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Rāśi – the zodiac signs – Star of Astrology

Rāśi – the zodiac signs

Rāśi – the zodiac signs

The sidereal zodiac is an imaginary belt of 360 degrees, divided into 12 equal parts. Each twelfth part is called a sign or rāśi in Sanskrit. Jyotish and Western zodiacs differ in the method of measurement. While synchronically, the two systems are identical, Jyotish uses primarily the sidereal zodiac in which stars are considered to be the fixed background against which the motion of the planets is measured, whereas most Western astrology uses the tropical zodiac, the motion of the planets is measured against the position of the Sun on the Spring equinox.

This difference becomes noticeable over time. After two millennia, as a result of the precession of the equinoxes, the origin of the ecliptic longitude has shifted by about 22 degrees.

As a result the placement of planets in the Jyotish 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.

No Sanskrit Name Western Name Element Ruling Planet
1 Mesha (मेष) “ram” Aries Fire Mars
2 Vrishabha (वृषभ) “bull” Taurus Earth Venus
3 Mithuna (मिथुन) “twins” Gemini Air Mercury
4 Karka (कर्कट) “crab” Cancer Water Moon
5 Simha (सिंह) “lion” Leo Fire Sun
6 Kanya (कन्या) “girl” Virgo Earth Mercury
7 Tula (तुला) “balance” Libra Air Venus
8 Vrishchika (वृश्चिक) “scorpion” Scorpio Water Mars
9 Dhanu (धनुष) “bow” Sagittarius Fire Jupiter
10 Makara (मकर) “sea-monster” Capricorn Earth Saturn
11 Kumbha (कुम्भ) “pitcher” Aquarius Air Saturn
12 Meena (मीन) “fish” Pisces Water Jupiter
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