What is astrology?
Once upon a time, astrology was a distinguished profession. The job qualifications were advanced mathematics, observation skills, ability to think carefully, an excellent memory and deductive resoning skills. No crystal balls to help out. That’s right, astrologers are not psychics. Astrologers need a day, time and place to have a frame of reference. From those reference points, a map is drawn, originally using the constellations as backdrop. This map is called a chart and we use find information about a person, people or even a place.
Tropical vs. Sidereal Astrology
Tropical astrology is the hands down winner in the western world. The first day of Spring equals the first day of Aries. the first day of Autumn is the first day of Libra. All 12 zodiac signs are divided on a 360 degree circle from those two dates, regardless of leap year, time zone changes or anything else. It is a precise and beautifully executed mathematical construct.
It is also flawed reasoning.
1) The seasons no longer have anything to do with the constellations. They used to, but over the last 2000 years the universe has shifted a bit from our perspective. On the first day of Spring, when babies are born they will be told “you are an Aries”, by people who use Tropical astrology, ignoring or simply unaware the Sun is physically in the constellation Pisces. And won’t be moving to the constellation of Aries for another 3 weeks.
2) Planets don’t bother to check the clock. A child born shortly after midnight on June 21, 2005 in England will be told he is a Cancer. Another child born at that exact same moment in time across the Atlantic in Washing DC, where it is still June 20, is told he is a Gemini.That’s Tropical astrology for you.
Using the constellations requires thought. It isn’t so neat and tidy, especially on days where the Sun, or any planet moves into different constellations. Modern technology makes using the constellation based Sidereal Zodiac easy to look up, no slide rule or trigonometry required. The Sidereal Zodiac is what astronomers, mariners, Vedic and Sidereal astrologers use.
Age of AquariuS, not yet
The general population has been singing about the Age of Aquarius, and grossly misinterpreting it, since 1968. The Sun is still in early Pisces as it crosses the celestial equator, signifying the first day of Spring in the northern hemisphere. And as we are still in the Piscine Age, the weekly horoscopes you find here begin with Pisces. Before Pisces, the time epoch is called the Iron Age, that was when Aries marked Spring in the northern hemisphere. Before that, the Bronze or Copper Age, it was the constellation Taurus the Sun entered. And before we are so unkind to Gemini as to equate their Sun Sign with brutes throwing stones in the pre-historic Stone Age, let me point out that developing tools and communication during that particular epoch of time was a spectacular leap for mankind.
Zodiacs and House systems
Having said all that, there are several different math formulas to decided where one constellation starts and ends. There are also dozens of ways to divide up the life arenas that astrologers call Houses. This is not the time nor place to go into all of that. If you wonder what I use for the general weekly horoscopes or any question you may ask, it is the Lahiri Zodiac and the Whole Signs Houses.
From the Earth’s perspective, all planets will appear to be going backwards except our Moon which is orbiting around us and the Sun, which earth is orbiting around. Three times a year Mercury appears to be going backwards in the sky, again from our perspective, for three weeks each time. There are nine weeks worth of births every year with Mercury Retrograde. If it isn’t you, consider making friends with one or two of these folks. Have your Mercury Retrograde buddy make buying, travel and electronic purchasing decisions for you. They will be much more likely to navigate the pitfalls of inaccurate advertising , over buying or getting the dud than you will be. Mistakes are made. Printing and communication errors are legendary. As it isn’t practical to hide out in a cave for nine weeks a year, do as I do. Do more research before you commit to anything. Be gracious when someone else fumbles, takes longer than you think it should or needs a little more help. Let mistakes teach us to be better. It is good time to go back to a previously started and discarded project. Or promoting yourself or an idea, people will gladly listen to a good story now. And it is a terrific time to sell something you no longer need, because, well, hmmm…. caveat emptor.