Consider the following words of Max Heindel, the Rosicrucian mystic and occultist, from his book “Simplified Scientific Astrology” (available online at http://www.rosicrucian.com/ssa/ssaeng01.htm or in e-book form at http://www.rosicrucian.com/ebooks/MH_Books.exe):
“On either side of the ecliptic or Sun’s path are a number of fixed stars which form twelve groups or constellations, that are called ‘signs of the Zodiac,’ not because they resemble the animals they are supposed to represent, but because their influence has developed, or is still engaged in bringing out in us the main characteristics embodied in the animal symbol. The bombastic arrogance, the energy and courage which come from Aries could not be better symbolized than by the ram, neither could the quiet, but prodigious strength and the stubborn persistence which come from the divine Hierarchs who work with us from the constellation Taurus be more aptly described than by the symbolic ‘Bull.’ The characteristics of the other signs must be interpreted in similar terms, for the Zodiac is the womb of the Solar System; and sometime when we and the myriads of other beings who are now evolving in our solar system have learned all the lessons of this phase of existence, we also shall form a Zodiac and perform a similar service for others as the twelve Great Creative Hierarchies are now doing for us.”
These twelve constellations are called the ‘Natural’ Zodiac; they remain always in the same relative positions, at least their movement is so slight that centuries elapse without appreciable change in their position. Hence we may use a table of houses our whole life, but we must buy an ephemeris of the planets’ places every year.
Every year on the 21st of March the Sun leaves the Southern Hemisphere, crosses the celestial equator, and enters the Northern degrees of latitude where he remains during the summer. But owing to a vibratory motion of the poles of the earth, called ‘nutation’ by astronomers, the Sun crosses the celestial equator a little earlier (precedes) than it did the year before, and as day and night are of equal length at the point where the Sun crosses the celestial equator or equinoctial, this precedent crossing is called ‘the precession of the equinox.’
If there were no precession of the equinox the Sun would always enter the constellation Aries at the vernal equinox, but on account of this backward motion of one degree in about seventy-two years, the vernal equinox occurs in the first degree of Pisces about 2156 years later. After a similar period of time it recedes to the first degree of Aquarius, and so on through the circle of the twelve signs in about 25,868 years. At the time when the Sun was in Taurus, the sign of the ‘Bull,’ at the vernal equinox, the ancient Egyptians worshiped the sacred ‘Bull Apis’ and their priests wore the Uraeus or Serpent Symbol belonging to Scorpio, the serpent sign opposite Taurus, to indicate their possession of the esoteric wisdom. When the Sun went into Aries by precession it became idolatry for ‘the chosen people’ to worship the ‘Bull,’ or golden calf; they left ‘Egypt’ and pinned their faith to the ‘lamb’ or ‘ram’ which was then ‘slain’. But according to the esoteric symbol of Libra, the scales of justice, which is opposite Aries, he shall come again as judge. In A.D. 498 the Sun was in the first degree of Aries at the equinox, and in the 1418 years which have since elapsed it has receded nineteen degrees, forty-two minutes, so that in 1916 the Sun crosses the equator in ten degrees, eighteen minutes of Pisces, and in the year 2654 it will be on the cusp of Aquarius. During the 2000 years which have elapsed since the equinox came within orb of Pisces, the Fishes, the religious rites have required that the people anoint themselves with the Piscean water at the door of the church, the Service was performed by a priest whose headgear was made to resemble the head of a fish, and they were commanded to abstain from the eating of meat at certain times, and bade eat fish instead. They were also taught to worship an Immaculate Virgin because Virgo is the sign opposite Pisces; and this worship will continue, though in a decreasing degree until the new ideal embodied in the sign Aquarius and its opposite sign Leo has superseded orthodox Christianity as that has taken the place of the earlier religions.
Since the middle of last century the Aquarian influence, focused by the equinox, has made itself felt because the Sun’s orb is so large that it touches the cusp of Aquarius, and as a consequence we have had an unprecedented awakening of thought and a galaxy of inventions previously undreamed of as remotest possibilities. But as the years go on, the equinoctial Sun will illuminate our minds in such a manner as to justify our grandchildren in speaking of this as “the dark age”; and when, in the year 2654, the Sun’s actual entrance into Aquarius ushers in a new age, they will be justified in thinking of the Piscean age as we do of the time B.C.
We see then, that there is a Natural Zodiac composed of the stationary star clusters, Aries, Taurus, etc., and a shifting Zodiac, which starts at the equinoctial point, no matter where in the constellations that occurs; and the first thirty degrees from that point are called Aries, the next thirty degrees are called Taurus, and so on. This is the Intellectual Zodiac.
This may seem an arbitrary manner of division but it is a matter of observation that though the equinox actually occurs in Pisces ten degrees at the present time, the Spring activities ascribed to the Sun in Aries commence at once after the equinox. There is, however, a blending of Aries and Pisces which accounts for certain evolutionary changes. In this connection the student is referred to pages 26 and 27, which follow below:
Although we are many millions of miles nearer the Sun in winter, its rays transmit less heat than in summer when we are farthest from it, and it is therefore evident that distance has no effect on transmission of heat-rays, but as the Sun rises towards the zenith, be it summer or winter, the heat increases, the greatest heat being experienced in mid-summer when sun-rays are nearest the perpendicular; it is therefore evident that the angle of the ray is the sole determinator of its influence.
Astrology deals with planetary angles and their observed effect upon mankind; in order to determine these angles and tabulate observations, the fixed stars along the Sun’s path have been divided into groups or constellations, and the heavens, as viewed from the birthplace of a child have been divided into houses. Most beginners find it very confusing to differentiate between these signs and houses, but if it is kept in mind that the signs are divisions of the heavens relative to the vernal equinox, and houses are divisions of the heavens relative to the birthplace, there should be no difficulty. The signs influence certain parts of the body; houses govern conditions of life.
Like any other circle, the zodiac is divided into 360 degrees, each of the twelve signs is therefore 30 degrees. Their names and symbols are given in the affixed diagram. The parts of the body ruled by those signs are as follows:
ARIES – TAURUS – GEMINI – CANCER – LEO – VIRGO
LIBRA – SCORPIO – SAGITTARIUS – CAPRICORN – AQUARIUS – PISCES
These twelve constellations are the Natural zodiac and ever in the same relative positions, but on account of the motion of the pole of the earth the Sun crosses the equator at a slightly different point each spring at the Vernal Equinox, and this shifting point is considered in Astrology as being the first degree of Aries, the beginning of what is called the Intellectual zodiac, which thus changes from year to year at the rate of about 50.1 seconds per annum, 1 degree in 7 years, 1 sign in 2156 years, completing the circle of 12 signs in about 25,868 years. This backward movement is called “precession of the equinox.”
From the materialistic viewpoint there seems to be no reason for this shifting of the zodiac, but from the position of the mystic it is not at all arbitrary, but necessary and in harmony with the spiral path of evolution adhered to in both star and starfish, observable everywhere in nature. After completion of each cycle, the intellectual and the natural zodiacs agree (the last time A. D. 498), then a new world period commences, a new phase of evolution, a higher loop of the spiral whereon we are ever traveling towards God. Even from the material standpoint it is evident that the spiral path of the solar system observed by astronomers must change the angle of incidence of the light rays from the fixed stars, and as the angle of incidence of the Sun’s rays upon our earth has the effect of producing the climatic changes of summer and winter, it is reasonable that a similar change must follow from our altered position relative to the fixed stars, which may account for gradual changes of conditions such as that the winters grow less cold and the summers less warm in certain parts of the world.
Furthermore, it has been observed that climatic conditions have a distant effect on our temperament–we feel differently in summer than we do in winter–and may not this slow change relative to the fixed stars account for the change in humanity, which is called evolution? The mystic affirms that it does. As rays of the Sun, by change of the angle of incidence, call forth leaves and flowers from the plant at one time, and at another cause them to wither, so do rays from the fixed stars call forth and produce greater changes in flora and fauna; they are responsible for the rise and fall of nations and the temperamental change which we call civilization.
Bringing the analogy a step further, the natural zodiac is composed of the constellations as they are and remain in the heavens, and the Intellectual zodiac commences at the changing point where the Sun crosses the equator at the vernal equinox. That is the time when Nature brings to birth that which has germinated in her womb during the preceding winter. Thus the horoscope of the world changes from year to year. “As above, so below,” is the law of analogy and the same salient points are observable in the evolution of man and microbe, star and starfish.
In the human map we have also what may be called a natural horoscope, that is the figure as cast by the rules of Astrology, where any sign may be on the Ascendant, or First House. The changing vernal equinox corresponds to the first degree of Aries, in the intellectual zodiac, so the Ascendant in any human horoscope also has an influence corresponding to that degree. The Second House corresponds to Taurus, the Third to Gemini, and so on, forming the counterpart of the intellectual zodiac in the human horoscope.
As the rays of the Sun are intensified when focused through a lens, so is the spiritual life of the Sun when focused through the two houses of Mars to bring a life from the unseen world.
Cancer, the first of the watery signs was pictured among the ancient Egyptians as a scarab (beetle), which was their emblem of the soul, and occultists know that the seed-atom of the body is planted when the Sun of Life, (the Ego,) is in Cancer, the sphere of the Moon, the planet of fecundation.
Four months later, when the Sun of Life passes through the second of the watery signs, Scorpio, which is under the rulership of Mars, the planet of passion and emotion, the Silver Cord is tied which binds the desire body to the lower vehicles, and we have the ‘quickening’ when the fetus first beings to show sentient life. By that time the Ego has dissolved the nucleated blood corpuscles through which the mother’s life manifested in the growing organism, and it can then begin to work in the vital fluid and manifest signs of separate life in the body until the Sun of Life has completed its circle and again reaches the mystic Eighth House.
Eight months after the seed atom was sown the Sun of Life, the Spirit, enters Pisces, the last of the watery signs in the mystic zodiac, which is under the expansive, benefic ray of Jupiter. Under this benevolent influence the waters of parturition swell and burst the restraining walls of the womb, when the nine months of gestation have been completed, launching the new-born soul upon the Ocean of Life at the first point of Aries, where it is warmed and cheered by the combined rays of Mars and the Sun, which are sign and exaltation rulers. Thus it is prepared for the battle of existence by the energetic war-god, and its fountain of life, be it large or small, is filled to capacity by the Sun, from the great cosmic reservoir of vital energy.”
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Now ask yourself, “Do you think that that astronomer who wrote the recent article on how horoscope charts are all wrong now and that there should be a 13th sign, blah, blah, has any knowledge of the above?” And if he did know the above, do you think he would still have the same opinion (if he took the necessary time and energy to truly study and understand the principles of spiritual astrology)?
Do YOU want to know the principles of spiritual astrology?
Then visit http://www.rosicrucian.com/astr_crs.htm and get started.
Max Heindel’s book “Message of the Stars” (http://www.rosicrucian.com/mos/moseng01.htm) also contains a lot of information it would be well for you to consider.