The Liberating Power of the Sidereal Zodiac

I’m assuming you’re here because you are looking for resources on sidereal astrology and the sidereal zodiac. Yes?

The biggest challenge you face looking for information on the sidereal zodiac is that there aren’t many resources (published books + online content.) Why? Up until now, no one has created a framework for using the sidereal zodiac that doesn’t duplicate the one used with the tropical zodiac, or without appropriating the cultural and religious framework of Vedic astrology (Jyotish, astrology of Indian religion and culture.) So, when you search for books or other content on the sidereal zodiac, you’re directed to Vedic astrology resources, or to content that mysteriously sounds identical to what you’d read in tropical zodiac resources.

I faced the same challenge that you face now: where can I find content that helps me understand how and why the sidereal zodiac works, that answers how and why is it different from the tropical zodiac?

The Liberating Power of the Sidereal Zodiac by Dayna Lynn Nuckolls, The People's Oracle. Image of a monarch butterfly flying toward freedom from a dark whole. The sky is in view, blue with white fluffy clouds.

Some basic facts up front:

  • Zodiac sign =/= constellation. There is a constellational “zodiac.” But I would argue that it’s not quite a zodiac;
  • There aren’t 13 signs. NASA is NOT the National Astrology and Space administration, so don’t defer to them as an astrological authority;
  • Since neither the tropical zodiac, nor any of the sidereal zodiacs align precisely with the constellations, we can reject that idea as a reason why you should use the sidereal zodiac over the tropical zodiac.

I could say that the sidereal zodiac works consistently and more accurately than the tropical zodiac. But I don’t think that’s a good reason either, though it is a legitimate reason for me, someone who spent 7 years working exclusively with the tropical zodiac.

Something Ain’t Right?

Studying the techniques and reading the work of Firmicus Maternus and Vettius Valens is what led me to the sidereal zodiac. They never mentioned that they exclusively used that zodiac in their writings, nor did they make any case for using one zodiac over another. Either way, I was able to see the logic in some of the techniques they wrote about. I started applying it to charts. But, I couldn’t make them work consistently.

Both authors wrote about what is analogous to the yogas in Jyotish: configurations between planets that have specific and consistent meanings. After my failures with the tropical zodiac, I intuitively started experimenting with those techniques and configurations using the sidereal zodiac. [Actually, I first thought I must have the wrong birth time. But then I realized that everyone’s birth time can’t be wrong!] But a freaking light bulb came on when I started to apply Maternus’s and Valens’s techniques on charts using the sidereal zodiac. My mind was blown! But then I was stuck. I couldn’t find anything on the sidereal zodiac. Nothing! Nada! (Except what I mentioned above, copycat tropical or Vedic resources.)

Then What?

That was in 2014. I spent the next 2 years revisiting all of the charts I had in my library and hundreds if not a 1,000 more, trying to tease out a logic or framework for how this zodiac worked and why it worked. But, It really took me until 2017/2018 to be able to articulate a framework for the sidereal zodiac that isn’t a duplicate of tropical logic, not about math or astronomy, and isn’t Vedic/Jyotish.

What does that leave us with? If I can’t say that the sidereal zodiac is more astronomically accurate in relation to the actual stars or some mathematical calculation, then why? If I don’t appropriate the cultural and religious framework of Jyotish (Vedic Astrology) then what do I have left?

I have my identity and experiences that uniquely inform my approach to astrology. I have me, a Black woman, born and raised in 20th century America, come of age in 21st century America. The specificity of my identity isn’t exclusionary. It makes me especially qualified to develop a unique astrological framework for using the sidereal zodiac that speaks to the legacy of what it means to be a Black woman. In fact, it is because of who and what I am that I am able to see what the sidereal zodiac has to offer us all.

(I would offer up the possibility that whiteness as a social construct and identity has inhibited the ability for other astrologers, up until now, to see the logic in the sidereal zodiac. It’s not just another zodiac, an alternate measurement. The sidereal zodiac is an entirely different worldview and way of seeing oneself in the world, in relationship, and in community. In fact, in sidereal astrology there is no self outside of relationship and community!)

First, I had to understand how the tropical zodiac was being used. I had to observe my peers and try to see their logic. And what I observed was that as with all things appropriated by modern western thought (read: white and male), the tropical zodiac has become an instrument of oppression.

Astrology is a discipline dominated by white men as gatekeepers. They have established themselves as the authority on what is legitimate and accurate. That means the rest of us conform or be seen merely as “brands” who try to capitalize on our uniqueness. You put anything in the hands of white men and it inevitably becomes a tool of oppression that furthers the cause of white supremacy. Astrology and the tropical zodiac included. And if you find non-Vedic resources on the sidereal zodiac, they are copying tropical frameworks.

(Even as I’ve shared these thoughts on social media, I’ve had men, both black and white, question my legitimacy because my work hasn’t followed the trajectory similar to that prominent white male astrologers .)

Divination for Liberation

The more and more I observed how the tropical zodiac was being used, the more I saw the use of the sidereal zodiac as tool for liberation. That’s why I call my work #DivinationForLiberation.

Astrology is fundamentally and essentially a language. All languages are a cultural phenomenon that shape perceptions and reinforce established power dynamics. You can think of language as embodying cultural doctrine.

I need my astrology to radically dismantle existing power structures that subjugate and oppress me for my ethnicity/race, class, and gender. That’s what was missing from the tropical zodiac and the worldview it proposes.

#DivinationForLiberation reclaims astrology as a tool for political, emotional, economic, and spiritual liberation via exclusive use of the sidereal zodiac.

#DivinationForLiberation reminds me of the way my ancestors cultivated ritual that allowed them to bypass power structures they were excluded from. They created religious practices that engendered agency as a gateway to spiritual and economic liberation and empowerment.

#DivinationForLiberation reminds me of the discipline and strength of will required to surrender to the truth that there is a time and a season for all things. I am at my most powerful when I subject my individual will to the Divine Will which articulates that time + that season.

If you are looking for a liberating astrological doctrine that sees your blackness, your queerness, your non binary expressions, the oppression you face, your non-whiteness, your womanhood, your suffering, and your power, then you’ll find it here in #DivinationForLiberation.

Sidereal Zodiac/ Sidereal Astrology Resources

  • I have a webinar called an Intro to Sidereal Astrology (I’ll likely offer another one that includes insights I’ve gained since 2017) orcle.me/siderealweb
  • Astrology software is expensive. Another barrier towards learning and using astrology. That’s why I create iCal’s that contain sidereal transits you can import into your phone, computer, and other devices existing calendar. https://shop.thepeoplesoracle.com/collections/2019-calendars-guides
  • It takes years to learn astrology, but that should never be a barrier to you taking advantage of its liberating power. That’s why I create content that requires no prerequisite knowledge to use. My favorite is my Monthly Horoscope Workbook orcle.me/scopeworkbook
  • Use this guide to cast your sidereal birth chart: orcle.me/chartguide

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.