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this transit to investigate the source of our belief systems, root out anything that is false, limiting, or simply out-of-date, and let go of past ideas that no longer serve.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.
The Moon is waxing towards a full Moon in Aquarius this Friday night, with peak brightness coming at 9:33 pm PDT. The Moon is opposite a powerful and fiery Sun in sidereal Leo, still joined closely with warrior Mars. While the Moon-mind-heart is illuminated this weekend, we can tune into what it means to be of service when we find ourselves in our own autonomous ring of fire.
Full Moon in Aquarius
The Aquarius full Moon is the integrating reflection point of the Leo Sun cycle. Throughout the Leo cycle, we have felt our own strength growing and shining, as Sun shines strongly from his own sign. This cycle began with Sun in Magha, the throne of the zodiac. We’ve been noticing our own inherent power and leadership potential, and getting a sense of what it means to wield our power ethically and generously. We may have also gotten caught up in the power, letting it get to our heads, and feeling a bit entitled to some royal treatment.
As the Moon waxes into Aquarius, our vision broadens far beyond our individual sphere and into the world at large. With so much suffering across the globe, what is truly the best way to shine our inherent divine light? It was a gift from the universe, and one given through grace, and ought not to entitle us to some special treatment, but rather, blesses us with the ability to share it with others. Aquarius brings to mind service, and relates with the image of a sadhu offering himself and his practice for the good of all. As you count your blessings this full Moon, contemplate how you can use them for the uplifting of humanity and the progress of the whole.
The full Moon aligns with the Vedic nakshatra called Purva Bhadrapada, “the one with lucky feet.” This is truly a nakshatra that is helps us to align with a greater purpose than our personal material needs, as it bridges the signs of Aquarius and Pisces. Moving us from Aquarius into Pisces, it highlights the need for surrender to a higher power. Like Aquarius it orients us more towards ideals of improving and helping society, over personal goals. It is fitting as you may be finishing summer indulgences and getting back more into meaningful work with a greater purpose.
Purva Bhadrapada is ruled by Aja Ekapada, the one-footed goat, often associated with Lord Shiva or Nataraj. It is also symbolized by a sword, or the two front legs of a bed or funeral cot. This symbolism shows us that we will need to cut ties with some of the mundane things of life, as we prepare ourselves for the next world or phase of evolution. Though not always literal death, this can symbolize the transition from a worldly to a spiritual orientation.
The Mercury-Venus war could contribute to a sense of seriousness and less inclination towards pleasurable indulgence. The two are at war from September 11th through 15th, while they travel within one degree of each other, competing for our attention (though both are still so close to the Sun that they are not readily visible). Mercury is strong and exalted in his own sign of Virgo, while Venus is debilitated there, so we may feel Mercury is winning out, meaning practicality will take precedence over desire, or even happiness, for a few days.
Saturn-Ketu Exact Conjunction
Saturn has slowed way down as he approaches his stand-still station on September 18th, and Ketu is catching up. The two will have their third and final exact conjunction on the 15th, before they slowly begin to separate as Saturn begins direct motion again after the 18th. In whatever area of life is shown by sidereal Sagittarius in your chart, you may have been struggling between stepping up to the hard work, and renouncing everything for much of this year as these two planets crept together through this sign. If you feel the intense energy again during this conjunction, be sure to go into a mindful practice to help you feel your way through it, and don’t make any hasty decisions out of stress.
We’ve been circling through Kala Sarpa cycles as the Moon circles the zodiac these last few months, passing from one side of the nodes to the other, either joining or leaving the rest of the planets who are clustered on one side of the Rahu-Ketu axis. Kala Sarpa will be on again from September 21st through October 6th. If you have a prominent Rahu-Ketu in your natal chart, or are running a Rahu or Ketu dasha, you may feel more affected by these cycles.
Personal readings are available and will help to explain how all of these alignments affect your chart and life in particular.