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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soundoff (1,486 Responses)
  1. Dar

    If all the awful things in the world bother people, I don't see why anyone would actively seek out opportunities for additional negativity by insulting and being cruel to one another. I know it's the just internet, so I am probably overreacting, but I see it every single day of my life, everywhere, no matter what. I'm guilty of it too. I wish humans could just be kinder, that's it.

    No one can know with absolute certainty exactly what is true and what is not.

    January 14, 2011 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Anthony

    I don't like to get into the debate on whether or not God exists, what I will say is this... I wouldn't want to live in a world where NOONE believed and there was nothing to keep EVERYONE from believing that nothing they did determined where they would spend eternity. People with nothing to lose are dangerous, even with the threat of hell. So I am glad that there is one more thing that people must consider with their actions.

    But all that debate IS, strangely enough, relevant to this article, in that something that a lot of people believe and live their lives by, is being challenged in much the same way people are challenged in their belief (or disbelief) in God. For those that DO believe in the zodiac, there is a lot at stake. They live their live according to their sign, blame a lot of their problems on theirs or others signs and have hopes and dreams build around their "faith" in the truth of their sign. Then all of the sudden, "...oh buy the way, you are living a lie." They don't see it as challenging the zodiac (or their faith in God), they see it as their existence being threatened, and even if they have their owe doubts; they don't want to hear it from someone else. I personally believe that you control what you do and don't do and that it's not pre-destined by God or mapped out by the stars. Why create something like life if it’s all mapped out? And how could you blame people (Sodom & Gomorra) and destroy them when it’s all your plan anyway? I am more inclined to believe that Man has (purposely or not) misrepresented God’s word at the very least. But just like people sucked in by cults (referring to Zodiac, and not necessarily Christianity), some people NEED something to follow, something to blame all the bad thing that happen to them on and they need to believe that something greater than themselves are in control of their lives.

    I have heard people say, "I'm a Virgo and staying a Virgo." Well, if it were true that your sign changed and you believe in that, what would be the point in NOT changing to your “new CORRECT sign”? If you can just pick the sign that you want, seems kind of beside the point to me.
    IMO, YOU are the only one responsible for anything that happens in your life. And answer me this, how is it even possible that BOTH the zodiac and the bible are guiding your life, seems like believing in one means you don’t believe in the other. Maybe it’s just me….

    January 14, 2011 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
  3. skysenshi

    Um, but if we're going to follow the tropical zodiac...what about climate change? Heh.

    January 14, 2011 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Alicia

    some of you are so rude why do you care about what some one believes or not its none of you f'in b. To all you pushers grow up find something better to push your views on to people like politics you might be better at it. I am a Libra and proud to be one thank you for all the info...

    January 14, 2011 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
  5. WOOT

    Oh wow did this ever get off topic. Believe in what you want to believe and let others do the same. It doesn't matter if a religon is based on false information or not if it brings the believer to a point of enlightenment and contentment. Maybe the bible doesn't tell the whole story but it does teach good morals and a code of conduct that should be universal. I am in no way Christian but I still reference the bible as well as the Quran(i think thats how you spell it) the teachings of Bhudda, Tao philosophy and even Confucianism. Its about Faith in a higher power and an elevated plane of existence not who's religion is the right one. As Bill and Ted say "Be excellent to each other."

    @Tim I did find Zeitgeist to be quite the eye opener. I thought it was interesting that the winter equinox is celebrated in every know culture and is always the "Birth" of a holy figure. It was actually RA's birthday as well (egyptian sun god) And actually also is astrological correct in predicting the postion of the sun as it crest the horizon. The eastern star and Orions belt also known as the three kings points in a direct line to the horizon where the sun rises on that day. usually between the 21st and 23rd of december.

    Besides who cares this is about Zodiac signs and I don't care what anyone says I am still a Scorpio

    January 14, 2011 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Silver Faery

    I know I don't fit all of the aspect of being a Leo, but some major points with that sign I do. Same with most of my friends, but I do have a few friends that fit none of their signs or only a small part of it...this has brought up some interesting conversations. I've studied Astrology and there is more then just your "sign" that influences charts. I came across this announcement a few years back thanks to a friend (who by the way ended up fitting the "13th" sign, which happened to be the one he should have been born under.)

    January 14, 2011 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
  7. shawn

    this is bull, nothing has changed

    January 14, 2011 at 7:01 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Alex

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH! What a bunch of clueless idiots. I have yet to read a single message here that demonstrates true enlightenment. Then again none of you obviously are beings from outer space like I am. HAH HAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    January 14, 2011 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Aleshea

    If you read the article correctly it discusses both types of zodiacs, the sidereal and tropical. Yes, if you follow the sidereal zodiac, your sign has changed because that is based on the stars and their alignment. And yes, it's known that the stars and earth are no longer in the same alignment they were thousands of years ago. If you follow the tropical zodiac, your sign has not changed because it is determined by the seasons. The stars may have changed but the seasons have not, therefore your signs remain the same.
    So if you follow sidereal, your sign has changed. If you follow tropical, your sign is the same. It all depends on which zodiac, personally you follow.

    January 14, 2011 at 7:08 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Sophie

    Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. quoted by Albert Einstein,both have there mistakes and theories, and both have some truth to them, don't get me wrong I'm not a believer in god myself but it is a nice thought and comforting to think there is something bigger than all of us here.

    January 14, 2011 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Peter E

    Here's my astrological prediction for you (that will work 99% of the time for ANY sign): keep your goals in focus. Now is the time for you to appreciate your friends and listen to them. You may not get what you want but don't give up, just keep working towards your goals. You can find happiness with something/someone new, but don't take everything you have for granted. Be thoughtful. Don't give into impulses, unless they are positive impulses. Blah, blah, blah!

    January 14, 2011 at 7:14 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Limbaugh is a liberal

    But the world will end in 2012! Just like the Hollywood movie said! Even though researchers have said that the calendar may be off by 100 years, and the original tablet that all the speculation is about itself doesn't actually say that the world will end and it specifically refers to events that Will happen after the current cycle ends in 2012! It's OVER! GAME OVER man! GAME OVER!

    January 14, 2011 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Falon

      If it happens, it happens. Either way, no use in running to the store for mass tp or bottled water...I'm not worried..not like any of us can change the outcome, so no point in panic. Que sera', sera'! 🙂

      January 14, 2011 at 8:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Leah

      did you ever consider that they probably just ran out of room on their calendar? lol

      January 14, 2011 at 8:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • yeah..

      Sarcasm? What is that?

      January 14, 2011 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • LeeAnn

      Maybe the Mayans just ended the calender because they were being conquered by the Spanish. How many other people have predicted the worlds end and I'm not quite sure if it ended or not BUT I am going to assume that since we are still here, they were wrong... But what do I know, right?

      January 14, 2011 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Laura JT

      SO, some guy was making a calendar back 2012 years ago and stopped. And that means the world's gonna end? Um, maybe he like, died, or got bored with the whole thing and just stopped. I gotten bored with things in my life and stopped doing them. Like playing pinocle. But just because I got bored with it doesn't mean it ended and no one else plays. Dah.

      Unless the sun burns out or an extra large meteor hits the planet, you're probably all gonna be here until you die of natural causes or accidents or whatever. Chill out.

      January 14, 2011 at 11:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • c1ax0n

      Funny thing about cycles; when a cycle ends, a new cycle must begin, otherwise it would just be a single event.
      When the Earth finishes its cycle, it will not suddenly stop, it will keep on spinning.
      Life will go on just as it did the day before and will continue like normal.

      And who cares if they put an end to their calendar, ours ends in December. Oh yeah, then it cycles back to January.

      January 14, 2011 at 11:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • runpoochrun

      Wow, really surprised at the poll results. Anyone who takes the Zodiac seriously needs help.

      January 14, 2011 at 11:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • FOXbot92

      Oh please, don't quit your day job if 2012 doesn't come, anywho I agree with this article. Go with what you believe you are, I mean if you was born in Westerner zodiac, and believed you were a libra go with your philosophy

      January 15, 2011 at 12:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Windy

      I'm amused by all the people who replied to you without realizing you clearly don't believe the world is ending in 2012.

      January 15, 2011 at 12:58 am | Report abuse |
    • april 1

      and oh leanjt ... people didnt get "bored" back then lol woow people actually had motivation .. times have changed or are you just stuck in your bubble and think that the Egyptians had xbox 360 and wii to play on back then? Egyptians and people back in ancient times were so passionate about the earth and crop circles and encryptions they were actually taken back and curious about the world .. like i said they didnt have a TV to flip on or a car to hop in to to go to a friends house when they got "bored" lol ahh the things that stupid people say on here amazes me

      January 15, 2011 at 1:14 am | Report abuse |
    • tnt

      hey, april
      SERIOUSLY. do you believe in all the garbage that conspiracy theorists write? how gullible are you people? check your sources twice, three times, more. It's probably a bunch of numheads who are making money off of your gullibility.

      anyway, the chinese calendar doesn't end in 2010. don't pull the chinese into your lies.

      January 15, 2011 at 2:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Peter Johnston

      Ya the "Book of Numbers" also does get everyone confused-Nastradamus-or Nastra damn us-was vigorously broadcasted as predicting the end of the world back in 1984 'cause "we" saw he was predicting it would happen in 1985. I was stupid enough to buy a book on our perceptions of his predictions. Well I was only 17! At least they didn't perceive the "year" AGAIN 'till 2012 so it corresponds to the "other" prediction.

      January 15, 2011 at 2:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Landon

      Well, they said the world was gonna end in 2000, but it didn't. So it's probably not going to end next year.

      January 15, 2011 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • anonymous

      First, LOL at your user name!

      Second, nobody can predict the end of the world.

      January 15, 2011 at 8:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Liitle Redridinghood

      Wow!

      January 15, 2011 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • snapcarolina

      The Mayan calendar will end on Dec. 21st, 2012. This is 5000 years after it began. 5000 is a nice, round number!

      January 15, 2011 at 9:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Heather

      In response to the comment that started this all, I hope all of you doomsayers know that the Mayans didn't stay around forever. The area where they lived was taken over by the Spanish back in the day. That's when they were forced to stop making the calendar. I'm not big on history, but this is something you should probably be aware of if you're afraid the world is going to end, which actually isn't what the word "apocalypse" means anyway. You might want to look that up, too.

      January 16, 2011 at 12:11 am | Report abuse |
    • peppes

      Heather

      In response to the comment that started this all, I hope all of you doomsayers know that the Mayans didn't stay around forever. The area where they lived was taken over by the Spanish back in the day. That's when they were forced to stop making the calendar. I'm not big on history, but this is something you should probably be aware of if you're afraid the world is going to end, which actually isn't what the word "apocalypse" means anyway. You might want to look that up, too.

      That's what we are trying to accomplish in the Middle East.

      February 3, 2011 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
    • anecdotaleva

      lol these responses are kinda ignorant... read about it (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maya_calendar). They don't even have a linear system of time for anything to really "end". If 2012 is anything, it's the end of a Baktun, which is a rather small cycle if you consider that they referred to years as many as 20 orders higher than 2012... numbers that the average person doesn't even know how to read in English, they were able to represent with a few symbols. Some Mayans still use the calendar and will likely continue to use it after 2012, since it DOES go on. Weirdos.

      January 16, 2011 at 8:44 am | Report abuse |
    • GatorALLin

      There are some cool dates coming up this year that won't be back for a while 11/11/11 and next year we have 12/12/12 maybe we can make up some crazy meaning for them also...? We already gave so much meaning to 9/11

      January 16, 2011 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Dee

      The world will not end in 2012. The Mayan calender ended just the same way my 2010 calender ended on Dec 31st. The Mayans simply did their calender a different way so that it ended in 2012.

      January 16, 2011 at 7:40 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Peter E

    Wow! MY comment errased in less than 1 minute! New record! Congratulations CNN! Your censorship of wanting to preserve only fear and irrationality reached a new personal record!

    January 14, 2011 at 7:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • deanna

      CNN really does S UCK friend....yes, they do want you to fear...otherwise no one will read them.

      January 14, 2011 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hudson

      As with any news source ever. Except the Daily Show

      January 14, 2011 at 9:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bsmith

      dude, now i want to know what your comment was!

      January 14, 2011 at 10:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • debi

      Peter, post it again please

      January 14, 2011 at 11:50 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Vanessa

    hey someone made a correction to this article (one i was waiting for). they changed capricorn to libra in this sentence: In the tropical zodiac, the start of Aries is fixed to one equinox, and Libra the other.

    is there not going to be any mention of the correction or a timestamp for it?

    January 14, 2011 at 7:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Amber

      Capricorn starts on December 22, which is the winter solstice. The equinoxes happen in March and September – the article is correct.

      January 14, 2011 at 11:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Amber

      Oops. I misread your comment. Now I look kind of dumb. Sorry. :/

      January 14, 2011 at 11:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      http://www.startribune.com/newsgraphics/113661579.html?elr=KArks7PYDiaK7DUoaK7D_V_eDc87DUiacyKUbPi87EK_g:D_GD7EaDh_0c:aD:aUr

      January 15, 2011 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • vchatman

      no, i'm talking about this article. this CNN article. the author of it, jason hanna, made a change to it but he didn't leave any note anywhere saying what he changed or when he changed it. i kind of thought you were supposed to do that on online news sources, even though this is the blog section. especially since a lot of people have cut and pasted this blog in lots of other sites. a number of them copied the prior error and not the correction.

      January 15, 2011 at 8:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Rob Brezsny has a good explanation of this on http://www.freewillastrology.com/ . The difference between Astrology and Astronomy is very important to Astronomers...... So, why are they poking their noses into Astrology anyway? LOL.

      The signs are named for the constalation, but they are not about the constellations, so what the Astronomers are saying is irrelovent.

      January 16, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  15. some dude

    Us aethists need to try and convert the blind believers, for they need to see the light of faith in all things logical... we should organize some kind of Crusade or Inquisition in the name of Science! We shall compile scientific scripture not subject to peer review and then use this! Also I'm going to pass around a little basket, so feel free to donate you non-believers you, we need your funds to bribe those alter bo- I mean for scientific research! I believe in universal standard method for seeking answers to difficult questions, yet there is this god character (psh!) he wants us all to think otherwise! For he has the answers! Nothing some good politics and propaganda won't take care of... course we could just snag some jew gold and chuck em in camps too... hmmm

    January 14, 2011 at 7:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Charissa M.

      If you're an athiest, you don't need to convert anybody. -.- You shouldn't even care. Just go back to the books. You seem to need them.

      January 14, 2011 at 8:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • PISCES

      i love how youre name is some dude. ahhha

      January 14, 2011 at 8:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stryse

      That was fully explored on South Park. Science damn you! I'm all for it, but lets keep the otters in the dark. 🙂

      January 14, 2011 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Heather

      I love how atheist is spelled wrong two different ways in this thread.

      January 14, 2011 at 9:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tyler

      Duh, why would an athiest convert someone? And God existing is the only thing that makes anything logical. Propaganda, you seriously believe that that will make people "believers". Please, correct me if I've missed a point.

      January 14, 2011 at 9:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Girl

      some dude, i have never heard anything more ridiculous.
      pathetic. and glad you can spell what you are...did you mean to say
      youre an aesthetician? lol. you speak rubbish!

      January 14, 2011 at 10:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • anonymous

      You spelled "atheist" wrong. I laugh at your pathetic comment. How can you "convert" someone into an atheist. Christopher Hitchens wouldn't like the idea of forcefully "converting" the "blind believers of God" into atheism, unless he wants to. Atheism isn't even a religion.

      Even Christian fundamentalists are way better at forcefully converting someone to their religion than you do.

      Pathetic. Simply pathetic.

      P.S. I'm a Catholic and I've seen comments by atheists that troll and insult my religion better than you do.

      January 14, 2011 at 10:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • some other dood

      Hey, some dude, this atheist doesn't give a flip what others think.... until they try to press their beliefs upon me. If they want to worship a zombie in the sky and it makes them feel good in the process, more power to 'em!

      January 14, 2011 at 10:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andacar

      It's always fascinating to me how people stereotype themselves, and it appears the atheists are no less susceptible to this than anybody else. You sound like a stereotypical mad scientist, advocating an all-powerful dictatorship of scientists. In your gleaming eyes I see the reflection of Oswald Cabal, the hero of the 1936 science fiction epic 'Things to Come.' He raves to the teeming, brutish unwashed that only when the world is dominated by those who know better will we be able to establish our techno-utopia. Everybody will work like ants at the job assigned to them by the elite, live in sterile cities, build huge machines that tear the environment to shreds, and wear togas. All that unscientific rubbish such as fun, religion, freedom and such will be illegal, and progress will progress because we must always progress towards… progress, or… something. Thank GOD that hasn’t come true, at least yet.

      “If it could be proven tomorrow that there was no God, atheists would be the most miserable of men.”
      Eric Hoffer

      January 14, 2011 at 10:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scott

      If you're an atheist, learn how to spell atheist. Dolt.

      January 14, 2011 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Amy Zucker Morgenstern

      People who can't understand sarcasm should not comment on the internet.

      January 14, 2011 at 11:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Laura JT

      There has to be a God. Because nothing existed before He did. But if nothing existed before He did, then how could he exist? How did he make the universe out of nothing. Oh yeah, he must of gotten bored playing pinocle. Oh no, there was no pinocle. There was NOTHING. But God. But where did he come from? He just IS and you MUST believe this because it's what you've been taught.

      January 14, 2011 at 11:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      You guys aren't exactly helping whichever religion you subscribe too. Yes, 'some dude' spelled "atheist" incorrectly. Taking his obviously facetious comment seriously and making yourselves look like imbeciles doesn't help your case though.

      January 15, 2011 at 12:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Alien Socrates

      In all seriousness, I might really consider giving up my life in service to Christ. I mean, we both have the same general ideas about right and wrong. I could pass some parts of the bible off as misinterpretation. And it would be a really swell way to live. But then I would be forced to associate with all of those PEOPLE who claim to do God's work, but really only care about their own images. It's disgusting and obvious.

      January 15, 2011 at 1:01 am | Report abuse |
    • K80did

      I would urge you to reconsider. Sounds like you try to live a life of the righteous. Do not be concerned about others. Everyone has their flaws. Do not be their judge either. Maybe just reconsider organized religion. You can participate in church without believing in everything everyone thinks and/or does. You will not find anyone or anything free of fault.

      February 12, 2011 at 2:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Peter Johnston

      Money is for nothing-and the Chicks are free-well look it at me-look it at me!!!

      January 15, 2011 at 1:10 am | Report abuse |
    • who cares

      lols, people seem to be pretty mad that you misspelled atheist....or maybe you meant aethists, like some religious follower of the aether....hmmmm....i'm supprised nobody mentioned the church of the flying spaghetti monster....have you been touched by his noodly appendage?

      January 15, 2011 at 2:30 am | Report abuse |
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