There’s been a huge buzz in the media and on the internet lately about the wobble of the earth forcing you into a different birth sign, and even a brand new astrological sign called Ophiuchus to further confuse things.
First off: you don’t have to change your birth sign.
Astrologers have already taken the wobble (also known as the precession of the equinoxes) into account, regardless of what a lot of scientists and so-called scientific reporters are saying. Those who claim otherwise simply haven’t done their research.
Let me explain. It’s a simple concept and will only take a minute.
The Tropical Zodiac
Most Westerners use the tropical zodiac. This is the one you find in the sun sign columns in the United States. By definition, this determines the sign placements by using the sun, not the constellations, thus the name tropical (which relates to the sun, as in “the tropics”).
Specifically, the moment of the vernal equinox, the location of the sun is declared to mark the exact beginning of Aries, the first sign of the zodiac.
That means that if you are born on the day after the vernal equinox, you by definition have an Aries sun in the tropical zodiac that’s used in the West.
This doesn’t change and is still true. It’s based on the sun and seasons so has nothing to do with the precession.
The Sidereal Zodiac
There’s another system called the sidereal zodiac. It’s used in Vedic astrology (also known as Hindu astrology, Indian astrology, or Jyotish) and by a very few Westerners. The sidereal zodiac is based on which constellation a planet actually appears to be in as we look toward it from earth, with the backdrop of stars behind it. It is not sun-based like the tropical zodiac, but star-based, thus the name sidereal which means “star”.
This is equivalent to and in complete agreement with the system used by astronomers. So if you look up and see Venus, and you see Taurus behind it, in this system you would say Venus is in Taurus.
About 2000 years ago, both of the zodiac systems lined up, and on vernal equinox, the sun actually appeared to be at 0° Aries.
So Why the Confusion?
Due to the wobble of the earth, the sun’s position in the sky as seen from earth (that’s the sidereal zodiac, remember) has since shifted backwards about 23° from where it was then.
So nowadays, the sun appears from earth to be at about 7° Pisces at the moment of the vernal equinox, not at 0° Aries.
That means that if you were born the day after the vernal equinox, you have a Pisces sun in the sidereal zodiac.
The confusion stems from the fact that the sidereal/astronomer’s (star-based) zodiac is almost 3/4 of a sign off from the tropical (sun-based) zodiac. (This is what Prof. Kunkle mentioned and what started the media frenzy.)
So you can have an Aries sun in the tropical zodiac but a Pisces sun in the sidereal zodiac. And that’s fine. They’re two different systems.
There’s Nothing New Here
But here’s the thing: this is and has been common knowledge. Astrologers have known this all along. And their systems take that into account.
By definition, the tropical zodiac does not change with the precession of the equinoxes, and the sidereal zodiac does, as it constantly shifts to account for the precession.
This is all as it should be and nothing has changed.
So, have we cleared all that up?
As for this new constellation Ophiuchus? Well. Have you ever looked up into the night sky from the mountains or desert? It’s astounding! There are hundreds of constellations! (88 official ones.) Astrology has been developed and built on a particular set of 12 (plus 27 lunar constellations in Jyotish), and there’s no reason at all for that to change.
So there really is nothing new under the sun… at least related to astrology.
And here’s hoping you rest easier tonight, by the light of that silvery moon.
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