What's Your Sign?

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MichaelBartmess.What's Your Sign?

Astrology1 has been around since ancient times and was created by a people who had no idea what a star or a planet really was.  In fact at that time they anthropomorphically ascribed literal human characters to constellations and planets.  Despite the basis in antiquity and in mysticism, astrology has persisted into the present day and this equation allows you to ascertain the most central data element of astrology, your Zodiac sign (that have been named for key star constellations) associated with your birth date .

So, for instance, if you are born between March 21st and April 20th, this equation will tell you that you are associated with the first sign of he Zodiac, Aries.


The Zodiac

"In both astrology and [ancient] historical astronomy, the zodiac (Greek: ζῳδιακός, zōidiakos) is a circle of twelve 30° divisions of celestial longitude that are centered upon the ecliptic, the apparent path of the Sun across the celestial sphere over the course of the year. The paths of the Moon and visible planets also remain close to the ecliptic, within the belt of the zodiac, which extends 8-9° north or south of the ecliptic, as measured in celestial latitude. Because the divisions are regular, they do not correspond exactly to the twelve constellations after which they are named.
Kircher's Zodiac  

Flickr / zeevveez  
CC BY 2.0

Historically, these twelve divisions are called signs. Essentially, the zodiac is a celestial coordinate system, or more specifically an ecliptic coordinate system, which takes the ecliptic as the origin of latitude, and the position of the Sun at vernal equinox as the origin of longitude."2 

Zodiac signs are defined by their associated star constellations and each zodiac sign represents a creature.

The 12 zodiac signs can be divided into groups defining personality characteristics of the individual who lives under that sign.  These groups are characterized by human traits or characterization attributes:

  • masculine versus feminine
  • positive versus negative
  • active versus passive
  • and several other token characteristics such referred to as cardinal, fixed and mutable signs

Realistic Interpretation

The Origin of the Zodiac

Obviously the creators of the Zodiac were looking for ways to connect themselves to the cosmos, to find commonalities between people and to find guiding principles upon which to divine the life choices which were so much more important in an earlier age.  Stars in the night sky were something seen commonly and compellingly.  Stars and planets were then associated with mystical powers and gods and other divinities. 

Today, it is a rarity for people not living in remote areas of the US to even know what the Milky Way looks like or to have a clear view of any of the constellations except the ones with the brightest of stars.  We do not see, as a whole, anything like the same sky that was seen in ancient times.

People of the ancient world were looking for explanations for many things for which we commonly know very precise scientific explanations today.  The grade school student knows stellar trivia that the scholars of ancient Rome did not.  Life exists today immersed in a physical reality where many more elements of what we experience day-to-day have concrete explanation and interpretation.  This was not so when the Romans took Babylonian astronomy into their considerations to form a means to explain how life's complex path is decided.

Stars And the Night Sky in our Modern Life

Growing up in the Midwest, I did not have a clue what the sky looked like.  There is literally no place in the whole of the Midwest or central East Coast of the US today where you can really see stars.  I mean stars against a background so deep that the inky blackness appears itself to be translucent, where the density of the Milky way is a tangible swath across the center of the night sky, where planets can be seen with the naked eye to actually be spheres, small marbles that look as if you could pluck them from the heavens.

That IS NOT the common experience today.  Most people reading this think they have seen the starry sky but have not.

That is the sky that compelled the earliest astrologers and astronomers to imagine a physical connection to those heavenly bodies they saw oh-so-much-clearer than we do today.

The Zodiac was created at a time when fairly little was known about the stars, galaxies and planets.  Even as the use of the Zodiac matured into a pseudo-science of its time, astronomy had not yet learned enough to know the distances and the physics that characterize our galaxy and our solar system.

And yet the Zodiac has persisted.


A Traceable Explanation

I believe that most interpretations of the universe that persist do so because there is a regularity and a perceptible connection to known reality.  Even something as mystical in its basis as Astrology contains kernels of this physical reality.  Unfortunately for those adamant astrology practitioners, it has nothing, not the slightest thing, to do with the physical influence of the stars and the planets on human beings. We know for quite calculable fact that the gravitational, electromagnetic, light intensity and any other known "affecting" physical phenomena is so infinitesimally minute in its affect on us that this cannot have anything whatsoever to do with people, their life choices, their personalities and their interactions with other human beings.

But, before the astrology buffs in the crowd get their hackles up, if you consider all we know about physiology, early human development, and the amazing intricacies of the human brain, there is a reasonable possibility that the seasons which tie directly to the Zodiac signs could have tangible affects on our lives.

Here is my postulation of a possible interpretation of the sometimes close correlations of personalities and personal love-interactions translated from individual's Zodiac signs.

Early Developmental Influences

We have an ever growing body of scientific knowledge that shows that environment has a tangible affect on early human development. Even during pregnancy there is a lot of developmental growth being affected by the activity level and surrounding environment the fetus experiences in the womb.  We know that an infant is affected in many ways by the interactions with its parents and the world around his/her expanding intelligence. Involved parents spend significant effort surrounding a newborn with color and light and tactile sensation and conversation and music and imagery of increasing complexity. And the scientific literature is chock full of studies exemplifying the positive and negative affects that can be conveyed to an individual at even this early a period in their development.

So, it is not a stretch to think that there are commonalities imposed on newborns by their environment and that that environment has certain characteristics which have seasonal traits.

Take an infant born under the sign of an Aries.  It is Springtime in North America and there is a vital change in the activity level of parents.  They are already excited to get out and show-off their new baby and the Springtime brings an exhilaration with it that cause them to be much more likely to take their infant out in public, to expose the infant to the smells of flowering Spring and to sunlight, to take the stroller on a turn around the park, to more likely encounter a lot of enthusiastic faces of people they encounter who themselves are already in a great mood for being out and about on a beautiful Spring Day.

Isn't it more likely that Aries infant is exposed to a larger number of faces and to a distinctly different atmosphere altogether throughout some formative months than, let's say an Aquarius baby who's wrapped tightly against Winters harsher cold period.  Isn't it likely that parents are more cautious in taking the Aquarius baby out into the cold and thus on average the Aquarius baby begins his experience of the world in a seasonally characteristic atmosphere?

And since birthdays in western civilization are a distinctly important time for young children to interact and absorb confidence and nurturing, each year that same Aries child has a birthday in a Spring-like atmosphere, where it is much more likely many other children's parents are happy to bring their child out into the sunshine at a back yard party where flowers are blooming in the neighborhood and the sun is making the day a special event.  Those kinds of experiences, spread across the population, could very well have a significant affect on the maturation process of a child's personality, affecting all that happens later in their lives.

And obviously I am painting my examples based on very homogeneous expectations of what life holds for a typical child in western civilization.  Note that the Zodiac applies to a sky and constellations that would not be the same in the southern hemisphere. But there are many parallels you could probably find were you to perform a detailed study of the interconnections of ascribed personality traits to seasonal-based environmental influence on earliest infant and adolescent development.

And the moon supports this as the counter argument.  The moon is close enough and massive enough and reflective enough to have a known physical affect on moods and tangible attributes of our environment.  The stars at many millions or billions of times the distance to the moon are just too far away to actually have an effect, any effect.  The Zodiac however was set-up (as the base description in the section titled The Zodiac above states) as a system that was based on 30 degree increments of the celestial sky.  This was really an unknowing attempt on the Zodiac's creators to link seasonal change to human personality and thus supports fairly conclusively the theory that the traceability of affects of a Zodiac sign on a persons life choices stemming from personality traits is MUCH MUCH more likely to be a seasonal characteristic than anything historically attributed to the stars themselves.

A Fundamental Agreement

And so, in essence I believe I am in agreement in a sense with those people who put great stock in the predictions made based on Astrology signs of the Zodiac.  I think there is a basis in reality for the uncanny coincidences that come from the somewhat nebulous predictions made about people's personalities, their affinities for personalities under other signs than their own, on the implications of life choices taken in personality-based context. 

The nearest star has no affect on you or I.  The balance sheet of all the possible affects it could have (leaving out mysticism) combines to something so imperceptible as to not be conceivably useful to even consider.  Science doesn't rule out an affect of the seasons but it does rule out the affect of the stars.

See also