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. DILLIGAF

    and that my friends is how you turn a two paragraph article into a 7 page debate about religion, politics, astrology, and i think i even read something about how to pronounce french words....wow! 🙂

    February 26, 2011 at 7:41 am | Report abuse |
  2. Here

    Dont think I am dissing scorpios in anyway ok? But it has been stated by many astrologers that in fact Virgos are the most conflicted and misunderstood sign of them all.

    February 26, 2011 at 11:19 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Water

    Firstly, please don't be insulting to one another's view points; we are allowed different view points in this country. Secondly (and I didn't read every post on here) but what about the part where science HAS been able to prove the existance of Jesus Christ through DNA? What are everyone's thought on this?
    Still a Pisces =)

    March 2, 2011 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Mayhem

    Wait so i'm supposedly a gemini now? so the question is which have i been using the western or eastern and which is more widely accepted is the difference between me being a gemini or a cancer? Hmm too much thinking it hurts my brain.... Oh yea for all you religious nuts out there religion is all perspective everyone has there own perspective and you can't change it and you can't see it the way they see it. I'm not really religious but the religion i respect the most is buddhism, because unlike other religions that always say what everyone else that thinks is wrong and they are going to hell cause of it, buddhism doesn't their belief is that all living things must be respected.

    March 5, 2011 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
  5. LIBRA

    zodiac sighns were just fine . why ruin a good thing?????????????

    March 23, 2011 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
  6. leo

    your all idiots, how can you even believe in horoscopes with out believing the science in it to. if the earth wobbles and moves then your born under different star. how does saying born under a different season some how fuking change your character. so what if i'm born in a place that has like no seasons and is just hot or cold all year around. people just dont want to accept the change cuz their stubborn and have tats. if people just knew how this like 100 yrs ago, no one who be freaking out how a scientific change. we learn new stuff everyday. and for all the people who dont think stars have anything to do with horoscopes, how can you even believe in something so spiritual.

    April 3, 2011 at 8:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • USABabe

      Wow Leo get a grip...LOL

      May 3, 2011 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
  7. kris v

    What

    April 8, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  8. uhhhh

    ok i didnt understand anything in that article or anyones comments so im just going to stick with my sign and leave it at that

    April 10, 2011 at 9:16 pm | Report abuse |
  9. MURPH

    I just want to point out how great it is that educated used "your" instead of "you're" and that gemini/cancer called someone "nieve." The word is "naive" you hump.

    April 12, 2011 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Krishna Chandra Singh Sanger

    Scientists do not create or produce anything by themselves.They only find the rules governing the natural phenomena that occur around us.Some people call the power(s) that be God,some call it gods and other nature,however just blind belief does not make things true.At one time it was thought that the earth was flat (there still exist flat earthers) and that the solar system was geocentric(poor Galileo was tortured for proving that it was heliocentric and the Vatican held opposite views),however we now know better.The Vatican has apologized to Galileo after more than 400 years.Ido not know how Ophihuchus controversy erupted in a battle of Christian v/s. others.When Robinson Crusoe was teaching his man Friday the basics of the Holy Bible,Friday said,"Master,God is all powerful, so why God should destroy the Devil and evil will automatically cease to exist."Crusoe became speechless and from then onwards he never tried to redeem Friday's soul. A problem for those who believe that the signs of the Zodiac are based on seasons.If two persons were born on the same date line,at the same time on the same date,month and year (say 25-12-1995),their Zodiac sign would be CAPRICORN.But if one of these persons was born in the northern and the other in the southern hemisphere how would their characteristics differ (remember in the northern hemisphere it would be winter but in the southern one it would be summer:opposite weather patterns).

    April 16, 2011 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Stacey

    So if I was born on May 3rd, 1999 would I still be a Taurus?
    Cuz apparently I've been changed to Aries -.-

    April 16, 2011 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
  12. MisunderstoodCancer

    @ronnette102, you've got it all wrong. CANCER is the most mysterious and misunderstood sign. i've read up quite a bit on all the signs, not just my own, and never have i read anywhere in my life that Scorpio is the most mysterious and misunderstood. on the other hand, i've come across that description numerous times when reading up on my own sign. the Scorpio is very emotional, since it is a water sign, making it hard enough to understand the sign. but of the water signs, Cancer is the most misunderstood because it is by far the most emotional sign in all of the zodiac.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
  13. zaiken

    k so i was born under Sagittarius and if i go by 1 web site it tells me im a Libra if i go to another and it tells me im between Libra and Scorpio i was born November 23rd of 1988 if i were to belive my zodiac changed wouldnt that mean that it would all need to be reexamined or would i have to mix my so-called new sign with my its old information or would it be because i was born under saggitarius, so thats what i am for life lol just putting in my 2cents in on the topic

    May 7, 2011 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Pisces

    our zodiac signs will never change if you want proof look aymt a picture of the night sky on the day you were born then find the constellation that is your zodiac sign.

    May 15, 2011 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Aaron

    finally explained to me.. been looking for this forever!! just had twin gemini boys based on the tropical zodiac which i stand by.. thank you

    June 10, 2011 at 9:35 pm | Report abuse |
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