Today the news buzz is a new zodiac sign by the name of Ophiuchus. Everyone is talking about it from CNN to Time magazine. Ophiuchus has picked the NFL Playoffs and there was no time lost in reporting what big name celebrities are born under this new sign. Never before has so much attention been brought to a constellation. We have astronomer Parke Kunkle to thank for bringing it to our attention.
He went on record as saying that there is a new zodiac sign because the sky is different than it was so many thousands of years ago when the zodiac signs were named. There are some internet sites that are also going as far as to report that Ophiuchus is a newly discovered constellation.
It’s enough to make your head spin. On Twitter people are reporting that they are now Ophiuchusians. Others are talking about how this is a sign in the world of Planet X UFO conspiracy theories.
Ophiuchus has always been an acknowledged constellation. If you want to be specific it’s two constellations, the second being Serpens, the giant serpent that is being held in his hands. Ophiuchus also has an interesting place in the world of Greek Mythology. Ophiuchus is the Serpent Wrestler who represents Asclepuis, the God of Healing. He was the son of Apollo and Coronis, lived as a mortal, and raised by Chiron. He learned how to heal and resurrect the dead, thus angering Hades, since he was running out of people to rule over. To appease Hades, Zeus killed Ophiuchus with a thunderbolt and placed him in the sky. Ancient Egyptians called him Imhotep where he was, in fact, an actual living breathing human.
The constellation of Ophiuchus has always been located between Sagittarius and Scorpio and the sun has always passed through it 17 days of the year. The small number of stars that make up his feet, one of which appears to be stepping on Scorpios head, has always fallen below the celestial equator. It is those constellations that fall on the celestial equator that have made up the zodiac. Ophiuchus has always been acknowledged by astrologers and disregarded as a zodiac sign because the entire constellation doesn’t fall on the celestial equator.
It is not a new constellation or a new sign of the zodiac. The sky hasn’t changed, as our now famous astronomer claims. The only thing that has changed is how we view it. We are looking at stars that weren’t necessarily seen 5,000 years ago. That doesn’t mean they weren’t there. When Schrödinger put the cat in the box, just because he couldn’t see the cat didn’t mean that the cat failed to stop existing. Does a bottle change because it’s been turned to see the front label rather than the back label?
Just because attention has been drawn to something we didn’t pay attention to before does not mean that the astrological landscape has changed. Ophiuchus’s feet have always been there. Kunkle explained things poorly and much of what he said was taken out of context. His statement has brought into fruition a debate that astrologers have had off on for a very long time. There are 13 lunar cycles so it is felt by many that there should be 13 zodiac signs, the 13th being Ophiuchus but the argument has always stood about what conditions have to be met to be considered an official zodiac sign and Ophiuchus has never met those conditions.
Everyone can quit stressing out about what zodiac sign they are. There hasn’t been any change in the zodiac lineup in thousands of years, and there is little chance that it’s going to happen now that CNN has picked up the news story.