Headscratchers: Western Zodiac

That the Western Zodiac is not really good with Elemental Themes
  • You have Aquarius, the Water Bearer, represented as two wavy lines, as an Air sign. Then there's Capricorn, a goat with the tail end of a fish, as an Earth sign. Lastly, you have Scorpio, a friggin' landbound arthropod, as a Water Sign when it has a history of not getting on well with water. Granted, fixing it would throw the "balance" of the elemental cycle out the window, but you have to wonder what they were smoking to think two signs that are already swimming in water symbolism should be aligned with other elements, while one that shouldn't be associated with water, is. At least they didn't make Pisces a Fire element or something.
    • You have to note that the associations with symbols are not stactic. Scorpio was thought of as not being a scorpion per se, but a figure of an eagle atop a serpent, both of them associated with water (the eagle with the clouds, the serpent with, well, normal water).
    • I known aquarius as the cup bearer, and is based on legends about Hebe and Ganimedes, who are the ones that give eternal youth (in the shape of a liquid that I don't remeber the name) for the gods.
      • Shouldn't the cup holder be Aries, Taurus or one of the other car signs?
    • If you're bearing water, you are pulling it out of the water into the air.
    • The elemental assignments have no relation to the animal/human/item symbol of the signs.
      • Exactly, it's a repeating cycle of fire-earth-air-water that only coincidentally matches up with some of the constellation critters.
    • The elements and the symbols pertain to the sign as a whole in different ways. For example, Scorpio being a Water sign makes sense because Water signs are known for emotions. However, it's also represented by a scorpion because of the constellation and that Scorpios are known to be very harsh when angered, much like a scorpion's sting.
    • Modern-day scorpions are believed to be descended from ancient aquatic versions. (If the damned things ever sprout wings, we're all doomed.)
      • The great scorpion chased Orion across the ocean, and it was then that Artemis was tricked into shooting and killing him. I think that's where Scorpio's association with water comes from. Furthermore, Aquarius might have to do with Ganymede having been carried through the air by Zeus in the form of an eagle.
    • On a related note, Taurus the Bull is a feminine sign. Really? Are you sure you weren't thinking of Taurus the Cow?
      • Well, Taureans are known for being very sensual types, which sounds a lot more feminine than it does masculine. Plus, they're named after the constellations, and you can't change the Bull to a Cow just because it's a feminine zodiac sign.
      • What do you mean? A man can't be sensual? And unless that constellation includes the bull's dick, I think it wouldn't be any problem to have that changed by the time they had figured that out(when, I have no idea. Soon enough?)
      • I don't know why Taurus is suddenly considered a feminine sign. It's supposed to correspond to the myth of Zeus transforming himself into a bull to lure and kidnap Europa. "Sensual" indeed, but the sensuality was all on Zeus' part, and he was definitely a bull.
      • As stated above, the animal symbols attributed to the constellations have but a passing influence on the qualities of the sign. Taurus being a bull means very little to what Taurus actually signifies, the fact that it is represented by a masculine animal doesn't change it's feminine properties of passivity, reception, shyness, and patience. It is those qualities that make the sign feminine, not the gender of the animal symbol.
      • Then one wonders who claimed first that Taurus had these properties. But I don't believe in astrology anyway.
      • Babylonians started it and it grew from there when the Greeks got a hold of it.

What's the deal with Ophiuchus?
  • It's considered a zodiac constellation, but not an astrological sign?
    • There are different astrological systems in western astrology, the majority use only twelve signs, a minority add a thirteenth sign.
    • Most likely thrown out by the Babylonians in favor of constellations that had more body on the ecliptic than Ophiuchus. Also, the way we divide up constellations is different now, and the Libra/Scorpio combination of constellations used to just be one big constellation that was dealt with like two individual constellations until they formally separated sometime during the Roman Empire, iirc. I say all that to say that there was something else there back in those days and Ophiuchus wasn't technically at that spot in the ecliptic.
  • Different system, namely Astronomy. Also Cetus is in the same path as the Zodiac.

Someone switched Pisces and Cancer when I wasn't looking.
  • The symbol for the Crab is what looks like two fish, and the symbol for the Fish is a cross with claw-things on the sideways bars. WTF?
    • The Cancer symbol is actually supposed to resemble two claws, while Pisces is two fish, constantly pulling away from each other. I used to get them mixed up too, though.
    • Alternatively Cancer is two breasts relating to exoteric (applied) Astrology just how Virgo and Scorpio are the female and male genitalia respectively.
    • ...racking up still more irony points when you consider that Scorpio is considered a feminine sign.

The tilt of our planet's axis has change by some odd degrees since the Zodiac was developed, meaning that the original signs no longer correspond to the dates given for each one.
  • Yet... these dates have never been adjusted for this. Hmm.
    • You can look to the Sidereal Zodiac which is a way to sort of make up for this change, but it doesn't really do it justice as they still hold that each sign takes up 30 degrees of the sky, which isn't true, the constellations that represent those signs are varying lengths. The Sidereal Zodiac simply moves the 0 Aries point to match with the vernal equinox point. So, essentially Sidereal starts off correctly aligned, but doesn't make it out of Aries before it drifts off again. The other option is the Tropical Zodiac which is the one popularly used in the western world, it's not arranged with the constellations because the constellations and the signs that represent those constellations aren't the same thing, and the Tropical Zodiac keeps up with the beat of the seasonal changes of the Earth which seems to make it more relevant.
      • The constellations are not the signs. The signs are named after the constellations as a sort of mnemonic device.
  • Likewise, the stars making up each constellation are too far away to exert any meaningful force upon you at birth. The doctor delivering you exerts more gravity upon you than any distant star. Even the gravity from the other planets in the solar system (not to mention the sun) is minimal compared to the gravity from Earth, in terms of how much of a direct effect it has upon us. Demo: Jump. Did you go flying up towards the sun? No? That's because Earth managed to "pull" you (technically, it's more complex than that, but for simplicity's sake) back towards itself, being the dominant source of gravity acting on your body.
    • This is assuming that the force the stars and planets exert in an astrological context is gravity or something magnetic. No one ever said it was, the popular theory (at least in Ptolemy's day) was that the planets and stars stir around the ether and those influences are carried through the individual elements of the world and effect it and us. The simplest argument is essentially that if the planets effect the seasons, then they effect us.
      • It's the "as above, so below" principle in action. It's not that (for example) Mercury directly affects the intellectual dimension of humanity, it's that the same mystic or platonic force that is responsible for said intellectual dimension manifests in the heavens as the planet Mercury, so you can use the planet as a guide. And the same with all the others.
      • Since when do the planets (except if you count the sun) effect the seasons???
      • The Sun is an astrological planet, so since forever.
    • Recent studies have shown that certain mental illnesses (including the heavy hitters like schizophrenia) are more prevalent in certain months (January, I believe it said). Janus was the two-faced Roman god, and schizophrenia entails a see-sawing of being in reality VS being in the fantasy world their brain creates. (Just saying.) I don't think astrology was ever meant to be taken as "the planets themselves are doing this", but rather as "this is the time when the planets are in this position, and this is what happens". In other words, I believe that it was originally meant for the planets to be indicators (just like a certain show airs at 3:00 PM, so you know it's 3, but the show didn't CAUSE it to be 3 PM). It was then convoluted to "planets are causing this" by people who didn't understand what they were talking about or who had it out for astrology- the first astrologers simply noticed "Hey, when this group of stars are in the sky, this happens", according to me, anyways. The whole "mental illnesses occuring during certain times of the year" thing with no explanation is awfully close to scientifically proving astrology in my book. As far as schizophrenia is concerned, one of the January signs is Pisces (two fish struggling against each other; the other is Aquarius). Pisces is ruled by Neptune, which governs pseudo-realities (like those found in the delusions of a schizophrenic). The "two fish" symbology comes in when you add that schizophrenics swing between reality and delusion- one fish stands for reality, and the other for their hallucinations. The fish, just like a schizophrenic's dual worlds, are battling each other for control. That's not to say that astrology is the entire reason, of course- genetics are also to blame. I'm not trying to convince anyone to believe astrology works (not a religion, people! There's nothing to believe "in"), but it's just something to think about.
      • I appreciate that a lot of this is your own mental meandering on the matter, but (from very, very personal experience) it's a lot of off-the-cuff, completely incorrect meandering with regard to schizophrenia specifically, mental illness in general, the origins and accuracy (there isn't any) of astrology itself, and the study you linked to. The whole "mental illnesses occuring during certain times of the year" thing with no explanation is awfully close to scientifically proving astrology - except that there wasn't "no explanation" in the article you cited. The researchers specifically indicated possible reasons for the correlation (not direct causation) between birth seasons and the selected congenital conditions, and even mentioned that studying these reasons (like temperature and vitamin deficiency) might be a step towards helping to treat or prevent the conditions in question. Again, with respect (and it's not like TV Tropes should be Serious Business, after all!): you're obviously perfectly welcome to your own thinky wanderings (you don't need me to tell you that!), but I generally prefer fiction (which I love) and reality (which I also love) to be a bit more carefully defined, and I'm never thrilled when a scientific study is misrepresented to "prove" an unscientific point.
  • Apparently, astrology, despite it's name, doesn't have much to do with the stars, but rather is about the planets. But they don't call it "planetology" because that would sound kind of stupid.
    • The original greek word for the planets was planetes aster, which means "wandering star". The planets that we know of today are not stars, but back before telescopic observations were possible, the planets were simply stars that moved. Aside from that there is a rich system of symbolism for the "fixed stars" (essentially, all the other visible stars that aren't planets)that is still alive in more traditional forms of astrology today, though mostly forgotten in mainstream modern astrology.

Can somebody explain houses? The Other Wiki has been quite unhelpful.
  • I'm admittedly not an expert, but I'll try. Houses are part of the complete birth-chart, which is made with the exact time of birth (as in, hour and minute exact) plus the geographical location of birth (latitude, longitude) in mind. All of the houses have symbolic meanings that add up to the meanings of the planets inside them, if there are any- like, Fourth is supposed to represent home&family for example- so, if you've, say, a Mercury there, then that might mean your home/family life has good communications, though it can be a bit hectic. The first house begins with your "rising sign" or "ascendent", and each house has an equal share of a circle, so, 30. The rising sign is a very important part of the birth chart, since it, more than the sun sign, is close to the first impression you give others, also, it leaves its marks on the physical appearence, too, if I remember right.