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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The Moon is waning towards total darkness and will reach exact conjunction with the Sun for the “New Moon” moment on Saturday, January 5th, 2019, at 5:28 pm PST. The Sun and Moon will join at 21° sidereal Sagittarius, aligned closely with the center of the Milky Way galaxy, in Purva Ashada nakshatra. The Sun and Moon will be in close enough proximity with Ketu (at 3° sidereal Capricorn), to bring about the first eclipse of the year. The partial solar eclipse will occur over eastern Asia and the Pacific, reaching its maximum at 5:41 pm PST, and visible from eastern China, Mongolia, and Russia, as well as Japan, the Korean peninsula, and southwestern Alaska.
This new Moon solar eclipse will occur in sidereal Sagittarius, setting the tone for the coming month with a Sagittarian mood. Sagittarius is an active fire sign ruled by Jupiter, the planet of principles and beliefs. This new Moon will bring forward a healthy dose of principles and opinions, but with the Sun partially blocked by the Moon’s shadow, we may feel overly emotional about these and at the same time, lacking the power to do anything. (You can also relate that sentiment with the area of life mentioned in the Forecast section below). Within Purva Ashada nakshatra, however, we may find more courage from within than seems readily at hand.
This nakshatra spans from 13°20′ to 26°40’ of sidereal Sagittarius, and means the former “invincible” or “unconquered.” It is ruled by Apah (or Apas), the water goddess. Its animal symbol is the male monkey, which brings a playful energy here. Its planetary ruler is Venus and thus also has associations with goddess Lakshmi. The three stars that make up this nakshatra in the night sky take the shape of a fan, and the fan is another symbol for this asterism.
Under its invincible nature, the Purva Ashada new moon is a powerful time to find our courage, despite the feelings of limitation that can be brought on by a solar eclipse. Through the symbol of the fan, we can see one who is adorned in luxury, or one who may hide behind a fan in humility or mystery, but there is a great power that can be hiding there, especially feminine power. The fan can be used to sustain us under pressure, bringing a cooling breeze that feels like the grace of god when the world gets too hot. Though our power may feel hidden, it is there to be tapped into with focus and dedication.
Saturn and Mercury
Saturn and Mercury both join this new Moon in Sagittarius. Saturn is going to have an even stronger role in our lives than usual in 2019, as he will be joining Ketu in close conjunction, within one degree, for over five months. Saturn in Sagittarius can help us to have not only the courage to do what we believe is right, but the stamina and dedication to get it done. Though we may feel a bit muddled by the eclipse (and the current combust nature of Saturn, so close to the Sun), Saturn’s determination will reveal himself more as the month goes on.
There will be a planetary war, however, between Saturn and Mercury, on the 12th and 13th of this month, when the two come within one degree of each other. When two planets are at war, contending for our attention in the same part of the sky, both will suffer, and the things they represent. With Mercury at war, our intellects will not feel as sharp, and it may be hard to pay attention to details or communicate clearly on these days. With Saturn at war, keeping our eye on long-term goals may be hard, and we may feel temporarily deflated and struggle at work. The four areas in your chart ruled by Saturn and Mercury may also suffer, or feel at odds with each other, during this time.
The Solar Eclipse
Though the eclipse may not be visible where you are, its effects are still tangible, and things are probably already gearing up with intensity in the area of your life indicated by Sagittarius. Though Rahu and Ketu are still in Cancer and Capricorn (since August of 2017), they are coming very close to transiting into Sagittarius and Gemini (which will happen in March), and this eclipse is giving us a taste of what is to come during the next nodal transit and the eclipses to occur in 2019 and 2020.
Here are a few of the areas where challenges may be occurring due to this eclipse (and where you need to do the work), based on your Vedic rising sign (there can also be others, when examined specifically, or in a personal natal chart analysis):
Aries — education, faith, foreign travels
Taurus — sudden changes, upheaval, secrets coming to light
Gemini — partnerships, love, business relationships
Cancer — health issues, disputes, litigation, pets
Leo — children, wisdom, authority
Virgo — the heart, the mind, home, mother
Libra — siblings, will, skills
Scorpio — the family, wealth, the mouth
Sagittarius — self-identity, place in the world
Capricorn — loss, loneliness
Aquarius — community, friends, income
Pisces — career, social status
Please join me and my fellow astrologers on January 25th for the 2019 Jyotish Transit Summit Webinar. The webinar is free, and you can register through this link.
The Moon is waning towards total darkness as he approaches the Sun in late sidereal Libra. The dark Moon night of November 6th will precede the “new Moon” moment at 9:02 am PST on Wednesday, November 7th, when Sun and Moon align exactly in late Libra, in Vishakha nakshatra. This will begin a lunar cycle in the mood of Libra, and also bring in Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights. With Venus already powerful in the sky right now, this lunar cycle will cause us to focus even deeper on relationships, harmony, and happiness in our lives, and examine closely how we seek to fulfill our desires and find love on the human plane.
Libra is called Tula in Sanskrit meaning “scale” and is depicted as such in both eastern and western astrology. The natural seventh sign, opposite Aries, Libra is where we recognize our reflections, seeing the other who is opposite to us, and learning how to travel through life balancing our individual instincts with our need to create harmonize with those around us, often people with opposite will or nature.
Venus is the ruler of Libra, and Venus governs the human nature within us that seeks pleasure and happiness. While Mars gives us an instinct to assert ourselves strongly and survive, Venus brings in awareness of our pleasure centers and what is sensually pleasing in our field or bodies. A large part of the happiness we seek comes in the form of other people, coinciding with Libra’s “seventh sign” placement.
The problem with other people, however, is that they don’t always want exactly what we want. If it is a loved one, family member, or someone with whom we need to deal on a regular basis, we begin to notice that if we meet our individual desires completely at the expense of their happiness, we won’t actually be happy in the end. We need to learn how to compromise some so that both parties will be happy enough with a situation (and this is easier said than done). The flip-side is when we over-compromise, putting another’s desires entirely before our own, and ending up just as miserable as if we had completely ignored theirs.
During this Libra cycle, Libra’s lord, Venus, is joining the Sun and Moon from the onset. He is strong as he travels through his own sign (sva), and even stronger due to his retrograde position (albeit only visible for a short time in the morning currently, since he is traveling so closely to the Sun). This position will give us extra support as we try to navigate the waters of compromise, and insight to be able to reflect back on what we are doing to try to attain happiness. It will help us to see what isn’t working, and gives us the opportunity to try to forge a new path moving forward.
It’s important to look at our own part in conflict and disharmony, and adopt a new attitude or method towards finding happiness and harmony. Venus comes to a halt and turns direct on the 15th, so be sure to take notice of all the insights being offered now and make your plan for how you will move forward.
The Sun and Moon are coming together at 21° sidereal Libra for this New Moon, which aligns with the Vedic star-sign known as Vishakha, “the forked branches.” This star is sometimes represented by a set of forked branches, but often as a triumphal archway, indicating that success is possible after doing the difficult work of deciding between two paths. This is even often interpreted as a marriage archway. This star is ruled by the deities Indra and Agni, the chief of the gods and the fire deity, respectively, and can give us quite a bit of power and determination. Under Jupiter’s influence, this nakshatra can be helpful in learning to overcome conflicts and refining our method of compromise and success. Be aware, however, there can be some self-righteousness here due to Jupiter’s and Indra’s influences.
The Sun is considered neecha or naturally debilitated as he travels through Libra. Since the Sun relates to our sense of strength and vitality, and Libra is the sign of compromising (or over-compromising) with others, it is natural that our individual power can sometimes feel lessened while we elevate the level of energy and attention we give to those around us. Caring for others doesn’t necessarily translate to depleted health, but it can when we overemphasize the outer world and others to the point of neglecting our own self-care. This is a very important time of year to nourish ourselves, and our inner light, as the outer light is descending. Venus’ coincidence in Libra can help us to navigate this balancing act.
Hindu culture recognizes this descending light outside, and it is on this New Moon (in the Hindu month of Ashwin) that we celebrate Diwali, the festival of lights. It is a time to invite more light into our lives, our hearts, and our world. This festival celebrates the symbolic victory of light over darkness. At this time we commemorate Lord Ram’s and Sita’s return from exile after fourteen years (story from the Ramayana). Lord Ram embodies the highest qualities of dharma, devotion, compassion, courage, and leadership. It is also a powerful time to connect to the Goddess Lakshmi, calling in her blessings for both material and spiritual prosperity.
Diwali (also seen as Divali, Deepawali or Deepavali) comes from the Sanskrit words deepa (light) and avali (row). It is traditional to light candles throughout Diwali, inviting the highest light into our homes and hearts. The candles are lit to remind us of the inner divine light in us all. Though one flame can be used to light many others, it is not diminished by sharing its power of illumination. We can pray for the peace and happiness of all beings, and each one’s awareness of their inner light.
Monday, November 5th precedes Diwali with the holiday known as Dhanteras or Dhanvantari Tryodashi (commemorating the birth of Lord Dhanvantari). It is the thirteenth day of the waning Moon in the Vedic month of Ashwin. Lord Dhanvantari is known as the “father of Ayurveda” and the “physician of the Gods.” (Ayurveda is the system of natural medicine from India that is a sister science to yoga and Jyotish.) If you practice any healing tradition, especially Ayurveda, this is a good day to give thanks and call in auspicious blessings to your healing path or practice.
This day also marks Dhanteras, the first day of the Diwali festival. It commemorates the day that Lakshmi emerged from the milk ocean in Vedic lore. In India, it is customary to purchase metals on this day — anything from jewelry to new statues to kitchenware (excluding iron), especially silver and gold — as a part of celebrating Lakshmi and calling in more prosperity. The metals can then be offered to your altar and will absorb and amplify the benefits of worship performed over the few days of Diwali.
After six long months of conjunction in sidereal Capricorn, Mars and Ketu are finally separating. On November 5th Mars leaves Capricorn and crosses over into Aquarius. This has been a complicated transit, as Mars journeyed through his sign of exaltation, strengthening our courage and will, but was simultaneously plagued by Ketu’s fear and confusion.
With a retrograde stint topped with a set of three eclipses in the summer, we had a lot of time to try to understand our deepest fears and how they influence our courage and will (especially in areas of your life ruled by Mars or aligned with Capricorn). Moving forward, we will feel some of the pressure lift from these areas, and hopefully we were able to glean a lot of learning from the visible shadows presented throughout this transit.
Personal readings are available here to help you to better understand your relationship with each planet and how the current transits may affect you.
The full Moon will come directly opposite the Sun at 9:45 am PDT tomorrow, October 24th. With the Sun at 7° sidereal Libra and in Swati nakshatra, the Moon waxes to fullness at 7° sidereal Aries, in Ashwini nakshatra. The energy of this full Moon will help us to focus our energy, and may inspire us to get our bodies moving, shedding some layers from the past season.
With the Sun currently transiting sidereal Libra (October 17th- November 16th), he is in his sign of debilitation. The Sun is literally the source of our power here on earth, and relates to our physical strength and vitality as well as our spiritual strength and awareness of connection to source. When he is in Libra he is weakened, as Libra is ruled by Venus, turning our attention towards pleasures and indulgences, which can take a toll on our health and reduce the Sun’s ability to help us to purify ourselves. Likewise, the Sun in Libra also causes us to relate our personal strength with that of our partners and other people, since Libra signifies relationships. We may find ourselves drained of energy this month as we try to take care of others around us, neglecting personal power and self-care.
As the Sun shines his light into Aries, his sign of exaltation, he illuminates the full Moon here and we are offered the chance to elevate and capture more of the Sun’s energy. Around the time of this full Moon we may take notice of our own bodies, and the possible depletion we have encountered during the Sun’s trip through Libra. This is a time to harness his strength and create more balance between self-care and care of those around us. Coinciding with the change of seasons, this is a great time to put some energy into a cleanse or a new physical or spiritual workout routine.
The full Moon also aligns with Ashwini nakshatra, the first of the 27 Vedic star-signs. This asterism always offers the energy for a fresh start, so with the full Moon here it also supports shedding some energy from the past season and setting our focus in a new direction. Ruled by the Ashwin Kumaras, the horse-headed physicians of the gods, in Vedic lore, there is a potent healing energy here. Working with medicines or healing ceremonies around this full Moon can be especially potent.
In Libra, the Sun’s energy is under Venus’s rulership. As Venus also currently transits Libra, this may help to increase the general sense of strength and Sun energy available, but with Venus increasingly combust every day, both continue to be challenged. This full Moon certainly highlights for us whether we are giving too much energy to our relationships or others, and neglecting our own strength and health simultaneously, or vice versa.
Venus is also in retrograde motion at the moment, since October 5th and through November 15th, which is causing us to slow down and take a closer look at our relationships, and relating styles. People or patterns from the past may be resurfacing, and it is important to examine how we approach compromise and conflict, taking the opportunity to forge new patterns by the time Venus goes direct again. Venus enters retrograde motion about every 18 months, so it will not occur again until 2020.
Jupiter in Scorpio
Jupiter is settling into his position in sidereal Scorpio, illuminating this mystic and transformational part of the sky for the next year. Whatever houses he rules and transits in your chart may receive some particular affects this year, as you dive into your fears and feelings, waging the inner war to come out stronger than you were before in specific areas of your life. In general, this year can be a good time to study the mystic arts, such as astrology, yoga, tantra, or tarot.
Personal natal chart readings are available here.
The Sun and Moon will reach exact alignment for a New Moon in Leo at 11:02 am PDT this Sunday, September 9th. In sidereal Leo they join Mercury and begin a lunar cycle directed by the Sun himself, the ruler of Leo. Saturday night brings the darkest Moon phase as the Moon wanes to total obscurity, and is the best time for letting go of the past lunar cycle and preparing for the new.
The Sun is the graha (celestial body or being that grabs us with its force) that we see and experience the effects of the most frequently. Each day he rises and sets, bringing light by day to go out and move out energy through the world, disappearing at night as our energy descends and go into a temporary hibernation. During the Leo cycle, the Sun’s energy is even more powerful, as he is currently seated in his throne, or transiting his own sign of Leo, we could say.
As we begin to notice the hours of the day shortening (or lengthening, depending on your location), as we approach the equinox, awareness of the importance of this light becomes more apparent, and it may be a time where we strive to harness it and more through life as energetically as we can. The Leo cycle makes us aware of our inner light and strength, symbolized by the source energy offered to us from the Sun.
As we go through this cycle it is a time to examine our power and how we are using it. The great strength of kings and queens allows them to be either great samaritans or great tyrants. The highest calling of Leo is to use our power for the good of others, making sacrifices in our personal lives for the duty or responsibility to a larger cause. Four out of five of the last U.S. Presidents had Leo rising or Sun in Leo.
Rising to great power is not generally easy on the individual, however, but it can be purifying. The Sun is considered a krura or cruel planet in Jyotish, meaning he teaches us life’s lessons through more difficult processes. He is also a sattvic planet, however, helping to bring us towards a state of greater peace and alignment. The bright fire of the Sun both illuminates our power and our weakness, our strengths and our shortcomings, and helps to purify us by burning away what is not needed.
This new Moon cycle begins with Sun and Moon joined in Purva Phalguni, the Vedic nakshatra (star-sign) that spans the middle of sidereal Leo. This star, called “the little fig tree” is a star of recreation and relaxation, symbolized by a swinging hammock or the front legs of the bed. In the center of Leo, it shows the leisure that can and should be endured at times in the midst of being busy using our power to take care of our responsibilities. Ruled by the planet Venus and by Bhaga, the god of delight, this star carries a sexual energy and in general draws us towards beauty and luxury.
Venus is now out of sidereal Virgo, his sign of debilitation, and transiting his own sign of Libra, making the pleasure principles even more enhanced this cycle, and for the next several months. Venus will go into his cycle of retrograde motion from October 5th through November 11th this year, remaining in Libra the entire time, and will not leave this sign until January 1st, 2019. The last time we had a long stretch of Venus in one sign, including his retrograde cycle, was with Venus in Pisces from January 27th through May 30th of 2017.
This long stretch of Venus in his own sign will bring positive influence to relationships in general, as well as happiness and prosperity (of course other factors in your individual chart will affect this, but this will be more of a societal trend). We are likely to see a flourishing of the arts, or you may find more interest in art, music, or nature in your own personal life. Like the prior long-stint of Venus in Pisces, his sign of exaltation, it is possible that we will tend towards an over-indulgence in sensory pleasures during this transit, but perhaps less likely. With Venus sva, established in the sing of his self, more stability is possible, as we learn the lessons of appropriate compromise offered by Libra.
Mars, Saturn Direct
Mars and Saturn have become stationary-direct in recent days, with Mars coming to an apparent stop and now slowly beginning direct motion since September 27th, and Saturn stationing fully on September 6th, and will soon begin to make his forward progress through Sagittarius once again. For those of you ruled by either of these planets, or having important issues in your lives ruled over them, you will begin to see things moving in a forward direction again soon.
Mars, however, is still in Capricorn and now once-again approaching Ketu, meaning he will make a third and final exact conjunction with him again on September 22nd. Mars has been in Capricorn, his sign of exaltation, since May 2nd, and will not leave this sign until November 5th. He passed directly over Ketu on June 13th and July 18th, and has been in retrograde motion since July 10th.
Along with two eclipses resulting from the nodal alignments, July also brought the return of the Kaala Sarpa yoga cycles. This indicates an alignment of the planets during which all grahas are on one side of the Rahu-Ketu axis. As the Moon cycles in and out of this half of the zodiac monthly, we experience the kaala sarpa cycles for roughly two weeks at a time throughout this period. We are currently in one of these cycles from September 5th through the 21st. This period can bring up intense shadow work, especially in the realms that have been stirred up for you by this year’s nodal transit and the location of the eclipses in relation to your chart.
Thankfully, we celebrate the birth of the remover of obstacles this week, with Ganesh Chaturthi, on September 12th. The chaturthi or fourth day of this lunar cycle commemorates the birth of Lord Ganesha, whom we can call about to create a more clear path in our lives. On this day we can celebrate him through puja and prayer, and it is often customary to build a statue of Ganesha (out of natural clay), for our worship, and then release him into a body of water on the tenth day of prayer.
Because of an old dispute between Ganesha and the Moon, Chandra, it is advised not to look at the Moon on Ganesh Chaturthi.