The Nakshatras, Just like the Rashis, the Nakshatras also break up the zodiac into equally spaced segments. There are 27 Nakshatras, each taking up 13’20”. The Nakshatras are also called lunar mansions, as the Nakshatra position of the Moon is an important use of Nakshatras. Each Nakshatra has a symbol, various attributes, and a planetary ruler. In order to clarify the use of Nakshatras, we will first explain the major differences between the use of Rashis and Nakshatras. Rashis are used to break up the chart into houses, as one Rashi corresponds to one house. Nakshatras do not correspond to any house, or to anything comparable. The attributes of the Rashis are highly symmetric, with the order of male-female, and movable-fixed-dual repeating in a consistent pattern. The attributes of the Nakshatras are not like that at all, and their significance is not easily derived from a mathematical pattern as in the case of the Rashis. Rashis are fully responsible for the dignity of the Graha, such as being in exaltation, in Moolatrikona etc. Nakshatras play no role at all in determining the dignity or any other attribute of the Grahas. Rashis are used in the birth chart as well as in the divisional charts (vargas). Nakshatras are generally only used in the birthchart, and not in the divisional charts. Rashis are used in many of the strength calculations that constitute ShadBala, but Nakshatras are not used at all.The astronomically corresponding factor to a Rashi is the Solar month, whereas the Nakshatra is closest to the lunar day. (It takes one month for the Sun to pass through one sign.). Signs aspect each other. Nakshatras do not have aspects. Nakshatras play a major role in the timing of the chart, and their order acts like a clock, activating the effects of the Grahas in the chart in a very particular order. The rashis also have a similar relationship to the Grahas, but much less emphasized/used. In general, one can say that the Rashis divide the zodiac to reveal more visible, objective aspects of the chart, and create a division of houses that represent the major areas of life where the Grahas act in. Nakshatras divide the zodiac to reveal a more subjective cycle that is particularly relevant to understand our awareness and perception. The qualities of the Nakshatras are mostly derived from the symbols and mythological associations indicated in the Vedas. The accuracy and validity of these derived qualities can only be verified by the practicing astrologer. The most wide spread use of Nakshatras is through the unique system of dashas. Dashas are planetary cycles that divide life in major time periods, and each of those time periods in sub periods. Each dasha period has a precise starting and ending date, and during that period the influence of one of the Grahas (the dasha lord) will be felt more pronounced. Therefore, the prime use of the Nakshatras is to determine when the Rashi-based interpretations will manifest! The dasha system forms the link between our nakshatra based cycles of experience that activates our rashi based potential.
These are the 27 nakshatras and their dasha lords:
1. Ashwini 2. Bharani 3. Krittika 4. Rohini 5. Mrigashira 6. Ardra
7. Punarvasu 8. Pusya 9. Ashlesha 10. Magha 11. Poorva Phalguni 12.
Uttara Phalguni 13. Hasta 14. Chitra 15. Swati 16. Vishaka 17. Anuradha
18. Jyestha 19. Moola 20. Poorvashadha 21. Uttarashadha 22. Shravana
23. Dhanishta 24. Shatabisha 25. Poorvabhadrapada 26. Uttarabhadrapada
For the purpose of Muhurta, the Brihat Samhita classifies the Nakshatras in some broad groups that characterize their nature. Each group is favorable for certain types of events, and these events give you a fairly good picture of the quality of that group:
Dhruva (fixed) Nakshatras the three Uttaras and Rohini are called Dhruva or Fixed. To be used for coronations, expiatory rituals, planting of trees, laying the foundation of towns, commencement of meritorious deeds, sowing seeds and other permanent things.
Tikshna/Daruna (dreadful): Mula, Ardra, Jyestha and Ashlesha. These are good for success in attacks, incantations, rising of goblins, imprisonment of others, murder, separation of friends and alliance with kings and the like. So if you care for raising a goblin, wait until the Moon is in one of those nakshatras.
Ugra (Fierce): The three Purvas (Purvaphalguni, Purvasadha and Purvabhadrapada), Bharani and Magha. They are to be used with success in ruining enemies, destruction, deceit, and imprisoning, poisoning, arson, striking with weapons and murders and the like.
Ksipra (Swift): Hasta, Ashwini, and Pushya (Abhijit too) are termed Ksipra or Swift. They are beneficial for trade, sensual sports, education, decorations (or making ornaments), fine arts, skilled labor (like carpentry, smithy etc.), medical treatment, journey and the like (taking or giving loan etc.).
Mrdu (Tender): Anuradha, Chitra, Revati and Mrigasira. They are used with advantage in making friends, sexual union, use of garments and ornaments, performance of auspicious ceremonies (like marriage, Upanayana and Cudakarana) and singing.
Mrdutikshna/ Sadharana (Tender-Dreadful): Krittika and Vishaka. These yield mixed results.
Cara (Temporary): Shrvana, Dhanistha, Shatabhisa, Punarvasu and Swati. These are beneficial for ephemeral things.