The Zodiac

How wonderful it would be if we could look up at the sky and see the magical images of the signs of the zodiac passing overhead.

The vision of our ancestors, it seems, knew no bounds for, out of the geometric patterns of the stars, they created pictures that live with us today, and these pictures are the symbolic representation of the signs of the Zodiac.

Our solar system is not static, for it is in constant motion.  The planets are all moving at varying speed around our Sun, and the Sun itself, when viewed from the Earth, appears to move around the complete zodiac in a year, taking about one month to go through a sign.

The signs of the zodiac are merely the circle of 360 degrees, divided into 12 equal parts of 30 degrees each.  Thus the horoscope shows the position of the planets at any given time, surrounded by the wheel of the zodiac.

The wheel of the zodiac appears to enclose the planets, and each of the twelve 30 degree segments are named after a sign of the zodiac e.g. Aries, Taurus, Gemini etc.

The zodiac is so vast it is relatively static in relation to our solar system yet, when viewed from the earth, appears to be revolving around us.  This is not because it is turning, but because the earth is turning.

This second movement (the first being the earths’s movement around the sun) is caused by the rotation of the earth on its axis.  The earth is moving around the sun in one direction, and pivoting round on itself in another direction.

Sometimes it is easier to understand how it works if we align ourselves with what we can see.

Each morning the sun rises in the east, so we begin by imagining we are standing north of the equator at dawn on the first day of spring.

Those who have birthdays then, will understand that the sun is supposed to be in Aries on that date.  We are told that this is because the part of the zodiac known as Aries appears as a ‘backdrop’ behind the sun at that time.

At dawn the sun will rise in the east and, because it is in Aries, the portion of the zodiac wheel known as Aries, will also appear to be rising in the east with the sun.

At midday the sun will be directly overhead, but remains still in Aries.

At dusk Aries sets in the west with the sun.

At dawn the next day the same thing happens, but the sun will appear to have moved approximately 1 degree through the sign of Aries.  It takes approximately 30 days for the sun to slowly move through one sign and into the next, and so it is that the sun signs change each month of the year.

If we could stand one whole day, from dawn to dawn the following morning, and look up at the sky continuously, we would see the whole of the zodiac passing overhead, but it is important to remember that it is not the zodiac that is moving but the earth on its’ axis.