Full Moon April 2020 and Covid Crisis
The full Moon will rise as the sun sets on April 7th, reaching its maximum brightness at 7:35 pm PDT. Moonrise varies depending upon your location, but in San Francisco the Moon will rise at 7:28, with the Sun setting at 7:39. This will be a beautiful sight, aligned with sidereal Virgo, which will not be visible until later in the night.
Since I’ve been on mostly on maternity leave since October, I’ve honestly been focusing much more on the little being in front of me than on the planetary positions. I relate with the planets in small, personal ways each day according to the days of the week, and the Moon cycle in general, and I charted the year to see what major movements would be happening. And though I analyze the current planetary positions in relationship to natal charts when I’m doing personal readings, I thus far never got the chance to put together any year-long analysis or predictions.
To be blunt … I honestly didn’t see these current events coming. I wanted to make sure I could at least visit the Covid Crisis in my next newsletter, and with baby life, sheltering-in-place, and an Ayurvedic spring cleanse on my plate a few weeks ago, I decided to skip offering the last new Moon update rather than send it out without taking the time to include this info. So, although I’m sure this situation can withstand much deeper analysis than I can offer during these few hours of sleeping baby (and many more decades of study than I have under my belt), here goes…
Let’s start with Saturn. Saturn takes about 2.5 years to transit each sign, meaning it takes him 30 years to transit around the entire zodiac (this is why “Saturn’s return,” i.e. when he returns to the sign he was in during your birth, happens beginning around 27.5-30 years of age). Saturn is the old wise person of the zodiac, the one who teaches us about the long-term consequences of our actions, and about the hard work and commitment it takes to reach our goals. When he comes around, it feels like he sits on your head, putting the pressure on and bringing an air of stern seriousness. “Time to grow up,” says Saturn.
On January 23rd of this year, he returned to his own sign of Capricorn (sidereal). Earth-sign Capricorn is where he teaches us about responsibility and structure. Where we have not been responsible, or where structures we have created are too weak, he will show us this now that he has come back home to oversee things in these areas. Crumbling infrastructure, therefore, is one possible result of this homecoming.
Capricorn is the natural tenth house, and therefore the tenth house for a chart of the entire world. Tenth house relates to government, commerce, and all the activities going on “out in the world” in the middle of the day. Saturn often brings restriction, and a sense of things drying up, so with his return here, we are seeing immense restriction on all 10th-house matters on a global scale, where we literally cannot go out in the world, and careers and commerce are suffering. The pressure is on governments to step up to the responsibility and create new structures to help us through this time.
Saturn will be transiting through this sign through January, 2023 (minus a couple of months in Aquarius mid-2022). We can expect to see some major restructuring in governments and commerce through this time. It is my hope that we end up with systems and structures that are more sustainable, more responsible for the whole. Capricorn is a feminine earth sign that, like a mother, wants to see all her children supported and sustained.
Also in January of this year, on the 15th, Ketu transited into Mula nakshatra, “the root” star at the beginning of sidereal Sagittarius. (Since Ketu moves backwards, he is counting down the degrees of Sagittarius on his way out and into Scorpio in September). Having been joined with Saturn for much of last year in Sagittarius, the combination stirred the pot in the world stage of ideology, pinning many philosophical groups against one another and causing us to analyze our own beliefs and toss out the parts that do not work. Now that Ketu is in the root of the zodiac (literally aligned with the galactic center), he is asking us to dive even deeper into what we believe in—philosophically, spiritually, politically.
Jupiter is currently the bridge between the two houses of Sagittarius and Capricorn, ruling the former (with Ketu in it), and transiting the latter (with ruler Saturn occupying it). This connects Jupiter, Saturn, and Ketu once again, as the three were joined in Sagittarius during part of the end of the year. Connecting Sagittarius and Capricorn connects the 9th and 10th house matters — the ideology of humanity at large, and the manifestation of it on the world stage (in a personal chart, it connects your higher education with your career, and your personal belief system with your outward actions in the world).
This will contribute what can be seen as a paradigm shift as the outward restructuring happens: ideologies that are old and no longer serving are coming face to face with the structures that can no longer support the world’s population to thrive. It may be my own Jupiterian idealism speaking, but I think we will see the dominant framework of corrupt capitalism usurped by one that cherishes all of humanity and cares for us and the earth herself as well. Now there’s some wonkiness due to Jupiter’s technical debilitation in Capricorn, and I’ll talk more about that a bit later…
Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn
Mars in the mix means the warrior energy is there. Mars is currently transiting Capricorn along with Jupiter and Saturn (from March 22nd through May 4th, all 3 are together here). So here’s the deal: Saturn rules Capricorn, and he’s strong here (teaching lessons outlined above, i.e. fix broken structures). Mars is considered exalted in Capricorn, meaning he’s also strong here. It’s where he’s best able to execute his warrior nature under the rulership of “consider-the-consequences” Saturn. Mars finds discipline in this sign, meaning our fiery energy (or that of mother earth) can be channeled toward a specific long-term goal, rather than just exploding out erratically. It can still feel like a war though. (On a personal level, this is a great month to recommit to sadhana, yoga, exercise, or any other practice that requires focus, endurance, and commitment.)
Jupiter is in fact technically debilitated when he’s traveling through Capricorn… This may be what is contributing to what feels like a lack of hope or faith for many people right now. Jupiter gives us these qualities through his expansive nature, but in restrictive, practical Capricorn, optimism is overshadowed by the harsh qualities of what we must endure the real world. He’s dancing with two strong malefics, while debilitated, which is giving the stern hand of Saturn and the fierce sword of Mars seemingly insurmountable power over our inner sense of grace and cheer.
However, because he’s joining both his ruler, Saturn, and an exalted planet, Mars, Jupiter’s debilitation here is also technically doubly neecha bhangha, or heavily modified. That means there’s a chance for the hope and optimism to be uplifted, or for the philosophy to be progressively modified, allowing the positive qualities of all three planets to harmonize. That means our faith could be gradually restored by the courage and strength of Mars and the maturity and endurance of Saturn. It leads me to believe that the situation will not result in the worst-case scenarios that many of us may be imagining right now.
Venus is also strong right now, traveling through his home sign of Taurus (since March 28th). Mother Nature is actually prospering right now, through the lack of air and vehicle travel that is taking place. The skies and lands and waters are actually cleaner than they have been in decades. We are also seeing a lot of person-to-person cooperation all across the globe. There is a sense of friendliness, of neighborliness, of shared humanity during this time of crisis. Venus is spending quite a few months strong this year, as he will turn retrograde on May 12th and remain in Taurus through July 31st. This is a time for kindness, compromise, and caring for nature. I think there will be some reconsideration of our approach to these things during the retrograde period (May 12th through June 24th), and some powerful signs of progress coming out of the tail end of this transit.
Saturn will turn retrograde in Capricorn on May 10th, Venus will turn retrograde in Taurus on May 12th, and Jupiter will turn retrograde, also in Capricorn, on May 14th. This gives strength to all three, and also brings forward a reflective quality around the things that they rule. The structures, the cooperation, and the philosophies by which we live will be under review and revision on a large scale (again, especially due to the positions of Saturn and Jupiter in the 10th and 9th natural houses). Jupiter returns to his own sign of Sagittarius on June 29th, which should feel like a grace-given sigh of relief. Of course, there are still the eclipses to contend with … June 5th, June 21st, and July 4th (more on these in an upcoming newsletter). Things tend to settle down after an eclipse cycle passes, so let’s say that sigh can be completely let out after July 4th.
Full Moon in Virgo
This week, the Moon is coming full in Virgo, the sign of details and control, opposite the Sun who is transiting through Pisces. The Pisces cycle simultaneously makes us feel alone and distant, while also bringing us closer to our faith in and surrender to a higher power. The full Moon in Virgo reminds us of all of the practical and rational things that we need to do, taking care of life’s details, while we are in a mindset of looking for higher answers. Balance is key. Depending on your nature this can be one of the hardest axes to find balance within, whether you tend towards the Jupiterian or Mercurial side of things. As Mercury is currently debilitated in Pisces, we may find it harder to stay focused right now but the full Moon is an opportunity to do so.
This full Moon is in the Vedic nakshatra of Chitra, “the brilliant.” It aligns with Spica in Virgo, one of the brightest shining stars in the sky. It is the sign of the celestial architect, Vishvakarma, so is also very much about structure, or restructure. There is a beauty here, and a love of art and romance. It bridges Virgo and Libra, so the full Moon here encourages us to move from attempts at strict order toward divine balance.
Today’s full Moon also brings Hanuman Jayanti, a celebration of Lord Hanuman, Lord Ram’s greatest devotee. Now more than ever we need to call on his endless well of faith, devotion, humility, and service. This year staying home is the greatest service many of us can do, so let us do it not reluctantly but as an offering to the world and all of humanity.
I promise to continue my analysis of the situation and the rest of this year’s unfolding as time continues and allows. Again, I may be biased, as we all are based on our natal planets, but as your Jupiter-driven friend, I’d say, keep the faith.
May all beings be happy and at peace. 🙏🏼
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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.
There will be a full Moon in Bharani nakshatra in sidereal Aries on Monday night, reaching full waxing brightness at 5:35 am PST on Tuesday, November 12th. This is a powerful Full Moon for new beginnings as the Moon transits Aries, the first cardinal sign, and receives an aspect from its ruler Mars as well as the full brightness of the Sun.
Full Moon in Aries
The Aries full Moon is the integration point of the Libra cycle we began on Diwali in late October. The Sun in Libra is debilitated and compels us to put a lot of energy into balancing things, and people, outside of ourselves. As the Moon transits Aries and is fully illuminated by the Sun, we may be able to tune in more with our individual strengths and stop emphasizing other people so much.
Both Mars and the Sun will be in Libra, opposite this full Moon, directing a lot of strength back at it. This alignment will brighten our hearts and minds, bringing courage, strength, and determination. Mars is strengthened by the fact that he will be exchanging signs with Venus, in Parivartana Yoga. As Mars rules Scorpio (where Venus currently transits) and Venus rules Libra (where Mars will be as of Sunday morning), the two will lend a harmonizing and supportive energy to each other as they “visit each other’s houses.”
The Moon will be fully brightened in Bharani nakshatra, the one known as “the bearer.” This can imply both the creative act of bearing, i.e. a child, and also gestures towards the spiritual austerity type of bearing, i.e. difficulties. This nakshatra is a portal of birth and death, as it is ruled by the deity Yama, the Lord of Death, but symbolized by the female reproductive organs. Related to both Venus (as nakshatra graha) and Mars (as rashi ruler), it further emphasizes the cooperation of the two — allow the masculine warrior energy within us and the feminine happiness principles to harmonize.
Jupiter Has Entered Sagittarius
Jupiter made a major transit last week, finally passing into sidereal Sagittarius for good after a quick visit earlier this year, having spent most of the last 13 months transiting sidereal Scorpio. Jupiter has now returned to his own sign of Sagittarius and will hold a natural strength here for this new 13-month transit. This will strengthen our idealism, and our commitment to explore and act upon our highest beliefs. It may encourage many people to pursue learning and education, as well as more wisdom and spiritual depth.
Jupiter joins Saturn and Ketu, already here, who have been stirring the pot in terms of idealism and philosophy on the world stage. We will continue to see tensions around firmly engrained belief systems, but also the energy and movement to break down old patterns of operating through systems that have been in place for a long time. Look for some major shifts in the dominant philosophical voices that may occur around the eclipse cycle at the end of this year.
Mercury Retrograde and Rare Transit
Mercury also joins the Sun and Mars in Libra during this full Moon, aspecting the Moon fairly closely and adding an intellectual perspective to our felt experience this week. Having been traveling in retrograde motion since November 7th, Mercury will be passing directly between the earth and the Sun on November 11th. This somewhat rare occurrence is known astronomically as a Mercury Transit. It last happened in 2016, and will not come again until 2032. Those with special protective telescopes or binoculars equipped with protective solar filters will be able to see a black dot passing across the Sun during this time.
What can you bear in the name of happiness that requires more strength than you thought you had right now?
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.