There was a time, not so long ago, that some people in the astrological community were up in arms, concerned that a 13th sign had changed our zodiac lives forever. Many believed they were no longer a member of the sign they had for so long identified with.
Fortunately, that sign — Ophiuchus — is only used in Sidereal Astrology. (Sidereal Astrology uses the exact size and location of the planets at the time you were born, whereas tropical astrology uses seasons of the Earth to set constellations.) So, for those who practice Tropical Astrology, which is most widely used in Western nations, your sign has always remained the same. You can officially breathe easy and leave that Virgo poster on your wall.
While Ophiuchus has been rejected as a sign by many Tropical and Sidereal astrologers alike, it is a fascinating constellation to learn more about — especially for those who are interested in also learning more about what this “sign” means to certain astrologers.
The Serpent Bearer
Ophiuchus is also known as The Serpent Bearer, and as a sign it would fall between November 29th and December 17th. It is symbolized by a man holding a snake and is not associated with any element, unlike the 12 accepted signs of the zodiac.
While the constellation has existed since the dawn of astrology, Ophiuchus was introduced to astrology not by astrologers, but astronomers and scientists — who typically dispute the merits of astrology altogether. In fact, it was Parke Kunkel, a professor of astronomy at Minneapolis Community and Technical College, who suggested that a process called procession had shifted astrology as the Babylonians would have known it. Kunkel gave this information to the Star Tribune, yet the issue came up again when NASA published a blog in 2016 describing the differences between astrology and astronomy — all while claiming that the astrological dates known to Babylonians would not apply today and that a 13th sign is looming over our heads.
As it turns out, Kunkel was never trying to revolutionize the world of astrology — he doesn’t even believe in it. However, through the power of social media and the lightning-fast speed of the spread of information in the internet age, the story swept the world wide web and left us all momentarily confused. Kunkel was simply pointing out a constellation that the sun passes through between Scorpio and Sagittarius.
According to astrologer Jeff Jawer, the very reason that any difference between Babylonian dates and the current astrological dates used does not change our outlook on the zodiac according to tropical astrology is because of the nature of Tropical Astrology. Of the signs changing, Jawer told the Daily Horoscope, “There is no truth in this. Western astrologers use the Tropical Zodiac, which is based on the seasons, not the signs.”
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While Ophiuchus may not be considered a sign across the astrological community, it is still interesting to learn about the traits of the Serpent Bearer — especially because this is an actual constellation that the sun passes through, and it is considered a sign to some who practice Sidereal or Vedic astrology.
Ophiuchus is the only “sign” in astrology that is actually depicted by a man. The Greeks believed he represented Apollo, battling the guard of the Oracle of Delphi — a snake.
Ophiuchus is said to seek knowledge and wisdom. This constellation encourages curiosity, transformation, comedy, and passion. Negative traits are said to be a secretive personality and jealousy.
Ophiuchus is associated with dream interpretation, sexual magnetism, passion, a healing nature, rebellion, and a likeable personality. It is also said that this sign often receives special treatment or favor. Interestingly, this sign is said to be drawn to plaid.
Do you identify with any of these traits? If you were born during the end of November or beginning of December and you feel like these descriptions match up with your personality, this might be a matter worth more exploration. After all, astrology is a personal matter, and it exists to help you understand more about yourself.
Astronomy vs. Astrology
One important lesson to be learned is to look to astrologers for news or information pertaining to the zodiac. While thousands of years ago these two practices were essentially one and the same, this is no longer the case. Although certain scientists or astronomers may suggest new information regarding astrology, we have to look at the source and the meaning behind what they’re saying.
Despite the fact that Ophiuchus is not a sign in Tropical Astrology, each star and constellation has a message to send; and learning more about the constellations is a great way to begin to feel more connected to the cosmic wisdom available to us each and every day.
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