Sun and Moon join in sidereal Aries and bring a dark Moon night this Friday before their exact conjunction on May 4th at 3:46 pm PDT. At 20° of Aries, this New Moon begins a lunar cycle under Bharani nakshatra, the sign of birth, death, and rebirth. Aries ruler Mars is now joining Rahu, which adds volatility to this cycle. The Sun and Moon are nearly opposite the bright and retrograde Jupiter and Saturn, the latter of whom is having a close conjunction with Ketu now, and for the next several months.
Aries – Bharani Cycle
Aries is the sign where the Sun is exalted, meaning our collective health, energy, and sense of strength and power is well-supported at this time. That’s why the springtime in the north often brings us out of our shells, finding inspiration and ready to begin new projects. Aries has a birthing energy within itself, as it is the “let’s go” first sign of the twelve rashis.
Within sidereal Aries, Bharani nakshatra spans the middle section, associated with three bright hot stars in this constellation. This asterism brings a powerful fire energy, an element capable of creation and transformation. Bharani is symbolised by the yoni, the female reproductive organ, and translates as “the bearer.” There is a strong energy for birthing and creating that comes with a lunar cycle under Bharani.
Its Vedic deity, however, is Lord Yama, the god of death. This reminds us that all that begins must eventually end, and in Vedic thought, is then reborn again in a new form. Bharani is known as the star of restraint, yet perhaps that is a lesson that we must strive to learn here, as it can be a very sexual and passionate star-sign. Saturn is debilitated here, showing that discipline and patience do not necessarily come easily.
Mars & Rahu
Mars will transit into sidereal Gemini two days after the New Moon, on May 6th, and join him for about six weeks. These two planets together can create a lot of power, and perhaps violence. Mars has a strong warrior energy, which can be very disciplined with a healthy Mars, while Rahu has the aggressive and forceful energy of an army but without the discipline, or even self-awareness. If you are challenged by Mars in general, are hot-headed, or impulsive, be very aware that these qualities can be heightened during this conjunction.
Mars and Rahu will be joining from now through June 22nd. The volatility may be mitigated, however, after June 1st, when Mercury also joins them in Gemini. Being joined by a dispositor or ruler-of-the-sign can help to stabilize planets and assuage some of the malefic affects.
Jupiter is now in apparent retrograde motion and has transited back into Scorpio from his short jaunt in Sagittarius. On May 6th, he’ll move just past 29°12’ of Scorpio, leaving the heart of the gandanta area (the karmic knot), which may have had us feeling stuck in the Jupiter-ruled areas of your life. Jupiter retrograde is actually an incredibly bright and strong force. Now nearly opposite the Sun (and coming closer to exact opposition each day), he is getting brighter every night, and that auspicious glow can offer luck and prosperity.
There is one particular day of the year that is revered as a day of abundance, auspicious for making investments and starting new ventures. This day is Akshaya Tritiya, is the “third” day of the lunar cycle begun in Aries (it will span from May 6th-7th this year, PDT). It is known as the day of “never diminishing,” hence auspicious for beginning or cultivating that which you would like to grow. People often buy gold or silver, even homes or vehicles, or launch new ventures at this time.
Akshaya Tritiya is auspicious because it is the one lunar phase all year where both the Moon and the Sun are exalted. The Sun is exalted in Aries, while the Moon is exalted in Taurus, Venus’ fertile earth sign. While the body and the active energy principle within can shine with creative strength, the Moon and the feminine principle can rest and be fulfilled.
Retrograde Saturn & Ketu
Saturn stationed and began his retrograde journey on April 29th, just after coming within one degree of the always-retrograde Ketu. The two are now moving together at a snail’s pace, and will remain joined from now through October 1st. They will have exact conjunctions on May 20th, and then again on June 23rd. This conjunction may be taking a toll on the area of your life indicated by sidereal Sagittarius, or at least causing a lot of stress and worry there. Saturn pressures us to think about the big picture, especially our responsibilities, while Ketu compels us to let go of a lot we have held close. Melding these two impetuses will require a determined, and discerning, spiritual focus.
Venus remains exalted in Pisces for a few more days, until he transits into Aries on May 10th. As Bharani’s planetary ruler, this enhances the feminine creative energy we find as we begin this new Moon cycle.
To see how these transits affect your chart specifically, join me for a personal chart analysis based on your birth time and place.
The coming Full Moon is Monday night, waxing into complete fullness in sidereal Leo on Tuesday morning, February 19th at 7:54 am PST. This full Moon is in the Vedic sign of Magha, “the mighty,” and highlights our sovereignty and individual power, as well as how we use this to serve others (opposite the Sun in Aquarius). With Venus and Saturn at war, however, and Mars strong in his own sign, there may be some friction with others as we attempt to balance personal strength with inter-personal relationships.
Leo is the sign ruled by the Sun, the effective “king” of the zodiac, making Leo a place of authority, power, and inevitably, a sense of hierarchy that is related to leadership/rulership. With the Moon fully illuminated here, our minds and hearts come in touch with our inner power. The Sun is in fact the inner power in all of us, literally fueling life in this solar system, emanating the light and heat necessary for life as we know it.
When we are in touch with this inner light, it elevates us into a position where we are able to take action, shine brightly, and step into our own power. In the best circumstances, we do not hoard this light or power for ourselves, however, but this transforms us into leaders who are able to help take care of others with their abundant light. An example of this is when we see parents, CEOs, and governmental figures using their energy and authority to take care of many many people outside themselves. (This is the higher or proper functioning of the Sun’s light in Leo; when we hoard the Sun’s power for personal gain, it eventually burns us up, as we have seen throughout history.)
To the extent that we do sit in the bright rays of the Sun, absorbing his power rather than sharing it, the healthiest way to use this energy is for self-purification. The Sun is a sattvic planet and his fire is a tool to purify us, to help us elevate into our highest selves. As we bask in the glow of the full Moon in Leo, we will thrive if we can use this energy for both self-purification and outward giving.
The full Moon in Leo is opposite an Aquarius Sun. Aquarius is a sign that relates very much to service of the whole, and often, renunciation of individual power. But with the Sun and Moon in opposite axes here, we can come into contact with more of a balance between the two.
Magha, “the mighty,” is the Vedic nakshatra that spans the first 13 degrees of sidereal Leo, but associated most with the star Regulus. This bright star within Leo constellation emits a regal glow, and elicits feelings of royalty, power, and nobility. Its symbol is the royal throne, and its spirit animal is the male rat.
Magha is ruled by the Pitris, the ancestor deities. With the Moon here, it is a great time to connect with your ancestral traditions, to honor your lineage or teachers, and to tap into your genetic wisdom.
Saturn and Venus will be in planetary war (within one degree of each other in sidereal Sagittarius), on the 17th and 18th, leading up to this Full Moon. In this event, both planets are challenged and weakened, and we may find trouble in various areas of life, including relationships, work, happiness, and patience. Whichever four areas of life these planets rule for you may be under stress this weekend.
After passing Saturn and continuing towards the end of Sagittarius, Venus will face another tough conjunction in a few days as he transits into Capricorn, conjoining Ketu simultaneously. The Venus-Ketu exact conjunction will be on February 24th, at 0° sidereal Capricorn. This could definitely raise some of the shadows in our relationships, as Ketu tends to do. He is also known to increase dissatisfaction, criticism, and aversion, so if you are feeling this way about your partner (or your enjoyment of life in general) around this time, look for what underlying lessons are coming through, but don’t renounce everything in a moment of overreaction to the stress.
Nodal transits and conjunctions can be tough, and they give us the chance to see where we need to do work in our lives. It is best to glean lessons and insight from what is coming through, once you feel clarity around it, but it is advisable not to make hasty decisions out of stress during these transits.
Mercury also transits into Pisces, his sign of debilitation, on February 24th, and will be weak at 0°. With Mercury in Pisces, our analytical thinking tends to get more “colorful” and hopeful. This can be enjoyable and foster creativity, especially if you’re normally more left-brained, but be aware that you may not be as on-the-ball with the details as you usually are. He then stations and goes into retrograde motion on March 5th, the day before the next new Moon on March the 6th.
Mars is sva (in his own sign) in Aries until March 22nd. This can be a good time to get disciplined, and especially to consider picking up a little more exercise and activity as we come out of the winter season. For those with an afflicted or difficult Mars, however, this can lead to more anger and aggression. Be sure to stick with cooling activities if you feel your frustration building and boiling.
If you missed it, be sure to catch the replay of the 2019 Jyotish Transit Summit. We discuss all the major planetary movements and what to expect from them this year. Personal readings are available to look deeper into how this year’s transits will affect your personal astrology.
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.