Vedic Astrology

By Hayley White

Arguably, all ancient religions, in some shape or form, are based on an astronomical or astrological basis, but none as much as the Hindu religion. Some of the ancient kings and seers from India and Egypt claim their ancestry came from the planets, especially the Sun and the Moon (Pandit, 1994). Because their spirituality and astrology developed side-by-side, it is no surprise that the scriptures from their sacred texts formed the basis of Vedic astrology as we see it today.

The Vedas are an ancient religious text originating in India. The Vedas, from the term Veda meaning ‘knowledge’, were written in Vedic Sanskrit, and are considered the oldest religious texts to form the Hindu religion. They are commonly referred to as ‘Scriptures’ and can be defined as Holy Writ because they concern the nature of the Divine (World History Encyclopedia, 2020). Unlike other scriptures, the Vedas were believed to have always existed and were apprehended by sages in deep meditative states before 1500 B.C. These texts link to the macrocosm and microcosm - the idea that the universe influences our individual lives.

By Hayley White

Arguably, all ancient religions, in some shape or form, are based on an astronomical or astrological basis, but none as much as the Hindu religion. Some of the ancient kings and seers from India and Egypt claim their ancestry came from the planets, especially the Sun and the Moon (Pandit, 1994). Because their spirituality and astrology developed side-by-side, it is no surprise that the scriptures from their sacred texts formed the basis of Vedic astrology as we see it today.

The Vedas are an ancient religious text originating in India. The Vedas, from the term Veda meaning ‘knowledge’, were written in Vedic Sanskrit, and are considered the oldest religious texts to form the Hindu religion. They are commonly referred to as ‘Scriptures’ and can be defined as Holy Writ because they concern the nature of the Divine (World History Encyclopedia, 2020). Unlike other scriptures, the Vedas were believed to have always existed and were apprehended by sages in deep meditative states before 1500 B.C. These texts link to the macrocosm and microcosm – the idea that the universe influences our individual lives.

Rani is an astrologer from England who educates people about Vedic astrology on social media. She says that Vedic astrology came about from studying the Vedas, where scholars would look up at the sky and note the moon cycles. As they noticed the effects planets had in guiding their lives, they recorded the information gathered, building up these religious texts.

“Alongside that, because you have a formation of spirituality happening, certain planets have Lords of houses. The Lords of houses are always linked to what we’ve known as Hindu gods and goddesses,” Rani says. This means that the planets within Vedic astrology all have a corresponding God or Goddess.

Traditionally these gods and associated planets are:

  • Surya – Sun (God): symbolises cosmic masculine, motivation, and inspiration.
  • Chandra – Moon (Goddess): symbolises cosmic feminine, creative flow of life, longevity, rejuvenation, and recognises feelings.
  • Budha – Mercury (God): symbolises speech, communication, commerce, and intellect.
  • Shukra – Venus (Goddess): symbolises love, beauty, beauty, pleasure, and gentleness.
  • Mangala – Mars (God): symbolises passion, emotional projection, aggression, and action.
  • Brhaspati (or Guru) – Jupiter (God): symbolises evolution, self-realisation, spirituality, and intelligence.
  • Shani – Saturn (God): symbolises death, disease, poverty, separation, ugliness, and misfortune.

“So, what you have is a really interesting fusion of the study of the sky meeting the building of religion at the same time,” Rani tells me.

Because Hinduism is interconnected with Vedic astrology there are a lot of differences between Vedic and Western astrology. Rani tells me that Western astrology focuses on the fixed astrological calendar, where the signs only exist within specific dates. For example, the star sign Taurus falls between the Western dates of the 20th of April to the 20th of May.

Vedic astrology follows the lunar movement which sees a much broader set of results depending on the placement of the moon. “The moon changes position every 2.25 days; that means you could be born a Taurus. But if you’re a Taurus born 2-3 days later, you could be a whole different type of Taurus as you actually enter a whole new [Vedic] star sign,” she says.

The second thing that makes Vedic astrology so different, Rani says, is that Vedic astrology stems from its ancient text aforementioned. Because of this, the planets in Vedic astrology have an entirely different set of meanings based on the Gods and Goddesses attributed to each planet. In comparison, Western astrology only teaches how planets influence us. Not only does Vedic astrology tell us how we are influenced by the planets, but also how Gods and Goddesses influence us, too. “When we’re reading someone’s moon and the sign attached to that, we’re thinking: ‘How was this brought to life and what was the basis of it?’ So, with Vedic astrology, not only do we tell you what something is, but also why,” says Rani.

The third thing which distinguishes Vedic from Western astrology is the amount of detail that goes into birth charts. Vedic astrology has 27 constellations made up of 12 zodiac signs, 9 planets and 12 houses with each house and planet representing some aspect of human life (Vedic Astrology, 2021). “You would then explore how this could manifest within the person whose birth chart you’re reading. We do that for every part of your chart, so already you just get so much more detail – it’s really about getting specifics,” she explains. “There are different ways in which people will interpret how planets aspect each other – which is a huge thing when you’re reading someone’s chart,” she tells me.

When I ask if Vedic astrology is still practised in the Indian culture, Rani tells me that it is, but not in the same way we use Western astrology today. “One thing that was so interesting to me growing up, is that I thought that, with Western astrology, there is almost a detachment from your normal world – as if you have to go into some sort of hibernation or go and do these extreme spiritual practices,” she says. “In Indian culture, it’s basically like consulting the weatherman,” Rani laughs. Another key reason astrology is used within the Indian culture is that it is often applied to check compatibility between two people before marriage.

As planets constantly migrate inward or outward within their orbit around the sun (Have the Planets Changed Positions?, 2017), Rani concludes: “There’s this understanding that we’ll always be learning. We have to constantly update our knowledge.”

 

Sources: 1. Astrology of the seers: A guide to vedic/Hindu astrology. Lotus Press 2. THE ASTROLOGY OF THE SEERS, Annals of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute 3. The Vedas, World History Encyclopedia 4. Have the Planets Changed Positions? sciencing.com