Full Moon in Taurus
The Moon is waxing towards its brightest point, to align fully opposite the Sun for a full Moon in Taurus at 9:39 pm PST on Thanksgiving night, Thursday, November 22nd. The Moon will be in its sign of exaltation in early sidereal Taurus, in the Vedic nakshatra of Krittika, opposite the Sun in Scorpio. Mars, Jupiter and a retrograde Mercury all aspect this full Moon, while Venus rules over it in Taurus. With the Moon and the mind happy and grounded in this fertile earth sign, this is truly a fitting time to let the heart settle and give thanks for what is.
Exaltation in Taurus
We began this lunar cycle with the Moon dark and approaching debilitation, on November 7th. The Moon is fully “debilitated” in the third degree of Scorpio (although Sun & Moon conjoined to begin this cycle near the end of Libra). In the passionate water sign of Scorpio, the mind becomes aware of its most sensitive points, and can go through turbulent emotions as it rides the waves under Mars’ rulership.
Moon is considered “exalted” in the opposite sign of Taurus, where we find this week’s full Moon. Taurus is an earth sign ruled by Venus. The earth element helps our minds and hearts to find more stability and become grounded, and our emotions are less likely to be tossed about by external forces. Taurus is ruled by Venus, the planet that ultimately helps us to find ways to be happy, so there is a natural inclination towards seeing the beauty and harmony of life when the Moon is here.
Venus is still transiting his own sign of Libra, and getting gradually stronger as he picks up speed after six weeks in retrograde motion. (Though feminine in nature, Venus, like all planets in Jyotish, gains a masculine pronoun when personified.) Venus helps the mind to be happy when the Moon is under his rule, because Venus drives us towards pleasure and happiness, and helps us to look for and see beauty. This is a great outlook for approaching the Thanksgiving holiday, especially when difficult family dynamics may be present. On this holiday where there is a tendency to overindulge in consumable pleasures, however, be especially mindful this year, as Venus (and Jupiter) could help to push that to extremes.
Within the Vedic system, Krittika nakshatra spans from 26°40′ Aries to 10° Taurus. This star-sign is known as “the cutter” and is represented by an axe, a razor blade, or a flame. Agni, the Lord of Fire, rules here, and his sharp and transforming nature drive the energy of this nakshatra. Though we are experiencing the beauty-seeking nature of Venus, we are also receiving the purifying and sattvic influence of the Sun, who rules this nakshatra, while the Moon transits here.
This nakshatra can be located in the sky as the cluster of seven stars also known as the Pleiades. In Vedic mythology, these correlate with the wives of the seven sages who found and nursed the baby Kartikeya, the son that Shiva and Parvati birthed through the vehicle of the river Ganga. There is a maternal and nurturing quality to this star, in addition to its power to help us to cut through the unnecessary in our processes of purification. Fittingly, the Indian saint “Amma” (Amritanandamayi) was born under Krittika nakshatra, and demonstrates these qualities of being a nurturing mother to all as well as a powerful sattvic purifier.
Aspects: Mars, Jupiter & Retrograde Mercury
In addition to full illumination from the Sun, this full Moon is also receiving light and energy from Mars, Jupiter, and Mercury (though Jupiter is quite combust, within three degrees of the Sun). Mars’ influence can stimulate the mind into a more rajasic state, and can add a bit of heat and tension. With Mercury also in retrograde motion, be very aware around getting into arguments or trying to explain (or re-explain) your point of view to others. Though Jupiter sends some benefic and inspiring influence, the loftiness of your ideas may be burned up and lost as you attempt to communicate from a philosophical or idealistic place. Mercury will continue in retrograde motion through the next New Moon, on December 6th.
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.
New Moon in Taurus
Tonight is the Dark Moon Night, with no Moon visible since he is rising and setting in alignment with the Sun today. The Sun and Moon come into exact conjunction to begin a new lunar cycle on Wednesday, June 13th, at 12:43 pm PDT. They coincide in sidereal Taurus, and the Vedic nakshatra of Mrigashira, and bring on a month of intense Venusian energy.
The new Moon happens with Sun and Moon at 28°39’ of sidereal Taurus, bringing the second Taurus cycle in a row, as last month’s new Moon was at 0°30’ of this sign. Taurus is a four-footed earth sign ruled by Venus. Known as Vrisha, the bull, Taurus energy is strong and committed. Due to the four-footed nature, things we begin this month may not easily change directions later, but will carry a rather forward-moving momentum. Also a fixed rashi (sign), we may be feeling a little more stubborn about things this month, and not as flexible as at other times.
With earth-sign energy prominent, this is a great time to connect with mother nature, and all things of the material world. Crystals, jewels, clothing, plants, herbs, and home accoutrements may be catching our attention more than usual right now. Food and drink and other sensory pleasures are also more appealing (so be mindful if you have indulgent tendencies). Under the rule of Venus, the planet of pleasure and worldly love, the Taurus new Moon sets a fertile ground for new ventures in these arenas.
As we begin this cycle, Venus is traversing sidereal Cancer, the sign of motherly love, and a place where selfless devotion can be found. This gives us the opportunity to elevate our human relationships and harmonize them with our devotional nature. Venus in Cancer can also lead to boundaries that are too wide open, however, so keep a discerning awareness there too. Rahu is also joining Venus in Cancer, which can exaggerate our desire nature and make us a little obsessive towards sensory pleasures or relationships. As Venus transits here, our shadow side in relationships becomes more visible for examination.
In the Vedic nakshatra system, three nakshatras or star-signs bridge the 30° portion of the sky designated as “Taurus”: Krittika, Rohini, and Mrigashira. Mrigashira’s “territory” lies half in Taurus and half in Gemini, while the actual stars of this nakshatra are located in the constellation Orion, on his right shoulder. Known as the “deer’s head,” this star-sign emits a gentle and graceful energy, which we will feel as we enter this lunar cycle. Like a deer, however, the energy here can verge on being timid, and skittish, giving us the potential to startle easily. Also like the deer, there is a wandering nature to this nakshatra.
Mars and Ketu
Just hours after the new Moon, Mars and Ketu will reach exact alignment or conjunction, at 4:25pm PDT on June 13th. Despite the gentle and loving position of the Moon and Sun at this time, this moment has some intense explosive potential. Some surprises could come to light today, or in the days surrounding, especially relating to those things indicated by Mars in your individual natal chart.
While Mars is transiting Capricorn, his sign of exaltation, we, on the one hand, have opportunities to really hone in our discipline, courage, and skill, anchoring these things towards our earthly goals and responsibilities. On the other hand, Ketu’s confusing, critical, and resistant nature can run amok on these attempts. As the node of the subconscious past, we could find latent resistances coming to the surface. For spiritual seekers, there is potential here for overcoming these internal blockages. Overall, however, surprises and distress may arise during this conjunction.
Because Mars will be entering apparent retrograde motion on June 26th, he will actually pass over Ketu twice more and have two more exact conjunctions with him this year: on July 18th, and then again on September 22nd. His retrograde journey may cause us to feel some slow-down or back-tracking in the areas of life he rules in our individual chart.
We can begin gearing up for some stronger nodal influences this summer, as the next new Moon, on July 13th, will bring the first of a set of three 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. What’s more, starting July 16th we will enter a roughly two-week Kala Saarpa period (with all planets to one side of the nodal axis), which will recur four times more before the end of the year. The eclipses and Kala Saarpa cycles will influence you specifically in the areas of life indicated by sidereal Capricorn and Cancer in your natal chart, and also strongly depending on any planets that are found within those signs.
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 Sun and Moon will coincide on Tuesday morning at 0°30’ sidereal Taurus, less than an hour after the Moon leaves Aries to join the Sun here. The exact time for the New Moon is 4:48 am PDT on May 15th. This begins a lunar cycle under the energy of Taurus, in the Vedic nakshatra of Krittika, “the cutter.” Following the Aries cycle of initiation, this month will help us to bring ourselves and our goals into fuller embodiment, as the Sun traverses the Venus-ruled earth sign of the bull.
Taurus, or Vrishabha in Sanskrit (“the bull” or “mighty”), is a strong and steady sign that guides our attention towards the beauty of the natural world. Taurus, a four-footed sign, is good at moving forward with strength and fortitude, but finds it more difficult to change direction quickly. The fertility of the earth is lush during this lunar cycle, and our minds and hearts are focusing on what pleasures bring us the most happiness.
Of course, happiness is not a given, but this month is a time to seriously look at our desires, and what lights up and fulfills our hearts. The flip-side of this examination will come on the full Moon in Scorpio, when we come in touch with the fragility and impermanence of all we hold dear. The overall tone for the month, however, is to really pay attention to our surroundings, and make sure that what we keep around us, both in terms of company and possessions, are truly making us happy.
This new Moon also aligns with the Vedic nakshatra Krittika, located by the seven stars known as the Pleiades in the west. This nakshatra bridges the 30° portions of the sky attributed to Aries and Taurus. Though mostly within the Venusian sign of Taurus, Krittika begins in Mars-ruled Aries and is itself under the influence of the Sun.
It is ruled by the Vedic deity Agni, the lord of fire personified. Represented by an axe, flame, or razor, Krittika brings forth sharp and purifying qualities, which can be used to help us to cut or burn away what is not needed. There is also a motherly and nurturing quality to this star, from the association with Venus, as well as with Kartikeya, the warrior son of divine Mother Parvati. The satguru Amma (Amritanandamayi Devi) was born under a Moon in Krittika, and emits this sharp and penetrating yet loving light of purification.
Ketu and Mars in Capricorn
This purifying potential may be especially useful this month, as there is some challenging energy emanating from sidereal Capricorn, as both Ketu (the south node) and exalted Mars are now aligning there. Ketu’s presence can lead to misdirection of energy, accidents, confusion, or unexpected loss. Mars, the warrior, brings a cutting fire-power, and when placed in earth-sign Capricorn, his sign of exaltation, helps us to turn courage into discipline and structure.
The combination of Mars and Ketu, however, could lead to some unexpected acts of violence or intensity. The Kilauea volcano’s violent eruption began on May 3rd, the first full day after this conjunction began. The higher potential of this combination is the possibility for strengthening our psychic powers and wisdom, so sadhana will be incredibly important during this time.
This Mars-Ketu conjunction is going to last for nearly six months, as Mars will transit Capricorn from now through November 5th, and Ketu is taking up residence there for the entire year. Mars’ stint here is so long because he will be in retrograde motion for part of that time, from June 26th through August 27th. During that time, you may find Mars-ruled themes in your life slowing down, and may encounter some deep insights over these. The potential for some upheaval prior to these revelations is definitely strong, especially during the eclipse window from early July through mid-August, as we pass under two partial solar and one total lunar eclipse.