My granddaughter’s favorite subjects are generally in the fields of science; one of her favorite and most respected teachers was her biology teacher.  As one would expect, my granddaughter was exposed to the teachings of Vedic astrology and yoga throughout her childhood.  Her grasp of the dance of the planets and her willingness to pay attention to the nature of planetary placements have always impressed me.

One day she came into the house and with a sense of shock told me that her biology teacher does not believe astrology can be valid. The teacher claimed she knew for a fact that, according to western astrology, her sun on the day of her birth, was inaccurate because she knew from astronomy maps that her sun was in a different constellation than the sign mentioned in magazines and newspapers.  My granddaughter’s shock became greater when I told her that her teacher was right and that the more well- known system of astrology does not take into consideration that, like the planets, the constellations also move in the skies.  I then went on to explain to her that this is the reason why I’ve always told her that she is a Scorpio and not a Sagittarian.

Here in the west, the system of astrology is based on what is known as the “tropical zodiac” which calculates the constellations according to where the sign of Aries was two-thousand years ago in Greece.  Vedic astrology calculates the constellations according to the “sidereal zodiac” which is the same constellation placements used by astronomers and organizations like NASA.   In comparing the two horoscopes, the one calculated according to the sidereal zodiac would match the space maps configured by NASA.

There are many factors that go into an astrological consultation and the more well-known tropical placement zodiac can be insightful and useful. I, like many astrologers, started my astrological journey via the astrology of the west and the tropical zodiac.  While learning my craft I did come across the concept of the sidereal zodiac but, at the time, there was very little information about sidereal astrology available.  I tucked away the difference in my mind, and it was not until I was studying yoga that I came across the teachings of Vedic astrology and would once again be introduced to the sidereal zodiac.

At the time I discovered Vedic astrology, I was primarily interested in the fact that Vedic astrology came from the same teachings as the yoga I was studying with deep intensity.  I was especially drawn to the system of remedies for the planets which is such an integral part of Vedic astrology.  It was appealing to me that under this different system one was no longer required to wait for a certain planet to move in order to improve one’s self and life.   Vedic astrology has many techniques that can assist one in working with the karma and influences of the planets themselves. I was drawn to this proactive approach to the planetary maps and began my study of Vedic astrology or, as it is known in Sanskrit, “jyotish” which means “science of light.”

I began my formal training in this system and was required, of course, to have a copy of my own horoscope.  Just like my granddaughter, I had a moment of shock when I discovered that my sun-sign was not Taurus but, instead became Aries under this new system I was learning.  Throughout my life I had accepted the Taurus because I felt that my physical body matched the qualities of what had been attributed to someone who is considered a Taurus.  I would learn that my Moon sign had changed to the sign of Cancer and that my body type was very much like that described as normal for Cancers.  I would be lying if I told you that I was not a bit resistant to this new perspective but, upon contemplation, I would also be lying if I told you that I had not often wondered why I was so unhappy working in banks or why I was not more conservative in nature because, as a Taurus, I should have liked the banking world and made more “in the box” decisions.  Gradually, the Aries began to make sense.  Eventually I came across the term “sidereal zodiac,” and I remembered years ago how I had wished that there were more books available on the sidereal zodiac. 

The western system of astrology has given us a humanistic and psychological approach to the planetary placements, and that knowledge has not left me; in fact many Vedic astrologers use this approach to our interpretations of Vedic astrology maps.  I feel that this approach adds greatly to the Vedic system which can be more concerned with the nature of the future and timing of events.

However, I often look around at the inharmonious and chaotic world in which we live with a sense of frustration because knowledge of the planetary weather could be a big help in our daily lives.  Many arguments could be avoided if people knew that Mercury retrograde is not the best time to have important discussions or that when Mars is strongly and negatively placed, there is simply the possibility of more accidents or violence.  At the same time, I am aware that while the world is becoming accepting of energy healing, meditation, intuition and other subjects that were at one time considered silly nonsense, the acceptance and value of astrology lags behind. 

Many astrologers have an interest in history and current events, and I am one of those astrologers.  As I learn from the past and observe current events, I am always looking for the charts that correlate to the events and the people involved in those events.  Most of the time, I see certain tragic events that could have been avoided if only those involved knew about the placement of the planetary patterns.  Of course, I am not in charge of the world and certainly have little access to the general population or the policy and decision-makers, but I still can’t help but wonder how different some of the challenges could be if people had more knowledge and acceptance of the science of astrology. 

When my granddaughter went back to her biology teacher and explained that there are systems that use a different zodiac, her teacher told her that planets placed in the same position as astronomers place them would make a difference in her own attitude towards astrology.  I realize that many of my own clients do not recognize that I use a different zodiac and, even after years of working with me, will still refer to themselves as an Aries when I actually see them as a Pisces. This leaves me feeling that I have done a poor job of explaining the difference.  I also think that the difference does matter.  Vedic astrology is different and I am going to be writing on these differences in upcoming articles.