There will be a Lunar Eclipse on Tuesday, July 16 at 4:38 p.m. CDT at 24° Capricorn. This lunar eclipse is conjunct Pluto at 21° Capricorn. I think a good symbol for Tuesday's energy is the approach of a thunderstorm, followed by the thunderstorm itself. Picture this in emotional terms. A strong desire builds up, overflows into actions or verbalizations that have a huge reverberations like thunder. A lightning bolt illuminates the dark sky and for a moment we see deeply into our own motivations, passions and ambitions.
Because everyone is affected by this lunar eclipse energy, it's not a good day (or the days approaching it) to initiate a fight or argument. Pluto is also a symbol of repetition and, combined with the energy of the eclipse, it's likely that whatever the argument is, you may find yourself having the same one over and over again.
It is a great opportunity for mindfulness types of meditation or just observing your mind. Do you have the ability to see a thought and recognize that it's just a thought? Just because you think something doesn't make it true or that you should act on it. In yoga, we say the words "neti, neti" meaning "I am not this thought, I am not that thought" as we observe the thoughts floating through our minds. And we recognize that our true spiritual nature transcends thoughts and thinking.
On the practical level, Pluto energy is good for cleaning out closets and getting rid of old stuff (with a caution of not being too extreme or you'll have regrets).
Pluto rules large crowds of people and with the emotional nature of the lunar eclipse, it would be safer to avoid them on that day, especially those that are related to political rallies or protest marches. In general, be compassionate and give others their space.
I recently gave a webinar for the Temple of Kriya Yoga's Professional Astrology Course. Here's an excerpt with more detailed information about this lunar eclipse, geared toward those who are studying astrology.
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There's a solar eclipse on July 2 at 2:16 p.m. CDT in 11° Cancer. Generally, a solar eclipse is a powerful force for change and can be a good time for new beginnings. In Cancer, the solar eclipse brings heightened intuition and empathy for others. Cancer is a nurturing sign, so you might find yourself cooking for your family and friends or feeding them emotionally with positive support. Keep in mind that emotional tension can also be high for some people at this eclipse time (as well as a day or two before and after). Cancer is a sensitive sign and what you say can easily be taken the wrong way. Not a good time to pick a fight.
If you want to imbue this solar eclipse with energy for a new beginning, choose a mantra or affirmation that represents your goal. Say it out loud, repeat it silently to yourself, or write it down.
Here's a good general purpose affirmation that I like:
I am open and receptive to all the good and abundance in the Universe.
Or actually take a small step toward your goal. For example, if your goal is physical health, have a day of eating healthy foods or affirm a commitment to exercise by taking a walk. If your goal is starting your own business, write a business plan or brainstorm your marketing plan. Take out a book from the library on your topic of interest. Find your small step to take.
Just FYI, Mercury goes retrograde on July 7 at 4° Leo. Take care in all written and spoken communications and look carefully at documents that need your signature.
My article "Seasons of Growth and Change" in the July-August issue of Yoga Chicago magazine should be online soon. You can pick up the paper copy now at your local yoga centers, natural food stores, and holistic health practitioners.
The Full Moon on Monday, June 17 is at 3:30 a.m. in 25° Sagittarius which brings a quick, bright, enthusiastic energy and an upbeat feeling that life should be an adventure. At the same time the degree of the Full Moon is in the sector of space that aligns with the Galactic Center around 27° Sagittarius. This can bring an awareness of the grandeur of the cosmos and our relationship to all that is.
Just as the Earth revolves around the Sun, our Sun is in a very long orbital spin around the center of our galaxy, the Milky Way. While it takes Earth one year to revolve around the Sun, it takes the Sun an estimated 250 million years to circle the galaxy. It gives this Full Moon a quality of deep contemplation about the meaning of life. If you look at the Full Moon in the early hours of Monday morning, you are looking toward the heart of our galaxy.
Jupiter is the ruling planet of Sagittarius and it is exactly squaring Neptune on June 16th. This is wonderful for meditation or any other uplifting technique. Neptune dissolves the barriers between the physical and the higher planes. Watch out for too much spaciness. Take time after your meditation session or a yoga class' closing relaxation to get re-grounded before driving or anything else that requires full concentration.
The sense of optimism that is occurring under this aspect can lead to careless decision making. However, Saturn is trining Neptune (exact on June 18th) and means time (a symbol of Saturn) can benefit you as you make choices. Take your time. Let optimism expand your imagination and show you a better path to the future, but use the practicality of Saturn to 'do the math', make a list or write down your plan.
The Neptune station retrograde on June 21 continues Neptune's square to Jupiter and sextile to Saturn. Discipline and organization can help you navigate the nebulousness of Neptune. Write in your journal, keep notes, make lists, use your paper or online planner. You think you'll remember your to-do's and appointments but under this type of Neptune things slip through the cracks of normal mental competency.
Even though pens and pencils are Mercury symbols, the act of writing things down is Saturn. An ephemeral thought is captured on paper or pixel where it travels through time into the future. (This aspect lasts one to two weeks on either side of June 21.)
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The New Moon on June 3 is at 5:01 a.m. in 12° Gemini. Gemini energy is lively and playful, great for socializing and mental fun like games and puzzles. The days around a Gemini new moon are often filled with lots of short, quick communications. Keep in mind that depth may be sacrificed for brevity and if you're looking for details, those may come a several days after the new moon. Because Neptune is in a squared position to the new moon, decisions will be more difficult to make. There may be more than one path to your goal and for a few days you might feel stuck at the crossroads. In that situation, gather more information for a few more days to make the wisest choice.
More on this new moon in my article Getting to Know Yourself Deeply in the May/June issue of Yoga Chicago Magazine.
Dream Your Dream Wisely: The audio of my May 26 Sunday Noon Meditation for the Temple of Kriya Yoga is now on youtube (If you click the "subscribe" button you will get notified when I post a new video.)
In the future:
Second Sunday Tarot: June 9, 11 a.m., Calibre Coffee, South Barrington
A casual and fun Tarot group for anyone interested in learning more about Tarot. Members are total beginners through professional level. Info at either:
Traditional astrologer Joe Simon will be presenting a lecture and workshop for the Northern Illinois Chapter of the National Council for Geocosmic Research:
June 11, 7:30 - 9 p.m.: Lecture: Medieval Astrology , 7:30 - 9 p.m.
June 15, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.: Workshop: Astrological Houses in Traditional Practice
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The Full Moon is Saturday, May 18 at 4:11 p.m. CDT in 27° Scorpio. New moons are new beginnings. Full moons often bring things to a completion or contain the results of whatever occurred at the new moon. Rather than begin something new, it is best to take some time out over the next few days to contemplate what resources (personal, financial, emotional or spiritual) you need to finish projects already started. Scorpio energy is excellent for this type of reflection.
Venus and Uranus are conjunct in the Full Moon chart. New and unusual friends can pop into your life. Inventive and creative energy will spark new ideas.
The hardest but most valuable work you can do at a Scorpio full moon is letting go of old hurts, angers and resentments. It's a type of emotional house-cleaning. One of the things I learned from Marie Kondo's system of getting rid of old physical stuff in your home is to start discarding the easiest things first, the ones with the least emotional content. I think you can do that with forgiveness work, too. If you inventory your angers and discover you're still angry at Amazon for delivering a package in three days instead of two, that might be something you can practice forgiveness on to begin with.
Find something or someone on your list that's easy to forgive and visualize yourself saying "I forgive you" to that person or situation. Imagine sending them light or other type of blessing. When you get good at that, try it with whatever is a little bit harder. And so on. When we call something a spiritual practice, it means you need to practice it to get good at it. Practice forgiveness.
What I've been thinking about the most since Sunday is a scene in Game of Thrones that was an unfortunately perfect visual of the Saturn/Pluto near conjunction which we experienced at the end of April. I'll describe it generally so that it's spoiler free - but if you saw it you'll know what I'm talking about. In the scene, a battle seems to have come to its conclusion. However, the leader of the battle pauses for a moment. In that terrible moment all the angers, pain and resentments the leader experienced in the past flares up and overtakes logic and reason. The leader re-mobilizes the forces and horrific destruction ensues. The viewer sees that the character's dreams for the future are destroyed in that moment.
If you don't use spiritual or psychological practices and techniques for dealing with the negative emotions of the past, these emotions will rise up at some point with destructive force. For the average person, it's not a big battle with thousands of enemies. It's often something simple like an argument with someone you love and have no intention of hurting. A pattern from your past arises and suddenly you put a lot more heat into the 'discussion'. In the blink of an eye, the argument has escalated.
In Kriya Yoga we learn to recognize the patterns through personal reflection and the use of astrology. Through meditation, we choose peace as a preferred state. Through forgiveness we 'de-magnetize' ourselves to negative patterns. When the karma arises with the urge to escalate a quarrel, we can select a different way to respond.
Do your emotional house-cleaning now, before Saturn and Pluto are exactly conjunct in January 2020.
My article Getting to Know Yourself Deeply is in the May/June issue of Yoga Chicago Magazine.
If you're interested in learning more about karma, I recommend this book:
The Laws of Karma by Goswami Kriyananda
The New Moon tomorrow May 4 is at 5:45 pm CDT in 14° Taurus. This New Moon will bring stability and an appreciation of the good and beautiful things in your life. Especially here in the Chicago area, we have hopefully weathered the last snowstorm of the year (5 inches on April 14!) and are seeing green grass and leafy trees. The New Moon in Taurus is positive for things that have to do with working in the earth, like gardening, or enjoying the things that come from the earth like fruit, vegetables and grains.
For those of us who are still experiencing the Saturn and Pluto station retrogrades, struggling with heavy responsibilities and life frustrations, it might help to know that these will ease with time. Saturn went retrograde on April 29. I usually talk about a week or two after that for things to return to a more normal level, gradually improving day by day. It's only much later that you will realize that you have gained a skill, strength or expertise that will help you in the years ahead.
Speaking of Saturn and Pluto (whose conjunction will be exact on January 12, 2020), I realized that that aspect was illustrated symbolically by two things I watched this past week. The Game of Thrones episode "The Long Night" and "Avengers: End Game" both had similar themes. The forces representing Life fought the forces representing the annihilation of Life in a long battle. It's always interesting to me when fiction that grabs the collective consciousness so intensely at a particular point in time exactly mirrors the current major planetary transits.
If you are interested in symbology and synchronicity, check out Ray Grasse's book The Waking Dream.
More books and classes:
Artist and Kriya yogi Gary Whitney has just published a book Song of the Avatar: Visual Riffs on the Bhagavad Gita.
There are many English translations of the great spiritual text the Bhagavad Gita. My guru Goswami Kriyananda has one that is both poetic and mystical.
Artist and Kriya yogi Ann Brownfield Meara has a class called Meditation to Creation taking place this September in Sedona, AZ.
The Professional Astrology Course is online learning from the Temple of Kriya Yoga that can be started at any time. It is taught by Goswami Kriyananda via audio recordings and written texts. The course also includes live monthly webinars with Temple instructors. I am a program leader and instructor for this course. Please feel free to contact me with any questions.
If you would like to receive the Astrology Update blog as an email newsletter, message me here.
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The Full Moon is on Friday, April 19, 2019 at 6:12 a.m. CDT at 29° Libra. The 29° Aries Sun is conjunct Uranus at 2° Taurus. When Uranus is the "flavor" of the Full Moon there are often unexpected events, unforeseen issues causing changes in plan and a general feeling of restlessness.
The position of the Moon at the very end of Libra, gives it a type of indecisiveness. Sometimes astrologers say that a sign is in transition to the next sign when it's located at 29°. Libra is a sign that is naturally indecisive as it weighs all judgements in the balance. You may find yourself saying, "Well, on this hand … but on the other hand …". The Saturn and Pluto station points in the following days will force a judgement or decision. It can be very helpful to have all available information plus the advice of experts in whatever field you are analyzing.
I'm still trying to wrap my head around the fire at Notre Dame cathedral in Paris. When there is a major event in the news like this, I try to pick it apart symbolically and astrologically for its message for me. I first reflected on the Saturn/Pluto conjunction which is in the Full Moon chart. Saturn represents things that are old and haven't changed in a long time. Pluto symbolizes the transformations like death and rebirth. So I've been reflecting on the old established structures in my own life. Is it the building itself that has value? Or is it our relationship to the Divine which awe inspiring churches, temples, synagogues and mosques represent? What happens when material structures in our lives are burned or destroyed? Is our relationship with the Divine destroyed? Or is it some thing that we just need to let go of? Or rebuild in an even more beautiful and awe-inspiring way? Maybe there's a way to look at this on the more personal level, symbolically thinking about structures of ideas that I have, ideas that I need to let go of, transform, or reconstruct.
Be compassionate and flexible as you encounter challenges in the next two weeks.
April 24: Pluto Station Retrograde 23° Capricorn
April 29: Saturn Station Retrograde 20° Capricorn
I wrote about these planetary retrogrades occurring together in my article in Yoga Chicago magazine: Astrology, Yoga and Balance.
I don't always talk about the asteroid Chiron in relationship to a lunation chart but I see that Mercury in the chart is conjunct Chiron. One of Chiron's symbols is "the wounded healer." It suggests that you can be helpful to people by sharing your own difficult situations and how you solved them. So rather than giving advice like "you should do this", frame it as "when I found myself in a similar situation this is what helped me."
In the News:
Ray Grasse's book Urban Mystic: Recollections of Goswami Kriyananda has been published this month and is available on Amazon both in paperback and Kindle format. As many of you know, Goswami Kriyananda was my guru. He was a light on my path and the spiritual preceptor of the Temple of Kriya Yoga in Chicago.
April 28, 2019: The Babaji Festival, usually held at the Temple of Kriya Yoga, is being held at the Moksha Yoga Center this year. It starts at 11:30 a.m. with chanting followed by inspirational talks. I will be giving a talk on "Planetary Cycles: Messages, Lessons and Gratitude”. Contact the Temple for more info at: 773-342-4600 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The New Moon is at 15° Aries on Friday, April 5, 2019 at 3:50 a.m. CDT. Lots of vibrant energy for starting fresh on new projects. Work steadily if you can. There's a tendency to charge in to an activity and exert so much effort at the beginning that you can fade out and quit before finishing.
Jupiter goes retrograde at 24° Sagittarius on April 10 with Mercury square to it. The mood will be fun and light, but it will be easy to be careless with what you communicate, both writing and speaking.
Are you taking advantage of learning new things while Jupiter is in Sagittarius? Even retrograde, Jupiter in Sag will help to sustain your interest and boost your ability to grasp new concepts.
Lately, I find myself going down "rabbit holes" of learning new things on the internet. I'll be researching one topic and then I'll find a link in an article that takes me to a whole new area of interest. Hours go by in what seems like minutes. As a life-long learner, the internet is an incredible gift. I'm still amazed at how generous people are with their teaching and how much learning content is there for free. Whatever you want to learn, there are videos, podcasts, articles, and even whole books out there. Such a great time to follow your interests.
Here's something I learned: In Japan, calendars will be changed with a new imperial era coming soon:
Not as dramatic as the change from Julian to Gregorian calendars in the western world, as in North America in 1752:
Changing calendars, time zones and daylight savings times are crazy-making for astrologers. We need accurate dates and times to draw up a horoscope. Fortunately, my astrology software is programmed to adjust for time changes. It will also allow me to notate chart data with NS (new style for Gregorian) and OS (old style for Julian) if the birthdate is far in the past. Then it will calculate the horoscope correctly.
In the future:
The Northern Illinois Chapter of NCGR will present "The Cosmic Skies of 2019" with Dawn Silver and Joe Polise on Tuesday, April 9 at 7:30 p.m. in Des Plaines, IL More info here:
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The Full Moon and the Vernal Equinox both occur on March 20, 2019. The Equinox is at 4:58 pm CDT, as always with the Sun at 0° Aries. The Full Moon is at 8:42 pm CDT in 0° Libra. Equinoxes represent balance and the sign Libra represents harmony. One thing to think about at this time is how you can bring more balance and harmony into your own life.
With the Equinox and Full Moon giving emphasis to the Aries/Libra polarity here are some other things to think about. How you want to approach the next two weeks (the Full Moon time frame) or the next quarter of a year (the Equinox time frame)? Will you choose the forcefulness of Aries or the diplomacy of Libra? What works best for you - the independence of Aries or working together in partnerships like Libra?
With Mercury still retrograde, neither the decisiveness of Aries nor the Libran tendency to poll the opinions of others will have an advantage in the next few days. Important decisions that have legal implications should probably be put off until several days after Mercury goes direct on March 28.
So how has this Mercury retrograde period been for you? On March 5, the day of the Mercury retrograde we were already in the car on the expressway when we realized we left something critically important at home. We had to get to the next exit, retrograde our way back to our house on the local roads, retrieve what we needed, and then get back on the expressway. That was so totally Mercury retro that we had to laugh even though it was a time-consuming inconvenience.
Goswami Kriyananda said "Karma is forgetfulness." So even though I knew that it was Mercury retrograde, and I knew we needed to stand still for a moment and think before we walked out the door, we still got caught up in that moment of rushing out. The key point about knowing that an aspect occurred and a piece of karma triggered is that if you can rebalance right away, the piece of karma is over. Actually, laughing is a way of softening or neutralizing karma. If we'd beat ourselves up about the incident all day, we'd have been hanging onto a piece of karma that could have been over.
Here's a relevant Zen story "The Muddy Road" from the book Zen Flesh, Zen Bones by Paul Reps:
Tanzan and Ekido were once traveling together down a muddy road. A heavy rain was still falling. Coming around a bend, they met a lovely girl in a silk kimono and sash, unable to cross the intersection. 'Come on, girl,' said Tanzan at once. Lifting her in his arms, he carried her over the mud. Ekido did not speak again until that night when they reached a lodging temple. Then he no longer could restrain himself. 'We monks don't go near females.' He told Tanzan, especially not young and lovely ones. It is dangerous. Why did you do that?' 'I left the girl there,' said Tanzan. 'Are you still carrying her?'
Keep in mind that when Mercury goes direct on March 28 it's conjunct Neptune so extra 'forgetfulness' is possible for a day or two around the 28th. Do the best you can by communicating carefully and making lists of things to remember. If you have to 'retrograde' to fix a problem, just do it, then let it go. A few days on from March 28, projects and plans will begin to move forward again.
My article "Astrology, Yoga and Balance" is in the March/April issue of Yoga Chicago Magazine.
Goswami Kriyananda's Professional Astrology Course is distance learning at your own pace.
In the Future:
Saturday, March 23, 6:30 - 8 p.m.: Music Meditation with the Temple of Kriya Yoga Musicians at The Yoga Shop, 3830 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago
Sunday, March 31: Astrologer Lynn Ewing is giving a workshop "Retrogrades - the Big Rewind - Karma, Reincarnation, Revisioning" at Life Force Arts Center in Chicago.
Mercury goes retrograde on March 5 at 29° Pisces. It will go backwards through Pisces (in apparent motion as seen from Earth) until March 28th. Pay attention over the next few days to things that have to do with communication and transportation/short distance journeys. Re-read your emails before your send them. Think before you speak. Check your route on the map before you turn on the GPS. (I've had the experience of my GPS directing me to make a right turn into a winding route around a neighborhood when I could have made a simple left turn into the street I was looking for.)
The New Moon is on Wednesday, March 6 at 10:03 a.m. CST in 15° Pisces. The New Moon is conjunct Neptune (16° Pisces). Everyone is sensitive, more empathetic and receptive at a New Moon conjunct Neptune. Create your own environment as much as possible. Hang out with positive people. Put up photos or artwork around you that makes you smile. Play music that gives you joy. Chant, sing, or repeat affirmations to create a harmonious inner condition.
Bid, then, the tender light of faith to shine
By which alone the mortal heart is led
Unto the thinking of the thought divine.
This is a wonderful New Moon to meditate on the Divine in whatever form brings an uplift of spirit. For some, it is a deity. For others, a spiritual principle like lovingkindness, wisdom or compassion. Dedicate yourself and your actions to that highest goodness. This transforms Neptune from vague and scattered daydreams to your experience of the sacred oneness of all life.
My article "Astrology, Yoga and Balance" is in the March/April issue of Yoga Chicago Magazine. You can find the print version of the magazine at yoga studios, holistic health centers and other locations throughout the Chicagoland area.
In the news:
The noon meditation and other Sunday services that are normally held at the Temple of Kriya Yoga are being held at Moksha Yoga while the Temple building is undergoing some repairs. Check the Temple website for updates to class locations.
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Marcia Sacks is an astrologer in the Kriya Yoga tradition.