An Introduction to The 27 Lunar Mansions (For Western Astrologers)

posted by Manoj Soma on January 1, 2013

 When man first looked at the heavens to comprehend his relationship with the universe the constellations had no form or name.  The earliest forms of divination were based on simple premises such as the observation of the sun, the moon and it’s movement against the backdrop of stars in the night sky.

In Vedic, fixed stars are called Nakshatras and they are used a little differently that the Western System. In Western astrology, it is more simple and we say that the planet is conjunct a fixed star if it is less than 2 degree orb from it. But in Vedic the zodiac is divided into 28 sections and each section is assigned a fixed star.

WOULD YOU LIKE TO FIND WHAT IS YOUR NAKSHATRA OR LUNAR MANSION?

The Moon takes 27.3 days to go around this backdrop – the 12 signs of the constellations of the zodiac. Within these constellations are independent stars of various sizes and magnitude (brightness). In the Vedic and Chinese version of astrology these stars were given a special significance and known as ‘lunar mansions’. This means that although there are 12 moon signs for a month, there were also lunar mansions for each day!

As an example, if you are born with the Moon at 12 degrees Taurus then your moon would also be near the star Aldebaran which is a huge red giant (40 times the size of our sun). Aldebaran is called Rohini in the Vedic System of Astrology.

Each of the lunar mansions OR NAKSHATRAS in Vedic Astrology have a ruling planet, symbol, quality, nature and set of associated and universal myths that pertain to the spiritual evolution and purpose of sentient life on earth. The Nakshatra also defines which time period you are born in (Called Dasha) and which Dasha cycles your life is going to follow for a period of 120 years.

The word Nakshatra is broken down as follows

Naksha – means ’to approach’, ‘come near’, ‘arrive at’
Tra – means ‘guard’,’protection’,’shelter’

The meaning of Nakshatra therefore is a star which has a special role in the guardianship, protection and evolution of the cosmos and sentient life within it. By ‘approaching’ these Nakshatra it is said that one can find a way to harmonise with the universe and the harmonic order within it

The use of Nakshatra’s in Ancient India and China is also widely used in what is called ‘electional astrology’ , the selection of auspicious timing for major events in life such as starting a business, a new job, marriage, moving house, baptism of a child etc. – a particular Nakshatra is chosen for a specific purpose based on its associated ruling planet, quality, dynamism, energy and guiding deity. This practice widely continues until this day.

One practical starting point for readers of this article is to consider which lunar mansion your Moon falls into, by then exploring this further one can gain further insight into our real motivations, our positive and negative psychological tendencies and the emotional lessons we have come to learn in this birth. This can provide a spiritual dimension by connecting us to our larger purpose, place and meaning in life.

To find out one’s moon Nakshatra one can look at the table below for quick reference.

Nakshatra Name

Location (Indian name given in Sanskrit)

Ashvini
“wife of the Ashvins”
  • Indian zodiac: 0° – 13°20′ Mesha or Aries
  • Western zodiac 26° Aries – 9°20′ Taurus
Bharani
“the bearer”
  • Indian zodiac: 13° 20′ – 26°40′ Mesha or Aries
  • Western zodiac 9° 20′ – 22° 40′ Taurus
Krittika
an old name of the Pleiades; personified as the nurses of Kārttikeya, a son of Shiva.
  • Indian zodiac: 26°40′ Mesha/Aries - 10° Vrishabha/Taurus
  • Western zodiac 22° 40′ Taurus – 6° Gemini
Rohini
“the red one”, a name of Aldebaran. Also known asbrāhmī
  • Indian zodiac: 10° – 23°20′ Vrishabha/Taurus
  • Western zodiac 6° – 19°20′ Gemini
Mrigashīrsha
“the deer’s head”. Also known as āgrahāyaṇī
  • Indian zodiac: 23° 20′ Vrishabha/Taurus – 6° 40′ Mithuna/Gemini
  • Western zodiac: 19°20′ Gemini – 2°40′ Cancer
Ardra
“the moist one”
  • Indian zodiac: 6° 40′ – 20° Mithuna or Gemini
  • Western zodiac: 2° 40′ – 16° Cancer
Punarvasu (dual)
“the two restorers of goods”, also known asyamakau “the two chariots”
  • Indian zodiac: 20° Mithuna/Gemini – 3°20′ Karka/Cancer
  • Western zodiac 16° – 29°20′ Cancer
Pushya
“the nourisher”, also known as sidhya or tiṣya
  • Indian zodiac: 3°20′ -16°40′ Karka or Cancer
  • Western zodiac 29°20′ Cancer – 12°40′ Leo
Āshleshā
“the embrace”
  • Indian zodiac: 16°40′ – 30° Karka or Cancer
  • Western zodiac 12°40′ – 26° Leo
Maghā
“the bountiful”
  • Indian zodiac: 0° – 13°20′ Simha or Leo
  • Western zodiac 26° Leo – 9°20′ Virgo
Pūrva Phalgunī
“first reddish one”
  • Indian zodiac: 13°20′ – 26°40′ Simha or Leo
  • Western zodiac 9°20′ – 22°40′ Virgo
Uttara Phalgunī
“second reddish one”
  • Indian zodiac: 26°40′ Simha or Leo- 10° Kanya or Virgo
  • Western zodiac 22°40′ Virgo – 6° Libra
Hasta
“the hand”
  • Indian zodiac: 10° – 23°20′ Kanya or Virgo
  • Western zodiac 6° – 19°20′ Libra
Chitra
“the bright one”, a name of Spica
  • Indian zodiac: 23°20′ Kanya or Virgo- 6°40′ Tula or Libra
  • Western zodiac: 19°20′ Libra – 2°40′ Scorpio
Svāti
“Su-Ati (sanskrit) Very good” name of Arcturus
  • Indian zodiac: 6°40′ – 20° Tula or Libra
  • Western zodiac 2°40′ – 16° Scorpio
Visakha
“forked, having branches”; also known as rādhā“the gift”
  • Indian zodiac: 20° Tula – 3°20′ Vrishchika
  • Western zodiac 16° – 29°20′ Scorpio
Anuradha
“following rādhā
  • Indian zodiac: 3°20′ – 16°40′ Vrishchika or Scorpio
  • Western zodiac 29°20′ Scorpio – 12°40′ Sagittarius
Jyeshtha
“the eldest, most excellent”
  • Indian zodiac: 16°40′ – 30° Vrishchika or Scorpio
  • Western zodiac 12°40′ – 26° Sagittarius
Mula
“the root”
  • Indian zodiac: 0° – 13°20′ Dhanus or Sagittarius
  • Western zodiac 26° Sagittarius – 9°20′ Capricorn
Purva Ashadha
“first of the aṣāḍhā“, aṣāḍhā “the invincible one” being the name of a constellation
  • Indian zodiac: 13°20′ – 26°40′ Dhanus or Sagittarius
  • Western zodiac 9°20′ – 22°40′ Capricorn
Uttara Ashadha
“second of the aṣāḍhā
  • Indian zodiac: 26°40′ Dhanus or Sag – 10° Makara or Cap
  • Western zodiac 22°40′ Capricorn – 6° Aquarius
Abhijit
“victorious”[4]
Lord: Brahma
Sravana
  • Indian zodiac: 10° – 23°20′ Makara or Capricorn
  • Western zodiac 6° – 19°20′ Aquarius
Dhanishta
“most famous”
  • Indian zodiac: 23°20′ Makara or Cap- 6°40′ Kumbha or Aquarius
  • Western zodiac 19°20′ Aquarius – 2°40′ Pisces
Shatabhisha
“requiring a hundred physicians”
  • Indian zodiac: 6°40′ – 20° Kumbha or Aquarius ; Western zodiac 2°40′ – 16° Pisces
Purva Bhadrapada
“the first of the blessed feet”
  • Indian zodiac: 20° Kumbha or Aquarius – 3°20′ Meena or Pisces;Western zodiac 16° – 29°20′ Pisces
Uttara Bhādrapadā
“the second of the blessed feet”
  • Indian zodiac: 3°20′ – 16°40′ Meena or Pisces; Western zodiac 29°20′ Pisces – 12°40′ Aries
Revati
“prosperous”
  • Indian zodiac: 16°40′ – 30° Meena or Pisces
  • Western zodiac 12°40′ – 26° Aries

 

 About the Author

I run a growing Facebook group for astrologers or anyone interested in finding out more about the tradition of Vedic Astrology for beginners. I am based near London, UK and run regular classes and counselling using Vedic Astrology at evenings & weekends. To find out more you can either email me on schoolofmysticarts@gmail.com or join the Facebook group on http://www.facebook.com/groups/schoolofmysticarts/

I have had the fortune to have had a wide variety of teachers influence what I have learnt about Vedic Astrology since my first interest in about 15 years ago. I began with an interest in Tropical Astrology in around 1996 by tinkering with some computer software whilst at University. I was surprised by the insight it provided which then led me to pursue an interest in Vedic astrology after I graduated.  Since then I had the fortune to be influenced by some excellent teachers and authors to which I offer my gratitude – they are Hart deFouw, Geoffrey Pearce, Andrew Foss, Komilla Sutton, Dennis Harness, James Braha and Bill Levacy. I was also very fortunate to gain audience with the late Bepin Behari just before he passed away which provided me with guidance and direction as to how to develop my understanding further. More recently I am grateful to the contemporary teachers in this emerging subject who have also been helpful in widening my horizons Sam Geppi and Vic Di Cara , not to mention those who have been very hospitable on the Facebook front.

I have a background in Social Computing, Teaching and Learning and Online education, I will try to use these skills to good effect with the people I work with

Sources

Online Sanskrit Dictionary
http://spokensanskrit.de/

List of Nakshatra’s,deities and actual astronomical reference : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nakshatra

Date Resources Accessed [31/12/12]


4 Responses to “An Introduction to The 27 Lunar Mansions (For Western Astrologers)”

  1. AstroManda Says:

    Manoj Soma, so all these Nakshatras mean something…right? just like fixed stars. I have my Moon in Taurus in sideral astrololgy and connected to Rohini nakshatra (same as fixed star Alderbaran fixed star). What does this mean? or what does it add to my Moon?

  2. soma108 Says:

    Hi Astromanda, thanks for your question. Yes of course, all of these nakshatra have a range of associated characteristics that give an extra dimension to the moon sign. The best way to look at it is to combine the meanings of the sign that your moon is in (Taurus), the ruler of the nakshatra (Moon) and the nakshatra’s qualities.

    The Moon in this placement is in the fertile and productive environment of Taurus, and is also in a Nakshatra that is itself owned by the moon. The name for the Nakshatra Rohini means ‘the red one’ or ‘the growing one’. Its deity is Brahma – ‘the creator’. Mythically it is the favourite and preferred nakshatra of the Moon God (Chandra), this is because here the emotional energy of the Moon is very grounded and therefore optimal for the heart to open and give fertility and creativity.

    It lends all those lunar qualities, being heart and feeling centred, a healthy sense for touch, feelings and emotions and being very motherly and welcoming to all. It has a deep need for emotional security and to be needed and also to portray a positive image. It is a fixed star and also desires permanence, it therefore likes to create things that are of lasting worth. I hope this is helpful!

  3. Cartwright Says:

    Manoj,

    My moon is in 17 deg Taurus in Western (Tropical) Zodiac. I checked your table and found out that in the Vedic system my moon is in Mesha (Aries) and that would make my Nakshatra as Bharani. Is that true?

    If so, what does Bharani signify? Say something more about this fixed star.

    Thanks!

    CJ

  4. Manoj Soma Says:

    hi CJ, thanks very much for your question. 17 degree’s taurus would make your Moon be at roughly 24 degrees Aries so Yes this is at Bharani – astronomically 35, 39, and 41 Arietis. The Moon in Bharani has the mixed energies of Mars (the moon sign) and Venus (Ruler of Bharani) . This star has a sensous nature. Bharani has tremendous endurance, it’s symbol is the elephant is it is able to bear and endure suffering and also able to bear the pain of others. It also has a symbol of the womb. The difficult side of Bharani is having the right clarity to know when one is carrying too much burden to lighten the load- otherwise one can literally become over burdened and carry too much – this initiates the need for clear boundaries to be set between self and others to preserve vitality. The house position of the moon could shed some further light here. The deities involved are Yama or Kali. If you find out more about these you may feel a connection..

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