Despite certain rumours, your birth sign is the right one! Periodically, there is a debate rattling the media: namely, that with the phenomenon of the precession of the equinoxes, the skies above us today are different from those that formed the base of traditional astrology. The discovery of the precession of the equinoxes is not a recent one as it had already caught the attention of the ancient Babylonians. It refers to the slow change in direction of the rotation of the Earth's axis.
Each morning, the Sun rises in one constellation, but not at exactly the same point as on the previous day. If you observe the sunrise on 21 March over successive years, you will notice that it does not rise at exactly the same point in the constellation from one year to the next. There is a slight discrepancy of 10° every 72 years. These discrepancies add up to complete a 360° circle over 25,920 years, determining the change from one Age to the next.
The point in the sky where you could previously see the constellation of Aries is now in the constellation of Pisces So does this mean that everyone is in reality born under the previous sign?
It was the astrological signs that gave their name to the constellations and not the reverse!
For an astrologer, a sign is simply a way of designating a 30°sector of the sky. These twelve sectors were given their names in ancient times, when shepherds contemplated the sky and the symbolic patterns formed by the stars. Astrologers at the time instinctively gave each sector of the sky a symbolic name, connected with the shape formed by a series of stars.
As a result, in 600 years B.C., the precise location of the vernal point (the exact point where the Sun rises at the spring equinox) was on the longitude of the constellation of Aries. However, the constellations do not follow each other in precise sectors of 30°, but overlap and are of very different sizes. In this way, some identified a thirteenth constellation between Scorpio and Sagittarius (the famous Ophiuchus) and were tempted to add it as a thirteenth sign. However, once again, it is not the constellations that give their name to the signs, but the other way round!
The solar sign, for example, simply represents the Sun's position in terms of degrees over the course of the astrological circle. This circle, with the Earth at its centre, is divided into 12 sectors, each one illustrated by the constellation observed in this area in ancient times. Our astrology has retained the signs as they were envisaged, i.e. based on the characteristics of the SEASONS, with 0° Aries based at the Sun's position during the spring equinox.
Today, this backdrop or setting formed by the constellations has moved and when the Sun is in the constellation of Aries in 2015, it will appear visually (to an astronomer) to be in the constellation of Pisces.
However, the astrologer is not concerned with the uncertain influence of the stars (apart from the Sun, which is our star),but uses the influence of the planets. The astrologer needs to know their precise position in terms of degrees, with little concern for any changes in the design of the backcloth. The sector is always in the same place.
The twelve signs of the zodiac and their traditional names are therefore no more than an efficient mnemonic means of observing the Earth's position in its orbit around the Sun.
The most common astrological method is tropical astrology. For our part, we have always opted for the traditional method of working with the tropical zodiac, where the Sun travels through 12 fixed sectors of the zodiac in its annual course of revolution. These sectors form a circle over the 365 days of the year.
A few astrologers, often in specific studies, also use sidereal astrology, which takes account of the actual location of the constellations at the time of birth. This means that you could be an Aries to a tropical astrologer and a Pisces to a sidereal astrologer.
The origins of astrology: The Origins of Astrology
Tropical or sidereal astrology: Sidereal Astrology or Tropical Zodiac
Precession of the equinoxes and the Age of Aquarius: The Age of Aquarius