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What made you choose tropical over sidereal?

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Joined: 08 Dec 2005
Posts: 4

Posted: Sat Dec 10, 2005 4:32 pm    Post subject: What made you choose tropical over sidereal? Reply with quote

Hi, nice to meet everybody Smile

Was there something that persuaded you one way or the other?

I haven't formed a strong opinion yet.
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Joined: 11 Oct 2003
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Posted: Mon Dec 12, 2005 1:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think it is fair to say most astrologers are introduced to tropical astrology first and only discover sidereal after they've become accustomed to using the tropical zodiac. Some are curious about sidereal astrology and pursue it and some of those stick with it. I've run across some fine siderealists, but siderealists are definitely in the minority.

There is far less literature for siderealists readily available, but if someone is interested they can find it and give it a go. I'm sure there are groups online that work with this, and teh bigger onine book stores will carry the literature.

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Posted: Fri Dec 16, 2005 10:17 am    Post subject: Sidereal Reply with quote

Hi Tom, Thanks for your reply. I'm also accustomed to tropical. Sidereal astrology is still new to me, but some aspects in my natal chart and transits make more sense with sidereal.
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Posted: Fri Dec 16, 2005 11:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with Tom's analysis of why most astrologers use tropical. But in my case I also like the concept of the fact that 0 degrees of the cardinal signs under tropical rise on the days of the equinoxes and solstice. The fact that at around 6 am ( ie exactly half way between midnight and noon) on march 21 the sun rises at 0 aries is more convincing to me than having it rise at a about 6 pisces and moving! And so on for the other 3 points.

It seems to tie the tropical zodiac to the sun which we treat as the core of our identity whereas sidereal ties us to the bigger universe and the other stars - something that is not to be ignored but is less relevant for our day to day existence.
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Posted: Fri Dec 23, 2005 3:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Amelia, your explanation helped me to understand it better. Thank you.
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Posted: Fri Dec 30, 2005 2:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think it's easier to ask (and answer) the question "How was the zodiac you use chosen for you?", since most astrologers use the zodiac they first learn. The answer being simply that it was a feature of the cultural context in which one started doing astrology. Eventually, and assuming one to be of enquiring mind, one asks the question you put...

However, this question often involves the assumption that the options are mutually exclusive: that one must use either the tropical or sidereal zodiac. Both the majority (in the West) tropicalists, and the minority siderealists tend to share this assumption.

One astrologer who does not is Pamela Crane. In her methodology which she calls Interdimensional Astrology she makes use of several different charts at once, including (geocentric) tropical and (geocentric) sidereal, but also (geocentric) draconic, heliocentric, and certain other charts in which the sequence of signs is mapped onto the sequence of houses. She has written a book "An Introduction to Interdimensional Astrology", but there is a resume in her book "The Draconic Chart", from which I am abstracting here.

How can this be possible? Well, the answer is that it depends on what you are referring to. If we see a shape move while we are walking in the forest we might dispute whether it was a bear or a deer. In that case at least one of us must be wrong. But consider how the sciences are divided up. Assuming it is a deer, the biologist describes the living animal, the geologist the terrain it lives on, the chemist its molecular composition, and the physicist the atoms and energies in those molecules. And while there is some jostling for pre-eminence among the sciences, largely their descriptions of the deer are complementary , i.e. their "truths" add to form the big picture. But this also makes their predictions distinctive, and to that extent, exclusive. The physicist can describe what happens if the deer runs up an electric fence, the chemist what happens when you cook it, the biologist what happens when you chop down its forest, etc.

Against this, the tropicalist vs siderealist debate is typically conducted in terms of a supposed outcome in which one side or other is (likely to be more) correct. In principle, the description of an Aries type is so different from a Taurus type that it should be possible, given the right sort of large-scale well-resourced statistical study to demonstrate whether one or other zodiac fits the facts better, and decide the dispute that way. The counter-argument to this program is that "the facts" can be made to fit the (pre-conceived) ideas about zodiac signs. And the argument has a point at least, because we could either assume the tropical zodiac and see what general description of its 12-fold division falls out of the analysis, or assume the sidereal zodiac and do the same for that. What we would then end up with is two incomptible sets of zodiac descriptions, both derived from the facts about people. It wouldn't necessarily be the end of the issue, as it should be possible to find some criterion whereby one zodiac could be preferred to the other. Unfortunately the tropicalist vs sideralist debate does not see things in this way, and as far as I can tell both pretty much adopt the same handed-down zodiac archetype descriptions. I have only ever seen one attempt to "rewrite" the tropical zodiac signs to accommodate the precession of the equinox that the siderealist considers significant, and it was not really a serious attempt. (It ran along these lines: Cancer "I feel" precessed back into Gemini "I think" yields a revised Cancer archetype of "I think I feel. Or is do I feel I think. Or...?".)

In contrast, Crane writes in "The Draconic Chart", p.258:

>> "The authentic spiritual Self (HELIOCENTRIC) manifests through the incarnate personality (GEOCENTRIC) with a Role to play (SIDEREAL), Karma to resolve (DRACONIC) and a body/new identity (TROPICAL) to work through, master, and learn from..."

The specific difficulty here is knowing just what is being referred to by "spiritual Self", "incarnate personality", "Role" and "Karma". Perhaps "incarnate personality" means basically the everyday obervable person, but the other terms are decidedly obscure. It is not enough to say, well, use those other horoscopes and you'll soon see what they mean, because then those terms get their definition exclusively from the horoscopes involved. Which is effectively Humpty-Dumpty's position about the meaning of words in Alice in Wonderland. It also has the corollary that "if it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck", there is no conceivable way it could be other than a duck (even when it is actually a swan which sounds like a duck because of artificial imprinting).

If you want to pursue Crane's astrological ideas, I should warn you that you may find, as I and others do, her exposition exasperatingly metaphysical - to the extent that it is unclear whether the intended exercise is to describe her astrology to others or to validating her metaphysics for herself. Nevertheless "The Draconic Chart" advances two clear and definite proposals concerning the draconic zodiac, which I think are valuable, if albeit not widely accepted (probably due to unfamiliarity with the terrain). Perhaps here would be a better place to start a study of multi-zodiac astrology, say by adding Draconic Sun and Moon into the usual horoscope that you use, and seeing whether the additional description these "mystery objects" (as they will be in a tropical or sidereal chart) provide adds anyhing more to the accuracy of a chart reading.

I use Draconic Sun and Moon as a matter of routine in a tropical topocentric (!) chart for nativities (but not because of Crane's work, I have to say).
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Posted: Mon Jan 09, 2006 10:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Coder, thanks for the info, very interesting. I'll try to add a Draconic Sun and Moon like you've suggested.
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