Are Zodiac Signs Reversed In Earth’s Southern Hemisphere?
– A Whole-Earth, Dual-Sign, 6-sign, or Mirror Zodiac:
A Possible Solution To The Problem Of Matching Astrology’s Seasonally-Derived, Northern Hemisphere Zodiac Signs To Countries In The Southern Hemisphere
The Zodiac as we know it, is a system of dividing up the portion of sky through which the Sun, Moon and planets seem to travel, known as the ecliptic. This system was originally invented in countries in earth’s Northern Hemisphere, where astronomers named the constellations according to environmental observations linked to the seasons. For example, the constellation that the sun seemed to pass through every year at the beginning of Spring was named Aries – The Ram, because “the sun breaks up the frozen earth as a ram attacks with its horns” Similarly “…In the month of Taurus oxen work to prepare the ripening of the corn”.
The problem about using this Northern Hemisphere derived system in countries of the Southern Hemisphere, such as Australia, South America and South Africa, is that the Aries to Pisces signs that we know, do not fit the seasons, which are of course reversed. This problem becomes accentuated when we try to use the Zodiac astrologically, overlaying the original seasonal and agricultural measuring system with occult correspondences. For example, the sign Capricorn in the Tropical Zodiac starts at the Winter Solstice, around December 21st, in the Northern Hemisphere, and this sign has profound occult and mythological associations with the constriction or limiting of light associated with the sign’s Saturn ruler. The sun is said to die in this sign, and then be reborn after three days as light from the physical sun increases. This is perhaps why the Christian church instigated the celebration of Christmas, the birth of Christ or “light” at the old pagan celebration of the Winter Solstice. But in the Southern Hemisphere, December 21st coincides with height of summer, or the Summer Solstice, after which the light from the sun decreases, not increases as in the North. Even though many Australians and South Africa still celebrate Christmas at this time, we can see how the logical and esoteric association to the season is completely lost.
There are several solutions to this problem which astrologers have come up with, including the ideas one of the last century’s great astrologers, Dane Rudhyar, and these are discussed below. I have taken the ideas of Rudhyar a bit further, combining them with the idea of a 6-sign Zodiac, also sometimes known as a “Dual Sign” or “Mirror Zodiac” to try to solve the problem of the seasonal mismatch.
Derivation Of The Tropical Zodiac
The Tropical Zodiac, which is the Zodiac which most astrologers in Europe and America use when calculating birth charts/horoscopes, was invented by the astronomer Claudius Ptolemy in the 1st century AD. Ptolemy named his 12 signs after the names of 12 of the constellations which lie on or near the Ecliptic, and the diagram below shows the backdrop of these constellations as seen from Earth as we orbit the Sun.
Ptolemy’s motivation for inventing this Zodiac, instead of using the older Sidereal Zodiac which corresponded more closely to the constellations, was to solve the problem of Precession, which is the gradual movement of the equinoxes westward along the ecliptic relative to the fixed stars. It is caused by the shift in the orientation of Earth’s axis of rotation, rather like a wobbling top, which traces out a cone cycle of approximately 26,000 years called a Great or Platonic year.
How Did The Zodiac Signs Get Their Names?
The idea of dividing the path of the planets through the Zodiac into 360 degrees originated independently in Babylon, Egypt and China, probably based on the length of the year, so that the sky returns to the same point every 365 days. The division of the year into twelve is probably because twelve is a more convenient number than thirteen or fourteen months, which occurred in countries where the calendar was determined by the moon. However, all months were originally moon-periods, and in Islamic countries the month still begins with the first appearance of the new crescent moon after sunset. In Rupert Gleadow’s book The Origin Of The Zodiac, the author quotes a 9th century monk by the name of Helpericus, who speculated on the origin of the names of the Zodiac signs:
“Aquarius and Pisces are explained by the rainy season, Leo by the heat, and Libra by the equinox; in Cancer the Sun begins to move backwards (like a crab). The Scorpion’s sting and the Archer’s arrow are both compared to the sting of hail-showers, and Capricorn is the lower turning point of the sun because goats graze uphill. The Ram, however, was either named because the sun breaks up the frozen earth as a ram attacks with its horns, or else because rams, having slept on the their left side all the winter, now start to sleep on their right. In the month of Taurus oxen work to prepare the ripening of the corn, but the explanation of Gemini is an incoherent allusion to Castor and Pollux. Virgo finally is so called because the earth is exhausted and no longer bears any fruit – the transition from the pretty girl to the old maid on the way.” We can see how these names intimately fit the seasonal changes in weather and agriculture.
In Ptolemy’s treatise on celestial mechanics, The Tetrabiblos, the astronomer says “The Zodiac, being a circle, has no natural beginning so the sign of the Ram, which begins from the Vernal Equinox is taken as the beginning of the twelve; and, as if the zodiac were a living being, they make it begin with the excessive moisture of spring and make the other seasons follow, because all creatures in their first youth have an excess of moisture and , like the spring, are still delicate and growing.” (Tetrabiblos I, 10)
Like Ptolemy, most astrologers of the past thousand years have lived in the Northern Hemisphere. In the Southern Hemisphere, where earth’s seasons are opposite to those in the Northern Hemisphere, Ptolemy’s reasoning of applying Aries, The Ram to Spring would not apply, because in April, when it is Spring in the Northern Hemisphere and the days are getting longer, it is autumn in the Southern Hemisphere and the days are getting shorter. This problem has been largely ignored by astrologers, except by a few brave ones who have addressed it.
One of those astrologers was Dane Rudhyar. In his book Astrological Timing, The Transition To The New Age: Rudhyar addresses this problem thusly:
“What is the solution of the problem in so far as an astrology based on the tropical-seasonal zodiac is concerned? The simpler solution is that Aries becomes Libra in the south hemisphere. Southern-hemispheric birth-charts should therefore have all their zodiacal signs reversed, so that if a person in Buenos Aires is born in early August his Sun is in Aquarius.”
How can we reverse the signs of the Zodiac? Don’t they always stay the same, which ever hemisphere we are in?
It is true that the constellations do not suddenly change their positions when we view them from the Southern Hemisphere, although they do appear upside down.
What Rudhyar was suggesting was that we change the names of the segments of sky in the Tropical Zodiac to fit more exactly to the season we are experiencing when viewing them at a particular time of the day, for example, at dawn. The Zodiac was invented – by the Babylonians and Egyptians as a measuring device to help predict seasonal changes which would help agriculture. The Babylonians also used the Zodiac and position of the planets as a form of prognostication, in the days before modern scientific reasoning. Hence the idea that the stars and planets had some sort of power over events on earth.
A more scientific understanding of the stars and planets is that they are simply markers, rather like the hands and divisions on a big cosmic clock, telling us where we are in time and space, but they do not have any power of themselves. The only bodies that have any measurable effect on life on earth are the Sun and Moon; our Sun is our master star, ultimately controlling all the cycles of weather and plant growth, and our moon’s gravity effects the ocean tides and other bodies of water. Since our bodies are made up of 70% water, it has been suggested that the moon’s gravity might have some measurable effect on our blood and hormones.
It is helpful to remember that the Tropical Zodiac is a theoretical or imaginary Zodiac. It is not the actual constellations, and because of the precession of the equinoxes mentioned earlier, it is now about 24 degrees away from the actual constellations on which it was originally based. The Vernal Equinox point – where the first degree of Aries begins in the Tropical Zodiac is now actually near the beginning of Pisces in the Sidereal Zodiac, and in a few hundred years move into the constellation Aquarius. Hence the derivation of the term The Age Of Aquarius. Basically the Tropical Zodiac signs are segments of sky.
So if we rename the Zodiac signs for the Southern Hemisphere, what happens at the Equator? A man born on one side of the Equator in April would be an Aries, while his neighbor on the other side would be a Libra. That’s ridiculous!
Dane Rudhyar divided the globe into three zones, a Northern Zone, having the Zodiac as we know it, a Southern Zone, having a reversed Zodiac with its own pole star, and a middle “Equatorial Zone”, having an astrology of its own.
A person born in April, for example, would be born under Aries-Libra, but would be more weighted towards Aries in the Northern Hemisphere and Libra in the Southern Hemisphere, as shown above. Someone born in August would be a Leo-Aquarius. If they were born in London they would be more weighted to Leo, but if born in South Africa they would be more weighted towards Aquarius. A person born on the Equator on the same day would have equal weighting of Leo and Aquarius.
Polarity In Astrology
The idea of polarity is a strong theme in astrology. For example, we cannot really understand the sense of self-hood and identity of Aries without considering the idea of “other” represented by Libra. We also would find it difficult to describe plant or animal growth, represented by Taurus, without considering the food and fertilizer provided by dead organisms, represented by Scorpio. The discriminatory faculty of the human mind, which enables thought and communication (sometimes known as the “lower mind”, assigned to Gemini is mirrored by the concept gathering faculty (sometimes known as the “higher mind”) assigned to Sagittarius. The inner receptivity of Moon-ruled water sign Cancer provides nourishment both physical and emotional to those closest to us, like family, but food needs to be grown, following the laws of agriculture, or costs money, which has to be earned, so Cancer is mirrored in its opposite sign Capricorn, whose focus is on the outer structure of the physical world. The royal Sun ruled Leo would be out of a job if he or she did not rule with the social justice of Aquarius, and from a biological point of view, whereby the Zodiac signs rule areas of anatomy, changes in our peripheral circulatory system, ruled by Aquarius, such as hardening or build up of plaque in our arteries eventually effect the master pump, the heart, ruled by Leo. The precision, analysis and meticulousness of Virgo works hand in hand with the imaginative input from the Piscean subconscious mind – for example a good poem, which conjures up images and inspires us with hidden meaning would not exist without thoughtful use of words, and a beautiful photograph or video depends partly on the use of a fast camera lens and accurate focusing mechanism – all accurate technical abilities of Virgo. Both sides of these polarities are necessary for an understanding of the complete cycle of life.
born July 18, 1918, Umtata, South Africa
In Nelson Mandela’s reversed horoscope, his Cancer Sun becomes more polarized towards the Capricorn polarity of the Mirror Zodiac’s dual sign of Cancercorn. Capricorn seems more fitting for a man who was so interested in politics and who was to ultimately change the oppressive regime of apartheid in South Africa. The sign Capricorn rules the skin, and the purely outer appearance of the physical level of experience. Mandela freed people’s minds from the bondage that we sometimes put ourselves and others into when we judge by outer appearances.
In Mandela’s Southern-weighted Zodiac horoscope, which would have quite a lot of weight because his birth place is at 31 degrees south of the equator, Saturn and Neptune are in Aquarius, sign of social justice. Saturn can indicate patience and endurance, and Mandela had to wait a long time for his ideal (Neptune) of social equality, a fact reinforced, if this rectified birth time is correct, by the astrological symbolism of these planets being square to his Moon (emotions) in the 12th house of confinement. Planet of revolution, Uranus, is by Northern standards in Aquarius in Mandela’s chart, but in his Southern Hemisphere chart it is weighted towards Leo. Mandela shines, and will roar through the history books for being a revolutionary. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 and became the nation’s first black president on May 2, 1994.
Mandela’s natal Mars-Pluto square is a good example of how in astrology, the aspects between two planets are much more important than the signs they straddle. This strong aspect, doesn’t seem to change it’s symbolic import when the signs are reversed for the Dual Zodiac, but only illustrates another principle of modern psychological astrology which is that aspects can point either way; in this case, Mars-Pluto may show a tendency for violence, whether directed outwardly to others or received from outside. In his younger activist days, Mandela did propose a violent resistance to the then white oppressive government’s treatment of blacks in South Africa, and was sentenced to his long jail sentence for it. It was in prison that he completely turned this aspect’s symbolism around, learning to forgive even the people who had imprisoned him.
Traveling Between Hemispheres – What Would Happen To Our Birth Charts In The Mirror Zodiac If We Move North Or South?
A question which is sometimes asked about the Bipolar/Dual Zodiac is what happens if people born in the Southern Hemisphere travel to the Northern Hemisphere? Do they suddenly become weighted towards their opposite Sun sign, with all the other planets swapping signs too? The answer is no, because a person’s horoscope depends on the time and location of where they were born. However, if a person moves East or West, their horoscopes will become subject to the law of astrolocality, so that the horoscope will change ascendant and house cusps depending upon the number of degrees a person moves East or West of their birthplace.
In order to make Southern Hemisphere horoscopes reflective of the seasons, which Ptolemy intended, we need to reverse the Tropical Zodiac horoscope for those regions. A logical way to do this is by having a Six-Sign, Dual, or Mirror Zodiac as suggested above. This adaptive Zodiac would also be in harmony with modern scientific evidence that shows that personality is dependent on season of birth.
We can see the apparent path of the Sun as it appears to move Northwards at what the Northern Hemisphere calls the Spring Equinox, reaches the Tropic of Cancer, appears to stand still at the summer solstice – the word literally meaning sun-still, and then appears to move Southward to cross the Equator again at what the Northern Hemisphere calls the Autumn Equinox. On December 22nd the Sun appears to have reached the Tropic Of Capricorn, at what the Northern Hemisphere calls the Winter Solstice, turn around and head North again. Of course we know that it is not the Sun that moves, it is the earth, but this sine-wave motion is our perception of the seeming motion of the Sun from earth. We can see that on December 22, for example at the station that the Northern Hemisphere countries call the Winter Solstice, it is actually summer in the Southern Hemisphere, so that the names of the signs of the Zodiac do not fit the seasons as well as they do in the Northern Hemisphere.