A few years ago there was a lot of buzz about a new, thirteenth sign of the Zodiac. Not only this, but that the date ranges for the twelve well known signs have also changed, we were told. Really serious Astrology enthusiasts started to panic that for their entire lives they have believed themselves to be a specific sign, read their daily predictions, checked their compatibility with potential romantic partners, etc… only to find that they are a completely different sign!
Astrologers rushed to alleviate the fears of their clients, column readers and twitter followers that nothing has changed. Keep calm and carry on with the original, traditional system. News articles cropped up debunking the 13th Sign, many stating that all of this has been known for centuries and that everything has been accounted for by the Astrology community by consensus.
What is the real Truth? Did someone drag up old and irrelevant information to try and stir the pot? An astrological troll looking for negative attention? Or is there really a 13th Sign that mainstream Astrologers don’t want us to know about? The truth is that there are indeed 13 constellations of the Zodiac. However, it is important to distinguish between a Sign and a Constellation.
First of all, what is the Zodiac? It is the belt of stars that the sun moves across, as viewed from Earth, in the course of the year. Put another way, if you look at the rising sun every morning and draw an imaginary line between yourself and the sun, but then continue the line out further, this line will be pointing at one of the constellations of the Zodiac. There are many other constellations, but only 13 of them are part of the Zodiac belt.
The “Constellations” are the actual stars that you can observe in the sky. A “Sign” of the Zodiac is a more subtle concept but it is related to the constellations. The twelve signs that we are all familiar with were devised by ancient Babylonian priests around 3000 years ago. The Babylonians had spent generations observing the movement and configuration of the stars and planets (considered “wandering stars”) along with the sun and moon. They built observatories and kept records of this and correlated different significant events with the changes that they observed. They learned to predict how the stars were going to move and developed increasingly accurate progressions.
They eventually codified these findings into the system that has come down to us as Astrology. One of the decisions they made was to align their findings more closely with the prevalent religious theology at the time. Having 12 equal “Signs” fit better than 13 irregular constellations, so they fudged the numbers.
So are there actually a 13th Zodiac Sign or not? Yes, there is! But it is new. The Constellation of the Zodiac has been known for Aeons, but only recently have pioneering Astrologers started recognizing a 13th Sign, called Ophiuchus. These same Astrologers are using an uneven division between these thirteen signs, to match exactly with the observed constellations. So in this new Astrology, what is your New Sign, or the actual constellation on the horizon that the sun rose in on the day you were born? For me, I used to be a Capricorn but my New Sign is Sagittarius! To be honest, I feel that both work for me. Your results may vary and I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter! The new dates are shown below, give or take a day or two. If you are very close to the transition date, you are said to be born “on the cusp” and partake of qualities of both signs:
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
Capricorn: Jan. 20 – Feb. 16
P.S. How does this relate to Tarot? 12 of the Major Arcana cards are representations of the 12 traditional signs of the Zodiac. Should we add another card for Ophiuchus?
The previous post [The Magician and The Priestess: A Case for Ladies First in Tarot] introduced the idea of aligning the Major Arcana sequence with the occult order of the Planets. To supplement this, I would like to share a video I recorded a few years ago. I go into the basic building blocks that make up the symbols for the seven classical planets. This comes from the old Hermetic Alchemy system. I also discuss other interesting bits of arcane knowledge on the planets. Please leave a comment so we can discuss this further!