|The Balance of the Zodiac by Luis Ricardo Falero|
(Yes, it's a nude. Settle down.)
Before, I really only talked about Ophiuchus, why he's not news, why we never included him in the line-up, and why astronomers should probably stop running their yaps about astrology when it's clear they really don't understand it. However, after the whole issue continued to explode for two days straight and the issue of East versus West has come up in other people's articles and discussions on the subject, I now feel like this is a good time to address it here as well.
The Tropical Zodiac Vs. the Sidereal Zodiac
Probably a lot of the continuing confusion attached to Ophiuchus-Gate 2011 stemmed from the fact that there are two variations when it comes to the zodiac. Here's what that's all about.
One variation is the tropical zodiac and that's what we use here in Western astrology. While the signs did at one point line up with the constellations they're named after at one point, they no longer do. Kunkle is right about that part of it. However, where he was wrong was in assuming that this phenomenon actually matters in regards to how Western astrology defines the signs. The signs of the tropical zodiac and the sections of the year they're each associated with are determined by the seasons, as opposed to the constellations.
The first day of Aries aligns with the date of the vernal equinox and the rest of the zodiac follows the sequence from there until we get back to the vernal equinox and Aries again. This is something that will remain constant throughout time, because it's more of a calendar or measuring device than anything else. That said, the constellations can advance in space all they want and it doesn't change a thing.
Then there is the sidereal or Vedic zodiac, which is used more in the East. That's aligned a lot more closely to the constellations and how they're positioned, as opposed to the seasons. I don't know a whole lot about Vedic astrology though, so I can't really comment on whether or not Kunkle's proposed chart has been or should be adopted by astrologers who follow that path. (I assume that Eastern astrologers aren't idiots any more than Western astrologers are and have been taking the movement of the constellations into account for thousands of years already.) All I can say is that Kunkle's not-so-new news is irrelevant in regards to Western astrology any way you want to slice it and since most people who were freaking over Ophiuchus-Gate adhere to Western astrology, they can relax.
Wait a minute! Are you saying that Western astrologers just ignore the fact that the constellations aren't in the same places as they were thousands of years ago?
Not at all! We actually do acknowledge that fact and it is part of how we do things. I touched on it briefly in my last article, but didn't really elaborate much, so I will do so now. Yes, the signs are static and adhere to the seasons and the sequence of the year. However, the astrological ages do take into account where that initial starting point is in regards to constellations at a given time. Right now, it's in the process of moving from Pisces to Aquarius. You may have heard of a little thing called the Age of Aquarius? Well, now you can officially say that you know what it is and why we're moving into the Age of Aquarius right now and not Cancer, Leo or anything else.
That said, I really hope that maybe people learned a few things about how astrology works and how it doesn't from this whole Ophiuchus debacle. I also really hope that people have learned what the difference is between astrology and astronomy, as well as the reasons why astronomers really have no business trying to explain astrology to people. I've really done my best to help people understand. Hopefully this clears some things up for people, but if it doesn't, feel free to ask more questions and I may consider addressing them in a future post.