The full moon today at 1:54 pm is in the nakshatra called Ashlesha—the “entwiner”-- symbolized by a coiled snake and ruled by Swarpa, the king of the Nagas (half serpent/half human creatures). Ashlesha is related to the Kundalini Shakti, the latent energy coiled three and a half times around the sushumna nadi between the muladhara and swadisthana chakras. This nakshatra gives us great appetites in the physical and emotional realms, making us gluttonous in regards to food and insatiable in our sexuality and our desire to entwine ourselves around others, sometimes in an emotionally manipulative way. This is Ashlesa functioning in its lower aspect, when it is considered to have snake-like qualities—secretive, creepy, cold-blooded, deceptive, hypnotic, and poisonous. Serpents are also considered to be semi-divine creatures that possess insight, wisdom, cunning, concentration and powerful sexuality. Basically, Ashlesha doesn’t function very well in the realm of the mundane. The key issue for Ashlesha is this-- overcoming selfishness in order to evolve spiritually and function in a positive manner.
The Ramayana provides a symbolic illustration of the age-old battle between self-interest and selflessness. Ravana, the demon king, has kidnapped Princess Sita, purely out of desire and selfishness. He already has a hundred wives and they are all sexy and beautiful, but Ravana is a creature of insatiable appetite, symbolized by his ten heads and twenty arms and his name itself, which suggests the word “ravenous”. Sita symbolizes the Kundalini Shakti, the Divine Feminine energy that is held in the coils of the demon king. The liberation of Sita (Kundalini Shakti) requires the intervention of Hanuman, who is the embodiment of selfless service. Krishnamacharya thought of the Kundalini Shakti as a congestion of Prana in the lower charkas. What causes this congestion is our attachment to and overindulgence in things like security, money, possessions, food and drink, sex, and sensory and emotional gratification. To some degree the Divine Feminine (Sita) is being held captive within all of us by our demonic tendencies (Ravana), preventing it from being reunited with our Divine-Masculine (Rama). The key to this reunification, which will make us feel whole again, is to embody the qualities of the perfect sadhaka, Hanuman-- strength, intelligence, and devotion.
Ashlesha is a portion of the larger constellation known as Kataka (Cancer), a water sign that bestows a sensitive emotional nature. Cancer is the sign associated with the Mother and the qualities of compassion, devotion, intuition, empathy, and love. When the Divine Feminine is held captive by our attachment to our baser desires, we end up expressing the more reptilian aspects of Ashlesha mentioned previously. With the help of Hanuman, who is known as Mahaprabhu (“The Great Friend”) and Sankata Mochana (“The Dispeller of Difficulty”), we can begin to liberate the Divine Feminine within by defeating the demon called “Selfishness”.
At the risk of revealing more of my self than I should, I’ll let you in on a little secret--Moon in Ashlesha is of particular interest to me because this is my natal moon position. Of all the nakshatras of the Zodiac, this is considered to be the most challenging. If not for the intervention of yoga in my life, my “samsara halahala” would have been lethal long ago.