Talk:Sidereal and tropical astrology

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
WikiProject Astrology (Rated Start-class, High-importance)
WikiProject iconThis article is within the scope of WikiProject Astrology, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Astrology on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the project's quality scale.
 High  This article has been rated as High-importance on the project's importance scale.

Suggestion: Split This Article into Two Separate Articles[edit]

I was reading the Aries article. There was a link for tropical astrology. I clicked on it to open it in a separate tab. Then I clicked on the link for sidereal astrology to open in a separate tab. Then I find the two subjects are combined into one article. I am trying to do research and come to an article that is about comparing the two systems. Actually, it doesn’t even do that. There is a brief mention of tropical astrology in the opening paragraph. Then the rest of the short article is all about sidereal astrology.

This is not what I was expecting. I have read the multiple issues box and this talk page. Maybe if the two subjects were split, it would be easier to write about them. You probably should split the Vedic astrology off onto its own page as well. That way you would know they are all different systems/disciplines, because they have separate articles.

As for the Ophiuchus debate. It has to be mentioned as some people are using it. It doesn’t matter if they are correct or not. Just say that there is a controversy about it, then give the pros and cons like you do on other articles. If it doesn’t specifically apply to sidereal, tropical, or Vedic systems, put it in the general Astrology article.

I may not be explaining this clearly, but this is my point of view as someone who is using Wikipedia for research. Rod Lockwood (talk) 13:35, 10 April 2019 (UTC)

Alignment to constellations?[edit]

The statement "Its primary feature is that the signs of the zodiac align to the sky constellations of the same name." is erroneous. Unless by coincidence, the only time the sidereal zodiac aligns with the sky constellations of the same name, is for Aries. After 0 Aries, sidereal astrologers use a 30 degree segment of the sky, despite the fact that the constellations themselves are not of 30 degree longitudinal length. As an example, the table later refers to the sun entering the constellation Leo on August 10th, yet the sidereal Leo begins on August 16th. People may read this statement and assume that the sidereal zodiac is a reflection of the actual constellations (indeed many siderealists suggest as much), but it is not, it is JUST the starting point that is based on the actual constellations (namely 0 degrees Aries). Should it be revised? (Xpaulk (talk) 12:34, 31 August 2010 (UTC))

Though the length along the ecliptic of the zodiacal constellations vary, there are twelve zodiacal constellations and 360 degrees - thus an average of 30 degrees each. The Ancient Greeks in the second half of the 1st millennium BCE overlayed onto the 12 zodiacal constellations twelve sidereal signs of exactly 30 degrees each. On average, each of the 12 sidereal signs aligns with the 12 zodiacal constellations. Obviously there is some discrepanaciesd at the borders due to the different sizes of the constellations - but in ancient times constellations were stick figures, not real estate sub-divisions with defined borders anyway. Terry Macro (talk) 23:15, 31 August 2010 (UTC)
Understand where you're coming from, but the fact that the constellations are of varying sizes but the signs do not match those sizes suggests that the statement "the signs of the zodiac align to the sky constellations of the same name" seems misleading. If it was 'roughly' the same, it would be fine, but in some cases they're way out. The sun only spends about a week in the constellation Scorpius, yet Scorpio is still treated as though the sun were a month in that sign. That's a big difference. Reading that statement you would think that the zodiac signs match the constellations, but if you were to look up into the night sky on October 20th, for example, the Sun would be in the constellation Virgo, but in the sidereal sign of Libra. That just doesn't gel with the idea that the signs align with the constellations. If some constellations are a 'week' of solar length, but the sign is still given a month and if you can look up at the constellations and still get the wrong sidereal sign, then clearly the sidereal signs are not aligned with the constellations. Rather the beginning of the zodiac is the only time it is ever aligned with the constellations.(Xpaulk (talk) 09:40, 1 September 2010 (UTC))
The statement "the signs of the zodiac align to the sky constellations of the same name" ideally should read something like "the signs of the zodiac approximately align to the sky constellations of the same name". And you could include a statement about the varying sizes of the zodiacal constellations versus the mathematical nature of the sidereal zodiac. For the sake of clarity, the word zodiac should never be used, only sidereal zodiac or tropical zodiac. Terry Macro (talk) 23:43, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
Thanks Terry, have updated it as per your suggestion. I think the use of the word 'approximate' makes it more clear that it's not exact, and the table given later in the article can be referred to for exactitude if necessary. (Xpaulk (talk) 10:20, 2 September 2010 (UTC))


"Western astrologers have never done a catching up exercise and many still do not fully understand the implications of their error." - does this breach NPOV or not?--Paul C 09:05, 2 January 2006 (UTC) My vote is that it does. Joey 15:35, 4 April 2006 (UTC)

My vote is that it does. Joey 15:35, 4 April 2006 (UTC)

It represents the view of Sidereal astrology which is the subject of the article so I hold that it’s an essential part of it. A paragraph on tropical astrology's view of sidereal would be welcome.Lumos3 20:59, 4 April 2006 (UTC)
The question wasn't about the point being made, but the manner in which it is made. It clearly takes a POV. If you want to keep it, rearrange it so that it is an NPOV statement, and not a 'Western astrologists are teh dumb! lewl!' type denigration. Joey 15:27, 5 April 2006 (UTC)

Not sure when the change was made, but the 'they claim that' is all that I was asking for. :) Looks fine to me now. Just so long as the ENCYCLOPEDIA is not making the claim that anyone is daft or backward or error-prone. Joey 15:30, 5 April 2006 (UTC)


I'm getting a 404 on both references Nik42 03:28, 1 February 2006 (UTC)

fixed Lumos3 19:13, 1 February 2006 (UTC)


why do all these articles bring up this Ophicuus nonsense? This is a complete red herring, discussed as a result of a total lack of understanding of the system. The signs are used to mark 30 deg stretches, the stretches are not aligned with the size of the signs (otherwise, they would not be 30 degrees each, but vary with the size of their respective constellation). The Babylonians picked 12 constellation because they needed 12 constellations for their system, it doesn't matter if there are additional constellations touched upon by the sun's path. This is also unrelated to the sidereal vs. tropical discussion and shouldn't even be brought up here. dab () 08:08, 19 May 2006 (UTC)

Well, that's the information I came here looking for. I only found this page because a thirteen zodiac system was briefly very popular in Japan, apparently, and I found a reference to it in a novel that puzzled me. I vote it stays, or gets a page of its own with a link from this page... Doceirias 08:24, 2 February 2007 (UTC)

O.k, Ophiuchus nonsense? :L Well, I'm really sorry to be the one pointing it out but Astrology as such does not make much sens to start with. However: been in the media for some reasons. 2, since Ophiuchus is also a constellation it made as much sens as using other constellations... 3. At this point, this article ought to be scientific and academic... But it's not like if one were looking at the laws of physics or at chemistry... It's more like studying culture and religion; there been books and "studies" showing a 13&14 signs in sidereal astrology, and even if there is some debate some people believe that... Therefor it ought to be mention somewhere.

How to organize this should be the question, and I think there is something somewhere about that. Since I don't really know how to write and I really don't care about astrology... That will not be me doing that. Therydicule (talk) 05:16, 19 January 2011 (UTC)

Therydicule which books and 'studies' show a 13th and 14th sign? You mention that Ophiuchus is a constellation and so it makes as much sense to use it as any other constellation, which belies your lack of understanding of the zodiac. In tropical/western astrology NO constellations are used. Not one. There are simply naming conventions used which are similar to the constellations, but the constellations are not at all involved in the calculation of the zodiac. This is a common misunderstanding. In sidereal astrology, then, the only constellation that is used is Aries, the rest follows on in a similar manner to tropical (in that they are 30 degrees each, and 12 signs). So in conclusion Ophiuchus is irrelevant to the zodiac and there was only ever, 12 signs of the zodiac as the zodiac is basically just a mathematical model based upon the division of a circle into 12.Xpaulk (talk) 09:53, 19 January 2011 (UTC)

needs cleanup and verification[edit]

ok, it transpires from the article that there are at least three types of "sidereal astrology",

  • traditional Hindu astrology, diverging from the tropical zodiac around AD 300
  • Fagan's sidereal astrology, diverging from the tropical zodiac exactly 786 BC
  • the constellation people who discard the whole notion of a zodiac altogether and look at actual sizes/boundaries of constellations. We don't have a reference as to who is seriously proposing this.

these should be cleanly disambiguated here. At present, it is far from obvious that such divergent systems are being lumped together. dab () 09:12, 19 May 2006 (UTC)

I agree that the article could use a little further delineation between the three systems. However, I do not agree that it is as ambiguous and misleading as the above suggests. Astrology is a very complicated science and it was developed over centuries by people who had to be able to think in multidimensional terms in order to survive. We are living in a digital age and our expectations for understanding multidimensional concepts has not only increased, our capacity to comprehend them as quickly has decreased as we now have computers to think for us. Without computers, using what we would consider primitive tools, ancient astronomers and astrologers were predicting eclipses of the sun and moon to the hour. These are complicated concepts and I believe the article handled them well in the space most allow for understanding any concept today.

Regarding the comment about the three "camps" of siderealists; the Hindu and Western sidereal systems are based on similar calculations with one of the main differences being that Vedic or Jyotish system uses the Lahiri positions for the planets placing them 53 minutes further along in the zodiac. The Lahiri system was certified by the Indian government which means they must have done considerable research into it.

The naysaying siderealists who are now using the constellation Ophiuchus to invalidate Western traditional astrology on the basis that astrologers knew nothing about it are exposing their ignorance of the field. Astrologers have known about it as have astronomers for decades if not centuries. Baliene (talk) 15:30, 24 January 2011 (UTC)

In fact the idea that they've known about it for decades if not centuries is not quite correct. In truth they've known about it for millennia. Ptolemy has recorded both precession and ophiuchus itself in his amalgest and he was writing in the 2nd century. Xpaulk (talk) 16:18, 24 January 2011 (UTC)

Ophiuchus is beside Scorpio in the eclectic path. So it would not be accurate to refer to it as a thirteenth sign. it is still the same 30 degrees as Scorpio. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:50, 1 November 2011 (UTC)

I agree that this article needs cleaning. As a person researching Astronomy, and astrology for the first time, I find this work cryptic. How, for example, did the first people maping the zodiac figure out when the sun was in that sign when the sun was up? That story would clarify a lot. What, exactly, does it mean to have a sun sign in Pieces or Aries? In tradition A, B, and C, since they are obviously different. What are they measuring. This basic question does not have an apparent answer. The paragraph: "While classical tropical astrology is based on the orientation of the Earth relative to the Sun and planets of the solar system, sidereal astrology deals with the position of the Earth relative to both of these as well as the stars of the celestial sphere. The actual positions of certain fixed stars as well as their constellations is an additional consideration in the horoscope." means almost nothing to me. And while some might complain about our modern inability to conceptualize these complex topics (somewhat true), I find the problem in this instance to be a lack of clear writing. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Scaeascaea (talkcontribs) 16:03, 13 September 2016 (UTC)


What's everyone's take on sidereal astrology? I know not much about it, but I have to denounce it for one simple reason. - My birthday is March 10, and according to sidereal astrology I'm an Aquarius, but for tropical it's Pisces. I believe my personality traits go exactly in accordance with the zodiac of Pisces; not merely because I want this to be the case, but because it is. Also as for everyone else I know, their traits fit in along with tropical astrology's dates, as well.--Tainted Drifter 01:19, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

The Sun sign is only part of your astrological make-up. I was born under Sagittarius but my personality is pure Capricorn. JKC —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:40, 14 January 2010 (UTC)

Only magazine astrology would try to describe your personality on the sun sign alone. Just about all astrologers see this approach as worthless and just a form of entertainment. Lumos3 09:25, 28 June 2007 (UTC)

Oh, thanks for not answering my question, man. Yeah, yeah, it also goes by location and time, etc. Nice way of trying to show off you know more about astrology than the average person...but didn't help me one bit.--Tainted Drifter 06:47, 30 June 2007 (UTC)

it might make sense that ur just ur sun sign for tropical... at first... but u dont know urself fully... (most of the traits of the signs dont even manifest till ur 30 or something astrologers say). anyways the main thing is you have to take into consideration the other two very important signs: moon and ascendant. the ascendant, according to sidereal, is the most important, the moon sign is the second most, and the sun is the last. so take the three from tropical, and interpret them from the tropical interpretation of the sun being the most important. and take the three from sidereal and interpret them from the sidereal view point of asc being the most important. and see which one works out better. for me, its been sidereal which has worked out better in describing myself. Sadartha (talk) 07:44, 31 December 2007 (UTC)

After doing the math, I was moved to correct the 39.5 day shift, It is actually 25.5 days shifted between "magazine astrology" and "sidereal astrology"- A 39.5 day shift would result in 0 matching dates between the 2 systems, a 25.5 day shift would result in about 48 matching dates. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:57, 12 July 2008 (UTC) .

I have been observing both tropical, sidereal, and vedic or Hindu astrology for about 30 years. I have compared charts using all three systems, using the tropical (placidus house system) with the sidereal transits, as well as the sidereal campanus house system and the sidereal system for transits. I find them all valid and applicable. Essentially, the systems are tools and each person needs to find the tool that works for them. Also, chart interpretation is a skill that requires much more than the actual tools, an intuitive/empathic nature, an ability to not see yourself in your client's chart and a desire to take all viable tools into consideration. In the final analysis all of these systems have something to offer and in fact compliment one another. I.e., one might have the sun and ascendant in capricorn and the moon in sag using the tropical system, then in the sidereal system the sun moves to "sag" however, venus and mercury are in capricorn with capricorn intercepted in the first house with a sag ascendant.

Regarding life cycles (transits) the readings from both tropical and sidereal also coincide. Baliene (talk) 15:05, 24 January 2011 (UTC)

April 20th is missing under tropical.

[see [1]] Zodiac & calendar had a common origin in remote antiquity, when time measurers synthesised lunar months and solar years. Eventually, to anchor the synthesis in the stars, they used the exact opposition between Aldebaran & Antares because both were bright and easily located. Taurus began the year during the Age of Taurus, when the Vernal Equinox was near the Pleiades, and Aldebaran was called The Follower, rising about an hour later (15 degrees). When the Vernal Equinox eventually precessed back to Aldebaran, it was called the Eye of the Bull (midpoint of Taurus). As the start of the year then, it was the target for priests to use to define social time for their societies. The bull's eye became a general metaphor for centrality and archers called the centre of their targets the bull's eye by analogy.

Since agriculture required a seasonal frame of reference, the year was anchored on the equinoxes and solstices. Collective experience and social inertia sustained this view despite Aries displacing Taurus as leader of the zodiac when precession necessitated. When Hipparchus realised that the apparently fixed frame of reference was moving relative to the stars, the zodiac became defined as tropical, but its constellation names got duplicated in this new abstract scheme. As Einstein explained, when two frames of reference are in relative motion, the relativity must be defined in relation to the observer. Observers prefer to consider their situation as static, so the tropical frame has endured. That it is static in common experience, but in motion if you are an astronomer, is what causes the confusion. Politics is a numbers game, and astronomers are outnumbered. It would help if media were to admit the relativity of the dual frames of reference. Meaning is relative to context, so social reality must acknowledge the seasons as the primary structure of common experience of passing time. Which brings us to the northern hemispheric bias resulting from consensus. For us living in the south of Gaia, the vernal equinox symbolises Autumn! [[[User:Dennis Frank (NZ)|Dennis Frank (NZ)]] (talk) 20:01, 9 March 2020 (UTC)Dennis Frank, Aotearoa, 10/3/20]

Tropical counter arguments[edit]

I've noticed that the articles on wikipedia seem eskewed toward the sidereal stance. For example, on the Tropical Astrology page it mentions that "Sidereal astrologers also point out the absurdity of applying northern hemisphere seasons to the whole planet when there are now large populations within the southerm hemisphere who experience seasons six months apart from those in the north." and refer to the astrological signs as 'star' signs. The Sidereal article, on the other hand, ALSO denounces Tropical astrology saying "Some sidereal astrologers denounce tropical astrologers for failing to relate to the "actual heavens,"". It seems that a rebuttal of tropical astrology is seen on both the tropical and the sidereal article with no equally competing rebuttal of sidereal astrology found on either. This seems intellectually dishonest, and so I have included a rebuttal of sidereal astrology in the sidereal article just as there is a rebuttal of tropical in the tropical article. Xpaulk (talk) 10:37, 13 December 2010 (UTC)

I don't think a statement is "skewed" if you state whose Point of View it represents. Sooku (talk) 20:00, 16 January 2011 (UTC)

Southern hemisphere and tropical astrology[edit]

Would someone knowledgeable like to explain how tropical astrology deals with people born in the southern hemisphere. Since the signs align to the northern hemisphere equinoxes and solstices then surely southern hemisphere people should have a 6 month lag in their sign. Lumos3 (talk) 16:11, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

Actually, you just showed why tropical astrology makes no sense whatsoever when you consider that our calendar dates are not sidereal. InMooseWeTrust (talk) 22:45, 16 April 2011 (UTC)
The nonsense that tropical signs should be delayed 6 months in the southern hermisphere only comes about by people who hypothesise without checking what actually occurs (what I call the ancient Greek disease) or by people who are not astrologers who are therefore clueless about astrology anyway. I do not know one southern hemisphere astrologer that does not use the same zodiacal signs as in the northern hemisphere. If someone is born in the southern hemisphere with their sun in Aries, they dispay the same Arian characteristics as someone born at the same time in the northern hemisphere. Astrologers canot afford to produce stupid results based on hypothetical nonsense, otherwise they lose their clients. However this discussion is irrelevant - Wiki is an encyclopedia, not a discussion forum. If some reputable book states that zodiacal signs should be dealyed 6 months in the southern hemisphere it copuld possibly be included as a whacko fringe theory - but I doubt you will find this. Terry Macro (talk) 23:47, 17 April 2011 (UTC)
Technically speaking, it doesn't deal with it at all. They avoid the issue like the plague with nothing but double talk and assertions based on experience with no good explanation. This is a real problem because tropical astrology was devised for the Northern Hemisphere and seasons. Most Southern Hemisphere practitioners are in denial, in my opinion. They're going by the same kind of logic as people in the Southern Hemisphere who still celebrate Christmas on December 25th because that's the way it's always been. The issue in question can't be dealt with quite as simply as a six month lag, though. But I am personally convinced that Astrology as defined by the ancients doesn't work down there. I will refuse to draw up a chart for a client born in the Southern Hemisphere, and just tell them the bad news that Astrology tends to malfunction there. If you go down there, you see the constellations in the sky, upside down. If someone were to force me to say what I think is different, it's that people down there seem psychologically strange. If you were to just give this problem a cursory glance, you might think they were just the opposite sign. But there are some very odd things that make you realize that they're more like a "negative" or "reversed" version of the sign they're supposed to be than like the true opposite. And in many cases, their self-image internally regarding the areas of life governed by various planets are still more like that of the signs their chart suggests "supposed to be in," yet many aspects of their life details and outward behavior seem more like the opposite sign. This is why most people down there believe it works... what the Southern Hemisphere does is, in my opinion, to weaken the power of the ego and increase the influence of the unconscious. In other words, people in the Southern Hemisphere have a greater tendency to live out their projections. If you ask me, no one should live down there, it seems to cause all kinds of psychological problems. You get really assertive people who think they're polite, really polite people who think they're assertive... cold, practical people who think they're sensitive and touchy, etc. They basically have zero self-awareness and will rationalize why they are what they claim to be with a few limited examples from their life, rather than acknowledging the overall pattern. I have friends who are counseling psychologists who tacitly agree with me that it's very hard to deal with people born in that part of the world, although they don't buy that it's an astrological phenomenon... they blame it all on culture. (talk) 22:13, 23 February 2017 (UTC)

The problem evaporates when interpreting signs on a non-seasonal basis. When the signs of the zodiac were given archetypal meaning deriving from the modes and elements, interpretation became transportable and regional cultural bias eliminated. The three by four matrix allocates unique meanings to each sign. These twelve archetypes were not present back when the year was created via solar transit of constellations - culturally, I mean, since these archetypes emerge from nature and operate in the subconscious regardless. Note that astrologers use these qualitative stages of a generic time cycle to interpret houses and aspects similarly to signs. The sequential mapping of the archetypal cycle into reality is used to make the same twelve phase relationships significant in all three cases. Dennis Frank (NZ) (talk) 20:30, 9 March 2020 (UTC)

Inadequate Reference[edit]

The reference used in this topic is inadequate and needs to be removed or replaced with something supportive. Terry Macro (talk) 02:36, 14 August 2011 (UTC)


The insistence on inserting airy claims that sidereal astrology is "Vedic" is just malicious.

In reality, you cannot have either "sidereal" or "tropical" astrology before you discover the precession of the equinoxes, because you won't be able to tell the difference between the two.

The precession of the equinoxes was discovered by Hipparchus. There isn't a shred of evidence that it had been discovered anywhere else in the world prior to that. Unless you have astoundingly excellent references to the contrary (WP:REDFLAG), please just leave it alone. --dab (𒁳) 15:06, 5 October 2011 (UTC)

Modern constellations along the ecliptic[edit]

"The dates the Sun passes through the 13 astronomical constellations of the ecliptic are listed below, accurate to the year 2002. The dates will increment by one day every 70½ years, and already several have changed. The corresponding tropical and sidereal dates are given as well."

Is the year mentioned correct? (talk) 14:10, 12 April 2012 (UTC)

  • modern constellations along the ecliptic is not astrology - it is astronomy, which is not the focus in this topic. Terry Macro (talk) 00:22, 13 April 2012 (UTC)

external reference violates ELNO?[edit]

The article's sole external reference got deleted, allegedly because it violates WP:ELNO. I don't think that is accurate, so I reverted the deletion. This appears to be a good faith mistake. If anybody still thinks it DOES violate WP:ELNO, then please explain why.--Other Choices (talk) 01:08, 21 March 2013 (UTC)

it's a fringe self-published blog, material is supposedly from some future fringe book. No reason to think this is reliable, IRWolfie- (talk) 22:27, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
Reliability isn't the issue here. The source does not violate WP:ELNO. It is an article, not a self-published blog. The author, Dieter Koch, wasn't the creator of astrodienst; it was created by Alois Trendl in 1983. IRWolfie was in error to delete the link, so I reverted the deletion.--Other Choices (talk) 05:00, 17 August 2013 (UTC)
That's pretty irrelevant to be honest. It's still self published, there is no editorial oversight and its a fringe blog. Bring it to Wikipedia:ELN if you disagree, IRWolfie- (talk) 11:00, 17 August 2013 (UTC)
It's not self-published, your remark about editorial oversight is groundless, and it's just plain ridiculous to call it a blog. The link is carefully written, well-sourced, and relevant to the article; and it's been at the article for quite some time. Please bring it to WP:ELN if you disagree.--Other Choices (talk) 12:24, 17 August 2013 (UTC)
The link in question is an English translation from a chapter in the [EDIT: upcoming] third edition of the author's book. Bibliographical information on the second edition of the book is here
--Other Choices (talk) 12:39, 17 August 2013 (UTC)
It's an unreliable fringe book, and not even published yet. What do you think that adds? IRWolfie- (talk) 16:37, 18 August 2013 (UTC)
As I said before, it's carefully written, well-sourced, and relevant to the article.--Other Choices (talk) 01:39, 21 August 2013 (UTC)
  1. ^ The Origin of the Zodiac, R. Gleadow, 1969