Nakshatra Series – Swati
Swati is once again among the few asterisms which are represented by a single star. Its representative is a yellowish star commonly known as Arcturus(Alpha- Bootis). It is the central star of the constellation of Bootis which can be said to lie on top of the gateway formed between Virgo and Libra. However, as we can see, this asterism occupies the heart of the sign Libra and has nothing to do with the sign Virgo. With a visual magnitude of 0.16, Arcturus is the third brightest among the stars in the night sky and can be spotted even in the polluted skies over big metropolitan cities. Ancient Vedic seers associated a lot
of importance to this bright star and saw it as the abode of Saraswati, the goddess of learning.
“Swati”, like other sanskrit terms, evokes a wide variety of English meanings – “self-going”, “good goer”, “independent”, sword”, “self blowing”, “delicate” and “tender”. Each of these meanings relay a different side of this asterism’s nature and functionings.
Its symbol is a ‘young plant shoot blown by the wind’. The wind symbolism suggests the airy quality of this asterism which promotes restlessness, adaptability, dexterity and a roaming disposition. The young plant symbolism suggests delicacy. This is the reason why this asterism strives for strength and independence, just like a young plant shoot strives for maturity. Air is the balancing element among the five interacting elements in nature. This Nakshatra is the balancing pivot of the zodiac in the sense that it is the middle most nakshatra, with thirteen nakshatras on either side.
It represents the atmospheric aspect, where there’s neither a lull nor a storm and a gentle breeze is blowing. Swati thus represents the period of our lives where smooth sailing takes place. In ancient Vedic texts, wind also suggests an idea of force and ability to move things, like clouds. This implies that even though gentle, Swati is capable of applying force whenever required. The young delicate sapling is always growing to become a strong sturdy tree, which has very little to fear from nature’s pressures like weather and animals. A ‘coral’ is the alternative symbol of this nakshatra. The coral is a plant which makes its progeny out of its own body like bacterias and other micro-organisms. In the same way, Swati’s creativity comes out of parting with a piece of itself. It is common knowledge that coral relates to the planet Mars. Swati has no direct correlation with the planet Mars, but through coral a connection is established’. Just like wind gets the impetus to move through the imbalance between heat and cold, Swati gets its extra ordinary mobility, energy and strength from the heating effect of the planet Mars. Swati falls in the cardinal, achievement- oriented sign of Libra. This is why ‘a sword’ is also seen as a symbol of this nakshatra, to represent its cutting, fiery quality. In a way, it can be said, that in time this asterism transforms from the delicate young plant shoot into a hard and strong, razor sharp sword. Thus those with prominent Swati in their charts are late bloomers and have a stronger second half of life as compared to the first half.
Its main presiding deity is Vayu, the god of wind. He is one of the five main gods residing in Swarga (heavenly astral plane),who are responsible for taking care of the five main elements of nature earth, wind, fire, water & ether. All of Vayu’s qualities, especially those relevant to the earthly plane, can be seen manifested through Hanuman, son of Vayu and one of the cental charactersin the Vedic epic, “Ramayana”, Hanuman’s qualities like extreme stength, morality, stong sense of ethics, moderation, fairness, resourcefulness, intelligence, wisdom, sense of propriety, loyalty and ability to serve without letting ego come in the way; apply to the highest aspect of Swati’s functioning.
The “Ramayana” tells us that Hanuman was never consciously aware of his own prowess unless reminded of it by others. Swati, in the same way, is quite humble in its disposition and needs to betold about its potential for it to be able to express itself. This quality can be associated with its planetary ruler Rahu. Rahu as a planet represents the potential that is hidden from us, which we need to discover in the present life. It is Hanuman’s extreme loyalty and devotion to Rama (main character from the “Ramayana’), which still remains the strongest example of unconditional and unselfish service in the hearts and minds of people influenced by the Vedic way of thinking. It is no wonder then that the planet of service, Saturn, reaches maximum exaltation in Swati. Bheema, one of the central characters in the Mahabharata is also son of Vayu (one must remember that in those days gods were still copulating with humans). He is a character similar to that of Hanuman, except that his qualities were not as sterling as that of Hanuman. This is however to be expected as the ages had changed from Treta (Silver) to Dwapar (Bronze). Swati’s relation to saraswati, the goddess of music and learning, reveals the higher nature of this asterism, which is conducive for all sorts of learning-material, philosophical or spiritual. Just like its planetary ruler Rahu, when functioning through its higher aspect, this nakshatra is eager and open to learning a rare quality.
“Balance” is the keyword for natives born under the strong influence of this nakshatra. Balance is a double edged sword and many Swati types are seen to avoid taking any stance on any matter due to their extreme need to maintain harmony. Only very evolved Swati types are capable of decisive action. Extreme procrastination is one of the worst traits of this Nakshatra. Inconclusive thinking is a feature which is apparent here more than any other nakshatra.
Swati’s openness to new thoughts and ideas make it ideal for all types of learning, but only a few acquire mastery over their chosen field. In its lower aspect, Swati is the most airy fairy amongst the nakshatras. Swati natives always have to be conscious of growing towards a more stable center and still this process usually takes a long time. Swati is usually in no hurry to achieve its objectives and this is the reason why Saturn finds maximum exaltation here. The emphasis here is on long term planning. Most Swati natives are usually very good at sowing the seeds for the future, but only a few of them stick around to nurture the seed into a full grown tree.
It is a passive Nakshatra. This obviously relates to its naturally shy and gentle quality. Swati is more of a ‘wait and watch’ rather than a ‘run and get it’ type of Nakshatra. It is also a female Nakshatra and as far as medical astrology is concerned a Kapha type.
Places ruled by this Nakshatra – high cliffs, places which are very windy, agricultural land, coral reefs, market places, business centers, banks, financial institutions, sport complexes, airports [both civil and military], educational institutions, aeronautical facilities and testing grounds, computer and software related centers, research facilities, diplomatic enclaves like embassies, consulates, parliaments, court houses, commuter places like train stations, bus-stations.
Tatwa ruled by Nakshatra – Agni or Fire element.
Inauspicious activities – not good for travel, fierce or warlike activities. Any type of aggressive behavior is not likely to pay off in this Nakshatra. As of writing this piece transit Mars is in this Nakshatra – a delicate balance between aggression and peace rules at this time. When Mars switches places to next Nakshatra, or crosses it to Jyeshtha where transit Saturn is located, trouble blooms!