As many of you probably know the internet is ablaze with near panic as people are being told that they may not, in fact, be the Sun sign they thought they were. I have been contacted by many students and clients about this and even got a call from the Associated Press about it. If you are interested, you can see a brief comment I made here:
Let me speak about the confusion and let you know that nothing has changed and that you are still the sign you thought you were. Actually, the confusion arises from two different things. The first is the issue of the so-called new sign, Ophiuchus, and the second has to do with what astronomers refer to as the precession of the equinoxes.
The idea of the 13th sign of Ophiuchus is not at all new. In fact, it is quite ancient. Ophiuchus falls between the signs of Scorpio and Sagittarius. The history of this constellation is a bit tangled but suggests that it first appeared in the early Greek/Roman period somewhere between 130BC- 300BC.
It means “serpent bearer” in Greek and depicts the god Asclepius holding a snake. It is said that Asclepius learned the secrets of keeping death at bay after observing one serpent bringing another healing herbs. Of course, this enraged Zeus who killed him, but later placed his image in the heavens to honor his good works. (Gods seem to act like politicians sometimes, don’t they?) This sign has rarely been used and I suspect that this is due to the harmony of the number 12. I personally studied it about 20 years ago because I was intrigued by the numerological significance of the number 13, which is often associated with the feminine. The reason for this association is that there are 13 lunar months in a year and the Moon represents the feminine aspect. The number 12 is associated with the masculine and solar principle since there are 12 solar months in a year. My research which was sketchy didn’t seem to lead me to any clarity so I let it go, not expecting it would become ‘all the rage’ in the future. The point for us is this. Astrologers have known about this for thousands of years.
The other factor, which this astronomer referred to as earth’s wobble is what is called the ‘precession of the equinoxes’, which is a 26,000 year cycle. This principle is that every 2,000 years or so, the sign that dominates our planet changes. Right now we are at the end of the age of Pisces and are about to embark on the new age of Aquarius. So, the signs do change in what is called ‘sidereal’ astrology. Sidereal astrology means that the placement of the signs is connected to where the planet is in relation to its location in the constellation. This method is used in Vedic astrology, but not in Western astrology and hasn’t been for thousands of years. Here, we use ‘tropical’ astrology which is based on how the Sun moves from the Tropic of Cancer (which is summer in the northern hemisphere) to the Tropic of Capricorn (which is winter in the northern hemisphere). In other words, in Western astrology the signs are connected to the seasons rather than to the constellations. Astronomers have been criticizing astrologers for years about this. In fact, this is one of their standard ‘go-to’ strategies for invalidating astrology.
The facts are that astrology has been using the Tropical Zodiac for over 2,000 years. The first day of spring is defined as 0° of Aries; the first day of winter is 0° Capricorn. We know that the signs we use are not connected to the constellations. Only ignorant people would assert otherwise. There is a long history of why the signs are aligned with the seasons and although it is too big for this article, any astronomer who WANTS to know why this is true, could easily find out. Part of the real story behind this hoax is the fact that this astronomer did NOT want to find out anything new. What he wanted was to create the illusion that astrologers do not know what they are doing. And all he did was prove that he does not know what HE is doing.
What is interesting to me is the degree to which people have had strong reactions to this story. Of course there is more than one interpretation possible for this, but my take is that there are a lot of people who think that there is something valid about astrology. Many people do resonate with astrology, and in fact maybe many more than we have realized. Is it not interesting that the efforts by astronomers to de-bunk astrology continue to fail. Why do they fail? Because the fact is that astrology speaks to a very real and valid part of the human psyche. It has for thousands of years. This is true despite the fact that astrology is never taught to us in elementary school, high school or college. All of the societal influences that dominate our culture are against the use of astrology. Does this not mean that on our own, no matter what our age, politics, or spiritual bent, we identify with our Sun sign because we really do learn something about ourselves from knowing about it and what it means? This offends scientists so much it itself is amazing. This reveals a lot more about them than it does about those who recognize that astrology may be valid. I am not anti-science at all. What I am is critical of their assumption that the only way of knowing that is valid is the scientific method. I am not against that method either. But is it the only way of knowing? No, I don’t think so at all. The fact is that scientists can be dogmatists. History has shown this time and time again. They believe that the only way of knowing is through the scientific method and pretend they are being ‘objective’ when they do this. They have their beliefs and this is one area where it dominates their thinking. It is so certain to them that they refuse to even study astrology themselves. It is beneath them and something that deserves disdain from the outset. Their minds are made up. The proof of their dogmatism is the degree to which they would attack and ridicule any scientist who was open to the possibility that there might be some degree of truth to astrology.
Another factor they cannot consider is the notion that astrology is an archetypal language. To really understand this one must go back to the ancient Greek ideas who believed in the existence of ‘archetypal forms’ that exist prior to human beings and which forms and in-forms us. Such ideas are anathema to scientists that have a pre-existing belief that we live in a soulless, random universe that is fundamentally DEAD. They believe that life has no consciousness. That’s a lot of beliefs to have for such ‘objective’ people, isn’t it?
When I studied astrology as a therapist, I was amazed at how much it was telling me. I didn’t expect it at all. I had been in pre-med and loved science. Still do. All I had going for me was a mind that was not already made up. I let astrology prove itself to me or not. That’s it.
There is a lot to take away from this story. Maybe one day science will entertain the idea that astrology works. We may not know why, but it does if it is approached in the right way.
Because I love irony, I must end this article with the kind of advice to scientists that the famous Star Trek characters, the Borg, would give when they advised that, “Resistance is futile.”
I’d love to hear your thoughts about this article. Have some fun and tell us what you think.