Tonight’s Dark Moon brings the Sun and Moon together in early sidereal Leo, at 7:42 pm PDT, close to Mercury, initiating a cycle of solar power where we are driven by the solar energy within as well as externally. This New Moon occurs within the Vedic sign of Magha, “the mighty,” bringing forth a regal energy that empowers us and begs the question of how to use our privilege and strength most effectively. Mars is also strengthening now, as he moves into his own sign of Aries for the next several months.
Leo is the sign ruled by the Sun, the literal source of power for all of us living in this solar system. The Leo cycle can help us to feel strong and inspired as we connect to source energy. When you’re feeling “in your power,” what do you then do with that energy? It’s a good time to check in with that especially as the northern summer draws towards an end. Take advantage of the light and all that you can do with the freedom that the long days offer. September 21st will bring the equinox wherein the days become shorter than the nights and the period of darkness rapidly descends.
Within Leo, Sun and Moon join to begin this lunar cycle in the Vedic nakshatra of Magha, “the mighty.” Symbolized by a throne, this star-sign brings forth a regal energy, gesturing towards achievement, status, and responsibility as well as privilege. It can be identified by the bright star Regulus within the constellation of Leo. Its deities are the Pitris, the ancestors of humanity, and indicates an important time to connect with our own ancestors and lineage. Ancestral karma could be at play in your life more than you realize, and this is a good time to pay attention to what is yours and what may be inherited.
Mars has also moved into his home sign of Aries now, and will transit here with great strength through October 3rd, when his retrograde journey (September 9th through November 13th) takes him back into Pisces again, before returning to Aries December 23rd through February 21st. With both fire planets, Mars and Sun, strong and in their home signs, we have the opportunity now to really harness and direct our creative energy. Be aware also, however, that your pitta could also be aggravated during this time, sending passions and irritability on a dangerous rampage if you are not using that fire for personal purification and strengthening. If you notice your pitta is getting out of hand, be sure to take in cooling activities, breaths, and foods…and avoid your hot yoga for a while.
Since the two fire planets gained strength by entering their own signs on August 16th, we have seen extreme heat waves and deadly wildfires sweeping the West. Watch out for these continuing through at least mid-September while the two are both strong.
A Month for Social Movements
Both Mars and Sun are aspected by a strong and bright retrograde Jupiter, also in his own sign, which could augment their firepower. This aspect could also offer inspiration towards our actions this month, helping them to align with our belief systems. The strong and bright retrograde Saturn, also in his own sign, adds to these four to create a powerful royal yoga that will create many auspicious muhurta (times for taking specific actions) throughout the day.
With Mars and Aries on the ascendant (as it will be in the Eastern U.S. at this New Moon time, and in other locations throughout the day for the coming month), We find the first, fifth, 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th lords all in their own sign. The houses of dharma as well as the houses relating to society and higher purpose are all strong from their lords’ sva nature at this time. With the interplay of Jupiter’s aspect as mentioned above, this could contribute to a lot of ideologically-motivated actions on both personal and societal levels. Remember that Saturn’s influence can be stern and discerning, however, so we will have to acknowledge and incorporate the responsibility and hard work that comes with the passionate actions that spring from our belief systems.
The celebration of Lord Ganesha, who is known as both the creator and destroyer of obstacles, is this Friday/Saturday depending on your location. May he clear the way to a more peaceful and harmonious planetary experience
Praying for positive change.
To see how these transits affect and interplay with your chart and karma, you can request a personal reading here.
Today brings the exact New Moon moment when the Sun and Moon align at 10:33 AM PDT, on Monday July 20th. This begins a new lunar cycle in sidereal Cancer, with Sun and Moon around 4 degrees and in Pushya nakshatra. This nakshatra is all about nourishment while Cancer brings forward the watery energy of the divine mother.
Cancer is ruled by the Moon, the planet that governs our minds and hearts. Both the Moon and Cancer are watery so we can expect to get more in touch with our emotions this month while our sensitive and perceptive sides become more prominent. If you already feel like a very watery person, expect those sensitivities to be even more acute during this cycle. This is a good month (especially this Dark Moon night) to tap into your intuition and felt sense perceptions in order to help guide yourself through life and any important decisions at hand.
If you do have a somewhat “overactive” water element within you, be careful not to let yourself become bogged down by emotions. Do something active and connect with the air and fire elements to help get your energy moving. Cancer, ruled by the Moon, brings forward divine mother energy in its highest expression, meaning we can find a compassionate, unconditional loving acceptance here. As limited humans, however, we could find ourselves struggling with boundaries as we attempt to embody this welcoming mood.
Pushya is the Vedic star-sign known as “the nourisher” and spans from 3°20′ to 16°40′ Cancer. Symbolized by the udder of a cow, this nakshatra embodies the nourishment that we receive from food as well as caring providers. Its deity is Brihaspati, Jupiter in the form of a divine father. This New Moon therefore brings forward the energy of both divine mother and father. We can look within ourselves on the dark Moon night to find the aspects of ourselves that can be more caring and nourishing, both to ourselves and to those around us, including towards Mother Nature.
Five Planets in Own Signs
As this new lunar cycle begins we find five planets traveling through their own signs: Moon in Cancer, Jupiter in Sagittarius, Saturn in Capricorn, Venus in Taurus, and Mercury in Gemini. This creates a very auspicious energy that can be supportive in beginning many endeavors. Keep in mind that the rising sign changes throughout the day to create many different charts each day, and muhurta (auspicious moments) will occur at different times in different locations. Also be aware that Mercury still joins Rahu and Jupiter joins Ketu, creating some challenges at times ruled by these two. Jupiter and Saturn are still retrograde, giving them added strength and a more inward, reflective energy.
Saturn and Covid
Much of the restriction seen in the world this year can be associated with Saturn, having returned to his home sign of Capricorn in January. Though many alignments in the sky can be seen to have improved since the beginning of the Covid crisis, Saturn is the slowest moving planet and takes time teaching his lessons. He will remain in Capricorn, bringing some restriction while teaching us about creating more secure and responsible structures, for roughly two more years. He is now retrograde and we can expect to see some things moving forward more when he begins his direct course again in October, but we can definitely anticipate more lessons in endurance and austerity, and some major societal change over the coming four years while he travels through both Capricorn and Aquarius.
Though it feels difficult in many ways, none of the planets are here to hurt us, they are here to teach us lessons in different ways, on a continual process of evolution as we come closer to alignment with source and our true nature. Saturn ultimately wants to help us to mature, both individually and as a collective, and is bringing lessons through the earth-sign Capricorn right now that are very much changing the ways in which we move through the world. Government, commerce, and income are all affected. If we keep in mind the larger goal of supporting our spirits and the divine quality of nature itself, we have the opportunity to make progress during these times. Spiritual practices and meditation are absolutely methods that can support this process, while our material world may feel more restricted.
Personal chart readings are available here to help you understand your birth karma as well as effects of the current times.
New Moon Solar Eclipse June 2020
This week’s New Moon coincides with an annular solar eclipse, the second in a set of three eclipses we are experiencing this summer, as well as the summer solstice. Tensions have been running hot under the pressure of the nodes, the eclipses, and the position of the planets. The exact New Moon time will be at 11:40 pm PDT on Saturday, June 20th, with the maximum eclipse occurring one minute later. This new Moon and eclipse align with sidereal Gemini, in the nakshatra called Mrigashira, and are accompanied by four retrograde planets.
Mrigashira is translated as “the dear’s head” or “benevolent,” and brings forward the gentle energy of the deer. Generally this could bring some relief, during turbulent times, but the fact that the Sun will be eclipsed here could cause us to feel cut off from our inner power and knowing. Mrigashira has been depicted as a deer at the edge of a burning forest (in The Book of Nakshatras, Trivedi), and if startled or confused may accidentally run towards the fire. This is something to be aware of during the eclipse period, which often causes anxiety and confusion. When I refer to the eclipse period I am counting the couple of weeks leading up to the first eclipse of the cycle (June 5th) through the final eclipse of the cycle on July 4th.
The deer and Mrigashira are known for searching and wandering, so if we are using the intelligence of this nakshatra and eclipse, it is possible to distill some answers and discern the proper direction to choose if we have been wandering. Gemini’s ruler, Mercury, is sva in his own sign and joining the Sun, Moon and Rahu during this eclipse, as well as retrograde, adding great intellectual strength and ability to sort out details during this time (if we are not overcome by Rahu’s shadow energy). Spiritual practice and meditation are the remedies we must utilize during this time, to find clarity and groundedness amidst the overwhelming shadows and turbulence that can be brought by the nodes.
This New Moon will initiate a new lunar cycle in sidereal Gemini, compelling us to examine both sides of a situation, be come more flexible and light, and discern whether we need to stay still or change directions. Gemini is a bipedal (two-footed) air sign, offering a lot of mobility to us during this cycle. It is a masculine sign (directing energy outwards) ruled by Mercury, offering us the chance to speak out and let our words go forth into the world. With Mercury retrograde at the same time, we can slow down and deeply consider the way we speak. This is a supportive alignment for us to continue conversations on race and justice, reframing our language with consideration and self-reflection to aide in progress.
Four Retrograde Planets
Four planets — Saturn, Jupiter, Venus, and Mercury — continue to travel in retrograde motion during this time, with Saturn, Venus and Mercury gaining double strengths by being in their own signs (sidereal Capricorn, Taurus, and Gemini respectively). This offers us the chance to harness intelligence from these planets as we do the inner work around their themes: responsibility and commitment, as well as society’s structures (Saturn), relationships, nature, boundaries, and compromise (Venus), and discrimination, equality and communication (Mercury).
As Jupiter is traveling in retrograde motion he will soon leave his debilitation in Capricorn and re-enter his own sign of Sagittarius, on June 29th. Joining Ketu, this will again offer us the opportunity to dive deeply into our ideas and philosophies, especially around justice, politics, and how we act on our beliefs. Dismantling these themes and their faulty paths through history will continue to be a theme, further uplifting a movement for change in support of #BlackLivesMatter and social justice in general.
The summer solstice is Saturday, June 20th as well, and marks the turning point in the Sun’s solar cycle this year. The Sun will be at his northernmost course, offering the longest days in the northern hemisphere and the shortest in the southern, and will appear to keep the same path in the sky for a few days before beginning to creep towards the southern sky again. The light is bright, and the opportunity to connect with our highest self and highest ideals is strong. The leadership and courage within is available… BUT, heed the eclipses! Make sure you are acting from a point of groundedness, clarity, and benevolence, not power-crazy arrogance, as the Sun is at this point in his cycle. The Sun’s powerful rays are able to help us to burn off our own impurities and negative tendencies if we use his light to look at ourselves and what needs to change, rather than focusing on what is wrong outside of us or in others.
Personal readings are available Here to help you navigate this time.
New Moon May 2020
The new moon cycle begins in Taurus on May 22nd at 10:38 AM PDT, in the Vedic nakshatra of Krittika, “the cutter.” Taurus is a feminine earth sign ruled by Venus, and Venus joins the Sun and Moon in Taurus on this dark moon tonight along with Mercury. Both Mars and Jupiter cast their aspects here, while Saturn, Jupiter, and Venus are all in retrograde motion.
A Taurus cycle compels us to get into our physical bodies, focus on things close at hand, and find the simple beauty that comes from nature, foods, and pleasurable activities. Amidst the pandemic, the stars are supportive this month to help us focus on family and the simple pleasures around the home. Fitting with the season, this is a good cycle to work on gardening and to beautify your indoor and outdoor as well as inner landscapes.
On a spiritual level, Taurus helps us to forge ahead (sometimes with a stubborn, “bull-headedness”) in our chosen direction … it can sometimes be hard to change directions, however, so it is important to set some intentions and orient yourself properly on this dark moon night before the cycle begins. Mars’ aspect onto the new Moon adds some firepower to the mix, while Jupiter’s glance adds a breeze of wisdom and grace.
Krittika means “the cutter,” and this star helps us to cut away that which we do not need. It is ruled by Agni, fire personified, which also helps us to cut and burn away the excesses that we may have been carrying. On this new Moon night it’s a great time to cut or clear away anything that is weighing you down or getting in your way. Literally cutting plants, hedges, foods, or hair are good activities we perform that also symbolize some of the inner cutting we must do on our vasanas (negative tendencies) and unnecessary attachments.
This star is symbolized by a razor, axe, or flame. There is also a feminine nurturing quality to this star, as it relates with Lord Kartikeyya who was suckled by six pleiades (this nakshatra is the cluster of seven stars known as the pleiades). This is the birthstar of Mata Amritanandamayi Devi (“Amma”), a great saint who is known for her power to cut through negativities and also nurture endlessly as the divine Mother.
Three Retrograde Planets: Venus, Jupiter and Saturn
Venus, Saturn, and Jupiter are all traveling in apparent retrograde motion at the moment, giving them strength and an inward-oriented power. When Venus is retrograde we have an enhanced ability to reflect upon our relationships. This can include doing some work on your patterns (and creating better ones), as well as re-examining old relationships or reconnecting with people from your past. It also lends us the ability to examine our relationships with sensory pleasures in general, perhaps redefining our relationships with food, drink, or substance, or unearthing some of our creative energy that has been left dormant.
With Jupiter retrograde we must look deeply at the philosophies, creeds, and spiritual beliefs that guide us. It is a good time to reconnect with scripture or teachers, and really examine yourself inwardly for how your belief structures are working and supporting you. It can be a great time to re-commit to spiritual practice, as Jupiter is getting closer to earth and brighter in the sky during the first half of this retrograde cycle (the whole cycle is from May 14th through September 12th).
Under retrograde Saturn we examine our long-term goals, our work and the ways we commit to support ourselves, and the very structures under which we live. You may find this period is an opportunity to restructure or redefine the work you do in the world, or your understanding of what are the most important things that you are working for. Saturn retrograde can also teach us more about self-control and self-discipline, but also the need to let go of external attachments and rely more on our inner strength. Meditation is one of the greatest remedies for Saturn.
Saturn and Covid
Saturn is currently strong in his own sign as well as strong due to his retrograde transit, and, in Capricorn, is a large part of the force that is restructuring the outside world during this Covid crisis. He brings restriction and contraction, and in Capricorn, forces us to examine the structures that support us, particularly as a society. This retrograde transit could bring some relief but it asks us to choose new directions when he begins to move forward again, surrendering more to the greater good, rather than trying to hold onto systems of power that have been failing.
Personal readings are available here.
The Sun and Moon will join at 10° sidereal Libra this Sunday night, October 24th, at 8:39 pm PDT. This Dark Moon night commemorates the Hindu holiday of Diwali, the festival of lights. October 27th will actually be the third but main night of celebration of this festival, which begins on Dhanteras on October 25th.
The New Moon in Libra will begin a Libra cycle, compelling us to find balance, harmony, beauty, and compromise. Venus will have just left his own sign of Libra, a couple of hours before the New Moon, but has been strong there the last several weeks and during most of the Amavasya dark Moon phase leading up to the exact New Moon moment.
One thing to note about the Libra cycle is that the Sun is considered neecha or naturally debilitated there, so self-care becomes especially important during a Libra cycle. 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 possible that our own strength becomes diminished as 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. At the beginning of this cycle, set an intention for a mindful self-care routine this month. Light some candles (or turn on your electronic ones) for Diwali on the Dark Moon night, and if possible, take some time each day to offer yourself some time to nourish and honor your personal light. Self-care practices can include yoga, meditation, chanting, art, or self-abhyangha (oil massage). You can also make some herbal tea to nourish yourself during this vata (cold and dry) season.
This New Moon joins the Sun in Swati nakshatra, a nakshatra that is also known to add to vata conditions, as it gives the power to scatter like the wind, so be aware of restlessness this Dark Moon night. It is ruled by Lord Vayu, wind embodied, and is symbolized by a young plant blowing in the wind, both flexible and strong amidst it. It can be translated as the “priest” or the “sword” and carries hidden spiritual potential from its association with Rahu. The male buffalo is the animal symbol for Swati nakshatra.
Venus, Jupiter and Mercury
These three benefic planets will be traveling together in sidereal Scorpio from October 26th through November 4th, when Jupiter transits into Sagittarius. The conjunction of these three planets creates a Sarasvati yoga during certain times of day, which could offer auspicious muhurtas (moments) for initiating artistic, educational or spiritual activities. If you were born with a Sarasvati yoga in your natal chart, you may find it more activated during these times.
Jupiter in Sagittarius
On November 4th, we will experience a major movement in the cosmos, as Jupiter transits from Scorpio into Sagittarius. Because the outer planets move slower, they spend longer in each sign, so this transit is important because it will take effect for over a year while Jupiter travels through his own sign. Generally that brings strength to a planet, but with the current conjunction with Saturn and Ketu, also in Sagittarius, we could see an intensification of strange and radical ideologies vying for their place on the world stage.
Dhanteras and Diwali
On the new Moon of the Hindu month of Ashwin (this month), we celebrate Diwali, the festival of lights. The festival begins this year on Friday, October 25th (North America), on the 13th waning Moon phase of the previous cycle. This day is known as Dhanteras, or Dhanvantari Tryodashi, the celebration of the birth of Lord Dhanvantari, the father of Ayurvedic medicine. 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.
Diwali is strongly associated with the Goddess Laxmi, and is a powerful time to connect with her, calling in her blessings for both material and spiritual prosperity. Dhanteras 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.
We celebrate Diwali while the days are getting noticeably shorter and darker, and it is a time to invite more light into our lives, our hearts, and our world. This festival celebrates the victory of light over darkness, which is something to rejoice in and have faith in, even if we can’t outwardly observe it sometimes. Creating positive vibrations internally is the best way to begin growing and spreading them externally.
Diwali also commemorates Lord Ram’s and Sita’s return from exile after fourteen years (a story from the Ramayana). Lord Ram embodies the highest qualities of dharma, devotion, compassion, courage, and leadership. Diwali is also the start of a new lunar cycle, so it’s a great time to go within and summon these qualities to awaken and live through you.
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 (opt for electronic tea lights if you’re in a fire danger zone!), inviting the highest light into our homes and lives. 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.