You might have noticed that my astrology interpretations might say “New Moon in Leo” when you’ve been reading “New Moon in Virgo” elsewhere. Why is that? I’ve been publishing articles reading from the sidereal zodiac, as employed by Vedic astrologers, since the beginning of 2016. I want to be able to look at the sky at night and see the planets in the constellations they are in, right now. Not a theoretical calculation. Read on…
For 12 years I studied Western Astrology, I read deeply from alchemy, magick, ritual and Jungian symbolism … and then my first teacher called me deeper into the study of the stars – to Jyotish or “Vedic” astrology of India. I read more & I felt revelation, my way of looking deeply into the patterns of the stars and the soul’s purpose across time had a source and more information than I could ever discover in a lifetime. So much of the wisdom I read underneath the European (Western) texts was clearly sourced from Eastern traditions. After all, we share a cultural root – the Indo-Europeans were once one group with similar cultural concepts, relationships with nature and the spirit world. Since that time European and Vedic astrologers have a rich tradition of knowledge sharing along the trade routes and there are many similarities between the approaches as well as a few notable differences – the style of the chart, the inclusion of a lunar zodiac and 27 nakshatras (constellations), an emphasis on the lunar nodes (Rahu and Ketu).
The main difference is a different zodiacal calculation than standard Western Astrology. This is called the sidereal zodiac and represents the sky as it appears today, the tropical zodiac employed by most Western Astrologers is 23 degrees ahead of the sidereal zodiac for 2 main reasons:
- the tropical zodiac does not account for an astronomical phenomenon called the precession of the equinoxes (which may or may not have been known by earlier Western astronomers and astrologers) resulting in some 23 degrees difference between the sky as it appears now and the sky as it was about 2000 years ago. That’s right! When you look up at the sky and see the Moon, she might be in a whole other constellation than your horoscope update says!
- the 0 point of Aries to the tropical zodiac is given to the spring equinox (northern hemisphere) and autumnal equinox (southern hemisphere). Because the Western system is based on the sun, not on the movement of the planets against the fixed stars, this point was chosen as the “start” of the zodiac, 0 degrees Aries.
So if you move the zodiac back 23 degrees or so you may find you are not “really” your star sign anymore! You may move “back” one zodiac sign, e.g. from Sagittarius Sun to Scorpio Sun. (Remember each zodiac sign is 30 degrees wide) When we’ve identified with one star sign for most of our lives this can be really confronting!
I thought I was an Aquarius with a Scorpio Ascendant and Taurus moon, as I corrected my chart I discovered some planets remained in the same sign (Mars and Venus still in Pisces, so still a tragic romantic), some changed houses – and this made my whole life map a lot more accurate! (I get a bit astro technical here, so you can skip the next paragraph if you prefer…) In my corrected chart my moon remained in Taurus, Mercury and Jupiter also remained in Capricorn and Saturn in Scorpio – albeit in an earlier degree. But the Sun, ascendant and lunar nodes (Rahu and Ketu) had moved “back” one sign. Hmm so much for that, we need to add one more significant component – the birth star – the constellation the Moon aligned with on the day I was born. Mine is Krittika – read about it here . With my Moon now falling in the 8th house, not the 7th – I had a more accurate history of my relationship with my mother (Moon) and my difficulties with my own happiness in my earlier life – and some keys to how to heal that emotional turmoil and manage it in my intimate relationships. Rahu now falling in the 7th house (marriage/intimacy) of Aries along with Mars in Pisces explained my all-or-nothing approach to romance with the opposite sex (male romantic partners are signified by Mars). Mercury, Jupiter and Sun in Capricorn in the 4th house more accurately represented my paradoxically traditional approach to domestic life – despite my unconventional Krittika nature. Krittika birth star and all that Capricorn combined made me a stubborn, blunt, loyal Saturnian type at times, overly serious and concerned with “weighty” questions (as a child I was so earnest, like Wednesday Adams but not quite as cool). Looking deeper, I can work out how to offset that so my health is better and my overall happiness (and pleasantness to my close ones!)
In this way we realign our charts to the wheel of time and the constellations as they REALLY are. And isn’t it one of the worst issues with “Western” driven capitalist, ecocidal, consumer “culture”? That we are unloosed from the wheel of time, from the consequences of our actions upon our world and descendants, careening through space in a self-destructive race to nowhere, detached from purpose, path and destiny.
Does that mean all the other astrology was wrong? Well no, the Western tropical system isn’t wrong, it explores different principles and has a different philosophical aim than the Vedic and sidereal systems – broadly the Western system is aligned to “Western” ideas of time – sun based, social identity based and directed by the Western calendar and philosophy of time.
Time is not particularly sacred thing in the over-culture of the West (although our old traditions hold it to be so). We speak of wasting time, wanting more time, spending it, not having enough because industrialim changed the idea of time as a cyclical, undulating force to a commodity to leverage for profit or power. But it is extremely sacred in the Vedic tradition. Kala is the God of Time and a few other things time gods usually take care of – death, endings, decay. Without the support of the right timing our efforts pass away with no effect, wasting our vitality – what little time we have. Or worse, they create obstacles and encumber our actions.
Avoiding futile efforts that create messy consequences is as important to living a good life as making the most of good opportunities. Really lucky breaks are rare. But every day we do have chances to royally screw up our achievements through a lapse of wisdom, overwhelming desire or a hot temper. Knowing your timing and how the tides are affecting you personally is key to understanding the nature of the limits and opportunities we face.
The Sun – The Creative Spark but the Moon – the senses and the body
Astrological systems which include a lunar zodiac, as the Vedic system does, incorporate a deeper connection to the body, the flow and flux of the tides on the Earth, the feminine current as well as the masculine. We become in-step once again with the smaller and greater cycles of our evolution, within this life and those lives before and after. (If you don’t hold with reincarnation, consider this as your progress through life in the context of your ancestors and descendants; and your karma as the consequences of their actions or your actions upon those who are still to come). Vedic astrology also uses the planetary cycle system (Vimhottari Dasa system) which increases the precision of forecasts. It helps the questioner to know where she stands in the process of self-realisation and her karma across her entire life not just the next few months.
There’s one other major difference: The Vedic chart layout is different to the round Western style wheel of the heavens. Among many other things, it makes it really easy for you to draw it and redraw it, memorise the broader themes (planet, sign and house placement). Houses are reckoned from the whole sign (0 degrees to 30 degrees) not the degree of the Ascendant and the chart is read from both the ascendant and the moon sign.
You can research this more in-depth if you wish by checking out the books in my Amazon store or googling “Vedic astrology”.
I give my respect and gratitude to the teachers who have come before, preserving and deepening this knowledge across thousands of years and still benefits us today! To discover more about how this relates to you and your fate, get in touch with me here
May you be blessed wherever you travel seeking your destiny,
Please note: This is only the most basic overview and intended as an explanation of my approach to astrology and how you can engage more deeply with the forecasts I bring to your attention. I am trained in Western astrological techniques and extending my researches into Vedic astrology in the last few years, synthesising and deepening my knowledge of this sacred science. I do not term myself a Vedic astrologer yet as I have not studied with a guru gifted in astrology; I am utilising elements of that system to give you a deeper understanding of the blessings and challenges of your life and an accurate sense of timing.