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Changing Signs? Not Really.

January 14, 2011

Now that the dust has settled a bit around this astrology date frenzy, what’s really going on? Since these kind of hyperbolic moments are rare, I will seize it as a teaching moment, for all you interested astrology lovers, and get a little bit into the details at hand. (I am referring to the story – )

Yesterday Parke Kunkle of the Minnesota Planetarium Society informed the world that there are actually 13 astrological signs, including a new one called Ophiuchus, and changed the dates for each sign by about a month. Parke is an Astronomer, and what he is talking about is called precession, which Astrologers have been taking into consideration since about 200 BC. It really has nothing to do with Western Astrology at all, or the way the signs are used. He didn’t discover anything new, no astrologer I know is going to change anything about the way we do astrology, and in short, don’t take it seriously. You are still the sign you thought you were last week.

Here is the real scoop. Yes the earth wobbles on its axis, and that causes us to actually move in relation to the stars, constellations, and planets around us. So it is true, the position that the North Star held in the sky thousands of years ago is not in the same place it was back then, it has moved. Or more correctly, we have moved. But in Western astrology, we don’t work with the actual constellations as they are in space. We look at the sky in a different way.

Called Tropical Astrology, we in the West divide the sky around us into four quarters at 360 degrees, according to the seasons, marked by the solstices and equinoxes. Dividing each quarter by 3 sections of modes (cardinal, fixed. mutable), we have 12 equal sectors (houses), which also interact with the 12 zodiac signs. (Where the Zodiac signs are on the horizon at the moment of birth determines where they land in your chart). As the planets move through the backdrop of the stars, we use those stars to pin point which ZODIAC sign they are in, which remains constant in relation to the equinox point. The CONSTELLATIONS do move about and we take that into consideration when locating planets.

Phew, that was technical. But it is the basics of astrology, finding the planets in the sky, and relating them to the energies associated with that point and the other points they interact with. As they interact together, they form a portrait of a person.

This is the heart of how I view astrology. The planets are kinetically moving through space, and give off energy, which believe it or not, we feel. We also are not static beings and our molecules are giving off energy as well, but to a lesser degree. The moment of birth is a powerful time – as you mothers out there who were conscious during birth can attest to. It is potent with energy. Nestled in the mothers womb, the baby is part of the mother’s vibration. But when the baby is born, it emerges into all of this energy as a separate being, and the energy of that moment is imprinted on it’s energy field for life. As the planets move around the sky, they interact with the energies imprinted upon us, and those interactions are what we look at in an astrology reading.

So, although it is not science, astrology deals with energies, which I am positive someday we will be able to measure. Until that time, well…you just have to go with your gut. Which, by the way contains brain cells, but that is a discussion for another day!

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