Sunday, February 26, 2012

Pagan Blog Project - A is for Astrology

Geb's Day
Galactic 6
Dreamspell - Red Cosmic Moon (13 Mulac) - Kin 169
Mayan Tzolk'in - 4 Imix (Red Self-Existing Dragon) - Kin 121
Mayan Ha'ab - 9 Kayab

I can't think of a 2nd D post at the moment so here is another post backtracking to A. Astrology and astronomy were the same thing back in the day. Somehow, they became separated. Today astronomy is the scientific study of the heavenly bodies; astrology is the spiritual study of the same heavenly bodies and how they affect us. Sidereal astrology combines them both.

Tropical vs Sidereal vs Astronomical Astrology
Astrology deals with the zodiac. The signs of the zodiac share their names with constellations. Way back when, the zodiac sign and the constellation of the same name was located in the same place in sky. The sun was at 0 deg Aries the moment of spring equinox Since the earth wobbles as it rotates - think of a spinning top - today's sky is very different. The sun is no longer at 0 deg Aries for the spring equinox. However, most horoscopes in the US are still based on the old sky positions. This is tropical astrology.

The horoscopes in the East are based on the sun's position as it is in today's sky. Sidereal means of the stars. If the path that the sun appears to travel - called the ecliptic - is divided into 12 equal parts, the sun would be at about 5 deg Pisces at the spring equinox. By the way, have you heard that old song Age of Aquarius? The age or time period refers to the sidereal location of the sun. We are currently in the Age of Pisces. Astrologers and astronomers alike disagree on when we will be in the Age of Aquarius but it will occur within the next 100 or so years. There are very few Western sidereal astrologers. I have yet to find a daily sidereal horoscope. Sidereal zodiac signs are about 25 days ahead of tropical zodiac. (See this chart.) I prefer sidereal astrology.

Although the Universe is divine, it is not divided as nice as we humans would like. The earth's orbit is not a perfect circle and the constellations of the zodiac do not fit into 12 even parts. In fact, there is a 13th constellation called Ophiuchus. The zodiac based on the actual placement and size of the constellations is astronomical. The International Astronomical Union (IAU) set the boundaries for the constellations. Virgo is the largest, and Ophiuchus is between Scorpio and Sagittarius.

Astrology is a huge topic. I recommend Astrology for Dummies if you want a basic understanding. Keep in mind this book is based on tropical zodiac. Go to Astrodienst for a free chart.

Using astrology in rituals
There are 8 moon phases and 12 zodiac signs. That's a potential for 96 different esbat rituals! OK, well maybe not completely different but at least you can work on certain things depending on the phase and sign. Each sign is ruled by a planet. In astrology, the sun, moon, and even Pluto are considered planets. To go further, each day and hour are also ruled by planets. If you're obsessive-compulsive like I can be, you can cast a spell when the moon is in the right phase, in the right sign, on the right day, at the right hour. Whew! Don't feel like it is necessary to cast a spell like this. Astrology is supposed to be a helpful tool, not a hindrance. If you find yourself not wanting to make a decision before consulting the stars, then it may be time to take a break.

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