Astrology is a system of understanding human beings—physically, psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually—through mapping the planets and the constellations. Each planet represents a component of the human condition and each zodiac constellation represents a different personality. Combined they show our tendencies—both good and bad—which we are meant to improve through the application of our will power.
Vedic astrology originated in ancient India and is like any other system of astrology in its use of the planets and the constellations. Traditionally Vedic astrology uses only the first seven planets in the solar system—Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn—while modern western astrology includes Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto.
Spiritually, the first seven planets correspond to the seven chakras inside the human body: Sun with the third eye, Moon with the medulla, Mercury with the throat chakra, Venus with the heart chakra, Mars with the naval chakra, Jupiter with the sacral chakra, and Saturn with the root chakra.
Vedic astrology uses a system of planetary periods not found in western astrology. In this system, each planet controls a period of one’s life for a span ranging from 6 to 20 years. They run in this order: Ketu (7 years), Venus (20 years), Sun (6), Moon (10), Mars (7), Rahu (18), Jupiter (16), Saturn (19), Mercury (17). Ketu and Rahu are karmic planets representing past momentums and new opportunities respectively.
That being said, it is important to highlight that, all things considered, Vedic astrology and western astrology are very similar. Their only major point of divergence is their placement of the planets. For someone accustomed to western astrology, the difference with Vedic is that the planets shift backwards in the zodiac approximately 23 degrees. For example, if the Sun is at 23 degrees in Aries in western astrology, it would be located at 0 degrees Aries in Vedic astrology.
Read the next chapter of this section for a deeper discussion of this principle difference between the two systems of astrology. Please note, as always, that I believe the astrologer is more important than the system and that finding an astrologer with deep intuition and a kind and inspiring way of communicating is more important than finding an astrologer with the “right” system.