The Difference Between Vedic Astrology (Jyotish) and Western Astrology​

The Difference Between Vedic Astrology (Jyotish) and Western Astrology​

If you look at your Vedic Astrology birth chart and your Western Astrology chart, it’s possible that you notice some of your planets are in different zodiac signs from what you are used to, and what it could be most “alarming” is that your birth sign is not the same as you are used to.

So what is the difference between these two astrology systems which basically are Tropical and Sidereal astrology?

Western astrology is based in the tropical zodiac, while Vedic astrology is based in the sidereal one; here we are not going to debate which one is better than the other one; we are just going to discuss some of the differences that should be taken into account knowing that viewed from Earth, the Sun appears to move through the belt of stars known as the zodiac which lie along the Ecliptic; these two systems of astrology have their own individual way of dividing the 360 degree ecliptic into the twelve zodiac signs of 30 degrees each.

What is the Tropical (Western) zodiac?

The tropical zodiac is measured from the spring (vernal) equinox and it is there when each year the Sun is said to enter Aries, the beginning of the zodiac. However, this system is not based on the fixed stars themselves and doesn’t take into account the ongoing change in the tilt of the Earth called ‘The Precession of the Equinoxes’. So in the sky at that time, the Sun is not actually in the physical constellation of Aries. Instead of being based on the astronomical position of the constellations, the tropical zodiac is based on the orientation of the Earth towards the Sun.

What is the Sidereal (Vedic) zodiac?

The sidereal zodiac is based on the planet’s actual relationship to the constellations of zodiac stars, as per astronomical observation. Due to a shift or ‘wobble’ of the Earth, the fixed stars move backwards. Every 72 years they move about 1 degree. Throughout a period of around 25,000 years the orientation of the Earth relative to the fixed stars makes a full circuit of the zodiac. This is what is meant by the Precession of the Equinoxes, which isn’t taken into account in the tropical system.

Other differences between Western Astrology and Vedic Astrology

One of the biggest differences between these two astrology systems is that Vedic Astrology is deeply connected with the ancient Rishis, or Seers;  this system is also known as Jyotish which means “science of light or the eyes of the vedas”, and was revealed by the great Rishis more than 6,000 years ago. 

It is also said that Vedic Astrology (Jyotish) is the original form of astrology from which the other forms emerged. This is based by the fact that sidereal astrology uses the observable zodiac based on ties with astronomy. In addition to the twelve signs of the zodiac, the Vedic system also divides the sky into 27 Nakshatras (constellations) known as lunar mansions, each one having their own characteristics and meaning. Analyzing a birth chart using the nakshatras gives a deeper and  more detailed understanding of an individual.

And last but not least, Western astrology emphasized in the position of the Sun in a birth chart, while Vedic Astrology is a Moon based system. Based on that, the western system focuses more in understanding the psychological characteristics and personality of a person, while the Moon based Siderial system guides the individual to deep into their inner knowing, helping us to understand the journey of our soul and guiding us on our evolution towards our Self.

While the tropical and sidereal zodiacs did at one time line up (around 2,000 years ago) this is no longer the case, now there is a difference between these two systems of around 23 to 24 degrees. Having in mind those degrees at the moment of analyzing birth charts this creates a big difference and that is the reason that someone can find some of their planets associated with a completely different zodiac sign when they look at the different systems of astrology.

Over the past few hundred years the starting point of the astrological year has changed. In order to take into account the ongoing shift, the sidereal system of astrology uses a measurement of difference called the ayanamsa (‘ayana’  means ‘movement’ and ‘amsa’ meas ‘component’ in Sanskrit) as a corrective system to allow for the Precession of the Equinoxes so that the alignment between signs and the physical constellations is maintained.


About the Author

Carmen Vasquez is the author of inspirational and motivational articles that always send positive messages to people. Carmen is a yoga teacher, kribayan yogui, and holistic therapist. She is the founder, along with her husband, of Journey Angels and Protected by Angels Foundation, her main website is; both main purpose is to inspire people to transform and develop their lives. She’s a mom of three beautiful angels and is happily married; the family lives on the Pacific coast of the U.S.A. 

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