If you have a monthly cycle, then you already know that the planets influence us on a daily basis. Maybe you’re like, next level about it, and know enough to wonder if Mercury in retrograde is causing another computer glitch (ugh!).
What you probably don’t know is that there are actually several astrological systems out there. In this article, we’ll discover the lesser known system of Vedic astrology and how it’s already at work in your life.
Of the various astrological systems, the two most widely used are Western and Vedic astrology. Both systems use details of your birth (date, place, and time) to create a birth chart mapping the location of planets at the moment you took your first breath.
Astrologers use this information to help you understand your natural tendencies and illuminate predictions about your future 🔮
The most important indicators in a birth chart are the sun sign, moon sign and rising signs. Most horoscopes in magazines and newspapers only focus on the sun signs, but there’s much more to this fascinating system!
Where Did Vedic Astrology Come From?
Vedic astrology first appeared in the Rig Veda, a text from a compilation of scriptures that originated in ancient India and also happen to contain the earliest recorded mention of yoga. Also known as Hindu astrology, this branch of planetary divination is said to have originated in oral traditions sometime between 5,000 BC – 10,000 BC.
Originally, Vedic astrology was used to map out important dates for specific Vedic rituals and sacrifices. Today, Vedic astrology is mostly used as a form of self discovery, guiding us to become aware of the influence the planets have on our moods, behaviors, patterns and even relationships throughout different areas of our lives.
Vedic Astrology vs. Western Astrology
Thousands of years ago, both Vedic and Western astrology used the same dates for the same signs. Today, though, the systems are no longer perfectly aligned. Yup, that’s right! This means you most likely have a different Zodiac sign in the Vedic system than in the Western system. How did this happen?
The answer is that Western astrology uses a different method of tracking the positions of constellations for assigning Zodiac signs than the Vedic system. This is reflected in the different types of birth charts each system uses.
Vedic astrology charts are based on the sidereal zodiac system, which considers the exact position of the constellations in the sky.
Western astrology uses the tropical zodiac system, which is based on the orientation between the Earth and the Sun as calculated in 200 C.E. when the system was first created. It assigns Zodiac signs to four seasons based on their elemental qualities.
Since the Earth rotates around its own axis (a phenomenon known as precession), the axis itself gradually shifts one degree every 72 years. Precession shifts the ecliptic plane, which causes the positions of the constellations as seen from Earth to shift over time.
Vedic astrology accounts for precession, and charts are made using a precise calculation of the current planetary path. Western astrology doesn’t account for the “wobble” of the Earth and gives an estimate instead of precise calculation. This small calculation adds up to a big difference over time! Like…the difference between a Virgo and an Aquarius. The Vedic signs are re-calculated every year to account for this change.
So.. difference number one? Vedic astrology is more astronomically accurate than Western astrology.
Another difference between these two systems is that Vedic astrologers focus more on the dharma and karma of their subject, while Western astrologers focus on how the planetary aspects affect us psychologically. In Vedic astrology, your sun sign is not as important as your rising sign. Vedic astrologers often focus more on the north and south node which show past life and destiny, as well.
retrograde: when the motion of a planetary body is opposite to the motion of other bodies within the the solar system
There is also a different take on retrograde motion between these two systems. Western astrology treats retrogrades as a time to withdraw and slow down in the areas governed by the body in motion. Vedic astrology, on the other hand, interprets retrograde planets as unfulfilled desires from a past life embedded with karmic lessons for the present life related to that planet.
Vedic astrology uses several divisional charts to address different areas of life on top of the basic information common to Western astrology. The resulting system is a LOT more complex than Western astrology, which uses a fixed wheel to show the different areas of life.
Vedic astrology is seen as a spiritual science and the best astrologers continue to improve their skills throughout their lifetime. It’s common for Vedic astrologers to continue studying throughout their entire lifetime in pursuit of mastering their art.
The training to become a Western astrologer is typically more straightforward, since the readings are not as complex. Western astrology follows the same aspects for all planets, whereas Vedic astrologers use special aspects of each planet.
The 12 Vedic Astrology Signs
Below, you’ll find the Zodiac signs calibrated to our present day position in space according to the Vedic astrological system, along with a breakdown of each sign, what it means and what it’s known for in Vedic astrology.
Birth Dates: April 13 – May 14
Aries is known as Mesha in Vedic astrology and is known for being bold and courageous. It is symbolized by the Ram which also represents diving headfirst and taking initiative as the first sign of the zodiac. It is a good time to use this energy during Aries season to get some projects started. Generally, Aries season starts with the spring equinox if you are following Western astrology.
Birth Dates: May 15 – June 14
Taurus is known as Vrishaba and is very dependable and reliable. It has a very “slow and steady wins the race” energy meaning it can be stubborn like the bull it is symbolized by and also enjoys a good routine. During Taurus season, you can mix up routine with outdoor adventures as this sign enjoys being grounded and connecting to all senses in nature.
Birth Dates: June 15 – July 14
Gemini, also known as Mithuna, is represented by the symbol of the twins. It loves a good conversation and is very knowledgeable, outgoing and social. Since it is ruled by Mercury, the planet of communication and travel, if there is too much energy here, Geminis benefit from a gentle yoga practice or more meditation to quiet the mental chatter.
Birth Dates: July 15 – August 14
Represented by the crab, Cancer is also known as Karkata in Vedic astrology and is very nurturing, caring and enjoys being a homebody. Just like the crab has a soft interior by nature and strong shell as it is known to protect its home and those it cares about. During Cancer season, it is advised to take extra care of the soft insides.
Birth Dates: August 15 – September 15
The fiery Leo, known as Simha, is represented by the courageous lion. Some traits include enjoying being in the spotlight, confident and ambitious. Leos are also known to want consistency in their life and are loyal. During Leo season, you can step into your leader role and shine your light extra bright!
Birth Dates: September 16 – October 15
Virgo, also known as Kanya, is represented by the Virgin to symbolize their pure dedication to being of service to others. Virgo’s are very detail oriented, organized and practical. When imbalance, Virgos’ organization can lead to exhausting perfectionism. During Virgo season, triple check any work that needs to be delivered.
Birth Dates: October 16 – November 14
Libra may be one of the most loved signs due to its natural charisma and ability to see both sides of a situation which can lead to indecision at times. They are usually the mediators and focus on what is fair as symbolized by the scales of justice. In Vedic astrology Libra is also known as Tula and teaches us how to be balanced while seeking harmony.
Birth Dates: November 15 – December 14
Also known as Vrishchika, Scorpio is quite mysterious and intense. It is represented by the scorpion as it can lash out when it is hurt. Scorpios are very passionate, creative and tend to be secretive making it hard to know what a Scorpio wants. They enjoy deep conversations and transformations making Scorpio season a great time to dive into modalities that are connected to psychology.
Birth Dates: December 15 – January 13
The adventurous Sagittarius, or Dhanus in Vedic astrology, is represented by the centaur (half man, half horse holding a bow and arrow). This symbol shows the expansiveness and interest in higher learning just like the bow and arrow that is pointed at the sky. The horse shows the strong, unruly and bold energy mixed with the knowledge seeking human part. During Sagittarius season you may crave more higher learning or traveling to foreign countries.
Birth Dates: January 14 – February 11
The workaholic title of the zodiac goes to Capricorn, or Makara. This sign is represented by the sea goat which is a mix between goat and fish which shows the Capricorns ability to climb great heights in their work while also connecting to spiritual truths. This is a very structured sign that is also ambitious and dedicated to the task at hand. Use this energy during Capricorn season to complete any projects that may have lost some momentum.
Birth Dates: February 12 – March 12
This humanitarian sign is also known as Kumbha. Represented by the water bearer, Aquarius is often mistaken as a water sign – in fact, it is an air sign. The energy Aquarius brings is that of thinking outside the box, being eclectic and questioning authority – the same qualities at play in the present Age of Aquarius. During Aquarius season, focus energy on realizing the insightful and innovative thoughts that arise.
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Birth Dates: March 12 – April 12
The last zodiac sign of Pisces, also known as Meena in Vedic astrology, is represented by two fish swimming opposite of each other. This zodiac sign is connected to spirituality and dream work, some astrologers even consider it a bit psychic as they are very connected to their intuition and are also empathetic, sensitive and creative. If you need to channel your creative side, Pisces season can help tap into that side of you as well as reconnecting with your spiritual practice.
How to Read a Birth Chart in Vedic Astrology
To read a birth chart using a Vedic astrology you first need to know the persons birth time, location and birth date. The Vedic astrology chart is in the shape of a rectangular map that is then divided into 12 houses representing different life based experiences. This map shows the location of the planets when you were born.
There are a few different methods for reading your birth chart using Vedic astrology (I told you it was complicated!). The first method here is probably the easiest one for non-lifetime-trained astrologers to try, using this chart:
- The Good, the Bad, and the Neutral: This method divides the houses between good, bad or neutral indicators. Planets in “good” houses indicate areas of light coming to your life, while planets in “bad” houses signal areas of possible challenges. Planets in the two “neutral” houses are sometimes interpreted as qualities of the age in which you’re living
- The Four Trinities: This reading divides the houses into four groups of trinities (or trines), each assigned one of the four elements and a ruling planet
- Planetary Placement: Vedic astrology includes the sun and the moon in its system of 9 planets, together with Venus, Mercury, Mars, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, and Uranus (no, Earth is not included). You can read your chart based on the position of these planetary bodies at your birth in the 12 houses as well.
- Planet and Sign Placement: Lastly, the position of zodiac signs and planets in particular houses on your Vedic birth chart can be combined and read together to indicate challenges, strengths and opportunities coming your way.
By understanding the houses, signs and planets in Vedic astrology – and how they each interact with one another – you’ll be able to read your own chart. It’s fun to try your hand at readings, but this can get seriously complicated! To get the most accurate readings, reach out to an experienced Vedic astrologer for help.
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