Guru Purnima Full Moon Eclipse 2020
Tonight’s Full Moon in sidereal Sagittarius is the auspicious one known as Guru Purnima, a day for honoring our teachers, especially the satgurus and saints who bring light and truth to the world. The Full Moon peaks at 9:45pm PDT tonight, July 4th, and is accompanied by a penumbral lunar eclipse that peaks at 9:29 pm PDT. Though visible from the Americas, Africa, and Western Europe, this eclipse only brings a partial shadow across one side of the Moon. Its effects are being felt profoundly, however, during this cycle of change that has come with the two prior eclipses this summer.
Guru in Sanskrit is often translated as dispeller of darkness, or ignorance. We live with so much suffering as humans, because even through a lifetime most of us are still immature to a degree that we haven’t found peace with the bounty offered to us by divine creation. That is not to say that hardship and real suffering does not exist, but great souls and saints, and even many elders who have “lived through it all” have still been able to find a certain equanimity towards life’s difficulties, along with compassion and an attitude of service, however small, for those who are hurting.
In Yoga Sutra 1.33, Patanjali says:
maitri karuna muditopeksanam sukha duhkha punyapunya visayanam bhavanatas citta prasadanam
“By cultivating attitudes of friendliness toward the happy, compassion for the unhappy, delight in the virtuous, and disregard toward the wicked, the mind retains its undisturbed calmness.”
We could dive into a full discussion of all of these, especially in these trying times. In the last point “disregard” could be also understood as indifference or equanimity … though I believe as humans anger has a place on the path to this level of peace. But the Guru has the ability to bless us with a grace to move beyond this anger and into a place of peace and spiritual strength, despite whatever outside circumstances may be.
The Moon joins “Guru” (Jupiter) in his home-sign of (sidereal) Sagittarius this year. A bright, retrograde Jupiter can be seen close to the Moon tonight… though the south node Ketu also brings his (usually) invisible presence here, creating the shadow effect that will pass over the Moon. (Though of course the actual shadow is a result of the earth’s position, Earth, Sun and Moon are aligned with Rahu and Ketu astronomically, signaling the eclipses.)
Sagittarius is aligned with the galactic center, and is the active fire sign of Jupiter, a planet who guides our values, ideas, and philosophies. This eclipse cycle (including the eclipses of June 5th and June 20th) has brought up a lot of the shadows inherent in our cultural philosophy and values, stirring the pot over such things as hygiene (coronavirus management), race, and of course politics. During tonight’s eclipse, through dedicated practice and Guru’s grace, we may have the opportunity to see some of our cloudy thinking and remove the shadows of ignorance, both individually and collectively, that have hindered us through history.
The Guru Purnima Full Moon eclipse aligns with the Vedic nakshatra of Purvaashada, “the undefeated.” This star-sign brings strength as well as love and compassion, with a feminine energy ruled by Venus and the deity Apas (water personified). It is a place where we may battle over ideas, but ultimately truth will always be victorious in the end.
The nodes have been harnessing strength over the course of this year since mid-February when the Kala Sarpa cycles began (the two weeks of each month when all planets are on one side of the nodal axis). As the Sun moves into sidereal Cancer on July 15th, this will break the cycle, making these periods impossible through the end of the year. These cycles are not entirely rare, however, so we should not attribute current events to this alone (they have been happening every year for the last several.
Jupiter and Saturn continue their retrograde cycles through the fall, giving us an opportunity to dive deep into our philosophies and values and the structures we use to support these, making change particularly at the macro level as they travel through their homes signs of Sagittarius and Capricorn, respectively. Mars will also gain strength when he enters his home sign of Aries on August 16th, and then going through a retrograde cycle from September 9th through November 13th.
Personal readings are available Here to help you navigate this time.
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.
Full Moon February 2020
The full Moon in Cancer is Saturday night at 11:33pm PST. Opposite Sun and Saturn, and aspected by Mars, emotionality is high this weekend. Your heart may be feeling extra sensitive but also a lot of pressure and a hint of volatility. Try to get clear on what is really important and let your open heart shine from that place.
This full Moon aligns with Ashlesha nakshatra, at the end of sidereal Cancer. This is a powerful spiritual star-sign that relates with awakening kundalini and other energies from below the surface. Watch out for getting stirred up about something without doing a deep dive into yourself to find the source. Ashlesha’s deities are the nagas (serpent energy) and its planetary ally is Mercury.
Venus remains exalted in Pisces for most of this month (February 2nd-28th). Though this could theoretically be a good alignment for Valentine’s day, it’s actually likely to test any love relationship that isn’t grounded in a shared belief system or higher principles and purpose.
Pisces’ ruler Jupiter is now strong in his own sign of Sagittarius, since early November. Joining Ketu here (now in Mula), we will be compelled through this transit to investigate the source of our belief systems, root out anything that is false, limiting, or simply out-of-date, and let go of past ideas that no longer serve. Simultaneously, it is a good time to go deeper into the source (i.e. texts, history, tradition) of those beliefs and philosophies that do support us.
Jupiter will remain in Sagittarius through March 29th when he’ll transit into Capricorn, joining Saturn and Mars. He’ll begin retrograde motion on May 14th, and transit back into Sagittarius on June 29th, remaining there again through November 18th. He turns direct on September 12th. Ketu will join for most of that time until he leaves Sagittarius for Scorpio on September 23rd.
Saturn has finally returned home to his own sign of Capricorn, making his transit there on January 23rd. He gains a lot of strength in his own sign and will be applying the pressure to make us all look at our responsibilities and commitments, and work hard to create more supportive structures in our lives. Saturn will spend a good five years between the two signs he rules, Capricorn and Aquarius.
You’ll feel his affects even more strongly if you’re running a Saturn dasha, or depending on your lagna (ascendant in your Vedic chart). If you were born with Saturn in sidereal Capricorn (1961-63, 1990/91-93), this begin’s a Saturn’s return for you. If you have your natal Moon in sidereal Aquarius, this begins your Sade Sati (7 years of Saturn), and if your natal Moon is in sidereal Scorpio, your Sade Sati is over, congratulations!
After Mars’ February 7th transit into Sagittarius, this puts all planets except for the Moon either on or to one side of the Rahu-Ketu axis, making the sky ripe for Kala Sarpa yoga cycles. We’ll experience the first of these starting February 17th when Moon enters Sagittarius. These will last for half of each Moon cycle through July 15th when the Sun enters Cancer. This will bring on a stronger nodal presence, which can feel like heavy intensity, especially for those running a Rahu or Ketu dasha.
Be sure to check out my list of Important 2020 Dates in Jyotish 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.
Tonight brings a dark Moon as the Moon joins the Sun in sidereal Virgo. Exact New Moon in Virgo will be at 11:26 am PT on Saturday, September 28th. This begins a Virgo cycle that will help us to connect with the earth, the feminine, and draw ourselves more inward as we enter the season of the Sun’s decent in the northern hemisphere.
We’ve just passed the equinox on September 23rd, the time where night and day are of equal lengths, and we are now entering the yin season where the hours of darkness will exceed the hours of light. This first full lunar cycle begins in Virgo, a feminine earth sign, that encourages us to ground out some of the activity of summer and turn inwards as we come upon this darker season.
Virgo is also ruled by Mercury, the planet of the intellect, which will get us thinking about practicality and logistics this month. Have you planned your store for winter, getting together everything you need and tying up loose ends in the world before your period of inward attention and maybe even hybernation? Mercury is still technically joining the Sun and Moon in Virgo as we begin this cycle, but will be passing into Libra the next day. Venus and Mars also join in Virgo now, making our nights especially dark as these three stay close to the sun and only Jupiter and Saturn are visible. Venus remains debilitated in Virgo for just a few more days, until October 3rd.
This New Moon occurs with Sun and Moon in Hasta nakshatra, the sign of the hand. Hasta is a place that allows us to hone our skills, both manual and intellectual. It offers us a “craftiness,” whether literal, or of mind. This is a good time for getting into any hands-on work that requires dexterity, as well as for business dealings or other organization that requires tact and skill. Hasta is ruled by Savitar, the Sun God, while also linked to the Moon’s influence, and its animal is the female buffalo.
The New Moon this month brings one of the largest Hindu festivals of the year, Maha Navaratri. Navaratri means “the nine nights,” and beginning with the first Moon phase after the dark Moon, the Goddess Devi is celebrated through many forms for the following nine nights and ten days. In North America Navaratri will be celebrated from September 29th through October 8th, with October 8th being the 10th day of Victory (an auspicious time for starting new endeavors, after 9 nights of worship). In some places Navaratri celebrates the goddess Durga in nine of her forms, while 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. Read more about Maha Navaratri 2019 here, and stay tuned for daily updates on how to connect with the many forms of the Goddess.
Kala Sarpa & Nodal Influences
This year’s festival could churn up even more internal difficulties than usual … offer them to the Goddess! We are currently under a Kala Sarpa cycle, with all planets to one side of the Rahu-Ketu axis, and will be in this alignment until October 6th. This can bring up more shadow energy and sticky spots than usual, especially if you are running a Rahu-Ketu dasha or have these planets prominently in your chart. It’s all the more reason to join the festivities and offer worship or some kind of spiritual practice during these days.
The good news on the nodal front — Saturn and Ketu will finally be separating a bit, and will leave their 1-degree proximity on October 1st! With Mean Node calculations, Ketu and Saturn have been joined within one degree of each other since April 25th! This will begin to slowly take some pressure off in the area of your life shown by Sagittarius, or those ruled by Saturn.