A lot of us go through our lives feeling deeply connected to our Sun Signs. Maybe you’ve always seen yourself as a fun-loving Sagitarius. Wouldn’t it be strange to find out you’re actually a Scorpio?
Well, according to Vedic astrology, your sun sign can be a completely different sign.
Vedic and Western Astrology use the same signs in English and Hindi. The dates are different dates because they use different orientation points.
So what gives? Are you really a carefree Sagittarius or an intense Scorpio? To understand the full answer, we gotta talk a bit about the sky.
A Tale of Two Zodiacs: Sidereal and Tropical
One of the most easily recognizable things between western and Vedic astrology: they both use the same signs. While the Vedic Zodiac has their own names for the signs, both use the same constellations and imagery.
This is no accident! They both come from the same tradition, and were exactly the same between 200-550 AD. Today, the constellations line up with different dates because the two traditions use different methods of measuring the Earth’s position relative to the stars. Western astrology moves due to a thing called “procession,” whereas Vedic Astrology does not.
These give us two different Zodiacs with the same signs. The Sidereal (Vedic) Zodiac, and the Tropical (western) Zodiac.
Vedic Astrology: The Sidereal Zodiac
Unlike western astrology, Vedic astrology has no procession. The signs do not change in dates over the years.
In Vedic astrology, the center of the galaxy, known as “Brahma” or “Vishnunabhi”, is seen as the center of all life and intelligence. Western astrology sees the sun as its center. Due to this difference, they measure positions differently.
Vedic astrology determines signs by keeping “Vishnunabhi'' as the orientation point. This is why the dates that the constellations fall into do not need to be adjusted, even over hundreds of years.
This is called the Sidereal Zodiac. It is also known as the Cosmic (as opposed to Solar) Zodiac.
Western Astrology: The Tropical Zodiac
Western astrology is called the Tropical Zodiac because it measures signs by where the sun is in the sky, not where the distant stars are. The Tropical Zodiac begins at the spring equinox. This is the day where the earth gets equal amounts of day and night. In the northern hemisphere, days get longer from then on until the summer solstice.
Unlike the center of the galaxy, the spring equinox is not a fixed point in the sky. It is gradually moving about 1 degree forward about every 72 years. This is called procession, and it’s the reason that Vedic and western astrology assign different signs to different birthdays.
Which is Better? Why Not Both?
Ok, so now that we’ve thrown a bunch of vocabulary words at you, you’re probably a bit confused. Let’s go back to that person we mentioned before, the fun-loving Sagitarius. Have they secretly been a Scorpio all along?
The answer is yes, and no. Both Vedic and western astrology have strengths and weaknesses. Western Astrology excels at more personal matters such as your personality and romantic compatibility (read more). Vedic astrology can tell you more about your karma, your place in the universe, and your spiritual path.
Knowing both can tell you a lot about how you see yourself vs. how the world sees you. To go back to our example, that Sagitarius might pursue fun with the same intensity that a Scorpio pursues a romantic interest. On the flip side, seeing where your Sidereal and Tropical birth charts line up can show you where you have ease in life.
What’s My Sign Again?
Let’s do a quick recap. Both Vedic and western astrology use the same signs, but they use different dates. This is because they measure the Earth’s position using different starting points. The Sideral (Vedic) Zodiac or oriented by the center of the galaxy. The Tropical (western) Zodiac is oriented around the spring equinox, which gradually moves over centuries.
We get that this stuff is confusing! To make things even more complicated, there are actually a few different branches of Vedic astrology, but that's a topic for a future post. This is why it’s best to go to a professional astrologer to get a consultation. Just like free tarot tools, free birth chart tools can only tell you so much.
When it comes to knowing your place in the universe, there’s a lot to understand. An astrologer can help explain it all.