You have been reading horoscopes based on tropical astrology all your life. It’s time you learn about sidereal astrology.
What Is Sidereal Astrology?
Most of the horoscopes you see in the United States and Europe are based on the tropical system of astrology. However, there is another kind called true sidereal astrology. Both forms of astrology contain signs named after constellations.
The difference is the tropical system is based on a fixed astrological map of the stars as they were around 0 AD. The sidereal system is based on the current position of the constellations.
Over the years, the stars have slowly changed location relative to Earth, which means there is a twenty-four degree variance between the tropical system you are accustomed to using and the actual constellations. That means your sun sign is probably different in sidereal astrology than in tropical astrology.
According to sidereal astrology…
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You are an Aries if you are born in between Apr 21 and May 12.
You are a Taurus if you are born between May 13 and Jun 19.
You are a Gemini if you are born in between Jun 20 and Jul 16.
You are a Cancer if you are born in between Jul 17 and Aug 6.
You are a Leo if you are born in between Aug 7 and Sep 14.
You are a Virgo if you are born in between Sep 15 and Nov 3.
You are a Libra if you are born in between Nov 4 and Nov 22.
You are a Scorpio if you are born in between Nov 23 and Dec 6.
You are a Ophiuchus if you are born in between Dec 7 and Dec 18.
You are a Sagittarius if you are born in between Dec 19 and Jan 19.
You are a Capricorn if you are born in between Jan 20 and Feb 13.
You are an Aquarius if you are born in between Feb 14 and Mar 9.
You are a Pisces if you are born in between Mar 10 and Apr 20.
If you are born within three days of another sign you are a blend of both signs.
Ancient cultures — like the Egyptians, Persians, Vedics, and Mayans — have always relied upon the sidereal system. They considered it more accurate since it is based on an actual link between the time of birth and the natural world as opposed to a theoretical position based on the seasons of the earth.
The Thirteenth Zodiac Sign
There are twelve signs in the tropical system. The sidereal system contains the same signs with the addition of Ophiuchus.
The constellation Ophiuchus is known as the serpent-bearer. It is represented as a man grasping a snake.
If you were born between December 7 and December 18, you fall under Ophiuchus. This means you are spirited, magnetic, curious, impulsive, and clever. You have a thirst for wisdom and knowledge. You have an excellent sense of humor.
However, you are jealous, secretive, single-minded, and have a horrible temper. The second you mistrust someone, you shut them out of your world forever. You are also an introvert and avoid situations where you are not in control.
The Traits Of Each Sidereal Sign
The remaining twelve zodiac signs are also found in the tropical system. Although their dates differ, the personality traits associated with each sign are similar.
Here is a rundown of each sign in case yours is different than what the tropical system led you to believe:
If you are an Aries, you are energetic, tenacious, and heroic. You are also impatient, combative, and aggressive.
If you are a Taurus, you are romantic, grounded, and supportive. You are also vain, possessive, and stubborn.
If you are a Gemini, you are adventurous, adaptable, and vibrant. You are also deceptive, distracted, and superficial.
If you are a Cancer, you are caring, helpful, and creative. You are also uncommunicative, hypersensitive, and defensive.
If you are a Leo, you are generous, entertaining, and warm. You are also arrogant, jealous, and blunt.
If you are a Virgo, you are practical, organized, and resourceful. You are also critical, reserved, and overwhelmed.
If you are a Libra, you are social, fair, and charming. You are also indecisive, manipulative, and unopinionated.
If you are a Scorpio, you are passionate, brave, and magnetic. You are also secretive, obsessive, and probing.
If you are a Sagittarius, you are optimistic, enthusiastic, and bold. You are also reckless, irresponsible, and overconfident.
If you are a Capricorn, you are responsible, ambitious, and hardworking. You are also unforgiving, pessimistic, and cold.
If you are an Aquarius, you are independent, open-minded, and inventive. You are also detached, irrational, and idealistic.
If you are a Pisces, you are comforting, sympathetic, and intuitive. You are also gullible, clingy, and self-pitying.
What Does A Sidereal Birth Chart Tell You?
There are three main components to any birth chart — houses, signs, and planets.
Houses represent the areas of life that are most important to you. For example, your house might be linked to matters relating to inner peace and connectedness. Or it might be linked to matters relating to transparency, healing, and the depth of life.
Signs represent the qualities of your life. That could mean expressing yourself through creativity, playfulness, and sharing who you are with others. Or it could mean building a legacy through discipline, patience, and perseverance.
Planets represent the transient experiences of your life and personality. For instance, Mercury relates to interactive learning. Mars relates to self-determined action. Saturn relates to developing structure.
When you look at your birth chart, you should also look at your sun, moon, ascendent, and chart ruler.
The sun and moon represent the fundamental elements of your personality. The sun represents your outwardly focused, expressive side. The moon represents your inwardly focused, reflective side.
Meanwhile, your ascendent represents the qualities you are developing as a result of your life experiences. Combined with your chart ruler, it tells you how your life is going to unfold and how your personality will develop based on your life experiences.
There are plenty of websites where you can type in your date of birth, time of birth, and location of birth in order to get a look at your own birth chart.
Should You Rely On Sidereal Astrology Or Tropical Astrology?
There is a heavy debate over whether the sidereal or tropical system is more accurate.
Even though the tropical system is more popular in Western areas of the world, Hindu astrology continues to use the sidereal system for their predictions.
However, there are problems with both systems. The tropical system is based on the seasons, which is problematic since they are flipped in the northern and southern hemispheres.
Meanwhile, in sidereal astrology, the constellations do not line up with the signs perfectly, so sidereal astrologers debate the starting point for the zodiac.
Everyone has a different opinion on whether tropical astrology or sidereal astrology is more accurate. You are free to follow whichever system makes the most sense to you.
Create Your Birth Chart
When you first entertained astrology, you probably assumed the "signs" corresponded with actual constellations. That's natural right? When someone says they are a Leo, they assume the Sun was in the constellation of Leo at the time of their birth. They might be surprised to learn that it more likely was in the constellation of Cancer.
What?! Yes, it is a bit odd. From a broad perspective, the issue is that calculating actual star positions in the sky is not very easy. In the Neo-Babylonian period, around 700 B.C., when the first roots of modern astrology were sprouting - people did actually look to the sky to chart constellations and their positions. Likely, early people were very connected to the movements of the stars.
At 700 B.C., people did not even know the effect of the precession. What is that? Here's an image that demonstrates it perfectly: The earth's rotational axis itself is slowly changing.
By slow, we mean very slow. The full rotation of the axis of the earth itself takes 26,000 years. But astrology has been present for a very long time. It’s already been more than 2,000 years since the Babylonians defined some of the first constellations we still use today!
This means that the rotational axis of the earth has shifted today since astrology was first in use, and continued to be in use over the many centuries. The stars today are in a different position in the sky. They are not off by much though. It approximately 25 degrees back (so if your Sun is 22° Scorpio, the true position of your Sun was 27° Libra). Eventually, it will be a full sign back. The true position of the planets are effectively the Sidereal calculations.
Ok so star positions are slowly shifting - but why do we continue to antiquated positions?
So we know what Sidereal Chart calculations are now. They are the positions of your Sun, other planets, and asteroids in their true constellation regions in the sky. There is another school of thinking which defines modern astrology and bases the energy of the signs on "the time of year" rather than the positions of the stars. It's called Tropical rather than Sidereal.
In Tropical astrology, if you are born on the Vernal Equinox, you are a 0° Aries Sun. It's irrelevant what the constellation in the sky is. The "energy" of the that time of the year is Aries. What is the Vernal Equinox? It can occur as early as March 19th or as late as March 21st, and is the period of the year when the path of the Sun passes over the Earth's equator. Here is a visual representation.
Note that the Sun's path is brown in the image above, as it travels along the celestial plane or "ecliptic". Our Earth's equator is the equatorial plane. Note that around March 21st or at the Vernal equinox every year, the Sun's path cross the ecliptic and starts heading northward. It enters the Northern Hemisphere and peaks there at June 21st (the Summer Solstice) which is why summer occurs around June in the North. Visa versa in the Southern Hemisphere.
So, the Tropical system of astrology which is our default on this site and throughout most of Western Astrology, uses the Vernal Equinox and time of year to determine what is called the First Point of Aries. Back in Babylonian times, this used to really correspond with Aries. It no longer does. Due to the precession of the equinoxes, it is now in Pisces. By the year 2600 it will be in Aquarius.
In the Tropical system, all of the other signs are simply measured 30 degrees from the First Point of Aries, and thus the Tropical horoscope is formed.
How can I calculate Sidereal position on this site?
Maybe you would not like to use the Tropical chart calculations. I prefer tapping intuitively the energy of the signs and concluding what is right for you. I find resonance with the Tropical system and many do. But if you'd like to use Sidereal charts on our site now, its easy!
You don't need any special Sidereal chart calculator to see them. Simply create a birth chart and enter your date of birth and location.
Open Chart Settings (to the right of the chart) and scroll down to check the "Use Sidereal Calculations" checkbox. Now your chart, planets, houses, aspects and patterns will transform to use new Sidereal positions.
Why should I opt to use Tropical Astrology over Sidereal?
Perhaps hearing that modern astrology is out of sync with real constellation positions may spur your interest in Sidereal calculations. It's interesting to note though that astrologers as early as the first century A.D. were opting for the Tropical system. Ptolemy noted this in his books. Many astrologers were also aware the constellations used did not perfectly cover their segements of the ecliptic, which were divided into 12 equal sized pieces.
Meanwhile some constellations are much smaller or larger than others. Some also note the constellation Ophiuchus covers a portion of the ecliptic. But it was assumed that the constellations were more just the conventional names for the energies reflected by these 12 sections.
There is magic to the mathematical nature of the number 12, its easy division into 4 elements (air, earth, fire and water) and 3 modes (cardinal, mutable, fixed). It's likely the evenness and ease of the system was favorable to the fixed star positions, which after all were difficult to calculate for Middle age astrologers.
However, it should be noted that in this modern day its easy for us to calculate this positions which opens up a whole new world of exploration and potential that we should take advantage of! :)
Create your free, personalized, and highly customizable birth chart (natal chart) by filling in the form below. Using our tools you can hide/show planets and asteroids, choose a house system, customize orbs, show declinations, sidereal charts and more...
Free Natal Chart Report Sidereal Zodiac
Free Natal Chart Report – Sidereal Zodiac with Whole Sign Houses
The following free birth chart tool lists planet signs, house positions, and aspects. This is for the Sidereal Zodiac with whole sign house system and using the Lahiri ayanamsha. This system is not for everyone so that if you are uncertain, you might instead go back to the default system for determining houses, which is Placidus using the Tropical Zodiac (For the default report using the Tropical Zodiac and Placidus houses, return here). Please note that Cafe Astrology uses the Tropical Zodiac by default. The whole sign house systemWith the Whole Signs House system, each house begins at 0 degrees of the sign. For example, if the Ascendant is 4 degrees Leo, then the 1st house begins at 0 degrees Leo, the 2nd house is calculated as 0 degrees Virgo, the 3rd, 0 degrees Libra, and so forth. If you're uncertain, we suggest using the default generator with Placidus houses to start. After studying astrology and experimenting with house systems, you might elect to use Whole Sign, Koch, Campanus, Equal, or others, or continue with Placidus.
Many of the major factors are currently interpreted, such as Sun, Moon, Ascendant, Mercury, and Venus in signs and house. More to come, so please check back from time to time! **See instructions/notes below for using this calculator.
Some notes about this birth chart calculator:
- Please be patient when entering your birth city to allow the program to call up the list of locations as sometimes it’s not instantaneous. If you’re just not getting results and can’t submit, it may be that the atlas is busy (GeoNames has certain limits per hour and per day). In this case, you can use this same tool on my sister site, Astrology Cafe here.
- It’s important to enter the city name only or the first several letters of the city in the Birth City field, not the country or state/province/region. For example, if you were born in Fuzhou, Fujian, China, you should enter “fuzhou” or similar and not “fujian” or “china.” It’s better not to overtype – for best results, type in the CITY name and scroll through the list for the correct city.
- **Important: Under normal circumstances, you don’t need to change the time zone offset. Please don’t adjust the time zone offset unless you know for certain what you’re doing since the default offsets incorporate crucial factors, such as daylight savings time, and are in the majority of cases accurate. There are discrepancies as with all historical time zone atlases, particularly for birth years before 1970, so if you need help with the time zone offset value, send an email to [email protected] Be sure to mention why you’re writing and include full birth data.
If you’d like to save your report to keep for yourself, you might choose the PDF option above. Before generating the PDF, you can adjust the fonts and click to remove parts of the report you don’t want to include in your copy–such as this paragraph!
Do you prefer the default Tropical Zodiac with the Placidus House system? If so, you can find the default free natal chart report with Placidus houses here. If you prefer the Koch house system, you can use this Natal Chart Report Generator with Koch Houses, or if Equal is your preferred house system, use the Natal Chart Report with Equal Houses calculator.
See also Cafe Astrology’s Free Reports site, including full interpretations of the natal chart, transits, and compatibility, online since 2002.
The interpretations in the birth chart report are written by myself, Annie Heese, and are typically expanded interpretations already found on this site.
Sidereal and tropical astrology
Forms of Astrology
Sidereal and tropical are terms used to describe two different definitions of a year. In astrology, they refer to two different systems of ecliptic coordinates used to divide the ecliptic into twelve "signs". Each sign is divided into 30 degrees, making a total of 360 degrees.
While sidereal systems of astrology define the signs relative to the apparent backwards movement of fixed stars of about 1 degree every 72 years from the perspective of the Earth, tropical systems define 0 degrees of Aries to coincide with the vernal point or vernal equinox (also known as the March equinox in the Northern hemisphere), and define the rest of the zodiac from this point. Sidereal astrology maintains the alignment between signs and constellations via corrective systems known as ayanamsas (Sanskrit: 'ayana' "movement" + 'aṃśa' "component"), to allow for the observed precession of equinoxes, whereas tropical astrology ignores precession. This has caused the two systems, which were aligned around 2,000 years ago, to drift apart over the centuries.
Ayanamsa systems used in Hindu astrology (also known as Vedic astrology) include the Lahiri ayanamsa and the Raman ayanamsa. The Fagan-Bradley ayanamsa is an example of an ayanamsa system used in Western sidereal astrology. As of 2020, sun signs calculated using the Sri Yukteswar ayanamsa were around 23 degrees behind tropical sun signs. Per these calculations, persons born between March 12 - April 12, for instance, would have the sun sign of Pisces. By contrast, persons born between March 21 - April 19 would have the sun sign of Aries per tropical calculations.
Cyril Fagan, a Western sidereal astrologer, assumed the origin of the zodiac to be based on a major conjunction that occurred in 786 BC when the vernal equinox lay somewhere in mid-Aries corresponding to a difference of some 39 degrees or days.
Main articles: Ecliptic and Zodiac
A small number of sidereal astrologers do not take the astrological signs as an equal division of the ecliptic but define their signs based on the actual width of the individual constellations. They also include constellations that are disregarded by the traditional zodiac but are still in contact with the ecliptic.
Stephen Schmidt in 1970 introduced Astrology 14, a system with additional signs based on the constellations of Ophiuchus and Cetus.
In 1995, Walter Berg introduced his 13-sign zodiac, which has the additional sign of Ophiuchus. Berg's system was well received in Japan after his book was translated by radio host Mizui Kumi (水井久美) in 1996.
For the purpose of determining the constellations in contact with the ecliptic, the constellation boundaries as defined by the International Astronomical Union in 1930 are used. For example, the Sun enters the IAU boundary of Aries on April 19 at the lower right corner, a position that is still rather closer to the "body" of Pisces than of Aries. The IAU defined the constellation boundaries without consideration of astrological purposes.
The dates the Sun passes through the 13 astronomical constellations of the ecliptic are listed below, accurate to the year 2011. The dates will progress by an increment of one day every 70.5 years. The corresponding tropical and sidereal dates are given as well.
- "The Real Constellations of the Zodiac." Dr. Lee T. Shapiro, Planetarian, Vol 6, #1, Spring (1977). 
- "The Real, Real Constellations of the Zodiac." John Mosley, Planetarian, Vol. 28, # 4, December (1999).
- "The Primer of Sidereal Astrology," Cyril Fagin and Brigadier R. C. Firebrace, American Federation of Astrologers, Inc., (1971) ISBN 0-86690-427-1
- A History of Western Astrology, by S. Jim Tester, 1987, republished by Boydell Press (January 1999),ISBN 0-85115-255-4, ISBN 978-0-85115-255-4
- Raymond, Andrew (1995). Secrets of the Sphinx Mysteries of the Ages Revealed. Hawaii: U N I Productions. ISBN .
Chart sidereal astrology
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