The Tropical Zodiac in Indian Astrology, with Vic DiCara

The Tropical Zodiac in Indian Astrology, with Vic DiCara

In episode 115 of the podcast astrologer Vic DiCara joins the show to talk about his use of the tropical zodiac within the context of Indian astrology, and some of the recent debates surrounding the subject among Vedic astrologers.

Vic has done a number of articles and videos on this topic, and recently engaged in some debates about it with other astrologers in the Vedic community. You can find a full list of other articles and talks he has done on the subject on his website:

Below you will find the show notes, followed by links to download or stream the recording of this episode of the podcast. This episode is available in both audio or video format, and you can find links to both at the bottom of the page.

Show Notes

Here are a few points that we touched on during the course of the episode:

  • I’ve been noticing more discussion and debates about this recently in Vedic community
  • Another astrologer named Andrew Foss published an article criticizing the use of the tropical by some Vedic astrologers.
  • Interested in talking about this debate from the perspective of an outsider.
  • Background information on the debate, or setting the stage.
  • At the present time, while most western astrologers use tropical, most Vedic use sidereal.
    • Terminology preference? Indian, Vedic, Hindu, etc.
  • Ernst Wilhelm published an influential article on this topic titled The Mystery of the Zodiac c. 2006.
    • He argued that the zodiac was originally tropical in the earliest Indian tradition.
    • My impression was that his argument was largely textual.
    • More recently he seemed to say there was a large empirical component though as well.
  • Ernst seems to have been the first notable modern Vedic astrologer to adopt tropical
    • Since then others have followed, some students of Ernst, and others not.
    • Ryan Kurczak, Michael Reed, and Vic DiCara.
  • Vic heard the idea from Ernst, and made the switch in 2012.
    • Since 2012 he has produced several videos & engaged in debates about the topic
    • Most conveniently summarized here:
  • Points to the Surya Siddhanta and Bhāgavata Purāṇa as early textual support for tropical zodiac.
  • One of Vic’s objections is that both are idealized 12-fold divisions.
    • The sidereal zodiac does not fully align with the constellations, since they all vary in size, whereas sidereal signs are each 30 degrees.
    • He points out that Ophiuchus is on the ecliptic.  Thus, 13 unequal divisions.
    • Therefore he argues that neither zodiac is the stars, but instead they are both divisions of space.  Thus it becomes a question of how to divide space, and where to start.
  • Tropical zodiac starts with equinoxes, sidereal with reference to a fixed star.
    • Lahiri ayanamsha begins 0° Aries exactly opposite to the fixed star Spica.
    • Some disagreements though about which ayanamsha to use.
  • Vic says that even if one uses the “wrong” zodiac, that doesn’t invalidate everything.
    • Vic and others still acknowledge that the nakshatras are sidereal, because they are tied in to specific fixed stars.

Watch the Video Version of This Episode

A video version of this episode is available on my channel on YouTube here: The Tropical Zodiac in Vedic Astrology, with Vic DiCara.

Listen to the Audio Version of This Episode

You can either play this episode of the podcast directly from the website or download it as an MP3 to your computer by using the buttons below:


  1. I’m so glad you are on this case. I remember finding Ryan Kurczak doing tropical vedics years ago and I haven’t let it go wondering who else is doing this. We could argue in forums for 1000 years… until we get 100 monkeys. 2012? I feel like I must’ve been following this doctrine since then but I know diddly about vedic.

  2. Adam C. Madison says:

    Excellent. Chris’s ability to hold the space needed for a clear-headed polemic is unparalleled. The work you and your guests are doing will power entire generations. Vic’s eloquence wrt “don’t kill the messenger” near the end encapsulates the struggle.

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