What is Vedic Astrology? How it differs from western astrology

What if I told you that everything you thought you knew about your zodiac sign isn’t true?

While western astrology is only loosely familiar to most and daily horoscopes are a daily habit of many, other beliefs and planetary interpretations exist beyond the zodiac as we know it.

If you have never fully identified with your sun sign or felt seen by your natal chart interpretation, your mother could be lying or you should seek resonance in Vedic astrology.

Western vs. Vedic Astrology

A key difference between Western and Vedic, also called Indian astrology, is the use of different zodiac systems. Western astrologers use the tropical zodiac based on the seasons and the alignment between the sun and earth. In the tropical zodiac, the vernal equinox always coincides with the beginning of the Aries season.

In contrast, Vedic astrology uses the sidereal zodiac, which is based on the physical positions of the constellations in the sky. As the Earth rotates on its own axis, it experiences a slight tilt, a vortex known as precession. Therefore, the stars and constellations do not remain in a fixed state, in fact each star moves about one degree every 70 odd years.

Lanet Earth with a spectacular sunset "Elements of this image furnished by NASA"
In Vedic astrology, sun signs differ in names and dates from those in western astrology.

While Western astrology does not take this shift into account, the sidereal system recognizes the discrepancy and corrects it within the natal chart using a system called Ayanamas. Because of this, your sun sign in Vedic astrology may very well be different than what you have previously accepted. The universe exists to surprise.

Bro, what’s your zodiac sign?

In both Vedic and Western astrology there are twelve different signs of the zodiac, each with a general set of charms and disadvantages. While the attributes of the Western and Vedic zodiac signs are similar, the respective dates vary. They are as follows:

Aries: Mesha (April 13–May 14)

Taurus: Vrishaba (May 15–June 14)

Gemini: Mithuna (June 15–July 14)

Cancer: Karkata (July 15–August 14)

Leo: Simha (15 August – 15 September)

Virgo: Kanya (September 16 – October 15)

Libra: Tula (October 16 – November 14)

Scorpio: Vrishchika (November 15 – December 14)

Sagittarius: Dhanus (December 15 – January 13)

Capricorn: Makara (January 14-February 11)

Aquarius: Kumbha (February 12 – March 12)

Pisces: Meena (March 13–April 12)

Perplexed? Identity crisis triggered? Questioning the substance of existence? Keep it up my babies, there’s more.

Astrology 101: Your Guide to the Stars

History of Vedic Astrology

As the name suggests, the roots of Vedic astrology go back to the four Vedas, ancient Hindu scriptures that were written around 1200 BC. Written in early Sanskrit, they contain ritual instructions, mantras, ruling philosophies, and divine revelations. Vedas translates to knowledge and the practice of Vedic astrology was born of seers and sages trying to translate divinity into daily life. In this sense, Vedic astrology is more connected to spirituality than its Western counterpart.

A Vedic birth chart.
In Vedic astrology, the natal chart is square or diamond-shaped.
Getty Images


In India, the practice of Vedic astrology is known as Jyotish, roughly translated as ‘science of light’, and is based on the belief that the light of knowledge burns the darkness and offers a path to self-realization. In kind, Vedic astrologers are known as Jyotishis.

An important difference between Western and Vedic astrology is their later relationship to the Hindu principles of karma and reincarnation. Vedic astrology views the natal chart as an accumulation of our past life experiences. In her book Vedic Astrology: A Guide to the Basics of Jyotish Ronnie Gale Dreyer explains: “By applying the concepts of karma and reincarnation, the horoscope illustrates how we can fulfill our mission in this life based on the deeds performed in previous lives… Astrologers explain this by simply treating the stars as an extension of ourselves.”

Milky Way over a Hindu temple.
Vedic astrology is rooted in the spiritual beliefs of the Hindus.
Getty Images

While Western astrology focuses on the psychology of the individual and their experience of life events, Vedic or Hindu astrology is more predictive, explicitly predicting things like fame, fortune, family dynamics, and times of hardship and ease.

birth charts

In western astrology, the natal chart is a wheel shape that is evenly divided into twelve segments. In Vedic astrology, the natal chart takes the form of a square or diamond configuration and multiple divisional charts are used to address different areas of life, marriage, career, past life reckoning, etc. To calculate your basic Vedic chart use the following shortcut. While both Western and Vedic astrology consider transits, Vedic astrology recognizes dashas, ​​periods of life ruled by specific planets.


Unlike Western astrology, Vedic astrology does not take into account the influence of Uranus, Neptune or Pluto on the individual or the individual’s natal chart. Vedic astrology limits the sphere of influence to personal planets visible to the naked eye without the advent of a telescope, believing that the distance of these celestial bodies from Earth reduces their direct effect on life on her. While Western astrology assigns Pluto to the dominion of Scorpio, Uranus to Aquarius and Neptune to Pisces, Vedic astrology retains the ancient planetary rulers for each, Mars, Saturn and Jupiter respectively.

Photo of the planet Neptune.
Vedic astrology does not take into account the influence of outer planets like Neptune.
Getty Images


Both Western and Vedic astrology divide the natal chart into houses and determine meaning based on what planets are in them and what signs rule each house. Western astrology spans the gamut of house systems, with Placidus being the most common. In general, Vedic astrologers use the whole sign system, in which the 1st house belongs entirely to the ascendant sign. For example, if you are a Gemini Ascendant/Ascendant, the 1st house would encompass the sign of Gemini from 0° to 30°, followed by the 2nd house in Cancer, the 3rd in Leo, and so on and so on.

Is Vedic Astrology Superior?

Are the Stones better than the Beatles? Indica better than sativa? Truth or Dare? These are questions to think about and preferences to make. Vedic astrology is decidedly more complex than western astrology, which arguably makes it more accurate and more difficult to interpret for beginners. Since the universe is in constant flux as we beat our hearts in it, some adhere to Vedic astrology which allows for this flux. offers more detailed insights and practical knowledge. I say the more you know the better off you are, and as an undecided Gemini Ascendant, I highly recommend personal reading from an expert or experts versed in both schools of astrological thought. Keep shining.

astrologer Reda Wigle irreverently researches and reports on planetary configurations and their impact on each zodiac sign. Her horoscopes integrate history, poetry, pop culture and personal experiences. She is also an accomplished writer who has portrayed a variety of artists and performers and extensively documented her travel experiences. Among the many fascinating topics she has covered are graveyard etiquette, her love of pubs, Cuban Airbnbs, a “girl guide” to strip clubs, and the “weirdest” foods available overseas. What is Vedic Astrology? How it differs from western astrology


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