Winter in parts of the northern hemisphere has been quite a doozy for so many who will be especially glad to welcome spring this year. It comes on March 20, which will also be the beginning of autumn in the southern hemisphere. We also have a SUPER-New Moon / solar eclipse involving the South Node / Ketu occurring March 20, 2015, from 07:41 UTC to 11:50 UTC, with the maximum point occurring at 9:45 AM UTC. It will be total solar eclipse in Norway and the Faroe Islands, and a partial solar eclipse in Europe, northern and eastern Asia, and northern and western Africa. The spring equinox occurs later the same day at 22:45 UTC. The new Moon in sidereal Pisces always marks the beginning of the Vedic lunar new year. This day is also the beginning of India’s heavenly Divine Mother festival known as “Vasant Navratri (Navaratri),” or the “Nine Nights of Mother Divine,” when the highest aspect of Shakti, the Divine Feminine power, walks among us to bless us with healing, prosperity, and the promise of rebirth. Continue reading
*Please note that I base all my forecasts on the sidereal zodiac which is aligned with the starry sky, which has always been in use by most Vedic astrologers and is also used by western sidereal astrologers in the ancient Babylonian tradition. Most western astrologers use the tropical zodiac which is aligned with the equinoxes and modeled after an ancient solar calendar for the northern hemisphere. The tropical system is a stereotype of the original zodiac, an anthropomorphic projection onto the sky. The signs are symbolic and no longer relate to the actual constellations after which they were named. The sidereal zodiac is the archetypal or original pattern of the zodiac. I used the tropical system for about 25 years before converting to the sidereal zodiac in the mid-90s. The sidereal works best for me. The longitudinal difference between the position of the planets in the two zodiacs is currently around 24 degrees and the gap is growing larger all the time due to the slow westward drift of the equinoxes known as precession. Thus when I speak of Jupiter’s current transit in Cancer, many could be confused if they are not aware of this issue since tropical astrology says that Jupiter is transiting in Leo at this time. However, if you look to the sky, Jupiter is in fact transiting in the constellation of Cancer now. If you would like to read more about the zodiac controversy, I recommend you begin with Dr. Robert Powell’s History of the Zodiac.
- Pluto—astrological symbol of power, control, secrets, conspiracies, Plutocracy, inner and outer transformation, the underworld (land of shades), death and rebirth—went direct around 10 hours or so after the equinox on September 22. Pluto had been retrograde since last April, but since it spends about half the year retrograde and half direct, this is not unusual in itself. What is unusual is that it stationed (appeared to stop) and moved in a forward direction during the highly charged magnetic balance point of the equinox window. This may add some extra intensity to the upcoming fall season. Many astrologers have speculated that this direct motion of Pluto points to many secrets being dredged up in the next weeks or even months. Perhaps it also reflects on the deadly Ebola epidemic in West Africa. Pluto stationed in the section of sidereal Sagittarius called Purva Ashadha, at ~16 degrees 55 minutes longitude, which is quite hot-natured and is sometimes associated with declarations of war and zealotry. This is in Virgo in the navamsha, which is the sign of health where Rahu (disasters and pandemics) is transiting from July 2014 until January 2016. Purva Ashadha on a positive note represents the power of invigoration, and this would exert more of a personal effect for those who have planets or chart points at this section or closely aspecting it within a degree or two, in which case, perchance something really pressing that has been in danger of dragging you along since last April (at Pluto’s retrograde) is in process of being transformed and released. Continue reading
The New Moon of September 24, 2014 began the glorious Vedic festival of Maha Navratri, the nine nights and ten days of Mother Divine. In Hindu and yogic culture, Maha Navratri is a deeply sacred time for fasting, prayer and spiritual ceremonies (pujas). Though there are five different Navratris celebrated throughout the year, this one, known as Ashvin or Sharad Navratri, is considered the most important.
The rishis of ancient India created special holy days like this in keeping with the seasonal cycles of our planet in its course around the Sun. During these times, the earth and all its inhabitants undergo subtle magnetic shifts. It is said that the Divine Mother (Devi Maa) comes down and walks among us during Navratri, and we propitiate Her to help us cleanse, heal and empower body-mind-spirit. So, look for Her everywhere in the coming ten days. Another name for Divine Mother is “Amba,” which means “power.” She will shower her devotees with much grace during this period.
(adapted from my previous blog of September 2011)
All of nature dances in the play of polarity, the in-and-out breath of creation through which the primal forces of yin and yang constantly fluctuate. Nowhere is this play more evident than in the changing seasons. The Northern Hemisphere just marked Autumnal Equinox (September 22, 2014, N. America), when we begin to “fall” into Yin Time, as nature begins its turning-in cycle.
According to Ayurvedic theory, the Vata dosha begins to increase in the cooler, drier autumn season. The elements of Ether and Air predominate now (Ether + Air = Vata). We may feel more energized, creative and alert during this season, but when Vata is imbalanced, we can experience restlessness or anxiety. In fact, the need for balance is more important than ever this time of year, as stress causes the Vata dosha to shift even more out of order, and this can lead to greater stress and imbalance.
We begin an astrological “sea change” on Sunday, July 13, 2014, as the true lunar nodes Ketu and Rahu move into a different section of the sidereal zodiac. After having transited through sidereal Aries and Libra for the last year and a half, they are now moving into sidereal Pisces and Virgo for the next year and a half. This is significant as the lunar nodes reflect the main karmic axis (focus of action) for the individual and the collective.
Fortune, good night, smile once more; turn thy wheel! (Shakespeare, King Lear)
I created a ~three-minute video of the transiting solar system bodies for 2014, which I call the Cosmic Wheel of Fortune. You can see it on YouTube: 2014 Cosmic Wheel of Fortune
Known in ancient and medieval times as the rota fortunae, the wheel of fortune is a metaphor of the turning world. It is often depicted by several wheels within wheels signifying the various celestial spheres. One layer of the wheel is made of the rotating signs of the zodiac which are believed to reflect the fortune and fate of the world. A similar concept is found in the Buddhist bhavacakra, the symbolic wheel of cyclic existence known as samsara or the wheel of illusion. Bhavacakra is also the Vedic name for the sidereal zodiac.
From the geocentric perspective of the earth, the luminaries – Sun and Moon – along with the planets and lunar nodes, are continuously moving around the ecliptic, the apparent path of the Sun that follows the zodiacal wheel. In astrology, these celestial movements are known as transits. As you can see here, the transiting heavenly bodies continuously move and morph into a never-ending array of geometric shapes signifying their shifting relationships with one other.
The transiting bodies are almost always moving except for brief segments of time when the planets appear to station (stop) before their apparent change of direction, whether retrograde or direct. The transiting aspects can be dramatic and intense, sometimes harmonious, and at other times, quite inharmonious. As above, so below; as within, so without, and thus the heavens mirror our world.
I made this video with the Solar Fire Gold astrology software program, and Ezvid video recording software. My video reveals the daily changes of the heavenly bodies throughout the year 2014. I created this as a mini-moving yantra, a meditative device.
As an expression of the phantasmagorical play of consciousness in which we exist, the cosmic wheel of fortune never stops turning. The secret to living in alignment with our full divine power and highest purpose is to stay centered within the true Self which underlies the ephemeral flux…at the center.
We can train ourselves to be centered in this way by using meditative devices like this moving yantra. As the wheel rotates, focus your attention on the center. At the same time, with your peripheral vision, observe the constant motion of the changing celestial shapes around the center. I hope you enjoy it!
If you want to see the transits for a particular day you can just pause the play button. Please note that these are not following the tropical zodiac in use by most western astrologers. Instead, these transits follow the sidereal zodiac which is aligned with the starry sky. However, no matter what the zodiac backdrop we choose, the geometric relationships between the celestial bodies remain the same.
Have you been hearing about the astrological grand cross that will occur in its strongest manifestation in the third week of April? This same configuration manifested in January 2014, when it was not exact but was within close range. It slowly starts again now in late March as Mars is within a 10-degree orb of aspect and the new Moon in Pisces joins Uranus on March 30.
The grand cross will continue getting stronger through April and then slowly start to dissipate through the first few weeks of May. You could say this pattern helps define certain dynamics that we are experiencing in the first half of the civil year and especially starting now. Western astrologers who use the tropical (seasonal) zodiac view the grand cross in cardinal signs, but sidereal astrologers who follow the starry sky (like me) are tracking it in mutable signs.
In mid-April and most intensely in the third week of April, retrograde Mars will move into position in sidereal Virgo to form the grand cross with Pluto in Sagittarius, Jupiter in Gemini and Uranus in Pisces. These are tension squares (90-degree aspects) and also t-squares between all four of these planets forming a grand square — Mars and Jupiter, Jupiter and Uranus, Uranus and Pluto and Pluto and Mars. In addition, Mars opposes Uranus and Jupiter opposes Pluto, thus completing the grand cross.
In the Vedic tradition of astrology, there are many different calendars and systems of reckoning time (kaala chakra). One of the most common methods to determine the lunar new year is based on the astro-chart for the new Moon in Pisces, which occurs this year at 2:44:39 PM (14:44:39) on March 30, 2014, Washington, DC (for understanding the USA collective karmas we use the location of Washington).
Traditionally, around the start of the lunar new year, temple astrologers install the new calendar (panchanga) during a ceremony in which the year’s upcoming predictions are read aloud, and in their analysis they follow a set of specific guidelines for interpreting these charts. They do this for a particular country, usually India where this system originated, but also the forecast is sometimes given more generally for the world at large. The astrologers collaborate with each other and go into great detail in their predictions looking at the lord and minister of the year and so forth.
This new year is called jaya (nama) samvatsara — year of victory — and as all the samvatsaras do, it is repeating a 60-year cycle. A person born during a jaya year is said to be learned, prosperous and successful. Similar qualities will extend into the collective reality in a jaya year, too. The last time we had jaya samvatsara was in 1954-1955 (from April 3, 1954 until March 23, 1955). Rosa Parks was arrested that year for resisting bus segregation, an event which was a kindling point for the African-American Civil Rights Movement. Rosa Parks will forever be an icon representing victory over racial tyranny and injustice.
Here we go again with the apocalyptic forecasts. Have you heard about the ominous Blood Moon prophecy? “True believers” say it is an omen signifying the end times, the second coming of Christ and a significant event involving Israel that will soon transpire. I have received many messages and emails asking me if this idea has an astrological basis. The answer is complicated, but first, why has the idea of apocalypse remained so popular throughout history? What is the power in the apocalyptic message? In a Frontline PBS series article titled Apocalypticism Explained: The Resiliency of Apocalyptic Belief, the authors discuss why and how human needs are met by prophetic belief systems such as in this latest craze.
We know that our lives and the world need to change, and we want to believe a great power will swoop in and save us in one dramatic historical moment. As the article states, “…we’re in a bad time now, but things will be better, immensely better, almost immeasurably better in the future. REM had it great. People who believe in apocalyptic teachings say things like, It’s the end of the world as we know it, but I feel fine.”
The first technically correct astrological definition of a Blood Moon is the full Moon that occurs in the autumn season a month after the Harvest Moon. The Harvest Moon is the full Moon that occurs nearest the fall equinox (northern hemisphere). The origins of some of these full Moon names are found in Native American folklore. We find these listed in the Farmer’s Almanac.
The Blood Moon in autumn is also known as the Sanguine Moon or the Hunter’s Moon. It probably appears redder than most full Moons because it rises soon after sunset and is seen low in the sky, shortly after rising, when the atmosphere can make it look reddish. This year’s Full Blood Moon will occur October 8, 2014, which also happens to be a lunar eclipse. Note that a lunar eclipse always occurs on the full Moon, 2-3 times a year, two weeks before or after a solar eclipse which always occurs on a new Moon.
The second definition of a Blood Moon has been misappropriated and sensationalized by Texas-based Christian evangelical minister John Hagee in his 2013 bestselling book called Four Blood Moons: Something is About to Change. He is attributing the term “Four Blood Moons” to the upcoming occurrence of four successive total lunar eclipses, which have no partial lunar eclipses in between them, which will be occurring in 2014 and 2015 (April 14-15, 2014; October 8, 2014; April 4, 2015; and Sept. 28, 2015).
Hagee’s book is reportedly a retelling of an idea that was originally conceived by a controversial pastor named Mark Biltz of El Shaddai Ministries in Tacoma, Washington. Biltz proposes that the Second Coming of the Messiah might take place in the fall of 2015. His Blood Moon theory has become an Internet sensation and has, quite surprisingly, even been taken up by a few Western astrologers. Biltz has also written a book titled Blood Moons: Decoding Imminent Heavenly Signs.
The “blood” aspect refers to the fact that in a lunar eclipse, which is simply a super-charged full Moon, the Moon and even the sky often turn a coppery red color. This is because the light that illuminates the Moon has passed through the Earth’s atmosphere. On the Moon, it looks like the Sun is setting behind the Earth, and sunsets and sunrises are red for the same reason that causes the moon to appear red during a lunar eclipse.
These four total lunar eclipses occurring in a row are known in astronomy as a lunar eclipse tetrad. The mechanism causing tetrads involves the eccentricity of Earth’s orbit in conjunction with the timing of eclipse seasons. The total lunar eclipse on April 15 marks the beginning of what one Science at NASA video describes as a “remarkable series of eclipses all visible from North America.”
Some proponents of the Blood Moon prophecy say that this lunar eclipse tetrad is a sign from God related to Biblical prophecy that has something to do with a significant “bloody” event that will take place in Israel which will impact the whole world. With the Iranian problem, you can see where this is going. Blitz and Hagee believe there are significant correlations between historical events in Jewish history which occurred during times of these tetrads in the past.
According to Earthsky.com, lunar tetrads are sometimes common and sometimes do not appear at all. For instance, in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, there were none at all. Beginning in the 1st century there were 62 tetrads in total, and the last one occurred in 2003-2004, and the next one after the 2014-2015 tetrad will take place in 2032-2033. Hagee’s argument is that the current tetrad of 2014-2015 is especially important because it occurs on important Jewish feast days. These feasts are based on the lunar calendar (meaning the holidays regularly fall on full and new Moons and eclipses) so in my opinion, this is pretty insignificant.
Nonetheless, tetrads falling on Jewish holy days do appear to be relatively uncommon. The last one was in 1967-1968 and since the 1st century, tetrads occurred on Jewish holy days a total of eight times (including 2014-2015). Critics of Hagee’s prophecy have discussed how he has made many contradictory apocalyptic predictions in the past. He has incurred controversy for his extreme social and religious beliefs and bigoted comments regarding women, homosexuality, Palestinians, Islam, Judaism, Catholicism, Nazism and even Hurricane Katrina. Yet, he has millions of followers who actually believe in his Blood Moon prophecy.
I of course do not personally ascribe to this Blood Moon prophecy and do not agree with Hagee’s use of astrology for doom-saying. Clearly, the world is in transition and there are other astrological events occurring at this time which I would suggest are revelatory of current and coming transformational (though not apocalyptic) events.
I suppose it could be argued that having four total lunar eclipses in a row might reflect a two-year period in which the world at large sees more emotional turmoil than usual, because the total versus partial eclipses exert a stronger electromagnetic influence. This tetrad may mirror an especially intense cycle of change for North America because it is somewhat unusual for four total lunar eclipses to occur in succession in one area as they will here.
What I feel is most important to understand here is that even proponents of the Blood Moon prophecy have freely stated that nearly half of the lunar tetrads falling on Jewish Holidays have never been tied to a significant event! The best astrologers have a prediction rate that is much better than 50 percent. Astrology comprises a whole array of complex guidelines and techniques for the interpretation of eclipses in individual and mundane horoscopes, and a great deal of information needs to be taken into account before such judgments are made.
The April 15, 2014 lunar eclipse will fall close to the ascendant of Israel’s natal chart. These are important signs of significant events and possibly some turmoil but I do not relate that to the Blood Moon prophecy. This chart below shows the Israel birth chart on the inner ring surrounded by the outer ring of the April 15, 2014 lunar eclipse chart. Note that the Moon and Rahu (eclipse point) are in an out-of-sign conjunction (but still very close) to the ascendant, which can point to the likelihood for a great wave of change that is already happening and will happen in Israel in the near future. Mars (the god of war) in the eclipse chart is also close to the midpoint of Neptune and the ascendant in Israel’s chart. [Please note this and all charts are cast with the sidereal (starry sky) zodiac (Lahiri ayanamsha), not the tropical (seasonal) zodiac in use by most Western astrologers.]
Looking at Israel’s solar return chart for May 15, 2014, powerful retrograde Mars is also close to the ascendant (and first to rise) which can be a sign of a forthcoming (perhaps imminent) significant crisis or conflict for Israel, either related to government, leadership or a foreign affairs matter.
More on all of this later… for now, I will leave you with this inspirational quote from the late American Catholic author and mystic Thomas Merton: When you expect the world to end at any moment, you know there is no need to hurry. You take your time, and you do your work well.
Now we are moving into the Solstice Still Point which will occur exactly on Saturday, December 21, 2013 at 17:11 UTC. Three days before and after the solstice can be a very sensitive time of deep change in “the force,” when we are well advised to cultivate peace and quiet. On the solstice, Venus will station retrograde (appearing to stop and go backward) in the most mysterious constellation of all, Capricorn, Sign of the Unicorn. This rare Venus station event overshadows the next six months (until the next June solstice) with an important message about the great need now for humanity to embody a more pure expression of mature and selfless love that is expressed through compassionate thoughts, actions and words. This kind of Capricornian love was expressed by the late Italian film director and screenwriter Federico Fellini when he wrote, “We must get beyond passions, like a great work of art. In such miraculous harmony. We should learn to love each other so much to live outside of time… detached.”
Another gentle heads up reminder…Mars is now moving toward an exact opposition with Uranus (which happens every 2 years or so) and this aspect will be exact beginning on Dec. 23rd, which can reflect some jarring or explosive energies and events as well as feelings of restlessness and impulsive tendencies. Thus it becomes even more important that we keep calm, rest, create balance and avoid making any hasty decisions from now and through the coming weeks.
With love and gratitude,