The title of this post probably elicited one of three responses: “Vedic/Sidereal is the TRUE astrology!”; or “Western (aka tropical) astrology is more accurate – Ophiuchus isn’t real!”; or “Wait, what?” Before we go any further, chill. For all my Vedic/Sidereal champions, Western/Tropical enthusiasts, and thoroughly confused newbies, I’m here to settle the battle of astrologies.
A Crash Course on Astrology
Fun fact for my skeptics, sidekicks, and religious peeps, astrology has actually been around longer than any (yes, any) major, organized religion! In other words, astrology itself predates Christianity (and its associating denominations), Judaism, Buddhism, etc. We can date the first astrological practices back to Ancient Babylonian’s Mesopotamia and even ancient Egypt. With that being said, it’s also outlasted other major religions and is still popular to this day. This isn’t to say that astrology is a religion, or should be considered as such. It’s also not any form of witchcraft. or pagan practice. Although, astrology is often associated with pagan practices or misunderstood as magick.
Astrology is a long-standing, spiritual art-form that falls under the category of Divination. Divination may sound brand-new, but we’re actually quite well-versed with several forms of Divination, such as Tarot or palm readings. Divination is essentially the practice and ability to read seemingly innocuous symbol(s), thus finding the meaning in the world around us. As a subset, Astrology focuses on the interpretation of the stars – particularly the constellations, planets, major asteroids, Earth’s moon, and sun. Like Tarot or palm readings, astrological interpretations may differ from astrologer to astrologer, however, the core aspects are all the same.
For example, all astrologies acknowledge at the very least the Twelve Zodiac signs, Twelve Houses, the planets, the asteroids, and retrogrades. Regardless of the astrological interpretation, each of these aspects hold the same values. For example, we know that the order of the Zodiac begins with Aries and ends with Pisces. We know that we have four elements – fire, water, earth, and air. We know there are three types of modalities – cardinal, fixed, and mutable. We know that the characteristics of each sign, celestial body, and House are the same across types of astrologies, cultures, practices, and intrepretations.
However, making sense of it depends on you. This why some astrologers, astrological newbies, and fans will differ on their opinions. A fantastic, well-known example would be a Mercury Retrograde. Those who know of this type of Rx know that there will be difficulties with communication, travel, and technology (to name a few). Yet the way in which we choose to appraise it through our interpretations makes all the difference. Some people freak out over this astrological phenonmen, while others try to see the brighter side of things. This where our interpretations differ. Not to mention, everybody is prone to having an opinion. Our opinions can be insightful, but they can also be hurtful or counter-intuitive. Some star-gazers may see the good, bad, and ugly in the celestial practices while others may just see the bad and ugly. Again, this is where our interpretations differ. If you’re an Aquarius Sun and you’re having a reading with an anti-Aqua astrologer, chances are you’re not going to get a fair (or accurate) reading. With any interpretation, we ought to aim to be fair, clear-minded, and aid without inserting our own (potentially harmful/negative) opinions.
History of the Two Main Astrologies
The two popular types of astrology includes Vedic/Sidereal and Tropical/Western. Of course, there’s so many more subsets than these two. Western/Tropical and Sidereal/Vedic are typically more commonplace, and often the easiest in-depth forms of astrology to access.
The biggest debate in the community is which type is the right type. Some base their justification on the history of how astrology came to be. Some champion for their type because it’s what they were raised with or introduced to, so it feels right to them. Some base it off the path in which the Sun moves through the constellations. Some just like to be stubborn, unwilling to see the other side. Like anything else, it is important to understand not one, but both histories of the major subsets of astrology. This will aid in not only enhancing compassion and empathy for the other side, but even finding the right practice.
Vedic/Sidereal If you live in an eastern country or were raised in an eastern-like culture, you may practice Vedic/Sidereal astrology. An example of this would be Indian communities who do practice Vedic astrology (there are some dating websites that use Vedic Astrology to help individuals find partners!). Sidereal astrology is a another name of Vedic astrology, which means there’s no differences between the two.
Tropical/Western If you live in a western/industrialized country or were raised in such culture, chances are you most likely practice tropical/western astrology. Like Vedic/Sidereal astrology, tropical/western astrology also calculates natal charts from the earth’s perspective. However, tropical/western astrology is characterized by the Vernal Equinox, so each consetllation is separated by 30 degree segments. The 30 degree segments accounts for 12 signs.
The BIGGEST Differences
The biggest difference is that tropical/Western utilize the 30 degree segments, but Vedic/Sidereal doesn’t! Because of this factor, tropical/Western astrology has the traditional 12 signs, but Vedic/Sidereal has 13 instead.
Spot the difference? Ah yes, Ophiuchus, the Sign-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named of the Zodiac! Sidereal/Vedic astrology acknowledges and incorporates Ophiuchus, but tropical/western astrology typically does not.
Online Birth/Natal Chart Calculators
It may be beneficial to take the time to calculate both types of charts, as this may aid you in finding the right astrological practice! This may also add more insight as one chart may feel more “you” than the other. And if I missed any awesome sites to use, please comment the site/app below!
Which Astrology Should I Practice?
My sweet, budding astrologers, practice what you feel is right. Of course you can always apply both types into practice. However, it may be a tad easier to follow one archetype over the other, as differentiating between the two may be difficult to keep up. While exploring your options, ask yourself the following questions:
Is there a type I already practice/am more acquainted with? What time zone/seasonal pattern do I abide by? What type feels more “me”? Which birth chart feels more “me”?
Keep in mind that you can always switch from one practice to the other. Astrology is also not a religious practice, but rather more of an informal spiritual practice. So, the practice of astrology is not regulated and is not strict if you do choose to switch practices, or adhere to both types. Regardless of the type of astrology, the famous saying “as above, so below” will always apply!
Good luck on your celestial venture!
~ As above, so below.