No, your zodiac sign hasn't changed
January 13th, 2011
10:11 PM ET

No, your zodiac sign hasn't changed

Tattoo parlor owners must be salivating. An assertion in a Minneapolis Star Tribune article that our understanding of the zodiac is off by about a month - and that therefore people have been identifying themselves with the wrong sign - caught fire on the internet Thursday, and many folks are in an absolute panic on social media.

"If my zodiac symbol has been changed to a Libra, what am I supposed to do with my Scorpio tattoo?!?!," read one tweet Thursday.

Some vowed to get their tats removed. Others groaned about losing the sign with which they’ve identified themselves for years. The zodiac and related terms - including Ophiuchus, said to be a 13th and neglected sign - were trending Twitter topics much of Thursday.

But before astrology fans scrape the ink from their arms because they think they're now a Virgo instead of a Libra, they should consider this: If they adhered to the tropical zodiac - which, if they're a Westerner, they probably did - absolutely nothing has changed for them.

That's worth rephrasing: If you considered yourself a Cancer under the tropical zodiac last week, you're still a Cancer under the same zodiac this week.

That's because the tropical zodiac - which is fixed to seasons, and which Western astrology adheres to - differs from the sidereal zodiac - which is fixed to constellations and is followed more in the East, and is the type of zodiac to which the Star Tribune article ultimately refers.

Two zodiacs. That's nothing new.

"This story is born periodically as if someone has discovered some truth. It's not news," said Jeff Jawer, astrologer with Tarot.com.

The hubbub started with Sunday's Star Tribune article, which said the following: "The ancient Babylonians based zodiac signs on the constellation the sun was 'in' on the day a person was born. During the ensuing millenniums, the moon’s gravitational pull has made the Earth 'wobble' around its axis, creating about a one-month bump in the stars' alignment."

"When [astrologers] say that the sun is in Pisces, it’s really not in Pisces," Parke Kunkle, a board member of the Minnesota Planetarium Society, told the Star Tribune.

"Indeed," the article continued, "most horoscope readers who consider themselves Pisces are actually Aquarians." The article also asserts Scorpio's window lasts only seven days, and that a 13th constellation, Ophiuchus, used to be counted between Scorpio and Sagittarius but was discarded by the Babylonians because they wanted 12 signs per year.

True enough, Jawer says, the sun doesn't align with constellations at the same time of year that it did millennia ago. But that’s irrelevant for the tropical zodiac, codified for Western astrology by Ptolemy in the second century, he says.

In the tropical zodiac, the start of Aries is fixed to one equinox, and Libra the other.

"When we look at the astrology used in the Western world, the seasonally based astrology has not changed, was never oriented to the constellations, and stands as … has been stated for two millenniums," Jawer said.

People who put stock in astrology can ask whether they should adhere to the tropical zodiac or the sidereal zodiac. Jawer argues for the tropical.

"Astrology is geocentric. It relates life on Earth to the Earth’s environment, and seasons are the most dramatic effect, which is why we use the tropical zodiac," he said.

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  1. roach

    dunno if anybody mentioned this yet, cause i only read like 60 of these replies, but those first sixty seemed to miss a big point..... your seasonal generic horoscope won't become inaccurate because its based on earth seasons, earth is vibrant in leos summer and we remember easily to wear warm fur like horse skin while we are hunting, as well as reminds us of the future solar year being sag in december...

    if you pay an astrologer, it doesn't change either... astrology is about where all the planets were, at your birth in relation to each other... as well as what house in the topical zodiac... if jupiter is heavy in leo un opposed by mars or saturn or somebody at your birth, i'd say joy in your life because im interpreting the planets by our seasonal astrology.... this won't change... everything you know about "horoscopes" is the same, its still a mathmatical angles of gravitational pull effect which its been forever, our context is still going to work as it has, and apparently this had been ignored by the authors of original astrology anyway, and to them it was a sacred science....

    January 14, 2011 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  2. FunTimes

    If you consult the dictionary, here is the first definition of God that you will find:

    "A being conceived as the perfect, omnipotent, omniscient originator and ruler of the universe, the principal object of faith and worship in monotheistic religions." [ref]
    Most believers would agree with this definition because they share a remarkably clear and consistent view of God. Yes, there are thousands of minor quibbles about religion. Believers express those quibbles in dozens of denominations - Presbyterians, Lutherans, Catholics, Baptists, Episcopalians, Methodists and such. But at the heart of it all, the belief in God aligns on a set of core ideas that everyone accepts.
    What if you were to simply think about what it would mean if there were a perfect, omnipotent, omniscient originator and ruler of the universe? Is it possible for such a being to exist? Epicures thought about it in 300 BCE, and he came up with this:

    "The gods can either take away evil from the world and will not, or, being willing to do so, cannot; or they neither can nor will, or lastly, they are both able and willing. If they have the will to remove evil and cannot, then they are not omnipotent. If they can, but will not, than they are not benevolent. If they are neither able nor willing, then they are neither omnipotent nor benevolent. Lastly, if they are both able and willing to annihilate evil, how does it exist?"
    [See also Proof #31]
    In other words, if you sit and think about who God is supposed to be, you realize that such a being is impossible. Ridiculous, in fact.

    Take this quote from the Bible. In Matthew 7:7 Jesus says:

    Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
    The impossibility of God is visible here as well. Based on Jesus' statement, let's assume that you are a child and you are starving in Ethiopia. You pray for food. What would you expect to happen based on Jesus' statement? If God exists as an all-loving, all-knowing and all-powerful parent - a "father in heaven" - you would expect God to deliver food to you. In fact, the child should not have to pray. Normal parents provide food to their children without their children having to beg for it. Yet, strangely, on planet Earth today we find tens of millions of people dying of starvation every year.
    Another way to approach the impossibility of God is to think about the concept of omniscience. If God is omniscient, then it means that he knows every single thing that happens in the universe, both now and infinitely into the future. Do you have free will in such a universe? Clearly not. God knows everything that will happen to you. Therefore, the instant you were created, God knows whether you are going to heaven or hell. To create someone knowing that that person will be damned to hell for eternity is the epitome of evil.

    Here is another way to understand the impossibility of God. If you look at the definition of God, you can see that he is defined as the "originator and ruler of the universe". Why does the universe need an originator - a creator? Because, according to religious logic, the universe cannot exist unless it has a creator. A believer will say, "nothing can exist unless it is created." However, that satement immediately constructs a contradiction, because we must then wonder who created God. For a believer the answer to that is simple - "God is the one thing that does not need a creator. God is timeless and has always existed." How can it be that the everything MUST have a creator, while God must NOT? The contradiction in the definition of God is palpable.

    As soon as your think about the concept of a perfect, omnipotent, omniscient being, you realize the impossibility of the concept. That impossibility is yet another way to see that God is imaginary.

    January 14, 2011 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  3. lolol

    I believe that the forerunners sacrificed themselves to cleanse the Universe of the Flood.

    January 14, 2011 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Steph E

    I think this whole thing is way off topic.. But who is anyone to try to say what someone choses to believe in is wrong or right? I can't believe half of whats being said here. No one should be told what the believe is wrong.. So where people are on here talking about others beliefs is just a shame!

    January 14, 2011 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Kendra

    Ok, well if 12 signs were ok at billions of years ago, then it's ok a billion years later. There no need to add another zodiac sign. I've studied astrology for 5 years and i have mostly everything do pack, and now they want to bring some crap like this up. They just want to confuse people. In my mind that will always be 12 (COUNT THEM TWELVE!!) signs of the zodiac.

    January 14, 2011 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Sue Keller

    Thank my lucky stars that I can continue with my tropical zodiac sign. I thought I would only have my Chinese horoscope to guide me throught life!!!

    January 14, 2011 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
  7. ....

    stupid

    January 14, 2011 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
  8. stef

    I find it funny how everyone is so quick to bash Christianity... Have you ever stoped to think about what you believe? Most people believe that they are an accident, there is no god therefore we are not created. People want to prove that there is no reason why you are here; you are not special, you just exist so you can go through all the pain in life but have absolutely no real reason to live, because according to what you chose to believe you live just to die anyway... and people wonder why suicide is such a problem. Oh and by the way, any informed Christian knows Jesus was not born in Dec but actually in the middle of the Jewish feast of the tabernacle. Also the science you believe in does not prove that there's no god. In fact it proves quite the opposite, if you've ever taken biology you know that even the most simple life form is far too complex to have formed by accident. Making your faith even more radical then mine.

    I do however agree with you on one point and that is that Christians are far too judgemental and are most of the reason why people chose to walk away from god and everything to do with him. My only plea is that you look past the people that strap themselves to the bible and decide for yourself. Do you believe that science is the answer while it still hasn't proven that there is no god, or do you chose to believe that you were created for a reason by a god that knew how many hairs would be on your head before he created the world you live in?
    The choice is yours.

    January 14, 2011 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Uri

    Holy heck. My disposition is supposed to be tied to the stars not the seasons. Who would use the seasons. Its about the power of the universe, not the weather. So yes, my zodiac has changed and you just validated the article not refute it. What am I going to do. My life has beenn lived as a lie. This is terrible.

    January 14, 2011 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dar

      Though I personally don't put "stock" into astrology, especially daily horoscopes, I actually find that Western astrology makes (a little) more sense to me. I think that it could be possible that people born during different times of the year could adapt similar traits as each other. Think of the vast difference in mood and behavior we feel between Summer and Winter. I'm not saying one or the other is correct, I'm just saying it's something to consider.

      January 14, 2011 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Name*Gypsy

    Well I'm a cancer through and through and no idiotic person who just ups and changes things well mess up my belief with the zodiac

    January 14, 2011 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
  11. mizzjaxn

    How about those bears and bulls? Derrick rose is thee man and so is Jay Cutler. GO CHICAGO!

    January 14, 2011 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Lauren

    So not even half way through reading all of these comments and here is what i understand about everyones talk on religion and science: You would rather belive in a talking snake then belive in Science. Things that have actually been proven. I choose to beleive in facts. science. Not a talking snake (god).

    January 14, 2011 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
  13. zeenat

    Guys its not funny,I will never be cancer inconsidering what sign is added....... Everything I read about LEO is actually me n d predicts come true,if that isn't genuine enough then I ahud be waitting to actually have my name mention in my new zodiac reading....to those that think we do not worship God cos we believe in zodiac that's not just fair cos i believe its God's work n it has a meaning hence my interest in it.AM SO NOT CANCER,don't get my bp up!!!!

    January 14, 2011 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Lauren

    I have nothing against people who belive in god however this is how i see it. You would rather belive in a talking snake then belive in science. I have seen no proof that god is real. I have however seen facts on the theory of how humans were really created. How did the cavmen exist? they were here before "jesus". explain that. i can. one word. SCIENTIFIC FACT.

    January 14, 2011 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • ElijahsFury

      The talking snake was symbolic of Satan. The tree of Knowlegde of Good and Evil was symbolic of The Nervous System. Want more? Shepherdschapel com. shepherdschapelDOTco

      January 14, 2011 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • MrsBigglesworth

      Lauren – I don't think anyone who is Christian argues that the cavemen existed before Jesus' birth. Belief in God is just that – it is faith exhibited through a relationship with God through prayer and reading the bible. It is not for everyone. Not everyone is going to believe in God or Christ. Jesus calls his people the "elect." Choosing God is just that – it is a choice. Everyone needs to make theirs which is ok. God is not the talking snake – that is Satan. The battle of the mind is always on and that is what spiritual warfare is on Earth. There are plenty of historical writings and archeological findings that support the writings in the bible. People who believe those are not idiots. Again – it's a choice and it is why God gave mankind free will. Those that believe in him believe that there are consequences to non-belief. However, God doesn't call on people to talk about that continually – but to communicate with love about what they believe and why. So – these things really don't need to become arguments. It is destined that some people will choose to believe and God and some won't so there's never going to be a 100% population to go either way. Have a good one!

      January 14, 2011 at 7:51 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Ryan

    Well I am definitely an Aries and aint nobody gona tell me any different! It is what It is!!! 😉

    January 14, 2011 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
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