon the light of consciousness and purification.
In Vedic tradition it is thought that the negative energy of the nodes pervades the atmosphere during the time of the eclipse, and it is therefore best not to eat or drink during this time. (The eclipse window is from 3:19pm to 8:34pm PST.) It is also best to refrain from looking at the eclipse directly, or being outside in its atmosphere, especially if you are somewhere the eclipse will be visible.
One more thing to add to the mix on this powerful New Moon: March 8th is also International Women’s Day! Let’s use this transformative time to honor and elevate the sisters, mothers and daughters of this world!
As a special gift to help you navigate through this time, I’ve put together a Free e-Book on Rahu, Ketu, and the Eclipses for the 12 Vedic Rising Signs , which includes a forecast for your personal sign!
Eclipse periods are some of the best times to book a personal reading to help you to understand your personal karma and to process the energy brought up by the nodes.
Top Image Credit: “Eclipsed? Not totally” by James Jordan, CC license Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic