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

What is Astrology?

Whenever I talk about astrology, I recognize that a large part of my work is educating others, a kind of meta-education. I must teach you what I’m talking about as I’m talking about it. Thus, I don’t take for granted that there isn’t a consensus on what astrology is and what its purpose and function is.

Many people, many who have not heard of a birth chart, think astrology is horoscopes based on your “sign” (properly, the sign your Sun occupied at the time of your birth), and that there are like 12 “prototypes” that astrology uses to define people. It’s very simplistic. People who view astrology that way are the same people who would say that “the English language is the alphabet.”

They’re not taking into consideration the cultural context for language, and that the alphabet is the basic building blocks of language, just like numbers are the basic building block for math.There is much implied in the structure and way that we count, or in the variety of languages that there are, or in the alphabet as characters that make up words in a language. But those things are not the language itself. So, we can say the same thing of astrology, that the 12 zodiac signs are not astrology itself.

What is Astrology by Dayna Lynn Nuckolls - The Peoples's Oracle.

The Fundamental Question

What is astrology? This can be a difficult question to answer because we can break down anything into its pieces; we can dissect it into parts. We can say astrology is planets, signs, and houses. But that’s not really telling me what astrology is, why it is, or how and why it functions.

Part of why I want to talk about this is because I have been thinking about what I do when I sit down with a client, and how I’m looking at this person’s chart and I don’t know them from Adam or Eve, or Steve, or whatever their names are. I am able to tell them about their mother, their father, their home, family, and their interests, their health, and their illness, and the times of important events in their lives, and help them piece together their stories. And, I’m in awe every day.

What is astrology that I can do this with it? That I can tell the story of someone’s life, without them giving me any information besides their birth data, what is the power of these symbols?

Note: How I talk about astrology, how I define astrology, is not necessarily something I sat down and come up with among other astrologers. It’s not something that I’ve read somewhere. It’s not something you can go find in a book somewhere. I won’t say my ideas are completely original. Everything is derivative in, nothing is completely original.

The content in this post is from a LIVE Instagram broadcast. It has been heavily edited for clarity. You can find the original video here: Daily Live – February 20, 2019: What is #Astrology?

Astrology is a Language

Astrology is a language. Language is a complex set of symbols that we use to think about, visualize, and talk about ourselves and the world around us.

Language is a consequence of consensus. Consensus is cultural. When I say apple, you think of a round, likely red, food item. We have agreed to call that object an apple. Maybe if I say pomme then the pomme you envision is yellow or green, based on your cultural imagery around that word and object.

The Complexity of Language

So, now let’s get to the real meat of it. I’ve established that astrology is a language, which is a complex set of symbols, that we use to name, visualize, think about, and talk about ourselves and the world around us. Astrology helps us in that regard.

Now, the next piece is, if astrology is a language, what is the alphabet? What is the lexicon and syntax of it? In any language there is a syntax; there is a lexicon; there is a correspondence of these symbols to some concept or object, person or place in our world. What is the grammar? What are the pieces that we put together to make this language?

In language we have alphabets or character sets— each letter or character, corresponds to a sound. And, depending on how those letters come together, the sound is going to change. Even the sounds that letters make are very culturally significant and specific, right, if you hear English, and the derivatives of English, or rather, the languages that English is derived from: Latin, the Romance languages, Germanic languages, Native words—the English language is an amalgamation of all the colonial exploits of England. But if we go to China, it’s a totally different way of organizing the symbols. They have characters that are pictures, and those are very complex in how they’re organized.

Language as a Cultural Phenomenon

A book called Barracoon by Zora Neale Hurston was finally published after years of being withheld. A story on NPR talked about Zora Neale Hurston’s insistence that Kossula, the person about whom the book is written, tell his story in his own dialect. The editorial director of the publisher, Deborah Plant, spoke about the importance of preserving the way that Kossula spoke about himself. There was no ‘I’ in his culture. She explained how in American Western culture there is this constant reinforcing of ‘I’: ‘I say.’ ‘I do.’ ‘I feel.’ ‘I think.’ Whereas in his culture, ‘I’ is implied; he’s standing right here before you, so he doesn’t have to say ‘I’. This is the complexity of language. And I explain that because I want to apply this and help you understand something about astrology: just

So, in that sense astrology, like language, is explicitly a cultural phenomenon.

As with any language, astrology emerges from a cultural and historical context. Astrology is not something that’s uniquely Western. It’s not uniquely European or American. Astrology is Indian. Astrology is Babylonian and Sumerian and Mesopotamian. Astrology is Kemetic. Astrology is of the Asian Diaspora, practiced in Korea, in China, in Singapore, in Malaysia. And each of these astrologies emerges from relevant cultural contexts.

When we pull together the building pieces of any astrology we always start with the Sun and the Moon, which are not planets. The Sun is a star. It is the biggest star, the closest star. The Moon is, for all intents and purposes, a big ol’ rock. We observe it as a marker of time, and have done so for time immemorial. So much of our orientations of our bodies in the world are rooted in the Moon and our observations of the Moon. Again, not necessarily anything astrological at this point, but purely astronomical, in that we watch the Moon wax and wane in its light.

All astrological traditions start with those two pieces. Then we spread out to other bodies that are observable with the naked eye. You must remember telescopes weren’t always a thing. This brings up something that is important to astrology, is that it’s a visual art. I know that we have all these complex words and concepts and things—this sign is this or that planet is that. But, astrology is first an observable phenomena, rooted in astronomy.

Astrology vs Astronomy

There was a time where astronomy and astrology were no different; they were the same thing. At some point there was a power struggle around access to knowledge that split the two into different disciplines with divergent social, religious, and political implications. Then science became this thing no longer practiced by clergy who have the privilege to study and learn math and all of these things. At that point it becomes the privilege of the aristocracy.

We start with the Sun and Moon, then we move to the observable bodies that are visible to the naked eye. So now that’s Mercury, that’s Venus, that’s Mars, that’s Jupiter, and that’s Saturn.

In observing the astronomical cycles of these planets, we begin to understand how they move and correlate and the time frames with them.

Ah! So, let’s see every day, within this timeframe the Sun is doing the this over here in the East, but then it does something else over here in the West!
— Observe & record.

Ah! Okay, the Moon is doing this today, but 29 days ago it did this same thing.—
—Observe & record.

Ah! Whoa, Mercury’s doing this thing, but then it’s doing this thing-but that thing-then this thing-then that thing-then this thing — Venus, the same for Saturn and Mars and Jupiter, and Venus.

Alright, so we’re observing, in relationship to time and space, what these bodies are doing.

The whole point is that astrology is rooted in this observation. And that in astrology, everything is about visibility. When we’re talking about the houses, we’re talking about observable, astronomical, and physical phenomena in space and time. When we’re talking about a Saturn Return, or where the Sun is, or what the Moon is doing, again, we’re talking about observable phenomena.

Astrology Segments, Names, and Interprets Time

Astrology is a tool, for measuring, naming, and interpreting time. Just like clocks and calendars, except there’s the added dimension of ‘but what does that mean?’ Astrology is similar to a calendar or a clock; it names and segments time. In astrology we observe the astronomical phenomenon of how planets appear to move with Earth as a reference point. And with those observations, we segment and name a period of time in relation to that.

The segment of time designated as a year correlates to the astronomical cycle of the Sun. Why? Because it takes approximately 365 days (a time segment which we have designated ‘year’) for the Sun to return to a designated reference point. But implied in that astronomical measurement is that the Sun is doing something observable, predictable, and consistent.

Each planet has its own cycle. The Moon has a 29-day cycle. Mercury varies. Venus varies. Jupiter has 12 years. Saturn has 29 years. All of these planets— and this is not astrological, in the sense of there’s no interpretation yet— this is purely astronomical. It is astronomical— observable and measurable— that Saturn is doing this thing in 29 years. The Moon is doing this thing in 29 days. The Sun is doing this thing in 365 days.

Like language, time, too, is a consequence of consensus. We have agreed on what is one minute, one hour, one day, one second, one month, one year, a decade, a century. There’s a consensus around what those things mean, so that when I say ‘one week,’ I don’t have to explain that to you, you know what that is.

Unlike calendars and unlike clocks, astrology interprets time. It tells us what it means. So, in that sense, I say, astrology helps us to name and define and interpret the seasons and times of our life.

A Time & Season for All Things

We know that at particular times of year, based on how much sunlight there is, how much rain (or not) there is, whatever the temperature is—we know that there is an appropriate thing to do at that particular time. That is, if we want a certain outcome from the land. We organize our lives around those appropriate times. We organize our lives around the hours of daylight and nighttime so that we know that there is an appropriate time to do things.

We think about times and seasons in relationship to our physical bodies— how we grow our food, how we eat, how we sleep, the schedule that we have in our bodies and in our lives. But we don’t always think about that regarding the choices that we make and the undertakings that we choose to endeavor upon at any give time.

Unlike a calendar or a clock, astrology interprets time. It tells us what is happening and what it means. It helps us to build a narrative around a particular story.

Now, we can say, not only is there a time for planting food, for harvesting, for sowing, for tilling. There’s also a time for things to happen in our own lives. So, my favorite scripture, my favorite scripture to reference in this context, talks about
‘There’s a time for death, and birth, and growth, conservation, joy, celebration, atonement.’ There’s a time for all of these things. Yet and still, as a culture, we have not really grasped, the practical and spiritual significance of that truth. Astrology is this tool that helps us do that.

Summary

Astrology is a language—a complex set of symbols used to talk about, think about, and conceptualize the world around us. All languages emerge from a specific cultural context and are dynamic.

Astrology is a tool for measuring time. Like a clock and a calendar, with the added functionality of defining the quality and meaning of time.

Astrology is rooted in astronomy, which is the tangible, physical, measurable cycles and phenomena of the planets. What they’re doing in relationships to themselves, and what they’re doing in relationship to each other.

Check out this post on some of the philosophical differences between the tropical and the sidereal zodiac. I’ve outlined some of the technical differences between the tropical and sidereal zodiacs in this 70 minute webinar (with accompanying PDF). Get a very special reading focused on understanding the differences between your tropical birth chart and your sidereal birth chart in this comparison reading.

More Jupiter in Scorpio themes…

In my original post laying out themes for Jupiter in Scorpio I offered a list of keywords, concepts, and themes that would be prominent for that year long transit. Here are some additional themes. 

  • Rogue
  • Rebellious
  • Army
  • Navy
  • Marine
  • Police
  • Soldiers
  • Guns
  • Surgery
  • Weapons
  • Bombs
  • Knives
  • Bullets

I’ll probably add another list sometime before the transit begins, as well as aggregating manifestations of my predictions.

Jupiter enters Scorpio October 10, 2018

July 2018 Sidereal Astrology Forecast & Horoscope

July 2018 is one of the busiest months of the year, and it only gets busier through the rest of 2018. July is when it really starts. The last week of June 2018 ushered us in to an unprecedented time governed by a rare Mars retrograde in Capricorn.

View the July 2018 Sidereal Astrology Forecast & Horoscope on YouTube.

July 2018 Astrology

Now, in July we have Mars retrograde for the entire month, and a Mercury retrograde that starts at then end of the month. There are TWO eclipses and Jupiter stationary direct. So much is happening!

That is why I live stream a video forecast for each month on my YouTube channel. The July 2018 Sidereal Astrology Forecast & Horoscope video is now up. Let me know what you think. I added some of my political forecasting at the end. Enjoy

Sidereal Astrology Forecast – May 2018

Here is your monthly sidereal astrology forecast for May 2018. We are well under way, but there is plenty in this video to help you navigate the rest of this month.

Watch the video forecast for May 2018 on YouTube.

Major sidereal astrological configurations for the month of May, 2018.

  • May 2 – Mars in Capricorn (View the video horoscope for the 6 month Mars in Capricorn Transit on YouTube.)
  • May 8 – Sun OPPOSITE Jupiter
  • May 9 – Mercury in Aries
  • May 12 – Mercury SQUARE Mars
  • May 14 – Sun in Taurus, Venus in Gemini
  • May 15 – New Moon in Taurus
  • May 23 – Mercury OPPOSITE Jupiter
  • May 25 – Venus OPPOSITE JUPITER
  • May 26 – Mercury in Taurus
  • May 29 – Full Moon in Scorpio