Shockwaves have been spreading through the astrological-minded community since a recent news report announced the "discovery" that the earth's wobble in space has changed the position of the zodiac, and the zodiac signs no longer apply to their corresponding birth dates.
This is not news to astrologers, who have known about the changing positions for centuries, and developed various methods in response. The most fundamental response has been to evolve two different zodiacs, one keyed to the seasons, in vogue through the western world, and the other keyed to the position of the constellations, in use in India.
The Seasonal Zodiac, a.k.a. the Tropical Zodiac or Zodiac of Signs, used in the west, emphasizes the earth's relationship to the signs through the seasons rather than the position of the stars. This method identifies zodiac signs with the seasonal cornerstones of the year: solstices and equinoxes.
The moment of winter solstice begins the sign of Capricorn. Summer solstice begins Cancer, while spring equinox marks Aries, and autumn equinox begins Libra. This is the popular zodiac that causes you to believe you're a Gemini or Taurus and me a Libra with Sagittarius Moon and Rising.
The sidereal zodiac, or Zodiac of Constellations, used in India, factors in the difference between ancient and current star positions, and can be useful for predictive purposes. Recently this form has become more popular in the U.S, gaining more adherents from the traditional western approach.
When taken beyond Sun Sign "cookbook columns" and used to artfully blend the house and sign positions of fifteen major astrological planets at birth, astrology becomes a precision instrument for delineating the nature of an individual, as well as indicating how they can fulfill their hidden potential.
Characteristic strengths and weakness can be identified by the soulful subtlety of the blend, which depends more on the skill of a given practitioner than on the system they use. Both methods have strengths and weaknesses, and both retain their ability to stun us when their revelations are on target. But any system is limited to the dexterity of its practitioner.
Modern astrology is a vast system of thought, which developed many branches through history. As it passed through different cultures it adapted local color and thought, weaving them into the whole. Thus the two main modern zodiacs can be seen as different lenses to view the relationship between human beings and cosmos.
If you take a photo of a blue mountain, for example, the picture looks blue because of the way light refracts off the mountain. If you photograph the same view with a red filter, the mountain appears purple, though nothing substantial has changed. Whether you call someone a tropical Libra or sidereal Virgo will alter the way you look at them but do nothing to change their basic nature.
For the majority of readers, who've come to identify yourselves with the tropical zodiac, you can rest easy-the normal signs still apply. You still get to be the Aries, Scorpio or Pisces you thought you were. For others, concerned about how earth's wobble may shift your sign in sidereal thought, contact a vedic astrologer, but remember-the depth and accuracy of astrology depends more upon the skill of the astrologer than which system they use.