The Zodiacal Earth-Field - 3
But which zodiac? That of constellations, or that of zodiacal signs?
To project the twelve sections of the zodiac upon the earth's surface can only be done significantly if one can find valid reasons to make any particular 30-degree section of celestial (or orbital) space correspond to a particular 30-degree zone of terrestrial longitude. In other words where do we start? Where, for instance, does Aries 0º fall in terms of terrestrial longitude?
Here we have at the geographical level the same problem we had at the historical level; i. e. on what year does a nearly 26,000 year long cycle of precession of the equinoxes begin? In a very real sense, it is an insoluble problem. There have been dozens of dates given, both in India (where indeed there is not only one school of astrology) and in the modern Western world; likewise there have been, this century, at least three attempts to relate zodiacal longitudes to geographical longitudes, and here I am presenting a fourth one based on somewhat different premises and facts of observations at the geographical level. The Ptolemaic theory of astrological rulership of countries constitutes also an archaic attempt to relate zodiacal signs and earth-regions.
In an article printed in American Astrology (May 1945) a well-known astrologer and teacher, Ellen McCaffery wrote: "Ptolemy divided the whole world into four quarters. He took the 37th degree East Longitude as the meridian which in his time roughly separated Europe from Asia. This line runs through Aleppo which is 37 degrees East longitude, and almost through Moscow, which is 37 1/2 degrees East. He then took the latitude of 36 degrees north, from Gibralter, through the Mediterranean Sea along to Aleppo, which is 36 degrees 10 minutes north latitude. From these two lines he made a cross into which he divided the known world of his day into four parts, giving the three fire signs, Aries, Leo and Sagittarius, to the northwestern segment, the three air signs to the northeastern segment, the three water signs to the southwestern segment, and the three earth signs to the southeastern segment. Thus Europe was generally under the fire signs, northern Asia under the air signs, Africa under the water signs and southern Asia under the earth signs."
Mrs. McCaffery comments further that since Ptolemy's time vast changes in population and the confused development of modern nations have made it quite impossible to determine on that Ptolemaic basis any really valid correspondence between nations and zodiacal signs. But she seems to have accepted the system which the noted English astrologer, Sepharial, made popular, and which many astrologers are today taking for granted without really questioning its theoretical relevance.
In his Theory of Geodetic Equivalents Sepharial assumed to be correct what of course is the most simple, most obvious and most likely to become a popular solution to the problem. We count geographical longitude from Greenwich; therefore why not say that this 0-degrees of geographical longitude also refers to 0-degrees of celestial longitude — to Aries 0º. Then the earth-zone between 0-degrees and 30-degrees geographical longitude east would correspond to the whole sign of Aries — the zone from geographical longitude 30-degrees to 60-degrees to the sign Taurus, etc. The zone extending from 0º longitude to 30º longitude west corresponds to Pisces; from 30º to 60º to Aquarius; from 60º to 90º, to Capricorn (this includes all the eastern states of the U.S.A.); from 90º to 120º, to Sagittarius (most of western U.S.A., through San Francisco and all the coast north would come under Scorpio, and Alaska under Libra and Virgo).
I repeat that this is so simple a solution as to be easily acceptable without any thinking. But why should London be taken as the king-pin in the scheme? This may be a natural thing to do for an Englishman, as a deeply engrained sense of world-leadership has been built into the English mentality; but while we still retain the Greenwich meridian as a traditional starting point for geographical measurements, England's world-position today makes the selection less and less obvious. I can see actually no geographical reason for stating that the first longitude-zone of 30 degrees east of Greenwich corresponds to Aries any more than to any other sign; and without any such reason I find it hard personally to accept it, just as I cannot accept various dates given for the beginning of the "Piscean Age" without adequate historical reasons.
By permission of Leyla Rudhyar Hill
Copyright © 1969 by Dane Rudhyar
and Copyright © 2001 by Leyla Rudhyar Hill
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