For as long as humans have been on the earth, they have turned their sights to the stars and wondered what they all mean. The night sky is littered with shimmering stars, distant planets, and all manner of mysterious cosmic matter. While we now know a lot more about our own solar system than humans did in ancient times, for the most part, space is still ineffable.
For the uninformed, astrology refers to the study of the movements and positions of planets and stars, along with the interpretation of their perceived effect on the human world. It's a belief that has been around for a long, long time - and it’s still popular in the modern world today. Even if you’re not interested in your monthly horoscope or the predictions they’re based on, you almost certainly know your star sign and a few of its general qualities.
What you might not know, however, is that Western astrology isn’t the only astrological system out there. In fact, Vedic astrology - also known as ‘Hindu astrology’ - is another ancient way of tracking astrological change and it’s purported impact on the world we live in. If you’d like to hear more about the history, basis, and practice of Vedic astrology, keep reading for full details and insights!
Where It All Began
To get to the beginning of Vedic astrology we need to turn the clock back to thousands of years ago. While its exact start date is unknown, some experts consider it to be over five thousand years old, and some even place the tradition’s inception as far back as 10,000 BC. No kidding, this really is an ancient technique. In Sanskrit, the ancient language of Hinduism, Vedic can be roughly translated to mean ‘light’ or ‘heavenly body’.
It is a tradition tightly bound up with many other spiritual practices of ancient Hinduism, it was used to help work out the best dates for rituals and even sacrifices. But as time went on, the Vedic system became more personal - people were tracking the planets not just for the purpose of spiritual ceremonies, but to work out their own, individual destinies.
These days, Vedic astrology is still practiced in India and many other parts of the world. Some people link it with other pursuits such as yoga and Ayurveda, and it can also be used to work out your gemstone based on their Vedic sign. Much like the concept of a birthstone, practitioners of the Vedic tradition believe that wearing the gemstone associated with your ruling planet and moon sign can be both protective and draw good fortune.
The Twelve Vedic Signs
One of the key similarities between Western astrology and Vedic astrology is that there are still twelve signs in the Vedic zodiac. The signs have different names, though many of them do share the same qualities as their counterpart sign - what is different, however, is the dates used, so if you’re familiar with your star sign in the Western tradition, be prepared to have it shaken up. See all the Western signs and their corresponding Vedic signs below:
- Aries: Mesha (April 13–May 14)
- Taurus: Vrishaba (May 15–June 14)
- Gemini: Mithuna (June 15–July 14)
- Cancer: Karkata (July 15–August 14)
- Leo: Simha (August 15–September 15)
- Virgo: Kanya (September 16–October 15)
- Libra: Tula (October 16–November 14)
- Scorpio: Vrishchika (November 15–December 14)
- Sagittarius: Dhanus (December 15–January 13)
- Capricorn: Makara (January 14–February 11)
- Aquarius: Kumbha (February 12–March 12)
- Pisces: Meena (March 13–April 12)
What’s The Difference Between Vedic & Western Astrology?
So, how exactly are these two astrological traditions different? Well, the primary distinction is that while Western astrology uses the ‘tropical calendar’ in line with the four seasons, Vedic astrology uses the ‘sidereal system’ that works by looking at the changing constellations.
Another difference relates to the fact that Vedic astrology ties-in with the Hindu idea of Karma, while Western astrology tends to focus on deterministic ideas that suggest planetary movement can impact people with the same star sign in broadly the same ways. Instead, Vedic astrology sees more room for interpretation and difference dependent on your personal life and actions.
There are also a few more technical differences, such as the belief in Vedic astrology that your rising sign is more important than your sun sign, and a variant understanding of what a retrograde planet means. In Vedic astrology, each planet has a unique aspect - or aspects - and related strengths that change depending on the relationship between the two. Ultimately though, there are also many similarities - and both Vedic and Western astrology prove one thing for certain: that humans have always been fascinated by the entrancing night sky and its possible deeper meanings.
Don’t forget to check out our wide collection of gorgeous gemstone jewelry, whether you want it to align with your Vedic sign or just because it’s pretty, we have the jewelry for you.