The Solar Eclipse occurs on December 14, 10:26 a.m. CST in 23° Sagittarius, a sign that energizes both our enthusiasm for learning and our sense of adventure. It's a good time to think about what you would like to learn in the year ahead or what type of adventure you would like to take. My talk for the Temple of Kriya Yoga which will be posted on their webpage at noon this Sunday, December 13th, will talk about "Your Inward Adventure", which is more of a spiritual journey.
The Solar Eclipse this Monday combines in an interesting way with the Winter Solstice and the Jupiter Saturn conjunction which both take place on December 21st. These are all points of new beginnings of larger cycles. A solar eclipse represents changes which can occur at the time of the eclipse or may develop into a major change over the course of one year. The winter solstice marks the beginning of a new quarter year. Because it falls close to the western calendar new year, many people look at the winter solstice as the start of a new one year cycle. The Jupiter Saturn conjunction begins an approximate 20 year cycle.
The way that I look at it is that these points of new beginnings are an excellent time to plant a seed of what you want to grow as these cycles develop. Some people plant seeds of a very high level purpose like "Love", "Wisdom", "Peace", "Happiness". Others make long term plans for personal or business goals.
You can plant a seed by writing down your intention, verbalizing your goal to others or simply taking a small action. Small actions can be reading a book that applies to your goal, putting money toward your goal in an envelope, or writing down your next step.
I also like the practice of writing out or creating an illustration of what your finished goal or project will look like.
Because Jupiter and Saturn will both be active at this time, it's important to remember that any big goals set or major projects started will likely develop slowly over time.
Sunday, December 14: "Your Inward Adventure", my noon meditation for the Temple of Kriya Yoga, will be posted online here.
Sunday, December 21: "Winter Solstice Celebration" with music and chanting, an inspiration noon meditation with Swami Pharananda and my astrological talk on Planetary Positions for 2021. Watch here at noon on 12/21.
Wishing you a joyful, healthy and safe holiday season.
The new moon is on July 20 at 12:32 pm in 28° Cancer. With both the Sun and Moon in Cancer, people will have a stronger sensitivity to their environment, especially the home environment. It can be very helpful to have things clean and in order at this time. The idea is to have the home environment as pleasant as possible. Create harmony in your home with beauty, art, music - whatever speaks to peace and tranquility to you.
The challenge at the new moon is the opposition from Saturn at 28° Capricorn. Saturn brings limitations and restrictions. Because many of us are social distancing, even the most pleasant of home environments can feel a bit constricting. Pluto in Capricorn is still in close proximity to Saturn and therefore also opposed to this new moon. Pluto brings an urge to rebel. Find a wise way to work through those defiant thoughts in a way that isn't dangerous to your health or safety. When Pluto and Saturn energies work together, they can manifest tremendous will power to use toward your highest goals.
More about this new moon in my article Dreams and Dreaming in the current issue of Yoga Chicago Magazine.
More about the new moon aspects and a song from astrologer and Kriya yogi Eric Klein from Wisdom Heart.
On July 27th, Jupiter in Capricorn sextiles Neptune in Pisces. This harmonious aspect is particularly good for combining study with meditation and reflection. Watch for books or recommendations of books that come into your life for several days surrounding this aspect as these books (or movies or blogs) may be particularly meaningful.
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The Full Moon takes place on April 7, 2020 at 9:34 p.m. CDT in 18° Libra. Libra is a very social sign, so it's a good time to embrace 21st century technology and have video calls and get-togethers with your friends. Obviously, phone, texting and social media are other ways to stay in touch.
The Jupiter/Pluto conjunction is prominent in the Full Moon chart. At the new moon I wrote "This conjunction could be seen then as a time when a lightning bolt of insight strikes the earth and illuminates some treasure in our unconscious mind, something that has been hidden very deep but is now revealed."
The exact date of the conjunction is April 5th, the day I'm writing this. I came across an article today which has symbols that relate to the Jupiter/Pluto conjunction and also the social expression of Full Moon in Libra:
The History of the Paris Salon (and the Radical Artists Who Subverted It)
This is a story of a revolution in art as traditional standards were overthrown by the Impressionists. In mythology, Jupiter (Zeus) ruled over laws and social order. Jupiter in astrology is also seen as a planet of expansion or freedom. Pluto is often thought of as a planet of revolution. Plus Pluto symbolizes the cycle of life, death and rebirth. This is an important cycles whether seen through the lens of art or technology.
It's important to take the symbols we see in life or read about in the media and see if they mirror the planetary patterns occurring at the same time. So take some time to think about the ways in which your life or consciousness is expanding. Or in what way your life needs to let go of a pattern from the past in order to be more creative. And how you can do that as wisely and harmoniously as possible.
I like this story because traditional art didn't die - people continue to paint realistic portraits and landscapes. But the field of visual art has continued to expand and incorporate more and more styles and techniques.
The Power in Your Solar Returns
A talk for the Northern Illinois Chapter of NCGR with Marcia Sacks
April 14, 2020 via Zoom
If you are not on the NI-NCGR email list, contact Janet Berres firstname.lastname@example.org for information on how to attend this talk
Every year the Sun returns to the location of your natal sun and a new year begins for you. The solar return chart gives a snapshot of your year ahead that can be used to plan and achieve your annual goals and resolutions. We'll start with the fundamentals of interpreting solar return charts and how changing the location where you celebrate your birthday can strengthen the positive elements of your solar return chart. Then, we'll "treasure map" your solar return with affirmations and images. Be sure to have a printout or drawing of your next solar return handy. You can Google "solar return calculator" to find a number of sites to run off your solar return chart.
This Sunday noon meditation with Sharon Steffenson was presented for the Temple of Kriya Yoga last week and has a lot of helpful techniques for healing and relaxation. Sharon is a swami of the Temple and the editor of Yoga Chicago Magazine.
The New Moon takes place on Tuesday, March 24 @ 4:28 a.m. CDT in 4° Aries. Coming right after the Vernal Equinox on March 19, it's a perfect time for new beginnings. Are you thinking, "I'm stuck here in my house. How can I start something new?"
As motivational speakers say, "Where your mind goes, energy flows and results show!" Start internally, first deciding on your most important goal or new project. Then spend time using your imagination to visualize your successful results. Take some small first steps: Write it down, look up resources online, read a related book. It's the perfect time for phone calls or online meetings. Talk to people in your field or area of interest.
Or if you're a yogi, follow Goswami Kriyananda's advice and "seek out your own illumination with great diligence."
The chart of the New Moon holds a major planetary configuration. Jupiter is close to Pluto at this time, making an exact conjunction on April 5. Jupiter is the great teacher and Pluto rules our unconscious mind. As we have less activity externally, we may be turning inward, getting better acquainted with ourselves.
In mythology Jupiter was the god of the sky and lightning. In ancient times, Pluto was seen as the god of wealth because gold, jewels and minerals were mined from underground. This conjunction could be seen then as a time when a lightning bolt of insight strikes deep into the earth and illuminates some treasure in our unconscious mind, something that has been hidden but is now revealed.
Saturn has just entered the sign of Aquarius where it will transit for the next 2 1/2 years. People with Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius sun signs may have heavier responsibilities for the next few years. They can also accomplish great things with persistence and determination.
Saturn into an air sign like Aquarius can be a benefit to critical thinking. Situations and projects will require very thorough scientific thought and related proofs, policies and procedures.
Saturn relates to confinement and Aquarius is associated with fellowship, the feeling of interconnectedness. It's an interesting symbol that just as Saturn is going into Aquarius, we are "social distancing." It suggests that even as our concern with Covid-19 subsides, the trend toward working from home and meeting on conferencing apps may persist.
Because we're "sheltering in place", my noon meditation talk for the Temple of Kriya Yoga was created virtually. Here is the link to the pre-recorded "The Spring Equinox and Your Journey to Freedom." This noon meditation includes mantra, chanting, some thoughts about the Vernal Equinox and the Jupiter/Pluto conjunction, plus a guided meditation with healing imagery (the guided meditation starts around minute 38:30 if you want to go directly to that).
If you would like to receive Astrology Update by Marcia Sacks as an email newsletter, just message me through this website's contact form.
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 is on February 4, 2019 at 3:03 pm CST in 15° Aquarius. This is the New Moon that signifies the Lunar New Year in many Asian cultures. Because the Solar and Lunar Eclipses in January were so intense, I'm feeling like this Monday will be my fresh start to a new year. The energy in general will be positive for friends, friendships and doing fun activities with a group several days on either side of the new moon.
Mercury is conjunct the Aquarian New Moon bringing new ideas and quick, to-the-point communications. With Jupiter in a trine (harmonious) aspect to the New Moon, it's excellent for learning new things especially related to science, space travel, computer technology, and astrology which have a symbolic correspondence to Aquarius. Also good for learning things like foreign languages and religious or spiritual philosophy (which relate to Jupiter).
Jupiter is also the planet of abundance. We are blessed with an abundance of free learning opportunities whether through the library system (books!) or online. I was watching Marie Kondo (author of "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up") on Netflix and became entranced as she spoke in Japanese. I wondered if I could learn Japanese and went online to Duolingo.com .
I was delighted to find that they now have Japanese and I started their lessons. Wow! So much harder than any language I've ever tried. But my brain felt happy that I was learning something new. Don't know how far I'll go, but so fun to explore it. Jupiter is in Sagittarius for only one year out of every twelve. What would you have fun learning this year?
Mars is approaching a conjunction with Uranus at 29° Aries: accident proneness, especially cars, electricity and sharp objects. This aspect could fire early at the New Moon or closer to the exact conjunction on February 13th. It may feel so right to take that risk but that feeling could get you into trouble.
I have to tell you that shortly after writing this about Mars and Uranus, I was getting a few things out of my kitchen cupboard (most likely in an unwise way) and a glass measuring cup fell onto the edge of the kitchen sink and smashed into pieces. It was one of those things that happens in the blink of an eye (Uranus) and left hundreds of sharp shards of glass (Mars) on my counter, floor, and sink, not to mention the pieces that fell into the garbage disposer. My first thought was "Mars/Uranus fired really early!"
I'd recently heard Goswami Kriyananda say (on an audio recording) that lunations (new moons, full moons and eclipses) often trigger an approaching aspect, even a few days before the lunation itself. Anyway, safely clearing up the pieces was a long chore. To me, though, it was an important message that there was some karma going on and a warning not to trigger that Mars/Uranus aspect in other ways. I'll do my best to focus on "shanti, shanti, shanti" (peace, peace, peace).
In the future:
Sunday, February 10, 2019, I am giving the noon meditation at the Temple of Kriya Yoga:
"Creating Your Cosmic Connection"
Attunement to the Divine or Ishvar-Pranidhana is a key observance in the yoga tradition, and component of spiritual maturity. This noon meditation with focus on the actions we can do mentally and in our everyday life to come nearer to an awareness of our "cosmic connection."
The Professional Astrology Course: How to Be a Practicing Astrologer
Temple of Kriya Yoga is re-launching The Professional Astrology Course: How to Be a Practicing Astrologer. This is a distance learning course where you can go at your own pace. Along with the recorded lectures and written material by Goswami Kriyananda, there will be monthly conference calls or webinars with Temple instructors. It starts with the basics of astrology, planets, signs, houses and aspects, goes through natal chart interpretation, adds in progressions and transits, karmic astrology and advanced topics. So even though it's called a professional course, it's really a good program for anyone who wants to learn astrology in depth. Of course, there is also information on how to consult with clients and other aspects of being a professional astrologer.
I'm one of the program leaders and an instructor for The Professional Astrology Course and would be happy to talk to you about the course and its content (you can message me on the contact page. If you have questions about registration, please contact the Temple of Kriya Yoga.
The New Moon is on November 7, 2018 at 10:01 a.m. CST in 15° Scorpio. The New Moon in Scorpio is a time for deep thoughts. Scorpio and its ruler Pluto have a symbolic correspondence with the cycle of life, death and rebirth.
Last week I went to the Temple of Kriya Yoga for the Annual Ritual for the Departed. It was an opportunity to remember, pray for and send blessings to our family and friends who are no longer on the earth plane. It was also a reminder for me of how short our time is here, and how precious it is to spend time with loved ones. This week I watched the animated film "Coco" about a family celebrating the Mexican holiday Dia de Muertos (the Day of the Dead). There's music, adventure and humor, but so poignant at the end - a really beautiful movie.
Along with feeling close to those who've passed on, the New Moon in Scorpio is a time when you may find you have greater dream recall and more meaningful dreams. Do you journal your dreams? It is one of the practices my guru, Goswami Kriyananda suggested to his disciples. I take time every morning when I wake up to write down my dreams.
Writing down dreams consistently helps us to remember our dreams more clearly, and to be more aware in our dreams while we're dreaming them. According to the yogis, working with your dreams gives you greater ability to be conscious as you make your transition from one life to the next.
Jupiter makes its entrance into the sign Sagittarius on November 8th and will be in that sign approximately 12 months. Jupiter in Sag makes the coming year an excellent time for expanding your mind by studying philosophy, religion, foreign languages and the law. The same transit can also open your mind to the potential for traveling outside your own country.
November 16 there are two stationary points: Venus goes direct at 25 Libra and Mercury goes retrograde at 13 Sagittarius. Coping strategy # 1: if at all possible, don't sign any documents that relate to financial matters 3 days before and after November 16. Coping strategy # 2: don't start arguments with your romantic partner/significant other for 3 days before and after November 16. Try your best to stay awake and aware of what you're about to do or say before you do or say them.
I like this Zen story called Every Minute Zen. It's from the book Zen Flesh/Zen Bones by Paul Reps:
Zen students are with their masters at least ten years before they presume to teach others. Nan-in was visited by Tenno, who, having passed his apprenticeship, had become a teacher. The day happened to be rainy, so Tenno wore wooden clogs and carried an umbrella.
After greeting him Nan-in remarked: 'I suppose you left your wooden clogs in the vestibule. I want to know if your umbrella is on the right or left side of the clogs.' Tenno, confused, had no instant answer. He realized that he was unable to carry his Zen every minute. He became Nanin's pupil, and he studied six more years to accomplish his every-minute Zen.
Unfortunately, even though I try to stay aware, I'd probably flunk this Zen test every time. During Mercury retrograde, I'm the most likely person to walk to the car, remember I left something in the house, and go back for it. Because astrology gives me that bit of perspective, that bit of detachment, I can laugh about it, as I picture myself as Mercury going retrograde in my orbit.
In the future:
November 24: Neptune goes direct 13 Pisces. You can read about it in my most recent Yoga Chicago article Astrology, Karma and Free Will .
November 13: Astrologer Dave Gunning will be speaking at the Northern Illinois Chapter of NCGR on "The Economic and Political Challenges for the U.S. in 2019".
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Blessings to you as we celebrate the Autumnal Equinox tonight, September 22 at 8:54 pm CDT, the first day of fall in the northern hemisphere and first day of spring in the southern hemisphere. The Autumnal Equinox occurs when the sun enters Libra, the sign of balance. For many people on earth, it’s seen as a balance point in the length of the days between day and night.
In balance, we pause for a moment to assess our progress in our personal and spiritual goals and determine what we need to do to get where we want to go.
I led a guided imagery for the equinox last Sunday at the Temple of Kriya Yoga as part of the noon meditation. It uses the colors of fall leaves to inspire and heal plus time to visualize your goals for the next few months. Here is the audio recording:
The Full Moon is on Monday, September 24, 2018 at 9:52 pm CDT in 1° Aries. This takes place just two days following the Autumnal Equinox so both those charts share many of the same aspects.
The most prominent is the powerful T-square from the Moon in Aries and the Sun in Libra to Saturn in Capricorn. Success can be found by facing into your responsibilities. Projects will be challenging in the beginning of the quarter but build momentum with time if you stick with them.
However Sun and Moon in Libra are harmonious (sextile and trine) to Mars in Aquarius: this means that friends and relationships will be helpful to us with our goals. Hanging around positive people will give us energy and motivation.
With Mars in a square aspect to Uranus, though, you might find some of the people around you to be a bit eccentric and volatile. Caution is advised at this Full Moon with driving, watching out for drivers making sudden, erratic moves. There will be plenty creative and inventive energy - be sure to write down all your wild and wonderful ideas. Wisdom asks you to wait a few days before taking action on any of them.
Saturn trines Uranus in the full moon chart. Focus on the idea of tradition and creative new ideas working harmoniously together regarding your goals and projects.
Pluto goes direct at 18° Capricorn. This station direct has an effect at least a week on either side of that date. The keyword for Pluto for spiritual seekers is transformation. It's possible to break free from old destructive patterns under Pluto aspects. Can you do this gracefully and skillfully without destroying the good things in your life? Remember the serenity prayer:
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change
The courage to change the things I can
And the wisdom to know the difference
Pluto, Neptune and Jupiter are in harmonious aspect to each other at this time meaning that both the study of philosophy and the practice of meditation will give you deep insights into the nature of reality.
The full moon this month occurs on Saturday, November 4, 2017, 12:22 a.m. at 11° Taurus. It is opposed to the Sun and Jupiter and sextile to Neptune (plus a wide trine to Pluto). A significant aspect in the chart of the Full Moon is Venus in Libra exactly opposed to Uranus in Aries.
"What the new moon promises, the full moon fulfills." That old astrological saying means you have to remember and record what happened at the new moon in order to look back. Just jot down at the new moon what happened; in particular, new beginnings, the people you met for the first time, and anything out of the ordinary. Then record at the full moon if you can see a relationship between those new moon occurrences and things that happen at the full moon.
With Jupiter involved, projects or ventures that were started under the new moon will expand, hopefully in a positive financial way but it could be in scope or work hours.
The mood of this full moon is upbeat and optimistic. You might even feel some pronoia. It's the feeling that the universe is out to do you good (the opposite of paranoia). Classically, one might say there's a potential for good luck or good fortune. Spiritually, experiencing greater connection with the Divine is a possibility.
Here's the cautionary note: With the Venus/Uranus opposition, if you're prone to bouts of manic shopping or spending, this aspect might encourage it. In general, relationships started at this time might be fun but not long lasting.
Full Moon Affirmation: I am open and receptive to all the good and abundance in the universe. (Louise Hay)
I am reading: Sidewalk Oracles by Robert Moss
Marcia Sacks is an astrologer in the Kriya Yoga tradition.