How Does Vedic Astrology Differ From Western Astrology?

This is a guest post by Patti Foy for Powered by Intuition

Vedic Astrology is gaining in popularity and with good reason.

It originated in the East but followers of Western astrology are beginning to appreciate it for its interesting combination of strengths.

Vedic astrology has a strong spiritual essence yet, is best known for its remarkable predictive accuracy.

This makes it superlative for both inner and outer guidance.

 The Ancient Science of Light

The Sanskrit name for Vedic astrology (also called Hindu or Indian astrology) is “Jyotish” which means “Science of Light”.

Its origins go back about 6,000 years to the heart of the Vedas (the ancient Hindu scriptures). It’s inseparable from Eastern spiritual philosophy and is tightly integrated with various Vedic sister sciences such as yoga, ayurveda (health) and vastu (environment).

Whereas Western astrology is usually used as an independent system, Jyotish integrates seamlessly into everyday life and aligns beautifully with a holistic mind-set.

So, what’s the difference between regular astrology and Jyotish? Are they merely twins separated at birth?

Not quite. Let’s delve further, shall we?

 How Jyotish or Vedic Astrology Differs from Western Astrology

There are far too many differences than I can relay in one short article  so I’ve chosen a few of the main highlights that should be of interest to everyone.

 1) Your chart looks different

Jyotish offers two chart styles: North Indian and South Indian. North emphasizes the houses, and South emphasizes the signs.

(These example charts are for Albert Einstein: March 14, 1879, at 11:30 a.m. LMT in Ulm, GY.)

South Indian Chart – Stationary Signs

 South Indian is easiest for non-astrologers to understand. Each square is a sign and house, and within it are the planets that were there. Pisces is always upper left, and whatever was rising becomes the first house (Asc). Houses then go clockwise, opposite a Western chart.

North Indian Chart – Stationary Houses

 North Indian always shows the first house (and its sign number) at the top, and the signs’ locations shift accordingly. Houses go counter-clockwise.

 2) Your Sun sign will probably change

This is the one difference you’ve probably already heard of. And yes, it’s true.  It’s because Vedic astrology uses the sidereal zodiac, and most Western astrology uses the tropical zodiac.

Sidereal means star and is based on which stars or constellations the planets appear to be in from our perspective here on earth. (This is the zodiac astronomers use.)

Tropical is Sun-based and is determined by the seasons. Tropical defines 0° Aries as wherever the Sun is at the moment of March Equinox. The Sun’s position then becomes 0° Aries even though sidereally (as seen from Earth) it’s only about 7° into Pisces and still needs to travel 23° before it gets to 0° Aries.

Because the difference is slightly over 3/4 of one 30° sign, about 77% of us find that our planets (including our Sun) shift back a sign.

This can be alarming if you only know a little about Jyotish. But when you feel a strong resonance with your Sun sign, you likely have indicators in your Vedic chart that show those same energies. And the profound resonance you’ll feel with your Jyotish chart is well worth opening to.

But all that said, here’s the funny thing: In Jyotish, your Sun sign isn’t nearly so important. What was rising when you were born is much more significant, as is the location of your Moon.

 3) Jyotish is primarily Moon based

The Moon is your perceptive mind, and how you perceive your world can define your actual experience even more than what you are perceiving.  So your Moon is of utmost importance, as are several powerful Moon-based features.

One is a set of 27 constellations called nakshatras. These are superimposed upon the familiar 12 signs, but they’re smaller. They’re sometimes called “Lunar Mansions” because the Moon travels through approximately one per day.

Nakshatras are rich in symbolism and are used extensively in analysis. They’re also used to find auspicious times and to choose names.

But their most important use is that your Moon’s exact location within a given nakshatra determines the beginning point of your dasa cycle.

 3) Jyotish is highly predictive

Planetary periods, or dasas, are unique to Jyotish and are what give it its stellar reputation as a predictive form of astrology.

Depending on where your Moon was when you were born, you begin at a certain point in the 120-year dasa cycle in which the energy of each planet in turn is prominent in your life.

Right now, you are in the dasa of a certain planet, and that planet in your chart indicates what energies are activated. Then within that main dasa are nested dasas, allowing us to look at increasingly smaller cycles.

You definitely notice the shifts from dasa to dasa and they match your past with remarkable accuracy. Dasas are amazing at revealing when and how things change, and why.

Especially when used along with other techniques such as transits, dasas are a brilliant system of forecasting.

 5) Jyotish has built-in remedial measures

So it’s great to be able to see what’s coming, but then what?  What can you do about it?

The most practical feature of Jyotish has no correlation in Western astrology and is that of remedial measures, or upayas.

You can think of them as holistic “medicines” or therapies that help alleviate difficult situations or strengthen positive ones. The Vedic sister sciences mentioned earlier can act as holistic partners when choosing appropriate upayas.

They can take the form of lifestyle changes or the use of certain foods, colors, herbs, fragrances, activities, etc. Powerful upayas exist in the form of mantras and yantras (visual mantras) or planetary pujas or yagyas (sacred ceremonies).

But the most popular upaya is the wearing of Vedic gemstones. Each planet rules one precious and several semi-precious gems. They’re based on subtle vibration and are different than Western birth-stones.

Just like powerful drugs, some upayas can cause harm if used incorrectly so it’s important that they be prescribed by a qualified Jyotishi.

 Still Curious?

I’ve only been able to touch on the tip of the iceberg here. Even if you got a basic Jyotish reading, you’d easily notice the benefit of several more outstanding features.

But I surely don’t want to leave you unsatisfied. Are you an astrologer? Or do you want more technical information?

I’ve written a companion article: 18 More Differences That Make Vedic Astrology Shine explaining even more differences such as the revealing use of yogas, question charts and omens, and other unique features. It also includes a limited-time chart offer that I added especially with you in mind. Do pop by and check it out.


Questions for Patti? How would you feel if you knew your Sun sign changed? What part of Vedic astrology stands out the most as compared to Western style astrology?

If you enjoyed this article please share it on Facebook, Twitter and G+1. Thank you for your support of PbI! I’m so grateful to you. Angela

P.S. Don’t leave without your free gift! Subscribe to my  Newsletter and receive a copy of my book: The Intuition Primer.

Patti Foy is a certified Vedic Astrologer and has been practicing Vedic astrology (Jyotish) professionally since 1998. She’s an accredited Teacher and Tutor for both the American College of Vedic Astrology and the Council of Vedic Astrology where she received the title of Jyotish Visharada, CVAYou can contact her, read more of her articles, and access her intuitive guidance and transformational services (including but not limited to Jyotish) at her blog Lightspirited Being.

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  1. We are expert of vashikaran and provides solutions of every problems using vashikaran, Our guru ji Swami Vansraj Ji Maharaj is world famous vashikaran specialist astrologer in india. They are experienced vashikaran pandit to resolve love, husband wife dispute, relationship problems, love marriage problem etc. problems using vashikaran methodology.
    Swami Vansraj Ji Maharaj recently posted…Predict Future Married LifeMy Profile

  2. I still have gotten the answer I asked my birthday is june
    24 1970 6:48 am. In rumford, maine. Im trying to figure what my vedic sign would be and are me and my finance in for a good life
    Bis birthday is 9 4 1986 also please enclose our vedic signs thank. You ever so much bless up

    • Hi Debra,
      I’m not a Vedic Astrologer. This was a guest post. Please visit her site and ask her for an appointment to do your chart.

  3. The vedic and western astrology seems to be somewhat equal and same in some manner. The reason behind it is that everything uses the same base that is the planets, moon and the sun and stars that affect the lives of a human being as per their positions on their time of birth and at present. But a better view about it can be known by a good astrologer.

    • Hi Vashikaran,
      Thank you so much for commenting. It’s a pleasure to meet you.
      The article was written by an astrologer who practices Vedic astrology.

  4. Wow Its really great article vedic astrology and western astrology is really differ from each other as the Vedic chart is that the Vedic chart looks very different. You are probably familiar with the round shape of a Western chart; the Vedic chart is square. If you are familiar with Western astrology, upon careful examination, the Vedic chart will appear to have planets aligned with the wrong constellations (signs). A natal chart [or a birth chart] reading reveals the differing sign and house changes of planets in the Vedic chart.

  5. Hi Joe,

    Hmm, that’s an interesting viewpoint, that they both tell the same story.

    I’ve never had a Western astrology reading but I know that even within jyotish, a single astrologer can tell a different story for the same chart on any given day, and various astrologers will all have their own story of that chart. I think that’s part of the beauty of it, that it’s not a static thing. (I know you weren’t implying that it is, that’s just what your comment made me think of.)

    I suppose at a high level, though, you’re right. Some of the symbols are similar so the general stories they tell can have some relation to each other too.

    Great food for thought — thanks for that!
    Patti Foy recently posted…Spark Your Jyotish Journey With the Perfect Introductory BookMy Profile

  6. I see Vedic astrology and Tropical astrology as opposite sides of the same coin, really. The story they each tell is about the same when all is said and done, but on one side you have the more spiritual view i.e. Vedic and on the other the more psychological i.e. tropical.
    Joe Bill recently posted…How to Simply Be–Or How Not to Freak Totally OutMy Profile

  7. Patty,
    This is the first time I’ve ever read of Vedic astrology. I’ve always been very interested in Western astrology even as a young child. Where did you learn how to read the Vedic signs? You explain it very well and it has piqued my interest. I’ll head over to your website.

    Thanks, Angela, for interesting guest post!
    Betsy at Zen Mama recently posted…Let’s All Give It Up For Non Attachment!My Profile

    • Hi Betsy,

      I think it latched on to me!

      I tell the story on my blog (, but essentially I was having a hard time and it was recommended to me that I consult a Vedic astrologer. I knew nothing about jyotish but I was amazed at how well that one reading addressed the issues that were going on.

      I became fascinated with how it could possibly work so well, dug in on my own, then eagerly signed up for my first class (a correspondence course). I studied and practiced almost full time for a few years after that. LOVED it. Sorry, not so detailed but essentially I bought lots of books and went to conferences and classes offered by ACVA and CVA (you can find that info and links on my “About” page.)

      Thanks for your interest and I’ll do my best to continue to represent it like it so deserves.
      Patti Foy recently posted…18 More Differences That Make Vedic Astrology ShineMy Profile

  8. Hi Patti,

    The first time I had heard of Vedic astrology was when there was a lot of press about your astrological sign changing. I looked into it briefly at that point, but didn’t understand it.

    This is the first article I have read that explains it well, so thank you! It is quite intriguing and I am off to read the article on your blog.
    Laura W recently posted…Can Yoga Improve Your Psychic Abilities?My Profile

  9. I have a favorite astrologer in each camp. Each one offers me something of value and I like the two different sources of insight. However, I didn’t really understand the differences, so this article really helped me put in perspective some things that each one has told me. This was very clear and informative. Thank you!
    Galen Pearl recently posted…Awake!My Profile

    • Hi Galen,

      Thanks so much for this comment. Interesting that you use both!

      I’m not actually all that familiar with Western astrology except for what I’ve picked up in bits and pieces since beginning my study of jyotish. I’m sure they do both have their own unique strengths.

      Glad I could help inform and clarify.
      Patti Foy recently posted…18 More Differences That Make Vedic Astrology ShineMy Profile

  10. Hi Patti,
    Great seeing you guest posting here. It’s funny that you talk about how Jyotish is Moon based. I just wrote a very interesting topic about the Moon and how/why it effects our planet and the people on it.
    Justin recently posted…The Moon Is A Death StarMy Profile

    • Hi Justin,

      Nice seeing you here too. Whoa! I just saw your post title. Sounds intriguing … I’ll have to come check it out.

      As to the actual Moon in the sky, I live in the high desert where I can see all the stars and planets perfectly clearly. I love being able to be aware of them and experience the rhythm of it all. The fact that jyotish is so tuned to our fastest moving planet and so sensitive to the fluctuations gives it a natural and holistic feel. (Not sure where that came from but is what I thought of with your Moon/planet comment.)

      Thanks for reading!

  11. Hi Patti. I’m not familiar with Vedic Astrology at all – pretty interesting!!!
    I’m off to read your other article :)
    Aileen recently posted…Team InspirationMy Profile

  12. I have not heard of Vedic astrology but it sure sounds interesting. I have not known any type of reading to be accurate in its prediction. So I am really curious as to how specific it can get and the level of accuracy. Thanks for the brief introduction, Patti.
    Evelyn Lim recently posted…How to Practice Non-Attachment in 7 WaysMy Profile

    • Hi Evelyn,

      You make an excellent point! And thanks for the chance for me to clarify that I’m not claiming this is 100% accurate. Or maybe not even 90% … or … ?!

      Actually, I think jyotish itself is accurate but because it is so complex it really does take a lot of judgement on the part of the jyotishi and we do not “see all” nor are we infallible.

      On top of that, each symbol has so many meanings that picking the one right combination that would result out of the millions possible is all but impossible. This is where experience and intuition both come into play.

      So: “What is most likely given the whole picture?” is what we’re after.

      As to specificity, similar challenges are present. But because of the rich symbology of all the overlapping tools, we really can get amazing detail sometimes. I’d give you some fascinating examples but don’t want to take over the comment section more than I already am. 😉

      Finally, what we can see in a chart are the trends. Nothing is set in stone. It’s a living play as far as I can tell, so a reading is a helpful guide but not to be taken as “gospel”.

      Excellent points you make. Thank you!
      Patti Foy recently posted…18 More Differences That Make Vedic Astrology ShineMy Profile

  13. Hi Sol,

    Nice to see you here!

    I didn’t “prefer” because I knew nothing of Western except sun sign columns which was why I thought it was all so trivial at the time. But I’d been immersed in Eastern philosophy for a few decades already (meditation, yoga, ayurveda, Yogananda, the Upanishads, etc.) So Vedic astrology just resonated with me.

    As to the cerebral part, you make me laugh! I was a software developer and will always be an “engineer” at heart. Very practical and analytical! And jyotish does require that; it’s really very complex and that’s part of what attracted me too. (In India most jyotishis are male engineer-types.) It’s only in the past 10 years or so I’ve opened to allowing my intuition to shine as well.

    Thanks for asking!
    Patti Foy recently posted…18 More Differences That Make Vedic Astrology ShineMy Profile

  14. “Your Chart looks different”

    How unsurprising. Sarcasm off, this was a very informative post that resonated well with my logical faculties.

    Patti, what made you prefer Vedic or Western astrology? I’m having a hunch that it is because its Moon – based (intuition, subconscious, emotions etc) and thus not as ‘celebral’ as Western astrology. I can’t say that I am an expert however.

    Oh and Angela – look out! I may be coming in with a guest post soon! The key is ‘may’, but I’m sure you’ll like it in any case 😉

    Sol out.
    Sol recently posted…The Shadow Self pt. 2 – The Eos FilesMy Profile

  15. Hi Patti and Angela,,
    Thanks for introducing this information. I am completely in the dark when it comes to this subject! To me, it seems these can be powerful tools when they are used to “know thyself” and understand our original nature. There are many rates of vibration in our minds, and each offers a different world of experiences… and different experiences of ourself. By inquiring deeper and deeper we continually elevate or consciousness.
    rob white recently posted…FEARMy Profile

    • Hi Rob,

      My pleasure, and all thanks to Angela for so kindly hosting me.

      You sure said a mouthful in this little paragraph and I totally agree. It’s all a vehicle for us discovering our true selves and what really matters. This is one of those tools that can be helpful to that end.

      And it makes it especially obvious that what’s going on “outside” us is going on “inside” us as well.

      Thanks for your interest and your great comment.

  16. Interesting article.

    I’ve never gotten into astrology but is something I’m interested in, not so much for real prediction but more for entertainment.

    Back in high school we used to call astronomy “astrology” when we first got into the class. Our science teacher would get so mad!
    Fred Tracy recently posted…Pareto’s Principle (The 80/20 Rule)My Profile

    • Hi Fred,

      You know, I totally relate to this.

      I’d always been a science and math nerd, and when it was first recommended to me that I get a Vedic astrology reading, I rolled my eyes and thought “oh give me a break”. I gave astrology no credence at all. But I was in a difficult situation and desperate for some answers. In the end I was stunned at how relevant it was and how much it helped! (I actually wrote a post about that experience:

      So, I know astrology is ridiculed but at this point I can only say: their loss. I know for a fact that it’s a helpful tool we can all benefit from. Especially Vedic which is the one I have personal experience with.

      Thanks for bringing this point up so I could address it!
      Patti Foy recently posted…18 More Differences That Make Vedic Astrology ShineMy Profile

  17. What a wonderfully informative article. I have had minimal experience with astrology so this article provided quite a learning opportunity for me. Thanks!
    Anne recently posted…Preparing for a ReadingMy Profile

  18. Patti,

    I’m a Cancer under the western system. I understand the name may be different, but would the characteristics be different – such as sensitive, self aware, etc.?

    Thanks for sharing the Vedic system.


    • Hi Alex,

      That’s a great question! Essentially the answer is yes … If your Sun sign changes to Gemini, it shows qualities that relate to that sign, such as curiosity, love of learning and variety, seeing things through a mental filter, etc.

      But here’s the big “BUT”: For all you know, in the Vedic system you might have Cancer rising, or important planets in Cancer, still showing those same attributes indicated by your Sun in the Western system. Or your Moon may be in an especially emotional or care-taking space, or there may be other indications of that self-awareness you mention.

      I could go on but the main point is that just one planet could never say it all. We’re fairly complex creatures (at least my husband tells me so ;-)) and the chart needs to be seen as a whole.

      Thanks for the excellent question. And if you’re really curious, you can take advantage of my chart calculation special and I’ll email you your Vedic chart!
      Patti Foy recently posted…18 More Differences That Make Vedic Astrology ShineMy Profile

  19. Hey, Angela,

    Thank you so much for the opportunity to post here and to get to “hang out” at your lively blog for a little while!!

    When you suggested I write about this topic, it was just the push I needed to finally get an article out about it. I have been asked for years what this difference is and have answered it kind of piecemeal. But this is the first I’ve answered it this thoroughly in one place. I appreciate the opportunity to get the answer out to so many people at once.

    In Angela-ese: xoxo
    You’re the best. :-)
    Patti Foy recently posted…18 More Differences That Make Vedic Astrology ShineMy Profile

  20. An old friend of mine lived in India for a few years. He became very focused on Vedic Astrology and really gauged many of his life decisions on impressions he got from his astrological map. When he came back, I remember he would get the information of my friends and myself and provide us with a reading. It was very interesting and he offered us a picture of how the next few years of our life could possibly pan out. He gave us an animal that represented our characteristics and it was actually very exciting. Fortunately there was much optimistic information and I took what I felt was helpful from it. Ironically much of what he provided did apply to each person well.
    Joe recently posted…Can’t Make Lasting Change? Develop a Personal Development Plan and Follow These TipsMy Profile

    • Hi Joe,

      I think it’s interesting about your friend after living in India awhile. They really do integrate this into their lives as an everyday practical tool. It developed to be useful and that’s why it’s so predictive. Makes a lot of sense to me!

      I’m thinking the animal is probably related to your Moon’s nakshatra, which I mention. Part of that rich symbology.

      Thanks for reading and for sharing this, along with your experience of how useful it was to you too.
      Patti Foy recently posted…18 More Differences That Make Vedic Astrology ShineMy Profile



  1. 18 More Differences That Make Vedic Astrology Shine - Lightspirited Being » Lightspirited Being - [...] no rushing allowed!) LOL. xoxo, Angela Angela Artemis/Poweredbyintuition recently posted..How Does Vedic Astrology Differ From Western Astrology? …

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