Leo Solar Eclipse August 2017

The Leo solar eclipse on August 21st is going to offer all of us the opportunity to reset our mind, bodies and souls. As the Sun, Moon and Earth all align for the Eclipse, it will be like the hands of a cosmic clock coming together to chime as one, signifying the starting of a new cycle.

While this Solar Eclipse may bring changes and new opportunities into your life, the most potent and profound effects are going to be felt on an internal level. With this cosmic reset, a doorway to a new level of consciousness is going to open.

A new frequency will be available to all of us on Earth and this will help all beings on the planet to rise up together and feel a sense of unity, oneness and wholeness.

Ritual on Brackaville Golf Course during the ’99 eclipse
Of course, you have to welcome this energy into your life in order to receive and feel it, but it is going to have a lasting impact that we will all see unfolding over the coming months.

The effects of this Solar Eclipse will be felt most strongly until September 7th 2017, however it will continue to work its magic until the next Eclipse cycle in February 2018.

Time/Day of Peak of the Solar Eclipse:

Los Angeles- August 21 at 11.25 am

New York- August 21 at 2:25 pm

London- August 21 at 7.25pm

New Delhi- August 21 at 11.55pm

Sydney- August 22 at 4.25 am

Many people are beginning to feel the intense enegies of the solar eclipse. Now is an important time to smudge, practice staying present and grounded. You can also perform a solar eclipse ritual with smudging ceremony. This will help keep you from getting caught up in all these heavy energies.

Happy new moon.

Namaste!

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Happy World Photography Day 2017

Today, August 19th, is officially World Photography Day and a chance to pay homage to the history of the art form and also to look forward to the future of the medium. World Photography Day originates from the invention of the daguerreotype, a photographic process developed by Joseph Nicèphore Nièpce and Louis Daguerre. On January 9, 1839 The French Academy of Sciences announced the daguerreotype process and a few months later, on August 19, 1839, the French government announced the invention as a gift “Free to the World”.

The earliest surviving photo we have is a heliographic image (created by Nicéphore Niépce in 1826 or 1827) which shows a view from a window at Le Gras at Saint-Loup-de-Varennes, France. Fast forward to now and still we are taking pictures, looking at the outside world from our windows but with the hand held ability to make panoramic visions, 360 degree vistas and click button augmented retouching.

View from the Window at Le Gras

In the 1830’s and 40’s the invention of photography revolutionised culture and communication in the West forever. For the first time, images of ‘real’ life could be captured for posterity and shared globally, something we take for granted now, in our instant share and like, world of social media. Portraits of royalty and other celebrities (far more accurate than paintings) allowed members of the public to feel they were viewing these people ‘in the flesh’. The dead could be remembered, and our obsession with voyeuristic intrusion is even stronger today.

British inventor Fox Talbot produced his first successful photographic images in 1834, without a camera, by placing objects onto paper brushed with light-sensitive silver chloride, which he then exposed to sunlight. By 1840, Talbot had succeeded in producing photogenic drawings in a camera, with short exposures yielding an invisible or ‘latent’ image that could be developed to produce a usable negative. Talbot’s negative-positive process formed the basis of almost all photography on paper up to the digital age.

Step forward almost a century of experimentation and the first digital photograph was taken in 1957; almost 20 years before Kodak’s engineer invented the first digital camera. The photo is a digital scan of a shot initially taken on film. The picture depicts Russell Kirsch’s son and has a resolution of 176×176 – a square photograph.

Russell Kirsch son

Trout pout, duck face, hot dogs legs  – all neologisms created in our social media world,  but it was actually Robert Cornelius in 1839 that created the first “Selfie” . The photographic self-portrait was surprisingly common in the early days of photography exploration because it was convenient for the photographer to act as model as well. An amateur chemist and photography enthusiast from Philadelphia, Cornelius had set his camera up at the back of the family store. He took the image by removing the lens cap and then he ran into frame, where he sat for a minute before covering up the lens again. You thought the selfie stick was a new thing  – people have been creating home-made versions of this since 1925. A device that could be considered an extendable selfie stick appeared in the 1969 Czechoslovak sci-fi film I Killed Einstein, Gentlemen, where one character holds a silver stick in front of herself and another character, smiles at the end of the stick as it produces a camera flash, and immediately unfurls a printed photograph of the pair from the stick’s handle.

Today, we can share images across the world in seconds. Photography has revolutionized the way we see the world. All this is possible only because of the invention of the camera. Today, is the day that we celebrate the invention of the camera and the tremendous impact this scientific invention that captures light has had on mankind.

So whether you like fashion, aerial, landscape, macro, underwater, paparazzi – the origins of photography are worth understanding, but also that those pre-millennial pioneers – if around today would be fascinated by our continued passion in viewing and creating photographs and how, in the spirit of Daguerre, a medium to be shared as a free gift to the world and record history in unprecedented detail.

Capricorn Full Moon: July 2017

July is the month of the Full Buck Moon. At this time, a Buck’s antlers are in growth mode. This full moon was also known as the Thunder Moon because thunderstorms are so frequent during this month.

I’m still trying to figure out what happened to June. I couldn’t write about last full moon because I was wandering in the Himalayan mountain range for more than two weeks during and after full moon. The reason behind that is a tarot card I pulled during the last full moon at La Luna Gathering. (I will soon post some pictures write more about it.)

Life is happening, but I often find myself stopping to check in:

Am I spending my time on the right things?Am I making sure to take time to something for myself? Am I listening to what my body needs?

As soon as the Sun slipped into Cancer back on June 21, I felt a profound shift. I was pulled out of the busy, agile energy of Gemini and dropped straight into Cancer’s womb. “Stay here,” it said. “Let yourself rest a little.”

Ever since, I’ve been taking extra-long breaks from my schedule. Cancer season has always been like this for me. For years I’ve struggled to keep my routine. I feel slower. Quieter. My dreams intensify.

I can’t fight it, so I do my best not to. (Though, as a fire sign, it’s not always easy. Relaxing is not really part of my roster.) But Cancer nurtures. It comforts. It awakens us to the feelings that we’ve been neglecting. It cradles us in order to slow us down and help us to see what we’ve been neglecting for too long.

Mars, the warrior, is still in Cancer. The planet that helps us access our drive and willpower is softening, too.

It’s time to breathe a little. I’ve been thinking a lot about how this all plays into the Capricorn Full Moon on Sunday. Capricorn is ambitious and industrious. I’ve often joked that if you want to get something done…ask your Capricorn friends to help. It can be a highly spiritual sign that feels connected to a mission. Capricorn must accomplish. But accomplishment often requires rigidity. Ruled by Saturn, Capricorn creates structure and boundaries. It likes schedules and routines. It likes to know what to expect. It operates for results and efficiency.

How does this energy work within Cancer’s gentle nature? Full Moon energy can be illuminating. It can also offer a powerful opening through which you can give something back to the universe.

And when I think about this upcoming Full Moon, which arrives at 09:36am IST (check your local time to find out when it’s full for you) on Sunday, July 9, everything in my body whispers, “Release.” 

I don’t know about you, but I have been especially sensitive lately to the things I take no pleasure in. I also am starting to really resent the amount of screen time that has crept into my life. Sure, many of us have spent years now staring into our smartphones and computers. But as Cancer season urges me to wind down, I feel an extra dose of resentment when I find myself reaching for my phone to check in, or to scroll through Instagram or Facebook even when I don’t particularly want to, and especially when I don’t need to.

What am I looking for? What am I expecting to find? I have no idea. Don’t get me wrong: I love the connectivity that technology gives us. I love that I can meet you and talk to you in so many different ways. 

I am a productive hippie. I live to make things happen. But I also know about burnout. And I know that the pace in which many of us live is not sustainable. We cannot always be on. We cannot always be productive. We cannot always be the same. We cannot, and we should not.

The pace of the world is frenetic, but it’s not always in alignment with our seasons, or our souls. We constantly move through ebbs and flows, but live under expectations where things must be automated, perfected, and monetized.

Capricorn has a tendency to put the pressure on, to push towards the finish line. And sometimes, that extra push is exactly what we need. But does it feel right for you at this time? Do you need to push, or pull back?

Pay attention to your resentments this week. Pay attention to what you want to say no to – and what you know you need to stop doing. Even if it’s just to take a break. Or to clear your head. Or to shove a distraction out of the way.

This Full Moon in Capricorn offers an opportunity to release any tendencies you have to hustle too hard. It offers an opportunity to let go of anything that eats at your energy and depletes your efficiency. It asks you to examine any unnecessary pressure you put on yourself to perform or compete at levels that are feeling unhealthy for you.

Look at whether you have a tendency to over-extend yourself, and whether there are lessons you still need to learn about why it’s become a pattern. Practice saying no so that you can say yes to something else.  

Look, too, at responsibilities or situations that are putting pressure on in ways that don’t feel right for you anymore. If it’s making you sick or keeping you stuck, set an intention to let it go. You don’t have to know how or when it will happen, or what will come next. Just let the universe know you’re ready for change.

Use this Full Moon to release any shame or judgment that you might put on yourself for wanting to take a break, to ease up, to rest, to experience life differently.

It is also the element of water, which is Cancer. Capricorn is earth. We need water to nurture the soil.

Keep that in mind as you pay attention to what you need leading up to this weekend’s Full Moon. Whatever you release, whatever steps you take to give yourself a break, will only help you to grow down the road.

Soak up the inspiration, and let it allow you to grow, just like the flowers and trees grow after a thunderstorm. It won’t take anything away from your progress or your path because it will help make you stronger, better, and clearer.

You can transcend your own challenging emotions and behavior through meditation and self analysis to understand your own feelings.

As we go through these energetic shifts, we are going to feel like we are being pulled in million different directions. I know, it’s a lot to handle. But if we remember to make practical and rational decisions then we will come out on top of this powerful phase.

If it helps, here’s a mantra to work with for the month ahead:

Self-care is the path to success. Ask these question to yourself.

1. Where do I have to be easier on myself at this time?  
2. What can I release in order to create more flow in my life? 
3. Where am I putting too much pressure on myself? 
4. What can I stop doing altogether?

This full moon is a time of incredible opportunity, filled with positive energy, if you use it correctly. But like most things, it depends on your energy and intent. 

This full moon can either help you tremendously, or it can wreak havoc on your emotions.

Since the full moon pours an intense amount of energy down upon us, we must be in a calm state of mind to receive it’s positive effects.

Remember, whatever is going on in your body, mind and spirit will be amplified and increased.

And while we’re on the topic of downtime… I will be taking some time off this monsoon. I might not write regularly but I think I will be able to take out some time to write about my recent trip to Himalayas.

Till then, Namaste.

Happy Summer Solstice

Today, June 21, is the Summer Solstice also known as Litha. It is the longest day of the year, it won’t get dark until very late into the night, there will be at least 15/16 hours of daylight. Litha means a stopping or standing still of the sun, in Latin Solstice means ‘Sun Still’ it is one of the 8 Pagan solar holidays throughout the year called a Sabbat.
This is a day of celebrations, the Goddess is heavily pregnant with the harvest to come. The Lord of light The Oak King is at the height of his power. But this is also a day of sadness because today the Sun God The Oak King (God of the waxing Sun) battles with the Lord Of Darkness (God of the waning Sun) The Holly King and the Holly King will win and start to take over the skies. After today the Sun slowly starts to loose it’s strength, the days will get shorter and the nights longer, as we look to Autumn and Winter. The Oak King (The Lord Of Light) is born on Yule (the Winter Solstice) and he shines so brightly for 6 months of the year but this weakens him. The Holly King (The Lord Of Darkness) lays in wait until Litha when the Oak King uses his last ounce of strength to make sure the earth has enough power for the harvest to come. The Oak King (The Lord Of Light) will slowly descends into the underworld his journey will not be complete until Samhain (Halloween) When the Holly King (The Lord Of Darkness) will take over the skies. 

In ancient times, the Summer Solstice was a fire festival of great importance when the burning of balefires ritually strengthened the sun. It was often marked with torchlight processions, by flaming tar barrels or by wheels bound with straw, which were set alight and rolled down steep hillsides. The Norse especially loved lengthy processions and would gather together their animals, families and light torches and parade through the towns and villages blessing people with prosperity and fertility.

The use of fires, as well as providing magical aid to the sun, were also used to drive out evil and to bring fertility and prosperity to men, crops and herds. Blazing gorse or furze was carried around cattle to prevent disease and misfortune, while people would dance around the balefires or leap through the flames as a purifying or strengthening rite. The Celts would light balefires all over their lands from sunset the night before Midsummer until sunset the next day. Around these flames the festivities would take place.

Litha is a time of light, purification and of healing. Its a time to reflect on the light and dark that are both within each of us and within the world around us. It is a time to appreciate everything we have in our lives and to give thanks for it, to appreciate nature and all that it gives us.

Pick some flowers and put them on your altar to honour the season and to offer them to the Sun God and the Goddess and thank them for their sacrifices. Oak leaves and branches will honour the Oak King. Adorn your altar with fruit and anything gold, yellow or shiny to honour the Sun. Build a bonfire or a small fire or light a candle. A fire lit on Litha is said to be very powerful and magical. 

“Write down your hopes dreams and burn them in the fire, to do this on Litha night will bring you your desire”

This is the height of summer it is one of the most celebratory days of the year, enjoy it, have family round for dinner, invite friends and party, go for long walks and appreciate the beauty of the Summer and nature, dance and be merry. 

Have a Blessed Summer Solstice. 

Namaste.

Full Worm Moon: Rebirth from the dark

The full moon this month preludes the coming of spring in the northern hemisphere and the end of summer in the southern hemisphere. It is a time of shift and the energies are high. Officially occurring at 8:24 PM IST on March 12, 2017, the Crow Moon foretells an exciting and powerful time of change. This final winter full moon represents nature’s inevitable rebirth from the dark into the bright months of spring. Recent inner turmoil may have led to energy depletion, but this can be overcome by embracing the balancing power of this full moon. This full moon also brings a strong urge for personal freedom. A fresh start may be on the horizon. The possibilities for amazing adventures and positive transformations are endless.

March is the month where the ground begins to thaw and spring begins to unfold. Life begins to sprout again. The birds return to their nesting areas and loudly claim their territory. Crows chase away the hawks and flashy red-wing blackbirds stake their claims. As the ground thaws the earthworms begin to burst through the surface. The robins and other birds return because of the buffet rather than the weather. The full moon in March is also named the Full Worm Moon for the return of earthworms.

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In North America, native peoples gave names to the moons to indicate what to expect in that month. The March full moon is called the Full Crow Moon because of the crows gathering to welcome spring. We hear their cawing and are reminded of the continuous transformation of life. Crow is a symbol of the magic and mystery of life which unfolds again at this time of year. Of course readers in the Southern hemisphere may be having the opposite experience and prepare for winter. As the earth shifts it balances.

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The March full moon is also called the Full Crust Moon, to signify when the snow gets crusty because it thaws in the day and refreezes at night. It is also called the Full Sap Moon, to identify the time that sap begins to run from the trees and the Maple Sugar Moon for the delicious product made from the life-giving sap of Maple trees. As the ground thaws and the trees come back to life, maple sap flows like a river. Every year the sweetness of life returns.

In the Southern Hemisphere this month’s full moon is called the Harvest Moon or Corn Moon and represents the abundance of life. The growing season is coming to closure and it is time to reap the rewards.

In China this lunar month is called the Sleepy Moon. As the days begin to get longer, people tend to need more sleep. This month, honor the requirements of your body and rest when you feel like it. You will get more done when you are fresh and revitalized.

In India and Nepal, People celebrate this full moon as Holi. It is a Hindu spring festival, also known as the “festival of colours” or the “festival of love”. The festival signifies the victory of good over evil, the arrival of spring, end of winter, and for many a festive day to meet others, play and laugh, forget and forgive, and repair broken relationships, and is also celebrated as a thanksgiving for a good harvest. It lasts for two days starting on the Purnima (Full Moon day) falling in the Bikram Sambat Hindu Calendar month of Falgun, which falls somewhere between the end of February and the middle of March in the Gregorian calendar. The first day is known as Holika Dahan or Chhoti Holi and the second as Rangwali Holi, Dhuleti, Dhulandi or Dhulivandan.

Holi is an ancient Hindu religious festival which has become popular with non-Hindus in many parts of South Asia, as well as people of other communities outside Asia. It is celebrated at the approach of the spring equinox, on the Phalguna Purnima (Full Moon). The festival date, which is determined by the Hindu calendar, varies from year to year on the Gregorian calendar, typically coming in March, sometimes in February. It is primarily observed in India, Nepal, and their diaspora in other regions of the world. In recent years the festival has spread to parts of Europe and North America as a spring celebration of love, frolic, and colors.

Next full moon commences on April 11.

Namaste!

With love from India.

A Call for Wetlands Protection

Today, February 2nd is World Wetlands Day. World Wetland Day marks the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands on 2 February 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar on the shores of the Caspian Sea. Each year since 1997, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and groups of citizens at all levels of the community have participated in this day. The focus is in raising public awareness of wetland values and their benefits.

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Thol Lake, Ahmedabad, Gujarat

What are wetlands?

Wetlands are a core part of a Living Landscape – the lives of animals, plants and people depend on their health. Wetlands provide food, water, transport networks, help reduce the impacts of extreme weather events and are places of beauty and inspiration. Wetlands are the link between land and water, and are some of the most productive ecosystems in the world.

To be called a wetland, an area must be filled or soaked with water at least part of the year. The term wetlands is used to define a variety of habitats that include water bodies such as rivers and streams, canals, lakes and ponds, but also habitats that are characterised by permanent or temporarily wet soils. These wet soils, including peatlands, support bogs, fens, swamps, reedbeds, marshes, floodplain meadows and wet woodland. Wetlands also include estuaries and coastal waters. In some wetland habitats water is static, in others it is flowing; some support freshwater, others support brackish or salty waters. These different characteristics support very different and often specially adapted plant and animal species. Wetlands are so dynamic and responsive and because the species they support are sensitive to change, their condition is a good indication of the overall state of our natural environment. One of the key factors that shapes a wetland habitat or a wetland ecosystem is the extent to which these diverse wetlands are connected to each other.

As wetlands are continuously threatened by human activities, this is a day to spread awareness on the importance of wetlands and call on more people to join hands in protecting wetlands.

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Polo Forest, North Gujarat

Why protect Wetlands?

  •  Wetlands function like a sponge, soaking up water that comes in with the tides, or from periodically flooding rivers. In fact, they control floods much more effectively and efficiently than any flood wall.
  • Wetlands are Carbon Sink. Because the soils found in wetlands can store carbon for hundreds of years, they play an important role in fighting climate change.
  • Aids in Sea Level Rise Mitigation. As global warming increases and sea levels rise, wetlands are the first barrier to protecting people living closer the sea and within flood zone area.
  • Recreation and Tourism. Spanning from bird watching, biking, hiking, and kayaking, wetlands provide people with many ways to enjoy nature. In India, we receive migratory birds at our estuaries and wetlands.
  • Wildlife Nursery. Because of its unique location between water and land, salt and freshwater, wetlands shelter a wide range of vulnerable species while serving as a breeding site for many organisms. Without wetlands, a huge number of songbirds, waterfowl, shellfish, and other mammals just wouldn’t exist.
  • Fertile Farm Land. The staple diet of half the world’s population is rice, which grows in wetlands in many parts of the world.

There is an urgent need to restore our wetlands and to help some of our most enigmatic species return and thrive across our wetland landscapes. Biodiversity conservation is a major driver for change across river catchments. It benefits communities and businesses as well as the special species and places that our rivers and streams support. Working with nature can help reduce flood risk and help us cope with drought conditions. But action on the ground to protect and enhance wetlands must be supplemented by more sustainable use of water for both domestic and business purposes and supported by a clear understanding of the wider value to society of wetland habitats. There are many more benefits of wetland that cannot be mentioned. As we celebrate Wetlands today, I call on all global citizens to advocate for the protection of wetlands.

Happy World Wetlands Day to everyone who works to protect global wetlands.

Namaste!

FULL WOLF MOON: Return of the Light

The full moon of January 12, 2017 (17:03 IST) will deliver a powerful shot of positive energy, sparking fresh ideas and turning them into reality. If you’ve been frustrated by the slow pace of creation, take heart, because the momentum is about to pick up. Aided by Mercury’s going direct on January 8, this full moon has the potential to boost personal fortunes and increase prosperity. It’s a fertile period marked by rapid connectivity, so be sure to carve out your vision. then watch as it unfolds in record time.

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PUNARVASU – the twin stars in the constellation of Gemini, Castor and Pollux.

Falling in the area of the sky known as Punarvasu, which means “return of the light,” this full moon brings a much-needed dose of hope and renewal. The ancient fertility goddess Aditi, considered the Vedic mother of creation, is said to reside in Punarvasu. Her name translates as “boundless,” and she represents the field of infinite possibility.

goddess-aditi-picture

As the mother of Vishnu, the Hindu creator god, the goddess Aditi is the creator of her own creator. Her regenerative power recalls how all of creation is constantly repeating itself, like the fractal patterns that appear throughout nature.

The moon’s positive force also provides an important counterbalance to the seismic shifts underway right now. The world as we know it is being shaken up and rearranged, causing uncertainty and instability that could sink us, if we give in to fear. Stay in the present, keep breathing, and you’ll find that you can rise above the chaos.

On a personal level, this munificent full moon can encourage the improvement of diet and exercise regimes. It also supports positive communication in relationships and constructive agreements in business. Venus will merge with spiritually-potent Neptune on the day of the full moon, allowing hearts to open and connections to deepen. Visual art and music may also provide exceptional inspiration around this time.

Take heed, though, because while January’s full moon will jump-start the creation process, it may also increase nervous tension and bring about a tendency to over-think things. Since the beginning of the month, Venus and Mars—the feminine and masculine polarities—have been riding the tail of the shadow serpent known as ketu. This has put increased pressure on relationships, and may also have caused economic stresses or unforeseen troubles with vehicles.

On a broader level, the full moon in Punarvasu has the power to inspire community action and innovative plans for the future. This is an ideal time to consider how you might become more involved in social and environmental causes you care about, for example, volunteering at an animal shelter, or writing to your congressperson about climate change.

On this full moon in Punarvasu, set your intentions, be clear about your goals, and let the universe take care of the details.

Namaste!