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.
You can find me on:
The Full Moon is on October 24, 2018 at 11:45 a.m. CDT in 1° Taurus.
The chart of the Full Moon shows Venus and the Sun conjunct in Scorpio opposite the Moon conjunct Uranus in Taurus.
This combination indicates disruptions and restlessness in the areas of partnerships, romance, and sexual attraction. Also, unexpected changes in financial endeavors. Is it possible to slow down your decision making at this time? For a few days before and after the Full Moon, there may be temptations that will seem very appealing but may not be valuable in the long term.
With Uranus involved, use caution with electronic devices and be sure your computer data is backed up. Some of the temptations may involve purchasing a new mobile phone or tablet. Read the reviews carefully and wait to see if the craving for a new toy subsides enough to make a sound decision on the purchase.
I like this affirmation (inspired by Louise Hay):
"I am Divinely guided and protected and I make choices that are beneficial for me."
The sextile from Venus and Sun to Saturn along with the trine from Moon and Uranus to Saturn signifies help and stability from longtime friends.
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 New Moon is September 9, 2018 at 1:01 p.m. CDT in 17° Virgo. Virgo is the sign of the microcosmic, with the focus on the tiny details of day to day life. With Neptune in opposition to the New Moon, the bigger picture can be missed. Take time to look up from your work, take a deep breath and take a look around. Sometimes we know what we're supposed to be doing but we just forget. Don't keep everything in your head - make lists and write reminders.
The chart of the New Moon is filled with earth signs (Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn) and water signs (Scorpio and Pisces) with lots of harmonious trines and sextiles between the planets in those signs. Earth plus water equals clay. Think about what you're molding out of this clay, what you're creating each day symbolically. Bricks to build a house or maybe delicate tea cups to serve tea to your friends? With every thought, verbalization and activity, you are building your future life. In the two weeks after this New Moon, your creation is malleable. If you see the shape of it and you want to keep it, you must energize it - bake it in the kiln of your devotion or the fire of your passion.
More about this New Moon in my article in the September/October Yoga Chicago magazine.
As I'm writing this on September 6, Saturn is at its stationary direct at 2° Capricorn. That's an aspect of slowdowns and frustrations for just about everyone for the next several days. If you have planets in the early degrees of the cardinal signs (or born in the early days of Aries, Cancer, Libra or Capricorn), you may be experiencing this more intensely than others. If you find that you can't move forward on projects right away, keep going with basic tasks to keep your life in order. Don't give up. Things will lighten up in a week or so and you'll feel more positive about life in general.
In the future:
September 16 - Noon meditation and 1 p.m. lecture at the Temple of Kriya Yoga given by Marcia Sacks, Swami K. Adinadananda
Noon Meditation: Creating Your Spiritual Reality
1 p.m. Lecture: The Autumnal Equinox: Time Karma and Astrology
Karma is Time. Understanding the cycles in nature and in astrology can help you adapt to the ever-changing nature of life. This talk will include the chart of the autumnal equinox and discuss the major astrological aspects in effect in the fourth quarter of the year.
You can find me on:
The Full Moon is Sunday, August 26, 2018 at 6:56 a.m. in 3° Pisces. Not an eclipse, but every Full Moon has plenty of energy. In Pisces the Full Moon energy is intuitive and creative. Music and art can feed your soul at this time. If you have an unusual dream be sure to journal it. Wait three days and look at it again. Did that dream have a message for you?
Mars has been retrograde since the end of June. Have you felt like you've been running in place? Working hard but with few results? Mars goes direct on August 27th at 28° Capricorn. Give Mars a few days to get moving away from the station point and you may find that everything starts to speed up back to normal.
Side Note on Retrogrades:
Hope you don't think that planets actually stop in their orbits and reverse direction. Retrograde planets are an optical illusion based on the location of the planets and its speed in relation to earth and the earth's position relative to the sun. You know how we humans are … it's all about our life on earth. If we viewed the planets heliocentrically - from the Sun's perspective - you would never see a planet moving retrograde. In most Western astrology, we take the Earth's perspective, or the human perspective, and make a symbolic correlation between the apparent motion of the planets and our life on Earth.
In the future:
September 6 - Retrograde Saturn goes direct at 3° Capricorn. Keep things simple. Take things slow. Actually things will go slowly a week on either side of a Saturn direction anyway. Plan to leave early if you want to get somewhere on time.
September 16 - Noon meditation and 1 p.m. lecture at the Temple of Kriya Yoga with Marcia Sacks, Swami K. Adinadananda
Noon Meditation: Creating Your Spiritual Reality
1 p.m. Lecture: The Autumnal Equinox: Time, Karma and Astrology
Yoga Chicago Magazine
Watch for my article in the September/October issue of Yoga Chicago which will be found in your local yoga and fitness centers around September 1.
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 always our Earth's Moon making its monthly conjunction with the Sun (by longitude, as seen from Earth). This time it's part of a lineup of five planets in the sign Sagittarius, at 26° on December 18, 2017, 12:30 a.m. central time.
Sagittarius energy is enthusiastic, idealistic and philosophical, perfect for getting into the spirit of whatever holidays you observe. Do things that give you joy. Be generous in the things that give joy to others.
Saturn is sitting at the end of the stellium right up against the new moon. This is not a time to take on new responsibilities. No matter how guilty you might feel about all the things you think you should be doing, it is the time to keep things simple, at least until several days after Mercury goes direct on December 22.
Key technique for this new moon: Intensifying Your Happiness
As you go through your daily life or your holiday activities over the next two weeks, use as much conscious awareness as possible to be grateful and enjoy the good things around you.
If you're sitting in a comfortable chair, spend a minute to appreciate the chair's comfort and support. If you take a bite of chocolate or your favorite food, say "Mmmmmmm!" If you see someone you love, smile and feel the joy rising.
Whatever good emotions you have, put a little extra energy or attention into them. In this way you change your inner state from joy to greater joy.
Marcia Sacks is an astrologer in the Kriya Yoga tradition.