Vedic astrology, called “Jyotish,” means “the science of light.” Vedic science comes from the Vedas, one of the oldest spiritual scriptures of India. It was revealed to the great sages of India around 1,500-2,000 BCE. The great sage Maharishi Parashara was the most influential; his Brihat Hora Sastra is still the most referenced text, and has many translations. There were eighteen great sages, but the most popular today and the principles outlined in this book are primarily from Parashara.
Astrology is one of the limbs of the Vedas. It is referred to as the eyes of the Vedas, because it gives us the ability to see into our lives with more clarity. Vedic science is the science of self-knowledge. Through self-realization everything is known. This gives us the realization of the Divine Spirit within all things, and our connection and unity to Spirit. The process of self-realization brings us to enlightenment. This was the purpose intended by the great sages of Vedic astrology.
Vedic astrology is the recent name coined by Vedic astrologer David Frawley, but it is traditionally known as Indian or Hindu astrology. The planets in Vedic astrology are viewed as the karmas of the soul. The central core of this system of astrology is based on the doctrine of reincarnation and karma. Karma is our lives’ “past due” credit or debits, the good or bad consequences of our previous lives. Fortunately, there are planetary remedial measures that offer the means to balance karmic tendencies, relieve difficulty and alleviate suffering when change seems impossible but is necessary for our continued growth. Some of these remedial measures include wearing gemstones, chanting mantras, practicing meditation, yoga and ayurvedic medicine. For example, if a planet is afflicted, wearing a gemstone or chanting a mantra for that planet can change the karma associated with it. Such a remedial measure should therefore be carefully assessed from the Vedic chart by an experienced Jyotishi (Vedic astrologer). However, wearing the wrong gemstone can actually be harmful to a person.
Vedic astrologers are sought out for their spiritual knowledge and expertise in prescribing remedial measures but they are also well known for their precisely accurate predictions. Edgar Cayce, “the sleeping prophet”, predicted in one of his trance sessions that Sidereal astrology (the Sidereal system is used in Vedic Astrology) would be the astrology of the future. Cayce advocated the Sidereal or the Persian system of astrology in his readings.
“For the Egyptian and the Persian records are quite varied. If the entity would study astrology, do not put the signs in the Egyptian calendar but in the Persian, for the Persian interpretations are more proficient than the Egyptian. This is not belittling the efforts of the entity nor of the Egyptians in those periods, but the variations in time have been corrected by the Persians and not by the Egyptians. The Egyptian calculations are 30 degrees off.” #2011-3 Cayce also clearly stated in a reading: “For most astrologers are nearly 30 degrees off in their reckoning in the present.” #3376-2 (“Edgar Cayce’s Secrets of Astrology”
Western astrology uses the Tropical zodiac, and Vedic astrology uses the Sidereal zodiac. The zodiac is the band of stars that encircle the Earth and through which the Sun appears to move. The Tropical zodiac is a symbolic zodiac that begins at the spring equinox, approximately March 21st, each year. The Sun is then said to enter the zodiac sign of Aries. But it does not correspond to the constellation of Aries in the sky at this time. The sidereal system of Vedic astrology is based on the planets’ actual relationship to the constellations of zodiac stars. In relation to the Earth these so-called “fixed” stars precess, or move very slowly backward, at approximately one degree every 72 years. This precession is due to a slight wobble or shift of the Earth and means that the two zodiacs, Tropical and Sidereal, gradually move apart. At one point in time the two zodiacs did line up. Now in the early 21st century the variation between them is about 23 degrees 51 minutes. This measurement of difference is called the ayanamsha. There are different methods for calculating the ayanamsha; the variation is small, but can make a major difference in chart calculation. I use the Lahiri ayanamsha, which is the one most commonly used. The equinoctial point will continue to move backwards through each of the twelve constellations creating the ages of mankind. This is also known as the precession of the equinoxes. At the present time, counting 23 degrees 51 minutes backwards from 0 degrees of Aries puts the sidereal starting point at around 6 degrees 09 minutes of Pisces. There are twelve signs that surround the Earth, and since each sign is 30 degrees, a perfect 360-degree zodiac circle is formed. As it takes 72 years to move 1 degree backwards in the zodiac by precession, and we have around 6 degrees to finish out the constellation of Pisces, then we still have about 432 years before we actually enter into the constellation of Aquarius (6 x 72 = 432 years). This is why the present time is referred to as the dawning of the Age of Aquarius.
The Galactic Center is the center of our galaxy. It directs the play of the seven rays of creation. It is the creative force that emanates truth, life and intelligence. According to Vedic astrology the Sun’s orbit was furthest from the Galactic Center around 500 AD. This was when the vernal equinox and the starting reference point of the Sidereal zodiac lined up in the constellation of Aries. This was the point of the greatest darkness on earth. Because of the precession of the equinoxes we have further advanced nearing the constellation of Aquarius and getting somewhat closer to the Galactic Center, which will bring the age of enlightenment. According to the Rig Veda we are currently in the Kali Yuga, (Kali means first, and Yugas world-ages) which in Vedic texts is a very dark age. There are approximately 24,000 years in an entire cycle of humanity or one year in the life of mankind. It takes about 12,000 years in the ascending cycle towards the spiritually enlightened age, and another 12,000 years in a waning or descending stage away from enlightenment. We are currently about 2,000 years into the ascending cycle, meaning we have 10,000 years to go to come to the most enlightened stage or age of this planet. Western astrologers recognize the precession of the equinoxes in reference to the ages of mankind but do not relate it to an individual’s natal chart.