Welcome to another edition of ‘Ask Charla.′ You know, here at Astrology Answers I get a lot of questions from all corners of the globe; things to do with love and romance, chakras, tarot, astrology, numerology; if it′s metaphysical, then someone at some time has asked it!
I’m so pleased you have asked this question! It’s one I see a lot, and while the answer is simple, you do need to understand a few astrological terms in order to really get to grips with their differences. The easiest way to do that is to start with what they share, and then examine where they diversify. I’ll try not to get too out there!
What They Share
Both the Vedic and Western methods of astrology deal with the movement of the planets and their relationship to each other. That relationship is called an aspect. The most common aspects are the sextile, the square, the trine, the opposition, and the conjunction.
I like to include the sextile and the inconjunct, too. If the aspect is made by a moving planet making a geometric angle to a stationary planet—in a natal or electional birth chart, for example—then the moving planet is said to be making a transit to the natal planet, and it’s interpreted a bit differently.
- Sun Signs
- Moon’s Nodes
Vedic and Western astrology use the Sun signs, sometimes called star signs, of Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces.
Every one of these signs has a different personality, a different set of character traits it imparts on any planet that happens to be in that sign, natal or transiting. Both types of astrology use these interpretations when analyzing the chart.
They also both use houses. These are 12 segments of the zodiac, each one having a different area of life it influences. The signs and the planets in the houses are what make you who you are, and how the Astrologer interprets your chart.
It’s the combination of planets in signs and houses and the aspects they make to each other that builds your personality. The transiting planets are what influence you over time.
The Moon’s Nodes aren’t actually planetary objects. Rather, these are mathematical calculations, and Vedic and Western astrology both take them into consideration when analyzing a chart. The nodes play an important part when it comes to karma and potential for this lifetime.
Western astrology, which is what we do here at Astrology Answers, is more about character analysis and looking at upcoming trends rather than focusing on actual prediction. Western astrology does look at upcoming trends. However, Western astrology is more concerned about how you’ll respond to these influences, than what’s actually going to happen.
One of the main differences between the two is that Western astrology also includes the outer planets of Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. These are fairly modern discoveries. They have a big influence on Western chart interpretation, particularly when it comes to a slow moving outer planet making a transit to a fixed natal inner planet.
- Western astrology includes the outer planets of Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto.
- Western astrology is solar focused.
- Western astrology is aspect and transit based.
- Western astrology focuses mainly on the natal chart.
The Sun is the main feature of Western astrology. It is the center of our solar system and the star around which all of the other planets revolve. It’s said to be the strongest influence on your personality, and the aspects and transits the other planets make to it are what color your character.
No matter whether you’re casting a chart for a person, an event, or another reason, Western astrology uses that one chart as its map. All transits and aspects are compared to the planets and points in this chart. Different methods of interpretation—such as different house systems—might be employed, but it all still works with the one fundamental chart.
Vedic astrology differs from Western astrology in many ways. It’s predominantly a prediction based tool and employs many different methods of making those forecasts. It’s less of a personality analysis than Western astrology is.
In Vedic astrology, the outer planets aren’t really considered. It places more emphasis on the traditional planets (Moon, Sun, Venus, Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn) and the Moon’s north and south nodes.
While Western astrology does look at the Moon’s nodes, they are much more important in the Vedic traditions.
- Vedic astrology does not include the outer planets of Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto.
- Vedic astrology is lunar focused.
- Vedic astrology looks at periods of time, rather than aspects and transits.
- Vedic astrology includes lunar mansions.
- Vedic astrology uses many different charts.
Vedic astrology also puts more significance on the Moon and deals a lot with lunar mansions and how they influence the reading. The Moon stays in a sign for two days, while the Sun is there for a month. There are 28 lunar mansions, and each one has a different impact and meaning on the reading.
Another difference is Vedic astrology uses many different charts, rather than just one when doing a full astrological analysis; a Sun chart, a Moon chart, and up to 16 other charts are included in the astrology reading. It’s thought that these help the Astrologer to see deeply into all areas of the querent’s life, from the obvious to what’s hidden deep in the psyche.
Is one way better than the other? It’s all just a matter of opinion. There are some Western Astrologers who employ select Vedic techniques. There are Vedic Astrologers and Western Astrologers who are equally competent with their skills.
The most important factor is that you, as the client, find an Astrologer with whom you’re comfortable, one that you trust. Build up a relationship with them, for the best astrology readings—Western or Vedic—are done not just through charts, but also through insight and intuition.
Related Article: Ask Charla: Taking a Closer Look at Saturn, the Lord of Karma