Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Scorpio and the Precession of the Equinox

Sun sign astrology labels me a Scorpio, which is cool. However, right now, the sun is in Virgo. 

Ephemeris for 22 October 2018
for Austin, Texas 200 meters ASL
(US Naval Observatory)
Even astronomers mark the ecliptic and note the peripoint of Aries, which was the first day of Spring about 2000 years ago when all of this was laid down in the Roman West.  (The sun was already moving into Pisces, giving rise to other myths.) Now, it is the peripoint of Aquarius. It takes about 22,500 years for the stars to come full circle, as seen from the Earth. (Relativity, known even to the Greeks, lets us talk about it that way, from our arbitrarily chosen but very convenient inertial frame of reference.). It is intriguing to suggest that the Sphinx of Egypt is really very much older than our academics tell us; and it was built when the first day of spring was in Leo. 

Claws extend into Libra
(Texas hill country scorpion flikr John Morton)

 Modern astrologers never face the problem of Libra. Before the Romans, what we call Libra was really the claws of the Scorpion. But the Romans liked 12: 12 gods of Olympus, 12 ounces the pound, 12 inches to the foot, 12 sestertii to the denarius.  (Yes, denarius means “tenth.” They had to adjust their monetary system to pay for winning all those wars.) So, they made 12 months out of the Lunar year of 13 and gave each one a Zodiac sign.  (“…. 13.37 sidereal months, but about 12.37 synodic months, occur in a Gregorian year.” saith Wikipedia.)

Gold stater of Croesus (Kroisos) of Lydia c. 550 BCE
(Harlan Berk Gemini III Auction)
Lion confronts Bull.
The symbology is variously debated
but the symbols are obvious.
Originally, the ancients of Sumer recognized three constellations along the path of the sun and the moon—the three that actually look like what they are: the Lion, the Scorpion, and the Bull. (They also knew the Giant, Orion. O-names for heroes and gods are surprisingly common across many ancient cultures. But that is another story…)

Previously on Necessary Facts

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