Capricorn Full Moon with Challenging Aspects + Guru Purnima
The moon rounds to full shortly after midnight on Saturday-Sunday, July 8-9. The July full moon is the first after the solstice, which makes it the first full moon of summer. That also makes it one of the lowest full moons, since the summer moon follows the low path of the winter sun (and vice versa on the other side of the calendar). As a low full moon, it holds onto atmospheric color longer. That can make this full moon appear golden longer after rising and before setting.
The best times to see the full moon are now through next Tuesday, July 11. There might be sunset color before it’s full in the east, and in the west with possible sunrise color after it’s full. Watch the moon pass over the large constellation Scorpius, with its reddish heart star Antares, and the Sagittarian teapot. On Friday, July 7, if you have dark enough skies to see the band of the Milky Way, you’ll see the nearly full moon set against the famous bulge of the galactic center with Saturn nearby. Between Scorpius and Sagittarius, look for a yellowish “star,” fairly low and unblinking above the southern horizon.
For Indian or Vedic astrology and Hinduism, we’re entering the time of the full moon, the purnima and second half of the lunation. This change ties with the celebration of Guru Purnima, discussed below. For Indian folklore from the North American, Native American perspective, this full moon is known as the “buck moon.” In past times, the growth of deer antlers served as a seasonal marker.
On our annual trip around the sun, the Earth cleared the far end of its orbit on July 3. The year’s latest sunsets have passed, as has the sun reaching its most northerly latitude, the Tropic of Cancer on the solstice. We’re currently losing daylight at less than a minute per day, and the sun’s rays are still quite strong. But the pace quickens as we move closer to the autumn equinox with its golden light and longer shadows. Summer is sweet partially because it feels so fleeting.
Two special lunisolar events are coming up. On July 20, it’s unofficial Moon Day (also see Ashtanga moon days below). Moon Day marks the 48th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing. The first footsteps taken on the moon famously were a “giant leap” for humankind. If you’re a New Yorker, on July 12-13 keep an eye on the weather. For two days, at three weeks on either side of the summer solstice, the street grid aligns with the setting sun. This temporarily creates a Stonehenge, monolithic effect, called “Manhattanhenge.” The setting sun seems to “kiss” the busy east-west streets and offers a lovely instaphoto op.
Astrological Influences + Considerations
The aspects for the full moon in Capricorn are difficult. Mars in Cancer (ruled by the moon) opposes the moon and Pluto. Mars is ticked off, uncooperative, and disinclined to back down. You may feel angry and frustrated. Or manipulated, or threatened, or combative. It’s not just this moon phase, which has a two-week influence while the Cancer lunation winds down. July and August present some tough, fiery aspects. Mars nears its biannual solar conjunction around the time of the new moon, and a powerful eclipse season begins soon after.
Here are three suggestions on how to cope. Also, see below in the yoga section, since spiritual guidance could be a great help this summer.
1) It’s not about you. We’re all subject to the same feelings and influences. If you get caught up in drama, take a moment to regain objectivity and compassion. What might the other person be dealing with? Instead of being quick to judge, maybe listen with compassion. And find outlets for tension that don’t harm you or anyone else.
Don’t be a victim. Since folks might have hidden agendas, practice CYA. Keep a watchful eye on how the exertion of power often takes tricky twists and turns. Don’t let them trip you up, and don’t enter battles that may sap your strength for little reward.
2) Behave like a winner. The strong Mars energy is thwarted and frustrated, but it’s still Mars. Say what you will about Donald Trump, he knows how to channel the dominance of Mars, which conjuncts his Leo ascendant. Therefore, Mars is strongly identified with his blustery persona. Trump even appears rather ruddy. Like Trump, Mars is direct, enjoys power, often is mad, and glories in a show of masculinity.
Most of us aren’t like Trump. Under this influence, weigh your options carefully, not taking foolish risks. But you might feel brave enough to try something that you wouldn’t ordinarily attempt. Maybe you’ll succeed or maybe not, but if you’re willing to try, that’s half the battle. There likely will be plenty of provocation. Only you can decide whether it’s the right time to take a stand, or whether to follow a different path toward liberation.
3) Seek outlets for the feisty Mars energy. Engage in strenuous exercise, go on a deep cleaning binge, tackle daunting projects, or find another way to kick butt. Or go zen with sublimation: meditate, practice peaceful yoga and pranayama, ease into renunciation. But try to avoid falling somewhere in between, behaving with peevish or paralyzed passive-aggression. If you have a partner, the sexual drive can be compelling during a time of strong Mars.
Modifying influences come from other planetary positions. We’ll muddle through, and some people won’t feel this much at all. But if you do, know that it will pass. While it’s active, let Mars help you find clarity and not accepting no for an answer, particularly if it’s the right time to speak up. That certainly applies to spiritual journeys. Great trials and tribulations often precede enlightenment. Struggle with your angels and demons, slay those dragons, and release your inner hero. Prevail!
Guru Purnima for Full Moon Reflections + Inner Light
We honor our teachers on Guru Purnima. “Guru” means teacher, remover of darkness or ignorance, and “purnima” means full moon. The festival generally arrives after the solstice with the first full moon of summer. The annual teacher’s holiday is widely celebrated in India and Southeast Asia, and in Hindu, Jain, and Buddhist communities across the world. Guru Purnima is gaining importance within the emerging traditions of Western yoga. See, for instance, Jivamukti co-founder David Light on Guru Purnima, and his reverence for his teacher, the enormously influential Ashtanga Yoga master K. Pattabhi Jois.
Guru Purnima especially recognizes our spiritual, scholarly, and yoga teachers. Show your appreciation for the people who’ve helped you find your way. Perhaps they’re employed as teachers, or perhaps they’ve guided you in other contexts. Sometimes they’re frenemies or have hurt us with brutal honesty. Thank them too and try to send love, peace, and gentle release in return. Without roadblocks and upsets, we wouldn’t have challenges to overcome and from which to gain consciousness. From increased consciousness, we gain maturity at any age and the ability to see beyond present circumstances. Forgiveness can do you a world of good and encourage social healing.
Celebrate your inner teacher. Master teachers help the devotee on his or her path, tapping the inner voice and potential. Learning may be arduous, and often requires overcoming reluctance, preconceptions, and setting aside ego. Karma may be involved, such as learning tough life lessons. You discover where you do or don’t belong, continuing or breaking cycles, and interacting with people with whom there is unfinished business or who seem destined to cross your path. You learn to not take life’s blessings for granted, developing your soul and trusting your heart.
Reflect, as moonlight reflects sunlight, the sacred illumination. To whom and for what are you thankful? Even when spoken in silence, your prayers and mantras are heard. And to whom do you serve as an inspiration? What can you do to set a better example? When you think of the teachers who’ve touched you most deeply in a positive sense, hasn’t it often been because of the generous gift of their time, warmth, and wisdom?
When you gaze up at the July full moon, honor and express gratitude for your teachers. If you’re a yogi, practice sun and moon salutations for the purnima – or choose not to (see below on quiet moon days). Facing the moon, sit still in cross-legged Lotus pose with raised prayer hands. Breathe in calm and love, and breathe out what no longer serves you. Inhale and exhale with the rhythm of the universe and the human heart.
Perhaps join a Guru Purnima celebration, with a group or online. Maybe write thoughtful notes to favorite teachers. Hinduism celebrates the purnima each month, such as for the emergence of spring and the autumn harvest, to recognize women and childbearing, and that hold other significance. Ashtanga Yoga recognizes moon days that correspond with the new and full moons, during which vigorous yoga postures aren’t supposed to be practiced.
You could spend time in meditation and practice other forms of devotion. A dedicated internal practice may help with the turbulent astrological influence of this full moon. Incidentally, July 6 was the 82nd birthday (this incarnation) of the Dalai Lama. The Tibetan monk is the guru to millions of followers around the world, and a refugee who has known great hardship. The living spiritual master’s message often is love, forgiveness, compassion, and pacifism.
On Wonderful Moon
For a longer, more detailed version of this post, see last week’s Moonday. For the next Wonderful Moon that posts in approximately two weeks, the first new moon in Leo will be discussed, along with the sun’s powerful biannual conjunction with Mars. The new moon introduces the second lunation of summer and important celestial events. The second Leo new moon on August 21 occurs with the Great American total solar eclipse. Dividing the Leo new moons, a partial lunar eclipse occurs with the full moon on August 7-8. Next month’s lunar eclipse will be somewhat visible across much of the world, but not in North America.
Wonderful Moon is published before the new and full moons. The focus is on viewing and experiencing the moon with lore, advice, and yoga-oriented body awareness that meshes with the phase, season, and astrological influences. The bimonthly posts often are separated into Moon Wisdom and Yoga Wellness. See also my new Moon Memes, published nearly weekly on Instagram for the moon phase with a coordinated suggestion on yoga practice.
Photography: “Cliffhanger” (Oct. 13, 2013) is by noted lunar and landscape photographer Greg Diesel Walck, from his Facebook album Fine Art Photography. The stunning photo of the poised full moon was taken at Red Rock Canyon National Park in Nevada. I suspect the photo was taken in late September 2012. For the Wonderful Moon on April 7, 2017, we shared another of his beautiful photos of that full moon, seen rising over Las Vegas with a variegated sky.