In western astrology, there are 12 signs but standing for 12 periods of a year. According to natural distribution, stars are divided into many regions of different sizes, each called a constellation. Connecting all bright stars in a constellation with lines, different images in the shape of animals and objects are formed. People named each constellation according to its shape. The International Astronomical Union divided the sky into 88 constellations with precise boundaries, making every star belonging to a particular constellation.
Seen from Earth, the sun moves slowly in the Celestial Sphere and passes through constellations, forming a large circle for a year. This circle is called Ecliptic. The Ecliptic is divided into twelve equal portions (each equivalent to 30 degrees); each portion was named after the closest constellation. All these twelve portions were called Ecliptic Constellations, according to which western horoscope theories developed.
The astrologists divide a year is into 12 periods, during each period the sun being in a constellation area. So everyone has a corresponding zodiacal sign according to the period his / her birthday lies in. The 12 signs are Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces. People believe that different signs of the zodiac present different characteristics and talents.
In truth, there is no unified approach used by most Western astrologers. They may favour using Outer Planet transits or Progressions or Directions for their primary predictive tool, and some include additional bodies like asteroids, the comet Chiron, Arabic Parts (Greek Lots), Fixed Stars, Hypothetical Points, and Uranians and Plutonian, or even adopt radically different approaches like the Huber method, Evolutionary Astrology, or Symmetrical Astrology (aka Cosmo biology).
The basic difference between the two systems is that the Vedic zodiac is Sidereal and the Western is Tropical. In Sidereal astrology, the zodiac is aligned with 27 constellations, or fixed star groups. Aries, the first sign of the zodiac, aligns with the first constellation, called Ashwini. In the tropical zodiac, the point in space when the Sun crosses the earth’s equator is the beginning point of the zodiac, or Aries.
The earth’s equator shifts backward through the signs of the zodiac at the rate of about 51″ of longitude per year. This is called “precession of the equinoxes.” Because of this phenomenon, the theoretical Aries of the western zodiac drifts further and further from the Aries used by Vedic astrologers — at the rate of about 1 degree every 72 years.
The tropical (Western), and the Vedic Aries were on the same zodiacal plane around 285 AD. Because of the precession of the equinoxes, at present, there is approximately a 23 degree difference. Thus all of the planets in a Vedic horoscope, including the rising sign, will be about 23 zodiacal degrees earlier than they would be in a Western chart.
Western astrology Thousands of years ago, Astrology has taken its roots in Western Countries. Egyptians know Astrology 4000 years before Christ. They prepared ephemeris. At the same time, Chinese too studied Astrology. King Hoyangutee built a Planetarium in 2608 BC. Babylonians practiced Astrology a few centuries before Christ. Pythagoras (530 BC) propounded that the Earth is rotating on its own axis. Aristarchus (around 275 BC) claims that Earth revolves around the Sun. Aristata and Timoris (320 – 260 BC) prepared an index of positions of several stars.
Whatever the places and people are, Astrology is practiced and praised by everyone on the Earth. The fundamental facts like division of Zodiac and planets: Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Saturn and Venus remain same.
Overview of Astrological Signs and Properties
This astrology overview chart is a useful key to your understanding all important astrological information at once:
|1st House of
|Cardinal, personal identity||Mars
|Male, red, ego
|2nd House of
Property, money, physical realm
|3rd House of
|4th House of Home & Family||Cancer||Yin (black)
|Cardinal, personal expression||Moon
|5th House of Pleasure||Leo||Yang (white)
|Male, Red, love, lust, Romance|
|6th House of Health||Virgo||Yin (black)
|7th House of Partnership||Libra||Yang (white)
|Cardinal, Social identity||Venus||Male, Orange
|8th House of reincarnation||Scorpio||Yin (black)
|9th House of Philosophy||Sagittarius||Yang (white)
|Male, red, theory, travel,
|10th House of Social status||Capricorn||Yin (black)
|Cardinal, Social expression||Saturn
|11th House of friendship||Aquarius||Yang (white)
|Male, Orange, science, society, techno|
|12th House of Unconscious||Pisces||Yin (black)
There are 3 more planets added. And Western Astrologers started updating their knowledge about the influence of these planets on human beings. A new planet Chiron is being added to the list.
- Uranus indicates sudden happenings, extremism, impulsive actions, high speed, explosives, electricity, television, computers etc.
- Neptune gives intuition, meditation, hidden affairs, reflections, colors, water resources, coffee, tea, photography, etc.
- Pluto represents destruction and regeneration, change of sex, modernization, waste material, unrest, life insurance, etc.
Western Astrology know how
Western Astrology gives more stress on the aspects of planets. The aspects are based on the distances of planets. The following are the major aspects.
While the above are major aspects, we can have minor aspects which give minor impact.
- Semi Sextile
- Semi Square
Aspects, Orbs, Aspect Patterns & Chart Shape
Western astrologers use an assortment of aspects, always including the five Ptolemaic aspects (conjunction, sextile, square, trine, and opposition), with tight orbs of 10 degrees or less, determined by the type of aspect. Planets only aspect other planets and the angles (Ascendant and mid heaven).
Vedic astrologers use a different approach: each planet associates with all planets in the same house, and aspects the opposite house and any planets in that house. Mars, Saturn, and Jupiter also have additional (unilateral) special aspects to both planets and houses.
Western astrologers also place importance upon aspect patterns like Grand Trines, T-squares, Yods, etc. which are unused by Vedic astrologers. However, while many Western astrologers employ the seven whole chart shapes originated by Marc Edmund Jones (e.g. Bucket, Splash, etc.), Vedic astrologers have a very large set of delineations of whole chart patterns, seen as yogas.
Differences in Approaches and Methodology
Strengths and Weaknesses of Planets
In Western astrology, retrograde planets are seen as weak, but since Vedic astrology is oriented towards how planets appear in the actual sky, retrograde planets are seen as strong (because planets that are retrograde are at their closest approach to the earth, and therefore visibly both brighter and larger).
Western astrologers also see planets occupying the sign opposite to the sign they rule as weak (which they call debilitated), while Vedic astrologers do not see such sign positions as weak. (This gets confusing to Western readers of Vedic texts, because Vedic astrologers do see planets in the sign opposite to their exaltation sign as weak, and call such planets either debilitated or fallen interchangeably.)
Modern Western astrologers seldom employ the concept of combustion (i.e. when a planets is near the Sun), but Vedic astrologers utilize combustion as a fundamental principle: a planets is weak when within 6 degrees of the Sun (and very weak within 3 degrees of the Sun).
Some Western astrologers interpret 8 lunar phases, but they generally don’t assess Lunar strength by phase. Vedic astrologers place great importance on Lunar phase, and delineate 30 different Tithis, and consider the Moon as weak when it’s within 72 degrees of the Sun, and strong when within one sign of opposite to the Sun. (They also see the Moon as weaker when waning than when waxing.)
Vedic astrologers consider true planets (Mercury through Saturn) that are within one degree of each other as at war, and this indicates a major weakness. This is not used in Western astrology.
When a planet is in the same sign in both the natal chart and the Navamsha chart (with the exception of it being in fall), this gives the planet strength, (in Vedic astrology), but this is not used in Western astrology.
In Vedic astrology, planets get directional strength (Dig Bala) by occupying specific angles: Jupiter & Mercury in the 1st, Moon & Venus in the 4th, Sun & Mars in the 10th, and Saturn in the 7th. Western astrologers do not use this concept.
The status of a planet’s deposition is rarely focused on in Western astrology, but in Vedic astrology, each planet’s deposition is seen as the soul of the planet, and is therefore very important. In fact, while exalted planets in Western astrology are always seen as very strong without qualification, in Vedic astrology, if the planet ruling the sign occupied by an exalted planet is weak by sign, then the exalted planet is not seen as strong. Similarly, fallen planets are seen as invariably weak in Western astrology, but in Vedic astrology they are strengthened if their disposition is strong, angular, or meets other criteria.
Mutual reception is used by some Western astrologers and by all Vedic astrologers. In Vedic astrology, it is called a Parivartana yoga, and has extensive interpretive meanings including strengthening planets in both the natal and divisional charts.
Benefices and Malefic
While Western astrology recognizes Saturn as challenging, the concept of benefice and malefic planets is employed to a much greater extent in Vedic astrology. E.g. Mercury is benefice unless solely under the influence of other malefic, the Moon is benefice unless within 72 degrees of the Sun, and Jupiter and Venus are always benefice. The Sun, Mars, Saturn, and the Nodes are malefic.