Healing Eclipse on the New Moon + Maha Shivaratri
Sunday begins the New Moon cycle and brings with it a powerful eclipse whose alignment offers some deep healing opportunities. The annular solar eclipse will be visible from much of Africa, South America, and Antarctica, and will coincide with the exact time of the darkest Moon phase at 6:58 a.m PST (14:58 UTC) on Sunday, February 26th. This eclipse occurs with the Sun, Moon, Mercury, and Ketu all in sidereal Aquarius within the Vedic nakshatra of Shatabisha.
Aquarius is a sign ruled by Saturn, and it is where we remember something greater than ourselves. It is where we become inspired towards universal service, and to offering effort into society and for the greater good. Saturn, the planet of pressure and time, is aspecting the planets of this eclipse from his recent seat in sidereal Sagittarius, compelling us even more deeply to stand up for our principles and beliefs, and commit ourselves to these through hard work.
Shatabisha is the Vedic nakshatra that most elicits the concept of healing. It is the star of the “100 physicians” or the “100 medicines,” and is ruled by Varuna, the deity of the cosmic waters. With many planets under the influence of this star, we are strongly called towards our journey of self-healing, trying many different medicines and healing techniques to get there. Having Ketu here, eclipsing the Sun and the Moon, presents the opportunity to go deeply into our subconscious blockages and find release from past karma and trauma.
The Greater Eclipse Cycle
This is the third solar eclipse that has occurred since Rahu and Ketu transited into the Leo-Aquarius axis in January of 2016 (download the Free E-Book and Forecast by Sign for this transit if you haven’t yet!). Throughout this time, we have experienced shadows and blockages coming up around the themes of the Leo-Aquarius axis. On a broad scale, this relates to the balance of personal power and universal service that we play out through society. On an individual level, it has raised questions around the house-themes of Leo and Aquarius in the personal Vedic birth chart.
We have been uncovering layers of our own karma through this time, and discovering where change is needed in our lives–either through a change in our actions or a change in our thoughts. Our personal challenges become most apparent during the eclipse windows, which have occurred this month, as well as during August and March of 2016. Though these windows can be difficult times, the power of the lunar nodes helps us to see where we are stuck. With self-awareness and observation it becomes less difficult, but when we are not paying attention or are clinging to our own attachments, the eclipses can feel like they are wreaking havoc on our lives.
Since this is the third and final pair of eclipses during this transit of Rahu and Ketu, it is a time for really reaching some clarity around the lessons being brought up over the last year-and-a-half. Eclipses do cause confusion and are inauspicious in general, but as we do the work of self-inquiry and practice astute awareness, we can gain insight and more light after going into the darkness of their shadows. The healing power behind Shatabisha nakshatra may present us with some different medicines, or practices, to assist in our evolutionary process, assisting us in learning how to flow better with the cosmic waters.
In addition to the healing energy of this nakshatra, we are receiving the powerful gift of deep meditation offered by the Shivaratri holiday. Maha Shivaratri (or Sivaratri) is “the great night of Lord Shiva,” celebrated in India and around the world each year on the 14th night of the waning Moon this month. This year it falls on the night of Friday, February 24th into Saturday the 25th, around the world (except for mid-Australia/Japan and Eastward, where it falls on the 25th/26th).
On Shivaratri, it is a common practice to stay up the whole night in meditation, fasting and praying. This commemorates the sacrifice made by Lord Shiva when he kept the poison that arose from the milk ocean in his throat in order to protect the entire creation. In this story, his wife Parvati held his throat to keep him from consuming the poison, and thus this holiday also commemorates the union of masculine and feminine forces, Shakti and Shiva, yin and yang. In many places this is represented by a celebration of Shiva and Parvati’s wedding, and one may see large statues of the two paraded about town and worshiped.
Shiva and Parvati represent the path towards awakening consciousness through the ascetic side of yoga, and the practices of tapas and renunciation. By renouncing food and sleep for one night, particularly on the night of Shivaratri, we can gain some of the benefit of the austerities that these two performed for aeons. Tapas, or austerities, are yogic practices of undergoing difficult situations in order to gain more patience, as well as deeper understanding that we are in fact the eternal soul and not the body-mind with which we normally identify.
On this Shivaratri, as we approach the transformative energy of the eclipse in Shatabisha, the opportunity for overcoming the challenges and shadows of our minds is great. The power of group meditation occurring all over the world also contributes to this. With the energy of Aquarius behind us, let us offer the fruits of our practice towards the peace and happiness of all beings on earth, and spread the benefit for the greater good.
Mantras for Maha Shivaratri:
Om Namah Shivaya (the panchakshari mantra – “I bow down to infinite consciousness”)
Tyagenaike Amrtatvamanashuhu (by renunciation alone, immortality is gained)
Personal chart readings are available to delve deeper into the meaning of this eclipse cycle in your life.
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Transformation Portal: Full Moon and Lunar Eclipse Friday
The Full Moon in sidereal Cancer on Friday brings with it a penumbral lunar eclipse (February 10/11) that will be visible from most places on earth, except for Australia and the south Pacific. The Moon reaches maximum fullness at 4:33 p.m. PST, with the eclipse peaking at 4:43. This eclipse is part of a longer series of eclipses that we’ve been experiencing for the last year. Rahu and Ketu, the lunar nodes, have been transiting the Leo-Aquarius axis through this time, bringing pairs of lunar/solar eclipses last March and September, and this month. Download my Free E-Book about this eclipse series if you haven’t yet!
The nodes on the Leo-Aquarius axis raise questions about personal power versus universal service. Last year through the US election cycle we saw an intense play for personal power on the large scale, with extremist viewpoints (Rahu) rising into the place of authority (Leo). With Ketu’s shadow energy casting doubt in the sign of Aquarius, ideas of oneness and service to society at large have faced heavy criticism. On a personal level, we experience the controversy of this duality in our own lives, and question where and how we seek power and offer service.
Last year, Rahu’s lust for power in Leo was highly dogmatized due to Jupiter’s conjunction with him there (through September). This brought beliefs and values under the influence of the radical, obsessive and insecure shadow planet. In August Jupiter moved on into Virgo, however, putting our values and attention under a slightly more practical perspective. Most recently, on February 5th, Jupiter’s motion turned retrograde, which gives us the opportunity to back up and rethink some of the ways that we approach our beliefs and apply them in our lives. We may be second-guessing our relationships with our teachers at this time, or considering going back to school for some more education.
Saturn also made a major transit recently, moving into sidereal Sagittarius in the end of January. This puts the planet of commitment in the sign of inspired action, and will compel us to persevere and stand up for what we believe in. This transit will span the next three years, save for a brief period later this year when Saturn’s retrograde motion takes him back into Scorpio. The influence of Saturn in our personal lives during this time can be immense (this begins Saturn’s return and/or Sade Sati for many). He will bring pressure as he helps us figure out how to really stand behind and take action for our beliefs, particularly in the area indicated by Sagittarius in your chart.
This Full Moon falls in the end of the water sign of Cancer, adding a heavy emotional component to our experience this month. The eclipse energy here can help us to see some of our deepest shadows, particularly in how we handle ourselves emotionally. Cancer is the Moon’s own sign, and the capacity for receptivity here is great. We may feel our hearts wide open during this Full Moon, but with this also comes a sensitivity and vulnerability that can throw us off balance under the shadow influence of the eclipse.
In particular, the Moon will be in the Vedic constellation (nakshatra) of Ashlesha, the sign of the water serpent. This nakshatra has to do with deeply coiled energies and hidden potential (kundalini specifically). It is ruled by the Nagas, the serpents of wisdom. There is a potential for great awakening as the Moon is eclipsed in this sign. We momentarily feel cut off from the light of emotional intelligence during a lunar eclipse, and are forced to become aware of the dark shadows that obscure peace in our hearts. Bringing awareness to these can help us to break free from them, uncoiling our own inner mess and helping us blossom into wisdom.
Connecting with the heart and the water element is important during this Full Moon. What’s more, Venus is currently exalted, having moved into Pisces at the end of January. He will transit here for the next four months, giving us the potential to elevate our relationships and the ways we pursue our desires. In Pisces, Venus is under Jupiter’s rule, which can inspire the planet of pleasure to get in line with our values. It’s also another water sign, the last of the 12 major signs, and a place that compels us to surrender to the divine flow. With Saturn pushing our commitment onto our principles, from Sagittarius, and Jupiter helping us with the earthly details, from Virgo, this all adds up to a huge growth opportunity around this eclipse.
The solar eclipse of this eclipse-pair will come on February 26th. Eclipses come in pairs, and we feel the intense energy of the cycle from a few weeks before the first until soon after the second. This is the third pair of eclipses in the larger cycle, since last January when Rahu and Ketu moved into Leo and Aquarius. During the next pair of eclipses, in August, they will be right on the cusp of Cancer and Capricorn. Between now and then we will really finalize implementing the lessons and changes brought up throughout their Leo-Aquarius transit, and we will begin exploring our shadows along the Cancer-Capricorn axis.
To help you make sense of these major astrological events, I am offering individual readings to look at Saturn, Venus, and the Eclipses, or you can request a 2017 Reading to talk about the effects of all three.
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New Moon of Cosmic Waters Begins the New Year
The New Moon cycle begins on the night of December 28th, at 10:53 p.m. PST. Sun and Moon coincide in sidereal Sagittarius in Purva Ashada nakshatra, joining a retrograde Mercury. Purva Ashada is a Vedic constellation that translates as the “invincible one” or the “undefeated.” There is a powerful energy of victory associated with this star-sign, which falls in the middle of the powerful sign of Sagittarius.
The Sagittarius cycle brings an energy of optimism, as this sign is the outward expression of the planet Jupiter. Jupiter guides our philosophy and beliefs, as well as hope and optimism, so in Sagittarius we feel inspired to put our values into actions. This can inspire a lot of charitable work and humanitarian efforts. Sagittarius is also a fire sign, so we can get incredibly passionate about working for our beliefs here.
Purva Ashada nakshatra represents the middle of the Sagittarius constellation, and is associated with both power and fluidity. The deity for this star is Apas, the deification of water. The energy of this New Moon of the cosmic waters begins the new year for us a few days later.
In 2016 we experienced a wide-scale rising of struggles for water rights even here in the “first-world” United States. Scientists and spiritual leaders alike have told us that wars will be waged over this vital natural resource, and sadly we have reached the point where that is a reality. On the Dark Moon night of December 28th may we go inward and deeply contemplate our relationship with this elemental life-giver. Connect with Apas as the living embodiment of water if this helps you to strengthen your connection and prayers.
This could be a tough month for relationships as well as societal power struggles, because Venus, Mars, and Ketu now all join in Aquarius, opposite from Rahu in Leo. Ketu brings forth a lot of shadow energy and the combination of Ketu and Mars can be explosive. The affect of these two together with Venus could take a toll on our relationships, bringing up a lot of latent unspoken grievances and arguments about them. This is a time for self-scrutiny, as we are now approaching the last set of eclipses with Rahu and Ketu on the Leo-Aquarius axis. These eclipses will be coming in February.
Personal shadow work may be arising now, especially as we are in the middle of the last kala sarpa yoga cycle that we will experience until late next year. A kala sarpa alignment is indicated when all of the planets are on one side of the nodal axis (Rahu and Ketu are always opposite each other, forming this axis). This alignment usually brings a lot of intensity and upheaval, especially on the inner scale.
There is a range of interpretation as to whether a kala sarpa yoga occurs only when the planets are in between the nodes and not in the same sign as them, or also when they are in between the nodes and joining them within the same sign. That is to say, the current alignment may be considered a looser kala sarpa by some, or not at all by others, because Venus and Mars are in the same sign as Ketu, and Mars will soon be passing Ketu. Nevertheless, the strong proximity and association with the nodes still make for the “heavy times” energy that a kala sarpa yoga tends to bring.
This New Moon joins the Sun along with a retrograde Mercury in Sagittarius. Mercury will be retrograde until January 8th. If you’re making any travel arrangements or other plans during this period, leave yourself extra time for unexpected delays and schedule changes. It’s also a good time to go back and finish conversations that were previously unresolved.
All in all, this is a time where self-awareness is very important, largely because of the strong influence of Ketu. Ketu is one of the planets of the subconscious, so a lot of the energy arising now, in our actions, arguments, and relationships, is from a place that we do not completely understand. There is much wisdom to be gained here, however. The dark Moon time is a great time to meditate and listen to your own inner voice.Remember also to honor the water element, within and without.
*Personal 2017 Readings are available now and are being scheduled throughout the month of January. Be sure to join my mailing list to stay up-to-date with the latest 2017 forecasts
It feels like just yesterday that I was writing last year’s article on the Harvest Moon, reflecting on the contracting sensation beginning to feel tangible in nature, as we slowly move from summer into fall and towards winter. For the last week or so, I’ve been pleasantly aware of the slight briskness in the air and the energetic shifts taking place as we move from the multi-directional activity of summer to the more focused and quiet happenings of autumn and winter. (As a natural introvert, I am actually loving the change and excited to feel the atmosphere settling down around me!) I’m definitely feeling ready for the Harvest Moon and lunar eclipse of September 16th.
The Harvest Moon is the Full Moon that occurs closest to the autumn equinox (September 22nd), and brings with it a few nights of very bright moonlight under which farmers are able to harvest their crops. (The Moon normally rises about one hour later each night, but for this week he will rise only half-an-hour later per day, giving much brighter evenings.) This is also a time where we energetically begin to harvest that which has come from our efforts put forth throughout the year, as we move into a more inward period for the darker months (in the northern hemisphere). It is also a potent moment to offer our prayers and to harvest the bounty of growth that comes with our own self-effort in shadow work.
What is particularly unique is that this Harvest Moon, like last year’s, is also accompanied by a lunar eclipse. The Moon reaches its peak fullness at 12:05pm PDT on Friday, September 16th, and the penumbral lunar eclipse will also occur around this time (at 18:54 UT), but will only be visible from the other side of the world. This eclipse won’t be as spectacular as last year’s Blood Moon, but folks in that area of the world will get to see a slight shadow as the Moon passes through the outer edge of the earth’s shadow.
Lunar Eclipse in Pisces in Purva Bhadrapada
The Sun and the Moon will be at just 0°14′ of Virgo and Pisces, respectively. With the nodes still in Leo and Aquarius, and the Moon not fully established in either Aquarius or Pisces, this is a great time to examine the energy of the Full Moon’s nakshatra, Purva Bhadrapada, as an indicator of this eclipse’s energy. Purva Bhadrapada is a nakshatra (star-group) that bridges the two major constellations, from 20°00′ of Aquarius to 3°20′ of Pisces. This star-sign brings a strong energy of purification, which will help us to harness the already transformative power of the eclipse.
As we move with the Moon from the end of Aquarius to the beginning of Pisces in Purva Bhadrapada, we are in the place where we must let go of worldly activity, service, and socializing and into a place of solitude (meditation, sleep, and, ultimately, death and liberation). Pisces is the last stop on the train of this life, and this nakshatra represents the point in time where we must begin to face the fact that there is a last stop. It is a place where we can begin to embrace detachment, from all our worldly gains, relations, and activities, and connect with the subtler realms of being and spirit.
Accompanied by the energy of Ketu, this Full Moon Lunar Eclipse offers us a powerful chance to cut cords and free ourselves from unnecessary attachments… especially attachments to our own desires and illusions of control. This lunar cycle began with a Solar Eclipse in Leo. With the lustful Rahu in Leo since January, we have been ravenously driven to find and harness a sense of power and control in this uncontrollable world (especially in the area of life shown by Leo in your chart). The Solar Eclipse on September 1st revealed our shadows around this effort, and the illusory nature of power and control. This Full Moon helps us to reflect on and balance that energy, and offers the capacities for transformation and purification towards this process.
Since the Moon is technically just over the boundary into Pisces, this is an 8th-house Full Moon (8th house from where the New Moon occurred), which always adds a reshaping and mystical quality to the energy at hand. Purva Bhadrapada itself brings on energies for purification and transformation, as it leads us from the material world into the ethereal. Furthermore, the deity for this nakshatra is Aja Ekapada, “the one-footed goat,” who is related to Rudra, a destructive form of Shiva. The destructive nature of Shiva is that which allows us to destroy one thing in order for that energy to transform, rise again, and grow into its new phase of evolution. He also offers us the power to destroy illusion and attachment, which is a good tool to have at hand at the time of an eclipse.
We have been doing a lot of inner work this year around the themes of Leo and Aquarius, finding and embracing personal power and self-love, and balancing that with universal service and love for all beings. This eclipse gives us a chance to step back and feel a little more detachment on both sides of that axis, diving back into the deep well of Pisces where all energy flows together back into source. This may be a much-needed perspective given the zealous fervor brought on by the Jupiter-Rahu conjunction this year (January through August), and the heated pressure brought on by the Saturn-Mars conjunction (March through next week).
If you need a break from all of the astrological intensity being handed out this year, I think this is your chance. Shadows do arise during the eclipses, but the more dedicated we are to looking at them and being willing to make and allow change in ourselves, the better off we are after they pass. As the the Full Moon heads into Pisces on this lunar eclipse, allow yourself to surrender to the flow and trust in source. This is the lesson being offered that will help free you from any feelings of chaos or confusion. Your higher power and meditation are of great support now (as always!). You can also connect with the water, study your dreams, and offer your power to your perceived divinity.
More to Come this Month
Venus moves out of debilitation (in Virgo) and into Libra on September 18th, bringing more energy for compromise rather than nit-picking in the realm of relationships. Mars parts ways with Saturn a few days later, as he moves into Sagittarius on the 21st. This should take some of the heat out of the pressure-cooker we’ve been feeling in Scorpio, as we reconsider our long-term goals in that area of our life. On the 22nd Mercury goes direct, but will still be joined with Rahu for two more weeks, so remain mindful of potential stress or confusion in communication lines.
The next New Moon on September 30th will lead us into the Navaratri Festival, a ten-day period for celebrating the Goddess and all her Shakti. Also coming in with the New Moon is a Kala Sarpa yoga (alignment), as all planets cross to one side of the Rahu-Ketu axis. This will affect us for two weeks of each month until January (for the other two weeks, Moon will be on the other side of the axis). This can add a level of heaviness to our general experience, but also ability to see into the psychic depths, as we continue our inner exploration around the Leo-Aquarius nodal axis until the final eclipses of this transit in February.
If you’re still not sure how this Rahu-Ketu transit is affecting you, be sure to get your free gift, the Free e-Book on Rahu, Ketu, and the Eclipses, which includes a forecast for your personal sign. There are also still a few spots available for eclipse readings prior to this eclipse, and in the weeks after, in order to help you integrate the lessons of this period.
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Eye of the Storm on the Gemini New Moon
We enter the eye of the storm on the Gemini New Moon this July 4th. With Sun and Moon in Ardra nakshatra, the Dark Moon night of July 3rd offers an opportunity for cleansing and renewal. Ardra nakshatra is a stormy and transformational place in the zodiac. The new lunar cycle begins on July 4th at 4:01am PDT. Ardra (also called Arudra) is a Vedic star-sign known as “the moist one.”
Ardra is related to the deity Rudra, the fierce and destructive form of Shiva. Rudra is often depicted in a violent storm. When the clouds part, the time after intense rains is a period of renewal. The storm washes away the old and makes the ground fertile for something new to sprout.
A teardrop is another symbol related to Ardra nakshatra, signifying sorrow, but also the process of emotional purification. Tears can be very cleansing. Rudrakshas are the sacred seeds seen in malas (prayer beads) worn by Shiva. They are translated as “the tears of Rudra.” On this Dark Moon night, what calls you to shed your tears in order to clear a path and nourish the grounds for something new to grow?
Amidst the sorrow and destruction brought forth by this transformative deity, there remains a stillness at the center of the storm. Shiva is well known as the greatest of yogis, because of his ability to abide in peaceful meditation despite any chaos happening around him. He remains still in the midst of the ongoing destruction and renewal happening throughout the cosmos. By tuning into our own center, we can awaken pure consciousness, which helps us to weather any storm.
A third image relating to Ardra is the diamond, a clear and luminous gemstone formed after enduring intense heat and pressure. Like the diamond, Ardra reminds us that we are warriors who can withstand any austerity and challenge and come out clearer and more brilliant. This is definitely a warrior nakshatra. Ardra is related to Rahu, the planet who connects us to our deepest psychological shadows. By facing these, he helps us to grow and mature.
This New Moon initiates a lunar cycle abundant with Gemini energy. It begins on Monday with the Sun, Moon, Venus and Mercury all in sidereal Gemini. Gemini, ruled by Mercury, brings a playful and versatile energy to our lives. We begin this month in a collective energy of curiosity and flexibility. This is a great time to explore some new interests or skills. With Mercury in Gemini we are feeling very open-minded. We are ready to explore many different possibilities and look at life from a new angle. With Venus in Gemini, our desires are diverse as well, and we may seek satisfaction through many avenues.
One caveat to all this Gemini energy: be conscious of the elevated air element and vata dosha in the atmosphere. This can lead us to can easily feel overstimulated, in the mind, body, and nervous system. You may notice you have been hyperactive lately, which can quickly lead to exhaustion. Take time this month to connect with the earth and water elements. This will help to create balance with the prevalent air and fire elements. Six out of nine planets are in air signs at the time that this new lunar cycle begins, and Rahu and Jupiter remain in firey Leo. Also be aware that Mars turned direct on June 29th, and is now moving forward, giving us more fire-power, strength and courage.
The upcoming Full Moon of this cycle, on July 19th, is Guru Purnima. This is the traditional day for honoring our teachers, or gurus. The guru is literally the dispeller of darkness, and darkness is the cloak of ignorance. If we have been blessed to find someone who has helped to remove darkness or ignorance from our lives, today is a great day to offer our thanks to them.
Definitely take some time to sit on the ground and connect with the earth on this airy New Moon in Gemini. Find your heart center and call on the water element, letting the rains (or tears) wash over you in order to help you to purify and make fertile grounds for a new chapter of growth in your life. Gemini relates to the arms, shoulders and chest, so doing some heart- and shoulder-opening exercises or asanas will be helpful in this time. You can connect with Ardra’s deity, Rudra, and call in the consciousness and peace of Lord Shiva by chanting “Om Namah Shivaya.”
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