Hey, what’s your sign? This particular question was considered a pick up line back in the sixties. Things were simple then. You were an Aries or Cancer, Libra or whatever. People became increasingly aware of their Sun, rising and Moon signs. Some of us are born on the cusp, which means that the Sun was moving towards the end of one sign or had just moved into the next sign. Because of the wobble of the earth’s polar axis the Sun doesn’t always enter a sign on the same day each year adding more confusion.

Then along comes Parke Kunkle the Astronomer from Minneapolis who proclaims that the signs and dates are wrong, thus invalidating western astrology and its adherents. He tells us that the Sun moves through Ophiuchus, a constellation between Scorpio and Sagittarius, for 19 days before entering Sagittarius. This has thrown a monkey wrench into the works causing confusion and consternation, and might need some explaining in order to get it right.

The Two Zodiacs

In the world of astrology two zodiacal systems are used. We have the Western Tropical Zodiac and the Eastern Sidereal Zodiac. The two zodiacs matched up in 285 AD according to N.C. Lahiri, and his Ayanamsa is generally accepted and used in Vedic and western astrology. Over time it appeared that the sidereal zodiac positions were drifting away from the fixed tropical zodiac. This difference is called the ayanamsa. There are several disputed ayanamsas with Lahiri’s being the most accepted. The distance between the two zodiacs today is approximately 24 degrees of longitude.

The tropical zodiac is based on the seasons starting with the sun’s entrance into Aries on or close to March 21 heralding the vernal equinox. The 12 signs are equally divided along the ecliptic which is the path of the sun’s apparent motion through the 30 degree sections called the signs. In actuality it is the Earth’s path around the sun, giving us the illusion of the sun’s moment through the constellations that are near or on the ecliptic. The ancient Babylonians developed their astrology through hundreds of years of observation and they were able to compare the character and affairs of man to the different placements of the sun, moon and planets measured amidst the back drop of the stars.

The Sidereal Zodiac

The sidereal zodiac starts when the sun reaches the first point of the star group Aries. Vedic or eastern astrology is a system based not on sun signs but on the position of the moon and the sign that was rising in the east at the time you born, plus the planet that rules that sign. Western astrology is solar based, while Vedic astrology is lunar based. Both systems are valid.

The two chart systems are similar in some ways and very different in others. We hear people exclaim that they are Sagittarius through and through and they would never have the qualities of Scorpio. We hear other Sagittarius people proclaiming that although they are Sagittarius their behaviour is very like a Capricorn. Go figure. What is happening here is that the first person has the qualities of Jupiter and Sagittarius, while the second person has Saturn very prominent in his chart thus compelling him to behave in a saturnine way. Personally I would never do a reading for a client without studying both systems thoroughly. The astrologer that just adheres to one or the other system is losing out on a great raft of information.

So you can relax, nothing has changed, astrology is valid and is a sacred tool in helping us to understand God’s handwriting through the stars. The ancients knew that the moon cycle took approximately thirty days to move around the earth and worked out a system of 12 signs at thirty degrees each making up the 360 degrees of the zodiac. The 13th sign would never be valid and would never work. Unfortunately the astronomers just cannot accept the fact that astrology works. If they cannot see it or measure it then it must not be valid. I’m sure that most of them do not believe in God either. Godless men with a truncated measuring stick with nothing else to do except to take another swipe at something they have not studied and probably will never understand. Too bad, so sad.