The first lunar eclipse of the year happens on Monday June 4th at 4:12am PDT. It will be a partial eclipse with just over a third of the Moon’s surface falling under the shadow of the Earth and eclipsing the light of the Sun. The full moon will occur in the Nakshatra called Mitra—“the friend.” Mitra is one of the twelve Adityas (solar deities) mentioned in the Vedas. Mitra infuses Anuradha with warmth, light-heartedness, leadership, friendliness, helpfulness, and optimism. The symbol for Anuradha is a lotus flower, which is associated with purity, evolution, and enlightenment.
There is a darker side to Anuradha. Its planetary ruler is Saturn, which is the planet of spiritual trials. Anuradha falls within the constellation Scorpio, which is ruled by Mars. Mars is considered the secondary ruler of this nakshatra. Saturn and Mars are both considered as malefic and tamasic planets, so there is some sense of difficulty and overcoming of inertia that is necessary with Anuradha. The symbolism of the lotus flower helps us to understand the forces at work here. The lotus begins its growth in the mud, which symbolizes our material nature. It pushes itself up into the water, representing our emotional life. Attracted by the light of the Sun above, the stalk of the lotus comes to the surface of the water, signifying the growth and struggles of the individual over many lives to transcend the material realm and follow the Divine Attraction towards the Sun. As the lotus emerges from the water it enters the air element, symbolizing the realm of mental activity. Continuing to be drawn upward by its attraction to the Sun (the Divine) its journey culminates with the flowering of the lotus to greet and embrace the sun. The growth of the lotus symbolized by Anuradha is the desire to liberate ourselves from our excessive attachment to worldly existence. All of these stages of growth are associated with overcoming obstacles (Saturn) through the summoning of inner courage and energy (Mars).
The literal translation of Anuradha is “another Radha.” Radha is the beloved of Lord Krishna, the most adoring, faithful, and beloved of all the gopis (the milk maidens), who all were smitten with Krishna, and would all come to dance the Rasa when Krishna played his flute on the night of the full moon. Under the influence of Anuradha we all become like Radha, intoxicated by our desire for union with our beloved Krishna. Radha represents the Microcosm (the individual spiritual seeker) completely overcome with the desire to unite with the Macrocosm (Krishna/God). Radha was never able to achieve the physical union with Krishna she desired, because Krishna belongs to everyone. Instead she became a great devotee of Krishna, a great Bhakti, so even though she was separated physically from Krishna and suffered much pain and anguish as a result, through her love and devotion she was able to achieve an even deeper and more enduring connection at the Soul level.
During the lunar eclipse, the Earth’s shadow represents our material attachment obscuring the light of the Sun (the Soul) as it shines its light on the Moon (our emotional nature). Eclipses are related to endings and new beginnings. The coming full moon/lunar eclipse will be a supercharged time to let go of those things that have been impeding our growth, step up our commitment to our spiritual evolution, and awaken to the fact that our deepest desire is to reunite with the Divine, and help others do the same.
This weekend I’ll be at the Spokane Yoga Shala, providing some fertilizer for all the growing lotuses.