esoteric and exoteric astrology
Jan 25, 1994 09:56 AM
by Jerry Hejka-Ekins
Apparently H.P.B.'s concept of esoteric and exoteric
astrology differs from yours, since she make a distinction
between the September and the November dates. She calls one the
esoteric and the other the exoteric. Sadly, she does not expand
upon her statement, so it is unclear whether or not it has
anything to do with the "`plans' of the Mahatmas," as you
suggest is implied. Your distinction of one date being the
"conception" and the other the "birth" may have more to do with
it, as H.P.B. also alludes to the inaugural meeting in November
as being a "birth." Yet, the September meeting was not only the
"conception," as you suggest, but also the naming of the Society.
The nomination of an Organization or person has the effect of
individualization--a very important event in ancient cultures,
but lost, or at least obscured in this materialistic one. The
horoscope of a "naming" would have a more subjective reality than
the inauguration, and like hoary astrology, would suggest a
reading based upon different rules.
The astrology as practiced in the western world (by most
astrologers) does not account for the precession of the earth's
rotational axis because it is a *Tropical* system. That is, the
signs of the zodiac are defined by the seasons. The point where
the Sun (by apparent motion) crosses the Earth's celestial
equator in March of each year, defines the first point of Aries
in tropical astrology.
Once the astrologer takes into account of the 50 or so
second discrepancy each year of the Earth moving into this
position, you have changed the paradigm from a measurement
concerning the Sun and the Earth, from the point of view of the
Earth, to a measurement of the Sun and the Earth from the point
of view of a *fixed* point *outside* of the solar system. The
precession of the equinoxes was discovered around 200 B.C.
precisely by an inversion of this--of noting the long term
changes of the positions of the stars from a point on the earth.
Thus, when taking in the phenomena of precession, the system is
no longer tropical, but Sidereal, because you have changed the
reference point from the earth, to a fixed point outside of the
solar system. Unlike the tropical system, the signs of the
zodiac in the sidereal system, are no longer signs of the
seasons, but the positions of the constellations. The confusion
in most people's mind occurs because the names of the signs
(Aries, Taurus etc.) are the same as the names of the
constellations (Aries, Taurus etc.). Though they have the same
names, they are quite different.
Once an astrologer switches from a tropical to a sidereal
zodiac, more than one very sticky problem arises:
The most obvious one is the differences in area the
constellations take in the sky. Aries takes less than 15 degrees
of arc, while scorpio requires almost 60--yet all of the
(tropical) signs are exactly 1/12 of the celestial circle, or 30
degrees. Therefore any overlaying of the tropical zodiac over
the constellations can be no more than an approximation.
Siderialists get around this problem by *idealizing* the uneven
constellations into perfect 30 degree segments.
The Second (and more important) problem concerns the
location of the starting point of the constellational Zodiac.
Since the tropical zodiac traditionally begins with the first
degree of Aries, we might guess that the constellational zodiac
has the same beginning point. But where exactly in the sky *is*
that starting point? What marks it? A star? An imaginary point?
One solution was launched in AMERICAN ASTROLOGY magazine back in
1957 by Fagan, Allen, Firebrace et al, who asserted that the
beginning point coincided with the star Spica, located at about
the last degree of Virgo. This system was widely promoted and
given the name "Sidereal Astrology." Though it had a lot of
converts, especially in the 1970's, the Grande Dames organization
in this country, namely the American Federation of Astrologers
refused to jump on the bandwagon, so its influence died away with
Classical Hindu astrology is based upon a system of 28
divisions, based upon the 27 plus day orbit of the moon around
the earth. The twelve house system is also practiced there, but
is more of a borrowing from western Babylonian based astrology.
However, H.P.B. gave an important clue in referring to an
esoteric Hindu system that gives the beginning point of the
zodiac as being located between the constellations of Sagittarius
and Capricorn. Around 1946 (over fifty years after H.P.B.),
astronomers discovered that this was indeed an important point,
because it is the location of the center of the galaxy!
Now with this background given, I can address your
questions. The "western world recognizes" the precession when it
is accounting for the astrological ages, as you wrote. But the
problem again arises in our ignorance of the starting point. The
Fagan crowd, with their Spica based zodiac popularized the idea
that the Aquarian Age is about two hundred years off. H.P.B.,
calculating from the old Hindu cycles, using the galactic center
as the reference point, gives the Aquarian age as beginning in
December of 1899 (assuming that the messianic and zodiacal ages
coincide), and said that "psychologists will have some extra work
to do, and the psychic idiosyncrasies of humanity will enter a
great change" (C.W. VIII, p. 174 fn.). Other opinions I have
heard argued over the years are 1961 (because of the February
Eclipse with a stellium in Aquarius) and 1976 because of the
culmination of an eclipse cycle.
So to answer your question--no one really ignores the
precession cycle. Though it is not used in Tropical Astrology, it
is very much a part of the sidereal systems. But you have to
take your pick as to which of the sidereal systems has the
correct starting point, so as to accurately predict the change of
the ages. There are dozens of opinions--all with different
dates. Personally, I prefer Blavatsky's system (which takes into
account both the tropical and sidereal), because, among other
reasons, I'm dammed impressed that the picked the center of the
Galaxy as the starting point over fifty years before it was
I'm not sure that I follow your statement that: "My own
humble opinion insists that the actual planets (which are the
centers of the energy i.e. MASS) are the governors which create
the influences accounted for within the astrological systems." I
don't think that most systems of astrology would disagree with
you. In both systems the planets are accounted for in their
*actual* locations. However, one system (tropical) uses the
zodiacal signs as a backdrop, while the others (sidereal) uses
the constellations idealized into perfect 30 degree segments,
based upon some starting point. Therefore in both systems, the
planets ARE the REAL centers of influence.
Yes, Blavatsky mentions in several places that most of what
is practiced in the west and called astrology is only a shadow of
what it once was. She gives ample directions for the
reconstruction of a true esoteric astrology, but I haven't seen a
single astrology book, either exoteric or esoteric that picks up
on her clues.
I hope this clarifies things.
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