The First Lunar Eclipse of 2021
The first total lunar eclipse for this year begins at 8:47 am UTC (2:17 pm IST) on 26th May, lasting for approximately 5 hours and 2 mins. The full eclipse will appear at 11:11 am UTC (4:41 pm IST), will be maximum at 11:18 am UTC (4:48 pm IST) and will continue to be at its total state until 11:25 am UTC (4:55 pm IST). The complete lunar event will be over at 01:49 pm UTC (7:19 am IST).
The axis of Rahu-Ketu falls in the sign of Scorpio-Taurus. The most important planets under consideration during an eclipse are the Sun, Moon, Rahu and Ketu (North and South nodes otherwise known as the Dragon’s Head and Tail in Vedic literature). This lunar eclipse occurs on Purnima Tithi of Vaishakha, Shukla Paksha, according to the Vedic calendar. Coincidently this day also falls on Buddha Purnima.
This eclipse is visible in parts of Asia and Americas, namely, India, China, Russia, Japan, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Peru, Argentina, Chile. Some of the cities where the total eclipse will be visible include Honolulu, Los Angeles, Houston, Manila, Melbourne, San Francisco, Seoul, Shanghai and Tokyo.
It will be partially visible in Bangkok, Chicago, Dhaka, Yangon, Montreal, New York and Toronto. Although it is not visible in Europe and Africa, the effects are still felt all over the world. Eclipses are usually a time when there are natural calamities and disasters. Fears and anxiety are prevalent, and our emotions go for a toss.
This eclipse is also a rare Super Blood Moon as the moon appears slightly reddish orange in colour after the eclipse. This will be visible only in a few places. “The eclipsed moon is dimly illuminated by red-orange light left over from all of the sunsets and sunrises occurring around the world at that time,” NASA. “The more dust or clouds in Earth’s atmosphere during the eclipse, the redder the moon will appear,” NASA.
With astrology, the planets provide a lens through which we are able to analyze what nature has in store for us. With the sun’s rays blocked, it affects our lives and our environments. But when we are consciously aware of what to expect, we can avoid unpleasant experiences. Note the eclipse path below.
A lunar eclipse always takes place during a Full Moon day when the Sun and Moon are positioned on opposite sides of the Earth. According to Vedic Astrology, a lunar eclipse occurs when shadow planets, Rahu or Ketu are conjunct the Moon. Astronomically, the Sun, Moon and Earth fall on the ecliptic plane in a straight line. The Moon is cut off from the Sun’s light and the Earth casts a shadow. Astrologically, we experience the influence of malefic planets, Rahu and Ketu. These are shadow planets with no physical form.
Generally, on a full moon day the Moon receives maximum light from the Sun and helps the mind generate positive thoughts and ideas. We feel joyous and energetic. However, when an eclipse occurs on a full moon day, the Moon is cut off from the Sun’s healing rays of light that promote vitality and emotional balance. Additionally, the malefic influence of Rahu-Ketu disturbs our thought processes and our emotions. We are unable to express ourselves.
To explain this further, understand that Rahu in astrology is the planet of karmic retribution. When out of balance, it represents all things concerned with obsessions, confusions, fears, traumas, depression and emotional issues. When Rahu is strongly placed, he helps us achieve materialistic pleasures, desires and ambitions.
More importantly, Rahu is intimately connected to our past lives. Rahu causes the psychological makeup of a person to be coloured so much by past tendencies that it makes us feel impossible to escape from them. It is often manifested in the physical plane; making Rahu the planet of materiality. The only way out is to let go of destructive tendencies of the past with inner positivity, reflection and self-awareness.
Ketu on the other hand is the planet of spiritual transformation. He is desireless, cold, thoughtless, and unrestricted. He causes hallucinations, but also removes them and gives enlightenment. Ketu is the planet of liberation, inner perception, detachment; all things that are necessary to cut away from the plane of materiality and move into the dimension of boundless cosmic consciousness.
Both Rahu and Ketu reflect the past, present and future. While Rahu drives us towards material attachments, Ketu stripes us away from them. Rahu encourages us to seek success and wealth and Ketu takes away comfort and promotes self-awareness to seek the inner truth. Ketu wants us to search beyond this world and unify with the Supreme.
Taken together, they represent the coiled Serpent or the Kundalini. Rahu being the head represents the pinnacle of kundalini shakti or energy; he constantly strives for the nectar found in it. Ketu represents the base of the spine that enables us to achieve unification with that energy.
The shadow planets are inherently inimical to the Sun and Moon. In Vedic mythology, the Gods (Devatas) and Demons (Asuras) once decided to churn the oceans to gather the Nectar of Immortality or Amrit. The Gods knowing that they would require the help of the Demons, fooled them into believing that they would get the nectar.
Lord Vishnu manifested as the beautiful Mohini Devi and distracted the demons while the Devas took a sip of the Amrit. Amongst them in disguise was Swarbhanu, the master illusionist who had changed his appearance to look like a Devata. Just as he was about to swallow the nectar, the Sun and Moon realized his true identity and swiftly informed Lord Vishnu.
With his Sudarshana Chakra, a powerful weapon, Lord Vishnu cut off Swarbhanu’s head before the Amrit could pass through his throat. The head came to be known as Rahu and the body as Ketu. Because the head (Rahu) had already tasted the nectar, he gained immortality. Rahu and Ketu realized that it was the Sun and Moon who had informed on them and so they became bitter enemies. For this reason, Rahu and Ketu only eclipse the Sun and Moon.
What to expect during this Lunar Eclipse
During this current eclipse, the Moon is conjunct Ketu. The Moon represents the mind and our emotions. It reflects the light of the Sun and helps sustain living beings on Earth. The Moon is the cosmic principle of the divine Mother and represents the nurturing feminine energy. While the Moon receives the light of the Sun and generates feelings of positive emotions, Ketu cuts it.
Moon in Scorpio is debilitated, meaning that it is in a weak sign. This makes it hard for the mind to cope with the energies of the eclipse. However, Moon is placed in the nakshatra Anuradha, ruled by the planet Saturn. And Saturn is positioned well in his own sign, Capricorn.
Lunar eclipses affect us on a mental level. Our emotions get heightened and we can’t seem to find the right outlet for them. We feel uneasy and unsure how to deal with the surge of emotions. The effects are usually felt 45 days before and after the eclipse. When Ketu and Moon are together, Ketu absorbs energy from the universe and experiences it internally in the mind. We tend to become introspective and go deeper into ourselves.
This year, the Lunar eclipse occurs before the Solar making it quite a challenging transit. Usually, when the solar eclipse happens first and then the lunar follows, it is easier to deal with the energies. Why is this so?
A Solar eclipse always happens on a New Moon day and following that, the moon starts its waxing phase. As a result, the moon gets better and better each day and our minds get progressively strengthened. The Solar eclipse affects us more on a physical level rather than mental, and we cope with it by building our stamina and vitality once it passes. We would then be ready for the Lunar eclipse that follows later.
Gradually, both our body and mind improve in the waxing phase of the moon and we tend to feel better when the eclipse season finishes. However, when we have a lunar eclipse first, our minds remain agitated for quite a long time and further complicates it with the waning moon after, making our minds duller and more pessimistic.
Ketu is conjunct the Moon in Scorpio. Scorpio is the karmic sign ruled by Mars (Mangal), the commander-in-chief in the planetary cabinet.
Mars is considered a malefic, a planet that causes great distress. Mangal is the planet of war and deals with anger issues, aggression, impulsivity, impatience, accidents, and enemies. However daunting this may seem, it also represents strength, fearlessness, courage, and willpower. It rules over our energy, blood, muscles, and circulation of life force.
If you look at the chart above, the ascendant falls in the sign of Virgo at the moment the eclipse begins. Virgo is a sign ruled by the planet Mercury. A critical point to be noted here is that just a few minutes before the start of the eclipse, Mercury (Buddh) moves into his own sign of Gemini with Mars already stationed there.
Mars and Mercury are considered enemies to each other. The reason is because they are fundamentally different in their energies. Mercury is intelligence and intellectual thought. He deals with things related to communication, logical thinking, and quick decision making. Whereas, Mars simply wants to execute strategies and take action just like a soldier, rather than sit with thoughts and express with words.
Together these planets could indicate a stressful and frustrating situation where we are unable to express how we feel, or we end up doing so in the wrong manner because of Mars’ warrior-like approach.
Fortunately, Jupiter casts his positive energies to the sign of Gemini. Jupiter is the Guru or the divine teacher. He represents knowledge, fortune, wealth, luck, grace of the divine and abundance.
This transit is complicated further since Jupiter sits in the nakshatra (star) Shatabhisak, which is ruled by Rahu. Rahu is exalted in the sign of Taurus, where he is positioned with Sun and Venus. This means that Jupiter is partly controlled by the energies of Rahu.
Venus represents wealth, luxuries, relationships, beauty, vehicles and creative arts. Venus rules the sign of Taurus and is comfortable in it. Rahu’s energies are similar to that of Venus when it comes to creative energy, passion and attraction. But it can also bring a lot of dissatisfaction as there is no limit to materiality or pleasure. We keep wanting more and more. Venus being conjunct Rahu and Sun causes issues in romantic relationships and business partnerships. We need to be aware that we must reconcile issues with other people with calm reflection.
During this eclipse we need to pay attention to our emotions and how we feel about them. The conjunction of Moon-Ketu in Scorpio makes us introspective. Therefore, it is very important that we use introspectiveness for deep meditative practices and mantra chanting. This will help elevate the mind and bring positive spiritual growth.
World predictions at a glance
Whenever there is a Solar or Lunar eclipse, it is an indication that there is something that is being conceived in the universe. The effects are felt on the other planets and on Earth, thereby affecting all living beings. It affects all areas of life, from politics, economy, finances to health and wellbeing.
The two planets, Mars and Mercury are conjunct in the 10th house of government, authority figures, and bosses. Mars being here aspects the 1st house of self, 4th house of home and 5th house of children. Saturn is retrograde and is placed in the 5th house of Capricorn. Mars and Mercury are positioned in the 8th house from the Moon as the ascendant.
With Virgo as the ascendant, Jupiter is placed in the 6th house of health, obstacles, and litigations. From here, it aspects the 10th house where Mars and Mercury are placed. The movement of Mercury into the sign of Gemini minutes before the eclipse is quite significant. It moves away from the grip of Rahu-Ketu axis where the eclipse is happening, and conjoins with Mars, the planet of war and receives the aspect of 6th house Jupiter.
With the start of monsoon in the Indian subcontinental region at the time of conceiving of the eclipse, we except large cloud bursts, heavy rainfalls, lightening, and floods in increasing levels. There will be earthquakes and a big Tsunami could take place in the near future. There is going to be major climatic changes felt in various parts of the world.
Politics & Economy
There will be shifts in the financial markets with a big fall, impacting us all on a global scale. The world is approaching a global war. There is going to be religious violence. This is a time when world leaders need to be extremely cautious. We predict that a very powerful, senior world leader’s life is at stake and could indicate his/her death. We will witness major political shifts and mindset of the populations at large will change.
Much of the Arab world will be affected and this is not a good time for China and Pakistan. With the Solar eclipse taking place on June 10 next month, conditions will remain the same and some countries will be divided in many parts of the world. This will have to be watched very closely. The effects are felt 45 days before and after the eclipses.
The Indian Government’s handling of the Farmer’s protests will be liberal, and the agitations will settle, coming to a final close. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s image and position will improve as he takes important decisions regarding policies around vaccinations. There will be introduction of new policies garnered towards the growth of the country. We expect that following June 20, when Jupiter goes retrograde, COVID cases will start to diminish and India’s image will improve, gaining momentum for a fresh start.
Paramilitary forces, army and medical health professionals will be in high demand and have increasing responsibilities. This eclipse will not be good for the younger generation. The eclipse indicate that lungs and liver will be affected in children and young adults. With resurgence of COVID cases in India this year, it is likely that this is a fresh attack of the COVID virus. This is not COVID-19. This is COVID-21.
What we can do to protect ourselves
During this time, it may be beneficial to give rice, milk or yogurt to those who don’t have food, since Moon represents nutrition and Ketu is malnourishment. Help others during this pandemic and contribute to society. Make your minds strong and know that this difficult time will pass. It is important that we come together as a community of people and pray collectively for the benefit of all living beings.
Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu
May all living beings in the universe be happy
It is also advised that we meditate as much as possible and chant Maha Mrityunjay mantra, Gayatri mantra, Ganga Sahasranama, Hanuman Chalisa and the Vishnu mantra — Om Namo Naaraayan Namaha.
Chairman, The Astrologers Trust of India
Rohini Lakshmi Iyengar
Head of Astrological Research, The Astrologers Trust of India