Wishing you happy holidays and a blessed winter solstice!
December 21 is the Winter Solstice, the official first day of winter in the Northern Hemisphere. Solstices, like equinoxes, mark a new quarter of the year. This is a good time to envision your highest goal, what you want to incorporate into your life for the next few months.
I was at the Temple of Kriya Yoga this past Sunday for the Winter Solstice Celebration. The theme of the celebration was "compassion." Looking at the astrological chart for the solstice, I feel this captures the essence of the aspects Jupiter conjunct Mercury square Neptune and Venus trine Neptune. Neptune at its best is the ability to be empathic, to feel a communion with others, a loving connection with the Divine in all of us.
The Fourteenth Dalai Lama often speaks or writes about compassion:
“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”
“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.”
“Only the development of compassion and understanding for others can bring us the tranquility and happiness we all seek.”
Some of the above quotes are from his book "The Art of Happiness." I am currently reading the book "My Spiritual Journey" which is free right now for Amazon Prime members.
More about the winter solstice in my article in Yoga Chicago Magazine.
The Full Moon is on December 22, 2018 at 11:48 p.m. in 0° Cancer. The sign Cancer relates strongly to home and family. So it's the perfect time to share the holidays with family. It can also be a time to gently redecorate your home environment with items, colors or arrangements that bring you a feeling of joy or peacefulness.
The same Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, Neptune alignment is in the chart of the Full Moon that is in the chart of the solstice. Along with all the good feelings I described, Jupiter is also the planet of overindulgence and Neptune rules alcohol and drugs. Since the next two weeks are often filled with parties and socializing, keep in mind that with Neptune strongly placed in the Full Moon chart, we may all be more powerfully affected than usual by the brain influencers and mood amplifiers that are offered to us.
In the future:
The January 5th solar eclipse is conjunct both Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn. This lineup of planets is likely to bring difficult and frustrating responsibilities combined with a strong desire to break free from old patterns. I often talk about the Saturn/Pluto conjunction as a 'volcano' aspect - pressure from within ourselves in conflict with pressure outside ourselves. Practice ways to release stress in advance of this aspect such as meditation, hatha yoga, singing/chanting, walking or dancing in order to have them as part of your skill set in early January.
There's more about Saturn, Pluto and the January 5th Solar Eclipse on the audio recording of my talk "Astrology and Kriya Yoga: Planetary Patterns 2019". And more in the January-February issue of Yoga Chicago magazine which you'll find at your local yoga studio, fitness or health center in the new year.
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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.
It's eclipse season. "An eclipse season is one of only two periods during a year when eclipses can occur, due to the orbital inclination of the Moon." -Wikipedia Many times just two eclipses occur - one solar and one lunar - but there can be more, like this season, with two solar and one lunar eclipse across July and August. Here are the dates:
Solar Eclipse: July 12, 2018 9:47 p.m. CDT 20° Cancer
Lunar Eclipse: July 27, 2018 3:30 p.m. CDT 4° Aquarius
Solar Eclipse: August 11, 2018 4:57 a.m. CDT 18° Leo
If you want a clearer understanding from the science side about solar and lunar eclipses, try this video.
If you want a brief description of each eclipse from a spiritual/karmic perspective, check out my article in the July/August issue of Yoga Chicago magazine.
Let's focus on the July 12th eclipse for now. The key aspect is the opposition to Pluto at 20° Capricorn. In my article I point out briefly that "life transformations and letting go of the past are the symbols for this eclipse." Do you have a transformation or change that needs to be made in your life? A well thought out plan for change could be very powerful when enacted right now. If you don't have a plan, use the energy of the eclipse to formulate one (don't just think about it, write it down!). Take some steps forward. Create momentum. If it seems like the changes are slow to implement, persist and the results will begin to show when Mars goes direct at the end of August.
With the Pluto in such a strong position, add a touch of gentleness to all you do. Changes you're trying to implement under Pluto can feel intimidating or threatening to others.
There are two grand trines within the eclipse chart. The first harmonizes the energy between Venus, Saturn and Uranus. This symbolizes the ability to take your creative plus practical skills and make something beautiful and long-lasting.
The other grand trine harmonizes the Sun, Moon, Jupiter and Neptune. Strong intuition and depth of meditation are possible for a few days before and after the eclipse. If your plan is to further a goal that is in the field of music, poetry or religion this is a beneficial aspect.
The primary energy of the eclipse is strongest 3 days before and after the eclipse. However, the changes made at an eclipse can affect your life for years into the future.
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There's a lot going on astrologically over the next couple of weeks:
With the New Moon conjunct Uranus, for several days on either side of April 15, the energy is volatile and high voltage. Situations change quickly. As Mercury makes its station direct in Aries, once again the key to handling extreme people and uncertain situations is what you say and how you say it. Stay awake and aware of your environment.
Being mindful in general is always a good practice. Here's a Zen story that I meditate on frequently. Like the author of the blog, I am rarely successful in maintaining more than a few moments of real mindfulness at a time. And like the author, I recommend the book Zen Flesh, Zen Bones by Paul Reps. The same lightning strike energy of the new moon that can be so difficult to control may be the same energy that gives us those flashes of insight from Zen stories and koans.
The combination of the Saturn and Pluto station retrogrades both in Capricorn (with Mars contained between them) reminds me of two symbols from nature. The earthquake and the volcano. The ground shakes and trembles in an earthquake - the foundations of life and faith are called into question. With the volcano, emotions that seethe below the surface are ready to erupt. Self-control puts a temporary cap on the volcano but it creates a pressure that can explode for miles like Mount St. Helens or Eyjafjallajökull.
Plan ahead: if you experience the symbolic earthquake, what resources do you have that can sustain you through a challenging time? If you are prone to being a volcano, what can you do to constructively to let off steam? At the same time, perhaps it's best to avoid others that remind you of a volcano.
Used wisely the energy of Saturn and Pluto together can bring focus, concentration, self-discipline, and steadiness of purpose to build something that can transform your world.
On Sunday April 29th, I will be giving a talk on "Astrology and Kriya Yoga: Predictions for Your Spiritual Path" as part of the Babaji Festival at The Temple of Kriya Yoga in Chicago. There will be music and chanting, talks by the temple swamis, and more.
For more information:
The Full Moon takes place on March 31, 2018 at 7:36 a.m. CDT in 10°Libra.
This Full Moon forms a T-square with the Moon in Libra, the Sun and Mercury opposing in Aries and Mars and Saturn conjunct in Capricorn. This is a difficult but temporary aspect lasting several days before and after the full moon.
The Sun amplifies things external to you and the Moon amplifies things internal to you, so the Full Moon always has some conflict between what you're experiencing internally compared to externally. Mars and Saturn conjunct symbolizes anger and frustration. Linked to the lunation, you may find you are experiencing this anger and frustration internally and may also see it acted out by other people and situations.
What to do? Keep steady toward your goals and dreams, don't quit.
“If you get tired learn to rest, not to quit.” ~~~ Banksy
Some more advice about the Mars/Saturn conjunction (which is exact on April 2):
Don't put a bowling ball on the top shelf of the closet! This is a symbol of many other types of situations. Saturn represents things that are heavy. Mars rules the head. Be really careful.
If you do hatha yoga (or really any type of exercise) don't push to pain or past your limits at this time. Don't try new postures or movements. Move slowly, with proper placement and conscious awareness. Saturn rules the knees. Mars the muscles. Not a great time for weight-lifting in general, whether exercise or chores.
Difficult Mars/Saturn aspects often leave scars. Physical scars are a possibility so be careful with sharp objects (Mars). But remember that sharp, angry words are also Mars and scars from words said in anger can be even longer lasting than physical scars.
Positive keywords: Self-discipline; focus; steadiness of purpose.
Mantra: Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti
Om is the sound of the oneness of the universe. Shanti is the Sanskrit word for peace.
Let there be peace on every level of our being: body, mind and spirit.
You can listen to this mantra here.
In the future:
Looking forward to attending this conference! It's a wonderful opportunity to learn from some of the world's best astrology teachers, researchers and authors.
The new moon is on Tuesday, January 16, 2018, 8:17 pm CST at 26° Capricorn.
Whatever you do at a new moon will follow you for at least the following two weeks. Capricorn is a sign of the earth element and the cardinal quality (a force of outgoing action). Think about the power of the earth when it moves: mud slides, avalanches etc. Remember that a huge rock slide can start as a small stream of pebbles. These pebbles are the thoughts you think repeatedly and words that you choose to say. They are also the small activities that you choose to apply toward your life goals.
There is also a lineup of six planets in the sign Capricorn. Capricorn energy is all about your life responsibilities. In general, people will feel that they are surrounded by life responsibilities at this time. For those with steadiness of purpose this energy can be very productive. However ….
The new moon is in a close square to Uranus (24° Aries) and a wide conjunction to Pluto (19° Capricorn). The keywords of this aspect is "rebellion against responsibilities." If you're looking at the pressure of responsibility and thinking "I quit!" this would be the time to take a deep breath and resolve to wait three or four days after the new moon and re-evaluate the situation.
There's also a tendency to give others an ultimatum in the sense of "If you don't do [this], [I quit] or [I'm leaving] or [get out]." This will tend to provoke an immediate (but not usually positive) result. My spiritual tradition asks us to use wisdom when we feel these types of overwhelming emotions arise. Is it wise to speak at this time? Can you wait a few days to have that conversation?
Sort things out and find inner peace through creative work: draw, paint or write poems about your feelings and emotions.
Soothe the jagged edges with the mantra "Om shanti, shanti, shanti." Om is the sound of the oneness of the universe and shanti is the Sanskrit word for peace. You can use this affirmation which is one way to translate the mantra: "On every level of my being, let there be peace, peace, peace."
Marcia Sacks is an astrologer in the Kriya Yoga tradition.