View Full Version : Barycentric/Heliocentric Astrology
I have pondered for quite some time how to describe the significance of the orientation of our solar system as a whole. It seems to me that the general arrangement of matter in our solar system can represent, in real time, the influences upon the Sun itself. Let's examine the story of the Sun for a moment.
The Sun, our own little star, was born about 4.5 billion years ago. It's size, temperature, and behaviour change depending on its phase of existence (stage of life) at a given time. Sometimes there are internal conditions that aren't even apparent from the surface. Sometimes there are surface conditions that wouldn't be apparent from within. Most commonly, there are internal conditions which cycle and perpetuate to cause external conditions. Indeed, internal and external conditions are causally related in both directions. Whatever happens to the Sun, it will respond as a collective system and not just a bunch of pieces to be tallied. A more rigorous researcher might want to describe the Sun as being a complex, adaptive system (CAS) and would be entirely correct.
This brings us the question of causes to the Sun's behaviour. Ignoring any and all human effects, what could be so great as to cause the Sun itself to change? It does seem to change regularly, after all. New cycles are continually discovered and old cycles seem interrupted at times. What could be the cause of these strange effects? I propose that the most likely cause of common changes within and about the Sun to be the orientation of matter in our solar system. The Sun is the centre of the system, but not all of it. It stands to reason that when matter moves in our solar system (e.g. planets, asteroids, comets, clouds, etc.), there should be resulting internal conditions within the Sun which correspond to the change in external conditions.
To the end of testing this idea, I have written a tool to display the arrangement of our solar system from the Sun's point of view. This tool I've called the Baryscope, because its display is technically barycentric. The centre of the chart (represented by a small, white double-circle) is the exact centre of mass (and therefore gravity) in our solar system. All things in this system orbit the barycentre, even the Sun. There is also the option to include heliocentric houses (equal houses, first cusp identical to the position of Earth) for further testing. Below is a link and an attached example of a barycentric chart. There is also some further explanation accompanying the tool. Feel free to comment as is appropriate.
01-09-2011, 10:12 PM
This is interesting, but seems more astronomy than astrology.
The whole point of astrology is that it shows how the planets and stars affect life on Earth. It is Earth-centered. You can't change that, or astrology becomes meaningless.
The only things that would be affected by a Sun-centered astrology as you have presented it here, are organisms that live on the Sun.
01-09-2011, 10:19 PM
Really interesting, Mark! Could you perhaps compare conventionally constructed geocentric, heliocentric, and barycentric charts for the same event or birthdate, and then explain what we are seeing?
Also, as w/ EA's point--can you suggest what the implications would be for horoscope interpretation?
Heliocentric and Barycentric models are very close to being the same thing. I consider the barycentric model more useful because it shows you which way the Sun is "leaning" around the barycentre. There are big differences, of course, between those two and the geocentric model, which is only concerned with how things look from Earth. It's understandable that some will be slow to move beyond that geocentric comfort zone. Just ask Copernicus. :joyful:
In understanding the importance of looking at things from the Sun's point of view, we need to remember that the Sun is not concerned with what is happening on Earth. We live on Earth, of course, but the Sun doesn't. The idea is that the influence given to the Earth by the Sun depends upon the Sun's condition, not the Earth's condition. The Earth's condition might be descriptive of how that influence is received, but the Sun's condition determines the quality of the influence in the first place.
If we want to know about the reception of the Sun's influence on Earth at a given time and place, we would look to a Sun chart. That Sun chart will show how all the other planets are organised around Earth, effecting the reception of the Sun's influence. This is actually how lots (parts) work mathematically. The idea here is that the Sun is not an island that is far away and removed from all of its planets. The Sun is the centre of a system which includes its planets. Thus, the influence that the Sun transmits would be shaped by the organisation of the entire system. If we can know and understand both the transmission and reception of the influence from the Sun, we will be that much closer to fully accounting for the Sun's influence on Earth.
I will spend some time soon to make an example of a chart comparison. I'm sure it will prove both challenging and useful.
01-10-2011, 01:43 AM
Various Modernist authors (Hall, Robson, Sepharial, Tucker, Carter, Johndro, et al) were not much impressed by the practical results when trying to apply the heliocentric astrological model: perhaps what was missing in that model was a more correct/real-world orientation which Mark's proposed Barycentric model might well provide: interesting and thought-provoking! Thank you Mark!
01-10-2011, 03:34 AM
Mark--two more questions:
1. What is "SA" on the perimeter?
2. A standard heliocentric chart (like the one at Astrodienst) will often show the position of the earth, which is always opposite one's sun. Does that make sense, also, with your barycentric chart?
The "SA" is the Sagittarius A-star or, as more commonly called, the galactic centre. Even though I didn't include other stars, I decided to include the galactic centre because it is that around which everything in our galaxy ultimately orbits. Including this point allows you to see that on December 18, 2012 (the day of the alignment), our planet will be directly opposed to the galactic centre, while the Sun is actually "leaning" toward the beginning of Sagittarius, about 26 degrees away from the galactic centre. When viewing the output, remember that the Sun is always less than 3 solar diametres away from the barycentre, so the Sun line on the perimetre shows you which way it is "leaning." The actual placement of the Sun is still effectively the centre of the chart.
The barycentric chart will look almost identical to the heliocentric chart, just because of how very close the Sun is to the barycentre. So, yes, your Earth sign (indicated by the Moon symbol) on a barycentric chart will be exactly opposite your Sun sign on a geocentric chart.
I haven't forgotten about the chart comparison. I'm just a little busy. I'll get to that soon.
I have attached two charts to this post. The first (left) one is the "normal," geocentric view. The second (right) one is the barycentric view. Go ahead and pull them both up in new tabs/windows if you'd like to follow along. Both charts were calculated for exactly 1:03pm UTC, December 18, 2012. That is the time (somewhere between 1:00pm and 1:10pm) of the peak conjunction (from a geocentric perspective) between the Sun and the SgrA* (galactic centre, labelled "SA") in 2012. There are plenty of other threads that deal with that topic in particular, so here we should focus on what can be gained from each chart.
As should be expected, the major difference between the two charts is demonstrated most accutely by the inner planets. The outer planets are actually so far from the inner solar system that they look only slightly different from the Sun than they do from the Earth. Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto only show a nudge in some direction. All of the inner planets actually jump sign. Geocentrically, Mercury and Venus appear to be separated by about 10° and both are in the first half of Sagittarius. From the Sun's point of view, however, Mercury and Venus are separated by about a degree, solidly conjunct, and are at the very end of Libra.
Since we're talking about the influence of the Sun upon the Earth, let's call the Sun's perspective the "transmitting" paradigm, and the Earth's perspective the "receiving" paradigm. By this thinking, the "influence" of the Sun is actually transmitted (much like light) in all directions at once. The influence felt by the Earth would be only a small portion that was cast in a particular direction (toward the sign in which the Earth happens to be from the Sun's point of view). If we are to say that sign-orientation is significant in receiving influences, should it not also be significant in casting influences? In fact, astrological calculations, such as placements and aspects, are purely directional calculations in the first place. So, we might think of sign influences as functioning in a manner similar to electromagnetics. Whatever forces give each sign its qualities, they must "align" astrological impulses similarly to the way a magnet aligns electromagnetic impulses which pass through its sphere of influence.
From here, we might choose to say that the transmitting paradigm (where the influence is built) represents only latent potential without manifestation. We might further say that the receiving paradigm represents manifestation of that latent potential on Earth. If we accept this hypothetical construct for the moment, we can say that the transmitting/receiving duality of what we normally call astrological influences is analogous to two sides of the same coin. Potential without expression does not exist materially and every material expression originated as a potentiality. In order for something to exist, both components are necessary. It would be well to remember that this contruct is a dichotomy, not a spectrum. In talking about a single occurence, that occurence can be potential or manifest, but not both simultaneously.
At any rate, the things which will tell us the most about the charts is the differences between them. If we assume the transmission/reception model, we may have a viable foundation for a method of interpretation. According to this line of thinking, the influence which the Sun transmits would be built in a world where Mercury and Venus are conjunct at the very end of Libra and Mars is in the middle of Aquarius. The world in which the Earth would receive this same influence is one that would have Mercury and Venus about 10° separated in early Sagittarius and Mars at the end of Capricorn.
We see in the transmitting paradigm that Mercury and Venus are strongly conjunct at the Libra/Scorpio cusp; the planets of Mind and Love are coupled together and in the state of transforming from servant orientation to "wild card" orientation. In the receiving paradigm, we see that the same two planets are separated by about 10° in Sagittarius; the planets of Mind and Love are dancing far apart in the sign of the philosopher.
Every astrologer is going to interpret these "shifts" in his or her own, unique way and every astrologer should be able to interpret them at least somewhat. Mercury and Venus conjunct on the Libra/Scorpio cusp could be read as, "a shifting of mind and heart from service through submission to service through exploration." Mercury and Venus separated by 10° in early Sagittarius could be read as, "the activity of mind and heart expressed through philosophy." This reminds us that astrological charts are a kind of language that, like every other language, can be read and translated in a number of ways.
These proposed assumptions about relationships between astrological bodies allow us to draw a sensible picture out of the pile of information before us. To culminate, here is our example in a more complete form. A barycentric view of Mercury conjunct Venus on the Libra/Scorpio cusp, coupled with a geocentric view of Mercury and Venus 10° separated in early Sagittarius, can be read as, "a shifting of mind and heart (Mercury and Venus) from service through submission (Libra) to service through exploration (Scorpio) in the broad field of philosophical development (Sagittarius)." If we were to include decans, Sabian degrees, and further information, the picture could be fleshed out quite extensively.
If we build upon our standard idea that the Sun represents the illusory self, what might be called the ego, the manner in which one relates to oneself, then we can put our translation into that box. This allows us to say that on Dec 18, 2012, the world (subject of the chart) will be in the process of shifting in mind and heart (of individuals) from service through submission (economy, social heirarchy, etc.) to philosophical exploration and teaching.
The important point to see in this discussion is the fact that both barycentric and geocentric perspectives provide unique information that is useful to constructing a concept of how astrological influences are "put together." This allows us to know the construction of the influence, rather than its reception only. If this system works for solar influences, it could be further expanded to include the perspective of all the planets.
From a barycentric perspective, we can see that the Sun also orbits the centre of mass in our solar system, generating a "lean" in some direction. For the sake of convenience, I'll refer to this "leaning" as "solar persuasion." As it turns out, most of the gravitational effect upon our Sun is dealt by Jupiter. Therefore, the solar persuasion typically moves at about the same speed as Jupiter, though it is a complex motion. Even though Jupiter seems retrograde at that time from the geocentric point of view, the barycentric view knows no such thing as retrograde motion. From the Sun's perspective, planets don't change direction. Thus, retrograde motion is an artifact of Earth's perspective on the solar system.
From the Sun's perspective, the solar persuasion will almost always point away from Jupiter. Similar gravitational wobbles have been used by many to discover planets around distant stars which are invisible even by the best of telescopes. It is a kind of centrifugal force applied by gravity. An adult who swings a small child around themselves (spinning in a circle) would notice/feel that their own body is actually being "slung" in the opposite direction of the child. Our Sun reacts this same way to Jupiter (and the other planets to much smaller extents). In our example chart, we can see that the solar persuasion points to the beginning of Sagittarius. It is approaching the SgrA*, but the Sun won't be leaning directly toward it until late June 2013.
It seems to stand to reason that if we can find use for geocentric orbital values like the lunar apsides and nodes, then we should also be able to find a use for the barycentric orbital values like the solar persuasion. I am not yet prepared to propose a context of interpretation for the solar persuasion. In fact, I would say that it deserves a research project unto itself, as it will require the comparison of many known charts and events to derive a common context, and it's best that we let the data speak for itself, rather than building a mound of unjustified speculation.
This post ended up being a bit longer than I had intended (which is surely not the first nor last time). Even if I am wrong about every conclusion I've drawn, it is my hope that others will be inspired to test and examine these things themselves. Please use these materials to whatever advantage you can and please give others the best materials you can give. Together we can progress.
01-13-2011, 03:05 AM
Very well done, and provides a good deal of food for thought.
Thank you, Mark, for sharing your researches and insights!
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