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

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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Filed under: Space
soundoff (1,485 Responses)
  1. stacie

    ok smart people if i was a libra what am i now? a scorpio?

    January 14, 2011 at 3:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Will

      The New Dates:
      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

      January 14, 2011 at 3:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Ophiuchus

      My guess would be a Fool

      January 14, 2011 at 3:47 am | Report abuse |
    • didge

      ^^ bahahaha

      January 14, 2011 at 4:13 am | Report abuse |
  2. JF

    If you believe in astrology and think the stars and the planets have an effect on your're sadly mistaken. God is the only One. You shouldn't have faith in nature...or stars and planets. You need to put your faith in the Only One Who can save you. Jesus Christ.

    January 14, 2011 at 3:38 am | Report abuse |
    • numerology LADY

      where is this jesus at so i can talk to him!!

      January 14, 2011 at 3:50 am | Report abuse |
  3. numerology LADY

    numerology is astrology/ fun and real for the people that really understand that numbers are in everything!! numbers is a very ease language even a baby can understand.LOL ALL DAY!! it's much more then daily news paper b.../online sometimes b... and books that put millions of people on the same path everyday. it's much deeper then most people think. it takes time to really get the real stuff from all types of books and number never lie.

    January 14, 2011 at 3:41 am | Report abuse |
  4. Gerald

    So let me get this straight: the Western version of Zodiac signs, which everyone associates with ASTROLOGY AND CONSTELLATIONS, is not based on astrology or constellations.

    Tropical Zodiac. Raise your hand if this is the first time you've ever heard of that.

    January 14, 2011 at 3:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Ophiuchus

      Can you see our hands????

      January 14, 2011 at 4:07 am | Report abuse |
  5. Taurustoo

    So, if I am no longer a Taurus, what am I?

    January 14, 2011 at 3:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Lil Chez

      They tried to make me an Aries. I'm not going for it dammit. I'm a Taurus through and through.

      January 14, 2011 at 5:55 am | Report abuse |
  6. numerology LADY

    this stuff is so funny!!

    January 14, 2011 at 3:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Ophiuchus

      Don't get me started on Numerology

      January 14, 2011 at 4:08 am | Report abuse |
  7. Fullbag

    If you clicked on this article because you were honestly concerned about your zodiac sign having changed...please, just shoot yourself in the face. With a shotgun.

    January 14, 2011 at 3:46 am | Report abuse |
  8. obviously

    Sara Palin's fault.

    January 14, 2011 at 3:46 am | Report abuse |
    • more clever than you think

      everything else is!

      January 14, 2011 at 4:26 am | Report abuse |
  9. raven mad

    It is now after tryin ta figure out what everyones tryin ta say ..this place needs a lil levity!

    January 14, 2011 at 3:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Ophiuchus

      The sky is falling! Its an Obama sociaist plot to undermine our fundamental beliefs.

      January 14, 2011 at 3:59 am | Report abuse |
  10. JF

    Christianity is NOT a religion. It's faith in Christ. BIG difference.

    January 14, 2011 at 3:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Ophiuchus

      Sure coulda fooled me.

      January 14, 2011 at 3:55 am | Report abuse |
    • myself

      um, last time I checked, yes, Christianity IS a religion.

      January 14, 2011 at 4:06 am | Report abuse |
  11. Ophiuchus

    This is such a relief, my whole life I thought I was a Sagitarious and it just never felt quite right, I knew in my heart that no matter how hard I tried I could never really be a Sagitarian. I can finally come out of the closest and be who I really am.

    January 14, 2011 at 3:55 am | Report abuse |
  12. Callie

    I am a Pisces, always have been a Pisces, and always will be a Pisces. 12 months in the western calendar, 12 zodiacs. It's not that big of a deal.

    January 14, 2011 at 3:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Ophiuchus

      Callie is in denial.

      January 14, 2011 at 4:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Ophiuchus

      Someday soon you will read your horoscope, it will say you are going to have a great day, you boss will give you recongnition and maybe a raise, instead you will be fired and only then realize that you read the wrong horoscope.

      January 14, 2011 at 4:02 am | Report abuse |
  13. aid

    Ophiuchus? What does this really mean? The beginning of the end of the Earth is what it means.

    So what do we know about the reason for the added sign?

    The media reports the earths axis is being pulled by the moon which is effectively changing the direction of magnetic north. Yet they have not reported why.

    The following is what I believe

    The earth axis is being changed because of us, humans because of several things.

    1. Our use of fossil fuels.
    2. Our use of technology
    3. Our pension for greed.

    1. Use of fossil fuels. This one is easy. We consume a lot of fossil fuel, namely oil coal, gas. These things have weight, mass, area and also a magnetic field. We use it in things like, gas, rubber, cleaning products, whatever you can make from oil and those are a lot of things. We pretty use them in everything. Here’s the easy part, less fossil fuel, less mass, weight, less magnetisms on earth. One thing to contribute for off balance of the earth.

    2. Technology. The media wants us to the think the moon is pulling the earth of axis…sure blame it on the moon. What did the moon ever do to you? Actually, it is the moon, but it’s also all the satellites. There are a lot of satellites out there, more than there ever has been in the world. Also, what do you think those satellites are doing? They are transmitting data, tons of data, terabytes among terabytes of songs, movies, books, information, what’s his name Anderson reports…u get the picture. Also this data has weight, mass and you guess it, a magnetic field. So, u got the satellites adding to the pull on the earth as well as the data. Boom more off axis-nests. Is that a word?
    3. Greed- Okay, this one is hard to put down so let’s use our imagination a bit. The more we buy, the more things need to be produced, the more shipped, the more of everything needs to be made and more consumption of fossil fuels. This is really where we can stop this mess. We have to figure a way for everyone to get what they want and not have to make so much money to buy those things, or kill anyone for it.
    How do we do that? We need to go a back to pre oil era economy. Meaning we need to figure out how to get everything to cost less and devalue the dollar, come up with a one money system. More on this later.

    We basically need to stop using oil and stop putting so much satellites and transmitting so much data.

    If we do not change, we will die. The earth will be so pulled off axis that earthquakes, volcanoes will become more frequent. And the end will be near. The new sign is Ophiuchus. It is an image of a man wrestling a serpent. The serpent is us or its nature. Or it’s our fight to control nature through ourselves.

    I believe this to be true and I have now found my calling.


    January 14, 2011 at 4:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Ophiuchus

      If we don't change we will die.....

      News Flash, you will die no matter what you do.

      January 14, 2011 at 4:04 am | Report abuse |
    • more clever than you think

      See the flaw with your arguement is that the magnetic field of the earth has changed before and that was before satellites and mass media and GDPs that could crush an elephant. It's like a pendulum. We've swung all the way out to one side and now we're heading back the other way.

      Also, you, me and pretty much everyone alive right now will be long dead before the magnetic field changes so dramatically. Get over it.

      January 14, 2011 at 4:32 am | Report abuse |
    • jill

      this "added" sign has been around for quite some time. I'm just sayin.

      chill out. end of days. blah blah blah. if we all die then bummer for us. nothing we REALLY can do. Have a beer and CHEEEEEEERS!

      January 14, 2011 at 5:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Aunt Linda

      I agree that using fossil fuels needs to stop, for several reasons: 1. they're non-renewable, and will be exhausted. The Industrial economy (including most of our food production)is precariously unsustainable if we continue to rely upon fossil fuels, the consequences of not transitioning to renewables would be globally catastrophic. 2. The production and distribution of Oil, Natural Gas and Coal is environmentally destructive and hazardous to human health: The BP oil/dispersants fiasco, fly ash sludge in kentucky, strip-mining in West Virginia. Their combustion is driving Global Climate Change, which by releasing CO2 which has been stored beneath the earth's crust since the Paleozoic era, when the global climate was much hotter (on average)than it is currently. Logically, raising the percentage of CO2 in the atmosphere to even a fraction of Paleozoic levels will cause the Earth's Crust to heat up significantly over the next several hundred years, precipitating the extinction of many species which have evolved to adapt to climate conditions specific to the present time. Sea levels could rise significantly,permanently flooding enormous tracts of coastal land with high population densities, e.g. Florida, Bangladesh, the Netherlands. This is all Scientifically proven.

      However pretty much everything else you said was scientifically unfounded. No offense but it was. Got science?

      January 14, 2011 at 6:12 am | Report abuse |
  14. MsCruella

    I find this all fascinating... In fact so much so that a few years ago I wrote about the 13th sign aka Ophiuchus aka Serpentarius in my band By Blood Alone's song recorded on Seas of Blood called..... Serpentarius. Want to listen? Listen here!

    By Blood Alone

    The twelve signs don't align
    as they scurry across the sky
    70 or more are simply forgotten
    what's this 13th sign
    honored only for his plight
    interpreting the dreams of those surround him

    As we look up to the sky so high
    we correlate our lives with the night
    as we calmly lie each night
    Serpentarius we try

    The eagle made his way
    to strike him down and end his days
    pluto wielding a great bolt of thunder
    he tried to raise the dead
    healing sick with serpent hands
    robbing hell of its due souls heading under

    the answers that we search inside to find
    reveal themselves to us, causing fright
    as we slowly die each night
    Serpentarius we try to find the light

    As we live our separate lives no ties
    the universe survives spanning time
    as we calmly lie each night
    Serpentarius we die to find the light

    all rights reserved by
    By Blood Alone

    January 14, 2011 at 4:12 am | Report abuse |
  15. didge

    Ophiuchus you crack me up

    January 14, 2011 at 4:16 am | Report abuse |
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