In the Hindu tradition, it is believed that there are only ever two occasions where the ancestors come down to earth and gather. Marriage and death. All the nakshatras are connected to each other, but some connections are stronger than others.
The Magha Nakshatra is strongly connected to the Uttara Phalguni Nakshatra. It is through marriage and through our partnerships that we create life and continue the evolutionary impulse that is embedded into our genetic inheritance.
A genetic inheritance is not the same as a cosmic inheritance. Who you are as a soul is a part and an aspect of who you are in this earthly incarnation. You have probably been many things over the course of many lifetimes. But who are you in this incarnation? What is your identity? What is your soul mission in this lifetime?
Marriage, much like death, is when our identities are altered unchangeably. That is the Hindu and even Jewish idea of marriage. To ancient cultures, marriage is a rite of passage and a ceremony that has the potential to completely change and alter your life–for better or for the worse.
In our modern world, we perhaps resist this idea. Due to a heavy emphasis on individuality, we sometimes resist the idea that we should or have to change because of marriage. But to the Ancient Ones, that was the purpose of marriage: to transform the earthly life of the soul in its entirety.
The wedding pyre and the funeral pyre are the momentous occasions when the Pitrus–the Ancestral Spirits of Our Forebears–gather. It is Agni, the God of Fire, who presides over these ceremonies as a witness to the dissolution of a new life and a start of a new one.
And the old life must be dissolved before a new life can begin.
The link between marriage and bringing offspring into this world is tied up with death. For when someone passes away, it is to make room and make space for new life to come into this world. Perhaps an ancestor is looking forward to returning to his or her family. But what is a family, anyway? Is it people who are related by blood?
No, not entirely. Marriage creates new ‘blood’ relations. Friendship, too, can create new ‘blood’ relations, as can the process of adoption. It comes down to the concept of kinship. Family was never entirely about the ‘blood’ that one shares with those around them. If there is ‘bad blood’ in a particular family, it is probably not unusual; but I’m not sure that that could be considered your ‘family’ in a spiritual sense.
A spiritual family or soul group is solidified on earth through marriage. As a life event, marriage symbolises the potential ability to gain prosperity through a close union. While the ancient texts largely spoke of marriage, we need to think of this concept more broadly to include any legally binding partnership that lasts more than a year. Marriage can also be a source of misfortune in one’s life, but somehow I don’t feel like going into that.
The deity that rules over the Nakshatra of Uttara Phalguni is Aryaman, one of the early Vedic Hindu deities. His name signifies the close bonds that a human can experience in their lifetime: from life partner to close friend to companion.
Aryaman is the third son of Aditi: the mother of the Adityas. He is depicted as the mid-morning sun disk. Hindu marriage oaths are administered with an invocation to Aryaman being the witness to the event. Aryaman also is the deity of the customs of hospitality.
The Uttara Phalguni nakshatra is a quarter in Leo and three quarters in Virgo. Denebola is the second-brightest star in the zodiac constellation of Leo. The traditional name Denebola is shortened from Deneb Alased, from the Arabic phrase ‘tail of the lion’, as it represents the lion’s tail, the star’s position in the constellation of Leo.
In mythology, the two deities which preside over the realm of the ancestors are: Lord Yama and Aryaman. Lord Yama is associated with the afterlife and justice, whereas Aryaman is associated with marriage and the propagation of offspring. The two deities are deeply connected in establishing and maintaining a balance between the two interconnected realms.
Aryaman is the divine matchmaker. He is not Kamadeva, who arouses and awakens one’s desires, but rather he is the one who pairs young men and women together so that they can enjoy what partnership has to offer: the long-term bonds of love, romance, trust and marriage.
Aryaman brings joy even in the face of difficulties. Any relationship, especially a close one, is not without its difficulties. But with Aryaman’s blessings, you can overcome those difficulties and ordeals because of your partner’s friendship and companionship. If you feel a sense of ‘hatred’ or even indifference towards a spouse or a close associate, then that is not the path of Aryaman. I’m not sure what path it is, but it is definitely not the one that Aryaman presides over.
There are many roles that the Pitrus can play in one’s lifetime. Afterlife justice is one of those roles. In Uttara Phalguni, the role of the Pitrus is to bring two people together and bless them with all the happiness and joy that marriage can bring–not just to the two people who are married–but also for all future generations to come.