What is Vedic Astrology?

Vedic vs Western Astrology: the 10 major differences

vedic astrology signs

Have you ever wondered how astrology could possibly be accurate, given that everyone in the entire world can be categorised into only 12 zodiac signs? Surely, we're more unique than that? Most of you would have heard me mention Vedic Astrology on social media, so here's a brief background on what it is and how it's different to Western Astrology.

Origins of Vedic Astrology

Vedic Astrology (or Hindu astrology) is the ancient Indian study of astrology that's been around for over 5000 years. It's also known as Jyotish, which translates to "science of light" or the "study of light". It's known as the oldest form of predictive study in the world. The word "Vedic" comes from Veda, meaning knowledge or wisdom, which again reflects how ancient this system is.

The Vedas are the source text for all ancient Indian philosophies and spiritual practices like yoga, astrology and Ayurveda. These texts were written around 1500 BCE and passed down through chanting. Despite their lack of technology back then, these teachings were as close to being accurate as modern-day astronomy.

The main difference between Vedic and Western Astrology

Zodiac wheel

Western Astrology was developed about 2000 years ago when the constellations were mapped out in relation to Earth's position and movement relative to it and other planets and stars. The problem with that method of calculation, though? Turns out there's been an external force at play: the wobble on Earth's axis, which changes our angle from one degree every 72 years or so since then.

That's why if you follow transits in future predictions through these zodiac belts (or any star maps), they will be inaccurate by 27 degrees. Vedic astrologers factor in this 'wobble', making their readings more accurate.

Now let's take a closer look at the 10 differences between Vedic astrology and Western astrology:

1.The zodiac signs don't match up

Western Astrologers follow the "Tropical Zodiac" (based on the Spring and Autumn solstices). However, Vedic astrologers follow the "Sidereal Zodiac" based on the star constellations in that area. The Sidereal Year is the time taken for the Earth to go around the sun, and it's about 20 minutes longer than a Tropical Year.

2.Vedic astrology focuses on the Moon sign

Western astrology focuses on how you were born based on a specific date and time that fits within the dates you'd see in a newspaper horoscope column.

Vedic astrology is more about what sign your moon falls into. As the moon changes signs every two days, this leaves room for more unique readings than those based on Western astrology (the sun sign stays the same or 29 days).

3.Predictions are based on dashas

Unlike Western astrology, Vedic astrology uses dashas to make predictions.

A dasha is a group of planetary periods that happen in the life of a person.

Each planet dasha activates where the particular planet is on someone’s chart. This can help shed light on past events, predict the future and put the spotlight on what needs focus when something new appears.

4. Nakshatras

Also known as the Lunar Mansions, Nakshatras are 27 smaller signs overlapping the 12 zodiac signs. They are subtler and give you a more accurate prediction and understanding of our personality traits.

In contrast, Western astrology has nothing like the nakshatras, making this unique to Vedic astrology.

5. Aspects

Each planet in a chart can see or glance at any other planet. These are called aspects and affect how that planet works.

While Western astrology only uses aspects for the planets, Vedic astrology includes them for the zodiac signs within the chart.

6. The use of planetary combinations (Yogas)

Vedic astrology has over 1000 different planetary combinations that can be read for various situations within the birth chart, making readings more meaningful and unique than Western ones.

Solar system

7. The Grahas (Planets in Sanskrit)

Vedic astrology only uses the 7 visible planets, Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. Western Astrology also uses the newly discovered planets, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto.

8. The Vargas (Divisional charts)

Vedic astrology has six Vargas or different types of divisional charts used to understand the birth chart. They are vital in predicting destiny, wealth, success, marriage, and children. Western astrology, on the other hand, has Harmonic charts. Fewer astrologers use these, and they aren't given the same weight as Vedic charts.

9. The graphic display of the chart

In Modern Western astrology, the birth charts are displayed in a circular shape. Vedic astrological charts come in various square shapes, usually in the North or South Indian style.