The Day I Stopped Being A Virgo 6

Woodcut illustration of the zodiac sign Virgo used by Alexander and Samuel Weissenhorn of Ingolstadt

Photo credit: kladcat (Flickr)

Yesterday I realised that I could no longer be a Virgo.

I’ve been a Virgo all my life, but yesterday I saw something that changed my mind – and my assumptions – forever.

It all started with a comet, so let me tell you a story.

Comet ISON looks as if it might be a lovely spectacle by the end of the year. Comets are always fascinating but, as anyone who watches the sky knows, they can be very unpredictable things – they don’t always perform or create the spectacle we all might hope.

I got a newsflash yesterday about an increase in the visibility of the comet and I went out to see if I could see any sign of it.  Hmmm, nothing – at least not to the naked eye.

I thought I should post about it to the Astrogem Facebook group however and so I wondered I should tell them where to look in the early morning sky.  As I looked around for pointers and easily visible constellations from which they could ‘star-hop’ to find the right location, something hit me.


There he was, sailing high and proud (arrowed) in the constellation of Gemini. Here’s a Stellarium plot of what I could see:

The real position of Jupiter on the 15th November 2013 (for early risers)


OK, let me zoom in a bit for you:



But what do the astrological star-charts tell us about yesterday?

Jupiter is in Cancer, not Gemini!

Erm, excuse me – no it’s not!  I can see it with my own eyes and it’s in Gemini!

Now astronomers have long known about the precession of the equinoxes, the phenomenon by which the gravitational effects of the Sun and Moon change the Earth’s orbit a fraction of a degree each year.  What this means in practice is that an Earth year is fractions of a second different from a Sidereal (or Star) year.

The problem which astrologers have wrestled with is that these fractions build up over the years and there is now a significant difference between where astrologers say a planet is and where you actually find it in the sky!

Not only that, but the charts they use to draw up birth-charts also do not take account of the actual position of the planets, but rather the calculated points. This means that any birth-chart (including the so-called ‘horoscopes’ you find in newspapers and magazines) are not based on what is actually happening out there in the heavens.  You can find out more about it HERE.

This affects you, too. . .

You probably weren’t born under the sign of the zodiac you thought you were

I know.  It’s a bit of a shock, right?

It was to me, too.  I’d known about this for years, but it wasn’t until it hit me right between the eyes when I came to look at the reality of it – what was actually happening in the sky – that I realised that I could no longer accept the astrological star-charts of old.

I used the ‘advanced’ settings at (the instructions are HERE – you’ll need to create a free login to use it though) to recalculate my own astrological chart.  Lo, and behold, I am a Leo!

Today I’m going to be busy looking at the rest of my chart and seeing how it fits me compared with the one I am used to.  I have to say that I feel a little strange. I feel a little different – kind of ‘warm’ and strangely ‘resonant’ with the new chart.  I suppose it’s like changing your name by marriage or deed-poll.  But I feel more comfortable with the process of chart drawing now.

So what’s going to change?

Personally, I will have to get used to being a Leo instead of being a Virgo – that is a huge shift!  Other signs in my chart shift round and so the planetary meanings will have to be reconsidered too.  The most striking feature of my chart was that Saturn (a few second into my first house) was in Sagittarius.  Now it’s in Scorpio! Wow, that’s going to take a rethink!

I am also going to use the real position of the Sun in my Astrogem Geomancy readings from now on.

For you, you might want to consider finding out your real birth-chart based on what zodiac signs the planets were in if you had been able to go out and look.

Go on, I dare you!

I had also had a little plug-in at the side of this website telling you what signs the Sun, Moon and Planets were in.  In good faith I can now no longer display that so I’ve taken it down.

If you just want a quick idea of your ‘Sun sign’ here’s a chart from Wikipedia:

Constellation Sidereal Date
Cyril Fagan
Tropical date IAU Definition
Walter Berg[2]
Aries.svg Aries April 15–  May 15 March 21–  April 20 April 18–  May 13
Taurus.svg Taurus May 16–  June 15 April 21–  May 20 May 13–  June 21
Gemini.svg Gemini June 16–  July 15 May 21–  June 20 June 21–  July 20
Cancer.svg Cancer July 16–  August 15 June 21–  July 21 July 20–  August 10
Leo.svg Leo August 16–  September 15 July 22–  August 22 August 10–  September 16
Virgo.svg Virgo September 16–  October 15 August 23– September 22 September 16–  October 30
Libra.svg Libra October 16–  November 15 September 23– October 22 October 30–  November 23
Scorpio.svg Scorpio November 16–  December 15 October 23– November 21 November 23–  November 29
Ophiuchus zodiac.svg Ophiuchus N/A November 29– December 17
Sagittarius.svg Sagittarius December 16–  January 14 November 22–  December 21 December 17–  January 20
Capricorn.svg Capricorn January 15–  February 14 December 22– January 20 January 20–  February 16
Aquarius.svg Aquarius February 15–  March 14 January 21– February 19 February 16–  March 11
Pisces.svg Pisces March 15–  April 14 February 19–  March 20 March 11–  April 18

Now I know that some people will say that I shouldn’t buck the trend, that I should stay with accepted astrological lore.  But, hey, I’m a Leo, King of the Beasts, and I’m not going to start taking orders!  I also have a couple of questions for the traditionalists:

Killer question 1:  With the traditional (‘Tropical’) astrological approach the start of the year is defined as the first day of  spring – that is, according to the season on Earth.  So are we to take Astro-logical influences as being dictated by Earth’s movement or by the signs in the heavens?  (I think the clue is in the question. . .)

Killer question 2:  The zodiac we use today was created by Ptolemy.  Astrologers use tables based on what the heavens looked like in Ptolemy’s day.  Ptolemy’s day was about 2,100 years ago (and he did not know about the precession of the equinoxes and could not have taken it into account).  My question is this:  If Ptolemy was alive today and looked at the heavens, where do you think he would say Jupiter was – Cancer or Gemini?

Ah ha!

Right, that’s me off to have another look at my real birth-chart.  I can now regale people at parties (Oh, you do get out then! — Editor.) with my new humorous(?) saying:

“By Jove (Jupiter), I’m a Leo.

Zodiac for August - Astrogem Geomancy

Photo credit: Michael Runnx (Flickr)

I challenge you to find out your real birth-sign and see how it fits.

Let me know in the comments, I’d love to know what you think.

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6 thoughts on “The Day I Stopped Being A Virgo

  • Sam Block

    Ah, so you started using the constellational zodiac (based on the actual fixed stars themselves). In Western astrology, the zodiac signs are defined to be 12 divisions of 30 degrees starting from the point of the spring equinox; this is how Ptolemy defined it in the Tetrabiblos. Over time, yes, this will have the zodiac signs themselves drift from the stars that they’re based upon, but even the Vedic system of Indian astrology has the same problem. I wouldn’t say that, in answer to your first killer question, that Western astrology is dictated by the Earth’s movements, but rather the Sun’s movements in relation to the Earth (i.e. the seasons); though subtle, this is an important difference that distinguishes a traditional mindset from a modern one. This requires a change in worldview, but then, wouldn’t most spiritual endeavors require that?

    Add to it, Ophiuchus has never been a zodiac sign, even though it happens to cross the ecliptic. This was as well known in Ptolemy’s day as it is now, yet was never considered to be part of the zodiac. The whole system of Western astrology as we know it is built on there being 12 divisions of 30 degree signs; the constellational zodiac has 13 with varying signs. If you use the constellational zodiac, you’re going to have to pretty much start from the ground up in deriving associations, relationships, and rulerships, since having an extra sign is going to break the system entirely. The only advantage to the constellational zodiac is that it corresponds with the actual signs themselves, so it puts a “matter-first” point of view, asserting the primacy of the physical over the spiritual; this is a wholly modern notion, and one that conflicts with things such as magic, divination, geomancy, and astrology, which are all “spirit-first” systems. In the traditional view, spirit was perfect while matter was not, since matter changes over time (cf. the precession of the equinoxes). A traditional astrologer would say that the unequal, imperfect constellational zodiac would be characteristic of matter, while the tropical zodiac (or the sidereal Vedic zodiac) indicates the perfection of spirit.

    My view on the matter is this: if you can develop a coherent interpretation using a more-or-less standard method using Western astrology, Vedic astrology, or constellational astrology, have at. Both Western and Vedic methods have solid foundations of interpretation and spiritual guidance going back thousands of years; constellational astrology does not, and by its own nature isn’t compatible with the methods or means of Western or Vedic astrology. It may be my crotchety traditional Hermetic mindview coming into play, but I suggest keeping to the traditional Western zodiac and leaving the constellations themselves to the astronomers.

    For more information on the comparisons of the zodiac, I suggest you check out Christopher Warnock’s writings:

    • LesCross Post author

      Sam, thank you for such a full and thoughtful comment. I feel that any matter like this is ultimately going to be both a personal choice and a matter of interpretation. I think each reader should use the system with which they feel most comfortable, congruent, and with which we can spiritually resonate. Ultimately, it is about that which is actually useful, that is, which works for us.

      From what is known of the Earth and the solar system it is the Earth’s position which is changing to cause the precession. With regard to the seasons, that is a physical acting on physical matter and it is not considered an astrological phenomenon.

      I agree about the change in mindset. Astrogem Geomancy is a change in mindset. Astrogem uses, for example, the the trans-Saturnian planets – unknown in Ptolemy’s time. There are few astrologers who do not accept Uranus, Neptune and Pluto (and assorted other bodies) into their charts today whether Ptolemy knew about them or not. Most traditional geomancers prefer to stick to the old system of seven primary planets and to ignore 30% of the solar system (depending on your view of Pluto).

      As it happens, I find Ophiuchus a step too far too, certainly from a geomantic point of view. I don’t know how astrologers rationalise the point, I’ll have to press them for an answer. And I am not going to get my lovely casting cloth re-embroidered! Then there is the matter of Cetus, of course – how should that play? It, too, impinges on the ecliptic.

      There are two main reasons why I think they are a step too far for me: Firstly, because the boundaries between the constellations are not hard and fast historically. By that I mean there is no reason to suppose that Ophiuchus or Cetus really do impinge on the ecliptic – it depends on who is drawing the constellation boundaries and what they think a ‘Serpent Bearer’ and a ‘Whale’ look like in the sky (they are ‘asterisms’ anyway, that is apparent groupings without any real connection between the stars in the constellations).

      The second reason is that geomancy does not require degrees of exactitude such as the exact Altitude/Azimuth or Right Ascension/Declination as used in astrology and astronomy. I think this is important because it points to the fact that geomancy is not seeking to be so-say ‘scientific’, or rather, mathematically precise. It reminds us that geomancy is more interpretive, not requiring exact degree or orb such as astrologers use.

      My view is that it does not really matter if you want to say that, for example, Ophiuchus is or is not a member of the zodiac so long as – as a diviner – you get your head straight on the question before you start the casting.

      Thank you for your thoughts.

  • Mariam

    My thoughts after reading your thoughts:
    If the starsigns should be different then I wonder how it is possible that the interpretations of the astrologers still work?

    How different we can feel by our thoughts and imaginations. Being a Leo or being a virgo!
    What could we discover by imagining being another starsign each week 🙂 ?!

    How do I react if I know someones sign? It might make me more relaxed, or the other way around……

    • LesCross Post author

      Mariam, you make some interesting points – thanks for adding to the discussion.

      As to why astrologers interpretations are correct or not, I think it is based on several factors – firstly they are not always 100% correct (nor do they claim to be); it is a matter of interpretation for both reader and client; the full meaning of a chart could be modified by several other influences of various strength and so on.

      You pose an interesting spiritual question – ‘What would happen if we imagined ourselves being a different Sun-sign each week?’ – it might be interesting to find out! I wonder what qualities we might actualise and express that we wouldn’t do otherwise! How we might be being trapped in our assumptions of ourselves otherwise. It might be an interesting spiritual exercise to adopt a different sign each week just to see if our perspective and personal development was enhanced. Naturally, this depends on how much you believe your Fate is fixed forever by the stars.

      As to how you react to people. . . I don’t know. I am sure we all know of Virgos we like and of some Virgos that we don’t. Their Sun-sign should not determine how relaxed or tense you feel I would say.

      • Ames H.

        But would a Leo have invented Astrogem? It’s totally a Virgo pursuit in my estimation.

        I was never a Sagittarian by character – even as a child, I was very serious and overly mature (Double Capricorn). Having done charts for many, many years now, the tropical system has been reliable. I think the reality lines on the earthly plane – recent data shows a propensity for certain illnesses based on birth month. The constellations were merely a convenient organizing system rather than an influencer. (IMHO).

        • LesCross Post author

          That’s a great point about inventing Astrogem, Ames! 🙂

          I know you are an astrologer so I’ll send you the full chart and let you decide. With respect to the invention I think we might now be able to explain it with reference to Leo being a show-off wanting to present it to others, combined with the earthy influence of earthy Saturn in mystical-occult Scorpio on the Ascendant.

          Without taking anything back from what I’ve said, I agree that the Tropical system can work – probably as well as the Sidereal system – and for the same reasons. It just seems odd to me to say that a planet is NOT in a sign that it plainly IS in.

          The question remains, if Ptolemy was alive today what sign would he say Jupiter (or any other planet) was in?