Full Moon / Summer Solstice: The Balance of Soma and Agni

June 20, 2016 Summer Solstice Full Moon, photo by Greg Hogan

June 20, 2016 Summer Solstice Full Moon, photo by Greg Hogan

Today, the moon became full in the sign of Sagittarius at 1:02am (HST). Then, at 12:34pm (HST) the peak of the sun's influence on our planet (in the northern hemisphere) marked the summer solstice. A rare event--it has been 68 years since the full moon and summer solstice have coincided, making this a uniquely powerful confluence of energies. 

The full moon signifies the peak of lunar energy (or "soma") in the environment. It is a time to fully receive the cooling, nourishing, and stabilizing influence of the moon's energy. In Ayurveda, it is typically recommended to lighten one's diet during the full moon to more fully receive the concentration of soma flowing in the environment at that time. The moon also represents our minds and emotions, so we may feel deep-seated emotions rising to the surface as the lunar influence reaches its peak. We should embrace this purification and use it as an opportunity to release any negativity we have been holding on to. 

Today's full moon is in the sign of Sagittarius. According to Vedic astrologer, Yogini Shambhavi, a full moon in Sagitarrius is good for "contemplation, discernment, and karmic rectification". Today's full moon also happens to fall on Monday--the day of the moon in Vedic astrology. 

While the full moon represents the peak of soma in the environment, the summer solstice indicates the peak of agni in the environment--and this is what makes this a unique confluence. It is very rare that during the peak of lunar energy that there is a simultaneous peak in solar energy. Most full moons are just that--full moons. Today, we have a full moon and a summer solstice, indicating that the sun and moon are both manifesting their energies with peak potency, simultaneously. In Taoist terms, today there is a peak in yin and yang energies, which makes for an interesting balance. 

In the Rig Veda, "Ayur" (or "life") is described by the metaphor of fire. In Ayurveda, there is a profound emphasis on the digestive fire and all the fires (or agnis) of the body. Without fire, there is no transformation, no growth. Fire is the fundamental life-sign, the "spark" of existence. And yet it is the cooling nurturing energy of the moon that makes the fire tolerable and that sustains its light. 

Today, there is not only a lot of soma to receive, but also plenty of agni to help transform it, enabling its full absorption in our bodies. With agni and soma being in such a beautiful balance today, we should breathe deep to receive these pranic energies from the air. This energy is truly our most fundamental food. Thus, it is appropriate to eat lightly today, to make ample room in the body to receive these energies without the burden of too much food. Use this moment for higher purposes, to go deeper into spiritual practices such as meditation, prayer, and chanting.