The oldest zodiac of mankind now explained by beautiful tarot cards and a booklet (above is an image used for one of the cards)
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1. The zodiac (shown here)
2. How to use this book (shown here)
3. The astrological method (explanation of the basics of Vedic astrology)
4. India and her Gods
5. The 27 Lunar Constellations (description of 7 constellations is shown here)
6. Appendix (initial letters of names and the corresponding lunar constellations and readinglist)
"This idea of learning about the nakshatras via a tarot card format is clever and fun. Equally unique is the "spiritual path" approach versus the more common "personality approach". The accompanying booklet is attractive, well organised and quite informative for its size. This would be a great gift for any Vedic astrologer"
Richard Houck, author of "the astrology of death"
"Thank you for sending the beautiful Hindu Lunar Zodiac cards and booklet. They are a valuable teaching aid for understanding the depth and symbolism of the nakshatras. I will highly recommend them to students taking the ACVA certification program."
Dennis M. Harness, Vice President of ACVA (American Council of Vedic Astrology)
The moon is the celestial body which is the most visible in the nightly sky. The moon dominates the nightly sky and can be seen far more clearly than any other planet or star.
During the day the only one celestial body to be seen is the sun. By night the sky is far more interesting because it is then that we can observe the planets and the stars.
The stars form the basis of the zodiac. The constellations are groups of stars among which you can discover certain patterns. Because the stars are visible in the darkness of night, the nightly sky is the astrologer's real object of study. Due to its dominant presence in the nightly sky it is very obvious to attribute an important role to the moon.
The moon figures against the background of certain stars. The next day it is situated against the scenery of other stars:
This continues until after 27 1/3rd day the moon has taken up its original position again.
Let us suppose that you are an astrologer and do not dispose of a computer or tables, you are therefore solely dependent on your sky observations. Imagine you want to develop a system, a zodiac for example, which will enable you to determine the position of the planets. Obviously you would qualify the moon, being the queen of the nightly sky, as the most important factor. It is also logical to suppose that one night the moon would be in constellation A and the next in constellation B:
As after 27 1/3rd day the moon has returned to its point of departure, thus creating 27 lunar constellations. However, since there is a difference between 27 1/3rd and 27 the moon does not stay exactly 24 hours in a certain lunar constellation. As a matter of fact, it remains 24 hours and 18 minutes in each lunar constellation. In this way a lunar zodiac comes into being:
In India the lunar zodiac is the most ancient zodiac. It was only until later that the solar zodiac became popular. The lunar zodiac was also used by Chinese, Babylonian, Arabian and even Western astrologers. It was used to analyse the birth horoscope but also to determine favourable moments. Thus, according to the tradition, it is supposed to be favourable to undertake a journey when the moon is placed in a particular constellation, or when it is placed in a different constellation, it would be a good time to get married. The emphasis in this book is on the use of the lunar constellations for character astrology and on gaining insight into your spiritual path.
In the Western world the relationship between church and astrology has not been without problems. Solar astrology was tolerated to some degree, but one was genuinely suspicious about lunar astrology for the moon symbolises a female principle.
Within a patriarchal culture that female principle is under severe suspicion (patriarchal means that the descent of a child is determined by who is the father of that child). Such a culture is dominated by masculine values and rules. The modern culture is a patriarchal culture.
We may have forgotten about them, but there have been periods of time when humanity was immersed in a world-wide matriarchal culture (here the descent is determined by who is the mother of a child). Long before the beginning of our era this culture has been destroyed by patriarchal conquerors. Recent archaeological findings indicate that in olden times the Jews for instance honoured a female goddess (called Asherah). One has forgotten all about that goddess. Her cult has been extinguished completely and the cult of Yahweh, the male god, has remained. In Greece there used to be a matriarchal culture as well. On the island of Samos for a long time rituals were being performed referring to those days.
There are strong clues that the Indus Valley culture that dominated India from 2500 BC until 1500 BC was a matriarchal culture, which can be deduced from the discovery of many goddess statues. The Indus valley culture was highly educated. The houses even had sewerage. It is very likely that the religion of the mother goddess (Devi) which has now been incorporated into Hinduism stems from this culture. In this culture the female principle was very important.
In the patriarchal culture of the Middle Ages the moon and the lunar zodiac were associated with black magic. A certain Giordano Bruno was the last person to write a book on the Western lunar zodiac. Perhaps it would have been better for him not to have done that for he died at the stake in 1600. This was the last we heard of the Western lunar zodiac (by the way the author of this document lives in Bruno-street).
In India astrology forms part of the religion. Hence astrology has always held a much stronger position than in the West. Moreover Indian people attach great value to old traditions. For these reasons the lunar zodiac has kept its significant position in India. Although India is dominated by a patriarchal culture nowadays, and the solar zodiac has become widely used and accepted, the lunar zodiac is still the second important system.
Nowadays India has adopted the Western calendar. In that calendar months have a duration which main function is to fit in properly within the solar year.
However, in the original Indian calendar months last from one new moon until the next new moon. Full moon occurs half-way through such a month, which is named after the constellation during which full moon occurs. For example: If full moon takes place in spring during the constellation of Chitra, we call the month Chaitra
Until this day, in India religious holidays are determined by means of the lunar calendar, which is also custom in certain Buddhist countries like Thailand.
A lunar month lasts for approximately 29 days, this is a few days longer than it takes the moon to return to the exact same point of the zodiac. One year has 12 months. Because 12 (lunar) months have fewer days than 365 or 366, about every 3 years an extra month is added. By doing this, the year based on the actual months is in pace with the solar year.
The lunar zodiac is not some dusty relic from times gone by, but a system which, until today, has been used very often in India. The purpose of this is to give insight into the living tradition of the Indian lunar zodiac.
This book reviews the 27 Indian lunar constellations. The greater part of it consists of descriptions of the constellations. Details are given on the characteristic qualities belonging to those constellations, as well as an analysis of the spiritual path that fits with each different constellation. Each one of these constellations carries great opportunities with itself. The object is to discover these possibilities and to explore and to express them.
In this booklet all spiritual paths are considered to be valuable. I do not suggest that one method would be better than another. It is more likely to assume that so many spiritual paths have been developed because for different kinds of people different approaches may be meaningful. Learning about the lunar constellations gives insight into what might be a suitable spiritual path for you.
There are three ways to determine which constellation suits you best.
1. The astrological method. In chapter 3, a description is given of how to make a Vedic (Indian) horoscope and how to come to an interpretation, at least as far as the position of the planets in the constellations is concerned.
2. The onomastical method. It is possible to determine which constellation matches you by looking at your first name. Appendix A reviews the first two or three letters of several first names. Choose the letters that suit your first name best. For example, your first name is Mary; in the survey the letters Maa correspond with your first name. Therefore, the constellation Magha would be suitable for you. Sometimes it is more difficult. If your name is Rick, your name corresponds with Chitra (Raa, Ree) and Swati (Ru, Ray, Raa). Chitra and Swati have sounds beginning with the letter R. A constellation with the sound Ri does not exist. So we have to content ourselves with constellations beginning with the sound R.
Although this may seem a rather simplistic method at first sight, it is a method which is fully in accordance with the traditional rules of the Vedic astrology.
In India people use the connection between sounds and constellations, when determining a person's name. Suppose someone is be born when the moon is in the constellation of Shravana, he may be named John (sound: Jo).
It is possible that the constellation matching your name does not correspond with the constellation in which your moon is located as determined by the astrological method. In that case your name vibrates with another constellation than with the one of your soul and inner being. It is favorable to have your name vibrating with the same constellation as that of your inner being. In India, people therefore may choose a name taking into account the sounds that belong to the constellation in which the moon is situated in the birth horoscope.
3. Through tarot reading. The booklet the Hindu Lunar Zodiac is supplied with 27 tarot cards showing you the images of the constellations and some keywords. Perhaps the most simple way to find out which constellation would be most appropriate for you, is to ask your inner being and then choose a tarot card. There are many more things you can do of course. For instance, it is also possible to try a complicated reading like the Celtic cross or a chakra reading (see books on tarot). Personally, I prefer simple readings, like this one with only three cards:
1. What is my actual situation, here and now?
2. What energy should I make less use of?
3. What energy should I use more?
An example: card nr. 1 is Bharani (the second constellation), card nr. 2 is Ashwini (the first constellation) and card nr. 3 is Dhanista (constellation nr. 23). In order to understand the following explanation, please consult the descriptions of the constellations as explained in chapter 5.
Card 1 Bharani indicates that you are in an evolutionary process that emerges from within. You are leaving behind an important phase in your life and you are in the process of being re-born.
Card 2 Ashwini shows you that you are trying to reach your goal at high speed, perhaps you are running from pillar to post, it is possible that you let yourself be overwhelmed with the problems of other people. Try not to do this.
Card 3 Dhanista reveals the following: Make your self empty, listen to meditative music so your ego can come to rest. Make less use of your own desires and let yourself be guided to the divine by a meditative attitude.
Now suppose that Dhanista would be card 2 and Ashwini card 3. In this case it would be important to act, to do something quickly. If, however, Dhanista would be card 3 and Ashwini card 2, it would be important to come to rest and to adopt a meditative attitude.
The strong point about tarot cards is their dynamics. The conclusions reached through the astrological or onomastical method are established facts (or you would have to be re-born and/or receive another name). If you receive a tarot card that is suitable to you, then this will not always be the same card, thus reflecting the influence of changing moods and situations. The tarot method shows the influence of varying circumstances. The onomastical method reveals information about the vibration of your name and the astrological method defines which constellations are important to your own inner being. All three methods, each in their own way, supply relevant information.
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The Ashwini Kumaras are twins born as a result of Sanjna and Surya (the sun) being together. At the moment of impregnation Sanjna had assumed the shape of a horse. That is why this lunar constellation is called horse woman. The twins appeared to have healing powers. They have cured many mythological characters who needed medical help. Therefore this constellation has to do with healing, with putting a halt to the ageing process and with eternal youth. A doctor has to be on the spot quickly. A good doctor travels at high speed to the place where he has to help sick people or has to assist in case of an accident. Good ways of transportation are indispensable for this purpose. Because of the relationship between doctors, swiftness and good ways of transportation, this constellation deals with means of transport and rapid actions.
A person for whom the Ashwini constellation plays an important role, is open to the needs of others and wants to do something about these needs in a preferably quick and efficient way. This may result in heroic acts and as a consequence in a growing popularity of the person. In this case the ego has to be strong enough to handle this popularity.
The spiritual path belonging to Ashwini is that of a healer or shaman. This is the reason why practising shamanism is a good method for this constellation.
Bharani has to do with growing processes that emerge from
within. It is the constellation of the womb where new life comes into being. It has to do with birth and transformation. Birth and death belong together. Each time we enter into a new phase of our life, we conclude an old one. The dying of the old is the logical consequence of the birth of the new. It is because of this that Yama, the god of death, belongs to this constellation.
The vagina is the symbol of this lunar constellation. The vagina welcomes the seed that makes new life possible and is the way through which new life comes into the world. The sexual deed is the foundation of the beginning of new life. The orgasm is also called: 'la petite mort' or 'the short death'. During an orgasm one looses control. For a little while the ego is dead and you are in immediate contact with the divine. 'The short death' is the moment that conception takes place: the beginning of new life. Bharani deals with birth and the protection of life. The transformation processes connected to this constellation can be violent.
This spiritual path may be intense and violent. It is about living your life without compromise and being open to transformation processes. Practising and understanding sexuality may help to gain insight into the mysteries of life and death.
In the sky, Krittika is positioned in the form of a group of stars called "The Pleiades", or the "weeping sisters" as they are sometimes called. The warrior may bring destruction and sadness. However, he may also be the protector of the good and the destroyer of evil. The warrior knows what he wants and he is prepared to give his life in order to protect what is good.
Karttikeya, the general of the heavenly army, is the bearer of the golden sword. He fights demons and shines like the sun in his golden armour. That is why Karttikeya is associated with the golden light of the sun and the wealth connected with it. Agni, the other god that reigns over Krittika, brings destruction but also purification.
The word agni stands for the fire of digestion. If a person has little agni he cannot digest food very well. If agni functions well, all the good nutrients can be benefited from. The transforming energy of agni allows the body to be able to take in food. Without the fire of agni, there is no absorption of nutrients and thus no life.
This lunar constellation symbolises the way of the warrior. If Krittika plays an important role in a person's horoscope, Eastern martial arts may suit him. It is not a path of safety and comfort, but of knowing what you want and drawing the consequences of that. If your motives are pure, Krittika leads you to heroic acts and to the life the soul wishes for.
In the Bhagavad Gita, the heroic epic of Hinduism, the way of the warrior is described in detail (see reading list).
Rohini is regarded as one of the most favourable lunar constellations regarding one's earthly life. Rohini was the favourite bride of Chandra, the lunar god. She became his favourite because of her beauty, artistically talents and expertise in the 'erotic arts'. The colour red which is associated with Rohini (Rohini means red) relates to passion and sensuality.
This constellation consists of five stars among which the red star Aldabaran. If the moon is in Rohini, she is in exaltation. This means that Rohini is an exceptionally favourable position for the moon to be in. Chandra, the lunar god, will flourish.
It is a constellation that may bring fortune and happiness. This entails a risk, however. A person with a strong emphasis on this constellation would immerse himself in the materialistic aspects of life in such a way that the spiritual aspect would be lost. Brahma is the creator: the god who made the material world. The symbol of Rohini, a carriage drawn by oxen, represents wealth. Rohini leads to the world of wealth, luxury and sensuality. This may enrich your life unless you would consequently neglect the spiritual aspect of your life. Spirituality however, does not necessarily mean asceticism.
The spiritual path of Rohini has to do with Tantra. Tantra is a religion from ancient India which consists of embracing life, enjoying all aspects of existence and, by doing so, reaching harmony with the universe and going into ecstasy and enlightenment (for more information see reading list).
A deer is a shy animal, always looking for food and safety. It is a beloved animal that plays an important role in romantic stories. The little deer Bambi conquers the heart of all children. The deer has charm, it is sensitive, easily disturbed and changeable.
Because the deer is associated with love and romance the period that the moon is in Mrigashirsha is seen to be particularly favourable for love and romance. Soma is a manifestation of the lunar god. The moon is fickle like the deer. The moon expresses itself in changeable phases. In the Vedas, Soma is both the name of a manifestation of the lunar god and the name of a drug. Soma was a natural drug used in rituals to bring ecstasy to the user and to bring him into contact with the gods at the same time. It was considered to be the nectar of the gods, that would bring immortality (amrita). Perhaps these were hallucinatory mushrooms or a kind of alcohol. Until today, this is unknown.
After the Vedic period, the origin of Soma sank into oblivion. Soma is also the substance that is released from the crown chakra upon reaching a state of enlightenment (samadhi). This shows that it is possible to produce this substance ourselves. Like Rohini this lunar constellation has to deal with ecstasy and the enjoyment of life. It can bring uneasiness, but this is often the initiation to new experiences. The sign Mrigashirsha can sometimes also show a lack of perseverance.
The constellation is associated with travel and search. It symbolises the spiritual seeker with a romantic tendency, who is always looking for new experiences. The spiritual path of Tantra is also suitable for this constellation.
This lunar constellation is very demanding. It knows both heaven and hell. Ardra is dominated by the star Betelgeuse. It does not like a superficial life.
The god that belongs to this constellation is Rudra, the thundergod. Rudra destroys everything that does not belong to a particular person. Most of the time, the ego considers these activities to be negative. Suppose you have a job that is neither good or bad and at least provides you with a reasonable income. However, your soul may feel that it is better for you to start leading another kind of life, for example the uncertain life of an artist.
If Ardra plays an important role in your horoscope, you may risk loosing that job, thus creating room for something new, a career as an artist for example. The person to whom this happens often sees the negative aspect of the loss of the job, but not the positive aspect of the new possibilities that arise. That is a pity because Ardra's moistness may manifest itself as the moistness of a tear (shedding tears over the loss, sometimes the tear is considered as the symbol of the constellation of Ardra) or as the moistness of the green, the new and the fresh things. It is up to the person in question what it will be.
If he is flexible and open to new possibilities, Ardra will manifest itself as the green of the fresh spring. If, on the other hand, it turns out to be a person who definitely wants to stick to the old, than Ardra manifests itself as the moistness of a tear. The symbol of Ardra is a diamond. Diamonds originate from pit coal that has been under high pressure for millions of years. This pressure creates the purity and beauty of the diamond that finally emanates out of this pit coal.
The path of Ardra is the path to an intense life and profound therapies like bio-energetics and intense psychotherapy. Ardra is one of the most spiritual constellations, because it makes it impossible not to live as the soul desires. This will eventually lead to the beauty of a diamond: a radiating person who expresses his True Self in the best possible way.
Punarvasu is a lunar constellation that enables a comfortable life. The goddess belonging to Punarvasu is Aditi, the goddess of abundance. It is a lunar constellation that brings prosperity and well-being. This does not lead to a life that solely involves material pleasures, however. The quiver, the symbol of Punarvasu, represents energy and power.
If necessary, a person in whose horoscope the Punarvasu constellation plays an important role, is prepared to leave the safety of his home and to start seeking for the Holy Grail. Even if during this quest for the grail he would have to defeat several dragons. However, he will always return to his own home and he will be able to tell many stories about his adventures. He may even turn these stories into epics (Punarvasu is associated with poetry). Finally this will lead to a great inner wisdom which will be conveyed to others. A person with this constellation is not afraid of combat, and is generally home-loving. He will never look for unnecessary conflicts, because he attaches a lot of value to respect for the other person.
for this constellation involves gaining wisdom, travelling both
literally and in the spirit, with a safe home as his basis to which he
always returns. The experiences gained will be dealt with within the
safety of the own home.
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