Vedic Astrology

Vedic zodiac signs and house system


Rāshi – (the zodiac signs)


A zodiac divides the 360 degrees of the ecliptic into 12 equal parts. Each twelfth part (of 30 degrees) is called a sign or rāshi. Whereas Western astrology uses the tropical zodiac (where the signs are measured from the point of the Spring Equinox on the ecliptic), the Jyotisha system favors the sidereal zodiac (where the signs are aligned with their eponymous constellations). The difference becomes noticeable over time as a result of the precession of the equinoxes. After two millennia, the origin of the ecliptic longitude has shifted by about 22 degrees. As a result the assignment of planets to their sign positions in the Jyotisha system is consistent with the actual zodiac, while in Western astrology the planets fall into the following sign, as compared to their placement in the sidereal zodiac, about two thirds of the time. The Sanskrit names of the signs are direct translations of the Greek names (dhanus meaning \”bow\” rather than \”archer\”, and kumbha meaning \”water-pitcher\” rather than \”water-carrier\”).

Number Sanskrit Name Western Name Element
1 Meṣa \”ram\” Aries (Κριός \”ram\”) Fire
2 Vṛṣabha \”bull\” Taurus (Ταύρος \”bull\”) Earth
3 Mithuna \”twins\” Gemini (Δίδυμοι \”twins\”) Air
4 Karka \”crab\” Cancer (Καρκίνος \”crab\”) Water
5 Siṃha \”lion\” Leo (Λέων \”lion\”) Fire
6 Kanyā \”girl\” Virgo (Παρθένος \”virgin\”) Earth
7 Tula \”balance\” Libra (Ζυγός \”balance\”) Air
8 Vṛścika \”scorpion\” Scorpio (Σκόρπειος \”scorpion\”) Water
9 Dhanus \”bow\” Sagittarius (Τοξότης \”archer\”) Fire
10 Makara \”sea-monster\” Capricorn (Αἰγόκερως \”goat-horned\”) Earth
11 Kumbha \”pitcher\” Aquarius (Ὑδροχόος \”water-pourer\”) Air
12 Mīna \”fish\” Pisces (Ἰχθείς \”fish\”) Water

 Bhāva – (the houses)


A house is a zodiacal division according to local time and location (i.e. an effectively \”moving\” division of the sky from the perspective of a fixed observer, rather than a fixed portion according to the stars as is true of the signs.) Houses are enumerated counter-clockwise from the house on the eastern horizon, passing through the \”other side of the sky\” and the western horizon to return to the starting point.

More than one system to align houses with signs are recognized in Jyotisha. One is what Western astrologers call the whole sign house system, another is Sripathi, akin to a Porphyry house system. The modern Krishnamurti Paddhati also incorporates a Placidus house system.

The significance of the 12 houses are:

  1. Lagna – Nature of Native, Appearance, Health, Character, Purpose of Life
  2. Dhana – Wealth, Family, Domestic Comforts, Early Education, Inheritance
  3. Parākrama – Younger Brothers and Sisters, Communication (Talking, Writing, Business Documents), Intelligence, Later Education, Short Journeys
  4. Suhṛda – Mother, Education, Home, Property and Land, Surrounding in Old Age
  5. Suta – Children, Lover, Recreation, Devotion, Speculation and Gambling, Creativity
  6. Ripu/Roga – Health, Maternal uncle and aunt, Litigation, Servants, Mental Worries, Enemies
  7. Kāma – Spouse, Business Partner, Death, Trade, Agreement, Honour and Reputation
  8. Mrityu – Sex, Longevity, Failure, Family of spouse, Dowry, Inheritance, Imprisonment
  9. Bhāgya – Luck, Higher learning, Travelling, Religion, Mentor, Father, Prosperity
  10. Karma – Profession, Status, Power, Father, Mother-in-law, Government and Business
  11. Āya – Friends, Hopes, Earnings, Club or Social Activities, Elder Brothers and Sisters, Daughter/Son-in-law
  12. Vyaya – Expenses, Sleep, Donations, Foreign stay, Private Enemies, Imprisonment, Hospitals



Graha – the planets

Graha literally means any heavenly body or point that can cast an impact on human affairs. It may be translated as planet for ease. Graha also includes lunar nodes (Rahu and Ketu) and sub-planets (upgrahas) which are not planets but no less effective than planets.

There are nine grahas: the two luminaries, the five visible planets and the two lunar nodes. The extra-saturnine planets (Uranus and Neptune) are not included in the category of Graha.

Sanskrit Name English Name Abbreviation Gender Guna Represents
Surya (सूर्य) Sun Sy or Su M Sattva Soul, king, highly placed persons, father.
Chandra (चंद्र) Moon Ch or Mo F Sattva Mind, queen, mother.
Mangala (मंगल) Mars Ma M Tamas energetic action, confidence and ego
Budha (बुध) Mercury Bu or Me N Rajas Communication and analysis
Brihaspati (बृहस्पति) Jupiter Gu or Ju M Sattva the great teacher
Shukra (शुक्र) Venus Sk or Ve F Rajas wealth, pleasure and reproduction
Shani (शनि) Saturn Sa F Tamas learning the hard way. Career and Longevity
Rahu (राहु) Head of Demon Snake Ascending/North Lunar Node Ra M Tamas a Asura who does his best to plunge any area of one\’s life he controls into chaos
Ketu (केतु) Tail of Demon Snake Descending/South Lunar Node Ke M Tamas supernatural influences


This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article \”jyotisa\”.



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