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So Which Sign Is Mine?

A very long time ago some Babylonian priests were looking at the sky and they noticed that the sun was aligned with a certain group of stars every year at the spring equinox. They noticed that another group of stars aligned with the sun on the summer solstice, and another on the fall equinox and another on the winter solstice. They connected the individual stars in these groups with lines and made pictures out of them. Then they divided sky into sections of thirty degrees, each with its own picture, and called it a zodiac. The main purpose of these pictures in the sky was to mark the passage of the seasons and the increments in between.

Centuries passed and, contrary of all expectations, the pictures in the sky moved. Astrologers in India continued to use these pictures in the sky to determine the location of the signs of the zodiac and, consequently, they developed their own, quite unique system of astrology. But in the west we decided that it was the change in seasons, the equinoxes and the solstices, that were important. The constellations, after all, were intended only to be cosmic markers for these significant, earthly events.


The recent controversy over the difference between the astronomical location of the “signs” and the signs used by astrologer is a spurious regurgitation of this ancient argument. The system of astrology most people know, and the sign of the zodiac you associate with your date of birth, has not changed.  It is based on the assumption that Aries begins at the spring equinox, Cancer at summer solstice and so on. In other words, it is a system that is dependent on the time and not on the location of distant constellations.


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