Partial Solar Eclipse of August 11, 2018

The last eclipse of 2018 is a partial solar eclipse starting August 11 at 3:00am (CST) and concluding at 6:30am (CST). This eclipse season has been a pattern of endings and release, letting go and moving on--and Pluto has been a primary planetary influence at each eclipse. This pattern reached its apex with the total lunar eclipse, a potency that tomorrow's eclipse cannot rival. In that sense, tomorrow's eclipse is bringing resolution and completion to all that has been stirred in the past two eclipses. 

This partial eclipse is a North node eclipse (Rahu) in Saros Series 155. Brady Bernadette writes of this eclipse family: 

"If this family of eclipses affects a chart, the person will experience the sudden collapse of plans or life-styles. Confusion may reign but the long-term effects are those of rebuilding and transformation. After the dust has settled, the rebuilding starts and the consequences of this reshaping will have far-reaching effects. This eclipse family changes a person's direction through the sudden collapse of an existing structure."

As I've done with the last two eclipses, I will look at the overall pattern of the eclipse by examining the first eclipse in the series. The first eclipse of Saros 155 was on June 17, 1928 at 20:41. The birth card is a King of Clubs. King cards are ruled by Pluto, so we see the Plutonian pattern immediately. In the birth spread for Saros 155, the Pluto card is an Ace of Clubs, the birth card for the total lunar eclipse. We can see that tomorrow's eclipse is an evolute of what preceded it. The last eclipse was a Ketu eclipse, a stirring of the unconscious, of past patterns, of all that has been repressed and suppressed. Tomorrow's eclipse is a Rahu eclipse, calling us to assimilate what has been brought to the surface. It is the resolution of the lunar eclipse. 

Bernadette has aptly observed that this eclipse family brings about "sudden collapse of an existing structure". Ketu is initially our security with the familiar, our comfort in karmic merit, but over time, Ketu disillusions us with all of those things and we find the things of Ketu slipping through our fingers. This is when we arrive at Rahu, the great exposer of Ketu, who leads us to the unfamiliar, confronting, but necessary territories of evolutionary potential. 

The eclipse is happening in the sign of Leo and nakshatra of Aslesha. Aslesha is symbolized by a serpent coiled at the base of the spine, an illustration of the Kundalini Shakti, the evolutionary energy that is latent in man. Aslesha, therefore, is a nakshatra of energetic awakening and transformation. It is described as having a "poisonous" energy, just as Rahu and Ketu are described as poisonous serpents. Eclipses, in general, are described as a "poisonous" time. We should understand that the serpent's bite is venomous to the ego, but is ambrosial for transformation. 

Mercury, Mars, Saturn, and Pluto are all retrograde. Mars and Ketu are conjunct, Pluto and Saturn are conjunct, and Mercury is joining the eclipse. It can be challenging to utilize such intense energies, which is why it can be wise to lay low during the eclipse and the days after. This is not the moment to articulate a big communication or to make something happen. It is a time of allowing the shift to take place and discovering new direction. Retrograde planets are not anything to fear--their energy is just stronger. Mars and Ketu is a difficult conjunction, as is Saturn and Pluto, so its not a time to push the limits of will and stamina. Mercury with Rahu especially shadows communication, so this is really a time to think twice before you speak. People with significant planets in the Leo/Aquarius axis may also be experiencing intense and even violent dreams right now. We have to humble ourselves in the face of such powerful energies, rather than think we have it all together and go about life as usual. This is why, traditionally, eclipses were seen as powerful omens, and a time to drop out from the ordinary patterns of life at an internal level. 

Rahu and Ketu have been transiting the Leo/Aquarius axis for a year and a half, so people with significant planets in Leo or Aquarius have been feeling these eclipses a lot. The past year has likely been a full spectrum experience for such people. Some relief is on the way as Rahu and Ketu will change signs on November 15, moving into Cancer and Capricorn respectively. This will be an intense time, however, for people with significant planets in Capricorn because Pluto and Saturn are still there. Pluto in Capricorn makes this eclipse significant for people with important planets in Capricorn, even if they are not affected by the Leo/Aquarius axis. The reason is because this eclipse season has been a Plutonian event, and whoever Pluto is affecting right now will experience that magnification. But it will be more or less of the same for them, whereas for others, it has felt more like a sudden and dramatic shift. 

We should take this time to release and resolve, to become more conscious of our purpose and direction in life. Eclipses are a great time to re-assess things. It can be disconcerting to re-assess the big things in life, but deeply fruitful if we can appreciate that what exists outside of our comfort zone is among the most creative and catalyzing of potentials. Life is not fatalistic, but creative, and eclipses are a transformational window wherein we can realize another level of freedom and energy. In the words of my Guru, Adi Da Samraj: 

"From the Spiritual point of view, the future is a creative potential, not a predetermined destiny. Very often, a mysterious indication will arise--the intuitive awareness of a tendency that is operating or a possibility that is presenting itself. But True Sadhana is not determined by tendencies or premonitions. True sadhana always involves creative participation in the conditions of born existence. True Sadhana allows the Graceful transformation of time and space into the Conscious Spiritual Event. There may be intuitive indications of tendencies, of possibilities, of things that might occur--but all of this arises in relation to the Living Divine Heart, and (therefore) none of it is absolutely predetermined."

Total Lunar Eclipse of Guru Purnima

There is a total lunar eclipse on July 27th, the day of Guru Purnima. As I said earlier, this eclipse brings to fullness the basic energy of the partial solar eclipse, while also bringing some unique patterns of its own. While the solar eclipse was a north node (Rahu) eclipse, this lunar eclipse is a south node (Ketu) eclipse. It will also be the longest lunar eclipse of the 21st century, with a duration of 103 minutes.

Rahu eclipses confront us with that which we need to assimilate. Ketu eclipses bring up in us that which we need to release. All that we have suppressed and repressed has to bear the light of Consciousness, at some point or another. This eclipse can also be a time when suppressed illness re- surfaces, so it is an important time to guard health, and also to be wise about treatment. Ketu gives us an opportunity to release the buried, the hidden, the unconscious, it is best to make use of it. I have particularly noticed that fevers tend to arise before or after a powerful eclipse. Fever is the sign of an intelligent physiology working to re-balance itself. We typically suppress fevers, which requires our imbalance to find a deeper place of manifestation. And this is true of suppression at all levels. This is a time to allow the release, with discrimination and understanding.

This is a difficult eclipse that reminds me of the total solar eclipse of August 2017. People with Ascendant, Sun, or Moon in Leo have had to endure a number of difficult eclipses in the past year, and this is yet another one with a theme surrounding relationships. Personal relationships will be tested and many may even come to an end. So if you are a Leo person who knows exactly what I'm talking about, then hang on, and see where it goes. See if this is the moment to let go of something you don't need to be holding on to anymore, or if its just a moment to shed a deeper layer of unhealthy patterns in relationship.

Eclipses are traditionally considered to be a time to engage in spiritual practices, such as meditation, prayer, and fasting. The temporary obscuration of the outer light allows for a magnified perception of the indwelling light of Consciousness. Therefore, the unique significance of this lunar eclipse is its conjunction with Guru Purnima, the Full Moon of the remover of darkness.

Guru Purnima is considered a day when the Blessings of the Guru flow abundantly to the devotee, and the devotee likewise gives the fullness of devotion in celebration of the Guru. As Robert Svoboda has put it: "They say in Hindi, 'Light comes from the moon, not the stars; love comes from one, not many.' That one is the guru, and only when you have learned how to love your guru will you ever learn how to love God. The relationship between guru and disciple can begin only when the disciple forgets everyone else except that one; once that happens then everything follows".

In astrological language, Jupiter is referred to as "Guru". The Advayataraka Upanishad describes the meaning of Guru: "The syllable gu means darkness, the syllable ru, he who dispels them, Because of the power to dispel darkness, the guru is thus named". Another meaning of "Guru" is "heavy". Thus, it is Jupiter that is the heaviest planet and is also the planet of Spirituality, wisdom, and true joy. Jupiter is the true benefic, who casts a graceful light on all that he joins and influences. Jupiter is also Exalted in Cancer, the sign of the Moon. We see that there is a strong connection between Jupiter and the Moon, and therefore between this lunar eclipse and Guru Purnima. The Full Moon

of the lunisolar month of Āshādha is considered to be Guru Purnima because it is the brightest Moon of the year. The month of Āshādha also marks the beginning of the Monsoon season, a symbol for the Descent of Grace, the Baptism of the Guru.

During the total lunar eclipse and Guru Purnima, Jupiter is placed in its own nakshatra, Visākha. The Taittiriya Brahmāna (as translated by Ernst Wilhelm) says of Visākha:
indrāgniyorviśākhe yugāni parastatkṛṣamāṇā avastāt |
The branched of The Conqueror and The Fire are yokes from above and crops from below.

This nakshatra is about the unified action of the two gods, Indra and Agni. "The Conqueror" is a translation of "Indra" and "The Fire" of "Agni". Indra is considered to be the deity that rules Jupiter, as it is Jupiter who gives the spark of life. Agni is the deity of the Sun, the flame that grows from Indra's spark. The meaning of this verse is a description of Indra as the god of thunder and Agni as the god of lightning. Together, they are the storm that descends (or "yokes") from above, evidenced as natural life (or "crops") below. In other words, Indra and Agni are the Consciousness and Energy from which all life is born. This is why of all the "deva" (godly) nakshatras, Visākha is considered the most auspicious. We are left to contemplate the beautiful mystery of Jupiter as Brihaspati, the Lord of devotion, placed in this nakshatra on Guru Purnima.

Jupiter is currently in Scorpio until November 8 when it enters Sagittarius. Scorpio is the sign of internal transformation. Jupiter is also in Scorpio in the navāmsa, where it joins Mars, Ketu, and Neptune. At the time of Guru Purnima, Taurus is the Ascendant, and in the navāmsa, Pisces is the Ascendant. Pisces is the sign of Spiritual connection, and it gives Jupiter another level of significance in the navāmsa. We can see that the moment of Guru Purnima is really Jupiter's time to shine.

The Moon, Ketu, and Mars are all placed in the nakshatra of Śravana. The Taiitiriya Brahmāna says of Śravana:

viṣṇoḥ śroṇā pṛcchamānāḥ parastātpanthā avastāt |
The cripples of The All Pervasive are inquiring ideas from above and the paths from below.

We have to appreciate that Śravana is a nakshatra ruled by the Moon, and the Moon is placed in it during the lunar eclipse. We noted earlier that Jupiter was also placed in its own nakshatra, and among all the planets, it is Jupiter and Moon whose pattern is featured on Guru Purnima. It is auspicious that their astrological pattern is so naturally prominent on this day. Given that prominence, what is the meaning of this verse? The verse is essentially saying that the "cripples" (or children, or limbs) of God are calling out for a Teaching and a Way, that which can only be given by a true Guru. Śravana has an additional meaning which is subtly alluded to in this verse, and that is of the All-Pervading Sound. In one sense, it is the sound of human prayer being heard by the Divine. In another sense, it is to "hear" the Spiritual Sound, to be attuned to the Vibratory Hum of Reality.

The Moon is placed in Aquarius, the sign of the Water-Bearer, the one who comes bearing the nectar of immortality (amritā). Aquarius is the archetype of the God-Man, or the human Guru. He is depicted as Lord Dhanvāntari, a form of Vishnu who is the source of the Ayurvedic lineage, who churned the oceans to collect the nectar of immortality. He comes bearing the ambrosia in a kumbha (or pot), as an offering to humanity. Thus, Aquarius is the archetype of the Guru, the Divine Grace who Appears amidst humanity with the offering of eternal life (or God-Realization).

We can also consider the eclipse from the perspective of the Cards of Truth system, as I did with the partial solar eclipse. This lunar eclipse belongs to Saros Series 129, the first eclipse of which was on June 10, 1351. The birth card for that first eclipse is a 7 of diamonds, the feminine pole of the former solar eclipse (a 7 of clubs). 7 cards are ruled by Saturn, the 7th planet, and the keyword is "destruction". 7 of diamonds corresponds to the Death card in the Major Arcana. In the birth spread of the eclipse, the Saturn card is a King of Diamonds with Pluto placed in it, and the Venus card is a King of Hearts with Saturn, Uranus, and Mercury placed in it. And Kings are the card signifying Pluto. Pluto is also with the midheaven placed in the Mars card, a 9 of Clubs which Ketu rules.

The total lunar eclipse of July 27th itself has a birth card of an Ace of Clubs, signifying the birth of a new pattern. The Pluto card is a King of Hearts and is abiding in the Saturn card, a 7 of diamonds, the birth card for the eclipse cycle itself. The midheaven is in the Moon card, appropriately enough given it is a lunar eclipse, and the Moon itself is placed in the Saturn card. It is interesting how this eclipse points back to the larger pattern of its family with the 7 of diamonds and Saturn, because this is the card holding the most energy during the eclipse, with Moon, Mars, Saturn, Ketu, and Pluto all placed in it.

The pattern of this Guru Purnima eclipse is one of the destruction of the old, the release of what is no longer necessary but which has been unconsciously held in place. There is a tension between the past and the future, the shedding of old paradigms and the birth of the new. In the human scale, this is a tension between the individual (Leo) and the collective (Aquarius). The resolution of this dynamic is in the recognition of a more radical Truth and of the One who reveals it, giving us a Transcendental understanding of the world and our place in it.

It is a day to celebrate the Supreme Form of Grace, the Light beyond the Sun, the Guru. Yet, we must appreciate that the Guru is both a Graceful and Destructive Force. He is the one who destroys the suffering of the ego and bestows the Bliss of God-Realization. Such is also the purpose of Pluto: destroying limitations for the sake of a greater realization. It is also the Guru's Light that reveals all the darkness of Rahu and Ketu, showing us the hidden chambers of our own unconsciousness in the Light of Consciousness. The darkness is dispelled in the Radiance of the Guru's Grace, and at His Holy Feet we dissolve in the currents of His Love.

In the words of my Guru, Adi Da Samraj:

"I am like the sunlight in the morning.
I Intensify the light of morning until you Awaken.

Until the Light Awakens you, even the Light of Consciousness Itself, you continue to dream, try to survive within the dream, manipulate yourself within the dream, pursue all kinds of goals, searches-- none of which Awaken you. The ordinary means only console you and distract you within the dream.

I Myself, the One Who would Awaken you, am not a person, not an individual within the dream. I Am your Very Consciousness".

Uranus Enters Taurus

There are some notable astrological shifts today. First, it is a New Moon in Gemini, where the Moon also joins Venus. Second, Uranus entered Taurus after spending the last 7 years in Aries. Since Uranus only changes signs every 7 years, this is a big shift. Has anyone noticed patterns in their life around 7- year cycles?

 Taurus is a fixed sign, ruled by the Earth element and the planet Venus. Opposite of tumultuous Scorpio, Taurus is the sign of stability. Uranus in Taurus indicates the development of material resources, or all that is concrete and foundational. This is only a general indicator, as the effect of Uranus depends mostly on its sign and house placement in the chart. For those of you with Ascendant, Ascendant Lord, Sun, or Moon in Taurus, this will be a significant period of individual growth for you. This is also indicated if Uranus is transiting your 1st, 4th, 7th, or 10th house. The synchronicity of this Uranus transit with the New Moon is interesting and shows that new patterns in consciousness are starting to emerge.

 If you want to know what this transit means for you, or what is happening in your chart altogether, you can book a reading with me. I've recently updated parts of my website and am offering three types of readings: Natal, Medical, and Yearly. I am also offering discount packages for those who are interested in more than one reading.

In honor of this transit, I've written an essay on the outer planets and their transformative role in human development, titled Outer Planets and The Patterns of Inner Development. By no means definitive or complete, I hope it provides some insight into the unique function of these mysterious outer planets.

The Dawn of Spring

March 21 marks the vernal equinox, the first day of Spring, and the beginning of the tropical zodiac as the Sun makes its ingress into Aries. The Sun is Exalted in Aries and casting the fullness of its light on the northern hemisphere, giving us an equal day and night. Thus, the first day of Spring is something like the beginning of an astrological new year, a new energetic cycle, a time to celebrate the renewal of life as the dormancy of Winter gives way to the rebirth of nature.

The Sun is the giver of life, Leo the Lion is his vehicle, and his radiance is boundless in independent and creative Aries. The Sun rules the heart but is exalted in the head. The flow of life-energy enters our body through the head, but life is only expressed through the heart as love. Similarly, the Sun finds expression through his sign Leo, the noble and dignified Lion, but his radiance is unlimited on the pioneering path of Aries who follows the passion of inspiration. The Sun's Exaltation in the sign of Mars shows us that creativity is action, that the expression of inspiration requires the healthy use of the will and moral strength of character.

The dawn of Spring is an opportunity to breathe in the light of life and feel refreshed in what inspires you. It is only when we move with the flow of inspiration that our action becomes a creative expression of love, lifting us beyond the confines of patterned destiny.

Renewing Our Life-Force: The Total Lunar Eclipse of January 31

With less than a week until the total lunar eclipse of January 31, we are currently well within its orb of influence. Are you feeling it? The weeks before and after an eclipse are the most potent periods, but an eclipse will continue to echo its energy for the next 6 months.

The total lunar eclipse of January 31 is the first eclipse of 2018, followed by a partial solar eclipse on February 15, partial solar eclipse on July 14, total lunar eclipse on July 27, and a partial solar eclipse on August 11.

The full eclipse begins at 2:51am in Hawaii. This Moon is also considered to be a Blue Supermoon (a supermoon is a Moon that is orbiting very close to the Earth). Unlike the August 21 solar eclipse, this eclipse will be visible from many parts of the world: before sunrise in North America and Hawaii, and after sunset in the Middle East, Indonesia, Australia, and New Zealand. It is said that eclipses affect the areas from which they are visible.

What is happening with this eclipse as opposed to the solar eclipse of August 21, 2017? To understand the impact of this upcoming eclipse, we have to contemplate the significance of the Moon as a graha, and then the sign and nakshatra it is in during the eclipse. Beyond this, we also must consider the eclipse pattern itself, or which Saros Series it is a part of and what that portends.

Chandra, The Moon
Having no light of its own, the Moon exists to receive and reflect the light of the Sun. It is through the Moon that we receive and know life. The Moon therefore is our ability to be nourished by life, to conduct the universal life-energy of which this world is a reflection. The Moon is how the light of the Sun is reflected and subjectively experienced as individual consciousness, with all of its emotions, thoughts, and self- imagery. Just as the moonlight is not truly separate from the sunlight that is its source, so the apparently individual consciousness is not truly separate from the Divine Consciousness of which it is only a reflection. If we identify with the reflected life, living and acting as though it has independent existence, then we live a life of egoic consciousness, of ups and downs, of fundamental suffering. As Ernst

Wilhelm Wilhelm writes in "Graha Sutras":

"The Jiva is the living being of consciousness that experiences the entirety of creation through the five senses. The first thing which the Jiva experiences is itself, and thus the Jiva is always accompanied by ego. . .The idea of separate existence gives rise to the consciousness of 'I,' which creates the consciousness of 'Mine,' and all the resulting attachments. The Moon thus represents the individual consciousness experiencing all of its joys and sorrows".

The Moon is our ability to receive nourishment from the things in our life and from life itself. The Moon's role is to enable us to receive that essential nourishment by allowing us to adapt and renew in the face of a constantly changing life. In the classical text of Ayurveda, it is said, "candramā vai somah", or "The Moon is Soma". The Moon provides the body with "Soma", the cooling, nourishing, and stabilizing form of prāna. Soma is the raw material from which ojas, the vital essence of our immunity, is created. If we have enough soma, then we feel sufficiently nourished at every level of our being, and we are able to withstand the stresses of life without losing our vital force.

During this eclipse period, the Moon's energy will be shadowed by Rahu. Anytime the Sun or Moon are eclipsed (especially a total eclipse) we have to guard our health. There is less soma available in the cosmic environment right now, and so we must conserve our life-force. Do not expend your energy unnecessarily because the ability to recuperate and withstand stressors is lessened. The Moon is about reception and connection, the conductivity of life-energy. The Moon is about being, not doing. Activity ignites agni which burns soma for its fuel. If we have enough soma, then there is no problem, but during the eclipse we should only burden our agni as needed. This is also why the eclipse is a good time for meditation and contemplative spiritual practices. We preserve the lunar force by reducing stress of all kinds, especially that of food. The more stress, the more the Moon has to work to adapt. With less stress, the Moon can simply be. Eat light and easy-to-digest foods during this period of time (or even better, fast!). Avoid eating foods you know are a burden on your digestion. This alone will help you maintain the lunar essence.

Moon in Leo, Aslesa
The Moon will be in the sign of Leo and nakshatra of Aslesa. If you have Ascendant, Sun, Moon, Ātmakāraka, or a lot of planets in Leo, then you will feel this eclipse just as you felt the last one. But fear not, this eclipse is quite different from the August 21st solar eclipse. The August eclipse was a very difficult eclipse that brought a lot of buried things to the surface in personal relationships. This upcoming lunar eclipse will be a relief for Leo people, because it is about creativity and insight. Are any of you

Leos feeling a surge of creative ideas, insights, and epiphanies? If so, then use this eclipse to your advantage! Start writing down your thoughts and following through on your inspiration. This is a chance to move forward with a creative expression and to uncover deeper meanings.

In terms of eclipse patterns, this lunar eclipse is part of Saros Series 124. Astrologer Brady Bernadette writes of this eclipse family in his book "Predictive Astrology": "This family of eclipses is concerned with ideas and their enthusiastic expression. If this eclipse affects your chart, you will be flooded with ideas or options. There may seem to be an element of haste, but if you can go with the new ideas, they will have positive outcomes".

The nakshatras are described classically as the wives of the Moon. As such, the nakshatras reflect the pattern of our consciousness. The Moon will be in the nakshatra of Aslesa, so by examining Aslesa, we can gain insight into the effect of this eclipse at the level of consciousness. Aslesa corresponds to the constellation Hydra. It is referred to as "the clinging star" and literally means "the entwiner". A deeply mystical nakshatra, Aslesa is symbolized by a coiled serpent, and there are strong themes of "serpent power" or the awakening of Kundalini in this asterism. Its deity is Ahi, the King of the Nagas (water serpents). Aslesa is thus a nakshatra of deep creative power, sexuality, tantra, and spirituality. As it is a nakshatra of such powerful energies, there is great potential for healing in Aslesa as well.

With this eclipse, take time to let go of the past, especially if you suffered the last eclipse. Use this shift in consciousness to assess your deepest needs, your true inspirations, and thereby release internal blocks. It is a time of renewal, of healing, and of rising again with the creative power of life. May it be so!

2018: An Astrological Perspective

The Earth completes its revolution around the Sun every 365.25 days. Tonight, we celebrate the completion of an Earth year and the beginning of a new one. As with all shifts, the New Year is a new beginning, and, as such, signifies the death of something as well. The New Year is not as strong of a shift as the solar eclipse in August was, but it is a powerful moment.

In astrology, we see time as a process of energy. We choose auspicious times for weddings, new endeavors, surgery, farming, everything you can think of. The reason is not superstition but simply that auspicious timing promotes harmony with the energy of nature, and gives a natural advantage to whatever we undertake in that moment. The more that we enter into the flow of life, the more our intentions manifest naturally. The New Year is an auspicious moment when the energy of nature is beckoning us to set our intentions for the period of time to come.

There are some interesting signs with this New Year. For one, there is a full Moon on January 1 at 6:24pm PST. This is the first full Moon and first "Supermoon" of 2018. This full Moon will be in its own sign of Cancer which is very harmonious. At the same time, Mars will be in its own sign of Scorpio. And Saturn in its own sign of Capricorn. Three planets in strong dignity at the turn of the New Year shows that 2018 will be a year full of energy and intensity (Mars), but it can manifest in a controlled (Saturn) and stable way (Moon). At the exact moment of the New Year, the Ascendant is in Libra--the sign of balance and justice. The Ascendant is in Libra in the 9th divisional chart (navāmsa) as well. When the Ascendant is in the same sign in both charts, it is considered to be a very powerful energy. Ascendant in Libra shows that the New Year will be a process of balancing energies and that a sense of justice can emerge. If 2017 was the year of purification, then 2018 will be the year of rebalancing.

With the solar eclipse, the United States (and by connection the entire world) has had to face its shadows (Rahu). What we see collectively is a reflection of what everyone is feeling internally. We are all facing our shadows in new ways since the eclipse. For many what emerged was shocking and unexpected, and for others, what they had held in for so long finally emerged and faced them. Now that everything has been stirred up with the eclipse, we

have to overcome the shock, trauma, and all forms of recoil and begin to process what is necessary for our growth by entering again into the creative spirit of life. We have to shed what we were and release the patterns that are no longer useful and healthy and instead move into the dynamism of creative living. With 2018, we will see a lot of what was shaken up begin to be processed, sorted out, and eventually balanced again (Libra). The pieces will begin to fall into place.

The full Moon of Jan 1 will be in the nakshatra of Punarvasu. "Punarvasu" means "the restoration of good". It is a nakshatra ruled by Jupiter. The deity for Punarvasu is the Goddess Aditi, the "undivided" one. This full moon is a positive omen for the New Year and continues the theme of rebalancing. We will see things begin to settle back into their appropriate place, the re- assertion of the good, and the emergence of essential justice. Mars gives us the courage to face what is difficult but necessary. Saturn gives us the ability to persevere in the face of apparent adversity. And Jupiter (who is conjunct Mars) will help us see who and what we are fighting for, and how the apparent struggle is not separate from the Divine Play. We have to breathe deeply on the New Year and receive the empowerment being given to us. Anything significant that remains confused or unresolved from the August eclipse will find some fundamental resolution on or after February 21, 2018, the 6 month mark after the solar eclipse. The resolution will happen energetically before it shows itself in outer life, so the appearance of dilemma may persist, but the shift in consciousness will happen, and clarity will begin to emerge.

The August eclipse was so significant that 2018 will largely remain an energetic echo of the eclipse. But a lot can be processed, re-balanced, and transformed in 2018. It can be a year of tremendous growth and regained stability for those who choose it. On January 31, there will be a total lunar eclipse in the sign of Leo--the same sign as the solar eclipse of August 2017. I will write about this lunar eclipse after the New Year, as it is a whole article in itself. It will be a full Moon in the sharp and harsh nakshatra of Āslesā, the King of the nāgās. This lunar eclipse will be visible from many cities in the United States and internationally. It will be followed by a partial solar eclipse on February 15 in the sign of Aquarius and the nakshatra of Shatabhishak, a nakshatra ruled by Rahu.

The Chinese New Year (ushering in the Year of the Dog) will be celebrated the next day on February 16, 2018--so we see in many ways how the first two

months of 2018 (especially February) are full of energetic shifts. Animals in astrology are strong energetic signs. To understand the Year of the Dog, we need only contemplate the dog--the steadfast, the ever-loyal, the companion, the friend. 2018 could very well be a friendlier year for many--a year in which we see the ways in which Rahu is truly a friend to us, a year in which we rediscover the love at the root of everything, a year in which we can rise from the shadows to identify and celebrate the Beloved.

As we face our fate, we have to remember that we are manifesting our destiny, individually and collectively. Rahu is our friend because he brings the unconscious and subconscious to the conscious levels of mind. There is nothing that can arise externally that is not already in us. Thus, It is only through greater consciousness that we can flow with and direct the energy of life for its highest purposes. Let us enter into the New Year grateful for all that has occurred in the past year, releasing it in the spirit of celebration, the ecstasy of worship, and the strength of conscious intentions.

I wish everyone a very Happy and auspicious New Year to come!


Diwali: The Festival of Light

Diwali is derived from the Sanskrit "deepāvali" (lit. "row of lights"), often translated as "the festival of lights". As with all Hindu holy days, Diwali is a celebration of astrological significance. Diwali marks the darkest night of the year in the Hindu lunar month of Ashvin, and signals the beginning of the lunar month of Kartika. Diwali is celebrated across a span of five nights with the actual night of New Moon occurring on the third night, the most significant night of the celebration.

 In the northern hemisphere, the Sun entered tropical Libra on the autumn equinox. On Diwali (Oct. 19, 12:12pm PST), the Moon will be exactly conjunct the Sun in the sign of Libra, and also joined by Venus. The Sun and Moon will both be in the nakshatra of Chitra, the star of opportunity. Thus, on the darkest night of the year, devotees will light the lamps of devotion, illuminating the night with the ecstasy of worship, celebrating the triumph of light over darkness.

 What is really significant about Diwali is not its traditions or rituals, but its universality. Diwali is a celebration of light during a time when the two luminaries (Sun and Moon) are casting minimal light upon the Earth. Yet, in the face of apparent darkness, the Divine Light shines ever-bright--and this is the ecstatic knowledge in which devotees rejoice on Diwali.

 It has also been nearly 2 months since the August solar eclipse. We have all personally and collectively (as a nation) had to face our shadows, on one level or another. It is only by facing our shadows that we can step into the light. Thus, while we seem to stand eclipsed, may we all see and celebrate the Light on this auspicious Diwali.

 Wishing everyone a Happy Diwali!



The Quiet Before The Storm: The Great American Solar Eclipse (Part III)

The Great American Solar Eclipse has come and gone--or so it seems. The energy was building quite intensely before the eclipse. The racist riots in Charlottesville are one example of that dramatic energy--the shadows of this country coming to the surface pre-eclipse. Afterwards, President Trump's failure to unambiguously condemn racism became the most defining blunder of his Presidency. This was followed by the exit of his chief strategist, Steve Bannon, symbol of the alt-right. It seemed like the country was going through a total meltdown the week before the eclipse.

But then the eclipse happened. Americans stepped aside and stood in awe of this event. I saw quotes from people saying they had never seen something so incredible before. Others were crying in wonder. Facebook was filled with amazing photos. The next morning the major newspapers had the eclipse as front page news.

The eclipse itself was the still-point, the quiet before the storm--the transitional space between the building energy of the days that preceded it and the explosion of energy that has occurred since. The eclipse managed to serve us with majesty and magic, even if only for a day. Yet such is the energy of Rahu. It attracts us while it deceives us. It lifts us up but drops us at no warning. While we are entranced, we feel we are Kings and Queens, but only to see that our souls are impoverished.

For those who are wondering about the effects of the eclipse on Trump's Presidency, one needs only to see the picture of him looking straight into the eclipse without proper eyewear. The night of the eclipse, the President addressed the nation, announcing more troops in Afghanistan while also affirming the values of tolerance and unity. It is interesting that the President chose to address the nation on the night of the eclipse. It was an opportunity for him to clearly disavow his former remarks on the Charlottesville riots, but he only made subtle and inadequate remarks about the values of tolerance and unity. In his recent speech in Arizona, he actually doubled-down on his previous controversial remarks, showing that he does not regret what he said, but feels more confident and secure in himself than he has before. His recent pardoning of Sherriff Joe Arpaio (who was convicted of racial profiling) is a clear sign of his stance and the boldness with which he will continue to do what he wants. He will stand firm even if everything around him falls apart.

It is clear that the direction of the country is not going to change dramatically during Trump's Presidency. The eclipse has only showed us what we already know. Trump was born during an eclipse, so it is appropriate enough that he would be our President during the most significant eclipse in the past 99 years of US history. But more significantly, Trump represents the shadow of this country that we all must face. Rahu teaches us that we cannot grow without facing our shadows. In some twisted turn of destiny, Trump shows us the darker side of our nation, without which we cannot realize true progress. This is certainly a more dramatic way of going about it, but it is what is happening now. The moral is to embrace Rahu, get the lessons, and move forward into the light.

Hurricane Harvey is the first sign of the post-eclipse drama and is still causing catastrophic flooding in Texas. Eclipses in the Saros 145 series indicate extreme weather patterns, such as hurricanes, floods, fires, earthquakes, etc. The last Saros 145 total solar eclipse of August 11, 1999 was across the north Atlantic Ocean and during this time there were 5 category 4 hurricanes in the Atlantic, most notably Hurricane Floyd which formed on September 7, nearly one month after the eclipse. There was also the Great Mississippi Flood of April 1927 which preceded the Saros 145 eclipse of June 29.

Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Rockport, Texas at 10:00pm on August 26 at peak intensity and with winds of 130mph. During this time, Moon was in Scorpio in the nakshatra of Svati. The deity that rules Svati nakshatra is Vayu, the god of wind. Svati nakshatra is also ruled by Rahu, the airy planet, and the cause of this recent eclipse. Currently, Rahu and Mars are experiencing a very tight conjunction in the sign of Leo, Magha nakshatra, only 1 degree apart. Both Rahu and Mars are associated with storms. Rahu can stir up winds while Mars can cause sudden violent storms. As these two forces come together, we can see hurricanes or fires that suddenly emerge with great strength and destructive potential. Mars also rules Scorpio, the Moon's sign at this time, and Scorpio is also a water sign. Neptune is also placed in Pisces, a water sign, in the 12th house of loss and confinement. (In Roman mythology, Neptune is the god of the sea.) At the moment of Harvey's landfall, Aries is the Ascendant-- the sign of passionate forward-moving energy ruled by Mars. And Uranus--the sign of sudden transformative events--is conjunct Aries Ascendant.

Thus, we can see astrologically the influences that shaped this storm. Unfortunately, storms such as these are in the pattern of eclipses that we just experienced and so there could be more. Hurricane Harvey is an example of

how eclipses can trigger events that are outside its "path of totality". Florida is another place where these types of weather patterns could emerge.

If you have Ascendant, Sun, Moon, Rahu, or Mars in Leo, then you might be feeling fatigued, feverish, or sick right now. This eclipse in particular can cause imbalances in our health. With Mars (a fiery planet) in the sign of the Sun and conjunct Rahu, we become susceptible to Pitta-type (and Vata-Pitta type) imbalances. The best thing to do in this moment is rest. This is the worst time to overexert yourself or to test your limits. Take it slower than you normally would--and rest.

My prayers are with family, friends, and everyone who has been affected by Hurricane Harvey, including those who have lost their lives. Mother Nature is a power beyond our control, and the best we can do in these moments is unite as one family and weather the storm together. Eclipses portend challenges and unfortunate events, but eclipses only exist because of light. While the light of the Sun may at times be eclipsed, the light in our hearts remains ever-radiant. Facing our shadows, we must now wear the burdens of light with faith and inspiration as we press toward the dawn of new horizons.

The Mysticism of Magha: The Great American Solar Eclipse (Part II)

In my first post about the Aug 21 eclipse, I gave an overview of the significance and energetic influence behind the Aug 21 eclipse. As my initial post was well-received among everyone, I felt I should uncover another layer of the eclipse by focusing on its spiritual significance.

 As I alluded to in my original post, eclipses are traditionally seen as inauspicious events, but are considered to be auspicious for spiritual practice. And this is a pattern we see in life: what is often seen as inauspicious in the world of mundane life is seen as auspicious in the context of spiritual life. This is not to suggest a struggle between the ordinary and the spiritual, as these must be integrated. Rather, this pattern illuminates the power of our motivations in life. For the spiritual aspirant, every moment is the moment of spiritual opportunity, and thus there can be no inauspicious times.

 During the Aug 21 solar eclipse, the Sun, Moon, Mars, and Rahu will all be in the sign of Leo and the nakshatra of Magha. Therefore, in order to grasp the deeper realities of this event, we need to look more closely at Leo and Magha.

 Leo is ruled by the Sun and represented by a Lion. The Lion is the King of the jungle, and thus, Leo shows individuals who come from (or are associated with) royalty. People with Ascendant or Sun in Leo are noble, dignified, and have a regal flair to their personality. They are rulers, leaders, and bright people. President Trump has his Ascendant in Leo, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton both have Sun in Leo.

 The energy of Leo is that of power and magnetism. People with Leo Ascendant or Sun come into this life with a very clear sense of who they are and what they are here to do. They exemplify the qualities of confidence, stability, and security.

 Yet Leo has two levels of manifestation. At its lower level, Leo can develop and intense self-focus, becoming absorbed in its sense of individual self. This type of Leo is attracted to its own magnetism, for who could be more attractive?

 At its higher level of manifestation, Leo becomes absorbed in the Divine Self. Here, Leo recognizes that the radiance he exudes in life is only a reflection of Divine Light. Instead of becoming fascinated with their own brightness, such people become conduits for the Light of Consciousness. A deep motivation for Realization awakens and they become magnetized to the highest expression of Self, beyond the sense of individuation.

 These two levels are nicely illustrated in the examples of our current President and the great Yogis, Paramahamsa Yogananda and his teacher, Sri Yukteswar. All three have their Ascendants in Leo in the nakshatra of Magha. If we were to only look at this pattern in the charts of Yogananda and Sri Yukteswar, we would be very confused about our current President! This shows how things operate on many levels.

 For those who wonder how President Trump won the election, it is not only due to the failures of the DNC. He is a magnetic individual born with the karmas of rulership and power. Many people naturally feel a sense of confidence in him, despite his rhetoric. It does not matter what he says or does not say, it is simply by being who he is that attracts the masses. He appears confident and secure in himself which also develops tendencies for narcissism as discussed eariler. Here, the noble energies of Leo can turn in a more authoritarian direction--one need only read the history of past monarchies to see the patterns of traditional rulership. We can also see from this why loyalty is important to Trump.

 Magha means "the mighty one" and so the noble and royal characteristics of Leo are deepened in this nakshatra. But there are two levels of manifestation here as well. The nakshatra is ruled by Ketu, the south node of the Moon--and this is where see the spiritual (and highest) potential of Leo. In Vedic astrology, Ketu is the mokshā kāraka, or the giver of liberation. Ketu's influence in the horoscope reveals our past karmas--all that we have mastered and feel secure with in this life. Whatever Ketu influences in the horoscope, we eventually feel dissatisfied with, but not for superficial reasons. Ketu allows us to see through the veil of māya, and shows us that there is nothing in the conditional world that can fulfill us. Thus, Ketu confronts us with the truth of impermanence and the necessity of spiritual Realization. As Leo is ruled by the Sun and Magha is ruled by Ketu, when Leo is placed in the nakshatra of Magha, we see the powerful Sun-Ketu dynamic: dissolution of the egoic self.  We can see clearly now how Yogananda and Sri Yukteswar exemplify the spiritual potential of Leo: God-Realization.

 Magha also shows reverence to one's lineage, or all that one has come from. People with their Ascendant in Magha have great respect for their family values and cultural traditions. This championing of the past is another sign of Ketu's rulership of this nakshatra. Yogananda had great reverence for his Guru, Sri Yukteswar, who was associated with a lineage of Gurus. And Yogananda ultimately embodied his Guru's teachings and ensured the continuation of its lineage. President Trump has reverence for traditional American values. He is not here to change things or help the country evolve. He is interested in preserving what he sees as valuable and defining. "Making America Great Again" is a clear slogan for resurrection and restoration of how things once were.  

 Leo in Magha is the potential of this upcoming eclipse. The racist riots in Charlottesville are an example of how this energy can be manifested at the lowest possible level as the shadow side of Magha is racial superiority. Yet, the higher potential is equally as present but we are not likely to see it featured in the news.

If you have been considering taking up a spiritual path, this is the moment to start. If you are already on a spiritual path but have been progressing slowly due to your own lack of motivation, this is the moment to get serious. During this time, people may experience a deep connection with their past karmas. There can be past-life insights in the form of dreams and reveries. But primarily the fruits of our past karmas are especially available to us during this time, and so we should make auspicious use of it. If you feel inclined to let go of something you have been holding on to, then it is because Ketu is showing you that this is not something that will fulfill you. Letting go is the dawn on the horizon.

 And rising on the horizon of this eclipse is Scorpio! Those born during the actual time of the eclipse will have Scorpio as their Ascendant. This is a very auspicious window to be born within, and it is likely that people with significant spiritual karmas will be born at this time. Scorpio is also the sign of deep transformation, and shows again the more profound possibilities lurking within this eclipse. Scorpio is a hidden and secretive sign, so the truth of this moment will also remain mysteriously unapparent. But beneath the surface is an absolute intensity.

 I said in my first post that the eclipse is about transformation. What is transformation? Transformation is the fire of life, requiring the extremes of death and rebirth, the past and the future. Magha is showing the energy of the past (what must be sacrificed), but the eclipse is being caused by Rahu (what must now be born). More than anything, these times teach us to maintain our heart, our faith, and to persevere in the fire of transformation.

 I would like to conclude with the words of my Spiritual Master, Avatar Adi Da Samraj:

 Where There Is Light
There Is Heat.
Where There Is Heat
There Is Fire.
Where There Is Fire
There Is Light.

 ~Avatar Adi Da Samraj
The Aletheon