Why do we’ve got 12 zodiac indicators? Why not 4, 9, 15, 27 or some other random quantity?
What’s the relationship between indicators and the zodiac constellations? Does the procession of the equinoxes ‘change’ the indicators?
Within the subsequent 3 days, I’ll write a 3-blog collection to reply 3 of essentially the most continuously requested questions from readers and college students.
That is the first weblog within the collection:
Q: Why do we’ve got 12 indicators?
A: We’ve 12 indicators as a result of we’ve got 12 months, or 12 lunar cycles in a yr. Every signal corresponds to at least one lunar cycle, which is why there are 12 indicators.
The entire reply might be traced again to the origins of tropical astrology, which aligns with the 12-month photo voltaic calendar.
Topical astrology means “derived from the tropics” or seasons and cycles. When the Solar reaches the utmost distance from the equator at 23° North (additionally referred to as the Tropic of Most cancers) we’ve got the solstice, and the signal of Most cancers.
When the Solar reaches the utmost distance downwards from the celestial equator at 23° South (additionally referred to as the Tropic of Capricorn) we’ve got the opposite solstice, and the Capricorn season begins.
You might suppose that the 12 tropical indicators are the identical factor because the 12 zodiac constellations… they don’t seem to be.
The 12 tropical indicators had been certainly named after the constellations for straightforward reference (the Greeks ‘borrowed’ the zodiac constellations from the Mesopotamians) – however that’s just about so far as this relationship goes.
Coming again to our preliminary query – why 12, and never some other random quantity?
We’ve 12 indicators (and never 10, or 15) as a result of we’ve got 12 lunar cycles in a yr.
Put merely – we’ve got 12 indicators 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 yr) we’ve got 12 lunar cycles (12 months).
We begin the astrological yr on the Equinox. So, the start of the astrological yr is predicated on the place of the Solar relative to the Earth.
The complete tropical system is predicated on the connection between the Solar, the Moon and the Earth. We’ve 12 lunar cycles (Moon) in 1 photo voltaic yr (Solar), from the reference level of the Earth.
TO RECAP: Indicators are cycles. They’re NOT areas of the sky. They’re NOT constellations.
It is a troublesome idea to know even for seasoned astrologers. Once we take a look at our cellular apps, we see the Moon within the constellation of Aquarius, however astrologers say we’ve got the Moon in Pisces. Complicated, proper?
Not if we perceive that the indicators should not the identical factor as constellations. Simply since you and another person share the identical identify, it doesn’t imply you’re the identical particular person.
Simply because the tropical indicators and the 12 constellations on the ecliptic are referred to as the identical, it doesn’t imply they’re the identical factor. In fact, there’s a relationship there, and we’ll get to that.
However first, let’s get this sink in. Indicators should not one thing we are able to observe. Sings are cycles. We can’t “see” them, in the identical manner we can’t “see” time. If you happen to consider time, you possibly can’t localize it within the bodily house; time will not be a rock, or a tree. It’s an summary idea. So are the indicators.
And it’s exactly because of the problem of conceptualizing these 12 cycles, aka the 12 indicators, that our first tropical astrologers used the backdrop of the sky and the constellations to call them.
And this takes us to our 2nd essential query:
Why do indicators have constellation names?
In principle, they don’t need to. We may name them Signal 1 (or cycle 1), Signal 2, and so on, or give them different names – many different cultures and traditions produce other names for 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 can’t see the indicators, so these early astrologers wanted some type of system to determine when the Moon, Venus or Jupiter had been within the 1st signal (aka the primary 30 days from the Equinox), within the 2nd signal (aka day 30 to 60 from the Equinox) and so forth.
The primary signal, or the primary 30-day cycle from the Equinox was referred to as Aries, as a result of again within the day (approx 2.000 years in the past, when Tropical astrology as we all know it was conceptualized) it was the Aries constellation that was rising on the Equinox.
The following signal, aka the 30-day cycle following Aries, was referred to as Taurus, as a result of the constellation following Aries was Taurus.
Within the tropical mannequin, Aries, Most cancers, Libra, and Capricorn are referred to as “cardinal” indicators as a result of they mark the start of the seasons (i.e. when the Solar adjustments route within the sky); so that they have an initiating high quality.
The indicators in the midst of the seasons (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius) are “fastened” as a result of in the midst of the season is when the climate is most steady.
And the indicators on the finish of the seasons (Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces) are referred to as “mutable” as a result of that is when the climate begins to alter, as we’re slowly transferring into the subsequent season.
Within the tropical signal system, we even have the weather. The primary signal (Aries) is a hearth component, as a result of hearth is the primordial component. Subsequent comes the component of earth (Taurus). We then have air, to 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/component matrix to the 12 lunar cycles we get the 12 tropical indicators as we all know them.
This tropical mannequin is dependable and works nicely in each Hemispheres. Aries is “cardinal hearth” in each the Northern and Southern hemispheres.
In fact, tropical astrology, the place the astrological yr begins with Aries, was created within the Northern Hemisphere; if astrology had been designed within the Southern Hemisphere most likely the mannequin would have appeared a bit otherwise, however it could have nonetheless labored, if it was methodologically sound.
How did the zodiac constellations affect the 12 tropical indicators?
The zodiac constellations preceded the 12 indicators. These constellations had been already named by Babylonians by the point tropical astrology was born (approx. 2.000 years in the past).
Among the zodiac constellations had been named as early as 16-18th centuries BC. Again then, Babylonians named round 18-22 constellations across the Ecliptic plus different constellations that weren’t on the zodiac belt (i.e. ecliptic).
These preliminary constellations had totally different sizes, as a result of they had been primarily based on the precise star configurations, not on mathematical calculations.
Then, when tropical astrology was conceptualized approx. 2.000 years in the past, the 18-22 constellations on the Ecliptic had been resized (and a few of them dropped) to suit the 12-cycle tropical mannequin.
The truth that solely the ecliptic constellations had been used to call the indicators (and never different non-ecliptic constellations like Orion, and so on.) speaks concerning the photo voltaic system-centered, tropical origin of the 12 indicators.
Now, we’ve got the phenomenon referred to as the procession of the Equinoxes, which implies that constellations transfer with approx. 1 diploma each 72 years as seen from Earth. The sky in 2023 appears to be like fairly totally different from the way it appeared 1.800 years in the past, when Ptolemy wrote Tetrabiblos, the tropical astrology “bible”.
However this phenomenon doesn’t have an effect on in any manner our tropical, seasonal 12-sign system, as a result of – once more – the 12 indicators should not primarily based on constellations. The tropical indicators are photo voltaic system centered. The constellations and the celebrities should not in our photo voltaic system, so are out of the scope of tropical astrology. (this doesn’t imply constellations and glued stars don’t affect us, however that’s one other matter).
The Equinox occurs on March 20-21 each.single.yr in all places on Earth. In 1.000 years from now, the Equinox (and the tropical signal of Aries) will nonetheless occur on March 20-Twenty first. In 5.000 years, 10.000 years nonetheless on March Twenty first.
Tropical indicators by no means shift – they can not, 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 possible. The astrological ages – which appear to correlate with the qualities of the zodiac constellations are a testomony to that.
So, most definitely, again within the day, there was some type of conceptual switch from the Babylonian sidereal mannequin to the tropical mannequin.
However once more, this doesn’t change in any manner our understanding of the 12 tropical indicators, as a result of they’re primarily based on a very totally different framework – seasons, modalities, components and so on.
RECAP – Let’s summarize the solutions to the preliminary questions
Q: Why do we’ve got 12 indicators?
A: As a result of we’ve got 12 lunar cycles in a yr.
Q: What’s the relationship between indicators and zodiac constellations?
A: The 12 tropical indicators received their names from the zodiac constellations 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 backdrop of the sky has modified and is now not a dependable solution to observe the tropical indicators. Fortunately, we’ve got astrology software program that does it for us.
Q: Does the procession of the equinoxes ‘change’ the indicators?
A: No, as a result of tropical astrology is predicated on seasons and synodical cycles, NOT on the sidereal sky (constellations). So subsequent time your ‘scientist’ good friend says the procession of the equinoxes refutes astrology, inform them to do their analysis correctly 😉
The origin of the 12 indicators is an important matter as a result of understanding the tropical system is the very base of understanding western astrology. Once we perceive the origin and the character of the tropical indicators – every little thing else – planetary cycles, facets, homes – falls into place.
Speaking about homes – within the subsequent weblog [FAQ 2/3] I’ll discuss one other continuously requested query: which home system to make use of?
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