What is Vedic Astrology

What is Vedic Astrology

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.

Why Planets Change Sign from Western to Vedic Astrology

Vedic Astrology is much like Western Astrology.  In most ways they are the same.  There are, however, a few notable differences.

To begin with Western Astrology originated in Greece (and was influenced heavily by Egyptian astrology).  In general, many ancient greek systems of thoughts came from Egypt or were at least influenced by Egyptian systems of thought.  And there are many cases of Greek philosophers spending time in Egypt learning from their thinkers.

Origins aside, Vedic astrology and Western astrology are very similar.  They both have the same 12 houses and the same 12 signs.  These signs and planets have almost identical meanings in both systems.  The planets also mean the same things in both systems: Jupiter is expansiveness and religion, Saturn is discipline and restraint, Venus is beauty and love and so on.

The positions of the planets, however, does change from one system to the other.  Planets in vedic astrology move approximately 23 degrees back in the zodiac from their positions in western astrology.  For example, in western astrology on March 21 the Sun would be at 1 degree Aries but in vedic astrology it is at 8 degrees Pisces (as Pisces precedes Aries in the zodiac).

So which one is right?  Astronomers agree with the placement of vedic astrology because it is scientifically accurate.  The stars, as observed by astronomers through telescopes align exactly with where they are said to be in vedic astrology; both astronomers and vedic astrologers would agree that on March 21 the sun is at 8 degrees Pisces.

Why are the planetary positions of western horoscopes not scientifically accurate?  There are two explanations.

Western astrology claims that the Sun moves into Aries on the first day of spring (March 21).  This is true, they claim, because Aries represents new beginnings and therefore the Sun must move into Aries on the first day of spring (which is roughly the day when winter ends and new life begins).

There are two problems with this explanation.  One is that in the southern hemisphere March 21 is when everything dies as winter is in June, July, and August, and the fall is in March, April, and May.  The other problem is that even in some countries in the northern hemisphere (like India) March, April, and May are when the temperatures rise to even 115 degrees and all plant life seems to die and turn brown.  So for much of the world’s population the spring (March, April, May) is a time of death rather than of new-beginnings.

The other explanation for why the planets are 23 degrees past where they should be is that scientifically the western astrological placement of the planets was correct perhaps 3,000 years ago but that their position has changed very slightly every year until, after several millennia, it is 23 degrees in error.

Whether or not one adopts vedic astrology over western astrology is a personal decision but I do think it is important to recognize that significant scientific error calls into question the veracity of western astrology.

For the original postings follow the links below to find more related material

What Is Vedic Astrology

Why Planets Change Sign from Western to Vedic Astrology