Global Astrology through the lens of yogic perception

1How did Neil Patel come to astrology?

Coming from a Vedic and holistic background, astrology (like ayurveda and diet therapies), were never far from my mind. I used astrology when working with yoga clients; and my work with yugas (maps of time and space) meant that my mind was never far from the stars. But in early 2020, I decided to deepen my astrological practise dramatically. With the world on lockdown, and whilst looking for more answers (to what was going on at the time), I took an upwards dive into the universe!

Although yoga, yugas and Vedic astrology are related subjects (all associated with the Vedas of India), I chose to study western astrology first. I studied that with Dr Michael Lennox. After passing his entry level and advanced astrology courses successfully, I was taken under his wing for mentoring. During this time, I simultaneously studied Vedic astrology from the scriptures (and a host of experts). Finally, I morphed western astrology, Vedic astrology and my knowledge of yoga into one fluid experience. As with yoga, metaphysics and diet therapies, subjects I have studied for over three decades, my study of the stars will never stop; but now is the moment to release CK Astro.

2What is CK Astro?

“CK Astro” is short for Chi Kri Astrology. CK Astro is fundamentally a form of Vedic astrology. It follows a geocentric, whole house system and uses the national zodiac system of India known as Lahiri. However, there are elements of CK Astro which are fundamentally different to traditional Vedic astrology. One change is that CK Astro incorporates Uranus, Neptune and Pluto into its reckoning. It also introduces a certain geometrical placement called the Vertex. This is a point in an astrological chart which indicates the entrance of a fated personage into your life. Three other novel placements included in CK Astro (which are different from Vedic astrology) are known as Chiron, the Black Moon Lilith and the Part of Fortune. Chiron (Greek concept) represents both wounds and healing; Black Moon Lilith (Israeli concept) represents the uprising of feminine power; and finally, the Part of Fortune (Arabic concept) represents an especially (karmically) fortuitous point in your astrological chart.

3The Difference between Western and Vedic Astrology

There is a lot in common, but also a lot of differences between the two systems. For example, western astrology focuses on the 12 zodiac constellations e.g. Aries, Taurus, Gemini etc designated by the earth’s orbit around the sun (taking 12 months). In Vedic astrology, however, the skies are further divided into 27 more parts, called nakshatras. Each of these is then divided into 4 more parts, called padas. Whilst the 12 common zodiac signs (Aries-Pisces) are still observed in Vedic astrology, the deeper divisions give even more insight into the 12 common zodiacal signs.

The 108 padas give rise to sounds, which can then be used for names. These names then link you back (energetically) to the moment you were born. This association is healthful and harmonising (and commonplace in many Indian societies). Analogically, your pada sound is something which can reset you back to your default “factory setting”, ironing out many karmic twist and knots.

Another key difference, is that the main sign referred to in Vedic astrology, for a human’s nature, is the moon’s placement. Whereas in western astrology (especially the kind you find in newspapers), we are taught to focus more on the sun, for that. In Vedic astrology, the moon is said to have a much more obvious and regular impact on the human psyche. This is because it is so much closer and moves so frequently. The sun’s impact is still given great importance, but more as the “core” of you. Some texts describe the sun as the king of you – and the moon as the queen. They are also, more broadly described as representing the male and female aspects of you – and even your mother and father’s role in your journey.

So, in Vedic astrology, it is the female moon which is said to create the moving parts of our mind and emotions. And the sun will create the fixed and deeper centre of your being. An example would be someone with a Leo sun sign, but a Cancer moon. They would be creative and fiery at their core, but much more reserved and tender in their outward behaviour. This would explain a personality type, who is appears sensitive, withdrawn and quiet on the surface, but who is a strong and prolific composer of passionate piano pieces - when left to their own devices.

Whereas, the opposite, a Cancer sun and Leo moon might mean that person would appear bold, brassy and courageous, but inside would be very sensitive, emotional and kind. Both the sun and moon are clearly as important as each other – but the moon is given more importance in Vedic astrology because she is going to change, reflect and affect your experiences of life, more patently, than the sun.

On that note, it is worth realising that if you were to compare your sun sign in Vedic astrology with the western system, you may find that there is a difference for some dates. This is because Vedic astrology takes two key things into account.

Firstly, it takes into consideration that the fixed stars in the sky have been found to move backwards (a phenomenon known as “precession”) by 1 degree every 72 years. It also absorbs the tilt of the universe and the tilt of the earth, and uses the elliptical equator to take its measurements. NASA: “When the Babylonians first invented the 12 signs of the zodiac, a birthday between about July 23 and August 22 meant being born under the constellation Leo. Now, years later, the sky has shifted because Earth’s axis (North Pole) doesn’t point in quite the same direction.”

Since modern western astrology was first popularised some 1700 years ago, the dates of the zodiac calendar have altered by around 23 degrees. (Therefore Leo, for example, has now shifted dates.) CK Astro (and all traditional Vedic astrological systems) works with the universe as it stands today. This gives your birth, present moment and future event timings with the most scientific accuracy available at present. For example, the true Leo sun zodiac dates (for 2022) are from 3pm on the 17th of August until 2am on the 17th of September. That means, in truth, many Leo suns are actually Cancerian suns and many Virgo suns are actually Leo suns! If that disappoints you (I know people get attached to their sun signs – and even begin to accentuate the archetype further, don’t worry – remember, all the zodiac signs still appear in every birth chart – but they may be ruled by the Moon, Mars of any other placement! A Leo Mars, for example, is arguably more powerful than a Leo sun – that’s why a full birth chart reading is so important!)

In general, the western system brings a sympathetic, psychological and relatable approach to astrology. It uses an intuitive circular zodiac wheel, which is easy for clients to understand, and looks at things like secondary progressions, angles and aspects between planets; and the all-important transits. The way charts are interpreted in the west are humane.  Western astrology also gives us an excellent understandings of the modalities, elements and archetypes of placements. In balance, I find that both systems have equal amounts to offer. And so, in keeping with Chi Kri, CK Astro will give you the best of both worlds.

4How Does Vedic Astrology Work?

Vedic astrology, and more specifically, CK Astro, works on the basic premise that everything in Creation is intelligent, unified, transmitting and receiving. Chi Kri, and Vedic knowledge, teach that one of the ways the Creator expresses its divinity is through large universal entities. These can be stars (our sun), the moon or planets. Each of these expressions work harmoniously to affect, guide and steer life, in the universe, on its physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual journeys.

For example, the sun, in Vedic astrology, is a demigod named Surya. And the 7 stars of The Big Dipper constellation are known to be 7 holy personages, called the saptarishis. The sun is believed to be the great grandson of the Vedic god of Creation, Lord Brahma. Thus the sun is believed to carry immense radiance and power. Sitting, king-like, at the centre of our solar system (with all other planets orbiting around it), the sun’s influence therefore becomes central and fundamental to who we are at our core.

A note on astrology and the subject of gods. Whether you follow Vedic or western astrology, it has to be understood that astrology is, fundamentally, a subject grounded in the belief of some form of universal gods. For example, Mars, whom we know (in simple terms) as the planet of war, ambition, power, anger and the physical body,  is actually named after the Roman god of war (of the same name: Mars). In Greek, Mars, the god of war, is called Ares (where we get the astrological sign, “Aries” from - a sign whose ruling planet is Mars). However, going further back – to the roots of western astrology, the Babylonians (from Mesopotamia) named the planet Mars, “Nergal” (their god of war, plague, disease, death etc). And finally, as we look back at Vedic astrology, Mars is named, “Mangala” – and he is also the god of war in India. So, just be aware, when we talk about any type of astrology, we are talking about gods – and thusly, a leap of faith in required. (In Vedic beliefs, it is often said that when a divine personage ends their life, them, their energy and persona becomes immortalised as a star – and governs with the same qualities as they led with on earth - or whatever plane they lived on.)

Mentioning the sun, as we were earlier, when you hear someone say, “My star sign is Libra”, what does that mean? Well, firstly, the star they are referring to is, of course, our sun. It means that at the exact moment they were born, there was a direct line between the constellation of Libra (far away in the galaxy!), followed by the sun (at the centre of our solar system) and our earth. (As if you could put a skewer through all three - Libra, then the sun and then the earth.) Visually, it meant that the “spotlight” (of the sun) was on Libra and all the stars that make up that constellation. That, in turn, meant that the sun’s capacity to serve you with its life-giving qualities was at a time when the nature of Libra was also being called into action. So, that meant that your sun (read: the centre, core and most fundamental part of you) was going to be awash with Libran energy. Libra, being ruled by Venus, meant that (simply put) love, friendship, harmony, relations, the arts, beauty and prosperity would be what made up your core! (Lucky you!)

But it doesn’t stop there! Not even close! Now imagine there 19 other planets and points (like the sun), and they were all sitting between the earth and another constellation. Each of those would also have a specific influence on you. (And this is why simply knowing your “star sign” is not even close to being your true astrological read-out). So, for example, if the moon was sitting between the earth and Leo when you were born. That basically means your emotional and processing self (the moon) would be spotlighting the flamboyant, creative, fiery and fun Leo constellation. This placement would mean you essentially function a lot like a Leo in daily life (sub-conscious mind and emotions), even though your sun sign is Libran. (If this was you, many people would think your “star sign” is Leo!) Now add another 18 placements to the two in this example, and you can see how the sun is really just a minor percentage of who you are, and a tiny percentage of how astrology works - and what it can do.

It’s really worth noting, at this stage, that you’re probably starting to see just how complex and deep astrology can be. That’s why the job of an astrologer is something you will need training, study and experience with, to get good with. But even more than that, a good astrologer will lean heavily into their own spiritual and intuitive side. This will be in order to fathom and decrypt what the universe is trying to convey through its galactically-ordained cosmic decoration - at the time of your specific birth – back to you.

It’s not uncommon for a very intuitive astrologer to sense things from you, and use that to help them understand what the universe is trying to say. This is nothing to question or find fault with. All it does is give them clues, alerts and support as they try and decode the stars for you. However, even speaking to you, a good astrologer will be able to tell you how the stars have lined up – and what that means for you. As a client, it is up to you to assist your astrologer as much, or as little, as you wish. But remember to work with them, as they are there to help you navigate your own life.

At CK Astro, I will take 20 placements into account. They will fall into 12 constellations. But these planets and constellations will then fall into 12 “houses” or “mansions” in the universe. These 12 houses (you will see them as squares in the traditional Vedic system) are known as the original houses of the 12 constellations i.e. their original placements in the sky. After the constellations move on from their place of origin, they leave an indelible energetic imprint on that part of space and time. That impression then remains, even when other planets, constellations etc move over it.

So, for example: the original house of Aries, is actually “House 1” in this universal backdrop. The nature of Aries boils down to concerns of the self. Aries is very concerned with its own ideas, beliefs and mission. They don’t really care what anyone thinks of them! They are brave leaders, who, despite having a fiery (and sometimes dominating) side, are never afraid to stand out, be the first in line, and take a hit in the line of battle. Because of this nature, their first house (House 1) becomes just like the Arian. It becomes the “House of Self”.

Now, these houses are plotted out on an astrologer’s sky-map. They know where they are. And they will know when a planet or constellation crosses them. So, if, at the time you were born, the constellation of Scorpio was floating over the first house (House 1) it would make you deeply engaged by Scorpion concerns. You would be set on solving mysteries. You’d never be satisfied with superficiality, but would be driven deeply to unearth the real crux of every aspect of your life. Spirituality, sensuality and the arts could dominate your mind. As well as a stronger-than-average capacity to cope with transformation, change and grief. And let’s say, for example, Mercury was in your first house at the time of birth as well. This would mean you approach life from less of an emotional angle. It would indicate that your mind (which Mercury represents) would be the master of your consciousness. Everything would need to make sense to your intelligent, logical and scientific mind to hold any weight with you. Combine that with the Scorpion constellation there, and you have a mind that has the power to solve mysteries. An astrologer may then tell their client to go towards work which this may be helpful for i.e. research, police, investigations into things etc. 

And as an astrologer would spin around all 12 house, looking for (in the case of CK Astro) 20 placements, 12 zodiac signs, 27 nakshatras and 108 padas! After that, a precise picture would begin to form. This would tell you many things. It would immediately explain why certain character traits you have are present. This can be helpful, as it lets you see what parts of your nature have been set up for you to overcome and address.

For example, if you had a Leo sun, sitting in the twelfth house, with Mercury, you’d need to make sure of a few things. You’d have to ensure shyness, fear, stage-fright, submissiveness and the inability to speak-up were not becoming issues in your life. And you’d know that you are supposed to be working on these things more. On the other side, it would make you very good at working alone, innovation, creating, exploring ideas and even travelling to foreign lands.

Once you know that specific things are aligned in your favour, you can lean into them more. For example, if you had a Sagittarius sun in the 7th house, you would know that your life was perfectly set up for deeply enriching personal relationships, where you could explore religion, philosophy and spirituality with a partner. You may even notice how you find your partner whilst taking up higher education! (That’s not to say someone without this placements could not do this; but it does mean that someone with this placement would find these things natural, easy and likely).

We would also look at the relationships placements have towards each other. For example, if your moon was 60 degrees away from your sun, and both were in fire signs, like Aries and Leo; that would be called a “trine”. A trine means there is a very natural understanding between the two placements - and a good flow of energy. In short, that means your unconscious self, residing at the core of you (the sun), would be able to flow right through to your sub-conscious mind and consciousness (thoughts and emotions), represented by the moon. This would make you super instinctive, intuitive and sure of yourself. You’d have no disparity between who you are deep down and what you feel and think every single day. With fire involved here, it would symbolise that you’d be using this trine to transform, inspire, energise and shine (either yourself, or by helping others to shine – depending on other aspects of your chart). There are so many other functions and modes which astrology looks at.  Explaining how each works would be a very long process. But in short, with regards to the chart informing you of what the universe was doing when you were born, I’ve presented some of the information behind how it all works. I hope that was insightful and not too taxing!

5Does Astrology Work?

It depends what you consider “work” to be. Astrology is not there to tell you exactly and precisely what your future will be. We don’t profess to have crystal balls. A person’s future is a combination of what is destined to meet them, and how they choose to react. In that process, decisions are made, new karmas are born and new paths are formed. What astrology does is look at the specific destiny, which was set out for you, when you took this birth. This destiny was based on your previous incarnation/s. This destiny was programmed into the living entities in the skies (planets etc), who then set about influencing your soul towards it (good or bad), from your birth onwards.

How you react when you encounter these things is what will decide your future. How astrology does work is by unlocking the codes of destiny for you, so that you have a good idea of what was hard-wired into your life, at birth, and what is going to be presented to you, as you progress through your life. Once again, your future is not in astrology. Your future is in how you respond, react, overcome or even change your destiny (yes, change!) as you make your way through life.

Astrology proposes, suggests, informs and hints. It never compels, asserts, limits or restricts. Your future will still be completely down to your free-will, application and intelligence. The best example of how astrology works is CK’s spaceship analogy. If you imagine you are a spaceship travelling through the universe - astrology wipes away the accumulated dirt from your windscreen. This helps you to see what is going on around you a little clearer. You’ll be able to see the new pathways to travel down, which you may not have thought possible. And you’ll even be able to see the planets, asteroids, space rocks and other things ahead you, which you may have hit – but which you can now circumnavigate. With astrology, you’re still going to face the same things you were always destined to – but you’ll just get a longer warning. You will see things coming. And if it’s a beautiful sunset on the horizon in your life, you’ll have a chink of light to look forward to!

Astrology will work if you place it in the context of a life that also contains hard work, self-awareness, meditation and a practise of introspection, reflection, contemplation and writing. Then, astrology will become an intriguing, enlightening and helpful resource as you match up the clues, signs and inklings you need to answer the question of you.

This is a brief answer to the question. And so much more can be said. But, yes, astrology definitely does work – as I have seen it in action. But it all depends, as I’ve explained, where your faith lies and how you contextualise it.

6Why Do I Still Relate to My Western Sun Sign (“Star Sign”) Even Though It’s Not My Vedic Sun Sign?

There are seven reasons for this phenomenon. And now that you’ve read the other questions and answers, these explanations will make more sense!

  • It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you get told you’re a Leo from childhood, you will act like a lion/lioness, be more creative, enjoy the spotlight, be very loyal and be very good with children – because you know these are Leonian traits. And if these things we just a part of you (anyway), you will double-down on them (or excuse them), because you think they are your “star sign’s” traits. And if you specifically like the idea of your western “star sign”, you will also strive to behave like, and fit, that archetype.
  • Everyone has every constellation in their birth chart. Meaning that, if you were a western Scorpio “star sign”, and now that you are a Libra “star sign” instead; you will still have the effect of Scorpio on one particular house in your birth chart. Depending on what is going on in that particular house (with the planets present there), it could be very prevalent for you e.g. if Jupiter is in Scorpio in your 10th House – everyone you work with will see you as a massive scorpion! (As the 10th House pertains to work.)
  • On that note, if your western sun sign was Taurus, but now you’re an Aries, and you wonder why you feel so Taurean still, it may be because the other two placements in the “holy trinity” of astrology (moon and Rising Sign) are both Taurus. This will definitely make you feel and behave even more Taurus-like than a Taurus sun sign!
  • Another reason you may feel e.g. very Piscean – even though your Vedic sun sign has now changed to Aquarius is because of how close the sun was to shifting signs, when you were born (the “cusp”). If you were born on the 14th of March, late into the 29th degree of Aquarius, you were definitely a Sun-Aquarian, however the sun itself was just about to move into the Piscean constellation. So, you would have had some, if not a great deal, of Sun-Piscean influence in you.
  • Every constellation has a “ruler” and if that ruler is in a prominent position in your chart, it will give you the feeling of your western “star sign”. For example, if you were an Aries, and now you are a Piscean, you might feel very Arian simply because the ruler of Aries, which is Mars, sits in your 1st house (of self). This position is, arguably, as powerful as an Aries sun sign in either western or Vedic astrology. This placement means you have all the fire, determination and leadership qualities of an Arian-sun – whilst having the compassion of a Piscean – at your core. (Not a bad combo, really!)
  • If you were born with a western Cancer sun sign, but with Vedic astrology you were moved to Gemini, you could still feel a lot like a Cancerian because of your nakshatra and pada rulers. If your Gemini sun fell into the Punarvasu Nakshatra pada 4, you would be governed by the moon and the Cancer constellation (Because each pada in a nakshatra has a separate ruling planet and constellation).
  • The final reason why you may still feel like your western “star sign” is down to your Vedic divisional charts. Your Navamsha Chart (D9) will tell you about your fortune. If your western sun placement has a dominant position in this chart e.g. In the 9th House, Rising Sign, Sun or Moon, you are going to feel its power in your life. And your Shashtiamsa Chart (D60) will tell you about your past life. If your western sun placement has a dominant position in this chart e.g. Rising Sign, Sun, Moon or Mars you will definitely feel its effect underpinning your current life.