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Your Real Sign and Vedic Astrology: Avoid the Sidereal Zodiac Trap of Jyotish at All Costs

Updated on December 16, 2009

Avoid the astrology trap of using the Sidereal zodiac exclusively (or practitioners who do) or risk vast inaccuracies.

You’ve always thought that you had a Sagittarius Sun sign, but then you’re confused when a friend shows you a “cooler” form of astrology, one which totally changes what you thought you knew about your basic natal chart. You think, “How can I have a Scorpio Sun?” You don’t.

Sidereal zodiac (the zodiac of constellations) advocates will tell you, “...but Sidereal is the ‘oldest astrology,’ it’s the basis for Hindu astrology!”

While it is the basis for Hindu astrology, functional Chaldean and Greek predate horoscopic Hindu/Vedic/Jyotish/Indian, and evidence shows that Hindu horoscopic astrology borrowed heavily from these cultures.

You’re not alone if you’ve fallen for a smooth-talking Internet marketer telling you that she’ll help you fix all your problems if you buy her products and services based on the Sidereal zodiac. Her getting testimonials from big, recognizable names (who happen to use the same publishers in many cases) means that she has a good P.R. machine, that’s all.

How to Escape This Trap

We recommend using the Tropical zodiac (and practitioners who do) instead as the primary zodiac. This is the zodiac of Western astrology and it’s what you’ll find at most non-Eastern astrology sites.

While we’re sure there exist talented astrologers in India who rely upon the Sidereal zodiac and have shaped their systems to be efficient in the real world, we have yet to encounter an American, European or other Western astrologer who uses the Sidereal zodiac exclusively and offers even consistently semi-acceptable accuracy rates.

If the practitioner who uses Sidereal is very psychic and, or has developed their own unique, reliable system using it, then perhaps they might be able to obtain consistently high accuracy. But our experience since the 1980s tells us that they don’t exist in America or anywhere else in the Western world.

Your “Real” Signs

It must be said that you won’t find your “real Ascendant/Rising sign” (or “real Sun sign,” or “real Moon sign,” etc.) by using the Sidereal zodiac.

Make no mistake: you won’t find out “…what sign you really are…” using the Sidereal zodiac (basis for Hindu/Vedic/Jyotish/Indian astrology), and it isn’t the “…true zodiac.” Don’t fall for this nonsense.

Sidereal Zodiac Origins

Usage of the Sidereal zodiac is from an era when practitioners had an inadequate understanding of the realities of our planet and solar system. It was already developed (in a very rough form) before the origins of horoscopic astrology.

The origins of the actual precise astrological horoscope (horoscopic astrology), which includes the Ascendant or Rising sign, etc. is traced back to Hellenistic Egypt (about 330 BC - 30 BC). Prior to this time (when the Hindus adopted horoscopic astrology), our findings show that Hindu astrology was essentially an ambiguous spiritual philosophy, without distinct means for explicit delineation and prediction.

The Hindus borrowing the functional horoscope, which includes the Ascendant/Rising sign, from other cultures is certainly acceptable, but using the Sidereal zodiac in conjunction with it results in some technical concerns, as outlined below.

The Sidereal Zodiac system is based on fixed stars, hence the problem. We attach importance to the fixed stars, but we don’t like how the Sidereal system links the degrees of the Ecliptic to them.

The True Ascendant

The true Ascendant (Rising sign), in our opinion, is where the Eastern horizon intercepts the Ecliptic. This is so in the Tropical zodiac system, but not the Sidereal. Using that system, due to the current 20+ degree difference between the zodiacs, you’ll likely have a different Ascendant, Sun sign, and Moon sign, among other differences.


Due to precession, there exists the current 20+ degree discrepancy between the Tropical and Sidereal zodiacs, but it’s only a concern with transits and other superficial timing indicators. The natal calculations are absolutely valid under Tropical, in our opinion. Anyway, you can always adjust Tropical zodiac transit charts, lunar return charts, solar return charts and other methods that are altered due to precession.

Complicated Forms of Astrology

Furthermore, while the techniques of Hindu, or Vedic astrology are said by some proponents to be “more complicated” than those of modern Western astrology, they aren’t more complicated in the least than the collective methods of ancient astrology, including those of Chaldean, Greek, Egyptian, Arabic, and others.

Real Astrology Symbolizes Personal Fate

The more deeply a practitioner objectively explores the science of astrology, instead of trying to find ways to manipulate life to one’s desire (e.g., “getting astrologically unstuck and finding and keeping the love of your life”), what is really discovered is that the comprehensive charts symbolize immutable fate—predestination. Although you can’t turn your charts into a magic genie who will grant all of your wishes, self- understanding, thus acceptance is obtainable.

We accept Sidereal zodiac astrology as an alternative, yet we believe the Tropical zodiac is optimum for precision. We recommend you seek out astrologers who are well-versed in the Topical zodiac, which is the basis for Western astrology. Also, due to proven, more reliable methods, you’re better off hiring astrologers who favor ancient rather than modern astrology, as we’ve detailed in many articles.

Copyright © 2009 Scott Petullo, Stephen Petullo


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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Hi Scott,

      As you’ve noted the ecliptic is determined differently in the tropical and sidereal systems. You seem to be implying that the use of fixed stars by sidereal astrology is intrinsically erroneous.

      Interestingly Wikipedia puts it thus ‘…classical tropical astrology is based on the orientation of the Earth relative to the Sun and planets of the solar system, sidereal astrology deals with the position of the Earth relative to both of these as well as the stars of the celestial sphere. The actual positions of certain fixed stars as well as their constellations is an additional consideration in the horoscope.’

      I think there are still further truths to be discovered in astrology but intuitively and conceptually I can't see anything wrong with the sidereal basis for setting the ecliptic especially from the perspective of a celestial sphere with earth at its centre. (Please feel free to correct me - I currently experiencing a neptune conjunct sun transit and maybe mistaking insight for delusion!)

      I guess the appeal with the tropical system is that it does give certainty based around calendar dates. But certainty doesn't equal accuracy and from my experience the sidereal approach is still proving more insightfull.



    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Hi Scott,

      Thanks for your response. I am interested to know what the fundamental failings of sidereal astrology are vis-a-vis tropical astrology. I mentioned the key difference between my tropical and sidereal charts mainly as a light hearted introduction to the radical differences that can occur for the majority of people shifting from one system to another. For me is dramatic as I have the moon in leo, uranus and pluto in virgo, a taurus ascendant, with all the remaining planets in water signs using the tropical system.

      I'm well aware of the pitfalls of self-analysis but basically want an astrological system that works. Astrological influences are rarely black and white and influences can be subtle. Hence if in doubt all I do is observe people and do my best to come to an impartial judgement on which system 'seems' to give the best character/personality portrayal based on their time of birth and natal chart. So far I've not seen a single instance where the sidereal is less accurate than the tropical. But then off course I could just be unfortunate enough to have numerous acquaintances for which a sidereal chart appears to offer greater insight and accuracy.

      If I was a professional astrologer I would test empirically by casting both a sidereal and a tropical chart for my clients to gauge what system is best. If the sidereal system is the more accurate it then raises fundamental issues for western astrology E.g is neptune in pisces or in aquarius? is mars currently retrograde in leo or virgo.

      I guess given the vested interests, websites, and charts paid for online it would suit most for the tropical approach to be correct. I'm happy for this to be the case - but I want to be convinced by empirical evidence and observations that support this thesis.

      Kind regards,


    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Hi Scott,

      I've been interested in astrology for 20 years but only stumbled on sidereal astrology a couple of months ago. I was totally dismayed at first as all the assumptions I held about myself had to be re-evaluated. My birth date is February 22 (London - UK) and my tropical and sideral charts are radically different. My tropical chart has a pisces stellium (sun, mercury, venus,saturn - the last two conjunct), jupiter in cancer,mars and neptune in scorpio, with the moon in leo. Using the tropical system I lack air signs. Using the sidereal I have Sun and mercury in aquarius,venus and saturn in pisces, with the moon and jupiter conjunct in cancer - and I lack any earth signs! Looking at my chart in context (not just the luminaries) the sidereal chart is a better portrayal of my personality. I have a taurus ascendent using the tropical system. Using the sidereal system my moon-jupiter conjuction is in the 4th house (whole-sign house system) due to my aries ascendant.

      I don't subscribe to the view that you can have two different and equally correct systems. I've observed my partner of 15 years and two daughters and the zodiac archetypes are spot on.

      I also suspect that tropical astrologers are able to make 'passable' analysis of their clients my way of compensation. By this I mean the relationship (aspect) between the luminaries often stays the regardless of whether the tropical or sidereal system is used. E.g the tension between sun-pisces and moon-leo is similar to the tension between sun-aquarius and moon-cancer. In another scenario a pisces-aries sun-moon type becomes an aries-taurus. The waters a further muddled if venus and mercury are in adjacent signs.

      Much to my chagrin I have a sideral mars in libra - its my partner who has mars in scorpio!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      the sidereal zodiac fits me better and its not a trap

      idk why but i never had the characteristics of capricorn im more of a saggitarius

      and in vedic they depend on the moon sign for your true nature not just the sun

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I took this test somewhere and ended up with what seems like Jupiter in Pisces.. Uh.. help?

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Uhm..Jupiter? :-o

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Ok, birth location is Pittsburgh, PA.

      Longitude: 079.59 W

      Latitude: 040.26 N

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      So my being born Dec 10 1974 at 0244 AM eastern USA makes me a?

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      As of what chelsay above wrote about sidereal zodiac- as of my own, my tropical sign is a Sagittarius with a Scorpio rising. I'm so FAR from a Sagittarius as I can ever get. Nothing of the sign fits me at all.

      If using the sidereal, I'm a Scorpio and everything written is just ME. So I stick to that.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      i believe people should choose whichever one they think matches their personality. for me I have always been obsessed w astrology and tropical only explained one tiny tiny aspect of my personality. when i read the sidereal version everything was exactly how i am. some ppl may be down for tropical, but it is a math only based system, instead of physical reality the earth wobbles on its axis and everything moves, not everything can stay in the same spot for thousands and thousands of years. but this works for me, i respect ppls opinions

    • simhachalo profile image


      7 years ago from BERHAMPUR-760004, INDIA, Ph 09337784745





    • profile image


      8 years ago

      The ignorance of users of the Sidereal Zodiac is astonishing. It is easy to use the same techniques but applied to the Tropical Zodiac and see better results - empirical. Having experienced that it is more accurate, how can one stay attached to the S.Z. except through fear of criticism ?

      However, there ARE many people in the United States who are using the S.Z.. That was an absurd statement, and for some would render anything else written in the article to be false, especially those in opposition to your belief.


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