Reinventing the Zodiac

Have you heard there’s a new zodiac sign? That’s right, Ophiuchus, the serpent-bearer.

You can see a larger picture here.

So how did this happen? Well, according to this article at The Christian Science Monitor, Ophiuchus should have been there all along. The ancients simply discarded it (not sure why, maybe they didn’t like the number 13?). However, some astrologers do take it into account. Ophiuchus lies on the ecliptic (the imaginary line that the sun crosses) and is sometimes used by astrologers. The Japanese have acknowledged it, it’s fairly common there. There seem to be two symbols for it:


Even without Ophiuchus, the signs are in very different locations due to the Earth’s precession (wobble on its axis) than they were 2000 years ago. This is not news, many people know this, astrologers included. I’m not an astrologer, so why this hasn’t previously been taken into account I can’t answer.

Here’s how it shakes out now, with precession added into the equation:

Capricorn: Jan. 20-Feb. 16.

Aquarius: Feb. 16-March 11.

Pisces: March 11-April 18.

Aries: April 18-May 13.

Taurus: May 13-June 21.

Gemini: June 21-July 20.

Cancer: July 20-Aug. 10.

Leo: Aug. 10-Sept. 16.

Virgo: Sept. 16-Oct. 30.

Libra: Oct. 30-Nov. 23.

Scorpio: Nov. 23-29.

Ophiuchus: Nov. 29-Dec. 17.

Sagittarius: Dec. 17-Jan. 20.

I just became a Cancer.

Update 1/15/2011: People sure got het up about all this. New article in the Houston Chronicle says the whole thing was a class project for Parke Kunkle. MSNBC has more in their Cosmic Log.

38 thoughts on “Reinventing the Zodiac

  1. Yikes! I just became a Capricorn – I’ve really associated with the whole Aquarian thing since I can remember. This is going to take some getting used to…


  2. Hehe, I wish now I knew more about astrology. I’ll have to check some astrology sites, see what they make of all this (if anything). It could be they have some way to account for it, or the system we’re all used to accommodates the precession in some way. There’s so much to it, it’s so much more than just your Sun sign (the twelve we know and love). I am a very atypical Leo, though, so this might actually explain me a bit. I guess everything’s changed, though, even my rising sign will probably be different. Hmm. Too bad a friend of mine doesn’t still do this stuff. She kind of quit a few years ago but used to be really good at it.


  3. Ok, so Susan Miller of Astrology Zone says our sun signs are not changing. They’ve known about precession since 125 AD, which I thought they had. It’s all accounted for, nothing is changing. Oy. According to her, rising sign (also known as your ‘ascendant’) is more important. Mine is Scorpio… that seems to fit me better.


  4. LOL Really I was getting a little excited about trying on my Cancer suit. I thought maybe that sort of explained my fascination with the moon, and The Moon in Tarot 🙂 I say we rebel against established astrological authority and demand our right to the new sun signs! Who’s with me? Pitchforks and torches for everybody!


  5. You are an atypical Leo, Didge, that’s always been true. My friend L’Italianna was born the same week as you, but a few days later – squarely within the Leo time frame by either yardstick – and she fits the bill much more than you do. I don’t know much about Capricorn, and I forget my rising sign – maybe I’ll look into it later.

    Now, am I reading correctly – are there only 3 days assigned to Ophiucus? Isn’t that kinda wacky, or does it just seem that way b/c I’m used to the onld system?


  6. Scorpio, by this reckoning is cut back to 7 days. They all overlap eachother by a day, as well (cusp). Ophiuchus has nineteen days (one shared on either end with the preceding/following sign). Virgo gets a month and a half! What’s up with that? Some signs get more than 30 days, most less. No doubt mathematically more accurate with when the sun is in each sign, and for how long. Astrology has never been my thing, I have a pretty rudimentary understanding of how the sun signs are calculated and the rest of it is pretty much a fuzzy blob in my brain.


  7. ” I have a pretty rudimentary understanding of how the sun signs are calculated and the rest of it is pretty much a fuzzy blob in my brain.”
    yah, that pretty much describes me, as well.


  8. I’ve got a Capricorn ascendant and am none too happy about it. Moon (and just about everything else!) in Virgo too; awe. some. About the best thing I’ve got going for me is Mars in Leo, although that just fuels my epic rage 😀

    Nevermind. That article is all kinds of wrong anyway, so we can go back to being our crabby – in my case – selves.


  9. “I’ve got a Capricorn ascendant and am none too happy about it.”

    Astrology,like any expression of Fate, is just the hand you’re dealt. The free will that enables you to play that hand is what separates us from inanimate objects. Rise up and celebrate your Crabby self!


      1. LOL I should have remembered that! 🙂 Very interesting read at Time Magazine, thanks! It’s amazing how this story has become such huge news everywhere. At least one of the local tv stations here did a news segment on it the other night.

        I think I shall continue to self-identify as a Scorpio now, since that seems to fit me better than Leo. Hmm… maybe a scorpion tattoo? 😉


      2. You can be the new Scandinavian thriller heroine: “The Girl With the Scorpion Tattoo”

        p.s. Fang would drop dead if I got a tattoo; otherwise I suppose I’d get a bunny 😉


      3. A cute little bunny on your hip or lower abdomen or someplace inconspicuous would be adorable! But we don’t want to bring about Fang’s untimely demise.

        I’m thinking inner wrist for the scorpion.


  10. Yah, it’s not the bunny itself that would bug him (he got me a really cute bracelet made up of little silver bunnies a few birthdays ago,) but the delivery system. I think he figures I’m a tough enough broad already, without the ink …


  11. LOL oh sure. Either you’re a tattoo person or you’re not, there doesn’t seem to be any middle ground 😉 And that’s fine, until a few years ago I never would have considered one myself. I got it as much for the experience of getting a tattoo as having one. But I have not regretted it for a minute.


    1. Do you know my mom keeps threatening to get one? I’m pretty sure it’s not going to happen (if she hasn’t gotten one by 81 years of age…) but she sorta likes them and sorta likes torturing us all with the the notion that she might.


      1. The style of those drawings is definitely Pacific NW, which I love. But again, there were many different tribes in this region and I don’t have any in-depth knowledge of their beliefs so don’t know which ones had this belief in birth animals/zodiac. Still I like the art style, that could be a contender 😉


      2. I went a little further into that Web site and found Native American moon signs, and whaddya know? My moon is the Sturgeon Moon, more fish! And I’m allergic to most fish!


      3. Huh, I’m a woodpecker and it’s the same Crabby drivel: ohhhhh, so empathetic and good with money they love teh baaaaybees. At least they got the “possessive, angry, jealous, and spiteful” bit right ha ha ha ha haaaaaaa!


      1. I told her if she really means it she has to let me take her to the place where my friend Tom got his, b/c he’s got ’em all up & down his arms and never had any health issues.

        My native zodiac sign is the Otter, which is v. cool looking as well – if not a tatoo, I wouldn’t mind a coffee mug. Intellectually I know that everyone born in the same month can’t possibly have the same temperament, but actually I relate to the Otter more than most astrological characterizations I’ve seen. Apparently my keywords are “Inventive, friendly, curious, independent, tactless”


      2. I can go along with all that except the ‘tactless’ part. That you most certainly are not.

        You’ll have to let me know if she ever goes through with it 🙂


  12. My sun sign is still the same. But as you know, I always have related much more to my Rising Scorpio, regardless. And no changes in the skies can change that! 😉


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