Vedic astrology predates Western astrology with its well-known system of 12 simple signs. Vedic astrological practices date back to 5,000 to 10,000 B.C. and include not only 12 Vedic signs, but a complex system of 27 Nakshatras as well. Vedic astrology offers deep insights into your personality and purpose. You can use this path to gain insights into your karma and how you should chart your course through life.
Understanding Vedic Astrology
Vedic astrology is extremely complex. It goes far beyond simple associations based upon one of 12 zodiac signs. To fully utilize Vedic astrology, you must consider several key aspects of the stars, planets, and their movement including:
- The fixed background of the zodiac, as represented by 12 Vedic signs.
- The subdivisions of the zodiac, as divided into 27 lunar houses.
- The movement of the sun, moon, and planets in relation to the earth.
- The houses that mark divisions of space that the earth revolves through every 24 hours.
By putting all these pieces together, you can evaluate an individual's personality as determined by these factors at the time of their birth. You can also assess these four factors at any given moment in time and use this information to determine whether the conditions are favorable for a particular activity or action. This is particularly useful if you're planning something major such as a vacation, proposal, business merger, or the purchase of a home.
Vedic Zodiac Signs
Vedic and Western astrology use the same 12 zodiac signs, but they calculate them differently. The Western zodiac is fixed, assigning each sign to the same range of dates each year. Vedic astrology uses the sidereal zodiac, which accurately measures where the planets actually were at the time of your birth.
About 2,000 years ago, Vedic and Western astrology aligned. However, the slight tilt of the Earth's axis has caused it to move about 24 degrees since that time, which resulted in a shift of nearly one whole zodiac sign. Though you may have always believed you were a Sagittarius, Vedic astrology will probably label you as a Scorpio, which is quite intriguing if you've always felt your sign didn't quite fit.
Vedic astrology signs are:
- Mesha (Aries): April 13 - May 14
- Vrishaba (Taurus): May 15 - June 14
- Mithuna (Gemini): June 15 - July 14
- Karkata (Cancer): July 15 - August 14
- Simha (Leo): August 15 - September 15
- Kanya (Virgo): September 16 - October 15
- Tula (Libra): October 16 - November 14
- Vrishchinka (Scorpio): November 15 - December 14
- Dhanus (Sagittarius): December 15 - January 13
- Makara (Capricorn): January 14 - February 11
- Kumbha (Aquarius): February 12 - March 12
- Meena (Pisces): March 13 - April 12
Nakshatra means lunar mansion in Hindu astrology. Each of these lunar houses, or stars, encompasses 13.2 degrees. The nakshatras are based on the movement of the moon, so your personal house is determined by the moon's position at the time of your birth. Understanding the placement of the nakshatras at any given time can also help you plan important activities to coincide with favorable astrological conditions.
The Sthira nakshatras are fixed houses that favor stability and long-term projects. These are ideal for construction and planting. Sthira nakshatras are most favorable when they fall on a Sunday. These houses include:
- Rohini: Associated with commerce; symbolized by the ox.
- Uttara Phalguni: Symbolized by a bed; associated with rest and rejuvenation.
- Uttara Ashadha: Powerful and fearsome; symbolized by an elephant tusk.
- Uttana Bhadrapada: A mystical house symbolized by the snake.
Chara nakshatras are considered movable. These houses are ideal for travel and automobile purchases. Conditions are most favorable when a Chara nakshatra falls on a Monday. These houses are:
- Punarvasu: Symbolized by a bow and quiver; associated with readiness and protection.
- Swati: Associated with youth and flexibility; symbolized by a blade of grass.
- Shravana: Symbolized by an ear; associated with wisdom.
- Dhanishtha: Symbolized by a drum; associated with influence and timing.
- Shatabhisha: Associated with mystery; symbolized by an empty circle.
The Ugra, or fierce nakshatras, create the ideal conditions for destruction, favoring projects that involve demolition, weaponry, or fire. These nakshatras are most powerful on Tuesdays and include:
- Bharani: Associated with rebirth, fertility, and struggle; symbolized by the female sex organ.
- Magha: Associated with power; symbolized by a throne.
- Purva Halogen: Symbolized by a hammock; representing rest and pleasure.
- Purva Ashadha: Associated with popularity and discernment; symbolized by a winnowing basket.
- Purva Bhadrapada: Associated with death and transformation; symbolized by a funeral bed.
The Mista nakshatras favor spiritual activities like worship and ceremonies. They're also favorable for making home purchases like furnishings and electronics. These houses are most powerful on Wednesdays. They are:
- Krittika: Symbolized by a flame; associated with ferocity and cutting ties with negativity.
- Vishakha: Symbolized by a potter's wheel; associated with creativity and patience.
Trade, transactions, and movement are best facilitated by the swift, or Kshipra, nakshatras. Most powerful on Thursdays, these houses are ideal for pursuing trade, travel, or admission into a school or club. They include:
- Ashwini: Associated with swiftness as well as haste; symbolized by the horse.
- Hasta: Symbolized by the hand; represents communication and power.
- Pushya: Symbolized by the cow; associated with wholeness and nourishment.
The sweet and tender Mridu nakshatras are ideal for friendship, romance, and creative pursuits like poetry, drama, and dance. These are most auspicious on Fridays and include:
- Revati: Associated with learning and movement; symbolized by a fish.
- Anuradha: Symbolized by the lotus flower; representing beauty and resilience.
- Mrigashira: Symbolized by a deer's head; representing movement, playfulness, and curiosity.
- Chitra: Associated with beauty and opulence; symbolized by a pearl.
The Tikshna, or sharp, nakshatras create fine conditions for black magic or activities like exorcism, hypnotism, and invoking spirits. These houses are most powerful on Saturdays. These nakshatras include:
- Ashlesha: Associated with wisdom and sensuality; symbolized by the serpent.
- Ardra: Symbolized by a teardrop; associated with intellectualism and clarity after sadness.
- Mula: Associated with depth and tenacity; symbolized by roots.
- Jyeshtha: Symbolized by the umbrella; associated with beauty and culture.
Navagrahas means "nine," referring to the planets that influence Vedic astrological predictions. Each graha is associated with a particular aspect of life, having a notable influence on individuals and circumstances in accordance with its placement in the cosmos.
The sun signifies power, authority, the father, or the king. It is associated with courage, intelligence, leadership, and individuality. It also comes with downfalls such as arrogance, overconfidence, and a self-centered nature.
The moon is associated with maternal, feminine powers. It influences emotions, intuition, and thought. In a powerful position, the moon bestows sensitivity, empathy, and emotional maturity. In a weak position, it may cause confusion and emotional instability.
Mangala is bold and adventurous. It bestows energy, power, and drive, but its forces can be used both constructively and destructively. Well-placed, it encourages productive action. Poorly positioned, Mars can create violence and domination.
Associated with intelligence, humor, and communication, Budha is a fine emissary for merchants and educators. In a strong position, Budha improves communications, but in a weak position it can incite fear and misunderstandings.
Character, honor, success, and fortune are all influenced by Brihaspati. This planet influences management, religion, philosophy, and education. Well-placed, Brihaspati creates a positive outlook and helps individuals overcome obstacles easily. In an unfavorable position, Brihaspati can make it difficult to focus or discern the truth.
Shukra is associated with pleasure, luxury, and passion. Well-placed, this planet has a favorable impact on love, wealth, and worldly pleasures. In a weak position, it may cause overindulgence or a poor reputation.
Shani represents discipline, meditation, and longevity. It can bestow strength and endurance in a strong position. In a weak position, Shani may cause loneliness or depression.
Rahu and Ketu
Known as shadow planets, Rahu and Ketu are locations rather than physical forms. Rahu is the north node of the moon, while Ketu is the south node. Eclipses occur in these dark nodes, giving them their significance. Ketu is associated with the occult and danger. Rahu governs lust, ego, and anger.
The Bhavas are the Vedic astrological houses. Each house governs a part of your life, so it's important to understand where the planets and stars are positioned within the houses.
- Lagna, or Tanu Bhava (First House): Physical appearance, outward temperament, sense of self.
- Dhana Bhava (Second House): Wealth, income, possessions.
- Parakarma, or Sahaja Bhava or Bhatru Bhava (Third House): Intellect, communications.
- Suhrda, or Matri Bhava or Bandhu Bhava (Fourth House): Land, home, domestic happiness.
- Suta, or Putra Bhava (Fifth House): Pleasure, romance, creativity, children.
- Ripu/Roga, or Ari Bhava (Sixth House): Enemies, difficulties, illnesses.
- Kama, or Jaya Bhava or Yuvati Bhava (Seventh House): Partnerships, spouse, business partners.
- Randhra, or Ayu Bhava (Eighth House): Longevity, death.
- Bhagya, or Dharma Bhava (Ninth House): Values, spirituality, intuition.
- Karma Bhava (Tenth House): Career, reputation.
- Aya, or Labha Bhava (Eleventh House): Prosperity, fame, wealth.
- Vyaya, or Vairagya Bhava (Twelfth House): Completion, letting go, enlightenment, the end of the cycle.
Putting together the many complex pieces of Vedic astrology can yield fascinating insights. Since this is a very complex practice, it may help to work with an experienced astrologer as you work out your Vedic chart.