September 23, 2017

The Zodiac

You will most likely know something of the zodiac via the numerous sun sign columns that are published in newspapers, magazines and other media. Yes the zodiac is related to the individual signs, Aries, Taurus, Gemini etc. There are two zodiacs that you will likely come across in your studies – the tropical zodiac, and the sidereal zodiac. It doesn't matter much which one you use because in cosmobiology it is the planetary interactions that are important, not their position in a particular sign, so in effect either zodiac will provide you with practically the same information. In the Western world it is common to use the tropical zodiac whereas in India and other cultures who practice Jyotish or Vedic astrology they tend to use the sidereal zodiac.


Tropical Zodiac

The tropical zodiac is directly related to the orbit of Earth around the sun. The measurement of Earth's orbit is done using the same calulations as for any circle and the division of that circle is measured in degrees. There are 4 major points during Earth's orbit of the sun, those being the equinoxes and solstices. These points in both astrology and cosmobiology are known as cardinal points. The solstices occur when the Earth's axis is at its maximum or minimum inclination towards the sun and the equinoxes occur when the Earth's axis is inclined neither away from nor towards the sun.

The Earth's orbit thus provides the seasons of spring, summer, autumn and winter. Therefore there is 90 degrees of travel that the Earth goes through for each season. There are 4 astrological signs that relate to these cardinal points – Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn. The starting point of Earth's orbit is always in Aries at the Vernal Equinox. This occurs roughly on the 21st March each year. When this equinox occurs we often say that the Sun is at 0 degrees Aries. We speak of the sun being there because we are viewing the cosmos from the perspective of being located on Earth.

The image to the right shows the relationship of Earth to the cosmos. There are some new terms which are useful to learn and which relate to the orientation of the Earth to the sun:

The celestial equator is an extension of Earth's equator out into the cosmos.
The ecliptic is the apparent path of the sun around the Earth.

The equinoxes therefore occur at the moment that the sun appears to be located at the position where the celestial equator and the ecliptic intersect.


Sidereal Zodiac

The sidereal zodiac has its starting point relative to the position of fixed stars in the constellations as seen in the sky. During Babylonian times the position of the vernal equinox coincided with the positions of fixed stars. Over time however the positions of the stars have changed due to what is known as precession of the equinoxes. Just as the sun in our solar system acts as an axis around which the planets orbit, so does the entire galaxy orbit a central axis. It takes many years because of the vast size of the galaxy however it can be noticed over time.

It is this concept the forms the basis for the sideral zodiac. The starting point relates to today's relationship to the fixed stars and because that now differs by some 23 and a half degrees to when the Babylonians used their position, the sideral zero degrees Aries in the tropical zodiac is actually back in Pisces. The movement of the sideral equinox is about 1.4 degrees per century backwards in relation to the tropical zodiac.

It really doesn't make a lot of difference and there is no point in getting wrapped up in the technicalities of how the sideral system works, suffice to know that it exists. In cosmobiology we use the tropical zodiac for all positioning because it is more convenient due to it being tied closer to our own Earth based perspective of the universe.

Systems of Measurement

There are two systems of measurement that we use in cosmobiolgy. The first is using the traditional astrological signs, and the second is using the full 360 degree divisions. 0 degrees Aries relates to 0 degrees in our 360 degree measuring system and is the starting point for both systems of measurement. The first, and perhaps most common measurement is what most people who have studied any astrology know about and that is the zodiaclal signs. There is myth abounding that the signs relate one for one with the actual constellations of the same name as seen in the sky. It is true that there are constellations with the same names as the zodiacal signs however there are a great many more than 12 visible constellations. The 12 zodiacal signs are simply the division of the 360 degree circle into 12 sets of 30 degree increments.

The zodiacal signs themselves have no real power in cosmobiology, or at least not to the extent that they do in astrology. They are simply an easy way to measure and work with the locations of the planets as will become evident as we proceed.