Tonight’s waxing Moon is leading up to a powerful full Moon in sidereal Capricorn, peaking on Friday, July 27th at 1:21 pm PDT. On the dark side of the earth, this will coincide with a Total Lunar Eclipse peaking at the same time, but lasting in its entirety for 1 hour and 43 minutes, making it the longest lunar eclipse of this century. The full Moon is in extremely close proximity to both Mars and Ketu, bringing forth a lot of internal fire and intensity surrounding and throughout this eclipse.
Eclipses – Shadow Forces at Play
This is the second of this summer’s series of 3 eclipses, but this one is perhaps the most intense due to the Sun and Moon’s close conjunction with the nodes and Mars. The Sun and Moon are at 10°39’ of sidereal Cancer and Capricorn, respectively, while Rahu and Ketu (the nodes) are within about one degree, at 11°47’, and Mars is at 9°52′.
The nodes wield a heavy influence from this position, and we may feel a deep discomfort in our physical and emotional bodies during the eclipse, but also over the course of days or weeks leading up to it. This is related to the subconscious forces within us rising to the surface, calling our attention to the areas that need the most work. The mythology behind Rahu and Ketu points to “demonic” energy, or negative internal drives that lead us in the wrong direction until we learn to rise above them. The nodes create a lot of confusion, but as these shadows become visible during an eclipse, we have the opportunity to see where the problems lie and make efforts towards change.
This lunar eclipse occurs on the Capricorn full Moon, when the Moon is directly opposite the Cancer Sun. During the Cancer Sun cycle we find our strength through our emotional body, and by following the sensations of the heart and our human desire for comfort, love, and care. With Rahu so closely joining the Sun in Cancer, however, emotions can be extremely exaggerated and confusing during this time.
As the Moon waxes into fullness in the opposite sign of Capricorn, our emotional bodies (normally) find peace by embracing structure and responsibility, in this grounded earth sign. With Ketu’s presence here, however, we may feel or see a strong resistance to structure and commitment, as Rahu’s obsessive nature, in Cancer, draws us instead towards emotional intensity.
A great opportunity of this eclipse is to see where and when we let our emotions get the better of us, and also where and when we may need to stand more firmly in our commitments and take responsibility for our actions. The intensity of Rahu and Sun in Cancer can also cause us to have wide open boundaries, while the eclipse of Ketu and Moon in Capricorn shows us where we can use some more structure.
Saturn, Capricorn’s ruler, is always stern and still in retrograde motion, bringing extra cause for serious reflection around these themes. A total lunar eclipse can be draining on the heart, however, so it’s important to be more gentle with ourselves and more inward on this full Moon than we normally are during this lunar phase.
This eclipse will particularly effect you in the “houses” that are Cancer and Capricorn in your Vedic chart, as well as any planets you have there natally. If you’ve not downloaded it yet, you can receive the free e-book with an eclipse forecast for your sign, after joining the free mailing list here.
In general, Indian tradition advises against starting any auspicious activities during an eclipse, or really doing any worldly actions in general if it can be avoided. The best practice is to do some type of sadhana such as meditation, prayer, mantra, or quiet reflection. It is advised not to eat or drink during the eclipse, and not consume anything after that has been left out during the eclipse, as the atmosphere is said to carry a negative energy during the eclipse. The eclipse will occur from 10:14 am – 4:28 pm PDT, with the total eclipse lasting from 12:30 pm – 2:13 pm PDT.
In addition to the powerful emotions brought on by the solar-lunar-nodal positions during this eclipse, Mars is also bringing a lot of fire by his proximity. His close conjunction with the Moon (within one degree) will bring forth a warrior-like passion. Still moving in retrograde motion, and traveling through his sign of exaltation, we may be experiencing some deep-seated animal instincts arising. Any anger or enthusiasm that has been brewing beneath the surface may rise alongside the shadows of the eclipse.
Mars will have reached exact opposition to the Sun some hours before, so he will be at his brightest as he travels right next to the Moon tonight and tomorrow night. His powerful light shining on us presents the chance to find our inner warrior and use his strength to strengthen ourselves, taking this chance to embrace responsibility, self-discipline, and commitment, as well as to create more structured boundaries around us. The confusion and surprising/explosive nature of Ketu, however, could cause this inner warrior to arise in a fume of anger if we are not careful.
Mercury is also conjunct Sun and Rahu in Cancer during this eclipse, as he is stuck in the gandanta zone (the karmic “knot”) at the end of Cancer near Leo. He’s now in stationary-retrograde motion there. This can add an intense strain to communication. Being in Ashlesha nakshatra (the sign of the water serpent and kundalini), there is the potential for sharp poison to come through our words at this time, but also for conversations that lead to real inner transformation.
The Moon and Ketu lie in Shravana nakshatra at the time of this lunar eclipse, the sign of listening. While Mercury is in such a challenged but potent position, we should remember that a huge part of communication lies in the listening. Pay close attention to the words you are hearing and the conversations you are having around this eclipse. Furthermore, it’s time to listen deeply with the inner ear, and ask for the great spirit(s) to speak to you and guide you through the shadows that are arising.
Eclipse periods often feel like they are disruptive, because we often hear and experience things that are unwelcome or cause stress in our lives, but these things give us a great opportunity to see where we can create change, and grow into the people that we really want to be. This eclipse particularly shows us where we need to balance our emotions, boundaries, and responsibilities, and also balance the two houses (or areas of life) shown by Cancer and Capricorn in your Vedic natal chart. Our prayers and willingness to inquire and self-reflect around this time can lead to great change and greater balance.
The full Moon in Sagittarius will be fully opposite the Sun in Gemini at 9:53 pm PDT on Wednesday, June 27th. This Moon waxes into fullness in Mula nakshatra, the sign of “the root,” but will be closely joining a bright retrograde Saturn, only half a degree away longitudinally. Mars, Venus, and Mercury are all joining the Rahu-Ketu axis, bringing on a strong nodal energy as we approach a set of THREE eclipses to occur over the next two months.
Sagittarius Full Moon
Though we began this lunar cycle with Sun and Moon joined at the very end of sidereal Taurus, the Sun is spending most of this cycle passing through Gemini. Sun-in-Gemini energy inspires a playful and curious mood, as we connect to our inner power through communication, learning, movement, and travel. It brings forth our flexible and adaptable nature, and stimulates us to rely on the intellect and reason.
On the full Moon, our emotional body becomes full with the mood of Sagittarius. In this bhava (mood) we rely on our faith, principles, and ideals more than on skills and reason. As the Sun’s light reflects upon the Moon from Gemini, we find a harmony between our faith and our intellects.
Under the Sagittarius full Moon, we feel the passion of our convictions. With the Moon illuminated in this fire sign, we may be stimulated to take actions that uphold our strongest beliefs. We have the potency to turn our principles into meaningful acts around this full Moon. This is a powerful time to dance around the fires of our inspiration, and let that light shine through us and into embodiment.
Moon Joined Saturn
This Full Moon is very closely joining the planet Saturn, within one half of a degree. Saturn is in retrograde motion at the moment, and, also opposite the Sun, is incredibly bright and about as close to the earth as he gets. With the Moon in such direct alignment with Saturn, there is a tangible feeling of pressure, even amidst the exalted and expanding emotional state that a full Moon brings.
As we sense our principles and beliefs filling us up right now and guiding our actions, we have an acute awareness of the depth and gravity that our choices hold for the future. Saturn is the planet of the long-term, and as such we are very aware of the consequences that will come over time.
In the Vedic nakshatra system, three nakshatras or star-signs bridge sidereal Sagittarius: Mula, Purva Ashada, and Uttara Ashada. Mula is attributed the first 13°20’ of this sign. Aligned with the black hole at the center of our galaxy, Mula translates as “the root,” and has to do with the deepest origins of all things. As we bask in the excitement of the Sagittarius full Moon, and feel the added seriousness from Saturn’s proximity, we are simultaneously aware of our deep roots. The past and the future coincide and we are aware of what is most important right now. The goddess Nirriti presides here, and reminds us of our penultimate death and destruction.
In addition to the powerful influence of this full Moon, the skies are charged with the intensity of the oncoming eclipses. There will be a partial solar eclipse on July 13th, a total lunar eclipse on July 27th, and another partial solar eclipse on August 11th. On tomorrow’s full Moon, Mercury and Venus are joining Rahu while Mars (now stationary-retrograde) joins with Ketu.
The strong influence of the nodes and the upcoming eclipses brings our deep shadow energy forward. The shadows are the parts of ourselves that we are not normally able to see. They are our blind spots, the parts of ourselves that are confused and unable to see the light around certain situations. When we have eclipses, these shadows become more visible, and we are better able to work on clearing them through deeper self-understanding.
Wherever the nodes are transiting in your natal chart, these are the blind spots that are coming to light for you the most right now. These areas of life may be disruptive or disrupted over the next 7 weeks as we pass through this 3-eclipse portal. If you have any planets in your natal chart in sidereal Cancer or Capricorn, specific areas of life may be influenced even more by these eclipses. If we continue to do inner work and self-reflection, we can come through this time with a much clearer understanding of the path ahead, as we re-wire ourselves to stand in more balance around this axis.
Full Moon in Scorpio and Anuradha
The Moon is waxing into fullness tonight, reaching total opposition with the Sun at 7:20 am P.D.T. on Tuesday, May 29th. This full Moon aligns with Anuradha nakshatra, in the middle of sidereal Scorpio, opposite the Sun and Mercury in Taurus. Flanked by retrograde Jupiter and retrograde Saturn in the adjacent signs, this Scorpio Full Moon packs a powerful punch for devotion and transformation.
Scorpio Full Moon
Yes, there may still be a few of you who are thinking that the Scorpio full Moon was last month — if this is you, read up on the sidereal zodiac here, and refer to the star-map in title photo. If you’re a star-gazer or have been following my blog, you know that astronomically, the Moon is aligned with the constellation of Scorpio tonight.
We began this lunar cycle with both Sun and Moon aligned in Taurus, the steady earth-sign that brings forth our desire for stability and groundedness. As the Moon becomes fully illuminated in the opposite sign of Scorpio, our sense body contacts a feeling of being on the edge, facing uncertainty some watery emotional rides. The Moon is considered exalted in Taurus, which offers our minds and hearts a place to feel secure, and is considered debilitated in Scorpio, the sign that raises our deepest vulnerabilities to the surface when the Moon is full here.
Vulnerabilities are ultimately related to things like love, devotion, and deep bonds. We are only afraid of losing what (or whom) is important to us, that which has a special place in the deep chambers of our heart. This Scorpio full Moon therefore will illuminate our deepest passions, while reminding us simultaneously that we cannot hold too tightly to them, for there is an ebb and flow to everything.
There is a great power for emotional rebirthing and transformation around and under this Moon. Scorpio’s quest is to find the emotional and spiritual courage to love fearlessly, with total devotion, while knowing that there may be turbulence and change at different points along the journey. You may recognize this mood or pattern if any planets in your chart are located within Scorpio.
There are three Vedic nakshatras or star-signs that bridge sidereal Scorpio. Anuradha and Jyeshtha lie entirely within Scorpio, while Vishaka’s sky portion has three-quarters in Libra and one in the beginning of Scorpio. Represented by the lotus flower, and located around the star Antares, Anuradha has to do with concepts of devotion and success after difficulty. It is also a sign associated with friendship.
Saturn and Jupiter
Last night, the Moon was closely aligned with Jupiter, and shared the sign of Libra with him for a few days before moving into Scorpio. The Moon-Jupiter conjunction brings a lot of inspiration to our hearts and minds. This is augmented by the fact that Jupiter is retrograde, nearly opposite the Sun himself, and incredibly bright right now. This bright Jupiter can add a lot of grace to our emotional state as we enter the challenge of Moon going through Scorpio for a few days.
As Moon leaves Scorpio, he will then be joining Saturn as he transits Sagittarius for the next couple of days. Saturn is also retrograde, nearly opposite the Sun, and quite bright. This will help us to strengthen our resolve, and know where our efforts are needed going forward, after any transformational processes that occur on the full Moon.
Lunar Return :: Alternative “Birthdays”
Last week was my solar return, AKA my “birthday” in Western standards, but I’m celebrating my lunar return tonight. It got me thinking that this would be interesting to share, as others may also want to consider celebrating astronomical/astrological anniversaries, instead of just Gregorian.
By birthday, we usually mean the date (month and day) on the Gregorian calendar that is the same as it was the year we were born. By solar return, I mean the time that the Sun returned to the exact degrees in Taurus where it was on the day I was born. Now, because the Sun only progresses one degree every 72 years, my Gregorian birthday is still the same as my solar return. My lunar return, however, happens tonight. This evening, the Moon phase (tithi), the rashi (Scorpio) and the nakshatra will all be the same as the night I was born. It doesn’t happen that these three coincide every single year, so I’m considering this one special.
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The new lunar cycle begins with a new Moon in Capricorn on the dark night of January 16th. The Sun and Moon join at 6:17 pm PT, at 2° sidereal Capricorn, closely joining Venus at 4°, and in the same sign as Ketu, the south node, signaling the approach of an oncoming eclipse. This is yet another cycle beginning under an inauspicious kala sarpa alignment, though thankfully the last for a while (until August of this year).
Saturn continues to be a powerful force throughout the beginning of this new year. The previous lunar cycle began with Sun and Moon joining Saturn, and the full Moon on January 1st was opposite the austere planet, pressuring us to be aware of the consequences of our actions. This cycle begins in a Saturn-ruled sign, Capricorn, as will the next, which will start with an eclipse in Aquarius.
Capricorn is perhaps the most practical and responsible sign. With the combination of earth sign-energy, Saturn’s long-term gaze, and a tamasic (heavy) quality, Capricorn’s energy compels us to create stable structures and routines that support our long-term goals and responsibilities. This month we may take inventory of how we are doing along these lines, and implement some practical and physical routines that take effort and perseverance, and help us to align with our broader vision. A new diet or exercise regime and a re-examination of financial planning are well-supported by Saturn’s influence right now.
Ketu & Upcoming Eclipses
The close conjunction with Ketu, however, can cast a shadow of confusion over these plans, as we approach a total lunar eclipse on January 31st. The eclipse (at 13:31 UT) will occur on the full Moon, and will be visible from Asia, Australia, India, the Pacific, and western North America. Deep introspection and self-observation is necessary to see through the muck that arises with the conjunction of the nodes on the lunar cycle.
This is the first of 3 major eclipse cycles to occur with the nodes transiting the Cancer-Capricorn axis. With Rahu’s eager, obsessive, and childish head running amok in Cancer, and Ketu’s resistant, critical pall obscuring Capricorn, these eclipses may cause us to allow overwhelming emotions to get the best of us, while disregarding the practical voice of reason. The nodal transit reveals our personal shadows, the inner struggles we face in creating an equilibrium between emotional, heart-centered living and the meeting of life’s goals on the earth-plane. This transit, and these eclipses, also bring up specific shadow work for each individual depending on the natal chart (download the free 2018-2019 Rahu-Ketu Forecast for your Sign here.)
The Sun and Moon, along with Venus, are joined in the Vedic nakshatra called Uttara Ashada, “the latter invincible one,” as we begin this lunar cycle. This star is ruled by the Vishvadevas, the lords of dharma, which will compel us towards doing our duty as we get our ducks in a row this month. The closeness of Ketu and the eclipse cycle, however, could bring up some confusion as to what this duty is. As always, the new Moon in particular is an optimal time for meditation and introspection, especially important for the next month as we forge through the eclipse energy.
With Venus combust at the beginning of this cycle (within 2° of the Sun), we might struggle within relationships. Under this placement, it is more difficult to feel that our desires are being met, and that we are feeling appreciated and valued by our loved ones. Venus’ proximity to Ketu may also bring up a lot of criticism around partnerships, and can challenge happiness in general.
Mars in Scorpio
With Mars moving into his own sign of Scorpio on the 16th, look for Mars’ influence to be stronger in your life this month. If he is a helpful planet in your chart, then your energy, courage, and discipline may grow more acute. If he is a challenging influence for you personally, however, be wary of getting into arguments and losing your cool.
Though we begin this lunar cycle under a kala sarpa yoga, with all planets on one side of the nodal axis (or joining it), we are nearing the end of these difficult alignments for a while. The Moon’s movement will break the cycle on January 18th, until January 30th, when we enter one last kala sarpa cycle through February 5th. At that time, Venus will leave Capricorn and enter Aquarius, making these cycles impossible until August. From February through August, there will be slightly more balance in the planetary energies. The kala sarpa cycle is a type of imbalance, wherein the clustering of the planets on one side of the sky tends to bring heavier and more turbulent experiences in general.
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New Years Full Moon
Many blessings for the new year, astrology lovers! This lunar cycle will peak with a full Moon at 17° sidereal Gemini, on January 1st at 6:24 pm PST. On both December 31st and January 1st the Moon will wax into fullness, fully reflecting the light of the Sagittarian Sun onto Earth, as we step into 2018.
New Years Challenge: Look at the Sky!
Now I know that some of you are already very familiar with Vedic astrology (jyotish, the science of light) and the sidereal zodiac, but each month I get at least one person commenting or questioning why I would say the full Moon is in Gemini (for example, now), when they’ve heard it is in Cancer.
Well, one can begin to understand this by engaging in the first limb of jyotish, referred to as gola (observational astronomy). The study of astrology began as a love of astronomy, when people would actually go out and look at the sky, watching the way that light bounced off of and around the stars and planets. It wasn’t just about looking at a calendar or computer program to know where the planets are.
We can still engage in this practice when using the sidereal zodiac with Vedic astrology, because this “star-based” zodiac correlates with what we see in the sky.* Here are some screenshots for January 1st from the astronomy app called SkyView Lite, showing the Moon in sidereal Gemini, and Mars and Jupiter in sidereal Libra, Mercury in sidereal Scorpio, and Saturn, Venus, and the Sun closely joined in sidereal Sagittarius. Gemini is where you will be able to locate the full Moon on January 1st, and these photos show where one would see the other planets if not for the fact that they are currently “up” during the day (early birds might catch Jupiter and Mars).
Western astrology, following the tropical zodiac (which says this full Moon is in Cancer, and that Saturn is in Capricorn), is a system that is based more on the seasons, than how we see the stars and planets. It has its own applications and relevance, but my articles are written from the Vedic perspective, using the sidereal zodiac, hence… Full Moon in Gemini! Read the full article on the two zodiacs HERE.
Full Moon in Gemini
So then! What does the full Moon in Gemini mean, as we hurtle through space and into the next calendar year? We began this lunar cycle with the Sun, and Saturn, in Sagittarius. That type of energy compells us to be vigilant with our beliefs and opinions, and to make sure that all of our actions are in close alignment with them. It’s a very passionate and opinionated time of year, as the Sun crosses the Jupiter-ruled sign of righteous action, with stern and serious Saturn casting a strong influence. Saturn’s presence here forces us to look hard at our beliefs, and sort through the dogma to get to the most authentic core.
The full Moon in Gemini, on the other hand, offers a reflection point to all this serious philosophical digging. Gemini is a sign that is much more flexible, impartial, and willing to see both sides of the situation. This doesn’t mean that we cast our guiding principles aside, but it means that we take a moment to stand in the other person’s shoes, play the devil’s advocate, and imagine a world where there’s a synthesis between what we believe is right and the opposite of that, and are willing to engage in conversation around it.
Within Gemini, this full Moon falls in the Vedic nakshatra known as Ardra, “the moist one.” This constellation is one of the most violent and stormy places in the zodiac. Its ruled by the deity Rudra, a fierce form of Lord Shiva, and has to do with the destruction and dissolution brought on by storms. After the deluge, however, the earth is moist and fresh and ready for new life to begin. As we reflect on the practicality of our beliefs and the ways we might engage our intellect to relate with and understand our opposites, we can look for ways to break down parts of our rigidity that don’t serve the situation, and let dogma dissolve so that truer sensation may arise.
On the external level, we often see major upheaval or violent events occur in society when Ardra energy is strong. All the more reason to use this New Year celebration to pray, meditate, and envision more light, peace, and positivity spreading across the globe.
In addition to the full Moon in Ardra, we’re about to enter the last major Kala Sarpa (“black snake”) period for a while, as all the planets traverse one side of the Rahu-Ketu nodal axis (from January 2nd – 19th). There will be one more partial cycle after that, from January 31st through February 5th, when Venus finally passes out of Capricorn (where Ketu lies), breaking the potential for any more Kala Sarpa cycles til August. During these periods, life can feel extra intense, and whatever karma is already stimulated in your life by the transits (in relation to your natal chart), will be magnified.
On top of that, we’re entering another eclipse cycle, as we approach two eclipses to occur on January 31st and February 15th. The total lunar eclipse on the 31st will be visible from Asia, Australia, India, the Pacific, and western North America. The partial solar eclipse on the 15th will only be visible from Antarctica and southern South America. Though there may be slightly less intensity in places where the eclipses aren’t visible, they nevertheless tend to stir up shadow work we are doing in a particular area of life (read your forecast in the free e-book available here).
Finally, we’ll be underneath a planetary war between Jupiter and Mars from the 4th through the 8th, so be aware of your animal instinct fighting with your higher beliefs. There may also be conflict between some specific areas of life, relative to your natal chart.
May you start the new year full of planetary inspiration, gazing upon the full Moon in Gemini!
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*Save for a few cases when the observable constellation spans more or less than its 30° attributed “portion” of the ecliptic.