13 or 14 Zodiacal Constellations
The 13th Sign of the Zodiac
An Alternative View
Many people can easily name the 12 traditional signs of the zodiac. This is the parlance of contemporary western astrological description. There are however, two constellations that impinge upon the zodiacal ecliptic, one of them very significantly. These are Orion and Ophiuchus. Further, all of the signs are not 30 degrees wide uniformly. The uniformity is a largely unspoken consensus at this juncture that most people have come to accept without question. Yet, when we look at a sky map of the constellations and the boundaries now agreed upon for them, we find some interesting discrepancies. Some overlap but off the ecliptic. For the measure of each sign, many take the ecliptic as it cuts through the starry dynamo. This is one of two axes in the sky and for this particular chapter, we look at the ecliptic.
The ecliptic is universal around the world for defining seasons and the passage of the sun, moon and planets. Each culture has different seasons and different stories for the zodiac, but they are universal in the position of the ecliptic. For our western purposes, we define the four seasons and the twelve constellations of the zodiac. In some more ancient systems, there are thirteen signs, but this was reduced to twelve. The Maya for example, have thirteen signs, but they are laid out completely differently than ours. They also have a zodiac and what they call the celestial tree that is defined by the galactic plane. Thus they have three different systems working all at once. We have one, but this needs some examination. Looking at the real layout of the star patterns that make up the zodiac and the boundaries thereof, we find in the argument of the ecliptic the following:
Zodiac sign width along the ecliptic
Constellation = Width in deg - Comments
Aries = 23 degrees
Taurus = 37 degrees
Gemini = 30 degrees
Cancer = 18 degrees
Leo = 41 degrees
Virgo = 42 degrees
Libra = 25 degrees
Scorpio = 5 degrees - Lies mostly S of ecliptic & is almost 30 degrees overlapping Sag & Ophiuchus
Ophiuchus = 20 degrees
Sagittarius = 36 degrees
Capricorn = 28 degrees
Aquarius = 20 degrees - Overlaps Capricorn by 20 degrees N. Of ecliptic
Pisces = 35 degrees
For the sake of argument, the three degrees of Orion's upper part can be said to be not contained in the ecliptic, but the north most boundary lies a mere degree below the ecliptic. Orion marks the point of the summer solstice and also the important “Heart of Sky” in Mayan cosmology. Also important is the position of Ophiuchus near the winter solstice, which itself lies in the constellation of Sagittarius. We may be able to dismiss Orion, but we cannot dismiss Ophiuchus between the arrow of Sagittarius and the tail of Scorpio that occupies a full 20 degrees of the ecliptic, whereas Scorpio's tail occupies only 5 degrees. There is one other consideration for the “Heart of Sky” and that has to do with the orbital inclinations of the planets and moon. Though it is true that the Sun never passes through Orion, it does graze the part closest to the ecliptic. The moon however, has an orbital inclination to the ecliptic of about 5 degrees. It does pass through the “Heart of Sky” on a cyclical basis. When the moon is “below the ecliptic” in its orbit as far as us northerners are concerned and it is lined up with the summer half of the ecliptic, then it will pass directly through Orion. The moons nodes have an 18.6 year cycle, which means that when the moon passes through the descending node on its way to the “Heart of Sky”, it will be in that 9.8 year part of the cycle where it will do so during most of that length of time. The cycle where the moon passes through Orion began on December 21st 2010 and will do so over the next 9.8 years. When the moon appears above the ecliptic when near the “Heart of Sky”, then the moon never enters Orion and that too has a 9.8 year period. The same is true of all the other planets that have orbital inclinations in relation to the sun-earth ecliptic. Thus, all the planets will pass through the “Heart of Sky” when the orbital alignment and their “season” is in place for that to occur. We will examine all of this in other pages and give a range of dates for each.
When we thus depart form convention, there are other considerations that enter into the picture. This is perhaps one major reason why the equal division of twelve signs was adopted. When looking at the more complex picture, the length of zodiacal ages change, few being equal in extent. The dates for the start of one zodiacal period also differ from what is commonly stated regardless of whether we consider the tropical or sidereal points of view. For the current epoch, the summer solstice lies almost exactly over the boundary between Orion and Gemini, or as more popularly accepted, Gemini and Taurus just on the Taurus (Orion) side. We can thus divide the dates from that location, with Gemini marking the 22nd day of June in the Sidereal consideration. The Heart-of-Sky location in Orion marks the 21st day of June. If Gemini thus begins on the 22nd day of June, it ends on the 21st day of July. Cancer commences according to this, on the 22nd of July and ends on August 7th. Leo follows on the 8th of August and runs through to September 19th. On the 20th of September, Virgo commences and continues through to Octobe4r 31st. Libra commences on November the 1st and ends on the 26th. Scorpio runs from November 27th through to the December 1st. Ophiuchus commences on December 2nd and runs to December 21st. Sagittarius commences on December 22nd and ends on January 28th. Capricorn starts on January 29th and ends on February 26th. From there, Aquarius marks the position of the sun from February 27th through to March 15th. Pisces starts on March 16th and runs through to April 20th. Aries begins on April 21st to May 14th. Finally, Taurus commences on May 15th and carries through to June 21st, right over the heart of sky.
As the orbit of the earth changes year to year, there are variables such as year to day variables and the precession of the equinox over the long run. No two years will have the same boundary days and generally speaking, the ages precess backward by a day every 72 years, which is why we specify the current epoch of 2010-11 as the mark for this discourse. That being said, we now have to consider the role of Ophiuchus in the context of the Zodiac as there are many who are born under the influence of Ophiuchus, as we all are to a greater or lesser extent.
Ophiuchus; the serpent bearer is wrestling with the serpent in the myth and is the inspiration behind the caduceus of modern medicine where two serpents are entwined around a pole or cross. But as a sign of consideration for a horoscope for those born between December 2nd to 21st, astrologers have gathered together a series of traits that would match such a person that include:
Seeker of peace and wisdom
Attractor of good luck and jealousy as a consequence
Interpreter of dreams and has vivid premonitions
One who reaches for the stars in mind and action
Wearer of plaid, which is a strange piece of interpretation from a now obscure source
Has lofty ideals such as religious or social
Seeks peace and harmony
Doctor of medicine or science, naturopath, aspirations of healing the ills of man
Adds, increases, joins, or gathers together
Poetical, inventive nature
Seeks higher education and wisdom and may be self educated
Overseer, lead-hand or supervisor of work
Fame – infamy
Tax assessor, or actuary
Astrological talents, intuitive arts
May be from or have a large family, but apt to be separated from them when young
Foresight and good fortune to benefit from hard times
Secret enemies in family or among close associations
high position possible in life expected depending on planetary aspects
Highest fame and legend comes after death
Wise, genius mentality
Likes to wear vibrant colours
Receives the attention of those in authority
All other astrological considerations would still hold. The Heart-of-Sky for June 21st and from the 20th through to the 22nd, hold special significance, especially for the Mayan mindset. From here we can explore what influence various world paradigms have to offer by way of location and time.
The 13th zodicacal constellation
An elegant view of the zodical year
The long view
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