The Four Seasons

Basics of Integral Cosmology

Healing the Schism between "Western" & "Vedic" Astrology


There is a classic unresolved schism between Western and Vedic Astrology. This schism is based on a failure of understanding the phenomenon of the TROPICAL and the SIDEREAL Zodiac in their proper place, and demonstrates a Dis-INTEGRATED vision of both so-called "Western" and "Vedic" Astrologers. An Integral or True Vision of the Cosmic Realities of our existence demands that these Dis-Integrated Cosmologies be seen as only fragments of the Whole. An Integral or True Vision demands that the true roles of both the Tropical and Sidereal Zodiacs are taken into account, rather than claiming that one is false and the other as true. An Integral Cosmology demands that the true relationship of these phenomenon must be revealed.

Norelli-Bachelet's Integral View of the Two Zodiacs

Patrizia Norelli Bachelet refers to modern "Vedic" astrologers -- who use the Sidereal Zodiac (or the "fixed" constellations) to calculate Natal Charts and to track the Precession of the Equinoxes and Astrological Ages -- as "Post-Vedic" This choice of words reflects her understanding that the Tropical Zodiac used by "Western" Astrologers is found in the Rig Veda and that the Vedic Seers did not separate the 1st Sign of the Zodiac, Aries, from the Vernal Equinox or the beginning of Spring. According to the Post-Vedic Astrologers, zero degrees Aries, is now in February, and will, over time, be celebrated in the Fall and over more time, will be celebrated in the Summer. Norelli-Bachelet writes that while the Sidereal Zodiac is a reality that is important to understand in relation to the 25,920 year Precession of the Equinoxes, it is not meant to be used in tracking the Earth's yearly cycles or the yearly cycles of the Earth's inhabitants. According to her, entrance into the sign of Aries is always the Vernal Equinox (Spring), entrance into the sign of Cancer is always the Summer Solstice, and entrance into the sign of Libra is always the Autumnal Equinox, and entrance into Capricorn is always the Winter Solstice.

The "Post-Vedic" practice of determining Natal charts and other events based on constantly falling back (with the Ananamsha or Precession) is a product of a narrow Scientific view, holding on to the mechanics of the Precession, and to the externally "fixed" position of the stars. With this approach, respect for the Earth's journey around the Sun in four parts - is lost. Plants and animals do not follow the Sidereal Zodiac in their growth cycles. They naturally follow the Seasons, i.e. the Tropical Zodiac. Attempting to calculate charts and events and entry into each of the 12 signs based on Sidereal Zodiac, causes a confusion in the human mental realm that simply does not exist in the plant and animal realm. It is the effect of a loss of vision, the product of a loss of unity consciousness, and a loss of respect for the Earth, its movements and its material realities.


The Birth of the Precession Cycle at 0 Degrees Aries - 234 BCE

Norelli-Bachelet writes that the last time the Sidereal and Tropical Zodiacs met was 234 BC. According to her, it is this important intersection of the two Zodiacs -- when the Sun rose on the Vernal or Spring Equinox (0 degrees Aries of the Tropical Zodiac) directly towards 0 Aries of the Sidereal Zodiac -- that the Precessional comes to the end of one 25,920 year cycle and to the beginning of a new 25,920 year journey through the Zodiac. So, according to Norelli-Bachelet, the intersection of the two Zodiacs in 234 BCE effected the end of the Age of Aries (0 Aries), and the beginning of the Age of Pisces (29 Pisces). Each Age being 2160 years long, that puts the beginning of the Age of Aquarius at 1926 AD. The Beginning of the Precession or Age of Aquarius is not agreed upon amongst Western astrologists or amongst Vedic astrologers. The seemingly unsolvable disagreement is akin to having lost our place in time, as if losing one's place on a map.

Norelli-Bachelet's work can be seen as a solution to the unsolvable disagreement . . . as a rectification of the world calendar, or as a finding of the lost golden thread of Time. Not many "Vedic" astrologers or Western astrologers have much appreciation for the Life or Truth that she brings back to the art of Astrology. It is worth seriously considering that finding our True place in time and bridging the schism between the Western and "Vedic" approaches to Astrology is a condition and catalyst of a world-Integrating Yoga or Cosmology. The Ignorance around these issues breeds a vast disharmony and dis-integration. Knowledge or a clearer seeing of these things is movement towards Harmony and Integration of all parts of the Whole. - Lori Tompkins (28 January 2006)


The following excerpt and pictures from Glenn R. Smith's web page explains the Schism well. Please note that Smith tends to "favor" the Sidereal approach:

"There are two zodiacs in use today. One is the TROPICAL zodiac used by the western astrologers and the second is the SIDEREAL zodiac used by the Hindu astrologers. At one time both zodiacs were identical but over the centuries they have drifted apart. This drifting phenomenon is called the Precession of the Equinoxes and is caused by the two primary motions of the Earth. The first primary motion of the Earth is its orbit around the Sun. All planets circle around the Sun in the same direction keeping the Sun on the left. If we were to look down upon our solar system from millions of miles above the Sun's north pole, we would see all planets orbiting in a counterclockwise direction. Because all planets share this similarity without exception it can therefore be said that the first primary motion of the Earth is its orbit around the Sun. Further, all planets appear to travel within a narrow plane around the Sun. This plane of orbit is called the ECLIPTIC. Only distant Pluto deviates from this plane by an appreciative amount.

The secondary motion of the Earth is its rotation upon its axis. Because the Earth's rotational axis is tilted in respect to its orbit, a second plane is projected into space. This second plane is called the CELESTIAL EQUATOR. Since the CELESTIAL EQUATOR is unique to earth only and is not shared by other planets, the rotation of the Earth around its axis is considered a secondary motion. These two planes derived from the two primary motions are angular to one another and the difference of the angles creates the four seasons on Earth. The places where these two planes intersect are called the equinoxes.

When the Sun, as it appears to travel on the ECLIPTIC, crosses the CELESTIAL EQUATOR in a northward direction it is called the Vernal Equinox, the beginning of Spring. When the Sun reaches the northern most point from the CELESTIAL EQUATOR it is called the Summer Solstice, the beginning of Summer. From the Summer solstice the Sun appears to turn southward. The word tropic is from the Greek word tropos which means turning. When the Sun crosses the CELESTIAL EQUATOR in a southerly direction it is called the Autumnal Equinox, the beginning of Autumn. And when the Sun reaches the southern most point from the CELESTIAL EQUATOR it is called the Winter Solstice, the beginning of Winter. And then the Sun appears to turn northward again. The TROPICAL ZODIAC is derived from these apparent turning points of the Sun which are based solely upon the secondary motion of the Earth (Spinning on a tilted axis).



The SIDEREAL ZODIAC, on the other hand, is based solely upon the first primary motion of the Earth, that of its orbit around the Sun. The difference between the two zodiacs might appear at first to be like splitting hairs over trivial details were it not for one important thing -- stability. Over the course of thousands of years the stars will not appear any different in relation to the plane of the ECLIPTIC. But even after a few hundred years the stars will shift in relation to the plane of the CELESTIAL EQUATOR. Indeed, the names of the twelve signs of the zodiac are derived from star groupings that are no longer relevant to the CELESTIAL EQUATOR today. The Vernal Equinox which used to occur in the constellation of Aries now occurs in the constellation of Pisces. Yet the Tropical astrologers of today still talk of the commencement of the Vernal Equinox to be the beginning of the Sun's entrance into the sign of Aries." Precession of the Equinoxes or Ananamsha "The two equinoctial points of the TROPICAL ZODIAC slowly shift in a clockwise direction in relation to the stars thereby creating a distinction with the SIDEREAL ZODIAC. This clockwise shift is called the Precession of the Equinoxes [a 25,920 year cycle] and is due to the Earth third motion which resembles the revolving oscillation of a spinning top. This motion is so slow, however, that it does not project a third plane into space. But it does affect the plane of the CELESTIAL EQUATOR. If you have watched a spinning top you notice that its axis slowly revolves around the pole of gravity. In the same way, the axis of the Earth's rotation slowly revolves around the Pole of the ECLIPTIC.

It has been stated by western scholars that the first person to make notice of the Precession of the Equinoxes was a Greek named Hiparchus (200 BC?). But we have shown ... that the Hindus preceded him by a few thousand years. The Hindu term for precession is AYANAMSHA. Ayana is the Sanskrit word for falling back and amsha is the word for portion. Ayanamsha therefore refers to the portion of measurement between the Tropical and Sidereal zodiacs. One of the criticisms of the Tropical astrologers against the Siderealists is that the measured portion or value of the Ayanamsha appears to vary according to which authority is followed. The Tropical Zodiac is appealing because there is only one value derived from direct observation. Another criticism is that the constellations are placed at irregular intervals in the sky and not in neat thirty degree portions. If the zodiac is to be divided up into equal portions of thirty degrees, they argue, why not do away with the stars altogether and just follow the vernal equinox as the start of the zodiac?" - end of excerpts from Glen Smith




Other Authors Furthering the Schism/Ignorance:
Crichton E. M. Miller, author of the 2004 book, "The Golden Thread of Time" brings to light very interesting truth about the astronomical origins of the Celtic Cross being astronomical. Yet he writes that using the Tropical Zodiac in the art of Astrology is a mass delusion. With this assertion, he widens the schism between the polarities of "Western" and "Vedic" Astrological arts, furthers our deep Ignorance of Cosmological Realities, reinforces our retarded Vision of an Integral Reality, and reinforces the false schism between Science and Spirit, Heaven and Earth, Energy and Matter. (Reference: http://crichtonmiller.com)


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