Nakshatra Series – Uttara Bhadrapada
Uttara Bhadrapada, the apex of saturnine energy, is represented in the celestial firmament by two bright stars, one of which lies in the constellation of Pegasus, while the other is seen as being part of the constellation Andromeda. The ancient Vedic seers saw these stars as being representative of the back legs of a funeral cot (or sleeping bed).Also the ancients saw these two stars forming a rectangular bed (which is now known as the “Square of Pegasus”), along with the two stars of Purva Bhadrapada.
These two stars, which lie in Pegasus and Andromeda respectively, are known in modern astronomy as Gamma-Pegasi (Algenib) and Alpha-Andromedae (Alphera2). They can be seen lying directly above the constellation of Pisces. Gamma-Pegasi has a visual magnitude of 2.84, and lies closer to the zodiacal ecliptic. Alpha-Andromedae is the brighter of the two with a visual magnitude of 2.06 and lies farther away from the zodiacal ecliptic. Both of them can be easily located in the night sky through spotting Andromeda, one of the brightest constellations in the night sky.
“Uttara Bhadrapada” translates into- “the latter (one who possesses) lucky feet’. Its alternative name is “Uttaraproshthapada” which translates into “the latter (one who possesses) the feet of a stool”. These names and meanings are a direct result of this asterism forming a pair with the previous asterism Purva Bhadrapada and don’t convey much regarding the nature or functioning of this asterism.
Its main symbol is the ‘back part of a funeral cot’. A funeral cot denotes our exit from the world, and the sign Pisces, or the 12th house in the chart, signifies this exit. Since this asterism forms the heart of the sign of Pisces, it is appropriate that it is ascribed the back legs of the funeral cot, while its counterpart, Purva Bhadrapada, is ascribed the front legs. In a way it represents our initial state after death, while Purva Bhadrapada can be seen as relating to the actual process of dying. The back part of a normal sleeping bed can also be seen as the symbol of this asterism. Since the 12h house relates to sleep, which can be seen as a temporary form of death, a sleeping bed would also relate to this asterism. Uttara Bhadrapada signifies the deep sleep state, in which the dream activity is at the minimum, and we go to the depths of our unconscious. It can however be also representative of all dreams and dreamlike states.
In our view, its alternative symbol is a serpent with two and a half coils symbolizing the kundalini, the primeval life force lying at the base of the spine in humans. This asterism symbolizes enlightenment through the awakening of all the seven vital centres through the movement of the kundalini. This process of kundalini awakening is actually started in Anuradha, which can be seen as an associate asterism, in the sense that Saturn rules both of these asterisms. As we discussed in the section dealing with Anuradha, Anuradha is the initiator of this process, while Uttara Bhadrapada is the culmination point of this process.
Its deity is known by the name Ahir Bhudhanya and in keeping with the basic energy of this asterism, is a figure shrouded in mystery. His peculiar name roughly translates into “Serpent of the Depths” or “Serpent that lies beneath the surface of the earth”. Most of the Vedic texts don’t say much about him, except the mention of him being a serpent god dwelling in the primeval depths. Even the west has its own share of imagined or otherwise mysterious underwater serpent creatures like Scotland’s Lochness Monster Vedic mythology, however, is replete with stories of serpent beings which reside at the bottom of bodies of water like lakes, rivers and oceans. These beings also reside in all the netherworlds. Ahir Bhudhanya can be seen as a collective composite of all these serpent beings.
There is an obvious connection of the serpent forces, revered by all ancient cultures, with this asterism. Ahir Bhudhanya was seen as the deity responsible for maintaining the fertility of the earth. The symbolism of a serpent lying at the core of the earth, who maintains earth’s structure and fertility, can be found in all ancient cultures. In the west, Pluto the planet seen as the lord of the underworld, was given a similar portfolio.
Ahir Bhudhanya is a more wise and compassionate deity in comparison with Aja Ekapda (please refer to the section on Purva Bhadrapada). Its essential nature is akin to the western Neptunium god figure, which is not very interested in revealing itself. Like Neptune, it presides over the celestial ocean. Even Vishnu, the preserver among the Trinity, has a similar symbolism as can be seen from his lying on a serpent bed on top of the celestial ocean image Finally Shiva, the destroyer among the cosmic Trinity, can be seen as the main presiding deity of this asterism, even though its symbolism relates to Vishnu. This asterism has a dissolution aspect to it in the guises of death, transformation and enlightenment through destruction of forms – Shiva’s domain. Shiva also carries a serpent around his neck.
Nature and Disposition:
The first thing which must be said here, is that it is very hard to pin down the exact nature of this Nakshatra. It can function in a variety of ways and fashion itself according to its needs and surroundings. Since wisdom is the keyword for this Nakshatra, the native strongly under its influence acts according to the needs of the moment rather than from any instinctual archetype.
The real motives of this Nakshatra are always very hard to know. Natives under its strong influence are as elusive as the serpent of the deep sea. Just like the ocean carries a whole different variety of plants and creatures, this Nakshatra has room for many different qualities natures and expressions.
Despite its apparent flexibility, it is quite a fixed Nakshatra, which is usually very determined to achieve its set goals. Flexibility here is just a means to an end. This is the wise old man amongst the Nakshatra’s. It never acts hastily. In fact many a times it can postpone actions too long for its own good. In a lot of cases it can just be plain lazy, in both physical and mental matters. A lot can be understood about this Nakshatra by understanding the nature and role of the old wise chief archetype of indigenous native tribes. Its wisdom has been gained from experience. It is calculative when it comes to achieving its ends. These natives always try to keep the big picture in mind while making plans, decisions and the like. Uttara Bhadrapada likes to do everything in a controlled fashion with care and restraint. Its intentions are usually benevolent. Its ambitions are not self-serving and it is full of qualities like empathy, understanding and sympathy.
Uttara Bhadrapada natives usually make very good counsellors’ water as we know has the ability to extinguish any fire. In the same way the cooling waters of this Nakshatra can ease and cool out all fiery emotions like anger, revenge, jealousy etc. Even in all the native tribes of the past, everyone used to turn to the elder or wise man of the tribe to find solace and direction in their troubled times. The level of compassion this Nakshatra can show will obviously depend upon the evolutionary status of the soul in question.
The calculative aspect of this Nakshatra connects it to all the sciences concerned with understanding the functioning’s of the universal mind, like Astrology, Numerology, Yoga, Meditation, Divination etc
Natives with Uttara Bhadrapada rising on the Ascendant usually have a serene and calm countenance. They try their best to remain happy even in difficult, disturbing and unfavourable circumstances. Uttara Bhadrapada has a tendency to give one a large body with broad shoulders. This can be gauged from the fact that oceans are quite expansive. Such natives are usually short in height, with a tendency towards weight gain, especially with age. Uttara Bhadrapada usually produces shy, reluctant and passive personalities. Such natives are usually in no hurry a tendency which in its lowest aspect can make them lazy and prone to inaction in times where action is indispensable.
Much depends on the placement of Saturn in ascertaining how this Nakshatra will function in a particular nativity. The serpent of the depths is quite an immobile and inert creature, and it requires some external agency or force to arouse it. This is why the presence of fiery optimistic planets like Mars, Sun and Jupiter in this Nakshatra help it overcome its latent inertia. In fact, the placement of any planet in this Nakshatra makes it dynamic.
Uttara Bhadrapada can initiate destructive or seemingly evil actions, but unlike its predecessor, Purva Bhadrapada, it usually does so for some wholesome reason. Uttara Bhadrapada, even when causing destruction, puts less emphasis on cruelty and depravity as compared to its predecessor. Uttara Bhadrapada’s anger is more sublimated and thus its actions are not mindless.
Reasonability is another key to this Nakshatra. It likes to come out with the best possible solutions, which are fair to all parties. The interesting thing to note about this Nakshatra is that it usually has an eye for the needs of others, but almost always ends up benefitting from others. Natives born under its strong influence usually benefit from gift, donations and inheritance etc. One interesting thing to note about this Nakshatra is that it is usually fortunate with making and handling money.
This Nakshatra relates to the Vana Prastha, the third stage of life according to the ancient Vedic texts, in which the native is supposed to cut off their worldly chores and retire to the forest in order to seek enlightenment. It has secretive, reclusive tendencies, which may sometimes make the native under the strong influence of this Nakshatra prematurely retire from their worldly duties. No matter what the evolutionary status an Uttara Bhadrapada native has, there is always some seeking towards some higher awareness.
In the universal scheme of things, Uttara Bhadrapada relates to “Varshodyamana shakti” – the power to bring about rain. Its symbolism has raining clouds above, and growing plants below. This imagery obviously has more to it than just being a common fertility reference. The rain here connects with the soothing universal vibrations which can flow through our astral and causal bodies if we open ourselves to them. This spiritual rain comes about from the celestial ocean of consciousness when the hot Sun (representing our Atman) touches upon it.