One of my favorite parts of Vedic astrology is the nakshatras, a series of 27 fixed stars. They’re most commonly utilized in reference to the Moon, but they also relate to the other planets. After all, in the same manner that the Moon is located in a specific nakshatra at any given time, so are all the other planets. Nakshatras are just like the normal zodiac signs in this way.
In fact, I wonder if the emphasis on the Moon nakshatra is mostly just because Vedic astrology is an ancient system and people didn’t tend to have precise birth times until recently. If somebody isn’t sure about his or her birth time, the ascendant changes too often (about every two hours) to conclusively determine it. When this happens, astrologers will generally make a “Chandra Lagna” (Moon Ascendant) chart, placing the Moon in the first house and positioning the other planets accordingly. Even when the ascendant is known, looking at the chart from the Moon, as well, remains a valuable technique.
Despite the presence of some classic texts, much of astrology has been an oral tradition in India, passed down from teacher to student. For this reason – (or, some think, to deliberately guard “trade secrets,” although I personally doubt that) – even the classic texts can seem a bit incomplete. Hyperbole is common and, more importantly, the thought process that leads to certain techniques is often left out, making them difficult to utilize effectively without developing some sort of framework.
It’s been my experience that the nakshatras relate to more than just the Moon, and I often find that it’s actually a nakshatra “group” within a chart that stands out to me. This is when is somebody has multiple planets (and possibly the ascendant) in a specific nakshatra. For example, I have my ascendant, Venus and Ketu in Satibishak, which connects to my interest in metaphysics and astrology.
Although many astrologers primarily look at the Moon nakshatra, some of my favorite Jyotishis, including Veno, Prash Trivedi, Chakrapani Ullal and my teacher for Dirah Academy courses, Roeland de Looff, focus on the nakshatras in more depth. Veno and Prash collaborated on “The 27 Celestial Portals,” an important, beautifully illustrated book about the nakshatras, and Roeland has written an excellent article that makes the well-researched argument that viewing nakshatras for each planet – and especially personal planets – as part of a meaningful, holistic system can reap great insights. Many of Roeland’s examples, chronicled and explained in his article at www.dirah.org/nakshatras.htm, are strikingly specific.
I probably identify with Satabishak nakshatra as much as any other single feature in my own chart; although I certainly have some characteristics of my Moon nakshatra, Ashvini, Satabishak is a much better all-around fit. Before I started looking at nakshatras beyond the Moon, I was surprised that I found them somewhat unreliable, and I wondered what was going wrong. After all, the nakshatras are supposed to be valuable in large part because they’re specific – yet, too often, I would come across somebody whose Moon nakshatra didn’t have an especially strong influence.
When I look at charts now, I tend to notice instances where the Moon nakshatra may be overshadowed by multiple planets in another nakshatra. It’s also worthwhile to look at the dasha a person is running and find the ruling planet’s nakshatra. When I looked at the role of Ardra nakshatra for Taylor Swift in a previous post, not only were both her nearly full Moon and Jupiter in Ardra, but she’s been running Jupiter dasha for the past decade. These factors clearly point to Ardra playing an important role in her life. If Ardra had only been her Moon nakshatra and she had been running a dasha unrelated to either of her Ardra planets, I imagine its influence would have been far less striking.
From the moment I started learning Vedic astrology, which literally began when I happened upon a YouTube video about the nakshatras, I’ve been especially drawn to them. At some point in the future, I would like to run some organized, objective studies involving their effect on people’s professions, interests and talents. If I start lagging on that idea, please feel free to remind me… after all my Moon is in Ashvini nakshatra, which, despite its many virtues, tends to start more projects than it finishes 🙂