Friday, November 18, 2011

Rahu Gobbles up Thanksgiving New Moon

Watch what you eat, drink, and communicate during your Thanksgiving feast or you may have to endure more than the usual post-prandial stupor. Rahu gobbles up the New Moon during the evening hours of Thanksgiving and casts a fairly large shadow down-under in the Southern hemisphere. The North Node's taste for intoxicants will be at an all-time high during this eclipse. My teacher used to say that we are all drunkards, but what separates us is the quality of our wine. So what will you be imbibing? Will there be room for gratitude? Or will hidden and unconscious issues be placed on the table for just desserts? Remember how Rahu lost his head at the big feast celebrating the spoils of the Samudra Manthan!

Partial Solar Eclipse on November 24, 2011 at 10:10 pm pst

2011 has been a banner year for eclipses because the nodes changed signs over the summer. This one will be the fourth solar eclipse of the year and the second one at the South pole. Although it is a partial eclipse, the Moon will obscure most of the Sun (90.5%) with the greatest visibility occurring about 100 miles off the coast of Antarctica (click here for animation from Shadow and Substance). So, like the proverbial tree falling in a forest, what is the effect of this occultation if no one is there to witness and experience its darkening effects? Although Rahu's shadow will not pass over highly populated areas, its effect may still be quite strong as it consumes the energy of the New Moon in Scorpio and taps into the earth's magnetic grid through the South pole, where the last solar eclipse occurred in July 2011 (click here for my previous post).

The glyph for Rahu resembles a horseshoe-shaped magnet which denotes its polarizing effects and its ability to attract fortune and/or misfortune. Moreover, Rahu's magnetic power is amplified at the Earth's poles and its message may travel through through the core and out through the magnetic grid in a spinning torus configuration as demonstrated in the video below.

Rahu in Scorpio June 2011 - January 2013
In addition to taking advantage of its magnetic attributes, Rahu is also at the height of its power because it is transiting what many Vedic astrologers believe to be its sign of exaltation, Scorpio. There is much debate over the rulership, debilitation, and exaltation signs of the Nodes. Many Vedic astrologers insist that Rahu is exalted in Taurus and debilitated in Scorpio, while others suggest the opposite. This reasoning has to do with making a choice between Rahu's materialistic (Taurus) and occult (Scorpio) sides. Recently I was reading Hart deFouw's Light on Life in which he gives a fascinating rationalization for both Rahu AND Ketu being exalted in Scorpio:

A very small group considers both Rahu and Ketu to be exalted in Scorpio and both to be debilitated in Taurus. This approach seems to be verified both by experience and by the logic of the scheme of exaltation. In this scheme the grahas form contrasting pairs: Sun and Saturn, Moon and Rahu/Ketu (both nodes being the opposite ends of the same axis), Mercury and Venus, Mars and Jupiter. For each pair of planets, the exaltation constellation of the one becomes the debilitation constellation of the other, and vice versa. Within this framework it follows that the exaltation constellation of the Moon should be the debilitation constellation of both Rahu and Ketu, and that the debilitation constellation of the Moon should be the exaltation constellation of both Rahu and Ketu.

For me this approach makes a lot of sense, especially because the Moon is the great enemy of the nodes. Thus during this New Moon in Scorpio, the Moon will be weak by sign and Rahu will take advantage of it. Rahu in Scorpio is poised to get what it wants through any means, be it aggressive, coercive, secretive or mystical.

The mysterious sign of Scorpio imbues the great dragon with its intense power to transform the material world. In Western Astrology the sign of Scorpio has two symbols: the Scorpion which represents its lower expression, and the Eagle which represents its higher nature. The Scorpion can be aggressive, venomous, and downright deadly. Its claws grab its prey while its stinger strikes and paralyses its victims before pulling them into a hidden lair burrowed into the earth. Eagles also grab their prey with sharp talons, but instead of poison they use their talons to penetrate flesh. They can be equally deadly as scorpions, but can also soar above the chaos of the world. Eagles do not retreat into the dark, but rather reaches for the heavens and nest high in living trees. The Eagle represents clear vision, and intelligence giving Scorpios their ability to see things more clearly than other signs. Scorpio is a water sign but Mars bestows the essence of fire as well and with it the courage to enter the fire and become transformed through its ability to grab and hold on. Thus Scorpio gives Rahu the power to destroy any impediment on its path to full its desires.

Still I think Scorpio often gets a bad reputation for being vengeful, controlling and manipulative. Yes, it can express itself that way, but it also can be devoted, inspiring, talented, and focused on the great unknown and mysteries of the universe. Rahu also expresses a higher and lower nature. Its lower nature can be obsessive, demanding, and materialistic, whereas its higher nature can be psychic, inventive and attuned to the strength of the masses and collective consciousness. In the Vedic tradition, Rahu is the significator planet of all knowledge that is temporal called maya - the illusory quality of nature. Rahu initiates the karmic pull that brings our soul to manifestation on the earthly plane and under the influence of Scorpio becomes powerful, intense, and shrewd with plenty of concentrated energy to fulfill its desires and/or destiny.

And the Rahu has backup during this holiday. The wily North Node enlists the nearby and freshly retrograde Mercury in Scorpio to assist in amplifying its shadowy message while Scorpio's ruler Mars aspects the big event with a combustive square. Luckily Mars itself is under an uplifting trine from the great benefic planet Jupiter in another sign ruled by Mars, Aries, which promises to raise the martian energy to a higher level of consciousness -- or at least give plenty of fire to fuel the fireworks.

Rahu meets the Great Attractor?
Deep Space and Tropical astrologer Philip Sedgwick recently posted an email article on the North Node's upcoming alignment with a mysterious astronomical force called the Great Attractor:
Over the next days the Lunar North Node comes to align with the enigmatic Great Attractor. This amazing “thing” is one of the most powerful pulling influences in deep space. It radiates in every energy spectrum and is one of the most gravitationally potent objects in the Universe. It’s gravitational effects actually bend light around the Great Attractor such that it can be seen behind. The symbolic imagery is when one stands on tip toes wanting to know what looms over the next horizon. ~ Philip Sedgwick, Galactic Times newsletter cosmic blip email~ October 28, 2011

Tropical astrologer Gary Caton speculates that the world is being initiated into the energy of the Great Attractor via this eclipse. But what exactly is the Great Attractor?

In the 1970s astronomers were surprised to find that galaxies are very unevenly distributed in space, with galactic superclusters that are separated by incredibly huge voids of visible ordinary matter. Based on the observed galactic velocities, the unseen mass inhabiting the voids between the galaxies and clusters of galaxies is estimated to total around 10 times more than the visible matter in this region of the universe. In order to explain the unexpected mass they developed the theory of dark matter. It is believed that this dark matter dictates the structure of the Universe on the grandest of scales. Dark matter gravitationally attracts normal matter, and it is this normal matter that astronomers see forming long thin walls called "cosmic walls" of super-galactic clusters.

Thus the Great Attractor is an intergalactic anomaly whose gravity is apparently pulling in millions of galaxies, including our Milky Way, at an incredible speed of 14 million miles per hour. We are all streaming down this river in space, but the source of this mysterious flow is still unknown.

One of reasons that the source of the Great Attractor is difficult to pinpoint is because it seems to be located behind the center of the Milky Way in the Zone of Avoidance where the thick gas obscures our view and blocks everything behind it. The location of the Great Attractor was finally determined in 1986 and lies at a distance of 250 million light years from the Milky Way, in the direction of the Hydra and Centaurus constellations. There are also huge concentrations of galaxies that exist beyond the Great Attractor, near the Shapley Supercluster which is 500 million light-years away and the most massive known super-cluster. Mapping X-ray luminous galaxy clusters in the Great Attractor region has shown that the pull our galaxy is experiencing is most likely due to both the nearby Great Attractor and these more distant structures. For more on this fascinating astronomical enigma click here and here.

So to be accurate, the current evidence suggests that there isn't a single Great Attractor, but a series of Great Attractors that Sedgwick locates at 14 degrees 22' Sagittarius (tropical) and 19 degrees 18' Scorpio (sidereal), just about where Rahu is currently transiting. As Sedgwick indicated: It’s gravitational effects actually bend light around the Great Attractor such that it can be seen behind. The symbolic imagery is when one stands on tip toes wanting to know what looms over the next horizon. I can't think of anything that Rahu might want more than to get a glimpse at what is just out of mortal sight! Is it possible for Rahu to tap into the field of the Great Attractor by consuming the Sun which is nearing its own alignment with the Great Attractor (actually it will be closer to the exact degree during the lunar eclipse of December 10, 2011)? This should be a very intriguing eclipse period indeed!! And isn't it an interesting coincidence that our local great attractor, Rahu, gains exaltation strength when it aligns with the field of space that contains the Great Attractor?

In Myths and Symbols of Vedic Astrology Bepin Behari describes the esoteric symbolism of the constellation of Scorpio: The scorpion is like a reptile which resides in secret holes . . . Scorpio is also associated with a hole. Whenever we come across the symbol of a deep opening in the earth [or space?], a cavity, a hiding place, or hole there is reference to the mystic power concealed in every human individual. The energy dwelling in such a cavity, whether represented by a serpent or a scorpion, is the vital energy which ensouls every form of creation. Is the Great Attractor a hidden hole in space? Does it contain mystic power waiting to be shared during certain astronomical line ups? The association of Scorpio with both scorpions and serpents is intriguing and thematically demonstrated in its astrological glyph, a serpentine shape with an arrow affixed to one end. Rahu also governs all types of snakes and its glyph often appears on the hood of king cobras.

And it makes sense that the enigmatic Great Attractor is like a secret tunnel in space that pulls us cosmic walls aligned with Scorpio, in particular towards the long-forgotten 13th constellation Ophiuchus. Well, long-forgotten until last January when an astronomer Parke Kunkle made a snide comment about astrology and tried to point out that the current astrological zodiac does not line up with astronomical reality. He also remarked that astronomers tend to reckon the sun's position with 13 constellations instead of 12, and Ophiuchus is the 13th. But in the current astrology zodiac, there are just 12. So if you actually watch the stars in the background of the sun, it actually does go through the constellation of Ophiuchus. His comments set off a media frenzy that stirred an astrological identity crisis for those who do not understand the difference between the tropical and sidereal zodiacs (click here for my previous post). But it did put a lot of attention on this area of the night sky as though it was a preview for Rahu's sojourn into Scorpio.

In Western astrological traditions, the snake handler of Ophiuchus represents the legendary ancient Greek healer Aesclepius, who learned the secrets of keeping death at bay after observing one serpent bringing another serpent healing herbs. Like the Nagas of Hindu mythology, snakes are symbols of wisdom, secret knowledge, and immortality. Astronomical images of Ophiuchus, like the one below by 17th Century astronomer Johannes Kepler, depict Aesculepius resting his foot on Scorpius, the Scorpion. According to Greek mythology the great earth goddess Gaia sent Scorpius to kill Orion, the Hunter, who had threatened to hunt down all the animals of the Earth. Scorpius stings Orion who would have died had it not been for the intervention of Aesculapius. The healer gave Orion a sip of the Divine Elixir, revealed by serpents, that restored him to health. Later Zeus finally killed Aesclepius with a bolt of lightning to prevent the entire human race from becoming immortal, and he placed his image in the heavens to honor the healer's good works. In Hindu myth amrita is the divine elixir of mortality that Rahu so desperately desired and ultimately drank. So it seems the ancient Gods did not want humans or demons to drink this potion and share in the ultimate gift of immortality. And it is fascinating that Rahu again may find exaltation in a constellation associated with the serpent bearer Ophiuchus/Aesculapius who also possessed the elixir of immortality.

Kepler was fascinated by the constellation of Ophiuchus because it exploded during his lifetime. In fact it was the last visible supernova called Supernova 1604, or Kepler's Star. Like the Star of Bethlehem, this Supernova no doubt caused quite a stir as it was a visible and bright disturbance in the skies. First observed on October 9, 1604 Kepler's Star was brighter at its peak than any other star in the night sky -- and all the planets other than Venus -- with apparent magnitude 2.5. Moreover, Supernova 1604 was visible during the day for over three weeks at the end of the 12 baktun, and beginning of the last and 13th baktun of the Mayan Calendar which is suppose to resets at the end of 2012. There have been no observable supernova in the Milky Way since that time. Now that we are approaching the end of the 13th baktun, perhaps history will repeat itself and another galactic wave message might be sent from this area of space that houses the hidden flow triggered by the Great Attractor?

In the Vedic tradition, the constellation of Ophiuchus corresponds to the 18th nakshatra Jyeshta which consists of three stars in a row including the bright fixed star Antares. Jyeshta translates as "eldest" and I used to believe that this name was an astronomical reference as the last step before reaching the oldest part of our galaxy, the Galactic Center. But now I wonder if it is a coincidence that the stream generated by the Great Attractor includes many old and ancient galaxies -- intergalactic elders?

The deity associated with the nakshatra Jyeshta is Indra, the King of the Gods, and famous Hindu dragon slayer. In a classic myth, Indra must face a dragon-demon named Vritra, who had taken and hoarded all the waters of the earth causing a devastating drought over the world. To prepare for battle, Indra drank a large quantity of soma, the divine elixir of immortality, which also endowed him enormous strength. When he stormed the dragon's lair, the divine warrior split the belly of the demon with his thunderbolt, releasing the waters and regenerating life onto the planet.

Like the Greek myth of Orion and Aesculapius there are similar themes associated with soma, dragons, lightning bolts and the flow of water. According to Bebin Behari:

Jyeshta means the eldest sister, the middle finger, or the holy river Ganges. A sense of reverence is connected with it. The association of the eldest sister, who is regarded with almost as much respect as the mother in Hindu society, and the river Ganges, which is also regarded as the holy mother, suggest that this asterism functions like a female guardian angel protecting and guiding the development of its earthly children. In Pranayama, yogic breath control exercises, the middle finger is used for stopping the left nostril so as to direct the breath to flow through the right. The primary function of Jyesthta is to guide his spiritual evolution. There has to occur radical transformation at this stage of the soul's pilgrimage.

The stars of Jyeshta transmit arohana shakti, the power to rise and conquer conquer and gain courage in battle. Arohana also translates as "ascend" and this area of the sky is definitely associated with ascension predictions. This nakshatra literally mark the final step before entering the mouth of the dark rift of the Galactic Center of the Milky Way Galaxy, called the Vishnuabi, or Vishnu's belly button. Depictions of Vishnu, the preserver, often portray him asleep dreaming on the coiled-up thousand-hooded Shesha Naga, with his consort Lakshmi, floating on the Kshira Sagar which translates as 'ocean of milk,' the Milky Way.

I recently saw a video that described how some scientists believe that space-time itself isexpanding and creating more space between galaxies. This video portrays the fabric of the universe as an undulating field that reminded me of a great cosmic serpent (1:58 - end).

The expansion of dark matter has waves like an intergalactic ocean on which the twinkling light of the stars shimmer on its undulating surface. From the expansion of darkness follows the expansion of consciousness to infinity. Although most Vedic astrologers would not include new astronomical discoveries in a traditional astrological interpretation, I find it inspiring to ponder how the revelation of these phenomenon in certain symbolic areas of space reflect how consciousness is indeed shifting and expanding.

New Moon in Anuradha
Although Rahu will be in Jyeshta during the upcoming eclipse, the Sun and Moon will be in the 17th nakshatra Anuradha which contains three stars in the body of Scorpio, including that of our closest neighbor Alpha Centauri. These stars represent a row of offerings to the Gods and reflect its power of worship, radhana shakti. It is a wonderful nakshatra to offering up gratitude and thanksgiving to the divine in our family, friends, and life. Anuradha is called the "star of success" and grants success especially in foreign lands, but only through cooperation with others -- that success depends on coming together. This power of manifestation and group effort may be connected to the ruling planet of this nakshatra, Saturn, which has just entered its sign of exaltation where it will remain for the next two and a half years. Although its primary symbol is the lotus flower, it's secondary symbol is an archway -- or portal. Both symbols represent Anuradha's ability to bring the flowering of consciousness out of the challenges of the murky material world and perhaps open up a new portal for our enlightened souls to enter.

Thus as Rahu swallows the conjoined Sun and Moon it will absorb Anuradha's energy and its promise of success. Combined with its position in Jyeshta that gives courage in battle and the ability to ascend, Rahu may have a lotus moment bursting out of the shadowy darkness into the light. But given that Rahu is without a body to process this nourishing energy, this moment may be temporary and pass along with the Sun and Moon. Rahu in Scorpio is more likely to bring the natural extremes of both this sign and planet: great devotion or rejection, toxicity or healing, revolution or deception, fear or courage. Still, perhaps because I am under the illusory influence of Rahu's maha dasha, I can't help but hope that Rahu's transit through Scorpio will assist us to open the door at the galactic center so that we may ascend to a new dimensions in consciousness perhaps riding the ever expanding serpent wave of dark matter.

Most astrologers agree that an eclipse is not a time for any activity except meditation, mantra, and prayers, which may be up to 1,000 stronger under these special conditions. Isn't it an interesting phenomenon that prayers are stronger during the interlude of darkness. As many people will not, or can not, heed this advice, the collective is particularly susceptible to its intoxicating and illusionary power which propels us into the inevitable dramas that unfold under this obstructive and often destructive cloud. But clouds do pass; and sometimes the day of the eclipse is calm, like the eye of a hurricane, when the destructive force of the storm hit you before and after. As the bite of a serpent may kill or heal, so too is the power of Rahu. In its lowest expression it might create anxiety and fear, in its highest form it might bring insight into our karmic bonds and how to release them. Mantras to Durga and Ganesha are particularly protective and beneficial under eclipse periods. May Indra's thunderbolt awaken and release the divine waters of enlightenment within each of us.