Full Moon March 2021
The full Moon is in sidereal Virgo this Saturday night, coming in full opposition to the Sun at 2:48 pm ET on Sunday, March 28th. This full Moon is in the Vedic nakshatra of Hasta, “the hand,” signaling our opportunity to be more hands-on in crafting our own reality. The Sun joins an exalted Venus in Pisces, who is currently combust due to the close proximity of the two. Mars and Rahu are also in close conjunction, raising volatility in the world during this full Moon. Jupiter will soon transit into Aquarius, leaving his debilitated transit with Saturn.
Virgo Full Moon
The Sun is currently transiting Pisces, Jupiter’s water-sign that drives us to connect with our inner strength through deep emotional exploration, seeking a purpose greater than ourselves to which we can fully surrender. With Venus also in Pisces (exalted here), our hearts are yearning for this purpose and higher power. For some people, this alignment could stimulate a desire to escape the mundane world. There is the option to do this through intelligent means like spiritual practice and inward-looking journeys, or the potential to choose over-indulgence in escapist drugs, alcohol, or bed-pleasures. Some structured journey-work that integrates the two might be an opportunity this lunar cycle.
During the Virgo full-Moon, the Moon and our minds are illuminated with the energy of the sign that is opposite to Pisces’ deep-diving other-worldliness. In Virgo, we practice managing life’s details and being hands-on through our own efforts. Ruled by Mercury, the planet of the intellect, Virgo is an earth-sign where we figure out how to organize our lives sensibly, very much relying on the material plane to do so.
Within Virgo, the Moon is full in the Vedic nakshatra of Hasta, “the hand.” Under this star we find our inner artisan, our craftiness, our skills at manipulating the world around us, both literally and figuratively. As we approach the coming Moon cycle, during which Sun will enter exaltation in Aries, and our impetus towards action and initiative will come alive brightly, we can try our hands at creating something we wish to manifest under the light of the Hasta full Moon. Hasta is ruled by the solar deity Savitri, and is also one of the Moon’s nakshatras, whose animal symbol is the powerful female buffalo.
Venus, Exalted and Combust
Venus is exalted in the sign of Pisces because Pisces gives us the opportunity to align our desires, relationships, and pleasure-seeking (Venus) with something that aligns with our values and principles (Jupiter, Pisces’ ruler) and is bigger than or beyond our normal, waking, mundane lives (Pisces). Through this month of Venus’s Pisces transit, try to take the opportunity to re-align your romantic and pleasurable pursuits with that which gives you the most meaning, be it your spiritual or philosophical values or a sense of higher power in general.
During Venus’ combustion, however, the Sun is so close to Venus that we cannot see its light at all, and some of the pleasure of life may feel like it is being “burnt up” before it reaches us. Unfortunately, Venus is spending his entire time in Pisces combust this year. Venus has been highly combust (within 3 degrees of the Sun) since March 14th. He remains highly combust during his whole exalted stint in Pisces (March 16th – April 9th), save for the last few hours when he is still quite combust within 4 degrees of the Sun. This is good time to dig deep for the more austere pleasures of life… connecting with the divine energy that is still present even when worldly pleasure may not be.
Mars and Rahu
There has been an uptick in violence the past week as Mars and Rahu came closer and closer together. Their exact conjunction will be on the early morning of March 28th, the night of the full Moon, which could bring even more acts of terror or chaos. In Rohini nakshatra, a sign of commerce, this could have an impact on the stock market and might trigger some extreme volatility there, as well.
Jupiter will transit from sidereal Capricorn into Pisces on April 5th, finally parting ways with Saturn after spending most of the year conjunct and under his debilitating rule in Capricorn. This transit could allow for more opportunity and inspiration in your life, especially in the areas ruled by Jupiter in your personal natal chart. It signals a progressive time for philosophies across society in general, and we can expect to see more progressive and less restrictive movements gaining traction across the world.
Jupiter will enter retrogression in June, putting him back in Capricorn in September for a while before he finally re-enters Aquarius again in November.
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New Moon and Maha Shivaratri, March 2021
The Sun and Moon join near the end of sidereal Aquarius on the dark night of March 12th, with an exact alignment under the New Moon at 5:21 am ET on Saturday, March 13th. Mercury and Venus also join the Moon and Sun in Aquarius, while Saturn (with Jupiter in sidereal Capricorn) once again rules over 6 grahas at the time of the New Moon. Mars and Rahu continue their conjunction in sidereal Taurus, opposite Ketu in Sagittarius, forming a Kala Sarpa Yoga in the sky. Thursday night, the fourteenth night of the waning Moon, marks the Maha Shivaratri celebration this month. Sun and Moon begin this cycle in the Vedic nakshatra Purva Bhadrapada, an auspicious sign for spiritual advancement.
With the new lunar cycle beginning in Aquarius, the coming month may have a quirky and forward-thinking tone, and we may see some scientific advances this month. The Mars Rover landing actually occurred just days after the Sun had entered its Aquarius cycle. Aquarius is in fact very much about service to the greater good. With Saturn strong in his own sign, we could see many significant advances in social support structures right now.
Aquarius is known as Kumbha in Sanskrit, a word for “pitcher” or “vessel.” According to the Vedic texts, the sign Kumbha can be imagined as a man holding a pot, with deep-brown skin, standing in the water. We can see this Aquarian imagery in the sadhus of India (and its biggest ritual pilgrimage day, the Kumbha Mela), who make their lives an offering of service to society through their prayers and Saturnian austerities, while renouncing the individual self. In the Aquarius cycle, we think about how we can serve the whole.
Thursday night, March 11th in North America, the night prior to the Dark Moon night, is the fourteenth waning phase of the lunar cycle. During this month this night is celebrated as Maha Shivaratri. This is 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, as we recall two stories of great sacrifices that he made protect the entire creation.
One of these is the story of the gods and demons churning of the milk ocean 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, as a great and noble sacrifice. His wife, Parvati, however, held his throat so that he could not ingest it, thus saving him from being harmed by the poison.
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 foretold 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 to produce this heir. Shiva was not easily swayed, however, and it was only after Parvati became an ascetic and underwent great penance that he agreed to marry. They eventually produced their son Kartikkeya, who went on to slay the demon.
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 the 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.
Kala Sarpa Yoga
This year’s Kala Sarpa yoga cycles continue, as Rahu and Ketu appear to cut the sky in half with all planets to one side of the nodal axis. Kala Sarpa can be translated as “black snake” or the “serpent of time,” and intensifies subtle forces on all levels, including inner challenges as well as strengths and yogic combinations in a chart. Mars joins Rahu in Taurus, and tho he will transit out of Taurus and into Gemini in one month, technically breaking the cycle, the intensity brought on by the alignment can sometimes continue when only one planet has crossed to the other side of the sky.
The former “lucky-footed one” is the Vedic nakshatra (star-sign) where Sun and Moon begin this lunar cycle. This nakshatra bridges Aquarius and Pisces and is often represented by a funeral cot, symbolizing the transition from life into death, or ultimate liberation. It is ruled by Aja Epakada, the one-footed goat who is often associated with the image of Lord Shiva as Nataraj dancing on one foot, a fitting image for Maha Shivaratri.
Om Namah Shivaya!
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Full Moon February 2021
The Moon waxes towards fullness this Friday night for a Full Moon in sidereal Leo Saturday morning at 3:17 am ET. Opposite the Sun and Venus in sidereal Aquarius, the Moon is illuminated in Purva Phalguni nakshatra, “the former reddish one,” near Regulus, one of the brightest stars in the night sky. With Mercury now direct, all planets are moving forward for the time being.
Leo Full Moon
As the Sun transits sidereal Aquarius, we find our power center connected to ideas of service, community, and the greater good. The Vedic symbol for Aquarius is someone pouring a pitcher of water. We often think of this as the ascetic pouring holy water to bless the earth. But we cannot pour and share with the world unless we have found a way to fill our own cup. Aquarius’ opposite, Leo, is a place where we embrace our individual power, and purify our own heart so that it can radiate outward to everyone around us.
If you’ve been spending a lot of time in service, community, or contemplation of your contributions to the world, this full Moon can help you reflect a bit more on your personal kingdom. Is it in order? Is your cup full? Are you feeling radiant? The Leo full Moon is a time to celebrate your inner radiance, as the Sun reflects through all of us as the life-giving source.
The middle of Leo comprises Purva Phalguni nakshatra, ruled by Bhagha, the god of delight. It is controlled by Venus and is a star that relates with luxury, decadence, and sexual passion. Symbolized by the front legs of a bed, or a hammock, this star elicits relaxation and other bed pleasures. If you have been burning inside in order to fulfill your duties or please others, take a break! This full Moon is a time to have fun, relax, and enjoy life a bit.
Saturn, Jupiter and Mercury
Lightening up during this time is perhaps easier said than done while Saturn still commands rule over much of the celestial energy. He remains strong in his own sign of Capricorn, bringing us down to earth and reminding us of our responsibilities and need for structure. Jupiter and Mercury join him there, coloring our analytical as well as philosophical sides with a rather austere palette. He rules over the Sun, and Venus, both in Aquarius.
Saturn, Jupiter and Mercury all remain in Shravana nakshatra, a star of listening. Despite the outward nature of the full Moon it is still a good time to listen to the inner voices that are trying to teach us something.
Mars and Rahu
Mars joins Rahu now in sidereal Taurus, a combination that can create volatile passions and flare-ups of all kinds. Mars aspects the full Moon (and thus Rahu’s energy gets caught up as well), which could light a fire in our hearts or minds this weekend. This could add to the romantic passions but also let some hot-headedness get the best of us if we aren’t careful.
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New Moon February 2021
Today the Sun and Moon join at the very end of sidereal Capricorn for a New Moon at 2:06 pm EST. By tomorrow both Sun and Moon will move into sidereal Aquarius, where the Sun will transit for most of this cycle. Both signs are ruled by Saturn, who is joining Sun and Moon in Capricorn as we begin this cycle. Jupiter, Venus, and retrograde Mercury are also there, bringing us a heavy dose of Capricorn energy in a very weighted chart, with all these planets between the two nodes who create a Kaala Sarpa yoga.
New Moon in Capricorn
Saturn has been in his own sign of Capricorn since January of 2020. This earth-sign is about being responsible, focusing on structure, family, and commitments. With Saturn here for the last year he has been strong in his own sign, putting the pressure on us to work hard for what is most important, and spend less time on the frivolous. Saturn pressures us to be mature but his heavy influence can feel like a restrictive weight. As we begin another cycle under strong Saturn’s influence, we may feel like life is a bit serious and difficult right now.
Planetary Pileup: Dhanishtha and Sravana Nakshatras
At the moment of this new Moon we have 6 of the 9 grahas in sidereal Capricorn, with Sun and Moon in Dhanishtha nakshatra and Saturn, Jupiter, Venus, and retrograde Mercury all in Sravana nakshatra.
Dhanishtha is the star of wealth (dhana), and thus it does give us the opportunity to start this month with a mindset of prosperity. It is symbolized by the musical drum, showing that we must keep a steady beat, finding the rhythm that is right for us, in order to succeed. Symbolized by the female lion, we can be brave and fierce while also meeting the basic responsibilities of providing for our families. The deities who rule Dhanishtha are the eight Vasus, the elemental deities. This can be a good time to connect with these principles through the study of Ayurveda, especially examining how the elements are at play within each of us.
With four planets in Sravana nakshatra, the universe is asking us to “Listen!” The star of hearing, and symbolized by an ear, Sravana is where we can listen deeply to the lessons that are being taught by the cosmos. As with any New Moon, this is an opportune time of month to be more inward, tuning into the voice of the heart instead of the chatter of the mind and the external world. Lord Vishnu, the preserver of the universe, presides here, further encouraging us to maintain that which is around us as we seek inner wisdom.
With so many planets in both of these nakshatras this lunar cycle could be a good time to begin projects that require long-term commitment and hard work. Take note, however, of the planetary war going on between Jupiter and Venus…
Jupiter and Venus war when they come within 1 degree of each other in the sky, which they will be until 9:31 am EST on February 12th. Neither planet is incredibly strong and luminous already because of their proximity to the Sun — they rise and set during the daylight hours so are not currently visible. Jupiter is debilitated in Capricorn (though neecha bhangha, somewhat helped due to ruler Saturn’s presence there). Therefore beginning any ventures ruled by these two would be less than ideal during the planetary war, and best to wait until after that time has passed. That would include ventures in the arts, music, love, children, education, learning or teaching.
Venus and Mercury will engage in planetary war from February 12th through 13th, and then Mercury will war with Jupiter from the 13th through 15th. After Mercury stations and ends his retrograde journey on the 20th, he will pass by Jupiter again for another war from March 2nd through the 6th.
With all planets clustered together right now (except for lone Mars, who transits his own sign of Aries), the nodes Rahu and Ketu cut the chart sharply in half with no planets on the other side of their axis. This creates the somewhat dreaded Kaala Sarpa yoga — the “black snake” or “serpent of time.” This adds a weight to the chart that compels all of us to dive deeper into sadhana in order to work with the energies at hand. A lot of what is going on may be subconscious or karmic, and requires looking at the aspects of our lives that are difficult to see or understand. The kaala sarpa energy will pervade until Mars enters Gemini on April 14th.
Full Moon January 2021
The full Moon peaks in sidereal Cancer at 2:16 pm EST on January 28th, opposite the Sun, Saturn, Jupiter, and Venus, all in sidereal Capricorn. This bright Moon illuminates the sign of the heart and the mother, while standing alone in the sky and receiving the aspects of three malefics (Sun, Saturn and Mars), as well as Jupiter and Venus. This alignment challenges us to let the heart shine with pure, unconditional love, while under the influences of stern authoritarianism, the fires of purification and courage, the conditional love of Venus, and the weakened inspiration of Jupiter. This quest is emphasized by Moon’s position in the Vedic nakshatra of Pushya, the nourisher. Read on for more explanation!
Full Moon in Cancer
The Sun traverses Capricorn this cycle, an earth sign ruled by Saturn that brings us into our power by instilling a sense of responsibility, hard work, and structure. It can feel like a lot of pressure sometimes, especially with Saturn transiting there as well, adding a strong, somber tone of maturity to our mental dialogue while he is here (all of last year and this). The opposite, Cancer, is where we find comfort, ease and an open heart, as if nuzzling into the arms of the mother. It is this sensation that is illuminated with the full Moon in Cancer, but, there is a lot of pressure coming from the other influencing planets that may make it feel difficult to stretch open those arms and receive the purity of heart that Cancer has to offer, at least without dismantling some of the entanglements that surround.
In Cancer, this full Moon stands alone, without any planets nearby. Though it is in its own home sign here and gains strength from that, there is a certain loneliness when Moon does not have any planets nearby. Furthermore, the Moon receives direct aspects from Jupiter (combust and debilitated, though neecha bangha), Saturn (sva, in his own sign), Sun, Venus, and Mars (also sva in his own sign of Aries).
The aspect from Mars in Aries can add fire, courage, and a sense of fight to our minds and hearts, that would prefer to be gentle with Moon in watery Cancer. The influence of Sun in direct aspect is what makes the Moon full, in fact, but is still a malefic that challenges us to purify ourselves, often through fire and heat, in order to reveal our pure essence and inner strength. Saturn’s direct aspect is strong because he is in his own sign… a position which has been wreaking havoc on the world through restriction and contraction over the last year. Saturn’s influence on the Moon limits the heart from expanding to its fullest, adding a weight of heaviness, a even a looming sense of doom, keeping us tethered to outward pressures and responsibilities when we wish to go inward, expanding into our inner sanctuary instead.
Jupiter’s presence and aspect does give some inspiration and hope, but even this is dampened by his debilitated position in Capricorn (though somewhat modified and elevated by the presence of Saturn… keeping us grounded to a healthy degree in our inspiration), and by his highly combust position only a fraction of a degree from the Sun (behind the Sun, from our perspective here on earth). That increases the Sun’s power of purification and asks us to burn away what does not serve in helping the heart achieve full openness and connection with the inner sanctity.
Venus’s aspect onto the Moon also influences the heart and mind slightly away from Cancer’s optimal goal of unconditional love, and brings in preferences, pleasures, and the sense of “deserving” something from those we love. Since the outside world often falters in fulfilling our sense of entitlement, Venus aspecting the Moon in Cancer can cloud that unconditional heart with a set of expectations that will create some guarding.
The Moon’s position in Pushya nakshatra continues this theme, asking us to examine unconditional parental love and seeking to find it despite difficult circumstances. Pushya literally means “the nourisher,” and is represented by the nourishing udder of a cow that offers so much sustenance.
It is ruled by the deity Brihaspati (Jupiter), and relates with the story of him adopting Budha (Mercury), the love-child born of Jupiter’s wife Tara and Chandra (the Moon). Despite circumstances, the sattvic Brihaspati loved the child as his own, setting an example of divine parentage without conditions. We must remember, however, that the human relationships of our limited selves, opening the heart without conditions can often result in feelings of disparate give and take—feeling one has been taken advantage of, had boundaries violated, or abuses of kindness and openness.
Our work on this full Moon is to dive as deeply into the heart as we can, and opening it within a safe place. We must strive to connect with the energy of the Divine Mother while examining all aspects of complication that surround our relationship with her (or with our own personal mothers, or fathers).
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