Wobbly Earth - Zodiac in Vedic Astrology & Western Astrology

Several people have asked me about a recent story that has been all over the news the last couple of days debunking astrology and stating that your horoscope is wrong. This is because astronomers are saying that due to the Earth’s wobble (also called precession) the planetary degrees have shifted in the sky over time and the astrological signs today used by western astrologers are nearly a month or about 24 degrees off. The scientific community is criticizing astrologers for casting the horoscope based on the position of the planets more than 2,000 years ago and not the correct position of today. What they fail to mention is that this is not news to Vedic Astrologers who have always used the astronomically correct zodiac.

While the Europeans were still debating whether the earth was flat or not, the Vedic sages had already figured out the effects of the earth’s wobble on the calculations of the zodiac. It is quite amazing how advanced the Vedic civilization was in mathematics, science and astronomy that even without the aid of modern technologies they had calculated that the orientation of the equinoxes to the fixed stars precedes or moves backward through the zodiac at the rate of about 50.3 seconds per year or about 1 degree every 70 years (and it adds to about 24 degree over 2000 years).

Western astrologers are not surprised by this recent news and they are well aware that they are not using scientifically accurate calculations. The zodiac used by most western astrologers is called the tropical zodiac. The signs of the western tropical zodiac are based upon the equinoxes and solstices’ and, therefore remain identical with the seasonal points and do not correct for the precession the scientists are talking about. The zodiac that corresponds to the actual position of the constellations and planets is called the sidereal zodiac, used by Vedic Astrologers.

I have only studied Vedic/Sidereal Astrology and I would be amiss to judge a system that I have not worked with, so I remain neutral on the merits of the western/tropical Zodiac. That’s fair I think, especially since I just heard a famous western astrologer on a CNN interview say that the sidereal zodiac does not work. She did not mention that Vedic Astrology has been using it for thousands of years.

In the popular culture most people in the east and west when they think of their astrological sign are talking about their western/tropical Sun sign – ie. which constellation the Sun was in at the time of their birth. The Sun sign will shift back roughly 24 degrees in the Vedic/Sidereal zodiac – so if your Sun sign is Leo in Western Astrology you will probably end up with a Cancer Sun sign in Vedic Astrology.

While, Western Astrology emphasizes the Sun sign Vedic Astrology is more inclined towards the Moon sign. The Sun is seen as the “soul” nature of the person but the moon is the conditioned consciousness and the soul’s interactions with the earth plane and is therefore given more prominence in Vedic Astrology. Furthermore, the horoscope is a complex interpretation of all the planets and numerous other factors and no one planet like the Sun or Moon can determine your personality or your destiny.

The typical question people are asking is – I thought I was a fierce Leo but now I am supposedly a soft Cancer type? Remember the Sun sign is only one factor in the horoscope; you may have your Moon, Mars or other planets in Leo, in which case you will definitely have a strong Leo streak in you. More importantly, the most significant factor in your birth chart is your Ascendant (also called rising sign or first house). This is the constellation that was rising in the eastern horizon on the day, time and place of your birth. Therefore, there will be twelve rising constellations in any given day. The Ascendant is your self-expression in life and your outward appearance in the world. In Sanskrit, it is called the house of the body, or your orientation in life in general. So again, you may very well be a “Leo type” if Leo was rising in the eastern horizon at the time of your birth, even if you Sun has shifted back into Cancer in Vedic Astrology. There are so many factors that go into birth chart interpretation, that a simple “what sign are you” interpretation used in the popular culture is mostly just entertainment.

The Vedic system and its zodiac are based upon a continuity of culture that goes back to antiquity and it is believed to be historically the original zodiac. Like Yoga, the knowledge of Vedic astrology was bequeathed to the world by the ancient sages and seers of India. It is timeless and universal and also scientifically accurate.