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The Sun in the Nakshatras
|By Jyotidevi (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.
By way of some back-checking, let me comment on the recent movements of our radiant Sun. Surya entered the 19th nakshatra, Mula, on or around December 15, and travels through it until about December 29, of every year. You probably know that the Sun is the only planet (let’s just call the Sun a planet for now) which returns to the same sector of the sky on a consistent annually predictable course. So –in mid-December of every year, the Sun enters the nakshatra of Mula, symbolized by a tied bundle of roots. Mula is contained within 0 degrees – 13 degrees and 20 minutes of the larger 30-degree section of the constellation of Sagittarius.
We end the calendar year with the Sun illuminating all the symbols, and issues, of Mula. Mula is associated with the Muladhara chakra – the root chakra – which holds the kundalini or potential spiritual energy of a body. There is an inherent spiritual quality to Mula, and also a potentially self-destructive quality, as well. One of the other symbols of Mula is an elephant goad – suggesting that painful experiences are an incentive towards spiritual progress.
Niritti, the goddess of death and destruction, is the deity of Mula. Ideally, what is destroyed is the unhealthy attachment to that which confines us to the gross and material, so that attention to a higher spirituality can begin to put down roots. Mother Kali is also particularly active in this small part of the sky.
Ketu (the south node of the Moon, or The Dragon’s Tail) is the planet (let’s just call Ketu a planet, for now) having dominion over Mula. Ketu is the Moksha karaka, or indicator, of liberation, and Self-realization. Spiritual practices rooted in practicality can bring good results towards self-discipline during this time. The ayurvedic dosha affecting Mula is vata. This dosha, or flaw, needs consistency, and calm routines, in order to stay focused, and remain arranged instead of becoming deranged! You can remember this, for next December, when the same advice will apply.
Surya, the Sun, transits nakshatra # 20, Purva Ashada, from December 29– January 11 of most years. “Purva” means first, foremost, or former; and “Ashadha” means unsubdued. This star pattern is contained within 13 degrees and 20 minutes – 26 degrees and 40 minutes of Sagittarius. What is “unsubdued” is the true nature of a person, which will eventually be expressed, even against all odds. The symbol of Purva Ashada is an elephant’s tusk. This tusk is useful and powerful and creative; and can eventually regenerate itself if damaged in that process.
Apas, the god of water, presides over Purva Ashadha. One of the ideas here is that the water of both the material body, and the spiritual body, must be kept pure, and be allowed to flow, in order to be able to cleanse impurities of ignorance, and to rejuvenate the Self. The planet Venus rules Purva Ashadha. This Venusian influence bestows sensitivity; and creative self-expression through interest, and talents, in the arts.
Swadhisthana (the sacral) chakra is associated with this nakshatra. The ayurvedic dosha is pitta – the energy of creativity, action, leadership, self-motivation, heat, and anger. Keeping the ego, and temper, cooled and focused during this period can act like the useful leverage of an elephant’s tusk moving a heavy load for a creative purpose.
Ravishing Ravi, another name for the Sun, moves through nakshatra #21, Uttara Ashadha, from January 11th until January 24th. Uttara means latter, or higher – therefore this asterism is ”The Later Victorious.” It is an extension of some of the meanings of its previous partner nakshatra, but is perhaps a bit more comfortable with itself, and how it is revealing its more developed talents. Uttara Ashada is spread between 26 degrees and 40 minutes of Sagittarius – 10 degrees of Capricorn. Its symbol is the unadorned planks, and frame, of a bed. (Some say it is a funeral cot.) This evokes the idea of the necessity of material support for restorative rest. This symbol is not about comfortable relaxation. It implies the constant effort expended to achieve the highest level of spiritual liberation – moksha – the final resting point.
The Universal Gods, the Vishwadevas, are the presiding deities of Uttara Ashadha. Komilla Sutton says that “all the gods bless this nakshatra.” Dennis Harness says that this nakshatra “represents the completely integrated manifestation of god-like power.” No wonder this star cluster is linked to Victory!
The lordly Sun is the planetary ruler of Uttara Ashadha. This solar influence bestows power, influence, focus on achievement, leadership ability, dynamism and skill. Its ayurvedic dosha is Kapha. Therefore managing emotionally- driven coping behaviors, such as comfort eating, or other physical indulgences, is good policy, especially at this time.