Astrosophy — The Platonic Year as the Relationship Between the Sidereal and Tropical Zodiac

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Different astrological traditions have different approaches to Astrology. Among the differences that we can find between them, the main one definitely concerns which is the “right Zodiac” to use. Some of them use the Tropical Zodiac, others the Sidereal.

In general, the dispute tends to polarize the question. The underlying premise is that if one Zodiac “works” the other must be wrong. This one-sided approach usually leads to rejecting one Zodiac in favor of the other. Or to pass from one system to the other as if it were a sort of religious conversion.

In this article we are going to take into account the communications coming from Anthroposophy—the Spiritual Science founded by Rudolf Steiner—in order to find a middle ground. Instead of rejecting one Zodiac or the other, we are going to be looking at a bigger picture in order to understand not only their differences but also where they stand.

In this sense, please note that I’m not taking a side in favor of one system. On the contrary, I invite you to take this post as a humble contribution for deepening the understanding of our cosmos, which in my opinion seems to have enough room for both the Zodiacs.

A starry night reflecting on a mountain lake

Let’s start by noting a very simple fact. We can have a direct experience of both the Zodiacs. On one hand, we can look at the stars at night. They are out there to contemplate, forming the constellations of the Sidereal Zodiac. On the other, we can observe the changes through the seasons as a direct expression of the Tropical Zodiac.

Now, a lot of issues usually come up at this point. Who established the division from one constellation to the other? How can we deal with the reversal of the seasons between the two hemispheres? These are all important questions. But for the sake of the longevity of this article we are not going to tackle them.

Instead, we are just going to observe the two systems in their simplest form to better understand them.

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Anthroposophy and Astrology — PART 2

Reading Time : 9 minutes

In PART 1 of this series of posts about Anthroposophy and Astrology, we have discussed about the Horoscope from an anthroposophical perspective. We have also talked about Steiner’s point of view on Astrology. We have pointed out the differences between spiritual science and symbolic interpretation, and explained why their approach is fundamentally different.

In this article we are going to tackle one of the main issues for astrologers interested in Anthroposophy. What is the “right zodiac” to use in astrological charts? This is an old debate in the astrological community. But what has Anthroposophy to say about it? Let’s jump right into it.

Tropical, Sidereal or Astronomical Zodiac?

Signs and constellations are not the same thing. Explaining the differences between Tropical and Sidereal Zodiac is not the purpose of this post, so if you are new to the topic you can deepen it further here. Long story short, we can say that zodiacal signs are not strictly speaking a group of stars (constellation) but a uniform division of the ecliptic into twelve segments. They depend on seasons, not on the actual position of the stars.

This is a very well known topic for astrologers. Tropical Zodiac is the zodiac that refers to signs, whereas Sidereal Zodiac—sidus meaning star—to constellations. Every year the two zodiacs slowly separate, to the point that right now they are one sign distant from each other (see the picture below).

Both zodiacs are used by ancient and respectable traditions. It would be inconclusive trying to demonstrate which is the “right zodiac”, simply because they are the result of different types of investigations. But what does Anthroposophy say about it? What’s the zodiac used by Rudolf Steiner?

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