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Zodiac and Precession  


 Anonymous
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When I was taking classes in Thelema I was taught about the Zodiac. However I was never told that since Ptolemy designed the system 2,000 years ago that a phenomenon called precession has shifted each of the signs by about one month.

So a virgo should be a leo for instance.

Are most thelemites and others in the occult aware of this?

Why stick with the old dates if they are off?

http://www.livescience.com/strangenews/etc/horoscope-2011-astrology-sign.html

Check out your “real” zodiac sign below and see what the sky looked like on your birthday by going to the Birthday Sky application.

Capricorn - Jan 20 to Feb 16
Aquarius - Feb 16 to Mar 11
Pisces - Mar 11 to Apr 18
Aries - Apr 18 to May 13
Taurus - May 13 to Jun 21
Gemini - Jun 21 to Jul 20
Cancer - Jul 20 to Aug 10
Leo - Aug 10 to Sep 16
Virgo - Sep 16 to Oct 30
Libra - Oct 30 to Nov 23
Scorpius - Nov 23 to Nov 29
Ophiuchus - Nov 29 to Dec 17
Sagittarius - Dec 17 to Jan 20


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herupakraath
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Not only are the constellations of the zodiac out of alignment, the Sun "occupies" the constellations at irregular intervals; for instance, the Sun is in Scorpio for only 8.4 days every year, instead of the ideal period of a month. Realistically, the signs of the Zodiac consist of twelve equal sections of circular space surrounding the Sun or Earth, used to document the movements of the planets around the Sun.

You can read the specifics here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zodiac


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Azidonis
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93,

Ayanamsa

93 93/93


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 Anonymous
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Ok, but I guess what I am asking is does this make the Zodiac invalid as a scientific instrument?


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 Anonymous
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I've long wondered the same thing myself. Unfortunately, serious astrologers are hard to come by, so I haven't had the chance to ask one...


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 Anonymous
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"Nemoide" wrote:
I've long wondered the same thing myself. Unfortunately, serious astrologers are hard to come by, so I haven't had the chance to ask one...

Well Thelema has plenty of serious astrologers.

The article on wikipedia doesn't assess precession with regard to the validity of the current Zodiac and Ayanamsa is a different system than the "tropical".


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einDoppelganger
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"RuleofRandom" wrote:
Ok, but I guess what I am asking is does this make the Zodiac invalid as a scientific instrument?

I have been making a serious study of Astrology lately with the intention of expanding my understanding of its concepts and vocabulary that have such a vast influence on other aspects of Crowley's work. I imagine that understanding it can only lead to a better understanding of things like the Thoth deck. for example. I am no expert and I am sure that serious astrologers have other takes on this but I will offer my humble opinion if you are to read it. I too would be very interested in the opinions of of others who have been practicing astrology.

I have seen mention of the issues of precession before. I suppose it's impact on the "science" (I have issues with that term) of Astrology depend largely on your personal model on how you believe the process works.

Astrologers do address the issue. As has already been noted some elect to use the Sidereal Zodiac which is corrected to the constellations the sign actually falls in. Some astrologers, as is noted in the great book The Round Art of Astrology by A.T. Mann, don't consider the signs to be the influence at all. In this book Mann notes the signs are merely 30* divisions of the elliptic. He says the positions of the signs are not related to the constellations but to the progression of the seasons.

Personally, I choose not to believe that energies focused on the earth from sidereal sources at various points in time exert an effect on the birth and life on an individual. At least, not in the measurable manner postulated by Astrology.

I do, however, consider astrology to be a rich and powerful set of symbols that can be used to create an intricate layer of symbolic abstraction between the individual and the world. This is similar to how I think of the Tarot or other tools for divination. It is a vastly complex Rorschach set with various levels of interlocking symbols that help the mind free itself from the confines of "self" while in the process of interpretation. In this state intuitive senses and deep seated conceptions of truth can be set free to rise to the surface. Basically, it helps you express to yourself what you already know. One needs to merely see the examples by skeptic/magicians Derren Brown and James Randi where members of a group have a horoscope cast. Each person is deeply moved by the accuracy of the result until its revealed everyone has the same text.

When used in planetary magic I imagine that it adds one more level of complexity to the process helping to immerse the magician in the symbolic language of the work. This is merely my opinion though and whats more my opinion at this time. It may likely change with my reading. 🙂 If anyone more experienced has more book recommendations I am definitely interested! 🙂


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 Anonymous
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I interpret the classical or tropical system as the Microcosmic system which reflect the change of seasons, and the sidereal zodiac as the Macrocosmic system which reflects the movement of the stars (in relation to the earth). Thus each system is valid in it's own right.
Another interpretation I have come across is that the sidereal zodiac is a kind of esoteric astrology, the interpretation of such charts as such delve into levels beyond those of appearances.


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 Anonymous
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"einDoppelganger" wrote:
Some astrologers, as is noted in the great book The Round Art of Astrology by A.T. Mann, don't consider the signs to be the influence at all. In this book Mann notes the signs are merely 30* divisions of the elliptic. He says the positions of the signs are not related to the constellations but to the progression of the seasons.

Well is this how only some astrologers interpret it? Because it seems important that astrologers using the most popular system should be able to account for precession.


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 Anonymous
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I am also curious of how a "seasonal" interpretation of the Zodiac fixes things. I am not trying to be overly challenging, I am just asking. For instance in Australia the winter season is in June July and August but in Scandinavia winter is from "October and ends on the last day of February." (Wikipedia)


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 Anonymous
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Obviously the system wasn't designed by people who live in the Southern hemisphere. Yoou could just flip the whole wheel of the year though, so that foro those in the southern hemisphere, Aries could be taken as Libra for the season of fall, for winter Cancer could be taken as Capricorn, for Spring Libra would then be Aries and for Summer Capricorn could be taken as Cancer and so on with the other signs, you just interchange them with their opposite sign on the wheel. I don't know.

Winter does not begin in October anywhere.
You aren't being overtly challenging, you are just trying to fit something that is more art than science squarely into the science box.


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einDoppelganger
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RuleofRandom: The question of the antipodes is an interesting one. There are many books down here on astrology for the Southern hemisphere. The Golden Dawn temple that remained active in New Zealand from the 1800s to the 1980s actually created variant rituals that took into account the orientation on the globe. Restructuring for global position is really quite a topic and one I have just recently started to explore.

AEternitas has some great info there and a good point, I think. Its best to approach Astrology from the perspective of an art or a useful set of symbols.
At least thats how I try to consider it.

If you want some recommendations for articles and books dealing with magick in the antipodes send me a PM I will gather some links.

Cheers
S


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 Anonymous
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I don't think I understand the Art vs. Science distinction here. From the stand point of somebody who looks at the Zodiac in terms of a Jungian psychological projection then it doesn't matter whether Astrology has a "factual" basis but from any other way of looking at Astrology I think it does matter.


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einDoppelganger
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"RuleofRandom" wrote:
From the stand point of somebody who looks at the Zodiac in terms of a Jungian psychological projection then it doesn't matter

That is how I look at it. I find it difficult to consider Astrology a "Science." That is a topic for another thread and I don't mean to disparage your view of it as something more empirical than the Jungian approach.

If I were to consider it more of a science I would be less bothered by the processions and more disturbed by its total lack of adherence to the scientific method and the inability to test any of its claims. I think I consider Astrology is as much a science as Psychology.

😀


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 Anonymous
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"einDoppelganger" wrote:
"RuleofRandom" wrote:
From the stand point of somebody who looks at the Zodiac in terms of a Jungian psychological projection then it doesn't matter

That is how I look at it. I find it difficult to consider Astrology a "Science." That is a topic for another thread and I don't mean to disparage your view of it as something more empirical than the Jungian approach.

If I were to consider it more of a science I would be less bothered by the processions and more disturbed by its total lack of adherence to the scientific method and the inability to test any of its claims. I think I consider Astrology is as much a science as Psychology.

😀

Psychology can be a "science" For instance psychoanalysis is a science in as much as the theory of the unconscious makes accurate predictions in a clinical environment.

I used the word "science" and I am afraid that people will misunderstand what I meant by the term. I meant the term broadly.


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 Anonymous
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Let me try to explain my question more precisely.

The Zodiacs that appear in newspapers, are those done with the reality of precession factored in?


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einDoppelganger
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No. Horoscopes in newspapers are usually only cursory little surveys and cannot take into account all the pertinent factors of the individual. A professional astrologer may figure it in. It seems to depend on preference and their own perceptions of how the system works (as mentioned above).

I find myself wondering if precession impacts Thelemic dating and the date server?


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 Anonymous
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"einDoppelganger" wrote:
No. Horoscopes in newspapers are usually only cursory little surveys and cannot take into account all the pertinent factors of the individual. A professional astrologer may figure it in.

The horoscopes in papers are written by professional astrologers.


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einDoppelganger
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I don't hold that against them. We all have to work.


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 Anonymous
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"RuleofRandom" wrote:
Let me try to explain my question more precisely.

The Zodiacs that appear in newspapers, are those done with the reality of precession factored in?

The tropical zodiac system, typically that of newspaper astrologers, sidesteps the precession issue entirely by orienting the zodiac to 0 degrees Aries at the Spring Equinox. In other words, it doesn't matter in which constellation you can actually find the Sun at the Spring Equinox. Wherever the Sun is, that's where they mark 0 degree Aries and start the solar year.

In terms of whether it's scientific or not. . . well, the tropical system may seem arbitrary, but then, drawing lines between stars in the sky and ascribing to them various mythological figures is also largely arbitrary. And again, so is painting 78 different little pictures on cards or devising 64 permutations of stacks of broken and solid lines. It really only tells us about the laws governing the consciousness(es) that created them.

I


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 Anonymous
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"azael93" wrote:
"RuleofRandom" wrote:
Let me try to explain my question more precisely.

The Zodiacs that appear in newspapers, are those done with the reality of precession factored in?

In terms of whether it's scientific or not. . . well, the tropical system may seem arbitrary, but then, drawing lines between stars in the sky and ascribing to them various mythological figures is also largely arbitrary.

I

You seem to be of the opinion that the Zodiac's relevance can be thought of more in terms of Jungian psychology than as an intrinsically valid instrument.

I wonder however from the standpoint of evaluating an intrinsic validity when the system was changed from a star based system to a seasonal sun based system. How early was that system designed and what motivated the change?


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James
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I cannot think of a culture that used a star system for anything other than terrestrial purposes. This includes a seasonal system for planting and harvesting etc. Sorry Rulesofrandom I may not be understanding your question??


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 Anonymous
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"James" wrote:
I cannot think of a culture that used a star system for anything other than terrestrial purposes. This includes a seasonal system for planting and harvesting etc. Sorry Rulesofrandom I may not be understanding your question??

The Romans for instance believed that the planets reflected the activity of the gods and the gods influenced earth.

(They weren't stars but they weren't restricted to the effect of the sun either)


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 Anonymous
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Astrology is perhaps the most personal of occult sciences. So your best bet is to throw the whole system out and reverse engineer it into something useful to you - instead of being subject to some idiot superstition with a million con-people ripping you off.


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 Anonymous
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"RuleofRandom" wrote:
I wonder however from the standpoint of evaluating an intrinsic validity when the system was changed from a star based system to a seasonal sun based system. How early was that system designed and what motivated the change?

93
Ptolemy wrote in the 2nd century that Aries was at 0* during the vernal equinox. This astronomical observance was interpreted to mean that 0* Aries marks the vernal equinox, in the tropical system that we use "influenced" from him, now marking the seasons, utilising the the signs of classical Greek astronomy.

I think the Sidereal system utilising the fixed constellations as we know it was established in 1944 by Cyril Fagan.
93 93/93


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 Anonymous
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The subject of the precession of the equinoxes and the subsequent non-alignment of the Tropical Zodiac with the Sidereal Zodiac is a topic that I am perpetually interested in. Yes, I would say that Tropical Zodiac astrology is physically inaccurate in regards to the actual constellations. People say "Oh, well it's not about the constellations" its about dividing the sky into 12 portions and aligning them with the seasons (Tropical Zodiac), but it isn't, otherwise it'd be called 'seasonology' rather than ASTROlogy. The Tropical Zodiac is 23 degrees 'out' from the Sidereal Zodiac - the actual positions of the stars. I personnaly cannot understand why western astrologers persist with the tropical Zodiac, except that it is _so ingrained_ in our history that they just can't give it up and keep making excuses for why it is innaccurate. Yes, about 2000+ years ago the Tropical and Sidereal Zodiacs aligned, and they would still if people bothered to pay attention, as it is, the Tropical Zodiac is now only a conceptual system. The equinoctal point moves backwards through the Zodiac at the rate of about 1 degree every 72 years. Now, the positions of planets in Houses and their Aspects, their relation to each other, doesn't change, it is accurate, the thing that is not accurate is the Signs they are in. They are all 'out' by 23 degrees, you need to move their positions backwards 23 degrees. So, for example, my sun is 23 degrees Capricorn according to the Tropical Zodiac, but according to the Sidereal zodiac, it is 1 degree Capricorn. This also makes what people are calling "The Age of Aquarius" utterly inaccurate, we are still within the tail of one of the Pisces fishes, apparently the equinox won't be moving into Aquarius until something like 2600. I get really tired talking about this because people just are so wrapped up in Tropical astrology that they simply don't believe you. I have a Certificate in Natal Astrology and have studied Astrology for years, I'm not simply making this up to be annoying. Plus yes, the signs in the sky are upside down in the southern hemisphere as well as occurring in the opposite signs to that in the northern hemisphere. I believe the meanings of the signs were characterised to an extent by the season in which they occurred and so their characteristics, I believe, are inaccurate in the southern hemisphere. To be accurate, one would first, move the degree back 23 degrees, and then flip the meaning of the sign, so really I'd be 1 degree Cancer instead of 1 degree Capricorn. I think if Tropical astrologers actually looked into this they'd agree with me. And now I await the shouting...


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 Anonymous
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I don't think it matters when the sidereal system was 'established' as mentioned above by Kephera - the Hindus have been using it for centuries if not millennia - the fact is the sidereal zodiac _is_ what is happening in the heavens and the tropical zodiac is not. That's what astrology is about, the STARS. Although I do agree that there are good points to the system where only the planets and aspects are used, can't remember what it's called, but some guy in modern astrology proposed that we scrap the signs, can't remember if he retained the houses as well, probably, did, and mainly look at the planets and their aspects.


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 Anonymous
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Did you know that doing the astrological natal chart of a royal upon their birth was punishable by the death penalty?

Hmmmmm. wonder why.


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 Anonymous
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Greetings Astaroth!

I think it would be interesting to know if you have experimented on this and by applying these changes to some charts and if the individuals found that these charts mirrored themselves and their life sufficiently.

Regards
Hecate


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 Anonymous
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Well that's what Hindu astrology is - using the sidereal zodiac. However, if the experiement where a researcher hands out the same alleged zodiac sign description to a whole class and says "here are ten things that are characteristic of your zodiac sign" and the people agree with such characteristics, and then, THEN, the researcher says "well I've given you all Taurus descriptions or whatever, how can I possibly rely on what the subjects themselves say about whether or not their Horoscope is accurate? People are mainly interested in hearing nice, or at least flattering or intriguing things, about themselves, you must have noticed how newspaper horoscpopes always priovide *something* which the reader can say 'Hey yeah, that sounds right'? How can I base the accuracy of a horoscope on what the subject says. I just don't think that's a good experiment. I'm not so interested in Astrology's application to humans or other things, but in the correct 'mapping' of the sky. As you have probably noticed, western astrology _seems_ to work well, even when using the tropical zodiac, I say "seems" because that's all we can say. "It seems right" - but people are notoriously bad at self reflection, I can't take someone's impression of themselves as a valid component of an experiment.


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 Anonymous
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"Astaroth" wrote:
I don't think it matters when the sidereal system was 'established' as mentioned above by Kephera - the Hindus have been using it for centuries if not millennia

93
That's a good point Astaroth, however I think it's important to distinguish between Vedic Astrology, and Sidereal Astrology. Although utilising similar methods, Sidereal Astrology remains a distinct Western system. I completly understand what you're saying though, and I'm sure you do as well, but am just throwing that out there in general.
93 93/93


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 Anonymous
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There's old aeon Astrology and there's new Aeon Astrology. If you want to know New Aeon Astrology, invoke Birfrons, the 46th spirit of the Goetia, and ask her to explain, not your astrology, but, your HGA's astrology.


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lashtal
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Getting back to the topic of precession: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-12207811

Owner and Editor
LAShTAL


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 Anonymous
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"You seem to be of the opinion that the Zodiac's relevance can be thought of more in terms of Jungian psychology than as an intrinsically valid instrument."

I guess. I don't know anything about Jungian psychology. All I know is that, at some point, way back when, somebody made all this astrology stuff up. It didn't just literally drop out of the sky on the Babalonian's heads. And, has been elsewhere commented upon, it probably originally mostly had to do with the position of the sun at various times and the earth's weather and growing cycles. Beyond that, I don't know.


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threefold31
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Dwtw

Regarding precession, while we may not have made it to the "Age of Aquarius" just yet, (estimates differ), it is interesting that we have pretty much gone through one whole sign since precession was "discovered" by Hipparchus.
In 136 B.C. he made calculations which showed a 1* shift every 72 years or so. That has accumulated to the point that in 2012 a period of 2147 years will have elapsed. Multiply this by 12 to get 25,764, which is very close to the modern estimate of the number of years in the full precession cycle.
So from Hipparchus to the end of the Maya calendar, the Equinox has drifted through 30* of the Zodiac. Whether the Mayans knew about precession is debatable.

Astrology itself is an endlessly debatable topic, but if you want to claim that the 'stars' are so forceful in the outcome of events on earth, despite their distances of many light years, (and an only apparent connection with each other through fictitious and illusory "constellations"), it seems rather absurd to ignore the effects of the star closest to us. On the premise that the stars have influence, I doubt all of the visible ones put together could influence us more than the Sun itself...regardless of where it sits on the plane of the ecliptic.

Remember that back when astrology was invented, it was generally agreed that the earth was at the center of the known universe. Eventually we learned that it revolves around the Sun, not the other way around. Who's to say that the "effects" of the stars have anything to do with stars at all? Perhaps it has everything to do with where the earth is on the ecliptic, relative to the Sun. Maybe the ancients just confused one physical phenomenon for another?

Since the tropical and sidereal zodiac roughly coincided when astrology was invented, there is no way to determine which of the two was having the effect, the stars or the seasons. and that is just as true today. Only empirical research could determine something of that nature, because the premises of the art of astrology were laid down when there was no viable distinction between sidereal and tropical versions.

Litlluw


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 Anonymous
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"ApeOfTheApeOfThot" wrote:
There's old aeon Astrology and there's new Aeon Astrology. If you want to know New Aeon Astrology, invoke Birfrons, the 46th spirit of the Goetia, and ask her to explain, not your astrology, but, your HGA's astrology.

Wow.


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 Anonymous
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"threefold31" wrote:
it seems rather absurd to ignore the effects of the star closest to us. On the premise that the stars have influence, I doubt all of the visible ones put together could influence us more than the Sun itself...regardless of where it sits on the plane of the ecliptic.

Remember that back when astrology was invented, it was generally agreed that the earth was at the center of the known universe. Eventually we learned that it revolves around the Sun, not the other way around. Who's to say that the "effects" of the stars have anything to do with stars at all? Perhaps it has everything to do with where the earth is on the ecliptic, relative to the Sun. Maybe the ancients just confused one physical phenomenon for another?

I think the theory is based on the idea that motion of the stars reflect a deeper order in the cosmos that also regulate the lives of individuals. So the idea is related to the theory of "correspondence" rather than influence.

As for evaluating the likelihood of the "tropical" system being contrived or not, in relation to the difficult fact of precession I think that the fact that Ptolemy developed the tropical system before the current shift in constellations suggests that it was not contrived at all but was the result of a different system of theory altogether.

The tropical system is not strictly sun oriented because it also calculates the influence of planets which have nothing to do as far as I know with the seasons.


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 Anonymous
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qqq


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einDoppelganger
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Just came across this on Astro.com. I thought it might be interesting even though a lot has been touched on already. By the way this site has been really helpful for me learning more about Astrology - if you want some free online tutorials and an interactive personal chart to explore check them out.

http://www.astro.com/astrology/in_ophiuchus_e.htm


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 Anonymous
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"azael93" wrote:
"You seem to be of the opinion that the Zodiac's relevance can be thought of more in terms of Jungian psychology than as an intrinsically valid instrument."

I guess. I don't know anything about Jungian psychology. All I know is that, at some point, way back when, somebody made all this astrology stuff up. It didn't just literally drop out of the sky on the Babalonian's heads. And, has been elsewhere commented upon, it probably originally mostly had to do with the position of the sun at various times and the earth's weather and growing cycles. Beyond that, I don't know.

Oi vey, that should be "Babylonians." Boy, you know a Thelemite when. . .


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vindex69
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RuleofRandom: "The horoscopes in papers are written by professional astrologers."
In the introduction to _Astrology, Science, and Culture_ one of the authors says when he was a junior reporter at a newspaper he was given the task of writing the Zodiacs; basically an exercise in creative writing (as he knew nothing of astrology).
There may be professionals doing some in the papers, but for an individual I thought to be anywhere near useful, you needed your birth date and time (within 4 minutes - pref from medical records, not the 'memory' of your parents).
Also, psychology is regarded as a Social Science.

I've recently read Antoine Faivre's _Access to Western Esotericism_ in which I noted some interesting comments regarding astrology some here may find useful in how they view the precession issue:

p34
on the most elevated plane, the esoteric, astrology is less a science of divination than a body of knowledge - a gnosis - of invisible relationships between the stars and men.

p62
re Astrology, which Paracelsus regarded not as a science of influences or blind determinism but as a blueprint or representation of the interdependencies of the universe, where the stars are at least as much "within" Man as they are outside of him. An element of our mind, a part of our own soul, called the "Light of Nature," reveals to us the magnalia Dei or mutual relationships and interconnections between humanity, the earth, and the stars on the one hand, and the stars and metals or chemical elements on the other. Just as our physical bodies draw nourishment from the elements, so do our invisible sidereal bodies nourish themselves by allowing the "Gestirn" (the spirit of the stars) to work within and act upon them. Not only the physician, but also Man in general, must learn to welcome into his own being this "Light of Nature."

p67
But during the seventeenth century astrology began to take on another aspect that distanced it from esotericism. The two most important theoreticians of the century, Placido Titi (Physiomathematica, 1650) and Jean-Baptiste Morin (Astrologia Gallica, 1661) sought to bring astrology into complete accord with the cosmologies of Aristotle and Ptolemy at the very time when their own theoretical foundations were being definitively undermined by discoveries in astronomy and by the new celestial mechanics.

p95
Is there a newspaper that does not have its special columns of daily or weekly advice? This is because despite its most widespread aspect - predictions that are simplistic, clichéd, commonplace, utilitarian, or "astroflash" - astrology still responds to a more or less conscious need to find once more in our uncentered and fragmented world the Unus mundus, the unity of mankind and the universe, through an integral language based on the principle of similitude. When this need is conscious, when it opens out upon a reflectionon a veritable hermeneutics of "signs" - which integrates a praxis and a gnosis, then we may speak of "esoteric" astrology. After Alan Leo, numerous twentieth century astrologers from Karl Brandler-Pracht (1864-1945) to André Barbault, including Daniel Chennevière (alias Dane Rudhyar, 1895-1985) deserve this adjective. Thanks to them, astrology is on its way to obtaining its own status at the heart of the humanities.

p292
Science moves toward multiplicity; gnosis always leads to unity, even if this unity proves to be complex. One should avoid mixing chemistry and alchemy, astronomy and astrology, and talking about a hyperchemistry or even a scientific astrology.


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einDoppelganger
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"vindex69" wrote:
I've recently read Antoine Faivre's _Access to Western Esotericism_

Thank you for this reference. These quotes make this book look quite interesting. I will have to add this to the ever growing stack of things to read!


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 Anonymous
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I found an old and rather New Agey-sounding article I once wrote on Precession, but I think it explains it well enough.

"I'm a Capricorn......Right"? The Precession of the Equinoxes and the individual's Horoscope.

by Caroline Tully.

The phenomenon termed "Precession of the Equinoxes" concerns the shift over the years which has resulted in the Zodiac signs no longer occupying precisely the position in relation to the Earth that they occupied several thousand years ago. Precession occurs because of the wobble of the Earth's axis caused by the combined gravitational pull of the Moon and Sun which causes movement of the Earth akin to that of a gyroscope, forming a complete circle over 25,000 years. Because of this precession, the 30 degree divisions called the Zodiac signs do not now coincide with the actual constellations which they represent. Today the astronomical point known as "the first point of Aries" or 0 degrees Aries, is actually to be found around 7 degrees of the previous sign of Pisces. This makes a difference of 23 degrees. This supposedly does not affect the Western Astrological theory as Western Astrologers use the constellation's names to denote 30 degree areas of the ecliptic, the Sun's apparent path around the Earth, rather than the constellations themselves. Western Astrologers argue that the system is not devalued by this phenomenon, however, as I will demonstrate, precession of the Equinoxes can make a big difference to an individual's Sun sign and Natal horoscope.

There is a fundamental difference between the Zodiac used in Hindu Astrology and the one used in the Western system. The Zodiac is an imaginary sphere of 360 degrees encircling the heavens inside of which the Sun, Moon and planets travel in their orbits. This circular space is divided into twelve equal parts of 30 degrees each, known as the Zodiac signs. At one time, these signs corresponded to actual fixed star constellations, however, due to the precession of the Equinox, which moves at a an average rate of 50 and a quarter seconds per year or 1 degree every seventy-two years, the same connection between the Zodiac signs and the constellations no longer exists. Because this difference adds up to around 23 degrees, when a Westerner refers to the Sun being in 15 degrees of Libra for instance, the statement is technically inaccurate, because the Sun, after being backed up by 23 degrees, would actually reside in Virgo.

The system which Western Astrologers use which is unrelated to the constellations, is called the Tropical Zodiac. The older and more traditional Zodiac employed by the Hindus, where there is no difference between a star constellation and the sign name given to it is called the Sidereal Zodiac. To find the Sidereal position of a planet when looking in a Tropical (Western) ephemeris, 23 degrees will have to be subtracted from the planet's position in a sign to give the actual, Sidereal location. Obviously, our Western Horoscopes as we know them are "out" by 23 degrees, which therefore changes the degree of every planet in the Horoscope and may move some planets into a different sign.

I will use my own Natal chart as an example. My Sun, in the Tropical system, is at 24 degrees, Capricorn. In the Sidereal system, 23 degrees are subtracted from my Sun's position and the result is 1 degree Capricorn. My Sun is still in Capricorn, but if I had been say, 15 degrees Capricorn instead of 24 degrees, and subtracted 23 degrees to get a Sidereal position, my Sun would have become 22 degrees Sagittarius! This changes everything. My Sun would have actually moved into a completely different sign, and so anyone with a planet degree of less than 23 degrees in a sign will find that planet in a different sign when the Sidereal system is applied to their Horoscopes. This is most noticeable with the Sun sign as it is the sign most people identify with when we talk about "our horoscope". I won't have an Astrological "identity crisis" when I apply the Sidereal Zodiac to my Sun's position because it is still in Capricorn, barely, but when I apply the Sidereal Zodiac to my Moon's position I get a bit of a surprise. In the Tropical position, my Moon is situated at 15 degrees of Scorpio. I fancy this position as I like to flatter myself with the Scorpionic traits such as an interest in the Occult, a relentless searcher into hidden realms and a deep, complicated type of person. After subtracting the 23 degrees form my Tropical Moon's position I am alarmed to discover that my spooky, Scorpionic Moon has become a nice, helpful 22 degrees of fashion-designing Libra! My Ascendant, the sign on the horizon at the time of birth, in the Tropical Zodiac is at 25 degrees of Virgo, after adjusting to the Sidereal Zodiac, I am still in Virgo but only by 2 degrees. Everything else in my Horoscope progresses backwards into the previous sign. So the ACTUAL positions of the planets in your Sidereal Horoscope are NOT the same as those that you might find on your familiar Natal chart; they have all moved backwards by 23 degrees.

The first scientific description of the cycle of Precession is credited to Hipparchus (2nd century BCE). As well as changing one's Horoscope, Precession of the Equinoxes is also what determines what is known as the Astrological "Great Year". It is generally agreed by Astrologers that it takes around 25,000 years for the wobbling axis of the Earth to make one revolution causing a "Great Year", thus a different Zodiac sign is said to rule each period of around 2000 years within that "Great Year" of 25,000 years. These 2000 year periods are called "Great Months". The earliest "Great Month" of which we have any real knowledge was that of Leo (10,000-8000 BCE): the Lascaux cave paintings show the Leonine creative influence becoming important. The Age of Cancer (8000-6000 BCE), witnessed the earliest development of settled farming and constructed dwellings, both home-oriented activities which come under the rulership of Cancer, the sign of the Moon Goddess and Great Mother. During the Geminian Age (6000-4000 BCE), the founding of the earliest libraries occurs. The Taurian Age, (4000-2000 BCE), can be characterised by the ancient Egyptians who were very preoccupied with the afterlife which is categorised under the polar duality of Taurus - Scorpio, and the worship of the Taurean Cow Goddess, Hathor. The warlike Arian Age, expressed its polarity with Libra, in the magnificent beauty of Greek architecture, (2000 BCE to the birth of Christ). Christian symbols such as Christ as the "Fisher of Men" and as the Redeemer-God are characteristic of the Age of Pisces which is still current.

In recent decades, the concept of Precession has taken root in the popular imagination of the New Age with the supposed dawning of the Age of Aquarius. However, the assumption that we are at the dawning of this Great Age owes very little to the observation of the sky. Since about 100 BCE, the Equinox point has slowly been making its way through the constellation of Pisces and is only now beginning its progress through the second fish of the Pisces pair. It will not reach the same degree of longitude as the star Beta Piscium at the head of the fish until CE 2813. The point of the Vernal Equinox is currently at Iota Piscis, which is around the center of the second fish in the Pisces constellation. The normal Aquarian preoccupation with rational science is now already clearly being seen in the way that our civilization is becoming increasingly based on and dominated by science and technology. However, the keynote of Aquarius is Humanity and in the future it is to be hoped that this quality will modify the present over-emphasis on science, harnessing it to the actual needs of humanity, rather than simply to what is technically possible.

Now that it is understood that there is a "real" Zodiac and a symbolic one, an important question naturally arises; Which Zodiac produces the most accurate results? Since both the Tropical and the Sidereal Zodiacs have withstood the test of time, one need not jump to any conclusions about which one is better than the other especially as it is possible to arrive at the same end through radically different means. It is also possible that each system is geared towards delineating its own specifically desired results. In practice, the Sidereal Zodiac which is mostly used by Hindu Astrologers analyzes actual events and circumstances destined to occur by virtue of one's past actions, and the Westerner's symbolic Zodiac reveals one's experience of those occurrences as well as basic personality traits. That both systems are quite workable is easily ascertained through practical experience in either method. Therefore the reader should perhaps try to appreciate the accuracy, beauty, and profundity of both systems and simply make space for any paradox which may exist.

For readers who would like to obtain their own Sidereal Horoscope to compare with their Tropical, Western chart, I suggest that if you know your planet's positions, just subtract 23 degrees from each position, which will often cause a planet to regress into its previous sign, or buy an Ephemeris which is a book with the Tropical positions of the planets in the signs and then subtract the 23 degrees or find an Astrologer who calculates Sidereal charts. Some Western Astrologers have adopted the Sidereal Zodiac method, however it is usually thought of as an esoteric practice in a Western context. This Bibliography below should be of some help too.

Bibliography:

‘Ancient Hindu Astrology for the Modern Western Astrologer’ by James T. Braha.

‘The Secret Language of the Stars and Planets’ by Goeffrey Cornelius & Paul.
Devereux

‘The American Ephemeris for the 20th Century’ by Neil F. Michelsen.

‘The Compleat Astrologer’ by Derek & Julia Parker.

‘Parker's Astrology’ by Derek & Julia Parker.


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 Anonymous
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It doesn't sound like from this definition of Astrology that tropical astrology is astrology proper.

The distinction between science and non science is an interesting distinction which raises questions. If we look at astrology as something that makes claims about a correspondence between inner and outer states then the question of falsifiabilty is raisable.

Scientific studies have been done which disprove the claim that different signs have different temperaments.

Perhaps you might say that isn't a claim that true astrology makes but I don't know.

Perhaps astrology is too complicated or subtle to test but that does not mean that it is not in principle falsifiable. However If astrology is more like a musical piece than a text then it would be as hard to prove a correspondence between astrological phenomenon and inner states as it would be to prove that a piece by Beethoven is moving. If astrology were like listening to music then a case can be made that it is not a science however if the heavens organized themselves into a text that resembles an academic discourse with outer phenomenon having a correspondence with psychologically articulable inner states such as anger or happiness and more abstract states such as nobleness then those would in all likelihood be testable claims.

"vindex69" wrote:
RuleofRandom: "The horoscopes in papers are written by professional astrologers."
In the introduction to _Astrology, Science, and Culture_ one of the authors says when he was a junior reporter at a newspaper he was given the task of writing the Zodiacs; basically an exercise in creative writing (as he knew nothing of astrology).
There may be professionals doing some in the papers, but for an individual I thought to be anywhere near useful, you needed your birth date and time (within 4 minutes - pref from medical records, not the 'memory' of your parents).
Also, psychology is regarded as a Social Science.

I've recently read Antoine Faivre's _Access to Western Esotericism_ in which I noted some interesting comments regarding astrology some here may find useful in how they view the precession issue:

p34
on the most elevated plane, the esoteric, astrology is less a science of divination than a body of knowledge - a gnosis - of invisible relationships between the stars and men.

p62
re Astrology, which Paracelsus regarded not as a science of influences or blind determinism but as a blueprint or representation of the interdependencies of the universe, where the stars are at least as much "within" Man as they are outside of him. An element of our mind, a part of our own soul, called the "Light of Nature," reveals to us the magnalia Dei or mutual relationships and interconnections between humanity, the earth, and the stars on the one hand, and the stars and metals or chemical elements on the other. Just as our physical bodies draw nourishment from the elements, so do our invisible sidereal bodies nourish themselves by allowing the "Gestirn" (the spirit of the stars) to work within and act upon them. Not only the physician, but also Man in general, must learn to welcome into his own being this "Light of Nature."

p67
But during the seventeenth century astrology began to take on another aspect that distanced it from esotericism. The two most important theoreticians of the century, Placido Titi (Physiomathematica, 1650) and Jean-Baptiste Morin (Astrologia Gallica, 1661) sought to bring astrology into complete accord with the cosmologies of Aristotle and Ptolemy at the very time when their own theoretical foundations were being definitively undermined by discoveries in astronomy and by the new celestial mechanics.

p95
Is there a newspaper that does not have its special columns of daily or weekly advice? This is because despite its most widespread aspect - predictions that are simplistic, clichéd, commonplace, utilitarian, or "astroflash" - astrology still responds to a more or less conscious need to find once more in our uncentered and fragmented world the Unus mundus, the unity of mankind and the universe, through an integral language based on the principle of similitude. When this need is conscious, when it opens out upon a reflectionon a veritable hermeneutics of "signs" - which integrates a praxis and a gnosis, then we may speak of "esoteric" astrology. After Alan Leo, numerous twentieth century astrologers from Karl Brandler-Pracht (1864-1945) to André Barbault, including Daniel Chennevière (alias Dane Rudhyar, 1895-1985) deserve this adjective. Thanks to them, astrology is on its way to obtaining its own status at the heart of the humanities.

p292
Science moves toward multiplicity; gnosis always leads to unity, even if this unity proves to be complex. One should avoid mixing chemistry and alchemy, astronomy and astrology, and talking about a hyperchemistry or even a scientific astrology.


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Los
 Los
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"RuleofRandom" wrote:
If we look at astrology as something that makes claims about a correspondence between inner and outer states then the question of falsifiabilty is raisable.

Absolutely. If astrology makes claims about such a correspondence, but these claims are unfalsifiable, then there's no way to determine that its claims are correct, and we have no reason to believe them.

Scientific studies have been done which disprove the claim that different signs have different temperaments.

Yes. There's no evidence at all that the location of distant heavenly bodies at the time of your birth has any measurable effect on your personality. There's not even any mechanism that we're aware of that would make it *possible* for the location of such distant bodies to have any effect on the personality.

Perhaps astrology is too complicated or subtle to test but that does not mean that it is not in principle falsifiable.

Yes. It would be pretty damn easy to test astrology. You get twelve people, from twelve different signs, to answer a detailed questionnaire, complete with essay questions and everything, designed by a team of professional astrologers. [For the sake of completeness, we'd have to make sure that these twelve people know very little about astrology...we want to make sure that they haven't unconsciously modelled their personalities on how they think they "should" act, based on their signs]

You then give each astrologer twelve birthdays and times of birth -- in random order -- along with the appropriate charts for those dates and times (or let each astrologer construct the charts him- or herself). Then give each astrologer the questionnaires, randomly mixed up.

Each astrologer -- working separately, and not able to communicate -- must independently match the birthdate/time to a particular questionnaire.

You then repeat this experiment a few dozen times and collect the results.

Now, we would expect a person randomly guessing to be right once in every twelve times. We would also expect that if the location of the stars really did have a measurable effect on the personality, then a professional studying a natal chart should be able to match it to the correct questionnaire most of the time -- if not every single time, then at least significantly more than we would expect from random chance.

If astrology actually worked, we would have data like this. There would be so much evidence for it that it wouldn't even occur to anyone to doubt it.

But we don't have data like that because, obviously, astrology doesn't actually work. It's a series of signs and symbols that are useful for understanding aspects of Crowley's system, and it's a fun sort of game to play when you're reading the paper and bored. That's about it.


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