How Does Vedic Astrology Differ From Western Astrology?

Posted on September 14, 2018

There are some key differences between Vedic and Western astrology that can help you expand your own understanding of astrology. Vedic astrology is the traditional Hindu system of astrology. Known as Jyotish in Hindu, Vedic astrology literally means “the science of light.” In the most basic sense, Vedic astrology is known to put more emphasis on the Moon sign than the Sun sign. Vedic astrology can make accurate predictions of life events and is 24 degrees back from Western astrology because of theprecession of the equinoxes”, which refers to the slight shifting of the Earth’s rotation on its axis each year that makes a big difference over time.

If you study astrology long enough, you’ll start to see how vast it is and that there are different structures by which astrology can be interpreted, including Vedic astrology and Western astrology. Looking at the historical origins of these two types of astrology makes it easier to understand the differences between the two.

Astrology has developed over thousands of years and is still evolving. Let’s look back so we can better understand where we are today…

Looking To the Origins of Astrology

Vedic astrology uses sidereal astrology, a system which places the beginning of the astrological year at the beginning of the Aries constellation. This type of astrology is written about in the first known written books which date back 5,000 to 8,000 years ago. Vedic astrology comes from traditional Indian/Hindu texts. This system allows them to see how planetary energy affects people in what is known as ‘dashas’ or time periods where certain things are likely to happen.

Vedic astrology may be slightly more accurate because of its inclusion of what is called the precession of the equinoxes, which means the Earth’s equator is moving very slowly backwards through the constellations so that it’s now about 24 degrees behind the system of western astrology. This means that our dominant sign in Vedic astrology (which accounts for this slow movement over time) is actually usually one sign behind the one we are assigned in Western astrology.

Western or tropical zodiac astrology began much later by Claudius Ptolemy, known as the father of Western astrology, in the 2nd century C.E., but it was influenced of course by earlier systems from Babylonia. Western astrology also includes all 27 constellations but the precession of the equinoxes is not taken into account. This means that it was accurate at the time it began, but slowly over time, it became less accurate due to the shift.

How Can You Use Vedic Astrology in Your Life?

Our goal here is not to confuse you with astrological jargon, but to help you see how using Vedic astrology could be helpful. Vedic astrology can help you see the karma of your soul and how it affects your own tendencies. It seems to be very accurate in helping you see when those tendencies will come into effect as well. In terms of accurately predicting the future, this system is a favourite among Astrologers.

Looking at the Moon sign, which represents the emotional needs of a person, as the key contributor to an individual’s personality is also helpful because it immediately goes below the surface. In fact, it’s common for many people to identify more with their Moon sign than their Sun sign because it represents the inner-self, the self only you can know. Vedic astrology speaks to this inner self.

Western astrology has a focus on daily horoscopes to help guide people. It can also help us understand compatibility, psychology, and reveal our natural gifts. Horary astrology is another route that helps determine the outcome of a situation based on the position of the stars and planets at the moment the question was posed to the astrologer. It’s not that one is right and one is wrong; there are many cars with different designs and amenities that can all provide a ride to your destination.

Vedic Astrology Terminology

When you first dip into Vedic astrology you’ll find new terms such as dashas, rasis, raja yogas, drishtis, and bhavas. Here’s a quick, at-a-glance glossary to get you familiar:

  • A bhava is an astrological house,
  • A drishti is an aspect,
  • A rasi is a zodiac sign, and
  • A dasha is a planetary period where there will be effects produced because of a particular sign.

This is all similar to the terminology of Western astrology and learning Vedic astrology is an easy conversion if you’re interested in using it!

Concluding Thoughts…

We also want to dispel confusion about the differences between Vedic and Western astrology so you get a bit of a grasp on why there is a disparity in the astrological world. It doesn’t mean that Western astrology isn’t a helpful tool just because there are discrepancies within the larger astrological system, it’s more about fine-tuning than anything else. Think of a mapping device, sometimes it shows the topography of the land and sometimes it just shows the roads, but both are accurate and valuable when trying to get from point A to B, depending on what you need to get there.

There are many other astrological systems such as electional, medical, soul, and astrocartography. As we study the body, the mind, and the spirit, we evolve. Although these systems are ancient, incorporating astrology as a language in modern society is becoming more widespread and well-known. And we think that’s a great thing!

Related Article: Why Understanding Your Moon Sign Will Help Your Relationships

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Shannon Yrizarry has taught metaphysical subjects since 2013 including the deeply esoteric lineage of kundalini yoga. She has worked as a healer, clairvoyant and card reader and… Learn More About The Author »

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