Why the Fuss About ⛎ Ophiuchus, 13th sign of the Zodiac? Do Reputable Astrologers Believe in Ophiuchus? It’s Meaning, Dates, Personality Traits

Why the Fuss About ⛎ Ophiuchus, 13th sign of the Zodiac? Do Reputable Astrologers Believe in Ophiuchus? It’s Meaning, Dates, Personality Traits

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Every few years, just like clockwork, the internet goes ballistic over another “new story” about Ophiuchus, or the 13th zodiac sign. The latest viral claim says NASA “just discovered” Ophiuchus, and in its wake, the other 12 signs have been bumped around, so everyone’s zodiac signs are now effed. Sounds pretty intense, right? Well, no.

Chances are, if anything else has brought you to this article, it’s because you’re reading this in confusion about Ophiuchus. So, before you start questioning if you are really a Libra, Capricorn, or Aries, rest assured: you’re still you. The story regarding Ophiuchus is not new – it has been circulating since the 1970s, long before Tim Berners-Lee put a twinkle in the internet’s eye. And it’s been debunked repeatedly.

There’s an entire Wiki page about it being debunked, but reunite with it on the internet, like the latest Hollywood remake. Let’s go through the fable of Ophiuchus once again, so when your friend sends you a panic text message saying how they’ve been switched from Sagittarius to Scorpio, you can calmly intervene.

Where Did This Whole Ophiuchus Story Come From?

The whole story of Ophiuchus dates back to the time when “calling someone” meant spinning a rotary dial. In 1970 – yep, more than 50 years ago – Time magazine published a story about a so-called “revised zodiac.” According to this source, there was supposedly a man named Steven Schmidt who also came up with a book by the name of Astrology 14, which, in the words of its writer, should have meant that the zodiac now had 14 signs.

The author stated that zodiac signs don’t necessarily correlate to the sun and that Ophiuchus lay between Scorpio and Sagittarius, with Cetus situated between Aries and Taurus. Schmidt argued that the newly added signs are when the Sun is passing through these fresh pieces of the sky, and that he and his son’s personalities weren’t fully represented in their respective Sun signs.

Needless to say, back then, and even nowadays, almost no actual astrologer bought it.

Ophiuchus zodiac grappling with the giant serpent

So, Is There Any Truth to the Ophiuchus Hoax?

Well, as it turns out, there is a grain of truth in this viral story. We’ve known about the Ophiuchus constellation for ages—it isn’t new. As stated by The Guardian, the constellation was first documented around 300 BC. It’s always been part of the ecliptic (the Sun’s path across the sky), but it was left out of the zodiac.

Let’s quickly jump back into history. In 300 BC, Euclid was writing his famous geometry textbook Elements, the Lighthouse of Alexandria was being built, and Aristarchus of Samos was proposing the heliocentric theory. Meanwhile, about 2,500 years ago, the Babylonians divided the sky into 12 sections, using the Sun’s movement through those sections to create the 12 zodiac signs. They saw Ophiuchus too but decided it didn’t fit neatly into their 12-part system, so they excluded it along with many other constellations.

Despite the fact that due to Earth’s axis wobble the constellations aren’t exactly where they were 2,500 years ago, the basic structure of the zodiac remains. Some people argue that the astrological signs have shifted. However, surprise, surprise, these folks aren’t astrologers!

Could Ophiuchus Ever Make It Into the Zodiac?

Well, Ophiuchus is certainly a recognized constellation, hanging out northwest of the Milky Way's center. But should you hold your breath? As astrology isn’t considered a science, astronomers won’t comment, and astrologers don’t believe that our signs have shifted. So, rest easy—you’ve always believed in your sign and shall remain in its camp.

We have all you need to know. And here is the most important thing you should know about Ophiuchus, the “serpent-bearer” constellation based on the mythology of the 13th zodiac sign.

Mythology and Symbolism

  • Mythological Roots: Ophiuchus is mythologically connected to Asclepius, the celebrated healer of Greek legend. The name "Ophiuchus" is derived from two Greek words meaning "serpent" and "bearing."
  • Asclepius and Healing: In Greek myths, Asclepius is known for wielding a potent potion brewed from Serpens' venom, a Gorgon's blood, and a mysterious herb. This potion granted immortality to humans, which didn't sit well with Pluto (aka Hades), the god of the underworld. He implored Zeus to prevent death itself from disappearing. Zeus struck Asclepius down with a thunderbolt to maintain cosmic balance.
  • Symbolism: Asclepius is commonly depicted as a powerful man wielding a staff wrapped with a serpent—a symbol known as the Staff of Asclepius. It's also the emblem of the World Health Organization.

Ophiuchus zodiac constellation on the sky

The Constellation:

  • Location and Representation: Ophiuchus is portrayed as a mighty man holding Serpens, a neighboring constellation, which is often coiled around his waist. For this reason, Ophiuchus is sometimes called "Serpentarius."
  • Position in the Sky: The constellation lies northwest of the Milky Way’s center and is one of the largest constellations in the sky.

The Mythical 13th Zodiac Sign

Ophiuchus Dates (According to Various Sources): The exact dates for Ophiuchus vary depending on the source. Daily Express (in 2020): November 29 to December 27. Marie Claire UK has its own list of “13 signs zodiac dates”:

  • Capricorn: January 20 to February 16
  • Aquarius: February 16 to March 11
  • Pisces: March 11 to April 18
  • Aries: April 18 to May 13
  • Taurus: May 13 to June 21
  • Gemini: June 21 to July 20
  • Cancer: July 20 to August 10
  • Leo: August 10 to September 16
  • Virgo: September 16 to October 30
  • Libra: October 30 to November 23
  • Scorpio: November 23 to November 29
  • Ophiuchus: November 29 to December 17
  • Sagittarius: December 17 to January 20


Ukrainian pysanka in space wit Ophiuchus constellation

Why the Fuss About Ophiuchus?

  • The renewed buzz around Ophiuchus pops up by claims that the traditional zodiac signs have shifted. However, astrologers continue to stick to the familiar 12-sign system.
  • The Babylonians excluded Ophiuchus from the zodiac thousands of years ago because it didn't fit neatly into their 12-slice framework. Plus, many other constellations didn't make the zodiac cut either.

Do Any Reputable Astrologers Believe in the Ophiuchus Sign?

Not really. Top astrologers accept the consensus that Ophiuchus isn't recognized as the 13th sign in the Western astrological system. Here is what some notable astrologers have to say:

Susan Miller: In an interview with Elle in 2011, she says, “There are a lot of constellations—88, if you want to get right down to it—so I’m not sure what everyone’s up in arms about this one. The ancients discussed it. They debated—it’s not like people didn’t notice Ophiuchus and all these other signs out there. They did empirical studies. At one point, they debated whether or not to include it as a 13th sign, and in the end, they felt it was not significant.”

The AstroTwins: The well-known astrologers reiterated NASA’s point that “astronomy and astrology are NOT the same thing.” Yes, constellations have changed over the centuries, but Western astrology bases your zodiac sign on the Western system of astrology, which uses signs, not the actual positions of constellations.

Rick Levine: Levine, a respected astrologer, told DailyHoroscope.com, “Ophiuchus has no meaning in astrology. It’s not an astrological issue because it’s not a sign; it’s a constellation.”

Chani Nicholas: Nicholas even has a dedicated page on her website debunking Ophiuchus. She points out, “The earliest astrologers knew about Ophiuchus too. They simply decided not to include it in their system. Why? Well, the majority of the constellation looms outside of that stretch of sky. The serpent’s tail touches the ecliptic, but that’s about it.”

The Crone Magazine: This blog emphasizes that even in sidereal/Vedic astrology, which includes a different zodiac system, Ophiuchus remains a fringe idea and isn’t included in horoscopes or natal chart readings.

Ophiuchus zodiac constellation

Constellational Astrologers (aka Real Sky Astrologers): There is a subset of astrologers who work specifically with the actual constellations rather than the Western zodiac signs. These practitioners, sometimes referred to as astronomical or real sky astrologers, might incorporate Ophiuchus because they prioritize constellations over traditional signs.

By the way, earlier we wrote what Astrologers think about the US elections in 2024.

Ophiuchus Personality Traits

As for the widely known personality traits of the Ophiuchus sun sign, the topic is trickier due to the fact that Ophiuchus is technically not recognized in Western astrology. Yet, there are some sources that have invented its traits, arguing that it is a "13th sign" and thus possesses a combination of Scorpio and Sagittarius traits.

Best Traits:

  1. Passionate and Curious: People who fall under Ophiuchus are believed to have a burning passion for everything—knowledge, discovering something new, and exploration.
  2. Intelligent and Insightful: They are reasonably intelligent and can grasp complex concepts with ease.
  3. Healers and Visionaries: Inspired by Asclepius, they might be inclined toward medicine, healing, or visionary pursuits.

Worst Traits:

  1. Jealous and Secretive: Being prone to jealousy, they also tend to be very secretive.
  2. Impulsive and Restless: Their desire for new experiences might make them impatient and easily bored.

The Element Dilemma

Ophiuchus doesn't have an assigned element in Western astrology. Without an element or ruling planet, it's difficult to define its personality traits precisely. Astrologer Narayana Montúfar points out, "We wouldn't know what planet rules it because it hasn't been decided—and that's where the characteristics come from." Her intuition suggests that Ophiuchus would be a hybrid between Scorpio and Sagittarius.

Should You Identify as Ophiuchus?

If you believe you are now an Ophiuchus—well, fine! But don't expect to meet many astrologers who agree with you. Most will still consider you a Sagittarius. Plus, let's be honest—the archer on a colorful centaur depiction is way cooler than a guy holding a snake, right? Embrace your Sagittarius spirit and keep hitting those targets with your trusty bow and arrow!

Gotta show your friend