Whether it is Gandanta, Badaka, Karakas or Vargas, astrological vocabulary can be challenging to get your head around, especially when you are just starting out on your journey with Vedic Astrology.
So, we’ve put together a simple A-Z of Vedic Astrology that you can refer to when you need to know your Aspects from your Afflictions and your Navamsa from your Nakshatra! Let’s dive into the captivating realm of Vedic Astrology and unravel its mysteries, one term at a time.
Ascendant – Also known as Lagna, the zodiac sign that was rising on the eastern horizon at the exact time and place of birth, marking the beginning of the first house in an individual’s birth chart.
Aspect – The angular relationship between two or more planets in a birth chart, which indicate how planets influence and interact with each other and affect an individual’s life.
Atma – The soul, inner self or spiritual core of a person.
Affliction – A challenging or negative influence of one or more planets on certain aspects of an person’s life, which can be caused by various factors such as the placement of malefic (unfavorable influence) planets in sensitive houses, difficult aspects between planets, or the association of a planet with a malefic one.
Badaka – Obstructive or hindering forces in a person’s birth chart. Badhaka planets or houses are those that create obstacles, challenges, or blockages in various aspects of life.
Benefic – A planet that is considered to have a positive or favorable influence on an individual’s life when placed in certain positions or houses in their birth chart.
Bhava – The twelve astrological houses that divide the birth chart or horoscope, and each represent a specific area of an individual’s life.
Bhukti – Also known as Antardasha, a sub-period or smaller division of time within the larger planetary period called Dasha, or Mahadasha. Each Mahadasha is divided into several Bhuktis, which are ruled by different planets. While Mahadashas influence the large cycles of your life, or the big picture, Antar Dashas indicate what you are experiencing in your immediate environment and provide more detailed insights into specific experiences, events, and influences that may occur within that time frame.
Conjunction – Occurs when two or more planets occupy the same house, and can happen either in a birth chart or by transit. Conjunctions represent the blending of energies and characteristics of the involved planets, creating a combined effect on an individual’s life.
Chandrashtama – a 2.5 day period when the Moon is eight signs away from the natal moon (the Moon sign in our birth chart) during which we might feel restless or unsettled for no apparent reason and our mind may feel agitated and negative. Chandra means moon, and Ashtama means eight.
Combustion – A planet weakened by proximity to the Sun. Though ‘combust’ usually means to burn, in a physical sense the planet does not actually burn or combust, but rather is dominated by the Sun which obstructs the planet from our view.
Cardinal – The ‘Movable’ or ‘Chara’ signs of the zodiac which are characterized by their dynamic, active, and initiating nature. The four Cardinal signs in Vedic astrology are Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn. Cusp – The boundary between two astrological signs or houses.
Dasha – A planetary period, or span of time in an individual’s life that is ruled by a particular planet, and provides a system to judge the effects of the planets through a person’s lifetime.
Debilitation – The weakest position of a planet in a specific zodiac sign, where its positive qualities and influence are diminished. When a planet is in its debilitated sign, it may not function optimally or provide favorable results for the individual.
Dina – A solar day, measured from one sunrise to the next sunrise, which is used as a basic unit of time in astrological calculations and predictions.
Divisional Chart – A detailed sub-chart of the main birth chart that provides deep insights into specific aspects of an individual’s life.
Dasamsa – A divisional chart in Vedic astrology that focuses primarily on a person’s career, profession, and worldly achievements. It is also known as the D10 chart.
Dosha – A flaw or negative influence created by the positioning, aspect or relationship of one or more planets in a birth chart.
Dispositor – The ruling planet of the sign in which another planet is placed in an individual’s birth chart. It is the planet that ‘hosts’ another planet by being the lord of the zodiac sign that the other planet occupies.
Dwadamsha Chart – A divisional chart that gives insights into an individual’s relationship with their parents, ancestors, and family lineage. It helps astrologers understand the karmic patterns, parental blessings, ancestral debts, and the influence of parents on a person’s life. It is also known as the D12 chart.
Drekkana Chart – A divisional chart in Vedic astrology that provides insights into an individual’s siblings, communication skills, courage, and other aspects related to the third house. It is also known as the D3 chart.
Exaltation – The specific position or zodiac sign where a planet is considered to be at its strongest, most powerful, and beneficial. When a planet is in its exalted sign, it can function at its highest potential and bring positive outcomes in various aspects of an individual’s life.
Ephemeris – A table that provides the precise positions of celestial bodies at specific times. It is an essential tool for astrologers to calculate and construct accurate birth charts or horoscopes based on the date, time, and place of birth of an individual.
Ecliptic – The apparent path of the Sun across the sky, as observed from Earth.
Elements – The five elements which are the building blocks of the universe – Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Space.
Equinox – The two points in a year when the Sun crosses the celestial equator, resulting in equal lengths of day and night across the Earth.
Fortuna Point – A position in a birth chart that characterizes the joy and fortune in one’s life. It’s also an indicator of innate talents.
Fixed Sign – The four zodiac signs that represent stability, determination, persistence, and resistance to change. The four fixed signs in Vedic astrology are Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius.
Fixed Star – The bright, distant stars that appear to remain stationary in the sky and which form the backdrop against which the planets and other celestial bodies move.
Ghatak – A concept used to determine the inauspicious or unfavorable periods for performing important tasks or events.
Gandanta – The junctions between fire and water signs.
Graha – A Planet in Vedic astrology, coming from the Sanskrit word meaning ‘to grasp’ or ‘to hold,’ and signifying the idea that these celestial bodies hold control over various aspects of our lives.
Houses – The twelve astrological houses that divide the birth chart or horoscope, and each represent a specific area of an individual’s life.
Hora – A specific time division used for determining auspicious and inauspicious times for various activities. A day is divided into 24 Horas, with each Hora lasting approximately one hour. Each Hora is ruled by one of the planets.
Horoscope – An individual’s birth chart, which shows the placement of the planets at the exact moment of their birth.
Ishta Devata – Personal deity based on one’s astrological chart. In Vedic astrology, the Ishta Devata is believed to be the guiding force in a person’s spiritual journey and can provide protection, guidance, and blessings throughout their life.
Jaimini Astrology – A branch of Vedic astrology that was founded by the ancient Indian sage Maharishi Jaimini.
Jyotirlinga – A devotional abstraction of Lord Shiva, the all pervading divine consciousness, signifying an energy vortex which represents his power on the earthly plane. In Sanskrit, Jyoti means ‘radiance’, and lingam means ‘sign.’ It has also been translated as ‘pillar of light.’ There are twelve Jyotirlinga shrines in India, spread across different parts of the country.
Jyotish – Vedic astrology, or Indian astrology.
Karakas – Significators or indicators of various life aspects. Karakas are used to understand and predict the influences of planets on different areas of a person’s life.
Kundali – Astrological birth chart, or horoscope, which shows the position of the planets at the exact moment of one’s birth.
Kendra – The four angular houses in a person’s birth chart, which are considered the most powerful positions in the chart. The Kendra houses are the first, fourth, seventh and tenth houses.
Krishna Paksha – Waning phase of the Moon.
Lord – The ruling planet of a sign or house.
Luminary – The Sun and Moon, the two brightest celestial bodies which are visible from earth.
Lagna – Ascendant, or rising sign.
Muhurta – The selection of an auspicious date and time for important events and activities in a person’s life.
Mahadasha – A span of time in an individual’s life that is ruled by a particular planet, and provides a system to judge the effects of the planets through a person’s lifetime.
Malefic – A planet that is considered to have a challenging or negative influence on an individual’s life when placed in certain positions or houses in their birth chart.
Moveable Sign – The four zodiac signs that are associated with initiation, action, and change, also known as cardinal signs. The four moveable signs are Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn.
Maraka – A planet or house that is associated with causing life-threatening situations in a person’s life.
Moon Sign – The zodiac sign where the Moon was placed at the moment of one’s birth.
Nakshatra – Lunar mansion or constellation. There are 27 Nakshatras, each covering 13 degrees and 20 minutes of the zodiac.
Natal chart – Astrological birth chart. Natural House – The house a planet naturally rules. Each zodiac sign has a natural affinity with a specific house, which represents a particular area of life.
Native – The person whose birth chart is being analyzed.
Nodes – The lunar nodes, Rahu and Ketu.
Navamsha – One of the most important divisional charts which is used for deeper analysis and interpretation of an individual’s birth chart. Also known as the D9 chart, it is used to provide insights into various aspects of a person’s life, including marriage, relationships, career, and spiritual growth.
New Moon – The beginning of the lunar cycle, which is associated with new beginnings and fresh starts.
Outer Planets – Planets that are not visible to the naked eye – Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto – and are not traditionally included in the classical Vedic astrological system.
Planets – Celestial bodies which, according to Vedic astrology, have a significant impact on the life of an individual.
Panchang – The traditional Vedic calendar. ‘Pancha’ means five and ‘Anga’ means parts or limbs, so Panchang is a Vedic Almanac, or astrological diary, made up of five parts.
Pada – Division of a nakshatra. Each nakshatra is divided into four quarters, called padas.
Panchapakshi – An ancient system of astrology based on the concept of five birds. According to the Panchapakshi scriptures founded by ancient Tamil saints, we are all assigned a particular Pakshi (bird) and at any given moment that bird is doing a particular activity. The system can be used to predict auspicious and inauspicious times for various activities, such as starting a new venture, traveling, or making important decisions.
Panchami – The fifth lunar day.
Prakruti – A person’s natural body constitution, according to the ancient science of Ayurveda.
Perigee – The point at which the Moon is closest to Earth, which can amplify the influence of the Moon and intensify its effect on the human mind and emotions.
Pitta – One of the three doshas, or bio-energies, discussed in India’s ancient science of Ayurveda, along with Vata and Kapha. Pitta dosha is associated with the fire and water elements and is responsible for metabolism, digestion, and transformation in the body.
Quadrant – A group of four astrological houses in a person’s birth chart.
Retrograde – When a planet appears to move backward as observed from earth. When a planet is retrograde it is a chance for us to slow down and reflect, and it signifies a time for us to renew, reassess and reimagine in the areas of our life ruled by that planet.
Rashi – Zodiac sign.
Rising Sign -The zodiac sign that was rising on the eastern horizon at the exact time and place of birth.
Retrogression – The process of a planet turning retrograde.
Soul Planet – The planet in a person’s birth chart that signifies the ultimate reason for incarnating in this lifetime. By understanding what the soul planet is and in w hich house it is placed in the birth chart, one can see the areas of life that need to be focussed on in order to learn the lessons of this lifetime. Also known as Atma Karaka.
Synastry – The study of comparing the birth charts of two individuals to understand compatibility, strengths and challenges in their relationship.
Sade Sati – A challenging period of 7.5 years in one’s life where Saturn moves through three signs; the individual’s Moon sign, and the signs before and after it.
Significator – A planet representing a specific life area, such as relationships, career, health, or wealth. Also known as Karaka.
Sidereal Zodiac – The system of astrology that calculates the positions of celestial bodies, such as planets and stars, based on the sidereal or fixed zodiac. The sidereal zodiac is determined by the actual positions of the constellations in the sky, as opposed to the tropical zodiac, which is based on the position of the Sun relative to the Earth’s equator.
Sun Sign – The zodiac sign where the Sun is placed at the moment of one’s birth.
Shadvarga – A group of six divisional charts, or vargas, that are used for a more detailed analysis of an individual’s birth chart. The six divisional charts in the Shadvarga system are D1, D2, D3, D4, D7 and D9.
Shirshodaya – The zodiac signs that rise headfirst, or with their head portion, when they ascend on the eastern horizon.
Shukla Paksha – Waxing phase of the Moon.
Transit – The current continuous movement of planets through the zodiac signs and their impact on an individual’s birth chart.
Tithi – A lunar day.
Trik – Specific houses in a person’s birth chart that are considered challenging and are associated with difficulties, obstacles, and struggles in various aspects of life. Also known as Trikona or Dusthana houses, these are the sixth, eighth and twelfth houses.
Trikon or Trine – A group of three houses in a person’s birth chart or horoscope that are positioned 120 degrees apart from each other, forming an equilateral triangle. They are considered auspicious and beneficial, as they represent harmony, balance, and support among the houses and planets involved. The trine houses in Vedic astrology are the first, fifth and ninth.
Trimamsa – A divisional chart that is used to assess the strength and nature of the malefic planets and their potential to cause challenges, obstacles, and difficulties in various aspects of a person’s life. Also known at the D30 chart as each zodiac sign is divided into 30 equal parts, each spanning 1 degree.
Upagrahas – Shadow planets. They don’t have a physical mass, but can still have a significant influence on an individual’s birth chart.
Upachaya – A group of houses in a person’s birth chart that are considered to be growth-oriented or improving over time. These houses are associated with personal development, progress, and the ability to overcome challenges and obstacles. The Upachaya houses in Vedic astrology are the third, sixth, tenth and eleventh.
Vedic astrology – Indian system of astrology.
Vimshottari Dasha – A widely used planetary period system in Vedic astrology.
Waxing – The Moon’s increasing phase.
Waning – The Moon’s decreasing phase.
Water Signs – Zodiac signs that are associated with the water element. The water signs are Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces.
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Yogas – Specific planetary combinations in a birth chart.
Yod – A rare and significant aspect pattern involving three planets.
Zodiac – The twelve astrological signs that form a celestial coordinate system.