Sunday, January 16, 2011

Has astrology been debunked?! What's my zodiac sign?! Help!!

So, as semi-professional astrologer (e.g., someone who has been studying alot in the past several years, and has just begun to get paid for it in the last year or so), I've been hearing alot of people asking, in the last few days, about what's going on with the "new zodiac".  Wondering if, and why(?!), their sign has suddenly changed.  And the people that I know have all been asking me (because I'm the resident astrology geek that they know ;-)).  So, I figured, it's about time that I blog about this, right?

In case you've been under a rock, and am wondering what I'm talking about. . . Apparently, this past Thursday, some "new news" surfaced in which an astronomer was debunking astrology, based on the fact that the signs that have shifted over the past several thousand years.  (For example, if the Sun was passing through the constellation of Aries on March 29 two thousand years ago, it would be passing through the constellation of Pisces on March 29 this year.) On top of this, a 13th sign (Ophiuchus) has been introduced, wreaking even more havoc, especially to those born around Thanksgiving (Scorpio/Sagittarius) time.  If you somehow managed to avoid hearing about this controversy, check it out here.

On Thursday evening, my friend Jason Bloom wrote me an e-mail, titled "Ophiuchus?", which read:
"I'm no longer a Sag.  I just read that all the astrological birth signs have shifted, and a thirteenth has been added, a sign that I now straddle along with Scorpio.  You are the best qualified person I know to ask about this.  :)

What's with the change?

After poking around on the internet a little bit for clarification/support, I wrote this reply:

Hey Jason,

I hope you don't mind that I copied my friends, and astrology students, Tre and Jenesta, too.  Tre sent an article out to me earlier today about the same matter. . .

So, basically, Tropical (Western) astrology uses a fixed system, which is based on the start of the seasons, and uses an even division of 12 signs for simplicity's sake.  This differs from Sidereal (Vedic) astrology, which is more concerned about direct correlation of the Sun's path with the constellations that it travels through in the sky.  (In short, the Tropical zodiac is more concerned about the Earth's relationship to the Sun, while the Sidereal zodiac is more concerned about the Sun's relationship to the stars.)  Although there was no difference between the systems several thousand years ago, this has changed, due to a process called the precession of the equinoxes.

So where does Ophiuchus fit in? Ophiuchus is a 13th constellation that the Sun can be observed to pass through for several weeks (about 17 days), as opposed to only a week in Scorpio.  (It has actually been known about for a LONG time--Ptolemy wrote about it in the 2nd century A.D.  The astronomers are just wanting to acknowledge more now, I guess. ;-)) But, keep in mind, that Tropical astrology is not based on the exact measurement of how long the Sun goes through each sign (it's about an equal division of the seasons into signs--30 degrees per, regardless), so us Western astrologers aren't phased by this news. 

With all this being said, I didn't actually know anything about the symbology/mythology of Ophiuchus (the serpent bearer), but I found an interesting sight that delves into this a bit, as well as explaining the division of the zodiac a bit more: (Click on the link "Saturday Extra Post!" for more about Ophiuchus.)

Hope that helps!


P.S. Mind if I post this to my blog, too? ;-)

Jason kindly agreed to let me repost my reply to him (thanks, Jason!), so I thought it would make sense to include this as my next blog entry (and first astrologically related blog entry for 2011--more to come!).  So, the long and short of it? The "new news" is actually old news, and you are still the sign that you have always been! (. . . at least according to Western astrology, which is what I practice, and what I have observed to be relevant over and over again.) You can breathe easy now. ;-)

Now, as far as whether you should read the same horoscope sign in the paper, well--I don't actually "believe" in the validity of paper horoscopes myself (don't really read them anymore). . . But that's a whole other topic to delve into.  More later! In the mean time, here's wishing you peace of mind, love in your heart and continued good fortune (no matter what the stars have in store for you). . .

Blessings to you,

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