Tropical Vedic Astrology?
In my readings I use the Tropical Zodiac with Vedic techniques from India.
I do not use the Sidereal Zodiac, which is the most common system used in India.
But what do these terms mean?
Vedic is a general term used to describe the ancient worldwide culture that was based in modern-day India. It is the oldest surviving culture in our collective human history.
The books from this culture are called the Vedas, which translates to 'knowledge' in their native language Sanskrit.
My astrology practice is based on an infamous recompiled text from ancient India - Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra. Its authorship is attributed to the enlightened rishi Parashara, and is said to be up to 1500 years old.
Two Major Systems of Astrology:
Tropical & Sidereal
Today, most Indian astrologers use a system called Sidereal Astrology. Those in the Western tradition use a system called Tropical Astrology.
The primary difference between the two systems is the calculation of the ecliptic.
The ecliptic is a 360 degree ring in the sky that the Sun moves along during the course of the year. The other planets do not stray farther than 10 degrees from this line. The Zodiac is the 12 sign divisions of the ecliptic (Aries, Taurus, Gemini, etc.) that the planets occupy for given periods of time.
The Tropical year begins when the Sun enters the sign Aries on around March 21st - the spring equinox - when day and night are of equal length in both hemispheres.
In Sidereal the Sun doesn't enter Aries until around April 14th. This is because the ecliptic is slowly moving westwards at a rate of 1 degree every 72 years (today it is about 23 degrees from Tropical Aries).
The observable shift of the stellar constellations westward is called the procession of the equinoxes.
Calculating this procession into the ecliptic shifts the sign positions of the planets and house cusps by ~23 degrees and thus changes the timings and interpretations being made by the Astrologer.
The crux of the debate is whether the star constellations are creating the energy of the Zodiac signs (Sidereal), or if the Sun and its position in relation to the equinoxes and solstices is creating the energetic qualities of the signs (Tropical).
This is a very controversial topic in astrology and requires detailed study and contemplation. Many astrologers have even created their own systems based on variations of these astronomical calculations.
In recent years a hybrid system has emerged which uses the Tropical Zodiac together with the vast array of Vedic techniques from the ancient texts. Concrete and repeatable accuracy with clients has led it to gain traction in the past decade thanks to several pioneering astrologers including my teacher, the American astrologer Ernst Wilhelm.
Tropical Vedic astrologers often assert, and present ample textual evidence, that the ancient sages were using the Tropical Zodiac all along, and the procession of the equinoxes should only be used to calculate Nakshatras.
See Ernst's PDF "The Mystery of the Zodiac" for an excellent overview on this topic.
Why I use Tropical Vedic
I am a perennial student of astrology, constantly refining and learning new ways to study and interpret the Sky-Clock.
In 2015 I began using the Tropical Zodiac within the tradition of Western European esoterica.
During the course of my studies I discovered Indian methods and practiced with the Sidereal Zodiac for two years.
Today, I use:
- the Tropical Zodiac for the planet and house positions
- the Sidereal zodiac for the Nakshatra positions
(Nakshatras are 27 lunar constellations unique to Vedic astrology)
- 90% techniques based on the ancient Vedic texts
In practice I have found Tropical Vedic to be the most accurate system I've used to date, in both psychological readings as well as with transits.