Nakshatra Series – Uttara Phalguni
Uttara Phalguni is the 12th asterism and consists of two very contrasting stars, known in modern astronomy as Beta-Leonis and 93-Leonis. These two stars lie at the tail end of the constellation of Leo. Denebola (Beta-Leonis) is among the brightest stars in the night sky with a visual magnitude of 2.13. 93-Leonis on the other hand is a relatively faint star with a visual magnitude of 4.53.
Uttara Phalguni translates into “the latter reddish one” or “the latter fig tree”. The month of Phalguna relates to the spring season. We can thus immediately associate Uttara Phalguni with all the feelings evoked by the spring season. Obviously Uttara Phalguni will relate more to the latter half of spring instead of the beginning, which would relate more to the previous Nakshatra.
The main symbol of this Nakshatra is the two back legs of a bed. Like Purva Phalguni, the bed referred to here is not the bed we use for sleeping on during the night time, but a divan or bed/couch used for a daytime siesta or lounging around. This Nakshatra is similar to Purva Phalguni in many ways just as the symbolism suggests. In fact Purva Phalguni and Uttara Phalguni form a pair, the first in the sequence of Nakshatra’s. They share similar names, symbolism, nature and quality although there a slight differences.
As we discussed in the previous Nakshatra, the bed or hammock represents a place for rest, comfort and relaxation. The fact that Uttara Phalguni is related to the back legs and not the front legs of a bed, relates it to the second half of a siesta or lounging around. Usually this second half is much more active is one is mentally getting off the relaxation mode and preparing for work.
Uttara Phalguni is thus less comfort-oriented in comparison to its counterpart Purva Phalguni. It relates to someone lying on a couch talking, thinking, or contemplating or involved in some kind of activity like writing, reading, sexual etc.
The fully grown fig tree, represents the notion that Uttara Phalguni has the capacity to actually provide fruit, while Purva Phalguni, which is related to a growing fig tree, has the potential for bearing fruit but is not actually ripe enough to do so. Uttara Phalguni can thus be seen as a productive rather than a purely recreational, enjoyment oriented and indulgent energy.
Aryaman, one of the 12 Aditya’s (solar deities), is the main ruling deity of Uttara Phalguni. Aryaman is seen as a deity presiding over patronage, favours and kindness. Therefore the key motivation of this Nakshatra is towards helping or receiving help from others. Aryaman is seen as the epitome of hospitality and congeniality, qualities which make Uttara Phalguni a very cultured, social and civilized Nakshatra. Uttara Phalguni, like its presiding deity, is very concerned about etiquettes and social graces.
Aryaman is also seen as a deity who places strong emphasis on friendship. In Vedic rituals he is almost always invoked in a pair, either with Bhaga (the ruling deity of Purva Phalguni), or Mitra (the presiding deity of Anuradha). It is no wonder then that Uttara Phalguni along with Anuradha is known for its ability to promote and maintain friendships. Uttara Phalguni however elates more to a personal one-to-one bosom friendship, while Anuradha relates more to friendliness within a group Aryaman, being a solar deity, carries a lot of the natural significations attached to the Sun as an astrological entity. He acts like a patron but is bound to lose his temper and act harshly when firmly contradicted.
Nature and Functioning:
Most of the nature and functioning’s of Purva Phalguni apply to Uttara Phalguni as well. Other than that, the best way to understand Uttara Phalguni’s nature and functioning is to understand the qualities normally associated with the king among the planets, Sun.
The names assigned to Sun in Vedic texts – the illuminator; the chief among the planets; the ever radiant; the shining one; the soul significator; the cruel and sharp one; the intense one; bestower of prosperity, wealth and ultimate knowledge – give a clue to its basic energy and attributes. All these hold true for Uttara Phalguni as well.
Sun as we know is the light. Lt is a sattwic planet. Sattwa as we know is a quality of nature
whose main objective is to further us along the evolutionary path, through balancing the other two qualities Rajas and Tamas. It is the mode of goodness which has the basic tendency to be helpful to everyone. Sun shines in the same way on the pauper or the king and is never shy of giving. In the same light Uttara Phalguni has a tendency to be free with its sharing, charity, benevolence and philanthropy
Sun is the only graha which generates its own light. This makes it the most independent among the grahas, all of whom reflect the light generated by the Sun. This independence forms a part of its nature and can be witnessed in Uttara Phalguni. This independence relates to establishing one’s own individuality rather than being part of the flock. Alot of us tend to imitate others instead of developing our own creativity, thoughts and opinions. The word ‘self-reliant’, which in today’s world is only taken in its material aspect, actually refers to reliance on one’s own soul for gaining knowledge and awareness. Uttara Phalguni natives are always seen trying to rise above the sea of mass consciousness. They are not the types to change their individuality just to stay in sync with whatever is happening.
Sun, as is common knowledge, is the father figure. This is clear from the fact that all life on earth is dependent upon the Sun. Like a typical father figure, Uttara Phalguni has a cruel and harsh side along with its benevolent life giving side. Uttara Phalguni is also a teacher and preacher at heart in much the same way as Sun and like Sun can be pompous and despotic in its negative functioning.
Most of the war like qualities such as anger, valour, aggression, fearlessness, urge to conquer and competitive spirit are commonly shared by Sun and Uttara Phalguni. However Uttara Phalguni unlike Sun’s other Nakshatra Krittika, has a more forgiving attitude and is always more interested in upholding harmony and honour rather than the final victory. The protective and nourishing aspect of the Sun manifests through Uttara Phalguni It is gentle but firm.
Uttara Phalguni, having its main portion in the sign Virgo, is the meeting point of the energies of Sun and Mercury and thus allows for the expression of their blending. Mercury the divine messenger is the closest planet to the Sun. The prince (Mercury) is always the closest and dearest to the king (Sun). In fact Mercury is the only planet which is not afflicted by Sun’s tremendous intensity, just like the prince is never awed by the presence of the king. Together they share the attributes of discrimination, intelligence, general awareness and the judgemental faculty. In a way both of them are intellectual planets, but Mercury carries a much more humorous and lighter energy as compared to the Sun. Intellect (Mercury) has the job of controlling the mind (Moon) but it takes its cue from the soul (Sun). Mercury can become a frivolous energy unless it establishes proper relations with the Sun. This situation is similar to a messenger without any message or source of news. Sun is the source from which Mercury has to derive its inspiration. Sun however lacks the communication ability of Mercury and cannot express itself properly without its help. This is the reason why the ancient seers extolled the Sun-Mercury combination. This blending of Sun-Mercury energies is very present in those natives born under Uttara Phalguni.
Uttara Phalguni, like Sun, is straightforward and unhesitating in its dealings. Like Sun, Uttara Phalguni is ready to serve but only from a position of superiority. There is a certain degree of ascetism inherent in Uttara Phalguni’s nature. It is hard for many of us to imagine how a king can be an ascetic. An ancient Vedic story about a king called Janaka, in which he proved to a venerable sage that it is perfectly possible, is a case in point.
He asked the sage to carry a burning lamp all around his palace in such a way that the fire is not extinguished. When the sage came back from his round the king asked him about the sights he had seen around his grand palace. The sage couldn’t respond as all his concentration had been focused on the lamp. Janaka then told him that this is the way he rules his kingdom.”
Krishna put forward the same doctrine of action without attachment in his discourse to Arjuna in the legendary Vedic epic ‘The Mahabharata’. Both Krishna and Arjuna were kings in their own right and didn’t exactly fit the role of an ascetic.
Uttara Phalguni, like Sun, assists in easy expression of the soul personality. This expression manifests in the outer world as self-confidence, self-assurance and creativity. In a negative sense it can manifest as selfishness, pride, self-aggrandizement or megalomania. Nobility and dignity are also primarily solar traits which other planets cannot really imitate. There’s no equal to Sun as far as sticking to one’s word or pledge is concerned. Just like it rarely swerves from its celestial path, it always holds onto its word or promise. There are numerous stories of Sun personalities which illustrate this aspect of Sun’s nature, which is also expressed through Uttara Phalguni. Another quality which sets it apart from others is its confidence and self-assuredness.
Sun also has a devious side to it, which most astrologers ignore. It is a master at fraud and lying. Uttara Phalguni has a lot to do with this part of Sun’s nature because of its strong connection with the trickster Mercury. In the olden days the kings were supposed to master 64 arts; and lying, gambling and fraud were among these 64 arts. However it must be noted that Uttara Phalguni tries to use such tactics for a noble cause. Being the natural significator of the 9th and 10th houses, Sun is intimately connected with one’s dharma. Uttara Phalguni is very concerned about fulfilling its duty and assigned goal. It is always very conscious of establishing its path and following it till the end.
In a nativity, Uttara Phalguni rising makes one generous and kind and a good friend towards others. It give some a noble reputation and makes one skilful at their work. Popularity is due to the native’s reliable and helpful nature. Their physical characteristics mirror that of the Sun, especially when the birth is in the Leo part of Uttara Phalguni. The Sun can be described as having honey coloured eyes. It has a square body, sturdy bones and sparse curly hair. It has a majestic appearance and is not very tall. It has a courageous and steady look, its complexion is coppery reddish or golden. It has a proud demeanour.
The Virgo part of Uttara Phalguni adds mercurial traits like flexibility, humour, slenderness, agility and amiability to the Sun-like appearance of the native. The native appears more princely as opposed to kingly.
In the universal scheme of things, Uttara Phalguni relates to ‘chayani shakti” – the power of accumulation & prosperity. Its symbolism has wealth from one’s own family below and wealth from one’s spouse’s family above. This relates Uttara Phalguni to all types of gains made through family, partnerships and unions. It is Uttara Phalguni’s duty to utilize these resources properly, and be generous and fair in their distribution.