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.
This coming full Moon night also falls on the longest night of the year in the northern hemisphere, the winter solstice! The solstice, December 21st, is the day when the Sun is at its farthest course south of the equator, making for the longest day in the southern hemisphere and the longest night in the northern. The Moon will be bright and waxing in its fullest Moon phase, purnima tithi, on this night, approaching maximum fullness in sidereal Gemini at 9:49 am PST on Saturday, December 22nd. Moon lovers, take this chance to enjoy the most moonlight you can get in one night, until this coincidence next occurs in 2094!
Full Moon in Gemini
The full Moon will reach maximum illumination at 6° sidereal Gemini, opposite the Sun at 6° sidereal Sagittarius. Also in Ardra nakshatra, this Full Moon is aligned with the outer reaches of our galaxy, stretching towards far distant space. This energy is appropriate for the winter solstice, which is a deeply yin time of year as we become more still in the lengthy hours of darkness, allowing more space in our beings, and in between our bouts of activity.
Ardra, also Arudra, is a turbulent place, however, ruled by Lord Shiva in the form of Rudra, the fierce bringer of storms. Though there is a certain energy of renewal here, it is the type of renewal that comes after difficult or destructive situations. The full Moon here can help us to truly let go of some of the things from the past year that we no longer need, but for some it could be a chaotic-feeling process.
The winter solstice is when the Sun is farthest from its northern course, allowing the night hours to exceed the day, the further you go north. It is also a turning point in the cycle of light, and after this point in time the light will slowly begin to return and the days lengthen. The solstice and the days surrounding are like a still point, however, like the powerful moment between exhalation and inhalation. Consider incorporating an awareness of this moment in the breath cycle into your meditation practice during this time of year.
It is somewhat paradoxical that we will experience the solstice and the full Moon together, as the winter solstice is a time to be very inward, and full Moon energy usually draws us out into a more extroverted state. Gemini is a dual sign that helps us to look at both sides of life, however, so it is also appropriate. With all things, there is a lesson coming forth to teach us about balance, and how to balance these energies, nourishing our inward nature while likely participating in some kind of gatherings or celebrations that draw our energy outward.
From the 22nd through the end of the year will be a waning phase for the Moon, and during this lunar cycle in particular, it is a potent time to allow yourself to let go of all the baggage from the past year, allowing it to compost and creating fertile ground for the next year to come (just as Shiva, the cosmic composter, brings this energy through the stormy rains).
Though the holidays are a time to celebrate, it’s important to be careful right now of overexerting your yang or active energy, and to recognize the real gift of cultivating yin during these dark months. It is a time to create more inward space for your body, mind and spirit. The dormant season of winter is a time to nourish and rejuvenate, and it’s important not to let these celebrations become depleting.
Jupiter and Mercury will be engaged in a planetary war (graha yuddha) from midday on December 20th through early morning on the 22nd. During this time the two planets will be traveling within one degree of each other, in sidereal Scorpio. This can bring up an internal conflict between what we strongly believe (philosophically, spiritually, or politically), and what makes sense in a practical, earthly way. This war can also create a paradox between two or more areas of your life, those ruled by Jupiter and Mercury in your individual natal chart. Check out your chart and pay attention to the interaction of what these planets rule for you over the next few days.
Venus is nearing the end of his four-month transit through sidereal Libra. Strong and powerful in his own sign, the ideals of beauty, pleasure and harmony have been forefront for many of us over the last few months. This transit began on August 31st, and Venus then appeared to slow to a halt and then travel in retrograde motion through Libra from October 5th through November 15th. This retrograde stint gave us a chance to really closely examine our relationships, as well as our approaches to happiness in general.
As we move forward through these last weeks of Venus in Libra, we should be integrating some of the lessons we have learned through this transit. What have the past few months taught you, and how can you proceed with more wholeness? What are your methods for seeking pleasure, and are these working for you? If not, what needs to change? When you get what you think you want, are you truly happy?
Venus is the planet that reminds us that we aren’t usually truly happy if our pleasure comes at the expense of someone else’s whom we care about. How are you at compromising in your relationship? Is it too little, or too much, costing one of you (and thus both) the happiness you deserve? What kind of boundaries do you have with others in general, and are those working for you (or them)?
This transit may also have gotten you in touch with the way you handle sensual indulgences, be it food, drink, shopping, sex, or intoxicants. The drive may have been turned on high during this period, with a chance to slow down and scrutinize your methods during the weeks of Venus Retrograde. Moving into the new year, as Venus transits into sidereal Scorpio on January 1st, take the opportunity to harvest and integrate the lessons you have learned about yourself, and your own Venusian nature.
As we come into the New Year I will be adding more updates on what to expect, as well as co-hosting a Webinar on 2019 Transits with a number of my Jyotish colleagues. Be sure to tune into the webinar, stay on the free mailing list, and consider getting an individual reading to see how the coming year’s transits will affect you personally.
Many blessings and Happy Solstice!
Full Moon in Taurus
The Moon is waxing towards its brightest point, to align fully opposite the Sun for a full Moon in Taurus at 9:39 pm PST on Thanksgiving night, Thursday, November 22nd. The Moon will be in its sign of exaltation in early sidereal Taurus, in the Vedic nakshatra of Krittika, opposite the Sun in Scorpio. Mars, Jupiter and a retrograde Mercury all aspect this full Moon, while Venus rules over it in Taurus. With the Moon and the mind happy and grounded in this fertile earth sign, this is truly a fitting time to let the heart settle and give thanks for what is.
Exaltation in Taurus
We began this lunar cycle with the Moon dark and approaching debilitation, on November 7th. The Moon is fully “debilitated” in the third degree of Scorpio (although Sun & Moon conjoined to begin this cycle near the end of Libra). In the passionate water sign of Scorpio, the mind becomes aware of its most sensitive points, and can go through turbulent emotions as it rides the waves under Mars’ rulership.
Moon is considered “exalted” in the opposite sign of Taurus, where we find this week’s full Moon. Taurus is an earth sign ruled by Venus. The earth element helps our minds and hearts to find more stability and become grounded, and our emotions are less likely to be tossed about by external forces. Taurus is ruled by Venus, the planet that ultimately helps us to find ways to be happy, so there is a natural inclination towards seeing the beauty and harmony of life when the Moon is here.
Venus is still transiting his own sign of Libra, and getting gradually stronger as he picks up speed after six weeks in retrograde motion. (Though feminine in nature, Venus, like all planets in Jyotish, gains a masculine pronoun when personified.) Venus helps the mind to be happy when the Moon is under his rule, because Venus drives us towards pleasure and happiness, and helps us to look for and see beauty. This is a great outlook for approaching the Thanksgiving holiday, especially when difficult family dynamics may be present. On this holiday where there is a tendency to overindulge in consumable pleasures, however, be especially mindful this year, as Venus (and Jupiter) could help to push that to extremes.
Within the Vedic system, Krittika nakshatra spans from 26°40′ Aries to 10° Taurus. This star-sign is known as “the cutter” and is represented by an axe, a razor blade, or a flame. Agni, the Lord of Fire, rules here, and his sharp and transforming nature drive the energy of this nakshatra. Though we are experiencing the beauty-seeking nature of Venus, we are also receiving the purifying and sattvic influence of the Sun, who rules this nakshatra, while the Moon transits here.
This nakshatra can be located in the sky as the cluster of seven stars also known as the Pleiades. In Vedic mythology, these correlate with the wives of the seven sages who found and nursed the baby Kartikeya, the son that Shiva and Parvati birthed through the vehicle of the river Ganga. There is a maternal and nurturing quality to this star, in addition to its power to help us to cut through the unnecessary in our processes of purification. Fittingly, the Indian saint “Amma” (Amritanandamayi) was born under Krittika nakshatra, and demonstrates these qualities of being a nurturing mother to all as well as a powerful sattvic purifier.
Aspects: Mars, Jupiter & Retrograde Mercury
In addition to full illumination from the Sun, this full Moon is also receiving light and energy from Mars, Jupiter, and Mercury (though Jupiter is quite combust, within three degrees of the Sun). Mars’ influence can stimulate the mind into a more rajasic state, and can add a bit of heat and tension. With Mercury also in retrograde motion, be very aware around getting into arguments or trying to explain (or re-explain) your point of view to others. Though Jupiter sends some benefic and inspiring influence, the loftiness of your ideas may be burned up and lost as you attempt to communicate from a philosophical or idealistic place. Mercury will continue in retrograde motion through the next New Moon, on December 6th.
The full Moon will come directly opposite the Sun at 9:45 am PDT tomorrow, October 24th. With the Sun at 7° sidereal Libra and in Swati nakshatra, the Moon waxes to fullness at 7° sidereal Aries, in Ashwini nakshatra. The energy of this full Moon will help us to focus our energy, and may inspire us to get our bodies moving, shedding some layers from the past season.
With the Sun currently transiting sidereal Libra (October 17th- November 16th), he is in his sign of debilitation. The Sun is literally the source of our power here on earth, and relates to our physical strength and vitality as well as our spiritual strength and awareness of connection to source. When he is in Libra he is weakened, as Libra is ruled by Venus, turning our attention towards pleasures and indulgences, which can take a toll on our health and reduce the Sun’s ability to help us to purify ourselves. Likewise, the Sun in Libra also causes us to relate our personal strength with that of our partners and other people, since Libra signifies relationships. We may find ourselves drained of energy this month as we try to take care of others around us, neglecting personal power and self-care.
As the Sun shines his light into Aries, his sign of exaltation, he illuminates the full Moon here and we are offered the chance to elevate and capture more of the Sun’s energy. Around the time of this full Moon we may take notice of our own bodies, and the possible depletion we have encountered during the Sun’s trip through Libra. This is a time to harness his strength and create more balance between self-care and care of those around us. Coinciding with the change of seasons, this is a great time to put some energy into a cleanse or a new physical or spiritual workout routine.
The full Moon also aligns with Ashwini nakshatra, the first of the 27 Vedic star-signs. This asterism always offers the energy for a fresh start, so with the full Moon here it also supports shedding some energy from the past season and setting our focus in a new direction. Ruled by the Ashwin Kumaras, the horse-headed physicians of the gods, in Vedic lore, there is a potent healing energy here. Working with medicines or healing ceremonies around this full Moon can be especially potent.
In Libra, the Sun’s energy is under Venus’s rulership. As Venus also currently transits Libra, this may help to increase the general sense of strength and Sun energy available, but with Venus increasingly combust every day, both continue to be challenged. This full Moon certainly highlights for us whether we are giving too much energy to our relationships or others, and neglecting our own strength and health simultaneously, or vice versa.
Venus is also in retrograde motion at the moment, since October 5th and through November 15th, which is causing us to slow down and take a closer look at our relationships, and relating styles. People or patterns from the past may be resurfacing, and it is important to examine how we approach compromise and conflict, taking the opportunity to forge new patterns by the time Venus goes direct again. Venus enters retrograde motion about every 18 months, so it will not occur again until 2020.
Jupiter in Scorpio
Jupiter is settling into his position in sidereal Scorpio, illuminating this mystic and transformational part of the sky for the next year. Whatever houses he rules and transits in your chart may receive some particular affects this year, as you dive into your fears and feelings, waging the inner war to come out stronger than you were before in specific areas of your life. In general, this year can be a good time to study the mystic arts, such as astrology, yoga, tantra, or tarot.
Personal natal chart readings are available here.
The Moon will complete his full waxing phase in sidereal Pisces for a full Moon at 7:53 pm Pacific time on Monday, September 24th, just after rising in the East. This full Moon falls in Uttara Bhadrapada nakshatra, the latter “one with lucky feet.” Deep in the twelfth rashi, this nakshatra relates to the depths of kundalini and fertility, and can help us to take a deep dive into ourselves.
This Moon waxes into fullness in sidereal Pisces, the twelfth sign of the zodiac that helps us to move away from the material world and into the realm of spirit, magic, and dreamland. With the Moon fully illuminated here, we can let our imaginations run wild, and follow them playfully into a whimsical exploration of ourselves.
Jupiter rules Pisces, and brings forward inspiration, luck, and a sense of purpose and believing in something. Under the full Moon in Pisces, we have the potential to truly let go and surrender to a higher power, and let loose a bit on the reins of control that we attempt to use to wield our lives. The Pisces full Moon is opposite the Sun in Virgo, the grounded earth sign that keeps us tied to the mundane tasks and activities of organization and planning that help us to live in the material world. During this opposing full Moon, we reflect on how to balance the right amount of control and attention to detail, with the right amount of surrender and faith in something bigger than ourselves.
Without an inspiring motivator or dedicated purpose, however, Pisces can promote escapist tendencies. We may let our imagination lead us into a world of fantasy, where we neglect our earthly responsibilities. There is also the possibility for substance abuse as a means of escape here, so be sure to keep one foot on the ground if you have this tendency. With a healthy internal guidance system, however, this can be an exploratory full Moon that takes you to new levels of self-understanding and surrender to the flow.
Following Purva Bhadrapada, Uttara Bhadrapada is represented by the back legs of a bed or funeral cot, symbolizing the final end of this life where the body is (traditionally, in India) burned and we are completely released from this phase of existence. This star therefore ushers forth the energy of purification, especially purification by fire ritual. The ruling deity, Ahir Bhudhnya, is a serpent with the potential to raise kundalini energy. Our internal power could light up under this full Moon. It is best if we can do some intentional planning or meditation beforehand to cultivate a space for achieving our desired results, and be sure to hold space for integration during the waning phase.
Desires are heightened due to Venus’ sva position, standing strong in his own sign of Libra this month. We will feel more inspired by music, nature, and the arts during this time, and relationships may be coming to the forefront for many of us. Whether intimate or friendly, this transit is a time where we’ll examine our relating style, how we compromise, and what paths we choose to take to achieve personal happiness.
Venus will come to a halt and enter retrograde motion soon, appearing to move backwards through the zodiac from October 5th through November 15th. This happens once about every 18 months, and gives us a chance to reset our relationships and re-evaluate our desires and our plan for happiness. In Libra, this will send us deep into a self-examination of our relating style, and it’s a great time to learn some new tools for compromise and communication with others. You may find people from the past coming forward with unfinished business during this transit, and will need to negotiate a new balance.
Watch out around October 15th, when Mercury and Venus come within one degree of each other for a planetary war. This could pit our desires against our intellect, with passion ruling out over practicality. This is a danger for some through the whole Venus transit, which can heighten our sensual nature and lead towards more indulgence all-around.
Mars & Ketu
Mars has just passed over Ketu for the third time this year, but will remain within one degree of him until just hours before the full Moon on Monday. There may be a sense of achievement and courage rising with this last conjunction. Mars has been in Capricorn, his sign of exaltation, since early March. Mars in Capricorn is when we learn to channel our strength and fire towards our goals and responsibilities, our self-development and self-discipline, and the things that will bring us lasting value.
During this long transit or Mars, he has been joined with Ketu the entire time, showing us the shadow side of ourselves in how we wield our strength, and also how we fight. This may have brought out some aggression, arguments, and accidents earlier this year, but if we were committed to seeing the lessons of Ketu (especially through the eclipse cycle this summer), we may have come out with a deeper understanding of our warrior within. As Mars finishes his transit here over the next six weeks, we have the chance to stand with our own internal strength, knowing where, when, and how to fight, and how to discipline ourselves, in light of the dark spots that have shown themselves over the last few months.
Jupiter Changing Signs
On October 11th, Jupiter will transit from sidereal Libra into Scorpio. He has been in Libra since September of last year. As he travels through Scorpio for the next thirteen months, our inner warrior will be inspired, and the vulnerable spots inside will be inspired by the planet of purpose. This is a great time to study psychology, mysticism, and whatever inspires you in your personal self-development. This will also light up particular areas of your life depending on your Vedic rising sign.
Stay tuned for a personal forecast or sign up for an individual chart reading to see how these current transits will affect your life.