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The Sun in the Nakshatras
|By Jyoti Devi (Charlotte Benson)|
Nakshatras are 13 degree and 20 minute sections of the familiar 30 degree signs of the Zodiac. This section is the area of the sky which the Moon travels over in a 24 hour period. These smaller parts of signs contain much ancient, and very specific, imbedded Truth.
Nakshatras are comprised of thousands of fixed stars, and they are associated with almost as many concepts! There are deities, planets, elemental qualities, gunas, ganas, animals, doshas, symbols, myths, sounds, castes, directions, etc. associated with each nakshatra. Knowing about the nakshatras of your Lagna (rising sign), Moon, and Sun can give you much information about your own hidden abilities, and motivations.
The intense and sprawling constellation of Scorpio is a perfect residence for the passion inherent in Jyeshta. Star #18 spans from 16.40 degrees – 30.00 degrees of Scorpio. Its marker star is my personal favorite light in heaven, Antares. Antares is a spectacular, first-magnitude, binary star, blazing away in the summer night sky. Under the right conditions, you can actually see this stupendous star alternately throwing off rays of acid green, and hot pink, at literally the speed of light. We have recently seen Saturn crossing this sensitive sector of the sky.
Surya, the Sun, transits Jyeshta nakshatra from around December 2 to around December 15 each year. Mid-December is when the Sun crosses the extremely fraught 96 minutes of arc called “Abhukta Gandanta”. “Abhukta” means undigested, or unused, or unenjoyed; gandanta means “knot”. This is the most unstable of the 3 fragile transition points during the year where a water-element sign changes into a fire sign – in this case from watery Scorpio into fiery Sagittarius – while simultaneously moving into a new Ketu-ruled nakshatra. This abrupt shift can take a bit of getting used to. Keep calm, and carry on!
Jyeshta (Jay’ shta) means “elder sister”, a position of high esteem in ancient traditions. Achieving seniority, and acquiring authority, power, respect, and high status are Jyeshta’s interests. The symbol of a coiled, circular earring as one of the emblems of Jyeshta encapsulates these attributes.
Accomplished sages, gurus and divine kings who had overcome their internal passions, and who had achieved dominion of their own kundalini, were entitled to wear this special earring. This earring was an “occult status symbol”, according to astrologer Komilla Sutton, worn only by those who had gained the power, through their own self-mastery, to have knowledge of past and future lives. So this is the test for Jyeshta – to overcome their own darkness, in the form of their considerable material and physical passions, in order to access deep spiritual abilities.
Mercury, Budha, is the planetary ruler of Jyeshta. The intellectual curiosity and continual questioning typical of Mercury are both the blessing and the bane of this constellation. “Knowledge is power” – but there is a skeptical quality and mental dissatisfaction here, too. Mercury’s nature as a bridge-builder also conveys the concept of Jyeshta’s ability to succeed in the material world, and in the world of spirit.
Indra, the king of the gods and ruler of Heaven, is the presiding deity of Jyeshta. There are so many myths associated with this mighty deity – all displaying his attributes of having the strength to overcome monumental adversities (adversities of his own device); a quite large ego and high regard for himself; and of being a passionately indulgent seducer and lover who is also able to create merit through abstemiousness and celibacy. The great Western mythographer, Joseph Campbell, has some interesting thoughts about the Indras (yes –plural!)
Jyeshta is motivated by Artha – material success. Their ayurvedic dosha is the ever-active Vata.
Mula, (Moo’la), occupies Sagittarius rasi, from 0.0 – 13.20 degrees. Its principal marker stars go by the odd name of “Vicritau” aka “The Two Releasers”. This star pair is said to relieve lingering disease. Star #19 points the way into our galaxy’s center, which implies leaving the mundane material world, and entering into higher spiritual realms. The Sun transits here each year from about December 15 until about December 28.
Mula means “a tied bundle of roots.” Here are themes of remaining rooted to the physical world, while having high aspirations to achieve liberation. There is an association with the Muladhara chakra, the root chakra, where latent spiritual forces reside until they are able to emerge upward. Strong roots are needed to enable the soul to journey beyond the practical concerns of the physical.
One of the symbols for Mula is an ankush, an elephant goad. Ganesha holds an ankush in one of his many hands. A powerful elephant can be managed by a skillfully applied nudge from this simple tool. The inference is that even a powerful, bulky being like an elephant can be directed to be useful and constructive, after a bit of encouragement, and perhaps a little pain. Mula needs a lot of applied self-direction in order to be useful to itself and others.
Niritti, the demon goddess of negation and transformation, is the presiding deity of Mula nakshatra. She is a very complex entity. Her painful influence provokes humanity to radically change its essential nature. Bepin Behari notes that the transformation of various villains in the great Indian epics, The Mahabharata, and The Ramayana, is due to the influence of Niritti. The demonic sheath of certain characters is released when they are killed by a hero’s arrows. This may be an extreme example of transformation under duress, but that is the flavor of this serious nakshatra.
Shadowy Ketu, as ruler of this asterism, fits right in with Mula’s interest in the path towards liberation and enlightenment, however circuitous, self-destructive or complicated that route may be. Thank Heaven Jupiter is the sign ruler of this nakshatra, providing wisdom and perspective in the process.
Mula’s motivation is Kama – passion – for things; life; causes; ideas; experiences. Their ayurvedic dosha, like Jyeshta’s, is the constantly moving Vata.