precession

Your zodiac sign has still not changed!

Nasa thirteenth signAbout five years ago it was discovered that because of the shifting of the Earth’s axis, the constellation Ophiuchus was now closer to the apparent path of the Sun as we observe it from Earth, and astronomers conjectured that this then made Ophiuchus a thirteenth sign in the zodiac.

This popped up recently as “news:”  NASA had changed the system of the zodiac to incorporate the thirteenth sign.

It’s not news the zodiac that we use in Western astrology does not line up with the current placement of the constellations.  This is due to what is called “precession,” in which due to the earth’s wobble the relationship between the earth and the stars changes over a “Great Cycle” of 26,000 years.  This is why every 2160 years or so we go through another zodiacal age, like the transition from the Age of Pisces to the Age of Aquarius that we are in right now.

You can read more about the science of precession here.

The astrological pantheon that we call the zodiac is a symbolic system.  The constellations do not align into nicely divided 30 degree sections as they do around the birthchart, and as many of these news articles mention there is a 13th constellation that the Sun passes through on its trip around the Sun called Ophiuchus.  This last idea has given rise to the question about whether the zodiac should have 13 signs rather than 12.  These are concepts that for many years have caused astronomers to dispute the validity of astrology.

Astrology is not astronomically correct.  Planets don’t really move backwards, and the earth isn’t the center of the solar system.  But that is how we observe the planets astrologically, […]

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By |2016-10-19T07:34:48-04:00October 19th, 2016|Astrology|2 Comments

Your “zodiac sign” has not changed!

zodiac sign has changedStories like this have been circulating in the news media like wildfire over the past few days as astronomers discover something that astrologers have known for nearly 2000 years, that the zodiac that we use in Western astrology does not line up with the current placement of the constellations.  This is due to what is called “precession,” in which due to the earth’s wobble the relationship between the earth and the stars changes over a “Great Cycle” of 26,000 years.  This is why every 2160 years or so we go through another zodiacal age, like the transition from the Age of Pisces to the Age of Aquarius that we are in right now.

You can read more about the science of precession here.

Astronomers will be disappointed to learn that this debate has raged through astrological communities ever since the phenomenon of precession was discovered sometime around 130 bce.  The astrology that is typically practiced in the West is called “tropical” astrology which is based on the seasons and the earth’s relationship to the Sun.  Another branch of astrology originated in India and is called “sidereal” astrology which relates to the stars rather than the Sun.

Some people like to call the zodiac “star signs,” and while they are incorrect in terms of Western astrology, in which signs are called “sun signs,” the terminology “star signs” is accurate where sidereal astrology is concerned.

The astrological pantheon that we call the zodiac is a symbolic system.  The constellations do not align into nicely divided 30 degree sections as they do around the birthchart, and as many of these news articles mention there is a 13th constellation that the Sun passes […]

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By |2019-11-10T19:57:36-05:00January 14th, 2011|Astrology in the news|8 Comments
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