View Full Version : Tropical vs Sidereal
From what I can gather, the only time the forum discussed the difference between the Tropical and Sidereal Zodiac was on a thread talking about Vedic (http://www.tarotforum.net/showthread.php?s=&threadid=84) astrology.
I thought it might be worthwhile visiting this difference. For the record, there are many sidereal astrologers outside the Vedic tradition, and some who think that, given the precession of the equinox, we should stick to this more visually correct form (I personally disagree).
As this is a thread-starter, I'll stop here!
Other than Vedic, I don't know any astrologers who use Sidereal, incluing me. However, the link below does a great job in explaining the differences. Enjoy.
I don't use the sidereal zodiac either. It depends though whether you believe that the constellations themselves are the energy providers or whether they are symbols or indicators. The Tropical Zodiac is based on the latter view - The Vernal Equinox is symbolised by the first degree of Aries and much of our interpretation of signs is based on thier correlation to the Earth's seasons. If we held to the Sidereal Zodiac eventually a time would arrive when the first degree of Aries occured in Summer, or in Autumn (or worse still Winter) the meaning of the sign would be out of phase with the observation of the World.
Incidently keeping to the 'true' sidereal zodiac has a problem - it is by no means clear where one sign begins and another ends - they are not all the same size. At least the Tropical Zodiac keeps signs to thirty degree segments of the ecliptic.
Thanks for that very clear site, AquarianGoddess, and I do not use the Sidereal in chart erection either, I just thought it would be a good point for discussion.
A number of people I know, however, do prefer it over the Tropical. Whether the Sidereal zodiac is easily divisble into 30° signs is itself arguable, and there are at least some (sidereal) astrologers who have developed equal-sign divisions, not from modern astronomy, which makes these divisions more arbitralily, but from significantly positioned Alpha stars within a constellation, for example, Spica in Virgo.
I also wonder whether one has to choose one or the other, or whether there is a way of accepting both. I'll try to outline what I have in mind extremely briefly, and keep to only important relevant points.
A key question generally asked is whether, as Minderwiz pointed out, the signs are indicators of seasonal influence or whether the energy emanates from the constellations. If it is solely seasonal-tropical, then why do Tropical astrologers not invert the signs for those living in the Southern hemisphere (and it is interesting to note that many Australian Leos I have met, though clearly Leos, nonetheless have some characteristics more reminiscent of northern Aquarians)? On the other hand, if one accepts the spiritual foundation of the physical, then there does appear to be good grounds for also considering that the zodiacal dispositional energies emanate from a particular region of the celestial 'sphere'.
Personally, I tend to accept both views. Where I disagree with sidereal astrologers is that the direct visual line of sight is the determining factor in the drawing of a chart. Though the influences very well emanate from a region, as a window through which certain spiritual beings allow a flow of certain energies, this may very well spiral its way towards the Earth, 'entering' at its Tropically determined 'gates'.
You might try doing readings using both Zodiacs and see what differences you come up with. Then begin to use the system that you feel comfortable with. Be careful though, Sidereal Zodiac users do differ in their measurement of the extent to which their zodiac is out of phase with the tropical zodiac and a number of computers require you to enter a 'delta' value in order to get the sidereal zodiac you want to use.
Although not directly connected with the above - its worth noting that we don't know why Astrology works, although we wouldn't be reading and writing this stuff if we didn't believe it works. So whether the planets are symbols or archetypes, whether it is the solar wind, or the sunspot cycle we don't know. There is no reason to believe that one zodiac is better than another or one is the 'real' zodiac and the other a sham. What matters is consistency in applying principles and getting a feel for the meaning of the symbols.