The internet promptly panicked when many outlets (ahem) reported on a resurfaced January NASA report explaining there has always been a 13th constellation and, possibly, a 13th zodiac sign. That first part is undeniable astronomy, but many believed the existence of the constellation (and the news that earth's wobbly axis means the constellations are not in the same place they were 3,000 years ago) also altered their astrological signs. Astronomers won't comment on that part (again, they do science and astrology is not science), but not all astrologists are buying that our signs have shifted either. Below, all you need to know about the Ophiucus constellation.
Prominent figures in astrology don't believe Ophiucus changes anything.
"There are a lot of constellations—88 if you want to get right down to it—so I'm not sure why everyone's up in arms about this one," Susan Miller told ELLE in 2011, when news of Ophiucus broke. "The ancients discussed whether or not to include a 13th sign—they debated, they did empirical studies, and in the end they felt it was not significant. Remember, they invented astrology, and we have to go with what they gave us."
The AstroTwins recently pointed out the same thing NASA did in the original report: that astronomy and astrology are not the same. While everyone can agree the constellations have shifted in relation to the earth over time, the zodiac sign you've always identified with is based on a Western "artificial" system. This system is based on the sun and how the planet revolves around it, which is why zodiac dates don't change regardless of what's going on in the stars—the rotation around the sun always remains the same.
Astrologist Rick Levine clarified further to DailyHoroscope.com: "Ophiuchus has nothing to do with astrology. It's not an astrology issue. It has to do with the stars—it's not a sign, it's a constellation."
Astrologists who participate in Eastern astrology—which follows the zodiac based on constellations, not signs, according to Mother Nature Network— versus the aforementioned Western form, are the ones who believe everyone's signs have changed.
These astrologists have released the new dates that correspond with all 13 of them (per Marie Claire UK). Ophiucus lasts 18 days and is sandwiched in between Scorpio and Sagittarius:
- 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
If you believe you are now an Ophiucus (which BTW is pronounced oaf-ih-YOU-kus), you're a serpent bearer.
According to Zodiac Books, qualities of an Ophiucus are:
House Ophiuchus represented Unity. Its people were spirited, magnetic, impulsive, clever, flamboyant, and at times jealous, power-hungry, and temperamental. At their hearts, they were healers who hoped to one day rid the Zodiac of every ill—disease, violence, etc—and bring everyone closer together.
Ophiuchans had a natural affinity for snakes, and there was a special species of serpent, the Zawinder, with whom their House’s Zodai developed a psychic connection. Each Zodai would capture and adopt his own Zawinder, which they would then use to spread messages to others in the swamp.
Also, upon entering their teenage years, Ophiucus(es?) also develop scaly skin to protect them from other creatures that may bite.
Best of luck.
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This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.