Vedic Astrology is the study of positions of heavenly bodies like Sun, Moon, Mars etc. with respect to the zodiac and the interpretation of the effect of such heavenly bodies on the events in earth in the life of an individual or a country or the whole world. It is called Vedic Astrology, because the principles on which the study and interpretations are made were first enumerated in the 'Vedas' - the first treatise of ancient Hindu philosophy.
What is Zodiac?
What is Zodiac? If we imagine a path in the sky at approximately 18 degrees arc in the width encircling the earth in an east west direction, groups of stars will appear to be apparently fixed with respect to earth along this imaginary path. There are 27 groups of stars in the path which are recognized by Vedic Astrology. These groups of stars in the imaginary path are called zodiac. This zodiac forms the reference for fixing up the position of any planet or star in the sky. Since this zodiac is encircling the earth it can be measured as 360 degrees, where these 27 groups of stars are evenly placed, hence each of them have a span of 360 degrees/27 = 13 degrees 20' arc.
What are Zodiac Signs or Rashis?
When the zodiac is divided into 12 equal parts each having a span of 30 degrees arc, then each of this arc is called a zodiac sign. A sign, therefore, will consist of 2 ¼ groups of stars. A particular group of stars called Ashwini, in the zodiac is considered the starting point of the zodiac and is called the star no.1. Similarly, there are individual name for the 26 group of stars. Ashwini(1), Bharini(2), Krittika(3) are the first three stars in the zodiac. As stated earlier, the first span of 30 degrees arc in the zodiac will consist of Ashwini, Bharini and ¼ of Krittika constitute the first zodiac sign called 'Aries'. The name of the remaining 11 zodiac signs after 'Aries' are : Taurus(2), Gemini(3), Cancer(4), Leo(5), Virgo(6), Libra(7), Scorpio(8), Sagittarius(9), Capricorn(10), Aquarius(11) and Pisces(12).
What are Heavenly Bodies?
Influencing the events on earth Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, Rahu, and Ketu all loosely termed as planets, appear to revolve around the earth continuously while always staying within the limits of zodiac. Vedic astrology in the ancient text had recognized these 9 entities. Out of which, the Sun is a star. Moon is the satellite of earth. Rahu and Ketu are two mathematical points on the zodiac and the rest are planets. Modern Vedic Astrologers also consider the effect of distant planets like Neptune, Uranus and Pluto.
What is an Ecliptic?
The apparent movement or path of the Sun along the zodiac is called the Ecliptic. The ecliptic passes through the center of zodiac and is inclined at an angle of 23 degrees and 28 minutes to the center of zodiac.
What are Rahu and Ketu?
Moon's apparent path around the earth intersects the ecliptic obliquely at two points called the 'Nodes'. The point where the Moon crosses the ecliptic from south to north is called the ascending node or 'Rahu' when it crosses the ecliptic from north to south is called the descending node or 'Ketu'. These 2 points are 6 zodiac signs or 180 degrees apart. The position of these two points with respect to zodiac signs are of equal importance to position of other planets with respect to zodiac sign in Vedic astrology.