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The tropical and siderial zodiac problem
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SaturnReturn



Joined: 12 Feb 2007
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Location: Los Angeles, CA

Posted: Mon May 14, 2007 3:09 pm    Post subject: The tropical and siderial zodiac problem Reply with quote

Hardball.

Am I a Cancer, or a Gemini? This is tough to work out and definately causes some cognitive dissonace. If you believe in the concept of a collective will, I am a Cancer because everyone(besides the Vedics) say people born between June 22 and July 21 are Cancers, and behave like Cancers, but what if we actually looked at the stars when I was born? I was born with the Sun in Gemini.

Yet, I am not a Gemini! I am a Cancer!

How can we explain this?

Maybe the qualities and characteristics atributed to each sign are based on the environment of the planet when the sun was passing through those signs. For instance, 2000 years ago, when the sun was actually in Aries, it was the time of the Vernal equinox. Ptolemy suggests that each planet has an influence on the native at the time of birth, creating an environmental fingerprint on the native. So people born at this time would be "springtime" people, bursting forth with life. As a signpost they looked to the stars to determine that when the Sun crossed into Aries, the people born at this time would reflect these "springtime" agressive qualities. The same with Capricorn and the dead of winter, in ancient times you had to be tough to survive a winter, and perhaps people born during that time were percieved as tough, capricorny people.

Thats the best I've got for explaining it. If we use this method however, we have to drop all correlations with the sign's personifications. Virgos are not vestal virgins. Leo's are not like lions. Picses are not like two fish.

More appropriate would be to say that Virgos are like September, the harvest, taking stock of what we have, and making sure we have enough to survive the coming winter. We are preparing for the winter and making sure that everything is in its place. We are also working hard reaping the harvest. Leo's are like August, the fields are bright and beautiful, the sun sets orange on a summer day. Think of a gorgeous August summer day and you have Leo.

Of course these are just stories, and I can't tell you why people born in July act like cancers, or why people born in February act like Aquarians. For some reason they do, but if we look at the stars we find that its impossible for the constelation to have any influence on any planet it is passing through, if that were the case, you could call me Cancer all day long but I'd be acting like a Gemini...right? So it must be due to something else, and these constalations must have just been used as markers in the sky, much the way sailors used the stars to cross the seas, or astronomers did to mark the seasons.

Any ideas why it all still works?
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Andrew



Joined: 31 Dec 2004
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Posted: Mon May 14, 2007 6:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://almanac.port-folio.us/part7.htm

Chaucer writes in the Canterbury Tales, "Whan that Aprille...and the yonge sonne hath in the Ram his halve cours yronne." Nicholas of Lynn's Kalendarium [1386] has the beginning of April as 20 degrees into Aries, rather more than halfway through Aries. Nicholas of Lynn uses the tropical zodiac, which fixes the cusp of Aries at the spring equinox, March 12 for him and March 20 for us after 600 years of progression of the equinox. The other zodiac signs follow at 30 degree intervals. The tropical zodiac signs do not fall on the actual constellations as would those of a sidereal zodiac. The actual constellations don't synchronize with the seasons. The seasons present an unequivocal manifestation of the power of celestial bodies. The tropical zodiac does follow the seasons. Hence astrologers in the West follow the tropical zodiac. This would imply that astrological influences derive from the planets, which includes the sun, and their aspects and that the constellations themselves serve merely as markers.

http://www.astro.com/homepage/gb2000_04_e.htm

The tropical ecliptic coordinate system starts at the vernal equinox, and what we call Sun signs are 30 degree sections of the annular solar path, reflecting the rhythm of the solar system. That the fixed star constellations which once gave the names to those sections are not anymore where they used to be when the ecliptic sections were named, is too bad, and a source of confusion for many. From the tropical point of view, which measures from the vernal equinox which undergoes precession, the SIDEREALISTS are the ones who ignore the precession of the equinoxes and stick to something which was true 2000 years ago but is not any longer. Mainstream astrology is about the solar system and its rhythms of movement, and NOT about fixed stars.

The fundamental error of the siderealists is that they try to use a measuring stick from FAR OUTSIDE the solar system, to measure the movement of the planets, instead of using the IMBEDDED MEASURE from within the solar system, represented by the annual circle of the Sun (as perceived from earth), the basic drum beat of the music of the solar system.

If you want to read more about some fundamental problems of the sidereal zodiac, visit the Swiss ephemeris section and read section 2.7 of the document under the link 'Full documentation'. Most siderealists do not really know what they are doing, in my opinion.

~ Alois Treindl


For the most comprehensive analysis, see

http://www2.bitstream.net/~bunlion/bpi/precess.html
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Morpheus



Joined: 21 Mar 2007
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Posted: Mon May 14, 2007 6:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Saturn Return----

First of all let me show my preferences. Tropical--Placidus--(thinking of switching to equal house)

The Next War of Astrology would be fought between the armies of Traditional and Modern astrologies

Well. You cant comment on Sidereal just on the basis of Sun Sign . Learn the Sidereal and analyse the chart on the whole.

As far as Tropical approach is concerned, i am Pisces. But if think of me as Pisces only then you are in for big surprise.

I think that fitting criticism and appraisal of both preferences of Zodiac can only be made by a person who is proficient in both styles.

In Pakistan atleast i know one living and practising as an astrologer. He is equally proficient in Sidereal (Vedic), Tropical(Traditional) Tropical (Modern). I would seek his opinion.

Your idea of development of Zodiac some where close to 2000 years ago seems plausible. Smile
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SGFoxe



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Posted: Tue May 15, 2007 4:57 pm    Post subject: Tropical is really SOLAR Reply with quote

The Tropical Zodiac is really THE Solar Zodiac insofar as it traces the path of the Sun (ecliptic) from equinox (where the Sun/ crosses the Celestial Equator). Since the equinoctial points are the crossing of two imaginary lines, it took a while to devise the Tropical eg Solar Zodiac. The original Zodia were sideral and built around the moon and her mansion of stars -- which, as I discovered last summer at the Conclave in Ken Johnson's presentation -- is the reason the Vedics use Sidereal --

Because the indigenous astrology of India was Lunar -- the Nakshatras -- with the influx of the Hellenistic astrology (2nd century ad) they went pretty much solar except after some centuries precession robbed the system of the well beloved nakshatras, they reverted to the sidereal zodiac.

Tablet 5 of the Epic of Creation -- Marduk assigns the responsibility of the Zodiac to Shamash -- which I see as a mandate for the Solar Zodiac

Sonja Foxe
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Mark
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Posted: Tue May 15, 2007 6:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Mainstream astrology is about the solar system and its rhythms of movement, and NOT about fixed stars.


I am unclear what 'mainstream astrology' is being described here. While I utilise the tropical zodiac I feel the above statement goes too far in trying to de-emphasise the role of fixed stars. From Ptolemy in the Tetrabiblos right up to Lilly in Christian Astrology the fixed stars have played an important role in traditional astrology. Equally, fixed stars were central to the Babylonian and Egyptian understanding of the heavens.

The paradox for tropicalists is that the fixed stars still retain a resonance imbued with their sidereal constellation position meanings. Noone has suggested for example that Antares gives up its role as heart of the Scorpion simply because it is now in the tropical sign of Sagittarius.

The fixed star authority Diana Rosenberg has taken this idea much further and argues that tropical astrologers need to look at the role of the sidereal constellations in their chart. I believe she is planning to bring out a book on this subject.

Beyond this I willing to accept that sidereal astrology is a fully viable system within its own frame of reference. The either/or thinking that suggests only one approach can be valid is too exclusivist for my taste.


Last edited by Mark on Wed May 16, 2007 11:33 am; edited 2 times in total
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Martin Lewicki



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Posted: Wed May 16, 2007 11:31 am    Post subject: Re: The tropical and siderial zodiac problem Reply with quote

[quote="SaturnReturn"]Hardball.

As a signpost they looked to the stars to determine that when the Sun crossed into Aries, the people born at this time would reflect these "springtime" agressive qualities. The same with Capricorn and the dead of winter, in ancient times you had to be tough to survive a winter, and perhaps people born during that time were percieved as tough, capricorny people.

[...]

More appropriate would be to say that Virgos are like September, the harvest, taking stock of what we have, and making sure we have enough to survive the coming winter. We are preparing for the winter and making sure that everything is in its place. We are also working hard reaping the harvest. Leo's are like August, the fields are bright and beautiful, the sun sets orange on a summer day. Think of a gorgeous August summer day and you have Leo.

[...]

Any ideas why it all still works?[/quote]

Of cousre the seasonal attributions are inverted for the south hemisphere creating something of a dilema with this theory. Even more so for the inhabitans of the equatorial regions where the classic four season do not even exist!

Ptolemy and other classical astrologers must have been aware of this but unconcerned about anything other than only the seasonal experience in their own region.

As for this I thereofre suggestt that the influence of the signs are not seasonal in nature.

You can make anything fit...

Eg for south hemisphere

Capricorn at height of summer. Sun climbs gradually to the the peak near zenith, like Capricorns are climbers.

Cancer at depths of winter. Cold, rain and wet. Cancer is a water sign. And as the crab moves side ways at bottom of the sea the Sun creeps low along the north horizon.

Aries at autumn. Time for lighting fires. Cold weather is approaching time to gather fire wood for heat and cooking.

Libra at spring. Days are becomig fine and time to appreciate the outdoors and beautify surrounds, restore balance.

All a bit abstruse I know, but it serves to illustrate that I think the signs have an intrinsic meaning and the parochial attributions of the seasons is an overlay due to the experience of a people in a particular region.

Martin Lewicki
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Andrew



Joined: 31 Dec 2004
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Posted: Wed May 16, 2007 1:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Mainstream astrology is about the solar system and its rhythms of movement, and NOT about fixed stars.


The above quote is by Alois Treindl, PhD physics, the founder and director of Astrodienst AG.

Shepherd Simpson, Astrological Historian (?), has another perspective. He writes:

The Sidereal Zodiac still has problems in that it is an oversimplification of what is really 'above' us.

The first problem is that it still insists that there are twelve signs, even though in reality there are thirteen, Ophiuchus being the 10th sign of the Real Solar Zodiac.

The second problem is that it insists that the Signs are all the same length: one twelfth of a year. The heavens just aren't that tidy. The actual lengths of the signs vary from seven days for Scorpius to forty-five days for Virgo. Gemini is the only Sign whose actual size is close to one twelfth of the year.

The third problem is that the Sidereal Zodiac still insists that Aries is the first Zodiac Sign. It has lost the ancient connection with the Ages. In fact Pisces is the Sign at the Equinox and is therefore the first Sign of the year according to the Ancient definition.


Read the full article here:

http://www.geocities.com/astrologyzodiacs/siderealzodiac.htm

I follow the view offered by Vivian Robson in his book The Fixed Stars and Constellations in Astrology (p. 24-25):

It will be noticed that Ptolemy expresses the nature of the constellations in terms of the planets ... It will be observed that the characteristics of many of the groups resemble those of the sign in which they fall. Some years ago Sepharial suggested that the signs themselves might not be the real originators of all the influences ascribed to them, some of which might more properly be attributed to the constellations. Thus in the case of Cancer the pushing nature of its natives may really be due to Monoceros, their love of dogs to Canis Major, and their love of the sea to Argo. This should be borne in mind for by careful research we may eventually be able to assign more exact influences to both signs and stars.

I like the approach of Robson and Sepharial because it includes both the tropical signs and the sidereal constellations. From this perspective, one might observe the Moon in the night sky and locate it within the tropical sign of Cancer and (for example) the sidereal constellation of Argo. It's a matter of perspective.
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Mark
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Posted: Wed May 16, 2007 4:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Andrew,

Your criticisms of the sidereal zodiac are all valid. However, the move to equal asterisms seems the product of a later understanding when astronomical knowledge had suitably progressed. All the original 'zodiacs' of India, China and Babylonia were lunar rather than solar and were all unequal in their divisions. The Babylonian move from an 18 constellation lunar zodiac to a 12 sign solar zodiac seems to have been motivated by a greater understanding of the movement of the Sun and the attempt to fit the calendar into this cycle. It may also have been influenced by the Egyptian Sothic calendar.

One argument often cited by siderealists is that most of the early astrologers (excluding Ptolemy) do not appear to have used a tropical Zodiac. In his book 'A History of Horoscopic Astrology' James Holden seems to lend support to this view. In particular Holden suggests that the early Alexandrian astrologers used a fixed sidereal zodiac which Holden states 'differed from from the tropical zodiac by about 5' 05 degrees in the year 76 ad.''

Ptolemy's advocacy of the tropical zodiac was not generally adopted by western astrologers until the late hellenistic era. Nevertheless, it was eventually passed on to Arab and Latin medieval astrology. However, when astrology was transmitted to India it was based on the Alexandrian zodiac from astrologers such as Vettius Valens. Indian sidereal astrologers can therefore correctly argue they are following the fixed zodiac of early Greek astrology just as the western tropical astrologers can argue they are following the tropical zodiac advocated by Ptolemy.

Incidentally, its worth pointing out that Dr Shepherd Simpson is no enthusiast for the tropical zodiac either......

http://www.geocities.com/astrologyzodiacs/tropicalzodiac.htm

Mark


Last edited by Mark on Thu May 17, 2007 9:12 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Andrew



Joined: 31 Dec 2004
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Posted: Wed May 16, 2007 10:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Your criticisms of the sidereal zodiac are all valid.


Strictly speaking, they're not so much my criticisms as they are the criticisms of others whose arguments I've referenced for informational or comparative purposes. But your point is well taken.

Quote:
Incidentally, its worth pointing out that Dr Shepherd Simpson is no enthusiast for the tropical zodiac either.


Yes. He seems to have his own unique take on the matter.

Interestingly, Robert Hand has written with regard to Varahamahira's Brihat Jataka, chapter 1, sloka 19:

These are our old friends the System A rising times for Babylon again; and again, just as in Valens, they are identified with the signs of the zodiac, not a separate set of 30 degree divisions having no fixed relation to the signs of the zodiac. And again they are symmetrical with respect to 0 degree Aries, something that can only happen in a tropical zodiac. Was this eminent figure of the Hindu tradition a tropicalist? Apparently so. In another early Hindu work, the Yavana Jataka, we also find symmetrical rising times, indicating a tropical zodiac although these rising times at least are recomputed for India.

http://www.robhand.com/tropzo.htm

For another perspective, here is an excerpt from the M.Phil. dissertation of Nicholas Whyte, whose website is here:

http://explorers.whyte.com/

His M.Phil dissertation was on the liber de arte astronomice iudicandi by Roger of Hereford, a twelfth-century (early medieval) astrologer's manual, which he describes here:

http://explorers.whyte.com/roger.htm

You can access the document from the above page. Of particular interest is the use of the sidereal zodiac in the construction of the horoscope of Eleanor of Aquitaine: it would appear that it was the practise of at least some Western astrologers in the early medieval period to cast their charts using the sidereal zodiac. It seems that sometime around the middle of the fifteenth or the beginning of the sixteenth century ("since Kepler"), the tropical zodiac became the new standard in the West. In other words, it seems unnecessary to appeal to the work of Cyril Fagan et. al. in the modern siderealist movement in order for "traditional" Western astrologers to justify the use of the sidereal zodiac: many Western astrologers in the early medieval period were using the sidereal zodiac and they were using basically the same techniques that later astrologers like William Lilly also employed, except that they were doing so using a sidereal zodiac.

At least one astrologer of my acquaintance has argued that it is more likely that the Renaissance translations of Ptolemy may have helped to further deepen the use of the tropical zodiac in the West. If one reflects on how important it is to calculate Easter, which in the Western church relies on the equinox, it is likely that it was already the standard in medieval times. But that of course doesn't mean that the sidereal zodiac was ignored completely. The one element of the tropical zodiac that would in the West have been more acceptable is the symbolism of the Cross given by the solstices and equinoxes.

Here is the excerpt from Nicholas Whyte's commentary on the original manuscript of Roger of Hereford:

There are two ways of "distinguishing" the zodiac, in other words two ways of measuring planetary longitudes. The first counts the first degree of Aries (its "zero point") from the intersection of the ecliptic and celestial equator which the Sun passes through in spring. This is the tropical reference frame. The second compensates for precession, the slow wobble of the orientation of the Earth's axis which causes the celestial poles and equator to change position against the background of the stars, by subtracting eight degrees from the tropical longitude. This is meant to allow for precession since the time of Ptolemy, at the rate of 1░ per century. As it is referred to a particular point fixed with respect to the stars, a historical First Point of Aries, it is a sidereal reference frame.

The first distinctio zodiaci is used by astrolabe makers and for trigonometrical calculations; the second for planetary tables and for astrological judgements. It is very interesting that Roger decides to come down as firmly as he does on this issue; he clearly intends Aries not to be the first 30░ of the ecliptic north of the celestial equator, but instead to correspond to where the stars representing the constellation Aries actually happen to be.

Many medieval writers believed in the accession and recession of the eighth sphere, according to which the sphere of the fixed stars rocked back and forth over a period of centuries or millennia. This doctrine was developed (most notably by Thabit b. Qurra) partly to account for the discrepancy between Ptolemy's guess of 1░ per century for the rate of precession and later Arabic measurements of 1░ per 66 years, and partly to avoid the theological problems of the entire universe running on a 36,000 year cycle. Although it was known to Walcher of Malvern in the previous century, no reference to the difference between tropical and sidereal coordinates is made by Raymond of Marseilles, Roger's source for the Hereford tables.

Ptolemy's (and indeed Copernicus') planetary theory held that the tropical reference frame which is Roger's first distinctio zodiaci and has been the standard since Kepler, rotated with respect to the sphere of fixed stars and planetary auges, and that the latter was a more secure base for calculations. Most planetary tables (including Roger's of 1178 and the Toledan and Al-Khwarizmian tables from earlier in the 12th century) therefore gave planetary longitudes in sidereal co-ordinates, either with corrections to convert from one system to another or with a separate table for the motion of the eighth sphere.

As Mercier has shown, both the Al-Khwarizmi tables and the Toledo tables, as well as their derivatives, make tropical and sidereal longitude equal in 563; by the middle of the twelfth century there would indeed have been a bit more than 8░ difference, so direct observation would have found this figure.

Further evidence for Roger's views comes from MS Arundel 377 in the British Museum, (see later). Its marginalia include a list of solar altitudes taken with the astrolabe when the Sun is "in initio signorum". The figures given are consistent with a sidereal reference frame differing by eight to ten degrees from the tropical reference frame. The tables themselves on the facing page of the MS are of sidereal longitude. It is clear that for Roger the signs of the zodiac used for interpretation of horoscopes are sidereal.

Why then use the tropical reference system at all? Because the signs of the zodiac are not as crucial to the correct interpretation of a horoscope as are the houses, and the cusps of the houses are dependent on spherical trigonometry based on tropical co-ordinates. These are calculated with the tables secundum circulorum coniunctionem facte referred to in the next paragraph ...

... It is immediately obvious that these are not consistent with the modern tropical definition of the location of the start of each sign; if they did, the figures for Aries and Libra would both be 38░ (the colatitude of Hereford). Roger is using the position of the sun against a background not of a tropical but of a sidereal zodiac, whose First point of Aries is offset from the intersection of equator and ecliptic to compensate for precession ...

... Analysing the difference between Roger's measurements and calculated results for different assumed off-sets in the ecliptic, we find that a difference of between eight and ten degrees seems to have been used.
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Mark
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Posted: Thu May 17, 2007 7:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Andrew,

Thanks for your detailed post. That was all extremely interesting!

This seems to support the view that the received historical wisdom in this area is often oversimplistic. While the shift over from a fixed to tropical zodiac is conventionally stated to have started in the late hellenistic era, with astrologers like Firmicus, the transition does not appear to have followed this pattern in a linear or consistent way.

A previous thread here suggested that the prominent Arab era astrologer Masha'allah was probably still using a sidereal zodiac in the 9th century.

http://skyscript.co.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?t=2160

So the suggestion that the tropical zodiac only became widely accepted following the Ptolemy revival in the late Medieval or Renaissance era seems quite plausible. This seems a topic that would really benefit from more detailed astrological research.

Hand's article is very interesting although I think I will need a while to fully absorb it properly. His suggestion that the tropical zodiac may have been utlised in some early Vedic astrological texts is very intriguing. Of course this raises the further question of whether this detailed knowledge of precession came from Greek or indigenous sources.

While conventional histories give the credit for the discovery of precession exclusively to the Greeks ( Hipparchus via Ptolemy) a lot of research is emerging that many ancient cultures had a basic understanding of precession which is reflected in their mythology. In particular the pioneering book 'Hamlet's Mill' by De Santillana and Von Dechend in the 60's first put forward this theory in relation to various cultures such as the Babylonians and Egyptians. More recently authors such as Jane.B. Sellers (The Death of Gods in Ancient Egypt) and William Sullivan ( The Secret of the Incas) have lent support to this thesis.


Last edited by Mark on Thu May 17, 2007 8:53 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Andrew



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Posted: Thu May 17, 2007 8:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
This seems to support the view that the received wisdom concerning the history of astrology is often oversimplistic. While the shift over from a fixed to tropical zodiac is conventionally stated to have started in the late hellenistic era, with astrologers like Firmicus, the transition does not appear to have followed this pattern in a linear or consistent way.


It would appear that Roger of Hereford was not the only early medieval astrologer who used a sidereal zodiac. As you have said, the received wisdom does seem to be oversimplistic. The Tetrabiblos seems to suggest that Ptolemy regarded fixed stars as being part of the signs. In section 2.11, for instance, he discusses the nature of the signs, part by part, and their influence on the weather. The Pleiades and Hyades are seen as part of Taurus, i.e., the fixed stars linked with the signs of the sidereal zodiac.

Quote:
In particular the pioneering book 'Hamlet's Mill' by De Santillana and Von Dechend in the 60's first put forward this theory in relation to various cultures such as the Babylonians and Egyptians.


Here are links to a couple of essays which dispute the thesis of Hamlet's Mill; I've yet to read them in their entirety, so I just post them here for comparative purposes:

http://members.optusnet.com.au/~gtosiris/page9j.html

http://members.optusnet.com.au/~gtosiris/page9f.html
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Martin Lewicki



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Posted: Thu May 17, 2007 11:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The idea that the tropical zodiac lends itself to easier computations of factors such as zodiacal position and house cusps can be appreciated by anyone who as spent time keying in astronomical algorithms in to computers for astrology.

Planetary theory such as VSOP89 and Moshier etc refer orbital elements to the precesing equinox and ecliptic to facilitate coversion to equatoiral coordinates.

Degrees of long and short ascension remain in tact signwise in tropical zodic but are constantly changing siderealy.

Astronomical star maps up until mid 19th C often included tropical ecliptic overlays with the signs marked on the cusps as well as equatorial coordinates, both conveniently sharing the same equinox as the inception.

So, I suspect practicallity too may have something to do with adopting the tropical zodiac.

Martin
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Juan



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Posted: Tue May 22, 2007 1:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Planetary theory such as VSOP89 and Moshier etc refer orbital elements to the precesing equinox and ecliptic to facilitate coversion to equatoiral coordinates."


Both VSOP87 and Moshier's are built on a sidereal (non-precessing) reference frame. Since precessed planetary positions are a yuxtaposition of the planet's movement and the precessional movement, a non-precessing reference frame is needed to build a really accurate theory of motion. Astronomers call this a "quasi-inertial" frame, considered to be fixed in space and time.

Note the similarity between this concept and the idea of a "radix" in Astrology...

(Note: Martin is referring probably to the "mean orbital elements" of VSOP87 which are available for both the fixed and the moving (precessing) ecliptic, or to the variant called VSOP87-D which is a little less bulky and a truncated version of which appeared in Meeus "Astronomical Algorithms", but which is based on a now obsolete and inaccurate estimate of precession. Moshier's theory is sidereal and does not include orbital elements. From my personal perspective a sidereal theory is more accurate because it alllows the incorporation of improved precession values at the final step of the calculation.)

The issue of "sidereal vs tropical" is unfortunately usually considered from a spatial perpective only, i.e., "I am Gemini or I am Cancer". This is, in part, a consequence of the common and simplified conversion procedure which consists of adding or subtracting the ayanamsa, the equivalent of a simple displacement in space. But precession is a space AND time phenomenon, and there are important differences in the timing of events when you work sidereally or tropically.

Present transits of slow-moving planets to the USA chart will happen several years later in the sidereal perspective, and when you use --for example-- the chart of Islam from A.D. 622, any transit you calculate in one perspective will be inexistent in the other. In natal Astrology, a retrograding trasiting planet often changes dramatically the time-picture of an ordinary transit when it is seen sidereally, and significant differences always appear in the timing of progression as the the person gets older.

Why do astrologers so consistently forget these differences in the timing of events when engaging in the "sidereal vs tropical" debate?

Working "sidereally" does not require the use of any of the different historical sidereal zodiacs. A precession-corrected chart (such as a solar return), for example, is strictly sidereal. Some astrologers have the notion that precession-corrected charts are a mixture of sidereal and tropical. This notion is the result of identifying the word "sidereal" with "a sidereal zodiac", failing to see that a precession-corrected chart is based on a sidereal zodiac the starting point of which is the moment of birth (time) and the position of the ecliptic at the moment of birth (space), and forgetting that the usual ayanamsa displacement in space is a function of a difference in time.

Software programmers are sometimes to blame for the confusion. Some programs calculate precession-corrected charts or returns but present the positions tropically, others offer the calculation of "sidereal" progressions "without bija", i.e., using the tropical year as parameter. Both are in my opinion mathematical absurdities that result from the habit of artificially separating the time and space dimensions of precession.

A sidereal perspective comes naturally from the observation of the night sky, in which celestial events are correlated between themselves and not with the Earth. From an astrological perspective, the concept of "distance" when dealing with the fixed stars is meaningless, they are the "eternal", beyond space and time. A tropical perspective, on the other hand, is a derivation of the observation of solar phenomena with respect to the Earth.

Personally, I think there is a place in modern Astrology for both the sidereal and the tropical perspectives (even though I work with "precession-correction" --sidereally-- all the time and ignore the signs of zodiac). If only the debate were less exclusively focused on differences between one sign position or the other and time were less subdued by space in the minds of astrologers...

... a habit that in my opinion reflects the differences between Babylonian and Greek modes of thought from which the change between tropical and sidereal paradigms originated. Where is our synthesis?

Juan
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Lucas



Joined: 25 May 2007
Posts: 1

Posted: Fri May 25, 2007 7:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great posts - thanks.
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Tumbling Sphinx



Joined: 02 Jan 2005
Posts: 247

Posted: Mon May 28, 2007 8:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi SaturnReturn,

You've had some excellent replies here.

Quote:
Any ideas why it all still works?


Thought I'd add a few herbs and spices into the pot!!! ... works because tropical is part of sidereal and regardless of how the frame of reference shifts, gets reduced or numbering inverted it's still all connected when perspective is taken from the boundary of the celestial sphere.

Gives rise to confusion no doubt, and the trudging through various things, but the order is still there ... in the absence of it being clearly presented in theory then there's always the option of reverting to observing Nature direct, as the ancients did.

Astrology is based upon the logic found in Nature's order (cosmos), from the outer sphere of stars down and in to earth.

The Moon, it's passage and light was primary to finding the stars, their groupings, associated images etc.

Time keeping, calendars and interpreting the nature and quality of time started with the Moon. Lunar calendar.
Considerations and interpretation of the higher realms began with the Moon.

The Sun defined the angles and boundaries of earth and the divisions of earth under it's apparent passage. The Sun obscures for the main the light of the stars and brings into focus that emerging into realization on the material plane - Earth. Solar calendar.

The conjunctions between these two lights (new Moon) were the 3 or so dark days of transition between the end of one month and start to a new month. The start to a new month was heralded by the rise of new crescent Moon and the star/constellation it was seen to align with.

Civil calendars related to the order of day - Sun-Earth.
Ecclesiastical calendars related to the order of the night, preceding and infusing that of the day - Moon-Stars.

The monthly conjunctions between the Moon & Sun gave the 12-fold divisions of alignment between heaven and earth.

These conjunctions were a point of convergence between the divisions of the heavens (Moon & stars) and earth (Sun-earth) ... the regular heavenly seeding of the earth plane, so to speak .... significant times being eclipses of the Moon due to the Moon's connection with the volume, flow and release of the waters (inundation).

This order and frame of reference applying in smaller divisions of time to the greater divisions of time.

The 12-fold division as relates to the cycle of a year wasn't based upon the span of a constellation. It's related to the convergence of the Moon and Sun each month in aligning the heavens with earth. The 30 degree divisions demarcated by the union between Moon & Sun along the ecliptic - the ecliptic being earth's passage, passage of eclipses and during the inversion of day, the apparant passage of the Sun.

In certain culturs, the 12-fold divisions were also demarcated in accordance with each Full Moon, a point from where it would descend over the course of days to converge with Sun and rise again.

In an effort to keep time on earth in accord with the "whole" of Nature, to keep earth and its inhabitants in alignment with the natural cosmos (order), a great deal of effort was expended first on studying the stars via the Moon, then in synchronising Moon with Sun - eventuating in the luni-solar calendar and a focus on the middle path, the ecliptic.

The order of considerations relating to the stars - calendrically and interpretively - started with the Moon.

Ref Hipparchus per Ptolemy (Almagest):

Quote:
Hipparchus used certain Lunar eclipses which were observed to take place near stars to compare the distance of the star Spica in advance of the autumnal equinox at each [eclipse].

In order to carry out the computations for the above [ref. Kallipic cycle] he adduces the spring equinox he had accurately observed in those years. This was in order that from the latter he could find the position of the sun at the middle of each eclipse, from these the positions of the moon, and from the positions of the moon those of the stars.


Starting with the Moon in relation to the sphere of fixed stars was carried through in many writings referencing the cosmos, eg. "A true lover measures the wind during the day and counts the stars and measures the moon during the night." The Conference of the Birds.

The sphere of fixed stars being viewed as the bounds of a "cosmic egg", eg. "egg of Baraham" as per Biruni, or Brahma's golden egg etc.

As per our predecessors, Hipparchus etc, Sidereal still uses fixed star Spica, or -180 degrees from Spica and of prime consideration is the Moon.

If we use only a lunar calendar, we lose sight of the significance of the role of the local sun.

If we use only a solar calendar (which the Gregorian calendar is, which is what the dates of the days you gave above apply to) we lose sight of the significance of the stars and the Moon. They slip from view under the rays of the local sun.

The Gregorian solar calendar was a revision in keeping with the Council of Nicea under the rule of an emperor who adopted Christianity and was of the order of Sol Invictus (prime orientation was to the Sun). The Gregorian calendar did not take into account the Moon & the Stars in its revision - so in context of keeping time natural as relates to the whole cosmos it's somewhat out of sync insofar as the sines of the stars are concerned.
In calculating Easter during time at Nicea it was based on the Hebrew calculations of "Pesach" which is tied to the Moon, under the emperor of the day a date was chosen to strengthen the rule of the Sun over that of the Moon.
This in an effort to consolidate rule over the local culture, and local politics.

Today easter is still based on the Moon. In the Gregorian calendar, the date of Easter is the first Sunday after the ecclesiastical full moon which occurs after the ecclesiastical vernal equinox. The date of the full moon (together with the date of the vernal equinox) is calculated not according to actual astronomical phenomena, but according to a calendrical approximation of these phenomena. Going back it was calculated in line with actual astronomical phenomena.

The luni-solar calendar brought both Moon & Sun together, in order, commencing with the Moon.

In addition, going back the Moon was considered "male" and the Sun was "female". Under the adoption of the solar rule there was a change of gender (as well as agenda) as relates to Moon & Sun.

In going back we find Moon attributed as being "male" in Nanna or Sin of the Mesopotamians, Mani of the Germanic tribes, Thoth of the Egyptians, the Japanese Tsukuyomi, Rahko of Finns and Tecciztecatl of the Aztecs. Also in Persian, Babylonian, Hebrew, Indian, Tibetan, Celtic and also among the Australian Aborigines.

In Australian Aboriginal culture which goes back some 50,000 years there are many stories of a male Moon who was once a slim young man (the waxing crescent Moon) who grew fat and lazy (the full Moon) but then broke the law, was attacked by his people, resulting in his death (the new Moon). After remaining dead for 3 days, he rose again to repeat the cycle.

Moon as masculine also applying to things such as the "grim reaper" in a yin (taking energy in) sine - considerations involving the height of the Full Moon relative to earth & Sun, month & constellation etc.

The Sun featured as female.

The Moon was also implicitly linked to women's cycles by many cultures - it's waxing and waning in relation to Earth (fem) & Sun (fem) having a direct impact on volumes and flow of liquids/water in and upon Earth and the release and stemming of the flow of vital energy waves the Sun provided in its primary bond to earth which the Sun also pumped through the whole living cosmos. Moon was key to the fluidity of the seasons and was looked to for when waters from above or below upon earth would release etc.

In the Mithras cult the Moon was also originally considered male - the Moon represented by the Horns of the Bull and there's the Harvest Moon and the Hunter's Moon to consider.
Constellation Aries was also the Hired Hand - the hiring of young men to herd etc.

Differences occurring in how months were ordered and seen to commence between peak (Full Moon) which was what many festivities were linked to and New. In the larger scheme of time, in the cycle of Full Moons over the year the Moon is seen to ascend and descend, grow larger and smaller against respective constellations.

The Sun is seen to ascend and descend, however it's ascension masks the greater sphere of outer suns (stars) which were key.

With the shift towards luni-solar this primary orientation started to change, with adoption of solar rule and Ptolemy's documentation there was a gender (as well as an agenda) change between Moon & Sun, to Moon being considered as feminine and Sun being male.

Under Greek rule the older orders were tolerated and integrated, under the newly establishing solar rule much was destroyed.

If we wind the clock forward to another peak in geomagnetic activity and the transmission of writings from Arabic sources to climes further north and west around the 9th century this saw another inversion, this being in numbers.

Arabic was written right to left, Latin written left to right. In initially transcribing numbers, the Arabic was not reversed to correspond with the Latin numbers but kept in original sequence which resulted in correspondences between numbers being back-to-front, out of order. This, at the very least, contributing some initial confusion as to what numbers related to in interpreting the old scheme of things.

Then later adoption of the "solar" system by Western science as a primary frame of reference for which life, the system of life, was organized around thus solidifying further the earlier emphasis on the Sun and empirical rules and the re-orienting of interpretations.

However, even in the old diagrams of the spheres the Sun was seen as the central regulating force of energies from top (celestial sphere of stars) to bottom (earth), ie. Sun 4th sphere below the celestial sphere, 4th above earth.

These illustrations of the order illuminating direction of descent to where things coalesced on earth, the reverse direction being one of ascent.
And earth pictured at the centre of all these influences pressing down on it, also indicative that the Sun was not the be-all and end-all.

The reticence in adopting the order of the solar-system as the prevailing order also goes back somewhat to the older philosophical connections that the Sun had as the prime representative of the "feminine" and its attachment or primary bond to matter, form ("materialism" ..."mater"). Sun as feminine corresponding to the primary role women played on earth in bringing souls into form, into matter, birth, from which point they would be primary caretakers until such time as initiation into manhood/womanhood which involved a severing of this primary bond via which the soul was seen to be "reborn" into a new level of knowledge/wisdom.

When considering "seasons" as relates to the sines (trigonometric function) and signs (images) of the stars and that of earth - clime is an essential part of considerations. Climate varies according to lattitude, longitude.
Like shining a pen light on a tennis ball, the plane illuminated on the tennis ball gets hit first with the energy, absorbs it, from which point it then disperses into and around the sphere. So stars that were visible on a particular plane at particular latitudes of earth were of prime consideration relative to the other intermediary bodies in the order of spheres.


Tropical is primarily about the Sun-Earth bond, and the divisions of earth under the Sun, each section numbered and attributed a corresponding sign (image) on earth under the arc of the Sun.

In charts today for example, planets are seen to revolve around the outside of this primary construct between Sun & earth.
It's a zodiac that shows the circle of life upon earth, the directions of living creatures under the arc of the Sun ... subjected to the planetary influences around them but not bounded by or aligned with the celestial sphere.

To align it with the greater sphere over the Sun that encompasses all involves a shift in considerations towards Moon & Stars.

Moon was viewed as Earth's "soul" mate - and by certain cultures the first place souls ascended to after dispensing with matter. Moon also considered as the "soul" which, from time to time, gets incorporated with "self", Sun, and spirit (Jupiter) to continue the journey on and up.

Tropical masks precession. Under the rays of the Sun, or aligning the days just to the vernal crossing under the Sun, we do not see the actual constellation which this crossing aligns to.
Under the light of the Moon we see the rays of the outer suns.

The divergence between first point of Aries constellation and the vernal crossing reveals what astrological age we're in, to what point in what astrological age earth has precessed to -- the over-riding season indicated by the groupings of the outer suns.
It was known the seasonal calendar wanders, and in ages past this wandering was calculated and efforts made to accommodate the changes.

As a result of the stars slipping from view in Tropical, increasing emphasis was placed on the planets - the intermediary bodies - and other bodies and with "quality" shifting to focus on more aspects.

As the over-riding qualities indicated by the stars studied primarily via the Moon slipped from view, it also saw a proliferation in quantity. There was a change from quality to quantity from which qualities have again been extracted.

So what to do?

To me the ongoing debate between sidereal and tropical is pretty much like the left hand arguing with the right ... or the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing.

There comes a time for shaking hands and making up.

From a synthesis pov, the signs of the Tropical construct relates to the quality of attachment to matter (earth), the realization of self in matter, and reveals an attachment to a point in the past (emanating from some 2000 years ago) from which earth, in reality, has since progressed.

If we're to see where we're currently at in this progression then I'm inclined to think at some point we need to step outside and do what they ancients did - take the alignments starting from the actual sphere of fixed stars and work our way back in and down to earth from there, in accordance with local climes.

Thinking out loud here, but as those in ages past judged the autumn equinox from lunar eclipse relative to fixed star Spica (cusp of constellation Virgo-Libra where it still resides), I'm not sure that the hiring of hands for the spring harvest would have commenced with Sun aligning through approx. 5 Pisces (vernal crossing).

As full moon's on its annual descent when this constellation arose, would it not have been generally considered too early and wet in places above the equator?
Wouldn't they have left the hiring and taxing of labour until the new moon following the Sun's crossing into alignment with the actual constellation of Aries? Hmmm ...

Quote:
Am I a Cancer, or a Gemini?


How about you've the heart of a celestial twin (Gemini) which is disguised as a Crab (Cancer) during the day under the order of the Gregorian calendar?

Mercury & Moon ... but as always, there's more ... Very Happy
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