If some of the terms I use, such as “nakshatra” or “dasha,” are new to you or if the celebrity horoscopes I analyze include different planetary positions than you’ve seen elsewhere, it’s probably because I’m using Vedic astrology, not western astrology. While there are many similarities between the two styles, there are also significant differences. I won’t attempt to explain all of those differences here, but I’ll cover a few of the big ones. If you’ve heard of “Jyotish,” which is a Sanskrit word that literally translates to “science of light,” Vedic astrology is an English-language term for the same thing.
Vedic astrology uses the sidereal zodiac, which is astronomically accurate. Western astrology uses the tropical zodiac, which coordinates with the equinoxes, but charts the planets almost a full sign over from their actual position in the sky. If you want to know which method is right, I’d say that when it comes to metaphysics, that’s not really how it works. Some western astrologers have great results using the tropical zodiac, but I’ve found the sidereal zodiac to work better for me. I also like that when I say “Mars is in Aries,” somebody can look through a telescope and actually see Mars in Aries. I’m sure western astrologers like that their system is consistent with the equinoxes.
I do include outer planets, which isn’t part of traditional Vedic astrology, and I’m interested in useful techniques from other systems, so don’t expect “letter of the law” Vedic astrology on Astro Thoughts, but I’ll try to follow its spirit.
Some other aspects of Vedic astrology include the use of nakshatras, which are a series of 27 constellations with four parts each that all have specific meanings. In essence, this results in another set of 108 signs layered on top of the 12 main ones. A system called “vimshottari dasha” connects different periods (known as “dashas”) in each person’s life to certain planets, and there are also other, less commonly used “dasha” systems. You might also see me discuss shadbala or ashtakavarga, which are ways of measuring planetary strength… and that’s really just scratching the surface.
Here are some other cool facts: Vedic astrology is so accepted in its homeland of India that the government convened an official panel to figure out and standardize a key astrological measurement known as the ayanamsa, people there can major in it in college and it’s been practiced in mostly uninterrupted fashion for thousands of years.