Panic has erupted once again after the recent media controversy regarding the “discovery” of a 13th star sign due to astronomers confirming to the public that there is an additional constellation in the sky. Every few years, NASA reminds us of what we already know and confirms that there is a 13th constellation on the path of the sun, apparently meaning that there should be 13 sun signs. As usual, the rebirth of this “news” has managed to shake the astrology community and create a feeling of unsettlement. However, rest assured that professional astrologers remain unconcerned regarding the astronomical propoganda. However, this resurfaced information has left a lot of people questioning exactly what a 13th constellation means and whether or not these revelations are accurate. Particularly, people are concerned that if these revelations are true, does it mean their zodiac has changed? If so, have they lost their identity? Is this “discovery” of the 13th zodiac sign all a hoax and a media frenzy, or have the rules of astrology changed, thus shifting everything we have ever known and believed?
First and foremost, it is worth mentioning that astronomy and astrology are two entirely different subjects. Astronomers do not possess the skill set or the relevant experience to determine whether a sun sign can suddenly be added to the zodiac. Astronomers research everything outside of the Earth's atmosphere, including: planets, stars, asteroids and galaxies . Whereas astrology is the study of the movements and positions of celestial bodies to interpret how they affect human nature and what happens on Earth. The issue surrounding a potential 13th star sign gained notable recognition in 2011 when NASA researchers supposedly “did the math” and claimed the existence of an additional sun sign, called Ophiuchus. It is worth noting that NASA, The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, were founded and began their research in 1958, unlike the ancient astronomers and astrologers that helped develop and shape astrology as we know it today. It is also important that we clarify NASA's area of study, astronomy, NOT astrology. For this reason, they are most certainly not qualified to be divulging such false, inaccurate information regarding the addition of a 13th sun sign on the zodiac. You may be wondering how NASA came to the conclusion in the first place, which is why it is necessary to have a thorough understanding of how the constellations affect the zodiac.
As astrologists, we use a coordinate line as a navigator to map the sky in order to determine results and findings according to each zodiac. This coordinate line, the path the Sun takes through the sky as a result of Earth's orbit, is called the ecliptic. The ecliptic is a great circle on the celestial sphere, our Earth, that represents the path in which the Sun takes during the 365 day duration of a year. It is given the name ecliptic because both lunar and solar eclipses are only possible when the moon passes. This path determines the belt of the zodiac, identifying the 12 sun signs we know exist and are identified as according to our date of birth. How does this relate to constellations? Constellations are groups of stars that occupy the heavens, the majority of which were named by the ancient Greeks and Babylonians. These ancient astronomers and astrologers identified the 12 most important constellations along the Sun's path and verified that these particular groups of stars, when teamed with an individual's date of birth, determined and predicted certain human activity and behavior on Earth. However, NASA believe they found a 13th constellation along the Sun's path during Earth's orbit, a constellation that goes by the name of Ophiuchus. They stated to the public that due to a “wobble” of the Earth's axis, otherwise known as precession, the Sun in fact passes 13 constellations, including that of Ophiuchus. NASA then claimed this meant there are 13 sun signs as opposed to 12, resulting in a shift of dates meaning people could have different star signs.
What we, as astrologers, find amusing is NASA's assumption that we were unaware of a 13th constellation along the ecliptic. As a matter of fact, we have always been aware of its existence, though it was decided over 2000 years ago that Ophiuchus was not bright or prominent enough to prequalify to be part of the zodiac. Astronomers, who continue to remain skeptical about astrology, are unable to explain why 12 signs of the zodiac were specifically chosen. Interestingly, astrology does not use the constellations to determine sun signs, they use mathematical configurations derived from ancient research based on the annual path of Sun. The zodiac is a mathematical division of an astronomical circle showing groups of stars that can be visibly seen from a point of view on Earth. Whereas a constellation is is a group of stars that can be seen, signs, the aspect of the sky studied by astrologers. Though not visibly seen, they were deciphered during a time when astronomical research was in its prime. The zodiac works in harmony with natural cycles of the Earth and includes mathematical factors that help deduce which signs belong to the zodiac. It takes into account the movement of other planets, similar to Geometry and Astronomy. Some historical facts and accuracies should help clarify the reasons for why the current 12 signs were chosen to be part of the zodiac.
Astrology is a fine art and it takes a good deal of training and dedication when it comes to studying the subject. On Earth, we are devoted and passionate spectators to the stars in the sky. This authentic, endless performance given to us by the heavens each night, provides us with the capacity to use what we witness and form pragmatic, intelligent views on how these stars create signs that can be read to determine behavior on Earth. From Earth's point of view, it appears as if the Sun rotates around the sky, when in fact it is the planets in our system that continuously orbit the Earth against a dazzling backdrop filled with constellations.
Classically trained astrologists use reports and birth charts derived from a study of celestial bodies that took place nearly 3,000 years ago. Ancient Babylonian Astrologists during this time used their readings and understanding of the stars along with the Sun's position to create a map of the heavens. The Babylonians were avid sky watchers and used their findings to formulate 12 zodiac signs based on 12 constellations having calculated the year long path of the Sun. They were able to determine the position of the Sun by identifying the last zodiacal contstellation to rise ahead of the Sun, and which constellation was the first to set afterwards. Interestingly, Ophiuchus, one of the 13 constellations along the ecliptic longitude, has always been in the skies and was, in fact, originally discovered by Claudius Ptolemy, a 2nd Century Greek mathematician, astronomer, and astrologer. He referred to this constellation as “Serpentarius”, aka 'the Serpent Bearer', due to a Greek male mythological figure that went by the name of Asclepius, reknowned for the image of him holding a snake. However, whilst Ophiuchus may cross the ecliptic, it was decided by the Babylonians that the constellation did not belong to the zodiac family, but to that of Hercules. Therefore, the presence of Ophiuchus as a constellation on the ecliptic alone did not determine it as one of the sun signs.
It is completely understandable that, as astrology followers, there may be feelings of concern or distress that your sign could have potentially changed. However, I can confidently confirm to you that no such thing has happened! As astrologers, we have been aware of Ophiuchus' existence since we began our training and entered into the profession. The difference is that we, as astrologists, use signs to determine the Sun's position, whereas astronomists use the constellations themselves. It is for this reason that, due to there being supposedly up to 88 constellations in the sky overall, you should focus on the 12 professionally selected constellations that were chosen to be included in the zodiac.
At the end of the day, it is entirely up to you, as individuals, to decide what you want to believe with regard to the subject. Just be aware that the astronomical “revelation” that there is a “new star sign” has been divulged to the public by a group of scientists who have not been professionally trained in the art of astrology. However, for those of you who choose to believe that there is a “new star sign” and are concerned that Ophiuchus applies to you according to your date of birth, below are some of the supposed traits based on a blend between the Scorpio and the Sagittarius, the two star signs either side of Ophiuchus.
An Ophiuchus would incoporate dark and penetrating traits from the Scorpio whilst maintaining a curious optimism derived from the Sagittarius. They would be considered wisdom seekers, visionnaries, and gifted at interpreting dreams. They would naturally attract good luck and would be easily targetable for jealousy and envy from others due to having positive traits.
All of these traits are circumstantial, to say the least, with nothing set in stone or confirmed. I am sure this is not the last time we will hear or read that there is a “new star sign” in the media or on the internet. The topic usually resurfaces every few years as astronomers try to deter those of us who follow astrology. Nonetheless, it is important to realize that none of these revelations are considered accurate by astrologers. Ophiuchus is certainly not a new discovery, and the existence of the constellation most definitely does not mean there is a 13th star sign. There is a reason that trained professionals are able to use ancient historical teachings and discoveries to confirm that there is no such thing as a 13th zodiac sign. Rest assured that your identity is safe and that astrology continues to be accurate in determining and reading the 12 current star signs as we know them!