Why do I Practice Vedic Astrology using Tropical Zodiac?
My initial approach to this topic was a long essay detailing my history of learning astrology, but I think breaking it down in a Q and A format will be more succinct and easier to digest. Below I describe my personal experience with Vedic Astrology using Tropical Zodiac, and then the actual supporting facts why Tropical Zodiac is the correct zodiacal calculation.
How did you first start practicing Vedic Astrology using Tropical Zodiac?
The answer to this is very simple. I started out learning Western Astrology first. When I discovered Vedic Astrology (which was like discovering a holy grail of astrology) I was immediately impressed with the depth and accuracy of techniques. However, I noticed using the Sidereal Zodiac was not accurate. I kept everything that worked and discarded what didn’t work, and was left with Vedic Techniques and a Tropical Zodiac + Sidereal Nakshatras. I had no idea if anyone else was doing this until I found Ernst Wilhelms classes.
In fact, the first courses by Ernst Wilhelm I listened to were very old recordings of phone lessons he had given, and he was using the Sidereal Zodiac. I thought he was brilliant except for the fact that he was using Sidereal Zodiac (haha). When I moved onto his newer lessons, I saw that somewhere along the lines he had also switched to Tropical Zodiac. This was rather validating, as Ernst is a serious researcher and scholar of Vedic Astrology.
How is it possible that Astrologers disagree on this basic, fundamental principle of astrology?
It’s crazy, isn’t it? Here’s the reason:
- Many aspects of a chart remain the same regardless of which Zodiac is used (see below)
- Vedic Astrology has a huge amount of techniques available to analyze a chart. They can make accurate predictions using Nakshatras alone, and focus very little on Rasi signs (Sun signs)
- People tend to be “stuck in their ways” for lack of a better phrase, and once they learn one system have an incredibly hard time looking at things objectively. From a siderealists perspective, it isn’t just their own upbringing or years of hard work studying under that Zodiac, it’s embedded in their history and all of the great astrologers to come before.
Here are what things stay the same regardless of which Zodiac calculation is used:
- All planets are in the same nakshatras.
- Planetary Time Periods (dasa)
- Planetary aspects to other planets and houses
- Transits to planets are also absolutely unchanged.
- Planetary house positions often remain the same
As you can see, enough stays the same that using the Sidereal Zodiac can still lead to a mostly accurate interpretation of a chart. Accurate enough that there can still be a debate between the two.
India’s own classical literature defines the Zodiac tropically
When it comes to the debate, this is what most people are looking for. Don’t the old texts simply tell us which is correct? Why yes, even the classic Indian texts define the Zodiac tropically!
Now, I don’t want to pretend to be a great scholar who has scrounged through all the ancient texts and found the evidence myself. I came to my own conclusions based on trial and error, and perhaps a place of inner knowing. This is where I pass the torch to those who have done the hard work of compiling the evidence and do a much better job of explaining the astronomy behind how a Zodiac should be calculated.
If you are interested in the subject, I highly recommend the following material on Vedic Astrology using Tropical Zodiac:
The Mystery of the Zodiac by Ernst Wilhelm
I don’t practice Vedic Astrology using Tropical Zodiac to be difficult, insulting to Jyotish, and certainly not to be laughed at and deemed uncredible by many other Vedic Astrologers. When I used both systems I found Tropical to be more accurate, this was even before I knew what the Sūrya Siddhānta or Bhāgavata Purāṇa had to say about it. Ultimately it has allowed me to give better readings, and that’s all that matters.