# In Theory

A beautiful animation of the apparent phases of the Moon.

The theory presented by Vedāṁga is that a unit of time called a “yuga” begins every five years when the Sun and Moon conjoin at a specific point in space; a point equivalent to what we nowadays call 0° Tropical Capricorn – the “winter solstice.”

For this to be true, the Moon most progress a certain amount each year, so that in five years it returns to the same point. The amount of the progression must therefore be some multiple of 360° divided by five.

The Vedāṁga itself says that the moon will progress 12 “tithi” each year.  A “tithi” is a measurement of the lunar phase. There are 15 tithi in the waxing period of the Moon, and another fifteen in the waning. Adding 12 to the 1st tithi is easy: it’s the 13th tithi. But adding 12 to the 13th tithi gets confusing at first, because after 15 it becomes the 1st tithi of the waning cycle. So instead of 25, the tithi is 25-15: 10. The 10th tithi of the waning cycle. Similarly, adding 12 is not the 22nd tithi of the waning cycle; because the waning cycle finished on the 15th tithi. Instead it is 22-15: 7; the 7th tithi of the waxing cycle.

In total there are 30 phases. So if we count the phases sequentially from 0, anything less than 15 is a waxing phase, anything else is a waning phase. Anything higher than 29 is a repeat. So the 36th phase, is identical to the 7th phase, etc.

Dividing the lunar cycle into 30 units means that each unit contains 12° of arc (360 divided by 30 is 12). So, by saying that there is a progressive difference of 12 tithis each successive New Year, the Vedāṁga tells us that the Moon will progress 144° each year (12 multiplied by 12 is 144).

Here is a theoretical presentation of how the New Years (winter solstices) would work within a yuga:

 Year Tithi Name Phase Ordinal Degrees Progressed One 1st waxing 0 0° Two 13th waxing 12 144° Three 10th waning 24 288° Four 7th waxing 36 432° Five 4th waning 48 576°

Where would the Moon be on the sixth New Year? Adding 12 tithi to the Moons location the previous New Year we would once again be at the 1st waxing tithi. It would be the 60th phase ordinal, and the Moon would have progressed a total of 720°. Since 720 is an exact multiple of 360, this means the Moon would join the Sun at the same exact place it did five years earlier.

Thus, a “yuga” ends, and the next one starts.

## In Reality

The average daily motion of the Moon is about 13.2°. The average daily motion of the Sun is about 0.986°. Thus it takes the Sun about 365.24 days to progress 360°. The Moon moves about 4,821° in the same amount of time. Let’s cast out all the 360° units from that number. There are 13 of them, with an extra .392, roughly. 39.2% of 360° is a bit more than 141°.

That is indeed very close to the theoretical 144° the Moon needs to progress relative to the Sun each year, to make the Vedāṁga’s yuga work.

The Vedāṁga’s “tithi” is not an exact conjunction by is the 12° span of various phases. So we have leeway, theoretically as much as 12° leeway, before the synchronicity of this yuga measurement breaks and needs to be fixed. Since there is about 3° inaccuracy per year: we have about four years before we need to adjust the calendar with some variation of a “leap year.”

But the problem becomes that although the yuga will work on a paper calendar that follows certain rules, gradually it will lose connection to the natural phenomenon that original marked it. As such the five year yuga very gradually fell out of vogue as an important time-keeping device.

- Vic DiCara

www.vicdicara.com

# Whats a “New Year” – And Why Do Some Hindus Say It’s Now?

Lights of Dipavali - Part of the New Years Celebration

If there is anything I really want you to learn from this article knowing, it’s this: time is a circle, not a line.

Clocks are round. The Earth is round. It spins around to create days. Orbits are round, too. The Moon’s circular orbit creates Months, and the Sun’s (or Earth’s depending on your point of reference) creates years. The circular, cyclical movements of the Sun, Moon and Stars are the foundation of how human beings calculate time.

So, time is a circle.

Where does a circle “start” or “end”? It’s easy to say where a line starts and ends, but how do you do it for a circle? You can’t. Or you just pick a point you like and call it the start and end point of a circle.

So what’s a “new year”? For that matter when is a “new month”? Or a “new day”? Some say the day starts at midnight, others say it starts at sunrise, others say it starts whenever they wake up. A day is a circle, a cycle. Whatever point you want to pick on that circle to call the “start” – go for it. Of course some points are more reasonable than others.

A “new month” is also arbitrary. Some calendars say the month begins on a new moon – like in Southern India. Others say it begins on a full moon – like Northern India. Others – like the calendars you get in the book stores – just pick almost arbitrary dates. There is no absolute right answer because a month is a cycle, a circle – one complete circle of the Moon around the earth / zodiac. You can pick a point and call it the “start” but there is no real start to an eternal cycle. Some calendars are more reasonable than others, but none of them are intrinsically “right” or “wrong.”

Back to talking about a year. From an astronomer’s perspective it is one complete circle of the Earth around the Sun. From an astrologer’s perspective it is one complete circle of the Sun through the Zodiac. When does the circle of a year “begin”? Never, but for the sake of counting and orienting ourselves in the eternal flow of time, we pick a point and call it the “beginning of a new year.” You can pick any point you want. Some pick the point where the Sun stops moving southward and leaves winter solstice. Some pick convenient dates near that time. Others pick other dates. Again some are more reasonable than others, but none of them are really the beginning of an eternal cycle.

Many people in India – not all, but many – pick right now: when the New Moon in the middle of “Kartika” month (if you use a northern Indian calendar. It’s the beginning of Kartika if you go by the southern Indian calendar).

Mainly they pick this day to start the year because it is a very auspicious time. There are many auspicious holidays and events being commemorated on this day – so to make the new year auspicious they decided to start it under the good fortunate of these celebrations and commemorations.

Here are the key events celebrated and commemorated at this time of year – most from extremely ancient aeons:

• The demon Bali, who took control of the whole universe under the expert guidance of Venus, was gracefully and wondrously defeated on behalf of the gods by Vishnu who took the form of a cute little boy/dwarf but reclaimed the entire cosmos in three cosmic steps.
• Vishnu in the form of the great king Rama returned home to his kingdom after 14 years of exile.
• Vishnu as Krishna inaugurated a ceremony which provoked the wrath of Indra, the king of the gods. He then protected his village against the cataclysmic storms and floods sent by Indra – humbling the egotistical god.
• The Pandavas (important friends of Krishna) returned to their kingdom after 12 years of exile.
• Krishna and his wife Satyabhama killed the chaotic demon Naraka.
• Vishnu empowered King Prithu to milk the Earth in the form of a cow and thus restore the ecosystem.
• Vishnu in the form of Dhanvantari appeared and founded the science of medicine.

Hey, let’s get into the spirit of things! “Happy New Year!!!” Jai Sri Krishna!

# Astrological Reasoning for this day as a “New Year Day”

A very reasonable date for the new year is around Christmas / Winter Solstice – because this is the day the Sun ceases it’s weakening and begins getting stronger – it is like rebirth. In the Indian system this is also a type of New Year – celebrated as “Makara Sankranti” the “Uttarayana” (Although it is erroneously calculated by the majority of current Indian astrologers without tropical reference, but that is another story).

Following a similar logic it is very reasonable to count todays new Moon, the New Moon which occurs in sidereal Libra, as the beginning of a new year. Libra is the Sun’s debilitation, and the opposite point, Aries is its exaltation. So after this New Moon, the Sun ceases moving further and further into debilitation and begins moving closer and closer to exaltation – a type of rebirth, a new year.

Vic DiCara

www.vicdicara.com

# Happy LUNAR New Year!

Today the Moon will be “new” (totally dark) amid the stars of the constellation Pisces. Pisces is the final sign among the 12 zodiac signs, so when the Moon is full here it signals the end of one year and the beginning of the next.

Of course our rather useless (in my opinion) “practical” modern calendar doesn’t work like this anymore – but still that is the way nature works, and the way natural cultures and people have counted their years since ancient centuries.

New Moons happen once per month – in fact, that is the definition of a “month” – every time the Sun and Moon align in the same place in the sky. This month, at the end of the lunar year, they align in Pisces. There are some interesting planets involved with them, which set the karmic tone of the upcoming lunar year in an interesting way.

This is a year for the rebellious to rise up. The artists of the world will make their expressions known. Communications will become tense when we limit ourselves to words, but will flow beautifully when we allow music and images to express our ideas and feelings.

This is a year for the true, ungoverned, uninstitutionalized spirituality within human beings to take a huge step forward towards a fuller manifestation.

I say all this because there are two other planets in Pisces with the Sun and New Moon: Venus, who is exalted, and Mercury who is debilitated. They receive the aspect of Saturn – planet of deep spiritual truths. Pisces is the 12th sign of the zodiac, the house of water and spirituality. The New Moon occurs in the 9th harmonic (navamsha) of Cancer, bringing in the 4th house of water. Water is the element of self realization.

Now, go forth and make this happen gloriously!

- Vic DiCara

www.vicdicara.com