Tropical and Sidereal Time and the Equinoxes and Solstice Points

Why does Astrology post Babylonian use Tropical Zodiac for all of its amazing knowledge? In the majority of programs and text books on the subject there is one ephemeris, which is a default ephemeris, and that ephemeris is the Tropical one. In truth this ephemeris like the Solar Arc directions uses the Sun´s position in relation to the Earth rather than the Earth´s relation to the stars, from which the Zodiac is calculated.


The Tropical method of calculation does not in reality utilise the rays of the stars. The reason for this being that zero degrees of Aries Tropical is actually aligned with about 5 degrees of Pisces in the Sidereal, in the real sky. So why then is zero Aries Zero Aries and not 5 Pisces which is the obvious sensible question? The answer lies in the immense power of the Sun, and in the Earth´s relation through its rotation to that great and overwhelming body. The truth is that zero degrees of Tropical Aries is always and has been since the Classical Astrologers first aligned it with the Spring Equinox.

The Spring Equinox marks the point when the Sun in relation to the Earth is in perfect equilibrium and increasing in its power in the Northern Hemisphere while decreasing in strength in the Southern Hemisphere. Since there were no Astrologers below the equator it became known as a symbolic time of energy flowing in the Earth.

The Winter Solstice however can be proven in its symbolic and occult power simply by its relation with the many religious festivals held around its time at which the Solar entrance into Tropical Capricorn is fixed. It is not that the Winter Solstice happens accidentally to coincide with The Sun entering Tropical Capricorn at exactly zero degrees, but that the Ephemeris, that the entire Astrological year is calculated by placing zero degrees Capricorn at the lowest point of the Sun in the Northern Hemisphere or rather the point at which the Earth´s inclination to the Sun reached is maximum Southern Latitude or Declination.

Houses of the Sun

By understanding therefore the nature of Tropical Zodiac the question to ask is why? If Aries has no relation to the Constellation of Aries which is the Sidereal or simply “real” Aries then why do people born under a Tropical Aries Sun exhibit Aries characteristics? Tropical Astrology does not pretend to have any relation to the constellations which gives the Zodiac its names. So the reality of the Tropical Zodiac is that these are more like houses, imagined houses based on the relation between Sun and Earth.

Sidereal and Tropical convergence

To use the Sidereal Zodiac would be to acknowledge the Constellations and Stars as the major infulence of life on Earth. No precession would be involved in this, no adjustment of the Zodiac would be made because the fixed stars stay exactly where they are over thousands of years in relation to the Earth.

One interesting point then in relation to the study of Astrology is the nature of debility and dignity which has been created over the last couple of Millenia using a sliding Tropical Zodiac. At about 300 AD both Sidereal and Tropical aligned with each other which means that with 500 years on either side the majority of Tropical Aries was also Sidereal Aries, and therefore dignities of planets in Signs at least cannot be separated.  So for Ptolemy writing in the 2nd century AD distinguishing the Tropical Zodiac he would have easily written the exact same thing for Sidereal which would have only been about 1-2 degrees apart from each other, given that precession creates an error of 1 degree per 72 years, between the two time markers.

The Tropical Zodiac equals the Solar Zodiac

The Sun gives life to the Earth. It gives heat and light and energy. The Sun emits almost all radiation within the Solar system on almost all wavelengths, these are the wavelengths which we cannot see and which we cannot feel as either light or infrared heat. So it is no surprise then that even if the stars and constellations were non-existent, even if the other planets in the Solar System and all of the comets and asteroids were not there and it was just us and the Sun, life would not be much different. The Tropical Zodiac would still function fantastic without any planets at all in the Solar System or even stars in the sky. The Moon would be missed in the cycles of Nature, of ocean creatures, but in fact nothing much would be changed.

In the light of this explanation of Tropical Zodiac and its basis on the Equinoxes of the Sun, it would be fair then to look not so much into the star-lore surrounding constellations, nor into the nature of the Fixed stars. The power of planets in debilities and dignities is based upon the placement of the Sun. So to think of Mars´s strength in Aries it would be wise to think of the nature of the Sun at the Spring Equinox rather than the warrior´s constellation of the Ram.

The dignities of the planets as defined by Tropical Astrologers from Ptolemy to Lilly are based on the houses of the Sun rather than the rays from the stars. So the interpretation that should be made, the understanding that should be gained is that the position of Venus in Libra has nothing to do with the Scales, nothing to do with the constellation, but everything in fact to do with the nature of the Sun in that position. Venus´s beauty and pleasing nature arises out of the Sun´s apparent softness and loss of power.

All interpretations should be thought of in terms of the Sun´s position at that degree and more specifically in relation to the Solstice and Equinox points to which the entire system is attached to.

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