This is a continuation from previous posts.
The True Sidereal Zodiac
One thing is very certain, there is a sidereal zodiac in Indian astrology, and I bet in all astrological systems from the ancient great cultures. Yet this sidereal zodiac is not twelve but twenty-eightfold!
The Sun and Moon, kings of the heavens, travel through space. During one complete journey of the Sun, the Moon makes twelve revolutions (each year there are twelve full-moons, “months”). Therefore, the Moon divides the Sun’s path into twelve sections. Conversely, while the Moon makes one complete journey through the heavens, the Sun makes twenty eight (in each moon cycle there are twenty eight sunrises, “days”). Therefore, the Sun divides the Moon’s path into twenty eight units.
Thus we have interwoven manners of dividing the zodiac. One has twelve and pertains to the path of the Sun. The other has twenty-eight and pertains to the path of the Moon. One of them is tropical by nature, the other sidereal!
I’ve already explored the logic, evidence and common sense decisively concluding that the Sun’s twelvefold zodiac is tropical. Now let’s explore the sense, logic and evidence in concluding that the Moon’s twenty-eightfold zodiac is sidereal.
The stars cannot be seen when the Sun is out, but we can almost always see the Moon against a backdrop of stars. Thus it appeals to common sense to the Moon’s movements be measured by its reference to stars.
While I could thoroughly explain the meanings of the twelve signs by reference to the tropical phenomena they demarcate, the themes of the twenty-eight stars of the Moon’s zodiac cannot be understood with any reference to tropical or even lunar observation. Some correlation to the phases of the Moon to the stages of development over a human lifetime can be utilized for interpretative purposes. But honestly, this only supports some of the meanings within the stars. The root cause of all meaning in the twenty-eight stars has no relationship to the earth (i.e. it is not tropical), and has everything to do with purely heavenly (sidereal) factors. The deities of the heavens reside in or empower each of the twenty-eight stars. The nature of the deity who empowers a star creates the full meaning of that star.
If this leaves some room for doubt, that doubt is removed by the evidence of authority.
Evidence from Authority
We examined Sūrya Siddhānta previously. The second chapter is dedicated to sidereal calculation of the twenty-eight star-sections in the lunar zodiac. The treatise says to convert planetary positions to tropical coordinates, but leaves the twenty-eight stars as they are: as stars, sidereal entities.
We also previously examined the astronomical section of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam. In the 23rd chapter of the fifth division, two chapters after tropically defining the twelvefold zodiac, the Bhāgavata defines the twenty-eight stars of the lunar zodiac sidereally – in terms of their relationship to the north star, milky way and other purely stellar objects.
Doubtlessly the lunar zodiac is sidereal. That’s why we say it is composed of “stars” (literally, nakṣatra), twenty eight of them. It is now also beyond doubt that the solar zodiac is tropical. That’s why we say it is composed of “signs” (literally, rāśi), twelve of them.
Ancient India, and most likely all ancient great cultures, gave us knowledge that our dank and small modern intuition and cognition still hobbled weakly to grasp the basic definitions of. We waste our effort arguing if tropical or sidereal is the correct definition of the zodiac. If we listen to the ancients carefully, we hear them tell us is that both co-exist in a unified truth.
The two zodiacs, the twenty-eight stars of the sidereal and the twelve divisions of the tropical, are two aspects of one reality – interwoven like yin and yang. The language of astrology cannot fully and clearly sound out by transposing one zodiac definition on another, or by trying to divorce them from their eternal marriage and discount one or the other. We must read both zodiacs simultaneously to hear the full communication from mother nature.
How? When any astrological chart based on an ascendant is cast, we have two strands of interwoven information, calling to mind the two strands of DNA: the tropical positions of planets in the twelve signs and houses, and the twenty-eightfold sidereal positions among the glittering stars of the heavens.
Now it is upon us to explore and uncover the correct methods and sciences for such interpretations. It will not be difficult, because our basic grammar will be far more clearly defined. If your experience is anything like mine, you will find that all of the fundamental techniques preserved in the interpretive texts for regarding signs, houses, lords and combinations, and all the nakshatra based timing techniques will shine forth much more clearly. You will, I think, comprehend the messages they declare to your inner ear with far greater ease and clarity.
May we be so blessed.
oṁ bhur bhuvaḥ svaḥ
There is bhu: the earth, with its sky of twelve houses.
There is svar: heaven, with its twenty-eight principle sidereal stars.
There is bhuvah: The uniting space linking them, with its twelve tropical divisions – The heavenly Sun, planets and stars shining upon and wandering across the Earth’s equator.
tat savitur vareṇyam, bharga devasya dhīmahī
The brilliant knowledge which will shine forth in the intuitive contemplation of an astrologer is the effulgence of this paradigm uniting heaven and earth: the twenty eight stars hosting the planets, tied to the earth via the twelve divisions.
May we blessed with divine knowledge of such incomprehensible subjects. May such knowledge lead us only to divine love, the soul of true peace and joy.