Āśleṣā

Etymology & Symbolism

The ninth Nakṣatra, Āśleṣā (आश्लेषा), or Ashlesha, means, “to embrace,” and indicates the soul’s full embrace of life in order to act out its karma. As it represents this clinging to life it’s appropriately referred to as the “Clinging Star” and marks the end of the first of the three cycles of nine Nakṣatras that comprise the 27 Nakṣatram.

Coiled Green Snake

Coiled Green Snake

The Serpent/Snake

To understand Āśleṣā, one must fully understand the ultimate symbol of clinging or embracing through the metaphor of a serpent (or snake). Snakes can cling to the ground, trees, or their enemies. Āśleṣā is symbolized by Hydra or the celestial serpent, Nāga (the snake). The Nakṣatra is associated with and encapsulates all aspects of a coiled serpent.

The majority of people don’t trust snakes, and the reason for this is the same reason why they’re also misunderstood. As a predator, snakes hypnotize their victims before attacking, then (particularly the constrictors) entwine themselves around them. With their sneakiness and unpredictable, quick-to-action nature they have become synonymous with devious entertainment and searingly painful, toxic, piercing, and/or strangling attacks that result in feelings of insincerity, avarice, deception, cold-bloodedness, and torment.

Spiritual Wisdom

The symbol of the serpent has held a powerful, universal status in all world religions and has ancient roots. A poisonous reptile capable of ending the life of a person by a fatal bite has not been the primary feature of its symbology throughout history. Instead, the serpent is generally considered the embodiment of wisdom arising from spiritual enlightenment.

Yes, they may prefer laying low,  secrecy, and remaining out of sight. They don’t come forward to just anyone with their inherent knowledge are often misunderstood. The most appropriate and significant symbolism of the snakes is that of great insight, wisdom, cunning, and concentration. If anything should be feared it’s their primordial power, which can include sexual energy. Secret sexual unions are right up Āśleṣā’s alley.

Insight encourages holistic understanding, but this undertaking often provokes misunderstandings, painful separations and other serious troubles in life.1 Like its symbol, the Nāga or coiled serpent, it’s no wonder that Āśleṣā natives are also misunderstood and often untrusted. They appear to have confused emotions and inherent insecurities. No matter how close someone is to them, they can and will attack to protect themselves.

Kundalini

The serpent fire, or Kundalini, is the mysterious power located at the base of the spinal cord coiled like a serpent which, when properly aroused, bestows spiritual enlightenment and occult powers. The knowledge of this highly dangerous power was known to the ancient yogis and seers. With special role of the Kundalini and cosmic evolution has been described in many teachings in a highly concealed matter.

Mystic Power

These allegories are very profound, but one aspect of them is very clear. When the serpent symbol is used in spiritual allegories, it represents the mystic power which assists the successive stages of cosmic evolution. For this very reason, there is a wide tradition of snake worship. Serpents have been considered protectors of many communities and races. Despite the fact that they contain poisonous venom, which often can be fatal, they are also associated or considered the embodiment of wisdom and enlightenment. The assignment of the serpent to a Ashlesha indicates the deeply mystical power radiating from the asterism which rightly absorbed can produce great electrifying energy, but in case of misuse can be fatally dangerous.

Duality

A unique characteristic of a serpent is its bipolarity, it’s forked tongue. The serpent represents immense good. It is for this reason that almost every god and goddess of Hindu mythology has serpents in their ornamentation. Lord Krishna is fabled as subjugating the serpent lying at the bottom of the Yamuna River when his ball, with which he was playing, fell into its waters. In the turning of the ocean, the serpent was instrumental in extracting both nectar and poison from it depths. Indian teachings consider the serpent as capable of both good and bad. Classical Indian texts have made the serpent a symbol of wisdom, procreation, wealth, and prosperity, as well as sex, trouble, danger, and unexpected attack. The asterism Ashlesha is associated with these contradictory qualities. The effect of Ashlesha is thereby difficult to predict.2

Transformation

In addition, transformation is an important characteristic to acknowledge here, as the continual shedding/molting of skin is also symbolic of a snake. When an Āśleṣā native outgrows their experiences or conditions, this transformative shedding allows for absorption of energy, sparking of new vitalities needed to grow and continue their path in acting out dharmic purpose. So, change and growth is incredibly important here and these changes occur in the most unexpected ways. After transformation has taken place, an individual is catapulted into a radically different condition of existence.

Astronomy

Āśleṣā resides between 16° 40′ and 30° Karka (Cancer), ending at 0° Simha (Leo). It rests completely within the constellation of Cancri and is composed of six stars that form a hexagon, resembling a serpent’s head.

With the asterism’s termination at 0° Simha, the end of an important phase of cosmic ideation is marked here.

Classifications

Nature Puruṣārtha Varna Color Gana Guna/Tattva Gender Body Part Animal
 Harsh (Tikshna)  Dharma Rakshasa/Asura Rajas/Sattvas/Sattvas Male Cat

Its motivating force is dharma: honor, principle, observation, comprehension, and understanding.

Āśleṣā is sharp in nature, and issues with anger and a hot temper may occur.

Āśleṣā marks the culmination of the rajasic atribute at the primary level and also prepares us for producing a spritiual impact due to its sattvic presence at both secondary and tertiary levels.

Although Āśleṣā is represented by a coiled serpent, its animal symbol is a male cat.

Devata, Graha & Śakti

Āśleṣā is ruled by Budha, resides within the rasi of Karka (ruled by Candra), and it’s presided over by Nāga, the Serpent King, or simply the Nāgas (Sarpás).

Graha

Budha offers Āśleṣā intellect, whether exercised positively or negatively. It imparts intellectual and mental development and enables Āśleṣā’s beneficiaries to successfully undergo the radical transformations in life that accompany snake-like molting, some in unexpected ways. After such a transformation, an entirely different conditions of existence takes place.

The Budha/Candra combination of characteristics of Āśleṣā, specifically, can endow one with great potential for mental development. The power of these grahas here can mold the mind into one that is deeply philosophical, thoughtful, penetrating, and intelligent, characteristics well expressed by the Nāgas.

Due to the Mercury/Moon influence, a sensitive nervous system, psychic vulnerability, and self-deception may be present.3

Naga Kanya

Naga Kanya

The Nāgas

Nāga, or the Nāgas’, presidency over Āśleṣā is replete with esoteric significance.

The Nāgas were deities which were half serpent and half human. They are spiritual teachers concerned with the propagation of wisdom, and a special imparts intellectual and mental development, enabling its beneficiaries to change their perception of life.

Ga means “to go” and is connoted with the senses.  Adding the prefix “Na”, Nāga translates as “to not go”. Snakes have the ability to go where others can’t. Āśleṣā-dominant individuals have very keen senses and are quite perceptive and intuitive, but as Āśleṣā can cause afflictions, they can have defective eyesight, hearing or speech. The sarpas were very courageous and strong. They could be both violent when seriously provoked, but also had a certain charm and elegance about them.

The Gods and the Demons were at war. The Gods made an offering to Aslesha. This drove away the Demons. One who makes the appropriate offering to the Serpent God, to Aslesha, drives away his hateful opponents.

In Aslesha one can defeat one’s enemies. Through it one gains the poison of the serpent to use on others. Those born under Aslesha make powerful warriors with powerful weapons. – David Frawley, Fruits of Worshipping Each Nakshatra

Creation

The reference to the serpent inducing Eve to partake of the apple in the Garden of Eden shows directly the function of the serpent in starting the drama of human creation. In several Hindu myths this revelation is more indirect. According to one, the world is balanced on the head of Shesha-Naga, the celestial serpent. He is the cosmic float for Vishnu, the preservative principle. When in the form of Narayana, Vishnu moved on the ocean of primordial matter, known as Kshira-Sagara, the ocean of milk. When the churning of the ocean by the gods and the demons took place at the time of cosmic creation, Shesha-Naga functioned as the churning rope.

Śakti

Āśleṣā, ruled by Nāga, has the power to inflict with poison (visasleshana shakti) and brings about destruction of the victim. It paralyzes the enemy, and although it can be helpful if we have enemies it can serve to give a person an inimical temperament as well. It all depends upon how the energy of this Nakṣatra is used. Serpents also give wisdom, but a practical wisdom through which one can overcome enemies and obstacles.4

Yamas & Niyamas

Āsanas, Mudras, Meditations, Mantra & Bhandas

Tales & Mythologies

Lakshmana and Shatrughna, brothers of Rama, were born under this Nakṣatra.

Padas

A boy, or girl, born in the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th quarter of Aslesha Nakshatr, destroys his/her mother-in-law… Therefore suitable measures, as may be possible within one’s means, should be taken at the time of the marriage of such boys and girls. There will be no evil effect, if the husband has no elder brothers. – Brihat Parashar Hora Shastra 94.11-13

This is where spirituality flourishes, the rashi and nakshatras both end at Ashlesha together, making this an impotant point of spiritual development.5

Pada 1 Pada 2 Pada 3 Pada 4
Ruler Brihaspati (Sagittarius) Śani (Capricorn) Śani (Aquarius) Brihaspati (Pisces)
Position 16° 40′ – 20° Karka 20° – 23° 20′ Karka 23° 20′ – 26° 40′ Karka 26° 40′ – 30° Karka
Bija Mantra के Ke को Ko हा Ha ही Hi

Gemstones & Metals

Interests & Careers

  • Politics and law
  • Writing and teaching
  • Astrology and mysticism
  • Snake charming, snake ownership, zoo keeping, zoology
  • Prostitution, gaining or dealing in sex
  • Self-serving roles, robbers, behind the scenes manipulation and greedy, cunning politicians and business people
  • Poisons, chemical engineering, pharmaceuticals, drug users and addicts
  • Controversial, insightful roles

Auspiciousness/Engage In

  • Buying a home
  • Surgical procedures

Inauspiciousness/Avoid

As with all Nakṣatras, there are both auspicious and inauspicious characteristics to be considered. A day in which Candra is in Āśleṣā…

Ayurveda & Health Issues

Āśleṣā is indicative of the joints, nails, and ears.

It can be responsible for Food poisoning, obesity, poor diet, venereal disease, arthritis, and nervous disorders.


  1. LOL 226-227 

  2. MSVA 196-197 

  3. DH TN 

  4. David Frawley. Shaktis of the Nakshatras 

  5. Komilla Sutton. The Nakshatras. p. 103.