Introduction to Vedic Astrology

Vedic astrology in India is known as Jyotisha and is translated as the divine science of light on time and karma. The ancient Rishis said that the planets bestow on living beings effects due to their karmas. Karma, however, does not happen all at once, just as life doesn’t happen all at once. (Although sometimes it may feel that way!) It happens sequentially according to the hands on the clock. We have that clock: it’s called the Vimshottari Dasha sequence. We can see the past, present and future general trends of your life through Vedic astrology. Vedic astrology is thousands of years old; in fact, it was originally done in Sanskrit, which is the mother of all language. It predates Chinese, Egyptian and Western astrology.

The difference between Western and Vedic astrology

In order to have an accurate Vedic astrology reading we need the specific time of birth, because that gives the proper rising sign degree for a chart.
We read the chart from the ascendant or the rising sign because that changes every two hours of the day, whereas the Sun sits in one sign for 30 days and the Moon sits in the same sign for two and a half days. The rising sign or your ascendant is much more specific to you.

The tropical zodiac (which is used by Western astrologers) is based on a fixed position of the planets more than 2,000 years ago. It does not take into consideration the wobble of the Earth’s axis or what is known as precession of the equinox, so if you take your Western chart and subtract 23 degrees from the position of the Sun and the Moon, all the planets and the rising sign you will arrive at your Vedic astrology chart.

Want help determining your Vedic astrology rising sign? Just send me, Planetary Sara, an email with your full name, date of birth, place of birth and exact time of birth, and I will let you know your Vedic astrology rising sign (ascendant).

The four elements

There are only four elements of Vedic astrology:

  • The 12 signs
  • The 12 houses
  • The nine planets
  • The timing of events in life

The Vedic astrologer will study your horoscope and let you know how the planets are operating in your life, when the planets are operating in your life and what you can do to improve the quality of your life.


The first constituent of Vedic Astrology is the signs. There are 12 signs in the zodiac and they are ruled by the planets, the Sun, the Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus and Saturn.

Here are the significations of signs:

ARIES: Aries is a fire sign ruled by Mars, the significator for energy. Those born under the ascendant Aries are not afraid to go places and do things. Aries rising sign people are good with their hands and always on the go; they are active, courageous and dynamic people. They tend to do well in military or police forces. They can be active in sports, construction, engineering, science and mathematics and can rise high to an executive position in life.

TAURUS: Taurus is an earth sign ruled by Venus, the significator for materialistic pursuits and comforts. Taurus-born people are nurturing and sensual. They enjoy comforts, beauty and luxury. Taureans are often cautious, stable, enduring and fixed in their ways, but can also be very adaptable and gentle. They are good planners, good communicators, analytical, straightforward, persevering, refined, attractive, patient, romantic, kind, sentimental, devotional, charming, passionate and pleasure seekers. Taureans make good business people, designers, engineers, administrators and industrialists.

GEMINI: Gemini is an air sign ruled by Mercury, the significator of communication and confidence. This makes those born under the sign of Gemini very powerful and persuasive with their speech and communication. They are energetic, ambitious, imaginative, creative and inventive, always looking for change. They are spontaneous, conscious, analytical, witty, talkative and have a sharp intellect.

CANCER: Cancer is a water sign ruled by Moon, which is changeable in nature and tender. Cancer-born people are caring and nurturing, intuitive, gentle and considerate. Cancer-born persons become administrators, public relations managers, healers, nurses, hoteliers, restaurant owners, catering professionals, cooks, eating-establishment owners and baristas. They make good hosts, are capable of receptivity and adaptability, are generous and peace-loving and have a good sense of humor, wit and imagination. They are very sensitive and restless.

LEO: Leo is a fire sign ruled by Sun, the significator of vitality. Leo-born people are natural-born leaders. They are extroverts, organizers, patient listeners, decisive, art lovers, generous and authoritative. They are generally on the move to solve problems one after the other and can acquire top leaderships status or positions in the government, politics or medicine fields. Leo-born people are alert and very fast in assimilating into diversified activities and problems.

VIRGO: Virgo is an earth sign ruled by Mercury, the significator of communication and confidence. Virgo-born people are communicative, attractive, charming, prudent, cautious, protective, analytical, dependable, honest, truthful, practical, sincere and detail oriented. Virgos can become accountants, artists, craftsmen, teachers, mathematicians, engineers, traders and writers. They are good at jobs that involve detailed work and analytical problem-solving capabilities.

LIBRA: Libra is an air sign ruled by Venus, the significator for materialistic pursuits and comforts. Libra-rising-sign people are charming, have a strong sense of justice, strong will-power, are spontaneous, adaptable, idealistic, talkative, generally optimistic and highly sensitive. Libras become actors, financial advisors, legal advisors, managers, musicians and physicians. They often times enjoy public professions.

SCORPIO: Scorpio is a water sign ruled by Mars, the significator of energy. Scorpio-born people are very private, mysterious and quiet. They are straight-forward, determined, disciplined, fearless, highly active, fixated on success and generally keep good health. Scorpio-born people are intuitive, persevering, energetic and dynamic as well.

SAGITTARIUS: Sagittarius is a fiery sign ruled by Jupiter, the significator of fortune and knowledge. Sagittarian-born people are ambitious, eager to learn and have good judgment. They are usually nature lovers, goal-oriented, clever, generous, cheerful, quick-witted and organized. Sagittarius-born people are best suited for training or advisory roles due to their pleasant nature and analytical bent. Sagittarians excel at advisory roles and become businessmen, trainers for jobs, financial advisors, lawyers, legal advisors, teachers, physicians and religious leaders.

CAPRICORN: Capricorn is an earth sign ruled by Saturn, the significator of dutifulness and responsibility. Capricorn-born people are ambitious, hardworking and can be selfish when they do not have a spiritual practice to return to on occasion. They are also very flexible, adaptable, level-headed, thrifty, conservative, social, practical, protective, dependable and have good organizing ability. Capricorn rising makes a person a bit of a pleasure seeker and turns them on to more material things in life. They are creative, quick to learn and grasp new knowledge, as well as being excitable, lively and full of joy and enthusiasm.

AQUARIUS: Aquarius is an air sign ruled by Saturn, the significator of dutifulness and responsibility. These people are natural-born thinkers, creative and spiritual. They can be less flexible and more traditional in their approach to life. These people can earn money and acclaim slowly over time and have a greater chance of success in their lives. They are active, industrious, deliberative, courteous and natural-born leaders.

PISCES: Pisces is a water sign ruled by Jupiter, the significator of fortune and knowledge. Pisces-born people are romantic, imaginative, compassionate and generous. They are gentle, cheerful, empathetic, caring, devoted to duty, emotional, enthusiastic, idealistic, impressionable, intuitive, mystical, philosophical, sentimental and tolerant, vulnerable, highly sensitive, emotional, and ease loving. Pisceans are restless, and are always on the move. They are generally devoted to duty, have strong moral value and are good advisors. They are here to learn their final lessons in life and can gain enlightenment in this lifetime.

Speaking astrology

Here are some common astrology terms you’ll hear as you study:

Aspect: Planets are said to “throw” or “cast” aspects, which influence other signs and houses. Planets influence other houses or planets aspected by them favorably or unfavorably, depending upon their functional nature in a chart.

Conjunction : When two or more planets are in close proximity in the zodiac, they are said to be in conjunction with each other.

Debilitation: The planets are considered to be in the state of debilitation and weak if occupying a particular sign, and they fail to fully protect or promote the general significations ruled by them.

Exaltation: The planets are considered to be in the state of exaltation in particular signs and give good results by promoting their general significations and the houses ruled by them.

Mooltrikona Sign: A planet in its mooltrikona (MT) sign is treated as very powerful, provided it is otherwise strong. Under the Systems’ Approach, the mooltrikona signs of various planets are as follows: Sun-Loe, Moon-Cancer, Mars-Aries, Mercury-Virgo, Jupiter-Saturn, Venus-Libra, Saturn-Aquarius.

Natal chart: The natal (birth) chart, also known as a horoscope, reveals the constellation that was ascending on the horizon at the exact moment of your birth. This is based on the time of birth, place of birth and date of birth. It also reveals planets in various signs. Natal positions of planets are fixed and will never move.

Own Sign: A planet in its own sign is treated as strong and is capable of generating the expected results, provided it is otherwise strong. The own signs of various planets are as follows: Sun-Leo, Moon-Cancer, Mars-Aries & Scorpio, Mercury-Gemini & Virgo, Jupiter-Sagittarius & Pisces, Venus-Taurus & Libra, Saturn-Capricorn & Aquarius.

Retrograde: This is only a visionary phenomenon as it occurs due to different speeds of the planets in relation to the earth. Retrograde planets are to be treated in a normal way as per their longitudes, so far as the natal influences are concerned. To fully understand the impact of a transit retrograde planet, it is necessary that one learns predictive techniques and methodology for reading transit influences. The effects on a natal chart need to be studied for each particular person and cannot be easily generalized.

Rahu and Ketu: Rahu and Ketu are shadowy planets. The two points where the orbit of the Moon crosses the ecliptic are known as Rahu and Ketu. Rahu is called the ascending node of the Moon and Ketu is called the descending node of the Moon in Western astrology. The influence of Rahu and Ketu in the natal chart is very significant for the person. Rahu and Ketu are generally unfavorable planets. They bring challenges and make the person vulnerable to anxiety, over-ambitiousness, sudden setbacks, undiagnosed health problems, loss of reputation, losses through cheating, professional setbacks, depression, strains in business relationships, persisting infections and losses through risky or speculative ventures. They make one vulnerable to sexually transmitted diseases, problems with litigation, sudden mishaps and challenges in marital relationships. If, however, Rahu and Ketu are well-placed in a chart and are not causing any afflictions to any houses or planets, then they can promote their own significations. Rahu gives ambition, fame, fortune, charisma and magnetic personality; Ketu gives profound spiritual progress and experiences.

Strong planets: Strong planets bless the person with good health, happiness and success in life — connected with the significations of that planet. For example, a strong and well-placed Sun will give the person a healthy, wealthy and educated father and support from father and authority figures in life, as well as make a person a leader instead of a follower.

Transits: Planets move through different signs at various speeds. For instance, here are the general or approximate periods of time, which can change if a planet goes into retrograde motion:

The Sun remains in one sign for one month.
The Moon remains in one sign for 54 hours.
Mars remains in one sign for 45 days.
Mercury remains in one sign for about a month.
Jupiter remains in one sign for 12 months.
Venus remains in one sign for one month.
Saturn remains in one sign for 30 months.
Rahu and Ketu remain in one sign for 18 months.
We can study the effects of these transits on our natal (birth) chart by looking at the transit chart for a particular period of time.

Weak planets: The weak planets (in degrees, or debilitated, or afflicted by the malefic planets) are not able to protect or promote their general significations.