Has anyone wished you a Happy Vedic New Year recently? Whether you are new to Vedic astrology or are already immersed in the Indian version of the zodiac, Kari Field is now YogaCity NYC’s guide on this path of light. Twice a month she will share her interpretations just before the new and full moons arrive, so that we can find ways to harmonize our lives with the heavens. Sharon Watts sat down and got a little background on our San Francisco-based AnandaShree Astrologer.
Sharon Watts: What is Vedic astrology?
Kari Field: Vedic astrology is the Hindu astrology system, also known as Jyotish, or the science of light. It is a very complex system based on the scientific and mathematic planetary movements as they intersect with astral light patterns. As there is no mention of astrology in the actual ancient Vedic scripts, some debate goes on in the field as to when or how it actually began—probably between the 8th and 12th centuries. It does share Vedic imagery, deities, stories, rituals, and magic with that of the ancient text.
SW: Why is the moon so important in Vedic Astrology?
KF: The moon is a reflection of our souls—our experiences and feelings here on earth. There are twenty-nine days in a lunar month, as it moves across the sky. Each lunar day has specific strengths and weaknesses. For example, The 11th day Moon is called Ekadasi, and is well known to be a favorable lunar day for spiritual practices and fasting.
A waxing moon is glowing with potential, especially the latter half. It is generally considered to be more auspicious for any action and efforts to grow. The days just before the full moon are a time for gathering with friends, enjoying music, having fun A waning moon symbolizes withdrawal of power, letting go. It is a time for cleansing and inner work, such as retreat, meditation and sadhana.
SW: Tell us more about the recent Vedic New Year.
KF: The ancients celebrated the New Year at the Spring Equinox. As the final sign of Pisces ends and we start the cycle over again at Aries, the powers between night and day are equal.
On April 7th we experienced the first new moon—near the end/beginning of the Zodiac—this is the Vedic New Year. This event sparks the growth cycle for the year to come. At the Spring Equinox, the sun begins to take control.
This first lunar cycle, when the sun enters Aries, is actually charted and used in India to anticipate economic and political trends. We can use it to reimagine the possibilities and rebirth our dreams anew. This new moon initiates a guiding force that will illuminate the path in the days to come and open new chapters of opportunity.
SW: You look like a young, farm-fresh, all-American woman. How did you get interested in this?
KF: I grew up a bit isolated from anything exotic, in the midwest. Yet from a very early age I had this inexplicable attraction to Indian culture. As a teenager I practiced western astrology, Tarot, and later became interested in Indian music, the sitar in particular. After college, when I was twenty-two, I went to Varanasi where I studied music for several years. After that I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area and happened to be living in a community of Vedic astrologers, totally by coincidence! Here I was blessed to have Pandit Sanjay Rath, who comes from an ancient and traditional family of Indian astrologers, visit and give workshops out of the house I was living in, and later I also studied under the amazing guidance of Hart de Fouw, who was based nearby.
SW: You are also a world traveler and student to some of the greats in their respective fields of Indian music and Vedic Astrology. Do you consider yourself a student first, as you share the wisdom?
KF: I have studied in the field of Classical Hindustani Music (raga) for over 20 years. I will always be a student! I am especially grateful for the guidance of spiritual teacher Mata Amritananda Mayi Ma, in Kerala, as well as Vedic Astrologers Sanjay Rath and Hart deFouw. I do return as much as I can to India (I just got back this month from a trip there) to continue my studies, as well as refine my sitar technique and also to serve my teachers.
SW: I don’t usually follow charts closely, but after last month’s bumpy ride that nearly tossed me out of my seat (and hearing similar reports from friends), I discovered that the “culprit” was a series of lunar eclipses in Pisces. Now I’m a believer. And placing the Vedic New Year in the springtime feels much more logical than January 1.
Kari gives personal readings, for those who want a more specific guide to what the wisdom of Jyotish has to offer. To learn more about her work, click here.