Which Zodiac should I use in Astrology? The Western Tropical, Vedic Sidereal or Nakshatras?

Michael ConneelyWhich Zodiac should I use in Astrology?

People ask which Zodiac should I use? The Western Tropical Zodiac or the Vedic Sidereal Zodiac or the Vedic Nakshatras/Lunar Signs?

The answer is that for the deepest and most expert astrological perception we need to use both Western and Vedic zodiacs.

The Western and Vedic zodiacs actually measure very different facets of our self and our life and our destiny. And more than that, we actually in fact need to use three zodiacs. In addition to the Western Tropical and the Vedic Sidereal Zodiacs I just mentioned, we also need to use Vedic Astrology’s beautiful and wonderful 27-sign lunar Zodiac as well: The Nakshatras.

Here’s the easy-to-understand detail:

You need both Western and vedic Astrology:

In my astrology readings, I draw on both western psychodynamic and evolutionary astrology using the western Tropical Zodiac, and I also draw on Vedic astrology for its sure and vast declaration of our destiny.

Because the Western Tropical Zodiac is solar-based, or Sun-sign-based, it is ‘ego astrology’ and psychological.
Because the Vedic Sidereal Zodiac is anchored to a ‘fixed’ star, it is more a ‘statement of the eternal’, a statement of our destiny.

Western Astrology:
Modern western psychodynamic astrology, when expertly interpreted, accurately depicts our psychological make-up, the sub-personalities within us and issues of individuation and wholeness.
Western Evolutionary Astrology: Modern Western Astrology also includes an invaluable and wonderful dimension of Evolutionary Astrology: a statement of how past life scripts influence this life, but note that this is evaluated in terms of the psychological results of past live scripts.
And absolutely crucially, any astrology interpretation needs to include Western Astrology’s Chiron the Wounded healer, and the outer Planets, the Gods of Change: Uranus, Neptune and Pluto: energies that entered the human consciousness at the dates these planets were discovered.

Vedic astrology, on the other hand, is far more ancient and powerful, and accurately identifies the journey of the soul. It identifies the journey we were born to undertake. It describes the physical and psycho-mental circumstances we will attract into our lives as fates for us to work with. Vedic astrology asserts that these fates are chosen regarding past karmas that have accrued in previous lives. Some of these karmas are fixed (drida): there is little we can do about them: we need to experience them =for a life-time to make the growth we need to undertake; other of our karmas are not fixed (adrida) – these we can learn to modify or eliminate or ‘burn’. And my belief is that we incarnate to face certain challenges and past karmas, but also to manifest certain achievements: the pearl that will be revealed within the plain sea-shell!

So, Western Astrology uses the tropical zodiac. Its start point is 0 deg tropical Aries: where the Sun is on the first day of Spring.
Vedic Astrology, on the other hand, uses the sidereal zodiac (start point 0 deg sidereal Aries which is anchored to Spica, a fixed star).
Ayanamsha: I personally recommend that the difference between the two zodiacs that should be used is the Lahiri Ayanamsha. See Footnote 4, below.

Precession of the Equinoxes:
As I mentioned above, the start of the Western Astrology Tropical Zodiac is based on the position of the Sun at the moment of the Spring Equinox, otherwise called the Vernal equinox, whereas the start of the Vedic Astrology Sidereal Zodiac is anchored to a Fixed Star.

Now, the important thing to realise is that the position of the Sun on the day of the spring Equinox moves against the background of the ‘Fixed Stars’. This is because of the wobble of the earth’s axis of rotation on its orbit.

So, this precession, or wobble, means that the western tropical zodiac actually moves a degree every 72 years against the backdrop of the stars.
This means that, the two zodiacs are currently 24 degrees apart.

In fact, for the wobble to work through fully and for the Spring Equinox to make a full cycle, it takes 25,920 years:

So, here’s the practical implication of this detail:

The Tropical Zodiac of Western Astrology is a 12-sign Zodiac (Aries to Pisces) which starts at the Sun’s position on the first day of Spring, and should be used for expert deep declaration of pour psychological self, including the psychological expression of our past life issues. Note that because of precession: the wobble in the Earth’s axis of rotation, the Western Tropical Zodiac moves a degree every 72 years relative to the Vedic Sidereal Zodiac, and that the two Zodiacs are currently 24 degrees apart. The important thing to note is that because the Western Tropical Zodiac is based on the position of the Sun, it is Solar, and the Sun is all about our egoic self: our psychology.
You can learn about Wesetrn astrology in my Western Astrology Course:
See my Starwheel Astrology website.

The Sidereal Zodiac of Vedic Astrology is also a 12-sign Zodiac (Aries to Pisces) which is anchored to a fixed star. As I said above the two zodiacs have now reached 24 degrees apart.
Because the Vedic Sidereal Zodiac is anchored to a fixed star it operates not psychologically like the Western Tropical Zodiac, but it operates more to give a statement of the Eternal.
Compare this to the tropical zodiac of western astrology which is moving against the background of the stars: it moves a degree every 72 years, and its start point is that moving point in the heavens that the Sun occupies on the first day of Spring each year, and because of that western astrology is solar, it is ‘ego astrology’
The scope of Vedic Astrology, on the other hand, is immensely vaster than egoic, psychological western astrology.
And, at the present the two zodiacs are 24 degrees apart.
You can learn about Vedic Astrology in my Foundation Vedic Astrology Course: www.mastervedicastrology.com (and the further more advanced levels).

And then there’s a third zodiac as well, that is absolutely invaluable to use as well:

The Lunar Zodiac: Additionally please do note that Vedic astrology also employs an even more ancient zodiac: the immeasurably powerful lunar zodiac of 27 signs, that depicts our emotional realities in a magical and dream time way that is pre-solar, pre-logical and pre-linear, and is hugely accurate, powerful and meaningful. The Vedic Nakshatras Lunar Zodiac is based on the position of the moon against the background of the Fixed Stars and thus depicts our emotions and our consciousness arising therefore. These lunar signs are called ‘Nakshatras’.
The positions of the lunar signs were more easily visible to ancient astrologers because they are quite simply the position of the Moon in the heavens on each of the 27 days the Moon takes to orbit the Earth.
Because the lunar signs are so ancient, they are powerful and magical and pre-rational, and each of them has a power animal that can be used for many purposes of understanding, including the identification of the best marriage partner for you.
This system is immensely sophisticated in the techniques it uses such as Navatara, Nara chakra (health statement) and Nadi Nakshatras. Its vast and sure systems of sign rulerships and qualities throw immense meaning onto our lives. Note that the Nakshatras are very novelistic in the state of consciousness and behaviour stemming from that that they depict for us. Indeed, it is essential to note that in this lifetime we often have to go through the negative facets of our Nakshatra’s state of consciousness, in order to grow spiritually, just as a lotus grows to bloom on the surface of the water in the light of the sun but its roots are fixed in the mud below! Out of darkness, light! You can learn all about the Nakshatras in my Nakshatars Advanced Course, for which you do need to know a little Vedic Astrology in order to enroll: www.nakshatrasadvancedcourse.com.


The Sidereal Symbols: As first footnote, please do note that I also use the Sidereal Symbols of Vedic astrology, which stare the star-energy in each of the 360 degrees of the Sidereal Vedic Zodiac. The ancient Vedic Sages were so acute in their awareness, that they could even detect the energetic difference in each of the 360 degrees of the Zodiac due to the different energies radiated by the stars within each degree. The Vedic Sages channelled the meaning of each of the 360 degrees of the Sidereal Zodiac. The roots of this system lie in ancient Babylonian Star Lore. Using the symbol for each zodiacal degree, these sidereal symbols can throw vast illumination onto the nature of any of your planets by using the symbol for the degree the planet falls in. On occasion, the illumination thrown onto the nature of the planet is of vast value and can be found from no other source.

How to understand apparent contradictions: and as a second footnote, please note that whereas Western Astrology can tend to understand very contradictory energies within our chart rather like the framing of a committee minute which seeks to find the compromise middle agenda, in Vedic Astrology, when there are contradictory statements, it is not the case that this is dismissed as a contradiction, but that both ends of the pole will be experienced. And this is because Vedic Astrology is geared to tantric awareness, where the experience of apparent opposites directs us to the greater meaning that lies beyond the apparent opposites.

Visionary Astrology: And as a third footnote, please do note that my approach to astrology basically is, I feel, enhanced, by use of vision work. So, I recommend you include visionary astrology – East meets West. It is so visual and graphic and memorable if as a first stage, you develop ‘clear appearance’ first of a planet as a God, in other words as a refraction of the divine. Then as a second stage, go on to get a graphic picture of the planet as he appears in your birth chart in your life, you’re your destiny, as you experience him due to your karmas and your soul choices. So, in this second stage you experience the planet, not as a pure refraction of the divine, but you experience him through the three filters of sign, house and aspect, as he is positioned in your particular birth chart which is the map of your destiny this time. This visualizing approach is actually drawn from the union of western and vedic astrology plus using Tibetan Buddhist and tantric Hindu approach of ‘clear appearance’. From 1998, based mainly in Glastonbury in England, I did a five year, university based, social anthropological field study (an Ethnography) of Spiritual Forms new to the modern west. And one of the countless things that I found was that both Tibetan Buddhism and tantric Hinduism teach that in order to fully experience a god, you need to develop clear appearance of that god first. And if you do this you can ‘call him/her in’ to your mind and consciousness any time if you need to. So, in the same way I find it really enhances your feel for the nature of a planet, and for the different way that a planet will actually manifest in your chart and in your life, if you develop ‘clear appearance’ of the pure energy of that planet as a refraction of the divine, and of the filtered often very skewed or modified way that planet appears in your birth chart/in your life.

Ayanamsha: As a fourth Footnote, I tell you about the really important issue of which Ayanamsha to use, i.e what number of degrees’ difference to assign to the difference between the two zodiacs: vedic Sidereal and Western Tropical. I personally recommend that the difference between the two zodiacs that should be used is the Lahiri Ayanamsha. There are different Ayanamshas giving different overlaps between the two zodiacs. But I personally find Lahiri best. This is because my Moon is at 29 degrees 56 minutes in the Vedic Astrology Zodiac, which makes me a Pisces moon, my Moon is in the Nakshatras or lunar Sign at the end of Pisces which is Revati, the 27th and final Nakshatra. I have found that other Ayanamshas, other than Lahiri, can put my Moon into Vedic Aries, into Ashwini which is the first of the 27 Nakshatras. But I feel most deeply in my heart that I am a Pisces/Revati Moon, and so my knowing tells me that the Lahiri Ayanamsha is correct. I am of course a very marginal test case which proves the point, with my Moon being at 29 Pieces 56. There’s real trouble if you select the wrong Ayanamsha. This is because marginal planets at the very beginning or end of a sign can actually end up being stated to be in the wrong sign. Vedic astrology has a system of wonderful predictive periods called Dashas, and these are based on the position of the Moon at birth, so if you use the wrong Ayanamsha and put the Moon in the wrong position in your birth chart, the stare and end dates of your predictive periods or dashas will all be given wrongly. Also, vedic Astrology uses a wonderful system of Indicators or Charakarakas to say what role each planet occupies in your life and destiny. This is based on the longitude of each planet in its sign, so if you use the wrong Ayanamsha and end up putting a planet in the wrong sign, then you will assign a wrong Charakaraka indication to your planets, with really problematic consequences.

Charts showing the different Zodiacs:

Chart 1:

Here is a useful zodiac chart will which enable you to see the way the Constellations and the Sidereal and the Tropical zodiacs relate to each other:
The outer wheel shows the constellations that fall on the ecliptic.
The middle wheel shows the Vedic sidereal zodiac, which is aligned with the constellations.
The inner wheel shows the Western Tropical zodiac, which is aligned with the equinoxes and the solstices, being about 24 degrees off the Vedic Sidereal zodiac at present:

Chart 2:

And here is a useful zodiac chart will which enable you to see the way the twelve signs of the Vedic Sidereal Zodiac and the Nakshatras relate to each other.

If you would like a reading for yourself or family members covering your birth chart and this period ahead, please contact me on, and if you would like to enrol on one of my wonderful astrology courses, with their dedicated individual attention, also please contact me on my starwheel astrology website.

And see details of my earthspirituality courses and novels on: www.druidforestschool.com
For Maggie’s healings see:   www.maggiepashley.comBlog: blog.starwheelastrology.com/
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I look forward to hearing from you