What's Astrology, what does "Vedic" imply?

Lesson #2

by Das Goravani

Basically, what is astrology?

Astrology is the science of the effects of the planets movements on our lives and all things. Astrology is based on astronomy in that astrologers need to know the correct positions of the planets at any given time, as well as the correct positions of the zodiacal fixed star signs in relation to any place on earth at any given time. Once the correct positions of the signs and planets are known, the astrologer then constructs charts representing these positions, and using the astrological science, studies the charts and can make quite a wide range of conclusions about the moment the chart was cast for.

Charts are cast based on an exact moment at an exact place on Earth. Therefore, the moment you were born and the place you were born has a chart, or can have a chart, and that is called your "birth chart" or "natal chart". By reading the chart of the heavens for the time and place ofyour birth, we can know much about you. That is the claim of astrology. It can be used for other things such as the chart of a question asked (called "Prasna" astrology) or for planning when to do some certain action (called "Muhurtha" or "Electional" astrology).

Primarily, astrology is used to understand ourselves, or our karma for this life.

What does the word "Vedic" imply about this type of astrology?

Vedic astrology differs from Western or Tropical astrology mainly in that it uses the fixed zodiac as opposed to the moving zodiac. Because of the gradual tilting of the earth in space on it's axis, the zodiac, if you calculate it from the Sun's relationship to the Earth, appears to be moving at the rate of a little less than 1/60th of a degree per year. Currently, the relative or movable zodiac is off or out of alignment with the fixed or real star-based zodiac by roughly 23 degrees, which is almost one whole sign of the zodiac.

So, first and foremost you should know that Vedic astrology sticks with that original, star-based zodiac and thus another term to describe Vedic astrology is that it is "siderial astrology", which simply means that the real zodiac is used to locate WHICH SIGNS THE PLANETS ARE CURRENTLY LOCATED IN.

The signs the planets are in is one important part of astrology. Because the two systems are skewed from each other by nearly one whole sign, most people's "Sun Sign", that which you can get from the paper each day, is usually one sign back when the chart is refigured using Vedic astrology.

So, the first surprise using Vedic is that you are no longer the Sun Sign you always thought you were. This happens with many charts. However, if you were born in the last 5 days or so of the Western Sign month, then you will probably still be that sign in Vedic since the difference is 23 degrees currently, and signs are 30 degrees long in space (12 signs times 30 degrees each each a 360 degree circle surrounding the Earth).

Vedic astrology also has a great number of techniques for studying the charts once they are cast which give Vedic a predictive edge. For example, the "dashas" or "planetary ruling periods" system which is a part of the Vedic system give Vedic astrologers a tool for quite accurately predicting the trends, changes and events in your life with good accuracy regarding dating when things will take place. Therefore, Vedic astrologers are lesslimited to talking about your general overall self and can get more deeply into what's going to happen in your life.

These two things are the primary, immediate things you should know about Vedic astrology.

The Signs

Signs are called "Rashis" (raw-shees) in Sanskrit. This table shows the signs with their rulers, sanskrit names and symbols etc. If you open this table using a monospaced font such as Monaco or Courier, it will space correctly into columns. You may have to set your ruler in your word processor to about 7.25 inches wide.

Sign Name Sanskrit Name Meaning of
Sanskrit Name
Type Sex Mobility Lord
Aries Mesha Ram Fire M Movable Mars
Taurus Vrishaba Bull Earth F Fixed Venus
Gemini Mithuna Couple (embracing) Air M Common Mercury
Cancer Karkata Crab or Circle Water F Movable Moon
Leo Simha Lion Fire M Fixed Sun
Virgo Kanya Virgin or Daughter Earth F Common Mercury
Libra Thula Balance or Weight Air M Movable Venus
Scorpio Vrishchika Scorpion Water F Fixed Mars
Sagittarius Dhanus Bow (the weapon) Fire M Common Jupiter
Capricorn Makara Alligator & Shark Earth F Movable Saturn
Aquarius Kumbha Pot or Jug Air M Fixed Saturn
Pisces Meena Fishes Water F Common Jupiter

As you can see, the signs are the same ones used in Western Astrology. However, as you go on, you will see that the understanding of what the signs do, and the demigods behind them, who control them, vary and are greatly augmented in Vedic astrology.

These tables cover Nakshatras, or the 27 fixed stars of Vedic Astrology. The stars with two signs (such as Kritika) are the ones whose domain crosses the border between the two signs listed.

# Name Lord Sign(s) Guna Gana Type Symbol
1 Ashvini Ketu Ari Tama Deva Dharma Horse Head
2 Bharani Venus Ari Raja Manushya Artha Vagina
3 Kritika Sun Ari/Tau Raja Rakshasa Kama Razor
4 Rohini Moon Tau Raja Manushya Moksha Chariot
5 Mrigashira Mars Tau/Gem Tama Deva Moksha Deer Head
6 Ardra Rahu Gem Tama Manushya Kama Head
7 Punarvasu Jupi Gem/Can Satva Deva Artha Bow
8 Pushya Sat Can Tama Deva Dharma Flower
9 Ashlesha Merc Can Satva Rakshasa Dharma Serpent
10 Magha Ketu Leo Tama Rakshasa Artha Palanquin
11 Purva Phalguni Venus Leo Raja Manushya Kama Front Legs of Cot
12 Uttara Phalguni Sun Leo/Vir Raja Manushya Moksha Back legs of Cot
13 Hasta Moon Vir Raja Deva Moksha Palm
14 Chitra Mars Vir/Lib Tama Rakshasa Kama Pearl
15 Swati Rahu Lib Tama Deva Artha Sapphire
16 Vishakha Jupi Lib/Sco Satva Rakshasa Dharma Potters Wheel
17 Anuradha Sat Sco Tama Deva Dharma Umbrella
18 Jyeshtha Merc Sco Satva Rakshasa Artha Umbrella
19 Mula Ketu Sag Tama Rakshasa Kama Crouching Lion
20 Purva Ashadha Venus Sag Raja Manushya Moksha Front of square
21 Uttara Ashadha Sun Sag/Cap Raja Manushya Moksha Back of square
22 Shravan Moon Cap Raja Deva Artha Arrow
23 Dhanistha Mars Cap/Aqu Tama Rakshasa Dharma Drum
24 Satabishak Rahu Aqu Tama Rakshasa Dharma Flower
25 Purva Bhadrapad Jupi Aqu/Pis Satva Manushya Artha Front Legs of Cot
26 Uttara Bhadrapad Sat Pis Tama Manushya Kama Back legs of Cot
27 Revati Merc Pis Satva Deva Moksha Fish

More info about the Nakshatras (knock-shut-raws)

# Name Demigod Sex Body Part Caste
1 Ashvini Asvini Kumars M Top of foot Vaisya
2 Bharani Yamaraj F Sole of foot Lower
3 Kritika Agnidev F Head Brahmin
4 Rohini Lord Brahma F Forehead Sudra
5 Mrigashira Candrama ~ Eyebrows Servant
6 Ardra Lord Rudra F Eyes Butcher
7 Punarvasu Sri Aditi M Nose Vaisya
8 Pushya Brihaspati M Face Kshatriya
9 Ashlesha Nagas F Ears Lowest
10 Magha Pitris F Lips/Chin Sudra
11 Purva Phalguni Bhaga F Right hand Brahmin
12 Uttara Phalguni Aryaman F Left hand Kshatriya
13 Hasta Suryadev M Fingers Vaisya
14 Chitra Visvakarma F Neck Servant
15 Swati Vayu F Chest Butcher
16 Vishakha Indra & Agni F Breasts Lowest
17 Anuradha Mitra M Stomach Sudra
18 Jyeshtha Indra F Right torso Servant
19 Mula Nritta ~ Left torso Butcher
20 Purva Ashadha Apas F Back Brahmin
21 Uttara Ashadha Visvadev F Waist Kshatriya
22 Shravan Sri Visnu M Genitals Lowest
23 Dhanistha Vasus F Anus Servant
24 Satabishak Varuna ~ Right Thigh Butcher
25 Purva Bhadrapad Ajaikapad M Left Thigh Brahmin
26 Uttara Bhadrapad Ahirbudhnya M Lower legs Kshatriya
27 Revati Pushan F Anklrs Sudra