Fagan, Cyril (1896-1970)

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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.

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.


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.