Astrology, focuses on a person’s astrological or zodiac sign, to a large extent. There are 12 Zodiac Signs, which are believed to be star-constellations in the sky. Each sign has different mythological stories connected to it, and each one represents a prime energy of consciousness.
Inseparable from that stability and timeless endurance is the sidereal zodiac, the mapping system used in Vedic astrology, which integrates 12 solar portions with 27 lunar portions, as they (according to Parashara) “occupy the same space”.
A Quick History Lessonon Zodiacs
The earliest record of the 12, 30° signs is from the Babylonian Empire, from about the fifth century BC, written on their cuneiform tablets. The original zodiac was sidereal, connecting precise ecliptic coordinates to 30° portions. Later, these sidereal 30° portions found their way to Greece, then later to Egypt where around the first century CE. At that time, all zodiacs were sidereal and the tropical zodiac did not exist until Claudius Ptolemy proposed to pin them to seasons, by declaring the 1st° of Aries to be the vernal equinox.
As we now know, the distance between the original, precise sidereal zodiac from Babylon and used by the Indians to this day, and the extrapolated tropical zodiac from the Greeks, that pinned the vernal equinox to the first degree of Aries, has now drifted by about 24°. It will continue to drift about 1° every 70 years for eternity.
Indian Astrology Is Sidereal
By contrast the sidereal zodiac is the same as it was thousands of years ago, when Magha was at 0° Leo, showing the “king on the throne” in the sign of Leo, rather than having drifted into Virgo. The Nakshatra of Pushya (the breasts) is still squarely in Cancer, the sign of motherhood, rather than having drifted into Leo, etc.
In every Vedic astrology text proper, sidereal signs and Nakshatra’s are integrated. Varahamihira states Ashwini (Nakshtra), Aries (Rasi) and the Nakshatra padas are aligned, for example. No one disputes this, (even those novel Vedic astrologers / students using the “tropical zodiac”) nor does anyone dispute the fact that in spite of being influenced by the tropical zodiac, Indian astrology developed and was conceived of sidereally. Although there are a few who think (strangely enough) that the Indians made a mistake using the Sidereal Zodiac.
When we look into some texts (after the Greeks pinned the seasons to the zodiac), references to what would become “the tropical zodiac” show up in “astronomy texts” and some of India’s secular/non-astrological writings. In these instances we see the equinoxes and solstices joined to “astrology signs”, rather than measured sidereally, as we would expect. This has confused some, for good reason.
In these texts the Sun is described in relationship to the seasons and other purely “earthbound” activities, the length of the year, etc. But there are no astrological methods or techniques in those books. They are not astrology books. So, we should not make hard conclusions about how to “practice astrology” based on these writings, except to take notice that the influence of the Greeks made its way to India at this time.
Thus, in spite of these references in astronomical and secular texts, the wise Indian astrologers never conflated the seasonal / tropical zodiac of the Greeks with the primordial, original sidereal zodiac. As was said, that original zodiac of 12, 30° portions was first seen formally in Babylon, then was exported to Greece, then migrated to Egypt, then joined with the seasons – eventually making it to India, where it was rejected for erecting horoscopes.
Why Did the Indians Resist?
So, why did the Indians resist using “what we now call” the tropical zodiac? Well, we may never know exactly, but it seems pretty simple. The Indians never used the tropical zodiac. (as it did not exist at that point and why would it?) They already had an extremely precise, sidereal mapping system that had been in place for thousands of years by that time.
In the ancient (Rig and Yajur) Vedanga Jyotisha, we see the ancient Indians were master astronomers, having calculated the year very precisely, and even measuring out 30° portions of the year (Sidereally). They also measured “five-year cycles”, which were likely meant to compensate for the extra days, like a leap year. Like all ancient cultures of that time, the first “zodiac” is more of a calendar, not used erecting horoscopes or for practicing astrology. That would come later, as the zodiac signs and Nakshatra indicators would eventually be formalized into a chart reading system. Of course, this system would revolve around the sidereal portions of sky they were already using.
Every calculation in the Vedanga Jyotisha was sidereal. Solstices were measured with Nakshatra’s, which are sidereal. The length of their five-year cycle was measured in Nakshatra’s, 135 Nakshatra’s to be precise. Seasons were measured to be 4.5 Nakshatra’s. There’s no evidence whatsoever that the Indians used what would be considered a “tropical zodiac”. Every historian and researcher for thousands of years has come to these same conclusions. There is no mystery here.
Tropical Zodiac a Mistake?
The tropical zodiac did not exist at that time, and to many throughout history, the tropical zodiac itself is considered to be an irrational juxtaposition of things that should not go together. Here’s why.
The zodiac was (and still is) a system of precise coordinates that are meant to map celestial movements of planets as they (apparently) circle the earth. Exact degrees matter with the zodiac. But how is it being calculated? Is it being calculated by precise, ecliptic coordinates, that are virtually unmoving over time (Sidereally)? Or is it being calculated by taking our place on earth (which is moving slightly over time) and projecting THAT into space to find precise coordinates for a circling heavenly body (Tropical)?
By the way, I do not think the tropical zodiac was a mistake for erecting astrology charts. But many in the Western astrology tradition, like Cyril Fagan and the tradition of sidereal Western astrology assert this. Many who examine the tropical zodiac see it is a conflation of two things that have nothing to do with each other. The earth going around the sun and the equinoxes/solstices inherently have nothing to do with the band of celestial coordinates that we use to measure planets moving through the sky. The tropical zodiac connects these two things.
This is why the Egyptologist and Western astrologer Cyril Fagan, in the 1940s, completely rejected tropical Western astrology, after he realized the nature of the tropical zodiac. Fagan thought it was not a legitimate way to erect horoscopes. This tradition continues today, with many sidereal Western astrologers who have returned to the original zodiac. This original zodiac also connects to the sky as it was when the original Western astrology texts were written!
Union of the Sun and Moon in One Connected Zodiac
Indeed, this rigorous sidereal zodiac system of Rasi and Nakshatra, that underpins Vedic astrology, is the envy of astrological systems the world over. The Indians always used the exact, sidereal coordinates from the Vedanga Jyotisha with Nakshatra’s, then later (and currently) interlaced them with the sidereal zodiac sign portions.
With remarkable precision (and probably a sharing of sciences and culture), the 12, 30° divisions of the original, Babylonian, sidereal zodiac overlaid almost perfectly with the 27 sidereal, Indian portions. Thus, after the Greeks converted the sidereal zodiac to the moving, tropical zodiac by pinning the 1st° of Aries to the vernal equinox, the Indians resisted.
This is not an opinion. This is the story. And again, what was the result? The result is the most stable, scientific astrological system the world has ever seen. In fact, it is so stable and solid that even the discovery of new planets and other emergent celestial bodies are not necessary to improve it. Indeed, the Indians obviously knew exactly what they were doing. They were following the accuracy of already established traditions.
This is not surprising, as the Indians developed many spiritual sciences that work hand-in-hand with each other. Vedic astrology, and especially its connection to the Cosmology of the sky and usage of the sidereal zodiac, are even further proof of their timeless genius. They were wise enough to resist the conflation of the Greeks, who connected the seasons with the sidereal portions of sky. In resisting this, the Indians preserved the Sun and Moon portions as one integrated system.
Is Tropical Zodiac Wrong For Practicing Astrology?
The tropical zodiac was conceived at the same time that both the Vedic and Western astrology systems were being developed. Thus, both systems can work for erecting horoscopes. Especially for Western astrologers and that tradition, tropical zodiac works very well. You can see it in their methods, which have changed and developed with the discovery of new planets, asteroids, fluid sign rulership, etc.
But even if you are a Vedic astrologer who resonates more with the Tropical Zodiac, and you use it in your practice, I personally will champion your choice and right to do so. This is because each “zodiac” is the organizing principle around which all “methods” work. So, if Vedic astrologers use the tropical zodiac or Western astrologers use the sidereal zodiac or astrologers use the zodiac of their tradition, I am for it all.
Our heart and nervous system must first connect with a zodiac, either sidereal or tropical before any astrology practice can take hold. This is why people get so passionate about their zodiac. After our heart connects to one zodiac we gravitate to practices and methodologies (usually with in the tradition of the system itself) in order to go deeper and interpret astrology charts correctly.
I think all of that is beautiful and I would never attack a person’s system. As I said, both systems developed at the same time that the tropical zodiac was conceived and led to western astrology and the Vedic astrology practice was galvanized around the sidereal zodiac and precise methods that have led to centuries of precise, scientific astrology.
This page brings you face to face with the heavens as they are today, now, this moment! And also as they will be and how they were.
The nakshatra shown on our charts were incorrect for most of 2019 due to an error that occurred in a software update. Many apologies for the slow identification and fix.
There are two versions of this site that yo can access with the desktop or mobile button - located above and to the right. The desktop version has more features and the mobile version is simpler. You can use whichever version you like but we recommend the mobile version for smaller screens and less power.
Most of the controls are reasonably obvious - especially if you play with them. The top slider allows you to control how time moves so you can speed forwards and backwards in time. Pressing the yellow button by the slider puts it into real time so the planets move as quickly on the screen as they are in space. So it's not to difficult to rewind time to the time of your birth to see the planets as they were. If you need to get the display back to show the planets as they are today and now, then press the yellow button next to the date time display at the top. For full information on all the app controls, click here.
The view above shows all the planets arranged around the Earth as if they were in located on a sphere with the earth in the centre - a geocentric view. This ensures all planets are shown in the correct zodiac sign.
Planets glow as they go into retrograde. You may find that planets were on the cusp of retrograde at the time of your birth, in which case you may need to consult accurate charts to see exactly when retrograde phase started. Or indeed if the planet was in a stopped phase either side of retrograde.
The Hindu Zodiac is the same as the Western Zodiac, but it is aligned to the stars at 285 AD and does not move with the precession of the Earth’s axis.
One of the main differences between Hindu (also known as Indian or Vedic Astrology) and Western Astrology is the emphasis placed on the moon. In Hindu Astrology a persons moon sign is much more important than their Star (really Sun) sign.
Another difference is that a sidereal zodiac is used rather than a tropical zodiac. This means that the Hindu Zodiac is fixed to the constellations whereas the western zodiac moves as the poles of the earth precess. Both zodiacs were identical at around 285 AD but the western version has moved by over 22 degrees since then.
The Hindu Zodiac also subdivided into the mansions of the moon. Depending upon the version of astrology there are usually 27 (but sometimes 28) equally spaced mansions or Nakshatra's. These correspond to approximately 1 days worth of moon motion.
As a word of warning for using our app for astrology, the position of the moon shown is not guaranteed to be accurate enough to be used for astrology. This is because the moon is small, fast (in angular motion terms) and subject to many perturbations. In order to keep the site as efficient as possible we use a number of approximations which mean that the position of fast wobbly objects like the moon are likely to be a few hours out from time to time. Errors of this kind could make any astrology, especially if based on the position of the fast moving moon, inaccurate.
The following is a description of Hindu astrology as edited down from Wikipedia pages. We take no responsibility for any inaccuracies on this page. It is rather heavy going which is why we have been careful to change as little as possible and leave in many wikipedia links in order to allow full research of the terms used.
Jyotisha is the traditional Hindu system of astrology, also known as Hindu astrology, Indian astrology, and more recently Vedic astrology. The term Hindu astrology has been in use as the English equivalent of Jyotiṣa since the early 19th century, whereas Vedic astrology is a relatively recent term, entering common usage in the 1980s. Vedanga Jyotisha is one of the earliest texts about astronomy within the Vedas. However, historical documentation shows that horoscopic astrology in the Indian subcontinent came from Hellenistic influences, post-dating the Vedic period.
Jyotiṣa is one of the Vedāṅga, the six auxiliary disciplines used to support Vedic rituals. Early jyotiṣa is concerned with the preparation of a calendar to fix the date of sacrificial rituals and nothing is written about the planets. There are mentions of eclipse causing 'demons' in the Atharvaveda and Chāndogya Upaniṣad, the Chāndogya mentioning Rāhu. In fact the term graha, which is now taken to mean planet, originally meant demon. The Ṛigveda also mentions an eclipse causing demon, Svarbhānu, however the specific term of 'graha' becomes applied to Svarbhānu in the later Mahābhārata and Rāmāyaṇa.
The foundation of Hindu astrology is the notion of bandhu of the Vedas, (scriptures), which is the connection between the microcosm and the macrocosm. Practice relies primarily on the sidereal zodiac, which is different from the tropical zodiac used in Western (Hellenistic) astrology in that an ayanāṁśa adjustment is made for the gradual precession of the vernal equinox. Hindu astrology includes several nuanced sub-systems of interpretation and prediction with elements not found in Hellenistic astrology, such as its system of lunar mansions (Nakṣatra). It was only after the transmission of Hellenistic astrology that the order of planets in India was fixed in that of the seven-day week. Hellenistic astrology and astronomy also transmitted the twelve zodiacal signs beginning with Aries and the twelve astrological places beginning with the ascendant. The first evidence of the introduction of Greek astrology to India is the Yavanajātaka which dates to the early centuries CE. The Yavanajātaka ('Sayings of the Greeks') was translated from Greek to Sanskrit by Yavaneśvara during the 2nd century CE, under the patronage of the Western SatrapSaka king Rudradaman I, and is considered the first Indian astrological treatise in the Sanskrit language. However the only version that survives is the later verse version of Sphujidhvaja which dates to AD 270. The first Indian astronomical text to define the weekday was the Āryabhaṭīya of Āryabhaṭa (born AD 476).
According to Michio Yano, Indian astronomers must have been occupied with the task of Indianizing and Sanskritizing Greek astronomy during the 300 or so years between the first Yavanajataka and the Āryabhaṭīya. The astronomical texts of these 300 years are lost. The later Pañcasiddhāntikā of Varāhamihira summarizes the five known Indian astronomical schools of the sixth century. It is interesting to note that Indian astronomy preserved some of the older pre-Ptolemaic elements of Greek astronomy.
The main texts upon which classical Indian astrology is based are early medieval compilations, notably the Bṛhat Parāśara Horāśāstra, and Sārāvalī by Kalyāṇavarma. The Horāshastra is a composite work of 71 chapters, of which the first part (chapters 1–51) dates to the 7th to early 8th centuries and the second part (chapters 52–71) to the later 8th century. The Sārāvalī likewise dates to around 800 CE. English translations of these texts were published by N.N. Krishna Rau and V.B. Choudhari in 1963 and 1961, respectively.
Astrology remains an important facet in the lives of many Hindus. In Hindu culture, newborns are traditionally named based on their jyotiṣa charts, and astrological concepts are pervasive in the organization of the calendar and holidays as well as in many areas of life, such as in making decisions made about marriage, opening a new business, and moving into a new home.
Astrology remains an important facet of Hindu folk belief in contemporary India. Many Hindus believe that heavenly bodies, including the planets, have an influence throughout the life of a human being, and these planetary influences are the 'fruit of karma.' The Navagraha, planetary deities, are considered subordinate to Ishvara, i.e., the Supreme Being, in the administration of justice. Thus, these planets can influence earthly life.
The University Grants Commission and the Ministry of Human Resource Development of the Government decided to introduce 'Jyotir Vigyan' (i.e. jyotir vijñāna) or 'Vedic astrology' as a discipline of study in Indian universities, saying that 'vedic astrology is not only one of the main subjects of our traditional and classical knowledge but this is the discipline, which lets us know the events happening in human life and in universe on time scale. Despite continuing complaints by scientists, astrology is still, as of 2014, taught at various universities in India,and there is a movement in progress to establish a national Vedic University to teach astrology together with the study of tantra, mantra, and yoga.
There are sixteen Varga (Sanskrit: varga, 'part, division'), or divisional, charts used in Hindu astrology:
Rāśi – zodiacal signs
Around 2500 BC many extant texts were written by sages such Agastya and Bhrigu. Each sign was divided in three more strata called 'charna' similar to decanates of Western astrology.
The Nirayana, or sidereal zodiac, is an imaginary belt of 360 degrees, which, like the Sāyana, or tropical zodiac, is divided into 12 equal parts. Each twelfth part (of 30 degrees) is called a sign or rāśi (Sanskrit: 'part'). Vedic (Jyotiṣa) and Western zodiacs differ in the method of measurement. While synchronically, the two systems are identical, Jyotiṣa uses primarily the sidereal zodiac (in which stars are considered to be the fixed background against which the motion of the planets is measured), whereas most Western astrology uses the tropical zodiac (the motion of the planets is measured against the position of the Sun on the Spring equinox). This difference becomes noticeable over time. After two millennia, as a result of the precession of the equinoxes, the origin of the ecliptic longitude has shifted by about 22 degrees. As a result, the placement of planets in the Jyotiṣa system is consistent with the actual zodiac, while in western astrology the planets fall into the following sign, as compared to their placement in the sidereal zodiac, about two thirds of the time.
|Number||Sanskrit||Transliteration||Representation||English||Element||Quality||Ruling Astrological Body|
|6||कन्या||Kanyā||virgin girl||Virgo||Earth||Dvisvabhava (Dual)||Mercury|
|9||धनुष||Dhanuṣa||centaur with bow-arrow||Sagittarius||Fire||Dvisvabhava (Dual)||Jupiter|
|10||मकर||Makara||mountain goat||Capricorn||Earth||Chara (Movable)||Saturn|
A Nakṣatra or lunar mansion is one of the 27 divisions of the sky, identified by the prominent star(s) in them, used in Hindu astrology.
Historical (medieval) Hindu astrology enumerated either 27 or 28 nakṣatras. Today, a rigid system of 27 nakṣatras covering 13°20’ of the ecliptic each is generally used. The missing 28th nakshatra is Abhijeeta. Each nakṣatra is divided into quarters or padas of 3°20. Of the greatest importance is the Abhiśeka Nakṣatra which is the King amongst all the Nakṣatras and worshipping and propitiating this Nakṣatra has the power to remedy all the other Nakṣatras. Remedial measures are in general the high-water mark of all realistic predictive astrology work and go a long way in mitigating Karma.
an old name of the Pleiades; personified as the nurses of Kārttikeya, a son of Shiva.
'the red one', a name of Aldebaran. Also known as brāhmī
'the deer's head'. Also known as āgrahāyaṇī
'the moist one'
'the two restorers of goods', also known as yamakau 'the two chariots'
'the nourisher', also known as sidhya or tiṣya
'first reddish one'
'second reddish one'
'the bright one', a name of Spica
'Su-Ati (sanskrit) Very good' name of Arcturus
'forked, having branches'; also known as rādhā 'the gift'
'the eldest, most excellent'
'first of the aṣāḍhā', aṣāḍhā 'the invincible one' being the name of a constellation
'second of the aṣāḍhā'
Not included in 27 nakṣatra system.
|Astrological Mate: Brahma|
'most famous', also Shravishthā 'swiftest'
'Comprising a hundred physicians'
'the first of the blessed feet'
'the second of the blessed feet'
The word Dasha (Devanāgarī: दशा, Sanskrit,daśā, 'planetary period') means 'state of being' and therefore the Daśā governs to a large extent the state of being of a person. The Daśā system shows which planets may be said to have become particularly active during the period of the Daśā. The ruling planet (the Daśānātha or 'lord of the Daśā') eclipses the mind of the native, compelling him or her to act as per the nature of the planet.
There are several dasha systems, each with its own utility and area of application. There are Daśās of Grahas (planets) as well as Daśās of the Rāśis (signs). The primary system used by astrologers is the Viṁśottarī Daśā system, which has been considered universally applicable in the Kaliyuga to all horoscopes.
The first Mahā-Daśā is determined by the position of the natal Moon in a given Nakṣatra. The lord of the Nakṣatra governs the Daśā. Each Mahā-Dāśā is divided into sub-periods called bhuktis, or antar-daśās, which are proportional divisions of the maha-dasa. Further proportional sub-divisions can be made (but error margin based on accuracy of the birth-time grows exponentially). The next sub-division is called pratyantar-daśā, which can in turn be divided into sookshma-antardasa, which can in turn be divided into praana-antardaśā, which can be sub-divided into deha-antardaśā. Such sub-divisions also exist in all other Daśā systems, some of which have been named above.
Nine grahas (Navagrahas) are used. from Graha (Devanāgarī: ग्रह, Sanskrit: graha, 'seizing, laying hold of, holding')
The Nine Planets of Vedic Astrology or Jyotiṣa are the forces that capture or eclipse the mind and the decision making of the human being-thus the term 'Graha'. When the Grahas are active in their Daśās or periodicities they are particularly empowered to direct the affairs of the person or the inanimate being as the case may be. Even otherwise, Grahas are always busy capturing us in some way or other, for better or for worse.
The natal chart shows the position of the grahas at the moment of birth. Since that moment, the grahas have continued to move around the zodiac, interacting with the natal chart grahas. This period of interaction is called Gochara (Sanskrit: gochara, 'transit').
The study of transits is based not only on the transit of the Moon/ Candra, which spans roughly two days, but also the movement of the slightly faster planets such as Mercury/Budha and Venus/ Śukra. The movement of the slower planets Guru, Śani and Rāhu-Ketu is always of considerable importance. Astrologers must study the transit of the Daśā lord and must also study transits from various reference points in the horoscope.
Yoga (Sanskrit: yoga, 'union') is a combination of planets placed in a specific relationship to each other.
It is usually advisable to study the underlying theme behind the Yogas rather than attempt to memorize them. Rāja Yogas are givers of fame, status and authority and are formed typically by the association of the Lord of Keṅdras/ quadrants, when reckoned from the Lagna/ ascendant, and the Lords of the Tṛkoṇa/ trines. The Rāja Yogas are culminations of the blessings of Viṣṇu and Lakṣmī. Some planets, such as Mars for Leo Lagna, do not need another Graha to create Rājayoga, but are capable of giving Rājayoga suo-moto due to their own lordship of the 4th Bhāva and the 9th Bhāva from the Lagna, the two being a Keṅdra and Tṛkoṇa Bhāva respectively.
What is my astrological sign chart. Dhana Yogas are formed by the association of wealth-giving planets such as the Dhaneśa or the 2nd Lord and the Lābheśa or the 11th Lord from the Lagna. Dhana Yogas are also formed due to the auspicious placement of the Dārāpada/ A7, when reckoned from the Ārūḍha Lagna (AL). The combination of the Lagneśa and the Bhāgyeśa also leads to wealth through the Lakṣmī Yoga.
Sanyāsa Yogas are formed due to the placement of four or more Grahas, excluding the Sun, in a Keṅdra Bhāva from the Lagna.
There are some overarching Yogas in Jyotiṣa such as Amāvasyā Doṣa, Kāla Sarpa Yoga-Kāla Amṛta Yoga and Graha Mālika Yoga that can take precedence oveYamaha yogar planetary placements in the horoscope.
The Hindu Jātaka, or Birth Chart, is the Bhāva (Sanskrit: 'division') Cakra (Sanskrit: 'wheel'), the complete 360° circle of life, divided into houses, and represents our way of enacting the influences in the wheel. Each house has associated kāraka (Sanskrit: 'significator') planets that can alter the interpretation of a particular house. Each Bhāva spans an arc of 30 degrees and therefore there are twelve Bhāvas in any chart of the horoscope. These are a crucial part of any horoscopic study since the Bhāvas, understood as 'state of being' personalize the Rāśis/ Rashis to the native and each Rāśi/ Rashi apart from indicating its true nature reveals its impact on the person based on the Bhāva occupied. The best way to study the various facets of Jyotiṣa is to see their role in chart evaluation of actual persons and how these are construed.
Drishti (Sanskrit: Dṛṣṭi, 'sight') is an aspect to an entire house. Grahas cast only forward aspects, with the furthest aspect being considered the strongest. For example, Mars aspects the 4th, 7th, and 8th houses from its position, and its 8th house aspect is considered more powerful than its 7th aspect, which is in turn more powerful than its 4th aspect.
The principle of Dristi (aspect) was devised on the basis of the aspect of an army of planets as deity and demon in a war field. Thus the Sun, a Deity King with only one full aspect, is more powerful than the Demon King Saturn, which has three full aspects.
Aspects can be cast both by the planets (Graha Dṛṣṭi) and by the signs (Rāśi Dṛṣṭi). Planetary aspects are a function of desire, while sign aspects are a function of awareness and cognizance.
There are some higher aspects of Graha Dṛṣṭi (planetary aspects) that are not limited to the Viśeṣa Dṛṣṭi or the special aspects. Rāśi Dṛṣṭi works based on the following formulaic structure: all movable signs aspect fixed signs except the one adjacent, and all dual and mutable signs aspect each other without exception.
It is clear that the subject of Hindu astrology requires not only an understanding of the motion of the planets and moon, but also a deep understanding of the Hindu religion and its history. We hope that this page gives an insight into the workings of this astrological system as an alternative to the western system.