Hello, Ernst, Scott, David and Laura,
I've just discovered this forum, and am very pleased the topic of rasis is being discussed. For those who don't know me, I've been around for a long time, first as a tropical astrologer in the 60s and early 70s, then as a western sidereal astrologer [[iarticles published under "Teresa Weed"] before embracing India's astrology about 30 years ago. Before the internet I wrote regularly for astrological magazines, but now I find the forums a more fruitful and exciting area for sharing ideas.
The topic of rasis/signs is dear to my heart. For many long years I've made a study of the zodiac signs in relation to thousands of horoscopes. My conclusions to date are in articles on my web site, free for reading or downloading: http://users.snowcrest.net/sunrise/LostZodiac.htm
(There is nothing for sale on my web site. It's for information only.)
In their current form, India's ancient texts are a composite from different times and cultures. I don't want to argue the antiquity or lack of it in regard to India's astrology. My main point is that there are many concepts from the west that have made their way into India's revered texts. So, as Ernst has indicated in his research, a clear picture of tropical or sidereal rasis can't be clearly obtained from these texts. The picture is indeed fuzzy. Thank you, Ernst for your article on the zodiac, which I've studied. It's nice to have the references summarized in one place!
So where do we look for evidence of a true zodiac? Ernst, you seem to believe that there is only one valid zodiac. Please correct me if I've misunderstood. I'm not disagreeing with you on that point.
To compound the zodiac confusion, modern authors of Jyotish texts have mainly copied tropical traits to sidereal signs. This isn't logical because the sidereal signs mainly fall in tropical areas that hold the following sign. (As, for example, sidereal Pisces is in the tropical Aries area in modern times.)
Even in India's ancient texts tropical concepts such as the division of signs into movable, fixed and dual are mentioned. This category of signs is clearly of western origin and linked to the seasons. Anyone interested in the history of this classification, please see my article on the subject of the three modalities on the site above: (The Lost Zodiac, Part 4: Myth of the Modalities)
In order to fully explore sidereal signs, I've laid a theoretical foundation beginning with the symbology of the Sun and Moon (The Lost Zodiac Parts 1-4). I believe these concepts are a fruitful foundation for building an understanding of sidereal rasis. My premise, first suggested by Cyril Fagan, is that the traits observed in tropical signs are mainly a bleed-through of the underlying sidereal rasis. There is a closer similarity between ruling planets and sidereal signs than in the tropical system. I would be interested in opinions on this point if anyone has time to read my articles. (I am still working on planet-sign articles, but Aries, Taurus, and Gemini are posted.)
If there is no difference in sign traits for any area of the ecliptic, then we can't use character or the psychology of signs/rasis to validate a zodiac. We'll need to look to mathematical evidence, such as the timing of dasas and a study of solar return charts. We have to look at many specific examples in the areas Ernst has mentioned to fully understand how the zodiac operates.
Ernst, I'm wondering if we can begin a discussion of specifics in your zodiac research that led you to the conclusion of the validity of tropical signs? (However, regarding the physical appearance linked to zodiac signs, in all honesty we don't know if these were originally from India or the west, and planets always mix with sign traits.) I believe we need more exact areas for research. If we have specific birth data, and an example of a technique or principle you used for starters, we might have an exciting discussion. I hope you'll have time for a reply. Thank you.