logov_it.gif (8595 byte)



A Zodiacal Technique of Re-Enchanting The World Landscape

By Rab Wilkie

Geodesy is the science of measuring the Earth accurately. Without it we would not have the geographic coordinates of longitude and latitude. These, however, seem very cold lines and circles, despite their usefulness. Not because they have been imposed arbitrarily, because they haven't.   Much planning and discussion, over centuries really, resulted in anchoring the whole system at the poles and running referent meridians through the least populated zone on the planet: the middle of the Pacific Ocean, and London, first ruler of all Seven Seas. But because these coordinates are not fired up with ancient and sacred lore, and their numbered labels do not
blaze a reflection of cosmos, they remain transparent under Sun and Moon. Insubstantial, too, because we can walk through and past them unnoticed, without perturbing a hair or triggering a neuronal discharge of recognition.

This is not necessarily a bad thing. It would be nuisance to wade through webs. But sometimes it's nice to see the world as a landscape that is not separate from stars -- an option that can enhance our walks and talks, our comings and goings, and camps where worlds converge. Hence: "The
Theory of Geodetic Equivalents", or astro-geodesy, the magical science of measuring Earth by stars.

Not long after 1883, when the global system of Standard Times was adopted, (first, at noon in Cobourg, Ontario, Canada, on Saturday, 17th November by the Midland Railway), some British astrologers began playing with the idea of linking the zones with the zodiac. The world, after all, had been calibrated with 360 degrees, and there were 24 time-zones of 15 degrees -- the distance travelled by the Sun in one hour, so it was easy enough to match each sign of the zodiac with 12 two-hour segments. And since the whole system was based on the meridian of Greenwich, it was an obvious choice to anchor the beginning of the zodiac, the first degree of Aries, with that longitude.

The result was a global zodiac that ran eastward from London, following the natural and observable sequence of signs, such that the first 30 degrees of longitude (0 to 30 East) corresponded with Aries, the second 30 degrees (30 to 60 East) with Taurus, and so on.

This was the plot first described in a published work authored by Walter Gorn Old ("Sepharial") around the turn of the last century, and reprinted by the American Federation of Astrologers about 1920 as "The Theory of Geodetic Equivalents". Since then, astrologers have experimented with the orginal system and promulgated several versions, running the zodiacal sequence backwards as well as forwards, keeping the ecliptic on the equator or offsetting it by 23.5 degrees to reflect reality, and employing different longitudinal anchors for Aries to suit varying concepts or personal taste.

That so many options exist, can be seen as interesting, liberating, or confusing. But in practice, as with house systems, usually the student as well as the veteran astrologer goes with whichever system has first grabbed hir attention as viable, and persists with it as long as cognitive dissonance does not overwhelm. Which is not often, due to the power of any apt symbol-system that shapes and entrains our thoughts and perceptions while guiding them by bounds. And opening mind to magic.

Understanding the basic principles than underpin every astro-geodetic system, however, is the key to coping with all permutations.

Every astro-geodetic plot juxtaposes in some manner the celestial sphere on the terrestrial sphere so that every place on Earth coincides with a star-patch. We set it up by selecting a moment in time and plotting the astro-geographic correspondences with respect to zenith positions.  That is, of stars and celestial coordinates (declination and right ascension) in relation to Earth's places and geographical coordinates (latitude and longitude).

More simply, it's what we'd see if we sat at the center of a transparent Earth and gazed outward at the sky (in all directions at once). Assuming that the surface shell of the Earth and its geography were as recognisable as the stars and constellations, we'd see both together. Though of course
we'd need a labelling system in order to distinguish city lights from celestial, and constellations from transnational patterns of roadlights & cities.

This perspective is a real one, not symbolic, if we have chosen a real moment in time for the juxtaposition. This arrangement is just the basis of an astro-geodetic system that *becomes symbolic* as soon as we start fooling around with that real moment in time. For example, by eliminating planets. We don't want them in there because they tie us down to real time and we want to go beyond that. We want a system that stays put and is always the same -- a spatial system not a temporal one. Like George, we want to kill the dragon called Zodiac and
stake its scaley hide to the (spherical) Earth-wall.

Once we've gotten rid of planets we're left with the (relatively) fixed stars, and because they're fixed they will not move from the places where we've stuck them, even if the moment we've selected is shifted by exact 24-hour increments into the past or future. (A very useful astrological technique).

We still have not yet entered symbolic territory. Almost, but not quite. It's a twilight zone. We are still using a real moment in time, but also a series of real moments based on our original. Because the stars do not move relative to each other, every day, (actually every complete 360- degree rotation of the Earth), at our pre-selected moment they will stay in the same place.

But since the stars are not really fixed, but move VERY slowly at different rates relative to each other (proper motion) as we all orbit the galactic center, fixing them is a little white lie. So little, though, that we can disregard it, unless we're extremely persnicketty or wish to show that such a system becomes more unreliable the farther back (or ahead) in time we go, if we do not make adjustments. Or to point out that by not taking into account proper motion, we're inching toward symbolic territory.

Proper stellar motion is a very minor contributor to our progress towards Symbolia, however. There's a bigger one that thusts us right onto its threshold: precession. For the purposes of analysing current events, precession too can be ignored, but as we begin tracking history, it's necessary to include it. Because the Earth's axis is rotating in a small circle, the whole celestial sphere is continually shifting relative to terrestrial geography -- at the rate of about one degree every 72 years near the ecliptic.

This gives considerable drift to the stars from their original geographic points established with our benchmark moment if we venture more than a few decades from it. So, if we wish to stay in real time, we have to keep tracking stellar movements and adjusting the whole system. The constellational zodiac cannot be used as a fix, except relatively so, for a short period. We could, however, use the stars for a particular moment in time, as we do for nativities, but this would move us into Symbolia good & proper.. after deciding which moment would best serve the whole world. Which could take a while and incur arguments forever. (There are other small apparent motions of stars, such as that caused by the changing obliquity of the Earth's axis to the ecliptic, but they're insignificant unless we're dealing with prehistory).

What then if we skip stars altogether? We got rid of them before by switching to tropical astrology from constellational. This made us happy during the Piscean Age because we no longer had to fiddle and fret with precession. And while we're at it, we should also skip Time because that also gets tricky. All we'll use is the signal zodiac and tan its ersatz hide good without incremental flies to bother us.  Such are the joys of symbolic or virtual reality.
(Don't get me wrong. I love symbols, too. They have their place, but if they are to bear fruit, they must be put to work. And in this case that work is connected with real time and place. In other words, astro-geodesy can become a lost orphan if separated from other astro-geographic techniques).


Most astro-geodetic systems are simply a matter of hooking Zero Aries (tropical) to a terrestrial longitude and fixing the zodiacal signs accordingly, in effect forever. Then letting the planets back
in to ride the roller coaster in real time, but divorced from stars and constellations. (It's a roller coaster because the planets weave through the ecliptic, but also the ecliptic is tilted relative to the equator, which in combination produces great astro-geographical fun).

Many systems are possible though, because there are as many hook-points as there are hookers. But in popular usage, there are no more than several. The top three, not necessarily in order of
popularity, nor in reliability or good sense, are probably Zero Aries aligned with: 1) Greenwich, 2) 90 West, and 3) 120 West (plus a bit, so that the Sphinx marks the Leo/Virgo cusp. And each of these is sometimes run backward, counter to the actual sequence of the zodiac. (Don't ask why. It's hyper-symbolic, like mundane houses).

These are global systems, used in mundane astrology for grokking current events. Less global systems are possible, as are less mundane. Similar can be set up for national or regional purposes,
and for personal, by linking Zero Aries with sites of local or national importance, and with one's birthplace or current residence -- whichever location or site is central or source to the matter under consideration, assuming it is to be studied in the global context.

It is extraordinarily important that we understand the system that we choose to use. Ironically, though, it's a lot easier to understand the systems that are rarely used. It's obvious that our personal geodetic system is about us, or that one based on our nation's capital is about our nation. But when it comes to the non-personal, non-national perspective, i/e the global, most people are lost, (especially USAnians), and we entertain fancy. After all, where was the world (which world?) born, or what's its capital? We move into super hyper-symbolics.

The problem is exacerbated if we are not sure even where the symbolic source, the alpha-omega, of the zodiac (and all cycles) lies. So the first step is to get that right, and understand why this
is so -- at least theoretically, which may then lead to experience. It's Zero Aries, despite every alternative that casuistry can muster or butters can meld. Still, if someone prefers another zodiacal point, wonderful. Let them represent it with Zero Aries.

WIth this in mind we should consider what is being done with the three most used systems so that we know their source -- that which imbues the whole arrangement with meaning. Because
that's what sources do.

I've talked to the wall on this topic before, so I won't belabour it. (Topic or wall). If the Sphinx is Zero Virgo that's fine for AD 2011 and Regulus, but in what way is 120 West the source-line for the world? (Not the life-line nor the party-line -- the Source-Line. Which may or may not involve being on-line, or in-line roller-blading).

Same goes for Greenwich and 90W. We each may arrive at different answers, and if they're good they'll be liked at the table.

Next step: We might assume that the zodiac must be juxtaposed along the equator, despite the earlier invocation of a tilted serpent. Clarification is required.

Yes, often the more popular geodetic systems do shift the zodiac to the Earth's equator so that longitudes coincide with zodiacal degrees, and geo-latitudes coincide with zodiacal latitudes. This
is easier than dealing with the real situation of the tilted ecliptic.
Though with a little extra work we can use that, too. (By converting RA & Dec to Long & Lat). But by equating equator with ecliptic, once again we've gone symbolic. Further still. (It's a wonder we ever find our way back down Jack's ladder from the Green Giant's cloud palance).

So now we have a couple of more sub-systems, based on different orientations of our system pole. We need to understand that as well. The rectification of the ecliptical axis to coincide with Earth's  rotational poles is a doozy. But more on than anon, when other poles may be considered in passing, e/g local and galactic.

By Rab Wilkie -All Rights reserved