In an astrological context, the term 'Accuracy', can be considered to be,
"The occurrence of a specific event that has been predicted to take place at a definite point in the future, through the analysis of a horoscope."
That is, if an event occurs as predicted, it would denote an accurate prediction. What constitutes an accurate astrology prediction can therefore, be defined quite clearly. Actually making such a comparison across a range of predictions is however, not quite so straight forward. Even if we were to limit our measurements to just one particular form of astrology, the degree of accuracy recorded will vary from astrologer to astrologer. Without sampling different readings and analyses, it wouldn't be possible to conclude the overall rate of accuracy of that particular form of astrology. This is however, all academic in nature as the fact of the matter is, a large scale statistical study, conducted under controlled conditions, comparing the accuracy of different forms of astrology, has never been undertaken. That is not to say that studies examining the accuracy of astrology predictions have not been conducted. There have been several, but a comparison of the different methods of astrological prediction, has not.
Despite what has been stated above, it is possible for astrologers and experts of astrology to make an educated assessment of which form of astrology could be considered to be more precise than others. Most astrology experts are of the opinion that Vedic astrology with its ancient tradition, holistic approach and parallel beliefs systems, is probably the most complete and accurate of all the astrological systems. If you take into consideration the sheer number of practitioners of Vedic astrology, it wins hands down.
Astrology, in its various forms, is a belief system rather than a scientifically proven method. It would be challenging to make a statistical comparison of the different forms of astrology in terms of accuracy because astrology itself lacks a scientific basis and is not subject to empirical testing or measurement in the same way that scientific disciplines are.
In Western countries, Western astrology is often the most popular and widely practiced form, as is Hellenistic astrology, which is of Greek origin. In China, Chinese astrology, particularly based on the Chinese zodiac signs, holds significant popularity. Vedic astrology is prominent in India because it is deeply embedded in Indian spiritual traditions. Thus, the form of astrology that is prevalent in a particular geographical region, is strongly influenced by the cultural background of the area.
Astrology's validity is primarily based on individual experience and belief, therefore what may be considered accurate or reliable by one person may not hold the same value for another. At the end of the day, belief in any one particular system is based on personal experience, cultural background and is something that tends to vary depending on individual beliefs and perspectives.
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The Most Popular Forms of Astrology
These are the most widely practiced methods of astrology. Each has its own principles, techniques, methodologies and something of unique value to offer:
Western Tropical Astrology
Western astrology is widely popular in Western countries and is often the form of astrology that many people are familiar with. It is commonly used for personal horoscopes and character analysis. Modern Western astrology has roots in ancient Babylonian and Hellenistic traditions. Over centuries, it has evolved through Greek, Egyptian and Arabic influences. During the Renaissance, astrology experienced a revival and became intertwined with the development of modern science and astronomy.
Principal Beliefs of Western Astrology
Zodiac System: Western astrology primarily uses the tropical zodiac, divided into twelve signs, each representing 30° of the celestial longitude. The zodiac starts at the vernal equinox, marking the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere.
Planetary Influences: The positions and movements of twelve celestial bodies are taken into consideration. This includes all the planets of the solar system, the Sun and Moon and Chiron (a minor planet or asteroid). Each such body is associated with specific qualities and characteristics and collectively they are referred to as planets. All of the planets are studied during a chart analysis.
Natal Charts: Astrologers cast natal or birth charts based on an individual's date, time and place of birth. These charts map the positions of the celestial bodies at the time of the person's birth and are used for personality analysis and forecasting.
Aspects: Aspects are specific angular relationships between planets in the chart, indicating their interactions. Common aspects include conjunctions, squares, trines and oppositions, each with its own interpretation.
Unique Characteristics of Western Astrology
Individuality: Modern Western astrology recognises the uniqueness of each individual. Natal charts are highly personalised, providing insights into a person's personality, strengths, challenges and life path.
Psychological Emphasis: It often incorporates psychological concepts, interpreting astrological placements in terms of psychological archetypes and personal growth.
Predictive Techniques: Western astrologers use various predictive techniques, such as transits (current planetary positions in relation to the natal chart), progressions (symbolic movements of planets) and solar returns (chart cast for each birthday), to make forecasts and gain insights into timing events.
Holistic Approach: It can be combined with other holistic practices, such as tarot readings, numerology and psychic ability, to provide a comprehensive understanding of an individual's life.
Vedic Sidereal Astrology
Vedic astrology, also known as 'Jyotish', is the ancient astrological system of India and is highly regarded in India and among those who follow Hindu traditions. It has a strong influence on various aspects of life, including marriage, career and spirituality. This astrological system has its roots in the ancient Indian scriptures, particularly the Vedas, which are among the oldest sacred texts of Hinduism. Its history spans thousands of years and is deeply intertwined with Indian culture and Hindu concepts of philosophy and spirituality.
Principal Beliefs of Vedic Astrology
'Karma' and Reincarnation: Vedic astrology believes in the concept of 'Karma', which suggests that our actions from past lives influence our current life circumstances. This builds on the idea of reincarnation, where the soul is reborn into different bodies across multiple lifetimes.
The 'Dasha' System: Vedic astrology uses a unique time lord system called the 'Dasha' system, where specific planetary periods, influence a person's life events. These periods are determined based on the positions of planets in the birth chart.
'Nakshatras': Vedic astrology places significant emphasis on 'Nakshatras', which are lunar mansions or star constellations. Each 'Nakshatra' can be thought of as a position in the cosmos that the Moon occupies for approximately 24 hours, during its orbit. Each position has specific qualities and attributes, influencing various aspects of life.
Unique Characteristics of Vedic Astrology
Sidereal Zodiac: Vedic astrology uses the sidereal zodiac, which is based on the actual positions of stars in the sky. This is different from the tropical zodiac used in Western astrology, which is based on the position of the vernal equinox.
Divisional Charts: Vedic astrology employs various divisional charts, such as the 'Navamsh' chart, the 9th divisional chart to gain deeper insights into specific areas of a person's life, such as marriage, career, progeny, misfortune and so on.
Remedial Measures: Vedic astrology suggests remedies, including the use of talismans, gemstones, prayer ceremonies, offerings, Mantra chanting and complex rituals, to mitigate negative planetary influences and enhance positive ones. These remedies are usually based on the individual's birth chart analysis.
Predictive Techniques: Vedic astrology uses a variety of predictive techniques, including transits, progressions and 'Yogs', a specific planetary combination, to make accurate predictions about an individual's life events and tendencies.
This is also an ancient form of astrology that was developed during the Hellenistic period that is, the period roughly between the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BCE and the end of the Roman Republic in 27 BCE. This ancient method of the art laid the groundwork for later Western astrological traditions, but it is not the same as modern Western tropical astrology. The main differences being that Hellenistic astrology primarily uses the sidereal zodiac, which is based on the actual positions of stars and constellations in the sky. This is in contrast, to modern Western astrology, which uses the tropical zodiac. There are also differences in concepts such as house division and planetary rulership. Hellenistic astrology is very much in practice today and is relied upon by many astrologers.
Principal Beliefs of Hellenistic Astrology
Zodiac and Planetary Influences: Hellenistic astrology utilises the sidereal zodiac, associating specific traits and events with the positions of planets and stars. Planets are seen as celestial influences, each having distinct characteristics and significations.
Dignities and Debilities: Planets were assigned dignity or debility based on their positions in certain signs. For instance, a planet was considered dignified in its own sign or exalted in specific signs, indicating strength. Conversely, planets can be in their 'Fall' in certain signs, which weakens their energy and affecting its influence.
Lots (Arabic Parts): Hellenistic astrology introduced the concept of lots, also known as 'Arabic Parts'. These were calculated points in a chart representing specific life areas, events or characteristics. Lots are used for focused predictions.
Predictive Techniques: Astrologers call upon various predictive techniques, such as annual profections (advancing the chart by one sign per year) and time lord systems (assigning different planets as time indicators for specific periods).
Philosophical Influence: Hellenistic astrology was influenced by Greek philosophical ideas, particularly the Stoic and Platonic schools of thought. Stoics believed in fate and the interconnectedness of events, aligning with the deterministic nature of astrology. Platonic ideas influenced the concept of a soul's journey through lifetimes, connecting astrology with spiritual evolution.
Birth Chart Significance: Hellenistic astrologers lay an emphasis on the natal chart, considering it a map of an individual's life path and destiny. The positions of planets at the time of birth are interpreted to understand one's personality, strengths, challenges and life events.
Chinese astrology, primarily based on the Chinese zodiac, is popular in East Asia and is often used for character analysis, compatibility assessments and predictions. It dates back to the Han Dynasty that is, around the 2nd century BC. It is based on early observations of celestial patterns and their influence on Earthly events. The Chinese zodiac, a central component of Chinese astrology, is linked to the lunar calendar and animals.
Principal Beliefs of Chinese Astrology
The Elements: Chinese astrology is based on the principles of Yin and Yang, the 'Five Elements' (wood, fire, earth, metal and water) and their interactions. The cyclical nature of time and the interconnectedness of all things in the universe is a concept that is central to this system. It is believed that one's destiny and personality are influenced by the positions of celestial bodies at the time of birth.
Unique Characteristics of Chinese Astrology
Absence of Charts: Chinese astrology does not make use of natal charts, neither is there a direct equivalent to the natal or horoscope charts employed in Western and Vedic astrology.
Zodiac Animals: Chinese astrology is well known for its twelve zodiac animals. Each animal is associated with specific personality traits and characteristics. These signs are:
Lunar Calendar: Chinese astrology uses the lunar calendar, where months and years are determined by the phases of the moon. This lunar aspect is crucial in determining one's zodiac sign.
12-Year Cycles: The Chinese zodiac operates on a 12 year cycle, with each year being associated with a zodiac animal. This cycle is believed to influence the personalities and events of people born in each respective year.
Four Pillars of Destiny: Chinese astrology often involves the 'Four Pillars of Destiny' or 'Ba Zi', which uses the year, month, day and time of birth to create a personal astrological profile. These pillars reveal one's temperament, career, relationships and other characteristics.
Compatibility: Chinese astrology is used to assess compatibility between individuals, especially in romantic relationships. It analyses the zodiac signs, elements and animal traits to determine the level of harmony between people.
Festivals: Chinese astrology influences important cultural events, such as the Chinese New Year, which marks the beginning of a new zodiac year and is celebrated with various customs and traditions.
Mayan astrology, based on the Mesoamerican calendar, also known as the Tzolk'in, a sacred calendar of 260 days. This is a system of astrology that was practiced by the Maya civilization in Central America, particularly in regions that are now Mexico, Guatemala, Belize and parts of Honduras and El Salvador. Mayan astrology is a rich and intricate system deeply intertwined with the Mayan culture's spiritual beliefs and practices. While it may not be as widely practiced today, it continues to be a fascinating aspect of Mesoamerican heritage and a subject of interest for scholars and enthusiasts.
Principal Beliefs of Mayan Astrology
Mayan astrology is deeply spiritual and is based on the interconnectedness of humans, nature and the cosmos. The Mayans believed that each day in the Tzolk'in calendar has its unique energy and influence, which can affect individuals' personalities, behaviours and life events.
Unique Characteristics of Mayan Astrology
Tzolk'in Calendar: The Tzolk'in calendar consists of 20 periods, each lasting 13 days, resulting in a 260 day cycle. Each day is represented by a combination of a number from 1 to 13 and one of 20 day signs, such as Imix (Crocodile), Ik (Wind) or Ajaw (Sun). These combinations create a unique energy for each day.
Day Signs: The 20 day signs in Mayan astrology are associated with different animals, objects, or forces of nature. Each day sign has specific characteristics and symbolism, influencing individuals born on that day.
Interconnected with Nature: Like other forms of astrology, the Mayan variety also subscribes to the connection between humans and the natural world. However, their belief system suggests that the energies of animals, plants and celestial bodies has an influence on human life and destiny.
Rituals and Ceremonies: Mayans used astrology for various purposes, including determining auspicious times for ceremonies, agricultural activities and important life events like marriages and births. Mayan priests were skilled in interpreting the energies of the Tzolk'in for these purposes.
Long Count Calendar: In addition to the Tzolk'in, the Mayans had a Long Count calendar, a linear count of days used for historical and astronomical purposes. The Long Count calendar was crucial for understanding larger cosmic cycles.
Egyptian astrology, also known as the Egyptian zodiac, is one of the oldest forms of astrology and has its origins in ancient Egypt. While Egyptian astrology was influential in its time, much of its historical context and specific techniques have been lost over the millennia. Today, it mostly serves as a historical curiosity, shedding light on the beliefs of the ancient Egyptians and their notions about the afterlife and cosmos.
Principal Beliefs of Egyptian Astrology
Decans: Egyptian astrology is based on a system of 36 decans, each representing a 10 day period. Each decan was associated with specific constellations.
Connection with Gods: Egyptians believed that each decan was under the influence of a specific deity. The positions of the decans were used for divination and predicting important events.
Solar Calendar: Egyptian astrology was closely linked to the solar calendar. The movement of the Sun and its alignment with specific decans were significant factors in their astrological interpretations.
Unique Characteristics of Egyptian Astrology
Focus on Agriculture: Egyptian astrology was primarily agricultural, with a focus on predicting the Nile's flood patterns, which at the time was essential for fertile soil and successful crops.
Connection to Mythology: Egyptian astrology often tied celestial events to their rich mythology, emphasising the influence of gods and goddesses on human affairs.
Hieroglyphs and Symbols: Symbols and hieroglyphs representing animals, gods and everyday objects were used in Egyptian astrology to convey complex astrological information.
Specialised Astrology Systems
There are two specialised branches of astrology, each with its own techniques and purposes that are worthy of special mention. These methods may be used by astrologers for both specific purposes and general horoscopes.
Horary astrology has ancient roots that can be traced back to the civilisations of Mesopotamia and classical Greece. It gained significant prominence in medieval Europe and the Arabic world, with practitioners like William Lilly and Abu Ma'shar contributing to its development. This method of astrology is used to answer the why, what and how of a specific matter or event, by casting a horoscope for the exact moment at which the question was asked. An interpretation of this snapshot of the cosmos, can provide a concise answer to such queries, but may not offer great detail. This type of prediction is useful when an exact time of birth is absent.
Principal Beliefs of Horary Astrology
Moment of the Question: The key belief in horary astrology is that the planetary alignment prevalent at the moment a question is asked, can reveal answers about the future.
Question Types: Horary astrology can address almost any nature of question, but is not quite so suitable for assessing the thoughts and actions of someone other than the enquirer.
Unique Characteristics of Horary Astrology
Chart Cast for the Question: Unlike natal astrology, where the birth chart is the focus, in horary astrology, a chart is cast for the exact time and place when a specific question is understood by the astrologer.
Simplified Interpretations: Horary readings can address immediate concerns, as the astrologer does not need to assess planetary periods, transits and divisional charts.
Specific Rules and Techniques: Horary astrology relies on specific guidelines and techniques. For instance, there are rules about the validity of questions and the use of specific houses and aspects to derive answers.
Krishnamurthy Paddhati (KP Astrology) is a system of astrological predictions and horoscope analysis that was developed by the Indian astrologer K.S. Krishnamurti of Tamilnadu, India. He researched various Indian and Western Astrology methods of analysis, in the mid-20th century.
This system is considered to be a relatively modern and unique approach to astrology, derived from Vedic Astrology. KP astrology however, differs from traditional Vedic astrology in several key ways, uses western aspects and has nine sub-lords for each of the 27 Nakshatras.
It is important to note that while KP astrology has gained popularity in certain regions, particularly in South India, it exists alongside traditional Vedic astrology. Both systems have their own set of practitioners and followers and are used for various types of astrological consultations. Ultimately, the choice between KP astrology and Vedic astrology depends on individual preferences and astrologer recommendations. Having said that, it is also believed that Vedic astrology is a complete system, inspired by divine intervention and perfected over millennia. It is worth noting that many Vedic astrologers are of the view that if the modifications prescribed by the KP system were warranted, they would have been included in Vedic astrology from the outset.
Principal Beliefs of KP Astrology
House Division: In Vedic astrology, the zodiac is divided into 12 equal houses, with each house corresponding to 30° of the zodiac. In KP astrology, a different system of house division is used, known as the 'Placidus House' system. This system divides the zodiac into unequal segments based on the individual's time and place of birth. As a result, house cusps in KP astrology may arise at degrees different to Vedic astrology.
Cusp Significance: KP astrology places a significant emphasis on the cusps or boundaries between two signs or houses. The positions of planets in relation to these cusps are carefully analysed to make predictions. Cuspal positions are considered to be crucial in the KP system.
Unique Characteristics of KP Astrology
Sub-Lords: One distinctive feature of KP astrology is the concept of sub-lords. Each planet is associated with a specific star lord, sub-lord and sub-sub-lord. These sub-lords are used to determine the results of various aspects of life and to make predictions. The sub-lord concept is not a feature of traditional Vedic astrology.
Ruling Planets: Specific planets are chosen as ruling planets for certain houses. These ruling planets play a crucial role in determining the significance of a house, in a particular chart. The concept of ruling planets for houses is another difference between KP and Vedic astrology.
Timing Techniques: The KP system employs specific timing techniques, including the use of multilevel 'Dashas', to make predictions and determine the timing of events. This timing system differs from the traditional Vedic system of major, minor and sub periods.
Simplified Approach: KP astrology is often considered to be a more simplified and straightforward version of the Vedic system, which has a vast array of techniques and methods. KP astrology attempts to be a more systematic and logical approach to astrology.
Empirical Validation: KP astrology encourages astrologers to validate their predictions through empirical observation and testing. It emphasises the need for astrologers to continually refine and improve their predictive skills, but then again, this is an ideal that every good astrologer should aspire to, regardless of their system of preference.
It is evident that each of the major astrology systems has something of unique value to offer. Some may find Western astrology to be accurate, while others may have more faith in Vedic or Hellenistic astrology. Pitting one form of astrology against the other in a bid to find the 'Best' method, is a failure to see the wood from the trees. It is analogous to asking which religion is the best and the answer would be the same, they all are. Each astrological system is a path to discovery, to help us understand more about ourselves, our existence and the unseen forces around us. Astrology is but a key to help unlock our minds to the larger possibilities of life. The form such a key happens to assume, is immaterial.
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