Match Maker


 Vedic Vs Western Astrology

Date Published:2010-08-12 21:51:53


To understand the differences between western and vedic astrology it is important to explain the astronomical phenomena of precessions of equinoxes that involves signs of Zodiac, movement of Earth around its own axis and around the Sun. The movement of Earth around its own axis is not smooth but wobbly due to combined gravitational effects of Sun, Moon and other Planets. This wobbly motion is slow conical motion around its axis as shown in figure, and it takes 25,800 years to make one round, which is approximately 50 - 51 arc sec per year or 1 degree per 72 years.

Earth's axis is tilted at an angle of 23.5 degrees. This means Earth's Equator makes an angle of 23.5 deg with Ecliptic plane in which sun appears to go around the Earth though in fact Earth orbits the Sun. The line at which these two planes intersect is called Line of Equinoxes. And the points on the imaginary celestial sphere where this line intersects the sphere is called Equinoxes. As Earth moves around the Sun, about 21st March every year when sun crosses the Equator marks beginning of spring (in north hemisphere) and equinox at this point is called Vernal Equinox. Since Earth revolves and wobbles around its axis in counter clockwise direction ( i.e west to east ) by approximately 50 arc sec per year, this means every year when sun reaches Vernal Equinox on 21st March it will lag behind by 50 arc seconds with respect to background of star constellations as shown in figure. This continuous recession in Equinoxes is called Precessions of Equinoxes.


Had there been no wobble in Earth's axis, Sun at vernal equinox would have same background of star constellations every year but this is not the case in reality. In year 285 AD, the Vernal Equinox was at start of Aries, which is first sign of Zodiac and since then it has receded backward year after year. This difference between the position of Vernal Equinox when it coincided with start of Aries and positon at any given time is called Ayanamsha, which is presently (in 2009) around 23-24 degrees. The Vernal Equinox Sun is therefore about 23 - 24 degrees behind from start of Aries i.e. in Pisces presently and in around 432 years from now would enter sign of Aquarius with the beginning of New Age called Age of Aquarius.


There are many differences between Western astrology and Vedic astrology. Major difference is that Vedic Astrology makes use of Sidereal Zodiac, which is fixed shown as background of star constellations in the above figure where as Western Astrology makes use of Tropical Zodiac which is movable background of star constellations. This means for Sidereal Zodiac, Aries the first sign of Zodiac presently has the same starting point as it had in Year 285 AD therefore by applying the Ayanamsha of 23 deg backwards (because of precessions of equinoxes) to position of Sun on 21st March would give the actual position of Sun which would be in Pisces around 7 ( i.e 30 - 23) degrees. But for Tropical Zodiac, since Western Astrology does not apply this correction of Ayanamsha to the Position of  Sun ( and other Planets ), the Sun would always be at starting point of Aries every year around 21st March. Though Western Astrologers do accept the concept of Precessions of Equinoxes and thats why we all know about the so popular coming Golden Age of Aquarius as mentioned before which is the concept generated in western world.  Because of this difference in Sidereal and Tropical Zodiac, the positions of Sun, Moon and other Planets in Vedic horoscope, presently, is 23 degrees less than western horoscope.

Another major difference between Vedic and Western Astrology is that in western astrology Sun signs are given more importance, in fact almost whole personality or psychology of the person is explained on this Sun sign, which remains same for the whole month where as in vedic astrology rising sign in the east horizon called ascendant is given more importance which changes approximately every 2 hours. The personality is judged by the Ascendant sign and other planets that has effect on the ascendant ( by there presence in ascendant or aspect) or its lord. Since Moon is considered deity of heart and mind, therefore in vedic astrology Moon signs are given almost same importance as Ascendants and are specially considered for two major areas.

  • First, for horoscope compatibility between two people in relationship or spouses i.e. to analyze Love horoscopes.
  • Secondly, The lunar mansions (called Nakshatra) which is a belt of 27 star constellations of 13 deg 20 min each, are mainly used to calculate Major time periods and sub periods based on position of Moon in horoscope that explains the possibility of events occurring on particular time frame in life.

There are few similarities also between these two systems of astrology. Like both systems use signs of zodiac 12 in number and 30 degrees each. The concept of houses along with signs of zodiac is also used in both but the way the chart is drawn is different. Vedic chart is rectangular while western astrology uses circular chart to map the stars. Both systems use influence of transits of present stars to predict events along with aspects of star with each other.

In conclusion, it would be wise to say that though both systems have similarities as well as differences, they are not comparable and should not be compared, particularly the phenomenon of precession of equinoxes and its influence makes a huge difference and render it inappropriate to compare.