I have been asked by many friends and clients to write about the “new discovery” of the “new Zodiac”.  So to start with, there is no new zodiac, and nothing about astrology has changed. That there are two Zodiacs, the tropical and the sidereal, has been dealt with extensively by professional astrologers for over 2 millennium, and the current misunderstandings are what happen when pop media gets hold of an idea they don’t understand, and fail to ask professionals about its meaning. First of all, the processed zodiac, which has been used by Sidereal astrologers, and Vedic astrologers continuously for over 2 thousand years, is a well known phenomena within astrology.

Around 2500 years ago, astrologers decided to peg the symbolic zodiac to the seasons. Thus the first day of spring, the spring equinox, is always Aries, the 365 days in the year, are roughly divided into equal periods around 30 days long, this is the 12 symbolic zodiac sections known as the Tropical Zodiac. This Zodiac does not change. It is based on the temperament of the seasons in the northern latitudes of the planet. We divide by 12, because there are 3 modalities and 4 elements that make up the Zodiac. The three modalities are Cardinal, Mutable, and Fixed. The four elements are Earth, Water, Fire, and Air. If we throw in Ophiuchus the entire numerological basis for the perfection of astrology falls apart. Remember, Astronomy is the study of stars stripped of meaning and just observed for their physical characteristics. Astrology is the study of Orbital Bodies, Stars, and Esoteric mathematical relationships between the two to infer meaning, and messages from the divine that our applicable to our daily lives and experience.

For this reason, even though Ophiuchus is sticking his foot in the Zodiac right now, the constellation of the serpent bearer’s foot has always been in the Zodiac circle. This has been known since the existence of astrology to astrologers, they have not included him in the sacred symbolic geometry of the Zodiac, because it is only a foot, and does not accord with the sacred numerology of the stars.

The Sidereal Zodiac acknowledges the Precession of the Equinox. That is how the constellation the first day of spring the ecliptic points to is shifting, moving backwards in the zodiac by about 1 degree every 72 years.  This is the Zodiac used by Vedic and Sidereal astrologers. They reject the description of the Zodiac archtypes as being based on season and peg it to the actual location of the stars. Both Zodiacs have their uses. It is said the real master astrologers use both.

But alas, do not take my word for it, here are a couple of excellent blog posts on the subjects by others that I received in an email recently:

Richard Nolle has a full page on sidereal zodiac on his web site here
http://www.astropro.com/features/articles/zodiacs/precessA.html (excerpt)

“They have criticized something without bothering to investigate it. Anyone
who took the time to study astrology would certainly be aware that modern
astrological tradition in the Western world descends directly from the Greek
astrologer Claudius Ptolemy. In his Tetrabiblos, written in the 2nd Century
CE – that’s 2nd Century AD, for you non-ecumenical types – Ptolemy clearly
laid the signs versus constellations question to rest. “The beginning of the
whole zodiacal circle,” he affirms, “is therefore assumed to be the sign of
Aries, which commences at the vernal equinox.”3 Just to make sure even the
astronomers wouldn’t miss it, Ptolemy repeats the point: “The beginnings of
the signs,” he writes, “are to be taken from the equinoctial and tropical
points.”4 Ptolemy didn’t make this up out of the blue, all by his lonesome:
“This rule,” he notes, is “clearly stated by writers on the subject.”5
Ptolemy had access to the Great Library at Alexandria (where he lived), and
therefore can be assumed to have had a nodding acquaintance with the
astrological literature of his day. And far from being an original writer,
all he did was summarize and organize the astrology of that era – an
astrology that was by then already centuries old. From this it is evident
that astrologers before and during Ptolemy’s time were working with a zodiac
of signs – not a zodiac of constellations. (As early as the 5th Century BCE,
some Greek and Babylonian astrologers were working with a zodiac divided
into twelve equal segments based on the equinoxes and solstices: a zodiac of
signs, not constellations, in other words.)

So there you have it, straight from the historical figure who is universally
acknowledged as the Father of modern Western astrology: it’s the signs, as
defined by the equinoctial and tropical points (and specifically the vernal
equinox), that count – not the constellations. You might think that anyone
who’d criticize astrology on account of the discrepancy between signs and
constellations would bother to get acquainted with some basic history before
going on the warpath. But then you’d be making the mistake of assuming that
a propagandist has any interest in the truth in the first place. And that’s
just what anyone who attempts to debunk astrology on the grounds of the
signs-versus-constellations argument is: a propagandist, one who aims to
sway the minds and hearts of people without regard for the facts. In a word,
that whole red herring has no basis other than ignorance. (I’m ruling out
malevolence because the astronomers I’ve met seem to be pretty decent

Vaughn Paul Manley, M.A., Vedic Astrologer, say however that both systems
are relevant. He also wrote: “Interestingly, due to the precession of the
equinox, the Sun will be at the 1st degree of Libra at the spring equinox in
about 11,200 years! Mark you calendars! Then we’ll really have a lot of
explaining to do with regards to the two systems because they’ll be exactly
opposite one another!! The ayanamsha will be 180 degrees 0 minutes!! I’d say
it’d be worth it to incarnate at that time just to join in the debate!” and
“….this is why I think Western astrology makes sense even though it uses a
symbolic zodiac. Our day to day life on earth is integrally effected by the
seasons and so to transpose the zodiac over the seasons – works. The
essential qualities of the signs of the zodiac do line up with the Sun
passing through the seasons. For instance, the Sun passing into Aries
conveys the qualities of Spring – active, energetic, vigorous creative new
life etc.” read more on the debate here

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