The zodiac that is used in Vedic Astrology, is very different from the one used in Western Astrology. The Vedic system uses the sidereal (fixed) zodiac, which is based on the actual positions of the stars. The zodiac used in Western Astrology is the tropical zodiac, which is based on the seasons and has in principle no particular connection with the position of the stars. The difference between the sidereal and tropical zodiac is called the Ayanamsha. In this century, the difference is around 23 degrees, less than 1 sign.
The 12th sign is Meena (Pisces). Parashara describes Meena as follows:
“It resembles a pair of fish, one tailed with the head of the other. This rashi is strong at night. It is a watery rashi and is predominant with Sattwa guna. It denotes resoluteness and is related to water. It does not have a foot and has a medium build. It rules the north and rises with both head and back. It is ruled by Guru.”
Guru (Jupiter) is the ruler, and Meena is a dual, watery and female sign. Jupiter’s expansive qualities combined with the element of water, gives an association with large bodies of water.
The symbol is a pair of fish, swimming in opposite directions. The fish is characteristic of opposite directions contained within one quiet body of water.
People with a prominent Meena tend to have an idealistic and universal view on things. They are active on the outside, but peaceful on the inside. They can have a problem making up their mind, or change their judgment on things. They are attracted to spirituality for the promise of enlightenment. They can be sentimental, and very moved by women or beauty. They have an attraction to products from the sea.
The 11th sign is Kumbha (Aquarius). Parashara describes Kumbha as follows:
“It represents a man holding a pot. Its complexion is deep brown. It has a medium build and is a biped rashi. It is very strong during daytime. It relates to deep water and is airy. It rises with its head and is Tamasic. It rules Sudras, the 4th Varna, and the west. Its lord is Shani, Surya’s offspring.”
Shani (Saturn) is the ruler, and Kumbha is fixed, airy and male. Shani’s slow and deep qualities are not directed to physical causes like in Makara, instead it has a mental and philosophical slant, capable of deep thought.
The symbol is a man holding a water pitcher. Holding a water pitcher without dropping it requires steady concentration and fixity of purpose, both qualities of this sign.
People with a prominent Kumbha have a purpose, based on some philosophy or simple life principles. They have an interest in helping friends, or a community at large. They can be rough in their manners, but are also not too delicate themselves.
The 8th sign is Vrischika (Scorpio). Parashara describes Vrischika as follows:
“It has a slender physique and is a centipede rashi. It denotes Brahmins and resides in holes. Its direction is north and is strong during daytime. It is reddish brown and relates to water and land. It has a hairy physique and is very sharp (or passionate). Mangal is its ruler.”
Mangal (Mars) is the ruler and Vrischika is a fixed, watery and female sign. The Mangal that made Mesha (Aries) so enterprising and energetic, plays a much more defensive and protective role here. It is defending its delicate watery/female core.
The symbol choosen for Vrischika sign is the Scorpion, an animal that is known for its ability to defend itself.
People with a prominent Scorpio can be very warm and sweet, if left unchallenged and unthreatened. They rather not change their position, but defend themselves if someone tries to harm them. Their tendency to be fixed can make them appear to be controlling, but their true nature is to nurture. Just don’t tease them.
The 10th sign is Makara (Capricorn). Parashara describes Makara as follows:
“It has Shani as the lord and has predominance of Tamo guna (a disposition seen in demons). It is an earthy rashi and represents the southern direction. It is strong at night, and rises from the back. It has a large body. Its complexion is variegated and it resorts to both forests and lands. Its first half is quadruped and its second half moves in water, without a foot.”
Shani (Saturn) is the ruler and Makara is movable, earthy, and female. Shani has qualities of patience, endurance and slow but steady progress. The movable side of Makara is contrasting mobile as compared to Shani.
The symbol of the sign is a crocodile with the upper body of a goat. The crocodile part stands for the patience and endurance, and the goat part grafted on top of it stands for the mobility, and the somewhat stubborn nature of the sign.
People with a prominent Makara are industrious, and hard working. They are ambitious but patient in reaching their goals. They are likely to travel, or move around in one way or another
The 9th sign is Dhanu (Sagittarius). Parashara describes Dhanu as follows:
“It rises with its head and is lorded by Guru. It is a Sattvic rashi and is tawny in hue. It has strength in the night and is fiery. A royal rashi, Dhanu is biped in the first half. Its second half is quadruped. It has an even build and bears an arch. It resides in the east, relates to land and is splendid.”
Guru (Jupiter) is the ruler and Dhanu is dual, fiery and male. Guru is the Graha for knowledge and expansion. In a male and fiery sign, these qualities turn ambitious and enterprising.
The dual quality is found in it’s symbol: a creature that is half horse, half archer. Guru is connected to the element of space, and the bow and arrow symbolizes the sign’s affinity with crossing spaces, and reaching out into new territories.
People with a prominent Dhanu are opportunistic and full of life. They are generally optimistic and cheerful, and actively pursuing their interests. They are interested in knowledge that can help them progress, and are good at expressing themselves
The 7th sign is Tula (Libra). Parashara describes Tula as follows:
“It is a Seershodaya rashi rising with its head; Tula is strong during daytime. It is black in complexion and is predominant with Rajo guna. It relates to the western direction and resorts to land. It is destructive or mischievous (‘Dhatin’). It represents Sudras or the 4th Varna. It has a medium build physique and is a biped rashi. Its lord is Shukra.”
Shukra (Venus) is the ruler and Tula is a movable, airy and male sign. Shukra is the graha for harmony and grace, and in this airy sign these qualities get expressed in more abstract forms.
The symbol of Tula is a man holding scales, symbolizing an innate affinity with considering balance, proper relations and the harmonious exchange of things.
People with a prominent Tula will be easy to deal with due to their Venusian quality. The element of air gives an ability to easily sense other’s people’s nature, and Venus added to that makes for a great talent to create pleasant relationships. Such people will be good at maintaining a balance in the process of giving and taking, or they can use the same to their advantage in salesman type work.
The 6th sign is Kanya (Virgo). Parashara describes Kanya as follows:
“It is a resident of the hills, and is strong in daytime. It rises with its head and has a medium build. It is a biped rashi and resides in the south. It has grains and fire in its hands. It belongs to the business community and is variegated. It relates to hurricanes (‘Prabharanjani’). It is a Virgin and is Tamasic (a disposition of demons). Its ruler is Buddha.”
Budha (Mercury) is the ruler and Kanya is a dual, earthy female sign. As compared to Mithuna, Budha’s qualities manifest very differently in an Earthy sign, as the excellent discriminative qualities of Budha are expressed in a more physical form. The result is an unsurpassed eye for details in practical matters. Budha is a neuter Graha, and Kanya is female, causing a rather tender combination.
The symbol for Kanya is a young woman, standing in a boat, holding wheat (or corn) and fire. This image symbolizes an industrious but homely quality. Just like in the case of Mithuna (Gemini) the dual quality of the sign is reflected by having opposite elements in the symbol.
People with a prominent Kanya will be somewhat shy, and have a soft, tender disposition. They are very good at organizing and keeping track of details, and tend to worry more than necessary. They are likely to have practical skills, especially related to communication and information processing.
The 5th sign is Singha (Leo). Parashara describes Singha as follows:
“It is ruled by Surya and is Sattvic. It is a quadruped and a royal rashi. It relates to forests and rises with its head. It has a large, white body. It resides in the east and is strong during daytime.”
Surya (the Sun) is the ruler and Singha is a fixed, fire, male sign. The Sun is a fiery Graha, so Singha is very fiery indeed. Add to that the male quality, and the sign’s symbol of a Lion makes a lot of sense. Surya represents the king, and the lion is called the king of the animal kingdom.
People with a prominent Singha in their chart are territorial, and need to have some domain where they are in charge. They have pride and radiance and natural leadership qualities. The ego is pronounced, and questioning such a person is likely to cause a strong response. Leo is not very flexible, but can be very generous when it serves maintaining dignity. It thrives on being recognized for it’s superiority in some area.
The 4th sign is Karka (Cancer). Parashara describes Karka as follows:
“It is pale red. It relates to forests and represents Brahmins. It is strong during the nights. It has many feet (i.e. it is a centipede rashi) and has a bulky body. It is Sattvic in disposition (seen in gods) and it is a watery rashi. It rises with its back and is ruled by Chandra.”
Chandra(Moon) is the ruler, and Karka is a movable, watery and female sign. Chandra is a significator for water anyways, so Karka is highly associated with water and the characteristics of water. It is nurturing, supportive, sensitive and emotional.
The symbol of Karka is a crab, a water based animal that is always on the go looking for food. The symbolism of the large scissors of the crab seem inappropriate for Karka.
People with a prominent Karka in their chart are changeable, and continuously moving around creating new associations. There are ups and downs like the tides, and the emotions play an important role in everything.