Happy LUNAR NEW YEAR Everyone!
On Monday, February 4th, at 1321 (1:21 pm) PST, we experience the New Moon in Capricorn, which heralds in the Lunar New Year! (a.k.a Chinese New Year) The Lunar New Year can be seen as the FULL reset of the “year,” as it is the first new moon phase to begin after the first solar transmigration (fancy word to describe the Sun transitioning into the next zodiac sign), after the Winter Solstice (which, as you may remember, was the “Birth of the New Sun”). So, this is the final reset of THREE that marks the COMPLETE transition into the new year! To recap: the first was Winter Solstice (the “Birth of the New Sun”), the second was the first transmigration of the Sun into a new sign after Winter Solstice (in India this is celebrated as Makara Sankranti), and the third and final one has to do with the Moon—when we finally have the first new moon after the first 2 resets.
As a side note, many are celebrating the Chinese New Year, on Tuesday, February 5th, but because these celebrations are time & place sensitive, we in the US would be celebrating on Monday, the 4th, because we on this side of the world experience the new moon at that time, whereas in China, they will be experiencing it on their Tuesday.
This particular Lunar New Year celebration is doubly ripe with the feeling of new beginnings, as just a few days prior, we came to the ancient celebration of Imbolc on February 1st – 2nd (a.k.a. Candlemas or Groundhog’s Day), which ushers in a time where we are passing the midway point of Winter, holding the promise of Spring, and is full of the feeling of brighter times to come. In astronomical terms, Imbolc is the first “cross-quarter” day through the major seasonal shifts.
And so with this final transition, we become FULLY situated in the new year! It is such an important and powerful time to recommit to our intentions for the year, or to adjust, fine tune, amend, or even create new commitments and intentions, moving forward—building the momentum into the start of Spring.
As mentioned, this is the first new moon since the first transmigration of the Sun into the next zodiac since the Winter Solstice, and in India this transmigration is celebrated as Makara Sankranti. Makara is the Sanskrit name for Capricorn, and Sankranti refers to the Sun’s transmigration into the next zodiac, and thus refers to the Sun’s shift into the sign of Capricorn on January 14th, which, naturally, is also the day it is celebrated. In India, many of the celebrations are actually more lunar-based, but as this is the Sun’s first zodiacal shift since the Winter Solstice, special significance is given to this time.
As many of you are aware, however, mainstream western astrology states that the Sun moved into Capricorn around Dec 22nd, and as I’ve mentioned a number of times before, Vedic Astrology is based on CURRENT ASTRONOMICAL PHENOMENA, while mainstream western astrology is actually out of date by nearly 2000 years. Meaning, yes, nearly 2000 years ago, around what is now understood as the end of December, the Sun was moving into the sign of Capricorn, but as nothing in the cosmos is fixed, it is no longer doing this in the 21st century, nor has it been for centuries now.
Below are the major shifts of January and February at a glance:
You may also recognize the word Makara from the Yoga posture, “makarasana,” often referred to as “crocodile pose,” for in Vedic Astrology, Capricorn is a goat in the first half, and a crocodile in the second half, and is often depicted as having a goat’s head and front quarters, and a crocodile tail. Like the goat, the Capricorn energy has the ability to climb the heights of seemingly treacherous mountains with focus, dexterity, and determination. This energy, thus, also represents the 10th house, as Capricorn is the 10th sign of the “Natural Zodiac.” The 10th house has to do with our “life’s work,” and so, some call this the “house of career.” The energy of Capricorn, therefore, is associated with HARD WORK—the energy to be able to put in the long, arduous efforts to bring forth the fruits of one’s labors. This is a well known quality of Capricorn’s ruler, Shani (pronounced like “shun-ee”), or Saturn. Knowing what it takes to bring forth one’s dreams and aspirations, this energy of Saturn can buckle down with perseverance and deep concentration on a project or goal for extended periods of time. Shani, also means “slow moving one,” which implies that once decided on a goal, it has the ability to stay firm and work continuously. And as Capricorn is also an earth sign, it is determined to bring forth material manifestations—it wants something to show for its work and efforts. So for these reasons, we can see why Capricorn is associated with the “house of career,” or house of life’s work, for through it we bring forth that which represents Who We Are to be projected or manifested out into the world.
As we may be noticing through these articles, each sign builds on the momentum of the last, and so, the energy of the previous cycle in Sagittarius gives us further insight as to what to expect here in Capricorn. Sagittarius’ cycle gave us an opportunity to focus on our higher purpose, philosophy, the larger perspective of life we have created for ourselves. And so, here in Capricorn is where we put those conceptions into ACTION, or WORK which is a large part of what Saturn’s energy is about. We become deeply inspired and connected to our life’s purpose in Sagittarius, then we take it into action and manifestation here in Capricorn.
And so, with Saturn’s connection to action and work, he is associated with Karma, which means just that—the action/work we are here to do in this lifetime. Therefore, the 10th house is also called Karma Bhava, or “house of action/work.” Karma, expressed in a different way, can be understood through Newton’s Third Law of Motion: “for every action, there is an equal, opposite reaction.” So by the example pf Capricorn and the 10th house, we can see how the concept of Karma can be put into practice: your life’s work, what you manifest into this world, will be in direct relation to the amount, and type of action & work you put forth to accomplishing it.
The negative interpretation that is often given to karma—that one must toil in suffering as a result of one’s “bad deeds,” suggest a source ideology that we believe ourselves to be victims of a “wrathful/vengeful God,” that we must make sure we follow the rules and commands of the higher power, otherwise we suffer the consequences of his retributive justice—thus stripping us of our birthright that we are free and creative beings weaving together the very fabric of our lives. By contrast, in the Vedic Culture, our true nature is known to be Satchitananda—that we are the truth and bliss of existence itself—that the nature of the infinite, or higher power that has created us, is our very nature, and if we were to connect to creation without the biases/filters of our own painful experiences, we would see that we are the divine made flesh. And so our journey involves remembering the truth of our existence, in other words, remembering that we are the joy of creation itself! phew… what a relief! This is illustrated by the sign opposite Capricorn, which is Cancer—the sign we experienced at the previous full moon. Cancer is our heart—our inner essence, Who We Are, rather than What We Do. These two signs create the yin-yang, the divine dichotomy, of the axis: Who We Are—What We Do, in the world. When What We Do is in direct reflection to Who We Are, we bring completeness to this aspect of our lives. Whereas, when we find that What We Do is not a reflection of Who We Are, we can easily fall into that abysmal state of feeling like karma, our work, is some kind of paying back the world of our misdeeds, as it feels like a miserable toil to get to our work each day, rather than it being the joy it was intended to be.
Saturn is connected to the root chakra, and so is also associated with survival, self-preservation, stability, and so FEAR is also an attribute that comes into play with this energy. And this is often why we find so many speak of being unable to move into a field of work that is a direct reflection of Who They Are—for their careers, although they feel very unfulfilling, brings them a feeling of security and stability that we are all looking for at the foundation of our lives. But without the completing energy of Cancer, or the heart, the fear at the root of their actions, often makes people feel cemented to the earth, unable to move forward in life, rather than grounded through a root chakra that is functioning in a healthy, happy way. There is a strong programed collective fear that in order to make money, be stable in life, and abundantly prosper, we must give up our heart’s true desires and passions to do so! But, this Capricorn—Cancer axis, shows us otherwise, and furthermore, we will see in the following phase that the opposite is actually true—our abundance, or gains & profits, are directly related to our being willing to birth our heart’s creations into the world—this is the axis of the 11th & 5th houses, reflected through the energy of Aquarius & Leo.
So with the start of the Lunar New Year, there is a strongly palpable energy of resetting commitments and intentions around the work we are here to manifest into the world. Know that you are fully supported in bringing forth new beginnings, new intentions and commitments that are in deeper alignment to your heart, and Who You Truly Are. A good practice for connecting to this New Year transition kept prodding at me (3 times the charm!), and it is a practice that was spoken of by Marie Kondo, author of “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” And so, a practice that I began this lunar new year with was to completely sweep out my closet of those things that do not bring me joy. It got me to notice that I have been holding onto things that I thought that I might “need,” but that didn’t really spark joy or inspiration. By practicing the simple act of intentionally surrounding one’s life with only those things that bring joy, it can become a microcosm for a larger way of living—for why would I be working a job that does not bring me joy? And, here, again, I may realize that I am doing so because I feel it is a “need,” rather than something that is connected to my heart’s true desire. I also freshly cleaned my home, smudged, and held a little ritual to set intentions that helped me to feel more in alignment with what I visualize for my life, and what I have committed to becoming. Through such motions, we can energetically create space for those things that we are calling in to enter and reside within our lives, and become surrounded with energies that supports our growth and visions for who we are on our way to becoming.
Blessings for deep heart-connected work, and a joyous new life in 2019,
Jane Oka Kaya Shin
ps. one of the commitments I’ve set for the full 2019 reset is to give earlier notice of important upcoming ceremonies, so with that in mind, here are the tentative dates for gatherings through the Summer Solstice:
MARCH 23-24: SPRING EQUINOX Gathering
MAY 4-5: BELTANE Gathering
JUNE 22-23: SUMMER SOLSTICE Gathering
These ceremonies will be presided over by Padre, the spirit of the Mushroom, and Madre, more information to come as we come closer to the dates.