From a practical standpoint, the division of the ecliptic into a wheel of 30∘arc zodiacal houses serves as a system of celestial coordinates for measuring time through the partition of space. In fact, one may achieve this purpose through any number of methods for subdividing a circle. From the late-Ptolemaic period, the infamous Dendera Zodiac depicts the Greco-system of 12 houses in relation to the 36 decans marked by the Kemet astronomers’ recognition of the brightest star within each section of 10∘arc. When keeping track of time, antiquity’s calendars depended upon such ticks of the clock, however arbitrary.
Yet, by whatever logic one chooses to partition the sky, the trick always lies in fixing the cipher, “zero”. Without it, one cannot gauge the roughly 20-minute difference between the tropical year of seasonal equinoxes/solstices against the sidereal year of solar position relative to ‘background’ stars. One may set the 0∘ point on the ecliptic wheel at the sunrise of vernal equinox, but this method alone drifts in step with the mechanics of equinoctial precession and thereby falls ever further out of sync with the length of one full Earth orbit around the Sun. Thus, to anyone serious about keeping track of time and in sync with their ritual almanac of seasons, fixing a date/position for the ‘zero’ is essential.
It is debated when, precisely, the astronomers of remote antiquity discerned these secrets, but it is due to this realization that the actual position of the Sun, relative to its background stars, drifts ever further each year from the astrological Sun sign of our birth. The zodiacal houses fixed at vernal dawn on the cusp of this Piscean Age may be an arbitrary setting, but before the advent of atomic clocks it proved a necessary convention for reckoning the measure of time. Notably, the ‘fixed signs’ within the zodiac wheel, have not borne The Sun at the threshold of seasons since the Age of Taurus became the Age of Aries (~2160BC) , and will not again until the Age of Pisces becomes the Age of Aquarius (~2160AD).
Does their current attribution to the 4 seasons stem from recent anticipation for the Sun’s coming reign at vernal equinox within the house of the water-bearer, or does it derives from a deep regard for a more ancient time? In the vein of Judeo-Christian symbolic tradition they have appeared as the 4 evangelists depicted in the Apocalypsos of John ♏ (c. 1st-century CE) and as Living Creatures (‘Chayot’) drawing the Chariot of YHVH within the earliest Merkabah mystical literature (c.1st-century CE) inspired by Ezekiel’s vision (c.7th-century BC). So, we may reasonably surmise that this cross of living creatures within the zodiac wheel was accorded some deeply meaningful symbolic connection by early ‘Kabbalists’ and Christians alike. Did they or the author of Ezekiel’s vision have a zodiacal cross of seasons, as calibrated to the Age of Taurus, in mind when depicting these ‘living creatures’ as harnessed to YHVH’s vehicle of divine grace? Perhaps, just as today’s astrologers observe the zodiacal houses fixed by zero to the dawning of the Piscean Age, they operated from similar schemas tied to the vernal equinox fixed at the cusp of Taurus/Ares.
With respect to Tarot, the inclusion of the Chayot-Evangelists can, to the attentive Eye, evoke a specific synchrony with the most monumental edifice built within the Age of the Bull: Khnum-khufu’s Great MER. But to see it, one must recognize the affinity between that 7th wonder and a ‘fish vessel’ (vesica piscis), how The Tower stands inside a Divine Potter’s Wheel, and what Borromean Rings have in common with such a zodiacal cross of seasons.
None of which becomes apparent lest ye know where to fix The Fool amongst Hebrew’s 22 letters.
For those who’ve dabbled in the ‘occult’, the symbolic use of these letters is hard to miss, and has long served to encrypt esoteric communications through allegory and pun. If some adepts have purposely transposed the ‘fixed signs’ of Aquarius and Scorpio, they were perhaps drawing attention to a certain method for catching Fish.
If you tree what I mean...