Three main types of Western astrology
Tropical Astrology is the old astrological division of the sky. When the Zodiac was invented, the position of the constellations were written down. But since then, the whole Zodiac has shifted almost a whole sign due to the Precession, so whoever was once born a Virgo, is now probably born a Leo – with the personality changes that come with it. Tropical Astrology ignores this, and keeps using the old tables – which have nothing to do with where the planets actually are in the sky. Sidereal Astrology acknowledges the problem with the shifting signs, but digs itself deeper into the ludicrous: The more sidereal astrologers try to follow the real division of the sky, the more they are distancing themselves from the old wisdom. Sidereal astrologers cannot claim to build on ancient knowledge, but have to change the signs and characteristics over time. They are in turn making the whole concept of Astrology invalid. The real astronomical signs are a few days off from the Sidereal system by now – so not even Sidereal Astrology is using the correct star signs. Sidereal astrology uses the actual constellation in which the sun is located at the moment of birth as its basis; tropical astrology uses a 30-degree sector of the zodiac as its basis. Tropical astrology is the most popular form and it assigns its readings based on the time of the year, while generally ignoring the positions of the sun and constellations relative to each other. Sidereal astrology is used by a minority of astrologers and bases its readings on the constellations near the sun at the time of birth.
According to some astrologers, the data support the hypothesis that there is a connection between heavenly bodies and human events. There are correlations too synchronous to be mere chance between astrological signs and such things as personality, emotions and human destiny.
The Sidereal or Eastern system of astrology is based on the position of the belt of fixed stars and constellations in the heavens, whereas the Tropical zodiac or the Western astrological system is based upon the position of the Sun in relation to the Earth. Sidereal astrology is the system of astrology used by some western astrologers which bases their interpretation around the use of the sidereal zodiac. It was introduced to the West by the Irish astrologer Cyril Fagan in 1944 and is practiced by a minority of Western astrologers. Sidereal astrology ties its signs of the zodiac to the actual constellations and is more complex, yet more mathematically oriented than Western astrology. Originally, the first degree of the zodiac was common to both systems. Due to the peculiarities in the Earth\’s orbit, however, the belt of stars and constellations appears to shift in relation to the Tropical zodiac. As a result, the two zodiacs are drifting apart. This is called the procession of the equinoxes, and today the difference between the two systems is calculated at about 23 degrees. Thus, if a person is born on January 1, he will have the Sun in Capricorn according to the Western system, but according to the Sidereal system the Sun will be at approximately 16 degrees Sagittarius. By practical experience the use of the Sidereal method is preferable. It is mathematically more correct, and it also penetrates into the subtle elements of nature, such as mind, intellect, and spirit to present a more complete picture of our soul\’s sojourn in the realm of time and space. The Sidereal astrological system notes the strengths and weaknesses that a person will experience in life, and also recommends remedial measures for improving our future. The karma or destiny which we are born with has been destined by activities in previous births. The spiritual astrology of India suggests that karma is not eternal and can be changed.
Hellenstic astrology is also referred to as Greek astrology. It actually originated in Egypt at some point after the conquest by Alexander the Great and the beginning of the Christian era. Hellenistic astrology also comprises Byzantine and Roman astrology. It’s therefore more a reference to the general geographic area and an era in history, rather than to one particular society or culture.
While Hellenistic astrology can’t be linked to any one individual or culture, it is the root of all modern, or Western astrology. There are numerous documents written in Greek, although some are written in Latin, that are devoted to natal astrology. This is the branch of astrology that concerns the individual. Part of the reason that it’s difficult to source these documents to any one individual or culture is that they span a period of time of about 800 years.
But that doesn’t mean that important Greek philosophers and scientists haven’t been part of the development of astrology. Hippocrates used astrological interpretations as part of his medical diagnostic system. Pythagoras studied in Egypt, and while nothing in writing exists of Pythagoras’ theories, he is attributed with stating that the Earth, Planets and fixed stars revolved around the sun, thousands of years before Galileo! Later though, his theory was refuted by Aristotle who declared that the Earth was the center of the world.
Following Alexander’s conquest of Mesopotamia, Greek astrology began to take on a more personal approach. The Zodiac and planets being made to correspond to figures from their mythology; the Stoic philosophers are especially receptive to astrology. Greek astrology influences the metaphysical astrology of India. In approximately 70 BCE, the Greeks devised the first personal horoscope based on time of birth and in 30 BCE, the Emperor Augustus had his horoscope charted and interpreted by Thrasyllus.