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 astrology with its Tropical zodiac that doesn’t line up with the actual zodiac signs and its backwards-moving planets just works. It’s accurate as the dickens in describing a person’s life and forecasting important times in that life.
I for one see no reason to change it.
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