In frequent debates on the two-zodiac question, astrologers dive immediately into wave theories, statistics, astronomy, historical narrative and sheer symbolic inventiveness, only to come to the uneasy compromise that interpretation is a matter of opinion and we all use what ‘works’. As a counter-measure to this rather esoteric tendency, I’ve gone with side-by-side pictures of people with ascendants which are the same Tropically but different Sidereally - using the ascendant because it’s the most physical and immediately visible part of the horoscope.
Astrology is hard to prove, but easy to demonstrate. The same Tropical rising signs should share archetypal features and be difficult, if not impossible, to tell apart on purely astrological grounds. They're the same! Applying an ayanamsha, however (in this case Lahiri), moves 80% of people's ascendant back into its previous Tropical sign, while the remaining 20% stay the same in both zodiacs. This approach is not an attempt to dumb the debate down, but an appeal to those who see the two-zodiac issue in purely abstract, technical terms.
Let's look at some examples:
Both Dolly and Shirley have tropical Virgo rising, but which one is the sidereal Leo?
Pick the sidereal Scorpio rising out of tropical Sagittarius rising* Buddy, Sly and Frank.
Both Steve Martin and Trump have tropical Leo rising, but which one is sidereal Cancer?
Penelope & Rihanna both tropical Aries rising, but which is the sidereal Pisces?
Old and young, Sean and Tom, both tropical Capricorn rising, but which one's sidereal Sag?
For the record: Dolly Parton is sidereal Leo rising, Frank Zappa is sidereal Scorpio, Steve Martin is sidereal Cancer, Rihanna is sidereal Pisces, and Connery is sidereal Sagittarius rising.
These examples are taken from standard astro-data websites and are combined with stock photos showing the subjects' more-or-less natural, resting expression. As to accusations of selective evidence, there are strict boundaries, where one can only use charts with Person A's ascendant being plus 24 degrees of a given tropical sign and Person B minus 24 degrees. This criterion leaves little room for cherry-picking. Besides, any such correlation still should not exist nor be supportable with evidence - there should be no consistent link between adjacent Tropical signs, any more than signs in square or opposition or any other relationship. The sole remaining argument is about ayanamsha, which is precisely what many Western astrologers do contest, despite the fact the main two values West and East (Fagan/Bradley and Lahiri) differ by only one degree of longitude.
Planets in the first house and aspecting the ascendant, plus the ascendant ruler's condition clearly also influence appearance, but these factors apply to both zodiacs. In Jyotish also, the face specifically is ruled by the second house, which often comes through very strongly and is a potential way to reconcile this issue: the tropical rising sign is most often the sidereal second house. Yet rather than simply describing the face's contours, the ascendant is the persona, the point of incarnation, and contains an intrinsic soul quality which is visible especially through a person’s eyes: the windows of the soul.
Not all adjacent rising signs are so strikingly different: Capricorn and Aquarius ascendants in fact often appear very similar - not unreasonably. This is consistent with traditional astrology. Yet everyone, from expert astrologers to laypeople, has judged these given examples a hundred percent correctly, as if they were being asking the difference between, say, red and blue. It's a remarkable showing for astrology. This would be an utter anomaly without a ready-made answer, namely that the true zodiacal archetypes are hiding in plain sight, 24° behind current Tropical reckoning. Plus, this is just the appearance; the phenomenon is even more apparent when one knows the individual concerned and their personality, and also considers the rest of their sidereal planetary placements.
Five examples are not ‘proof’ of anything, merely food for thought, but you will find equally, if not more, striking cases in your own life. Try it for yourself. And this fact cuts through the perception that choice of zodiac is subjective to the point of irrelevance. The map is not the territory. It’s a great truth that our perceptions are coloured by what we expect to see.
DATA, with tropical ascendants
Shirley Maclaine: April 24, 1934, 3:57 PM, Richmond (VA) (United States). Asc 29 Virgo - trop
Dolly Parton: 19 January 1946, 20:25pm, Sevierville, Tennessee. Asc: 14 Virgo - trop
Buddy Holly: 7 September 1936 at 15:30pm, Lubbock, Texas [I originally believed Buddy was tropical Sagittarius rising, but in fact his tropical ascendant is 10 Capricorn - 17 sidereal Sagittarius].
Sylvester Stallone: 6 July 1946 at 19:20 (= 7:20 PM ) New York, New York, - asc 28 Sagittarius
Frank Zappa: 21 December 1940 at 06:22 (= 06:22 AM ), Baltimore, Maryland - asc 15 Sagittarius
Donald Trump: 14 June 1946 at 10:54am Queens, New York - Asc 29 Leo
Steve Martin: 14 August 1945 at 05:54am, Waco, Texas - Asc 8 Leo
Penelope Cruz: 28 April 1974 at 07:00 (= 07:00 AM ). Alcobendas, Spain. asc 28 Aries
Rihanna: 20 February 1988 at 08:50 (= 08:50 AM ), Bridgetown, Barbados. asc. 15 Aries
Tom Jones: 7 June 1940 at 00:10 (= 12:10 AM ), Pontypridd, Wales. asc 29 Capricorn
Sean Connery: 25 August 1930 at 18:05 (= 6:05 PM ), Edinburgh, Scotland. asc. 7 Capricorn