Guru Purnima Full Moon Eclipse 2020
Tonight’s Full Moon in sidereal Sagittarius is the auspicious one known as Guru Purnima, a day for honoring our teachers, especially the satgurus and saints who bring light and truth to the world. The Full Moon peaks at 9:45pm PDT tonight, July 4th, and is accompanied by a penumbral lunar eclipse that peaks at 9:29 pm PDT. Though visible from the Americas, Africa, and Western Europe, this eclipse only brings a partial shadow across one side of the Moon. Its effects are being felt profoundly, however, during this cycle of change that has come with the two prior eclipses this summer.
Guru in Sanskrit is often translated as dispeller of darkness, or ignorance. We live with so much suffering as humans, because even through a lifetime most of us are still immature to a degree that we haven’t found peace with the bounty offered to us by divine creation. That is not to say that hardship and real suffering does not exist, but great souls and saints, and even many elders who have “lived through it all” have still been able to find a certain equanimity towards life’s difficulties, along with compassion and an attitude of service, however small, for those who are hurting.
In Yoga Sutra 1.33, Patanjali says:
maitri karuna muditopeksanam sukha duhkha punyapunya visayanam bhavanatas citta prasadanam
“By cultivating attitudes of friendliness toward the happy, compassion for the unhappy, delight in the virtuous, and disregard toward the wicked, the mind retains its undisturbed calmness.”
We could dive into a full discussion of all of these, especially in these trying times. In the last point “disregard” could be also understood as indifference or equanimity … though I believe as humans anger has a place on the path to this level of peace. But the Guru has the ability to bless us with a grace to move beyond this anger and into a place of peace and spiritual strength, despite whatever outside circumstances may be.
The Moon joins “Guru” (Jupiter) in his home-sign of (sidereal) Sagittarius this year. A bright, retrograde Jupiter can be seen close to the Moon tonight… though the south node Ketu also brings his (usually) invisible presence here, creating the shadow effect that will pass over the Moon. (Though of course the actual shadow is a result of the earth’s position, Earth, Sun and Moon are aligned with Rahu and Ketu astronomically, signaling the eclipses.)
Sagittarius is aligned with the galactic center, and is the active fire sign of Jupiter, a planet who guides our values, ideas, and philosophies. This eclipse cycle (including the eclipses of June 5th and June 20th) has brought up a lot of the shadows inherent in our cultural philosophy and values, stirring the pot over such things as hygiene (coronavirus management), race, and of course politics. During tonight’s eclipse, through dedicated practice and Guru’s grace, we may have the opportunity to see some of our cloudy thinking and remove the shadows of ignorance, both individually and collectively, that have hindered us through history.
The Guru Purnima Full Moon eclipse aligns with the Vedic nakshatra of Purvaashada, “the undefeated.” This star-sign brings strength as well as love and compassion, with a feminine energy ruled by Venus and the deity Apas (water personified). It is a place where we may battle over ideas, but ultimately truth will always be victorious in the end.
The nodes have been harnessing strength over the course of this year since mid-February when the Kala Sarpa cycles began (the two weeks of each month when all planets are on one side of the nodal axis). As the Sun moves into sidereal Cancer on July 15th, this will break the cycle, making these periods impossible through the end of the year. These cycles are not entirely rare, however, so we should not attribute current events to this alone (they have been happening every year for the last several.
Jupiter and Saturn continue their retrograde cycles through the fall, giving us an opportunity to dive deep into our philosophies and values and the structures we use to support these, making change particularly at the macro level as they travel through their homes signs of Sagittarius and Capricorn, respectively. Mars will also gain strength when he enters his home sign of Aries on August 16th, and then going through a retrograde cycle from September 9th through November 13th.
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Full Moon Lunar Eclipse
The Full Moon in sidereal Scorpio peaks on June 5th at 12:12pm PDT. It coincides with a penumbral lunar eclipse that will be faintly visible at night in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and Australia, reaching its maximum at 12:24 pm PDT. Eclipses bring forward the energy of the shadow planets, Rahu and Ketu, creating confusion but also bringing to light that which needs attention.
Taurus Cycle, Scorpio Full Moon
We began the lunar cycle with Sun and Moon in Taurus, joining its ruler, retrograde Venus. The Taurus cycle compels us to dig into the earth element, our physical bodies, our relationship with nature, and also, under Venus’s influence, our relationships with others. The earth has actually been thriving during the recent pandemic, as air and vehicle travel are far reduced and our carbon output has lessened significantly.
Moon was exalted in Taurus at the beginning of this cycle, because the mind finds peace on fertile ground whose ruler is the motivator of happiness (Venus). When the Moon is fully illuminated in the opposite sign of Scorpio, the mind and heart must face their most volatile and vulnerable circumstances. The Moon in Scorpio, driven by the warrior planet Mars (Scorpio’s ruler), compels to keep a fierce mind and heart while riding the waves of this unpredictable water sign.
As the natural eighth sign and a place of transition, Scorpio is where we are aware of all that we can lose on this earthly plane … and all that we must lose in order to rebirth again and again into higher versions of ourselves. When unsettled, the mind in Scorpio can go through waves of fear and turmoil while trying to access that which is the deepest, the most vulnerable, and the most sacred within us. With intelligence, the Scorpio Moon can help reveal to us those precious gems within … the innocence and of our hearts and the things and people most meaningful to us.
Lunar Eclipse & Retrograde Saturn & Jupiter
This particular full Moon in Scorpio is likely to bring up some of the fear and turmoil on our journey to the sacred heart, because it coincides with a lunar eclipse. Eclipses often bring extreme stress, illusions (and disillusionment, if we are ready to see through them), and the potential for revelation and change.
Personally my heart feels pretty torn apart these past couple of weeks (the amount of time which is usually the lead-up to the first eclipse of a series). We are seeing as a society (and from what I’ve gathered, a lot on the individual level as well), what is deeply wrong, and the warrior spirit of Scorpio is coming through to fight for the sacred (referring particularly to the protests against systemic racial injustice in the United States ignited by the police killing of George Floyd).
Though Ketu remains in Sagittarius (and Rahu in Gemini), the two are getting ready to make their transit into Scorpio and Taurus, in September, and this is the first eclipse bridging this axis where the nodes will ride for the coming year-and-half. With Ketu eclipsing the Moon in Scorpio today and soon moving there himself, I think that transformation through destruction (both inner and outward) may be a theme that we see over the next two years.
Remember that some of the highest gifts that we can receive from Scorpio are passion (for justice, for example) and devotion (to a higher good). Ketu’s presence adds the ingredient of making us look back at the past, healing ancestral wounds, compelling us to finally change negative patterns that are lingering and ready to evolve or mature. (It also just makes us want to tear sh** down.)
With Saturn and Jupiter both retrograde in Capricorn right now, we are deeply examining the structures and philosophies that guide us. At the onset of this cycle I spoke about how Saturn is asking us to choose new directions instead of holding onto failing systems of power. Systemic racism and state-sponsored racial violence are SUCH a deep part of the United States’ history and very foundation, both structurally and philosophically. It’s bringing tears to my eyes realizing that the introspective power of these retrograde planets may be aiding the collective uprising, helping us to look inward as a society in order to see how deeply these are part of our government and existence, and to stand up and demand a new direction in structure and ideology, if not an entirely new foundation altogether.
As eclipses come in cycles, we have another month to continue to really process the changes that are arising now, as we go through two more eclipses this cycle, on June 21st and July 4th. With the Sun in Ardra on both of those eclipses, it’s likely that some violence and disruption will continue. But the true energy of Ardra is to bring the moisture that allows new positive growth after a storm. Its shakti or divine power is to make gains through great effort, so hopefully we will see more positive outcomes from the protests through this time.
While Venus goes through its retrograde cycle, we have a chance to reexamine our connection with the earth and how we relate to nature and other sensory inputs. Many have been putting a lot of energy towards gardening and spending time in the outdoors. On a personal level, we are taking a look at the people in our lives, taking stock of who is most important to us, as well as realizing those with whom our connections may no longer be as strong as they once were.
The Full Moon today aligns with the Vedic nakshatra of Jyestha, “the seniormost.” This nakshatra has to do with courage, protection, and accomplishment. By the light of this full Moon, I am praying that the courageous protestors are protected and successful. Jyestha is ruled by Indra, the chief of the gods, and also has strong associations with Vishnu, the protector. It is located by the bright star Antares within the constellation Scorpio.
New Moon May 2020
The new moon cycle begins in Taurus on May 22nd at 10:38 AM PDT, in the Vedic nakshatra of Krittika, “the cutter.” Taurus is a feminine earth sign ruled by Venus, and Venus joins the Sun and Moon in Taurus on this dark moon tonight along with Mercury. Both Mars and Jupiter cast their aspects here, while Saturn, Jupiter, and Venus are all in retrograde motion.
A Taurus cycle compels us to get into our physical bodies, focus on things close at hand, and find the simple beauty that comes from nature, foods, and pleasurable activities. Amidst the pandemic, the stars are supportive this month to help us focus on family and the simple pleasures around the home. Fitting with the season, this is a good cycle to work on gardening and to beautify your indoor and outdoor as well as inner landscapes.
On a spiritual level, Taurus helps us to forge ahead (sometimes with a stubborn, “bull-headedness”) in our chosen direction … it can sometimes be hard to change directions, however, so it is important to set some intentions and orient yourself properly on this dark moon night before the cycle begins. Mars’ aspect onto the new Moon adds some firepower to the mix, while Jupiter’s glance adds a breeze of wisdom and grace.
Krittika means “the cutter,” and this star helps us to cut away that which we do not need. It is ruled by Agni, fire personified, which also helps us to cut and burn away the excesses that we may have been carrying. On this new Moon night it’s a great time to cut or clear away anything that is weighing you down or getting in your way. Literally cutting plants, hedges, foods, or hair are good activities we perform that also symbolize some of the inner cutting we must do on our vasanas (negative tendencies) and unnecessary attachments.
This star is symbolized by a razor, axe, or flame. There is also a feminine nurturing quality to this star, as it relates with Lord Kartikeyya who was suckled by six pleiades (this nakshatra is the cluster of seven stars known as the pleiades). This is the birthstar of Mata Amritanandamayi Devi (“Amma”), a great saint who is known for her power to cut through negativities and also nurture endlessly as the divine Mother.
Three Retrograde Planets: Venus, Jupiter and Saturn
Venus, Saturn, and Jupiter are all traveling in apparent retrograde motion at the moment, giving them strength and an inward-oriented power. When Venus is retrograde we have an enhanced ability to reflect upon our relationships. This can include doing some work on your patterns (and creating better ones), as well as re-examining old relationships or reconnecting with people from your past. It also lends us the ability to examine our relationships with sensory pleasures in general, perhaps redefining our relationships with food, drink, or substance, or unearthing some of our creative energy that has been left dormant.
With Jupiter retrograde we must look deeply at the philosophies, creeds, and spiritual beliefs that guide us. It is a good time to reconnect with scripture or teachers, and really examine yourself inwardly for how your belief structures are working and supporting you. It can be a great time to re-commit to spiritual practice, as Jupiter is getting closer to earth and brighter in the sky during the first half of this retrograde cycle (the whole cycle is from May 14th through September 12th).
Under retrograde Saturn we examine our long-term goals, our work and the ways we commit to support ourselves, and the very structures under which we live. You may find this period is an opportunity to restructure or redefine the work you do in the world, or your understanding of what are the most important things that you are working for. Saturn retrograde can also teach us more about self-control and self-discipline, but also the need to let go of external attachments and rely more on our inner strength. Meditation is one of the greatest remedies for Saturn.
Saturn and Covid
Saturn is currently strong in his own sign as well as strong due to his retrograde transit, and, in Capricorn, is a large part of the force that is restructuring the outside world during this Covid crisis. He brings restriction and contraction, and in Capricorn, forces us to examine the structures that support us, particularly as a society. This retrograde transit could bring some relief but it asks us to choose new directions when he begins to move forward again, surrendering more to the greater good, rather than trying to hold onto systems of power that have been failing.
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Full Moon May 2020
The full Moon peaks tonight at 3:45 am PT (early on Thursday, May 7th) in the nakshatra Vishaka near the end of sidereal Libra. This star is known as “the forked” branches which represent our finding ourselves at a crossroads where we must choose from two directions. In sidereal Libra, we are thinking strongly about balance and compromise, amidst an Aries Sun cycle that highlights individuality. In the coming week, we will see three planets head into Retrograde motion.
Libra Full Moon
Libra or Tula is the sign of the scales, representing the need to weigh and balance things to achieve an equilibrium in our lives. It is ruled by Venus, who is currently strong from his sva position, transiting his own sign of Taurus. Venus compels us to lead with the heart’s desires, to find beauty and happiness over all else. This could be a welcomed influence this week as we have been so heavily under the influence of a strong Saturn and Mars for the last several weeks.
The Full Moon in Libra is opposite a strong, exalted Sun in Aries. This position began an Aries cycle for us on April 22nd. The Aries cycle highlights strength and individuality, but with its ruler Mars in conjunction with Saturn (in Capricorn) for the last six weeks, that individuality took on a much more disciplinarian (and literally isolated) tone. There has been a tight grip of discipline over society through this time (since March 22nd), which may be easing up somewhat now that Mars has moved out of Capricorn (May 4th). Saturn will continue to reign there for the next two years, however, which could keep an air of restriction over society through that time.
Vishaka nakshatra bridges the end of Libra and the very beginning of Scorpio. Known as “the forked one” it is often depicted by forked branches, showing the opportunity for growth by choosing one of two directions. Its rulers are Indra and Agni, the chief of the gods and fire personified, showing the great strength that comes once one of those directions is chosen. We can find a strong devotion under this Vishaka full Moon, if we choose to channel our energy towards our higher purpose.
Upcoming Retrogrades: Saturn, Venus, Jupiter
Over the next week three planets will appear to slow down and reverse direction, entering retrograde motion from our perspective here on earth: Saturn on May 10th (through September 28th), Venus on May 12th (through June 24th), and Jupiter on May 14th (through September 12th). Saturn and Jupiter are actually coming closer to the earth as they enter retrograde motion, and will be approaching their brightest in the sky when they are fully opposite the Sun in a couple of months (mid-way through their retrograde cycles). Retrogression actually lends a certain strength to planets because of this proximity and brightness, so it’s not all to be feared!
The qualities of these planets may become even more intense while we will experience their influence in a more inward manner during retrogression. Saturn, for example, has been teaching us about structure and discipline, and making tough decisions in favor of long term goals. This will continue as he goes through this period of retrogression in Capricorn, but we may begin to look more to ourselves for that discipline, rather than simply feeling burdened to it by the outside forces. With Mars moving out of Capricorn and rules loosening, for example, it is now on us to consider deeply what are the best decisions for our futures. Some sacrifices may be needed as Saturn teaches us about endurance, patience, and personal restriction.
With Jupiter brightening and approaching through his retrograde cycle, our ideas and ideals come under personal scrutiny. It can be an opportunity for our faith to brighten, while also giving us a chance to check in with our worldview in general. As the outside world is changing, is there room for our inner convictions to adapt?
Venus’s retrogression from May 12th through June 24th will cause him to remain in his own sign of Taurus for over four months, spanning from March 28th through July 31st. Under retrograde Venus we slow down and take a deep look at our most significant relationships, especially familial relationships as Venus transits the sign of Taurus. It’s often a time when we get a “blast from the past” and check in with or hear from people with whom we have not spoken for a long time. It’s also an important time to take a look at your intake, and how you relate with luxury and material things. Though these things can be favorable with Venus in Taurus, during retrogression you may notice that you have amassed more than you really need.
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Full Moon April 2020 and Covid Crisis
The full Moon will rise as the sun sets on April 7th, reaching its maximum brightness at 7:35 pm PDT. Moonrise varies depending upon your location, but in San Francisco the Moon will rise at 7:28, with the Sun setting at 7:39. This will be a beautiful sight, aligned with sidereal Virgo, which will not be visible until later in the night.
Since I’ve been on mostly on maternity leave since October, I’ve honestly been focusing much more on the little being in front of me than on the planetary positions. I relate with the planets in small, personal ways each day according to the days of the week, and the Moon cycle in general, and I charted the year to see what major movements would be happening. And though I analyze the current planetary positions in relationship to natal charts when I’m doing personal readings, I thus far never got the chance to put together any year-long analysis or predictions.
To be blunt … I honestly didn’t see these current events coming. I wanted to make sure I could at least visit the Covid Crisis in my next newsletter, and with baby life, sheltering-in-place, and an Ayurvedic spring cleanse on my plate a few weeks ago, I decided to skip offering the last new Moon update rather than send it out without taking the time to include this info. So, although I’m sure this situation can withstand much deeper analysis than I can offer during these few hours of sleeping baby (and many more decades of study than I have under my belt), here goes…
Let’s start with Saturn. Saturn takes about 2.5 years to transit each sign, meaning it takes him 30 years to transit around the entire zodiac (this is why “Saturn’s return,” i.e. when he returns to the sign he was in during your birth, happens beginning around 27.5-30 years of age). Saturn is the old wise person of the zodiac, the one who teaches us about the long-term consequences of our actions, and about the hard work and commitment it takes to reach our goals. When he comes around, it feels like he sits on your head, putting the pressure on and bringing an air of stern seriousness. “Time to grow up,” says Saturn.
On January 23rd of this year, he returned to his own sign of Capricorn (sidereal). Earth-sign Capricorn is where he teaches us about responsibility and structure. Where we have not been responsible, or where structures we have created are too weak, he will show us this now that he has come back home to oversee things in these areas. Crumbling infrastructure, therefore, is one possible result of this homecoming.
Capricorn is the natural tenth house, and therefore the tenth house for a chart of the entire world. Tenth house relates to government, commerce, and all the activities going on “out in the world” in the middle of the day. Saturn often brings restriction, and a sense of things drying up, so with his return here, we are seeing immense restriction on all 10th-house matters on a global scale, where we literally cannot go out in the world, and careers and commerce are suffering. The pressure is on governments to step up to the responsibility and create new structures to help us through this time.
Saturn will be transiting through this sign through January, 2023 (minus a couple of months in Aquarius mid-2022). We can expect to see some major restructuring in governments and commerce through this time. It is my hope that we end up with systems and structures that are more sustainable, more responsible for the whole. Capricorn is a feminine earth sign that, like a mother, wants to see all her children supported and sustained.
Also in January of this year, on the 15th, Ketu transited into Mula nakshatra, “the root” star at the beginning of sidereal Sagittarius. (Since Ketu moves backwards, he is counting down the degrees of Sagittarius on his way out and into Scorpio in September). Having been joined with Saturn for much of last year in Sagittarius, the combination stirred the pot in the world stage of ideology, pinning many philosophical groups against one another and causing us to analyze our own beliefs and toss out the parts that do not work. Now that Ketu is in the root of the zodiac (literally aligned with the galactic center), he is asking us to dive even deeper into what we believe in—philosophically, spiritually, politically.
Jupiter is currently the bridge between the two houses of Sagittarius and Capricorn, ruling the former (with Ketu in it), and transiting the latter (with ruler Saturn occupying it). This connects Jupiter, Saturn, and Ketu once again, as the three were joined in Sagittarius during part of the end of the year. Connecting Sagittarius and Capricorn connects the 9th and 10th house matters — the ideology of humanity at large, and the manifestation of it on the world stage (in a personal chart, it connects your higher education with your career, and your personal belief system with your outward actions in the world).
This will contribute what can be seen as a paradigm shift as the outward restructuring happens: ideologies that are old and no longer serving are coming face to face with the structures that can no longer support the world’s population to thrive. It may be my own Jupiterian idealism speaking, but I think we will see the dominant framework of corrupt capitalism usurped by one that cherishes all of humanity and cares for us and the earth herself as well. Now there’s some wonkiness due to Jupiter’s technical debilitation in Capricorn, and I’ll talk more about that a bit later…
Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn
Mars in the mix means the warrior energy is there. Mars is currently transiting Capricorn along with Jupiter and Saturn (from March 22nd through May 4th, all 3 are together here). So here’s the deal: Saturn rules Capricorn, and he’s strong here (teaching lessons outlined above, i.e. fix broken structures). Mars is considered exalted in Capricorn, meaning he’s also strong here. It’s where he’s best able to execute his warrior nature under the rulership of “consider-the-consequences” Saturn. Mars finds discipline in this sign, meaning our fiery energy (or that of mother earth) can be channeled toward a specific long-term goal, rather than just exploding out erratically. It can still feel like a war though. (On a personal level, this is a great month to recommit to sadhana, yoga, exercise, or any other practice that requires focus, endurance, and commitment.)
Jupiter is in fact technically debilitated when he’s traveling through Capricorn… This may be what is contributing to what feels like a lack of hope or faith for many people right now. Jupiter gives us these qualities through his expansive nature, but in restrictive, practical Capricorn, optimism is overshadowed by the harsh qualities of what we must endure the real world. He’s dancing with two strong malefics, while debilitated, which is giving the stern hand of Saturn and the fierce sword of Mars seemingly insurmountable power over our inner sense of grace and cheer.
However, because he’s joining both his ruler, Saturn, and an exalted planet, Mars, Jupiter’s debilitation here is also technically doubly neecha bhangha, or heavily modified. That means there’s a chance for the hope and optimism to be uplifted, or for the philosophy to be progressively modified, allowing the positive qualities of all three planets to harmonize. That means our faith could be gradually restored by the courage and strength of Mars and the maturity and endurance of Saturn. It leads me to believe that the situation will not result in the worst-case scenarios that many of us may be imagining right now.
Venus is also strong right now, traveling through his home sign of Taurus (since March 28th). Mother Nature is actually prospering right now, through the lack of air and vehicle travel that is taking place. The skies and lands and waters are actually cleaner than they have been in decades. We are also seeing a lot of person-to-person cooperation all across the globe. There is a sense of friendliness, of neighborliness, of shared humanity during this time of crisis. Venus is spending quite a few months strong this year, as he will turn retrograde on May 12th and remain in Taurus through July 31st. This is a time for kindness, compromise, and caring for nature. I think there will be some reconsideration of our approach to these things during the retrograde period (May 12th through June 24th), and some powerful signs of progress coming out of the tail end of this transit.
Saturn will turn retrograde in Capricorn on May 10th, Venus will turn retrograde in Taurus on May 12th, and Jupiter will turn retrograde, also in Capricorn, on May 14th. This gives strength to all three, and also brings forward a reflective quality around the things that they rule. The structures, the cooperation, and the philosophies by which we live will be under review and revision on a large scale (again, especially due to the positions of Saturn and Jupiter in the 10th and 9th natural houses). Jupiter returns to his own sign of Sagittarius on June 29th, which should feel like a grace-given sigh of relief. Of course, there are still the eclipses to contend with … June 5th, June 21st, and July 4th (more on these in an upcoming newsletter). Things tend to settle down after an eclipse cycle passes, so let’s say that sigh can be completely let out after July 4th.
Full Moon in Virgo
This week, the Moon is coming full in Virgo, the sign of details and control, opposite the Sun who is transiting through Pisces. The Pisces cycle simultaneously makes us feel alone and distant, while also bringing us closer to our faith in and surrender to a higher power. The full Moon in Virgo reminds us of all of the practical and rational things that we need to do, taking care of life’s details, while we are in a mindset of looking for higher answers. Balance is key. Depending on your nature this can be one of the hardest axes to find balance within, whether you tend towards the Jupiterian or Mercurial side of things. As Mercury is currently debilitated in Pisces, we may find it harder to stay focused right now but the full Moon is an opportunity to do so.
This full Moon is in the Vedic nakshatra of Chitra, “the brilliant.” It aligns with Spica in Virgo, one of the brightest shining stars in the sky. It is the sign of the celestial architect, Vishvakarma, so is also very much about structure, or restructure. There is a beauty here, and a love of art and romance. It bridges Virgo and Libra, so the full Moon here encourages us to move from attempts at strict order toward divine balance.
Today’s full Moon also brings Hanuman Jayanti, a celebration of Lord Hanuman, Lord Ram’s greatest devotee. Now more than ever we need to call on his endless well of faith, devotion, humility, and service. This year staying home is the greatest service many of us can do, so let us do it not reluctantly but as an offering to the world and all of humanity.
I promise to continue my analysis of the situation and the rest of this year’s unfolding as time continues and allows. Again, I may be biased, as we all are based on our natal planets, but as your Jupiter-driven friend, I’d say, keep the faith.
May all beings be happy and at peace. 🙏🏼
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