It is a chestnut tree that regularly reappears in the writings of journalists: the astrological signs are not what we believe. A scoop? Not really, explains our astrologer.
There are controversies, like the seasons, which return cyclically, adorning themselves with the finery of novelty at each new appearance. The one concerning “false astrological signs” probably wins the prize for longevity: it has a very long lifespan…. 2000 years of existence. This old antiphon, somewhat outdated, reveals in fact a profound ignorance of the basics of astrology, cleverly put together and relayed ad infinitum by journalists in search of sensationalism.
An old lawsuit against astrology
Let’s go back to the facts: we are regularly told, with a lot of drum rolls, that in reality, the twelve astrological signs are all out of sync. You thought you were Aries? Failed, you are Pisces! Taurus? No, no, you’re Aries! Gemini? Nay, Taurus! I’ll leave you to it. You thought there were only twelve signs, didn’t you? Tatata, you’re wrong, there is a thirteenth, called the Serpentary, which walks between Scorpio and Sagittarius!
What’s up? So these assertions are simply the work of zealous and stubborn detractors of astrology, who maintain in bad faith the confusion between astrological zodiac and astronomical zodiac, or, to be more explicit, between signs of the zodiac and constellations bearing the same name.
Signs of the zodiac and constellations: not to be confused
The astrology practiced by the majority of western astrologers – known as “tropical” – is based on the movement of the planets in a circular band of 360° surrounding the sky, the famous wheel of the zodiac. It is subdivided into twelve equal portions of 30°: the twelve signs of the zodiac. These reflect the trajectory of the Sun around the Earth throughout the year: because the symbolism of the signs is linked to the seasons. The sign of the fiery and spontaneous Aries starts at the equinox of spring, the time of the first sap shoots of nature, the austere Capricorn was born in the cold and harsh winter, the radiant Leo is the sign of summer maturity and its sun-drenched fruits, the mysterious and underground Scorpio is the sign of fall asleep and so on…
These twelve signs thus defined do not depend on the eponymous constellations. On the other hand, they bear their names because, when astrology was formed several millennia ago, the wheel of the zodiac defined from the seasons overlapped almost perfectly with that of the constellations – the “astronomical zodiac”.
For practical reasons, the astrological tradition has kept these names that we all know today: Aries, Taurus, Scorpio, etc.. What about the famous Serpentary? Quite simply a piece of constellation biting on the astronomical zodiac, but by no means a thirteenth astrological sign!
The age-old debate on the precession of the equinoxes
On the other hand, due to the phenomenon of the precession of the equinoxes – a progressive change in the direction of the Earth’s axis of rotation – the constellations have shifted in relation to the zodiac wheel used by astrologers. But this is of absolutely no importance, since the twelve signs were never defined on the basis of the constellations: they simply took their names from the constellations. The precession of the equinoxes and the resulting so-called “sign shift” is therefore a false problem, instrumentalized by those who ignore the distinction between signs and constellations, which is at the heart of tropical astrology.
Finally, I would like to remind you that the discovery of the precession of the equinoxes, attributed to the Greek astronomer and mathematician Hipparchus, dates back to 130 BC. Astrologers have therefore been perfectly aware of the phenomenon for more than two millennia, it has never disturbed them and they have never tried to hide it. And with good reason: it has no impact on their work. Our fault in this matter is undoubtedly that we have not been able to explain the foundations of our practice well enough, not always very accessible it is true. To sum up, rest assured: you are indeed the sign you always thought you were!