God bless the astronomers of the Minnesota Planetarium Society (MPS), who just made headlines with information that astrologers have known for millennia.
The MPS astronomers claim that Western astrology’s signs are not accurate, since the moment the Sun actually enters a zodiacal sign is currently several weeks off from the date when Western astrology says that a given Sun Sign begins.
This discrepancy is already common knowledge to any serious student of astrology. It highlights the difference between tropical astrology, as practiced by Western astrologers, and sidereal astrology, whose best-known use is by Vedic astrologers in India and many other countries.
Western astrologers say that the signs change based on earthly seasons. Thus Aries begins on the first day of Spring, and Cancer on the first day of Summer. Libra is timed to start at the onset of Fall, and the Winter Solstice heralds Capricorn.
But sidereal astrology holds that the entry of the Sun into the actual sky constellation marks the initiation of that Sun Sign.
The Procession of the Equinoxes
This divergence is caused by the Procession of the Equinoxes, or progression of astrological ages. Right now, for example, after spending over 2000 years in the Age of Pisces, we have just entered the Age of Aquarius. (The Procession of the Equinoxes runs through the signs in reverse order.) The MPS astronomers correctly state that this is caused by the Moon’s gravitational influence, which makes the earth “wobble” very slowly.
Thus, in sidereal/Vedic astrology, over a 26,000-year period, every Sun Sign will eventually start on every single day of the year. And, once every 26,000 years, the Western and Vedic systems will once again agree on the days that the Sun enters the signs — for a few years, anyway.
Which System is Correct?
Does this mean that one astrological system is right and the other wrong? Not at all. Both the tropical and sidereal astrological systems are based on millennia of careful observation of the synchronicity between planetary alignments and earthly events. Each system uses different methods and techniques, and each works beautifully within its own context. Vedic and western astrologers might say that many of your planets are in different signs, but a competent astrologer using either system would have important and accurate insights to share with you about your life.
The MPS astronomers also claim that there should be 13 astrological signs, not the 12 currently in popular use. But their 13th sign, Ophiuchus, was considered and rejected by the Babylonians, early practitioners of astrology, almost two millennia ago. For many reasons, a 12-sign system describes the cosmic influences more accurately and elegantly than one using 13.
I have done over 5000 astrological consultation, and I constantly ask my clients for verification that my interpretations — based on the 12 signs of the Western zodiac — are supported by their own life experience. And, well over 99% of the time, they confirm that my interpretations are accurate. A system based on erroneously calculated signs couldn’t possibly yield such consistently accurate results.
Thank You, Astronomers!
The MPS astronomers have done astrology a huge favor by putting it in the world news spotlight. As credible astrologers’ rebuttals of the MPS astronomers’ misunderstanding hit the media in response to the initial story*, many more people may be prompted to explore the many benefits offered by this ancient blend of art and science.
* Asheville astrologer Randy Spiers and I helped set the record straight in an evening news story on Asheville’s ABC affiliate station WLOS-TV on 1/14/11.
Slightly revised 1/10/15. Originally published in the 1/17/11 newsletter.