No, Your Zodiac Sign Isn't Wrong

"Sir, I have studied it,
you have not."

- attributed to
Isaac Newton,
in defense of astrology

Recent media hysteria regarding comments by astronomers who have not done their research has caused me to be inundated with questions from clients and students - as well as my Leo daughter who absolutely rejects any suggestion that she might be a Cancer.
I'm going to give you a short response. I'll start simple, get more complex, and finish with a great diagram.
Astrologers have been aware of this "wobble" of the Earth's axis that the Minnesota astronomer thinks refutes all of astrology since the Greek astronomer Hipparchus figured it out in 134 B.C.
There are two schools of thought in astrology: Tropical and Sidereal. Most Western astrologers use the Tropical Zodiac, which is based upon the seasons, not the stars/constellations which are used by Sidereal astrologers.
Tropical astrology is based upon the relationship between the Earth and the Sun and planets of our solar system.  Sidereal astrologers refer to the movement of planets against the backdrop of the constellations. Both systems were in synch several thousand years ago when the archetypes of astrology were first developed.  
Both Tropical and Sidereal astrologers divide the sky into twelve even divisions, Aries through Pisces. However, the constellations are not equal in size. The constellation of Virgo is so big you could be born a Virgo for more than 45 days of the year and a Scorpio for only six days. And what would you do with Ophiuchus, the "13th sign?"
All in all, I am delighted with astrology in the news. This could be a great time for good conversations between astronomers and astrologers. Many great astronomers including Ptolemy, Copernicus, and Kepler were also astrologers (as astronomers predicting the phenomena, and as astrologers interpreting the phenomena). I'd prefer to converse with an astronomer who has bothered to do his homework.

A Comparison of the Astrological and Astronomical Maps of Our Zodiac

January 14, 2011

No, Your Zodiac Sign Isn't Wrong
©2011 Gretchen Lawlor