Eclipse, Planets and Chakras

The eclipses will take place on April 15th (Lunar) and April 29th (Solar). The unusual surprises will continue as will the edgy emotions many are feeling and exhibiting at this time. Eclipses tend to operate on emotions, impulsivity and, far too often, upon emotions that are buried in the subconscious mind. The weeks of the eclipse energy can be filled with people reacting on an almost primal level, the strongest reactions coming from “fear.” During eclipse energy this “fear” is best described as “False Evidence Appearing Real.”

Vedic Astrology gives the name Rahu to the North Node of the Moon and Ketu to the South Node of the Moon. Though they have names, they do not actually have any physical mass since they are simply the points on the ecliptic path which mark the eclipses of the Sun and Moon. The absence of physical properties for Rahu and Ketu is one of the reasons that eclipse energy operates through illusion, desire, fear, and emotional drama. Unfortunately, during these times we human beings in physical bodies experience this energy, and the reactions of people all too often bring the energy into negative mundane actions – bringing the illusions into physical reality.

Rahu is particularly drawn to power, celebrity, and the media and, therefore, an attitude of healthy skepticism toward the media is wise at this time. For instance, expecting to find survivors of the Malaysian plane crash to be found in a black hole or on another planet is an illusionary expectation which will not be fulfilled. It is reasonable to have expectations of the news filled with events caused by people acting on negative emotions or from mental instability since those stories will be in greater abundance than usual. Ketu is a more detached and dissociative influence that is drawn to science, meditation, technology, and sometimes depression or hopelessness.

This eclipse is most intense for those who have planets in Aries and/or Libra. Libra is the sign of relationship and balance while Aries is the sign of individuality and aggression. An emphasis on these two signs has been taking place for approximately two years already and we see this playing out on a social level as the world grapples with the notion of individual freedoms versus the needs of society. In personal relationships, many partnerships and families have been struggling to find the balance between individual needs and the compromise required for successful relationship. Some relationships will end in this cycle while others will shift and grow. Because Saturn is involved, there are some people who will not find an easy exit from the conflicted relationships because – – well, it’s Saturn, and he doesn’t favor changing directions quickly no matter how much the ego may be screaming for relief. It’s karma, and we all dance to it in one way or the other.

Rahu and Ketu are without the physical mass of a planet but still have a place in our natal charts and play a big role in the day-to-day transits. One of the primary reasons I took up the study of Vedic Astrology, known as “Jyotish” in Sanskrit, was my appreciation for the remedial techniques offered in this system. “Jyotish” translates as the “Science of Light” – – the light being the inner light that some call self, soul, or consciousness. Jyotish is connected to the teachings of Yoga and Ayurveda and, through the tools it offers, we can use all of the cosmic movements in a positive and healing manner.

Rahu and Ketu affect all of us even though they do not have physical mass. The seven primary planets all have houses and signs that they rule as well as chakras they directly influence. (Chakras are best defined as places of energetic influences which are the generally unseen energetic influence behind the physical manifestation of the human body. It is this energy that is often the missing link to physical healing despite medication, surgery and therapy.) The eclipse points are outside the seven primary planets and their corresponding chakras and yet have a profound influence on our lives because Rahu and Ketu are involved. How do we deal with them?

The influence of Rahu and Ketu can be profound, karmic, and deeply mystical but, for the purpose of this article, we are looking for a way to move through the next month in a neutral mindset with the goal of non-reactive inner peace. Since neither of the eclipse points has been assigned to any sign or house, we can look toward the signs they occupy as the best way to handle these wayward travelers. Of course, the houses they occupy will indicate what areas of life will be most affected, but the houses can only be known on an individual chart basis. However, we all have Aries and Libra somewhere in our charts and we can look to the planets ruling those signs for remedial relief.

Libra, which is the bigger player in this particular eclipse, is ruled by Venus. Fortunately, Venus is going to be well-situated during the eclipse cycle. He moves into the sign of Aquarius, where he will join Mercury, on the 31st of March. Aquarius is a positive placement for Venus and this year will enjoy the optimistic and positive energy of a Jupiter aspect. While this will not undo the basic nature of the eclipse, Venus will serve to help us keep fear in the realm of “false evidence appearing real.”

In Western Astrology, Venus is known as the planet of love and creativity; Vedic Astrology also recognizes the same attributes. However, in the Vedic system Venus has rulership of other important aspects of life. In the ancient teachings, Venus is named “Shukra” or the teacher of the “Asuras.” In this capacity he is given rulership over learning with an emphasis on the “shastras” (sacred and spiritual teachings). “Asuras” technically means “demons” but is understood to mean “those people, habits and desires” that will drag us into our lower energies and block us from being “awake” spiritual beings. From this perspective, it is easy to see how Venus became the ruler of love, but the love that is meant is not the sexual desire that is often mistaken for love.

Venus rules the fourth chakra which is located at the center of the chest area. The fourth chakra is the balance point between the lower three chakras and the upper three chakras. Many believe that the “Star of David” is an ancient symbol of the balance of the chakras – – anyone who happens to own one should take it out and wear it during this eclipse time period. The fourth chakra is a chakra of expansion and compassion. This chakra, in balance, can assist in helping to make decisions based on both neutrality and compassion. It is also an important point for prana (the energy behind our breath), and the fourth chakra responds well to breathwork.

The simple act of long, deep breathing with the hands gently placed on the fourth chakra can work well for stress relief as well as compassionate expansion. The traditional prayer pose can be used as well by placing the open palms over the entire chest area. For those who like to breathe or meditate with visualization, the simple visualization of seeing a clear, emerald green light in the chest area of the body will work to balance this chakra. For those who are familiar with and resonate with chanting, the bija/seed sound for the fourth chakra is “yam.” This should be chanted by stretching out the “a” making sure the short “a” is being used (“as” as in father) – the “m” is short and natural.

Because Venus rules the shastras, writings of truthful and uplifting spiritual or philosophical works will help you to connect with the higher energy of Venus. The reading of a book that has served to elevate you will work to keep the mind away from the negative Rahu thought patterns. Since Rahu and Saturn are still sharing zodiacal space, it is best to avoid the influences that bring fear, lower desire, or depressive thought patterns.

Venus has a connection to music and, during this time period, listening to uplifting and positive music will stir the peaceful nature of the fourth chakra. It is advised to stay away from music, places, or people that stimulate the second chakra of desires. Rahu has no discretion when it comes to desires – – better to trust the Venus energy at this time. Venus rules Friday, and the energy of Venus responds well to beauty and fragrance. During the next few weeks, a soothing bath with uplifting scents on a Friday will serve as a positive and elevating activity. The simple act of bring home flowers on Friday and placing them in a sacred or special spot in the home will soothe the heart and work to clear away the negativity.

Of course, the eclipse points work in pairs, and there is another planetary influence at play here. As is all too often the case during this time period, we need to take into consideration the planet Mars. Red in color, fiery and aggressive by nature, Mars is the influence that will try to undo all of the peace, harmony, cooperation and compassion of the Venus-ruled fourth chakra. Mars is the influence which will lead the mind and emotions to righteous anger, impatience, aggression, and impulsivity. No sane person would ever argue that there is no shortage of people or situations that can lead to the proverbial “blood boiling” point. However, in quiet moments of calmness, most of us would agree that actions fueled by anger generally do not turn out well. Since the overriding topic for the past couple of years has been individual needs versus the needs of the many – – as well as the individual desires versus the needs of relationship – – I expect that there will be a heightened climate of conflict during this eclipse cycle. However, on a personal level there is also, due to the transformational nature of the eclipse points, the possibility of positive change with regard to relationship conflict. This is a good time to process out those disappointments and heartaches which lurk in the deeper recesses of our emotional minds.

Mars can actually be helpful in the transformational aspects of this time period. The key is to use the Mars energy in a positive manner rather than in an angry or aggressive manner. Mars likes engagement in life and rules the third chakra. The third chakra is what many exercise systems refer to as the “core” which, if kept strong, goes a long way toward physical strength and endurance. Obviously, any form of exercise that centers on the core is going to work to balance the third chakra. It is important to address the high level of Mars energy by finding a way to use the energy in a manner that does not involve ranting and raging about all of the challenges of human life. Any vigorous exercise will work well with Mars energy.
Mars is currently in the sign of Virgo, which is the natural ruler of health and work. During this time period, the demands of jobs and work could be more intense than usual and, since we are speaking about Mars, I doubt that bosses will be especially appreciative of the extra effort put forth. Virgo is also a sign of details and Mars a planet of math – – this is a good time to take care of personal accounting, filing, cleaning out closets, and spring cleaning after a very long winter. All of these activities will help to balance the Mars energy in a positive, achievement-oriented way. Since Virgo is the ruler of health, it is important not to ignore illness or inflammation and not to court accidents by impatient activity.

In addition to using the Mars energy to clean out closets and files, it also can be helpful to use the Mars energy to cut the cords with past hurts and disappointments. This should not be done through aggression toward others, but instead should be focused on letting the past stay in the past by releasing it. Burn journals and mental visualizations in which you say what needs to be said to someone from your past, followed by affirmations that forgive or at least understand the lessons offered, will help defuse the Mars energy. For some, boxing, running, or even mopping the floor can be a physical releasing of the past which will prepare the ground for a peaceful present.

The third chakra is the chakra of laughter, and one way of working with the Mars energy is to watch a comedy or to arrange a phone call or social outing with friends who have a good sense of humor. In addition , chanting the Mars bija/seed sound can be helpful for third chakra balance. “Ram” is the bija sound for this chakra – – like the above “yam” it is said with a long short “a” and a shortened “m.”

The third chakra is known as the “manipura” which can be translated as “jewel.” Visualizing the third chakra with a shining jewel is helpful for balancing the energy. Bhastrika breath is one of the most helpful breathing techniques for the third chakra and should be used by those who know how to do this breath. If you choose to stick to long, deep breathing, pay extra attention to the stomach pushing away from the spine on the inhale and pulling the stomach toward the spine on the exhale.

Finally, the biggest challenges from the Mars influence during this eclipse will be anger, frustration, aggression, and acting on impulse. If the mind begins to move in a more negative Mars direction, simply close off the right nostril and breathe for two or three minutes through the left nostril only; this will help to cool down the mind. Every single time we keep ourselves from acting from anger or aggression, we empower ourselves and that empowerment helps to build a strong third chakra which, in turn, helps us to use the Mars energy for its highest good – – which is the power to live our lives in a productive, meaningful way with the laughter of the third chakra adding to the joy which we are rightfully entitled to when we take on a human body.

Eclipse Season Begins

We are now in what I like to call “eclipse season.” The actual dates of the eclipses are April 15th and April 28th, but I have found that we begin to feel the energy about one month prior to the actual eclipses.  Added to this energy is the ongoing Mars/Rahu close conjunction, along with Saturn, in the sign of Libra. Those born in the sign of Aries (April 14th-May 14th) and Libra (October 17th to November 17th) are being directly affected by this energy.  Those born with either the Moon or Ascendant in Aries or Libra are also being strongly affected by this energy.

 

However, the eclipse energy impacts most beings on the planet in some way or the other. This is the last eclipse in a cycle that started about eighteen months ago and happens right before the major transit influences begin to change signs which will change the nature of our challenges and opportunities.  The primary transit influences are the slower moving celestial influences of Saturn, Jupiter and Rahu/Ketu (the eclipse points). This year is unusual in that within a six-month time period, all three will change signs.  This begins on May 31st when Jupiter moves into Cancer, followed by the Nodal points moving into Virgo/Pisces on July 11th and ending with Saturn moving into Scorpio on November 2nd.

 

I will write more on the meaning of the specific changes in a future posting but wanted to first take note of the new cycle we all will be experiencing this year.  Many of us are beginning to feel the change that is coming and are looking to put an end to the current challenges by making changes in our lives right now.  It is not necessary to be ahead of the curve because the current energy will bring the unexpected all by itself without our input.

 

Due to the movements of the planets, there is already a feeling of instability, and we are already surrounded by enough people forcing change through impatient decisions.  It is much better if we can use the energy, especially the eclipse energy, to consciously finish out the lessons of the past two years so that when we move forward into the new cycle, we have left the past in the past and are wiser for all of the experiences of this ending cycle.

 

This is a good time for therapy, yoga, exercise, contemplation and other healing modalities to release, understand, and heal before we move forward with new plans or relationships.  It is not a time to allow our stress levels to climb or to over-react to the mundane world.  There is an empowerment that comes from being able to not react while we observe the world around us and as well as our own emotional perspective to the people and events which show up in our lives.  Eclipses are known for digging up the emotions that lie buried beneath our conscious minds.  For the next couple of months, many will be experiencing an active dream state as the past is processed out to make room for the new. It is much better to spend time on healing and understanding than to try to initiate actions related to the changes we sense are coming our way.

 

It can be helpful to keep a journal during this time period to jot down our random thoughts and/or our dreams.  The appropriate actions should be taken via diet, herbs and exercise to keep our nervous systems strong so that we do not over-react to people and events for the next couple of months.  Conscious breathing is both cleansing and calming which makes it a perfect and convenient technique for everyday but especially for this time period.

 

Five to eleven minutes each day spent doing the “complete breath” will be very helpful.  Complete breath is done by inhaling through the nose making sure the stomach moves out, holding the breath and then exhaling through the nose, gently pulling the stomach towards the spine  – – it is important to make the count equal;  if the inhale is to the count of five, the hold and exhale should also be five.  Yoga as well as Vedic astrology teaches that the chakras are important energy points.  If the complete breath is a technique to be used during this time period, it is easy to add a “mudra” to the practice.  Place the palms of the hands together and place them right at the center of the chest (“prayer pose”). This subtly works with the fourth chakra which is not only the place of compassion but also is the balance point between the lower three chakras and the upper three.  By working with the mudra, you are working to bring in both compassion and grounded balance.

 

This is not a “bad” time – – it is a time of change which is one of the biggest fears of human beings.  Those who don’t understand the energies of the time appear to be experiencing great amounts of fear, and if we don’t protect our own nervous systems, it becomes easy for us to pick up on those fears.  None of us need to take on the fears of others, and all of us deserve the inner peace which defines our true being.

 

MARCH MADNESS

Mars is now retrograde and is still conjunct Rahu in the sign of Libra.  This configuration is the energetic behind the situation in Ukraine.  The conjunction is close to the ascendant of Russia and, while Mars is athletics and Rahu is celebrity and theatrics (which was good for the Olympics in Sochi), it also brought the military aggression and chaos in Ukraine.  Let’s hope that once Mars moves back into Virgo on March 25th there will be a diplomatic solution to the latest conflict in this region.

 On a more personal level, the Mars/Rahu conjunction is bringing impatience, confusion and surprises into the lives of many.  Sometimes I think to myself that if I had known just how challenging the times were going to be at the beginning of the 21st century, I would have chosen to make donuts for a living instead of being an astrologer because sometimes I feel as if astrologers are the bearers of bad news far too often.

 It’s a time of confusing planetary aspects with the Mars/Rahu conjunction leading the way. These two influences are all about imagination, impatience, aggression, and impulse, but they are sharing their space with the slow-moving, hard-working and ponderous influence of Saturn.  This results in the Mars/Rahu conjunction not even having a mundane outlet for all of that energy as the impulses and high-level energy is blocked from positive action by Saturn.  This configuration can easily give rise to people taking out their frustration and aggression onto people with whom they have a relationship.  The result is that many are experiencing tension as well as erratic behavior from others along with a strong dose of rebellion.  Many people feel as if they can’t take much anymore and are choosing to be negative and non-compliant.  Saturn, of course, demands the opposite since he demands calmness, work and attention to responsibility.  It takes work and compassion at this time to keep relationships in harmony.

 The rebellious nature of this conjunction easily leads to people not being wise or using common sense during this time.  On a physical level, many people are what is known as “vata deranged” which, in Ayurvedic  terms,  simply means that the element of air is too high.  When the air element becomes too high, it can cause depression, anxiety, impulsive actions and unrealistic decisions.  Sometimes, the easiest and simplest course of action is to take care of the physical body.  This can mean meditation and breathwork along with massage and other holistic health care techniques.  It also means that common sense regarding physical needs is required.  This is not the time to skip meals, indulge in excessive drinking, or substitute sugary treats for wholesome meals since that will just increase the vata derangement.  Routine can go a long way towards calming down vata as will getting a restful night’s sleep and some fresh air.  If one thinks of the nervous system as an umbrella, it makes sense to make sure that your umbrella has no holes.  If one chooses to do nothing for the nervous system, the next couple of months is going to be more difficult than it needs to be.

 Jupiter will resume direct motion on March 7th which will bring in a more positive energy especially as he will be aspecting the malefic trio in Libra.  Much of what is being worried about and imagined will not come to fruition and Jupiter’s protection will work to make sure that the worst is not experienced.

 The madness of March will lead us right into the eclipses of April so emotions and imagination will continue to be higher than usual.  2014 is a year of planetary change as we have all of the slower planets changing signs – – Jupiter into Cancer, Rahu/Ketu into Pisces, Virgo and Saturn into Scorpio.  This means that all of us will be experiencing a shift in the nature of our challenges and growth points.  Many are already beginning to feel that there are changes coming and are looking to move into those changes right now (Mars/Rahu).  However, it can be important to not move too quickly on those changes and to allow the current cycle to finish with the lessons learned and the personal growth solid.  Eclipses are good for finishing up karma, letting go of the old stuff and healing from the hurts already experienced.

This spring is the perfect time to work through the emotional baggage, to review what has been learned and to lay the groundwork for the next growth cycle.  It is also time to recognize the internal growth of the past cycle and to look forward to future opportunities while staying in the moment – – grounded and attending to the business of now.  I have found that if one tries to build on the unstable energy of an eclipse that building can often feel later on as if what was being built was being built on sand.  Let this be a time of spirituality, healing and finishing – – that will help us to have new beginnings that are solid but also will allow us to move into the new without the baggage of the past.