I love this time of year. Having passed the equinox on September 22nd, the dark of night comes noticeably earlier. The air temperature, moisture and barometric pressure have taken a definite turn. And the instinct to nest and cozy up at home is on.
From now through the spring equinox, we in the northern hemisphere are in the yin portion of the year, where nighttime exceeds day, and our energy is more naturally directed inward. With fewer hours to be out in the world acting, there is more time to spend still and being. This is a time for the mystic feminine to thrive.
Monday, October 8th will bring a dark Moon night to start the first lunar cycle fully in the yin season. At 8:47 pm PDT, the Sun and Moon align at 21° sidereal Virgo, in Hasta nakshatra. This is a great way to start a season of grounding into ourselves, nurturing our feminine essence and our creative potential. Fittingly, this cycle brings with it the Navaratri festival, the nine nights of celebrating the goddess in her many forms.
Virgo is the feminine earth sign ruled by Mercury. In Sanskrit, Virgo is Kanya, literally the “girl” or the “maiden.” This sign relates to fertility, as well as a pure feminine being. Virgo’s nature compels us to try to take care of everyone and all the details, and as the Sun moves into Libra, his sign of debilitation, later this month, we must be careful not to overexert ourselves and become depleted.
With exalted Mars and Ketu still transiting the fifth from Virgo, this month will call us to explore our creative potential, and what fears and resistance we may hold around that. With Saturn transiting the fourth and Mercury, Jupiter and Venus in the second, there is a lot of energy going towards the home and family this month.
Within Virgo, the Sun and Moon align in Hasta nakshatra to begin this lunar cycle. Hasta is “the hand,” and implies all things crafty. We find potential to take up any number of manual skills or projects this month, as well as utilizing the intellect (Mercury) to craft our situations towards our goals. Ruled by the Moon, this star brings forth our feminine nature and guides us from the heart, so be sure to listen in the stillness of the dark Moon nights.
I just love this Warhol image for Retrograde Venus!
Venus has come to a stop and is entering retrograde motion on October 5th. For all of us, this will be an opportunity to slow down and retrace the steps we have taken towards happiness, as well as look closely at our relationships and our styles of relating. It may feel like a slow-down our happiness or relationships are challenged right now, but every challenge is an opportunity for our own self-development. It’s a good time to work on developing new skills in relating, whether by a communication class, couples’ workshop, or any personal development coaching work.
You may also experience things slowing down in the areas of your life ruled by Venus in your natal chart, different for each Vedic rising sign.
For a few more days, Jupiter and Venus are joined in sidereal Libra, but Jupiter will complete his transit here and move into sidereal Scorpio on October 11th. This next Jupiter transit will last through November 4, 2019. Jupiter in Scorpio can expand our opportunity to connect with the mystic. The depth of self-inquiry and self-development practices will grow during this period. Passions can be heightened and intensified, and our philosophical warrior will be strong.
The nine nights of the goddess is a festival celebrated by Hindus worldwide. Navaratri will begin on the first night of the waxing Moon this lunar cycle, starting October 9th. On each of nine consecutive nights (nav + ratri), we can worship the goddess, Devi, through her many forms. Most notably this festival celebrates the goddess Durga in nine of her forms, but 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.
The Moon will complete his full waxing phase in sidereal Pisces for a full Moon at 7:53 pm Pacific time on Monday, September 24th, just after rising in the East. This full Moon falls in Uttara Bhadrapada nakshatra, the latter “one with lucky feet.” Deep in the twelfth rashi, this nakshatra relates to the depths of kundalini and fertility, and can help us to take a deep dive into ourselves.
This Moon waxes into fullness in sidereal Pisces, the twelfth sign of the zodiac that helps us to move away from the material world and into the realm of spirit, magic, and dreamland. With the Moon fully illuminated here, we can let our imaginations run wild, and follow them playfully into a whimsical exploration of ourselves.
Jupiter rules Pisces, and brings forward inspiration, luck, and a sense of purpose and believing in something. Under the full Moon in Pisces, we have the potential to truly let go and surrender to a higher power, and let loose a bit on the reins of control that we attempt to use to wield our lives. The Pisces full Moon is opposite the Sun in Virgo, the grounded earth sign that keeps us tied to the mundane tasks and activities of organization and planning that help us to live in the material world. During this opposing full Moon, we reflect on how to balance the right amount of control and attention to detail, with the right amount of surrender and faith in something bigger than ourselves.
Without an inspiring motivator or dedicated purpose, however, Pisces can promote escapist tendencies. We may let our imagination lead us into a world of fantasy, where we neglect our earthly responsibilities. There is also the possibility for substance abuse as a means of escape here, so be sure to keep one foot on the ground if you have this tendency. With a healthy internal guidance system, however, this can be an exploratory full Moon that takes you to new levels of self-understanding and surrender to the flow.
Following Purva Bhadrapada, Uttara Bhadrapada is represented by the back legs of a bed or funeral cot, symbolizing the final end of this life where the body is (traditionally, in India) burned and we are completely released from this phase of existence. This star therefore ushers forth the energy of purification, especially purification by fire ritual. The ruling deity, Ahir Bhudhnya, is a serpent with the potential to raise kundalini energy. Our internal power could light up under this full Moon. It is best if we can do some intentional planning or meditation beforehand to cultivate a space for achieving our desired results, and be sure to hold space for integration during the waning phase.
Desires are heightened due to Venus’ sva position, standing strong in his own sign of Libra this month. We will feel more inspired by music, nature, and the arts during this time, and relationships may be coming to the forefront for many of us. Whether intimate or friendly, this transit is a time where we’ll examine our relating style, how we compromise, and what paths we choose to take to achieve personal happiness.
Venus will come to a halt and enter retrograde motion soon, appearing to move backwards through the zodiac from October 5th through November 15th. This happens once about every 18 months, and gives us a chance to reset our relationships and re-evaluate our desires and our plan for happiness. In Libra, this will send us deep into a self-examination of our relating style, and it’s a great time to learn some new tools for compromise and communication with others. You may find people from the past coming forward with unfinished business during this transit, and will need to negotiate a new balance.
Watch out around October 15th, when Mercury and Venus come within one degree of each other for a planetary war. This could pit our desires against our intellect, with passion ruling out over practicality. This is a danger for some through the whole Venus transit, which can heighten our sensual nature and lead towards more indulgence all-around.
Mars & Ketu
Mars has just passed over Ketu for the third time this year, but will remain within one degree of him until just hours before the full Moon on Monday. There may be a sense of achievement and courage rising with this last conjunction. Mars has been in Capricorn, his sign of exaltation, since early March. Mars in Capricorn is when we learn to channel our strength and fire towards our goals and responsibilities, our self-development and self-discipline, and the things that will bring us lasting value.
During this long transit or Mars, he has been joined with Ketu the entire time, showing us the shadow side of ourselves in how we wield our strength, and also how we fight. This may have brought out some aggression, arguments, and accidents earlier this year, but if we were committed to seeing the lessons of Ketu (especially through the eclipse cycle this summer), we may have come out with a deeper understanding of our warrior within. As Mars finishes his transit here over the next six weeks, we have the chance to stand with our own internal strength, knowing where, when, and how to fight, and how to discipline ourselves, in light of the dark spots that have shown themselves over the last few months.
Jupiter Changing Signs
On October 11th, Jupiter will transit from sidereal Libra into Scorpio. He has been in Libra since September of last year. As he travels through Scorpio for the next thirteen months, our inner warrior will be inspired, and the vulnerable spots inside will be inspired by the planet of purpose. This is a great time to study psychology, mysticism, and whatever inspires you in your personal self-development. This will also light up particular areas of your life depending on your Vedic rising sign.
Stay tuned for a personal forecast or sign up for an individual chart reading to see how these current transits will affect your life.
Tonight’s dark Moon brings the third and final eclipse of this summer’s eclipse season. The exact time of the New Moon will be at 2:58 am PDT, with the partial solar eclipse reaching its maximum at 2:46 am. This eclipse will only be visible from Scandinavia, Greenland, northern parts of Asia and northernmost Canada. Though the last eclipse, of July 27th, carried a bit more intensity, this one is still adding a good degree of stress to the atmosphere. We should feel energies settling a bit more after its passing.
New Moon in Cancer
This eclipse occurs as the Sun and Moon come together in late sidereal Cancer, joined in this sign by Rahu, the north node, and a still-retrograde Mercury. Opposite, in sidereal Capricorn, lie Ketu and still-retrograde-and-exalted Mars. As we enter a new lunar cycle led by Cancer energy, we will go through this month with an acute awareness of our emotions, and sensitivities will be high. To be honest … it could feel like a tidal wave. Rahu’s presence here in Cancer works to exaggerate that sensitivity and those emotions even more, so try to be as gentle and caring with yourself as possible.
Cancer is the sign of the divine Mother, a water sign ruled by the Moon. The divine Mother, in her infinite compassion, is open and receptive to everyone and everything. Cancer is the sign of the heart, and we come into our own hearts more deeply when so many planetary energies are gathered here. Even those who may not usually have a “sensitive” nature will be much more attuned to their feelings during this month.
The presence of Rahu, however, can be disturbing and aggravating, and can lead us forward quickly in confusion. For this reason, Rahu’s presence in Cancer often causes us to open our boundaries too wide, allowing ourselves to get hurt while in this sensitive state. Working on balancing these boundaries and feelings with structure and responsibility has been one of the lessons of this Cancer-Capricorn eclipse cycle.
Cancer is the sign of the heart and the emotions, while Capricorn, opposite in the sky, teaches us about doing the responsible thing for long-term results. Throughout this year-and-a-half transit of the nodes through these signs (August 2017 – March 2019), we’ve been examining where in our lives we led our feelings lead too much, neglecting responsibility, or where we are too rigid, without acknowledging the heart. The eclipses help us through a process of learning around this, and as we see our patterns (the shadows that are revealed), we are able to make positive changes in our lives.
This axis is also affecting two particular houses in your natal chart, and learning to balance those energies is a personal task that is different for each of us. (If you haven’t downloaded it, be sure to get the Free E-Book with forecast for your sign, here.) This transit and series of eclipses may also be affecting any planets that you have in these signs natally, as well as the areas of life they rule for you.
The Moon and Sun coincide in Ashlesha nakshatra during this eclipse, the sign of the water snake, called “the entwiner.” This nakshatra can be located in a ring of stars within the western constellation Hydra, the water-serpent. Ashlesha is represented by a coiled snake, and is ruled by the Nagas, the serpent deities of wisdom. This nakshatra has a lot to do with discovering what is coiled deep within, so an eclipse here has the potential to churn up some deep-seated emotions that have not been felt for a while. It also has the ability to stir kundalini, so if you are doing spiritual practices, be prepared for some possible strong waves of energy.
At the same time, the snake also contains a poisonous venom. Because of the intensity of this eclipse and the surrounding alignment, it is quite possible for some of what gets stirred up to have a toxic quality. Like other detoxification processes, however, it is sometimes necessary for the toxins to filter through the body after they are dislodged, before being released back to the earth. Drink lots of water following this eclipse, but Indian tradition says that it is best not to eat, drink, or be outside during the eclipse, lest we absorb more of its negative affects. With any difficulties that arise, offer them back to the divine Mother, and call upon the cleansing power of water to help you through.
Mars has been retreating steadily towards the beginning of sidereal Capricorn since he entered retrograde motion on June 26th. Those people ruled by Mars are feeling particularly affected, as their normally driven energy seems to be going in the opposite direction, and further confusion is added due to the conjunction with Ketu. Mars is still in his sign of exaltation, which would normally help us towards putting a lot of energy into structures and goals, but there have been many delays and frustrations due to the other influences.
Mars will come to a stop near the end of the month, beginning direct motion again on August 27th and transiting over Ketu once more in September. He will remain in Capricorn through early November.
Venus entered sidereal Virgo, his sign of debilitation, on July 31st. Virgo is a sign that is very much about practicality, ruled by Mercury, the planet of the intellect. There is a lot of precision here, and factuality, while Venus is the planet of desire, which is often not practical. The fulfillment of our desires can feel curbed by the intellect while Venus transits here, and our creative pursuits can take on a more linear dimension.
At the same time, this can help us to see more clearly when it comes to relationships and desires, and take on an analytical view that is sometimes refreshing. Due to the alignment of planets at the beginning of this lunar cycle, however, watch out for arguments in relationships, as Mars is volatile and sensitivity is high.
The Moon waxes toward fullness with the Full Moon in Virgo this Friday night, with the Moon coming fully opposite the Sun on March 31st, at 5:37 am PST. The full Moon culminates at 16° sidereal Virgo. There’s a screenshot below from an astronomy app to show you where you can identify the Moon this Friday night into Saturday morning. This part of the ecliptic is associated with the Vedic nakshatra called Hasta, the hand, which can be identified around the constellation Corvus, just below Virgo.
Full Moon in Virgo
We began this lunar cycle with Sun and Moon together in Pisces, driving our consciousness towards its deep waters, fishing out the dreams that lay buried, as we vision what is most important to us in the coming months. With the Moon now opposite Pisces, in Virgo, we can bring our consciousness out of the ethers and more fully into our bodies, as the Moon is illuminated in this grounded earth sign. Both Virgo and Pisces are dual-nature signs, providing the flexibility for us to shift things around when necessary, and to root down and stay put when there is work to be done.
The fertile, feminine earth sign of Virgo is a perfect place to plant the seeds of our lives for the coming season. Virgo draws our focus and attention to what work we can do in the material plane, helping us to look at the details that we will need to manage in order to fulfill the hopes and dreams that have arisen. Ruled by Mercury, the planet of the intellect, Virgo’s full Moon assists in analyzing what it will take to bring our inspiration into manifested form.
The Vedic nakshatra where this Full Moon lies is especially handy in guiding us on how to craft our dreams into realities. Hasta, known as “the hand,” correlates with the middle degrees of Virgo, and symbolizes all that we do with our hands, or our handiness. There is a power here for creating, and any skill that takes a certain amount of dexterity, whether physical or mental. Under this full Moon, call on the power of the divine hands to enter you and help you to mold your creations into being.
Just hours after this full Moon, Mars approaches Saturn so closely that the two will be within one degree, and in a planetary war, through April 4th. As this happens, the areas of life ruled by both Mars and Saturn in your chart could be under duress this week. Their exact conjunction is around 8:28 am PST on April 2nd. In general, our impulsive instincts could feel at war with our patience and ability to stand strong in our commitments, with Mars coming through slightly brighter in his appearance.
Mercury Retrograde, Debilitated, and Combust
Our Mercurial nature (and those ruled by Mercury) could also be feeling challenged this weekend, with Mercury highly combust (within 3° of the Sun) from Saturday through Monday. This is while he is already in apparent retrograde motion, and traveling through his sign of debilitation, Pisces. In this scenario, our pragmatic nature, sense of humor, and ability to communicate may all seem a little bit lost in the current. Remember this when you’re going over your facts and details, and don’t let hopes and desires skew your analytical ability (watch those generous tax deductions you may be taking). Mercury will be retrograde all the way through April 15th, so after this weekend there’s a good chance to check over some of your numbers again… though he won’t move out of the optimistic Pisces until May 9th.
Hanuman Jayanti (and other holidays)
The purnima Full Moon phase this month indicates Hanuman Jayanti in the Hindu festival calendar, the celebration of the birth of Lord Hanuman. Hanuman embodies the highest form of devotion, and shows us the incredible strength 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.
Marked by the first full Moon after the spring Equinox, this full moon marks the weekend for Easter and Passover as well, which are also determined by the lunar calendar.
Jai Jai Jai Hanuman!
And in case you missed it, Jupiter is now retrograde, and your sign’s free forecast is available HERE.
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In this Kali Yuga, it almost always feels like we could use a little more light in the world, but especially around this time of year when the days are getting shorter and darker (northern hemisphere bias). The last few months seem to have piled on more natural disasters than usual, although sometimes it feels like this may be becoming the norm. This New Moon brings the Hindu festival of Diwali, which is a celebratory time to invite more light into our lives and into the world.
The darkest Moon time, which begins our next lunar cycle, occurs at 12:12 pm PDT this Thursday, October 19th. The new cycle begins with Sun and Moon joined in sidereal Libra, with Mercury and Jupiter there as well. Libra is a sign about creating more balance (which presents a bit of a challenge with the imbalanced appearance of the chart for this New Moon). It falls in the Vedic nakshatra of Chitra, a star-sign that enhances our opportunity to bring beauty and harmony in the world.
Libra is an air sign where we bring the principles of Venus into active expression. Venus is the planet of beauty, desire, nature, and human love, so the Libra cycle will encourage us to be more creative, connect with nature, and nurture our relationships. As an air sign (a bit intellectual, and inspiring movement), we will seek ways to balance or re-balance relationships throughout this cycle. Both Jupiter and Mercury are also positioned in Libra, close to the Sun and Moon at this time, which adds the influences of our higher beliefs as well as our analytical minds to our creative endeavors this month.
Venus itself, the ruler of Libra, is currently transiting Virgo, his sign of debilitation. Debilitated Venus doesn’t necessarily translate as “relationships will be bad,” but it adds a highly intellectual, analytical, and practical motivation to the planet of pleasure and beauty. This is the opposite position to exalted Venus in Pisces, which we experienced for four months earlier this year (February through May), when we felt inspired to align our desires and relationships with our highest beliefs, principles, and purpose. Now, with Venus in Virgo, we are prompted to scrutinize all the little details of our relationships and pleasurable pursuits, and make sure that they are serving some practical need for us on the earth plane. We may also be scrutinizing our partners, or others around us, and getting caught up around the nuances of language or ideas. With Venus ruling this upcoming lunar cycle, and Mercury joining closely to the Sun and Moon at its start, desire for practicality will be strong this month.
The Vedic nakshatra where this lunar cycle begins is Chitra, “the brilliant.” This bright star in Virgo (Chitra bridges Virgo and Libra) is ruled by Vishvakarma, the deity known as the celestial architect. Imagine that energy of one who has the ability to place all the stars in the sky and set them in perfect motion … that type of both precise and artistic energy is what we are able to call in this month. There is a powerful creative potency here, and a great potential for improving relationships. It is also an supportive energy for organizing, repairing, or redesigning your home space.
On the new Moon of the Hindu month of Ashwin (this month), we celebrate Diwali, the festival of lights. The festival actually began on Monday, the 16th (North America), the 13th waning Moon phase of the previous cycle. This day is known as Dhanteras, or Dhanvantari Tryodashi. Buying gold or silver (or any metals) on Dhanteras is widely practiced in Hindu culture. It is also the celebration of the appearance of Lord Dhanvantari, the father of Ayurvedic medicine. This day, and Diwali in general, is an excellent time for nurturing and calling in blessings for any type of healing or healing practice.
Diwali is a time to invite more light into our lives, our hearts, and our world. This festival celebrates the victory of light over darkness, which is something to rejoice in and have faith in, even if we can’t outwardly observe it sometimes. The positive vibrations we create internally are the only place to start for growing and spreading them externally. It is a powerful time to connect to the Goddess Lakshmi, calling in her blessings for both material and spiritual prosperity.
This holiday also commemorates Lord Ram’s and Sita’s return from exile after fourteen years (story from the Ramayana). Lord Ram embodies the highest qualities of dharma, devotion, compassion, courage, and leadership. Diwali is also the start of a new lunar cycle, so it’s a great time to go within and summon these qualities to awaken and live through you.
Diwali (also seen as Divali, Deepawali or Deepavali) comes from the sanskrit words deepa (light) and avali (row). It is traditional to light candles throughout Diwali, inviting the highest light into our homes and hearts … but in consideration of the destructive wildfires raging in California right now, I’m using electronic tea lights this year.
The candles are lit to remind us of the inner divine light in us all. Though one flame can be used to light many others, it is not diminished by sharing its power of illumination. We can pray for the peace and happiness of all beings, and each one’s awareness of their inner light.
Sun in Libra
It is pertinent to remember and to celebrate and call forth our inner light during this particular Dark Moon time, because the Sun, the planet of our inner power, strength, and divine light, is also in his sign of “debilitation,” in Libra.
Since Libra is the sign of balance and relationships, we often give a lot of our personal power to our relationships with others when Sun is in Libra. We may try too hard to care for others, forgetting to nourish the divine spark in ourselves, or we may simply feel depleted by trying to balance too much in life, losing touch with our personal strength and vitality.
At the beginning of this cycle, set an intention for a mindful self-care routine this month. Light some candles (or turn them on) for Diwali on the Dark Moon night, and if possible, take some time each day to offer yourself some time to nourish and honor your personal light. Self-care practices can include yoga, meditation, chanting, art, or self-abhyangha (oil massage). You can also make some herbal tea to nourish yourself during this vata (cold and dry) season.
The imbalance of the chart that I was talking about is referring to the ongoing Kala Saarpa yoga we see, wherein all seven physical planets are on one side of the nodal Rahu-Ketu axis. With these planets to one side of the nodes, the subconscious shadow energy (similar to eclipse energy) becomes more present, and a lot of unresolved business may arise. There is more agitation of the environment in general. This chart is particularly imbalanced, with the Sun, Moon, Jupiter and Mercury halfway between the nodes, and the other planets joining them on either side. As we enter this darker time of year, it is especially important to keep up our consciousness development and self-improvement practices, so as not to be ruled by the unconscious forces within.
Diwali is a potent opportunity to set this conscious intention, and to call forth more light and love into our hearts, and then to spread it out into the world! With so much trauma and disaster occurring all over the planet, our light, love, and service are needed now more than ever. No matter how small a part we can play, let us do what we can to increase harmony on and with the planet.
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