The Circadian Zodiac: Preface

Correcting how the signs correspond to the months in reality, due to precession, and returning significance to Ophiuchus, the Snake Handler, culled from the zodiac when the signs were standardized at 12.

The Heliacal Heavens

The one word used most often in this primer is "heliacal." In simplest terms, heliacal means "rising with the sun." In terms of the zodiac, a sign is "rising" when it is rising heliacally, or the sun is "in" the sign. The question then is how to tell when the sun is in the sign, as logic dictates that the sign would be invisible if the sun were in it. For the most part, this is, in fact, true.

Ancient astronomy was purely observational -- meaning they calculated positions based on what they actually saw in the sky -- so it must be understood that in order for a sign or star to be seen rising heliacally, the sun must be at -11.25º (that's below the horizon) when the star is on the horizon, otherwise the sun's light will be too bright for the stars on the horizon to be visible. This alignment times out to be roughly 45 minutes before sunrise.

In order to make the math simpler (by removing negative altitudes), it can also be said that the highest star of a sign must be at 11.25º altitude when the sun is rising (or at 0º alt.). The charts presented herein thus use this positive equivalent of the heliacal rise of stars and signs.

Once the "highest" star in a constellation first pops over the horizon heliacally, then the sun is indeed "in" that sign. In terms of the zodiac, one can see how a full knowledge of each constellation's stars and position is needed, since the sign rising heliacally is really only identifiable by the sign "above" it.

Same Stars, Different Eyes

If it is true that the position of the signs and planets is of import to a person's birthdate, and even life, then surely modern astrologers would want to take into account the slow shift of the heavens, called precession. It also should be of importance to them that one of the signs of the original zodiac -- which rests on the ecliptic and through which the sun passes -- is missing. To that end, we present several corrected zodiacs, as well as the Greek (or Tropical) Zodiac, for comparison.

The Greeks, when they removed Ophiuchus from the zodiac, also established a 30º rule for each sign, which again only served to confound the true position of the stars. The Circadian Zodiac thus also deliniates the true positions of the stars and re-establishes the "rightful" rule of each sign, some of which in fact rule only for a few days, while others span almost two months.

Loss of Place and Time

The Greek attempt to standardize time proves that they, though considered the "inventors" of precession, had little understanding of the movement of the heavens and the ability to truly measure the passage of time. Only a knowledge of precession can accurately pinpoint a moment in time, no matter how evenly you divide the skies with arbitrary measure. In other words, the zodiac itself is not precessional, but time can only be measured accurately with the sun's precession through it. Where and when each sign is -- something the ancient Egyptians and Druids, among others, appear to have fully understood and venerated -- thus becomes of paramount importance.