What is the difference between the Vedic and Western astrology?
In Western astrology the Sun sign is important: where was the Sun at the time of your birth. In Western astrology the Sun sign is the first house. They focus on the Sun, while in Vedic astrology we focus on the ascendant and on the Moon, but the Sun is not so important for us.
Example: Take the following chart as an example:
The Sun is in the 6. house which is in this case the 9. sign: this person’s sign is Sagittarius – according to Vedic astrology.
This person took birth on 2. of January, his sign is according to Vedic astrology: Sagittarius – as we have seen in the example. The sign of this person according to Western astrology is: Capricorn. Why?
Because it is shifted 23°52’.
The reason for this difference is:
In the Vedic system the whole sky is divided into 12 parts, which start with Aries followed by Taurus, etc. They are systems of stars, which have different forms and are fixed on the sky. If the Sun is passing through a sign then the Sun is in this certain sign. If Mars is passing through a sign then Mars is in this sign. This is called the sidereal zodiac. Sidereal means fixed according to the stars. It is fixed on the sky. The signs are just different areas on the sky in which this fixed stars are always residing – they don’t change. This 12 areas are called constellationsof fixed stars. Each of these groups of fixed stars are further divided into 2-3 smaller stars – these are the nakshatras. There are 27 nakshatras which are combined together. Each sign has exactly 2 ¼ stars. There are nakshatras also between the signs and they belong to both signs. Each nakshatra has 4 padas, so these in between nakshatras have some padas in one sign and the others in the other sign.
Western astrology uses the tropical zodiac. It doesn’t use 12 constellations, but 12 signs, starting with Aries. 0° Aries is the point of equinox: a time of equal day and night. This is called the vernal equinox which happens on the 21st of March each year. At that time the Sun is in Aries. The Sun needs one month to go through one sign. (It needs one year to go through all the signs.) The moment when the Sun is moving in 0° Aries is according to Western astrology the time when the day and night have the same length. The equinox is the time when the Sun is turning. Therefore tropical zodiac means the time of turning. The tropical zodiac is measured from the point of the vernal equinox which is moving in relation to the fixed stars. This point of the equinox is moving 1° in 72 years in the opposite direction of the normal movements of the planets. In the year 285 after Christ the Vedic and Western zodiac were exactly the same. Every year there is a change of 1/285 of a degree, which means that now there is a difference of 23°53’. This difference is changing every year. Therefore if you want to calculate by hand where the planets are, you have to know the exact ayanamsa. In the Vedic Astrology computer program the ayanamsa of the day is calculated – because it is changing every day.
In Vedic astrology we work only with the sidereal zodiac which takes the constellations to be identical with the signs. It is a non moving system.
We have to note however, that both systems (Vedic and Western) are good systems. One cannot differentiate which one is better. They are describing different energetic levels.