The Practical Beauty of Vedic Astrology

Vedic Astrology is a science that dates back many thousands of years. It explores the planets and stars and their effect on human life here on earth. Traditionally, known as Jyotish, a branch of the Vedas, Vedic or Sidereal Astrology assists us in understanding and acquiring mastery of what the Vedic scriptures described as the “four main goals of human life”: Dharma (life’s duty), Artha (acquiring wealth), Kama (worldly enjoyment), and Moksha (spirituality).

According to the Vedic scriptures, the planets and the stars have influence on the environmental, physical, mental, and spiritual status of all beings here on planet earth. Vedic Astrology is the study of how those energies specifically impact Human Beings.

Oftentimes if a technology is old, people mistakenly assume it lacks sophistication and relevance. In the case of Vedic Astrology, that couldn’t be further from the truth. It may seem like a far-fetched, pseudo-scientific concept to endeavor to learn about an individual by studying the alignment of the stars and planets as it pertains to their birth details. But in truth, much information is revealed through it. Don’t lose sight of the fact that world wide, humanity has come to understand and accept the reality that without the Sun there would be no life possible on planet Earth. Also, globally accepted is the Sun's relationship with the Moon and the Moon itself, which sets the balance of the tides and other cycles here on Earth. So why then would it be so far-fetched to consider that Mars, Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn, for example, wouldn't also have a significant impact on our experience in the living world here on Earth?

Ayurveda, a sister science to Vedic Astrology, is the traditional Indian system of medicine. The foundations of Ayurveda rely in large part on the balancing of constitutional elements of nature and bodily humors within the physical body to maintain good health. In the science of Vedic Astrology, the karmic constitution of a person is understood and evaluated through the placement and influence of the planets and the stars based on the specificities of date, location, and time of a person’s birth here on Earth.

Planets, conjunctions, & houses, oh my!

The placement and integrity, otherwise known as “strength”, of the planets in a person’s natal chart give a unique quality to the manner of effect and impact the planet has on the individual. This quality is further specified by conjunctions, aspects, signs, nakshatras ("stars") and house placement.

In a broad sense the planets represent large symbolic themes in one’s life. The Sun aligns with the soul and health; Moon relates to mind and emotion; Mars relates to ambition, anger, leadership; Mercury relates to communication, intelligence, and speech; Venus relates to creativity, love, and sexuality; Jupiter relates to knowledge, wisdom, and dharma; Saturn relates to aging, separation, and challenges. Vedic Astrology also makes use of the North and South Nodes of the Moon, identified as Rahu and Ketu. These are called “shadow planets” as they are not physical in nature. Rahu represents ego, illusion, “things foreign”, and trauma; Ketu represents spirituality, renunciation, and liberation, all of which carry a shadowy, non-material, or distant nature.

When planets are placed together in a sign they create a merging of energies, which in astrology is called a conjunction. If Mercury were conjunct with the planet Venus, for example, a person might have love or sex on their mind alot, or be very attracted to smart, intelligent people. That conjunction could also signify a person who loves writing poetry. If that conjunction of Mercury and Venus had an aspect (impression) of Rahu, that aspect could add further dimension to this conjunction by adding an illusory quality to a person’s love life, or perhaps create an attraction to a smart foreigner, or even create a love for trashy, romance novels. The zodiacal sign, nakshatra, and house placement of those planets adds further dimension to understanding the specificities of the unique characteristics of that person.

Rooted in science

One of the most distinctive differences between the science of Vedic Astrology and Western Astrology relates to the path of the Sun.

The practice of Western Astrology maintains a generalized view that every year, on the first day of Spring, March 21st, the Sun transitions into 1 degree of Aries. Accordingly, in the Western view, every other sign that follows Aries falls into a similar generalized movement of the Sun as it relates to date and degree, year after year. It is from this generalized perspective where calculations of Western/Tropical astrology are generated.

In the science of Vedic Astrology no such generalization of the Sun’s movement is applied. Vedic/Sidereal Astrology applies the practical science of what we now call Astronomy, but was a sacred Vedic science known to the ancient Rishis as Ganita. According to Ganita and Astronomy, the last time the Sun entered 1 degree of Aries on March 21st was about 1,500 years ago. From that point on, the Earth has been moving on its axis 1 degree every 72 years creating a differentiation related to the exact time and day that the Sun enters the sign of Aries. This process is called the Precession of the Equinoxes. According to Vedic Astrology and Astronomy, the next time the Sun will enter Aries on March 21st will be approximately 20,000 years from now. Until then, the Sun currently enters 1 degree of Aries on April 13th, not on the first day of Spring, March 21st.

This differentiation between Western & Vedic Astrology is why people will sometimes have conflicting chart alignments as it pertains to the placement of their Sun and the Rising sign. Vedic Astrology incorporates the unique degree specifications of the Sun’s movement, whereas Western/Tropical Astrology generalizes that movement. As such, Vedic Astrology is considered by many to be more accurate in its calculations than Western/Tropical Astrology.

Vedic astrology as a life tool

Scheduling a natal chart reading with Vedic Astrologer (Jyotishi) can serve to help one gain a deeper understanding of the self, the assigned karma for this lifetime, and how best to work with it in a way that facilitates evolution and success in one’s spiritual and material life. The science opens up an understanding related to the macrocosmic source of blessings and challenges they experience in life. Understanding this information can help a person take direct action toward gaining deeper awareness in supporting blessings, and working with and resolving life challenges.

A Jyotishi can offer Vedic "remedies" to assist in the softening or lifting of challenging karmas by way of specified mantras, the use of gems, suggesting a manner of service, or Vedic ritual ceremony called a puja. As a Vedic Astrologer I have suggested remedies to clients, and have made use of remedies myself, and I can say definitively, they work! Participating in this process gives a deeper understanding of the miraculous nature through which we are aligned with the natural universal energies and how the vibrational world responds to our intentions to merge and cooperate with it.

Vedic Astrology is still considered a very reliable and useful tool in navigating the details of one’s life in traditional Indian culture. Many consult a Vedic Astrologer after the birth of a child in order to gain an understanding of the assigned karmas of the child and implement any necessary pujas in order to facilitate optimal possibilities for that child during their lifetime. People seek clarity from a Vedic Astrologer for facilitating optimal unions, marriages, and partnerships. They are also consulted to calculate and suggest auspicious timing for special events and timing for making important decisions and large purchases.

In this context, Vedic Astrology (as interpreted by a well trained Jyotishi) can be a useful tool to facilitate optimal possibilities as it pertains to the four main goals of life: dharma, kama, artha, and moksha. It can be useful not only for birth chart analysis, but also as a tool for refinement in the understanding, planning, and decision making process for the entirety of one’s lifetime.

If you’d like more introductory education on this topic I recommend the following books: Science of Light by Freedom Cole; Light on Life by DeFow & Svoboda; Path of Light, Vol.1 by James Kelleher. For Vedic texts on Vedic Astrology: Brihat Parasara Hora Shastra Vols 1&2.

Kara Looney
About the Author

Kara Looney

Kara Looney is an enthusiastic and curious teacher, always endeavoring to unveil the interplay between the practical science of the material world and the expansive infinity of divine consciousness. A yoga teacher and former martial arts instructor and long distance runner, Kara guides students and clients to strengthening the nervous system, cultivating a clear sense of present awareness, and developing spiritual sovereignty. You can practice with Kara in her show Sacred Kundalini and in Season 3 of Kundalini Rising, on Yoga Anytime.


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