The attributes of the signs (Western) or rashis (Vedic) is the most complex issue for Southern Hemisphere astrology. To determine the attributes of the signs, we must analyze how the Western and Vedic traditions assigned their attributes in the Northern Hemisphere. If we apply the same logic to the Southern Hemisphere, we can determine the qualities of the signs/rashis.
We see that each sign/rashi obtains its attributes from five roots:
- Planetary Ruler
When we view the zodiac from the Southern Hemisphere, we immediately see that the constellations and natural houses are reversed. The sign containing the vernal equinox is associated with the 1st house. The next sign is associated with the 2nd house, and so on. Libra (Thula) is the vernal equinox in the Southern Hemisphere, so Libra is the 1st house, while Aries (Mesha) is the 7th. Capricorn (Makara) is the 4th house, Cancer (Karkata) the 10th. So our first conclusion is that the constellation and houses are reversed or opposite. The three other fundamental roots (mode, ruler, element) must align with either the constellation or the house.
We note the fortunate symmetry of mode. Cardinal signs remain cardinal. If a sign is on an equinox or solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, it is on a cardinal point in the Southern Hemisphere. The same symmetry applies to the fixed and mutable signs. The hemisphere makes no difference in mode. Our second conclusion is that there is no change in mode. The assignment of cardinal, fixed, and mutable modes remains the same as in the Northern Hemisphere.
We must give more thought, however, to the planetary rulers of the signs. The ancients assigned planetary rulers according to seasons. The luminaries (Sol/Surya and Luna/Chandra) were assigned the signs/rashis of greatest heat. The other planets were assigned rulerships moving outward in Ptolemaic order (Mercury/Buddha, Venus/Sukra, Mars/Mangala, Jupiter/Guru, Saturn/Sani) until Saturn/Sani (and Uranus) were assigned to the coldest months. If we do this in the Southern Hemisphere, we start by assigning Luna rulership over Capricorn and Sol rulership over Aquarius. Mercury has rulership over Sagittarius and Pisces. We continue until Saturn (Western) has rulership over Cancer, Uranus over Leo, and Sani (Vedic) over Karkata and Simha. Our next conclusion is that planetary rulership is associated with the house, not the constellation.
If we temporarily ignore the element, we see that the only difference between Southern and Northern Hemisphere signs is a reversal of the constellation. Thus, the first house, Mars-ruled, cardinal sign (rashi) is Libra, not Aries. We need to integrate the symbolism of the Scales to that of Mars, the 1st house, and cardinal mode to define Libra. The final, and most intriguing root, however, is the element. Would Libra (Thula) be air or fire in the Southern Hemisphere? This is the most controversial aspects of Southern Hemisphere signs/rashis.
Copyright (c) 2012 Franz Josef Stern