The full moon of devotion, service and transformation
On May 18th, 2019 will experience the full Moon in Scorpio, in the Nakshatra of Anuradha. This is where the moon is in its debilitated state, where the emotions are triggered and we are prone to darkness, paranoia, jealousy and other negative emotions.
We can certainly see this in the world these days, right? There’s a lot of fear and uncertainty throughout the world. Whether it’s in the Middle East, Europe, Asia or the United States, it seems all peoples around the world are nervous about the possibilities of war, economic uncertainty, natural catastrophes and extreme weather, etc.
In times like this, it is most important to turn our mind toward that which is eternal and deeper than just trying to live a happy life. When we do this, a few things happen. First, there is gratitude for all the blessings we have. Having access to food, clean water, nature’s beauty, not to mention friends and family should not be overlooked or forgotten. This gratitude leads to “presence”. All spiritual traditions focus on bringing us into the present, connecting to the breath, the body, the moment, and eventually the heart.
When I say “the heart” I don’t mean the emotions. I mean the pure love and feeling in the heart that is much deeper than the surface triggering and darkness that can overtake us.
As I said, this full Moon in Scorpio brings a lot of potentials for these darker emotions to overwhelm and trigger us. You would think this greater potential for darkness would be “a bad thing”. But actually it’s not, it’s actually greater potential for light as well. This is the secret of Scorpio energy.
In many ways, Scorpio is just “emotional volume” or the less flattering “emotional drama”. This intensity (a very overused Scorpio adjective) creates an enormous opportunity for uplifting and positive emotions as well as the negative ones. But the thing about the mind is we must be intentional to transform and uplift emotions or they will always drag us into some form of attachment, which leads to pain and suffering.
The Scorpio lesson cranks up the emotional volume, makes us aware of our lack of emotional control/self-control, then leaves us susceptible to being triggered into blaming others for our lack of strength, etc. Instead, we need to develop those higher virtues of Scorpio which is the emotional courage to be vulnerable to transform that darkness into light and to ultimately connect to devotion and pure love.
This full moon is in Anuradha, perhaps the most devotional Nakshatra in the sky. It is related to Lord Krishna’s great devotee, Radha. The deity of this Nakshatra is Mitra, God as the divine friend. It shows a beautiful contrast to the typical passion and “lilas” we hear of with Lord Krishna and the gopi’s (his female devotees who tended the cows of Vrindavan).
Most all of the gopi’s fantasized that Lord Krishna was their lover, their husband, etc. They were always in competition with each other, undercutting each other, playing games to try to get the Lord’s attention, and essentially not putting into practice what he was teaching them. Because of their passion, emotion, and attachment, they were always seduced by Lord Krishna’s form, the beautiful music of his flute, and ultimately their fantasies about this world and their attachment to its forms.
But Radha was different. For the most part, she did not have as much of the possessive attachment to Lord Krishna in this way. Instead, she always remained humble, thankful, grateful and was ultimately his most cherished devotee. Whereas other gopis would trick each other, Radha would not. Even if it meant she had to give up her place next to Krishna, or not pleasing him with the least tasty plate of food or some other offering. If it meant that she had to undercut her sisters, she would not, even though she suffered as much as they did, worrying that Krishna would feel her devotion to be less than perfect. The stories of Krishna and the gopi’s are so beautiful and are great to ponder on this full moon.
This is a great metaphor for all of our friendships and relationships. Be honest, notice how much better you treat your friends then your lovers. With our friends we are supportive. They can talk to us about anything without our harshness or judgments. We don’t demand anything of them usually. Then think about how we treat our lovers, demands, guilt trips, pressures, insincere behavior.
Personally, I resonate with this aspect of devotion perhaps more than any other, because it shows that when God is your closest ally and your closest friend, not some idol or icon, then it becomes as approachable and real as your best friend. I’ve noticed how great gurus are always trying to play against the “God projection” that students bring to them. This is because gurus understand that such projections fail in the end, and are ultimately unrealistic. Great gurus try to awaken the inner guru in their students or devotees. As such they would much prefer their students and devotees just see them as a trusted friend and someone who has been walking the path a little bit longer, but nothing really special or extraordinary. The best teachers and gurus, although extraordinary themselves, do not see themselves that way. They are humble, grateful, present, devoted – and many of the other traits I have described.
On this full moon try to embody the transformation of this Nakshatra in the sign of Scorpio. This is a section of the sky where the intensity and passion of the emotions (and even our devotion to God) gets elevated into something not so charged, demanding and intense. Instead, it becomes friendly, selfless and in many ways the great joy of our life.
Think of what you would do for your best friend and what your best friends will do for you. Then try to show up for everyone and everything in your life with that same enthusiasm, devotion, and spaciousness.