Happy Imbolc ~ In the Belly of Mother Earth

Now I call on my Celtic roots and tune into the coming cross-quarter fire festival of Imbolc, the Gaelic celebration marking the halfway point between winter solstice and spring equinox in the northern hemisphere. Imbolc literally means in the belly of Mother Earth, because her womb is beginning to stir again after a long winter’s nap. Imbolc is also called Oimelc which refers to the milk of the ewes that starts to flow around this time of the year.

In the northern hemisphere, the kundalini fire within Gaia and all of life will now slowly start to change its direction in an upward flow. This is the time of a subtle seasonal change where the return of the Sun and early signs of springtime are observed. As we stoke the inner fire to help see us through these final weeks of winter, hope is on the rise! The divine mother is starting to recover after having giving birth to her son at winter solstice ~ Mother Nature is slowly transforming herself back from crone into youthful maiden.

Imbolc traditionally paid homage to Breo Saighead, the beloved Celtic goddess Brigid (Brighid, Bridgit), Exalted One, Lady of the Sacred Flame, and Druidic patroness of healing, fertility, poetry, smithcraft and magic. Imbolc is celebrated on the eve of January 31 (Sunday) and during the day and night of February 1, and is followed by its Christian counterpart Candlemas, a festival of light, on February 2. Here in this halfway point between winter and spring, the Moon is also at its monthly halfway point between full and new, a great time to consciously cultivate inner balance. The waning Moon now is also calling us to cleanse, heal and transmute whatever is not serving that balance.

Brigid, Bright One,
Goddess of the Forge.
Teach me to bear the fires of transformation,
The furnace that tempers my blade,
And makes me strong.
Be with me as I blaze my trail.
I light this candle in fiery offering to you,
Brigid, Goddess of Fire. (Author Unknown)

Goddess Brigid by Galaxis Mist(thank you for this beautiful image of Brigid by Galaxis Mist)

Pluto Square Neptune in the Recent Deaths of Entertainment Celebrities

Several prominent members of the entertainment industry have passed away in recent weeks, and for a certain generation, all this loss in such a short period is shattering, as it begins to feel a bit like the end of an era: David Bowie ~ age 69; Terence Dale Griffin ~ age 66 (Bowie’s collaborator and Mott the Hoople drummer); The Eagles’ founding member, singer and musician Glenn Frey ~ age 67. Natalie Cole died December 31, 2015 at age 65. Country singer Craig Strickland died in early January. Celine Dion’s husband-manager René Angélil died January 14 after an extended illness. Actor-director Alan Rickman died January 14 ~ age 69. Motörhead frontman Lemmy died December 28, 2015 ~ age 70. Many astrologers are writing about what seems a bit of a disturbing “trend,” trying to make sense of it “as above.”

There are many great theories and ideas. One that I sense is important is that Rahu, the Moon’s North Node in Jyotish/Vedic astrology, has just transited into Leo on January 8 (true node calcuation) and was moving toward the fragile edge of Leo in late December. Rahu is still at the 29th degree of Leo (as it moves backwards and starts at the end of the sign). The 29th degree represents “the end.” Rahu, like Saturn, is a significator of death and dying. Leo signifies entertainers. Of course not all entertainers are going through their passing, as individual natal charts also have to be ripe for the end of life, which is analyzed as part of ayur calculations in Jyotish.

The other thing that is happening is a generational transit of Pluto now in square to natal Neptune in the charts for those born around 1945-1950 (placing the square within a 5-degree orb). Not all the entertainment professionals I mentioned have this transit. For instant, Strickland was younger, born in 1986; he just recently went through his Saturn Return. René Angélil was older, born in 1942. So for them, I would have to think the issue is related to Rahu’s entry into Leo. For the others, well, Pluto is like Shiva and represents death and transformation, and Neptune represents mass consciousness and is also a higher “spiritualized” octave of Venus, planet of love, beauty, harmony, music/ musicians, dance/dancers and art/artists. On surface, the square being a tension aspect can indicate death (Pluto) of musicians, actors or artists (Neptune).

For some of these artists’ natal charts, including David Bowie’s, Neptune (creativity, idealism) falls in Hasta nakshatra, a sign of immense originality, creativity and light-filled optimism. In his final parting gift of the Blackstar album, Bowie even appeared to take on death as his last act, “defying it by becoming it before it became him,” as author Morad Moazami wrote in a recent article titled Blackstar, and Death as David Bowie’s Final Persona: The artist’s deep spiritual exploration into the transmutation of death itself seems a powerful expression of Pluto square Neptune.

"Bowie-Blackstar-vinylcover" by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Bowie-Blackstar-vinylcover.jpg#/media/File:Bowie-Blackstar-vinylcover.jpg

“Bowie-Blackstar-vinylcover” by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Bowie-Blackstar-vinylcover.jpg#/media/File:Bowie-Blackstar-vinylcover.jpg

It goes without saying that not everyone born in 1945-1950 will die in this transit. It will only affect individuals who are personally destined to complete their lifespan at this time. Yet, it does seem to indicate specifically the death of certain artistic and musical icons as Neptune is involved generationally. More to the point, the spirit that came through those born in this period of Neptune is itself at a transitional stage, like this sense of “end of era” which will also include some sense of rebirth as well due to the square with Pluto. For instance, there seems to be a resurgence of interest in the music of these artists and their era just since their passing.

SFPage

Rare Celestial Alignment, January-February 2016

A “rare astronomical alignment” will occur from January 20 until February 20, 2016, an event that astronomers say hasn’t occurred since December 2004 to January 2005, in which five naked eye planets ~ Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn ~ will be visible together in an arc formation about an hour before sunrise in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. All of them except Mercury have already been visible for most of January in the pre-dawn sky and Mercury will join their group on January 20, and the Moon will also join in from January 27- February 6.

allfivebrighYou may be surprised to learn that this is is not actually a significant “astrological alignment” per se. Usually in astrology, an important alignment will involve planets in a variety of close angular relationships in their movement east and west or north and south of the ecliptic. In such astrological alignments, the planets influence each other within limited areas of the zodiac, reflecting an intense expression and possibly some imbalance. For instance, we will see this during the eclipses in March when many planets line up in the constellations of Aquarius and Leo.

Here instead, we have the planets parading in a consecutive series of sidereal constellations: Jupiter in Leo, Mars in Libra, Saturn in Scorpio, and Venus and Mercury in Sagittarius. Saturn, Mars, Venus, and Mercury will all be in the southern declination, and toward the end of their parade will also be close in declination ~ known as parallel ~ which means in or near the same area south of the celestial equator, which can be an intense configuration and one that is sometimes seen during major seismic events.

SFPageFor instance, astronomers point out that the last time we had a similar lineup with Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Venus and Mercury in a consecutive sign array was in December 2004 to January 2005. At that time, we also had the deadly Indian Ocean earthquake and disaster (December 26, 2004), but one big difference then versus now is that then there was an actual astrological alignment known as a stellium conjunction, with four planets in one constellation (Scorpio) and in the southern declination, which created a certain added imbalance and intensity.

SFPage2During this upcoming display, the planets also form longitudinal relationships with each other. For instance, there are a few 2/12 (semi-sextile/~30-degree) formations which often involve struggles and the need for surrender, sacrifice or compromise: Saturn with Mars, and Venus and Mercury with Saturn. On the other hand, there are a few 3/11 (sextile/~60-degree) formations which are considered beneficial and harmonious: Mars with Venus-Mercury, and Jupiter with Mars. As usual in our world of extreme polarities, we will see mixed results.

In natal “birth chart” astrological analysis, Vedic astrology incorporates the Nabhasa Yogas, a large group of important celestial combinations based on the patterns of planetary placements in the houses and signs. We can look at these in mundane astrology to an extent. For instance, here in this “alignment,” the Nabhasa yogas (Sankhya variety) would involve the seven main grahas (the five visible planets sans the nodes but including Sun and Moon) spanning either five or six signs/houses depending on the exact date and placement of the Moon, which means that in their arcing spectacle, the planets are fairly distributed and balanced which can be good for certain kinds of worldly matters in general.

Another interesting point is that Saturn is in the middle of this lineup, with Jupiter-Rahu and Mars on one side, and Venus-Mercury and Sun on the other, with the quick-moving Moon coming in and out. In Vedic astrology, the planets have natural and temporal friendships. Planets placed in houses “3 in front and 3 behind” another planet are considered temporal friends, which is nice now for Saturn, the lord of karma who has this temporarily very friendly support from all the grahas!

However, the overall chart is fairly imbalanced in that *almost everybody* is on one side (one hemisphere), indicating perhaps that for some, there could exist a feast or famine mentality or just some overall intensity and sense of isolation, or at least, some unusual sense of pressure and also, quite a lot of the typical “us versus them” divisiveness operating through the mass mind.

In Vedic astrology, the planets (grahas) represent divine beings as well as living qualities within us and within the external world, and as they make their rare procession here, they allow us to actually see them (most of them) all at once, which is like a special darshan, a lovely opportunity to receive their blessing and commune with and honor the divine powers that they all represent. It is as if they really are coming together for us here in the magical pre-dawn time for us to connect with them all together in one special moment of unity.

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The Holy Festival of Epiphany

Epiphany is the Day of Light which falls every year on January 6. It’s also known as Epiphaneia, meaning a “manifestation or striking appearance.” Another name for this Christian holy day is Theophany or Τheophaneia, which translates as “Vision of God.” Epiphany closes the door on the 13 holy days and nights of the Christological festival that began on December 24. Traditional religious celebrations of Epiphany often center on house blessings. In the church, holy water sanctification is performed in honor of the symbolic sacred baptism. The celebration also includes a deep recollection of the magi who followed the star to the birth of their great teacher of old Zarathustra (Zoroaster), who reincarnated as the Solomon Jesus as described in the Gospel of Matthew.

In a recent article in the holiday edition of Starlight: Journal of Sophia Foundation, Anthroposophist Claudia McLaren Lainson depicts the thirteen days and thirteen nights as a time of profound spiritual experience. Christian Europe has called this period the Night of the Mothers, which is also the title of Lainson’s article. In my additional reading of the mystical Gnostics, Epiphany embodies a manifestation of the divine essence of the universal intelligence of God within the human being, which occurs in the initiate as the ascension of the Christ Consciousness from the Divine Mother through the spinal column into the brain’s pineal gland, which is known as the “epiphysis cerebri” or “Third Eye.”

Lainson portrays the Epiphany as a time of initiation: “We descend, as soul seeds, into the earthly depths to gather the spiritual forces we will need if we are to meet the trials that await us in the coming year. In these blessed nights we are reminded that all suffering is brought about by our false beliefs. Our hearts are granted new forces, engendering the courage we need to face our trials with equanimity of soul and stalwartness of spirit. By living into the wonders now unveiling within these new mysteries, we prepare ourselves to better serve peace in the world. In summer we ascend to the heavens; in winter the heavens descend to us. The Mother takes us in. Like the shepherds and the magi of old, we journey to the [heart of the Mother] in the manger, where we seek the Holy Child. In the manger, resting in the earthly depths, lies the holy child of each of us. For each of us is one spark from the one flame of innocence that the Mother guards on our behalf, until the time dawns when we can take up the truth of who we really are. For we are born from the divine, we come from the stars, and we are seeking to return to the stars…in these darkest nights of winter, our souls descend into the primal womb so that we can be reborn as the coming year unfolds.” (“Night of the Mothers,” pp 8-16 by Claudia McLaren Lainson: http://www.sophiafoundation.org/images/Starlight_Christmas_2015_Compresssed.pdf)

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Mercury Retrograde, Paradox, Samsara and Oneness: January 2016

Heads up as Mercury is now slowing down to station retrograde in early sidereal Capricorn on January 5 at 8:06:15 AM EST. Welcome to the truly paradoxical new year year ahead: just as we get started back to work and focusing on our new year plans and resolutions, the planet of business, communication, speech, memory, writing, travel and transportation will appear to stop (station) and go backward for three weeks!

Mercury is just preparing us for what I feel is the big collective wake-up call of this new year, which is about going deeper, transcending dualities and connecting to Oneness. The paradox of a retrograde planet is that it just appears to be going backward from the perspective of Earth (geocentric), but from the perspective of the Sun, this is not happening, i.e., planets do not go retrograde (heliocentric). It’s all about perspective in the realm of duality!

And coming back to duality and our geocentric view of things, the gift of Mercury retrograding in methodical and practical Capricorn near the beginning of the new year is that we are give some extra time to prepare for what’s ahead. We can slowly ease into our resolutions and plans. If we find ourselves thwarted or frustrated in achieving certain goals at any time during this period, it is important to take some time out (and go within), and prepare to come out on top once Mercury goes direct on January 25.

SFPageThe usual advice for Mercury retrograde is important now, especially as Mercury is exactly squaring Mars at its station (yikes, that can be quite stressful, irritable, impatient and hot-headed), and also we have a whole slew of other “interesting” transits ahead (like Jupiter stationing retrograde January 8 UT). So, keep commitments in mind; take care of all electronic and mechanical equipment; proceed cautiously with plans; be extra-patient and mindful when traveling; be clear and honest with communication; and heed this wonderful advice from the late best-selling motivational author and speaker Stephen Covey (The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People): “How different our lives are when we really know what is deeply important to us, and keeping that picture in mind, we manage ourselves each day to be and to do what really matters most.”

As Mercury retrogrades, the idea is that he takes us along on a transformational journey into the underworld of our unconscious, where we can be rejuvenated in mind and spirit. This can be a time to rethink ideas and plans and go deeper in our healing and spiritual practices to find new understanding about ourselves and others. This is typically a good time to clear the decks of the past, complete old projects, and contemplate what is shifting for us from the old to the new year.

We don’t have to rush into anything. Just because it is 2016 doesn’t mean we have to charge full steam ahead. Re-member that the Mercury re-trograde cycle is about all those “re” words…re-flect, re-consider, re-organize, re-charge, re-boot, re-invest, re-store, re-regroup, re-vitalize, and most of all, re-spect the inward process here…just re-lax and breathe.

Mercury rules the lungs so it is a good time to do sacred breath practice and pranayama (like nadi shodhana). Gotu Kola or Tulsi are important herbs for the nervous system and can be especially helpful during Mercury retrograde cycles. Sandalwood oil (like the pure doTERRA or Young Living brands) or paste (chandan) on the forehead twice a day is very helpful to balance Mercury energy/calming for the mind any time, and especially now. Emerald Gem Elixir is also a great remedy.

The cosmic wheel of samsara depicts the illusion of duality. It is always churning through the movement of the celestial bodies which are taking us on the ride of our lives, but as the great yogi-saint Swami Sri Yukteswar said, “The wise person defeats his planets.” How to do that? Start by re-membering Oneness, the truth behind this whole amazing play of consciousness in which we exist.

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2016 Astrological New Year Horoscope

Happy 2016, dear friends! Vedic astrology employs several charts for the New Year, with the two most important being the springtime charts for the New Moon in Pisces and the later chart for Sun’s ingress into Aries (sidereal zodiac). I like to also look at the chart for midnight on January 1 just because this is the beginning of the civil New Year and is a significant moment in time simply because most people consider it to be the year’s new beginning.

SFPage1 SFPageThe chart for New Year’s Eve at midnight has an intense and somewhat “fated” partial Kala Sarpa Yoga, in which all the grahas are on one side of the chart inside the axis of lunar nodes ~ Rahu and Ketu ~ except for Jupiter which is slightly outside the axis but moving very closely into Rahu and at the fated 29th degree of sidereal Leo, and the nodes are sandhi (on the cusp) so this means that even more than usual, the cosmic circus of duality will embrace and entertain us with its usual blend of madness and magic.

I sat and studied the chart(s) for hours and wrote a detailed and somewhat depressing analysis, but decided not to post it after my younger son told me last evening that he is willing to listen to astrology but only when the message is constructive. He told me this while we were hiking and just noticing thousands of birds flying overhead, a beautiful omen of positive energy and powerful life force affirming his words to me. So I am going to start the year being constructive.

Paramahansa Yogananda said that in the current realm of duality, things are happening as they have to, according to the Divine Plan, and we have to deal with and confront the shadow side of the dichotomous world in order to develop and evolve. In the New Year chart, you can see how the sky mirror is reflecting this polarized play, with Jupiter outside of the karmic axis beckoning us to invoke grace as a real guiding presence and resource.

The planetary dynamics in America’s New Year chart are predominantly mutable, which is creative, restless, and oriented to the world of Spirit but can use some serious discipline and guidance, too. The Kala Sarpa is also highly sensitive and somewhat unpredictable, and this year will bear witness to many intense fated events and karmic conclusions, but there is nectar to be enjoyed too, since all the grahas including Jupiter are moving in the direction of Ketu, the Moksha Karaka indicator of wisdom and enlightenment.

In this January 1 New Year chart, the main theme for me is about living in a consciousness of Oneness, and I plan to focus on this a lot in my work and writings. The chart looks lopsided but that is the illusion similar to Yin-Yang, which also includes a third force beyond the balance of polarities (Oneness), or as the late Zen philosopher Alan Watts said, “Every explicit duality is an implicit unity.”

Rahu and Ketu are the overriding influence in a Kala Sarpa chart. They represent the polarizing karmic forces that emblematically eclipse the Sun (ego) and Moon (mind), and thus they have an intoxicating effect on consciousness. Whether they will intoxicate with the light of truth (Oneness) or the veil of misapprehension (Separation) is up to each one of us.

It is going to be an exciting year as many amazing new discoveries and awakenings will occur amid all the ups and downs. America’s presidential political battle is going to become quite hard to take for many of us (the chart says this), and there is potential for cultural/racial/political/ideological divisiveness such as we have not see in America since the War Between the States 150+ years ago. Europe is facing a similar fate already.

I say this about divisiveness also because we will have Saturn and Mars retrograding in Scorpio in the spring of 2016. The fixed star Antares, in the heart of the Scorpion, which is a symbol of malevolence and war, will also be activated several times by Mars and Saturn (close to 16 degrees sidereal Scorpio) in 2016. The last time Mars and Saturn retrograded in Scorpio like this was during the American Revolutionary War, our first civil war.

The Kala Sarpa here represents a super-schismatic situation ahead, and can also bring out the worst kinds of evangelists, crusaders and extremists willing to sacrifice everything for their sacred mission. It also points to self-righteous dogmatism coming from the left and right. The best advice my guides have given me is that it is important for each of us on this planet to now and regularly detoxify and do what it takes to get stronger physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually, to help us manage what’s ahead of us in the coming two years.

On the Edge: End of the Year, Jupiter and the Lunar Nodes

I have received a barrage of calls and emails from anxious clients requesting emergency astrological and energy/breath healing sessions today. What is going on? Well, partly I assume is because we are coming to the end of 2015, when it is typical to consciously or unconsciously experience a sense of transitional urgency and anxiety. The past 12 months are drawing to a close, and last year’s resolutions and plans may just not have panned out exactly as hoped. Yet, the next set of expectations for 2016 looms large in the minds of many! In some cases, holiday festivities have taken their toll on finances, patience and energy levels. And if that were not enough, we can always look to the Sky Mirror for further understanding.

SFPageOne set of transits that mirrors the transitional energy of the end of the year can be seen in the current zodiacal movements of Jupiter and the lunar nodes Rahu and Ketu. Using the sidereal zodiac of Vedic astrology, transiting Jupiter and the lunar nodes are now at the edges of their respective signs: Jupiter is at 29 degrees Leo, and Rahu, the Moon’s True North Node is at 0+ degrees Virgo; and the Moon’s True South Node Ketu is at 0+ degrees Pisces. The last or first degree of a sign is known as “sandhi” in Vedic astrology, and refers to a critical juncture, hinge or boundary between the signs.

Sandhi planets are considered weak and fuzzy in terms of what they can offer. Their energy is unclear or nebulous due to the intermingling of different energies between the two signs they span. Sometimes their effect feels like neither here nor there, similar to what we feel moving across the edge between the old and the new year. The sandhi is also like a crevice in which things (or we) can accidentally slip, be dropped, temporarily misplaced or even lost. We can lose our footing trying to cross the crevice, and so may feel a bit out of sorts. It can be a good time to call upon all our best practices, resources and support systems to help us bring balance and equanimity now.

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In addition to sandhi weakening effects, planets at the 29th degree (Jupiter in this case) are said per western astrology to be anaretic, an ancient Greek word which means “that which destroys form.” Anaretic planets often represent a “too little/too late” dynamic, which carries a sense of angst, urgency or even compulsiveness. On the other hand, the beauty of sandhi planets is that they can open us up to other realms and alternate viewpoints when we are willing to ride the waves of uncertainty that they can represent. One example that is often given for understanding this potential refers us to the liminal (sandhi) times of day ~ dawn and dusk ~ when the veil between the worlds is lifted and we can access more magical “spiritual” power.

Jupiter in astrology represents dharma, path and purpose. It also signifies wisdom, morals, beliefs, finances, children, fortune, long distant travels, higher education, benevolence, protection, advisers, spiritual preceptors, compassion, generosity and speech. Jupiter is very weak in the last anaretic degree of the sign now and also it is afflicted as it conjoins sandhi malefic Rahu within two degrees. They are moving closer into each other every day, as Rahu moves backward toward Jupiter in Leo, and Jupiter is slowly moving forward but soon will be grinding to a halt for its retrograde station.

Rahu will enter Leo and conjoin Jupiter right around when Jupiter goes stationary retrograde on January 9. Rahu adds some potential for drama, confusion, chaos, insecurity, or unsettled conditions to any and all of Jupiter’s significations from now until the station, but then also, Jupiter and Rahu will travel close together on and off through much of 2016. The lunar nodes moving into Leo and Aquarius (Jan. 9, 2016) also represents a sea change ahead, and I will write more about this at another time. For now, I believe we are feeling the coming change as the lunar nodes reflect our karmic path, and it is changing fast.

This combination of Jupiter and Rahu is called Guru Chandala Yoga, which has some challenging effects when Jupiter is weak, as it is now and until January 22 being in the last degree of the sign, though the greatest weakness is probably from now until Jupiter stations retrograde on January 9. I say this because a stationary planet gains strength, as does a retrograde planet. The results of weak Jupiter forming a Guru Chandala Yoga can point toward violence, corruption, lack of conscience, self-indulgence, misguided spiritual and political beliefs, false gurus, concerns about children and education, and all kinds of scandals, especially those related to teachers, leaders and those in the entertainment industry since the combination occurs in Leo.

These potentially negative effects are further indicated by the fact that Rahu and Ketu are sandhi (also until the third week of January). Sandhi lunar nodes will often reflect serious life-changing circumstances, including shocking revelations, all kinds of flareups, and disruptions in the status quo; but this is only in certain cases where a natal or mundane chart is specifically being activated at the same time and in a similar fashion.

OK…so now that we know why some may be feeling this vague (or not so vague) anxiety, we can work with our practices to cultivate more peace instead: May peace be in our homes. May peace be in our communities. May peace be in our hearts.

peace-poles

Winter Solstice and Astral Weather Forecast, December 2015

winter solsticeThe Sun is receiving its annual rejuvenation at the Galactic Center now, transiting in the early part of sidereal Sagittarius. The solstice occurs on December 21 at 11:49 PM EST / December 22 at 4:49 AM UT, but we are moving into its aura now, and then afterward, the still-point effect will last for three more days. This is an extremely sensitive time for the planet and for our nervous systems, so it is important to slow down and be extra mindful. The spiritual doorways are opening and shifting and that can be a magnificent experience for those who are tuned inward, but functioning in 3D requires a bit of extra grounding and awareness now.

From Dec. 22-26, Mars ~ warrior planet of action and energy ~ traverses the sandhi (edge or cusp) between sidereal Virgo and Libra, which is his own creative and fiery realm of Chitra nakshatra. Planets in sandhi are vulnerable, and here for Mars, we may have to dig deeper to find equipoise and strength as his impatient, impulsive, violent and accident-prone tendencies can go a bit haywire.

Venus also traverses a sandhi at the same time, between sidereal Libra and Scorpio from December 24 to 26, and once in Scorpio will exchange signs with Mars in Libra until January 18, 2016. This is called Parivartana Yoga in Vedic astrology, a mutual exchange or reception in western terms. This particular exchange happened the last time in the fall of 2008 during the global economic crisis. It can be a combination for financial upsets, as well as vehicular accidents.

Devotion, passion and spontaneity are some of the more positive results to be expected when Venus and Mars join forces in aspect or reception, but also sometimes, selfishness, hostility, jealousy, envy and quarrels can ensue, depending on the signs of their placement and houses of ownership. Western astrologers Lee Lehman and Rob Hand have called any kind of detrimental mutual reception “mutual deception.” This is because planets in detriment (in signs opposite their own) are considered weakened. Mars and Venus are in detriment in Libra and Scorpio, so the idea is that, rather than helping each other, the two planets will be at some odds.

A good remedy for balancing the Mars-Venus reception is vigorous physical exercise, with heart rate up and breaking at least a light sweat. Holly flower essence is a Bach flower remedy that is also a good remedy for this transit, as it is a heart healer that can help assuage feelings of envy, jealousy, anger and hostility which can be provoked when the two lords of passion exchange signs. For more about Holly flower essence, I recommend this fascinating article by Patricia Kaminski: http://www.flowersociety.org/heart_healer.htm

Christmas Day, the Moon will be full and in Ardra nakshatra. The higher evolutionary nature of this Moon will shine potently through ardent feelings and deep perception, but the less favorable expression can be revealed through stormy conditions and arduous events. Christmas Night (10:52 PM Eastern Time), Uranus will station direct in Pisces. This will be experienced in the range of 5-10 days before and after the actual station. Uranus has been retrograde since July 26.

Uranus will station within a 2-degree orb of a square with Pluto, which is a longstanding on-and-off aspect since 2012, which speaks to the often-maddening personal and global upheaval we have known during this period. Quite literally, the full Ardra Moon with Uranus stationing on the same day foretells of dangerous stormy weather patterns in the coming two weeks, and with Ketu and Uranus both in Pisces, and Moon in Ardra (in air sign of Gemini) there is significant global potential for strong wind storms, heavy precipitation and flooding.

Uranus as a higher octave of Mercury can actually act like Mercury when it retrogrades or stations, and the effects may be experienced as technological and transportation/travel snafus and a sense of restlessness and unease. This station can reveal itself in some erratic energy and un-ease from the solstice and toward the end of the year. We can often expect some tempestuousness, grave shocks, big surprises or miraculous epiphanies when Uranus goes direct, so hang on to your hats now and through the end of the year as this station is resonating in both directions, forward and backward.

When a planet stations, it appears to halt and then move in the direction opposite to what it was before, which triggers and stimulates the planet and also the area of the zodiac where it is located. If you have any planets or chart points in sidereal Pisces, and especially around 21-23 degrees Pisces, or planets at 21-23 degrees anywhere else actually, this station is likely to activate a big change and probably some forward momentum in the areas of your chart that are involved.

Uranus will be stationing in visionary, mystical and inspirational Revati nakshatra in the constellation of Pisces. Uranus is the representative of higher mind, so with this, many of us may experience some ingenious and inventive reflections and insights. REVati nakshatra where the Great Awakener is stationing = REVelations and REVerie and REVelry and REVolutionary… and see how REVved up I am getting about it? That’s the effect of Uranus slowing down to its forward station!

SFPageDecember 28 and 29, the lunar nodes and then Jupiter will become sandhi, transiting on the delicate edge of their signs, and Rahu and Jupiter will be transiting very close to a conjunction with each other at the same time. Jupiter will station retrograde at 29 degrees sidereal Leo on January 8, 2016. The station will be felt at least 5-10 days before and after that. Jupiter will remain retrograde for five months until May 9, 2016. As Jupiter stations and then retrogrades, its nature, as reflected in such qualities as faith and hope, becomes more deeply internalized. In elective astrology, it is not recommended to initiate anything big (like a business endeavor or marriage) during the Jupiter retrograde cycle.

With Jupiter sandhi and lunar nodes also sandhi, this is a kind of sambanda (strong link or connection) and this speaks to certain sense of insecurity and many changes in the air just in time for the beginning of the civil New Year. For those on the path, this kind of liminal (edgy) time and space is a great opportunity, which shamanic dream explorer Robert Moss calls “the borderlands of the tame and the wild,” where the Holy Spirit is poised and ready to guide us in our evolutionary journey more than ever. We must just remember to expand, invoke, ask, let go, and trust.

Happy winter solstice, and to all my friends in the southern hemisphere, happy summer solstice!

Scorpio New Moon: December 11, 2015

The waning crescent Balsamic Moon is once again upon us. This phase covers the darkening three-and-a half-days leading up to the New Moon, and belongs to the ancient goddess who takes us deep within ourselves for transformation and rejuvenation. Balsamic Moon is time for letting go, burning karma, and healing as we prepare for new beginnings at the culmination of New Moon which occurs on Friday, December 11 at 5:21 AM Eastern Daylight Time/EDT (10:21 AM UT).

As I am writing and posting this on Monday, December 7, the Moon is aligned with Venus in sidereal Libra, sign of relationships and politics. This is usually a sweet transit but not as much now because Libra is still hemmed in on both sides by malefic planets ~ Saturn in Scorpio and Rahu + Mars in Virgo ~ a pressured configuration called Papa Kartari Yoga in Vedic astrology, which can tend to bring up the negative power manifesting as disharmony all around.

The Moon will remain in Libra until early Wednesday morning EDT, when it will begin its transit through its fallen (debilitated/neecha) sign of Scorpio, which will last until Friday afternoon EDT. Moon is considered “fallen” or “debilitated” in Scorpio, where it can reflect deep-feeling or intensely attached emotional energy. It can be quite devoted and passionate in its higher principle, versus highly fixated and obsessive in its lower.

waning-moonThe December New Moon occurs at ~25 degrees sidereal Scorpio, Jyestha nakshatra, in conjunction with the Sun, and widely conjunct the karmic taskmaster Saturn. Not for the faint of heart, this combo draws out shadow themes revolving around violence and fear (the “T” word), defense and security, aggression, depression, death, sexuality, rebirth, finances, control, and personal power. When not in harmony, Scorpio can be dogmatic, fundamentalist, rigid, stubborn, or narrow-minded. With Scorpio’s emphasis here, some may have a tendency to feel stuck, tight, or heavy in body and mind. It may be helpful at this time to create more cheer, move our bodies, keep with a positive message, enjoy nature, and most importantly, cry, laugh and soften our hearts.

imagesThe external world is an unstable place, seemingly more so than ever lately, and thus, keeping ourselves at peace and in balance becomes the biggest challenge. Knowing and understanding something of the astral energies at play can actually be quite supportive during such times, not as a predictor of “bad” things happening, but more as a reminder of where to align our attention. For instance, the current waning Moon moving into Scorpio can assist us to stand in divine light, “fight the good fight,” go quietly within to examine what we fear the most, let go, and radiate compassion and peace.

The Balsamic and New Moon phases mirror the current waning phase of the Sun, occurring as we move toward the darkest day of the year on December 22 (Winter Solstice-N. Hemisphere). This is a natural time to slow down and be contemplative. Remember, the waning Moon is fast losing its light, and the Sun is also losing light. The Sun and Moon represent our higher brain and chakra centers as well as all psychological, metabolic, and physiological processes. So, their diminishing cycles can reflect in weariness and emotional vulnerability. Therefore, introspection, awareness, and repose are of utmost importance during this period.

In the New Moon chart, Uranus is transiting in sidereal Pisces opposite Mars, and both are forming a T-square with Pluto. Actually the T-square is falling in a very close range from ~ Dec. 5-13 or thereabouts, but resonating even further than that on either side as well. This is a stressful configuration, and especially because Mars will be in its debilitation navamsa of Cancer from Dec. 6-12, which can indicate hyper-emotional reactive states.

The Mars-Uranus-Pluto T-square can point to weather disasters; seismic eruptions; volatility; impulsive or reckless behavior; angry outbursts; technical, medical, surgical or mechanical disruptions; violence; accidents; upheaval, terrorism, or just in general, some shocks and surprises. Usually, such aspects in the lunation chart will have the most major impact for those whose natal chart planets and angle cusps are being closely affected, but also this is a collective karmic imprint.

A dear friend of mine, astrologer Dr. Karina Weil, beautifully described difficult transits like these: “They represent an opportunity for us to exercise mind control and focus on creating and projecting luminous, loving, peaceful thoughts, now more than ever.” Knowing there is a potential disturbance in the force, we can all “mind our minds” and make efforts to be extra patient, gentle, peaceful, and cautious…because ultimately, with our thoughts we make the world.

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Full Crystal Moon

The Full Crystal Moon occurs on Wednesday, November 25 at 5:44 PM Eastern Daylight Time at 9 degrees of sidereal Taurus in Krittika nakshatra, in the fortunate Pushkara-Pisces navamsa. Quite soon after it becomes full (within two hours afterward), the Moon will move into its favorite abode of Rohini nakshatra, still in Taurus. This is a typically generous, practical, productive, harmonious, grounded and supportive full Moon, which represents the fullness of the heart as it falls in the sign of Venus which rules the heart chakra. Venus is transiting in Virgo which tends to find pleasure and fulfillment in work and service to others, but if out of balance, Venus in Virgo can be super dissatisfied and nit-picky, so this may be something to watch for over the next week.

Yes, there are some difficult aspects happening astrologically now and in the lunation charts ahead, and I have written of some of these elsewhere. But there are some positive aspects, too. For instance, the full Moon trines Mars, which reflects some intense-feeling, courageous, proactive, passionate, protective, and vitalizing capacity. In the D9 chart (navamsa), the Moon is in Jupiter’s sign (Pisces) and trine to Jupiter which signifies some sense of optimism, protection, hope or faith.

SFPageFull MoonNative Americans call this month’s lunation the “Frosty Moon” for obvious reasons, as it is becoming very cold in the Northern Hemisphere now. Frost is like clear quartz crystals and so I call this the *Full Crystal Moon*. Quartz crystals are associated with Venus and the heart chakra. Those of us who work with quartz crystals in healing are taught to leave them out every month under the full Moon for purifying and recharging, and this Moon is especially potent for that.

Clear quartz is known as the master healer. It amplifies energy and thought, clears negative energy, and balances and rejuvenates body, mind and spirit. Clear quartz also enhances psychic abilities, stimulates the immune system, aligns the subtle bodies, and brings the body into balance.

The Crystal Full Moon is akin to a giant quartz crystal that can be used for our physical and psycho-spiritual healing and attunement. On Tuesday and Wednesday nights this week, it would be empowering to meditate on the full Moon and imagine bringing Her right into our heart chakra as well as into our higher chakras (third eye, crown) or anywhere else that we are guided to direct the healing and nourishing soma, which is like a bio-electromagnetic elixir emanating from the Moon when it is near its full stage. This will be a great time to invoke this rejuvenating energy for ourselves, for others and for the planet (please), and also, to clarify and align with our heart’s deepest desire.

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