Origin of the Sidereal Zodiac

Precession of the equinoxes as seen from 'outs...

The stars of sidereal space are a valid and important astrological entity. India (and almost all cultures) has a valid system of dividing sidereal space with the Moon as the focal point, not the Sun as in tropical space. This system has 27 divisions, not 12, because there are that many sunrises during the time it takes the Moon to complete a full circuit of the heavens.

The idea of 12 sidereal signs comes from wrongly assuming that the correlation between the stars and signs is permanent. In fact, there is no permanent correlation between the two, the signs eternally and very gradually drift backwards through the stars – a phenomena commonly known as “precession of the equinox.”

There is a valid need to correlate the signs and stars because their relationship is important for defining very long periods of time (“ages”) and for knowing how and when to keep solar and lunar calendar systems synchronized.

Babylonians measured the correlation of their autumnal equinox with the heliacal rising of stars they called The Scales. Greeks measured the discrepancy of tropical Aries against a stellar counterpart bearing the same name. Ancient and Classical Indians measured the heliacal position of the equinox in reference to their fixed stars. For example, the Ṛg Veda notes Kṛttikā as the “first” star and the beginning of the celestial circle, because in Ṛg Vedic times, four to five thousand years ago, Kṛttikā heliacally rose with the Vernal Equinox. Later Indian works from nearly two thousand years ago note Aśvinī as the first star, because at that time Aśvinī was the star heliacally rising with the equinox.

Projecting the 12 zodiac divisions into space, based on the then-current position of the vernal equinox was useful for mathematics but opened a door for people to think of the signs as stellar entities. It is an easy mistake to make considering that for centuries there was almost no significant difference between the signs and their homonymic sidereal namesakes.

6 thoughts on “Origin of the Sidereal Zodiac

  1. well the pushya and aslesha nakshatra were earlier in cancer now they r in leo what do u thing will be the result of this combination mean since the stars shift to a different sign the qualities might quite change dont u think

      1. well i meant there will be a slight change in the nature of signs like lets say the star purva ashada meaning earlier victory ruled by venus was in sign dhanu giving certain flavour to fiery mutable sign sagittarius ruled by jupiter but now this same star is in cardinal earth sign of capricorn ruled by saturn and so its effect might be quite different dont u think

  2. also the aslesha sign is dark and secretive but sign leo is hardly secretive or dark and now the aslesha nakshatra has shifted from cancer a secretive,deep sign just like nakshatra to leo which is open,warm,regal and not really secretive or having any dark,deep motive

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