In the Vedic or Hindu system of astrology, the Nakshatras play a prominent
role in the art of prediction. In fact, the mysterious and ancient Nadi leaves
are based on the Nakshatras.
Vedic astrology retains its root in a more
ancient lunar zodiac that reflects an earlier stage of human culture and
intuition. This Nakshatras system remains the pillar on which it is based and
serves to uphold its many insights and great predictive power.
The Nakshatra and the signs of the zodiac both begin from the same point. The beginning of the first Nakshatra, or constellation of Ashwini, the first Nakshatra, is the same as that of the first sign of Aries. Each sign contains the combined influence of the Nakshatras falling with it. Compared to the signs, the Nakshatra or Nakshatras possess a deeper effect. The signs are merely "a heap, mass, or collection" of influences as their Sanskrit name suggests.
The planets are the cosmic creative powers. Each planet radiates certain specialized forces. The planets make their impact on the zodiacal field. This specialized circle divided by the signs and Nakshatras is the negative or passive field of influences, while the planets are the positive or active fields. The signs and Nakshatras create the necessary environment, while the planets are the precipitating forces.
Prakriti (the female creative impulse) is the force that sustains the general background of the zodiac. Prakriti produces the basic conditions on which the seeds sprinkled by Purusha (the male consciousness factor) fructify and grow. The Nakshatras and signs of the zodiac are the passive creative potency whereas the planets are the creative or generating forces. The planets are active causes whereas the signs and Nakshatras are the material layer of the action. The Nakshatras and signs constitute the horizontal arm, while the planets represent the vertical arm in the cross of cosmic creation.
In Vedic astrology, the personality traits are read more through the birth star (Nakshatra of the Moon) than by the Sun sign. Nakshatra positions of planets are examined in the birth chart as well. The use of Nakshatra is very important in Vedic astrology, much more than with zodiac signs.
Indian seers say that the Nakshatras represent the abodes into which the fruits of our labor (our Karma) is transferred and stored. The Nakshatras dispense the fruits of Karma, the highest of which is the fruit of our worship and meditation, our spiritual labor of life.