Solar New Year; Full Moon in Ardra Nakshatra

Solar New Year; Full Moon in Ardra Nakshatra

Happy Solstice, Full Moon, Christmas and New Year!! The winter solstice on December 21st was the turning point in the annual Sun cycle. It was the darkest day of the year in the northern hemisphere, as the Sun reached the furthest point in his southerly course as seen from Earth. From now forward we experience the return of the light, as the Sun begins his northerly course and daylight hours get a bit longer each day. The winter solstice and the days around it bring a still point before the new beginning of the annual solar cycle. This is similar to the still point that we experience each month before the New Moon begins the lunar cycle, bringing with it renewal and a fresh energy for that cycle related to the position of the planets at that time.

sagittariusThe December solstice passes while the Sun is aligned with Sagittarius constellation and the core of the Milky Way galaxy, in the Vedic constellation or nakshatra called Mula (or Moola). Sun is also in Mula on this coming Full Moon (December 25th!). Mula literally means “the root” (muladhara = root support) and represents the energy of roots — origins, deep meaning, and life rising out of the darkness. The deity for Mula is Nirriti, a dark goddess who relates to death and destruction.

"Mula" by VenoThis symbolism reminds us of the great opportunity for spiritual growth associated with this part of the sky and this time of year. It is when we let go of the material that we can begin to pursue deeper spiritual meaning (and then light can dawn!). With the physical death that occurs in nature at the end of the solar cycle, we are offered a moment for stillness and contemplation. As daylight begins to return, we can recognize that the physical death of winter is actually just a period of transformation–that life continues and grows again each year with the coming of the new cycle.

The Full Moon occurs in Ardra nakshatra (within the constellation of Orion, near Gemini) on December 25th at 3:12am PST. The brightest moonlight of the cycle is on the night of December 24th! Ardra is often translated as “moist,” “fresh,” or “green,” and represents the energies both of destruction and renewal. Its deity is Rudra, a destructive and stormy form of Shiva. The symbolism of the storm also illustrates both the purifying and nourishing power of rains, which wash away impurities and feed the seeds and soil to allow new life to sprout.

The alignment of the Full Moon in Ardra and the Sun in Mula offers great opportunity for transformation, rebirth and renewal. It is not surprising that this occurs around the time of the solstice, and the holiday of Christmas. The prevalent energy of Ardra, however, is its intensity, which may be a quality we feel during the transformation and rebirthing happening at this time. Whatever storms have been brewing in your life or nature, you may feel a peak in the upheaval around this Full Moon.

Allow the winter storms to aid in your own personal renewal and refreshment. This is a good time to witness and accept the death of stagnant and collapsing energies from the last year and last season. Let loose on the reins and let all your endeavors rest for a moment while you enter the void before new beginnings. You can align yourself with the pure and mysterious energy of this space through practicing meditation. What is washed away in the storm will be composted and recycled, later to become the fuel for your new endeavors in the coming year. Allow yourself to pause and sit with the stillness, and discover its deeper meaning as you connect with the root of your own heart. This quiet moment of listening will help your desires and purpose to become clear, so that you can enter the New Year in more alignment with your goals and dharma.

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Enjoy this magical time of winter stillness. Happy Solstice, Full Moon, Christmas and New Year!

Summer Solstice! Honoring Surya’s Love

Summer Solstice! Honoring Surya’s Love

Today is the longest and brightest day of the year in the northern hemisphere (and the shortest in the southern). This is the peak of the Sun’s ascending cycle, or the solar year, which began for northerners on December 21st of last year. From now on the Sun will be on its southern course from Earth’s perspective, and the hours of daylight will gradually decrease until the completion of the cycle and the darkest day of the year on the coming December solstice. This is a great day to celebrate and honor Surya, the Sun, the source of energy and consciousness that is offered to us with endless love from the center of the solar system.

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The Sun represents higher consciousness, and the illumination that dawns within us through awareness of the source (spirit, or the atman in Vedic thought). The Sun has the power to reveal this atman to us if we seek to understand our universal power (which is selfless and generous) rather to yoke his power to support the ego. His function is to purify us with his radiant light, shining consciousness on any areas within that are dark or confused. The Sun helps us to see our true nature and how we can live in integrity with the world around us.

surya_sungodIn Vedic mythology and astrology, the Sun represents pure masculine (or yang, creative and upward/outward-moving) energy. (The Moon, on the other hand, embodies pure feminine, yin, inward reflective energy.) With the increasing hours of daylight during the first half of the solar year, we’ve likely moved more outward into the world and its activities, creating new projects and undertakings, and putting our offerings into the world. With the luminous strength of the Sun offered to us abundantly, it’s been a time of synthesizing and allowing it to regenerate through us into activity that is helpful to others. As a sattvic planet, the Sun’s energy is most beneficial to us if we share it with others. If one attempts to harness the immense power of the Sun for oneself only, the heat and fire of it can burn us. The principle of a loving father or a leader is demonstrated through the Sun; a leader who attempts to lead as an oppressor of others usually faces opposition and struggle, whereas a leader who supports those below him as a team or family is able to move forward with greater success, simultaneously benefiting the whole.

Give thanks for this time of abundant light! Today is a time to celebrate the gifts of divine energy and consciousness given freely by the source that supports our lives here on Earth–Surya, the Sun. As June 21st has also been declared the International Day of Yoga, this is a great time to offer some sun salutations (Surya Namaskar) to this beloved planet and deity. The potency of this prayer (like any) is enhanced greatly if you are offering it with a large group! Fittingly, this is also Father’s day, when we honor the same qualities of selflessness, strength, and supportive love in fathers that we honor in the Sun. These principles are the embodiment of the Divine Masculine. Om Suryaya Namaha!

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