In Vedic system of Astrology, known in Sanskrit as Jyotish, the twenty seven constellations and not the twelve star-signs form the core of understanding celestial influences on our planet. These twenty seven constellations are known as the twenty seven Nakshatras.
The term “Nakshatra”, when broken down to its constituents parts:- “Naks” means the Sky and “Shetra” means the region, translates into “Sky Map”. Another translation is arrived at by a different dissection :- “Naksha” is a Map and “Tara” is Star and so Nakshatra is “Star Map”.
Jyotish (Vedic Astrology) without Nakshatra’s is as incomplete as the human body is without eyes. If Jyotish is the “Eye of the Vedas”, then Nakshatras are the “Eyes of Jyotish”.
The twenty seven nakshatras, in a way, represent our journey from the moment of birth to the moment of death. The ideal path of one’s passage in life can be viewed through the 27 Nakshatras in a short, general way – (you can click on Names of the Nakshatra’s to read more about them)
Ashwini – relates to the first year or so our lives, where we are totally dependent on outside support for our survival and operate from a purely instinctual awareness.
Bharani – represents the time, when as infants, we start growing teeth and undergo other transformative processes like change of diet. Here we have to take on more responsibility, such as starting to learn to eat by ourselves. One notices that a sense of primeval will, which usually relates to wanting and not wanting, is seen here.
Krittika – This is where the learning process starts. We learn to walk, talk, etc. etc.. All this initial learning process happens under the influence of Krittika. This stage can be extended up to four or five years of age. The process of learning to write is also part of this stage. A sense of discipline is required at this stage and one has to outgrow the purely primordial awareness of Ashwini & Bharani.
Rohini – this is where one starts understanding and enjoying the material world with their newfound knowledge gathered in the previous stage.
Mrigshira – is the point whee we follow wherever our curiosity takes us.
Ardra – it is time to analyze and understand our experiences.
Punarvasu – is where emotions come into being for the first time. One begins to understand one’s role in family and society. Playfulness is combined with a sense of caring.
Pushya – represents the stage when more responsibility is taken. This is the age around 16, where one falls in love with life and everything seems so full of promise and wonder.
Ashlesha – comes into picture at around 18-20 years, where the harsh realities of the world dawn upon us and we have to wriggle our way through. There is no place for naivete, as one tries to find one’s way through the jungle of life. This coincides with Rahu’s maturity age.
Magha – Once we find our way, our identity and individuality are established under the auspices of Magha. This usually takes place around 21. Here, one also becomes aware of one’s roots and how they are relevant in the scheme of things.
Purva Phalguni – after one’s individuality is established, one tends to relax and be creative under the impulses of Purva Phalguni. The search for a partner begins. Some might marry and think of having children at this time.
Uttara Phalguni – makes one concentrate on having a fixed role in society and on family issues. It is about finding one’s social individuality, rather than personal individuality, which occurs in Magha.
Hasta – one immerses themselves in worldly responsibilities and affairs and tries to be clever and crafty in it. This is the time for making plans and starting projects.
Chitra – is where we create our works, the plans having being formed in Hasta are now manifested in reality.
Swati – is where we sell our creations to the world. In other words, we relate to the world through business.
Vishakha – after business is done and riches acquired, a longing arises for something more meaningful. The catharsis happens within the domain of Vishakha.
Anuradha – the above longing is only fulfilled in Anuradha, through the wisdom gained in understanding the secrets of nature.
Jyeshtha – once the above objective is achieved, one begins to be seen as a respected and responsible elder-figure, under the energies of Jyeshtha and a feeling of pride and superiority sets in.
Mula – this crushes whatever we have built so far, and shows us that there is a lot more left to unravel and understand. In a way this is the beginning of the impersonal.
Purva Shada – is the stage with follows, one feels invincible as a result of overcoming the trials and transformations experienced in Mula. One begins to share his/her wisdom and experience with the world, but still in a somewhat individualistic way.
Uttara Shada – one is forced to look at the bigger picture and sublimate one’s individuality for collective purposes.
Shravana – one’s individuality is sublimated, one becomes receptive to the fainter but deeper universal voices under the auspices of Shravana.
Dhanishta – whatever we have learned from our receptivity in Shravana, is used for working in tune with the rhythm of the universal mind, as symbolized by Dhanishta. This often bestows wealth, abundance and fulfillment on all levels.
Satabhisha – after one has enjoyed the abundance, there is a longing for something even more fulfilling. This catharsis takes place in Satabhisha, a place where one ponders over the question of existence itself.
Purva Bhadrapada – the questioning ultimately leads one to severe penance and austerities under the influence of Purva Bhadrapada. One is ready to sacrifice everything on a material, mental and emotional plane, in order to gain the ultimate knowledge.
Uttara Bhadrapada – the real path to gaining this knowledge is shown in Uttara Bhadrapada, which shows that the ultimate wisdom and knowledge can be gained through easier, milder and more peaceful means. This is where the understanding of the middle-path comes into being.
Revati – following the middle-path leads to attainment of complete enlightenment under the care of Revati, the final Nakshatra. All dualities, complexities, philosophies, actions and reactions merge in the celestial ocean represented by Revati, and like Vishnu, one rises above the ocean free from all of them.
It goes without saying, that for most people, the stages represented by the Nakshatras, hold more meaning, depending on those nakshatras which are occupied by the planets or ascendant in an individual’s horoscope. Especially in today’s out-of-balance society, the ideal path outlined by the nakshatras, as described above, only applies partially to the majority of us.