Siding With Sidereal

The nature of existence is movement.cloud chamber Look at “atom smashers” for example. Huh? No, really. In these contraptions, scientists send beams of particles at each other at speeds close to that of light. When the beams collide, it’s time to see what comes out of that. Well, in this process, particles are actually smashed into existence, so to speak. And what these particles do, during their sometimes extremely brief manifestation, is whirl and twirl, as in the cloud chamber picture at right. It’s the dance of existence.

As above, so below. As with the small, so with the large (a bad paraphrase and maybe not perfectly accurate at the quantum level, but cut me some slack here). The heavens are in constant movement, like a large clockwork; that is, like when clockwork had gears. The Earth itself is engaged in several kinds of movement – rotation, revolution, and precession to name three. Precession is the one where the Earth’s axis moves like a child’s top, tracing a slow 26,000 year circle in the heavens. One noticeable consequence of this is that the pole stars change over time. Polaris is the north star now, but it won’t be in a few thousand years; nor was it a few thousand years ago. Another thing that happens is that, from the viewpoint of the Earth, the Sun slowly moves “backwards” through the constellations of the zodiac at the rate of one degree approximately every 72 years.

This also means, of course, that the position of the Sun on the first day of Spring (the equinox, March equinox 221) also precesses backwards. Here is where Tropical and Sidereal astrology diverge. In Tropical astrology, which is the typical system used in the West, the first day of Spring is the first day of Aries. Period. Every year. Unchanging. But everything is in motion, remember? In reality, on the first day of Spring, the Sun is now still in the sign of Pisces (the fish). That is, if you were to look at the Sun (which you wouldn’t do without adequate eye protection), and could block its brightness, you would see the stars of the constellation Pisces surrounding it. I’ll save you the trouble, and the wait, by giving you a picture (at left), which I constructed using the apps SkyView and Skitch. Ain’t technology wonderful?

In Sidereal astrology, like Asterian or Jyotish, precession is taken into account. So, someone born on March 21 is not an Aries, but a Pisces (and in a few hundred years, someone born on March 21 will be an Aquarius!). In fact, Aries doesn’t start in these systems until the Sun actually enters that constellation, on April 13 this year. What it boils down to is that most people who have thought themselves to be a Taurus are actually an Aries (e.g., me). Same for the other signs. For instance, most who thought they were born in Virgo were born when the Sun was actually in Leo. Furthermore, an approach like Asterian has a system of 27 signs (each one of length 13 degrees, 20 minutes of arc) that overlays the 12 usual solar signs. This fine tunes the system even more, such that there are three types of Aries, etc. Some of the 27 signs cross the boundary between two solar signs. In those cases, there are two types of some of the 27 signs. It’s not quite so confusing as it sounds at first. stars coverIt actually makes more sense than a Tropical approach, since it reflects the reality of the heavens.

I’ve become a convert. After examining the Sidereal description of my personality, it became obvious which approach “nails” it better. I even wrote about it here, and have co-authored a book, entitled 27 Stars: Discovering Your True Self With Asterian Astrology. Without a doubt, I’m siding with sidereal. Examine this approach, and see if it doesn’t make lots of sense to you, too.

Horsin’ Around With Astrology

I’ve always felt that I was an Aries. But being born on a cusp day, I noticed from early on that, half the time, popular astrological reckonings placed me in Aries and that, the other half of the time, I was placed in Taurus. As a youngster I found that pretty confusing, but something deep inside me said, “Aries. Yup, definitely Aries.” That is, until about 30 years ago, when I had my first professional astrology reading. “There’s no such thing as a cusp baby,” I was told. “You’re either an Aries or a Taurus, and you, sir, are a Taurus.” By almost half a degree, I learned. So, I tried on my Taurean persona and got it to fit. Stubborn and loyal? You bet. Also, I had Sagittarius rising, which is why, as I explained to my wife, I always need to sit on the aisle.

I had a Jyotish reading (Indian astrology) some years later, but it was by a very muddled practitioner and the reading didn’t make much sense. All I gleaned from it was that it was different, but it was not clear how it was different. Thankfully, that situation has been resolved by an astrologer/researcher named Jade Sol Luna, who traced the Indian approach back to its roots – in Greek thinking, no less. You see, when Alexander the Great did his thing of trying to conquer the known world, he stalled out in India. Fortunately, however, Alexander’s astrologers had come with him and they left their stamp on the Indian brand of astrology.

The Greek influence was subsumed under the Jyotish stars, until recently. Now, Asterian astrology dissects the entwined approaches to make a system that is accessible to Western minds. Turns out that I am an Aries after all. I knew it!

You see, astrology as it is reckoned in the West uses a tropical approach. In other words, it is linked to the seasons. What it comes down to is that the first day of Spring, March 21st, is the first day of Aries. So, according to popular, Western astrology, the Sun enters Aries on March 21st. Always. Well, that was true a couple thousand years ago, but not anymore. Nowadays, the Sun as seen from Earth is still in Pisces on March 21st. This is due to the precession of the equinoxes, a wobble that the Earth has in its rotation. For those unfamiliar with the term “precession,” here’s an explanatory link.

What this means astronomically, and astrologically, is that from Earth, the Sun is slowly moving backwards through the constellations of the zodiac. Failure by the West to correct for this means that the true position of the Sun (and all the planets) as viewed from Earth is more than 23 degrees different from the positions stated by Western astrology. That means that most people who think they are a given sign in Western astrology were actually born when the Sun was in the previous sign as viewed from Earth. Asterian and Jyotish approaches take this wobble into account and cast charts accordingly. This is called a sidereal approach to astrology.

It gets even more subtle. Within the twelve familiar signs are 27 others. That means that there are colorations of each of the main signs, which introduces another layer of specificity. So in my case, not only am I an Aries (the ram), but I am also Dioscuri (these are the horse gods), the animal of that sign being a horse. And guess what? The Dioscuri are loyal but can be stubborn, too. Also, the horse yearns for freedom and open spaces, so the aisle seat thing still applies as well, somewhat to my wife’s chagrin.

I’m still adjusting to this new horse suit, but the fit feels pretty good. This new-but-not-so-new system of astrology bears a serious look-see. My Asterian astrology reading was easy to understand and mind-blowingly accurate. I feel as if I’ve come to a new appreciation of who I am. Very exciting.

See you around the stables, or out on the range.