Tag Archives: sidereal zodiac

A Rare and Auspicious Planetary Alignment

Summary: This article examines the effect of a very rare and highly auspicious planetary alignment occurring during September 2020. The planetary configuration occurs in the sidereal zodiac used by Vedic astrologers and represents an outstandingly good time for souls to take a human birth!


A Rare and Auspicious Planetary Alignment

This is a great time to be born!

For about a week, beginning on the 8th September 2020, a rare and highly favourable planetary alignment happens. In the ancient Vedic Astrological system we find that 8 out of the 9 planets, which are used to decode a person’s returning karmas, are in exceptionally good positions in the sidereal zodiac. For example, most of the planets are in their own signs, or exalted signs, etc. and also benefit from being spaced widely apart in the zodiac. They will therefore bring many benefits over an individual’s lifetime as events unfold. It often takes hundreds of years to see similar such occurrences of this configuration, so it is indeed a rare event.

In Jyotish astrology this alignment means that those born during this week will have almost no obstacles to their progress in life. They may have many exceptional talents, be especially gifted and excel in their chosen field.

From a Jyotish perspective those souls incarnating at this time will be blessed with exceptionally good karma throughout their lives and experience a lot of Grace. Some may even turn out to be Mahatmas – great souls born to benefit mankind and, hopefully, to hasten in the dawn of the Age of Enlightenment on planet Earth.

Detailed analysis for Students of Jyotish

The Moon is, of course, the most rapidly moving ‘planet’ and spends roughly two and a third days in each sign. Before the Moon even enters Taurus sidereal, most of the other planets already have a high status or ‘dignity’   (a planet having ‘own sign’, Moolatrikona, or exalted status is ‘out of harms way’ in a birth chart). These planets therefore bring many benefits to someone born at this time. As the Moon moves into Taurus (from 8th to 10th September 2020 – where it has Moolatrikona status) it completes the planetary configuration giving rise to these extremely positive conditions. It then moves through Gemini before entering Cancer sidereal (from 13th to 15th September 2020). In Cancer it has ‘own sign’ status so once again completes this remarkable configuration.

In addition to 8 out of the 9 planets used in Jyotish having a high status as mentioned above, the planets are also spaced well apart in different signs giving rise to a special planetary combination or ‘Yoga’. This is called Veena or Sankhya-Veena Yoga and occurs when 7 planets are spaced separately in 7 signs. As this yoga is associated with the Veena (the classical musical instrument of Saraswati – the ‘deity’ presiding over Knowledge and the arts) this brings extra benefits to individuals born under these circumstances. These would include good prosperity, being fond of dance and music and having higher knowledge – such as being well versed in the Vedas or other scriptures.

People who were born a week or so before or after this rare event will still benefit from many planets in their birth chart having very good status. For example, although the Moon moves out of its own sign Cancer on the 15th September, the Sun remains in its own sign Leo until Sept. 17th, 2020. When it leaves Leo this further breaks the configuration.

The first highly auspicious period during this week begins on the 8th September 2020 around 10 am GMT as the Moon moves into Taurus sidereal. It then leaves this sign on the 10th September 2020 at around 9 pm GMT. The second highly auspicious period is from around 6 am on 13th September 2020 to about 9 am on 15th September 2020. For the record, the planetary positions (at 0 hours GMT in the sidereal zodiac on the 9th) are as follows:

Sun 23 Leo Own Sign
Moon 7 Taurus Moolatrikona
Mars 4 Aries Moolatrikona
Mercury 11 Virgo Exalted Sign
Jupiter 23 Sagittarius Own Sign
Venus 9 Cancer Neutral Sign
Saturn 1 Capricorn Own Sign
Rahu 1 Gemini Moolatrikona
Ketu 1 Sagittarius Moolatrikona

Will all individuals born during this period have the same karma? No, most certainly not. Individual karmas will need to be decoded (or ‘read’) from each person’s birth-chart. This will take into account the usual multi-layered factors such as: what is the ascending sign for a particular birth time and where is its ‘ruler’ placed; a house by house analysis including house ruler placement; occupying planets; aspects to the house; finer detail determinants – such as the divisional charts, etc. Karmas also unfold differently for different individuals as indicated by the Jyotish Mahadasa system.

Is this alignment ‘perfect’? Well, it is probably as good as it ever gets. Some of the very best charts I have seen have only had 4 high status planets and this configuration goes far beyond that! However, more advanced students of Jyotish will recognise some minor ‘weak points’ due to the following; a few planets being in the first degree or so of a sign; the Moon is waning and moving nearer the Sun; some planets are retrograde (giving rise to the usual debates about the effect of retrograde motion on planetary behaviour); and possibly even some debates about where the nodes experience ‘dignity’. None the less, a birth during this alignment represents extremely good ‘happy karmic returns’ for souls reincarnating at this time.

So, will this period be of great benefit to everyone and not just those born at this time? The answer is unfortunately not. While it is always good to have transiting planets in a positive state they only account for a fraction of people’s returning karmas. The vast majority is delineated by the Vedic Mahadasa system – which has nothing to do with the transiting planets. Therefore, although Vedic astrology indicates it is a truly great time to be born, it does not imply it is an outstandingly good time for those of us already here!

Additional Information

    1. This auspicious configuration was noticed by the authors on the Applied Vedic Astrology website in their ‘year ahead’ predictions. However, they did not look specifically at its effects on birth charts.
    2. For more basic Introductory information on Jyotish see FAQ’s 1, FAQ’s 2, and Introduction to Vedic Astrology article

Jyotish – Sidereal Zodiac

Summary: This article examines the differences in the zodiacs use by Vedic Astrology and Western Astrology.  It explains why Jyotish uses the fixed sidereal zodiac and not the movable tropical zodiac. It shows how sun signs, ascendants and all planetary positions can appear in different signs in the two systems.

Jyotish uses the fixed Sidereal Zodiac

  • Jyotish astrology uses a different zodiac from that used in western astrology
  • The zodiacs used in both Jyotish and Western Astrology are based on an imaginary sphere in the heavens. In both systems this is divided into 12 equal parts, each of 30 degrees, just like the segments in an orange. Both zodiacs use the same sign names e.g. Aries, Taurus, etc. for each of the segments. The sun takes about one month to apparently ‘move’ through each zodiac sign.
  • Jyotish uses the fixed or sidereal zodiac. ‘Sidereal’ means ‘with respect to the stars’. So the starting point of the sidereal zodiac is permanently fixed in one position using the background of non-moving stars in our own galaxy as a reference point [1]. So, in the sidereal zodiac, the sign divisions remain forever fixed against the background of the stellar constellations. So, the starting point of the first sign Aries is always fixed in Vedic Astrology.
  • Western Astrology uses the movable, tropical zodiac. The starting point of this zodiac actually moves relative to the background of the ‘fixed’ stars over a period of time according to the position of the equinox. This movement is caused by the astronomically observable ‘precession of the equinox’ phenomenon [2].
  • So, in Western astrology the position of what is known as the sign of ‘Aries’ actually moves through the sky against the background of the fixed stars. It is not linked to a particular stellar constellation at all! Many people, including students of Western Astrology, find this fact very, very surprising.
  • The angular difference between the two zodiacs is known as the ‘ayanamsa’ and this figure increases with time [3]. Although the starting point of both zodiacs coincided about 1700 years ago, the Western astrologer’s tropical zodiac has now moved away from this position.
  • At this point in time (2018) there is a difference of about 24 degrees between the two zodiacs. Therefore, if our Sun is at 29 degrees Virgo in the Western tropical zodiac it will now be located at 29 – 24 deg. = 5 deg. Virgo in the sidereal zodiac. Notice, still in Virgo in this case in both Jyotish and Western astrology.  However, if our sun lies between 0 deg. and 24 deg. in Virgo in the Western tropical zodiac it will now be in Leo in the sidereal zodiac used in Vedic astrology. It has moved backwards in the Vedic chart by the ayanamsa amount (about 24 degrees) and ends up in the previous sign [4]. So, in this case our sun sign will now be different: Virgo in Western astrology, Leo in Jyotish! The same principle applies to all other planetary positions in our chart and to our ascendant too. This difference can explain many anomalies in charts interpreted by modern Western astrologers.
  • Astronomers often criticise Western astrologers for using the movable tropical zodiac as the sign ‘Aries’ actually moves through the sky over a period of time. However, this objection cannot be levelled against Jyotish astrology as it uses a fixed and not a movable zodiac.
  • Jyotish regards the stellar constellations or Nakshatras as being of considerable importance in chart interpretation, compatibility analysis and in determining the best time for important actions (Muhurtha). Hence it is hardly surprising that Jyotish uses a zodiac which is permanently anchored relative to the fixed stars.


[1] The ‘fixed stars’ are so far away from earth that their angular motion relative to our sun is extremely small, even over many thousands of years. So we can legitimately use the term ‘fixed’ or ‘immovable’.

[2] The equinox point on the Earth’s orbit around the sun moves, relative to the background of the ‘fixed’ stars, due to what is called the ‘precession of the equinox’. This is a well-defined astronomical phenomenon which is due to a slight ‘wobble’ on the Earth’s axis of spin (a bit like a spinning top whose axis itself slowly moves, tracing out a conical shape). It takes around 26,000 years for the earth to complete one precessional cycle.

[3] As of 2018 the angular difference between the two zodiacs is now about 24 degrees. This figure (or one very close to it), derived by Lahiri, is accepted by Jyotish astrologers. Most astrological tables show Lahiri’s ayanamsa. The tropical zodiac, therefore, moves  relative to the sidereal (fixed) zodiac by about one degree every 71 years. (Although this movement seems small it was observed by ancient Egyptian astronomers thousands of years ago.) Over time it makes a big difference!

[4] The difference in planetary positions between the zodiacs is now around 24 degrees. If our sun was, say 14 degrees in Virgo in Western Astrology, it will be at 14 – 24 = – 10 degrees Virgo in the Vedic system! This simply means it has has moved backwards and changed sign into the position of 20 degrees in Leo in the Vedic system (as -10 + 30 = 20). However if our sun was at 28 degrees Virgo in the Tropical zodiacit will now be at 28 – 24 = 4 degrees Virgo in the sidereal zodiac. In this case it has not changed sign

Vedic and Western Astrology: Key Differences

Summary:  This article examines the key differences between Vedic Astrology and Western Astrology. Vedic Astrological system differs dramatically from the Western Astrological system in its origins, paradigms and methodology.

Vedic Astrology’s Concepts and Paradigms

Jyotish is predictive. It is fundamentally involved with ‘karmic engineering’. It identifies possible obstacles in life and predicts both positive and more difficult periods in the future. It attempts to detect a person’s returning karmas and predicts when they are likely to manifest.

Jyotish is preventive. It uses a wide range of remedial measures deigned to influence an individual’s returning karma.

Jyotish astrology employs techniques for predicting the optimum time to commence major undertakings e.g. starting a business, getting married, building a house, etc.

Vedic Astrology comes from the same traditions as yoga. Unlike Western Astrology, which was developed by people over centuries, Jyotish was cognized. In Vedic cognition a great seer or rishi (in this case Maharishi Parashara) connected his individual consciousness to the ‘cosmic computer’ and ‘downloaded’ the whole of Vedic Astrology’s knowledge and techniques.

Because Vedic Astrology sees the universe and the beings in it as part of an interconnected whole – a field of energy, order and ‘intelligence’, it deals with coded information. Western astrology is more ‘Newtonian’ and mechanistic in that it suggests all planets emit some type of, as yet undiscovered, force that affects humans on Earth. So every time astronomers discover a new celestial object in our solar system Western Astrology adapts and devises astrological properties for the object. Jyotish regards this as unnecessary.

Vedic Astrology’s Methods

Jyotish Astrology uses only nine Grahas – roughly translated as the nine ‘planets’ – the seven visible ‘planets’ up to and including Saturn, plus the two nodes of the Moon. Unlike Western Astrology, it does not use the planets beyond Saturn. In Vedic Astrology, all the information needed for prediction is encoded in the arrangements of the nine planets at the time of birth. In Jyotish the planets do not emit some type of, as yet undiscovered, ‘ force’ that affects individuals. It is more a matter of coded information. It is not a mechanistic ‘Newtonian force’ type of concept!

Jyotish uses the totally unique mahadasha system of prediction to delineate time periods of major karmic influence. In common with Western Astrology it also uses transits, but their effect is usually of much less importance than the mahadashas.

In Vedic Astrology an individual’s ascendant (the sign that was rising on the eastern horizon at the time of birth) is of fundamental importance. The sun sign used by Western Astrology is of relatively little importance.

Although Jyotish uses the same twelve signs of the zodiac that the Western system uses, this zodiac is permanently referenced to the fixed stars. Jyotish uses the fixed or sidereal zodiac.

The starting point of the Western Astrologer’s zodiac is referenced to the movable equinox points, not the fixed stars. This Tropical zodiac moves slowly through the sky against the background of the fixed stars. This means that the part of the zodiac called ‘Aries’ in the Western system is not actually linked to a particular constellation and changes over a period of time.

Traditional Jyotish astrology always involves the equal house concept – every house occupies 30 degrees of the sky and houses correspond exactly with signs in the sidereal zodiac. The Western system frequently uses unequal angular house divisions.