Monday, August 27, 2018

A whale of a tale

“Astrology 14: Your New Sun Sign” by Steven Schmidt is an old book, published in 1970. It comes with a positive blurb by Hans Holzer, but seems to have been quietly forgotten anyway. Schmidt's astrology is based on the real positions of the star constellations in the zodiac, thereby resembling Hindu astrology (Jyotish) or Walter Berg's system. In other words, his form of astrology takes into consideration the phenomenon known as precession. It includes 14 sun signs, rather than the traditional 12, thereby beating both the Vedic astrologers and Berg. The two additional signs are Ophiuchus (the Serpent-Bearer) and Cetus (the Whale). There are also 14 houses. Berg uses the Serpent-Bearer, but Cetus seems to be unique to Schmidt's system. Due to precession, all of the sun signs are assigned new dates. To take just one example, Aries (traditionally circa March 21 to April 20) has been moved to April 16 to May 11.

I don't believe in astrology, but even if I had, I wouldn't have found Schmidt's version of the sidereal zodiac much to write home about. Very often, the new signs simply combine the characteristics of the old signs they have replaced, making you wonder about the point of the exercise. Thus, Pisceans in “Astrology 14” have virtually the same character traits as Arians in the old system, hardly surprising, since New Style Pisces *is* Old Style Aries. The new sign Cetus resembles old Taurus, and once again the dates are roughly similar. New Taurus is similar to Old Gemini, etc.

But sure, there are some conspicuous differences later in the parade, as when the author informs us that Ophiuchans (really Sagittarians and Capricorns born before New Year) are very sensitive, versatile and would make great performers or entertainers! Really? Do I look like a new Sammy Davies jr or Frank Sinatra to you? Schmidt also claims that Scorpios (Old and New Scorpio overlaps) aren't particularly violent or erotic. Geezus, Steve, don't you know that Scorpio is the sign of secrets? This guy would be dead, cavorting with the more Plutonian element of the Scorpio subpopulation!

I can't say that “Astrology 14” really thrilled me. Only two stars (!) for you, Mr Sidereal Cetus Astrologer You!

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