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.
The full Moon peaks on Sunday, April 29th at 5:58 pm PDT in sidereal Libra, directly opposite the Sun in Aries. This is the turning point in the Aries lunar cycle, which began two weeks ago as the Sun and Moon came together in the Mars-ruled sign of individual strength and courage. Now, with the full Moon in Venus-ruled Libra, our relationships are illuminated and we examine the compromises and reflections that help us to truly integrate our individuality into a happy existence. This full Moon is also aligned with Swati nakshatra, the Vedic star-sign related to the wind element, and also a place of great independence.
Libra Full Moon
As we began the Aries cycle our attention was on our individual strength, power, and will, as we felt the cosmic encouragement to move ahead into new endeavors. Sun in Aries gives us a great sense of our connection to source, and the courage to translate that into actions. It was an auspicious time for new beginnings, augmented by Akshaya Tritiya, just after the new Moon of April 15th.
As the Moon now becomes fully illuminated directly opposite from the Sun in Aries, our emotional body resonates strongly with the Libran concepts of beauty and harmony. Relationships come to the forefront, and we become aware of the need to incorporate those we care for into our new ventures, and to compromise where appropriate, realizing that our individual happiness can only be as good as the state of our closest relationships. Venus and Libra illuminate our human experience and the need we have for intimacy and closeness. Close social bonds actually support the evolutionary imperative to survive which Mars stimulates in us.
The Libra full Moon also connects our minds and hearts to Venusian concepts such as art, music, and the beauty of the natural world around us. This is a good weekend to spend time in nature, around the arts, or with those we love, recognizing that the pleasurable side of life is integral to our other endeavors.
Within Libra, this full Moon falls at around 15°, aligning with the Vedic constellation known as Swati, “the independent one.” As a Rahuvian nakshatra, this part of the sky does elicit a degree of independence, and we strive to balance that with our relational nature. This nakshatra is ruled by Vayu, the lord of wind, and as the Moon transits here we must watch that our mind does not become too scattered, flitting quickly from one idea to the next. Connecting with earth and water elements would be helpful this weekend to ground these energies.
Jupiter is joining this full Moon in Libra, adding a helpful optimism and an expansive feeling to the heart. Jupiter is also directly opposite the Sun right now, and in retrograde motion, so we will see an incredibly bright “full” Jupiter very close to the Moon tonight, and incredibly close to the Moon on Monday night. Jupiter is generally a benefic planet, who adds grace, inspiration, and good luck, but can also bring forth some difficulty if he is a more difficult influence in your natal chart.
Mars & Saturn
Mars is moving into sidereal Capricorn on May 2nd, ending his conjunction with Saturn but beginning one with Ketu. Mars will transit Capricorn for 6 months, moving in retrograde motion for part of that time. Being in his sign of exaltation, Mars in Capricorn can bring great strength and discipline, and more courage and conviction for us, especially in those areas of life he rules in your natal chart. His conjunction with Ketu during this time, however, will also bring up shadows in those areas of life, and possibly force us to undergo some major changes and processes of detachment with those things. You can receive a deeper examination of this transit as part of a personal natal chart reading.
Mercury remains in Pisces, his sign of debilitation, until May 9th. Continue to watch for emotion overwhelming your sense of practicality. Our emotions are also highlighted and heightened by the Moon’s conjunction with Jupiter this weekend, and by Rahu’s continuing transit of Cancer throughout this year.
Jupiter Retrograde Begins:
Hold-Ups in Education and Movements for Equality
For the last several weeks, Jupiter has been slowing down as he approached the last degrees of sidereal Libra. He is now at a near-full stop, around 29° Libra, and will begin the slow back-up into retrograde motion tomorrow, March 8th. The change technically happens at 8:04 pm, PST, but from our perspective here on Earth, Jupiter will appear pretty much at a stand-still all week. As the planet of teaching and philosophy is stationary in the sign of balance and harmony, we are seeing movements across the world where people are stopping their work in protest for more equality — from students and teachers’ unions to women at large, as March 8th also coincides with International Women’s Day.
Jupiter in Libra
First of all, if you’re saying “Libra, I thought Jupiter was in Scorpio?,” I’m referring to sidereal Libra, meaning that Jupiter appears to be aligned with Libra constellation as we see it from Earth. You can see Jupiter rising in the west between 11 – 11:30 pm PST this week, and tonight you can see both Jupiter and the Moon close together around the Libra-Scorpio juncture. Here is a screen-shot from a new astronomy app that I’ve been using called Cosmic Watch, showing a map of the sky at around 11:30 pm on March 8th. Vedic astrologers typically use the sidereal zodiac, which is true to the astronomical zodiac that we see from Earth.
Libra is called “Tula” in Sanskrit, which literally means balance, or scale. In both the east and west this constellation was seen as such, and perceived as a place with the energy potential to measure and harmonize. Before finding balance in a situation, however, we often come face-to-face with some major imbalances in Libra. With Jupiter, the planet of philosophy, belief, and inspiration, transiting here since last September, we have seen increasing movements for equality across the globe, even more so than in recent years.
Balance for the Sexes
Ruled by Venus, and naturally the 7th sign, Libra’s energy has a lot to do with relationships and sexuality, and finding balance therein especially. In October, shortly after Jupiter’s transit here began, the Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment news broke, propelling an onslaught of further allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination across Hollywood and other industries.
The revelations became a movement, inspiring and empowering women to bring light to the inequality, sparking a worldwide crusade to abolish decades (and centuries) of imbalance between the sexes. Jyotish is all about light, and when the light of the Sun shines on Jupiter, in Libra, philosophy at large becomes oriented towards the concept of balance.
Balance for Teachers
Jupiter is also the planet of teaching, learning and education, being called “guru” in Sanskrit. As Jupiter has been slowing to a stop in recent weeks, we have seen those in the very profession of teaching literally stopping their work, in a movement for more balance and inequality in their salaries and benefits. Guinea, Argentina, Great Britain, and West Virginia teachers have held strikes that received worldwide attention, and in some cases have already resulted in a positive balancing of equity.
As Jupiter grinds to a stop this week, a lot of attention in the news has been focused on the imbalances in the education profession, and the teachers themselves have been stopping work in protest. Though some movements are over, Oklahoma and Kentucky may soon follow suit, and Britain’s university professors’ strike will continue through next week, during this stationary-retrograde movement of Jupiter.
On March 8th itself, the very day that Jupiter is completely stopped, and shifts from direct to retrograde motion, it will also be International Women’s Day. Across the world, protests and marches of women are planned, including many walk-outs from the workforce, to show the world what it would be like without women. This halt is in hopes of balancing the gender gap (the lower pay that women receive systemically) and the treatment of women in the workplace.
Following the mass shooting in Florida last month, students across the country have also been stopping their work in protest for more rights and equality, and perhaps even more simply for the right to feel safe and happy (as Venus is also the planet of happiness). A large school walk-out took place yesterday in Baltimore, and a nationwide march is being planned for March 14th, when students will “March for Our Lives” in a movement to evolve gun legislation to make schools safer.
Jupiter will continue his retrograde motion through July 10th of this year, and during this time we may see a lot of re-balancing happening in the world of education and philosophy. The women’s equality movement has been growing steadily over the last few years, and now is a time where we could see a major paradigm shift in the widespread mentality take hold with firmer grip.
In education, President Trump has suggested arming teachers, attempting a strange kind of re-balancing that has received little support so far. I think that the recent movements by teachers will continue strongly this summer as the education system attempts to balance itself in a changing world.
On a personal level, we may all be experiencing some backtracking and re-thinking of personal philosophies during this Jupiter Retrograde period, including personal, political, and even spiritual viewpoints. With Jupiter appearing to move backward there is a chance to scrutinize our beliefs, seeing where there is room for re-balancing ideas within ourselves, and perhaps moving forward in slightly new directions when Jupiter begins his direct motion again in the fall. Re-thinking one’s direction in the learning arena is also possible during this time, with many new ventures in education possible this year.
Forecast for Your Vedic Rising Sign
Even more specifically, Jupiter’s stationary and retrograde motion may cause a current slow-down (or halt) and some heavy reconsideration and change of direction between now through October, in the two specific areas of life ruled by Jupiter in your personal Vedic natal chart. These are the areas to watch for changes during Jupiter Retrograde, based on your personal Vedic rising sign
Aries — education, higher philosophy, relationships with teachers; your habits around isolation, escapism, foreign travel, meditation
Taurus — how you deal with loss & change, secrets, and the mystic side of life; friends, community, income, social standing
Gemini — relationships, especially romantic partners, sexuality, and your general tendencies with compromise; work and career
Cancer — how you deal with hard work, daily duties, pets, and people who challenge you; higher education & philosophy, relationships with teachers
Leo — your creative expression, passions, and children; ways you deal with loss & change, secrets, and the mystic side of life
Virgo — your home, sanctuary, vehicles, real estate, or mother; your relationships, partners, and how you work with others
Libra — your hobbies, interests, siblings, and gut instinct; issues of hard work, daily duties, pets, and people who challenge you
Scorpio — your money, possessions, immediate family; children, creativity, and passions
Sagittarius — your health, sense of self/identity, and individuality; your home, vehicles, mother, or real estate
Capricorn — your tendencies around solitude, isolation, escapism, meditation, or foreign travel; your hobbies, interests, siblings, and gut instinct
Aquarius — your friends, community groups, income, social standing
Pisces — your work & career, and your individuality, health, or sense of self/identity
You may find yourself stuck, or backtracking, but then hopefully evolving, in these areas of life during Jupiter’s retrograde transit of Libra, now through October. Because Jupiter is in Libra, there is a particular opportunity for you to bring more balance into your life in these areas this year.
Personal Jupiter Readings are available to help you see deeper into your chart and life at this time.