Full moon in Purva Bhadrapada

This month, on September 10, our fully illuminated moon will be residing in the lunar mansion of Purva Bhadrapada. Here, it will eat and drink the special food this Nakshatra has to give, strengthening itself for the upcoming descend into darkness. 

In each of these mansions, the moon, Chandra, stays for a day to nourish itself with its particular energies, which it will pass on to us. 

When the moon is full, so is our mind. Our body, our hormonal activities, our emotions, our nervous activity, all of it is at its height, filled with the energies of the Nakshatra flavoured moon. 

Since two weeks, we have been building up this energy, we have been nourished and sustained by the growing light of consciousness in us. 

This current moon‘s journey began in Magha Nakshatra, the Nakshatra of our ancestors. Since then, its themes have been building up, bringing the blessings (or sometimes curses) of our ancestors. Its message was to let go. 

Now, this message is coming to a peak. 

Purva Bhadrapada means „the former one with the lucky feet“, pointing toward the first stages of a final path of liberation, the early stages of success, a lucky, enthusiastic time. Its ruler, Jupiter, gives it a righteous, spiritual and generous attitude, full of light and wisdom.

It‘s symbol is the front view of a funeral bed. This points to the beginning of a great transformation, the death of something we have outgrown. We have to face the funeral bed now, strip ourselves of our shed skin and burn it on the pyre, so that we can grow a new, bigger, more comfortable one. So that we can rise like a Phoenix from our own ashes. 

The 27 Nakshatras form the path, through which our soul has to journey, from its birth, to its liberation. Each cycle begins with Ashwini and ends with Revati. After Purva Bhadrapada, there are only two more to go, to end the current chapter of our evolution. 

However, it isn‘t always easy. All of the knowledge we have gathered so far, has to be applied. Knowing that we need to let go of something isn‘t enough, we have to actually feel the pain of loss, we have to experience what it feels like to be vulnerable and alone. Only when we have truly lived something, do we have its true knowledge. Under the influence of Purva Bhadrapada (especially for those with a birth moon in PB), we need to experience things deeply, even if it destroys us. In our youth, that may be drugs, excessive sex, food, and everything addictive. We may throw ourselves so deeply into life, that, at times, we seem to get caught in its quick sand or bog, and it pulls us down so deep we cannot breathe anymore. But these are the very experiences that offer us the key to spiritual transformation. They make us burn alive, so that we can rise again, new and shiny and pure. 

The special gift of Purva Bhadrapada is that it gives us true, experienced knowledge. Its curse is that these experiences may be dark, dangerous or addictive. The path to liberation is not quite finished yet. If the mind is still goverened by its Ego, we may fall again. But also this is a lived experienced, necessary for the evolution of our soul. It is a double edged sword – another symbol assigned to Purva Bhadrapada.

The deity connected with this nakshatra is Aja Ekapada (a one-footed goat), a form of Shiva – the howling Rudra – who mornes the loss of his lover to a sacrificial fire. Goats have, in anciet history been used as sacrificial animals for that reason – it represents the Ego. The stubborn, horned Ego whose head must be chopped off (symbolically of course). Only when we can let go of our Ego, can we be free. 

In India, monkeys are sometimes caught in the wild by a method that describes this situation perfectly: 

A banana is inserted into a bottle. When the monkey reaches its hand inside to pull the banana out, it gets stuck. Then, the hunter can come and throw a cloth over the monkey. But the monkey has time enough to let go of the banana and pull out the hand. If it did so, it would be able to run away, liberating itself. It only has to let go. But it doesn‘t. And we are the same. All we need to do to reach freedom, health and happiness is to let go of the past, let go of our addictions, our bad habbits, our toxic relationships, our battles, the need to win, to be right, to be rich, beautiful, etc.. All we need to do is to let go. Then, we will be free. 

There is however a special boon for this Nakshatra:

Those who know the power of sacrifice, will be uplifted. 

Sacrifice is the conscious, fully aware, ritualised performing of an act of letting go. 

On the day of the full moon, on Saturday the 10th September, this would be a particularly great thing to do. 

There are many, many ways in which we can perform a ritualised sacrifice (no, none of them include the killing of any living being!). 

There are fire ceremonies and shamanic rituals, pagan or other religious ceremonies. But it doesn‘t have to be elaborate. 

A very simple form of ritualised letting go is to gather some pebbles and hold them with you for a while. Carry them with you until the full moon. Then, sit in meditation. Reflect on what it is that you need to let go of. What kind of symbolic banana are you holding? Hold the stone as if it were that thing. 

Blow on the stone. Blow your whole ego, your fears, your worries, onto that stone. Acknowledge it all. Accept that it is there. Hold it tightly in your hands. Welcome it as a part of your previous journey. And then let it go. Through it into a river, if you can. Or a lake or, even better, the ocean. Let the water take it and wash it clean. Feel the process of letting go in you. 

Then, sit again in meditation. Reflect on the feeling of freedom. Even if you are not quite there yet, imagine how it would feel like to be free of that grasping on to your Ego mind. Imagine, the wonderful lightness of your soul, the joy in your heart. Imagine it as well as you can, so you know what lies beyond that next step. 

Doing these kind of rituals may feel odd for some of you, if you have never done it before. But it is no less odd than running on a treadmill to build stamina and condition, lifting weights to become strong. Or drilling vocabulary to memorise a new language. It is a practice of the mind. In doing so, we are teaching ourselves. We are literally rehearsing the process of letting go. We are showing our heart what freedom could feel like. If we do this regularly, as with all practice, we will build that muscle. And then, when we really need to let go of something, it won‘t be so difficult because we know that there is the wonderful joy of liberation that comes afterward. 

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