New Moon April 2021
The Moon and Sun join to make a New Moon at the very end of sidereal Pisces at 10:31 pm ET on the dark night of Sunday, April 11th. This will begin a lunar cycle in which the Sun spends most of his time in Aries, his sign of exaltation. Jupiter, one of the outer, slower-moving planets, has transited into sidereal Aquarius, breaking rank with Saturn who remains in Capricorn.
We enter another lunar cycle during which the Sun begins in one sign just two days before entering another, where he will spend most of the lunar cycle. Pisces is the last sign of the natural zodiac, the end, a place where we connect with the unseen world including the underworld itself. Aries, on the other hand, is a place of beginnings, the true springtime energy where the literal sunlight gives life to the world once again and things begin to grow outwardly. This cycle will connect these two worlds for us, bringing much of the subconscious into light as we begin to take on more activity during this season.
The Sun and Moon begin joined with a debilitated Mercury, which can make us pass up practicality in favor of hopes and dreams. Jupiter rules this femenine (inward-looking) water sign.
The Sun, Moon and Mercury are all in Revati nakshatra as we begin this Moon cycle. The final of the 27 Vedic nakshatras, this sign has to do with journeys, and is ruled by the deity Pushan, the protector of journeys, flocks and herds. We can imagine in particular the journey from life to death as this is the final journey that we all make. Revati means “the wealthy” and is also related to Mercury, Vishnu and Lakshmi. There is a strong association with animals and this nakshatra, and many people with planets here have a strong love of pets or animals.
Jupiter has moved from sidereal Capricorn into Aquarius, lightening his load as he is no longer in his sign of debilitation and joining the heavy presence of Saturn. Jupiter in Aquarius could stimulate some expansion in social programs, scientific innovations, and forward-thinking across society. This new position could stimulate some movement in your life depending on natal planetary positions and the current dasha (planetary period) and bhukti (sub-period) you are running according to your chart.
Mars will leave Taurus just hours after the New Moon, finally parting ways with Rahu, lessening some of the intensity that has built up around their conjunction the past couple of months. His movement will also break the Kala Sarpa cycles, although with only one outlier the nodal alignment can still bring some intensity to current events or those born with these placements in the birth chart.
This New Moon is followed by nine nights that are the springtime celebration of the goddess known as Chaitra Navaratri. These nights are celebrated in homage to the divine mother in her many forms, particularly Durga. This is not as largely celebrated as the fall-time Navaratri (Sharad or Maha Navaratri), but is also significant. This leads us up to Hanuman Jayanti which will be celebrated around the time of the next full Moon.
Full Moon March 2021
The full Moon is in sidereal Virgo this Saturday night, coming in full opposition to the Sun at 2:48 pm ET on Sunday, March 28th. This full Moon is in the Vedic nakshatra of Hasta, “the hand,” signaling our opportunity to be more hands-on in crafting our own reality. The Sun joins an exalted Venus in Pisces, who is currently combust due to the close proximity of the two. Mars and Rahu are also in close conjunction, raising volatility in the world during this full Moon. Jupiter will soon transit into Aquarius, leaving his debilitated transit with Saturn.
Virgo Full Moon
The Sun is currently transiting Pisces, Jupiter’s water-sign that drives us to connect with our inner strength through deep emotional exploration, seeking a purpose greater than ourselves to which we can fully surrender. With Venus also in Pisces (exalted here), our hearts are yearning for this purpose and higher power. For some people, this alignment could stimulate a desire to escape the mundane world. There is the option to do this through intelligent means like spiritual practice and inward-looking journeys, or the potential to choose over-indulgence in escapist drugs, alcohol, or bed-pleasures. Some structured journey-work that integrates the two might be an opportunity this lunar cycle.
During the Virgo full-Moon, the Moon and our minds are illuminated with the energy of the sign that is opposite to Pisces’ deep-diving other-worldliness. In Virgo, we practice managing life’s details and being hands-on through our own efforts. Ruled by Mercury, the planet of the intellect, Virgo is an earth-sign where we figure out how to organize our lives sensibly, very much relying on the material plane to do so.
Within Virgo, the Moon is full in the Vedic nakshatra of Hasta, “the hand.” Under this star we find our inner artisan, our craftiness, our skills at manipulating the world around us, both literally and figuratively. As we approach the coming Moon cycle, during which Sun will enter exaltation in Aries, and our impetus towards action and initiative will come alive brightly, we can try our hands at creating something we wish to manifest under the light of the Hasta full Moon. Hasta is ruled by the solar deity Savitri, and is also one of the Moon’s nakshatras, whose animal symbol is the powerful female buffalo.
Venus, Exalted and Combust
Venus is exalted in the sign of Pisces because Pisces gives us the opportunity to align our desires, relationships, and pleasure-seeking (Venus) with something that aligns with our values and principles (Jupiter, Pisces’ ruler) and is bigger than or beyond our normal, waking, mundane lives (Pisces). Through this month of Venus’s Pisces transit, try to take the opportunity to re-align your romantic and pleasurable pursuits with that which gives you the most meaning, be it your spiritual or philosophical values or a sense of higher power in general.
During Venus’ combustion, however, the Sun is so close to Venus that we cannot see its light at all, and some of the pleasure of life may feel like it is being “burnt up” before it reaches us. Unfortunately, Venus is spending his entire time in Pisces combust this year. Venus has been highly combust (within 3 degrees of the Sun) since March 14th. He remains highly combust during his whole exalted stint in Pisces (March 16th – April 9th), save for the last few hours when he is still quite combust within 4 degrees of the Sun. This is good time to dig deep for the more austere pleasures of life… connecting with the divine energy that is still present even when worldly pleasure may not be.
Mars and Rahu
There has been an uptick in violence the past week as Mars and Rahu came closer and closer together. Their exact conjunction will be on the early morning of March 28th, the night of the full Moon, which could bring even more acts of terror or chaos. In Rohini nakshatra, a sign of commerce, this could have an impact on the stock market and might trigger some extreme volatility there, as well.
Jupiter will transit from sidereal Capricorn into Pisces on April 5th, finally parting ways with Saturn after spending most of the year conjunct and under his debilitating rule in Capricorn. This transit could allow for more opportunity and inspiration in your life, especially in the areas ruled by Jupiter in your personal natal chart. It signals a progressive time for philosophies across society in general, and we can expect to see more progressive and less restrictive movements gaining traction across the world.
Jupiter will enter retrogression in June, putting him back in Capricorn in September for a while before he finally re-enters Aquarius again in November.
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New Moon and Maha Shivaratri, March 2021
The Sun and Moon join near the end of sidereal Aquarius on the dark night of March 12th, with an exact alignment under the New Moon at 5:21 am ET on Saturday, March 13th. Mercury and Venus also join the Moon and Sun in Aquarius, while Saturn (with Jupiter in sidereal Capricorn) once again rules over 6 grahas at the time of the New Moon. Mars and Rahu continue their conjunction in sidereal Taurus, opposite Ketu in Sagittarius, forming a Kala Sarpa Yoga in the sky. Thursday night, the fourteenth night of the waning Moon, marks the Maha Shivaratri celebration this month. Sun and Moon begin this cycle in the Vedic nakshatra Purva Bhadrapada, an auspicious sign for spiritual advancement.
With the new lunar cycle beginning in Aquarius, the coming month may have a quirky and forward-thinking tone, and we may see some scientific advances this month. The Mars Rover landing actually occurred just days after the Sun had entered its Aquarius cycle. Aquarius is in fact very much about service to the greater good. With Saturn strong in his own sign, we could see many significant advances in social support structures right now.
Aquarius is known as Kumbha in Sanskrit, a word for “pitcher” or “vessel.” According to the Vedic texts, the sign Kumbha can be imagined as a man holding a pot, with deep-brown skin, standing in the water. We can see this Aquarian imagery in the sadhus of India (and its biggest ritual pilgrimage day, the Kumbha Mela), who make their lives an offering of service to society through their prayers and Saturnian austerities, while renouncing the individual self. In the Aquarius cycle, we think about how we can serve the whole.
Thursday night, March 11th in North America, the night prior to the Dark Moon night, is the fourteenth waning phase of the lunar cycle. During this month this night is celebrated as Maha Shivaratri. This is the most auspicious night of the year for doing sadhana (spiritual practice). It is traditional on this night to stay up all night fasting, chanting, praying, and meditating. This holiday honors Lord Shiva, the great ascetic, as we recall two stories of great sacrifices that he made protect the entire creation.
One of these is the story of the gods and demons churning of the milk ocean in order to release the nectar of immortality. Before the nectar came up, however, a poison came up first. (This is similar to when we do spiritual practice and begin our path of self-inquiry, and negative tendencies often come to light first, which can be a painful experience. Similarly, during a physical fast or cleanse, toxins can be shaken loose and released first, causing a healing crisis before we continue healing into a freer, happier state of being.) When the poison came up from the milk ocean, Lord Shiva consumed it so that it would not engulf humanity, as a great and noble sacrifice. His wife, Parvati, however, held his throat so that he could not ingest it, thus saving him from being harmed by the poison.
Maha Shivaratri also commemorates the wedding of Shiva and Parvati, which also stemmed from great sacrifice made for the benefit of all humanity. It was said that after his first wife, Sati, perished, Shiva was fully devoted only to his sadhana, meditating for aeons in isolation and renouncing the world. Then the demon Tarakasura began running amock on earth, threatening all of humanity. Brahma foretold that only Shiva’s child could defeat Tarakasura, so the gods devised a plan for Sati to reincarnate as Parvati, and win over her Lord to marriage once again to produce this heir. Shiva was not easily swayed, however, and it was only after Parvati became an ascetic and underwent great penance that he agreed to marry. They eventually produced their son Kartikkeya, who went on to slay the demon.
Thus, this holiday is celebrated through the penance of fasting, forgoing food, water, and sleep, for one night, and simultaneously celebrating the union of Lord Shiva and Parvati, or the masculine and feminine energies of creation, that allows the dance of life to continue. It is an apt time to feel the forces of Aquarius upon us, which compel us to consider our role in society, and in the universe, and what personal sacrifices we can make for the greater good. Even if you’re not able to stay up the whole night, any amount of devotional practice, serviceful sacrifice, or chanting of Om Namah Shivaya on this night can have beneficial affects that are magnified greater than on any other night.
Kala Sarpa Yoga
This year’s Kala Sarpa yoga cycles continue, as Rahu and Ketu appear to cut the sky in half with all planets to one side of the nodal axis. Kala Sarpa can be translated as “black snake” or the “serpent of time,” and intensifies subtle forces on all levels, including inner challenges as well as strengths and yogic combinations in a chart. Mars joins Rahu in Taurus, and tho he will transit out of Taurus and into Gemini in one month, technically breaking the cycle, the intensity brought on by the alignment can sometimes continue when only one planet has crossed to the other side of the sky.
The former “lucky-footed one” is the Vedic nakshatra (star-sign) where Sun and Moon begin this lunar cycle. This nakshatra bridges Aquarius and Pisces and is often represented by a funeral cot, symbolizing the transition from life into death, or ultimate liberation. It is ruled by Aja Epakada, the one-footed goat who is often associated with the image of Lord Shiva as Nataraj dancing on one foot, a fitting image for Maha Shivaratri.
Om Namah Shivaya!
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New Moon January 2021
We have another Dark Moon tonight under which the Sun and Moon align at the very end of one sign (Sagittarius), setting the tone for a month that blends and bridges the energy of two signs as the Sun spends most of this cycle in sidereal Capricorn. The exact New Moon moment is at midnight Eastern time on January 13th (between January 12th and 13th), with the Sun and Moon coming together at 29 degrees and 6 minutes of sidereal Sagittarius. The last lunar cycle began in December with a solar eclipse as the Sun and Moon joined in the very end of sidereal Scorpio.
With the New Moon moment happening in Sagittarius, hours before both Sun and Moon transit into Capricorn, the coming month will carry the energy of both signs. Sagittarius is a fire sign ruled by Jupiter, inspiring us to act on our beliefs and put these into the world through righteous action, standing up for what we believe in and aligning our actions with our vision.
This lunar cycle frees us from the energy of the eclipses of this cycle. When Sun moves into Capricorn, however, we will continue to feel the pressure of Saturn that has been strong over the last year while he has been transiting his own sign. Sun, Jupiter and Saturn will all be joined in Capricorn over the next month (with Mercury and Venus both spending much of it there as well). As Jupiter and Saturn become combust (they are now so close to the Sun as to be barely visible), they may lose some power… The sense of restriction that we feel could be alleviated this month, but our ability to be steadfast and endure difficulties is also weakened, as well as our sense of inspiration with Jupiter going out of sight.
Capricorn energy is about finding stability and the inner strength to work hard for our responsibilities and the structures that sustain us. A feminine earth sign, we can look towards our internal resources this month and make sure we are using our energy for what is most important.
The solar eclipse of the last cycle led into a full Moon in Ardra nakshatra, a star that often brings violence and turbulence forward, especially when associating with the nodes or an eclipse. The violence at the US Capitol during the waning part of the last cycle could be associated with the tone under which the cycle began (dark eclipse energy in transformative Scorpio), combined with the subsequent full Moon in Ardra, still afflicted by the energy of the eclipse.
As the natural 10th sign, Capricorn in the world chart directly relates to government. With four planets here in the coming days (Juipter, Saturn, Sun, and Mercury), there is a lot of pressure (Saturn) on now to create a government, structures, and leaders that will sustain the world, be inspiring, and purify the energy of authority. This bodes well for the US presidential transition in general. On January 20th Moon will be in Ashwini, the first nakshatra, a good placement for transitions.
He will, however, be joining Mars, who is the brightest planet in the sky over the next few weeks. With Mars bright and Saturn and Jupiter nearly out of sight, there is definitely potential for more violence to come (especially having the Moon joined Mars on January 20th itself). Saturn becomes highly combust that day as he goes within 3 degrees of the Sun, which cripples authority structures a bit, as well as our ability to use restraint. Hopefully the powerful energy of the Sun itself in the 10th house of this day’s world chart (and Moon chart) is enough to bring a sattvic purifying energy to the realm of government, with help from Jupiter who is neecha bangha and slightly brighter than Saturn.
The day the Sun goes into Capricorn (January 13th/14th) begins the Hindu solar month of Makara. There is a Hindu celebration in India in honor of “the return of the light,” as we begin the first month after the winter solstice. This is an auspicious time for new beginnings and calling blessings into our lives.
Full Moon in Ardra Nakshatra
The full Moon peaks near 15 degrees sidereal Gemini, opposite a Sun and Mercury in sidereal Sagittarius, tonight at 10:28pm EST. The Moon is full in the Vedic nakshatra of Ardra, the “moist one,” a stormy and turbulent place in the zodiac. Saturn and Jupiter are still within one degree but growing further apart tomorrow, ending the planetary war they have waged since December 12th. The Moon will wane its way into the New Year before beginning the first lunar cycle of 2021 on January 13th.
Gemini Full Moon
The lunar cycle began with Sun and Moon at the tail end of Scorpio, in the gandanta zone that bridges Scorpio and Sag’, before moving into Sagittarius soon after for a Sun cycle with flavors of both signs. With the Sun in Sagittarius we try to find our power by aligning our actions with our beliefs, seeking higher purpose in a set of teachings or philosophy that speaks to and inspires us.
With the full Moon illuminated in Gemini, we check in with our Mercurial side, searching for what is practical and fun rather than more serious and “important” feeling. Gemini helps us to see both sides of the coin, or to step into someone else’s shoes, which can help us to see past our own staunch belief systems by which we try to live. It can help us to be a little more flexible, and a little bit less dogmatic, in an age that feels so philosophically polarized across the globe. Hopefully this can help set the tone in the new year, giving us the ability to both live by our beliefs while being willing to dialogue and consider those that are opposite.
Ardra itself is a stormy and turbulent place in the zodiac. It is ruled by Rudra, a fierce form of Lord Shiva, and is associated with many violent and explosive moments throughout history. With the full Moon here we could see acts of outrage, or literal storms that may ravage some parts of the world tonight. Represented by a teardrop, this nakshatra elicits the sensation of grief… grief that must be processed in order for us to move forward. Under the illumination of this full Moon it is a good time to examine your own grief and allow the heart to churn it through so that something new may grow.
The Jupiter-Saturn conjunction turned into a planetary war from December 12th through 30th, while the two planets transit sidereal Capricorn within one degree of one another. Both may have suffered because of this … Saturn, who has put the pressure on this year as he transits his own sign, was probably not able to hold most people in total “lockdown” mode this month as many broke free of his fetters and enjoyed the holidays, whether still in their homes/pods or associating with more friends and family. Jupiter, the giver of hope and inspiration, was also suffering due to the war, and is also debilitated under Saturn’s rule here. The two made a glorious visual in the night sky over the past few weeks, coming closer in conjunction than they have in 800 years.
They will continue to transit Capricorn in conjunction until Jupiter enters sidereal Aquarius on April 5th, until a retrograde cycle sends him back into Capricorn from September 14th through November 20th. Jupiter is debilitated here and though he gets a bit of a boost from Saturn, inspiration, hope, and education will flourish more while he is in Aquarius rather than with Saturn in Capricorn.
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