On Monday September 22nd at 7:29pm PDT the southward moving Sun passed directly over the equator—an annual event known as the Autumnal Equinox. The first new moon of autumn occurs this evening at 11:14pm PDT at 7 degrees Virgo, in the nakshatra known as Uttara Phalguni—uttara meaning “concluding”, and phalguni “that which produces fruit.” The symbol for this nakshatra is a cot with four legs, each leg representing one of the koshas in which the soul becomes entangled—annamaya (physical), pranamaya (etheric), manomaya (mental/emotional), and vijnanamaya (intellectual). The main motivating impulse of Uttara Phalguni is Moksha—liberation--and the energetic quality of this sign is called “Chayani Shakti”—the power to create wealth, both physical and spiritual. Some powerful forces are working on our behalf when we are under the influence of Uttara Phalguni. The presiding deity of this nakshatra is Aryaman, one of the 12 solar deities known as the Adityas—the sons of Aditi. Aryaman is a benevolent deity who presides over patronage, favors, kindness, and friendship. He is considered to be the embodiment of hospitality and congeniality motivates us both to help others and to be receptive to receiving aid from others as well.
The ruling “planet” of Uttara Phalguni is the Sun, symbol of the Soul. The Sun is a sattvic “planet”, providing us with the incentive to keep furthering our soul’s evolutionary process while helping others along the way. It is also the only graha (planet) that generates its own light, stimulating a desire for independence and self-reliance. Uttara Phalguni lies mostly in the sign Virgo—ruled by Mercury—and is considered to be an auspicious blending of the Atman (Sun) and Buddhi (Mercury). Both the Sun and Mercury share the attributes of discernment and intelligence. The intellect (Mercury) has the difficult job of trying to harness the mind (Moon)—to do so it receives its inspiration from the Soul (Sun). Uttara Phalguni links the soul and the intellect in a way that allows us to use our energy in practical ways to realize our Soul’s objectives, and to help others in the process.
Our auspicious week continues on Wednesday with the beginning of Rosh Hashanah—Jewish New Year-- at sundown. This begins the “Days of Awe”, an important time of introspection and renewal that culminates with Yom Kippur, the “Day of Atonement,” on October 4th. Coinciding with the Jewish high holy days is the Indian festival known as Navaratri, the nine nights of the goddess. The first three nights of Navaratri are dedicated to worshipping Durga to destroy any negativity; the next three to Lakshmi for prosperity: and the final three to Saraswati for self-knowledge. The tenth day of Navaratri is known as Vijaya Dashami, a celebration of Durga’s victory over the buffalo demon, Mahishasura. This will be commemorated in Mysore and other parts of India with the famous Dasara procession on Saturday October 4th—the same day as Yom Kippur. Jewish and Indian festivals are based on the lunar calendar, and both cultures seem to agree that this is a particularly significant time of the year.