Every few years, a report comes out that claims everything you thought you knew about your zodiac sign is wrong. That, in fact, there’s a constellation called Ophiucus, and its “discovery” as the 13th astrological sign means all of the zodiac has shifted and everything you thought you knew about your star signal is bullshit! Yep, you’re not a Scorpio anymore—you’re a Libra!
The thing is, astrologers, like yours truly, know better and can easily set the record straight. So, breathe a sigh of relief, Scorpios—you’re as fixed and intense as ever. Here, everything you need to know about this annoying AF “news.”
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1. It’s based on a constellation that looks like a snake.
Ophiuchus is a latinized version of the Greek Ophioukhos, “ophis” translating to “snake” and “ekhein” meaning “to hold,” and the Ophiuchus constellation is known as “the snake bearer.”
2. The dates for the 13th sign fall between November 29 and December 18, according to NASA.
That’s because that window of time is when the sun aligns with the constellation.
3. Ophiuchus is being called the 13th sign, but Western astrology is based on just 12 signs.
NASA proudly admits that their understanding of the sky is much different than that of astrologers. As far as they’re concerned, the actual constellations have shifted, but Western astrologers study the sky by using the apparent path of the Sun as seen from our vantage point on earth. Within that path, there are designated fixed zones that do not change, regardless of shifting constellations or the earth’s axis.
This fixed system that informs everything you’ve ever learned about astrology was created by Ptolemy way back in second-century Alexandria. The system consists of 12 equal signs of 30 degrees each. Each degree is divided into 60 minutes and each minute into 60 seconds… In other words, it’s all very precise, and astrologers work with very specific measurements related to the position of any given planet.
4. The Sun’s annual alignment with Ophiuchus is too brief to really count.
The Tropical Zodiac and the constellations were never supposed to be perfectly in sync. Because they are all different sizes—and the sun spends a very short time in some of them—just 18 days in Ophiuchus—as compared to others. But Ptolemy did name the signs after the constellations, so that’s where some of the confusion lies.
5. Astrologers’ interpretation of Ophiuchus matters more than astronomers’. (#Sorrynotsorry.)
Four hundred years ago, many astronomers practiced astrology. And a hundred years before that, every astronomer was also an astrologer. Consider some of these famous, esteemed scientists: Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, Sir Isaac Newton, and Carl Jung. Each and every one studied and respected astrology.
These days, astronomers are far more interested in attempting to prove that astrology is an antiquated practice at best. It’s a shame, because judging from history, there’s plenty that scientists could stand to learn from astrology. At the very least, though, NASA and their followers could stand to respect Western astrology’s fixed system—and stop trying to confuse and distract us all with all this 13th sign brouhaha.
Bottom-line: Whether you were born on the first day of December centuries ago or in 1990, your adventurous spirit, innate flamboyance, and shoot-from-the-hip big mouth (oh, hello Miley Cyrus, Vice-President Joe Biden, comedian Margaret Cho!) makes you a proud Sagittarius through and through.