Dennis M. Harness
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The Nakshatras of Vedic Astrology:
Ancient & Contemporary Usage

Page 3

The Nakshatras: The Lunar Mansions of Vedic Astrology

“Dawn is the head of the sacrificial horse. Heaven is his eye. The year is his soul. His form are the nakshatras and the stars are his bones”. Taittiriya Samhita of Yajur Veda VII 5.25

The following brief descriptions of the lunar mansions provide basic information in regard to temperament, motivation, symbols, deities and the shakti, or power of each nakshatra. The career interests associated with each nakshatra are also listed.The astronomical correlation with the fixed stars and sign constellations is also presented. Remember to subtract approximately 23 degrees from your tropical natal chart planets if you have not already calculated your sidereal Vedic horoscope.

1. Ashwini: The Star of Transport - (Aries 00 00’-13 20’)

The symbol for Ashwini is a horse’s head representing a dauntless spirit of adventure and a head-strong nature. The ruling deities are the Ashwin twins who ride in a golden chariot and shower healing energy down to the earth plane. They are the “Physicians of the Gods”. Their shakti 9 is the power to quickly heal and reach what they desire. This is a nakshatra of initiation, revitalization and transformational healing. The Ashwini natives have a deva, or godly temperament, and their primary motivation is dharma. The ruling planet is Ketu (South Node of the Moon), which gives a mystical and mysterious bent to their life journey.

Ashwini Career Interests:

Psychologists, therapists, physicians and mystical healers.
Military personnel, police, criminal courts, drug dealers, alchemists.
Merchants, salespeople, travel agents, transportation fields.
Horse trainers, jockeys, athletes.
Musicians, metaphysicians and psychics.

Ashwini is formed by three stars in the head of the constellation of the Ram (horse).

“Our ancestors fashioned heaven as a dark horse with pearls. They placed darkness in the night and light in the day. Brahaspati (Jupiter) broke the rock and released the rays”. Rig Veda X. 68.11

2. Bharani: The Star of Restraint – (Aries 13 20’ to 26 40’)

The symbol for Bharani is a clay vessel or yoni, reflecting the potent creative energy that is contained in this lunar mansion. The ruling deity is Yama (the binder), the God of Death. According to Atharva Veda, Bharani is the final nakshatra listed, revealing its connection with the end of life. Another name for this asterism is Apabharani, which translates as “the waters that carry things away”. The shakti is the “power to cleanse and remove impurities”. Bharani has a manushya, or human temperament and the primary motivation is artha or prosperity. The ruling planet is Venus, reflecting the creative nature and strong sexual desires of this nakshatra.

Bharani Career Interests:

Publishers, writers, film and music industry.
Psychologists, hypnotists, psychics, occultists and astrologers.
Entrepreneurs, financial consultants and business people.
Hotels, catering, chefs and hotel staff.
Lawyers, judges, politicians.
Building contractors

Bharani is formed by three stars above the tail of the Ram.

3. Krittika: The Star of Fire – (Aries 26 40’ to Taurus 10 00’)

The primordial flame is the primary symbol of this nakshatra, representing purification by the sacred fire (yagna). The ruling planet is the Sun with Agni, the God of Fire, as the residing deity. The shakti of this lunar mansion is ‘the power to burn away the negativity to get to the truth”. According to the Atharva Veda, Krittika is the first nakshatra reflecting the stars rising at the spring vernal equinox during the height of the Indus Valley civilization (2720-1760 BCE.) Interestingly, the Moon is exalted in this powerful nakshatra. It has a rakshasa, or demon nature, with a primary motivation of kama or desire. The other symbol for this asterism is a razor, reflecting the cutting activity of this nakshatra, which can heal or destroy.

Krittika Career Interests:

Spiritual teachers, advisors, heads of state.
Modeling, fashion designers, artists, musicians, singers and dancers.
Military careers, weapon makers, building contractors.
Cooks, potters, Vedic priests and people that use fire.

Krittika is formed by the star cluster of the Pleiades, the seven stars residing in the upper torso of the Bull.

Note: An ancient seal from the Indus Valley region depicts a six-headed deity surrounded by goddesses. This could reflect the connection of the god Mars (Karttikeya, Skandha, or Subramaniya in Sanskrit) with the Pleiades.

9 According to Frawley the shakti is “the power of the devata or the deities ruling the lunar mansion.”

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