sidereal astrology

Why your Ipad can’t cast a birthchart

A friend of mine recently had a new baby, and he asked why her actual birthchart has a different rising sign than the “real one.”  With his Ipad (the Iphone and other smartphones also have this capability with the right application) he was able to determine exactly which constellation was on the Eastern horizon when the baby was born, and it was not the same as the rising sign, or ascendant, on the computer generated chart that he made on the Web.

The reason, of course, is the difference between the Tropical system of zodiac signs and the fact that unlike zodiac signs, constellations do not line up in neat 30 degree segments that fit perfectly around a 360 degree wheel.

Zodiac signs are based on and named after the constellations that we see the planets move through, but it’s often thought, erroneously, that the signs ARE those constellations.  For more details about this please visit Chris Brennan’s excellent article on the subject here.  So while your planetwatching app may be brilliant at astronomy, it doesn’t know much about astrology.

Astrology makes no claim to be astronomically correct.  The Sun doesn’t orbit the earth, and planets don’t move backwards (retrograde motion).  We observe the movement of the planets from our vantage point on earth, and we assign symbolic meaning to the segments of the sky that are named after and are rough representations of the constellations and which we call the “zodiac.”

Some astrologers, possibly those who are of a more scientific than magical mind, have attempted to put forth the use of the constellation zodiac in astrology since it is more “accurate.”  Others have tried working with the heliocentric model (Sun-centered) rather than the geocentric (earth-centered) model used in western astrology.  The thing is, western […]

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By |2019-11-10T19:57:35-05:00March 19th, 2012|Astrology|0 Comments

The “real” astrology chart for the USA

Sibly astrology chartI’ve been spending a lot of time this week researching the various charts for the USA which is one reason for my lack of posting.  I have used the Sibley chart with great results, but every time I post an article on the US chart I receive quite a few emails arguing with my choice of chart.

There are three major charts used by astrologers and many more minor charts.  One is the Sibley chart which uses the date of July 4 1776 (signing of the Declaration of Independence) and a time of 5:10 pm, with Sagittarius rising.  There are also Gemini rising charts and a few adherents to a Scorpio ascendant that some say is based on the fact that the clocktower on the back of a $100 bill was set to 2:22 pm.  But if you look carefully at the image you’ll see that it could also be read as 4:10 pm and in fact Wikipedia says that the Department of Bureau and Engraving says that the time is 4:10 pm (although I could find no corroborating evidence for this).

Still, the relevance of the time on the clock tower is difficult to gauge in terms of establishing a proper horoscope for the United States.  Benton Bobrick’s masterwork The Fated Sky includes a scholarly discussion of the time when the signing of the Declaration of Independence was completed:

According to the Philadelphia Historical Society, ‘the Declaration was graced with its first signature (Hancock’s) at approximately five o’clock in the afternoon after which the members all went off to dine.’

This biography of John Hancock corroborates this (see page 13), using an approximation of “late in the afternoon” as the time […]

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By |2019-11-10T19:57:36-05:00July 29th, 2011|Politics|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|7 Comments

The astrology of the Summer Solstice 2010

Summer Solstice 2010The Sun entered Cancer this morning (EDT), marking the beginning of the Summer Solstice in the northern latitudes, and the Winter Solstice in the southern latitudes.  Regardless of which hemisphere you live in, the Solstices and Equinoxes occur when the Sun enters one of what we call the “cardinal” signs, which are Cancer, Capricorn, Aries and Libra.

Geeky astrology lesson: the Sun only enters the cardinal signs at these periods in what we call the “tropical” zodiac.  Due to the precession of the equinoxes, the Sun is no longer aligned to the tropical zodiac.  The “sidereal” zodiac corresponds to the true location of the current position of the Sun as it travels through the twelve signs.  For example, today in the sidereal system the Sun is actually at 6 degrees Gemini and not zero degrees Cancer.  The sidereal system is used by most Vedic or Jyotish astrologers, but I have not found it to be accurate for me in my work with clients.

The chart for the Solstices and Equinoxes, which mark the turning of the seasons, are often used to predict weather and other events for the coming three solar months, so it’s useful to take a look at the chart for the Summer Solstice to see what secrets might be revealed.

The Sun at zero degrees Cancer in the Solstice chart is in an exact square to the conjunction of Jupiter and Uranus in the sign of Aries (see previous articles in this series), so this Jupiter/Uranus influence of sudden change, explosive energy, explosions, lightning, and brilliant new awakenings are likely to be highlighted throughout the season.

The opposition from Saturn to Uranus is tightening and these two planets will face off for the fifth and […]

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By |2019-11-10T19:57:36-05:00June 21st, 2010|Planetary cycles, Politics|Comments Off on The astrology of the Summer Solstice 2010
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