New Moon and Navaratri
Tonight brings the dark Moon, coming towards a Moon-Sun alignment to begin a new Moon cycle on October 16th at 3:31 pm EDT, at the very end of sidereal Virgo (29°46’). This is also the start of the autumnal, Sharada or Maha Navaratri, which celebrates Goddess Durga and many forms of the goddess through on each of the first nine nights of the waxing Moon this month— October 16th through 24th in North America this year.
Though the Sun and Moon align at the end of Virgo, they will move together into sidereal Libra only a few hours after the New Moon moment, thus beginning a lunar cycle with the Sun traveling through Libra. Libra energy is about balance. It is ruled by Venus, the planet of pleasure, harmony, and beauty. In a world that feels so imbalanced, our collective and individual energy will shift in ways that attempt to create greater balance, more compromise, and hopefully more harmony and beauty across the planet. The full Moon on October 31st will highlight Aries energy, Libra’s opposite, drawing us towards expressions of individual strength and will.
The Sun is debilitated in Libra, because when we strive to compromise and take care of others we often do so at the expense of our own self-care. Remember that self-care is especially important this month when the Sun is at its weakest, and the seasons are changing from Pitta to Vata time across most of the northern hemisphere. In Ayurveda this seasonal junction is a good time to do some light cleansing but nothing that is too depleting as we move into vata time.
Mercury, Mars Retrograde
Mercury and Mars are still traveling in retrograde motion in Libra and Pisces, respectively. Mercury will station on November 3rd, election day in the U.S., sending his focused rays of attention and balance towards us. This could be favorable for bringing more rational and practical equilibrium into the political system. Mars will station and turn direct on November 11th, also directing some potent energy towards us, this time martial in nature which could stimulate some violence or fires, though not as drastic as we saw around his last station on October 3rd.
This new Moon aligns with the Sun under Chitra nakshatra, “the brilliant.” This star-sign correlates with Spica, the brightest star in the sky, and bridges Virgo and Libra. It is ruled by Vishvakarma, the celestial architect. Moving from Virgo to Libra it combines both the energy of precision and perfection with that of beauty and grace. What are you trying to construct in the world that could use more architectural precision as well as beauty? This is a good time to call in this energy and channel it into any projects on your plate. Be careful that your inspiration does not lead to overindulgence under this intense nakshtra, whose animal symbol is the female tiger.
The New Moon this month brings one of the largest Hindu festivals of the year, Maha Navaratri. Navaratri means “the nine nights,” and beginning with the first Moon phase after the dark Moon, the Goddess Devi is celebrated through many forms for the following nine nights and ten days. In North America Navaratri will be celebrated from October 16th through October 25th, with October 25th being the 10th day of Victory (an auspicious time for starting new endeavors, after 9 nights of worship). In some places Navaratri celebrates the goddess Durga in nine of her forms, while in other parts of India the festival commemorates Durga/Kali, Lakshmi, and Sarasvati for three nights each.
Devi is the creatrix, the warrioress, the nurturer, the purifyer, the protector. She can be found in the innocent and fertile maiden as well as the wise and learned crone. She is both the nurturing mother, and the one who gives “tough love.” The impassioned lover, the devoted bhakta, the disciplined yogini. We see Devi appear through us in innumerable manifestations. Through her many forms, she teaches us and offers us countless blessings–love, compassion, courage, learning, discipline, surrender, success, enlightenment, and bliss.
This festival is a time for honoring and celebrating the supreme feminine power in all her glory, and the many blessings she bestows upon us. Stay tuned for daily updates on how to connect with the many forms of the Goddess.
Today brings the exact New Moon moment when the Sun and Moon align at 10:33 AM PDT, on Monday July 20th. This begins a new lunar cycle in sidereal Cancer, with Sun and Moon around 4 degrees and in Pushya nakshatra. This nakshatra is all about nourishment while Cancer brings forward the watery energy of the divine mother.
Cancer is ruled by the Moon, the planet that governs our minds and hearts. Both the Moon and Cancer are watery so we can expect to get more in touch with our emotions this month while our sensitive and perceptive sides become more prominent. If you already feel like a very watery person, expect those sensitivities to be even more acute during this cycle. This is a good month (especially this Dark Moon night) to tap into your intuition and felt sense perceptions in order to help guide yourself through life and any important decisions at hand.
If you do have a somewhat “overactive” water element within you, be careful not to let yourself become bogged down by emotions. Do something active and connect with the air and fire elements to help get your energy moving. Cancer, ruled by the Moon, brings forward divine mother energy in its highest expression, meaning we can find a compassionate, unconditional loving acceptance here. As limited humans, however, we could find ourselves struggling with boundaries as we attempt to embody this welcoming mood.
Pushya is the Vedic star-sign known as “the nourisher” and spans from 3°20′ to 16°40′ Cancer. Symbolized by the udder of a cow, this nakshatra embodies the nourishment that we receive from food as well as caring providers. Its deity is Brihaspati, Jupiter in the form of a divine father. This New Moon therefore brings forward the energy of both divine mother and father. We can look within ourselves on the dark Moon night to find the aspects of ourselves that can be more caring and nourishing, both to ourselves and to those around us, including towards Mother Nature.
Five Planets in Own Signs
As this new lunar cycle begins we find five planets traveling through their own signs: Moon in Cancer, Jupiter in Sagittarius, Saturn in Capricorn, Venus in Taurus, and Mercury in Gemini. This creates a very auspicious energy that can be supportive in beginning many endeavors. Keep in mind that the rising sign changes throughout the day to create many different charts each day, and muhurta (auspicious moments) will occur at different times in different locations. Also be aware that Mercury still joins Rahu and Jupiter joins Ketu, creating some challenges at times ruled by these two. Jupiter and Saturn are still retrograde, giving them added strength and a more inward, reflective energy.
Saturn and Covid
Much of the restriction seen in the world this year can be associated with Saturn, having returned to his home sign of Capricorn in January. Though many alignments in the sky can be seen to have improved since the beginning of the Covid crisis, Saturn is the slowest moving planet and takes time teaching his lessons. He will remain in Capricorn, bringing some restriction while teaching us about creating more secure and responsible structures, for roughly two more years. He is now retrograde and we can expect to see some things moving forward more when he begins his direct course again in October, but we can definitely anticipate more lessons in endurance and austerity, and some major societal change over the coming four years while he travels through both Capricorn and Aquarius.
Though it feels difficult in many ways, none of the planets are here to hurt us, they are here to teach us lessons in different ways, on a continual process of evolution as we come closer to alignment with source and our true nature. Saturn ultimately wants to help us to mature, both individually and as a collective, and is bringing lessons through the earth-sign Capricorn right now that are very much changing the ways in which we move through the world. Government, commerce, and income are all affected. If we keep in mind the larger goal of supporting our spirits and the divine quality of nature itself, we have the opportunity to make progress during these times. Spiritual practices and meditation are absolutely methods that can support this process, while our material world may feel more restricted.
Personal chart readings are available here to help you understand your birth karma as well as effects of the current times.
Full Moon Lunar Eclipse
The Full Moon in sidereal Scorpio peaks on June 5th at 12:12pm PDT. It coincides with a penumbral lunar eclipse that will be faintly visible at night in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and Australia, reaching its maximum at 12:24 pm PDT. Eclipses bring forward the energy of the shadow planets, Rahu and Ketu, creating confusion but also bringing to light that which needs attention.
Taurus Cycle, Scorpio Full Moon
We began the lunar cycle with Sun and Moon in Taurus, joining its ruler, retrograde Venus. The Taurus cycle compels us to dig into the earth element, our physical bodies, our relationship with nature, and also, under Venus’s influence, our relationships with others. The earth has actually been thriving during the recent pandemic, as air and vehicle travel are far reduced and our carbon output has lessened significantly.
Moon was exalted in Taurus at the beginning of this cycle, because the mind finds peace on fertile ground whose ruler is the motivator of happiness (Venus). When the Moon is fully illuminated in the opposite sign of Scorpio, the mind and heart must face their most volatile and vulnerable circumstances. The Moon in Scorpio, driven by the warrior planet Mars (Scorpio’s ruler), compels to keep a fierce mind and heart while riding the waves of this unpredictable water sign.
As the natural eighth sign and a place of transition, Scorpio is where we are aware of all that we can lose on this earthly plane … and all that we must lose in order to rebirth again and again into higher versions of ourselves. When unsettled, the mind in Scorpio can go through waves of fear and turmoil while trying to access that which is the deepest, the most vulnerable, and the most sacred within us. With intelligence, the Scorpio Moon can help reveal to us those precious gems within … the innocence and of our hearts and the things and people most meaningful to us.
Lunar Eclipse & Retrograde Saturn & Jupiter
This particular full Moon in Scorpio is likely to bring up some of the fear and turmoil on our journey to the sacred heart, because it coincides with a lunar eclipse. Eclipses often bring extreme stress, illusions (and disillusionment, if we are ready to see through them), and the potential for revelation and change.
Personally my heart feels pretty torn apart these past couple of weeks (the amount of time which is usually the lead-up to the first eclipse of a series). We are seeing as a society (and from what I’ve gathered, a lot on the individual level as well), what is deeply wrong, and the warrior spirit of Scorpio is coming through to fight for the sacred (referring particularly to the protests against systemic racial injustice in the United States ignited by the police killing of George Floyd).
Though Ketu remains in Sagittarius (and Rahu in Gemini), the two are getting ready to make their transit into Scorpio and Taurus, in September, and this is the first eclipse bridging this axis where the nodes will ride for the coming year-and-half. With Ketu eclipsing the Moon in Scorpio today and soon moving there himself, I think that transformation through destruction (both inner and outward) may be a theme that we see over the next two years.
Remember that some of the highest gifts that we can receive from Scorpio are passion (for justice, for example) and devotion (to a higher good). Ketu’s presence adds the ingredient of making us look back at the past, healing ancestral wounds, compelling us to finally change negative patterns that are lingering and ready to evolve or mature. (It also just makes us want to tear sh** down.)
With Saturn and Jupiter both retrograde in Capricorn right now, we are deeply examining the structures and philosophies that guide us. At the onset of this cycle I spoke about how Saturn is asking us to choose new directions instead of holding onto failing systems of power. Systemic racism and state-sponsored racial violence are SUCH a deep part of the United States’ history and very foundation, both structurally and philosophically. It’s bringing tears to my eyes realizing that the introspective power of these retrograde planets may be aiding the collective uprising, helping us to look inward as a society in order to see how deeply these are part of our government and existence, and to stand up and demand a new direction in structure and ideology, if not an entirely new foundation altogether.
As eclipses come in cycles, we have another month to continue to really process the changes that are arising now, as we go through two more eclipses this cycle, on June 21st and July 4th. With the Sun in Ardra on both of those eclipses, it’s likely that some violence and disruption will continue. But the true energy of Ardra is to bring the moisture that allows new positive growth after a storm. Its shakti or divine power is to make gains through great effort, so hopefully we will see more positive outcomes from the protests through this time.
While Venus goes through its retrograde cycle, we have a chance to reexamine our connection with the earth and how we relate to nature and other sensory inputs. Many have been putting a lot of energy towards gardening and spending time in the outdoors. On a personal level, we are taking a look at the people in our lives, taking stock of who is most important to us, as well as realizing those with whom our connections may no longer be as strong as they once were.
The Full Moon today aligns with the Vedic nakshatra of Jyestha, “the seniormost.” This nakshatra has to do with courage, protection, and accomplishment. By the light of this full Moon, I am praying that the courageous protestors are protected and successful. Jyestha is ruled by Indra, the chief of the gods, and also has strong associations with Vishnu, the protector. It is located by the bright star Antares within the constellation Scorpio.
New Moon May 2020
The new moon cycle begins in Taurus on May 22nd at 10:38 AM PDT, in the Vedic nakshatra of Krittika, “the cutter.” Taurus is a feminine earth sign ruled by Venus, and Venus joins the Sun and Moon in Taurus on this dark moon tonight along with Mercury. Both Mars and Jupiter cast their aspects here, while Saturn, Jupiter, and Venus are all in retrograde motion.
A Taurus cycle compels us to get into our physical bodies, focus on things close at hand, and find the simple beauty that comes from nature, foods, and pleasurable activities. Amidst the pandemic, the stars are supportive this month to help us focus on family and the simple pleasures around the home. Fitting with the season, this is a good cycle to work on gardening and to beautify your indoor and outdoor as well as inner landscapes.
On a spiritual level, Taurus helps us to forge ahead (sometimes with a stubborn, “bull-headedness”) in our chosen direction … it can sometimes be hard to change directions, however, so it is important to set some intentions and orient yourself properly on this dark moon night before the cycle begins. Mars’ aspect onto the new Moon adds some firepower to the mix, while Jupiter’s glance adds a breeze of wisdom and grace.
Krittika means “the cutter,” and this star helps us to cut away that which we do not need. It is ruled by Agni, fire personified, which also helps us to cut and burn away the excesses that we may have been carrying. On this new Moon night it’s a great time to cut or clear away anything that is weighing you down or getting in your way. Literally cutting plants, hedges, foods, or hair are good activities we perform that also symbolize some of the inner cutting we must do on our vasanas (negative tendencies) and unnecessary attachments.
This star is symbolized by a razor, axe, or flame. There is also a feminine nurturing quality to this star, as it relates with Lord Kartikeyya who was suckled by six pleiades (this nakshatra is the cluster of seven stars known as the pleiades). This is the birthstar of Mata Amritanandamayi Devi (“Amma”), a great saint who is known for her power to cut through negativities and also nurture endlessly as the divine Mother.
Three Retrograde Planets: Venus, Jupiter and Saturn
Venus, Saturn, and Jupiter are all traveling in apparent retrograde motion at the moment, giving them strength and an inward-oriented power. When Venus is retrograde we have an enhanced ability to reflect upon our relationships. This can include doing some work on your patterns (and creating better ones), as well as re-examining old relationships or reconnecting with people from your past. It also lends us the ability to examine our relationships with sensory pleasures in general, perhaps redefining our relationships with food, drink, or substance, or unearthing some of our creative energy that has been left dormant.
With Jupiter retrograde we must look deeply at the philosophies, creeds, and spiritual beliefs that guide us. It is a good time to reconnect with scripture or teachers, and really examine yourself inwardly for how your belief structures are working and supporting you. It can be a great time to re-commit to spiritual practice, as Jupiter is getting closer to earth and brighter in the sky during the first half of this retrograde cycle (the whole cycle is from May 14th through September 12th).
Under retrograde Saturn we examine our long-term goals, our work and the ways we commit to support ourselves, and the very structures under which we live. You may find this period is an opportunity to restructure or redefine the work you do in the world, or your understanding of what are the most important things that you are working for. Saturn retrograde can also teach us more about self-control and self-discipline, but also the need to let go of external attachments and rely more on our inner strength. Meditation is one of the greatest remedies for Saturn.
Saturn and Covid
Saturn is currently strong in his own sign as well as strong due to his retrograde transit, and, in Capricorn, is a large part of the force that is restructuring the outside world during this Covid crisis. He brings restriction and contraction, and in Capricorn, forces us to examine the structures that support us, particularly as a society. This retrograde transit could bring some relief but it asks us to choose new directions when he begins to move forward again, surrendering more to the greater good, rather than trying to hold onto systems of power that have been failing.
Personal readings are available here.
Full Moon May 2020
The full Moon peaks tonight at 3:45 am PT (early on Thursday, May 7th) in the nakshatra Vishaka near the end of sidereal Libra. This star is known as “the forked” branches which represent our finding ourselves at a crossroads where we must choose from two directions. In sidereal Libra, we are thinking strongly about balance and compromise, amidst an Aries Sun cycle that highlights individuality. In the coming week, we will see three planets head into Retrograde motion.
Libra Full Moon
Libra or Tula is the sign of the scales, representing the need to weigh and balance things to achieve an equilibrium in our lives. It is ruled by Venus, who is currently strong from his sva position, transiting his own sign of Taurus. Venus compels us to lead with the heart’s desires, to find beauty and happiness over all else. This could be a welcomed influence this week as we have been so heavily under the influence of a strong Saturn and Mars for the last several weeks.
The Full Moon in Libra is opposite a strong, exalted Sun in Aries. This position began an Aries cycle for us on April 22nd. The Aries cycle highlights strength and individuality, but with its ruler Mars in conjunction with Saturn (in Capricorn) for the last six weeks, that individuality took on a much more disciplinarian (and literally isolated) tone. There has been a tight grip of discipline over society through this time (since March 22nd), which may be easing up somewhat now that Mars has moved out of Capricorn (May 4th). Saturn will continue to reign there for the next two years, however, which could keep an air of restriction over society through that time.
Vishaka nakshatra bridges the end of Libra and the very beginning of Scorpio. Known as “the forked one” it is often depicted by forked branches, showing the opportunity for growth by choosing one of two directions. Its rulers are Indra and Agni, the chief of the gods and fire personified, showing the great strength that comes once one of those directions is chosen. We can find a strong devotion under this Vishaka full Moon, if we choose to channel our energy towards our higher purpose.
Upcoming Retrogrades: Saturn, Venus, Jupiter
Over the next week three planets will appear to slow down and reverse direction, entering retrograde motion from our perspective here on earth: Saturn on May 10th (through September 28th), Venus on May 12th (through June 24th), and Jupiter on May 14th (through September 12th). Saturn and Jupiter are actually coming closer to the earth as they enter retrograde motion, and will be approaching their brightest in the sky when they are fully opposite the Sun in a couple of months (mid-way through their retrograde cycles). Retrogression actually lends a certain strength to planets because of this proximity and brightness, so it’s not all to be feared!
The qualities of these planets may become even more intense while we will experience their influence in a more inward manner during retrogression. Saturn, for example, has been teaching us about structure and discipline, and making tough decisions in favor of long term goals. This will continue as he goes through this period of retrogression in Capricorn, but we may begin to look more to ourselves for that discipline, rather than simply feeling burdened to it by the outside forces. With Mars moving out of Capricorn and rules loosening, for example, it is now on us to consider deeply what are the best decisions for our futures. Some sacrifices may be needed as Saturn teaches us about endurance, patience, and personal restriction.
With Jupiter brightening and approaching through his retrograde cycle, our ideas and ideals come under personal scrutiny. It can be an opportunity for our faith to brighten, while also giving us a chance to check in with our worldview in general. As the outside world is changing, is there room for our inner convictions to adapt?
Venus’s retrogression from May 12th through June 24th will cause him to remain in his own sign of Taurus for over four months, spanning from March 28th through July 31st. Under retrograde Venus we slow down and take a deep look at our most significant relationships, especially familial relationships as Venus transits the sign of Taurus. It’s often a time when we get a “blast from the past” and check in with or hear from people with whom we have not spoken for a long time. It’s also an important time to take a look at your intake, and how you relate with luxury and material things. Though these things can be favorable with Venus in Taurus, during retrogression you may notice that you have amassed more than you really need.
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