To understand the origin and purpose of humanity and soul consciousness we need to expand our measure of time to one that reaches deep into prehistory. One such measure is the 26,000-year cycle it takes for a point on the ecliptic (equinox, solstice, etc.) to complete a full cycle of the twelve constellations that represent what we call the zodiac belt on the ecliptic. Points projected on this belt move westwards and traverse a full sign approximately every 2,148 years, one degree every 72 years. This phenomenon is called the Precession and there is at least three major ways to interpret its chapters.
- The movement of precession through the twelve constellations of the zodiac
- The four Yugas
- The periods spent above and below the galactic arm known as the Photon Belt
A full cycle of precession takes approximately 26,000 years. This cycle is often referred to as the Great or Platonic Year due to its first mention in Plato’s Timaeus.
The Ages of Precession
Best known is the movement of the eras or ages as we refer to our age of Pisces and the one soon to arrive, that of Aquarius. Rudolf Steiner aligns the most recent of these ages with eras of cultural civilizations as follows:
Precession occurs as the points that mark the seasons in our tropical zodiac move away from the corresponding constellations in the sidereal sky. This is caused by the tilt of the earth’s axis. I explain this fully at the end of this chapter.
The Four Yugas
Eastern philosophy delineates four descending and four ascending phases to this cycle, which they name Yugas. These move from golden to silver to bronze to iron and back from iron to bronze to silver to gold. 400 BC appears to represent year 0 in this U-turn. Each descent and ascent take 13,000 years. Travel over the full cycle equals the duration of precession, namely 26,000 years. Each of the Yugas has a different duration:
GOLD – 5,200 years, SILVER – 3,900 years, BRONZE – 2,600 years, IRON – 1,300 years
The corresponding Indian names are:
- GOLD: Krita or Satya Yuga, the age of spirit
- SILVER: Treta Yuga, the age of thought
- BRONZE: Dwapara Yuga, the age of energy, and
- IRON: Kali Yuga, the age of matter.
According to eastern philosophy inspired by the Rishis during the ancient Indian civilization:
- During the Golden age man fully participates in the divine.
This is a time when we see the divine spirit in everyone and everything.
- During the Silver age man is in dialog with and perceives the divine to stand behind him.
This is a time of one universal language, when we see everything as interconnected.
- During the Bronze age man harbors a dim memory of the divine.
He understands energy and its relation to matter. This is an era of self-interest.
- During the Iron (also referred to as dark) age, man has no memory of the divine.
Religions are dogmatic, and society is persecuting. Higher knowledge lies hidden.
As per Swami Sri Yukteswar (1855 – 1936), an Indian monk, yogi, and scholar of the Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads, the yugas spanned the following years:
SILVER 22500 – 18600 BC
GOLD 18600 – 13400 BC
GOLD 13400 – 8200 BC
SILVER 8200 – 4300 BC
BRONZE 4300 – 1700 BC
IRON 1700 – 400 BC
IRON 400 BC – 900 AD
BRONZE 900 – 3500 AD
Civilizations occur as follows:
- The Indian civilization unfolds at the turn from golden to silver age.
- The Persian / Mesopotamian civilization is all within the silver age.
- The Minoan, Hebraic, Egyptian civilizations rise during the bronze age.
- The Greco Roman civilization experiences the descending followed by the ascending iron age.
- Our current age, mostly characterized by monotheism started in the ascending iron age and moved back to bronze as we exited the early (or dark) middle ages.
- The age of Aquarius will experience the move from bronze to silver.
This may well be a cycle within a cycle, one that is about five times greater in duration. The greater cycle encompasses the entire time required by man to evolve soul on planet Earth. According to that cycle Rudolf Steiner states that the Iron era lasted for 5,000 years, from 3100 BC to the mid 1900’s AD. He places the move from Golden age to Silver back in Lemurian times. One thing remains the same between the two cycles, we have now entered the bronze age.
If eastern philosophy has this right, man descended from spirit and is currently in the process of returning to spirit. In our current time we only allow a dim memory of the divine to influence our culture. This dimming is also obvious in the civilizations of Classical Greece and Rome which recorded, but did not experience, man’s interaction with the divine.
Their epic stories take place in times earlier, such as the Persian and Minoan with tales of demigods, kings, and heroes such as Perseus, Cadmus, Minos, and Heracles. Starting with the war on Troy, the Greco-Roman culture is already in the influence of the iron age and is laden in battle. Most of its peacetime attention is placed on developing arts and sciences, which the Greeks practiced in theory, the Romans in application.
The Photon Belt
There is one more period that marks the Platonic Year and that is the passage of our solar system through the arm of our Galaxy. Barbara Hand Claw names this the Photon Belt. The crossing takes about 2000 years and is characterized by intense light, higher temperatures, and extreme spells of dry alternating with wet weather. This is the natural result of the greater mass of astral material in the arm of the Milky Way which augments the light reflected on earth from the sun thus increasing the overall temperature of our planet.
It is important to understand that this crossing is the equivalent of passing through our galactic equator and will at some point cause the magnetic pole around which the earth spins to reverse its polarity. This will only increase the level of weather extremes and may be followed by massive changes in our globe’s land and water mass.
Barbara Hand Claw claims that this passage occurs twice in a Platonic Year, always during the ages of Leo and Aquarius. Combining the 2000 years needed to cross the photon belt with the rest of the precession yields this figure with Leo and Aquarius in the crossing and the other two fixed signs, Taurus and Scorpio, prominent as high and low turning points.
This figure is key in understanding the prominence of the four fixed signs and why they play such a dramatic role in our journey through multiple civilizations. Notice how small our vision back is, the one we name History. It covers less than a quarter of the Platonic year. Can we dismiss the other four quarters? Or is there a different way to interpret our phases of being?
The figure also indicates a movement between the Rupa and Arupa states in our existence. Rupa in Buddhism refers to existence in form that develops individual consciousness. Arupa refers to existence in an energy sheath, not bound to form, and therefore metamorphic. This type of existence is what we see recorded in fairy tales and mythology.
Eras in the evolution of soul consciousness
As the ages that move us away from the divine bliss unfold, man evolves consciousness. According to Rudolf Steiner, soul evolution lags these age demarcations by almost 1000 years. This because it takes man this long to awaken his soul to the spirit of each age. In the section below I use the chronological periods marking man’s evolution of soul consciousness as taught by Rudolf Steiner.
Almost 13,000 years ago, as the vernal equinox moved from Virgo to Leo, and the golden era moved from ascent to descent, man exited the state of virgin and divine existence enjoyed in the garden of Eden and entered the world of strife and pain that we feel to this date. This is still a golden age, marked in the Bible with the generations between Adam and Noah. It is marked in Greek Mythology under the rule of Zeus.
For those of us who believe in the evolution of soul consciousness, pain and strife are the means to teach man to harness self from within. Over thousands of years, this allows man to rise again and participate in the divine as co-creator. Human will then constitute a new hierarchy, following the long continuum from Cherubim, Seraphim, Thrones down to the three right above ours, namely the Archai, Archangels, and Angels.
The hosts of hierarchies that span the divine and unseen universe have gone through a similar training in ages past and do so continuously in times present. So, take heart, this is just an elaborate school we are attending on our way to rise as Bodhisattvas, then Buddhas, or beings anointed in Christ (Christos means anointed in Greek). Anointment is attained through the trials of initiation.
The phases of soul evolution denoted by Rudolf Steiner last for about 2,100 years each.
- The atavistic soul 4900 – 2800 BC
- The sentient soul 2800 – 700 BC
- The intellectual soul 700 BC – 1400 AD
- The consciousness soul 1400 – 3500 AD
According to Rudolf Steiner 2800 BC signals the crossing from atavistic to individual consciousness. This is the crossing from the age of Gemini to the age of Taurus.
Each time the vernal precession crosses into a fixed sign (Leo, Taurus, Aquarius, or Scorpio) humanity experiences a challenging leap in its evolution. During the age of Taurus man first engaged the physical brain to develop inner thought at an individual level. This became possible as the cranium hardened increasingly blocking receptions from the cosmic soul. This caused humanity to fall into a state of separation from the divine that called for the creation of religions, as also of sciences.
Today as we prepare for our passage from the age of Pisces to the age of Aquarius, we face a similar leap in which, as many mystics claim, the earth frequency is changing calling us to attune the frequencies in our energy being. The scouts today are the energy workers and healers who are opening this pathway for the rest of humanity. Neglecting to do this will present individuals with psychic disturbances that lead to increasingly extreme behavior. This phenomenon is already unfolding around us.
The change fully set in in 2012. Remember all the references to the Mayan calendar coming to an end? What ended was the vibration of the world as we knew it back then. We have entered an era of approximately 2000 years when our solar system traverses our galactic belt.
Rudolf Steiner defines the eras of evolution of soul consciousness as they align to each of the signs that mark the vernal equinox during precession. The age of Atlantis came to its end while precession transitioned the vernal equinox through the sign of Leo. Note that in the eras shown below Rudolf Steiner examines the span of influence of a given sign, not the period of the equinox transition itself. This influence is delayed by more than 1000 years which is the time it takes for the general population to follow the influence seeded by the initiates.
Our Post Atlantean age is marked by the following eras:
- The era influenced by the vernal equinox travelling over Cancer spanned from 7000 – 4900 BC. It brought the Great Flood, also the time when soul first moved to dwell within the human being. This is the symbolism of Noah’s ark filled with all the species of animals, male and female. Anima means soul in Latin. Man’s life span changes and can no longer attain to the 900 years or so recorded earlier. The civilization of ancient India evolves during this era.
- The era influenced by the vernal equinox travelling over Gemini spanned from 4900 – 2800 BC. It marks the time of ancient Persia and the Mesopotamian cultures giving rise to the cult of Zoroaster. This brings emphasis to the duality that differentiates light from darkness and good from evil. In terms of consciousness this is the era of atavistic soul.
- The era influenced by the vernal equinox travelling over Taurus spanned from 2800 – 700 BC. It marks the time of ancient Egypt, also of the Minoan civilization and its heroic epics. In terms of consciousness this is the era of sentient soul.
- The era influenced by the vernal equinox travelling over Aries spanned from 700 BC – 1400 AD. It marks the Greco-Roman period, and the advent of Logos. In terms of consciousness this is the era of intellectual soul.
- The era influenced by the vernal equinox travelling over Pisces spans from 1400 – 3500 AD. It marks our modern era. In terms of consciousness this is the era of consciousness soul.
- Since the latter part of the 20th century advanced souls have been feeling the influence of the Age of Aquarius. What they feel and teach today will take until 3500 AD before it becomes accepted as common knowledge by the population at large.
Disciplines by which to carve character have existed since civilization began. Ancient initiation was such a discipline. Each of the phases of soul consciousness is marked by an evolution in the discipline of initiation. This discipline deepens as man evolves the soul faculties by which he internalizes experience and harnesses the self to better direct one’s choice and action.
The purpose of initiation was to train an individual to harness within oneself the ability to balance out the duality experienced in each emerging era. This differs because the level of consciousness attainable by man evolves from one era to the next. The discipline of initiation varied accordingly and was geared to develop the faculties of soul required as each era manifested new opportunities and challenges. Initiates were the scouts to first emerge the new soul properties working to pave the road ahead for the rest of mankind.
Atavistic Soul Consciousness
Humanity experienced the atavistic soul as precession moved the vernal equinox over the sign of Gemini. As the myth of Castor and Pollux tells us, this is the time when man (as experienced in the lower self) is separated from spirit (or higher self). This is a mandate as man is destined, or privileged even, to live and learn by interacting with the physical world, a reality dipped in duality.
Castor (son of a mortal father) and Pollux (son of Zeus) are inseparable twins, born to the same mother. One grows as a mortal, the other as an immortal. When Castor, the mortal dies, Pollux the immortal, stricken with grief wishes to offer his immortality to his brother. Zeus takes pity on the two brothers who are here forth called Dioscuri (sons of Dias or Zeus). He allows them both to live as immortals, provided they swap positions between mortal and immortal between them, never to occupy the same position at the same time.
Later, Roman versions of the myth, corrupt the story by allowing emotion to rule bringing the two brothers together as they swap realms. But that makes sense to a progressively romanticized way of thinking, not factored in the way of the ancients.
The great Athenian comedian, Aristophanes, speaks of this upper and lower self phenomenon in Plato’s Symposium, yet who takes a comedian seriously? Maybe we should. His version differs a bit as the separation is between male and female, causing the mortal half to eternally seek out the immortal half. According to Aristophanes, this explains all one needs to know about eros, the definition of which was the purpose of the philosophers’ meal.
The story of Orpheus seeking out Euridice may also be interpreted to speak of the same phenomenon. Orpheus, plunged in the physical grieves his separation from his beloved Euridice, now prisoner in Hades, the unseen realm. Orpheus, a son of Apollo, lures all obstacles with the music of his lyre and steals into Hades to call Euridice to follow him back to the physical domain. One restriction gets imposed; he is not allowed to turn back to see her. Unable to hear her footsteps, Orpheus turns back and loses her from his sight forever.
In recognition of this sad wonder, Orpheus establishes a mystic cult celebrated all the way down to the Hellenistic era especially by the poet Pindar. The cult emphasized that to accomplish one’s return to spirit, one needed to free the soul from the physical body.
While inatavistic soul consciousness, man sees himself belonging to a family, tribe, nation, or race. Its history is marked by the deeds of the patriarch chief and administering high priest of the tribe. Little is known about individual followers as they primarily seek safety and protection through the obedience and service that best preserves their survival. They harbor no desire to carve their own mark in history. During this time man connects with the unseen realm in a dreamlike state.
Consciousness in this phase focusses on the first chakra, where the mother/father, the ancestors, and the bloodline hold dominance in one’s identity. Unless one is an initiate, individuality is not at play here. One considers oneself a son of Abraham, or whatever progenitor defines their bloodline. Initiation in this phase is aimed to produce the shepherds and prophets who guide their folk.
As the external world, moves center stage in man’s perception of his surroundings, fear starts to reign supreme. Fear stems from the belief or recognition that life constantly faces duality in the crossroads that mark its journey. Danger versus shelter, good versus evil, mine versus yours, divine versus mortal, are notions that haunt man now, as his ability to participate in dialog with the divine fades away. The cult of Zoroaster emphasizes the need to recognize and act on the duality between the light of the divide Sun and the darkness.
This becomes a time ripe for leaders who can establish clear limits, rules, and objectives by which to direct their followers. To become such a leader, whether king or high priest, one needed to undergo initiation. The first step to initiation? One’s conscious entry in the other realm. The Greeks called this the realm of the unseen, mythology preserves its name as Hades.
Rudolf Steiner explains that the initiation they faced in this early phase needed to induce a separation between the etheric and physical bodies, such that the candidate would perceive their spirit as immortal and distinct from their physical body. This step Steiner refers to as the earth trial of initiation. It involves a journey into the other, the unseen, realm, what the Greeks referred to as Hades.
What travels to Hades is the eternal part of us, not the physical body. To accomplish the journey, the candidate had to be induced to a near-death condition for 33 to 36 hours. It took an experienced priest or priestess to successfully oversee one’s descent and return from the netherworld.
Sentient Soul Consciousness
As man moves from atavistic to sentient soul circa 3000 BC initiation involves one more step, the harness of the self to master the lower dan tian or second chakra. We see this in the ancient art of Qi Gong and external martial arts in ancient China. Also, as the age of the heroic in ancient mythologies. Mythology preserves legends of men descending to Hades to claim the powers and tools necessary to accomplish labors fit for the coming era.
Demigods like Orpheus (son of Apollo), Perseus (son of Zeus), Hercules (also son of Zeus) and later the man Odysseus and demigod Aeneas (son of Aphrodite) are all such men. Yet each of their initiations slightly differs based on the era of soul evolution.
Starting with the Age of Taurus in 2800 BC man begins to develop individual consciousness. This is the consciousness one refers to when using one’s first or given name. Individuality is at first experienced in the second chakra as a sentient soul consciousness which seeks to build social responsibility through the practice of individuation that exercises restraint in the face of fear and desire.
Among the masses, this consciousness seeks to obey clearly defined rules of social behavior. This is a time of faith through obedience to decrees such as the Mosaic Law and its Ten Commandments, with an equivalent set probably practiced under the guidance of Horus in Egypt.
For a few select individuals in a tribe, this is the time of initiation into manhood which occurs during the adolescent years. This is the rite of passage that gives a boy his individual name, by which he may now differentiate from his family root name. This phase of initiation aligns to what we call the water baptism in our culture today. In ancient Greece, this rite of passage is celebrated in elaborate detail in the demigod-hero’s journey.
Referred to as the water trial back then, it is exemplary of a hero’s journey over water and tempestuous rivers and seas. The Argonauts, Odysseus, Aeneas, all undertake a water trial journey. The earth trial is still a requirement, and occurs at the peak of the water journey.
The courage mustered by the hero is harbored in our gut or second chakra, what martial arts names the lower dan tian. The Chinese culture placed tremendous attention in the strengthening of this lower dan tian.
Martial Arts to this date mandate strenuous training to hone one’s center of physical power in the area between the hip bones. This is done by the practice of forms, meaning postures and movements that copy the natural kingdom and train man to move and breath in a manner that seals all physical leaks, so that prana (Indian), or ki (Japanese) or chi (Chinese) – also spelled qi – may flawlessly travel through the body as directed by the mind.
Intellectual Soul Consciousness
Starting with the Age of Aries in 700 BC man begins to develop intellectual soul consciousness which seeks to ignite one’s freedom to pursue one’s individual thought process. This is primarily experienced in the sixth chakra,or upper dan tian, that harbors our physical brain. This marks the time when oral tradition begins to be recorded in alphabetic writing. It also marks the gradual transition from song and poetry to prose as well as the introduction of libraries, academia, and science.
This was not an easy transition as man needed to be taught to read and write personal memory in the physical brain. The myth of Theseus slaughtering the Minotaur in the Cretan Labyrinth points to that difficulty. If the labyrinth denotes the brain, the thread of Ariadne denotes the recording and subsequent reading of such memory.
Notice that the beast that is killed bears the head of a Bull on the body of man. This animal head that must be overcome is also typical in Egyptian deities. This is the state of consciousness in the age of Taurus. To prepare for the era of the intellect (or Logos) initiations were underway in Egypt that produced priests, pharaohs, and later scientists to take the helm. Their emblem, the Sphinx, denoting the victory or the human head presiding over an animal body.
This age is best observed in classical Greece, when man still maintained a balance between cosmic inspiration and individual thought. The centaurs are the teachers here. They have a human upper body over an animal lower body. Sagittarius is one such, called Toxotes or the Archer in Greek. He has sagittas (wisdom) and the ability to focus his aim on the sting of the Scorpion’s tail. Incidentally, the area between the arrow of Sagittarius and Scorpio’s poisonous tail in the sidereal sky marks the center of our Galaxy. Did the ancients know that center, which we only discovered again in recent years?
The trial involved here is that of learning. Education takes perseverance and involves firing up our brain. Should we call this a fire trial since thought is an electrical phenomenon? Yoga does, in its discipline to train the brain to rule over both our sympathetic and parasympathetic systems.
Rudolf Steiner explains that with man descending deeper into the physical, the cranium hardens and begins to block out the right mind tuned to the universal soul. This brings man closer to operating one’s personal and physical brain to calculate thought and store memory. These acts are greatly facilitated by the advent of writing. Writing becomes available to the larger population with the discovery of the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg in 1436. Notice how this date falls close to the fall of Constantinople (1453) and the formal end of the Greco-Roman era.
Throughout the era of the Intellectual soul, the art of dialoging with one’s physical brain had to be learned, much as we learn to operate a computer today. This learning was added to the discipline of initiation as performed in Egypt well into Classical Greek and Roman times. By the time of Plato’s Academy, such discipline included education in the seven liberal arts and sciences of Grammar, Dialectic, Rhetoric, Music, Astronomy, Arithmetic and Geometry.
As the practice of thinking in our physical brain progresses, humanity dives deeper and deeper into the material world and loses touch with the cosmic mind. Since the physical brain can by no means grasp the spirit, this age is laden with the creation of religions, each aiming to preserve the ancient concept of the divine and the rituals needed to relink to our spirit essence. Yet spirit can only be experienced from within, and religions do not survive the scrutiny of the brain.
Starting in the Age of Pisces at 1400 AD man begins to develop consciousness soul proper, which seeks to reintroduce man to the knowledge of spirit from within. Consciousness soul is harnessed as we attune and realign our fourth chakra, or middle dan tian, that harbors our heart’s mind. Here man learns to replace hatred with love, and his need for equity and justice with forgiveness. This is where the teachings of Confucius, the Buddha and the Christ come into play. The man who attains sublime balance in the middle dan tian, opens the gates for divine light to shine through once again. According to Rudolf Steiner, we have another 1,500 years in which to accomplish this level of consciousness.
Many experience this consciousness soul era as a phase of un-learning. This is the time to step out of obedience and into one’s authentic soul. I call this leap an air trial. Traditional religions, cults and teachings pose a barrier to this entry because they seek to dictate one’s behavior based on predefined rules and cultural ethics. Yet, the road to divinity is an individual path; no one can tred on the path of another. Until one finds one’s own center of truth there can be no re-connection with our divine self.
In the Timaeus Plato describes the soul as the make-up of two opposing orbits, the upper relates to the fixed stars and consists of sameness, the lower relates to the wandering planets and is defined by difference.
Does this verbal description remind you of the symbol of the Tao? Here sameness can be found in the innocence of the night (yin) and difference is sought after in the activity of the day (yang).
The ancients, Greeks and even more so the Romans, perceived Lethe as a river that separated the divine from the mortal world and once crossed erased all memory of the other realm. If we depict it thus:
In Greek, the word for truth is Aletheia. This is the harnessing (or overcoming) of Lethe, the forgetfulness imposed as one’s spirit crosses this river at the time of birth. The letter alpha (A) stems from the Hebrew alef. This is the first letter of the Semitic abjads, that stems from the Phoenician ʾālep, which is a horizontal Alpha, lying on its side. As a hieroglyph it depicts a plow pulled by two oxen. Placed in the front of a Greek word, it denotes the negation or control over that word. It follows then that the harness of Lethe penetrates through it and rises vertically as follows:
The vertical axis that harbors our truth is no other than our spine. By becoming truthful and authentic we learn to consciously climb its ladder which opens us to the unseen realm while engaging our individual thought. This marrying of the seen with the unseen world in our realm of thought is the ultimate purpose of initiation.
If our postulate here is true, it is imperative that we evolve our individual column of truth if we are to survive the passage back to the formless state of being. While we align identity to our body only, we cannot pull our sword (spirit) out of its rock (matter). This means that we will bear no identity into the formless universe.
Precession refers to the movement of the signs and points that mark our four seasons away from the constellations that mark the zodiac belt of the ecliptic in the sky. This constitutes the difference between the sidereal and the tropical zodiac belt. Sidereal refers to the stars and constellations as they are fixed on the firmament. Tropical, from the Greek Trope (turn) refers to the zodiac as it marks the turn of the seasons on earth. Here, 0-Aries always marks March 21st as the beginning of spring (vernal equinox) on the tropical calendar.
Precession recognizes 12 “faces” in a Platonic Year. These 12 “faces” change as the vernal equinox moves backward in the precession. The movement of this tropical vernal equinox point names each successive “face” in the Platonic year based on the sidereal constellation being traversed. The exact date of each transition varies on how one divides the constellations in the sky. Today, assuming each face is 30 degrees long, we are 3 degrees or 216 (3*72) years away from our exit of the “face of Pisces” and our transition into the “face of Aquarius”.
Precession, as also the four seasons, occur because the north/south polar axis of the earth does not align with the axis of the poles of the ecliptic. Over time (25,920 years to be exact) the earth pole axis inscribes an hourglass figure of two cones in a 23.5 degrees aperture formed around the celestial polar axis These are connected at their tops in the center of the earth.
As the poles move to form their respective north and south cones, the plane formed by the declination of the equator shifts its position in relation to the plane formed by the ecliptic. This causes the EW line, which marks the interception of the equator and the ecliptic planes, to move around the ecliptic circle, perpendicular to the celestial axis. As the earth polar axis rotates, the marker of the north pole projection, currently provided by the polar star, will, in 10,000 years, be replaced by Vega.
As this line moves, the ecliptic East and West points, which mark the Vernal and Autumn Equinox, slowly change position in a clockwise direction. The declination of the sun and the planets north or south of the vernal equinox demarcates the width of the ecliptic belt. This is measured by planet, as its latitude. The distance of the luminary or planet along the line of the ecliptic from the Vernal Equinox yields the planet’s longitude.
Astronomy measures longitude in sidereal terms. So does eastern or Vedic astrology. Western astrology, largely influenced by the Ptolemaic model recorded in the Tetrabiblos, works with tropical measurements. Note that at the time of Ptolemy (100-170 AD), the two systems overlapped yielding one and the same measurement. The difference in astrological systems aligns with the focus of each system; the eastern or sidereal dealing more with the sun-centric spiritual side of man, the western or tropical dealing more with the earth-centric and physical.