January 10th: Full Moon Lunar Eclipse in Gemini/Punarvasu
January 15th – September 23rd: Ketu in Mula
January 23, 2020 – April 28, 2022: Saturn in Capricorn
February 2nd – February 28th: Venus Exalted in Pisces
February 16th – March 9th: Mercury Retrograde
February 17th – July 15th: Kala Sarpa Cycles for half the month
March 22nd – May 4th: Mars in Exalted in Capricorn, with Saturn
March 28th – July 31st: Venus in Taurus
March 29th – June 29th: Jupiter in Capricorn
April 25th: Akshaya Tritiya
May 10th – September 28th: Saturn Retrograde
May 12th – June 24th: Venus Retrograde
May 14th – September 12th: Jupiter Retrograde
June 29th – November 18th: Jupiter back in Sagittarius
June 5th: Full Moon Lunar Eclipse in Scorpio/Jyestha
June 18th – August 16th: Mars in Pisces; again October 3rd – December 23rd
June 17th – July 12th: Mercury Retrograde
June 21st: New Moon Solar Eclipse in Gemini/Ardra
July 4th: Full Moon Lunar Eclipse in Sagittarius/Purva Ashada
August 16th – October 3rd: Mars in Aries
September 9th – November 13th: Mars Retrograde
September 12th: Jupiter Direct
September 23rd: Rahu & Ketu move into Taurus and Scorpio (Mean node; Sep. 19th with True)
September 28th: Saturn Direct
October 3rd – December 23rd: Mars in Pisces
October 13th – November 3rd: Mercury Retrograde
November 18th: Jupiter in Capricorn
November 30th: Full Moon Lunar Eclipse in Taurus/Rohini
December 14th: New Moon Total Solar Eclipse in Scorpio/Jyestha
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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?
The Sun and Moon will join at 10° sidereal Libra this Sunday night, October 24th, at 8:39 pm PDT. This Dark Moon night commemorates the Hindu holiday of Diwali, the festival of lights. October 27th will actually be the third but main night of celebration of this festival, which begins on Dhanteras on October 25th.
The New Moon in Libra will begin a Libra cycle, compelling us to find balance, harmony, beauty, and compromise. Venus will have just left his own sign of Libra, a couple of hours before the New Moon, but has been strong there the last several weeks and during most of the Amavasya dark Moon phase leading up to the exact New Moon moment.
One thing to note about the Libra cycle is that the Sun is considered neecha or naturally debilitated there, so self-care becomes especially important during a Libra cycle. 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 possible that our own strength becomes diminished as 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. At the beginning of this cycle, set an intention for a mindful self-care routine this month. Light some candles (or turn on your electronic ones) for Diwali on the Dark Moon night, and if possible, take some time each day to offer yourself some time to nourish and honor your personal light. Self-care practices can include yoga, meditation, chanting, art, or self-abhyangha (oil massage). You can also make some herbal tea to nourish yourself during this vata (cold and dry) season.
This New Moon joins the Sun in Swati nakshatra, a nakshatra that is also known to add to vata conditions, as it gives the power to scatter like the wind, so be aware of restlessness this Dark Moon night. It is ruled by Lord Vayu, wind embodied, and is symbolized by a young plant blowing in the wind, both flexible and strong amidst it. It can be translated as the “priest” or the “sword” and carries hidden spiritual potential from its association with Rahu. The male buffalo is the animal symbol for Swati nakshatra.
Venus, Jupiter and Mercury
These three benefic planets will be traveling together in sidereal Scorpio from October 26th through November 4th, when Jupiter transits into Sagittarius. The conjunction of these three planets creates a Sarasvati yoga during certain times of day, which could offer auspicious muhurtas (moments) for initiating artistic, educational or spiritual activities. If you were born with a Sarasvati yoga in your natal chart, you may find it more activated during these times.
Jupiter in Sagittarius
On November 4th, we will experience a major movement in the cosmos, as Jupiter transits from Scorpio into Sagittarius. Because the outer planets move slower, they spend longer in each sign, so this transit is important because it will take effect for over a year while Jupiter travels through his own sign. Generally that brings strength to a planet, but with the current conjunction with Saturn and Ketu, also in Sagittarius, we could see an intensification of strange and radical ideologies vying for their place on the world stage.
Dhanteras and Diwali
On the new Moon of the Hindu month of Ashwin (this month), we celebrate Diwali, the festival of lights. The festival begins this year on Friday, October 25th (North America), on the 13th waning Moon phase of the previous cycle. This day is known as Dhanteras, or Dhanvantari Tryodashi, the celebration of the birth of Lord Dhanvantari, the father of Ayurvedic medicine. 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.
Diwali is strongly associated with the Goddess Laxmi, and is a powerful time to connect with her, calling in her blessings for both material and spiritual prosperity. Dhanteras 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.
We celebrate Diwali while the days are getting noticeably shorter and darker, and it is a time to invite more light into our lives, our hearts, and our world. This festival celebrates the victory of light over darkness, which is something to rejoice in and have faith in, even if we can’t outwardly observe it sometimes. Creating positive vibrations internally is the best way to begin growing and spreading them externally.
Diwali also commemorates Lord Ram’s and Sita’s return from exile after fourteen years (a story from the Ramayana). Lord Ram embodies the highest qualities of dharma, devotion, compassion, courage, and leadership. Diwali is also the start of a new lunar cycle, so it’s a great time to go within and summon these qualities to awaken and live through you.
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 (opt for electronic tea lights if you’re in a fire danger zone!), inviting the highest light into our homes and lives. 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.
Maha Navaratri 2019 is upon us! In this important Hindu holiday, we celebrate the Goddess through “the great nine nights” (nav = nine, ratri = night). This festival will run from September 29th through October 8th, the first ten days of this new lunar cycle. Goddess, Devi, Shakti, Durga, Divine Mother—the many names and forms all represent the dynamic and fluid feminine power that enlivens all of existence.
She is the creatrix, the warrioress, the nurturer, the purifyer, the protector. While she’s in the innocent and fertile maiden so is she the wise and learned crone. Both the nurturing mother, and the one who gives “tough love.” The impassioned lover, the devoted bhakta, the disciplined yogini. We see Goddess 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 celebrating the supreme feminine power in all her glory, and the many blessings she bestows upon us.
As with most Hindu celebrations, this festival correlates with the lunar calendar, and thus begins on the first day of the waxing Moon after the New Moon of September 28th. The celebration is through the “nine nights” of September 29th through October 7th, and into the tenth morning known as Vijayadashami, “the day of victory.” Worship during Navaratri is most generally dedicated to Goddess in the form of Durga, the demon-slayer, but there is much nuance and variation to practice and forms of celebration throughout India. Above all, Navaratri is a community celebration of the Divine Mother, and the love, abundance and protection she gives.
There are many Navaratri celebrations throughout the year, but the fall-time Navaratri is the most widely celebrated, and is thus called Maha Navaratri – “the great nine nights”. It correlates with the time of the harvest, a time to give thanks for the abundance of the year’s work. Grains and crops are often offered to Devi as part of the celebrations. Ritualistic worship (puja) typically occurs in homes and temples throughout the nine nights and into the tenth morning of celebration.
The Many Forms of Goddess
In Kerala and other places in India, the first three nights of worship are dedicated to Durga (the invincible), the next three to Lakshmi (Goddess of prosperity), and the final three to Sarasvati (Goddess of learning). Durga, also celebrated as her incarnation of Kali, helps us to destroy and remove the negative tendencies in our minds and hearts, freeing us from the obstructions to our spiritual and material pursuits. Lakshmi helps us to cultivate positive qualities like compassion and devotion, and leads us towards both spiritual and material prosperity. Sarasvati assists us in attaining knowledge and wisdom, through the illumination of our consciousness. She aids in awakening sattva, the quality of purity, and the flow of prana, the vital breath. After removing inner and outer obstacles and cultivating prosperity through virtuous qualities, our devotion, service, and practice help us to attain a state of peace, bliss, and oneness.
In the Kali Kula (Kali school of worship) in northeastern India, Sarasvati is worshiped on the first three nights, followed by Lakshmi on the next and then Kali/Durga on the last three. Sarasvati, Lakshmi, and Kali/Durga (Kali emerged from Durga) are also known as the consorts of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. The Goddesses, therefore, provide the shakti to the cosmic processes of creation, preservation, and death (transformation), similar to their male counterparts. Consequently, worship in this manner is dedicated to the cycles of life and Mother nature, through birth, then sustenance, then death. Death is not a complete stop, but allows for the regeneration of energy into a new cycle once again.
9 Forms of Durga
Throughout India, the nine nights of Navaratri are often dedicated to 9 different incarnations of Durga, allowing the worship of many different aspects of Shakti in a gradual evolution. You can read the stories and significance of these 9 goddesses here, or a more a brief introduction, here:
“Daughter of the mountain”; creative energy, muladhara (root chakra), awakening; Awaken your connection with Goddess today or initiate a new venture, calling on Shailputri for new beginnings.
The ascetic; tapas, discipline, devotion, strength, wisdom, creative abundance; Good day for fasting and meditation, connection with svadhistana (sacral chakra).
Warrioress; protection, courage, grace, manipura (solar plexus); Destroy your internal obstacles by offering them to Chandraghanta.
Creatrix of the “cosmic egg”; strength, health, happiness, success, relationships; Connect with the vital Sun energy and the anahata (heart chakra) today.
“Mother of Skanda/Kartikeya”; motherly love, nourishment, protection, purity; Call on divine truth through the vishuddha (throat chakra), invoking Skandamata to lead you towards victory.
Warrioress who destroyed Mahishasura (the buffalo demon); victory, devotion, strength, removing obstacles; Meditate on these qualities of Goddess through the ajna chakra (third-eye) today.
“Dark/black night,” representing a fierce form of Durga/Kali; darkness, death, surrender, dissolution of pain; Connecting with the sahasrara (crown chakra), remember that Divine Mother offers love, compassion, and many blessings even in hard times. Even in the midst of apparent darkness, and helps us to go beyond the boundaries of the material body-mind and connect with spirit.
“Great white goddess”; detachment, purification, renewal, protection, virtue; Through detachment and devotion, we emerge purified, shining and radiant after surrendering in the dark night. Rejuvenative herbs and foods are good today.
Goddess of “siddhis”; magical, spiritual or mystic powers and blessings, fulfillment of desires, devotion, divine union; Invite Goddess to reveal her presence to you everywhere and in every moment.
Personal Practice Ideas for Navaratri
If possible, it is great to reduce our workload and gather with community at local temples or places of worship. We can also create a little time and space at home and conduct some personal practices to celebrate Goddess energy. Dive into your own heart to connect with the inner Goddess in the ways that resonate most with you! Here are some ideas to do at home or with a group throughout the nine nights of Navaratri:
Create a sacred space, a Durga altar, or a Goddess altar. Even if you already have one, you can refresh it in some way or rearrange it specifically for Navaratri. Include images or statues of the Goddess(es) you have a relationship with. This could be according to one of the groups of forms above.
Even if you don’t have much time, dedicate at least a few minutes each day to connecting with the Divine Mother in front of your altar, calling her energy into your life and being.
Write in your journal about what qualities of Goddess you perceive and connect with. What aspects would you like to strengthen or to cultivate more deeply? Write any and all prayers and offer them to the form of Goddess that appeals to you.
Offer light to illuminate Goddess’s power, helping her to shine more brightly into the world and your life. You can light a candle by the altar and keep it burning when you’re at home. You can even keep an electronic tealight on symbolically when you are away.
Offer flowers or grains (even a small dish of dried rice) to celebrate Devi in the form of mother nature, fertility, the abundance of the harvest, and the cycle of life.
Offer incense, bells, water, or food if you feel called, by placing it on the altar, or mentally offering it to Goddess throughout the day. You can also offer something symbolic of your own work or practice, whatever you have been cultivating for harvest through the year. In offering this you surrender the fruits of your efforts to the Divine Mother.
Some people choose to fast in some variation, if this is something you have practiced before. This might include fasting during the day, fasting with only milk or fruit, or abstaining from alcohol and non-vegetarian foods during Navaratri.
Chanting the Devi Mahatmyam, a verse to the Goddess, is a common practice during the nine-night festival. You can also chant another Goddess mantra or songs that are special to you and your relationship with Devi.
Jai Ma Durga!
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Tonight brings a dark Moon as the Moon joins the Sun in sidereal Virgo. Exact New Moon in Virgo will be at 11:26 am PT on Saturday, September 28th. This begins a Virgo cycle that will help us to connect with the earth, the feminine, and draw ourselves more inward as we enter the season of the Sun’s decent in the northern hemisphere.
We’ve just passed the equinox on September 23rd, the time where night and day are of equal lengths, and we are now entering the yin season where the hours of darkness will exceed the hours of light. This first full lunar cycle begins in Virgo, a feminine earth sign, that encourages us to ground out some of the activity of summer and turn inwards as we come upon this darker season.
Virgo is also ruled by Mercury, the planet of the intellect, which will get us thinking about practicality and logistics this month. Have you planned your store for winter, getting together everything you need and tying up loose ends in the world before your period of inward attention and maybe even hybernation? Mercury is still technically joining the Sun and Moon in Virgo as we begin this cycle, but will be passing into Libra the next day. Venus and Mars also join in Virgo now, making our nights especially dark as these three stay close to the sun and only Jupiter and Saturn are visible. Venus remains debilitated in Virgo for just a few more days, until October 3rd.
This New Moon occurs with Sun and Moon in Hasta nakshatra, the sign of the hand. Hasta is a place that allows us to hone our skills, both manual and intellectual. It offers us a “craftiness,” whether literal, or of mind. This is a good time for getting into any hands-on work that requires dexterity, as well as for business dealings or other organization that requires tact and skill. Hasta is ruled by Savitar, the Sun God, while also linked to the Moon’s influence, and its animal is the female buffalo.
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 September 29th through October 8th, with October 8th 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. Read more about Maha Navaratri 2019 here, and stay tuned for daily updates on how to connect with the many forms of the Goddess.
Kala Sarpa & Nodal Influences
This year’s festival could churn up even more internal difficulties than usual … offer them to the Goddess! We are currently under a Kala Sarpa cycle, with all planets to one side of the Rahu-Ketu axis, and will be in this alignment until October 6th. This can bring up more shadow energy and sticky spots than usual, especially if you are running a Rahu-Ketu dasha or have these planets prominently in your chart. It’s all the more reason to join the festivities and offer worship or some kind of spiritual practice during these days.
The good news on the nodal front — Saturn and Ketu will finally be separating a bit, and will leave their 1-degree proximity on October 1st! With Mean Node calculations, Ketu and Saturn have been joined within one degree of each other since April 25th! This will begin to slowly take some pressure off in the area of your life shown by Sagittarius, or those ruled by Saturn.