2. Zodiac Signs - Historical Ephemeris

The Historical Ephemeris

600 BCE - CE 2200

Astrological Cycles in History

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2. Zodiac Signs


Historical Ephemeris

Astrological groundrules 2:
The Zodiac Signs

When a planet moves into and through a sign, it awakens the archetypal issues connected with that sign, giving those issues an airing in the collective psyche and through the medium of world events - which in themselves, become vicariously experienced and symbolism rich influences for other people not directly affected by them. These archetypes are dynamic, and they can themselves evolve over time, as can society's response to them.

Thus, to give an Aquarian example, the rather chaotic, conditions-driven peasants' revolts of seven centuries ago become, by the late 1700s, the French Revolution, a more ideological movement which fells the ancien regime, and these become the rise of internet and mobile phone technologies in the 1990s which give connectivity to the crowd-movements of recent times, such as the viral Arab revolutions.

The major issues connected with each sign, in an historical context and according to astrological theory, are as follows. Take these as suggestions with wide interpretations.

Organisational structures, physical and financial resources and land, and the institutions and laws governing them; tradition, history and institutional inertia; social and national structures, ancestry, inheritance, laws, dynasties, institutions and customs, 'the establishment'; stability, age, provenance and posterity; governance, authority, hierarchical power, financial, legal and economic mechanisms and organisations; conformity, regularity, regulation, regimentation; dealing with the longterm consequences of the past.
Being the opposite sign to Cancer, the polarity being explored here is one of the basic emotional security of the people, especially the more vulnerable members of society, and its societal, systematic, organisational arrangement through governance, law and social mechanisms. Who is more important - a baby or a banker?

Social principles, ideologies, ideals, plans and designs; collective issues, viral ideas, mass awareness, mass activity and the behaviour of crowds; social judgmentalism and projection, tribalism and nationalism, populism; idea-led activity, planning and forward legislation; humanitarianism, social values, human rights; enquiry, philosophy and science; invention, innovation and new technologies; new applications and relevance to old technologies, structures and traditions; administration, regulation and litigation; social services, pensions, benefits, 'safety nets'; popular movements and secular concerns; social polarisation (often between radical and conservative elements).
Being the polar opposite of Leo, questions of leadership, power-legitimacy, democracy, mandate and the position and rights of the individual in society are important here. How much does the individual serve society and how much does society serve the individual?

Visionary activity, new perspectives and perceptions, shifting paradigms and goals; religious, mystical and artistic imagination, altruism, transcendentalism, monasticism, millennialism, escapism; melting, loosening, reassessment and shifting of obsolete or arthritic structures; 'emperor has no clothes' - revelation of how things actually are, myth-busting; disintegration and loss or purpose or rationale; thawing of rigidities, freeing of logjams; the influence of the mysterious and unexplainable; cults, beliefs, illusions, truths, myth-making; underlying hidden realities, undercurrents, fermentation and surfacing of the unconscious and of symbolism, revelation; proliferation, derailment, underlying tides of change, preparation for the future.
As the opposite sign to Virgo, the realm of possibility and the facts of manifestation, the clash of realities and potentials, facts and visions, and shifts of awareness or actuality are explored here, counterposing vision and reality. 'Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration'.

The force of inevitable or timely change and progression, waves breaking, 'going over the top'; breakaway from the past, abreaction to constraints and traditions of the past; new scenarios, germination, expansion, taking initiatives, application of possibilities; individualism, pioneering people and groups, heroism, rivalry, conquest, sectarianism, uprisings; expressed energy, conviction, radicalism, strongly-held ideas and convictions; impatience, intolerance, non-negotiability; deployed resources, engineering, asserted activity, the power of force, rampant growth.
As the opposite sign to Libra, compromise, accommodation and mutuality are counterposed with personal interest, initiative and competitiveness. What is more important: getting your way or making a deal?

Construction, establishment, consolidation; making it happen, soldiering on, overcoming, attrition; growth, fertility, creativity, ongoing forward motion; continuation, perpetuation, holding on, control; materialism, land- and resource-use, agriculture, conservation; assets, artisanry, crafts, business and economic growth; sense of mission and adherence to principle or to default pattern; dogged determination or opposition; stuckness, fixed agendas, ends justify means, 'there is no alternative'; enjoyment, indulgence, comfort, bounty.
Being opposite to Scorpio, this axis contrasts the endings and regeneration of Scorpio with the perpetuation and urge to posterity of Taurus, and power and manifest reality are important.

Ideas, data, interrelations, systems and configurations; changes, realignments, divergences and convergences, reversals, changing places; meetings, marketplaces, forums; communications and media, travel, information; information, news, connections; relativity, variegation, cross-pollination, lateral thinking; activity, hullabaloo, exchange; diversification, exploration, sideways motion, changing tracks.
Being opposite to Sagittarius, Gemini gathers experience and sorts information while Sagittarius makes of it a bigger picture and wider context. Data versus context, knowledge versus understanding.

Security, habit, protected sensitivities, pathos, intimacy, steadying down; human values and weaknesses, women, children, the underprivileged, victims, needy or helpless people, on the receiving-end; populations, minorities, ethnic identifications, families, kin; social caring, welfare and social support; territory, home-ground; xenophobia, classes, clans; leakages, trespasses, incursions; stasis, daily home life, homes and localities.
Being opposite to Capricorn, the needs of people in relation to organisational structures comes into focus, and the immediate needs of the present are counterposed to the organisational inertia of institutions.

Leadership, heroism, integrity, centrality; abundance, power, grandeur, predominance; master-victim issues, winning and losing, superiority-inferiority; creativity, drama and performance; social dramas, stars, effigies and symbols; grand culture, autocracy, patronage, aristocracy, feudalism, colonialism; charismatic leaders, martyrs, actors on the world stage; class-war, divisiveness, schism, self-interest; symbols and trappings of power, magnanimity, greatness.
Being opposite to Aquarius, leadership and wider society come into dynamic interplay, and the interaction of the individual and society come under pressure. Should we strive for excellence amongst the best or for equality and justice amongst the many?

Order, system, organisational methods, harvesting and implementation; storage, sense and commonsense; land and workforce, peasantry, human and physical resources; midwifery, husbandry, horticulture, soil; work, contributions, tools; coordination, intelligence, assimilation; service and slavery; the social contract, education, skills, woodwork, health; development, infrastructure, support- and backup-systems, transactions; subgroups, craft guilds, complexity and simplification, pruning, efficiency; protest and dissension, splitting hairs, microtechnologies, genetics.
Being opposite to Pisces, overarching visions meet operational facts, and chaos meets order, amidst changeful situations.

Social relations, international diplomacy and exchange, shared interests; accommodation, conflict, contrariness, peacekeeping, peacebuilding, consensus; I-and-Thou, Them-and-Us; alliances, allegiances, treaties, ambassadors; oscillation between extremes, switches, re-balancings, retributions, relations; cohesion and resolution or alienation and dissent, war or peace; ideas, conventions, social values, folk-traditions, cultural cross-fertilisation.
Being opposite to Aries, mutuality and individualism, cooperation and competition interact to help us find a balance between self-interest and mutual interest.

Inevitability and raw, bottom-line reality, inevitable changes; power battles, getting to grips, showdowns, the fall of the axe; consequences and confrontation, engagement, doing the necessary business, making a breakthrough, nitty-gritty, now or never; regeneration, libido, sexuality, depravity; crucible, fusion, control, surgery, incision, precision; slaughter, endings, close-downs, squeezes, grimness; clearing-out, finishing; underlying rumbling and held-back disquiet, covert activity, implied threat, sense of finality; power, exposure, manipulation; inquisition, detection, crime, secrecy, secret societies; hidden fears and sensitivities, taboos, guilt over transgressions; survival, comeback, come-uppance; rebirth, taking the plunge, stepping into the unknown.
Opposite to Taurus, Scorpio makes the best out of a disaster, while Taurus makes something out of our acquired blessings. Both signs represent different aspects of the principle of progress and change.

Expanding horizons, remission, relief, forgiveness, celebration; cultural expansion, higher education, learning, distant travel, pilgrimage, exotic goods and ways, cross-cultural exchange; the bigger picture, understanding, tolerance; wealth, territorial expansion, greatness, imperialism, conversion, zeal, seeking glory; enjoyment, excitement, positivity, profusion, excess; jurisprudence, philanthropy, charity; orthodoxy, religiosity, belief-systems; investment, sponsorship, forward thinking, grand ideas.
Being opposite to Gemini, Sagittarius tries to make greater sense of things to form a big picture amidst the kaleidoscopic plethora of the wider world.


There is a sequence to the zodiacal archetypes. Each follows on from, yet contrasts with, the previous one.

Each sign's contribution to the whole begins as a new avenue of opportunity, and it ends by being established, an assumed fact of life, ready for a shift of theme in the sign to follow.

Ingresses by planets into new signs bring shifts in the prevailing issues and public consensus, atmospheric changes of tone in the nature of the times.

When an outer planet chugs through a sign, it reactivates that sign's bundle of archetypes, issues, angles, imagery, prevailing ideas and default patterns within the group psyche. The collective then responds by reinterpreting and re-enacting the outward expression of archetypes, according to the conventional wisdom of the time.

The archetype itself can go through evolutionary changes, depending on what people do with possibilities offered them, an defined afresh each time an outer planet moves through a sign, stimulating an action-response from people. Yet this response is a product of human choice. Archetypal development can also, at times, and in certain respects, regress, as a result of retrogressive human responses to their times.

If two or more outer planets move through a sign, or through two opposite signs, simultaneously or in close enough sequence, there will be great historical emphasis on the issues of those signs. Actions will be taken, styles adopted, consequences created, which all have lasting effects over time. These issues will eventually, sometimes long afterwards, resurface and be re-evaluated when the signs in question are revisited by the same, or by other planets.

The zodiac has a beauty of its own, being a sequential program of archetypes, holographic feeling-imagery and patterning. The zodiac and its sequencing affects the tone of all longterm historical developments.

Archetypal zodiacal patterns can be interpreted and acted on differently at different times – a sagittarian period can bring a florescence of tolerance, prosperity and goodwill, or an outburst of imperialistic, imposing behaviour and 'missions to civilise'.

Most people are unaware that they act out such archetypes, and historians, by tradition and belief, currently deny that there can be astrological influences in history. Nevertheless, these influences continue to do their work. And it helps to identify and understand them.

NEXT: the Outer Planets
BACK: Planetary Cycles

The Historical Ephemeris
Astro-historical tables for 2,500 years
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