Does astrology work in the southern hemisphere?

southern hemisphere astrologyTropical astrology is based upon the turning of the wheel of the seasons, with Aries at the Spring equinox and the rest of the cardinal signs marking the beginning of the other equinoxes and solstices.  But what happens in the southern hemisphere where the seasons are reversed?  When the first day of Aries marks the first day of autumn, does astrology still work?

For some reason I have more clients in Australia than in any other country, and often when reading charts for people born “down under” the question of the accuracy of “northern-centric” astrology.  Time and time again, the chart proves its accuracy.

One of the flagship astrological software programs, Solar Fire, comes to us from Esoteric Technologies in Australia.  Charts in Solar Fire for southern hemisphere births are calculated exactly the same as for those in the northern hemisphere.  (I had a short Facebook chat with Jamie Darkstar who confirmed that Australian astrologers use the same charts that we do here up north, but he reminded me that many of the experts in fixed stars, as Jamie is, are Australian.)

Western astrological symbolism comes down to us from the ancient Greeks who saw the sky  from the perspective of the northern hemisphere which is a mirror image of the sky from the southern hemisphere.  But it’s important always to remember that astrology is a symbolic system – the signs are BASED on the constellations, but they are NOT the constellations.

The famed Dane Rudhyar and some other astrologers have proposed reversing the astrological chart to better fit with the astronomical reality of the southern hemisphere.  Others disagree:

For contemporary astrologers, signs are seasons, however they are psychological seasons, not literal ones.  While the Sun in a sign pinpointed the time of year (since this is how time became measured) any another planet in a sign does not equate with these literal seasons. Metaphorically Aries is a beginning whether it marks the beginning of spring or not.  Jupiter in Aries may be a robust beginning but obviously is not spring.  Seasonal metaphors for the twelve zodiacal signs are solar based.  Northerners often ponder whether the meaning of the signs should be reversed to accommodate the seasonal differences.  Again this is fixing the zodiacal metaphors from the Sun’s point of view.  Carl Jung often used to refer to astrology as a “projected psychology”.  Onto the heavens we cast our myths animating the constellations with our human psychology.  Here in the South hemisphere the zodiacal signs are also able to be adapted seasonally with Capricorn being dry or Cancer being wet.  The archetypal zodiac responds to its projections.

full article by Aussie astrologer Brian Clark here.

The archetypes embedded in the art of astrological symbolism exists in all climates, no matter what the actual weather is.  Capricorn is still cold and geared towards a lack of emotionality whether it exists in a hot desert or in the frigid Arctic circle.  Cancer is still touchy and sensitive even when it falls in the dead of the southern hemisphere winter.  

Modern knowledge is based on the application of reason to what are called facts. This knowledge is scientific – it is hard, it is objective and it is ‘out there.’ But as even science will sometimes admit, you cannot separate the observer from the observed. What is seen is profoundly influenced by the mind that is seeing.

And the mind thinks symbolically, whether it understands that or not. A scientific fact or theory may seem to be just that on paper. But if it is a significant fact or theory, then our mind does something else with it. That idea acquires power, it comes to stand for something. Even the term ‘significant’ shows this: something is significant because it signifies something, it stands for something. Or let’s say ‘important’ idea instead: well that means it has an import, it implies something beyond itself. Even the word ‘understand’ means to stand under, as if we are receiving wisdom from above.

Please share your experiences in the comments!

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By | 2018-11-09T16:49:59+00:00 July 11th, 2011|Astrology|5 Comments


  1. Abhi July 11, 2011 at 10:46 pm

    Why do you say that the signs are based on the constellations?

    • July 16, 2011 at 8:13 am

      The twelve signs are named after the twelve constellations that we see the Sun travel through. But the twelve signs are nicely packaged into neat 30 degree segments, and in reality the constellations do not fit so neatly into that package.

  2. Alice Portman July 23, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    I disagree with Canadian born and raised Brian Clark about Capricorn. In Australia this is a high summer sign and manifests differently than in the mid to high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere, where it is a cold winter sign.

    Northern Hemisphere astrologers born in these latitudes have a lot of difficulty separating the seasonal manifestation of the signs from the signs themselves.

    I have written an article about this here:


    • July 24, 2011 at 9:40 am

      Thanks for your comment, Alice – but I would argue with you on several points. First of all, I would object to the idea that an individual’s Sun sign describes their physical appearance. I have read of this idea of using the sign polarities instead of the signs for southern hemisphere charts, but as long as the standard zodiac works for chart consultations for my southern hemisphere clients, which it does, I’ll continue to use it.

  3. Alice Portman July 24, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    Well, the Sun sign certainly colours the physical appearance to quite a degree, though the Ascendant, its duad and planetary aspects to the Ascendant have the major note. I used sun signs for examples because I originally wrote the article for a magazine, but the same process applies to the Ascendant. For example, Capricorn rising tends to produce a big body with big hands and feet in the Southern Hemisphere.. a good example is Ian Thorpe, one of Australia’s great swimmers.

    My blog clearly states that you do not reverse polarity in the Southern Hemisphere – an error that some northern hemisphere astrologers who can’t differentiate between seasons and signs tend to make. I wrote the whole article to emphasis that point, with an illustration to explain why and how the standard zodiac will work throughout the whole world.


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