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The Ruins

Appendix: The Zodiacal Signs And Constellations
(Compiled by the publisher from recognized authorities.)
The Zodiac is an imaginary girdle or belt in the celestial sphere, which extends about
eight degrees on each side of the Ecliptic. It is divided into twelve portions, called the
signs of the Zodiac, within which all the planets make their revolutions. The Zodiac is so
called from the animals represented upon it, and is supposed to have originated in remote
ages and in latitudes where the camel and elephant were comparatively unknown. This
pictorial representation of the zodiac was probably the origin, as M. Dupuis suggests, of
the Arabian and Egyptian adoration of animals and birds, and has led in the natural
progress of events to the adoration of images by both Christians and pagans.
"The Signs of the Zodiac, (says Godfrey Higgins in The Anacalypsis) with the exception
of the Scorpion, which was exchanged by Dan for the Eagle, were carried by the different
tribes of the Israelites on their standards; and Taurus, Leo, Aquarius, and Scorpio or the
Eagle--the four signs of Reuben, Judah, Ephriam, and Dan--were placed at the four
corners, (the four cardinal points), of their encampment, evidently in allusion to the
cardinal points of the sphere, the equinoxes and solstices, when the equinox was in
Taurus. (See Parkhurst's Lexicon.) These coincidences prove that this religious system
had its origin before the bull ceased to be an equinoctial sign, and prove also, that the
religion of Moses was originally the same in its secret mysteries as that of the Heathen,
or, if my reader likes it better, that the Heathen secret mysteries were the same as those of
Moses."
The Ecliptic, a great circle of the sphere, (shown on the preceding map by two parallel
lines), is supposed to be drawn through the middle of the Zodiac, cutting the Equator at
two points, (called the Equinoctial points), at an angle with the equinoctial of 23 degrees
28 minutes, (the sun's greatest declination), and is the path which the earth is supposed to
describe amidst the fixed stars in performing its annual circuit around the sun. It is called
the Ecliptic because the eclipses of the sun and moon always occur under it.
The Signs are each the twelfth part of the Ecliptic or Zodiac, (30 degrees,) and are
reckoned from the point of intersection of the ecliptic and equator at the vernal equinox.
They are named respectively Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio,
Sagittarius, Capricornus, Aquarius, Pisces. These names are borrowed from the
constellations of the zodiac of the same denomination, which corresponded when these
divisions were originally made; but in consequence of the precession, recession, or
retrocession of the equinoxes, (about 50 1/10" yearly, at the rate of about 72 years to a
degree, displacing an entire sign in about 2152 years, and making an entire revolution of
the equinoctial in about 25,868 years), the positions of these constellations in the heavens
no longer correspond with the divisions of the ecliptic of the same name, but are in
advance of them. Thus, the constellation Aries is now in that part of the ecliptic called
Taurus, and the stars of Taurus are in Gemini, those of Gemini in Cancer, and so on
throughout the ecliptic.
 
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