This Sunday night brings a full Moon lunar eclipse in Cancer. This eclipse will be visible from all of north and south America, and at least partially visible from Africa, Europe, and the Middle East. The shadow will create a red hue over the Moon, hence “blood Moon.” The Full Moon peaks at 9:16 pm PST on January 20th, while the maximum eclipse is at 9:12 (with the full eclipse from 8:42 until 9:43 pm). The partial eclipse begins at 7:33 pm and ends at 11:48, west coast time.
Eclipse in Cancer
This is the last of a series of eclipses with the nodes, Rahu in Ketu, in sidereal Cancer & Capricorn respectively, beginning with the total solar eclipse over North America on August 21, 2017. That eclipse was a transitional one, occurring just as the nodes were moving from the Leo-Aquarius axis onto the Cancer-Capricorn one.
With Rahu in Cancer and Ketu in Capricorn, we have collectively been exploring the dichotomy between emotionality and practicality. Cancer is the sign of the heart, the mother, the divine feminine, and the flow of emotional and literal waters. Capricorn, on the other side, is a sign of practicality, where we stand grounded in earthly responsibility. Throughout this transit we have been called to examine how to balance these two poles, considering when to let the heart run free and follow the flow of our feelings, and when to stay committed to difficult work that may sometimes feel overly structured.
In some areas of life we have seen where we needed more commitment, more structure, and to develop a certain amount of detachment from the emotions, which may have felt exaggerated, intense, or irrational at times during this transit (especially near other eclipses). In other areas, or for other folks, we have observed a need to open the heart more, and let loose on the reins of practicality while allowing the senses guide us more. Overall, it is about learning to blend and harmonize these two seemingly opposites, weaving the right amount of humanity with the work that it takes to be human.
The particular effect of this transit and of these eclipses is (and has been) felt specifically in the areas of life indicated by the houses in your individual chart that fall across Cancer and Capricorn. (Last chance to grab your Free Rahu-Ketu in Cancer-Capricorn Forecast, downloadable bonus for joining my free email list!) Whether it was work vs. home (Aries & Libra), self vs. other (Cancer & Capricorn), or another dichotomy, the nodal transit and eclipses here showed us our blind spots in a particular area of life, and encouraged us to clear out the cobwebs to create more harmony and clarity.
Though eclipses can be revelatory with proper discipline, practice, and self-inquiry, on a mundane level they often throw us off-balance and disrupt the area of life being affected (Cancer and its associated house in your chart this weekend). When the Moon is full the emotions are strong, the mind is active, and the heart is alive, but during the lunar eclipse the shadow energy of Rahu will obscure some of our mental and emotional focus. We can feel confused about the emotions that are arising, or may even lose focus or find it difficult to access the heart. You may feel like you’re “not yourself” during the eclipse.
It’s best to be patient, grounded, and do some type of spiritual practice during and around the eclipse window. If unusual sensations do arise, take mental note or even write them down, and be sure to reflect further on what was revealed after the eclipse has passed. In Indian tradition, it is advised to stay indoors and not eat or drink during an eclipse, so as not to absorb negative energy from the atmosphere.
The Full Moon aligns with Pushya nakshatra, “the nourisher,” within Cancer. Represented by a cow’s udder, this part of the sky brings the potential to nourish others as well as to nourish ourselves from within. With the eclipse here, beware of a sensation of mal-nourishment or loss of vitality, especially if you have your Moon or another planet here. The deity Brihaspati (a form of Jupiter) rules here, as well as the planet Saturn, so consider making offerings to them on this eclipse.
Just hours after the eclipse, Venus will come within one degree of Jupiter, causing a planetary war (graha yuddha) that will last until the 23rd of January. The two planets will be visible in close conjunction in sidereal Scorpio in the early morning, so close that they are understood to be competing for our energy and attention. The things ruled by both planets can suffer during this time — relationships, pleasures, and happiness for Venus, and our idealism and optimism for Jupiter. In particular, both planets rule two areas of your individual chart, so all four areas may also experience difficulty or seem to conflict with each other during the war.
On the 21st, Mercury and Ketu will come into exact conjunction in sidereal Capricorn. People who are ruled by Mercury (Vedic ascendants Gemini or Virgo) should take special care this week, especially of the physical body. For the general populous, the south node joining the planet of the intellect can enhance psychic awareness, but disturbances of the psyche are also possible. Mercury will be quite close to Ketu during the eclipse, and these effects could be magnified.
Please join me and my fellow astrologers on January 25th for a 2019 Jyotish Transit Summit Webinar. We will discuss all of the major planetary transits for 2019. The webinar is free, and you can register through this link.
Tonight’s dark Moon brings the third and final eclipse of this summer’s eclipse season. The exact time of the New Moon will be at 2:58 am PDT, with the partial solar eclipse reaching its maximum at 2:46 am. This eclipse will only be visible from Scandinavia, Greenland, northern parts of Asia and northernmost Canada. Though the last eclipse, of July 27th, carried a bit more intensity, this one is still adding a good degree of stress to the atmosphere. We should feel energies settling a bit more after its passing.
New Moon in Cancer
This eclipse occurs as the Sun and Moon come together in late sidereal Cancer, joined in this sign by Rahu, the north node, and a still-retrograde Mercury. Opposite, in sidereal Capricorn, lie Ketu and still-retrograde-and-exalted Mars. As we enter a new lunar cycle led by Cancer energy, we will go through this month with an acute awareness of our emotions, and sensitivities will be high. To be honest … it could feel like a tidal wave. Rahu’s presence here in Cancer works to exaggerate that sensitivity and those emotions even more, so try to be as gentle and caring with yourself as possible.
Cancer is the sign of the divine Mother, a water sign ruled by the Moon. The divine Mother, in her infinite compassion, is open and receptive to everyone and everything. Cancer is the sign of the heart, and we come into our own hearts more deeply when so many planetary energies are gathered here. Even those who may not usually have a “sensitive” nature will be much more attuned to their feelings during this month.
The presence of Rahu, however, can be disturbing and aggravating, and can lead us forward quickly in confusion. For this reason, Rahu’s presence in Cancer often causes us to open our boundaries too wide, allowing ourselves to get hurt while in this sensitive state. Working on balancing these boundaries and feelings with structure and responsibility has been one of the lessons of this Cancer-Capricorn eclipse cycle.
Cancer is the sign of the heart and the emotions, while Capricorn, opposite in the sky, teaches us about doing the responsible thing for long-term results. Throughout this year-and-a-half transit of the nodes through these signs (August 2017 – March 2019), we’ve been examining where in our lives we led our feelings lead too much, neglecting responsibility, or where we are too rigid, without acknowledging the heart. The eclipses help us through a process of learning around this, and as we see our patterns (the shadows that are revealed), we are able to make positive changes in our lives.
This axis is also affecting two particular houses in your natal chart, and learning to balance those energies is a personal task that is different for each of us. (If you haven’t downloaded it, be sure to get the Free E-Book with forecast for your sign, here.) This transit and series of eclipses may also be affecting any planets that you have in these signs natally, as well as the areas of life they rule for you.
The Moon and Sun coincide in Ashlesha nakshatra during this eclipse, the sign of the water snake, called “the entwiner.” This nakshatra can be located in a ring of stars within the western constellation Hydra, the water-serpent. Ashlesha is represented by a coiled snake, and is ruled by the Nagas, the serpent deities of wisdom. This nakshatra has a lot to do with discovering what is coiled deep within, so an eclipse here has the potential to churn up some deep-seated emotions that have not been felt for a while. It also has the ability to stir kundalini, so if you are doing spiritual practices, be prepared for some possible strong waves of energy.
At the same time, the snake also contains a poisonous venom. Because of the intensity of this eclipse and the surrounding alignment, it is quite possible for some of what gets stirred up to have a toxic quality. Like other detoxification processes, however, it is sometimes necessary for the toxins to filter through the body after they are dislodged, before being released back to the earth. Drink lots of water following this eclipse, but Indian tradition says that it is best not to eat, drink, or be outside during the eclipse, lest we absorb more of its negative affects. With any difficulties that arise, offer them back to the divine Mother, and call upon the cleansing power of water to help you through.
Mars has been retreating steadily towards the beginning of sidereal Capricorn since he entered retrograde motion on June 26th. Those people ruled by Mars are feeling particularly affected, as their normally driven energy seems to be going in the opposite direction, and further confusion is added due to the conjunction with Ketu. Mars is still in his sign of exaltation, which would normally help us towards putting a lot of energy into structures and goals, but there have been many delays and frustrations due to the other influences.
Mars will come to a stop near the end of the month, beginning direct motion again on August 27th and transiting over Ketu once more in September. He will remain in Capricorn through early November.
Venus entered sidereal Virgo, his sign of debilitation, on July 31st. Virgo is a sign that is very much about practicality, ruled by Mercury, the planet of the intellect. There is a lot of precision here, and factuality, while Venus is the planet of desire, which is often not practical. The fulfillment of our desires can feel curbed by the intellect while Venus transits here, and our creative pursuits can take on a more linear dimension.
At the same time, this can help us to see more clearly when it comes to relationships and desires, and take on an analytical view that is sometimes refreshing. Due to the alignment of planets at the beginning of this lunar cycle, however, watch out for arguments in relationships, as Mars is volatile and sensitivity is high.
Tonight’s waxing Moon is leading up to a powerful full Moon in sidereal Capricorn, peaking on Friday, July 27th at 1:21 pm PDT. On the dark side of the earth, this will coincide with a Total Lunar Eclipse peaking at the same time, but lasting in its entirety for 1 hour and 43 minutes, making it the longest lunar eclipse of this century. The full Moon is in extremely close proximity to both Mars and Ketu, bringing forth a lot of internal fire and intensity surrounding and throughout this eclipse.
Eclipses – Shadow Forces at Play
This is the second of this summer’s series of 3 eclipses, but this one is perhaps the most intense due to the Sun and Moon’s close conjunction with the nodes and Mars. The Sun and Moon are at 10°39’ of sidereal Cancer and Capricorn, respectively, while Rahu and Ketu (the nodes) are within about one degree, at 11°47’, and Mars is at 9°52′.
The nodes wield a heavy influence from this position, and we may feel a deep discomfort in our physical and emotional bodies during the eclipse, but also over the course of days or weeks leading up to it. This is related to the subconscious forces within us rising to the surface, calling our attention to the areas that need the most work. The mythology behind Rahu and Ketu points to “demonic” energy, or negative internal drives that lead us in the wrong direction until we learn to rise above them. The nodes create a lot of confusion, but as these shadows become visible during an eclipse, we have the opportunity to see where the problems lie and make efforts towards change.
This lunar eclipse occurs on the Capricorn full Moon, when the Moon is directly opposite the Cancer Sun. During the Cancer Sun cycle we find our strength through our emotional body, and by following the sensations of the heart and our human desire for comfort, love, and care. With Rahu so closely joining the Sun in Cancer, however, emotions can be extremely exaggerated and confusing during this time.
As the Moon waxes into fullness in the opposite sign of Capricorn, our emotional bodies (normally) find peace by embracing structure and responsibility, in this grounded earth sign. With Ketu’s presence here, however, we may feel or see a strong resistance to structure and commitment, as Rahu’s obsessive nature, in Cancer, draws us instead towards emotional intensity.
A great opportunity of this eclipse is to see where and when we let our emotions get the better of us, and also where and when we may need to stand more firmly in our commitments and take responsibility for our actions. The intensity of Rahu and Sun in Cancer can also cause us to have wide open boundaries, while the eclipse of Ketu and Moon in Capricorn shows us where we can use some more structure.
Saturn, Capricorn’s ruler, is always stern and still in retrograde motion, bringing extra cause for serious reflection around these themes. A total lunar eclipse can be draining on the heart, however, so it’s important to be more gentle with ourselves and more inward on this full Moon than we normally are during this lunar phase.
This eclipse will particularly effect you in the “houses” that are Cancer and Capricorn in your Vedic chart, as well as any planets you have there natally. If you’ve not downloaded it yet, you can receive the free e-book with an eclipse forecast for your sign, after joining the free mailing list here.
In general, Indian tradition advises against starting any auspicious activities during an eclipse, or really doing any worldly actions in general if it can be avoided. The best practice is to do some type of sadhana such as meditation, prayer, mantra, or quiet reflection. It is advised not to eat or drink during the eclipse, and not consume anything after that has been left out during the eclipse, as the atmosphere is said to carry a negative energy during the eclipse. The eclipse will occur from 10:14 am – 4:28 pm PDT, with the total eclipse lasting from 12:30 pm – 2:13 pm PDT.
In addition to the powerful emotions brought on by the solar-lunar-nodal positions during this eclipse, Mars is also bringing a lot of fire by his proximity. His close conjunction with the Moon (within one degree) will bring forth a warrior-like passion. Still moving in retrograde motion, and traveling through his sign of exaltation, we may be experiencing some deep-seated animal instincts arising. Any anger or enthusiasm that has been brewing beneath the surface may rise alongside the shadows of the eclipse.
Mars will have reached exact opposition to the Sun some hours before, so he will be at his brightest as he travels right next to the Moon tonight and tomorrow night. His powerful light shining on us presents the chance to find our inner warrior and use his strength to strengthen ourselves, taking this chance to embrace responsibility, self-discipline, and commitment, as well as to create more structured boundaries around us. The confusion and surprising/explosive nature of Ketu, however, could cause this inner warrior to arise in a fume of anger if we are not careful.
Mercury is also conjunct Sun and Rahu in Cancer during this eclipse, as he is stuck in the gandanta zone (the karmic “knot”) at the end of Cancer near Leo. He’s now in stationary-retrograde motion there. This can add an intense strain to communication. Being in Ashlesha nakshatra (the sign of the water serpent and kundalini), there is the potential for sharp poison to come through our words at this time, but also for conversations that lead to real inner transformation.
The Moon and Ketu lie in Shravana nakshatra at the time of this lunar eclipse, the sign of listening. While Mercury is in such a challenged but potent position, we should remember that a huge part of communication lies in the listening. Pay close attention to the words you are hearing and the conversations you are having around this eclipse. Furthermore, it’s time to listen deeply with the inner ear, and ask for the great spirit(s) to speak to you and guide you through the shadows that are arising.
Eclipse periods often feel like they are disruptive, because we often hear and experience things that are unwelcome or cause stress in our lives, but these things give us a great opportunity to see where we can create change, and grow into the people that we really want to be. This eclipse particularly shows us where we need to balance our emotions, boundaries, and responsibilities, and also balance the two houses (or areas of life) shown by Cancer and Capricorn in your Vedic natal chart. Our prayers and willingness to inquire and self-reflect around this time can lead to great change and greater balance.
The full Moon in Sagittarius will be fully opposite the Sun in Gemini at 9:53 pm PDT on Wednesday, June 27th. This Moon waxes into fullness in Mula nakshatra, the sign of “the root,” but will be closely joining a bright retrograde Saturn, only half a degree away longitudinally. Mars, Venus, and Mercury are all joining the Rahu-Ketu axis, bringing on a strong nodal energy as we approach a set of THREE eclipses to occur over the next two months.
Sagittarius Full Moon
Though we began this lunar cycle with Sun and Moon joined at the very end of sidereal Taurus, the Sun is spending most of this cycle passing through Gemini. Sun-in-Gemini energy inspires a playful and curious mood, as we connect to our inner power through communication, learning, movement, and travel. It brings forth our flexible and adaptable nature, and stimulates us to rely on the intellect and reason.
On the full Moon, our emotional body becomes full with the mood of Sagittarius. In this bhava (mood) we rely on our faith, principles, and ideals more than on skills and reason. As the Sun’s light reflects upon the Moon from Gemini, we find a harmony between our faith and our intellects.
Under the Sagittarius full Moon, we feel the passion of our convictions. With the Moon illuminated in this fire sign, we may be stimulated to take actions that uphold our strongest beliefs. We have the potency to turn our principles into meaningful acts around this full Moon. This is a powerful time to dance around the fires of our inspiration, and let that light shine through us and into embodiment.
Moon Joined Saturn
This Full Moon is very closely joining the planet Saturn, within one half of a degree. Saturn is in retrograde motion at the moment, and, also opposite the Sun, is incredibly bright and about as close to the earth as he gets. With the Moon in such direct alignment with Saturn, there is a tangible feeling of pressure, even amidst the exalted and expanding emotional state that a full Moon brings.
As we sense our principles and beliefs filling us up right now and guiding our actions, we have an acute awareness of the depth and gravity that our choices hold for the future. Saturn is the planet of the long-term, and as such we are very aware of the consequences that will come over time.
In the Vedic nakshatra system, three nakshatras or star-signs bridge sidereal Sagittarius: Mula, Purva Ashada, and Uttara Ashada. Mula is attributed the first 13°20’ of this sign. Aligned with the black hole at the center of our galaxy, Mula translates as “the root,” and has to do with the deepest origins of all things. As we bask in the excitement of the Sagittarius full Moon, and feel the added seriousness from Saturn’s proximity, we are simultaneously aware of our deep roots. The past and the future coincide and we are aware of what is most important right now. The goddess Nirriti presides here, and reminds us of our penultimate death and destruction.
In addition to the powerful influence of this full Moon, the skies are charged with the intensity of the oncoming eclipses. There will be a partial solar eclipse on July 13th, a total lunar eclipse on July 27th, and another partial solar eclipse on August 11th. On tomorrow’s full Moon, Mercury and Venus are joining Rahu while Mars (now stationary-retrograde) joins with Ketu.
The strong influence of the nodes and the upcoming eclipses brings our deep shadow energy forward. The shadows are the parts of ourselves that we are not normally able to see. They are our blind spots, the parts of ourselves that are confused and unable to see the light around certain situations. When we have eclipses, these shadows become more visible, and we are better able to work on clearing them through deeper self-understanding.
Wherever the nodes are transiting in your natal chart, these are the blind spots that are coming to light for you the most right now. These areas of life may be disruptive or disrupted over the next 7 weeks as we pass through this 3-eclipse portal. If you have any planets in your natal chart in sidereal Cancer or Capricorn, specific areas of life may be influenced even more by these eclipses. If we continue to do inner work and self-reflection, we can come through this time with a much clearer understanding of the path ahead, as we re-wire ourselves to stand in more balance around this axis.
The planetary energy is all focused around Aquarius right now, as Sun and Moon join both Venus and Mercury there on Wednesday night, a dark Moon night that will bring in a new lunar cycle as well as a partial solar eclipse. The three outer planets, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn, all cast their gazes on this eclipse through their respective aspects onto Aquarius. The nodes, Rahu and Ketu, influence this New Moon via their eclipsing affect (though they are still transiting the Cancer-Capricorn axis).
The exact time of the New Moon in Aquarius will be at 1:05 pm PST, on Thursday, February 15th. The Moon and Sun will converge in Dhanishta nakshatra at this time, which is the sign of “the wealthy,” showing us our potential to thrive in life, and also associated with music and the steady beat of the cosmic drum. A partial solar eclipse occurs simultaneously, though mostly visible only from Antarctica, from 10:55 am to 2:47 pm PST (18:55 to 22:47 UT), peaking at 12:51 pm PST (20:51 UT).
With so much energy converging around Aquarius, this eclipse and the coming month will draw our focus towards something larger than ourselves—the greater good, and our potential to create thriving communities around us. Aquarius is ruled by the planet Saturn, who makes us think about the long-term, the bigger picture, and the commitments and hard work that are needed to take us to our goals. As the active, yang, or masculine expression of Saturn, Aquarius is where we are willing to move our efforts outwards, towards long-term goals that affect the world around us. Under an Aquarian mindset we become willing to work for social equality, planetary and even universal harmony. Community values become more important than the individual, and we find ourselves happy to become part of and of service to a greater cause.
Under Dhanishta nakshatra, the Vedic constellation within Aquarius where this New Moon occurs, we strive to step into beat with the cosmic rhythm. The symbol for this nakshatra, “the wealthiest,” is the drum, often associated with the damaru (hand-drum) of Nataraj, Shiva in the form of the cosmic dancer. There is a universal rhythm that plays through, behind, and around our existence, that goes beyond our individual desire to forge our own path and dance to the beat of our own drum, as they say. When we desire to come into alignment with the cosmic rhythm, and surrender to the greater divine pulse that calls from within, we may actually find ourselves happier than when we were attempting to harness power through a more narrow vision.
Five Planets Influencing
With Venus and Mercury joining in Aquarius, our desires and intellect may also more easily align with this broader vision. Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn are also all casting their drishti (“glance,” or aspect) on Aquarius, and the Sun, Moon, Mercury and Venus. This is due to the special aspects that these planets cast according to Jyotish, different from those in Western astrology. Saturn aspects the third house from himself (and the tenth), Mars the fourth (and the eighth), and Jupiter the fifth (and the ninth). With their influence, our actions, principles, and committed nature are also all aimed at the Aquarian concepts of universal duty, connection, and service.
Although the nodes are aligned with Cancer and Capricorn, and this New Moon occurs in Aquarius, Ketu is close enough to the Sun and Moon now that it will cause a partial solar eclipse on Thursday. Although this eclipse may not seem as dramatic as the recent ones that were visible in their totality, it will nevertheless stir the shadow energy of the nodes, and compel us to do some work on ourselves and our lives, or else feel the disturbing effects that eclipses can bring.
With the Sun being eclipsed in Aquarius and Dhanishta, we may feel extremely cut off from our individual power, which can really highlight our human need for community support, and service. When we realize that “I” the individual is not able to solve all our problems, or that personal gain means little without friends to share it with, our place as part of a larger network begins to seem more important. You may also feel cut off from whatever in life is represented by Aquarius in your individual natal chart (or by any planets there), or may have some difficulty (urging you towards transformation) in that area of life. (Free Eclipse Forecast for those on my free mailing list).
This eclipse may show us where we have been neglecting community engagement, public service, or social networking, and if we aren’t willing to look at that, the lessons of the eclipse could be painful. Whether this is a new realization, or even if social involvement is already a large part of your life, this eclipse could be revelatory and transformational, showing you (and your friends) some innovative ways to take your community vision to the next level.
Tuesday night, the night before the Dark Moon night, is a prime time to dig deep and lay the groundwork for some deep insights and personal growth following Thursday’s eclipse. Tuesday brings Maha Shivaratri, the “great night of Lord Shiva,” in Hindu tradition. It falls on the 14th phase of the waning Moon this month (check here for your local time), and 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 particularly two stories of great sacrifices that were made protect the entire creation. One of these comes from 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, the first story of great sacrifice. His wife, Parvati, held his throat however, so that he could not ingest it, thus saving him in turn.
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 fortold 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.
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.
Personal readings and Eclipse readings available here.