Why do we’ve 12 zodiac indicators? Why not 4, 9, 15, 27 or some other random quantity?
What’s the relationship between indicators and the zodiac indicators? Does precession of the equinoxes change the indicators?
Over the following 3 days I will likely be writing a 3-blog collection to reply 3 of essentially the most ceaselessly requested questions from readers and college students.
That is the first weblog within the collection:
Q: Why do we’ve 12 characters?
A: We have now 12 indicators as a result of we’ve 12 months or 12 lunar cycles (of 29.5 days every) in a 12 months. Every signal corresponds to a lunar cycle, which is why there are 12 indicators.
The whole reply will be traced again to the origins of tropical astrology, which aligns with the 12-month photo voltaic calendar.
Present astrology means “derived from the tropics” or seasons and cycles. When the Solar reaches its most distance from the equator at 23° north (additionally known as the Tropic of Most cancers) we’ve the solstice and the signal of Most cancers.
When the Solar reaches the utmost distance downward from the celestial equator at 23° south (additionally known as the Tropic of Capricorn) we’ve the second solstice and the season of Capricorn begins.
You would possibly suppose that the 12 tropical indicators are the identical because the 12 zodiac constellations… they don’t seem to be.
The 12 tropical indicators have been truly named after the constellations for straightforward reference (the Greeks ‘borrowed’ the constellations from the Mesopotamians) – however that is about so far as this relationship goes.
To get again to our preliminary query – why 12, and never another random quantity?
We have now 12 indicators (and never 10 or 15) as a result of we’ve 12 lunar cycles in a 12 months.
In brief – we’ve 12 characters as a result of there are 12 months. The phrase “month” comes from the Previous English phrase “mōnaþ”, which suggests “moon”. In a 365-day interval (a 12 months) we’ve 12 lunar cycles (12 months).
We begin the astrological 12 months on the Equinox. So the start of the astrological 12 months is predicated on the place of the Solar in relation to the Earth.
Your complete tropical system is predicated on the connection between the Solar, Moon and Earth. We have now 12 lunar cycles (Moon) in 1 photo voltaic 12 months (Solar), from Earth’s reference level.
TO RECALL: Indicators are cycles. They’re NOT areas within the sky. They’re NOT constellations.
This can be a tough idea to grasp even for skilled astrologers. Once we take a look at our cellular apps, we see the Moon within the constellation Aquarius, however astrologers say we’ve the Moon in Pisces. Complicated, proper?
Not if we perceive that the indicators usually are not the identical as constellations. Simply since you and another person share the identical identify doesn’t imply you’re the similar individual.
Simply because the tropical indicators and the 12 constellations on the ecliptic are known as the identical doesn’t imply they’re the identical. After all there is a relationship there, and we’ll get to that.
However first, let’s get this sink in. Indicators usually are not one thing we will observe. Chants are cycles. We can not “see” them, in the identical manner that we can not “see” time. For those who consider time, you can’t find it in bodily area; time isn’t a stone or a tree. It’s an summary idea. So are the indicators.
And it’s exactly due to the problem of conceptualizing these 12 cycles, additionally known as the 12 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 vital query:
Why do indicators have constellation names?
In concept, they do not must. We may name them Signal 1 (or Cycle 1), Signal 2, and many others., 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 12 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.
Bear in mind – we won’t see the indicators, so these early astrologers wanted some type of system to determine when the Moon, Venus or Jupiter was within the 1st signal (additionally the primary 30 days from the Equinox), within the 2 .signal (aka day) 30 to 60 from Equinox) and so forth.
The primary signal, or the primary 30-day cycle from the Equinox, was known as Aries as a result of on the time (about 2,000 years in the past, when tropical astrology as we all know it was conceptualized) it was the constellation of Aries that rose on the Equinox .
The subsequent signal, additionally known as the 30-day cycle after Aries, was known as Taurus as a result of the constellation after Aries was Taurus.
Within the tropical mannequin, Aries, Most cancers, Libra and Capricorn are known as “cardinal” indicators as a result of they mark the start of the seasons (i.e. when the Solar modifications path within the sky); so that they have an initiating high quality.
The mid-season indicators (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius) are “agency” as a result of in the midst of the season the climate is most secure.
And the indicators on the finish of the seasons (Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces) are known as “changeable” as a result of that is when the climate begins to alter as we slowly transfer into the following season.
Within the tropical signal system we even have the weather. The primary signal (Aries) is a hearth factor as a result of hearth is the unique factor. Subsequent, the factor comes off the earth (The bull). We have now that then airto permit motion (Gemini) after which lastly the life-giving water (Most cancers). Then the weather repeat.
Once we mix “cardinal” and “hearth”, 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, persistence and practicality.
Once we apply the modality/factor matrix to the 12 lunar cycles, we get the 12 tropical indicators as we all know them.
This tropical mannequin is dependable and works properly in each hemispheres. Aries is “cardinal hearth” in each the northern and southern hemispheres.
Naturally, tropical astrology, the place the astrological 12 months begins with Aries, was created within the Northern Hemisphere; if astrology had been designed within the southern hemisphere, the mannequin would doubtless have appeared slightly completely different, however it might nonetheless have labored if methodologically sound.
How did the zodiac indicators have an effect on the 12 tropical indicators?
The zodiac indicators preceded the 12 indicators. These constellations have been already named by the Babylonians when tropical astrology was born (about 2,000 years in the past).
A number of the zodiac indicators have been named as early as 16-18. century BC Again then, the Babylonians named about 18-22 constellations across the ecliptic plus different constellations not on the zodiac belt (ie the ecliptic).
These preliminary constellations had completely different sizes as a result of they have been primarily based on the precise star configurations, not on mathematical calculations.
So, when tropical astrology was conceptualized ca. 2,000 years in the past, the 18-22 constellations of the Ecliptic have been resized (and a few of them dropped) 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 like Orion, and many others.) speaks to the photo voltaic system-centric, tropical origin of the 12 indicators.
Now we’ve the phenomenon known as the precession of the equinoxes, which signifies that constellations transfer by approx. 1 diploma each 72 years as seen from Earth. The sky in 2023 appears to be like utterly completely different than it did 1,800 years in the past, when Ptolemy wrote the Tetrabiblos, the tropical astrology “bible.”
However this phenomenon doesn’t in any manner have an effect on our tropical, seasonal 12-sign system as a result of – once more – the 12 indicators usually are not primarily based on constellations. The tropical indicators are photo voltaic system centered. The constellations and stars usually are not in our photo voltaic system, so they’re outdoors the scope of tropical astrology. (this doesn’t imply that constellations and glued stars don’t have an effect on us, however that’s one other subject).
The equinox takes place on the Twentieth-Twenty first. March yearly all over the place on Earth. 1,000 years from now, the equinox (and the tropical signal of Aries) will nonetheless happen on the Twentieth-Twenty first. March. In 5,000 years, 10,000 years nonetheless on March 21.
Tropical indicators by no means change – they cannot as a result of they’re primarily based on the equinoxes and the seasons.
Did the Babylonian constellations affect the Hellenistic 12-sign tropical mannequin? Very doubtless. The astrological ages – which appear to correlate with the qualities of the constellations – are a testomony to that.
So then there was most probably some type of conceptual switch from the Babylonian sidereal mannequin to the tropical mannequin.
However once more, this by no means modifications our understanding of the 12 tropical indicators as a result of they’re primarily based on a very completely different framework – seasons, modalities, components, and many others.
SUMMARY – Let’s summarize the solutions to the preliminary questions
Q: Why do we’ve 12 characters?
A: As a result of we’ve 12 lunar cycles in a 12 months.
Q: What’s the relationship between indicators and zodiac constellations?
A: The 12 tropical indicators obtained their names from the zodiac indicators as a result of 2,000 years in the past the constellations made it simpler for our ancestors to trace the place of the solar, moon and planets.
Since then, the background of the sky has modified and is now not a dependable solution to observe the tropical indicators. Thankfully, we’ve astrology software program that does that 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 sidereal sky (constellations). So the following time your ‘scientist’ buddy says that the precession of the equinoxes disproves astrology, inform them to do their correct analysis 😉
The origin of the 12 indicators is a vital subject as a result of understanding the tropical system is the very basis of understanding Western astrology. As soon as we perceive the origin and nature of the tropical indicators – all the pieces else – planetary cycles, facets, homes – falls into place.
Speaking about homes – within the subsequent weblog [FAQ 2/3] I wish to speak about one other ceaselessly requested query: which home system to make use of?
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