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Is it what is seems?[edit]

Should the zodiac even be part of wikipedia? Is there even one reliable source on the subject? You tell me. Stuffed tiger (talk) 17:27, 2 November 2012 (UTC)

Did you read the "References" section? Some of the sources are highly reliable. It's common knowledge that the zodiac is a concept used by both astronomy and astrology. Even if you think astrology is useless, it has been a significant cultural phenomenon for thousands of years, and until roughly the time of Isaac Newton, a driving force in the advance of astronomy.Jc3s5h (talk) 17:34, 2 November 2012 (UTC)
Even if I took your position, which I don't, should mythology, spiritual knowledge, fiction, fantasy, games, TV, metaphysics, esoteric knowledge, religion, among many others be part of wikipedia by that token? What is a reliable source by your definition, something that can trace back where the zodiac originated, if so we have several. Taien101 (talk)

Of course this page should be here - the banner above shows this subject to be a vital article in science. But the page content is very poor. I have just joined Wikipedia specifically to improve the unsourced content that previously appeared in the "modern astronomy" section, but really the whole page is a bit of a mess. Does the page really need what looks like a big astrology advert that appears top-right of the article? Unicorndh (talk) 10:28, 7 May 2015 (UTC)

What did you know before then?[edit]

I did read the references, but not quite sure you understand the differences between astrology and astronomy. Newton may have introduced us to the galaxies and such, but astrology never changes. Astronomy implies that everything is moving. Technically it is, but there are some things that never change. A relative point is always relative to one object, and since there are no known fixed objects, we have to assume that everything is relative. Is there a fixed point? No one knows. I'm sure there might be some people who think they know, but they will always be guessing. Stuffed tiger (talk) 15:44, 5 November 2012 (UTC)

Astrology does indeed change. The positions of the Sun, Moon and planets in modern astrology are calculated using Newton's law of universal gravitation and Einstein's general theory of relativity. See for example the ephemerides listed in the astrology shop of the American Federation of Astrologers.[1] Modern Western astrology is tropical, meaning that the vernal equinox, the starting point of the zodiac, moves relative to the fixed stars. This "precession of the equinoxes" is regarded by modern astrologers as exactly the same as modern astronomy's "general precession", which is composed of a major component named the "precession of the equator" (formerly "lunisolar precession") and a component 100 times smaller named the "precession of the ecliptic" (formerly "planetary precessiomn"). Although modern astronomy (and astrology) has no fixed point, it does have inertial space, defined by the positions of many extragalactic radio sources which have no observed motion across the celestial sphere, which is sufficient for modern astronomy. As soon as the planets Uranus, Neptune and Pluto were discovered, they were given symbols similar to the calssical planetary symbols and their influence on the affaire of people were described, generally based on the equivalent gods, another change in astrology. — Joe Kress (talk) 23:54, 6 November 2012 (UTC)

Meaningless References[edit]

References 3 and 5 - 10 are completely meaningless. Whomever is responsible, please provide more complete information so that those of us who are interested may search for more information. As they are, simply a name and a year, could be real or just as easily be made up - there is no way to tell. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:28, 13 April 2013 (UTC)

Unfortunately the article does not follow any discernible citation style. But it does follow the general concept of shortened citations, which are recognized in one form or another in all the major citation guides. The name of the author, the year, and the page are given, and the reader is expected to look at the list of works near the end of the reference section to find the full details on the source. The advantage of shortened citation is that when several different pages from the same source are sited in different spots in the article, the reference section is much shorter than it would be if the full details were given every time.
Do you have any particular citation style in mind that you think would be suitable for this article? Jc3s5h (talk) 17:51, 13 April 2013 (UTC)

Name, year, and pages are perfectly acceptable as long as the details are given at some point. I suggest a citation style in which all relevant information is included the first time the reference is cited. Then for citations from the same work, immediately following in the reference list, then the name, year, and page number is acceptable.

Smith, J. D., Doe, F. U., & Larry, J. G. (2013), Book Title, Publisher, p. 1 - 5

Smith et al., (2013), p. 10 - 20

Smith et al., (2013), p. 50 - 60

Also acceptable is "Ibid" following the first full detailed citation.

Smith, J. D., Doe, F. U., & Larry, J. G. (2013), Book Title, Publisher, p. 1 - 5

Ibid., p. 10 - 20

Ibid., p. 50 - 60

If the article cites a separate work in between the Smith et al. refs, the most clear way is to restate the full detailed information; however, the author, year, and pages are still acceptable (though if there are more than one work from the same author, this can lead to confusion).

Smith, J. D., Doe, F. U., & Larry, J. G. (2013), Book Title, Publisher, p. 1 - 5

Smith et al., (2013), p. 10 - 20

Smith et al., (2013), p. 50 - 60

Frank, M. W., & Sampson, Q. P. (1999), Book Title, Publisher, p. 20 - 30

Frank & Sampson (1999), p. 45- 50

Smith, J. D., Doe, F. U., & Larry, J. G. (2013), Book Title, Publisher, p. 15-16

Smith et al., (2013), p. 40 - 42

The reason I ask, is that I am interested in the historical perspective. The statement "The division of the ecliptic into the zodiacal signs originates in Babylonian ("Chaldean") astronomy during the first half of the 1st millennium BC, likely during Median/"Neo-Babylonian" times (7th century BC)" is terribly interesting. I would like to know more. Unfortunately, for me, the reference is Powell (2004) which is meaningless without more detail. Looking it up, all I found was an aerodynamics professor from the University of Michigan. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:58, 14 April 2013 (UTC)

Use your browser search capability to search for the string "Subsequent Defining of the Zodiac" and you will find the article by Powell, which is available from the WayBack Machine. Jc3s5h (talk) 16:35, 14 April 2013 (UTC)


The fact that Ophiuchus is in the main table is absurd. The concept of that sign started as recently as 1970 with Stephen Schmidt, and is used by almost nobody. The table should reflect the standard Zodiac dates used by millions, not some foolishness that leaves Scorpio covering one measly week of the year. At best, it should be a footnote with Cetus. (talk) 13:06, 22 July 2013 (UTC)

The table demonstrates the relationship between zodiac signs, as a way of roughly locating the position of the Sun along the ecliptic, and the position of the sun in currently recognized constellations. Whether astrologers think there is any significance of the sun or other solar system bodies being in the constellation Ophiuchus is not the subject of the table.
Perhaps the table could be rearranged so that the name and symbol for Ophiuchus do not appear under the columns of the table labeled "Sign", so that it is more clear that hardly anyone, whether astrologer or astronomer, regards Ophiuchus as a sign. Jc3s5h (talk) 15:15, 22 July 2013 (UTC)
Is there a reason why the unicode symbol for Ophiuchus (HTML: ⛎) is not present anywhere on the page ? KirkeCypris (talk) 21:33, 30 November 2013 (UTC)
That would most certainly be appropriate on the article dedicated to Ophiuchus, but not here besides the mention it has already.Volpane (talk) 17:38, 28 April 2014 (UTC)

Please start by defining terms[edit]

A sign of the zodiac is composed of an element - Fire, Earth, Air or Water - and a state of energy, commonly known as cardinal (having energy), fixed (resisting energy) and mutable (seeking energy). Thus, Aries is Cardinal Fire. Scorpio is Fixed Water. Gemini is Mutable Air, etc.

A simple definition such as this would prevent the current misunderstanding of 13th and 14th signs, as the system is based on a 4 x 3 grid. As long as that works out to 12, nothing else matters. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:06, 18 August 2013 (UTC)

No. Signs of the zodiac have been used by astronomers to indicate the location of objects in the heavens, as a celestial coordinate system. Although that usage is archaic, when that use was prevalent, it didn't indicate any belief in four elements or cardinal energy. Jc3s5h (talk) 16:41, 18 August 2013 (UTC)

This request is unnecessary as the astrological aspects and elements are thoroughly explored in the article Astrological sign which is also referenced very early in this article under the link "sign". This article serves both astronomy and astrology communities and needs to contain only what is in-common with each other.Volpane (talk) 17:50, 28 April 2014 (UTC)

Please define the signs[edit]

Signs of the zodiac differ from constellations, not in being found on the ecliptic, but that each sign is qualified as being fire, earth, air or water; as being cardinal, fixed or mutable, and as being positive or negative.

It is essential to know this as it explains why the zodiac is of twelve, and not eleven or thirteen or any other random number.

The list:

Aries: Cardinal fire, positive

Taurus: Fixed earth, negative

Gemini: Mutable air, positive

Cancer: Cardinal water, negative

Leo: Fixed fire, positive

Virgo: Mutable earth, negative

Libra: Cardinal air, positive

Scorpio: Fixed water, negative

Sagittarius: Mutable fire, positive

Capricorn: Cardinal earth, negative

Aquarius: Fixed air, positive

Pisces: Mutable water, positive

The above table should be included in the main article.

You'll find all of this already, and more, at Western_astrology#The_twelve_signs. Chiswick Chap (talk) 19:04, 16 November 2013 (UTC)