Recently there has been a lot of fuss in the media about the NEW sign of the Zodiac, Ophiucus. This is hardly new. The Ancient Greek mythology described how Ophiucus got where it was in the sky.
The whole story is in the article on The Thirteenth Sign of the Zodiac which I posted in December 2006. The current frenzied search on Google about Ophiucus in January 2011 has made it one of the most frequently noticed of my current 320 articles. Just click on the title in the right hand column. It isn’t a new piece of information. I have taught people to change their birth sign to Ophiucus for many years.
There is a great virtue to changing one’s name during the lifetime. All the buttons associated with that old name can no longer be pressed. It’s a great freedom. Look at how successful the Poles and Chinese are who come here knowing no English. When they do learn it then none of their buttons are in the new language. Their limitations aren't excited every day by someone.
Everyone who changes name or receives a new one after an initiation will know what I mean.
There is a similar freedom to changing your birth sign. It’s only convention that gives you the sign. A public agreement. You don’t have to go along with it.
The current fuss is due to the undoubted fact that while astrologers tend to understand astronomy the reverse is not true. All that most astronomers know about astrology is that it is nonsense and that any astronomer suspected of ‘believing’ in astrology will find his or her professional career terminated at that point.
Astrologers and astronomers do not use the same Zodiac. Western astrologers became dissatisfied with the sidereal zodiac of the observed constellations by the 5th century AD, and switched to the tropical zodiac that astrologers in the West have used ever since.
The tropical zodiac coincided with the constellations in the year 221 AD. It took a couple of centuries, but astrologers did figure out that planets, signs, and charts should be measured from the equinox, now around March 23rd, thereby using the tropical zodiac, not from a particular star, the sidereal zodiac.
If you imagine the equator of the Earth extending out into space then the apparent path of the Sun cuts it in two places during the year. In 221 AD one of those points was in Aries at the Spring Equinox. Now, according to observation of the skies at night it isn’t. But astrologers use that gradually moving point in the sky as their starting point, ‘called’ the point of Aries. And they call it the Point of Aries no matter what constellations are behind it. It is the moment of the Spring Equinox.
Using this mobile starting point they divide their Zodiac into four quadrants and each one obeys the triple law of observed life forms…Start, Change, Stop, Birth, Life, Death. Everything on Earth is in one of the other of those three phases at any moment.
Astrologers call them Cardinal, Fixed and Mutable and base their predictions on thousands of years of observations about what happens to those phases when the Cosmic Clock arranges the planets in different positions in the energy fields of the Solar System.
Really smart people long ago sat under their favourite tree and plugged Cardinal, Fixed and Mutable into each of the four seasons. They came up with the twelve divisions of astrology.
Possibly the greatest intellect in Europe was the mathematician/physicist Sir Isaac Newton. He was the one who figured out the laws of planetary motion and the effect of gravity on moving bodies. And he did it because he was studying astrology to see if there was any truth in it.
When the astronomer Halley…discoverer of the planet, spoke to him about it and asked why he was wasting his amazing intellect on ‘astrology,’ Newton said this sentence…”The difference between us, Mr. Halley, is that I have studied it and you have not.” And when Newton said he studied something it meant something almost supernatural in focusing ability.
Newton’s physics and mathematics are honoured everywhere in science, and learned by every science student from any country or religion. When I left England the three TRUNKS of his work on astrology in Cambridge had not been looked at by anyone because EVERYONE knows astrology is nonsense. So what the greatest mind in Europe thinks about subject A is honoured beyond praise. What he thinks about subject B is ignored because of dogma. More about dogma in a moment.
Nowadays astronomers have field days pointing out that the astrologers don’t even know about the 26,000 year wobble effect of the Earth’s axis and the fact that the Spring Equinox no longer occurs when Aries is where it is now.
To reiterate, actually the astrologers understand that perfectly. They are using a different Zodiac, the tropical Zodiac based on using wherever that Spring Equinox point is as the starting point of their calculations. The astronomers, glued to their instruments, do not even understand with the tropical Zodiac is.
What the astronomers use is the sidereal Zodiac…the actually observed points of light in the sky and the belt through which the planets move. Zodiac means Belt of animals and everyone knows about the constellations of the Ram, the Bull, the Lion and the others. And those are all in the sidereal Zodicac. And so is Ophiucus, the Serpent Bearer.
Here is a table, accurate within a day or so of the length of time that the Sun spends crossing the different signs of the sidereal Zodiac:
Sagittarius (Dec 18- Jan 18), 32 days
Capricornus (Jan 19- Feb 15), 28 days
Aquarius (Feb 16- Mar 11), 24 days
Pisces ( Mar 12- Apr 18), 38 days
Aries (Apr 19- May 13), 25 days
Taurus ( May 14- Jun 19), 37 days
Gemini (Jun 20- Jul 20), 31 days
Cancer (Jul 21- Aug 9), 20 days
Leo (Aug 10-Sep 15), 37 days
Virgo (Sep 16- Oct 30), 45 days
Libra (Oct 31-Nov 22), 23 days
Scorpius (Nov 23-Nov 29),7 days
Ophiuchus (Nov 30-Dec 17),18 days
These are obviously not the tidy magazine horoscope dates. The starting point of the astrologer’s calculations is the Point of Aries, which is in the same place every year around March 21st. But nowadays it isn’t in Aries. The wobble of the Earth’s poles makes it apparently move across the background of stars as it changes the Pole Star every 26000 years or so.
From the astronomer’s point of view, totally ignorant of how astrologers deal with the matter, it is clear that dividing the Zodiac into twelve neat arcs of 30° each is wrong, therefore all their predictions must be nonsense.
But by now we know, I hope, that the sidereal Zodiac, the observed sky, is not the one used by astrologers. And their system works well enough for great minds like Carl Jung to use astrology charts as the possible blueprint of the energies of his clients.
Spiritual seekers are all seeking to be free of the conditioned mind, of programs that are running their lives without their conscious knowledge. When the two groups of monks came to the Lord Buddha and asked their two questions, “Are you a man?” and “Are you a god?” they were astonished that he answered “No!” each time. “What are you then?” they screamed in frustration. “I am awake.” He replied. He had woken up from the public dream that everyone else was living in.
Gurdjieff the great Russian mystic taught his famous pupil Ouspensky a simple awareness meditation for three months. At the end of that time he took Ouspensky for a walk in downtown Tiflis. Ouspensky realized that only he and Gurdjieff were awake in the whole town. Everyone else was in a light hypnotic trance, buying and selling, eating and resting, and doing all the things they were programmed to do as ‘normal’ human beings.
And that is still true of way over 90% of current humanity. They awaken from their private dream into the public dream, where the laws of their life are actually merely a public consensus of what is possible or allowable, and what isn’t.
So what does that observation have to do with people who get freaked out about their Sun sign changing. This is the important point for spiritual seekers…
Nobody can be awake if a dogma is running their lives.
We who read and write blogs like this all know about dogma. A dogma is an assertion of the belief of some authority. By definition it is not examined, and must not be examined, just believed. Belief in this opinion is rewarded and criticism of it is punished. And the Church killed those who would not accept its dogmas, for hundreds of years in dozens of countries. You may wonder what this other uncomfortable truth has to do with the calendar.
Ok, what day is it on the day you read this? Or, how old are you today? Your answer is TOTALLY based on a dogma. It’s only the authority of the mediaeval Catholic Church that says what day it is, and if you disagree then you are the one who is crazy. Think about it for a moment.
Our whole commercial and materialistic society revolves around a calendar that has absolutely no spiritual component. It’s based only on things that can be seen to move. An atheist could have done no better for his philosophy. There is no trace of spirituality anywhere in its basic assumptions.
So, how can I even think of using a system that depends on the edict of Pope Gregory in 1582 when he is said to have reformed the calendar? This turned out to be rather like income tax reform which always makes matters worse.
Every indigenous culture had its own calendar, based on its own observations and the current philosophy of life in that culture. These peoples did not need to change their calendar and they did not want to. The Gregorian calendar was enforced by blood letting and intimidation by the missionary Church triumphant and is now a world-wide accomplishment as far as computers go.
EVERYBODY who reads this has pagan ancestors, even those who are now practicing Christians, Jews or Muslims. And your pagan ancestors had calendars based on the life cycles of the planet or the seasons, and their gratitude for the gifts of fertile animals and crops. In England the first of May was the day that the May tree bloomed. And it did so at the same time of the year for centuries.
After the calendar ‘reform’ it has changed its blooming date by a couple of weeks. The peasants didn’t need a calendar with numbers. They could look at which constellations were visible, which animals and plants were flourishing and many natural signs that are always there in the cycle of life.
Many cultures, like the Mayans had spiritual components to their calendars. They were forced to accept the edict of the ignorant Church that believed that the Earth was flat, that heaven was up there and hell was down there, that Indians had no souls, and much other nonsense.
But, any belief held long enough filters into the psyche of those born into the culture holding this belief for generation after generation. And it is the effect of this dogma called THE calendar which allied with the psychic fact that numbers represent archetypal energies, that makes it possible to draw conclusions from labels that people sincerely hold, such as their given names, and the numbers they associate with their date of birth and their age, and of course their Sun sign. Hence numerology and astrology.
How then to be free of the dogma of the Sun sign? I tell my advanced students that their goal is to drop all the acquired stuff that clings to their conventional Zodiac birth sign.
Eventually we will all be Ophiucians and independent of our pre-programmed current laws of life. We will be functioning with twelve working chakras, as a witness of the game of life, without identifying with any of it. Our center is not something that changes, like everything else in life. We could do worse than associate it temporarily with Ophiucus. Only the Self is Real. Only the Real is Eternal.
Using energy systems based on the 13 signs produces a spiritual path, at the end of which you will be the 13th thing, the witness outside the 12 symbols, the witness of the 12 chakras of a fully enlightened human, if you wish to be. The totally healed, previously wounded healer stands outside the Twelve Step program that healed him.
He or she learns how to become independent of their standard birth sign so that all are Ophiucians. The motto of the occult degree attained you may have come across in your occult work. It is Sapiens dominabitur astris The wise establish dominion over their stars.
The Druids and Celts had 12 signs of their mundane Zodiac, and a secret 13th sometimes called in translation, “The Weaver” the cosmic spider in the centre of the Web of Life.
In spite of all these apparent problems Western astrology works well with the right astrologer, even though the data used is not now the same as the scientific data. We have to get used to this. The mind is a wonderful tool, and can weave useful and useless webs from almost any data. Any system containing a dozen or more things can be used as a divination system by a gifted psychic.
A wonderful example of this mind weaving occurred during WWII when a group of Gurkhas, the savagely ferocious and faithful members of the British Indian Army, were dropped by parachute with their white officer, a lieutenant, into a place where Japanese soldiers were suspected to be operating. They were quickly noticed by the Japanese and though the Gurkhas eventually won the combat with their dreaded kukris, they lost their white officer in the first exchange of fire.
They decided to take the sahib’s ID material back to base, but had no idea where it was in the Malayan jungle. One of them examined the dead sahib’s wallet and found a map. So off they went, knowing that their sahib was guiding them with his last will and testament, so to speak.
Many days later they emerged from the jungle at the base from which they started. The commanding officer was stunned to see them all alive and well. “How the hell did you find your way back?” he demanded. “Sahib Evans had a map in his pocket,” said their spokesperson. The colonel knew that there were no maps of the jungle. He asked to see it. Lt. Evans had been a Londoner, and at the back of his little diary was a colored map of the London Underground Railway system. That was the map they used.
The current Zodiac may not be the “real” map of the scientists, their ‘real’ map is only the report of how their senses interpret their instruments, but it can still be used by those with the Gurkha’s attitude to achieve meaningful results.
Remember that on September 11, in a year not far away the whole nation had been ruthlessly,relentlessly and deliberately focused on the number 911, by the media. The ‘randomly generated’ pick three lottery winner in NYC on the anniversary of that day was 911.
Maybe there are some dots here for contemplation. Something like, “What you think is what you see, and what you see is what you get.” It doesn’t all have to be written in the stars. We can write our own destiny.
Suppose that the whole country had been focusing with the same intensity on a symbol of Peace. What might have happened? ANY map can be made to work with the correct intensity of focus. And you can create your own map!