This week’s question comes from Blake in the United States:
Browsing the Internet today, I saw the excitement over Ophiuchus, the proposed 13th astrological symbol. Since the unofficial addition, the dates for sun signs seem to change … While all this seems so boisterous and asinine I decided to investigate what my proposed “new sign” would be (Sagittarius). Well, it turns out, I relate more to the Sagittarius sign than Capricorn. It’s like I found my “true” sign amidst all this “new information” on star signs.
How do I interpret this? Can your “sign” actually shift or am I projecting my craziness to Jupiter?
Blake, Blake, Blake … How on earth can we even begin to set the record straight when Time magazine is reporting this idiocy as some kind of scientific (read God-given) truth?
It’s not really clear who’s responsible for this fiasco, but it appears to have started with Minnesota astronomer Parke Kunkle, who attempted to explain the phenomenon of precession to a local paper. Somehow, someone (Kunkle, journalists?) made an assumption that astrologers are unaware of this fact and that we don’t know that the zodiac signs are out of step with the constellations. The hoax was perpetuated because most journalists don’t know doo-doo about astrology, and they didn’t bother to verify their sources – not that this should come as any surprise.
The misinformation circulating the Internet includes three major errors:
1) Your sign has changed. WRONG.
2) Some people born in December might be Ophiuchus instead of Sagittarius. WRONG.
3) This only applies if you were born after 2009. WTF! Where did that come from?
Last month, I answered a question from Carolyn, who read an old online article with a similar conclusion and worried that she was no longer an Aries. My answer to you is the same as my answer to her: Your sign has not changed! Rather than repeating my explanation, I’ll just refer you to my earlier post.
Astrologers also know about Ophiuchus. I’ve written about him and about his possible influence on Scorpio (click here and here). The ancient Greeks deliberately merged him into Scorpio, as it made more sense to divide the year neatly into 12 signs rather than 13. Besides that, Scorpio and Ophiuchus run side by side along the ecliptic – the path the Sun appears to take against the constellations throughout the year – and so together they take up about the same amount of space as one sign. The constellations, by the way, are not all the same size, as I explained to Carolyn.
Now, as I also explained to Carolyn, there is another branch of astrology that does use signs more in line with the constellations. It’s called “sidereal” astrology and is used in the Vedic system. There is a legitimate debate among astrologers about whether one system is more accurate than the other. I believe they both work. You just can’t mix the two of them.
As for why you might feel more like a Sagittarius, it’s hard to know without your birth time. Perhaps you have Sagittarius on the Ascendant, or your Sun could be in the ninth house, which is traditionally associated with the ninth sign of the zodiac. Also, your natal Saturn (ruler of Capricorn) is in Sagittarius, and that might color your perception.
UPDATE: Blake, thanks for sending me your birth time and place. As it turns out, you are a Rising Libra, and you have a stack of planets in the third house, which is associated with Gemini. Both Libra and Gemini are air signs – very different from earth sign Capricorn. This is a wonderful example of how your Sun sign is just a small part of who you are. To get a complete picture of your personality, you need to have your chart interpreted as a whole.
Thanks, Blake, for asking your question while the topic was hot. It’s not every day that astrology is “trending” on the Internet. I suppose it’s not a bad thing in general that astrology has gotten some mainstream press, although I obviously would have preferred that the coverage be a bit more accurate.
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