What is the difference between Western Astrology and Vedic Astrology?

This is a question I get asked often so I’ll try to explain in just a few points:

Vedic Astrology is 23 degrees “behind” tropical astrology – so in Vedic Astrology a full moon may be in Aquarius, whereas in Western, or Tropical, astrology it would be in Pisces.
Vedic Astrology has a multitude of predictive techniques and recommends certain remedial measures to help compensate for less than desirable planetary placements in a chart. These measures are most often rooted in Vedic Astrology’s (VA) sister sciences Yoga, Ayurveda, Vastu, Vedic Philosophy etc and are full body-mind-spirit approaches.
Vedic Astrology follows a sidereal zodiac that’s aligned with 27 constellations, or fixed star groups – called the Nakshatras. Most Western systems are based on fixing the start of the zodiac (zero degrees Aries) on the seasonal point of the spring equinox and not on a fixed star position.
Vedic Astrology gives a better view of a persons karmic tendencies, how, when and in which areas they may occur and ways to work on clearing said karmic tendencies.
The chart formats in Western and Vedic Astrology are different as well.

Click here to learn about the significance of Dharma Malas – Vedic Astrology Gemstone Malas

What brought you to Vedic Astrology?

Pain (laughing). Just like many practitioners I started exploring and studying Vedic Astrology because I was looking for answers. I was looking for a cure for my pain, mostly emotional of course.

What fascinated me about this ancient science is the karmic aspect, the belief that we are not put on this earth out of sheer coincidence but that it is past life karma that presents itself over and over in each lifetime until we become aware of it and start to actively pay attention, work with it.
Vedic astrology has been this discipline for me that showed me the dark spots in my life that I needed to light up a little, but that also gives me tools to do just that.
Everything we need to figure this our life out is already there, sometimes we just have to find the right thing, the right tool, the right person to turn on the flashlight and brighten our path. That’s why your clients work with you, you are their flashlight holder and path-lighter-upper.
VA has done that for me and that’s why I chose to work with clients in the same way.

I’ve heard that there are bad gemstones we shouldn’t wear. Is that true?

I like to believe that a gemstone chosen with care can not bad or negative.

The gemstone itself doesn’t carry a benefic or malicious intention or vibration. The stones merely carry the vibration of the planet most closely related to it, meaning it represents the cellular/crystalline, colour, and vibrational structure of the planet. Amethyst for example is a stone known for it’s many healing properties. Amethyst is also a stone related to the planet Saturn which is known to cause karmic turmoil for many of us, causing pain and suffering on a psychological level.
Amethyst doesn’t create turmoil, it merely invites Saturn’s properties into your life when you wear it and work with it. For some people this means that amethyst has the potential to bring about unwanted qualities, make your life difficult. For others who have a favourable placement of the planet Saturn, wearing amethyst and bringing Saturn’s vibration into your personal sphere will likely be beneficial, can even bring prosperity and spiritual advancement.

That’s why in Vedic astrology we are careful with gemstones we choose for a person. As much as no gem in itself is negative, we try to find the gems related to planets that will bring and enhance the most desired outcomes in a persons life.

How do you chose gemstones?

When I chose gemstones for a client I carefully analyze their natal chart according to Vedic Astrology. I consider beneficial placements of planets and more negative placements of other planets and how they can affect the person. I also take into consideration the persons current Planetary Cycle (Dasha) and in some instances specific issues the client may wish help with, and consider health concerns and Ayurveda in those cases and where it makes sense.

In Vedic Astrology we consider primary, secondary, tertiary gemstones and so on for each planet. When suggesting a gemstone I suggest to get a high quality gemstone. For example for a Dharma Mala I chose secondary and tertiary gemstones because the primary stones would be much too expensive and often not available in the form I work with. So for example rather then using a Diamond, Ruby or Emerald I may chose a high quality Clear Quartz, Garnet or Peridot. In some instances I also chose tertiary stones such as Rose Quartz, Labradorite or Jade if the quality is superior to that of other stones.

How are gemstone remedies different in Ayurveda from Vedic Astrology?

They are different in that in Ayurveda gems are chosen for their gunas and impact on the Ayurvedic doshas. For example a red gemstone/mineral like Coral or Carnelian may be chosen to support the adrenal system and root/second chakra, whereas in Vedic Astrology these stones may be chosen to support the associated planet, in this case Mars.

In both cases the stone has heating qualities, so in Ayurveda we may not use Coral in a case of high Pitta but rather for a Kapha or even Vata imbalance whereas in Jyotish we trust that the stone will produce the best benefit if Mars is an auspicious planet in the persons chart or if it needs to be “pacified”.

Generally though I would use a lesser “hot” Mars stone if I know the person has high Pitta to make sure they can wear the stone all day without feeling uncomfortable.

Can you give any tips for a person looking for the right gemstone?

When someone is looking for a gemstone that supports them throughout their life or for a specific concern I would always recommend to work with a Vedic Astrologer or gemstone therapist.

If choosing your own gems in my experience many people are already drawn to the gems that are beneficial to them. If you feel disconnected, sad, in need for loving kindness, you may feel drawn to a gem like Rose Quartz.

This is a good example since Rose Quartz does provide comfort, helps heal the Heart (Chakra) and is used to relieve stress and tension and to cool a fiery mind or body, along with having the self-soothing properties we are after.

In Vedic Astrology Rose Quartz is a stone associated with the Sun, and the Sun is the planet that stands for the ego in a higher conscious sense, the inner SELF, Atman. Wearing gemstones that relate to the planet Sun will therefore help you strengthen your sense of self, reconnecting with your inner being, bring about self-love and enhance self-esteem.


Claudia Richey, founder and owner of Dharma Malas™ is a certified Dharma Type Practitioner and has been studying and working with Vedic Astrology since 2001. Her focus of practice is mantra & sacred sound, Vedic gemstone remedies, and Dharma Type and Vedic Astrology inspired coaching in health, life and career/vocation. Claudia is also a certified Ayurvedic Practitioner and 200hr Yoga Instructor and a registered member of Yoga Alliance and NAMA (National Ayurvedic Medical Association). Claudia’s mission is to help shine light in the dark corners of your life so you can discover, navigate and have the courage to walk your path courageously, and passionately and successfully. You can find Claudia’s work at Dharmamalas.com


Photo credits: Bree Prosser @ novemberwild.com