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Reply To: The Fault Lies in the Stars?


Thank you for sharing this, Mars – though it needn’t change anything about the interpretation of a daily horoscope, unless one is in the habit of taking mythological symbols literally. They remain just as accurate (or inaccurate, depending on one’s views) as they have always been.

Of course, this is nothing new. The fact that the actual constellations that lay along the Sun’s elliptic as viewed from Earth do change position over time is something astrologers/astronomers have been aware of as long as they have been looking at the stars. Just as the Sun follows that path, so too the constellations from our perspective also appear to revolve around the Earth, albeit much more slowly. Where it only takes the Sun 365 and 1/4 days to complete a revolution, the full cycle of a zodiacal or Platonic year takes 25,920 years to return to its starting point. This is sometimes called “the precession of the equinoxes.”

When humans first started keeping detailed records of the positions of planets and stars thousands of years ago, the spring equinox (March 20 or 21) occurred when the Sun was in Aries. But the spring equinox stays in one sign only some 2,160 years (there is no sharp dividing line between one constellation and another, so it’s impossible to be exact; it’s not like the equinox changes from one sign to another at 3:14 on a Thursday in March in 2 B.C.).

So somewhere around the birth of Christ, give or take a century, the spring equinox moved from Aries into Pisces (given the overlap between the Piscean Age and the advent of Christianity, it may be more than coincidence that one of the early secret signs that persecuted Christians used in the first and second centuries to recognize one another was the simple drawing of a fish – astrology carried a lot more weight back in those days).

And then, right about now, the spring equinox is in the process of moving from Pisces into Aquarius, though exactly when that happens is a bit imprecise, for the reasons mentioned above; it maybe already has, or is just about to (hence the popular song in the U.S. from the sixties hippie rock opera, Hair: “This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius!”).

So even though I consider myself a Gemini, the Sun was actually in Taurus or maybe even Aries, and definitely not Gemini, when I was born – but that doesn’t mean I’m reading the wrong horoscope.

What the constellations originally marked was the time of year one was born – for me, late spring. I don’t find it any surprise that my personality and character traits overlap to a degree with others born the same time of year, or that my personality traits are very different from those of someone born in the dead of winter, or the heat of summer. Those are characteristics that have long been been associated with Geminis. Sure enough, I identify with those traits, and exhibited them long before I paid attention to signs and horoscopes – so I don’t see any need to upend tradition.

But do keep in mind astrology is more art than science, more poetry than algebra, relying heavily on the powers of the human imagination.

As Joseph Campbell observes about oracles (in a discussion of the I Ching),

The seeker is supposed to look for some sort of correspondence between all of this and his own case, the method of thought throughout being that of a broadly flung association of ideas. One has to feel, not think, one’s way into these secrets, letting each symbol grow into a cosmos of associated themes.”

Joseph Campbell, Masks of God, Vol. II: Oriental Mythology (revised edition c. 2021, p. 394)

Science has no more to do with that than it does telling us how we should feel about Picasso’s Guernica or Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. What counts for me is that astrology is a useful tool for reimagining and mythologizing my life.

But then, what else would you expect from a Gemini?