Sidereal Zodiac is not Authentic

David Frawley says: “Because the tropical system is a Solar-based system the commonly held opinion is that the tropical system is better at describing the personality and psychological patterns. The Vedic system is often considered to be better at describing the soul nature and predicting actual events because it’s tied to the actual fixed constellations.”

The “actual fixed constellations” are 13 in number and all of them are of unequal size. Therefore please explain how the sidereal zodiac (12 equal size signs) is a high-fidelity representation of the “actual constellations.”

The signs are not constellations to begin with. They are mathematical divisions of the Sun’s yearly apparent path. The constellations bearing their names are approximate namesakes.

Furthermore, the Sun represents the soul. The Moon represents the mind.  Even if we accept the wrong statement that the tropical zodiac is “more solar-based” why would this describe mental character like personality and psychology, that is the Moon’s affair. And why would it not describe “soul nature” which is the Sun’s domain? The logic presented in this quote is exceedingly sloppy on every level.

David Frawley writes in his book, The Astrology of the Seers, that “The sidereal zodiac is probably the original zodiac historically, as it is the observable zodiac. The tropical, which is an abstract zodiac, must have been derived from it, as all abstractions are usually based on underlying observable things.”

The observable stars consists of 13 constellations on the ecliptic and each one is a different size. What is the resemblance of this observation to a “sidereal zodiac” of 12 equal signs? It is certainly only an approximate resemblance.

Furthermore the 12 signs exist as a division of the Sun’s path intersected by the Moons – there being 12 lunar cycles through the zodiac during the Sun’s single cycle. Thus the signs are based upon the Sun’s movement. Stars cannot be seen / observed at all when the Sun is out. Rather what is observed is the length of the day and night. Thus equinoxes and solstices are the observable phenomenon relative to the Sun’s motion through the year, not stars.

The lunar “zodiac” is stellar and sidereal, because we observe stars when the Moon is out at night. Thus the lunar division of 27 / 28 star-clusters (nakshatra) is surely sidereal.

“But I have been working with sidereal zodiac for years, and…”

I am not saying that the sidereal zodiac makes an astrological chart completely bogus. I am saying that the tropical zodiac makes it clearer and simpler. Furthermore I am not concerned with so-and-so’s “experience” or “interpretation” if it contradicts the clear statements of Sastra. Western people may not understand this epistemology, but at least those of you who purport to be “Vedic” and “Indian” should know the validity of this outlook. The Shastra – Srimad Bhagavatam, Surya Siddhanta and all others –  define the zodiac as a tropical entity. Therefore the case is closed. Please see my article and video for full details on this:

– Vic DiCara



  1. Sasha says:

    How does this change to one’s personal chart. Do you move ayanamsa from lahiri to tropical (sayana)? If not than what does change?


    1. any calculation relative to rashis is done in tropical / sayana. Any calculation relative to nakshatras is done with ayanamsha. Lahiri Ayanamsha seems fine to me, at least at present.


  2. Abhirama Das says:

    I don’t think we should repeat this 13 constellations statement. This is a copy paste argument which is mainly used by the so called scientist when they speak against astrology. Buy doing this they show that they are criticizing a topic they have not researched. There are 88 constellations, not 13. And even this statement depends on who defined those so called constellations. In different cultures ancients have named different number of constellations with different names. But OK, when I point that out, then they say that they are speaking about the constellations on the ecliptic, not about all of them, and those are 13 in number. 🙂 Well, this is wrong again. There are 14 of them. Orions’ club reaches the ecliptic too. This is a proof that most people are just repeating what someone else has said previously and what they consider to be a valid argument, without researching the topic themselves.

    But it is interesting esoterically. Those two additional constellations are opposed to each other and they both mark the areas from where the Milky Way intersects the ecliptic. 🙂

    Anyway, the point is that nobody has been able to present where in the vedas are rashis defined like — “these stars make this rashi and those other stars make another rashi.” There is no such statement. Therefore we may call such a zodiac sidereal but it can not be called vedic. It is not defined in the vedas.

    There are some constellations defined by the stars like the constellation of Seven Sages. But there is no evidence of rashis being defined like that. If there would be such a statement, nobody would use Lahiri ayanamsa. They would use a vedic version instead. But today we only have a parampara that started from Lahiri who was born two centuries ago only. :))))


    1. The point is that the real stars do not form 12 equal sized constellations, and therefore the sidereal zodiac is not a high-definition representation of what is really up there in the night sky. There might be 13, 14 or 1,314 – that’s not really the relevant point.

      I agree with the rest. I want to point out that the committee which recommended Lahiri to the Indian government reccomended it as a way-point or stepping stone to a full tropical reform. See:

      Lahiri was inspired by the astronomy historian S. B. Dikshita, who in the late 19th century wrote an important book on the history of Indian astronomy [History of Indian Astronomy, Part II]. Dikshita came to the conclusion that, given the prominence that Vedic religion gave to the cardinal points of the tropical year, the Indian calendar should be reformed and no longer be based on the sidereal, but on the tropical zodiac. However, if such a reform could not be brought about due to the rigid conservatism of contemporary Vedic culture, one should choose the Ayanāṃśa in such a way that the sidereal zero point was in opposition to Spica, because this would be in accordance with the zodiac of the 16th century astronomer Ganeśa Daivajña.

      A similar point of view was maintained by the Calendar Reform Committee, when it recommended the Lahiri Ayanāṃśa: “This recommendation is to be regarded only as a measure of compromise, so that we avoid a violent break with the established custom. But it does not make our present seasons in the various months as they were in the days of Varahamihira or Kalidasa. It is hoped that at not a distant date, further reforms for locating the lunar and solar festivals in the seasons in which they were originally observed will be adopted.” (Calendar Reform Committee Report, p. 5)

      – Adapted from Deiter Koch’s research.


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