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.
Full Moon May 2020
The full Moon peaks tonight at 3:45 am PT (early on Thursday, May 7th) in the nakshatra Vishaka near the end of sidereal Libra. This star is known as “the forked” branches which represent our finding ourselves at a crossroads where we must choose from two directions. In sidereal Libra, we are thinking strongly about balance and compromise, amidst an Aries Sun cycle that highlights individuality. In the coming week, we will see three planets head into Retrograde motion.
Libra Full Moon
Libra or Tula is the sign of the scales, representing the need to weigh and balance things to achieve an equilibrium in our lives. It is ruled by Venus, who is currently strong from his sva position, transiting his own sign of Taurus. Venus compels us to lead with the heart’s desires, to find beauty and happiness over all else. This could be a welcomed influence this week as we have been so heavily under the influence of a strong Saturn and Mars for the last several weeks.
The Full Moon in Libra is opposite a strong, exalted Sun in Aries. This position began an Aries cycle for us on April 22nd. The Aries cycle highlights strength and individuality, but with its ruler Mars in conjunction with Saturn (in Capricorn) for the last six weeks, that individuality took on a much more disciplinarian (and literally isolated) tone. There has been a tight grip of discipline over society through this time (since March 22nd), which may be easing up somewhat now that Mars has moved out of Capricorn (May 4th). Saturn will continue to reign there for the next two years, however, which could keep an air of restriction over society through that time.
Vishaka nakshatra bridges the end of Libra and the very beginning of Scorpio. Known as “the forked one” it is often depicted by forked branches, showing the opportunity for growth by choosing one of two directions. Its rulers are Indra and Agni, the chief of the gods and fire personified, showing the great strength that comes once one of those directions is chosen. We can find a strong devotion under this Vishaka full Moon, if we choose to channel our energy towards our higher purpose.
Upcoming Retrogrades: Saturn, Venus, Jupiter
Over the next week three planets will appear to slow down and reverse direction, entering retrograde motion from our perspective here on earth: Saturn on May 10th (through September 28th), Venus on May 12th (through June 24th), and Jupiter on May 14th (through September 12th). Saturn and Jupiter are actually coming closer to the earth as they enter retrograde motion, and will be approaching their brightest in the sky when they are fully opposite the Sun in a couple of months (mid-way through their retrograde cycles). Retrogression actually lends a certain strength to planets because of this proximity and brightness, so it’s not all to be feared!
The qualities of these planets may become even more intense while we will experience their influence in a more inward manner during retrogression. Saturn, for example, has been teaching us about structure and discipline, and making tough decisions in favor of long term goals. This will continue as he goes through this period of retrogression in Capricorn, but we may begin to look more to ourselves for that discipline, rather than simply feeling burdened to it by the outside forces. With Mars moving out of Capricorn and rules loosening, for example, it is now on us to consider deeply what are the best decisions for our futures. Some sacrifices may be needed as Saturn teaches us about endurance, patience, and personal restriction.
With Jupiter brightening and approaching through his retrograde cycle, our ideas and ideals come under personal scrutiny. It can be an opportunity for our faith to brighten, while also giving us a chance to check in with our worldview in general. As the outside world is changing, is there room for our inner convictions to adapt?
Venus’s retrogression from May 12th through June 24th will cause him to remain in his own sign of Taurus for over four months, spanning from March 28th through July 31st. Under retrograde Venus we slow down and take a deep look at our most significant relationships, especially familial relationships as Venus transits the sign of Taurus. It’s often a time when we get a “blast from the past” and check in with or hear from people with whom we have not spoken for a long time. It’s also an important time to take a look at your intake, and how you relate with luxury and material things. Though these things can be favorable with Venus in Taurus, during retrogression you may notice that you have amassed more than you really need.
*Personal readings are back on but are limited. Click Here to Schedule Now
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. 🙏🏼
Readings are back on. Click Here to schedule a personal Vedic astrology reading by phone.
The full Moon in sidereal Leo is on March 9th at 10:47 am PDT. This is the height of an Aquarius cycle that began with the New Moon on February 22nd.
Full Moon in Leo
The Leo full Moon highlights our individual power center, amidst a cycle of Aquarius wherein we’ve been drawn to really consider the whole, and what is best for the world at large. Though Aquarius energy can be very beneficial in this way, promoting universal good acts and attitudes of service, it can also sometimes cause us to sublimate some individual qualities and yield personal power for “the greater good.”
Under the full Moon in Leo, we are reminded that the two are not exclusive. Under this Moon, the heart is illuminated on Leo’s throne, the place of unlimited personal power, where we can feel our individuality and autonomy and simultaneously know that we can do great service from this place of personal strength. If you’re in the midst of an election decision, this is a great time to feel into your heart for what is right, while already contemplating what is best for the whole.
The Full Moon’s nakshatra is Purva Phalguni, spanning the late middle of Leo, and known as the “former red one.” It is a star of recreation and relaxation, symbolized by a swinging hammock or the front legs of the bed, reminding us that leisure is a necessary part of life even amidst service and leadership. Ruled by the planet Venus and by Bhaga, the god of delight, this star carries a sexual energy and in general draws us towards beauty and luxury.
Mercury is at the end of his retrograde cycle, stationary-retrograde during the full Moon, turning stationary-direct some hours later. This brings a lot of intellectual focus to this full Moon, and you may find you are able to work something out — or communicate something through with someone — that you have been wanting to finalize the details around for a while.
Mars and Saturn
On March 22nd, Mars will join Saturn in Capricorn. Mars is exalted here while Saturn is sva, in his own sign. The combination of these two planets here could help us to channel great focus and discipline, especially around hard work that needs to be done. On the other hand, if you have certain planets here such as the Moon, the transit of the two malefics could bring a lot of psychological stress and pressure. Mars will travel here through May 4th. The two will be in a planetary war from March 29th through April 4th, weakening one or both, likely Mars being that it is Saturn’s own sign.
This full Moon is also Holi in India, the “festival of colors.” It is the last full Moon coming before the Spring Equinox. This is a joyful festival of renewal, best-known for its colorful celebration in which people throw bright powders at each other. The playful combat is a way to let go of any past aggression held over the past year and start anew with forgiveness and friendship.
Readings are back on! Click Here to Schedule Your Individual Consultation
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.