The Lunar Eclipse is on Sunday January 20, 2019 at 11:15 p.m. CST in 0° Leo. The Sun in Aquarius and Moon in Leo of the eclipse is squared to Uranus (across signs) in 28° Aries. The Moon in Leo highlights the desire to be the leader, to be in charge. The Sun in Aquarius is the opposite urge which is to work collaboratively with others. The square with Uranus brings in a strong desire for freedom or simply to do things differently. Therefore, if you feel yourself being moved toward an extreme position - forcefully authoritarian or intensely rebellious - remember that your priority is your life purpose or long-term goal. Use wisdom to take a step back and see if there's a more moderate way to resolve conflict and move forward.
The other pattern in the Eclipse chart is Venus conjunct Jupiter squaring Neptune and trining Mars. This planetary grouping has the potential to bring in a generosity of spirit and good relationships with others. The good that can come out of this pattern depends on your ability to handle the Sun/Moon/Uranus aspect described above. Make a note in your journal of new people that you meet a few days before, during and after this Lunar Eclipse as they may become significant in your life in the months ahead.
Jupiter transiting through Sagittarius this year is a good time for learning: taking classes, studying a new language, or reading scripture or philosophy.
Financially, the Venus and Jupiter squaring Neptune can cause some people to exaggerate the positive potential of an investment, so take extra time to think over a business proposal before jumping in. Also there's a possibility to be too generous with money as you reach out to help others. Know your boundaries both with investments and with your role as a benefactor.
Coming soon: Speaking of learning new things, I'm excited to announce that the 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. 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. If you have questions about registration, please contact the Temple of Kriya Yoga.
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The January 5th solar eclipse is conjunct both Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn. It occurs at 7:28 p.m. CST in 15° 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 such as meditation, hatha yoga, singing/chanting, walking or dancing.
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 a lot more in my article: Yoga, Astrology and Self-Discipline in the January-February issue of Yoga Chicago magazine.
On January 6, Uranus makes a station direct at 28° Aries. Uranus is sudden unexpected changes of plan. It's symbolized by electricity and lightning. It's the revolutionary urge for freedom, with some hyper-activity,too. Combine that with the Eclipse energy described above and you have the perfect storm.
Stay flexible. This first week in January may not proceed as you have planned.
Both the yoga tradition and the Buddhist tradition often talk about detachment. Often people think about detachment as releasing the bond with material things like having the latest model iPhone or eating in a trendy restaurant. Emotional and mental detachment sometimes means being flexible about our plans and the timing related to those plans. If you have New Year's resolutions you planned to jump right into and an unforeseen responsibility or deadline pops up, give yourself a break. Take care of priorities and know that the astrological aspects are much better for new ventures at the end of January, beginning of February.
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 New Moon is December 7, 2018, 1:20 a.m. in 15° Sagittarius
Does it feel like you've been slogging through a swamp or not quite feeling awake all day for the past few weeks? Neptune has been the prominent outer planet in terms of astrological aspects lately. When Mercury went retrograde on November 16, it was squared to Neptune. In this way, it picked up the "flavor" of Neptune carrying with it in its backward journey. Then Neptune went direct on November 24th, still in square to Mercury (the mind).
Now Mercury finally goes direct on December 6 at 27 ° Scorpio but it will take a few days for us to feel like we're going forward again. In the meantime this New Moon is square to a an exact conjunction of Mars and Neptune at 13° Pisces. So more Neptune. At least for several days past the New Moon.
As a said in my last blog post, Neptune rules feeling foggy, nebulous or spacey. It's hard to see people and their motivations clearly. A Mars/Neptune conjunction is dangerous. One symbol is drunk drivers or driving under the influence of drugs. Another is driving while sleep-deprived. (Mars is driving, Neptune is drugs or spaciness of any sort). Another symbol is a salesman (Mars) giving you misinformation (Neptune) on a product or service. One more symbol to keep in mind is getting scalded (Mars) by boiling water or steam (Neptune is water and with Mars is steam). Stay awake and aware whether driving, shopping or cooking at this New Moon.
A benefit to Neptune is being more suggestible, so affirmations can be very powerful at this time. Some tips for creating affirmations:
I am healing deeply as pure Divine energy fills and permeates every level of my body and mind.
If you want ideas for affirmations try these: https://www.louisehay.com/affirmations/
Or just Google "Affirmations for ___________" and fill in the blank.
Another way to use this New Moon energy is to totally tune into the most spiritual and uplifting aspects of the holiday season. Find the music that makes your soul soar and play that often. Light candles. Give to charity. Watch the holiday movies that make you laugh or open your heart.
In the future:
The Winter Solstice takes place on December 21. I wrote a little bit about that for Yoga Chicago Magazine.
I will be giving a talk on "Kriya Yoga and Astrology: Planetary Patterns for 2019" at the Winter Solstice Festival at the Temple of Kriya Yoga: Sunday, December 16, 11:30 a.m., 2414 N. Kedzie, Chicago, IL
There will also be talks, meditation, a ritual and refreshments. The program is described here:
The Full Moon is on November 22 at 11:39 pm CST in 0° Gemini. It's on Thanksgiving here in the United States. I learned from Goswami Kriyananda (and personal experience) that astrological aspects are much easier to handle if they occur during your average work week. Then we are supported by our daily habits and life patterns with the usual expectations. Holidays, especially those with big family gatherings and extensive preparations, can throw us off if our time and objectives are too unstructured. A full moon in general can bring stresses to the forefront. On the other hand, we can use the stimulating full moon energy to help us accomplish tasks if we're one of the worker bees putting things together for the holiday feast.
This Gemini Full Moon is opposed to Jupiter in Sagittarius. There's a wonderful generosity of spirit that can take place around with this aspect: charity given, good deeds done. It's an excellent time to make a list of all the things you're grateful for. Or start a gratitude journal - write one (or more) things each day that you're grateful for. On the other hand, this expansiveness of spirit can be "Jupiter gone wrong" where you spend money foolishly without thought for the consequence of debts coming due.
The Moon, Sun and Jupiter are squared (inharmonious) to Mars in the Full Moon chart. Gemini is a sign of communications. Mars is the planet the rules anger/hot-headedness. Mercury, the planet that rules communications is retrograde. Jupiter in an inharmonious position can mean carelessness. Under the stress (and freedom) of a holiday weekend can you communicate without anger and keep yourself from saying things off the top of your head that hurt other people? This is the challenge of this month's Full Moon.
Neptune, the planet that makes things foggy or nebulous is at a station point on November 24, going direct at 13° Pisces. Create lists and stay organized as much as possible. To be honest, there have been so many times serving a big meal like Thanksgiving that I had a dish warming in the oven that I totally forgot to serve. Neptune's like that. Neptune rules water and as Mars brings its heat to the Full Moon on 11/22, be especially cautious with boiling water.
[You can read more about this Neptune station in my most recent Yoga Chicago article http://yogachicago.com/2018/10/astrology-karma-and-free-will/ ]
This is the way astrology can be both symbolic and actual. In reality, dealing with boiling water while you're rushing to serve a big meal is a possible scenario. But boiling water can also be a symbol of your emotions rising with stress. Take time over the next few days to practice relaxation whether it's yoga, meditation, deep breathing, taking a walk or re-watching a funny movie that makes you laugh out loud.
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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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.
Venus Retrograde - October 5 - 11° Scorpio
Yesterday, I was thinking about getting a haircut and was just about to add it to my list of errands for the day. I paused and remembered that Venus is at a stationary point, going retrograde on October 5. So if my question was, should I get a haircut, the answer is no. Why? Because Venus rules everything related to beauty and I probably wouldn't like how the haircut turned out. Also, Pluto is less than a week from its stationary point (it went direct on September 30), so still in effect. Pluto is a higher octave of Mars and Mars rules both violence and sharp objects. I thought, "I don't want a stranger with scissors that close to me right now." I'll wait a week and then go. If I was a really conscientious astrologer, I would look for a really good Venus day to get a haircut. But mostly I just try to avoid trouble :)
Everything in astrology really depends on the question you're asking. If your question applies to art, beauty or romantic love, Venus is one of the planetary symbols you would look at.
Venus is retrograde from October 5 - November 16. It is strongest a couple of days on either side of the station points. In general, Venus retrograde is a bad time for shopping for fashion. The tendency is buy things on impulse that seem to be a bargain but are not of good quality. Venus rules Libra which is the sign of the new moon so not optimal for starting new romantic relationships or business partnerships.
New Moon - Monday, October 8 - 10:46 pm CDT - 15° Libra
Libra is the astrological sign that relates to partnerships. With the Moon and Sun in Libra squaring Pluto in Capricorn in the New Moon chart there is perhaps an excess of passion in relationships, either bringing people together too quickly or breaking alliances apart. This is most intense three days before and after the new moon.
How to make best use of this energy? As an air sign Libra has a lot to do with the mind, ideas and philosophy. Take time to evaluate the way old habits in your thought patterns and assess if changes need to be made. In particular with Libra, are you too quick to pass judgement on or critique others? How quickly do you judge or criticize your own self? Watch your thoughts. Change judgmental thoughts to blessings for yourself and the world around you.
I like the following mantra for this Libra New Moon:
In Sanskrit: Om lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu
Or in English: May all beings attain peace and harmony
My Yoga Chicago article has a little bit more about this New Moon.
In the future:
October 9: Astrologer and author Ray Grasse will be speaking at the Northern Illinois Chapter of NCGR on "Decoding the Highest Planet in a Horoscope." More info at http://www.chicagolandastrology.org/news.html.
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.
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Marcia Sacks is an astrologer in the Kriya Yoga tradition.