Ophiuchus: Is it a 13th Zodiac Sign or a Constellation?


Ophiuchus: Is it a 13th Zodiac Sign or a Constellation?

On January 14, 2011, a lifestyle reporter working for the Minneapolis Star Tribune posted an article about Ophiuchus, and it rippled a wave of panic through loyal horoscope readers in the realm of Astrology. The article asserted that the earth’s changing alignment had caused the sun signs to change. According to the NASA, each sign had been bumped forward almost a month and another sign, Ophiuchus, had been sandwiched between Sagittarius and Scorpio.

Needless to say, this news didn’t go over well with daily horoscopes fanatics, and statuses all over Facebook and twitter were indignant; “Hell no I am not a Gemini” and “I ain’t no Capricorn! (from an Aquarius)” are examples of some of the posts.

Questions from sad dismayed and confused readers were pouring in as well. Given how much my phone was ringing, you would have thought the stock market was crashing.

Supposedly, the new dates were only applying to people born in the last several years and all the grown folk who have been following daily horoscopes for long were safe.

But still, astrologers were not buying it, particularly because Ophiuchus was not exactly news to them.

What is Ophiuchus?

If you were born between November and December 18, then the sun was passing in front of Ophiuchus on your birth date. But Ophiuchus is not a zodiac sign, it is a constellation; and that’s why you won’t find it on your free horoscope app.

In fact, Ophiuchus is one of the largest and rambling constellations, but is one of the least known. This constellation also touches the ecliptic, which is the path the sun takes through the sky. But astrologers didn’t give it too much attention in the past – until 2011 when astronomers tried to realign the zodiac calendar and add the constellation as an astrology sign.

To be fair, since when do astronomers get to make decisions regarding astrology? Last time they meddled in our zodiac realm, they demoted Pluto to a “dwarf planet.”

Back to Ophiuchus.

The term Ophiuchus means “serpent bearer” in Greek, and Ptolemy, an ancient astronomer, included it in the list of 48 constellations in the 2nd century. Today, it’s one of the 88 modern constellations.

With that information in mind, note that Standard astrological zodiacs do not count Ophiuchus as one of the zodiac signs.

However, very few astrologers who follow a sidereal zodiac consider Ophiuchus to be a 13th sun sign.

The difference between the two astrological practices is simple. The Standard/tropical astrology relates to Earth’s orientation to our solar system, whereas sidereal astrology is tied to Earth’s orientation to the galaxy.

What personality characteristics may be linked to Ophiuchus?

As expected, those born during this constellation tend to have a mix of both Sagittarius and Scorpio. Sidereal astrology states that those born under the constellation are passionate, curious, and hungry for knowledge – which may explain why you are here looking for this very information.


Now you can go back to reading the normal horoscopes as you did in the past. And if anyone asks you, “Hey, what’s your zodiac sign?” trust me, you already know the answer.

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