When we talk of the laws of astrology, we have to remember that this is not a rigid discipline in the same way as say a science like physics is. That is, if 'Laws' are taken to mean tenets that apply universally and which hold true under all circumstances, then in astrology, there are in fact none. Going back to the physics analogy, there are constants like the speed of light for which Einstein said, "E = MC2, this cannot and will not change anywhere in the universe", or words to that effect. Similarly, we have the three Laws of Motion that have applied to classical physics ever since Newton bounced an apple off his head.
While there have been many eminent experts in the field of astrology, they haven't really pronounced any 'Thou shalt nots'. The laws of astrology are more in the form of highly recommended principles and some of the more prominent amongst these have been described below. Follow them and you are likely to find astrology to be a rewarding practice. However, should anyone indulging in the art choose to bend these laws according to their own whims and fancies, they are free to do so without fear of being read their rights by the astrology police!
There is suggestion that astrology is based on the principles of alchemy. However, astrology has many forms and most of these do not comply with this theory. Therefore, other than the often used quote of, 'As above, so below', there is no meaningful correlation between alchemy and astrology.
The Main Principles of Western Astrology
Western astrology operates on several fundamental principles or laws. These laws provide a general framework for understanding the principles of Western astrology.
The Law of Correspondence: This law suggests that there is a correspondence or connection between celestial bodies and earthly events. It implies that the positions and movements of the planets and stars can influence human behaviour and events on Earth. In other words, your bog-standard definition of all forms of astrology.
The Law of Planetary Influence: According to this law, each planet in the solar system has its own unique energy and characteristics that can influence different aspects of an individual's life. For example, the Sun represents vitality and self-expression, while Venus signifies love and relationships.
The Law of Signs: Western astrology divides the zodiac into twelve signs, each representing specific qualities and traits. The Law of Signs states that the position of the Sun at the time of a person's birth determines their zodiac sign and influences their personality and life path.
The Law of Aspects: Aspects refer to the geometric angles formed between planets in a birth chart. The Law of Aspects states that these angles create specific relationships between the planets, influencing their combined energy and shaping a person's experiences and interactions.
The Law of Transits: This law focuses on the current positions and movements of planets in relation to an individual's birth chart. Transits can bring about significant life events or trigger specific energies that affect personal growth and development.
The Main Principles of Vedic Astrology
Vedic astrology, also known as Jyotish, operates on several fundamental principles. The principles and techniques used in Vedic astrology differ in some aspects from Western astrology, highlighting the rich diversity in astrological systems around the world. It's important to note that Vedic astrology is deeply rooted in Hindu culture and traditions and has been practiced for thousands of years in India. Here are the main principles of Vedic astrology:
Karma and Destiny: Vedic astrology believes in the concept of 'Karma', which suggests that our actions in past lives and the present influence our destiny. It holds that our current life experiences are a result of past actions and that astrology can provide insights into our karmic patterns.
Birth Chart Analysis: Vedic astrology utilises a birth chart, known as a horoscope or Kundali, which is calculated based on the exact time, date and place of birth. The birth chart is a map of the celestial positions at the time of birth and is used to interpret various aspects of a person's life, including personality, career, relationships and health.
Nine Planets: Vedic astrology recognizes nine planets, including the Sun and Moon, as well as the shadow planets Rahu and Ketu. Each planet represents specific energies and governs different areas of life. The placement and interactions of these planets in the birth chart are analysed to make predictions and provide guidance.
Dashas and Bhuktis: Vedic astrology uses planetary periods known as 'Dashas' and sub-periods called 'Bhuktis' to determine the timing of events in a person's life. These periods are based on the position of the Moon at birth and provide insights into significant life events and experiences.
Remedies and Rituals: Vedic astrology offers various remedies and rituals to mitigate the effects of challenging planetary influences and enhance positive energies. These remedies may include:
Jyotish Shastra: Vedic astrology is a comprehensive system that encompasses various branches and specialised areas, known as Jyotish Shastra. These branches include natal astrology (Janma Kundali), predictive astrology (Phalit Jyotish), medical astrology (Ayur Jyotish) and more, providing in-depth insights into specific areas of life.
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The Similarities between the Vedic & Western Forms of Astrology
While Western astrology tends to focus on psychological and personality-based interpretations, Vedic astrology often incorporates spiritual and 'Karmic' elements into its analyses. The specific methodologies, calculations and emphasis on certain factors may differ between the two systems, but they share a foundational understanding of the influence of planets and celestial energies on human life.
Zodiac Signs: Both Western and Vedic astrology utilise the same twelve zodiac signs, starting with Aries and ending with Pisces. However, the interpretations and calculations differ between the two systems.
Planetary Influences: Both systems recognize the significance of planetary influences in shaping a person's life. They attribute certain characteristics and energies to the planets and analyse their placements in the birth chart to make predictions and interpretations.
Birth Chart Analysis: Both Western and Vedic astrology use birth charts to assess various aspects of a person's life. These charts are constructed based on the date, time and location of birth and provide a blueprint of the celestial positions at that moment.
Interpretation of Houses: Both systems divide the birth chart into twelve houses, each representing different areas of life, such as career, relationships, finance and health. The interpretation of these houses may differ to some extent, but the overall concept is similar.
Importance of Transits: Both Western and Vedic astrology consider the movements of planets over time, known as transits. These transits are believed to influence and trigger significant events and experiences in a person's life.
Predictive Techniques: Both systems employ various predictive techniques to make forecasts and predictions about future events and trends. These techniques may include transits, aspects, planetary alignments and more.
Horary Astrology: Horary astrology is a branch of astrology that specialises in answering specific questions or determining outcomes based on the time the question is asked. It uses the chart cast for the moment of the query to provide insights and predictions. Western and Vedic astrology both make use of this predictive technique. In Vedic astrology this is called 'Prashan Shastra'.
The Differences between the Laws Governing Vedic & Western Forms of Astrology
Western and Vedic astrology are two distinct systems with their own unique approaches and methodologies. It's important to note that while there are differences between the two astrological systems, they both share a common goal of understanding human behaviour and offering insights into personal and collective experiences. Some individuals may resonate more with one system over the other based on cultural background, personal preferences, or belief systems. Here are some of the main differences between the two:
Zodiac System: One of the significant differences is the zodiac system used. Western astrology primarily follows the tropical zodiac, which is based on the Earth's relationship with the Sun and the changing seasons. Some western astrologers even consider there to be 13 signs, in recognition of the sun sign of 'Ophiuchus', which falls between November 29 and December 17. Vedic astrology, on the other hand, primarily follows the sidereal zodiac, which accounts for the precession of the equinoxes and the actual positions of the constellations.
Calculation Methods: Western astrology employs different calculation methods for constructing birth charts, such as Placidus, Koch and Whole Sign houses. Vedic astrology predominantly uses the sidereal zodiac with a specific house division system called the 'Whole Sign' house system.
Under this system, the main natal chart is further subdivided into an additional, twelve divisional charts. Each divisional chart is specific a particular area of a person's life, similar to each house of the main natal chart.
Time and Space Considerations: Vedic astrology places significant emphasis on precise birth time and location, as even small differences can affect the predictions. Western astrology also considers these factors, but there may be more flexibility in interpreting charts, allowing for a broader focus on psychological and personality analysis.
Use of 'Dashas' and Predictive Techniques: Vedic astrology employs unique predictive techniques, such as the system of planetary periods known as 'Dashas'. These 'Dashas' provide a detailed timeline of events and trends in a person's life. Western astrology, on the other hand, primarily focuses on transits and progressions to make predictions.
Numerology Considerations: Vedic astrology accords reverence to the power of numbers, whether this be in relation to zodiac signs, planets or dates. There is thus a close association between the two systems, which is not necessarily the case for Western astrology.
Cultural Influences: Vedic astrology is deeply rooted in Hindu mythology and is essentially based on Hindu beliefs and philosophies. It often incorporates concepts like 'Karma' and reincarnation into its interpretations. Western astrology has evolved within a Western cultural context and is influenced by various philosophical and psychological schools of thought.
Other Major Forms of Astrology
Apart from the Western and Vedic forms of astrology, there are several other major astrological systems. These are a few notable examples of other forms of astrology that are practiced worldwide. Each form has its own unique traditions, techniques and cultural influences, offering diverse perspectives and insights into astrology's role in understanding human life and destiny.
Chinese Astrology: Chinese astrology is based on the lunar calendar and has a rich history spanning thousands of years. It uses a 12-year cycle of animal signs, such as the years of the Rat, the Ox, the Tiger and so on. There is also a system of elemental influences namely, wood, fire, earth, metal and water that provide insights into personality traits, compatibility and future predictions.
Tibetan Astrology: Tibetan astrology, also known as Tibetan horoscope or 'Mo' astrology, combines elements of both Chinese and Indian astrology. It incorporates the Tibetan calendar, lunar cycles and astrological calculations to offer guidance on various aspects of life, including health, relationships and spiritual matters.
Mayan Astrology: Mayan astrology originated from the ancient Mayan civilization in Central America. It is based on the Mayan calendar system and combines aspects of astronomy and astrology. Mayan astrology focuses on the interpretation of the Tzolk'in calendar, which consists of 20 day-signs and 13 numbers.
Arabic and Islamic Astrology: Arabic and Islamic astrology was developed in the Middle East and have roots in ancient Mesopotamia. These forms of astrology emphasise the importance of fixed stars, planetary movements and astrological charts to provide insights into different aspects of life, such as health, marriage and career.
Hellenistic Astrology: Hellenistic astrology refers to the astrological practices and techniques developed during the Hellenistic period in ancient Greece and Egypt. It laid the foundation for many principles and concepts are still used in Western astrology, as descibed above. Hellenistic astrology focuses on the interpretation of natal charts, planetary aspects and predictive techniques.
Astrology is a mystical tool that has been created for your benefit. Familiarising yourself with its principles and practices will allow you to exploit these benefits to better every aspect of your life. At the end of the day, astrology only really has one rule, which is that you are at liberty to accept and reject whatever you please.