The lunar cycle is reaching its dark finale with the celebration of the Shiva Moon Night: Maha Shivarati.  The thin sliver of a moon will be seen rising right before sunrise after the evening of February 17th (16th in the Americas). Because it is highly conducive for prayer and meditation, Lord Shiva prefers this phase of moon over all others.  He is often depicted wearing it tied up in his matted locks.    This will be the most auspicious evening of the year to honor Lord Shiva Mahadeva, the “greatest of gods.”   Fasting, ritual offerings, visiting of temples, and chanting of mantras are performed throughout the night.

In Vedic Astrology, Shiva is connected to the planet Saturn and Maha Shivaratri is always celebrated in the time of year when the sun passes through Saturn ruled Capricorn and Aquarius.  When the moon is in it is final waning phase (just before it reaches new) it also passes under Saturn’s rulership.  Saturn’s glyph (the sickle) resembles this thin sliver of moon, the auspicious Great Shiva Moon.

The moon certainly is one of our most important natural markers of time, marking the tides and the days of the month with regularity.  Kronos or Father Time (another name for Saturn) is often pictured holding the finite sands of time as they fall through an hourglass.   Father Time’s hourglass uncannily resembles the shape of Shiva’s drum, the dhamaru, as it marks time for Shiva’s dance of creation and destruction.


Appropriately, this new moon will reach its dark climax in the nakshatra of Shiva’s celestial drum, Dhanishta, at about 3:30 pm PST on February 18th.   

Composed of four stars located in the constellation of Delphinis, Dhanishta is said to give deep perception and spiritual understanding. The sound of the dhamaru is the primordial nada, the ethereal origin of all creation.  Words and tone have the ability to transmit mood and emotion, like in music. However, they can also transmit deeper transformational forces, such as the sacred vibration of mantra.

 Since the deities of Dhanishta, the eight Vasu-Devas, rule over the earth, sky and all the elements, words we speak aloud at this time can strongly influence the material world.  This is a great time to make positive affirmations with music and poetry and to say mantra.  It’s as if the music of the spheres is attuned to echo our prayers in sympathy.

Singing and praying to Lord Shiva during Shivarati and this new moon can bestow great material boons.  But remember, the greatest lesson of Shiva and Shani is to liberate us from the egotistical attachments and miseries of the material world. Saturn shows us the inevitably temporary nature of our earthly experience, but Shiva gives a calm, centered mind and freedom from our karmic attachments. 

Chant and listen to the mantra, “Om Namah Shivaya.”



Be cautious in your relating to the opposite gender through next weekend.  Dhanishta is known to cause relationship troubles, and to top it off the following weekend (21st-22nd) there will be a planetary war between Venus and Mars.   The two planets may be seen at sunset lying less than a degree from one another.  Although it may seem like a favorable alignment for relationship in some ways, planetary war is simply too close for comfort.   Relationships may be destabilized and a feeling of resentment, or even deep alienation, can come up between genders.  Venus will be exalted and the two of them will also have an aspect from their exalted ruler, Jupiter in watery cancer. This will heighten the emotional and spiritual possibilities.   It might be better to spend this weekend doing inner work, rather then trying to iron out the imperfections in romantic relationships. Our feelings could get exaggerated and we might push each other too far.  Try not to play the martyr if you are feeling jilted.