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.
Personal readings are available Here to help you navigate this time.
New Moon Solar Eclipse June 2020
This week’s New Moon coincides with an annular solar eclipse, the second in a set of three eclipses we are experiencing this summer, as well as the summer solstice. Tensions have been running hot under the pressure of the nodes, the eclipses, and the position of the planets. The exact New Moon time will be at 11:40 pm PDT on Saturday, June 20th, with the maximum eclipse occurring one minute later. This new Moon and eclipse align with sidereal Gemini, in the nakshatra called Mrigashira, and are accompanied by four retrograde planets.
Mrigashira is translated as “the dear’s head” or “benevolent,” and brings forward the gentle energy of the deer. Generally this could bring some relief, during turbulent times, but the fact that the Sun will be eclipsed here could cause us to feel cut off from our inner power and knowing. Mrigashira has been depicted as a deer at the edge of a burning forest (in The Book of Nakshatras, Trivedi), and if startled or confused may accidentally run towards the fire. This is something to be aware of during the eclipse period, which often causes anxiety and confusion. When I refer to the eclipse period I am counting the couple of weeks leading up to the first eclipse of the cycle (June 5th) through the final eclipse of the cycle on July 4th.
The deer and Mrigashira are known for searching and wandering, so if we are using the intelligence of this nakshatra and eclipse, it is possible to distill some answers and discern the proper direction to choose if we have been wandering. Gemini’s ruler, Mercury, is sva in his own sign and joining the Sun, Moon and Rahu during this eclipse, as well as retrograde, adding great intellectual strength and ability to sort out details during this time (if we are not overcome by Rahu’s shadow energy). Spiritual practice and meditation are the remedies we must utilize during this time, to find clarity and groundedness amidst the overwhelming shadows and turbulence that can be brought by the nodes.
This New Moon will initiate a new lunar cycle in sidereal Gemini, compelling us to examine both sides of a situation, be come more flexible and light, and discern whether we need to stay still or change directions. Gemini is a bipedal (two-footed) air sign, offering a lot of mobility to us during this cycle. It is a masculine sign (directing energy outwards) ruled by Mercury, offering us the chance to speak out and let our words go forth into the world. With Mercury retrograde at the same time, we can slow down and deeply consider the way we speak. This is a supportive alignment for us to continue conversations on race and justice, reframing our language with consideration and self-reflection to aide in progress.
Four Retrograde Planets
Four planets — Saturn, Jupiter, Venus, and Mercury — continue to travel in retrograde motion during this time, with Saturn, Venus and Mercury gaining double strengths by being in their own signs (sidereal Capricorn, Taurus, and Gemini respectively). This offers us the chance to harness intelligence from these planets as we do the inner work around their themes: responsibility and commitment, as well as society’s structures (Saturn), relationships, nature, boundaries, and compromise (Venus), and discrimination, equality and communication (Mercury).
As Jupiter is traveling in retrograde motion he will soon leave his debilitation in Capricorn and re-enter his own sign of Sagittarius, on June 29th. Joining Ketu, this will again offer us the opportunity to dive deeply into our ideas and philosophies, especially around justice, politics, and how we act on our beliefs. Dismantling these themes and their faulty paths through history will continue to be a theme, further uplifting a movement for change in support of #BlackLivesMatter and social justice in general.
The summer solstice is Saturday, June 20th as well, and marks the turning point in the Sun’s solar cycle this year. The Sun will be at his northernmost course, offering the longest days in the northern hemisphere and the shortest in the southern, and will appear to keep the same path in the sky for a few days before beginning to creep towards the southern sky again. The light is bright, and the opportunity to connect with our highest self and highest ideals is strong. The leadership and courage within is available… BUT, heed the eclipses! Make sure you are acting from a point of groundedness, clarity, and benevolence, not power-crazy arrogance, as the Sun is at this point in his cycle. The Sun’s powerful rays are able to help us to burn off our own impurities and negative tendencies if we use his light to look at ourselves and what needs to change, rather than focusing on what is wrong outside of us or in others.
Personal readings are available Here to help you navigate this time.
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.
Personal readings are available here.
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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