What you need to know about Ophiuchus, the 13th sign of the zodiac

Star signs

Over the last few years, you've probably seen something about a new 13th sign of the zodiac. It's a story that emerges from time to time.

First we need to understand how star signs work. Thousands of years ago, the Babylonians carved the sky into 12 equal parts. Each part defined by a constellation. When the sun falls into that section of the sky, that is how we define a zodiac season and the sign under which you were born. So, when the sun sits in the Leo section of the sky, it is Leo season and anyone born during this time is considered a Leo.

The premise is this: due to the Earth's axis wobbling, the sky is not in the same place as it was when the Babylonians first identified the 12 signs of the zodiac. Thus, the dates of each sign have changed and there is a new 13th sign called Ophiuchus.


What is Ophiuchus?

Ophiuchus is a star constellation in the sky. Just like Leo, Virgo, Libra and the others, Ophiuchus relates to a pattern of star in a section of the sky.

Here's where it gets a little murky. The emergence of the "new sign" Ophiuchus has come from a report from NASA. But NASA acknowledges that the Babylonians who created the idea of star signs over 3,000 year ago were indeed aware of Ophiuchus - they deliberately chose to leave it out of their zodiac.

So, if the Babylonians knew about it, but didn't include it - should we really consider this to be a new sign? The astrology community doesn't seem to think so.

The Ophiuchus constellation was named by Ptolemy during the years 100-199 AD. The name comes from the Greek 'serpent' and 'bearing' - so the representation of the alleged sign of Ophiuchus is a serpent or the god of medicine (Asclepius) who holds a staff bearing a serpent.


Have the star signs changed?

What is a little more clear is that the sky has moved - well, Earth's axis has moved in relation to the sky, just the way we see it has changed. So the sun will fall into the section of Leo at a different time than it used to.

But our Western astrology is based on the Babylonian zodiac signs - which take their name from the star constellations, but are not defined by the constellations themselves. So, by this logic, the star sign you've always identified with is your true sign.

It's also important to recognise that astronomy and astrology are different. Astronomy is an exact science, so naturally the Ophiuchus constellation is significant. But astrology is not a science and therefore, Ophiuchus is technically not relevant to the pre-defined practice of astrology and horoscopes.


What are suggested new dates for your sign?

If you do buy into Ophiuchus as a new sign, these are the identified new dates for your star sign.

  1. Capricorn: January 20th to February 16th
  2. Aquarius: February 16th to March 11th
  3. Pisces: March 11th to April 18th
  4. Aries: April 18th to May 13th
  5. Taurus: May 13th to June 21st
  6. Gemini: June 21st to July 20th
  7. Cancer: July 20th to August 10th
  8. Leo: August 10th to September 16th
  9. Virgo: September 16th to October 30th
  10. Libra: October 30th to November 23rd
  11. Scorpio: November 23rd to November 29th
  12. Ophiuchus: November 29th to December 17th
  13. Sagittarius: December 17th to January 20th


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