by Robert Wilkinson
Many of us who live in the Northern Hemisphere find comfort in knowing how the cycles of Astrology are predictable, from Capricorn as the entry point to Winter to Cancer as the entry point to Summer. And yet, those who live in the Southern Hemisphere have an entirely different experience of which months are tied to which season.
I first gave this to you about 6 years ago, and figured it was time to revisit it, with minor edits for readability. While we won’t do an exhaustive exploration of the concepts introduced today, hopefully some of it will open the doors of imagination and possibility so that we Astrologers in the Northern Hemisphere and Astrologers in the Southern Hemisphere can find common ground of understanding how our year cycles mirror each other. How does our March entry into Spring correlate to the Southern Hemisphere’s entry into Autumn? How do the Capricorn traits of our Winter Solstice correlate to it being their Summer Solstice, and vice versa?
As most know, in June, July, and August, while we in the Northern Hemisphere are having Summer with its long days and short nights, in those months people in the Southern Hemisphere are in the heart of Winter, and only beginning to see the lengthening of the days which will gradually culminate in their warm season in December, January, and February. So the Solar force waxes in the Northern Hemisphere when it wanes in the Southern, and waxes in the Southern as it wanes in the Northern. How can we relate this to the traditional meanings of the signs in Astrology?
The concept of the waxing and waning of the Solar Force in each Hemisphere is a simple mirroring of the other, and so when we say “the Sun is in Cancer,” while we in the North are at the peak of solar expansion (Summer), in the South that sign is a time of claiming personal power (Winter) at the nadir of Solar force as they begin their Solar expansion. In this sense the name we call the "sign of the season" is less important than to see the entire year cycle as an organic whole process which is identical to us all, but occurring at different times of the year depending on which side of the equator we live on.
We understand that Winter (Sun in Capricorn in the Northern Hemisphere, Sun in Cancer in the Southern Hemisphere) is a time of gathering personal power and through mobilized self-interest, come to a larger view represented by the subsequent sign phases ending the year symbolized by Aquarius and Pisces in the North, Leo and Virgo in the South. Each year renews at Spring, regardless of what sign is associated with the Equinox, where life sprouts and expands anew.
This is followed by Summer, supposedly a time where we make crucial personal decisions about how we will secure our expanding work that could yield a potential harvest at the Autumn. Perhaps the meaning of the signs can be expanded to embrace both hemispheric manifestations?
A long time ago I saw that the 12 signs of the zodiac are really only 6 polarities of energies. Aries-Libra is a Fire/Air initiating phase, which is followed by Taurus-Scorpio, an Earth/Water stabilizing phase. Gemini-Sagittarius follows in another Fire/Air phase which distributes that which was stabilized or consolidated in Taurus-Scorpio. This polarity is in turn succeeded by Cancer-Capricorn, an initiating Water/Earth energy that is stabilized in Leo-Aquarius, a Fire/Air polarity. This is distributed by Virgo-Pisces, another Earth/Water phase.
This, along with understanding how the initiative of the Cardinal signs is stabilized by the Fixed signs and distributed by the Mutable signs, across the four quadrants where each Element takes its lead, shows us the intricacies of the time-based evolutionary pulses of our reality. How the elements succeed each other shows us the process of inspiration grounded in practical necessities, then examined and then felt, followed by a renewed inspiration with all Modes of energy operation (Cardinal, Fixed, Mutable, aka the "Gunas" of Vedic philosophy) each given their usual turn in an unending sequence.
(As an aside, there is also an ancient "clockwise" zodiacal system where the elemental sequence is the same, but are assigned to different houses, which would make them work out differently in worldly affairs. I discovered this system through an obscure section of the Secret Doctrine regarding ancient zodiacs, and my old friend Carl Payne Tobey turned me on to his variation of this system back in the 70s. The clockwise chart has important implications for all of us, but that's another article (or book) for another time.)
Perhaps simply regarding the elemental and modal sequence through the 6 polarities can help Northern and Southern Hemispheric astrologers come to a common ground regarding how the Cosmic Process works in a mirrored way between those "up top" and those "down under." I would think that regardless of the conventional ways we up North interpret the various signs, we can find a greater global understanding by seeing our time-based yearly cycle of waxing and waning Solar force as the common experience both hemispheres share.
Another way to get a deeper understanding of the yearly evolutionary process is through examining the 360 degrees as an integrated sequence of phases explained via the Sabian Symbols. Since they were created through an impeccable method by a true Spiritual Initiate, the venerable Dr. Marc Edmund Jones, they would hold true regardless of which hemisphere we're in.
As the meanings of the symbols have been developed by mostly Northern Hemisphere astrologers such as Dr. Jones and Dane Rudhyar, they would naturally conform to the Northern year cycle. And yet, each of the symbols may also have an alternative interpretation related to how the signs relate hemispherically.
Thus 1 Cancer may be a point of radical reorientation through making basic personal decisions, but depending on whether Cancer is the beginning of Summer or Winter, you could see how that energy could have radically different ways of manifesting. Conversely, the "claiming of personal power" energy of 1 Capricorn would have obviously different ways of manifesting depending on whether the Solar force is at its maximum or minimum.
How energy manifests under local conditions is one of the infinite areas of study for students of Astrology. In the spirit of "considering the source," it's always good to think outside the box of limited interpretations since even the greatest of us still has the limitations of the 5 senses and the mind as filters for an absolute experience beyond space-time limitations.
If energy can have expression in almost limitless forms, then it's entirely possible that any degree could have alternate interpretations for its essential energy quality within its larger sequence. Since each point externalizes through its opposing point, that essential energy quality could show through either sign in the polarity.
Given the zodiac as it is and the mirrored differences and similarities in the seasons between Northern and Southern hemispheres, we should be able to find ways to interpret the signs and seasons so the transit interpretations work for everyone on Earth. That's why studying the aspects and the relationships between various signs, being universals regardless of where we are on our Earth, are two important facets of Global Astrology we're exploring on this site to facilitate a larger integrated and synthesized Aquarian view of our ancient craft as part of the dawning of the Age of Aquarius.
These are just a few thoughts about how Astrology and the signs relate to our common and different experiences in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.
© Copyright 2011, 2017 Robert Wilkinson