SUN IN CANCER/LEO: ASHLESHA AND MAGHA NAKSHATRAS and the Time of the Mystical Snake (August 3-August 30th) by Charlotte Benson

Applied Vedic Astrology - Holding the SunI have been wanting to write about this transit but have not had time. My friend Charlotte wrote a great piece so reprinting it here so you can continue to learn more about the stars behind the signs.

By Jyotidevi (Charlotte Benson)

Nakshatras are 13 degree and 20 minute sections of the familiar 30 degree signs of the Zodiac. This section is the area of the sky which the Moon travels over in a 24 hour period. These smaller parts of signs contain much ancient, and very specific, embedded Truth.

Nakshatras are comprised of thousands of fixed stars, and they are associated with almost as many concepts! There are deities, planets, elemental qualities, gunas, ganas, animals, doshas, symbols, myths, sounds, castes, directions, etc. associated with each nakshatra. Knowing about the nakshatras of your Lagna (rising sign), Moon, and Sun can give you much information about your own hidden abilities, and motivations.

A serpent is the symbol of nakshatra #9. Ashlesha’s name (Ash’ lay sha) even sounds a little sibilant or snake-like. From around August 2 through August 17 of any year, our glorious Sun transits through this powerful nakshatra, contained within 16.40 – 30.00 degrees of Cancer. Its principal star is epsilon Hydrae, part of the vast asterism of the water snake.

In many religious traditions, snakes have been honored for representing the power of wisdom arising from spiritual enlightenment, and from the development of occult powers. Naga, the Serpent King, is the presiding deity here. Naga has a very influential role in political circles, and assists in the transformation and evolution of powerful leaders. Other divine serpents have played many heroic roles in the great Hindu epics. For instance, Shesha Naga supports and protects the sleeping Vishnu. And Vasuki offered his snake body as a rope, to help churn the ocean of milk, producing both poison, and nectar, in the process.

Ashlesha means “The Embracer”. This profound term implies the passionate nature of this nakshatra, which is known for its capacity to both cure – and to kill. Venom can also produce these two disparate effects, depending on how it is managed. Managing power and passion is one of the main challenges for planets in this internally contradictive nakshatra.

Mercury is assigned as the planetary ruler of Ashlesha. This questioning planet conveys the concept of intense intellectual capacity leading to wisdom, wealth and internally-induced transformation. The cleverness of Mercury implies the ability to help Ashlesha get what it wants by making connections, writing, speaking and convincing. Ashlesha can be a very serious convincer!

Kapha is the ayurvedic dosha; and Dharma is the motivating force for this intense and complex nakshatra.

Splendid Surya the Sun moves into nakshatra # 10, magnificent Magha on August 17. It is useful to keep in mind that a day or two before and after this date, the Sun is in the fragile gandanta state. The condition of gandanta is defined by the movement of a planet crossing the boundary from a water sign into a fire sign. There are three of these particular junction points per year, and this is one of them. It is advised to be careful to maintain peace of mind, and perhaps do special spiritual practices to stay centered and mindful. The Sun travels through this “fierce” nakshatra until August 30.

Magha (Mug’ huh) means “great”, and spans from 00 degrees – 13.20 degrees of Leo. Regulus (aka alpha Leonis,) one of the ancient “Four Corners of Heaven”, is the marker star. This is a very prominent fixed star, clearly visible around midnight, in the mid-winter sky.

A palanquin, which is an elaborate, canopied chair for carrying dignitaries, is the symbol for Magha. It conveys the idea of wealth and power and general “specialness.” This palanquin is used especially for ceremonial purposes, and is powered by other, less-special, men who bear the burden.

The Pitris, the ancient fore-fathers of humanity, are the guiding divinities for Magha. Like the ideal of real Dads, these benevolent entities can be called upon for guidance and protection. But in this case, they offer support only when invited to do so. They also require attention, in the form of honorific “observations” (Shraddha) to them, especially on the darkest Moon of the month – the new Moon. When Magha honors its own ancestral legacy, it then brings forth its best qualities to be used in the present.

Shadowy Ketu, the bottom half of the mystical snake, is the planetary ruler of Magha. This most other-worldly planet shapes Magha’s ability to be consciously connected with the inheritance of their previous incarnations. Magha is said to have a strong innate intuition, powered by fiery emotions and instinct.

Artha (acquisition and enjoyment of the material world) is the motivating factor for Magha. Its ayurvedic dosha is Kapha.

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