Real Astrology: What is better? Sidereal or Tropical?
And there really 13 signs in the zodiac?
Every so often a blaze of misinformation splashes across the news with the headline that astrology is all wrong because don’t ‘they’ (meaning in their minds ignorant astrologers) know there are 13 signs in the zodiac with Orpheus between Scorpio and Sagittarius?
First I will address the foolishness of the 13th sign. Orphiuchus is above the ecliptic (except for a brief dip). Astrologers use celestial longitudes and when the Sun enters the longitude of Scorpio it is also entering the longitude of Ophiuchus simultaneously. In order to visualize this imagine being outside starring at the night sky, there is an imaginary boundary or fence of which the planets move up and down. Yet above the fence, (ecliptic) when the sun is moving through Scorpio are more stars, the constellation of Ophiuchus who does have part of its star system dip slightly into Scorpio. Yet the sun is moving through the space of the two constellations at the same time.
Or the other one that astrologers really get a kick out of is when the scientist proudly pat themselves on the back to announce that ha ha those dumb astrologers don’t know about precession of the equinox and that the sun isn’t aligning with Aries when they think it does.
Well the fact is astrologers do know about the precession of the equinox. Ptolemy, an ancient astronomer/astrologer whom all classical astrologers today are familiar with was aware of the precession of the equinox in his treatise Almagest written around 150 CE. A couple of thousand years ago the first day of spring did align with the constellation of Aries. It takes approximately 2, 160 years for the sun to move through a constellation. Astrologers follow either the Vedic tradition that is using the precession of the equinox that is 23 degrees behind what the Western astrologers use.
Why two zodiacs? How can both be accurate?
The tropical zodiac is based upon when the sun is at the vernal equinox. From there the zodiac is divided into 12 signs each 30 degrees. Signs are not constellations, remember that and it will be easy to understand. Our ancestors have been in tune with the rhythm of the cycles of the sun for countless years. Stonehenge and other remarkable ceremonial sites built noting the equinoxes and solstices have been found around the world. Tropical astrology is in harmony with the dance between the sun and earth and the yearly division of seasons.
On the other hand Sidereal astrology does align with the fixed stars and takes into account the precession of the equinox. What this means is according to Vedic astrologers Aries begins 23 days before the equinox. The starting point is 23 day before tropical and divides the zodiac accordingly. Which one is accurate? How can one be so off? Won’t the predictions for when something happens be off then? The answer is no, as if you ask a Vedic astrologer when something will happen or a western astrologer the same question, they both are using instruments while they seem quite different will end up giving the same date. Think of it this way. You have a schedule for a train and so does your sister. But yours is in daylight savings time, an hour ahead, but your watch is set in daylight savings time also. Your sisters train schedule is in standard time, but her watch is set to standard time. You both will arrive at the train station at the same time.
So which system is better? The sidereal or tropical. They both work, you need to ask who is the best astrologer for either system. There is a little more to it. My experience is those who are attracted to the Vedic system are more comfortable with making peace with a fated reading. Vedic astrologers are trained to give specific answers, you will be rich or poor, you will marry or not, you will have children or not. For some people they can find peace easier in a system that is saying what is or is not in the cards for you. Also if a person has a personal sign conjunct a fixed star, they can be more attracted to the star system versus the Sun Earth seasons system.
The tropical system by which most western astrologers generally is less fate oriented, (classical astrology exception) and has a psychological component that supports understanding the subconscious mechanisms seen in the chart in order to make changes that lead to a more fulfilled life. Therefore there are two considerations in determining which system is right for you. Are you comfortable with thinking you have control over your destiny and are you willing to do the work to change your fate? And do you feel more connected to the seasons or to the starry night sky?
This short explanation should help you stand up to the nay sayers and astronomer bullies that love to criticize even disciplines that they clearly are not educated in.