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Shiva Om Namah Shivaya

There's typically a lot of emphasis by Vedic astrologers on the use of gemstones as an astrological remedy, or what's called upayas, for planetary afflictions. I don't doubt that gems have a powerful effect, but there are many other powerful remedies that cost little or nothing and are under emphasized in my opinion - like doing spiritual practices such as meditation or chanting mantras, fire ceremonies, giving to charities, going on retreats or pilgrimages, or attending spiritual events or religious festivals.

On Sunday Feb 26th, there is one such Hindu festival that is perhaps the most powerful of the year - Shivaratri or the night of Shiva. Ancient Vedic scriptures, like the Puranas, emphasize the value of attending a Shivaratri event and state that much negative karma can be mitigated by doing so. Shivaratri is timed to be on the dark Moon (14th phase called Chaturdashi) in the dark half of the year, in the Hindu month of Magha. Traditionally in India people stay up all night and chant and sing songs to Shiva - the destroyer of darkness. Shivaratri is also a monthly event that occurs on the Chaturdashi tithi (14th phase) in the waning fortnight of the Moon. The annual Shivaratri event is the Maha (Great) Shivaratri.

This is a time for clearing out our own internal darkness and making way for the light. It's a time of purification, and releasing old baggage. It's likely that there is a public Shiva Ratri in your area but if not then if you can plan to do more of your own spiritual practices or fast at that time it will be helpful for you. It is said that chanting "Om Namah Shivaya" one time on Shiva Ratri is worth chanting it 1000 times any other day of the year. 

Om Namah Shivaya!