Just when you think that us astrologers have knocked back the ridiculous assertions of Professor Park Kunkle that the zodiac changed and you aren’t your zodiac sign anymore, we get, from the Wall Street Journal’s Jo Craven Mc Ginty the same song and dance nine years later, but this time from a newspaper that supposed to be about truth and fact-checking.
So this astrologer got my rant on and wrote Ms. Mc Ginty the following letter:
Dear Ms. Mc Ginty,
The article you wrote about sun signs changing is wildly inaccurate.
Your astronomy is impeccable, but your astrology is not. In fact, if you submitted this article as a paper for an astrology class, you’d get a failing grade.
Astrologers have been aware of precession for quite a while. For over two thousand years in fact When Hipparchus around the year 127 BC said, “Hey guys, have you noticed the zodiac signs don’t match the seasons anymore?” Previously and reliably, spring started at one degree of Aries. This was very important information, because as a primarily agrarian species at the time, people needed the 411 on when to work the fields.
But precession became a problem, and Hipparchus only stated what any good astrologer knew. The zodiac didn’t line up with Earth’s seasons anymore.
The final solution, as many failed relationships, was a divorce. It was imperative to retain the seasonal calendar, as that was the most useful part of the zodiac to humans. So the decision was made to separate the sidereal (star) zodiac from the tropical (seasonal zodiac.) Thus, the spring equinox, when the Earth’s equator “passes” through the center of the sun, is 0 degrees, Aries. Each sign follows sequentially at 30 degrees each.
Every Western astrologer uses and continues to use the tropical zodiac. There have been no changes in its use. No one’s sun sign has changed. Period.
The reason that this is a sensitive subject among astrologers is that skeptics of astrology have used the precession argument to discredit astrology. The last attempt, until now, was nine years ago when community college Professor Park Kunkle announced the same nonsense you printed. It became a media sensation and reported in every media outlet as if it were gospel. It is not. It was not then and not now correct information. It took us, as a community, a while to get things righted, and even now we get echoes of it such as your article. Frankly, it gets tiring.
If you have any questions, you can reach me [phone number redacted.] Or if you prefer, I can refer you to nationally known astrologers in your area.
And here is Ms. Mc Ginty’s answer:
Thank you for writing. I realize this may be a disappointing answer, but I didn’t set out to explain the various traditions of astrology. The fact that the dates published in newspaper and magazine horoscopes differ from the dates when the Earth and Sun currently align with the constellations was a fun way to talk about the planet’s wobble. Because many people are familiar with the horoscopes, but few are familiar with precession, I thought it was the better focus for my column.
Jo Craven McGinty
The Wall Street Journal
There readers. You have her email address.