15 January 2011

Western Astrology to Survive

The precession of the equinoxes and the semesterly discovery of a 'thirteenth' constellation by introductory astronomy students is apparently news this week. Every semester, introductory astronomy courses all over the world, discuss the precession of the equinoxes, that is, that in the real solar zodiac, the sun actually does not appear in the same apparent position against the zodiac every year, but returns approximately every 25-26,000 years to the same spot.

You may be aware of this indirectly in the form of platonic months: Age of Pisces, Age of Aquarius, etc., The apparent position of the sun at the vernal equinox moves in retograde motion against the zodiac in a 25-26,000 year cycle. In other words, the Age of Pisces is the age in which the sun, at the vernal equinox, appears in Pisces. And as the years progress, it slowly moves retrograde through Pisces (the Christian era) until somewhere around now, the Age of Aquarius, where the apparent position of the sun at the vernal equinox begins to move through Aquarius.

But what does this mean for the presence of a 13th zodiac sign or the precession of the equinoxes? First, the real solar zodiac is not the 'tropical zodiac' of Western Astrology, as Swiss Psychiatrist Carl G. Jung stated:
And yet anyone who can cast a horoscope should know that, since the days of Hipparchus of Alexandria, the spring-point has been fixed at 0ยบ Aries, and that the zodiac on which every horoscope is based is therefore quite arbitrary, the spring-point having gradually advanced, since then, into the first degree of Pisces owing to the precession of the equinoxes.
Jung wrote this almost century ago, so none of this is news at all. I will continue to quote as he gives a brilliant understanding of why horoscopes work in spite of the fact that the zodiac in Western astrology does not coincide with the solar zodiac:
Primitive man is not much interested in objective explanations of the obvious, but he has an imperative need--or rather, his unconscious psyche has an irresistible urge -- to assimilate all outer sense experiences to inner, psychic events. It is not enough for the primitive to see the sun rise and set; this external observation must at the same time be a psychic happening: the sun in its course must represent the fate of a god or hero who, in the last analysis, dwells nowhere except in the soul of man. All the mythologized processes of nature, such as summer and winter, the phases of the moon, the rainy seasons, and so forth, are in no sense allegories of these objective occurrences; rather they are symbolic expressions of the inner unconscious drama of the psyche which becomes accessible to man's consciousness by way of projection -- that is, mirrored in the events of nature. The projection is so fundamental that it has taken several thousand years of civilization to detach it in some measure from its outer object. In the case of astrology, for instance, this age-old 'scientia intuitiva' came to be branded as rank heresy because man had no yet succeeded in making the psychological description of character independent of the stars.
(Carl G. Jung, The Archetypes and the Unconscious, Collected Works, vol 9, paragraph 7)

It is fascinating that the precession of the equinoxes and Ophiuchus appears as a "news" topic at this moment (the present Jupiter-Uranus conjunction?) and the people making it news are scientists. From the perspective Jung notes above, something very interesting is occurring in our psyches, just what I don't know. Ophiuchus, by the way, is the serpent-bearer.

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