The Nakshatras of Vedic Astrology: Ancient & Contemporary Usage

By: Dennis M. Harness, Ph.D. and Maire M. Masco

“In these twenty-eight mansions do lye hid many secrets of the wisdom of the ancients by which they wrought wonders on all things which are under the circle of the Moon”. Cornelius Agrippa- Alchemist/Magician (1500 CE)”

Historical Origins of the Lunar Mansions

Before the ecliptic was divided into the twelve zodiac signs, the ancient Indian astronomers recognized 27 divisions called nakshatras. The primary usage of the nakshatras is a fundamental difference between Western and Vedic astrology. One must deeply encounter and explore the nakshatras to appreciate the diversity and richness of Vedic astrology.

The Moon takes about 27.3 days to complete its sojourn around the ecliptic. The nakshatras represent the average daily movement of the Moon against the fixed stars. Each daily segment is identified by a small constellation or a single star. Originally the length of each nakshatra varied, but by the time the Surya Siddhanta was written (c. 500 CE), a classical astronomy text, the segments were fixed to a length of 13 degrees 20 minutes of arc.

The Sanskrit term nakshatra translates as “that which does not decay” (na – not and kshatra – destructible). Naksh can also indicate approaching, to worship, to guard or protect. Tra is a suffix implying a tool or instrument. Thus, the nakshatras are themselves a means of worship. 1

Each nakshatra has a symbol that emphasizes its meaning. Unlike the zodiac or “circle of animals” the nakshatras are symbolized by inanimate objects. Swati is shown as a blade of grass blowing in the wind, Chitra is shown as a pearl and Anuradha is symbolized by a lotus flower. Each nakshatra is governed by a Vedic deity. So we find Ashwini ruled by the Ashwin twins, the physicians of the gods, and Hasta governed by Savitar, the creative force of the Sun.

The Rig Veda is a compilation of hymns to the gods and the first known composition in an Indo-European language. Historians agree that the Rig Veda was originally transmitted through an oral tradition, and that it was written down, or codified, no later than 1500 BCE. Several nakshatras are mentioned by name in the Rig Veda. New academic research by Dr. David Frawley 2 and B.N. Narahari Acher 3 suggests that all of the nakshatras are to be found in the Rig Veda, where they are referenced by their associated deity.

The earliest reference to the complete solar zodiac based on 12 sign divisions is found in Mesopotamia c. 450 BCE, 4 yet the Indian astrologers were using the 27 divisions of the nakshatras far earlier. The original lists of the nakshatras always start with Krittika which is associated with the Pleiades. There has been much speculation about why the nakshatra order would start with what we now consider the third in the list. The earliest Indian star calendars were based on the 27 nakshatras, and some scholars believe that the nakshatra system was developed during the time when the vernal equinox occurred in the asterism of the Pleiades. The period when the Pleiades heliacally rose at the vernal equinox was 2720-1760 BCE. 5

1 Harness, Dennis M. The Nakshatras (Twin Lakes, WI: Lotus Press, 1999) Introduction by David Frawley.
2 Frawley, David The Rig Veda and the History of India (Dehli: Aditya Prakashan, 2001) Pg. 7. Frawley believes the main Vedic period ended by 2500 BCE, a substantially earlier date than is commonly accepted. John Keay gives the time span of 1700-900 BCE to the Vedic culture, however this is surely to change with future archeological work.
3 Achar, B.N. Narahari Searching for Nakshatra in the Rgveda (Electronic Journal of Vedic Studies, vol. 6 2000, editor Michael Wizel, Harvard University)
4 North, John. The Norton history of Astronomy and Cosmology. New York: Norton & Co., 1995. Pg. 39.
5 Parpola, Asko. Deciphering the Indus Script (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1994) Pg. 204.

Historical and Contemporary Use of Nakshatras

The primary use of the nakshatras in ancient Indian culture was to determine when religious rituals were to be conducted. The position of the Moon was critical to the successful outcome of any ritual or sacrifice. Nakshatras were also used in the naming of children. Each nakshatra is associated with a particular syllable or sound and these would be the basis of the religious name given to a child.

In addition to their traditional usage, contemporary usages of the nakshatras include:

    1. Muhurta or Electional Astrology: The nakshatras are classified by quality. Some lunar mansions are “light” or “sharp” while others are “moveable” or “fixed”. These categories are used primarily in muhurta, or electional astrology. 6


  • Mundane Astrology: The Moon’s location can be used in mundane astrology, as the Moon nakshatra reflects the social behavior patterns due to its reflection of the general public.


  • Vedic Synastry: The nakshatras are used extensively for relationship compatibility, even in contemporary India because certain nakshatras are considered more compatible than others. Vedic astrologers have developed an elaborate point system that measures Moon compatibility (kuta point system). 7


  • Navamsha Harmonic Chart: The nakshatras are connected to the navamsha, or 9th harmonic chart. Each nakshatra is divided into four equal parts, which correspond to the 108 divisions used to calculate the navamsha chart. (The navamsha chart is used extensively in Vedic astrology to reflect one’s marital karma and one’s deeper spiritual tendencies.)


  • Vedic Dasha System: Perhaps the most well known use of the nakshatras is as the basis of calculating the vimshottari dasa system. The dasas are planetary periods which reflect developmental cycles. The full cycle is 120 years which is the theoretical natural length of a human life. Where an individual starts in the cycle is determined by the ruling planet of their birth nakshatra of their natal Moon.


  • Vedic Mythology and Spirituality: The mythological and spiritual depth of the nakshatra material and its applications are coming to fruition in the West. Exploring the rich mythology of the nakshatras offers both spiritual and psychological insight. According to the Taittiriya Brahmana 1.5.2, “One who offers worship here reaches the world of heaven beyond. That is the nakshatrahood of the nakshatras”. Thus, the nakshatras create a cosmic bridge between the human mind and the universal mind. They are the lunar mansions of the Vedic gods and goddesses, the celestial palaces of these divine beings. According to Dr. David Frawley, “the ancient Vedic sages looked to the origins of the human soul, the eternal or light part of our nature, in the heavens, among the stars, in the realms of light and eternity ruled by the creator or cosmic lord”. 8 To the ancient seers, the nakshatras and planets in the sky were spiritual forces dispensing divine blessings on humanity. The heavenly lights reward us with the fruits of our karma according to our spiritual efforts made through worship, prayer and meditation.


  • Personality Analysis: The 27 nakshatras offer a deeper analysis of personality, character and temperament than the twelve zodiac signs. They reflect the most intimate aspects of one’s mental, emotional and spiritual nature. The nakshatras are an important tool for self-discovery.


6 For further information on choosing an auspicious lunar nakshatra, see The Nakshatras (pp. 113-116) by Dennis Harness.
7 DeFouw, Hart & Svoboda, Robert. Light On Relationships: An Introduction to the Astrology of India. York Beach, ME: Samuel Wieser, 2000. Sekhar, K. Jaya. The Best Bet: Forming the right Relationships. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 2002. Both DeFouw/Svoboda and Sekhar provide an excellent overview of the kuta point system for compatibility.
8 Harness, Dennis M. The Nakshatras (Twin Lakes, WI: Lotus Press, 1999) Introduction by David Frawley.

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.”

The Nakshatras: The Lunar Mansions of Vedic Astrology – Continued

4. Rohini: The Star of Ascent – (Taurus 10 00’ to 23 20’)

The symbols of this asterism are a chariot, a temple and a banyan tree. Rohini provides movement toward the divine as well as a place of worship. The sacred banyan tree is the home of the Goddess of the ancient Indus Valley civilization. It has a manushya, or human temperament, with a primary motivation of moksha, or spiritual liberation. The divine Krishna is said to have had both his Moon and Ascendant in this lunar mansion. The primary deities are Brahma and Prajapati, the creators of the universe. The shakti experienced here is the ability to “foster growth and creation”.

Rohini Career Interests:

Fashion designers, models and actors.
Artists, poets, writers, musicians, and dancers.
Restaurant, hotel management and dignified positions of authority.
Agriculture, food products, herbalists and real estate.
Politicians and consultants.

Rohini, known as “the red one” correlates with the rose star Aldeberan, the red eye of the Bull constellation.

5. Mrigashira: The Searching Star – (Taurus 23 20’ to Gemini 06 40’)

The symbol for Mrigishira is an antelope’s head. People born with this nakshatra prominent often have the face of a deer. It has a deva temperament and moksha, or spiritual liberation, as its primary motivation. It is an excellent asterism for research of religious or philosophical truths. The ruling planet, Mars, reflects the energy of the spiritual warrior. The primary deity is Soma, the Moon God, who imparts the divine nectar of ever-new bliss. The shakti of Mrigishira is the “power to give fulfillment”.

Mrigashira Career Interests:

Researchers, teachers, writers, actors and poets.
Astrologers, mystics, psychics.
Engineers, gemologists.
Veterinarians, animal trainers.
Real estate, sales, travel industry.

Mrigishira is formed by three faint stars at the head of the constellation of Orion.

6. Ardra: The Star of Sorrow – (Gemini 06 40’ to 20 00’)

The primary symbols for Ardra are a human head, representing thinking, and a teardrop, which represents overcoming suffering. It is an excellent rising nakshatra because it reflects brilliant mental abilities (Albert Einstein, Robert Hand). Rudra, the Lord of the Storms, is the deity of this lunar mansion. The ruling planet is Rahu, the North Node of the Moon, denotes the sharp, fierce activity of this asterism. Ardra can represent the clarity and emotional cleansing that occurs after the storms of the soul recede. The temperament in manushy,a and its primary motivation is artha, or wealth. The shakti of Ardra is “the power to make gains in life thru greater effort”.

Ardra Career Interests:

Hospice work, pain management and hospital work.
Writers, teachers, sales, public relations and social services.
Political and humanitarian projects.
Engineers, mathematicians and atomic research.
Butchers, thieves and drug dealers and chemists.

The fixed star Betelgeuse in the constellation of Orion, and Sirius, the Dog star are associated with this lunar mansion.

7. Punarvasu: The Star of Renewal – (Gemini 20 00’ to Cancer 03 20’)

The primary symbols of this illuminating nakshatra are a bow and a quiver of arrows. The sky is the limit with this nakshatra. Punarvasu means “the return of the light” and has the divine ability to bring spiritual light into darkness. Punarvasu reflects purity, satya (truth) and strong moral values. It is a deva nakshatra with the primary motivation of artha, or material prosperity. It’s shakti or power is “the ability to gain wealth or abundance”. The main deity is Aditi, the Cosmic Mother, who bestows her creative abundance on all who seek her blessings. This lunar mansion is ruled by the planet Jupiter, the great benefic.

Punarvasu Career Interests:

Acting, drama and the entertainment industries.
Writers, publishers and directors.
Spiritual teachers, psychologists, philosophers and mystics.
Architects, civil engineers, scientists and inventors.
Politicians and social workers.

Punarvasu is reflected by the Gemini twins, Castor and Pollox.

The Nakshatras: The Lunar Mansions of Vedic Astrology – Continued

8. Pushya: The Star of Nourishment – (Cancer 03 20’ to 16 40’)

Pushya is considered to be the most auspicious of the twenty-seven lunar mansions. The symbols for this asterism are a lotus, circle, arrow and the udder of the sacred cow. The ancient name of Pushya in the Rig Veda was Tishya, the Celestial Archer. It has a deva temperament with the primary motivation of dharma, or right action. The ruling planet is Shani, or Saturn, which grounds the energy of this powerful nakshatra. The chief deity is Brahaspati, the High Priest of the Gods. The shakti of Pushya is “the ability to create spiritual energy”.

Pushya Career Interests:

Government and political positions.
Corporate leaders and heads of state.
Military and police work, lawyers and judges.
Musicians, poets and artists.
Geologists, dairy industry and aquatic biologists.
Spiritual teachers and clergy.

Pushya is formed by North and South Aselli, the two donkeys, which reflect the manger and the birth of the Christ child which occurs under the spiritual energy of this benefic lunar mansion.

“O wise Maruts, let us carry off the wealth of food which you have bestowed on us; give us, O Maruts, such thousand fold wealth as never fails, like the star Tishya (Pushya) from heaven” Rig Veda, V.55.13

9. Ashlesha: The Clinging Star – (Cancer 16 40’ to 30 00’)

The symbol for this intense nakshatra is the coiled serpent at the base of the spine, reflecting the potent kundalini energy that resides here. Ashlesha means “the entwiner” and denotes the challenges of our addictions to sensory attachments. It is a very mental asterism ruled by Mercury and located in the sign of Cancer ruled by Moon. The main deities are the Nagas, the Serpent Kings. The shakti revealed here is the “power to inflict poisonous venom”. Ashleshans have a rakshasa temperament with a primary motivation of dharma. Great mystical talents and enlightenment can be experienced if the primordial energy of this lunar asterism is harnessed. The Buddha had this nakshatra rising under a benefic full Moon during his blessed birth. The King Cobra protected the Buddha from the storms of life as he performed his tapas (spiritual austerities) under the bodhi tree.

Ashlesha Career Interests:

Writers, teachers, lawyers.
Astrologers, psychics and mystics.
Snake charmers, zoologists.
Stock market, speculative ventures, business skills.
Drug dealers, chemists, prostitution and gambling interests.
Sex therapists, addiction counselors.

The nakshatra Ashlesha is formed by six stars in the constellation of Hydra, the Water Snake.

10. Magha: The Star of Power (Leo 00 00’-13 20’)

Magha means “the mighty one”, reflecting strength and spiritual leadership. The great Indian saint, Paramahansa Yogananda had both his Moon and rising sign in this powerful nakshatra. Its symbol is the king’s chamber or palequin. The deities are the Pitris, the great protectors and fathers of humanity. Magha people have a fiery rakshasa temperament with a primary motivation of artha, or material prosperity. The ruling planet is Ketu which reveals the mystical nature of this asterism. The shakti is “the power to leave the body”.

Magha Career Interests:

Politicians, lawyers, heads of corporations.
Self-employed, business acumen.
Historians, archaeologists, researchers.
Actors, musicians and gifts in the dramatic arts.

Magha is correlated with the bright fixed star Regulus, the kingly star located in the heart of the Lion.

11. Purva Phalguni: The Fruit of the Tree (Leo 13 20’ to 26 40’)

This creative nakshatra is ruled by the planet Venus denoting brilliant skills in the fine arts and a love of pleasure. The sensual singer Madonna has both her Ascendant and Moon residing here. The symbols associated with this asterism are a swinging hammock, a couch and two legs of a bed reflecting a place of rest and enjoyment. The primary motivation experienced here is kama or pleasure. The shakti is “the power of creative procreation”. The deity is Bhaga, the God of Prosperity, who protects marital happiness and bestows family inheritance. The temperament is manushya or human.

Purva Phalguni Career Interests:

Actors, models, artists and musicians.
Radio, television and photography.
Business managers, retail sales, travel agent.
Cosmetics, jewelry and wedding planners.
Government service, politicians.
Teachers, professors.
Sex and marital therapists.

Purva Phalguni is formed by two stars, Leonis and Zosma which are found at the rear flank of the Lion.

The Nakshatras: The Lunar Mansions of Vedic Astrology – Continued

12. Uttara Phalguni: The Star of Patronage (Leo 26 40’ to Virgo 10 00’)

The symbol for this service oriented lunar mansion is a healing bed or two legs of a cot. This is the “social worker” nakshatra who is always helping the friend in need. They possess great skills in the healing arts and counseling fields. These natives have a manushya or human temperament, while their primary motivation is moksha or spiritual liberation. The deity is Aryaman, the God of Patronage and son of Aditi, the Cosmic Mother. The shakti associated with this asterism is “the power of giving prosperity thru marriage”. The ruling planet is the Sun and reflects the ability to shine their healing light on those with whom they come into contact.

Uttara Phalguni Career Interests:

Social workers, philanthropists, charitable work.
Healing arts, state health officials.
Writers, actors and media personalities.
Astrologers, astronomers and mathematicians.
Sales and public relations, business minded people, successful.

Uttara Phalaguni is formed by two stars at the tail of the Lion.

“Straight be the paths and thornless on which friends will travel to present our suit. May Aryaman and Bhaga lead us together! May heaven grant us a stable marriage! Rig Veda X.85.23

13. Hasta: The Hand (Virgo 10 00’ to 23 20’)

The symbol for this nakshatra is the palm of the hand. The primary deity is Savitar, the Sun God, who promotes creativity. He is called “the golden handed one”. The shakti of Hasta is “the power to manifest what one seeks and place it in their hands”. Hasta natives can have great dexterity and are skilled with the healing arts, and with handicrafts. Hasta is ruled by the Moon, and in the sign of Virgo, ruled by Mercury, reflecting the very mental, intellectual nature of this lunar mansion. It has a deva temperament with a primary motivation of moksha, or spiritual liberation.

Hasta Career Interests:

Craftsmen, artists and painters.
Scholars, teachers, comedians, performers and writers.
Hospital and volunteer work, public relations.
Advisors, ministers, counselors and psychotherapists.
Astrologers, palm readers, healers.
Sales, communications and networking skills.
Travel industry, conference planners.

Hasta is formed by five stars (fingers) in the constellation of Corvus, the crow.

14. Chitra: The Star of Opportunity (Virgo 23 20’ to Libra 06 40’)

The symbol for the brilliant Chitra nakshatra is a bright jewel or pearl. Chitra translates as “the beautiful one” or “pretty pictures”, which reflects its ability to arrange things nicely and in an artistic fashion. The deity is Tvashtar, the divine celestial architect. The creator of Astro*Carto*Graphy, Jim Lewis, had his natal Moon placed here. Chitra natives are often successful artisan types. The shakti is “the ability to accumulate merit in this life”. Chitra has a rakshasa temperament with a primary motivation of kama, or desire. The animal associated with this nakshatra is a female tiger which reveals the passionate, sensual nature experienced here. Mars is the ruling planet of this asterism.

Chitra Career Interests:

Architects, interior designers, jewelers, clothing.
Lawyers, judges, priests.
Religious people who have knowledge of the scriptures.
Creative business people, artists.
Writers, publications, radio, TV and film.
Armed forces, police detective.

Chitra is represented by the beautiful, high magnitude, fixed star, Spica, at the beginning of sidereal Libra.

“The Universe is uncaused, like a net of jewels in which each is only the reflection of all others in a fantastic interrelated harmony without end”. – The Upanishads

15. Swati: The Self-Going Star (Libra 06 40’ to 20 00’)

The symbol for Swati is a single blade of grass blowing in the wind, reflecting the independent and autonomous nature of this asterism. It has a chara or moveable nature and is ruled by restless Rahu, the North Node of the Moon. A love of educational travel and the need for positive change is often experienced here. The primary deity is Vayu, the God of the Wind and Prana. The shakti is “the power to scatter like the wind”. Other symbols for this lunar mansion are a sword (discrimination) and a priest or priestess. Swati is of deva temperament with a primary motivation of artha or attainment of wealth. Saraswati, the Goddess of Learning is the female deity associated with Swati. This is a very intellectual nakshatra that demonstrates excellent communication skills. It has the capacity to achieve justice (Libra) thru personal power.

Swati Career Interests:

Independent profession, positions of leadership.
Business skill, sales, transportation and travel industry.
Yoga and meditation teachers, priests.
Legal professions, judges.
Stock brokers, traders in drugs and alcohol.

Swati is located by the bright star, Arcturus, in the constellation of Bootis.

16. Vishakha: The Star of Purpose (Libra 20 00’ to Scorpio 03 20’)

The symbols associated with Vishakha are an archway and a potter’s wheel. The archway is a symbol of moving through thresholds of spiritual initiation. Jupiter is the ruling planet of this nakshatra, reflecting a deep connection with one’s soul purpose. The potter’s wheel symbolizes the patience that must be developed in order to progress on the spiritual path. Vishakha has a rakshasa temperament with a primary motivation of dharma. Its animal symbol is a male tiger. The main deities are Radha, the divine consort of Sri Krishna and Indra / Agni. The shakti is “the power to achieve many and various fruits in life”.

Vishakha Career Interests:

Teachers, public speaking, writers, literature.
Researchers, scientists.
Politicians, lawyers.
Military leaders, dictators or ambassadors for humanitarian causes.

Vishakha is formed by four stars of the Northern Scales.

The Nakshatras: The Lunar Mansions of Vedic Astrology – Continued

17. Anuradha: The Star of Success (Scorpio 03 20’ to 16 40’)

Anuradha is symbolized by a lotus flower, reflecting the ability to blossom in any life situation. The primary deity is Mitra, the God of Friendship and Partnership. Anuradha individuals have the great ability to gather people together for social and spiritual activities. The spiritual teacher, Ram Dass has his natal Moon in this nakshatra. Anuradha has a deva temperament with the primary motivation of dharma or right action. The shakti is “the power of worship”. The ruling planet is Sani or Saturn, which gives tenacity and discipline when needed.

Anuradha Career Interests:

Organizational skills, business management.
Travel industry, conference planners.
Actors, musicians, public speakers.
Dentists, surgeons and medical technicians.
Mining Engineers, plumbers.
Criminal lawyers and political leaders.

Anuradha contains three stars in the body of the Scorpion including Alpha Centauri, the closest star to our solar system.

18. Jyeshtha: The Chief or Elder Star (Scorpio 16 40’ to 30 00’)

The symbols for Jyeshtha are an earring and an umbrella. The earring is a symbol of Vishnu’s discus, and the umbrella symbolizes protection and status. Jyeshtha also translates as the “eldest” or “seniormost”. It is related to the eldest sister Alakshmi, who is in the opposition constellation to Rohini, her beautiful sister located in Taurus. Issues with jealously and betrayal can be experienced here. Jyeshtha has a rakshasa nature with artha as the primary motivation. The chief deity is Indra, the King of the Gods. He is the spiritual warrior and “dragon slayer”. The shakti of this asterism is “the power to rise, conquer, and gain courage in battle”. The ruling planet, Mercury, reflects the troubled, yet creative genius of this lunar mansion. Albert Einstein, Friedrich Nietzsche, Howard Hughes and Vincent Van Gogh all had their natal Moons in this nakshatra. It is the nakshatra of the creative eccentric. The sharp Mars-like nature of

Jyeshtha Career Interests:

Self-employed, business managers.
Intellectuals, philosophers, researchers.
Musicians, dancers, modeling.
Military leaders, police detectives, shamans, athletes.
Engineering , mining and exploration.

Jyeshtha is reflected through the fixed star Antares, which is located in the heart of the Scorpion.

Note: An interesting seal was found in the Indus Valley area dated 2400 BCE. It depicted a pair of scorpions on one side and an antelope with an arrow thru it on the other side. The antelope/arrow is a symbol of the nakshatra Mrigishira, which is opposite the sign of the Scorpion.

19. Mula: The Foundation Star (Sagittarius 00 00’ to 13 20’)

Mula translates as the “root” or original star, which is symbolized as a tied bunch of roots. It is located around the galactic center of our universe. The ruling planetary deity is Ketu, the South Node of the Moon. which reflects the mystical nature of this asterism. The primary deity is Nirritti, the Goddess of Destruction. She lives in the Kingdom of the Dead and is associated with the powerful goddess, Kali. The shakti revealed here is “the power to ruin, destroy, and to break things apart”. The 9/11 tragedy occurred when Mars and Ketu were conjoined near the point of the galactic center in the middle of this intense nakshatra. Mula has a rakshasa temperament with a primary motivation of kama.

Mula Career Interests:

Public speaking, writing.
Philosophers, spiritual teachers, ministers.
Lawyers, politicians.
Business people, sales.
Doctors, healers and pharmacists.

Mula is formed by a group of stars around the tail of the Scorpion.

20. Purva Ashadha: The Invincible Star (Sagittarius 13 30’ to 26 40’)

Purva Ashadha means “early victory” or the “undefeated, the unsubdued”. The symbol is a fan or a winnowing basket, which rids corn of the husks. The fan can signify popularity as their name is fanned around a lot by the public. The popular talk show host Johnny Carson, as well as the infamous Adolph Hitler, have their natal Moon in this asterism. The primary deity is Apas, the Cosmic Waters. Varuna, the God of the Waters, is considered a secondary deity for this naksahtra. The shakti experienced here is “the power of invigoration”. Purva Ashadha has a human or manushya temperament with a primary motivation of moksha, or spiritual liberation. It is formed by the stars Kaus Borealis and Kaus Australis in the Archer’s bow.

Purva Ashadha Career Interests:

Teachers, writers, debaters, public speaking.
Shipping industry, boating.
Travel industry, foreign traders.
Actors, film work, directors.
Political work, lawyers.

21. Uttara Ashadha: The Universal Star (Sagittarius 26 40’ to Capricorn 10 00’)

Uttara Ashadha translates as “later victory”. The symbols are an elephant’s tusk. The elephant tusk is associated with Ganesha, the remover of obstacles. Another symbol is planks of a bed signifying security, rest, and peace. The main deities are the ten Vishvadevas, such as Vasu (goodness), Satya (truth), Kratru (will power), Kama (desire) and Kala (time). This nakshatra is ruled by the powerful  Sun. The shakti is “the power for unchallengeable victory”.  These natives have the humanitarian vision to see all races as equal. Abraham Lincoln’s Moon resided in this lunar mansion. This asterism has a manushya, or human temperament with a primary motivation toward moksha, or spiritual liberation. The animal symbol is a male mongoose, which has no female counterpart, reflecting the independence and, sometimes, loneliness associated with this nakshatra. Uttara Ashadha is formed by two stars in the breast of the Archer.

Note: A twenty-eighth nakshatra called Abhijit is sometimes in the last five degrees of Uttara Ashadha (Capricorn 5 to 10 degrees). This asterism is usually used for muhurtha or electional astrology and not for natal chart analysis. Abhijit is considered a laghu or light nakshatra which is auspicious for healing, travel or starting a business.

 22. Shravana: The Star of Learning (Capricorn 10 00’ to 23 20’)

Shravana translates as “the hearing”, with its primary symbol being an ear. It is a deva, or godly nakshatra that has the capacity to hear the astral sounds of Krishna’s flute, and the celestial bells or the cosmic Om. The natives of this asterism usually have brilliant minds and the capacity to study other cultures and spiritual dimensions. The movie director, George Lucas and Vedic scholar, David Frawley both have their natal Moons in this auspicious nakshatra. Material success is a result of the primary motivation of this asterism being artha or wealth. The primary deity is Vishnu, the Preserver of the Universe. Saraswati, the Goddess of Learning, is considered to be the female deity associated with Shravana. The shakti is “the power to provide connection with others”. Shravana is formed by three stars in the head of the Eagle constellation, Aquilla.

23. Dhanishtha: The Star of Symphony (Capricorn 23 20’ to Aquarius 06 40’)

The symbol for Dhanishtha is the drum, indicating a love of music. It is sometimes called “the kingly star” due to the fame and wealth that can occur under the influence of this lunar mansion. Marilyn Monroe and Princess Diana both had their natal Moons in this nakshatra. The shakti is “the power to give abundance and fame”. Marital difficulties and a fiery temper are observed here due to the rakshasa temperament, the animal totem of a female lion and the ruling planet Mars. The primary motivation of Dhanishtha is dharma. The deities are the eight Vasus, such as Soma (water), Dhara (earth), Anala (fire), Apa (space) and Dhruva (nakshatras). Dhanishtha is formed by four stars located in the head of Delphinus, the Dolphin.

24. Shatabisha: The Hundred Stars (Aquarius 06 40’ to 20 00’)

Shatabisha also translates as “the hundred healers” or “the hundred flowers”. The primary deity is Varuna, the God of Medicine and the Cosmic Waters, which provides the natives with a strong connection to the healings arts.  Varuna is the Cosmic Man pouring his healing waters unto humanity. Astrologer Ronnie Gale Dreyer and author of Healing Signs, has her natal Moon in this powerful nakshatra. The shakti of Shatabisha is “the power of healing”. The symbol for Shatabisha is an empty circle, reflecting the independent nature and autonomy experienced through this lunar mansion. This nakshatra can also be a challenging birth star for early marriage. Rahu, as the ruling planet of this asterism indicates a love for travel and adventure. It has a rakshasa temperament with the primary motivation being dharma or right action. Shatabisha is formed by a large group of faint stars in Aquarius, the Water Bearer.

25. Purva Bhadrapada: The Burning Pair (Aquarius 20 00’ to Pisces 03 20’)

The symbols for this unique nakshatra are a sword, the first two legs of a funeral cot, and a two faced man. The sword represents the ability to cut through negativity to get to the truth. The two faced man indicates the ability to see both sides of an issue. The deity is Aja Ekapada, a one-footed goat that is the vehicle for the fiery god, Agni. The shakti is “the power to raise a spiritual person up in life”. This nakshatra is ruled by the benefic Jupiter, which reflects the high idealism of this asterism. Martin Luther King had his natal Moon in this lunar mansion. These natives are often successful in the business world due to their manushya, or human temperament, with a primary motivation toward artha, or prosperity.

Purva Bhadra Career Interests:

Administrative planners, business skills.
Research skills, statisticians.
Priests, ascetics, utopian visionaries.
Astrologers, occultists, tantrics, black magicians.
Hospice work, geriatrics, nursing.

Purva Bhadrapada is associated with two stars, Markab and Scheat, located in the body of Pegasus, the Winged Horse.

26. Uttara Bhadrapada: The Warrior Star (Pisces 03 20’ to 16 40’)

The symbols for Uttara Bhadrapada are the last two legs of a funeral cot, or twins. Bhradrapada translates as the “scorching” or “burning pair” related to the twin nakshatras of Purva and Uttara Bhadrapada. A woman born with Uttara Bhadrapada as her birth star is considered blessed by the goddess Lakshmi, and is considered “the gem of her family”. The animal symbol is the sacred female cow of India. The deity is Ahir Budhnya, the Serpent of the Deep Sea, and part of Lord Shiva’s army which reflects the warrior nature of this lunar mansion. Uttara Bhadrapada has a human, or manushya temperament with a primary motivation of kama, or healthy pleasures. The ruling planet, Saturn, provides great depth and spiritual discipline. The shakti is “the bringing of the cosmic rain”.

Uttara Bhadrapada Career Interests:

Charitable work, non-profit organizations.
Import and exports, travel industry.
Religious work, priests, saints, astrologers, mystics.
Writers, philosophers, teachers, researchers.

Uttara Bhadrapada is associated with the stars Pegasi and Andromedae which complete the square of the constellation of Pegasus.

27. Revati: The Wealthy (Pisces 16 40’ to 30 00’)

The symbols for Revati are a fish and a drum. The fish is a symbol of deep spirituality as well as the twelfth sign of Pisces. The drum is a marker of time reflecting the final lunar mansion according to the constellations. This auspicious nakshatra has a deva temperament with a primary motivation of moksha, or spiritual enlightenment. The deity is Pushan, the nurturer and protector of travelers and animals. Revati is ruled by the intellectual planet Mercury, residing in a constellation ruled by benefic Jupiter. The animal symbol is a female elephant. The shakti is “the power of nourishment symbolized by milk”. Revati is one of the most benefic nakshatras for spiritual growth and development of psychic abilities.

Revati Career Interests:

Psychics, mystical or religious work.
Humanitarian projects, charitable activities.
Veterinarian, animal trainers.
Urban planners, government positions, social work.
Film actors, comedians, performers.
Journalists, editors, publishers.
Travel agents, flight attendants.

Revati is formed by thirty-two faint stars at the tail of the Fish constellation.

The Nakshatras: The Lunar Mansions of Vedic Astrology – Continued


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Frawley, David. The Rig Veda and the History of India. Dehli: Aditya Prakashan, 2001

Harness, D. M. The Nakshatras: The Lunar Mansions of Vedic Astrology. Twin Lakes, WI: Lotus Press, 1999.

Johnson, Kenneth. Mansions of the Moon. Golden, CO: Archives Press, 2001.

Keay, John. India: A History. New York: Grove Press, 2000.

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Sekhar, K. Jaya. The Best Bet: Forming the Right Relationships. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 2002.


Dennis M. Harness: Curriculum Dean at Kepler College. a professional astrologer. He holds a doctorate degree in Counseling Psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies. For more than twenty years Dennis has studied both Eastern and Western techniques of astrology. Dennis enjoys tutoring students for the ACVA certification program. He also teaches workshops on Vedic Astrology and Transpersonal Psychology throughout the United States. Dr. Harness is the Executive Vice President of the American Council of Vedic Astrology and the President of the American College of Vedic Astrology. He is the author of “The Nakshatras: The Lunar Mansions of Vedic Astrology”, which is published by Lotus Press. He was awarded the title of Jyotish Kovid and Jyotish Vachaspati by the Indian Council of Astrological Sciences. Sedona, AZ.

Maire M. Masco: Student and Administrator at Kepler College. Maire is a professional astrologer, and on staff at both Kepler College, and the American College of Vedic Astrology. After working in the high technology industry for more than a decade, she is thrilled to return to academic and educational pursuits. Seattle, WA.