The first of three lunar eclipses this year occurs on March 23. Lunar eclipses occur on full Moons. This full Moon is known as Phalguni Purnima in Vedic astrology or Jyotish. Thus the Moon will be full in Virgo in the constellation or nakshatra of Uttara Phalguni for the March 23, 2016 lunar eclipse.
In close proximity to full Moon will be North node Rahu in Leo, in the neighboring nakshatra of Purva Phalguni. While retrograde Jupiter is in Leo as well in Purva Phalguni and should ideally stabilize this eclipse, Jupiter and Rahu are creating a Guru Chandal yoga. Thus, you may be further eclipsed by people who do not appear to be what they seem. And Saturn turns retrograde in Scorpio the next day, so it is more powerful than usual. Saturn is aspecting or influencing the two planets in Leo. Mars is in its own sign in Scorpio, making Saturn more unsettled. The eclipse gets further intensified by a debilitated Mercury opposite the Moon.
Uttara Phalguni is known as “the star of patronage”. It has a reputation for being very charitable and for granting favors. With the March 23, 2016, be careful of being “eclipsed” by others’ requests. Yet, people who have prominent planetary placements in Uttara Phalguni (especially Venus debilitated) have a tendency for getting involved with the wrong people romantically. They often have multiple partners to choose from. A former President had Venus in his ascendant in Uttara Phalguni, and this created a great deal of problems for him. With the eclipse, you may not see the shadow side of your romantic partner and be impulsive in your romantic liaisons.
The deity of Uttara Phalguni is Aryaman, a Sun god. Aryaman is 1 of the Adityas – the sons of Aditi. Aryaman looks over marital contracts and family life. Both Uttara Phalguni and Purva Phalguni are known for having strong attachments to family and children, more so than most of the other nakshatras. It’s wise to spend time with family during the time of the eclipse as well as the days preceding and following the March 23, 2016 lunar eclipse.
Typically, Vedic astrology advises that eclipses are times for inwardly directed activity and not for gazing at the Sun or Moon. A lunar eclipse is known as a Chandra grahan in Hindi. It is also best if you stay inside. New undertakings should not happen 3 days before or after the March 23, 2016 lunar eclipse. For the next 3 months, when the Moon is in Uttara Phalguni, you should also not commence any new ventures.
This eclipse is visible in North America, Australia, most of Asia and South America. Those who reside in regions where the March 23, 2016 lunar eclipse is visible need to be vigilant about their activities. This is particularly so if you have planets natally placed in Uttara Phalguni or are running a cycle of Moon or Rahu.
According to NASA, the March 23, 2016 lunar eclipse is visible in from 3:09 PM to 7:26 PM in Gujarat, India and from 1:40 to 5:55 AM in San Francisco, CA. Please check the NASA website to learn what times the eclipse occurs in your region. The previous day will be the festival of Holi as well as Lakshmi Jayanti in India, so the tone changes from an outward celebration to an introspective reflection.
Vedamurti Shri Vivek Shastri Godbole has spoken about the power of eclipses. He is a 15th generation Brahmin and scholar who has imbibed the Vedic scriptures. “The eclipses affect our mind and and our physical body. The scriptures state that eclipses create financial or physical problems and sometimes new diseases. There can also be natural disasters around the time of an eclipse. This is why people should not look at the eclipse.”
Here are the recommended practices for the March 23, 2015 lunar eclipse:
1. Do not look at the eclipse. Stay inside for the duration of the eclipse and close your blinds.
2. Bathe before and after an eclipse
3. Ideally do not eat 12 hours before the eclipse (or at least do not eat during the eclipse).
4. Do not drink anything 3 hours before a lunar eclipse or during the eclipse.
5. Focus on your mantra during this eclipse. If you do not have a mantra, then chant Om.
6. Do not expose food to the rays of the Sun or Moon during the eclipse.
For pregnant women, children, the elderly, and those with medical issues, they do not have to strictly adhere to the non-eating or drinking guidelines, but should put their health first.
The lunar eclipse is connoted with Lord Shiva, since he is depicted with a crescent Moon on his forehead. It is beneficial to chant a Shiva mantra during a lunar eclipse. Shri Vivek Godbole has suggested that you can chant Hreem Namah Shivaya, Shreem Namah Shivaya, Aim Namah Shivaya, or another Shiva mantra you are familiar with. Other chants which are powerful to perform during a lunar eclipse are the Chandi path (Durga Sapta Shlokhi), Shri Rudram, the Purusha Suktam, or the Guru Gita. Another mantra you may chant is Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya. As you chant during the eclipse, the mantra becomes siddha or perfected. Chant for at least 15 to 30 minutes during the eclipse.
If you’d like to know how to plan for the months ahead, as we move into Saturn retrograde, please schedule a Vedic astrology reading.