Bearing in mind the 360 degrees of the elliptically structured zodiac, it can be divided into twelve houses with each house being equal to thirty degrees. With further subdivision of the same into twenty seven nakshatras or star constellation, each of the constellations occupies a magnitude of thirteen degrees and twenty minutes. Just as an individual takes birth under different rasis or zodiac signs governing the twelve houses, similarly the celestial presence of the twenty seven 'nakshatras' or birth star governs our birth. Lunar placement in natal or birth chart determines the birth star governing an individual.

Importance of Nakshatra

Since the constellation or nakshatra where moon finds its presence is known as the Janma Nakshatra and as moon influences the mental aspects of the native, nakshatra of the moon thus casts its indelible influence on moon. If one is born under Mars's nakshatra, it is likely to influence the aspects governed by Mars such as marriage and younger siblings. With each nakshatra having a planetary lord, the placement of the same (planetary lord) determines the initial dasa or 'phase' in the horoscope of a native. Nakshatra lords also play an important role in determining the essential quality of a person besides helping to assess the focal points of his energy and ambition.

Nakshatra Names and Their Meanings

According to Vedic astrology, there are twenty seven nakshatras or birth stars inhabiting each of the twenty seven segments of the elliptical zodiac. The names of Nakshatras along with their meanings is given below.

  1. Ashwini - Horse-like-woman
  2. Bharani - Bearer-woman
  3. Krittika - Cutting woman
  4. Rohini - Red woman
  5. Mrigashirsha - Head of a deer
  6. Ardra - Moist One
  7. Punarvasu - Return of the Light
  8. Pushya - Nourishing
  9. Ashlesha - The embracer
  10. Magha - The great one
  11. Purva Phalguni - Former reddish one
  12. Uttara Phalguni - Latter reddish one
  13. Hasta - The hand
  14. Chitra - The bright one
  15. Swati - Sword or Independence
  16. Vishaka - Fork shaped(having branches)
  17. Anuradha - Disciple of divine spark
  18. Jyeshta - The eldest
  19. Moola - The root
  20. Purva Ashadha - Early Victory or The Undefeated
  21. Uttara Ashada - Latter Victory or latter Undefeated
  22. Shravana - Hearing
  23. Dhanistha - The richest one
  24. Shatabhisaa - Hundred healers
  25. Purva Bhadrapada - Former happy feet
  26. Uttara Bhadrapada - Latter happy feet
  27. Revati - The wealthy

Nakshatra compatibility

With Vedic astrology giving much insistence on compatibility factors of bride & bridegroom, thorough matching of the horoscope prior to marital settlement is generally called for. Apart from taking into consideration the sun sign, rasi or moon sign, and the point of ascendance; nakshatra based compatibility is also emphasized. Nakshatra centric matching also known as 'koota- guna matching' helps to pin point the relative merit and demerits of the concerned pair in respect of one another. In the realm of Nakshatra matching at least eighteen positive points are necessitated for a union to be termed as compatible. As far as the similar matching is concerned, usually the cross checking follows from the girl's to that of the boy's with vertical calculation along the same row.

Nakshatra and Rasi

With both nakshatra and rasi being an intrinsic part of the same elliptical zodiac, both are fundamentally related to one another. Logically speaking twelve segments of rasi or moon signs correspond to the twenty seven nakshatras or constellations present in the similar ellipse. Other way round one can say that with twelve rasis being equal to twenty seven nakshatras, each rasi is equal to two and quarter of nakshatra.