Lunar Mansions

The lunar mansions are a kind of lunar zodiac, constituted by dividing the Moon's orbital path into 27 or 28 segments. Twenty-seven or twenty-eight roughly corresponds to the number of days the Moon takes to complete its orbit (28 is a day short of a synodic period and a day longer than a sidereal month). The Arabs, the Hindus, and the Chinese all devised systems of lunar mansions, termed, respectively, the manzils (from lunar mansion is probably derived), nakshatras, and sieu. Traditionally, these included interpretations of the

An image of the planetary goddess Luna, the moon, from a fifteenth-century German calendar. Reproduced by permission of Fortean Picture Library.

mansions that approached them in approximately the same way Western astrologers use the signs of the zodiac. The mansions in each system are given in the table that follows.

Lunar Mansions

Manzil (Arab)

Nakshatra (Hindu)

Sieu (Chinese)

Al Thurayya

Krittika

Mao

Al Dabaran

Rohini

Pi

Al Hak'ah

Mrigasiras

Tsee

Al Han'ah

Ardra

Shen

Al Dhira

Punarvarsu

Tsing

Al Nathrah

Pushya

Kwei

Al Tarf

Aslesha

Lieu

Al Jabhah

Magha

Sing

Al Zubrah

Purva Phalguni

Chang

Al Sarfah

Uttara Phalguni

Yen

Al Awwa

Hasta

Tchin

Al Simak

Citra

Kio

Al Ghafr

svati

Kang

Al Jubana

Visakha

Ti

Iklil al Jabhah

Anuradha

Fang

Al Kalb

Jyestha

Sin

Al Shaulah

Mula

Wei

Al Na'am

Purva Ashadha

Ki

Al Baldah

Uttara Ashadha

Tow

Al Sa'd al Dhabih

Abhijit

Nieu

Al Sa'd al Bula

sravana

Mo

Al Sa'd al Su'ud

sravishta

Heu

Al Sa'd al Ahbiyah

Catabhishaj

Shih

Al Fargh al Mukdim

Purva Bhadra-Pada

Shih

Al Fargh al Thani

Uttara Bhadra-Pada

Peih

Al Batn al Hut

Revati

Goei

Al Sharatain

Asvini

Leu

Al Butain

Bharani

Oei

Traditional cultures attributed great significance to the phases of the Moon, particularly to the waxing and waning cycle. The familiar seven-day week is derived from the ancient custom of further dividing up the lunar month according to new moon, first quarter, full moon, and last quarter. The lunar mansions represent a refinement of this tendency, subdividing the Moon's phases according to its day-to-day increase or decrease in apparent size.

Sources:

Brau, Jean-Louis, Helen Weaver, and Allan Edmands. Larousse Encyclopedia of Astrology. New

York: New American Library, 1980. Gettings, Fred. Dictionary of Astrology. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1985.

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