Fagan, Cyril (1896–1970)
Irish astrologer, born in Dublin on May 22, 1896, into a
wealthy medical family. Fagan attended Belvedere and Castlenook
Colleges. He wanted to become a physician but was
hampered by a condition of almost total deafness. He tried several
alternatives and finally became a professional astrologer
after World War I. In 1930 he founded the Irish Astrological
Society and served as its president for many years. During the
late 1930s he began to study the historical aspects of astrological
theory, which led him to propose and champion what is
known as the ‘‘sidereal’’ zodiac.
Fagan was concerned with adjusting the horoscope chart to
reflect the ‘‘procession of the equinoxes.’’ The ‘‘tropical’’ zodiac,
still used by most astrologers, begins each year at the point
where the sun is located at the spring equinox. However, that
position, in relation to the constellations that gave the 12 signs
of the zodiac their names, changes slightly each year. Over the
centuries the drift has been considerable, and the divisions of
the zodiac no longer reflect the actual position of the constellations
in the heavens. The sidereal zodiac adjusts for the actual
position of the 12 signs.
Fagan presents his argument for the sidereal zodiac in several
books, beginning with Fixed Zodiac Ephemeris for 1948. His
argument is most persuasive in Zodiac Old and New (1950). Initially
Fagan found few supporters, but among the few were
three important figures Donald Bradley, a young American
astrological researcher; R. C. Firebrace, a British military leader
and astrologer; and Rupert Gleadow, a popular astrologer
and writer. Firebrace supported Fagan in his journal Spica
(founded in 1961). Bradley conducted his significant statistical
research using Fagan’s ideas.
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Fagan eventually moved to Tucson, Arizona, where Bradley
had become editor of American Astrology, a leading astrological
periodical. He died there on January 5, 1970. Unfortunately
Bradley, Firebrace, and Gleadow all died in 1974. The loss of
the four most prominent advocates of siderealist astrology led
to its decline through the 1970s and 1980s, although it has
shown some new life in the 1990s.
Sources
Fagan, Cyril. Astrological Origins. St. Paul, Minn. Llewellyn
Publications, 1971.
———. Fixed Zodiac Ephemeris for 1948. Washington, D.C.
National Astrological Library, 1948.
———. Zodiacs Old and New. Los Angeles Llewellyn Publications,
1950.
Holden, James H., and Robert A. Hughes. Astrological Pioneers
of America. Tempe, Ariz. American Federation of Astrologers,
1988.

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