Mercury Retrograde and Solar Eclipse, August-September 2016

Two significant astral events are happening this week, reflecting part of the broader whirlwind of great cosmic intensity that we have been in and will be in for some time to come. First, there’s Mercury retrograde. Second, a solar eclipse.

This will be the third of Mercury’s four retrograde cycles this year. Over the next few nights, Mercury will dip lower in the evening sky to finally disappear in the twilight at retrograde station on August 30 at ~9:04 AM ET. On the 13th, Mercury will be at inferior conjunction, after which he will become a morning star at the time of his direct station on the Fall Equinox, Northern Hemisphere, on September 22.

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Eclipse Season August-September 2016

Have you seen the Moon? Are you feeling it? The Full Moon will culminate on Thursday, August 18 at 5:27 AM EDT. Because this Moon is such an abundant one in the Northern Hemisphere, Native Americans named it the Full Green Corn Moon and the Sturgeon Moon.

GreenCornMoonScientists at NASA have discovered that the Moon enters the Earth’s magnetotail three days before it is full and takes about six days to cross and exit on the other side. During this time, many people feel the “lunar effect” most intensely as the Moon gets charged up with magnetism. As above, so below, so the Moon reflects our emotional energetic nature. Full Moons are full of magnetic energy!

222898main_orbit2_20080416_HIThe transiting Sun moves into sidereal Leo on August 16 at 9:10 AM EDT, joining Venus, Mercury and the North Node of the Moon/Rahu. Rahu is in Leo from January 29, 2016 until August 17, 2017. Mercury is in Leo from July 26 to August 19, and then retrogrades back into Leo September 9 to October 3. Venus entered Leo on July 31 and will leave on August 25. The Sun will be in Leo and thus under the influence of Rahu from August 16 until September 17.

SFPageThe Rahu-Sun conjunction in Leo will create the solar eclipse on September 1. The eclipse season technically begins when the Sun comes within 18 degrees of the eclipsing node (Rahu this time), which will be around the Full Moon on August 18. Normally the Sun is considered auspicious and powerful in Leo, his own sign, where his qualities are poised, regal, ambitious, independent, and energetic. However, in the eclipse axis, the Sun can reflect anxiety, worry, health problems, and a lack of confidence. Power struggles and discord can also ensue.

a3ba155c179857d8a8491dc2b68bc751The late Vedic astrologer Bepin Behari described Rahu and Ketu, the Moon’s North and South Nodes, as messengers of a higher power whose primary function is to destroy the darker tendencies within us. The lunar nodes actually represent duality: light vs. dark, good vs. bad, life vs. death, angels vs. demons, etc. The devouring of the Sun and Moon by the nodes in eclipses represents the great drama being played out in our lives here in the Earthly realm of duality.

lunar-nodes-solar-markersThe lessons and karmas we are to experience become stirred up in eclipses, and often a new batch will be churned out for us for our next cycle. The upcoming eclipses are occurring August 18 (lunar eclipse), September 1 (solar eclipse) and September 16 (lunar eclipse). Around the eclipses, Rahu (and Ketu) have a rebirthing power as they temporarily shadow the lights. We will have access to this power throughout this transit of the Sun in Leo because of the eclipse axis occurring in Leo/Aquarius.

SFPage1Now as the Sun comes into the eclipse axis, we can start to notice what is blocking us emotionally or otherwise in our lives. The Full Moon on August 18 will be eclipsed just by 2 percent as the Moon will pass through only a tiny part of the outer portion of the Earth’s shadow (penumbral eclipse), which is too dim to observe and so slight that some astronomers are not calling it a lunar eclipse at all. I feel it is still offering a little bit of an astrological lunar eclipse effect.

It is also interesting as the August 18 “almost eclipse” is ending the Saros 109 lunar eclipse cycle which began in 736 AD, the year when Frankish leader Charles Martel defeated a massive invading Muslim army, thus putting an end to Muslim bases in Gaul, and blocking any immediate ability to expand Islamic influence in Europe. Some astronomers believe that Saros 109 ended in 1998, but others say that this August 18 eclipse is the culmination. With the current mass Muslim migrant crisis in Europe, the 2016 culmination seems more likely; and as the cycle comes to a close, I wonder what this might mean in terms of a turning tide.

The lunar eclipse of August 18 occurs with a very wide ~17-degree orb conjunction to Ketu in sidereal Aquarius opposite the Sun in Leo. A stronger penumbral lunar eclipse will occur on September 16 at 0 degrees of Pisces for the Moon, while the shadow of Ketu will still be near mid-Aquarius.  A lunar eclipse, even a slight one, can point out emotionally-triggered subconscious feelings. These can start to arise in the weeks or months preceding or following a lunar eclipse so that they can be worked out, integrated, and transmuted. The Leo-Aquarius eclipse axis is broadly focused on how we act on our inspiration and share it in the world.  The traditional rulers of Leo and Aquarius are the Sun and Saturn, whose contentious mythic relationship speaks of issues of authority, power, and the psychological shadow.

SFPage2The solar eclipse of September 1 occurs at the new Moon in sidereal Leo. Because the new Moon blocks the Sun’s light during a solar eclipse, some may experience a weakening of energy levels in the weeks before and after the eclipse (especially before). Solar eclipses also reveal personal issues which are depleting our life force. The months preceding and following a solar eclipse are a time for letting go of anything in our lives that impedes our energy and evolution. Should a solar eclipse conjoin a natal planet or angular point, an important new cycle is at hand in that related area.

On the world stage, the solar eclipse reflects more turmoil among certain political leaders (Leo). Secrets will be exposed, and new information revealed. At the same time, Saturn is squaring Neptune (which will perfect exactly on September 10 but is in range during the entire eclipse season), and this repeats the same theme of something(s) hidden being revealed. The September 1 solar eclipse is squaring Saturn and the fixed star Antares too, so all this just reflects more of the same imbalance, war, hatred, upheaval, violence, confusion and chaos we have already been seeing in the world.

Om Lokah Samistah Sukhino Bhavantu.Om Lokah Samistah Sukhino Bhavantu. Om Lokah Samistah Sukhino Bhavantu. 

May All Beings be Safe and at Peace. May Mother Earth Herself be protected from all harm. May peace start within me.

Om shanti shanti shanti.


New Moon in Ashlesha Nakshatra and Shravan Month of Shiva

In the Vedic calendar, the New Moon day on August 2, 2016 will open up the Shravan month which celebrates the victory of Lord Shiva who drank the poisonous halāhala which sprang from the Samudra Manthan, the epic churning of the great ocean performed by the gods and demons in search of the nectar of immortality. This is an allegory about the churning of life’s poisons and the ultimate victory of light over dark. Also it was in this month that Lord Shiva overcame Yama, the lord of death, which is a tale about the eternal and immortal spark of divinity within all of us. Technically, Lord Shiva drinks the poison before the culmination of the New Moon on Pradosh (Pradosham or Pradosha), which is the 13th day after Full Moon two days before the Shravan month begins.

main-qimg-39f963943d7a9bac0e542e373ac43f05-cDuring Shravan month, the universe is rejuvenated by the Shiva Tatva, the highest, purest, transcendental essence of nature, which purifies body, mind and spirit through various rituals like fasting, mantra japa, prayer, pujas and offerings. It is even a more auspicious month this year as Jupiter will ingress into Virgo on August 11, and the 12 days before and after this date are considered an auspicious time to take holy baths for purification, per yet another great legend of the Vedic tradition in which the nourishing spiritual energy of Pushkara stays with Jupiter in his form of Brihaspati, Lord of the Vast, for these 24 days every 13 months when Jupiter leaves one sidereal sign to enter another.

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Vedic Astrology Forecast: Summer 2016 and Forward

Several important astral changes are ahead, including Jupiter’s transit into Virgo (ingress) on August 11; retrograde Saturn’s direct station (August 14); the conjunction of Saturn, Mars and the fixed star Antares (August 24); and three eclipses (August 18, September 1 and September 16). These next few months look tumultuous and are setting the stage for a significant transit of Saturn that will being in January 2017 and last through most of the year.

Beginning August 11, 2016, and lasting until September 11, 2017, Jupiter will transit in Virgo constellation, known as Kanya rashi in Vedic astrology. Jupiter transits through one sign every ~12 years, and the last time it was in Virgo was from August 2004 to September 2005. So if you recall what was happening for you then, you might have some sense of how this transit will work again for your own natal chart. This is not an exact measuring technique though, because in the years since 2004-2005, you have entered a new developmental phase, and the other transits as well as progressed cycles (dashas) have also changed. Continue reading

Jupiter in Sidereal Virgo: August 11, 2016 to Sept 11, 2017

Beginning on August 11, 2016, and lasting until September 11, 2017, Jupiter will transit in the constellation of Virgo, known as Kanya rashi in Vedic astrology. Jupiter transits through one sign every ~12 years, and the last time it was in Virgo was from August 2004 to September 2005. The good news is that Jupiter in Virgo moves way from its conjunction with shadowy Rahu in Leo, and also away from the karmic restrictions of transiting Saturn’s square aspect from Scorpio (known as Saturn’s tenth aspect in Vedic astrology).

jupiter5In Vedic astrology, Jupiter is the significator (karaka) of dharma, the principle of cosmic order which is akin to our highest path and purpose. Known as Guru in Vedic astrology, Jupiter is the head honcho of all the gods and represents the concept of divine grace. Jupiter reflects spiritual protection, wisdom, faith, higher learning, confidence and progress. Continue reading

Grand Cross, Fixed Signs and Tamo-Guna

Using the sidereal zodiac placements for the grahas of Vedic astrology—the Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, and lunar nodes Rahu and Ketu—we have a predominant signature of fixed signs (sthira rasis) for much of 2016. The fixed signs are Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius. Jupiter and Rahu are in Leo; Saturn and Mars in Scorpio; Ketu in Aquarius; and the faster moving grahas (Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, and Venus) keep moving in and out of the fixed signs.

SFPageGrand Cross Fixed SignsJupiter will leave Leo for Virgo on August 11, and Mars will leave Scorpio in late September. Saturn will remain in Scorpio for some time to come (on and off through most of 2017) and Rahu and Ketu will remain in Leo and Aquarius until August of 2017. This week beginning on June 8 at ~10:36 PM EDT, we will have all nine grahas in fixed signs! Mercury will be moving into Taurus early on June 8, and then the Moon will transit into Leo on June 9, where it will remain until the 12th June. At the same time, the grahas will be forming a grand cross or grand square in fixed signs. Many have already been feeling the intensity of this fixed signature, but it may become a whole lot stronger soon.

Guna1The sthira rasis (fixed signs) of Vedic astrology embody the tamo-guna (tamasic principle of energy flow) which in excess can be experienced as inertia, contraction, sluggishness, darkness, doubt, helplessness, loneliness and dullness. Tamo-guna brings a focus on the physical body and material concerns. For an individual who already has a strongly imbalanced tamasic energy, this transiting grand square in fixed signs may feel particularly overwhelming, like being imprisoned an iron cage or locked down through some other means.

whydoi_feelbadNot only are all the grahas in fixed signs, but they are forming a grand cross or grand square in which the grahas in Leo are opposed those in Aquarius, and those in Scorpio are opposed those in Taurus (180-degree full mutual planetary aspects); and also all the grahas are forming powerful squares (90-degree planetary aspects) with each other. This represents extreme tension and “stuck energy.” We can feel at cross purposes to ourselves and others, and can be confused as to where, how or when to act.

SFPageOn the plus side, in a natal Vedic chart, all the planets in sthira rasis form an Ashraya Musula Yoga which is said to reflect a native who is blessed, secure, decisive, stable, learned and wealthy. However, when the same grahas are falling in the grand square formation, one may manifest more plodding, decisive, depressed and rigid qualities. On a mundane level, especially because Mercury will be squaring the Moon, the fixed grand square formation can indicate extreme earth events like storms and seismic events.

Paramahansa Yogananda, the great 20th-century yogi, described a tamasic person “as though ossified…not even roused even by the sizzling process of worries. He exists like an inert, lifeless stone.” Yoganandaji also explained that the fire of self-discipline can consume excess tamas. If you are overwhelmed by it, consider that it helps to let go and surrender to it (“like cures like”), such as with restorative yoga and rest.

restOnce rested, force yourself to get up and do something, anything, to move the physical body, which happens to be the main target of tamo-guna. Breath of Fire (Bhastrika Pranayam) can also be helpful, as can massage therapy. Most of all, remember that this too shall pass. The Moon will leave Leo for sidereal Virgo early on June 12, and later in the day, Venus will leave Taurus for sidereal Gemini. On June 14, the Sun will leave Taurus for sidereal Gemini; and on June 27, Mercury will leave Taurus for sidereal Gemini, so gradually, the pattern will start to shift and lighten up.


Wesak (Vesak) Buddha Purnima

So finally, we have reached the day of the Full Flower Moon which occurs this evening Saturday May 21 at 5:14 PM ET/9:14 UT. This is also known as Buddha Purnima, Buddha Jayanti, and Wesak; and in Vedic astrology, it is Vishakha/Vaishakha Puja. Gautama Buddha is said to have been born on this day in the Vaishakha month. His enlightenment is also celebrated today, as is his great exit from the body, and according to legend, He promised to come back on this day every year, along with many other divine beings, to regenerate the Earth.

imagesThe Theosophists teach that the Christ (Maitreya) gathers the entire spiritual hierarchy together in prayer and meditation at this Full Moon to invoke the forces of a heavenly realm known as Shambhala, which increases the input and output of the divine light within us on this Earth. Meditation and other contemplative and healing practices will be so very rewarding today and tonight. image001

I am always particularly drawn to recite and pray on the Great Invocation at this time:

From the point of Light within the Mind of God
Let light stream forth into human minds.
Let Light descend to Earth.

From the point of Love within the Heart of God
Let love stream forth into human hearts.
May the Coming One return to Earth.

From the center where the Will of God is known
Let purpose guide all little human wills,
The purpose which the Masters know and serve.

From the center which we call the human race
Let the Plan of Love and Light work out
And may it seal the door where evil dwells.
Let Light and Love and Power restore the Plan on Earth.
(The Great Invocation, Lucis Trust et al)


Full Flower Moon May 21, 2016

Hi Friends! Have you seen it or are you feeling it? The full Moon in sidereal Scorpio is looming now, and will occur on Saturday, May 21 at 5:14 PM ET/9:14 PM UT. According to some traditions in the Northern Hemisphere, this month’s lunar phase is called the “Full Flower Moon.” Life is springing forth abundantly as we head into the height of summer which will culminate at the next full Moon on the June 20th Summer Solstice (Northern Hemisphere). For now, nature is reaching up toward the zenith with *intensity* and this is a key word for the Scorpio full Moon which typically signifies strong feelings and transformational events.

SFPageThe full Moon in Scorpio exactly conjoins a very bright and prominent warrior Mars, and both widely conjoin the lord of karma Saturn, all of which can now bring us in touch with some of our deepest insecurities and darkest emotions, and for some, this might not feel so good. Moon-Mars occur in the navamsa of Virgo in the second pada of Anuradha nakshatra; Anuradha is ruled by Saturn, and Virgo by Mercury. Saturn and Mercury are in a very challenging 6/8 aspect, while Mercury is also retrograde in the sign of Aries, also ruled by Mars. Venus is combust the Sun in Taurus opposite the full Moon.

Full MoonAll of this can activate inner or outer conflict and issues around finances, security, or self-worth, perhaps urging us to look at our own “stuff,” and in some cases, to clear, clean, and let go. With these aspects, many people are feeling exhausted or depressed now. In past history, a similar full Scorpio Moon alignment occurred during times of civil unrest, storms, floods, explosive events, and political turmoil. The South Node, which is known as Ketu in Vedic astrology, can engage some violent energy akin to Mars, and it is conjoining the luminaries of the previous March 8 solar eclipse chart. I advise that in the coming days, we lie low and avoid pushing anything. Wait at least until Mercury stations direct on late Sunday morning to make any important decisions. Now more than ever, we can benefit from cultivating loving kindness, positive thoughts, peace, and harmony.

2016-may20-21-22-moon-mars-saturn-antaresHere’s wishing all a very happy, healthy and prosperous cycle ahead, with much love, light and auspicious flowering!


This is the highest philosophy. Do not be afraid of anything. Even when tossing on a wave in a storm, you are still on the bosom of the ocean. Always hold on to the consciousness of God’s underlying presence. Be of even mind, and say: ‘I am fearless; I am made of the substance of God. I am a spark of the Fire of Spirit. I am an atom of the Cosmic Flame. I am a cell of the vast universal body of the Father. ‘I and my Father are One.’” ~ Paramahansa Yogananda


Brazil in Crisis: Vedic Astrology Snapshot

According to the New York Times (May 12, 2016), “after an all-night debate, Brazil’s Senate voted Thursday morning to suspend President Dilma Rousseff and begin an impeachment trial against her, ousting a deeply unpopular leader whose sagging political fortunes have come to embody widespread public anger over systemic corruption and a battered economy.” The Economist tweeted, “With poor finances and even poorer politics, Brazil lurches from one crisis to another.” Economic and political crises in 2015 and 2016 make Brazil one of the biggest global risks in the world right now, “creating a chain reaction of credit downgrades, currency devaluation and political infighting that’s sucking Brazil into what economists forecast will be the worst recession since 1901” (
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Mighty Mars in Charge

It’s time again for a “heads up” about Mighty Mars as he is seriously the boss now while all the grahas (planets, Sun, Moon and lunar nodes) as well as outer planets are now bowing down to him. This is because he is the final or sole dispositor of the sky mirror until May 19, with a small reprieve from May 11-13 when the Moon will break out into its own sign of sidereal Cancer for a few days. On May 19, Venus will move into its own sign of sidereal Taurus and this will break the current reign of Mars as sole dispositor. This dynamic has been in play on and off since the Moon entered sidereal Leo on April 16.

SFPageHere I am using sidereal zodiac (always) and traditional rulers (dispositors) of the planets, not modern ones. For instance, the Sun, Mercury and Venus are in Aries so they are all disposited by (ruled by) Mars who rules Aries. Jupiter and Rahu are in Leo which is ruled by Sun which is disposited by Mars. The Moon throughout this period is in Mars-ruled signs or signs that are disposited by planets in Mars’ signs, except for when it is in its own sign of Cancer. Saturn is in Scorpio with Mars/ruled by Mars. Uranus is in Pisces ruled by Jupiter which is disposited now by the Sun in Mars-ruled Aries. Neptune and Ketu are in Aquarius ruled by Saturn disposited by Mars. Pluto is in Sagittarius ruled by Jupiter disposited by the Sun in Mars-ruled Aries.

SFPageA “dispositor” means ruler. A final or sole dispositor occurs in a horoscope when one graha lies in its own ruling sign—like Mars in Scorpio now; while at the same time, all the others lie in signs which are owned by that ruling planet through a series of steps. A final dispositor is said to be the head of the chart, with full autonomy over all the others. In this case, Saturn is sort of vying for this position as he is the nakshatra dispositor or higher consciousness overseer of Mars. Let’s hope this partial sambhanda (Mars in Saturn nakshatra/lunar mansion and Saturn in Mars rashi/sign) means they will work in some harmony for positive results, rather than at odds which will lead to stressful results.

To a large extent, we each have a choice how it plays when we keep the inner connection with the Divine and surrender our egotistical will (Mars) to the higher will (Saturn). That means moving gently in ease; aligning with grace and the unconditional inner witness; not joining in the chaotic drama of the craving and obsessing monkey mind; hearts open to the sky with full breath; grounded and allowing, accepting, en-joying in the flow of the Divine moment by moment. The higher manifestation of Mars can help us do all of this!

indexHowever, everything in duality has a shadow, including Mars. In his lower expression, he is considered the most malefic (evil, difficult, challenging, willfull) of the grahas, and this is according to Vedic astrology’s Sage Parashara. And so, he tends to make the absolute worst final dispositor. He is the planet of willpower, sharp and quick actions, eruption, violence, energy, and conflict.

Mars is not always “evil” but he is now potentially so while transiting with enemy Saturn in Anuradha nakshatra which is ruled by Saturn. I have previously blogged about the Mars-Saturn dance in recent weeks and months, as well as having blogged my “Musing on Fire” two weeks ago, when I made a prediction that we would be having large fires burning out of control (which tragically is happening now in Canada).

Screen-Shot-2016-05-06-at-10.26.08-AM-640x480Being retrograde and conjoined malefic enemy Saturn, Mars potentially disrupts the fire energy especially as Saturn fans his flames. On a positive note, with this Mars energy so intensely on board, we have a chance to reevaluate issues related to personal power, specifically how and where that power is being given away. This can be a great time to deal with personal problems and face our challenges if we slow down and “act, rather than react.” Yet, with the energy of both Saturn and Mars turned inward, external matters may not be easy, and the Universe may give us some intense “opportunities” to work on our “stuff.”

Mars corresponds to the third chakra, the will center known in the yogic tradition as the manipura chakra or “city of jewels.” This center regulates health through an energetic download into the digestive organs and adrenal glands. It distributes prana (life force) to the whole system. As the main karaka (significator) of the fire element according to Vedic astrology, Mars also relates to our mental strength, the courage of our convictions and self-worth.

Mars in Scorpio can usually give us some strong warrior energy to help us get things done quickly, but Saturn’s slower more inhibiting influence can point to some potential for frustrations, accidents, violence, stubbornness, impatience and conflict.

indexWith Mars as the boss but under some frustration now, and with so many retrograde planets happening now, we can get hung up with decision making or make impulsive decisions that are not harmonious with our path and purpose. It can also be hard to set goals. So if this is true for you, take a chill pill and relax and please go with the flow and wait to be carried. This energy is intense and we can manage it better by slowing down and listening and being guided from within.

indexNow’s a good time to do health cleanses with Mars being so influential in the sign of toxins with disease significator Saturn. Work/karma yoga is important for a balanced Mars-Saturn; Haidakhan Babaji said, “Work is worship” so stay steady and devotional in your work to help Mars. The Hanuman Chalisa and other Hanuman practices are very helpful for this period. Lord Shiva, the great Narasimha or Archangel Michael can be propitiated for Mars pacification. Aerobic exercise in moderation is helpful, especially yoga or martial arts practices. Energy healing work for the solar plexus and head are useful, such as Polarity Therapy and Craniosacral work. We can pacify imbalanced or frustrated Mars (fire) with bitter herbs like gentian or aloe.

7876b28daa08d6b0f9f756c8dfd2d503On May 22, a few days after Mars loses his final dispositorship, he will achieve his opposition, right after the full Moon in Scorpio where the full Moon will conjoin Saturn and Mars in Scorpio opposite the Sun and Venus in sidereal Taurus. The opposition phase of Mars always occurs 11 months after the conjunction with the Sun, and happens about five weeks after the retrograde phase of a planet begins, which was April 17 for Mars retrograde in this case.

SFPageMars will remain visible for more than twelve months after opposition and then will disappear in the Sun’s glare in June 2017 as it approaches the next conjunction with the Sun in July 2017. Mars will be closer to the Earth on May 22. 2016 than it has been since 2005, but not as close as it will become in 2018. This means Mars will be very bright and powerful, so that his astrological essence will continue to dominate through at least the  next few weeks after the full Moon (and ongoing for other reasons we will discuss at another time). Astrologically, this lineup seems to promise a very emotionally intense and possibly conflictual or violent full Moon effect ahead for some people and locales, and I will write more about this soon. For more information regarding Mars Opposition on May 22, please refer to