Yesterday was my 66th birthday and I received many sweet messages via email, text, phone call, and face-to-face greeting. Don’t get me wrong, I love birthdays—especially my own—but this one managed to come at an inopportune time. For some reason my wife seems to think that my birthday is a great time for me to do some cleansing. Last year was the Kambo cleanse and this year a ten-day dietary cleanse. So I was rolling along, seven days into my cleanse when guess what happened—my birthday! The consensus was that the birthday trumped the cleansing, so when I was out to dinner last night with family and friends I ate forbidden food (birthday cake) and drank forbidden liquid (wine), thinking that I would have karmic impunity. When I woke up this morning, feeling like shit, I realized just how wrong I had been. I’m back on the program today, and hoping that last night’s indulgences haven’t negated my efforts for the first seven days.
The other inconvenient thing about this year’s birthday is that it occurred while transiting Ketu (South Node of the Moon) was conjunct my natal Sun position. On the day of our solar return (birthday) we all want to feel special—to be recognized, acknowledged, appreciated, and loved—this is human nature. Today, marked the annual conjunction of Sun/Ketu at 9 degrees Aquarius, so every one on the planet got a little taste of this transit. Astrologers say that this is potentially one of the most liberating of all planetary transits, presenting the more evolved among us with an opportunity to transcend identification with the ego and embrace Universal consciousness. I was well on my way to transcending my ego when my birthday happened, and suddenly it was all about me. Unfortunately, for the less evolved the Sun/Ketu conjunction often provokes feelings of self doubt, anxiety, and depression as we cling to the familiar while the universe is presenting us with an opportunity to surrender. The effects of Sun/Ketu transit will be with us all for a couple of weeks. For myself, I’ll be feeling this influence for a full year because Ketu moves very slowly through the zodiac, always retrograde and spending about twenty months in each sign! The good news is that I’ve only got six more months to go! By the end of that time I should either be enlightened or in a sanitarium.
From the Puranas comes the story of the churning of the ocean of milk by the Devas and Asuras to bring forth the Amrita—the nectar of immortality. After much churning the divine physician Dhanvantari—father of Ayurveda—appears, holding a pot of amrita. The Asuras are eager to drink the amrita, but Vishnu does not want them to become immortal so he transforms himself into Mohini, the seductress, to distract them so the Devas can drink it first. One of the Asuras, Svarabhanu, realizes they are being tricked and wedges himself between Soma Deva (Moon) and Surya Deva (Sun) so he can drink some amrita. He succeeds but is then exposed by Soma and Surya. Vishnu, in his anger cuts Svarbhanu in half with his Sudarshana Chakra, but the Asura is now immortal. His head becomes Rahu, the north node of the moon, and his headless body becomes Ketu. As a result of being ratted out by Soma and Surya, Svarbhanu—now Rahu and Ketu—has a natural enmity for the Sun and Moon. Solar and lunar eclipses occur when the full or new moon is in close proximity to Rahu or Ketu. Thus we have a solar eclipse coming up with the new moon this Sunday, as Ketu temporarily overshadows the natural light, energy, and enthusiasm of the Sun. In this weakened state, the best course is to surrender.