The Zodiacs



Definition: The term zodiac comes from Ancient Greek Zodiakos Kyklos and refers to a 'circle of the animals.' For the definitions of zodiac, follow the Zodiac Wheels link. There are several Zodiac Wheels in use in astrology today, of which the most important are:

Further Information: Whilst the Galactic Zodiac wheel is an accurate description of the zodiac constellations of our Milky Way Galaxy, unfortunately neither the Tropical nor Sidereal Zodiac are very accurate.

The standard Tropical Zodiac of we western astrologers is hopelessly wrong, being more than two thousand years out of date.

The Sidereal Zodiac is better - as its starting point is based on star positions of today not two thousand years ago - but it's still an over-simplification of the Real Solar Zodiac which contains thirteen signs which have unequal lengths. Follow this link for a comparison of the Tropical and Sidereal Solar Zodiacs.

There is also a Planetary Zodiac which contains more signs than the Real Solar Zodiac's thirteen, and a Lunar Zodiac. The reason for the existence of these two zodiacs is simply that the planets' [and the Moon's] orbits are a little tilted in comparison to the Earth's path around the Sun, so the planets pass through many more signs than the Sun does as seen from the viewpoint of Earth.

Two zodiac wheels can be used which don't come from Babylonian/Greek Achaean roots: the Celtic Zodiac and the Chinese Zodiac.

A summer solstice view of the northern hemisphere constellations showing Ophiuchus and Scorpius.


Real Solar Zodiac chart of the southern sky at the Summer solstice [in the northern hemisphere, Jun 21st]. The arc going from northwest to southeast is the ecliptic. The degrees along the ecliptic from the Vernal Equinox are marked. The order of constellations is Virgo, Libra, Scorpius, Ophiuchus, Sagittarius, Capricornus, Aquarius, Pisces.

Click on the above picture for the Zodiac Charts summary page which has a link to a larger version of the zodiac chart shown above, and others.

The Zodiac and Astrology:

01:  What is a Zodiac? What are Zodiac Wheels?
02:  Galactic Zodiac
03:  Real Solar Zodiac and Zodiac Charts
04:  Tropical Zodiac
05:  Sidereal Zodiac [Vedic Zodiac]
06:  Comparison of Tropical and Sidereal Solar Zodiacs
07:  Examples of Tropical and Sidereal Zodiac Wheels for Prince William's Horoscope
08:  Planetary Zodiac
09:  Lunar Zodiac and Lunar Mansions
10:  Chinese Zodiac
11:  Celtic Zodiac
12:  The Non-Zodiac Stars and Constellations

© Dr Shepherd Simpson, Astrological Historian


Historical Astrology

See the new Astrological Index for the meaning of other astrological words and phrases

Galactic Zodiac