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Jyotish vs. Tropical Astrology: Why Jyotish is Superior

As an observer in the beautifully chaotic and bittersweet nature of the world, I've always been drawn to astrology as a tool for understanding the forces that shape our lives. But for a long time, I was practicing a form of astrology that was incomplete, inaccurate, and ultimately unsatisfying. I'm talking about tropical astrology, the dominant form of astrology in the West, which I now realize is nothing compared to the rich and ancient tradition of jyotish astrology from India.

At first glance, tropical and Jyotish astrology seem similar. Both use a system of twelve signs and planetary rulerships to interpret the movements of the stars and planets. But there are crucial differences that set them apart, and in my opinion, give Jyotish the upper hand in terms of accuracy, depth, and spiritual insight.

The most fundamental difference between tropical and Jyotish astrology is the way they measure the zodiac. Tropical astrology is based on the movement of the sun relative to the earth, and the position of the vernal equinox, which changes slightly each year due to a phenomenon called precession. Jyotish astrology, on the other hand, is based on the fixed positions of the stars, and measures planetary movements relative to the constellations, or nakshatras.

This may seem like a technical distinction, but it has huge implications for accuracy. Because the tropical zodiac is tied to the changing position of the vernal equinox, it has been slowly drifting out of alignment with the fixed star positions for centuries. This means that the signs of the zodiac as defined by tropical astrology no longer correspond to the actual positions of the stars. Jyotish astrology, on the other hand, remains astronomically accurate because it uses the fixed positions of the stars as a reference point.

In practical terms, this means that Jyotish astrologers can calculate the positions of the planets with much greater precision than tropical astrologers. Jyotish astrology also has a much more sophisticated system of divisional charts, or Varga charts, which allow for much more detailed and nuanced analysis of different areas of life, from health to career to relationships.

Another advantage of Jyotish astrology is its rich mythological and spiritual tradition. Jyotish astrology is deeply rooted in the Vedic tradition of India, and draws on a vast array of mythological and philosophical sources to interpret the movements of the stars and planets. This gives Jyotish astrology a depth and richness that tropical astrology simply can't match. Jyotish astrologers also use a variety of techniques that are unique to this tradition, such as calculating the nakshatras and padas, which allow for a much more precise understanding of the energies at play in a given chart.

In conclusion, while tropical astrology may have some superficial similarities to Jyotish astrology, it ultimately falls short in terms of accuracy, depth, and spiritual insight. If you want to truly understand the forces that shape your life, and gain a deeper appreciation for the beauty and complexity of the universe, there's no substitute for the rich and ancient tradition of Jyotish astrology.


Here's a table showing the differences in the position of the Sun in different signs throughout the year between Jyotish and Western astrology:

ZODIAC

JYOTISH

WESTERN

​Aries

April 13 - May 14

​March 21 - April 21

Taurus​

​May 15 - June 14

​April 22 - May 20

​Gemeni

​June 15 - July 14

May 21 - June 21

​Cancer

​July 15 - Aug 14

June 22 - July 22

​Leo

​Aug 15 - Sept 15

July 23 - Aug 23

​Virgo

Sept 16 - Oct 15

Aug 24 - Sept 23

​Libra

​Oct 16 - Nov 14

Sept 24 - Oct 23

​Scorpio

Nov 15 - Dec 14

Oct 24 - Nov Nov 22

​Saggitarius

​Dec 15 -1 Jan 13

Nov 23 - Dec 21

​Capricorn

Jan 14 - Feb 12

Dec 22 - Jan 21

​Aquarius

Feb 13 - March 12

Jan 22 - Feb 19

​Pisces

March 13 - April 12

Feb 20 - March 20

As you can see, the dates for each sign in Jyotish and Western astrology are slightly different. This is because Western astrology uses the Tropical Zodiac, which is based on the position of the Sun relative to the Earth, while Jyotish astrology uses the Sidereal Zodiac, which is based on the position of the Sun relative to the fixed stars in the background. The precession of the equinoxes causes a gradual shift in the position of the vernal equinox, which is the starting point for the Tropical Zodiac. As a result, the dates for each sign in Western astrology have shifted over time, while the dates for each sign in Jyotish astrology remain fixed.


In the next blog of this series, we'll delve deeper into the world of nakshatras and padas, and explore how they can be used to gain a greater understanding of an individual's astrological makeup. Stay tuned!



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