The six hours before and after the Sun’s move from one zodiac sign to another is called ‘Sankranti’, and there are twelve such days in a solar year, each with its own unique characteristics.
Whilst Sankranti marks an unsettled period for the Sun, it’s an auspicious time for us to tap into the transitional energies of the day – to reflect on the previous Vedic month, and plan for the upcoming one.
Our ancient seers declared these days of solar transition unfit for any auspicious beginnings. Instead, it’s time to look back at the month that has passed and reflect on the key challenges you faced, noting the pros and cons of choices you made and, most importantly, the key lessons you learned.
These periods are very auspicious for paying any debt you may have. It is believed that the process of repayment will be enhanced by the energies of the day, so even if you contribute a small amount during Sankranti, it will bring the reward of a quick settlement. In addition, the day of Sankranti is extremely auspicious for meditation, prayer, contemplation and self-exploration. You can benefit greatly by reading ancient scriptures on this day.
Makar Sankranti - 15 January 2023
Makar Sankranti is one of the most important festivals of the Vedic calendar, celebrating the Sun’s journey into the northern hemisphere, a period which is considered to be highly auspicious. Makar is another name for the high-achieving sign of Capricorn.
Specific Rituals for Makar Sankranti:
- Chant the 5000-year-old Surya Gayatri mantra, ‘Om bhur bhuvah svah, tat savitur varenyam, bhargo devasya dhimahi, dhiyo yonah prachodayat.’
- Listen to the Sri Aditya Hrudayam, which you can find on the Sattva Meditation and Mantras app. Aditya Hrudayam is a hymn to the Sun God Aditya. It was given to Lord Rama on the battlefield by Sage Agastya.
Kumbha Sankranti - 13 February 2023
Kumbha Sankranti is the time when the Sun enters Kumbha Rasi (Aquarius). Kumbha means a jar, pitcher or pot, representing this sign’s connection with water. Kumbha is the 11th month in the astrological calendar, during which the huge religious gathering, the Kumbha Mela, takes place and millions of people gather together on the banks of India’s holy rivers.
Meena Sankranti - 14/15 March 2023
The Sun enters into the zodiac sign of Meena, or Pisces, on this day, marking the beginning of the twelfth and last month in the Hindu Solar Calendar. It is said that on Meena Sankranti it is auspicious to donate land.
Mesha Sankranti - 15 April 2023
Mesha Sankranti occurs when the Sun moves into its sign of exaltation, Aries. Because Aries is the first sign of the zodiac, this day also marks the beginning of the New Year in most Hindu Solar calendars.
Specific Rituals for Mesha Sankranti:
- Chant the mantra ‘Aum Vakratundaya Namaha,’ 108 times. Vakratunda is the name of Lord Ganesha, who is connected to the sign Aries.
- Chant the mantra ‘Aum Namah Shivaya Namo Rameshwaraya’ – Rameshwaram is the Jyotirlingam associated with the sign of Aries. Rameshwaram is a very small island where Sri Rama stayed and honored this particular Jyotirlingam (a symbol of Lord Shiva).
Vrishabha Sankranti - 15 May 2023
Vrishabha Sankranti occurs during the 2nd month of the solar calendar, Vaishakh, meaning ‘bull’, as it is on this day that the sun moves from the sign of Aries to the sign of Taurus, The Bull.
This is a good day to honor Lord Vishnu, the sustaining force of the universe. The feminine aspect of the bull is the cow, who offers milk, characterizing Vishnu’s power of sustenance.
Specific Rituals for Vrishabha Sankranti:
- Donate whatever you can to the protection of cows. Traditionally on this day, it is considered auspicious to give the gift of a real live cow, which is known as ‘Go-dhaan’. Of course, you may not have a cow to give, which is absolutely fine. Instead, you can donate your money or time to a protective shelter for cows, called a Goshala.
Mithuna Sankranti - 15 June 2023
Mithuna Sankranti is the day the Sun transits from the sign of Vrishabha (Taurus) to the sign of Mithuna (Gemini). When the Sun is in Gemini it is a great time for reaping the fruits of your labor and also planting seeds for future goals. Also, Gemini’s ruler Mercury offers its intellectual edge to achieve the Sun-ruled desire for success. The energies are versatile, adaptable and strategic, so it’s a powerful jumping off point for future progress.
Specific Rituals for Mithuna Sankranti:
- Chant the mantra, ‘Aum Namah Shivaya Namo Somanathaya,’ 108 times. Somnath is the Jyotirlinga associated with the sign Taurus; Somnath Jyotirlinga is the first of 12 revered Shiva Lingams (or abstracted symbols of Lord Shiva in shrine form).
- Perform Arghya (an offering to the Sun) by pouring water slowly from a copper vessel at heart level in the direction of the Sun.
- Donate clothes to those in need, as donations of this kind strengthen and balance the Sun’s power in our lives.
- Honor the powers of Lord Shiva, he who destroys to create, by performing Abhishekam (a ritual where you anoint an abstracted form of Lord Shiva, or lingam) with honey.
- Chant the mantra, ‘Aum Ekadantaya Namaha,’ 108 times, as the Ekadantaya form of Lord Ganesha is associated with the sign of Taurus.
Karka Sankranti - 16 July 2023
Karka Sankranti marks the southern journey of Lord Surya, the God of Sun, and the beginning of the 6 month Dakshinayana phase, during which the Sun travels in a south direction. It is said that Dakshinayana is night time for the Gods – a time when the deities are in their celestial sleep, and it begins with Karka Sankranti and ends with Makar Sankranti 6 months later.
Simha Sankranti - 17 August 2023
Simha Sankranti marks the day when the Sun moves from Karka Rashi (Cancer) to Simha Rashi (Leo). Many choose to honor the Sun God on this day, believing that it will help to remove individual and ancestral karma.
Kanya Sankranti - 17 September 2023
During Kanya Sankranti, the Sun moves from Simha Rashi (Leo) to Kanya Rashi (Virgo). This day is also the birth anniversary of Lord Vishwakarma, the Architect of the Gods, who you can also honor on this day.
Tula Sankranti - 17 October 2023
Tula Sankranti marks the movement of the Sun from Kanya Rashi (Virgo) to Tula Rashi (Libra).
Vrishchika Sankranti - 16 November 2023
Marking the movement of the Sun from Tula (Libra) to Vruschika (Scorpio), this shift of the Sun God is said to help regain energy at this specific time of year.
Dhanu Sankranti - 16 December 2023
Dhanu Sankranti is celebrated when the Sun leaves Scorpio and enters into Sagittarius, or Dhanu.
General Sankranti Rituals
- Recite or listen to Sri Aditya Hrudayam Stotram. Aditya Hrudayam is a hymn to the Sun God, Aditya. It was given to Lord Rama on the battlefield by Sage Agastya.
- Meditate on issues and challenges in your life and receive an instant divine solution.
- Recite the Gayatri Mantra, ‘Om Bhur Bhuvaḥ Swaḥ, Tat-savitur Vareñyaṃ, Bhargo Devasya Dhīmahi, Dhiyo Yonaḥ Prachodayāt.’ (Available on the Japa108 app).
- Ask for blessings from your father or fatherly figures in life, as the Sun represents the father.
- Listen to Surya Mandala Stotram (which you can find on YouTube), given to Arjuna by Lord Krishna.
- Chant ‘Om Hraam Hreem Hraum Sah Suryay Namah’ – which is the Beeja (core) mantra for the Sun and connects with its wavelength.
- Donations of any kind are considered extremely auspicious on this day.
- Feed wheat to red ants, if possible, to strengthen the Sun.
- Drink energized water from a copper container.
- Do Surya Namaskar’s (Sun Salutations) to honor the Sun.
- Remember and honor your ancestors, who are related to the Sun’s influence, and open yourself up to their blessings and love.
- Be courageous and independent, channeling the Sun’s qualities.
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