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That "13th Zodiac Sign" Between Scorpio and Sagittarius

Updated on October 7, 2015
SylviaSky profile image

Sylvia Sky, M.A., is a widely published author of books and articles about astrology and occult and spiritual matters.

Astrologers and astronomers both work with a zodiac that has 12 signs and no more

Relax. There is no new zodiac. Every few years some clown muddles the facts and announces that there are really 13 zodiac signs, because in the sky between the constellations Scorpio and Sagittarius lies a small part of the minor constellation Ophiuchus (oh-fyoo-kus), the celestial Serpent Bearer.

Both astronomers and astrologers use the term “zodiac.” From Earth it appears that our Sun, Moon and planets always travel along the same pathway through the sky. Because they travel this path “through” certain constellations, these constellations have been singled out as special and symbolic. As a group they are called the zodiac. Individually they are called “signs of the zodiac,” and for thousands of years it has been decided that there are 12 of them. The word “zodiac” is Greek for “circle of animals.”

As long as there have been mathematicians around to do it, astronomers and astrologers (who used to be one and the same) have divided the sky around earth into 360 degrees and subdivided it into 12 equal sectors to make it simpler to map and study. Twelve also honors the marvelous handiwork of God, who frequently arranges things in twelves. Of course the night sky doesn’t present itself with 12 equal anything, just as a chickens don’t lay their eggs a dozen at a time. The 12 equal sectors drawn in a sky map don’t exactly fit the actual constellations, and never have. Some of the constellations in the zodiac are very large and spectacular, such as Scorpio, while others are small and hard to see, such as Aries.

Why are they called "Sun Signs"?

The mathematical division of the sky into 12 equal sectors is what has given us 12 equal zodiac signs.They are called Sun signs, because the Sun is the most noticeable celestial object that appears to travel through these signs. The Sun and planets travel through the heart of each Sun sign. But if you picture the constellation Ophiuchus as a man, the planets travel only through his feet. Ophiuchus doesn’t fit the system, never has, and is simply treated as if it doesn’t count. Astrologers and astronomers both work with a zodiac that has 12 signs and no more.

NASA Uses the Zodiac? Yes!

Astronomers at NASA determine the first day of spring by calculating the moment the Sun enters the Aries sector. But if the sectors are equal, why is the first day of spring sometimes March 20, sometimes March 21, and always at a different hour? Because the earth is not quite a perfect sphere and wobbles on its axis, scientists make small adjustments to the hour and even the day that our Sun seems to enter the Aries sector. That’s how the date gets on your calendar. Reports that climate change has caused the Earth to wobble are false.

The Vedic astrologers of India use 12 sectors which better match the actual constellations, but are still idealized as equal in size. Traditional Chinese astrology divides the sky into 28 sectors. The few astrologers who acknowledge the four or five stars from the constellation Ophiuchus as a 13th zodiac sign use what is called “the galactic zodiac,” which as yet has no tradition that distills the sign’s meaning. However, the story of Ophiuchus tells that he was a healer, and his serpent continues to this day as a symbol of the medical profession.

Classic astrology is based on 12 signs of the zodiac, and it is not changing.

Sylvia Sky, experienced astrologer, monitors 70-plus online horoscope and psychic sites for quality and accuracy. Copyright 2015 by Sylvia Sky. Sylvia does not select or endorse the ads appearing on her pages.

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  • profile image

    UJAGAR SINGH 

    3 years ago

    I find something interesting here. Sylvia has been consistently bringing out grey areas in astrology for greater debate and clarifying things to us ordinary mortals. I know nothing about this science but I am keen to learn as it is fascinating..Can Joshua or Sylvia help and be willing to enlighten me more about this. I shall be happier.

  • profile image

    Joshua 

    7 years ago

    There are many people who are taking all of this the wrong way. There is a 13 zodiac, yet your sign did NOT change. Your zodiac sign comes which constellation was closets on your birth, the new zodiac affect only those to be born. Adding a 13th one does not change which one you were born under, you cannot change the past.

    And the statement "Classic astrology is based on 12 signs of the zodiac, and it is not changing." still has little meaning to it, was Pluto not considered a planet just years ago? I have studied astrology much in the years, and a 13 constellation is no "news", its been known since the time of the egyptians. The earth does wobble on its axis, but not only that the Earth's orbit also expands and shrinks causing naturally cooling and warming periods on the planet. A mixture of both of these allows this constellation to be aligns with the other, the constellations change every 2,000 some what years, this is known today and was known back then as well.

  • Jean Bakula profile image

    Jean Bakula 

    7 years ago from New Jersey

    Hi Sylvia,

    Thanks for clearing that up! I had people calling me in panic for a few days, afraid they were Libras instead of Scorpios, etc. We finally began calling the bogus sign "Octupus" so thanks for the correct pronunciation.

  • saesha profile image

    saesha 

    7 years ago

    great article, some people are saying this "news" debunks astrology, but in actuality it is only debunking the people who believe in it without studying it on their own. Obviously astrologers who have studied it understand the whole issue. The difference in understanding lies in the refusal of ordinary people to look into the truth of the matter.

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