The Sun and Moon are getting closer and closer as we head towards a Dark Moon night this coming Wednesday. The New Moon in sidereal Cancer will be exact on July 31st at 8:12 pm PDT. This completes the previous lunar cycle which brought on the eclipses that affected many people in deep ways, especially those running dashas of Rahu or Ketu.
The Cancer cycle could be a chance to cool down a little and come back into the heart after the heady and philosophical cycle of Gemini-Sag, with all the added eclipse energy. Cancer is the Moon’s sign, the sign of the Divine Mother and her nourishing waters. Spend time in a body of water this month, and connect with your own internal waters (feelings!) around this New Moon. Cancer is the fourth sign naturally, relating to the heart and the breasts, and is feminine or yin, helping us to direct our energy inwards.
Within Cancer, the Sun and Moon are joining in the Vedic nakshatra called Pushya, meaning “the nourisher.” Symbolized by the udder of a cow, this star-sign gives a sense of abundance and sustenance. It can elicit a strong sense of family and responsibility, relating to both the divine mother and the divine father. Its deity is Brihaspati, a form of Jupiter who showed generosity and unconditional fatherly love in the story of how he adopted Mercury (a love child between his wife and the Moon). Fertility is strong under this star, and could be throughout this Moon cycle.
Mars Debilitated, Venus Combust
Mars is still traveling in Cancer, his sign of debilitation, for another week until he enters Leo on August 8th. Mars-ruled folks may feel their usual fight and fire is diminished, or that they’re needing more comfort and cuddling than normally.
Venus is also transiting through Cancer. He is already traveling fairly close to the Sun, but he’ll enter the highly combust zone (within 3 degrees), on August 3rd. With Venus so close to the Sun, we may find some of our worldly pleasurable pursuits feeling “burned up” by the purifying power of Surya. Relationships could be under a lot of pressure, or it may just be so hot where you are that it’s hard to enjoy anything. Venus reaches total combustion when he aligns with the Sun on August 14th, and won’t leave the 3-degree proximity zone until August 24th. (Looking at a 6-degree orb, Venus won’t leave combustion until September 4th.)
Jupiter Turning Direct
After several months, Jupiter is finally slowing down in his retrograde journey back through Scorpio, and will station and turn direct on August 11th. As he begins his journey forward once again, you’ll notice affects the most directly on the areas of life ruled by Jupiter in your chart, and depending on the unique placement of planets for you. In a general sense, we may notice things changing directions somewhat in the broader ideological field, as we have had a period of retrospection over principles and beliefs for the past several months.
Kala Sarpa Cycles
This New Moon finds all the planets in between the two nodes, on one side of the sky, creating a Kala Sarpa alignment. We’ll come under this alignment for half the month from now through December. When the Moon is on the same side of the nodal axis as the other planets, Kala Sarpa is on, and when he transits from Capricorn through Taurus, it is off. This can intensify the effects of the nodes, especially for those who have prominent nodal placements in the natal chart, or are running cycles of either Rahu or Ketu, bringing shadow work and intensity to the surface.
Mercury Turning Direct
Mercury is completely stationary at the time of this New Moon, turning “direct” less than an hour after the Sun-Moon conjunction. For those of you who have felt the Mercury Retrograde effects strongly this month, you can breathe a sigh of relief!
The next full Moon is on August 14th-15th.
This is a great time to have a personal reading– either an Initial Reading if this is your first time working with me, or an Eclipse Reading, if we have had a previous session, can help you to integrate the lessons that arose during the eclipse cycle.
The Moon is waning towards total darkness and will reach exact conjunction with the Sun for the “New Moon” moment on Saturday, January 5th, 2019, at 5:28 pm PST. The Sun and Moon will join at 21° sidereal Sagittarius, aligned closely with the center of the Milky Way galaxy, in Purva Ashada nakshatra. The Sun and Moon will be in close enough proximity with Ketu (at 3° sidereal Capricorn), to bring about the first eclipse of the year. The partial solar eclipse will occur over eastern Asia and the Pacific, reaching its maximum at 5:41 pm PST, and visible from eastern China, Mongolia, and Russia, as well as Japan, the Korean peninsula, and southwestern Alaska.
This new Moon solar eclipse will occur in sidereal Sagittarius, setting the tone for the coming month with a Sagittarian mood. Sagittarius is an active fire sign ruled by Jupiter, the planet of principles and beliefs. This new Moon will bring forward a healthy dose of principles and opinions, but with the Sun partially blocked by the Moon’s shadow, we may feel overly emotional about these and at the same time, lacking the power to do anything. (You can also relate that sentiment with the area of life mentioned in the Forecast section below). Within Purva Ashada nakshatra, however, we may find more courage from within than seems readily at hand.
This nakshatra spans from 13°20′ to 26°40’ of sidereal Sagittarius, and means the former “invincible” or “unconquered.” It is ruled by Apah (or Apas), the water goddess. Its animal symbol is the male monkey, which brings a playful energy here. Its planetary ruler is Venus and thus also has associations with goddess Lakshmi. The three stars that make up this nakshatra in the night sky take the shape of a fan, and the fan is another symbol for this asterism.
Under its invincible nature, the Purva Ashada new moon is a powerful time to find our courage, despite the feelings of limitation that can be brought on by a solar eclipse. Through the symbol of the fan, we can see one who is adorned in luxury, or one who may hide behind a fan in humility or mystery, but there is a great power that can be hiding there, especially feminine power. The fan can be used to sustain us under pressure, bringing a cooling breeze that feels like the grace of god when the world gets too hot. Though our power may feel hidden, it is there to be tapped into with focus and dedication.
Saturn and Mercury
Saturn and Mercury both join this new Moon in Sagittarius. Saturn is going to have an even stronger role in our lives than usual in 2019, as he will be joining Ketu in close conjunction, within one degree, for over five months. Saturn in Sagittarius can help us to have not only the courage to do what we believe is right, but the stamina and dedication to get it done. Though we may feel a bit muddled by the eclipse (and the current combust nature of Saturn, so close to the Sun), Saturn’s determination will reveal himself more as the month goes on.
There will be a planetary war, however, between Saturn and Mercury, on the 12th and 13th of this month, when the two come within one degree of each other. When two planets are at war, contending for our attention in the same part of the sky, both will suffer, and the things they represent. With Mercury at war, our intellects will not feel as sharp, and it may be hard to pay attention to details or communicate clearly on these days. With Saturn at war, keeping our eye on long-term goals may be hard, and we may feel temporarily deflated and struggle at work. The four areas in your chart ruled by Saturn and Mercury may also suffer, or feel at odds with each other, during this time.
The Solar Eclipse
Though the eclipse may not be visible where you are, its effects are still tangible, and things are probably already gearing up with intensity in the area of your life indicated by Sagittarius. Though Rahu and Ketu are still in Cancer and Capricorn (since August of 2017), they are coming very close to transiting into Sagittarius and Gemini (which will happen in March), and this eclipse is giving us a taste of what is to come during the next nodal transit and the eclipses to occur in 2019 and 2020.
Here are a few of the areas where challenges may be occurring due to this eclipse (and where you need to do the work), based on your Vedic rising sign (there can also be others, when examined specifically, or in a personal natal chart analysis):
Aries — education, faith, foreign travels
Taurus — sudden changes, upheaval, secrets coming to light
Gemini — partnerships, love, business relationships
Cancer — health issues, disputes, litigation, pets
Leo — children, wisdom, authority
Virgo — the heart, the mind, home, mother
Libra — siblings, will, skills
Scorpio — the family, wealth, the mouth
Sagittarius — self-identity, place in the world
Capricorn — loss, loneliness
Aquarius — community, friends, income
Pisces — career, social status
Please join me and my fellow astrologers on January 25th for the 2019 Jyotish Transit Summit Webinar. The webinar is free, and you can register through this link.
Full Moon of the Healing Waters
The full Moon phase in Aquarius will be this Saturday night, as the Moon waxes into full brightness at 4:56 am PDT on Sunday, August 26th. This full Moon will be in the Vedic nakshatra of Shatabisha, the star of 100 medicines, ruled by Varuna, the lord of rain and cosmic waters. After a nearly two-month-long transformational eclipse cycle, we are ready for some nourishing water and medicine to heal the soul.
Full Moon in Aquarius
This Moon reaches fullness in sidereal Aquarius, directly opposite the Sun in sidereal Leo. Sun is strong right now in his own sign, illuminating our inherent power and connection to source, as the Sun is the literal source of life within our solar system. His bright light inspires us to burn away our own impurities, many of which may have been revealed by the shadows arising during the eclipse cycle. Under the power of the Leo Sun, we feel our own strength and power increasing and it is an opportunity to step into a role of greater independence and leadership in roles that require responsibility.
As the Moon reaches fullness in Aquarius, opposite the Leo Sun, we reflect upon how to remain of service to others even as our autonomy increases. With greater power comes greater responsibility, and a better ability to share our light with others. The Moon in Aquarius reminds us of our duty to be of service to others and helps us to find humility while in the light of personal power. It helps us to evolve as we use our strength for the good of the whole, standing committed to actions that support society, nature, and the family.
Saturn & Jupiter
Both Saturn and Jupiter make special aspects in Jyotish, and will both be aspecting this full Moon in Aquarius on Sunday.
Saturn is the ruler of Aquarius, and is reflecting his light back into his own sign and onto the Moon from his retrograde position in sidereal Sagittarius. He is slowing down and will come to a full stationary stop, turning stationary-direct on September 6th. His position here intensifies the pressure on us to strengthen our convictions and commitments, as the planet of long-term goals, wisdom, and broad visions.
In Sagittarius he is influenced by Jupiter’s rulership, which is inspiring us to connecct our values with these goals and commitments. Jupiter is also shining his light onto this full Moon from his position in Libra, adding an inspired and optimistic mood to our emotional bodies this weekend.
The Moon will be aligned with the Vedic nakshatra of Shatabisha starting around midnight PDT early on Sunday. This star-sign is known as “the hundred medicines” or “the hundred physicians,” and is associated with profound healing, especially through alternative modalities. Ruled by Varuna, the lord of the rain and cosmic waters, with the Moon here our hearts will be washed with a rain of healing energy.
Mars and the Nodes
This can help to balance the exaggerated intensity of fiery Mars’ affects on our emotions. Mars has been in Capricorn, his sign of exaltation since early May, joining Ketu there then, and has been in retrograde motion for the past couple of months. In the physical world, his transit into this sign coincided with the onset of destructive volcanic activity on the Big Island of Hawaii.
Mars is now slowing towards a stop, which could cause some frustrations until he begins moving forward again. His conjunction with Ketu makes him much more unpredictable, adding the potential for explosive venting or deep insights and a harnessing of discipline throughout this time. Those ruled by Mars will feel a lot of internal pressures throughout this transit, which will complete itself in early November. At that time I would also expect the volcanic activity to subside.
Venus & Mercury
Venus remains in Virgo, his sign of debilitation, until September 1st. Venus is considered debilitated here because our desire-body is under the rulership of practical Mercury. This can cause us to become more scrutinizing in our relationships, looking at all the details under a microscope. As we analyze our pleasures and partners, we may also tend to express ourselves with passion and intensity this week, as Mercury is still joining the harrowing Rahu in Cancer.
Throughout this transit, try to be happy and calm and don’t sweat the small stuff. Connect with the water element as much as possible and call forth the healing energy of the full Moon, drawing strength from Jupiter and Saturn. This full Moon will have particularly interesting affects depending upon how those planets’ energies are at play in your natal chart, and what part of the world you are in during the full Moon itself, which determines the rising sign and the exact chart for this moment.
Title Photo: “Howling at the Moon,” by Paree.
The Moon will reach peak fullness for this cycle in sidereal Capricorn on August 7th, at 11:11 am PDT, shortly before the partial lunar eclipse reaches fullness at 11:20 am. The eclipse will be visible from Europe, Africa, Asia, India, and Australia, and will appear as only a partial shadow going over the full Moon. Nevertheless, we will experience the eclipse’s effects, brought on by the proximity of the lunar nodes to the Sun and Moon, from all sides of the globe.
Though the lunar nodes, Rahu and Ketu, are still technically at zero degrees of sidereal Leo and Aquarius, this eclipse falls with the Sun and Moon on the Cancer-Capricorn axis. It could be a major wake-up call, stirring the pot around this axis, and giving a preview of the nodal influence that is to come for the next year-and-a-half. Rahu and Ketu will transit into Cancer and Capricorn, respectively, on August 17th, 2017, and continue their journey there until March 7th, 2019.
The Cancer-Capricorn axis is where we learn to balance and integrate two sides of ourselves: the part of us that is driven by the emotions and is sensitive and compassionate (Cancer), and the part of us that is motivated by grounded practicality and consideration of long-term consequences (Capricorn). Cancer is ruled by the motherly yet sometimes fickle Moon, while Capricorn is ruled by the serious, mature and discerning Saturn. Cancer is a water sign — sensitive and fluid —while Capricorn is an earth sign — seeking stability.
Under a Cancerian influence we want to open our hearts, get in touch with our feelings, and allow these perceptual sensations to guide us. Though we can find and develop our nurturing and caring nature here, there is also the danger of widening our boundaries too far, or becoming too emotional, in ways that will not ultimately serve us or others.
Under Capricorn’s influence, we look for the long-term outcomes and seek to create structures and stability that will help us to reach our goals and meet our responsibilities over time. Without checking in with the heart, however, we may become too vigilant in our quest to make the “wisest” decisions.
This lunar cycle began with the Sun and Moon together in Cancer, launching us into a watery, heart-oriented, sensitive homebody kind of month. Emotions are running high — and hot, with both Sun and Mars together in Cancer now. The Full Moon in Capricorn illuminates the contrast to this emotional approach to life. It shows us ways of being more rational and structured, of entering into maturity mode and examining things for the weight of their consequences. It helps us to ground a bit more and tap into our “inner elder,” listening to the wise voice within. We are learning to create a harmony between balancing responsibilities and honoring our emotions.
This full Moon, however, is being partially eclipsed, due to the Moon’s proximity with Ketu, the lunar node (a point in the sky whose alignment with Sun, Moon and Earth creates eclipses), which may obscure the voices of wisdom and reason a bit. Ketu is a shadow planet, and can bring up a lot of confusion and darkness, keeping the Capricorn full Moon energy from being fully illuminated (and illuminating). You may be feeling a lot of uncertainty, self-doubt or self-criticism around your attempts to be more rational and responsible right now, and may also feel like you’re falling short in handling your emotions. With Rahu’s influence near the Sun, still in Cancer, our feelings can be extra intense and prominent.
The full Moon falls in the Vedic nakshatra known as Shravana, a star of listening and learning, symbolized by the ear. With a full Moon and eclipse here, it’s time to open the inner ear and listen deeply to what the universe has been trying to tell you. There is a potential for great knowledge to be gained around this time, but it definitely requires effort, self-reflection, and, as always, grace.
Eclipses are considered inauspicious in Vedic thought (and many other cultures), because of the shadowy and distorting nature that they bring forward. The actual day of an eclipse is best saved for contemplation and spiritual practice, and it is best not to initiate any important activities at this time. The influence of the eclipses can be felt for many weeks before the first eclipse (August 7th), through the last of the particular cycle (August 21st in this case), after which the energies begin to settle down. It is best not to eat, drink, or be in the direct light of an eclipse, lest you absorb more of the negative energy created in the atmosphere.
Nodal Turning Point – Finalizing & Beginning
It is likely that we may be making some major shifts in life around the time of this eclipse cycle (referring to the pair of eclipses during the month of August). It’s not the time to rush into any new ventures or decisions blindly, but, if you’ve been doing some personal work around one particular shadow or fear throughout this last nodal transit, and feel on the verge of breaking through it and making a change in your life, this eclipse cycle may help to give you the impetus.
The lunar eclipse on August 7th is the last eclipse of the 1.5-year transit of Rahu and Ketu through Leo and Aquarius, where they have been since January of 2016. Around each of the eclipse cycles to occur during this time (March 2016, September 2016, and February 2017), we have struggled through facing some tough truths related to Leo and Aquarius — where we learn to balance personal empowerment and self-love with universal service and self-sacrifice. We specifically struggled to learn how to better balance these energies in two particular areas of our lives— which are indicated for each individual depending on your Vedic rising sign (LAST CHANCE to receive the Free E-Book here with your sign’s forecast for this transit).
Wherever we have been doing the work this last year-and-a-half, this eclipse cycle may be our final chance to face the difficult truths about ourselves that have surfaced, and to make (or allow) a change in our minds and lives that will help us to grow through these challenges.
The nodes will actually be changing signs, transiting onto the next axis of Cancer-Capricorn, on August 17th, just before the major Great American Eclipse on August 21st. This total solar eclipse will be visible from all of North America, and will fully launch us into the upcoming nodal transit that will last through March of 2019. The solar eclipse will occur with Sun and Moon in sidereal Leo, however, simultaneously helping us to complete and finalize the lessons of the previous Rahu-Ketu transit.
The next transit, that we are beginning during this eclipse cycle, will compel us to work on facing our challenges around the Cancer-Capricorn axis for the next year-and-a-half. We will look at where we go too far to one extreme, whether it is the emotional end or the practical end, in some areas of life, and too far to the other extreme in other areas. We will face specific challenges in the areas of life indicated by the houses aligned with Cancer and Capricorn in our natal charts. (If you haven’t signed up yet, members of the free mailing list will get the NEXT Rahu-Ketu Transit forecast in their inboxes in the coming weeks.)
Mars – The Frustrated Warrior
“Woman Warrior” by pan.li75
In addition to the challenges brought on by the eclipses, we may be feeling especially hot and bothered this month due to the positions of Mars and the Sun. Mars is the planet that gives us strength, courage, self-discipline, and the will to fight (hopefully over the right things). He has been transiting sidereal Cancer, his sign of debilitation, since July 11th, and will continue here through August 26th. With Mars in soft and squishy Cancer we feel challenged to express our warrior nature, or may just feel a lack of energy in general. We’re also connecting with our higher power through our emotions, while Sun is in Cancer, and this sensitivity is not the most comfortable environment for the gut-centered go-getter Mars.
On top of that, Mars is traveling closely alongside the Sun right now, adding combustion to his state of debilitation. This means we can feel doubly frustrated in our desire to exert effort or express our will; the combust nature of Mars makes us want to fight (maybe even explode), but the soft and watery nature of Cancer pours a cool liquid over our kindling. In some scenarios this doubling effect could help us towards a state of balance, but for most of us we are probably feeling unable to properly express the power of Mars this month. You will feel particularly affected by Mars’ current challenged position if you are ruled by him—Aries or Scorpio Vedic rising sign—or if you have a prominent Mars in your natal chart.
Final heads up! Mercury goes into retrograde motion on August 12th, and will continue in apparent backwards motion through September 5th. This is a time to double-check the details and pay extra attention to our communications, as messages sometimes tend not to get fully across during Mercury retrograde. Don’t freak out though, it’s really not the end of the world. 🙂 The divine universe offers us the challenges that we are equipped to handle (though sometimes it feels like “just barely”), pushing us just to our edge so that we may continue to grow and rise as we meet them.
Personal readings and ongoing coaching sessions are available here.
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Guru Purnima – Full Moon in Sagittarius
Each year, the full Moon in the Hindu month of Ashadha is dedicated to celebrating our gurus. This year’s Guru Purnima falls on the night of July 8th in North America and India, with the Moon reaching peak fullness at 9:07 pm PDT on Saturday. This year, Guru Purnima’s full Moon falls in Purvashada nakshatra (Vedic constellation), in the middle of sidereal Sagittarius, close to the galactic center. The Moon will be opposite the Sun in sidereal Gemini, where we began this lunar cycle.
The Sanskrit word guru is most commonly translated as “teacher.” It refers not only to the mighty spiritual teachers that are often associated with this word, but can indicate teachers in many fields of study or practice. One might have a spiritual guru, a yoga guru, an astrology guru, or even a knitting, cooking, or physics guru. “Gu” is often translated as darkness or ignorance while “ru” implies dispelling, disseminating, or removing. Guru as an adjective often implies grandeur or weight, frequently translated as “heavy,” which is a way that one might describe our most influential teachers. Students of jyotish will also recognize Guru as the name for Jupiter, who even the ancients knew as a large and profoundly influential planet. His influence in our lives is often in the realms of higher teachings and philosophy, and his position in someone’s natal chart can tell us about their path of learning and relationships with teachers. (For more rumination on the concept of guru in general, check out previous years’ articles.)
Each month, as the Moon waxes and wanes his way through the ecliptic, he undergoes 30 phases known as tithis in Vedic astrology. Although the transition is smooth, the tithis are delineated distinctly, and each one carries a certain supportive energy. The purnima phase, roughly a day long, is the fullest phase of the Moon, with the peak of fullness happening at the last moment of the phase (given as Full Moon time), before the light on the Moon begins to recede again as we enter the waning phase.
Purnima is generally thought of as the most auspicious phase of the month, and is positive for most activities, especially spiritual activities. There is a harmony of lunar and solar energy at this time. The Moon influences the ebb and flow of our watery emotions and our state of mind. We are most able to perceive this subtle body within when the outer Moon is fully illuminated. It is also a time where opposite poles within us (and in the external solar system), are both illuminated at the same time. Wherever the Full Moon occurs, it is on the exact opposite side of the zodiac from the Sun. On this Full Moon, the Sun is illuminating the Gemini part of the sky while the Moon’s light brightens Sagittarius for us. We are better able to integrate the two opposite poles within us when this occurs.
Sagittarius Full Moon
The Sagittarius section of the sky carries an energy of optimism and idealism, under Jupiter’s idealistic rulership. With the Moon here we are inspired to act on our beliefs, and share our purpose with the world. There is a great charitable nature here. Sagittarius is opposite from Gemini, where Sun and Moon began this lunar cycle, which is a place of much more practicality and impartiality, ruled by Mercury. On this full Moon we are able to see a better path towards balancing our flexible, curious, intellectual side (airy Gemini) with our passionate and idealistic side (firey Sagittarius).
The Vedic sky is divided into 27 sections or nakshatras, along the same band of the ecliptic as we see the twelve major zodiac signs. These smaller sections give us much more information about the energy coming from that part of the cosmos, and the mood that the planets will take on as they pass there. This Full Moon falls in Purva Ashadha nakshatra, known as “the invincible one.” There is a great deal of optimism and power here, so this could be a great time to face some fears and challenges that require confrontation. The water deity Apas presides here, strengthening our connection to the water element and our inner sensitivity.
As you tune into your own heart under the Guru Purnima full Moon, acknowledge the teachers and gurus who have and continued to support you along your journey. This is a particularly auspicious day for honoring them, upholding tradition, and even setting intentions for new paths of learning or teaching that you plan to follow.
Jupiter, Venus & Saturn
The Guru planet himself is in Hasta nakshatra at the moment, the sign of “the hand,” which adds even more expansion to our opportunities for learning and strengthening our skills. He is also aspecting Venus, who is now in Taurus, his own sign. Venus in Taurus (most of this month), elevates the artistry in our life, bringing more beauty and amplifying our connection with all sensual pleasures — nature, art, music, food, and our surroundings in general.
With this aspect it could be a good month to improve your material situation … but be aware that retrograde Saturn is also aspecting Venus now, having just transited back into sidereal Scorpio. While Jupiter’s aspect helps us to expand in Venusian endeavors, Saturn’s disciplinarian mood may bring up feelings of restriction. Take this as a lesson to broaden your vision and look at the long-term results of your decisions. Indulging in your pleasures now may require a bit of hard-work and commitment because of Saturn’s influence, but that is a reminder of the effort we will need to put forth over time to support our actions.