While Vedic astrology uses aspects it is in a different way, which may at first be difficult to comprehend for those familiar with western astrology. First of all, it judges aspects not according to the exact degree of angle between the planets involved but relative to sign. In the opposition or 180 degree aspect, the main one used in Vedic astrology, a planet aspects the sign opposite it (not just the degree). The aspects are not between planets but from planets via the signs they are in to other signs in the zodiac and whatever may be contained in them. In this way, for example, Jupiter in Aries, by its opposition aspect would aspect the sign Libra, the house ruled by the sign Libra and any planets located in that sign. If Jupiter is in 5 degrees Aries and Saturn in 25 degrees Libra, the aspect would still count (though it would be too wide an aspect by standards of Western astrology, being 20 degrees from a direct opposition).
Some Vedic astrologers do consider aspects to be stronger the more they approach the exact distance of arc. They may regard such aspects to exist independently of signs, at least to a limited degree. If Jupiter is at 1 degree of Aries and Saturn is at 29 degrees of Virgo, the planets are not in opposite signs but the angle of their aspect is 178 degrees, very close to an exact opposition. In this instance, Vedic astrology may still count this as an aspect, though the orbs of such non-sign aspects would be considered small, perhaps less than 5 degrees.
Imagine the twelve signs as like keys on a piano keyboard. Each planet is like a finger striking that key. As long as a planet is in a particular sign, it will be affecting the whole of it. By another analogy, imagine each sign to be like a separate room and the planets to be like lights. Wherever the light is in the room it will light up the whole of it. The first and last degrees of signs are like doorways. At these juncture points the planets can influence both signs but once out of these small doorways, they have little influence on adjacent signs. In addition, planets affect signs differently according to their nature, just as different pressures of the finger affect the keys on a key board differently. The basis of Vedic astrology is thus harmonic like music. Aspects are counted relative to the twelve signs as the main harmonic division.
Aspects by sign are easy to figure out and do not require knowing the exact degrees of planets. They do not have to be calculated in addition to the chart. For this reason Vedic charts do not have the list of aspects most western charts require.
With aspects counted by sign, Vedic astrology uses fewer aspects than Western astrology. It usually only considers a few major or full aspects. In addition to this it does have a complex way of showing the aspectual strength of planets that considers the exact degree distance between planets, but this is a special factor for subtle calculations, not the commonly used way of viewing aspects. A lot of the special and minor aspects now being commonly used in Western astrology, like quintiles, semisextiles or quincunxes are not used at all or used only in special instances in the Vedic system.
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