1.When you talk about a Nakshatra “functioning well” / “not functioning well”, does this imply that it has access / lack of access to its parastat and can go on to deliver on its avastat?
Therefore if its not functioning well the result will be (a) hunger for the parastat, creating an exaggerated attempt to gain it, and (b) a malformed avastat.
So, for example if Kṛttika (“śukram parastāj jyotir avastāt”) isn’t functioning well, it will have exaggerated hunger for śukra (fuel) and so will treat everything in the world as potential fuel for itself. Thus it will become exploitive and selfish, and burn others out. And the result of that will not be a strong stable jyoti (emission of energy) but a patchwork energy emission.
2. How do we determine if a planet in a Nakshatra has the capacity to access its parastat and deliver its avastat? Does it involve looking at the planets overall condition in the chart (dignity, potency etc)and using that to determine how well it will function, or are there other methods of assessment to consider?
It follows normal “Level 2” astrology principles. In other words (A) context and (b) wholism are crucial things to consider. If the nakshatra’s symbolism clashes with the more fundamental symbolisms of the chart (like the symbolisms of the ascending and lunar nakshatra, and the symbolism of the ascending rāśi and navāṁśa), or if it is a fundamental symbol, but a large portion of the subordinate symbolism in the chart clashes with it – then the nakshatra won’t be able to function well.
Secondarily, consider the specific planet in the nakshatra. If it synergizes with the symbolism of the nakshatra, its a plus for the nakshatra being able to function effectively. If it clashes, its a minus.
3. You briefly touched on the idea that a that the later sections of a Nakshatra may be able to deliver more fully on its avastat. Would it always be the later sections or would it vary with the class of Nakshatra (similar to the Baaladi Avasthas, with each class of Nakshatra being more productive in various sections)?
This is a theory I am expressing for the sake of researchers. It is a new theory and needs to be researched. All I know is that the avastāt of uttarāṣādha is in its fourth quarter, and this leads me to postulate the theory. Its only a theory without any research at the moment.
4. Since the Nakshatras are connected to the Moons movements, would the phase of the Moon in a chart effect the overall interpretation of the functioning of the Nakshatras, like giving a general scope to the Nakshatras?
In traditional Nakshatra-based astrology, the tithi (moon phase) is always compared to the nakshatra, and their mix constitutes a “yoga” with particularly symbolic ramifications. If the tithis are favorable to ugra nakshatras, for example, and the ugra nakshatra rise or are prominent, they are more likely to function effectively and well.
There is a great deal of science and technique here waiting to be put back into practice, researched, understood, and applied.
4. Would it be correct to say that the Nakshatras are innately auspicious, and it’s our relationship to them (partly through the conditions of our chart and partly through the sincere steps we take to develop our understanding of them) that shows how well they confer their blessings.
The Vedic texts definitely address each and every nakshatra as a force of good. But each and everyone of them can also become “malnutritioned” and then malfunction and cause problems.