I don’t know about you, but I was raised on a steady diet of Western Philosophy.
I believed . . . no, that’s not exactly correct . . . I embraced and embodied the idea that everything, and I mean everything, was a footnote to Plato. That is, at least until I discovered the Vedas.
With this discovery, I realized that even the idea of “philosopher kings,” (a notion near and dear to my heart) had been liberated from the most ancient writings known to us. Don’t get me wrong, this in no way changed my mind regarding the brillance of this political ideology, but we’ll have to save that conversation for another time.
Because right now, I want to turn your attention to another ancient perspective which finds its own very deep roots in the Vedas.
Astrology has been around, in some form or another, since we first looked up at the night sky. It’s hard, even today, to not find ourselves captivated by the show which unfolds nightly above our heads, (assuming you are somewhere where you can actually see the stars). And it is with the Vedas, and the mythology of India, wherein we find the first systematic discussion and understanding of how these arrangements of heavenly bodies influence our lives.
With the increasing focus on all things “yogic” and Indian, it is not surprising that Vedic astrology has likewise seen an increase in popularity. Unlike Western astrology, which is tropical, Vedic astrology is sidereal in its orientation. With this orientation, Vedic astrology has at its core 27 stars.
If you want to understand Vedic astrology then it is helpful to have a working knowledge of these 27 stars. And as Joseph Campbell has so convincingly shown, if you want to really understand the heart of a people, then the best place to look is their mythology.
And so, you might ask, how am I to go about gaining this insight?
Thankfully, you need look no farther than Vic DiCara’s new book 27 Stars, 27 Gods: The Astrological Mythology of India. Mr. DiCara has not only taken the time and energy to explain the myths and legends which animate these 27 stars, but he has done so from a perspective that has been cultivated over many years of involvement with India, and her myths and legends. Mr. DiCara’s insider’s perspective allows him to utilize a multitude of textual resources in a way which is approachable and understandable for readers unfamiliar with the history and tradition. And by placing the emphasis on the gods aligned with the stars, he takes the reader right to the heart of the matter, so to speak.
As with all things “yogic,” it is crucial that one have a teacher who undertands his/her craft from the inside out. For those looking to begin, or deepen, their understanding of Vedic astrology, 27 Stars, 27 Gods: The Astrological Mythology of India, is a great resource.