The first eclipse of the month is a total lunar eclipse on April 14, 2014. The eclipse spans April 14-15 in North America. It is visible in Australia, the Pacific, and the Americas. There has been a great deal of press regarding the “blood moon” and what a sight it is to behold. Yet, in Vedic astrology, or Jyotish, we never advise gazing at an eclipse. They are not regularly occurring astronomical phenomena are are thought to be unfavorable events.
During a lunar eclipse, the full Moon aligns on the nodal axis. According to NASA, the entire lunar eclipse April 14, 2014 is visible from both North and South America. People in the western Pacific will miss the first half of the eclipse, since it occurs before moonrise. Africa and the majority of Europe experience moonset just as the eclipse commences. No part of the eclipse will be visible from the Middle East, Central Asia, Northern or Eastern Europe, or Eastern Africa.
The eclipse begins at 8:54 PM PST on April 14, 2014 and ends at 2:38 AM on April 15, 2014. Local times are available on the NASA website. The eclipse begins in Virgo and ends in Libra in the nakshatra (star) of Chitra or Spica. Chitra is associated with structure, design, order, administration, and balance. Its deity is Vishvakarma, the celestial architect. It’s important not to let personal or professional matters fall into disarray. Chitra is one of the brightest stars in the galaxy. The four days following this eclipse are not suitable for creating new inventions or trying to stand out in the crowd.
The Moon is completely full at 12:40 AM PST on April 15, 2014. At that time, the Moon will be in the first degree of Libra, in Chitra nakshatra.
The mythology related to the nodes, Rahu & Ketu can help explain why we do not advise looking at eclipses in Vedic astrology. What follows is a very simplified version of the tale. The nodes were initially embodied in demonic form and they were very desirous of immortality. They heard of a private party where the Gods were imbibing amrita, the nectar of immortality, which had come from the churning of the ocean. A particular demon specially desired to join the party, donned a disguise, and gained admittance. The amrita was passed around the table. The demon tasted it and was then discovered. Lord Vishnu threw his discus and chopped the demon into two halves. The head, Rahu, has now tasted the nectar of immortality is forever questing for that elixir and is never satiated. The tail, Ketu, is now wandering with his head cut off.
Thus, the nodes are correlated with illusion and disguise. Since they are “nodes”, they are invisible as we are always approximating their position in the sky. Rahu and Ketu have to do with unending questing, desire, ambition, and a hunger for whatever it feels it still needs to attain. There is the connotation of desiring to partake in a situation and with a group where it does not belong. The nodes have the capacity to grab a hold of our mind and make it engage in relentless pursuits, to make the mind feel that it has so much more to achieve, to seek another source of stimulation, to unearth a greater challenge. The mind can become unfocused due to the grasping nature of the nodes. This is particularly true during the time of an eclipse.
For the lunar eclipse April 14, 2014, the Moon will be with Rahu in Libra. An exalted Sun will be with Ketu in Aries. Those in a nodal planetary cycle (dasha or bhukti) in Jyotish or a Moon cycle need to be particularly mindful during this eclipse. Rather than gazing at the Moon, it’s recommended that a person spend the time during an eclipse indoors, engaged in meditation or other spiritual practices and keep an inward focus. It’s a time to eat lightly and eat pure foods. Shades should be drawn and food should not be kept out and exposed to the moonlit rays.
On a more positive note, April 14, 2014 also marks the Sri Lankan and Tamil new year. Additionally, it is Hanuman Jayanti, the birthday of Hanuman. Hanuman is the monkey god who is the faithful servant of Lord Rama. One way to focus inward during the eclipse is to chant the Hanuman Chalisa (40 stanzas dedicated to Hanuman).