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.
Tonight’s dark Moon brings the third and final eclipse of this summer’s eclipse season. The exact time of the New Moon will be at 2:58 am PDT, with the partial solar eclipse reaching its maximum at 2:46 am. This eclipse will only be visible from Scandinavia, Greenland, northern parts of Asia and northernmost Canada. Though the last eclipse, of July 27th, carried a bit more intensity, this one is still adding a good degree of stress to the atmosphere. We should feel energies settling a bit more after its passing.
New Moon in Cancer
This eclipse occurs as the Sun and Moon come together in late sidereal Cancer, joined in this sign by Rahu, the north node, and a still-retrograde Mercury. Opposite, in sidereal Capricorn, lie Ketu and still-retrograde-and-exalted Mars. As we enter a new lunar cycle led by Cancer energy, we will go through this month with an acute awareness of our emotions, and sensitivities will be high. To be honest … it could feel like a tidal wave. Rahu’s presence here in Cancer works to exaggerate that sensitivity and those emotions even more, so try to be as gentle and caring with yourself as possible.
Cancer is the sign of the divine Mother, a water sign ruled by the Moon. The divine Mother, in her infinite compassion, is open and receptive to everyone and everything. Cancer is the sign of the heart, and we come into our own hearts more deeply when so many planetary energies are gathered here. Even those who may not usually have a “sensitive” nature will be much more attuned to their feelings during this month.
The presence of Rahu, however, can be disturbing and aggravating, and can lead us forward quickly in confusion. For this reason, Rahu’s presence in Cancer often causes us to open our boundaries too wide, allowing ourselves to get hurt while in this sensitive state. Working on balancing these boundaries and feelings with structure and responsibility has been one of the lessons of this Cancer-Capricorn eclipse cycle.
Cancer is the sign of the heart and the emotions, while Capricorn, opposite in the sky, teaches us about doing the responsible thing for long-term results. Throughout this year-and-a-half transit of the nodes through these signs (August 2017 – March 2019), we’ve been examining where in our lives we led our feelings lead too much, neglecting responsibility, or where we are too rigid, without acknowledging the heart. The eclipses help us through a process of learning around this, and as we see our patterns (the shadows that are revealed), we are able to make positive changes in our lives.
This axis is also affecting two particular houses in your natal chart, and learning to balance those energies is a personal task that is different for each of us. (If you haven’t downloaded it, be sure to get the Free E-Book with forecast for your sign, here.) This transit and series of eclipses may also be affecting any planets that you have in these signs natally, as well as the areas of life they rule for you.
The Moon and Sun coincide in Ashlesha nakshatra during this eclipse, the sign of the water snake, called “the entwiner.” This nakshatra can be located in a ring of stars within the western constellation Hydra, the water-serpent. Ashlesha is represented by a coiled snake, and is ruled by the Nagas, the serpent deities of wisdom. This nakshatra has a lot to do with discovering what is coiled deep within, so an eclipse here has the potential to churn up some deep-seated emotions that have not been felt for a while. It also has the ability to stir kundalini, so if you are doing spiritual practices, be prepared for some possible strong waves of energy.
At the same time, the snake also contains a poisonous venom. Because of the intensity of this eclipse and the surrounding alignment, it is quite possible for some of what gets stirred up to have a toxic quality. Like other detoxification processes, however, it is sometimes necessary for the toxins to filter through the body after they are dislodged, before being released back to the earth. Drink lots of water following this eclipse, but Indian tradition says that it is best not to eat, drink, or be outside during the eclipse, lest we absorb more of its negative affects. With any difficulties that arise, offer them back to the divine Mother, and call upon the cleansing power of water to help you through.
Mars has been retreating steadily towards the beginning of sidereal Capricorn since he entered retrograde motion on June 26th. Those people ruled by Mars are feeling particularly affected, as their normally driven energy seems to be going in the opposite direction, and further confusion is added due to the conjunction with Ketu. Mars is still in his sign of exaltation, which would normally help us towards putting a lot of energy into structures and goals, but there have been many delays and frustrations due to the other influences.
Mars will come to a stop near the end of the month, beginning direct motion again on August 27th and transiting over Ketu once more in September. He will remain in Capricorn through early November.
Venus entered sidereal Virgo, his sign of debilitation, on July 31st. Virgo is a sign that is very much about practicality, ruled by Mercury, the planet of the intellect. There is a lot of precision here, and factuality, while Venus is the planet of desire, which is often not practical. The fulfillment of our desires can feel curbed by the intellect while Venus transits here, and our creative pursuits can take on a more linear dimension.
At the same time, this can help us to see more clearly when it comes to relationships and desires, and take on an analytical view that is sometimes refreshing. Due to the alignment of planets at the beginning of this lunar cycle, however, watch out for arguments in relationships, as Mars is volatile and sensitivity is high.
Tonight’s waxing Moon is leading up to a powerful full Moon in sidereal Capricorn, peaking on Friday, July 27th at 1:21 pm PDT. On the dark side of the earth, this will coincide with a Total Lunar Eclipse peaking at the same time, but lasting in its entirety for 1 hour and 43 minutes, making it the longest lunar eclipse of this century. The full Moon is in extremely close proximity to both Mars and Ketu, bringing forth a lot of internal fire and intensity surrounding and throughout this eclipse.
Eclipses – Shadow Forces at Play
This is the second of this summer’s series of 3 eclipses, but this one is perhaps the most intense due to the Sun and Moon’s close conjunction with the nodes and Mars. The Sun and Moon are at 10°39’ of sidereal Cancer and Capricorn, respectively, while Rahu and Ketu (the nodes) are within about one degree, at 11°47’, and Mars is at 9°52′.
The nodes wield a heavy influence from this position, and we may feel a deep discomfort in our physical and emotional bodies during the eclipse, but also over the course of days or weeks leading up to it. This is related to the subconscious forces within us rising to the surface, calling our attention to the areas that need the most work. The mythology behind Rahu and Ketu points to “demonic” energy, or negative internal drives that lead us in the wrong direction until we learn to rise above them. The nodes create a lot of confusion, but as these shadows become visible during an eclipse, we have the opportunity to see where the problems lie and make efforts towards change.
This lunar eclipse occurs on the Capricorn full Moon, when the Moon is directly opposite the Cancer Sun. During the Cancer Sun cycle we find our strength through our emotional body, and by following the sensations of the heart and our human desire for comfort, love, and care. With Rahu so closely joining the Sun in Cancer, however, emotions can be extremely exaggerated and confusing during this time.
As the Moon waxes into fullness in the opposite sign of Capricorn, our emotional bodies (normally) find peace by embracing structure and responsibility, in this grounded earth sign. With Ketu’s presence here, however, we may feel or see a strong resistance to structure and commitment, as Rahu’s obsessive nature, in Cancer, draws us instead towards emotional intensity.
A great opportunity of this eclipse is to see where and when we let our emotions get the better of us, and also where and when we may need to stand more firmly in our commitments and take responsibility for our actions. The intensity of Rahu and Sun in Cancer can also cause us to have wide open boundaries, while the eclipse of Ketu and Moon in Capricorn shows us where we can use some more structure.
Saturn, Capricorn’s ruler, is always stern and still in retrograde motion, bringing extra cause for serious reflection around these themes. A total lunar eclipse can be draining on the heart, however, so it’s important to be more gentle with ourselves and more inward on this full Moon than we normally are during this lunar phase.
This eclipse will particularly effect you in the “houses” that are Cancer and Capricorn in your Vedic chart, as well as any planets you have there natally. If you’ve not downloaded it yet, you can receive the free e-book with an eclipse forecast for your sign, after joining the free mailing list here.
In general, Indian tradition advises against starting any auspicious activities during an eclipse, or really doing any worldly actions in general if it can be avoided. The best practice is to do some type of sadhana such as meditation, prayer, mantra, or quiet reflection. It is advised not to eat or drink during the eclipse, and not consume anything after that has been left out during the eclipse, as the atmosphere is said to carry a negative energy during the eclipse. The eclipse will occur from 10:14 am – 4:28 pm PDT, with the total eclipse lasting from 12:30 pm – 2:13 pm PDT.
In addition to the powerful emotions brought on by the solar-lunar-nodal positions during this eclipse, Mars is also bringing a lot of fire by his proximity. His close conjunction with the Moon (within one degree) will bring forth a warrior-like passion. Still moving in retrograde motion, and traveling through his sign of exaltation, we may be experiencing some deep-seated animal instincts arising. Any anger or enthusiasm that has been brewing beneath the surface may rise alongside the shadows of the eclipse.
Mars will have reached exact opposition to the Sun some hours before, so he will be at his brightest as he travels right next to the Moon tonight and tomorrow night. His powerful light shining on us presents the chance to find our inner warrior and use his strength to strengthen ourselves, taking this chance to embrace responsibility, self-discipline, and commitment, as well as to create more structured boundaries around us. The confusion and surprising/explosive nature of Ketu, however, could cause this inner warrior to arise in a fume of anger if we are not careful.
Mercury is also conjunct Sun and Rahu in Cancer during this eclipse, as he is stuck in the gandanta zone (the karmic “knot”) at the end of Cancer near Leo. He’s now in stationary-retrograde motion there. This can add an intense strain to communication. Being in Ashlesha nakshatra (the sign of the water serpent and kundalini), there is the potential for sharp poison to come through our words at this time, but also for conversations that lead to real inner transformation.
The Moon and Ketu lie in Shravana nakshatra at the time of this lunar eclipse, the sign of listening. While Mercury is in such a challenged but potent position, we should remember that a huge part of communication lies in the listening. Pay close attention to the words you are hearing and the conversations you are having around this eclipse. Furthermore, it’s time to listen deeply with the inner ear, and ask for the great spirit(s) to speak to you and guide you through the shadows that are arising.
Eclipse periods often feel like they are disruptive, because we often hear and experience things that are unwelcome or cause stress in our lives, but these things give us a great opportunity to see where we can create change, and grow into the people that we really want to be. This eclipse particularly shows us where we need to balance our emotions, boundaries, and responsibilities, and also balance the two houses (or areas of life) shown by Cancer and Capricorn in your Vedic natal chart. Our prayers and willingness to inquire and self-reflect around this time can lead to great change and greater balance.
New Moon Solar Eclipse in Gemini
The Sun and the Moon align once again, near the end of sidereal Gemini, for a New Moon at 7:48 pm PDT on Thursday, July 12th. Shortly after that, at 8:01 PDT (3:01 am UTC on Friday the 13th), a partial solar eclipse will reach its maximum, over the Southern Ocean between Australia and Antarctica. The partial eclipse will be somewhat visible from southeastern Australia, Tasmania, and the southern tip of New Zealand, but its shadow effects will stir the energetic pot all over the world.
Image from NASA
Eclipses occur when the Sun and the Moon align with each other (on a New Moon / Solar eclipse), or opposite each other (on a Full Moon / Lunar eclipse), while also in close proximity with the nodal axis (Free Eclipse E-Book Here). The nodes, Rahu and Ketu, are astronomical points in the sky determined in relation to these eclipses, and are the points where the Sun’s and Moon’s paths appear to cross. When the nodes come into close alignment with the Sun and Moon, we have eclipses, and we see the shadows cross in front of those heavenly bodies.
Since ancient times, the nodes have been known to bring forth shadow energy—the subconscious and latent forces that drive us but that are hardest for us to understand or see clearly. They, along with the seven visible bodies (Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, and Saturn), are known as the grahas, or “forces that grab us.” We can see the other grahas clearly on a regular basis, and are more aware of the ways in which they influence us. But the nodes are largely invisible, driving us at subconscious levels.
Around the times of eclipses, however, we are more able to see the shadows. This can be both disruptive, if we are not prepared to handle our challenging internal forces, but also revelatory. When our own shadows come to light and become visible, this is our opportunity to work with them, embrace them, and grow through awareness of our own challenging tendencies. The period of time leading up to and throughout “eclipse season” can show us what we really need to work on, and gives us an opportunity to realign some things in our lives that are out of balance.
The current “eclipse season” began a couple of weeks ago (usually the effects can be felt 2-4 weeks before the first eclipse), and will last through the lunar eclipse of July 27th and the second solar eclipse on August 11th.
This eclipse occurs on a new Moon in Gemini, with Sun and Moon aligning at 26° sidereal Gemini. Gemini is the outward sign ruled by Mercury, where we let our curiosity, playfulness, and intellect lead our actions. This often leads to a lot of socializing, investigating, and communicating. Gemini is one of the most flexible signs, in its dual nature and represented by a pair of twins. With the lunar cycle beginning in Gemini, this curious, flexible, and outward nature will rule as we move forward into the month.
With the Sun being eclipsed here, however, the shadows of our Gemini nature come to light. Perhaps we lean too much towards flexibility and playfulness, and fail to take a stand for what we believe in. This new Moon / solar eclipse also aligns with the Vedic nakshatra Punarvasu, a star of renewal. There is a great energy of abundance here, and the lunar cycle beginning here is usually auspicious for bringing in many blessings. Under the eclipse energy, we must be more aware of what we call into our lives. This star-sign is often represented by a bow or a quiver of arrows, showing that we must be careful as we take aim.
During this new Moon, Saturn casts his gaze on the Sun and Moon from his opposing position in Sagittarius. His transit there is putting on the pressure for us to really commit to our beliefs, and discern the course of action that is most in alignment with our highest ideals. Wherever we might be a bit “wishy-washy,” this is likely to be revealed during this eclipse cycle. Whichever houses Gemini and Sagittarius are in your chart, they are likely to be effected by this eclipse, and you will see where your life is out of balance and in need of re-calibration.
Rahu in Cancer
Though Sun and Moon join near the end of Gemini, Rahu, the shadow planet influencing this eclipse, is positioned in early Cancer. Though his energy will disrupt themes of the Gemini-Sagittarius axis during this eclipse, he is also grinding away at the shadows of Cancer throughout his year-and-a-half long transit here. (If you have not yet read my full report and forecast for your sign, you can download it for free by joining my free list). Whichever areas of your life are indicated by sidereal Cancer and Capricorn (and by any planets that you have there) are the places where you’re doing a lot of internal work during this nodal transit.
Mars and Ketu
Mars and Ketu are in extremely close proximity again, as Mars has appeared to move backward in retrograde motion since June 26th. They are now within one degree and will have another exact conjunction on July 18th. The combination of these two warrior-like planets can bring a lot of violence and upheaval, especially in the area of your life indicated by Capricorn in your Vedic natal chart, and the areas ruled by Mars. You may find your courage weakened yet also feel enraged throughout this conjunction.
Mars will continue in retrograde motion through the end of August, causing those areas of life to slow down or change direction for us. After moving direct, he will then pass by Ketu once more on September 22nd. The two will not part signs until November 5th. This is an important time for sadhana, especially if Mars is prominent in your chart.
Jupiter turned stationary-direct on July 10th. This may have beneficial effects for the education industry at large, which has faced a lot of upheaval since he went into retrograde motion on March 8th. Moving forward again in sidereal Libra, the sign of balance, we can hope to see some more equality in this area in the coming school-year. Areas of your life ruled by Jupiter may have slowed down or taken a turn during this time as well, and will begin to have more forward-moving momentum soon.
*With all of the intense influences happening right now, this is a very useful time to receive a personal reading to see the effects on your individual natal chart, to better understand how each planet is affecting your life specifically.