Vedic vs Western Astrology

Interpretive Differences between Western and Vedic Astrology

The first thing you will notice when you compare a Western and Vedic chart is that the Vedic chart looks very different. You are probably familiar with the round shape of a Western chart; the Vedic chart is square. If you are familiar with Western astrology, upon careful examination, the Vedic chart will appear to have planets aligned with the wrong constellations (signs). A natal chart [or a birth chart] reading reveals the differing sign and house changes of planets in the Vedic chart.

For example, suppose, according to Western astrology, your Sun sign is in Capricorn. In the Vedic system, it could be in Sagittarius. Your rising sign and the other planets might also be in unfamiliar signs. However, this does not mean that Vedic astrology is inaccurate. It simply calculates a horoscope differently. The interpretations are most often more precise than in Western astrology.

Western astrology emphasizes the psychological nature of the individual, but lacks reliability for predicting future cycles and events. Although Vedic astrology also defines a person’s psychological nature, it gives more focus to understanding when certain events are likely to take place.

Vedic astrology gives a better view of:

  • A person’s karmic tendencies
  • When such tendencies are likely to manifest for that person.

The times of life events are shown through a detailed system of planetary time cycles, called “dashas.” There is no corresponding method in Western astrology. Western astrologers who make a study of it, often find themselves converting to Vedic astrology because of its greater scope, depth and accuracy for predicting the future.

Astronomical Differences between Western and Vedic Astrology

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 Aswini. 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.


Robert Koch


Phone: 541-318-0248

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