Why do we have now 12 zodiac indicators? Why not 4, 9, 15, 27 or another random quantity?
What’s the relationship between indicators and the zodiac constellations? Does the precession of the equinoxes change the indicators?
Over the following 3 days I might be writing a collection of three blogs to reply 3 of essentially the most ceaselessly requested questions from readers and college students.
That is the first weblog within the collection:
Query: Why do we have now 12 characters?
A: We’ve 12 indicators as a result of we have now 12 months or 12 lunar cycles (of 29.5 days every) in a 12 months. Every signal corresponds to 1 lunar cycle, due to this fact there are 12 indicators.
The complete reply might be traced again to the origins of tropical astrology, which ties in with the 12-month photo voltaic calendar.
Topical astrology means ‘originating from the tropics’ or seasons and cycles. When the solar reaches its most distance from the equator at 23° north latitude (additionally known as the Tropic of Most cancers), we have now the solstice and the signal of Most cancers.
When the solar reaches its most distance downwards from the celestial equator at 23° south latitude (additionally known as the Tropic of Capricorn), there’s the opposite solstice and the Capricorn season begins.
You might suppose that the 12 tropical indicators are the identical because the 12 constellations of the zodiac… that’s not the case.
The twelve tropical indicators are certainly named after the constellations for ease of reference (the Greeks ‘borrowed’ the zodiac constellations from the Mesopotamians) – however that is about so far as this relationship goes.
Returning to our authentic query: why 12, and never another random quantity?
We’ve 12 indicators (and never 10, or 15) as a result of we have now 12 lunar cycles per 12 months.
Merely put, we have now 12 characters as a result of there are 12 months. The phrase ‘month’ comes from the Outdated English phrase ‘mōnaþ’, which means ‘moon’. In an interval of one year (one 12 months) we have now 12 lunar cycles (12 months).
We begin the astrological 12 months with the Equinox. The start of the astrological 12 months is due to this fact primarily based on the place of the solar relative to the earth.
Your entire tropical system is predicated on the connection between the solar, moon and Earth. We’ve 12 lunar cycles (moon) in 1 photo voltaic 12 months (solar), from Earth’s reference level.
SUMMARY: Indicators are cycles. They’re NOT areas of heaven. They’re NOT constellations.
It is a idea that’s obscure even for seasoned astrologers. Once we take a look at our cell apps, we see the moon within the zodiac signal Aquarius, however astrologers say we have now the moon in Pisces. Complicated, proper?
Not if we perceive that the indicators aren’t the identical as zodiac indicators. Simply since you and another person have the identical title doesn’t suggest you are the identical individual.
The truth that the tropical indicators and the twelve constellations on the ecliptic are named the identical doesn’t imply that they’re the identical. In fact there’s a relationship, and we’ll get to that.
However let’s let this sink in first. Indicators aren’t one thing we will observe. Singing is cycles. We can’t ‘see’ them, simply as we can’t ‘see’ time. When you concentrate on time, you can’t find it in bodily house; time will not be a rock or a tree. It’s an summary idea. These are the indicators too.
And it’s exactly due to the issue of conceptualizing these twelve cycles, or the twelve indicators, that our first tropical astrologers used the background of the sky and the constellations to call them.
And this brings us to our second necessary query:
Why do indicators have zodiac signal names?
In concept, they do not have to try this. We may name them Signal 1 (or cycle 1), Signal 2, and so forth., or give them different names – many different cultures and traditions produce other names for the cycles of nature.
The rationale Hellenistic astrologers used the constellations on the ecliptic (which preceded the twelve tropical indicators) is as a result of these constellations made it simpler to trace the positions of the solar, moon, and planets within the sky.
Keep in mind – we won’t see the indicators, so these early astrologers wanted some sort of system to determine when the moon, Venus or Jupiter have been within the first signal (aka the primary 30 days after the Equinox), within the second signal (additionally known as day). 30 to 60 from the Equinox) and so forth.
The primary signal, or first 30-day cycle from the Equinox, was known as Aries, as a result of again within the day (about 2,000 years in the past, when tropical astrology as we all know it was conceptualized) it was the constellation Aries that rose on the Equinox.
The following signal, or the 30-day cycle after Aries, was known as Taurus, as a result of the zodiac signal that adopted Aries was Taurus.
Within the tropical mannequin, Aries, Most cancers, Libra and Capricorn are “cardinal‘indicators as a result of they mark the start of the seasons (i.e. when the solar modifications course within the sky); they due to this fact have an initiating high quality.
The indicators in the course of the seasons (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius) are “fastened‘As a result of the climate is most secure in the course of the season.
And the indicators on the finish of the seasons (Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces) are known as “changeable‘As a result of that is the second when the climate begins to alter as we slowly transfer into the following season.
We’ve that within the tropical signal system too the weather. The primary signal (Aries) is a hearth ingredient, as a result of firework is the unique ingredient. Subsequent comes the ingredient of soil (Taurus). Then we have now skyto permit motion (Gemini) after which in the end the life-giving water (Most cancers). Then the weather repeat themselves.
Once we mix ‘Cardinal’ and ‘Fireplace’ we get Aries, or the qualities of initiative, enthusiasm and impulsiveness. Once we mix ‘fastened’ and ‘earth’ we get Taurus – or the qualities of stability, perseverance and practicality.
Once we apply the modality/ingredient matrix to the 12 lunar cycles we get the 12 tropical indicators as we all know them.
This tropical mannequin is dependable and works effectively in each hemispheres. Aries is ‘cardinal fireplace’ in each the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.
In fact, tropical astrology, the place the astrological 12 months begins with Aries, originated within the Northern Hemisphere; if astrology had been designed within the Southern Hemisphere, the mannequin would in all probability have regarded a little bit totally different, however it could nonetheless have labored if it was methodologically sound.
How did the zodiac constellations affect the twelve tropical indicators?
The zodiac constellations preceded the 12 indicators. These constellations have been already talked about by Babylonians when tropical astrology was born (about 2,000 years in the past).
Some constellations of the zodiac have already been named 16-18th century BC. On the time, the Babylonians named about 18-22 constellations across the ecliptic, plus different constellations that weren’t on the zodiac belt (i.e. the ecliptic).
These preliminary constellations had totally different sizes as a result of they have been primarily based on precise star configurations and never on mathematical calculations.
When tropical astrology was conceptualized roughly 2,000 years in the past, the 18-22 constellations on the Ecliptic have been decreased (and a few omitted) to suit the 12-cycle tropical mannequin.
The truth that solely the ecliptic constellations have been used to call the indicators (and never different non-ecliptic constellations corresponding to Orion, and so forth.) speaks to the photo voltaic system-centered, tropical origin of the 12 indicators.
Now we have now the phenomenon known as the precession of the equinoxes, which signifies that constellations transfer by a couple of second. 1 diploma each 72 years, as seen from Earth. The sky in 2023 appears to be like very totally different than it did 1,800 years in the past, when Ptolemy wrote Tetrabiblos, the ‘bible’ of tropical astrology.
However this phenomenon doesn’t have an effect on our tropical, seasonal 12-sign system in any method, as a result of – once more – the 12 indicators aren’t primarily based on zodiac indicators. The tropical indicators are centered within the photo voltaic system. The constellations and stars aren’t in our photo voltaic system and are due to this fact past the scope of tropical astrology. (this does not imply that constellations and stuck stars do not affect us, however that is one other matter).
The Equinox takes place yearly on March 20 and 21, in all places on Earth. In 1,000 years, the Equinox (and tropical signal Aries) will nonetheless happen on March 20 and 21. In 5,000 years, 10,000 years nonetheless on March twenty first.
Tropical indicators by no means change – nor can they, as a result of they’re primarily based on the Equinox and the seasons.
Did the Babylonian constellations affect the Hellenistic 12-sign tropical mannequin? Very probably. The astrological ages – which appear to correlate with the qualities of the zodiac constellations – are a testomony to this.
So there was most probably some sort of conceptual switch from the Babylonian sidereal mannequin to the tropical mannequin up to now.
However once more, this on no account modifications our understanding of the 12 tropical indicators, as they’re primarily based on a totally totally different framework – seasons, modalities, parts and so forth.
RECAP – Let’s summarize the solutions to the preliminary questions
Query: Why do we have now 12 characters?
A: As a result of we have now 12 lunar cycles per 12 months.
Query: What’s the relationship between zodiac indicators and constellations?
A: The 12 tropical indicators received their names from the constellations of the zodiac, as a result of the constellations made it simpler for our ancestors 2,000 years in the past to trace the positions of the solar, moon and planets.
Since then, the sky background has modified and is now not a dependable strategy to observe the tropical indicators. Fortunately, we have now astrology software program that does this for us.
Query: Does the precession of the equinoxes change the indicators?
A: No, as a result of tropical astrology is predicated on seasons and synodic cycles, NOT on the starry sky (constellations). So the following time your ‘scientist’ pal says that the precession of the equinoxes disproves astrology, inform him to do his analysis correctly 😉
The origin of the 12 indicators is an important matter, as a result of understanding the tropical system is the idea for understanding Western astrology. Once we perceive the origin and nature of the tropical indicators, the whole lot else – planetary cycles, points, homes – falls into place.
Talking of homes – within the subsequent weblog [FAQ 2/3] I’ll discuss one other ceaselessly requested query: which home system to make use of?
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