Nakshatra Series – Purva Shada
Purva Shada, the pinnacle of Venusian energy, is represented in the celestial firmament by three bright stars, known in modern astronomy as Epsilon Sagittarii (Kaus Australis), Delta-Sagittarii (Kaus Media) & Epsilon-Sagittarii (Kaus Borealis). All of these stars lie in a line (with a slight deviation) in the middle portion of the constellation Sagittarius. These stars can be spotted easily, as they are located close to the Milky Way’s it stretches like a white celestial river across the night sky. Kaus Australis, having a visual magnitude of 1.81, is the brightest among these stars. Ancient Vedic seers saw these stars as forming the shape of a hand held fan.
“Purva Shada” translates into “the Former Invincible One” or the “Former Unconquered”. Its name, like its successor, concentrates on the basic attribute of this asterism- invincibility. The alternative name for Purva Shada is ‘Aparajita”, which translates into “undefeated”. We can see that the name goes along the same lines as the more commonly used name.
In congruence with the shape formed by its stars, a ‘hand held fan’ is the most famous symbol of this asterism. A fan can have four uses:-
- As a decorative item popular in Japanese/Oriental cultures.
- To cool oneself down in hot conditions
- To fan up a fire.
- As a mask to hide oneself.
Its first use relates to the showy, glitzy and glamourous Venusian aspect of this Nakshatra. In the ancient Orient, the type of fan one carried was directly related to social status. This conveys the superiority aspect of this Nakshatra. It finds itself superior in comparison to all Nakshatra’s before it especially the earlier Venusian ones. The superiority of perfection achieved in the Venusian realm will however depend on the soul level of the native in question.
The second use corresponds to this Nakshatra’s ability to get through hard times. Fanning is essentially an act of aggression against heat. Thus this Nakshatra is often associated with all kinds of aggressive activities. It is patient in adversity and aggressive whenever the opportunity arises.
The third use corresponds to this Nakshatra’s ability to keep a thing going. In its negative aspect this may manifest as exaggeration or overexpansion. In its positive aspect it is an inspiring energy which knows how to keep the fire burning. As a result it is a very expressive and expansive Nakshatra.
The fourth use relates to this Nakshatra’s ability to conceal facts, information’s, feelings, personality etc. It is in a way a shy and sensitive Nakshatra, which likes to conceal its enthusiasm and bubbliness from the outside world as much as possible. Only after some initial reluctance and when it begins to gain confidence does it show its true colours.
A ‘winnowing basket used for ridding grain of husks’, is an alternative symbol, which more or less conveys the above mentioned meanings for a winnowing fan. This symbol brings out the aspect of this Nakshatra related to uncovering hidden talents. This Nakshatra is capable of shedding outer, unnecessary obstacles in order to bring out the useful part inside. This may relate to people, places or things.
An obscure goddess by the name of Apah is the ruling deity of this Nakshatra. “Apah” translates into “water”. Very little is known about this goddess, as the surviving Vedic texts don’t mention her name much. However, her obscurity makes sense, when seen in the light of the fact that this Nakshatra has a mysterious, hiding, secretive and shy quality about it.
Apah can be equated with the ocean goddesses of other cultures like Aphrodite, Astarte etc. It is interesting to note the “Aph” similarity in the names “Apah” & “Aphrodite”. They seem to share the same roots as the name of the original celestial ocean “Apas”. Even Purva Shada’s alternative name ‘Aparajita” seems to have been derived from the same root. “Apa” is still the name for water in many languages around the world and many of the ancients saw water as the invincible element.
“Apah” and “Aphrodite” are both Venusian goddess figurines and can be seen as the female counterparts of the male ocean deity “Varuna”. Both of them can be seen as part reflections of Laxmi, the universal goddess of prosperity. Laxmi’s the spouse of Vishnu, the overseer of the celestial waters which sustain our universe. The image of Vishnu and Laxmi sitting on a snake bed on top of the ocean of celestial waters is an image which is directly related to this Nakshatra.
The “churning of the ocean” legend – the story where several treasures came out of oceans during churning, signify the productive potential of Apah as a goddess. Her negative side is reflected by the deadly poison that came out as a result of the churning. Apah relates to the churning which goes on inside each one of us and the good and bad things which come out as a result.
Her flamboyant, enticing, invincible approach is reflected in the nature and functioning’s of Purva Shada. Like all primordial forces, Apah, though benevolent, is often cruel and harsh in her ways, which again can be seen to hold true for those having a prominent Purva Shada personality. Her grand, all-inclusive, all-embracing vision is where Venus derives its higher qualities like real love and compassion from. Purva Shada is the pinnacle of Venusian energy and thus the real aim of this Nakshatra is to get to an all-encompassing level of awareness, at least from a Venusian point of view.
Apah is closely connected to the mythical sea creature now commonly known as mermaid. The qualities usually associated with mermaids like vain, alluring, sensitive, beautiful, mysterious, enticing, musical, freedom loving and adventurous can be applied to this Nakshatra as well. It is interesting to note that Jimi Hendrix (a musician with Purva Shada rising on his Ascendant), wrote a song dedicated to mermaids titled “1983, A Merman I should turn to be”, He also wrote lines like “Blue are the life giving waters taken for granted, they quietly understand.”
A Welsh folk tale illustrates the same concern and reverence this Nakshatra has for water. In that folk tale, “a mermaid who had spent three days with mortals on dry land, upon returning to her kith and kin, was asked what she had seen amongst those on land. She replied, “Nothing much, except that they are so ignorant as to throw away the very water they boil their eggs in’
Nature and Functioning:
The one characteristic which sets Purva Shada apart from all other Nakshatra’s is its intense conviction that ‘it can’t lose’. Purva Shada feels that it has the ability to come out on top in wherever it directs its energies. As we have seen, there is a strong notion of invincibility attached with this Nakshatra. This notion can however be misplaced at times like the famous character of Don Quixote.
Most of the qualities readily associated with the sign Sagittarius – leaps of faith, ambitiousness, adventurous spirit, wild exuberance, philosophical zeal, wanderlust – usually stem from the nature and functioning’s of this Nakshatra. It is one of the most optimistic Nakshatra’s, but its optimism does not have the tinge of impatience. It is always ready to bide its time until the wind blows in its favour. It is completely undaunted by setbacks and doesn’t ponder on failure. At times this is a negative quality, in the sense that it hardly ever learns from its mistakes.
Many a times one finds that natives under the strong influence of Purva Shada have unrealistic hopes, ambitions and goals unless there are other balancing factors in the horoscope. For example, Adolf Hitler, who has Moon placed in Purva Shada, started a war with unrealistic aims way beyond the power of his army and resources. Purva Shada has a straight forward driving “just do if’ type of energy, which doesn’t always take everything into account, especially the feelings and concerns of those around them. This makes this Nakshatra an insensitive one and even cruel in some situations. This is why this Nakshatra is associated with declarations of war and other such actions which bring about destruction followed by sorrow and regret.
It has a cautious side to it in that it is slow to jump into new things and experiences, but once things are set in motion, it is the type which almost always ends up going overboard. At their best Purva Shada natives are an inspiration to those around them. In their presence one begins to realize that the universe is not such a bad place after all. Purva Shada natives usually have a fresh and unique approach to things, which has the power to instil life into the heart and minds of those who are not as blessed. Jyeshta is unhappy because it does not know the root of things. Mula makes one find the root and the centre, but it is only Purva Shada which holds the key to joy and happiness, after the centre has been found.
Purva Shada is the Nakshatra which can be most associated with the joy of living. This doesn’t mean that Purva Shada natives cling onto life like Ashlesha natives. It is just that they like to live each moment to its complete fullness without a care for the past or the future. They have a nonchalant attitude towards misery and thus are never phased by adverse circumstances. Obviously much depends on the overall tone of the chart as well, but the basic energy of Purva Shada is to shrug off adverse circumstances just like a fan shrugs off the misery caused by heat. As we can see, Purva Shada has a strong desire to live a good life and so the natives under its influence are always trying to improve their circumstances. It is usually seen that Purva Shada natives have little formal education and often have to rise from depravity or generally unpleasant circumstances in order to enjoy their “good life”. Improvement of circumstances is the main concern for them.
They are the kinds who like to be exuberant once they have achieved their goals. At times this may seem like a show-off to other people, but in most cases the Purva Shada natives are only acting out their inner nature. They are born natural show-off. Much depends on the refinement of Jupiter and Venus in the chart in terms of how their exuberance expresses itself.
In general, Purva Shada has a pleasant, artistic way of looking at things. They carry a certain proud and serious expression on their faces, but are ever ready to break into a smile or laughter. Their demeanour can change from jovial to serious in the twinkling of an eye. You can’t always tell their inner thoughts from their outer expressions. They can be honest at times but they always like to keep a part of themselves secret, just as the ocean gods and goddesses like to have a mysterious touch about them. They have a flamboyant way about themselves which reflects through their dressing, communication and their work. One marked characteristic of Purva Shada is that they usually don’t fare well at formal education and are often seen dropping out of schools and universities.
In the universal scheme of things, Purva Shada relates to “varchograhan shakti”- the power to bring about invigoration. Its symbolism has strength above and connection below. This imagery emphasizes the rejuvenation potential of the waters of life, which Purva Shada stands for. Just as the bathing process cruses a renewal in our daily lives, the waters of cosmic consciousness bathe us internally so that most of our soul level hurts and confusions are washed away’