Mṛgaśira

Etymology/Symbolism

Mṛgaśira (मृगशिर) is also known as Mṛgaśiraṣa, Mṛgaśiras, Mrigashirsha, Mārgaśīrṣa, Mṛgaśira, or āgrahāyaṇī. The names Mṛgaśira (मृगशिर) and Mārgaśīrṣa/Mṛgaśīrṣa (मार्गशीर्ष) are sometimes used interchangeably. Grammatically, Mārgaśīrṣa (मार्गशीर्ष) means “of Mṛgaśira” or “related to Mṛgaśira”. Thus, Mṛgaśira (मृगशिर) is the correct name of the star, while Mārgaśīrṣa (मार्गशीर्ष) is the name of Mṛgaśira’s lunar month. In Malayalam it is called Makayeeram.

The Deer/Deer’s Head

Mṛgaśira is a composite of two Sanskrit words, mṛga (मृग) meaning animal or beast and śira (शिर) meaning head or (more precisely) the top of the head. Appropriately, it’s known as “The Deer’s Head” and is symbolized by an antelope or deer.1

In Indian mythology, the head of the deer is the representation of the Moon. The lunar energy that is reflected here makes these people restless, sensitive, and emotional. This essentially shows the search in the world of illusions.2

And like the deer, Mṛgaśira natives are gentle, peaceful, tender and have large soft doe like eyes. Mṛga also represents forests and gardens, as well as searching, seeking with purpose to find, and roaming about in forests, much like a deer does.3

The deer here is the golden deer that we all search for but can never find. Mṛgaśira does not accept the status quo, and in doing so it tends to get pulled more and more into life experiences. This leads to dissatisfaction with the given circumstances.4

Taken further, this metaphor extends to that of a hunter, one who blazes trails, guides, and strives to fulfill his role as a preceptor.5

Because deer are timid, shy and nervous creatures given to quick fidgety movements in their constant search for food and safety, searching and seeking things out are primary qualities of Mṛgaśira, which also signifies the tenderness that a deer evokes. In that half of the nakshatra which falls in the earth rashi of Taurus, the search takes place on the physical plane, and on the mental plane in the half which falls in the air rashi of Gemini. Since deer roam around unpredictable trails, this asterism is associated with journeys, moves, roads and paths. Mṛgaśira also suggests hunting, which is one form of search.6

The Star of Searching

Mṛgaśiraṣa is referred to as the “Star of Searching,” and Mṛgaśiraṣa natives are constantly searching or looking for something. Restless and nervous, they may easily take to  traveling or collecting. They may take naturally to shopping and hunting down good deals. Because they may never be satisfied with ceasure of the hunt, they may obsess or spend beyond their means. This searching nature may also manifest themselves into that of a seeker, making them powerful investigators and researchers. Due to their insatiable quest for information they may be highly intelligent. If evolved, their quest could very well lead them to the spiritual dimensions of their own soul.

Astronomy

Mṛgaśira resides between 23° 20′ Vṛṣabha (Taurus) and and 6° 40′ Mithuna (Gemini). It consists of the stars λ (Meissa) and φ Orionis in the constellation Orion. Its position is described in the Surya Siddhānta.

Three stars compose a small triangle that marks the head of Orion. The apex is marked by Meissa, a hot blue giant with a stellar classification of O8 III and an apparent visible magnitude of 3.54. This enormous star, which lies about 1100 light years away, is about 28 times the mass of our Sun and measures 10 times the radius of our Sun. Meissa (λ Orionis) derives from Arabic “Al-Maisan,” which means “The Shining One”. This term was used for Gamma Gemini (Alhena), but was also mistakenly applied to Meissa and the name stuck. The original Arabic name for this star was “Al Hakah.” φ Orionis consists of two stars (φ-1 and φ-2), which make up the base of Orion.

Classifications

Nature Puruṣārtha Varna Color Gana Guna/Tattva Gender Body Part Animal
soft moksa farmer silver Rajas/Tamas/Tamas eyebrow snake (sarpa)

Mrigashira is considered devic or god-like in nature with its primary motivation being moksha, the urge for spiritual liberation.7

…see entry from Komilla Sutton. The Nakshatras. p. 70 re: Sarpa & Parasurama.

Devata, Graha & Śakti

Graha

Mṛgaśira is ruled by Maṅgala, resides within the rāśis of Vṛṣabha and Mithuna (ruled by Śūkra and Budha), and its presiding deva is Candra or Soma, the Moon god.

The first half (two padas) of Mṛgaśira resides in Vṛṣabha, creating a Maṅgala-Śūkra dynamic. These padas impart creative impulse, which can help individuals manifest ideas into the material plane. Poetic and musical talent may be present. This nakshatra is also good for producing beautiful, creative, and intelligent children and can bring material affluence.8

The second half (two padas) of Mṛgaśira resides in Mithuna, creating a Maṅgala-Budha dynamic. These padas can impart writing, public speaking, and persuasive speech and can make a person very curious, clever, and research-oriented.9

 

Soma/Candra

Soma, the God of the Moon or the immortal nectar, is a great enjoyment that is won, conquered, bought or stolen, so its procurement does not always come easily. What does not require effort to gain, though, is not always enjoyed.10

Soma is the mystical nectar that enhances the mind and its faculties. It is the nectar of immortality which the soul collects through its dharmic deeds. The gods consume it freely whereas humans do not have access to it. Indra and Agni used to consume great amounts of Soma nectar to keep their power.

Shiva is known as Somnath, the lord of the Moon. He wears the Moon in his hair and it shows his ability to control the mind. He rescued the Moon from the curse of Daksha Prajapati for favoring Rohinī and killed him. After his death, Yagya’s deer head was established among the stars as Mṛgaśira nakshatra and became the emblem for sacrifice.11

Yagyas performed when the Moon is in Mṛgaśira nakshatra have special significance and have the power to bring many spiritual rewards too.12

Soma desired. “May I win the lordship of the plants.” One who makes the appropriate offering to Soma, to Mrigashira, wins the lordship of the plants, wins the lordship of his peers.

Those born under Mrigashirsha want to provide the Soma, delight or enjoyment to their peers. They can be exhilarating and entertaining leaders, shining on others like the Moon. For this reason they usually do best with a retinue of friends. – David Frawley, Fruits of Worshipping Each Nakshatra

Śakti

Mrigashirsha, ruled by Soma, gives fulfillment (prinana shakti) and makes the world enjoyable. It fills or covers with joy, like a beautiful cloth to make our life more attractive.13

Lunar Month

Mārgaśīrṣa (मार्गशीर्ष) is the name of the lunar month when Candra is in it’s … tithi (full moon phase) in Mṛgaśira.

Yamas & Niyamas

Āsanas, Mudras, Meditations & Bhandas

Tales & Mythologies

Once it happened that the Creator, Brahma, lusted after his own daughter. The frightened girl took the form of a doe and fled into the sky, but her lecherous father took on a stag’s form and pursued her. (The previous nakshatra, Rohinī or “the red doe,” is ruled by Brahma.) In order to protect the girl from possible cosmic incest, Shiva cooled Brahma’s passion by snipping off the stag’s head, which remained in the sky as the nakshatra Mṛgaśira.14

Padas

The first two padas impart creative impulse, which can help individuals manifest ideas into the material plane. Poetic and musical talent may be present. This nakshatra is also good for producing beautiful, creative, and intelligent children and can bring material affluence.15

The second two padas can impart writing, public speaking, and persuasive speech and can make a person very curious, clever, and research-oriented. A fickle nature may also be observed, particularly in these second two padas.16

The padas in Mṛgaśira want to expand into new horizons yet the thirst for freedom can create attachments too and lead to changes. Sun, Moon and Venus are debilitated by pada. Saturn, Mercury and Ketu are exalted.17

Pada 1 Pada 2 Pada 3 Pada 4
Ruler Sūrya (Simha) Budha (Kanya) Śūkra (Libra) Mangala (Scorpio)
Position 23° 20′ – 26° 40′ Vṛṣabha 26° 40′ – 30° Vṛṣabha 0° – 3° 20′ Mithuna 3° 20′ – 6° 40′ Mithuna
Bija Mantra

Mantras

Gemstones & Metals

Interests & Careers

Auspiciousness/Engage In

Inauspiciousness/Avoid

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

Ayurveda & Health Issues

Mṛgaśira rules the face, chin, cheeks, larynx, palate, throat, vocal chord, arms, shoulders, thymus gland, and upper ribs.


  1. ??? 

  2. Komilla Sutton. The Nakshatras. p. 67. 

  3. ??? 

  4. Komilla Sutton. The Nakshatras. p. 67. 

  5. ??? 

  6. LOL 222 

  7. Dennis Harness. The Nakshatras 

  8. Dennis Harness. The Nakshatras. 

  9. Dennis Harness. The Nakshatras. 

  10. David Frawley. Shaktis of the Nakshatras. 

  11. Komilla Sutton. The Nakshatras. pp. 69-70. 

  12. Komilla Sutton. The Nakshatras. p. 70. 

  13. David Frawley. Shaktis of the Nakshatras. 

  14. LOL 221 

  15. Dennis Harness. The Nakshatras. 

  16. Dennis Harness. The Nakshatras. 

  17. Komilla Sutton. The Nakshatras. p. 72.