Full Moon April 2021
The Full Moon in sidereal Libra is tonight, Monday, April 26th at 11:31 pm ET. Opposite the Sun, Mercury, and Venus in Aries, the Libra Moon illuminates how we relate to and balance our outer relationships while pursuing our individual goals. In Swati nakshatra, we can take heed not to be blown off course by our environment or by trying to manage too much at once.
Libra is a masculine (outward/yang) air sign, ruled by Venus. It is the opposite of Aries, the natural first sign of individual action, and is where we learn to compromise and balance our relationships and outer activities. The Aries Sun cycle is very much about finding our own course, taking care of our health, and diving into the activities we want to pursue in the coming season. The Libra full Moon reminds us that we need to work with others and, to a certain degree, harmonize our happiness with theirs in order to have an overall positive outcome.
The full Moon resides in the Vedic nakshatra of Swati, “the sword,” represented by a young plant shoot blowing in the wind. Ruled by Vayu, the Lord of Wind, and associated with Rahu, this nakshatra can bring forward both flexibility and possible instability. Make sure to find ways to ground and keep your roots firmly planted under this full Moon. This nakshatra also translates as “the independent” and brings forth an independent nature.
Mercury and Venus are in the midst of a planetary war, traveling within one degree of each other, from April 24th until the 26th (ending just a few hours before the full Moon). In this war our desires are pitted against our intellect, and both Mercury- and Venus-related matters may suffer for a few days, with neither winning out much since both are also very close to the Sun and not visible in the night sky.
Today’s full Moon also brings in the Hindu holy day of Hanuman Jayanti, celebrating the birth of Lord Hanuman, Ram’s greatest devottee. Hanuman is the greatest embodiment of devotion, and shows us the incredible strength we possess that emerges from within when we practice great faith, humility, and service. In addition to traditional pujas (prayer ceremony), you can chant, sing, meditate, and especially, find some way to be of service, in order to honor Hanuman on this full Moon. The most fitting mantra/song is the Hanuman Chaleesa.
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.
Personal Chart Readings with Coaching Are Available Here
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!
Personal Chart Readings with Coaching Are Available Here
New Moon February 2021
Today the Sun and Moon join at the very end of sidereal Capricorn for a New Moon at 2:06 pm EST. By tomorrow both Sun and Moon will move into sidereal Aquarius, where the Sun will transit for most of this cycle. Both signs are ruled by Saturn, who is joining Sun and Moon in Capricorn as we begin this cycle. Jupiter, Venus, and retrograde Mercury are also there, bringing us a heavy dose of Capricorn energy in a very weighted chart, with all these planets between the two nodes who create a Kaala Sarpa yoga.
New Moon in Capricorn
Saturn has been in his own sign of Capricorn since January of 2020. This earth-sign is about being responsible, focusing on structure, family, and commitments. With Saturn here for the last year he has been strong in his own sign, putting the pressure on us to work hard for what is most important, and spend less time on the frivolous. Saturn pressures us to be mature but his heavy influence can feel like a restrictive weight. As we begin another cycle under strong Saturn’s influence, we may feel like life is a bit serious and difficult right now.
Planetary Pileup: Dhanishtha and Sravana Nakshatras
At the moment of this new Moon we have 6 of the 9 grahas in sidereal Capricorn, with Sun and Moon in Dhanishtha nakshatra and Saturn, Jupiter, Venus, and retrograde Mercury all in Sravana nakshatra.
Dhanishtha is the star of wealth (dhana), and thus it does give us the opportunity to start this month with a mindset of prosperity. It is symbolized by the musical drum, showing that we must keep a steady beat, finding the rhythm that is right for us, in order to succeed. Symbolized by the female lion, we can be brave and fierce while also meeting the basic responsibilities of providing for our families. The deities who rule Dhanishtha are the eight Vasus, the elemental deities. This can be a good time to connect with these principles through the study of Ayurveda, especially examining how the elements are at play within each of us.
With four planets in Sravana nakshatra, the universe is asking us to “Listen!” The star of hearing, and symbolized by an ear, Sravana is where we can listen deeply to the lessons that are being taught by the cosmos. As with any New Moon, this is an opportune time of month to be more inward, tuning into the voice of the heart instead of the chatter of the mind and the external world. Lord Vishnu, the preserver of the universe, presides here, further encouraging us to maintain that which is around us as we seek inner wisdom.
With so many planets in both of these nakshatras this lunar cycle could be a good time to begin projects that require long-term commitment and hard work. Take note, however, of the planetary war going on between Jupiter and Venus…
Jupiter and Venus war when they come within 1 degree of each other in the sky, which they will be until 9:31 am EST on February 12th. Neither planet is incredibly strong and luminous already because of their proximity to the Sun — they rise and set during the daylight hours so are not currently visible. Jupiter is debilitated in Capricorn (though neecha bhangha, somewhat helped due to ruler Saturn’s presence there). Therefore beginning any ventures ruled by these two would be less than ideal during the planetary war, and best to wait until after that time has passed. That would include ventures in the arts, music, love, children, education, learning or teaching.
Venus and Mercury will engage in planetary war from February 12th through 13th, and then Mercury will war with Jupiter from the 13th through 15th. After Mercury stations and ends his retrograde journey on the 20th, he will pass by Jupiter again for another war from March 2nd through the 6th.
With all planets clustered together right now (except for lone Mars, who transits his own sign of Aries), the nodes Rahu and Ketu cut the chart sharply in half with no planets on the other side of their axis. This creates the somewhat dreaded Kaala Sarpa yoga — the “black snake” or “serpent of time.” This adds a weight to the chart that compels all of us to dive deeper into sadhana in order to work with the energies at hand. A lot of what is going on may be subconscious or karmic, and requires looking at the aspects of our lives that are difficult to see or understand. The kaala sarpa energy will pervade until Mars enters Gemini on April 14th.