Vedic Astrology: Take A Deep Dive Into The Alternate Astrological System

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While most of us are used to Western astrology, and maybe even the Chinese zodiac, some don't know that there are many other forms of astrology out there. One that has been gaining more popularity is Vedic astrology, which is also known as Sidereal astrology. To start getting a little better understanding of what Vedic astrology is, Vedic astrologer Kamlesh Trivedi told Cosmopolitan, "The Vedic word is derived from Vedas [meaning] sacred knowledge. It is a large body of religious texts originating in ancient India." It is also referred to as Jyotish. The religious texts are called Vedas.


Using the same natal chart info you use for Western astrology — your birthdate, time of birth, and place of birth — Vedic astrology creates a map of the exact position of the planets at the time of your birth. While this sounds exactly the same as a basic natal chart, there are some key differences you'll learn soon enough. "Vedic astrology explains planetary motions and position with respect to time, space, and their effect on humans and all the other entities on the planet Earth," as explained by Trivedi. The thing is, with Vedic astrology, you may not be the same sign you are in Western astrology, and even if your sun sign is the same, some other aspects like your moon sign and ascending sign could be different.


The differences between Vedic and Western Astrology

When it comes down to looking at the major differences between Vedic and Western astrology, Robert Hand explained in his book Horoscope Symbols, "There are two ways of measuring the progress of a planet through the zodiac. One is to use the so-called sidereal zodiac, which is a measure of a planet's relation to the background of the fixed stars. The other is to use the so-called tropical zodiac, which is a measure of a planet's relation to the point in the sky where the Sun is on the first day of Spring." The tropic zodiac he speaks of is the one we refer to as Western astrology. As Molly's Astrology pointed out, Vedic astrology has adjusted the zodiac positions to align with the changing position of the constellations over the past 2,000 years. Author Kristy Gallagher told Women's Health, "Imagine looking up at the night sky and then placing the Western astrological map on top — at one time the constellations would have lined up, but the Earth is always shifting slightly."


If you're wondering if one is more accurate than the other, honestly, there are people who think it's all rubbish, so one being better than the other is a bit of a moot point. As astrologer Bella Nguen told Women's Health, "Vedic astrology is used to determine one's ideal life path, career direction, and contributions to society based on karma and dharma," whereas Western astrology tends to focus more on our personality traits.

There are four Vedic principles tied to the zodiac

Whether you study Vedic astrology or Ayurveda, you're bound to come across the four Vedic principles of life. Astrologer Pedro Cabral described the connection to Women's Health,  saying, "When viewed in conjunction with other Indian religious classics such as the Bhagavad Gita, [Vedic] astrology serves as a reminder not to squander [one's] precious time. It offers insights into life's purpose, karma, family life, love, and the optimal timing for these aspects to unfold."


The four principles are Dharma, Artha, Kama, and Moksha. Dharma focuses on being a good person. Artha refers to making money to live a good life. Kama focuses on the things we're passionate about, including getting what we want and having great experiences. Finally, Moksha focuses on finding enlightenment and knowing ourselves on a deep level. That being said, the idea that connects these principles with Vedic astrology is that what you learn from your Vedic birth chart will show you how to attain these things.

Reading a Vedic birth chart

Where a natal chart in Western astrology is round, the chart for Vedic astrology is usually square. However, if you get a free one online, it could still be shown to you as a circular breakdown. Astro Seek has a free Sidereal natal chart that shows the breakdown in circular form, as does Cafe Astrology. The square chart typically used for Vedic astrology breaks down your 12 houses, which are a big deal in this form of astrology. Your rising sign is even more important than your sun sign in Vedic astrology, and it can be found in the first house of your square chart.


Whether the chart is round or square, there are some major differences you may notice when you compare this birth chart to your chart from Western astrology. Your sun, moon, and rising signs could all be different from what you're used to. But why is the ascendant so important? It's because the first house is where you learn about who you are, from how you'll approach this thing called life to who you truly are, body and soul. You'll still learn about your moon sign, which remains a focus on your emotional side, much like Western astrology, as well as your sun sign (who you are as an individual), and your soul planet sign, which tells you what kind of journey your soul is on.

The role of planets in Vedic astrology

This is where things really get interesting. While we have eight planets in our solar system – Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune — Western astrology doesn't include Earth but does include dwarf planet Pluto. However, in Vedic astrology, only five of the planets in the solar system are recognized, along with the sun and the moon (which are also included in the Western zodiac), and a couple of shadow planets. The planets that are used are Venus, Mercury, Jupiter, Mars, and Saturn. The shadow planets, which don't actually exist, are Rahu and Ketu. Counting in the sun and moon, this is a total of nine bodies.


Most of the planets coincide with their Western astrology counterparts, like Venus being about love and romance. Rahu looks at what fame you may have and what you do with it. Ketu looks at the opposite — seeing what you can live without, in a sense, as well as your spirituality.

Mesha, aka Aries

As with Western astrology, Aries is the first sign of the zodiac. The approximate birth dates for this sign are between April 13 and May 14 — but as the constellations adjust over time, these dates can slightly adjust as well. Since it's the first sign, Aries is seen as the leader, even in Vedic astrology. They are the go-getters with the fiery energy to get things done. Their charisma and confidence are hallmarks of their leadership abilities.


Mesha folks can be a challenge to deal with because they are a fire sign ruled by Mars, but they are also extremely honest. This is the type of person who will take risks and push on until they are successful. Unfortunately, because they are a fire sign, they can also have a hot temper, be extremely selfish and egotistical, and forget to include the people in their lives in more decisions and conversations.

Vrushabha, aka Taurus

Still ruled by the Earth, Taurus — or Vrushabha — is a stable sign. They're focused individuals who prefer a life of practicality. In Western astrology, we often see Taurus as someone who prefers the luxuries in life. Professional astrologer Tamerri Ater-Ntonni told Pop Sugar, "High-quality food, textures, music, and atmosphere can be the keys to winning a Taurus's heart," but in Vedic astrology, they are more focused on holding their possessions dear rather than needing the best of the best.


The approximate birth dates for Taurus in Vedic astrology are between May 15 and June 14. They're still just as bull-headed in this other form of astrology, but they can also be fairly charitable and dive deep into their imaginations. Of course, you'll need to get past Taureans' need to be in control of every situation if you want to get along with them. Once you gain their trust, they will likely want to spoil you too.

Mithuna, aka Gemini

Gemini is referred to as Mithuna in Vedic astrology. The approximate dates for this sign are between June 15 and July 14. This sign is still seen as a duality and is an air sign, making them excellent communicators. And, being a duality, much like in Western astrology, this sign can struggle with indecisiveness. In fact, according to what archetypal astrologer Rebecca M. Farrar, MA, told Bustle, "It may often feel there are competing wants, depending on which side is most prominent."


The benefit of being around a Gemini is that they tend to be the life of the party and brighten any room. People flock to them because of their outgoing personalities — you just have to remember that sometimes their chatting can lead to gossip. And, if you're not ready to head to the party or go back home when they are, they may show you their darker side, which is impatient as all get out.

Karkat, aka Cancer

Karkat is the Vedic name for Cancer, which falls between the approximate dates of July 15 to August 14. Cancers in Western astrology are very focused on family, and they're also very nurturing in Vedic astrology. The hard shell on the outside of the crab is said to be a defense mechanism and makes these people look tougher than they are. It is because of their insides, however, that this water sign is seen as one of the most sensitive of signs.


And, because they are a water sign, they tend to be emotional, but not in the way you may think. As astrologer Lisa Stardust told Refinery29, "They actually don't cry as much as we think — they are more sensitive and protective than anything. They definitely do not let people get the best of them." While there may not be a plethora of tears, their emotions are often non-stop and may show in other ways, like compassion or defensiveness.

Simha, aka Leo

Simha, the lion, brings us to the fiery, passionate second fire sign of the zodiac. The approximate dates for Leo in Vedic astrology fall between August 15 and September 15. Just like in Western astrology, the Leo person is big on getting attention, but they also love to impress the people around them. They can come off as narcissistic to some, but they're simply extremely self-confident and charismatic.


Action-oriented Leo can be both demanding and possessive, but they also love to help people who are in need and want to be looked up to as someone who can be respected and counted on. They make excellent friends and acquaintances as long as you're patient with their sometimes dramatic nature and need to always be the star of the show. Ruled by the sun, they like things to be bright and optimistic, preferring to spread warmth when and where they can.

Kanya, aka Virgo

Kanya, or Virgo, is an earth sign represented by the virgin (again, there isn't a ton of difference between the object/animal of the signs). The dates for this zodiac fall between September 16 to October 15. Kanya folks are extremely smart and hardworking (which has a lot to do with that connection to the earth). 


One negative aspect of Virgo people is that they need perfection in their lives, which can cause them to be very critical of others and picky about the details of their lives, from who they let into their inner circle to what they bring into their homes. They don't have time for frivolous things, but they do always make time for their family, which is very important to them. Astrologer Lauren Ash told Today, "As an earth sign, they are incredibly loyal and won't run at the first sign of conflict." They devote themselves to their families because, of course, they want perfection there as well. However, this sign has no issue with being alone either.

Tula, aka Libra

Tula is what Libra is referred to in Vedic astrology. Still represented by the scales, it makes sense that Libra is all about things like balance and justice. The dates for this zodiac sign fall approximately between the dates of October 16 and November 14. As an air sign, Libra folks are extremely sociable, both in Western and Vedic astrology.


This sign is a mix of human and animal — perhaps that has something to do with Libra's keen instincts. They are balanced and graceful. Astrologer Lisa Stardust told People, "Since they're represented by the scales of Justice, they like harmony and peace at all times." Libra is another sign that is ruled by Venus, making these people pretty passionate. However, they tend to focus these passionate feelings more on creative endeavors than people, moving toward interest in the arts and other creative pursuits. They also like to keep forward momentum in other aspects of their lives, such as at work or when following their intuition. 

Vrushchika, aka Scorpio

Vrushchika is the Vedic term for Scorpio. This sign's dates fall approximately between the dates of November 15 and December 14. Scorpio has a couple of lessons to learn in life. In a way, these lessons tap into the things that Western astrology looks at in a negative light for the sign with the stinger. By learning to control their urges, Scorpio can find balance in life. And, if they don't, it can cause issues with the people they encounter throughout their lives. They are extremely emotionally aware but can end up in situations that could have been easily avoided. They're passionate and attractive.


In Vedic astrology, Scorpio is just as secretive as in Western astrology. On one hand, this is positive, as you can likely trust them with your secrets. But on the other hand, they may be secretive with their loved ones, refusing to open up and share their true feelings.

Dhanu, aka Sagittarius

Dhanu is Vedic astrology's representation of Sagittarius, known as The Bow. The birthdates for this sign are somewhere between December 15 and January 13. One really fun fact about this sign is that Thursday is supposedly a very lucky day for Dhanu folks. They are also extremely optimistic. In Western astrology, Sagittarius is known as a traveler — someone who loves to explore the world and their own surroundings. However, in Vedic astrology, they're described more as a basic fire sign — out for getting the best of the best in their lives.


It could be because of their high energy, but this sign is also described as being a lover of sports. However, if you're a Sag and sports aren't your thing, perhaps traveling, running your own company, or having some other extreme hobby is more to your taste. You may even be the person who motivates others to succeed. As in Western astrology, Dhanu people are seen as outgoing, and they're big on independence. 

Makar, aka Capricorn

Makar is Capricorn, and their dates fall approximately between the dates of January 14 and February 11. The goat plays a lot of significance in Vedic astrology for this sign. Goats are great climbers, and it is that steadfastness that makes them high goal-setters. It is perhaps this drive to get to the top that makes Capricorn in Western astrology the hardest worker of all the signs. "Capricorn is deeply impatient day to day with small things," astrologer Jessica Lanyadoo told Women's Health. "But very patient with big picture, long-term goals."


While described as being ultra-realistic, they also have a tendency to be impulsive and want the attention of others. As an earth sign, they can find balance when they reach satisfaction in life, whether that means finding a partner that helps balance them or attaining that success they've been striving for in their career. Unfortunately, they also tend to care too much about what other people think of them.

Kumbha, aka Aquarius

Aquarius, the water bearer in Western astrology, is known as Kumbha, The Pot, in Vedic astrology. Their birthdates are approximately between February 12 and March 12. While we often see the water bearer as either a man or a woman, in Vedic astrology, the sign is referred to as the universal man. It is a community sign, representing all of mankind — the water pouring forth from the pot being an image of how uncontrollable the human mind can be.


Just as in Western astrology, Aquarius is an intellectual air sign. Ruled by Uranus, like the planet, this sign tends to be a bit unpredictable at times, though they can also be quite innovative. Though they're good communicators, you can't always see Aquarius' feelings on their faces, so they can be pretty hard to read at times. Astrologer and energy healer Kesaine Walker told USA Today, "In Aquarius' world, it is more valuable to be different rather than to blend in with the crowd."

Meena, aka Pisces

Pisces is called Meena in Vedic astrology and still sits as the final sign of the zodiac. You may be a Meena if your birthdate falls between March 13 and April 12. There is a paradox when it comes to this sign that has a lot to do with it being represented by two fish. In Western astrology, one fish is often looked at as the dark fish and the other as the light fish. The overwhelming intuition and compassion this sign feels likely has something to do with them having a little bit of every sign in them. Astrologer MaKayla McRae told Bustle, "Pisces zodiac signs are able to tap into their intuition to know things that wouldn't readily be known at first glance. By looking beyond the face value of people and circumstances, Pisces are unstoppable when they trust their gut feelings."


In both astrological systems, Pisces has a reputation for spending too much time in their own head, even when things are good. They have a very creative imagination, but they also like to swim away when their dark side comes out, and they may not come back for a while.