the state of the zodiac
woke up at noon to an email from my son joel asking, “so am i a virgo now? seems to be all over the news — but no mention of it on any astrology sites :-)” followed by an email from my brother louie: “am i now a virgo! did you know about this?” both with links to last night’s breaking news: astronomer park kunkle reveals that because of earth’s wobble our zodiac signs as we know them may no longer be our signs. according to his calculations, i would be a leo, but i know i’m not ;))
the good news is, libra pa rin sila, virgo pa rin ako. and to all katrina’s friends who have been asking, stressing out, having identity crises, including two whose birthcharts i recently read, relax, nothing has changed, this is nothing new. it’s an old issue that astronomers have long been throwing at astrologers to debunk derogate diminish the celestial grounds of astrology. and really, it’s not that astrologers don’t care to know the earth, stars, and constellations as astronomers do, it’s just that we have a whole different way of viewing the whole. read astrologers kevin burk and dane rhudyar, if you have the time and the inclination. it’s all there. (i love the web!)
i will admit that the first time i learned about the precession of the equinoxes, nagdalawang-isip ako for a while and cut down on readings (this was back in the 80s) while getting my bearings. so far my experience had shown astrology to be compatible with the psychology, traditional and new age, that i had i learned in and after diliman, but suddenly i wasn’t sure…
it was around this time that direk ishmael bernal gave me his birth time and asked for a reading. couldn’t say no to ishma, so best efforts na lang. to my dismay he mostly took my reading with a blank stare. but a month or so later he phoned, apologizing, he had given me the wrong birth time. this time he was sure, galing mismo sa kanyang birth certificate that he had to get from his mother. vastly different a birthchart it was, and so was his reaction. i got a lot of vigorous nods, a sparkle in the eyes, and in the end, say niya, yes, ako yan mismo. it was validation enough.
the precession problem i came to terms with via the basic principle of astrology, the moment of birth (whether of a person, or an idea, or a project) as the crux of the matter. i found i could live with the original zodiacal elliptic and its properties codified by the greeks over 2000 years ago as reference point. just because it works.
but i’m not talking sun-sign astrology which is what daily horoscopes are about. there’s more to it than the sun-sign alone. there’s the moon, too, and at least eight planets, their signs and configuration (the angles / aspects they make with each other) at the moment of birth, to take into consideration. the sun is the most significant of them but always taken in the context of what the sign represents in the 12-step process of personal growth and development — from individual to collective concerns — that the zodiac wheel offers the seeker.
this is not to say that i don’t read daily horoscope columns. there are a couple that i follow because they keep accurate track of the moon, which moves very fast, just two days or so in a sign. they give me a sense of the day’s vibes without having to check out my ephemeris. also i send joel daily readings for his sun-sign, moon-sign, and ascendant-sign (based on birth time) whether he reads them or not. today i also sent him the reading for virgo, with a smiley, just in case. and this was his response:
I’ve always been aware that there was theoretical and proven science out there that just probably totally messes up the foundation of astrology. Earth spinning off its axis, moon drifting farther away by the decade, expanding universe, uh, Pluto’s planetary status (although that’s arguably more a matter of semantics)… but between its hit-and-miss record and generally vague advice, I’ve pretty much settled on viewing my daily horoscope as reminders of proper conduct, patience, managed expectation, tempered behavior, etc…
More than anything else, the daily horoscope you send is like motherly advice. Be good, be cautious, show enthusiasm, start something, be diligent, watch out for opportunities, etc. That they’re copied off a newspaper or a site doesn’t make much difference to me — this is part of your personal value system which I respect and, considered responsibly, hasn’t ever steered me wrong.
o di ba. sulit na sulit naman.
and finally, can’t help wondering why it’s taken astronomers all this time to go mainstream on this. or maybe it’s mainstream media that just never cared to pick up ’til now? maybe astrology’s getting too popular in these troubled and much-too-interesting times? incidentally, the church has always frowned on astrology but i hear the vatican has the best and biggest library of astrological materials dating from ancient times ’til the present, under wraps of course. so there.