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There’s 27 Nakshatras!
Nakshatras. Not too long ago, Nakshatras were beyond my understanding. Or so I thought. . .
When I was doing the FAS diploma, I forbade myself from taking any other astrology course until I finished the diploma. It nearly drove me crazy but since completing the course a couple of years ago, I’ve done a course on Hellenistic astrology and took Deb Houlding’s horary and electional courses. Still thirsty, I’ve been eyeing up Vedic astrology.
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I don’t think we live in a world where astrologers can afford to be separated. We need to understand each other in order to endure the slings and arrows of outrageous scepticism. My good friend Mj Patterson recently did an interview with me and I had quite a lot to say about this.
I was slightly put off Vedic astrology mainly because it just seemed so complicated (all those complicated words, the sidereal system, what the hell is a Nakshatra)–yeah, you see where I’m going with all of this.
When I was in Cape Town, I started studying Vedic astrology more seriously. A copy of Dennis Harness’ book, “The Nakshatras” was sitting on the counter at the house we were staying in so I picked it up.
My astro buddy Ian Waisler was sitting next to me. Suddenly, I just really wanted to get a grip on Vedic astrology and said so out loud. Ian and I began looking at each Nakshatra, writing the keywords, the ruling planet and the tropical zodiac position. Ian piped up and told me that the Nakshatras measure out the distance the Moon travels in one day. And BOOM, I’m hooked.
The next thing I did was a little mnemonic device (this was followed by some shopping in Cape Town with Ian) to help me remember the order of the Nakshatras. There’s 27 of them and no, I haven’t mastered the Hindi word for them but I’m working on it.
By the way–and I’m sorry if this takes away from the Nakshatra story–but please don’t nick my stuff without asking. It’s rude. If you’d like to use the story, just leave a little comment and then I won’t mind. My natal Moon is in the Magha Nakshatra after all.
So without further ado. . .here’s the Nakshatra story:
The Nakshatra Story
A man brought a horse’s head in the hope he could score some Yoni. But as he journeyed, he was distracted by a flame and took a chariot to a castle that displayed an antelope’s head and a human head. With his quiver of arrows, he was able to protect the udder of a cow from a coiled serpent.
In the meantime, a woman passing by in a palanquin returned home and took her infant from a swinging hammock and placed the child on a bed but as she stood up, she stubbed her toe on the legs of the cot. Instead of swearing, she opened her hand and in the palm of her hand was a pearl and a piece of coral. She stood in the archway of her home and sat in the lotus position. While fiddling with her earring, she saw the roots of a plant. It was a hot day so she used a fan to cool herself. There was an elephant’s tusk near her and she put it to her ear and heard a musical drum. The cadence made her imagine an empty circle. When she opened her eyes, she caught a glimpse of a sword, resting on the back two legs off a cot, piercing the drum.
The Hindi Names of the Nakshatras
Here are the Hindi Nakshatras to match the English symbols:
Horse’s head: Ashwini
Antelope’s Head: Mrigshira
Human Head: Ardra
Quiver of Arrows: Punarvasu
Udder of a cow: Pushya
Coiled serpent: Ashlesha
Swinging Hammock: Purva Phalguni
Legs of a cot: Uttara Phalguni
Palm of the Hand: Hasta
Roots of a plant: Mula
Fan: Purva Ashadha
Elephant’s Tusk: Uttara Ashadha
Musical Drum: Dhanishtha
Empty Circle: Shatabhisha
Sword: Purva Bhadrapada
Back two legs of a cot:Uttara Bhadrapada
By happy coincident (like I believe in coincidences), I found out that Dennis Harness’ celebrated his Shasti Purti Puja! This is a great celebration of the year when Jupiter and Saturn make their return in the natal chart at the same time. If you are familiar with my work, then you will know that I regard this conjunction as the entering of Wisdom. I’m so delighted to discover this is celebrated in such a magnificent way in Jyotish–as it should be!! What a great and dare I say Divine validation of the commencement of my Vedic studies. Komilla Sutton, I will get to your book next xx
Meeting Dennis Harness with my other astro brother Ehsan Khazeni of Iran at the ISAR conference in 2016
I got to meet (and even have dinner) with the wonderfully charming Dennis Harness at the International Society for Astrological Research conference in Costa Mesa, California, 2016.
Dennis was also a special guest speaker at the IVC Conference in India 2018. He organises the Sedona Vedic Astrology Conference and invited me to speak in 2018 and again in 2019. I loved this conference and here is the review. Our good friend Ehsan will be attending IVC as a speaker in 2020 so this will be a great chance to hear an additional angle on the East-West connection in astrology.
Alex Trenoweth, MA, DFAstrolS is an astrologer, teacher and author of "Growing Pains", "The Wolf You Feed" and the soon-to-be-released "Mirror Mirror" by The Wessex Astrologer. She travels across the globe lecturing on the topic of Astrology and Education. In 2015, she was voted "Best International Astrologer" for her innovative research on astrology and adolescence. Her work has been published in major astrological magazines around the world such as Dell Horoscope, the International Society of Astrological Research, the Organization for Professional Astrologers and she is co-editor of "Constellation News", one of the largest astrological magazines on the planet.