On The False Binary of Masculine & Feminine in Astrology

The content of this post was originally published in a series of tweets in response to this post:

What I’m about to share here is actually something I’ve been thinking about for the past several months. It has to do with how each planet (save the Sun and Moon which are lights) rule two signs each.

In the past I have understood this as representing the binary of masculinity and femininity. But what I understand now is that the previously understood division of each planet into two natures described as masculine and feminine is actually a poor attempt at articulating that each planet contains a circular, rather than polar (read: binary) embodiment of a principle.

For example, Mars can be understood through the expressions of Aries and Scorpio. At first glance this appears to be articulating a binary, where Aries is masculine and Scorpio is feminine.

Here are two visuals which might help you understand what I am articulating.

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This also relates to the concept of an objective form or social construct where a pattern of form is observed and from that observed pattern is created a construct. The construct is now separate from the form from which it was inspired by. And now the forms which inspired the construct are forced to conform to (read: change their form and take the shape of) that construct.

You can understand this as relating to any noun used to describe or define a human. Every single one is a construct. From boy, girl, woman, man, family, teacher, preacher, doctor, teenager, woman, adult, elder, etc. Each began as an observation of form from which a construct was created.

So I think the issue here with the terms masculine and feminine, and how they are often used as euphemisms for gender has to do with the fact that it is difficult for us to think outside of binaries. Forms (which is what zodiac signs are) appear to “naturally” manifest as these binaries when in fact they only wear the clothes of the binaries.

Astrology can be helpful when we understand each planet in the ways that I’ve described before. In the case of mars, there isn’t a binary of masculine vs feminine correlating to Aries vs Scorpio. There is a circular spectrum with much overlap, Which brings me to my last point.

The binaries of gender and our obsession with classifying things in those terms has concealed some deep wisdom that astrology offers us. This is why I prefer to use the terms diurnal or yang for “masculine” and nocturnal or yin for “feminine.”

The wisdom that astrology has to offer us says that no planet, no sign, no house, and no aspect can ever be understood in isolation. All you will ever get from observing a single planet etc. is a glimpse of what it actually speaks to.

Elsewhere I have said that sidereal astrology is the study of relationships. There is no separate topic called ‘relationship astrology’. When we are examining the birth chart we are examining relationships between planets. And planets are people first, and zodiac signs point us to planets.

For example, this means that when you examine Mars in your birth chart, even if you have no Aries placements or Scorpio placements, Mars contains the forms of expression we understand as Aries or Scorpio. What does this really mean? Each expression of a planet that we observe in the forms of the zodiac signs are wholly contained in each planet.

Mars in a birth chart always contains both (Aries) personal boundaries + physical capacity for movement + the enforcing of the personal will AND (Scorpio) drive for biological self preservation as observed via the nervous system and its relationship with the rest of the body + other people’s bodies.

However, the form of how, in this example, Mars is expressed is where the social construct comes in. So in some ways the zodiac signs are the social construct, they are the form the planets take on via how they are socialized in relationships and community.

I want to add that the problem has never been with the social construct. Constructs are how we organize society. The problem is with how the constructs are used to create hierarchies of power. And how power redefines constructs as a means to its own self preservation.

For example, ‘mother’ is a social construct. I have no problem with ‘mother’. It is an accurate descriptor of the role I play in certain contexts. I have a problem with how identifying with and taking on this role situates me in terms of who and what I have access to in society.

Reading Your Sidereal Birth Chart Workshop – September 27, 200

Knowing your big 3 is cool and all, but do you know which planet in your sidereal birth chart is the most powerful and influential?

Reading Your Sidereal Birth Chart Workshop
Sunday, September 27, 2020
1:30pm Central Time
Zoom

LIMITED SPACE AVAILABLE!

Do you know which years of your life will activate that planet?

Do you know how that planet impacts your love life, your health, your sense of purpose and direction in your life?

I’m going to guide you in answering all of those questions and many more on Sunday September 27, 2020 during my Reading Your Sidereal Birth Chart Workshop.

Sidereal astrology is Divination for Liberation. That means that there is a time and a season for all things. Just as a farmer knows when to till, sow, harvest, or let the land rest, your sidereal birth chart empowers you with the knowledge to do the same in your life.

Who is this workshop for? Everyone. Those who know something about sidereal astrology, those who who know nothing about sidereal astrology, and those who can’t give up their addiction to their tropical sign or chart because they love it so much.

Registration begins Friday August 28, 2020
Early bird registrants receive a FREE PDF download of my 2020 Sidereal Astrology Guide and a digital recording of the workshop after.

Reading your Sidereal Birth Chart Workshop contains info you haven’t been able to find on a web search or in any book. There’s only one way to find out… You coming?

EARLY BIRDAUG 28 – SEP 3FREE 2020 Sidereal Astrology Guide + Audio + Workbook$99
ON-TIMESEP 4 – SEP 10Workbook$99
BARELY MADE ITSEP 11 – SEP 18Workbook$112

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

  • Learn the basics of how to read a Sidereal birth chart with my workshop Reading Your Sidereal Birth Chart. It includes a 90 minute audio presentation, slides, and a workbook I walk you through completing in the audio presentation. Take your time. It’s a lot!
  • 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

Horoscopes for August/September 2019

Read your sidereal horoscope for August/September 2019. Always sidereal; never tropical. Use this guide to cast your sidereal birth chart. Read for your Ascendant and Moon sign first, then for your Sun.

On August 8, 2019, Mars begins an amassing of planets in Leo. This Leo stellium culminates on August 30 at the New Moon: Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, and Mars all in Leo! This moment is a consequence of:

  • Eclipses in Leo/Aquarius, 2015-2017
  • Events that transpired August/September 2017

Planets in Leo answer to your entitlement to accept that the way you see yourself is the way that you are, and the way you see the world is the way that it is.

CANCER

  • How has your experience of your father and relationships with other men shaped your perceptions of how you earn and spend your money?
  • What is your relationship with food or your material possessions/expenses, and how does it impact changes that have taken hold in your life as a consequence of August/September 2017? 

LEO

  • How do power dynamics with the men/man in your life shape your self-perception?
  • How have changes in your body or personality caused you to change certain lifestyle habits as a consequence of August/Septembre 2017? 

VIRGO

  • How are you reckoning with the authority of those whose judgments are impervious to logic? Have those people changed at all since August/September 2017?
  • How can you learn from them by considering the possibility that some things are the way they are because you say so, not because you have the evidence/data to back it up or even the wherewithal to convince others?

LIBRA

  • What role do mentors, benefactors, and other helpful people (that you may or may not know yet!) play in the realization of your ambitions? And how have those ambitions evolved since August/September 2017?
  • What circumstances particularly pertaining to men (or a man singularly) become the center of your political, social, or professional focus?

SCORPIO

  • What can you learn about trusting your own perceptions and judgments from your mother? 
  • What are your ambitions and who (managers/supervisors/bosses) or what stands between the promotion, prominence, or visibility you seek? What did August/September 2017 teach about how to deal with this now?

SAGITTARIUS

  • What systems or institutions (or clergy, teachers, or politicians) reinforce the convictions you’ve been working so hard to embody and conform your life to?
  • Where can you go (travel/church/temple/university) in order to see yourself in a new light, to illuminate the next level of the self you’ve been stepping into since August/September 2017?

CAPRICORN

  • What boundaries are you implementing as a means to trusting your own judgment with regard to your finances (debt/loans/taxes/credit)?
  • How are you reckoning with dynamics of control and authority as you surrender to the inevitable ending of some important part of your life? If there are no present endings, what ended in August/September 2017 that is especially relevant at present?

AQUARIUS

  • How do you embody your calling to conceive of a self not defined in reference to others, especially partners and male father/authority figures who see your identity as an extension of their own?
  • What relational dynamics from August/September 2017 provide useful context for How you engage in partnership and conflict or establish agreements at present?

PISCES

  • What resistance do you encounter as you embody the courage to trust your own perceptions and judgments in your work/workplace?
  • How is your present work environment similar to or different from what it was in August/September 2017? What lessons from that time period inspire you to step into your authority in new ways at present?

ARIES

  • What power dynamics emerge as you take new risks in your love life/with your sexuality?
  • How do children/creative pursuits/physical fitness serve as the venue for reckoning with men and their (or your) role in shaping your self-perception?

TAURUS

  • What is the legacy of your parents that you encounter in this present work of defining home and solidifying your roots in this world?
  • What lessons from August/September 2017 are relevant to dealing with men in or in reference to your home at present?

GEMINI

  • What is the legacy of male family members that you must reckon with as you step into leadership positions in your immediate family circle?
  • How did August/September 2017 change your family dynamic and how is this present moment a consequence of those changes?