Saturday, April 11, 2009
Why Do You Use the Tropical Zodiac?
Not a week doesn't go by that I don't get asked, "Why don't you use a Zodiac based on the REAL STARS?" usually along with some sort of breathless comment about those idiot ancient astrologers who along with not having plasma screen TVs or SUVs, thought the world was flat and DIDN'T KNOW THERE WAS A 13TH SIGN!!!!" This discussion just seems to attract all caps and lots of exclamation points.
Of course, this is just modern "progress" propaganda since every educated person since about 100 BC knew the Earth was round and ancient & traditional astrologers knew exactly what the traditional Tropical Zodiac was.
I'm going to give a quick answer here, but you can see a more detailed explanation on my website at Tropical, Sidereal & Constellational Zodiacs: The Power of World View.
First off, what's a Zodiac? In essence standing on earth you look up in the sky at the path of the Sun which from Earth looks like it orbits the Earth. All the planets orbit in the same basic plane as the Sun. If you want to know exactly where the planets are, you divide up the 360 degree circle of their orbit. That's the function of a Zodiac.
Now the path of the Sun is called the ecliptic and it more or less passes through 12 constellations, groupings of stars. This is the origin of the 12 signs of the Zodiac.
The Tropical Zodiac, used by Western astrologers for the last 2000 years, is oriented to the Seasons, not the stars. It has 12 signs of 30 degrees each. A great deal of the meaning of each sign comes from its seasonal orientation. For example, the Sun goes into Aries in the Spring. Aries fits this because it is a moveable (traditional term, modern cardinal) sign, showing change and it is a fire sign, and it stars to warm up in the Spring. The whole traditional system is really big on order and the Tropical Zodiac is nice and orderly, 12 signs, divided into 4 elements (fire, air, water & earth), the aspects all fit the number 12 and so on.
The Sidereal Zodiac, used by the Vedic astrologers of India, is falsely claimed to correspond to the "REAL STARS" It doesn't! It has 12 signs of 30 degrees just like the Tropical Zodiac. Only the start point is oriented to the fixed stars.
If you want a Zodiac that exactly corresponds to the "REAL STARS" you have to go with what I call a Constellational Zodiac because the the people that push it haven't figured out what to call it, other than confusing it with the Sidereal Zodiac. Typically the Constellational Zodiac has 13 sign/constellations that are highly irregular. To use this you have to throw out the seasonal meanings of the signs because the signs have moved and aren't in the same season any more. Can't follow the "REAL STARS" and not the "REAL SEASONS" Big chunks of astrological technique, even modern astrological technique, have to be tossed.
At this point no practicing astrologer uses the Constellational Zodiac basically because they would have to start from scratch and invent their own new system of astrology. It's just something to hassle astrologers about because it instinctively makes sense to moderns to look for a physical (ie non-spiritual) explanation for everything. Even if modern astrologers can't explain why they use the Tropical Zodiac, they do know that it works!
Still this is why I finally got my act together and explained the whys, wherefores and underlying rationale for the Tropical Zodiac. The ancient astrologers knew that the Tropical Zodiac didn't correspond to the constellations and if you learn a bit about traditional astrology and how they thought, you'll understand why they chose it. I go into much greater detail, as previously advertised at Tropical, Sidereal & Constellational Zodiacs: The Power of World View.