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"The celestial bodies are the cause of all that takes place in the sublunar world."
-St. Thomas Aquinas



ver the years there has been a dispute over the Tropical vs Sidereal zodiac as to which zodiac is the right one. Actually, they both have their merits as each zodiac presents its own insights. The tropical zodiac is related to seasonal signs with the first day of spring initiating the wheel with zero degrees Aries. The Sidereal point for Aries is a 23+degree difference between the two zodiacs. So, to find the actual heavenly position for zero degree Aries means you actually have to look at (approximately) 5 degrees 26 minutes in the constellation Pisces.

Furthermore, the term "Sidereal astrology" or the observable zodiac, is a misnomer. The actual Sidereal zodiac has constellations that range in unequal arcs and sizes. Some constellations (based on Powell) are small as 9° 23' in longitude (Cancer) and as long as 43° 00' in longitude (Virgo). So, as Sidereal astrologers, we do not actually relate planetary meaning with constellations as they are placed in the heavens.

The largest misunderstanding between the two zodiacs is the belief that one can simply add six degrees, fall back a sign and read the Tropical sign reasoning as personality traits. One born a Tropical Leo may have the Sun in the sidereal constellation of Cancer but the meaning for Cancer in a Tropical context is not pertinent

We only use the mathematics based on the Vernal Point of (approximately) 5° Pisces 26' as fiducial instead of zero degrees of Aries. One of the fiduciary points is based on the Fagan/Bradley position for the Sidereal Vernal Point. This difference of 24° 24' between the two zodiacs is what all the fuss is about.

When using the Tropical zodiac, archetypal energy is related to its own basic triad, the house, the sign and planet. There are two additional significators, the quality, cardinal, fixed or mutable and its element, fire, water, air and earth. In this manner, Aries a cardinal (quality) fire sign, the 1st house and Mars all relate to the fire trigon, and all basically mean the same thing, outward energy.


Sidereal astrology basically relates the planetary positions to the star fields and not the tropical signs. The main thrust of sidereal planetary positions associate with the 4 primary angles to reflect their strength in the chart. In this form of astrology, there are three basic energy factors, the angle, mid-ground and background. The closer to an angle the stronger the energy. That is not to say however, that Tropical astrology does not define the angles as well, it does.

Today, most Sidereal astrologers in the United States and in Europe use the Tropical astrologer's form of horoscope, the use of the 30° solar arc house system. The reason for this is that there is no commercial program or ephemeris available to the public that fulfills the need of true Sidereal planetary positions. Even using computers, most of the real work must be done the old-fashioned way, by using our heads we figure it out and write it down on paper.

For the sunset chart work, I have noticed that the results are far more satisfactory using the mathematics of the Sidereal zodiac in favor over the Tropical system. This is especially true, as the reader will find out, when arranging the 30-degree stack by planetary longitude. The highest planet by degree of longitude in each decanate simply does not work using the Tropical system. There is a six-degree error and any planet over 23 degrees in the Tropical system isn’t correctly placed.

Done properly, this method will give the astrologer insights into a solid basis of Sidereal astrology: an astrology that clearly defines the relationship of the planets to the person in the horoscope and how the client personally relates and reflects to those planets in his everyday life. The sunset chart is a bold step away from the conventions of modern day astrology, and coupled with what you already know, one step that will reveal a greater depth of understanding of the world around us and within us. •

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