There is no doubt that Astrology is a controversy. It is a controversy that has be spanning over millions of years. This controversy has greatly influenced its popularity and survival as a whole.
Astrology and You :
To most of us today, Astrology means the daily, weekly or monthly free horoscope predictions published in newspapers and magazines according to the Zodiac Sign under which we were born. So let's say you are an Aires since you were born between March 20th and April 21st of any given year. Does that mean that the same predictions that apply to you, can also apply to half a billion people in the world and that all people born under the Aries sign will have the same things apply to them ? Obviously not-so what ?
What is Astrology & How does it affect you :
The term astrology is derived from the Greek words astron and logos, which literally means "stars" and "study". Legitimate astrology is founded on logical observation and deductive reasoning and is not superstition or magic. It is a body of knowledge or science that charts the positions of the planets at the exact time and place of a person's birth and determines the overall effect of celestial electromagnetic forces on a given individual's personality and behaviors throughout the course of his or her lifetime based on thousands of years of cumulative research. It is this study of planetary positioning at the time of a person's birth that allows astrologers to predict the future, for instance, an intensive study of a person's birth chart would allow an astrologer to predict horoscope by birth date.
Comparison between Indian and Western astrology
Same planets revolve round the Sun, the zodiacs are identical, and the celestial bodies covering the sky are no different. Hence it is but easy to conclude about the similarity between the western and Indian study of astrology. TRUE to some extent. But the way of approach towards astrology in both the system varies a great deal. What is given prominence in Vedic astrology might not even be considered in Western.
Vedic astrology has roots back to 3000 BC, and has been extending, modifying, and spreading, but essentially with the same foundation. It is not so in western astrology. Based on Greek- Roman studies, Western astrology had to go through a lot of resistance across the times. Unlike we Indians, where there was a natural and firm reverence to Jyotish since ancient times, Western astrology has lost much of its ancient roots in form of records and scriptures. Much of it is modified according to times.
Hence, there is bound to be a major difference between the contemporary forms of the two branches. Also, Vedic system is much more stern and extensive than its Western counterpart.
One of the fundamental differences being that, in western system, Sun is the prominent planet, and Sun sign is the basic sign for study and predictions. In Vedic astrology, Moon sign is given a priority, although both systems agree on Sun being the symbol of Soul and on much higher level.
A few other differences on the same subject are mentioned as follows:
In Western astrology, Tropical zodiac system is taken in account, where Sun`s apparent movement around the earth defines Signs.
In Vedic astrology, Sidereal system is used, where signs are distinguished by the physical presence of star constellation in the sky.
Western astrology considers 1st house as ascendant, and 10th house as midheaven. While Jyotish shastra uses whole sign system where, each house occupies a whole sign. Many western astrologers, over the time have accepted the same theory.
Planets, Their Ruler ship and Strength
Western astrology considers ten major planets, along with minor consideration of asteroids and comets. Accordingly, apart from the ownership of the usual planets:
Uranus rules Aquarius.
Neptune rules Pisces.
Pluto rules Scorpio.
This is unlike Vedic system where Uranus, Pluto and Neptune don`t exist. Here,
Mars rules both Aries and Scorpio.
Jupiter rules both, Sagittarius and Pisces.
Saturn rules both, Aquarius and Capricorn
In Vedic / Indian astrology, there are nine planets. Apart from Sun, Moon, Mercury, Mars, Venus, Saturn and Jupiter, two lunar nodes - namely north node (Rahu), and south Node (Ketu) are also considered prominently. Nowadays, Western astrology also considers the two lunar nodes (Though not as planets.)
Both the systems of astrology considers planet to be strongest when in their own sign, or in the sign of exaltation. And a planet is considered to be combust when withis 6 degrees of Sun. A planet is considered weak when in sign of Debilitation or "fall".
But in Vedic astrology, moon is also considered weak when waning, and strong when waxing. Moon and Sun are also considered weak at the time of eclipse.
Vedic astrology is observation based. Therefore considering the fact that planets are much brighter when retrograding, planets with retrograde motion are considered to be powerful.
In Vedic astrology, considering Nakshatras while making chart or predicting time related events is of major importance. Though Chinese astrology also takes Nakshatra into account, there are 27 Nakshatras in Vedic system rather then 28 in the Chinese`s.
Interpretation of Lunar Nodes
The south lunar node in western astrology defines the aspect as the one to which the person moves towards in life. The house occupied by South node defines the aspects in life from which we should move away from. Vedic astrology is far broader than this.
Here, the North Lunar node (Rahu) when well placed is giver of wealth, looks and success. If placed wrongly, can cause enormous difficulties, failures, obsession, lust, too much of materialism etc. While, the South lunar Node (Ketu) if known to create anxiety, fears, physical problems etc, it can as well indicate spiritual enlightment, intuition, and knowledge of self. Since Rahu and Ketu play such an important part in interpretation of a horoscope, the major difference in the perspective between the two systems account for a lot of variation.
In western astrology, a planet aspecting (putting its influence) the other is dependent on the placement of the two planets within some range of degrees. While, in Vedic system planets from whole sign aspects the other house, whether the house is empty or not.
In western astrology, major aspects namely, conjunction, Sextile, trine, square and opposition is used frequently. While in Vedic horoscope, opposition is the only aspect that each planet makes. Rest of the aspects varies from planet to planet. Also, strength of the aspecting planet and aspected planet is taken into account.
While making predictions in western astrology, transit of each planet (along with their directions) happens to be the main reference point .
In Vedic astrology, along with the planetary transit, vimshottari dasha at the given point is also considered prominently. (Dasha is the time period under which the person undergoes through influence of one particular planet.). Under each dasha, a planet is most influential for a given number of years. Other planets also cast their influences in every Dasha. Considering this, sub period, or antardasha (and even sub sub period called Pratyantar dasha) is also taken in account.
Thus, taking into consideration of Nakshatra, Dasha, yoga, as details, Vedic astrology happens to be a much more an extensive study leading to a broader coverage of human life with accuracy.
What is a Horoscope
A horoscope is the picture of the planets during the birth of any person which differs from people to people, due to the continuous movement of the planets. Astrological analysis of a person begins with the preparation of a horoscope which requires exact date,time and place of birth of that person concerned. The abstruse meaning of a horoscope keeps similarity with that of the pack of a medicine. If we go through a pack of medicine, we find :
- Manufacturing date
- Batch number
- Expiry date
A horoscope is also like a STAMP from the manufacturing company of NATURE, which incorporates these features, just like in the case of a pack a medicine. Horoscopes hold the positions of the planets during the birth of a person. To prepare a horoscope three types of information are mainly required, viz.:
- Date of birth
- Time of birth
- Place of birth
For the preparation of a horoscope we need astronomical data, which provides us the exact positions of the planets on their respective orbit of movement during the date and time of birth of a person, which is different for everybody. From the place of birth of a person, we can find out the geographical latitude and longitude and also can calculate their differences from the celestial (Topocentric) latitude and longitude.
An accurate judgement of a horoscope is the most important job and is the main objective of studying astrology. In reality, we all are a single product from the manufacturing unit of God himself. Like every individual, each and every country also has its respective horoscope, which comes under the jurisdiction of mundane astrology that predict the time of prosperity as well as deterioration of any country in the world.
What is a Zodiac Sign :
Heavenly bodies like earth, sun and moon, revolve around the space. The space in which they revolve around has been split into 12 signs. These are the zodiac signs.
What is a Sun Sign :
Western astrologers primarily base their predictions on the sun sign. Sun sign is the alignment of sun in space with respect to a zodiac sign.
What is a Moon Sign :
While western astrology primarily deals with the sun sign, Vedic astrologers prefer to use the moon's alignment with the zodiac as the primary point of reference before concluding on your natal chart and making a prediction.
Why is Vedic astrology more accurate :
In Vedic astrology the zodiac signs are further divided by the constellation of stars in the respective zodiac signs. There are 27 constellations that are taken into account. The observation of moon's alignment with the constellations produce far better predictive results.
Why Moon Sign over Sun Sign :
Moon deals with mind and psychology so its best way to judge a person. The moon's position always plays a very important role in our life. It has a high influencing power. Based on general experience, it produces far better and accurate results over the western counterpart.
What do we need to calculate your moon sign :
1. We need your Date and Time of Birth
2. We need your City of Birth
Saturn’s Sadhe Sati
Saturn is the slowest planet in the solar system that is relevant to Vedic/Indian Astrology. It takes 29.5 years to complete one revolution around the Sun. Considering 12 rashis, it would be in one rashi for 29.5/12 ~ 2.5 years. In Gochara, Saturn's transits are given a lot of importance because it stays in a rashi for the longest time. In general, Saturn is associated with qualities of being cold and heavy like the metal iron. It destroys attributes of the house it is associated with by its association or drishti. Being the slowest planet, it also causes delays and is retarding in nature. Sadhe sati is referred to the seven and a half year period when Saturn transits over natal moon and adjoining houses. Translating this to from Astrology to English would take some effort :-). Consider a person who has his/her Janma Rashi as Aries, i.e. in the chart prepared during his/her time of birth, Moon is situated in Aries. Now, when Saturn moves through zodiac and comes to the sign of Aries, it is said to be transiting over Aries. In case of this person, adjoining houses would mean Pisces (one before) and Taurus (one after Aries). Thus, Saturn's transit over the three houses comprises of a total duration of 3*2.5=7.5 years. This 7.5 year duration is called in Hindi as Sadhe Sati. This cycle repeats every 30 years and thus a person with normal life span would see at least 2-3 sadhe satis in his/her life.
In both Western and Indian astrology, Saturn has been accorded the status of the most dreaded planet. In Indian mythology, it is the estranged son of Surya (Sun). Saturn is considered the opposite of Sun in many ways. Sun represents light, Saturn represents darkness. Sun is representative of kings and leadership in the society. On the other hand, Saturn represents poverty and the stark reality of the masses. Sunlight is the basis of all life on earth. Saturn is associated with obstruction and hindrance and ultimately, death. No wonder Saturn and Sun are exalted and debilited rashis exactly opposite each other. In Aries and Libra respectively. Saturn is associated with iron, the stuff bullets, swords and spears are made of. Mars may be the lord of war, but Saturn is what causes and executes it.
Saturn's transits over the three houses tend to bring a lot of depression to the person. He/she would face losses, delay or denials in new projects and health problems. It can also affect peace of mind and make a person emotionally unstable. The first round of sadhe sati affects the individual personally. There is a loss of health and wealth - miseries. The second round affects the person's parents and there would be some loss in the family. The third round is said to affect the children and bring the end of the person.
The above paragraph is what the real effect of Sadhe Sati is made out to be in a lot of books and astrology sites. However, sadhe sati does not affect each and every person in the same way. The effect also depends on which Sadhe Sati is in progress. The rest of this article is an attempt to describe these effects.
To understand how sadhe sati would operate, the first and foremost thing is to find out if Saturn is a functional benefic in the chart. The ill effects would be mitigated in this scenario. Saturn would be a benefic if:
It is a natural friend if the Rashi lord and Lagna lord,
It is a Rajyoga karaka planet,
It is lord of lagna, 5th house or 9th house in the chart.
Right away, we can see that for people with Taurus, Libra, Capricorn and Aquarius lagna/rashi, sadhe sati would not be bad. In fact, such transit of Saturn over lagna would be good for the person. For a transit over the rashi, there would be some emotional problems, as Moon is not happy when it is around Saturn (or Rahu as well for that matter).
The effects would not be good for rashis - Aries, Cancer, Leo and Scorpio as these belong to natural enemies of Saturn. Mercury and Venus are its friends and Jupiter is a neutral - hence there would be not much of a problem for the rest of the rashis. The exact effect would also depend on the position of Moon in a chart. If the Moon is in 1st house or in Aries, the transit would cause trouble in upper part of body. While transiting through 5th house, the problem could happen to the person's children, 7th house transit would be bad for the spouse etc.
Bad effects of Saturn and sadhe sati are mitigated by praying to Lord Hanuman who has special control over Saturn. Saturn is said to be forever in debt of Hanuman (see wikipedia article on Hanuman for some details) who had rescued him from the clutches of Ravana. Hence Saturn promised Hanuman that those who prayed to him (Hanuman) would be rescued from painful affects of Saturn.
In the first part of this article, I mentioned that Saturn represents death and the stark reality of the masses. This quality of Saturn can be put to a very positive use - it takes a person away from the moh-maya of this world. It teaches us a lesson like the other teacher - Jupiter, just the way of teaching is different.