The Sun and Moon come together in Jyeshtha nakshatra to begin a new lunar cycle at 11:21 pm PST on December 6th. This star-sign is at the end of sidereal Scorpio, and the Sun and Moon will join at 21° of this sign at the time of the darkest Moon. Sun and Moon are joined by Mercury and Jupiter, also in sidereal Scorpio, as we enter this new cycle.
The coming lunar cycle brings in the energy of the 8th sign of Scorpio, a reflective water sign ruled by Mars. This time of year supports us in diving inward, examining the soft and sensitive areas under the hard shell represented within this insect rashi (sign). Ruled by Mars, this sign brings the warrior spirit, but with its investigative watery nature, it brings out our spiritual warrior, examining the depths of our vulnerable emotions and seeking to fortify them so that we can face any external challenge with inner strength.
Both Jupiter and Mercury are joining the Sun and Moon in sidereal Scorpio, adding their energies into the mix and the tone of the coming month. Jupiter is very supportive here, bringing an expansive and inspiring influence, while Mercury offers us an analytical perspective to engage while we are exploring our inner depths. Jupiter brings an element of grace and good luck, while Mercury, who is stationary-direct at the time of the new Moon, adds an intense ability to focus our energy.
This will be an excellent month for spiritual endeavors and will support us to pursue sadhana as well as esoteric research and emotional transformation. We have the potential to align our emotional bodies with our higher ideals, in a practical way that harmonizes with the intellect as well.
Within Scorpio, Jyeshtha nakshatra makes up the last four padas (feet), spanning from 16°40′ to 30°00′. This Vedic constellation aligns with the bright red star Antares, one of the brightest in the sky. It transits as “the eldest” and imbues a sense of seniority, success, and friendship. Ruled by Lord Indra, this star can bring potent leadership abilities, Indra being the chief of the Gods. This month may bring up familial karma and show us the way to step into more maturity and responsibility within our roles.
Venus remains sva in his own house of Libra, through January 1st.* Venus is in the third house in the Vedic chart for this new Moon on the Pacific coast (above right), enhancing our potential for creative writing and expression, especially through career and outward recognition as he also rules over the 10th house. Whether or not you are an artisan, gifts of a hand-made or creative nature will be supported this month, as well as short trips and written correspondence. Being in the twelfth house from the Moon and Sun, however, escaping through alcohol or drugs could be a temptation this month, but foreign travel may also be supported. With Saturn in the second from Moon and Sun, expenditures could be increased.
*Edit — typo initially said January 31st.
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Full Moon in Taurus
The Moon is waxing towards its brightest point, to align fully opposite the Sun for a full Moon in Taurus at 9:39 pm PST on Thanksgiving night, Thursday, November 22nd. The Moon will be in its sign of exaltation in early sidereal Taurus, in the Vedic nakshatra of Krittika, opposite the Sun in Scorpio. Mars, Jupiter and a retrograde Mercury all aspect this full Moon, while Venus rules over it in Taurus. With the Moon and the mind happy and grounded in this fertile earth sign, this is truly a fitting time to let the heart settle and give thanks for what is.
Exaltation in Taurus
We began this lunar cycle with the Moon dark and approaching debilitation, on November 7th. The Moon is fully “debilitated” in the third degree of Scorpio (although Sun & Moon conjoined to begin this cycle near the end of Libra). In the passionate water sign of Scorpio, the mind becomes aware of its most sensitive points, and can go through turbulent emotions as it rides the waves under Mars’ rulership.
Moon is considered “exalted” in the opposite sign of Taurus, where we find this week’s full Moon. Taurus is an earth sign ruled by Venus. The earth element helps our minds and hearts to find more stability and become grounded, and our emotions are less likely to be tossed about by external forces. Taurus is ruled by Venus, the planet that ultimately helps us to find ways to be happy, so there is a natural inclination towards seeing the beauty and harmony of life when the Moon is here.
Venus is still transiting his own sign of Libra, and getting gradually stronger as he picks up speed after six weeks in retrograde motion. (Though feminine in nature, Venus, like all planets in Jyotish, gains a masculine pronoun when personified.) Venus helps the mind to be happy when the Moon is under his rule, because Venus drives us towards pleasure and happiness, and helps us to look for and see beauty. This is a great outlook for approaching the Thanksgiving holiday, especially when difficult family dynamics may be present. On this holiday where there is a tendency to overindulge in consumable pleasures, however, be especially mindful this year, as Venus (and Jupiter) could help to push that to extremes.
Within the Vedic system, Krittika nakshatra spans from 26°40′ Aries to 10° Taurus. This star-sign is known as “the cutter” and is represented by an axe, a razor blade, or a flame. Agni, the Lord of Fire, rules here, and his sharp and transforming nature drive the energy of this nakshatra. Though we are experiencing the beauty-seeking nature of Venus, we are also receiving the purifying and sattvic influence of the Sun, who rules this nakshatra, while the Moon transits here.
This nakshatra can be located in the sky as the cluster of seven stars also known as the Pleiades. In Vedic mythology, these correlate with the wives of the seven sages who found and nursed the baby Kartikeya, the son that Shiva and Parvati birthed through the vehicle of the river Ganga. There is a maternal and nurturing quality to this star, in addition to its power to help us to cut through the unnecessary in our processes of purification. Fittingly, the Indian saint “Amma” (Amritanandamayi) was born under Krittika nakshatra, and demonstrates these qualities of being a nurturing mother to all as well as a powerful sattvic purifier.
Aspects: Mars, Jupiter & Retrograde Mercury
In addition to full illumination from the Sun, this full Moon is also receiving light and energy from Mars, Jupiter, and Mercury (though Jupiter is quite combust, within three degrees of the Sun). Mars’ influence can stimulate the mind into a more rajasic state, and can add a bit of heat and tension. With Mercury also in retrograde motion, be very aware around getting into arguments or trying to explain (or re-explain) your point of view to others. Though Jupiter sends some benefic and inspiring influence, the loftiness of your ideas may be burned up and lost as you attempt to communicate from a philosophical or idealistic place. Mercury will continue in retrograde motion through the next New Moon, on December 6th.
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.
I love this time of year. Having passed the equinox on September 22nd, the dark of night comes noticeably earlier. The air temperature, moisture and barometric pressure have taken a definite turn. And the instinct to nest and cozy up at home is on.
From now through the spring equinox, we in the northern hemisphere are in the yin portion of the year, where nighttime exceeds day, and our energy is more naturally directed inward. With fewer hours to be out in the world acting, there is more time to spend still and being. This is a time for the mystic feminine to thrive.
Monday, October 8th will bring a dark Moon night to start the first lunar cycle fully in the yin season. At 8:47 pm PDT, the Sun and Moon align at 21° sidereal Virgo, in Hasta nakshatra. This is a great way to start a season of grounding into ourselves, nurturing our feminine essence and our creative potential. Fittingly, this cycle brings with it the Navaratri festival, the nine nights of celebrating the goddess in her many forms.
Virgo is the feminine earth sign ruled by Mercury. In Sanskrit, Virgo is Kanya, literally the “girl” or the “maiden.” This sign relates to fertility, as well as a pure feminine being. Virgo’s nature compels us to try to take care of everyone and all the details, and as the Sun moves into Libra, his sign of debilitation, later this month, we must be careful not to overexert ourselves and become depleted.
With exalted Mars and Ketu still transiting the fifth from Virgo, this month will call us to explore our creative potential, and what fears and resistance we may hold around that. With Saturn transiting the fourth and Mercury, Jupiter and Venus in the second, there is a lot of energy going towards the home and family this month.
Within Virgo, the Sun and Moon align in Hasta nakshatra to begin this lunar cycle. Hasta is “the hand,” and implies all things crafty. We find potential to take up any number of manual skills or projects this month, as well as utilizing the intellect (Mercury) to craft our situations towards our goals. Ruled by the Moon, this star brings forth our feminine nature and guides us from the heart, so be sure to listen in the stillness of the dark Moon nights.
I just love this Warhol image for Retrograde Venus!
Venus has come to a stop and is entering retrograde motion on October 5th. For all of us, this will be an opportunity to slow down and retrace the steps we have taken towards happiness, as well as look closely at our relationships and our styles of relating. It may feel like a slow-down our happiness or relationships are challenged right now, but every challenge is an opportunity for our own self-development. It’s a good time to work on developing new skills in relating, whether by a communication class, couples’ workshop, or any personal development coaching work.
You may also experience things slowing down in the areas of your life ruled by Venus in your natal chart, different for each Vedic rising sign.
For a few more days, Jupiter and Venus are joined in sidereal Libra, but Jupiter will complete his transit here and move into sidereal Scorpio on October 11th. This next Jupiter transit will last through November 4, 2019. Jupiter in Scorpio can expand our opportunity to connect with the mystic. The depth of self-inquiry and self-development practices will grow during this period. Passions can be heightened and intensified, and our philosophical warrior will be strong.
The nine nights of the goddess is a festival celebrated by Hindus worldwide. Navaratri will begin on the first night of the waxing Moon this lunar cycle, starting October 9th. On each of nine consecutive nights (nav + ratri), we can worship the goddess, Devi, through her many forms. Most notably this festival celebrates the goddess Durga in nine of her forms, but in other parts of India the festival commemorates Durga/Kali, Lakshmi, and Sarasvati for three nights each.
Devi is the creatrix, the warrioress, the nurturer, the purifyer, the protector. She can be found in the innocent and fertile maiden as well as the wise and learned crone. She is both the nurturing mother, and the one who gives “tough love.” The impassioned lover, the devoted bhakta, the disciplined yogini. We see Devi appear through us in innumerable manifestations. Through her many forms, she teaches us and offers us countless blessings–love, compassion, courage, learning, discipline, surrender, success, enlightenment, and bliss.
This festival is a time for honoring and celebrating the supreme feminine power in all her glory, and the many blessings she bestows upon us. Stay tuned for daily updates on how to connect with the many forms of the Goddess.
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.