Astrology: 13 Signs? No, 12 Is Still Our Magic Number

6 years ago

The 6pm news teaser was: “Forget everything you thought you knew about your Astrology sign. Your Sun sign has changed! More at 11." What?

Every couple of years, the science community tries to help astrologers out by providing new information about celestial bodies. According to Parke Kunkle, a board member of the Minnesota Planetarium Society, the Earth’s shift on its axis has added a 13th Zodiac constellation called “Ophiuchus.” (How do you pronounce Ophiuchus?)

By Orthogaffe at fr.wikipedia [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], from Wikimedia Commons


Astronomers have decided that this new sign is set between Scorpio and Sagittarius. In order to make it fit into our traditional calendar, Scorpio’s duration, rather than the usual 29 to 30 days, has been squeezed into six days, from November 23 to November 29. The newbie’s time frame is from November 29 to December 17, which eats into part of Sagittarius.

Please don’t rush out to get a different Zodiac pendant or, as my local newscaster complained, change tattoos. The 12 Astrology signs, along with their date ranges, have not changed! The Earth axis wobble is not new. Astrologers have known about it for years. However, traditional Western Astrology does not -- repeat, does not -- use “constellations” to determine Sun signs. We use the Tropical Zodiac, based upon the discoveries by Ptolemy in the 2nd century, which begins with 1 degree Aries, the same as the Equinox. We follow seasons as opposed to constellations. (Anyway, think about it, 12 is such a special number, why change. It divides so nicely for astrological aspects- sextiles, trines, etc. - 13, not so much.)

The Sidereal Zodiac, used by Eastern astrologers, is constellation based; therefore, when comparing chart construction between West and East, signs and planet House positions can differ by approximately 23 degrees. For their style of interpretation, it works. How these astrologers will factor in “Ophiuchus," time will tell.

This latest news flash may go the same way as the 2006 demotion of Pluto from Planet -- ruler of intense, secretive Scorpio -- to “dwarf planet” by the International Astronomical Union. Astrologers still include Pluto, with all of its power and transformative energy, in chart interpretations, regardless of its label.

BTW: Perhaps I’m being too sensitive, but I can’t help but wonder if Astrology is being messed around one more time??? Are astronomers pulling our collective legs? Are they just too hip for the room and I’m not getting the humor? Am I meant to giggle at this 13th sign “discovery?" Why can't we just get along?

However, just in case you’re curious, below is a list of the Zodiac sign dates assigned by astronomers with “Ophiuchus” included:

Capricorn: Jan. 20 - Feb. 16
Aquarius: Feb. 16 - March 11
Pisces: March 11- April 18
Aries: April 18- May 13
Taurus: May 13- June 21
Gemini: June 21- July 20
Cancer: July 20- Aug. 10
Leo: Aug. 10- Sept. 16
Virgo: Sept. 16- Oct. 30
Libra: Oct. 30- Nov. 23
Scorpio: Nov. 23- Nov. 29
*Ophiuchus: Nov. 29- Dec. 17
Sagittarius: Dec. 17- Jan. 20

Astrosandy blogs at

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