View Full Version : Sidereal or Tropical?

27-09-2005, 03:01
I apologize for bringing up again this painful discussion })

It is just too disturbing to have 2 astrological systems (roughly, not mentioning Vedic, Chinese, solar etc, they all based on one of the above). The truth is there is only ONE system and something is not right about splitting the sky :D

I would like to invite everyone to express your view on the two systems, with the object of this discussion to come up with the most accurate approach to astrology, re: is there a sense in tropical system? or it's redundant? and why half of the world still using it? should everybody switch to sidereal as it is based on true constellations? why hang on to tropical? any reason? is there a way to combine the two systems and why do it?

Below are some glossary terms from http://www.astrology-numerology.com/glossary2.html to help in the discussion.

precession The circular motion of Earth's axis around the pole of the ecliptic, caused by the gravitational pull of the Sun and Moon on the bulging part of the equator. One complete revolution takes approximately twenty-five thousand years to complete.

precession of the equinoxes The gradual westward shift (about 50" each year) of the equinoctial points along the ecliptic due to the ecliptic due to the rotational movement of the poles of Earth's axis. This phenomena creates an increasing difference in the tropical (based upon the ecliptic and the Sun's ingress into the sing Aries) and the sidereal zodiacs (based upon constellations) or about 50" each year. See also ayanamsa, equinox, precession, Tropical zodiac, sidereal zodiac.

tropical zodiac The circle of signs that follows the apparent path of the Sun (ecliptic). also called the movable zodiac because it shifts slightly each year relative to the constellations of the sidereal zodiac. See also Precession of the Equinoxes.

sidereal astrology An astrological system based upon the constellations, not the tropical zodiac.

isthmus nekoi
27-09-2005, 03:35
Good question!! This troubled me too, at one point but I have to disagree w/you that there is only ONE true system for astro.

The way I've split it in my mind is that sidereal refers to the skies, tropical is now removed from the constellations but still syncs up w/the seasons. For ppl working in the Western magickal tradition(s), this is very important. So I still use signs for natal chart interpretations. Personally, I can't say whether the season you're born in really affects your personality. But I've been able to use tropical signs consistently, w/good results although I've never tried w/sidereal. Perhaps I should when I find the time! (Or try to read some Aussie charts - who have their seasons opposite!)

Having said all that, when it comes to predictive work, transits esp, I rarely pay attention to sign - timing for aspects are the same for both systems, I believe.

I guess if you want to speak accuracy, you could easily move towards the realm of causality. A very slippery place if you ask me.

Kaylee Marie
27-09-2005, 03:57
This is a frustrating question, and a large part of why I keep setting astrology aside in favor of other interests. I prefer sidereal, but keep being forced back into tropical. It's so hard to convince people that they're not really a Virgo or whatever.

I really, really want to do sidereal readings because I feel they're more accurate, but butting heads with people who don't want to hear they're a Capricorn instead of Aquarius doesn't really seem worth the effort. I just want to practice my hobby, not change the world. But I feel like I have to reeducate people in order to do my charts right. And then after all my effort, they don't listen because what I'm saying goes against those ludicrous horoscope columns they've been reading all their lives.

My understanding is that tropical and sidereal are two totally different systems. Tropical focuses on the planets' movements in regards to the seasons of the earth (Aries=vernal equinox), while sidereal focuses on the planets' movements in regards to the constellations of the sky (Aries=constellation of Aries). One is Earth-based, the other is heavens-based. For wiccans and other magickally oriented people, tropical makes sense. For those that prefer a stellar approach, sidereal makes sense. I'm not sure that one system is better than the other, but I for one prefer sidereal.

IMHO, tropicalists need to rename their signs so they pertain to earthly seasons rather than Aries, Taurus, Gemini, etc. The difference between tropical and sidereal charts is only three weeks now, but what about in another 10K years? People will be really confused when they're told they're a Cancer, only to read in an astronomer's star chart that they were born under the sign of Capricorn.

I propose that we officially cleave the two systems. Tropicalists can rename the 12 signs whatever they like, so long as they leave the constellation names alone for the siderealists. Then both systems can happily work side-by-side without people getting confused between the same terms being used in different ways.

I'm not holding my breath for this to happen though.

27-09-2005, 05:42
Isthmus nekoi - completely agree w/ you on the signs for natal and no signs for other chart interpretations. Agree w/ slippery point too :P, isn't all our paths are more or less frequent vibrations between 2 or more 'postulates' :D

Kaylee Marie - a great idea to rename the tropical periods from constellation names. What still bother me is that even with different names, both system will describe absolutely the same periods of time with *shifted* astrological qualities: the characteristics of the time frame coded Pisces in tropical (to be renamed), will have characteristics of what called Aquarius period in sidereal, etc (roughly) :confused::P

27-09-2005, 05:50
Like everyone (mostly) in the "western" world (Europe, the Americas, Australia and portions of other areas) I started out using the TROPICAL zodiac. I was fortunate to have studied with Jeff Mayo of the Faculty of Astrological Studies in London and with Robert Pelletier (author of several well known text books on astrology). I was also fortunate to study with members of the Theosophical Society and learned mid-points and Uranian Astrology.

Then came two little books and one big book -- they changed everything. The big book was by a French astrologer, Volgaine (?) who did an extensive study on Solar Returns and placed a remark in the appendix of his book to the nature that "Solar Returns become less accurate after one's early life and are not accurate in any way during ones adult life."

The first of the two little books was by Noel Tyl, world famous astrologer and also an accomplished opera singer. In the last of twelve text books that taught astrology he had one chapter about Sidereal Astrology. The charts were utterly amazing in their impact and clarity. Noel remarked that this was not something he used or knew about but that it certainly warranted further examination.

The second of the two little books was by Donald Bradley who promoted Sidereal Astrology and Solar and Lunar Returns. One reading and one day of calculating a few charts lit up my astrological life.

So, how does this prompt me to say that one system or another system is right or better or . . . .? Simple. I took the best from each system and threw out all the rest.
** SIGNS were gone. If there was confusion over whose zodiac was right, why using either. The planets have the energies.
** HOUSES were gone. In discovering more ways to calculate houses and all of the trouble they cause, why use any? I stick with just the ANGLES.
** ASPECTS were mostly thrown out. Why? Well, conjunctions, oppositions, and paransquares worked, everything else was a little wishy-washy. Besides, mid-points and equal arcs (you use Arabian parts don't you -- these are all based on equal arcs) worked just fine.

All of you have read my postings. You should realize by now that I mostly use only planetary iteractions. When I use signs and houses and aspects of all kinds, I'm just using them to facilitate the discussion that is going on and the dependancy of others on these things. I'm fully understanding and capable of using all of classical astrological teachings and methods. Its just that all of that detail and work isn't necessary.

So, TROPICAL versus SIDEREAL. I have found that it is best to use a variety of tools depending upon what it is that you wish to do. Here is a short list of what I use:

NATAL CHARTS. I use a regular chart wheel, Tropical zodiac for placing the planets, angles and houses. I read the chart primarily with planetary interactions (aspects and mid-points) and lay on house meanings to focus the chart for the client. I don't bother reading the signs in most cases.

PROGESSION CHARTS. I use both secondary and solar arc progressions. The Secondary Progression chart is like the natal chart to show personality and character trends and developments. The Solar Arc Progression chart uses mid-points and is used to time/define events that occur in the client's life.

SOLAR RETURN CHARTS (PRECESSION CORRECTED, providing Sidereal timing techniques not availabe in a standard Tropical chart. I use both the annual chart and the progressed "between" daily charts. These define events that are happening in a persons life, as well as the date of occurance, with great precision and dependability.

CYLCE CHARTS are used for Mundane/Political prediction work. For instance, the Saturn-Pluto cycle has long been used to predict financial markets, but it is also a tool for tracking world-terrorism events.

This is what I have shrunk my Astrological tool box down to. If it doesn't work all the time, every time, throw it out. And if anyone thinks I'm overly extreme for being a minimalist, please remember that Minderwiz and I engaged in an exercise a year or so back where I read a chart without using Signs, Houses or Aspects. And, it was quite accurate. So, please be open to the fact that there are many ways to skin a cat. And, western Sidereal astrology is not like Vedic astrology (which also uses the Sidereal reference) and some rigid cycles -- as I understand it. So rejoice in your diversity but don't think there is one right or best answer. I don't think any of us really understand how vast and integrated all of these systems truly are. Dave