New Moon April 2021
The Moon and Sun join to make a New Moon at the very end of sidereal Pisces at 10:31 pm ET on the dark night of Sunday, April 11th. This will begin a lunar cycle in which the Sun spends most of his time in Aries, his sign of exaltation. Jupiter, one of the outer, slower-moving planets, has transited into sidereal Aquarius, breaking rank with Saturn who remains in Capricorn.
We enter another lunar cycle during which the Sun begins in one sign just two days before entering another, where he will spend most of the lunar cycle. Pisces is the last sign of the natural zodiac, the end, a place where we connect with the unseen world including the underworld itself. Aries, on the other hand, is a place of beginnings, the true springtime energy where the literal sunlight gives life to the world once again and things begin to grow outwardly. This cycle will connect these two worlds for us, bringing much of the subconscious into light as we begin to take on more activity during this season.
The Sun and Moon begin joined with a debilitated Mercury, which can make us pass up practicality in favor of hopes and dreams. Jupiter rules this femenine (inward-looking) water sign.
The Sun, Moon and Mercury are all in Revati nakshatra as we begin this Moon cycle. The final of the 27 Vedic nakshatras, this sign has to do with journeys, and is ruled by the deity Pushan, the protector of journeys, flocks and herds. We can imagine in particular the journey from life to death as this is the final journey that we all make. Revati means “the wealthy” and is also related to Mercury, Vishnu and Lakshmi. There is a strong association with animals and this nakshatra, and many people with planets here have a strong love of pets or animals.
Jupiter has moved from sidereal Capricorn into Aquarius, lightening his load as he is no longer in his sign of debilitation and joining the heavy presence of Saturn. Jupiter in Aquarius could stimulate some expansion in social programs, scientific innovations, and forward-thinking across society. This new position could stimulate some movement in your life depending on natal planetary positions and the current dasha (planetary period) and bhukti (sub-period) you are running according to your chart.
Mars will leave Taurus just hours after the New Moon, finally parting ways with Rahu, lessening some of the intensity that has built up around their conjunction the past couple of months. His movement will also break the Kala Sarpa cycles, although with only one outlier the nodal alignment can still bring some intensity to current events or those born with these placements in the birth chart.
This New Moon is followed by nine nights that are the springtime celebration of the goddess known as Chaitra Navaratri. These nights are celebrated in homage to the divine mother in her many forms, particularly Durga. This is not as largely celebrated as the fall-time Navaratri (Sharad or Maha Navaratri), but is also significant. This leads us up to Hanuman Jayanti which will be celebrated around the time of the next full Moon.
New Moon and Maha Shivaratri, March 2021
The Sun and Moon join near the end of sidereal Aquarius on the dark night of March 12th, with an exact alignment under the New Moon at 5:21 am ET on Saturday, March 13th. Mercury and Venus also join the Moon and Sun in Aquarius, while Saturn (with Jupiter in sidereal Capricorn) once again rules over 6 grahas at the time of the New Moon. Mars and Rahu continue their conjunction in sidereal Taurus, opposite Ketu in Sagittarius, forming a Kala Sarpa Yoga in the sky. Thursday night, the fourteenth night of the waning Moon, marks the Maha Shivaratri celebration this month. Sun and Moon begin this cycle in the Vedic nakshatra Purva Bhadrapada, an auspicious sign for spiritual advancement.
With the new lunar cycle beginning in Aquarius, the coming month may have a quirky and forward-thinking tone, and we may see some scientific advances this month. The Mars Rover landing actually occurred just days after the Sun had entered its Aquarius cycle. Aquarius is in fact very much about service to the greater good. With Saturn strong in his own sign, we could see many significant advances in social support structures right now.
Aquarius is known as Kumbha in Sanskrit, a word for “pitcher” or “vessel.” According to the Vedic texts, the sign Kumbha can be imagined as a man holding a pot, with deep-brown skin, standing in the water. We can see this Aquarian imagery in the sadhus of India (and its biggest ritual pilgrimage day, the Kumbha Mela), who make their lives an offering of service to society through their prayers and Saturnian austerities, while renouncing the individual self. In the Aquarius cycle, we think about how we can serve the whole.
Thursday night, March 11th in North America, the night prior to the Dark Moon night, is the fourteenth waning phase of the lunar cycle. During this month this night is celebrated as Maha Shivaratri. This is the most auspicious night of the year for doing sadhana (spiritual practice). It is traditional on this night to stay up all night fasting, chanting, praying, and meditating. This holiday honors Lord Shiva, the great ascetic, as we recall two stories of great sacrifices that he made protect the entire creation.
One of these is the story of the gods and demons churning of the milk ocean in order to release the nectar of immortality. Before the nectar came up, however, a poison came up first. (This is similar to when we do spiritual practice and begin our path of self-inquiry, and negative tendencies often come to light first, which can be a painful experience. Similarly, during a physical fast or cleanse, toxins can be shaken loose and released first, causing a healing crisis before we continue healing into a freer, happier state of being.) When the poison came up from the milk ocean, Lord Shiva consumed it so that it would not engulf humanity, as a great and noble sacrifice. His wife, Parvati, however, held his throat so that he could not ingest it, thus saving him from being harmed by the poison.
Maha Shivaratri also commemorates the wedding of Shiva and Parvati, which also stemmed from great sacrifice made for the benefit of all humanity. It was said that after his first wife, Sati, perished, Shiva was fully devoted only to his sadhana, meditating for aeons in isolation and renouncing the world. Then the demon Tarakasura began running amock on earth, threatening all of humanity. Brahma foretold that only Shiva’s child could defeat Tarakasura, so the gods devised a plan for Sati to reincarnate as Parvati, and win over her Lord to marriage once again to produce this heir. Shiva was not easily swayed, however, and it was only after Parvati became an ascetic and underwent great penance that he agreed to marry. They eventually produced their son Kartikkeya, who went on to slay the demon.
Thus, this holiday is celebrated through the penance of fasting, forgoing food, water, and sleep, for one night, and simultaneously celebrating the union of Lord Shiva and Parvati, or the masculine and feminine energies of creation, that allows the dance of life to continue. It is an apt time to feel the forces of Aquarius upon us, which compel us to consider our role in society, and in the universe, and what personal sacrifices we can make for the greater good. Even if you’re not able to stay up the whole night, any amount of devotional practice, serviceful sacrifice, or chanting of Om Namah Shivaya on this night can have beneficial affects that are magnified greater than on any other night.
Kala Sarpa Yoga
This year’s Kala Sarpa yoga cycles continue, as Rahu and Ketu appear to cut the sky in half with all planets to one side of the nodal axis. Kala Sarpa can be translated as “black snake” or the “serpent of time,” and intensifies subtle forces on all levels, including inner challenges as well as strengths and yogic combinations in a chart. Mars joins Rahu in Taurus, and tho he will transit out of Taurus and into Gemini in one month, technically breaking the cycle, the intensity brought on by the alignment can sometimes continue when only one planet has crossed to the other side of the sky.
The former “lucky-footed one” is the Vedic nakshatra (star-sign) where Sun and Moon begin this lunar cycle. This nakshatra bridges Aquarius and Pisces and is often represented by a funeral cot, symbolizing the transition from life into death, or ultimate liberation. It is ruled by Aja Epakada, the one-footed goat who is often associated with the image of Lord Shiva as Nataraj dancing on one foot, a fitting image for Maha Shivaratri.
Om Namah Shivaya!
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New Moon February 2021
Today the Sun and Moon join at the very end of sidereal Capricorn for a New Moon at 2:06 pm EST. By tomorrow both Sun and Moon will move into sidereal Aquarius, where the Sun will transit for most of this cycle. Both signs are ruled by Saturn, who is joining Sun and Moon in Capricorn as we begin this cycle. Jupiter, Venus, and retrograde Mercury are also there, bringing us a heavy dose of Capricorn energy in a very weighted chart, with all these planets between the two nodes who create a Kaala Sarpa yoga.
New Moon in Capricorn
Saturn has been in his own sign of Capricorn since January of 2020. This earth-sign is about being responsible, focusing on structure, family, and commitments. With Saturn here for the last year he has been strong in his own sign, putting the pressure on us to work hard for what is most important, and spend less time on the frivolous. Saturn pressures us to be mature but his heavy influence can feel like a restrictive weight. As we begin another cycle under strong Saturn’s influence, we may feel like life is a bit serious and difficult right now.
Planetary Pileup: Dhanishtha and Sravana Nakshatras
At the moment of this new Moon we have 6 of the 9 grahas in sidereal Capricorn, with Sun and Moon in Dhanishtha nakshatra and Saturn, Jupiter, Venus, and retrograde Mercury all in Sravana nakshatra.
Dhanishtha is the star of wealth (dhana), and thus it does give us the opportunity to start this month with a mindset of prosperity. It is symbolized by the musical drum, showing that we must keep a steady beat, finding the rhythm that is right for us, in order to succeed. Symbolized by the female lion, we can be brave and fierce while also meeting the basic responsibilities of providing for our families. The deities who rule Dhanishtha are the eight Vasus, the elemental deities. This can be a good time to connect with these principles through the study of Ayurveda, especially examining how the elements are at play within each of us.
With four planets in Sravana nakshatra, the universe is asking us to “Listen!” The star of hearing, and symbolized by an ear, Sravana is where we can listen deeply to the lessons that are being taught by the cosmos. As with any New Moon, this is an opportune time of month to be more inward, tuning into the voice of the heart instead of the chatter of the mind and the external world. Lord Vishnu, the preserver of the universe, presides here, further encouraging us to maintain that which is around us as we seek inner wisdom.
With so many planets in both of these nakshatras this lunar cycle could be a good time to begin projects that require long-term commitment and hard work. Take note, however, of the planetary war going on between Jupiter and Venus…
Jupiter and Venus war when they come within 1 degree of each other in the sky, which they will be until 9:31 am EST on February 12th. Neither planet is incredibly strong and luminous already because of their proximity to the Sun — they rise and set during the daylight hours so are not currently visible. Jupiter is debilitated in Capricorn (though neecha bhangha, somewhat helped due to ruler Saturn’s presence there). Therefore beginning any ventures ruled by these two would be less than ideal during the planetary war, and best to wait until after that time has passed. That would include ventures in the arts, music, love, children, education, learning or teaching.
Venus and Mercury will engage in planetary war from February 12th through 13th, and then Mercury will war with Jupiter from the 13th through 15th. After Mercury stations and ends his retrograde journey on the 20th, he will pass by Jupiter again for another war from March 2nd through the 6th.
With all planets clustered together right now (except for lone Mars, who transits his own sign of Aries), the nodes Rahu and Ketu cut the chart sharply in half with no planets on the other side of their axis. This creates the somewhat dreaded Kaala Sarpa yoga — the “black snake” or “serpent of time.” This adds a weight to the chart that compels all of us to dive deeper into sadhana in order to work with the energies at hand. A lot of what is going on may be subconscious or karmic, and requires looking at the aspects of our lives that are difficult to see or understand. The kaala sarpa energy will pervade until Mars enters Gemini on April 14th.
New Moon January 2021
We have another Dark Moon tonight under which the Sun and Moon align at the very end of one sign (Sagittarius), setting the tone for a month that blends and bridges the energy of two signs as the Sun spends most of this cycle in sidereal Capricorn. The exact New Moon moment is at midnight Eastern time on January 13th (between January 12th and 13th), with the Sun and Moon coming together at 29 degrees and 6 minutes of sidereal Sagittarius. The last lunar cycle began in December with a solar eclipse as the Sun and Moon joined in the very end of sidereal Scorpio.
With the New Moon moment happening in Sagittarius, hours before both Sun and Moon transit into Capricorn, the coming month will carry the energy of both signs. Sagittarius is a fire sign ruled by Jupiter, inspiring us to act on our beliefs and put these into the world through righteous action, standing up for what we believe in and aligning our actions with our vision.
This lunar cycle frees us from the energy of the eclipses of this cycle. When Sun moves into Capricorn, however, we will continue to feel the pressure of Saturn that has been strong over the last year while he has been transiting his own sign. Sun, Jupiter and Saturn will all be joined in Capricorn over the next month (with Mercury and Venus both spending much of it there as well). As Jupiter and Saturn become combust (they are now so close to the Sun as to be barely visible), they may lose some power… The sense of restriction that we feel could be alleviated this month, but our ability to be steadfast and endure difficulties is also weakened, as well as our sense of inspiration with Jupiter going out of sight.
Capricorn energy is about finding stability and the inner strength to work hard for our responsibilities and the structures that sustain us. A feminine earth sign, we can look towards our internal resources this month and make sure we are using our energy for what is most important.
The solar eclipse of the last cycle led into a full Moon in Ardra nakshatra, a star that often brings violence and turbulence forward, especially when associating with the nodes or an eclipse. The violence at the US Capitol during the waning part of the last cycle could be associated with the tone under which the cycle began (dark eclipse energy in transformative Scorpio), combined with the subsequent full Moon in Ardra, still afflicted by the energy of the eclipse.
As the natural 10th sign, Capricorn in the world chart directly relates to government. With four planets here in the coming days (Juipter, Saturn, Sun, and Mercury), there is a lot of pressure (Saturn) on now to create a government, structures, and leaders that will sustain the world, be inspiring, and purify the energy of authority. This bodes well for the US presidential transition in general. On January 20th Moon will be in Ashwini, the first nakshatra, a good placement for transitions.
He will, however, be joining Mars, who is the brightest planet in the sky over the next few weeks. With Mars bright and Saturn and Jupiter nearly out of sight, there is definitely potential for more violence to come (especially having the Moon joined Mars on January 20th itself). Saturn becomes highly combust that day as he goes within 3 degrees of the Sun, which cripples authority structures a bit, as well as our ability to use restraint. Hopefully the powerful energy of the Sun itself in the 10th house of this day’s world chart (and Moon chart) is enough to bring a sattvic purifying energy to the realm of government, with help from Jupiter who is neecha bangha and slightly brighter than Saturn.
The day the Sun goes into Capricorn (January 13th/14th) begins the Hindu solar month of Makara. There is a Hindu celebration in India in honor of “the return of the light,” as we begin the first month after the winter solstice. This is an auspicious time for new beginnings and calling blessings into our lives.
New Moon and Solar Eclipse in Scorpio
The Sun and Moon come together on this Dark Moon night, joining near the end of sidereal Scorpio as they come towards a full conjunction at 11:17 am ET on December 14th for a New Moon in Scorpio. Their conjunction is also aligned closely enough with the south node, Ketu, that it will cause a total Solar Eclipse from 8:33 am through 1:53 pm ET, with the maximum eclipse at 11:13 am ET. The eclipse will only be visible from South America and small portions of Africa and Antarctica.
Total Solar Eclipse
In a total solar eclipse the Moon passes between the earth and the Sun, causing a shadow to appear over the Sun. This only occurs when Earth, Sun, and Moon are also closely aligned with the nodes, Rahu and Ketu, who are thought of as the shadow planets for this reason. These planets represent our deepest subconscious drivers. They are like our blind spots because we are not able to see them. During “eclipse season,” however, the shadows begin to become visible. This is a very important time of year to pay attention to any shadow work / inner demons / red flags that are arising for you. Great transformation is possible if we pay attention and do the work to honor what is being revealed.
This is the first set of eclipses to occur with the nodes in their new positions. Rahu and Ketu entered Taurus and Scorpio, respectively, in September, and will transit here for a year-and-a-half, creating three eclipse cycles on this axis along their way. Whatever house-axis sidereal Scorpio-Taurus is in your natal chart, and whatever planets you have there, will be affected greatly by this eclipse cycles and the ones coming over the next year. This is where you have the most work to do and may be facing the most challenges currently.
On a global level, we experience this eclipse elevating the apparent tension between our desire for material stability (Taurus) and overhauling change, surprises, and even loss (Scorpio). We may find ourselves more dependent upon or obsessed with one of these areas, while not allowing enough room for the other in our lives. In a personal chart analysis we can apply these ideas to whatever is affected in the natal chart.
New Moon in Scorpio, Sun cycle in Sagittarius
The total Solar Eclipse naturally coincides with the alignment of Sun and Moon, thus begins a new lunar cycle with Sun and Moon in Scorpio. As they are currently at the very end of sidereal Scorpio, the Sun will spend most of this cycle in Sagittarius, so we will experience a Sagittarian cycle with some Scorpion flavor. In the Sagittarius cycle we feel the radiant power of the Sun, and our inner power, fulfilled by acts of service and charity aligned with our highest beliefs. Sagittarius is a fire sign (a sign for action) ruled by Jupiter (principles, beliefs, and higher teachings). The Scorpio flavor will remind us that all actions and principles are also vulnerable to change, and this could allow us to find some growth around our inner-most core beliefs.
Jupiter-Saturn War & Total Conjunction
On December 21st, the winter solstice, Jupiter and Saturn will have an exact conjunction at 6 degrees 21 minutes of sidereal Capricorn, owned by Saturn himself. Though they align in the same sign every 20 years, this is the closest visible conjunction of the two in nearly 800 years. The last alignment was in May of 2000, a powerful transition point that ushered us into a new century, a new age of technology with the boom of the internet, and soon after a major change in the tone of society and world politics with the events of September 2001, including a major economic downturn.
The position of Saturn here in his home sign has put a lot of pressure on society already, and is largely related to the global pandemic and the continued constraint that we feel across the world and in our individual homes as well. With Jupiter entering Saturn’s sign, he attempts to bring some understanding, some learning, and some principles for us to work with as we navigate the stern imposition of Saturn in our lives. Can we learn anything from this? Can we check in with our beliefs and make sure that we are acting in accordance with them? Can we act in favor of these and in ways that are responsible towards our long-term goals, rather than frivolous?
The challenge is that, in Vedic thought, when two planets come very closely together, within one degree, it is considered a graha yuddha or planetary war. Who wins? Well, Jupiter is in fact much brighter in the sky, giving him a strong advantage at claiming our attention. But Saturn has proved incredibly strong right now being in his home sign of Capricorn. When two planets are at war, both will suffer to some degree, and their power in our lives may temporarily wane.
We may find that our principles, beliefs, and ideas don’t even feel like they are inspiring us or filling us with the faith we are seeking at the moment. And our efforts to stay strong, determined, and persevering through the shut down—and the other challenges in our lives— may feel depleted. Hold tight! The planetary war between these two runs from December 12th through December 30th.
Since this war is occurring in the 10th sign, hence the 10th house for a world chart, it relates strongly to government. The outright war for power between political figures in the U.S. may not subside until after December 30th, though we can admit it is hurting both sides and the governmental authority itself.
In our own lives, we may find things ruled by Jupiter and Saturn, the associated people, and the houses aligned with Scorpio, Taurus, and Capricorn may all be facing challenges during this month. Within all this there are learning opportunities offered by the planets, if we work to get to know them better and the highest purposes that they have to offer us.
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