Friday, January 14, 2011

Has My Sun Sign Really Changed? Nah, the Siderealists Are Just Acting Up Again

Every year or so, an article about how the zodiac signs have shifted comes out and gets a lot of hype. You're not a Sun sign Scorpio, it will claim. You're actually a Libra Sun, and everything you have ever learned about yourself through astrology is complete bunk!

A couple sidereal-based articles have recently come out making these claims and have gotten a lot of play, including one about a 13th sign called Ophiuchus. This has set off a ripple of panic through Facebook about what the real and true zodiac signs are.

The truth is, they can be either, depending which system you prefer.

See, there are two major branches of astrology - sidereal and tropical.

The sidereal zodiac uses the placement of the physical constellations in the sky, and they do move gradually. Things shift in the cosmos. We're in an ever-changing universe. This is true.

Tropical astrology uses the solstice/equinox points - the seasonal changes based on the relationship between the Sun and the Earth - and the zodiac is a sort of band that goes around the Earth based on those points. In the tropical system, March Equinox (Spring Equinox in the northern hemisphere) coincides with the Sun entering Aries, the first sign of the zodiac, which marks the astrological New Year.

In the sidereal system, the position of the Sun at March Equinox is currently at zero degrees in the physical constellation of Pisces and is just about to move into 29 degrees Aquarius. This is the "Age of Aquarius" stuff - the precession of the equinoxes bringing a shift in astrological eras from Piscean to Aquarian.

So yes, the equinoxes have precessed in sidereal astrology...not in tropical. And the difference right now is 30 degrees or one full sign. So it's correct to say that if you are a tropical Sun sign Scorpio, you would be a sidereal Sun sign Libra. If you are a tropical Moon sign Gemini, you would be a sidereal Moon sign Taurus. If you are a tropical Mercury sign Leo, you would be a sidereal Mercury sign Cancer, etc.

The problem, and what is generally the problem with these types of articles, is that the dudes in them are talking about sidereal astrology and are saying that their system means tropical astrology is bunk. This is not actually the case. They're just two different systems.

At one point, when the zodiac was first carved out, the two systems matched - the Sun entered the physical constellation of Aries at March Equinox. But over the centuries, there has been a divergence as one group of astrologers (tropical) used the original settings of Sun in Aries at March/Spring Equinox, Sun in Cancer at June/Summer Solstice, Sun in Libra at September/Fall Equinox and Sun in Capricorn at December/Winter Solstice. The other group (sidereal) followed the shifting physical constellations.

Astrology is basically a lens, a perspective, that we use to (hopefully) more deeply and intricately understand life on Planet Earth - especially natural cycles and energetic themes. Knowing these cycles and themes, in theory, helps us live our lives attuned to natural forces with at least a ballpark idea of what is being asked of us at certain times in our lives.

Sidereal and tropical are two different astrological lenses looking at life on this planet from different perspectives, and as an astrologer, I find both valuable. Both have merit. It just depends which system speaks to you more strongly (if either speaks to you at all). For me, it's tropical, so that's what I practise. But I also enjoy the sidereal perspective from good sidereal astrologers and integrate some of that perspective into my own - especially the shifting astrological ages from Pisces to Aquarius. This just hits me as true based on my own observations of the energetic shifts of these times.

It would be nice if people in articles such as these would explain the two different systems in their "everything you have ever learned about astrology is crap" stance, but they don't. I'm not sure why they don't. Maybe they don't know, maybe they don't care, or maybe they are just trying to tip the scales to more mass use of sidereal astrology.

Pop astrology horoscopes you see in all the magazines and newspapers are based in tropical astrology, and I can see it getting annoying and oppressive for siderealists that their system is so downplayed in the West.

Incidentally, most pop horoscopes also focus only on the Sun sign. We're Sun/masculine/yang heavy here in the West. And this makes for a highly simplistic astrology, as we actually have a zodiac sign for every body in the solar system and more: the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto along with a bunch of asteroids and geocentric points.

Inevitably, once the media interviews some tropical astrologers to balance things out, the hype simmers down. Some people decide to investigate the sidereal system or to make a switch. And a lot more learn that there are two astrological systems. So no harm, no foul, I guess. It's always good to see things from a different perspective...or at least to know that other perspectives do exist.

Things ARE shifting...very rapidly this year, in particular, and astrology will continue to shift and change along with the times.

But has your Sun sign changed? Only if you've decided to adopt sidereal astrology.

If you've already got it tattooed on your body somewhere, I'd suggest just sticking with tropical.

9 comments:

NellieP said...

Thank you for your clear explanation of this topic that is causing a lot of hype on tv. I actually understand it now!

Willow said...

You're very welcome! Glad it was helpful.

NellieP said...

It was - you should have been on CTV Regina explaining it tonight - though I might be a little biased Kenny.

Willow said...

You might be. But I could have done it, no prob.

Jamie said...

Thank you Willow. :) It never ceases to amaze me what the mainstream still thinks astrology is, or how narrowly focused some scientific lenses are, but what's new, eh?

diastella said...

ja, it's like a yearly witch hunt or someting....(tropical) astrologer bashing sessions. The Serpent bearer has always been there dipping its eternal battle onto the ecliptic. Men trying to untie the coils of the snake and the snake looking to man and ready to strike. The struggle lasts forever and radio/media loves to lap it up and get everyone in a huff because they have the wrong tattoo etched into their skin. Like this constellation I prefer to not be centrestage, but I have noticed a few infantile arguments to a complex observation. Humans are fascinating - the marvelous astrolabes of the Rennaissance got it wrong sure but they do enrich our journey towards understanding. So the Celts made a year of 13 moon cycles which come to 364 days a year. What an interesting structure... 13 suns?

Alicia C said...

"It would be nice if people in articles such as these would explain the two different systems in their "everything you have ever learned about astrology is crap" stance, but they don't. I'm not sure why they don't." The paranoid part of me thinks that it's because the culture is heavily invested in discrediting astrology, period.

I don't know much about Ophiuchius - so that's been interesting to read - but I do know that there's practitioners out there who work with fixed stars and have seen him mentioned then.

In any event, if you want to gauge the collective reaction to this, the comments section in this article is just hilarious: http://rah.posterous.com/new-zodiac-sign-2012

Leslie said...

The tattoo joke at the end gave me a chuckle. :)

Theodore White, mundane Astrolog.S said...

Hey, I did the best I could explaining it all Willow... there's only so many hours in a day you know.

Theo