The Zodiac

A true understanding of the zodiac lies at the foundation of Astrogeographia. As Professor Otto Neugebauer (1899-1990) wrote in his great work A History of Ancient Mathematical Astronomy: "The natural reference system for the motion of the planets, moon and sun, are the fixed stars..." Once having grasped - through the application of "as above, so below" - that there is a one-to-one correspondence between the celestial sphere and the terrrestrial sphere, such that each place on the Earth corresponds to a star in the heavens, there is no other possibility for understanding the zodiac than in terms of the stars making up the signs of the zodiac. By way of illustration, returning again to the correspondence between Vienna and Aldebaran, there was a time when Vienna, under the Hapsburg dynasty, was the center of Europe. This perfectly mirrored the central position of Aldebaran in Taurus.
As shown in Robert Powell's Ph.D. thesis, published in book form under the title History of the Zodiac, the original definition of the zodiac made by the Babylonians early in the fifth century BC was specified by the two first magnitude stars Aldebaran at the center of Taurus and Antares in the middle of Scorpio such that the zodiacal locations of Aldebaran and Antares were defined to be 15 degrees Taurus and 15 degrees Scorpio. Once this central axis running through the middle of the signs of Taurus and Scorpio was defined by these two stars, the longitudes in the 30 degree divisions known as signs of other bright stars in the twelve zodiacal constellations could be ascertained. For example, the bright star Regulus marking the heart of the Lion was found to have a longitude of 5 degrees in the sign of Leo, the first magnitude star Spica marking the tip of the sheath of wheat held by the Virgin was determined to have a longitude of 29 degrees Virgo. In this way the original signs of the zodiac, coinciding more or less with the zodiacal constellations of the same name, were clearly defined. This original zodiac was used in antiquity not only in Babylonia but also in Egypt, Greece, Rome, and India, where it is still in use - in a modified form - to the present day. Now it is known as the sidereal zodiac (Latin sideris, "starry") in order to distinguish it from the tropical zodiac used by most present day astrologers (excluding India, where the sidereal zodiac is still used).
In light of Astrogeographia the signs of the sidereal zodiac, since they are defined in relation to the stars, are also mirrored in specific regions on the Earth. For example, the earthly projection of the sign of Taurus coincides by and large with Europe. There is a symbolic significance to the alignment of Europe with the sign/constellation of Taurus. According to Greek mythology, Europe (Europa) is connected with Taurus. Europa was a daughter of King Agenor of Tyre. One day, while she played at Sidon's sea shore, Zeus, who was strongly attracted to the beautiful girl, appeared to her from the waves of the Mediterranean Sea in the shape of a magnificent white bull. Fascinated by the extraordinary creature, Europa mounted upon the bull's back. Instantly the bull plunged into the sea and eloped with her to the island of Crete. From this union the first king of Crete, Minos, was born, and the bull was set in the heavens as the sign/constellation of Taurus.
The research of Astrogeographia confirms Greek mythology. The earthly projection of the star Aldebaran at the center of the Bull (15 degrees Taurus) coincides with the city of Vienna, which for centuries was the center of the European Hapsburg empire. Now, with the expansion of the European Union to include a number of East European countries, Vienna is once again at (or near) the center of Europe. Already with the collapse of the iron curtain in 1989 - coincidentally the year in which the last ruling Hapsburg passed away - Vienna acquired a new sense of purpose as a gateway city to Central and Eastern Europe.

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