Let's Clear Things Up About Ophiuchus The 13th Zodiac Sign Or Is It?
Every several years or so we are faced with the everlasting dilemma of the thirteenth sign of the zodiac. Even though things are pretty clear from both the astrological and the astronomical point of view, there still seems to be a problem in the way these information overlap. On one hand, zodiacal constellations are finely positioned on the ecliptic and carry the same names as the zodiac signs. On the other, there is this large thirteenth constellation on the ecliptic that is touching Libra, Scorpius and Sagittarius, called Ophiuchus or The Snake Bearer.
This constellation has been here for billions of years, just like all of the other 12 constellations set on the ecliptic, and it won’t change its location in years and centuries to come. So why does it stir so many questions in cycles, like an omen that will burst the bubble of astrology? Probably just because people have a need to debate on it and learn of this ominous quasi-science that should be banned from the face of the Earth but is also intriguing and attractive.
If we stop here for a second to explain this entire dilemma, we will realize that it is not a dilemma at all, and that the only reason for the same subject resurfacing over and over again is lack of information on the subject and people’s need to spread knowledge when they don’t have enough of it. For the sake of truth, consider this article a plea not to spread disinformation about astrology anymore. It is misunderstood and mystified enough as it is.
Signs and Constellations
The first thing we need to learn here is what is a sign of the zodiac and how does it relate to the constellation that is named the same. A sign is simply a piece of the ecliptic belt that always takes 30 degrees of the zodiacal circle. It has no relation to the constellation except for the historic one, established thousands of years ago, when constellations were located approximately at the same place as the signs. Even though constellations inspired naming the signs and the two have their connection in roots of history, they were never coinciding in width or position entirely. Signs and constellations are not the same, and they never have been.
There are twelve signs of the zodiac, and their beginnings are defined by seasons on planet Earth – not the location of constellations. All cardinal signs mark the beginnings of seasons, so the zeroth degree of Aries marks the point in the ecliptic belt where the Sun is at the beginning of spring. Similarly, Cancer will start with the beginning of summer, Libra with the beginning of autumn, and Capricorn with the first breath of winter. All other sings are a continuance of these four and fill up the ninety-degree angle until the following season, while taking 30 degrees each.
Constellations are entire star systems that have no reason to be set on the ecliptic from our relative point of view, but they are also allowed to be, regardless of the twelve zodiacal constellations that are simply named like signs of the zodiac. To simplify, we need to understand that constellations are numerous, 88 of them recognized and marked centuries and even millenniums ago, and their number growing ever since. Adding the thirteenth sign of the zodiac would be like adding a hundred new signs to it simply because there are as many different constellations out there.
Vision and Possibilities
The world we live in supports the rule of the twelve. There are twelve months in a year, even though the Moon circles us 13 times in the same period. This is a consequence of the importance of the Sun in our system, bigger than the Moon and any other planet. This huge life-giver is what defines our code, our choice of the signs and each sign itself. While we have the beginning of spring as such an important turning point in a year, it is very unlikely that the zodiacal circle will change, and there is not that much mystery to it as there might seem to be.
So for the sake of our dear, fragile astrology, instead of wondering about changes made to its centuries long traditions and roots, get well informed and know what its rules mean. It is not there in spite of astronomy or any other science. You will not see it tear down the rules of the scientific society or saying their claims are not correct. Keeping this in mind, maybe it would be best if we nurtured the freedom of thought and left unfounded claims and conflicts for some other branches of human interest.