Vedic recommendations for the January, 2019 total lunar eclipse

Do's and don'ts for the lunar eclipse

The second eclipse of 2019 occurs on January 20th or 21st, depending on your location. This will be the most significant eclipse of the year in North America, as it is a total eclipse and it’s the only one fully visible in North America.  The Moon will be full in Cancer in the constellation or nakshatra of  Pushya. This full Moon is known as Pausha Purnima in Vedic astrology or Jyotish. There are specific Vedic recommendations for the January, 2019 total lunar eclipse.

Western astronomers are calling the January lunar eclipse as the blood Moon lunar eclipse and the wolf Moon lunar eclipse.

The full eclipse will occur in North and South America, and the western parts of Europe and Africa. Residents of  Central and eastern Africa, Asia, and Europe will experience a partial lunar eclipse. The eclipse is not visible in India.

In close proximity to the full Moon will be North node Rahu. The Sun andSouth node Ketu will be opposite the Moon in Capricorn in Vedic astrology.

Moon in Pushya during the January, 2019 total lunar eclipse

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The symbol of Pushya nakshatra is the udder of a cow. Cows are revered as sacred animals in India for their capacity to selflessly provide milk. The cow is also the only animal which provides milk to animals which are not its own.

The presiding deity for Pushya nakshatra is Brihaspati, another appellation for Jupiter. In Sanskrit, Jupiter is translated as Guru.

Traditionally, in India, Pushya nakshatra is considered an auspicious day to pay reverence to your Guru or spiritual teacher. It is a day in which religious or spiritual practices can be heightened. Adding the eclipse onto this, it’s an ideal time to meditate.

During the January, 2019 total lunar eclipse, your perception and insights may be occluded as the Moon will be veiled by the shadow of the nodes. Therefore, it’s not the time to rely on your instincts. In terms of its impact on U.S. politics, even more questions about moral and ethics will arise regarding events which were previously known, as well as those which have been veiled. The first reaction will be to sweep actions under the rug. However, making excuses and speaking untruths will no longer suffice. More people will be taken to task for their actions as the year progresses.

Vedic astrology and eclipses

Rahu is in Cancer and Ketu is in Capricorn during the January, 2019 total 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. New undertakings should be avoided 3 days after the January lunar eclipse. Additionally, for the next 6 months, each time the Moon is in Pushya, you shouldn’t commence any new ventures.

While many people in the Western hemisphere intentionally view eclipses, or even choose to attend “viewing parties”, this is never recommended in the tradition of Vedic astrology. Those who do look at them may suffer from greater difficulty in the future.  The mythology related to the nodes, Rahu and Ketu, can help explain why eclipses are considered as inauspicious events. What follows is a very simplified version of the tale of the nodes.

The story of Rahu and Ketu

The nodes were initially embodied in a demonic form. They desired immortality. One demon heard of a private gathering where the Gods were imbibing amrita, the nectar of immortality. He so desired to join the party that he donned a disguise and gained admittance. The amrita was passed around a dining table. The demon tasted it, squealed with delight, but was then discovered by the Sun and the Moon, who were seated on either side of him. Lord Vishnu threw a discus and chopped the demon into two halves: the head (Rahu) and the tail (Ketu). Having tasted the nectar of immortality, Rahu is forever questing for that elixir and is never satiated. Ketu is constantly trying to stay grounded. The nodes are also considered as inimical to the two luminaries who discovered his trickery.

Thus, the nodes are correlated with illusion and disguise. Rahu creates unending questing, 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. Ketu is usually associated with spiritual pursuits, though the theme of questing is still active.

Timing of the January, 2019 total lunar eclipse

recommendations for the January, 2019 total lunar eclipseThose who reside in regions where the January, 2019 total lunar eclipse is visible need to be vigilant about their activities. This is particularly so if you have planets natally placed in Pushya (particularly your ascendant, Moon, or Rahu) or are in a planetary cycle of Moon or Rahu. If the eclipse is not visible in your area, then be mindful, but it’s fine partake in your normal activities.

According to NASA, the January, 2019 total lunar eclipse is from 6:38 PM to 11:48 PM in San Francisco, CA. Please check the NASA website to learn what times the eclipse occurs in your region.

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.”

Vedic recommendations for the January, 2019 total 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 the 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.
  7. Be of service or volunteer near the day of the eclipse (but not during the timing of the visible eclipse). You can also perform some charitable act that day.
  8. If you have any planets in Pushya or your ascendant is in Pushya, listen to a mantra for Pushya.
  9. If you are in a Moon dasha or bhukti, chant a mantra for the Moon (Chandra graha).
  10. If you are in a Rahu dasha or bhukti, chant a mantra for Rahu.

Since the lunar eclipse happens at night, you can easily follow many of the recommendations for the January, 2019 total lunar eclipse. For pregnant women, children, the elderly, and those with medical problems, they do not have to strictly adhere to the non-eating or drinking guidelines, but should prioritize their health.

Shiva and lunar eclipses 

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. Vedamurti Shri Vivek Godbole has suggested that you can chant a 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.

In Vedic astrology, or Jyotish, the Moon represents the manas or our emotional state.  Jyotish is a lunar based system, so we give primary importance to the Moon. Metaphorically, our emotions may get clouded.

Jyotish’s sister science, Ayurveda, traditionally uses the herbs Brahmi or Gotu Kola or Bacopa to strengthen our mental faculties.

World events and eclipses

total lunar eclipse January, 2019 A primary reason why you should follow the recommendations for the January, 2019 total lunar eclipse is because of current events. Whatever part of the world you reside in, you’ve witnessed instability. There’s been political unrest, protests, natural disasters, and terrorism. These events get magnified near eclipses. They may not happen on the same day as the eclipse, but they set the stage for more problematic events.

We can harness the powerful energy of the eclipse and direct it towards something noble and uplifting. Use the time to focus on peace, do a spiritual practice, chant a mantra, pray, do a visualization, or whatever resonates with you. Imagine the powerful effect which could manifest if millions focused on peace simultaneously. We can all participate in creating the change we desire.

For those who claim not to believe in astrology, eclipses are actually astronomical phenomena. Astrology and astronomy go hand in hand. Jyotish actually translates as “Vedic astrology and astronomy”.  Astrology is based on the movement of planets across the zodiac. This includes tracking new and full Moons. Astrologers utilize astronomy to determine where the planets are at any given time and then interpret the meaning of the transits. These details are then overlaid with the placement of the planets in any individual’s birth chart.

Vedic astrology discusses the dance between free will and fate. If you still choose to look at the January 31, 2019 total lunar eclipse or must be outdoors, please do so mindfully and safely. Focus on your internal state of mind rather than just the events in the sky. Connect to harmony and peace. Maintain your inner state, for the benefit of all.


Also published on Medium.