Is there really such a thing as a 13th Sun Sign in astrology?

Western Astrologers have mostly used zodiac or Sun signs as an underpinning for predictions and interpretations.

But when Ophiuchus came onto our radar in a 2016 NASA blog, everyone went crazy trying to figure out their “new” Sun sign. Ophiuchus is not a zodiac or Sun sign – it is a fixed-star constellation, residing between the constellations of Scorpio and Sagittarius, which means that its constellation boundaries occur between November 29-December 17.

Western astrologers do not use constellations in their work. We use twelve sectors (of approximately 30 degrees each) to understand people and events.  The Sun travels through each of the sectors for about one month in a 12-month period.

NASA experts explain that zodiac signs were invented by the Babylonians more than 3,000 years ago to make sense of the world. These “signs” were then based upon the fixed-star constellations, which were used to create star signs.

However, the Babylonians were aware that their system didn’t quite match up with the earth’s rotation, and so they chose to leave out the 13th sign known as Ophiuchus

The NASA experts explained: “According to the Babylonians’ own ancient stories, there were 13 constellations in the zodiac. (Other cultures and traditions have recognized as many as 24 constellations in the zodiac.) “So, the Babylonians picked one (constellation), Ophiuchus (the serpent bearer/charmer) to leave out.

“What’s more, the Earth’s axis has also altered since the zodiac or Sun signs were coined, meaning that: all the constellations are now in slightly different places in the sky.” “The sky has shifted because Earth’s axis (North Pole) doesn’t point in quite the same direction,” the NASA experts claimed.

Due to “precession” (a slow change in rotation around a fixed point), equinoctial points were slowly shifting in relation to the star constellations, just as they always have been.  This change occurs about 1 degree every 72 years.  

Astronomer and astrologer Claudius Ptolemy (born around 127 AD), knew this and decided to implement a new system.  He began the zodiac with 0 degrees of Aries at the Spring Equinoctial point. Why?

He did this because he believed that the actual fixed-star constellations were not relevant for astrology.  He thought that the Sun signs should be fixed at the cardinal points (cardinal relates to initiating an action) of the Sun’s annual path.

  • Aries begins at the Spring Equinox
  • Cancer begins at the Summer Solstice
  • Libra begins at the Autumn Equinox
  • Capricorn begins at the Winter Solstice

Back to Ophiuchus. It has sometimes been used in Sidereal systems such as Vedic Astrology as a thirteenth astrological sign in addition to the twelve signs of the Tropical zodiac.

So, what is the difference between a sign and a constellation?

The signs are a man-made concept, equally divided by 12 (12 months), each being 30 degrees.  Each sector or Sun sign is the distance (in the sky), that the Sun travels in one month’s time. Signs are travel-based, and their foundation is set upon the seasons. They are not visible, but rather, imagined.

Constellations are visible in the nighttime sky and are configurations comprised of multiple stars and points.  They are position-based. Positions change slightly over time due to precession.

Bottom line: This “discovery” does not appear to impact Western astrology at all. Whatever your Sun sign was at birth, it will remain so, except for natural progressions (that is information for a different blog).

Although Ophiuchus has a full profile like the other signs of the zodiac, it will refer mainly to current Scorpios and Sagittarians.  Ophiuchus’s qualities are a blend of Scorpio and Sagittarius: depth-oriented and a bit secretive as well as expansive and living life out-loud!  Ophiuchus also contains qualities of being highly goal-oriented, motivated, and dynamic.

Hint: If you read about your Sun sign, please note that the predictions are based upon your Rising Sign or Ascendant.  That is usually (although not always) different than you Sun sign.  Need some help finding your Rising Sun?

Contact me: annie@answersthroughastrology.com

“September 9th – November 13th – Mars is on a retrograde journey through his home sign of Aries, from 28 degrees to 15 degrees.

Mars represents our ability to act and we will all notice a change in how we act. Due to Mars’s war-like influence, our actions may not always be pleasant. Think, drill sergeant rough!

Mars’ energetic signature is fiery, piercing, and stinging. On the positive side of Mars, acting can be extremely focused, but on the flip side, it can also be overly aggressive or even violent. Our inner warrior comes to light during this retrograde period.

There are two strong aspects with retrograde Mars in the remaining months of 2020 that deserve attention.The first of these is Mars in close proximity to Eris (at 24 degrees of Aries). Eris is now known as the Goddess of Discord so when she and Mars rub elbows, all kinds of non-harmonious or frictional energy is created.Eris has also been in tight square (more friction) with Saturn-Pluto (structural transformation). There were San Francisco fires that occurred during the few days surrounding the actual retrograde station (event) of Mars, on September 9th itself. Mars of course rules Aries and the Fire element. Retrograde Mars will contact Eris once again during the first weekend in October, when Pluto also stations to direct motion. (begins to go direct again).

A second powerful aspect, is the square (frictional) connection that happens the rest of the year between Mars (action) and Saturn (structures). These two planets make several exact mathematical aspects to each other – one is September 28th, and the final one, passing more quickly in January. The tension created by Saturn and Mars (retrograde) in a frictional connection, especially the end of September, when Saturn is also slowing its speed, is indeed a massive collision of energy.Saturn says “let’s slow down and be very calculated in our dealings; let’s preserve what we already have.” Mars says, “no way”. The resulting clash will likely forge our very being into some new shape.

Both Saturn (in Capricorn) and Mars (in Aries) are in signs that they rule, giving them the strength of titans on steroids. Saturn is going to go direct (stop moving backwards) and may be the stronger influence because whenever a planet moves forward instead of backward, it is stronger. Imagine running downhill forward rather than backward. You get the picture.

The last half of September may feel like being pinned up against a wall. We will need all the strength we can muster. Next, we have a Full Moon October 1st and it’s also in Aries. Do you get the picture? There is a ton of war-like energy surfacing now and for the next month to fuel us all into a frenzy. We may feel very inflamed. Mars/Aries rules inflammation and fevers. Get a handle on your responsiveness and work to ensure that it does not become reactivity.

To add another layer of “what next?”, Mercury will go retrograde October 13-November 3. Yup, you heard that correctly – right on Election Day. Mercury challenges all of us 3-4 times a year with respect to communication, transportation, electronics, and contracts.

Mars retrograde always brings the baggage of uncertainty with its hibernation (retrograde). This causes us to want to act out, but rather, we should be “acting inwardly” by thinking, preparing, planning, organizing, and marshaling our resources. Think: squirrels collecting nuts for the winter.This retrograde period will be a time for greater inner reflection. Exercise good self-care and think about areas of your life that are influenced by Mars. Plan safe and calm activities with responsible others. Act later, after the retrograde is complete in mid-November.

We will all have a lot to be thankful for when we sit down to celebrate the holidays if we take care to regulate our energy now, collect our reserves, plan accordingly, practice patience and consider a more mindful approach to daily living. If this does not sound very appealing to you as a lifestyle choice, consider making a short-term commitment until mid-November. With Saturn in the mix, discipline is being called for. We all know how well discipline can pay off, don’t we Forrest? “Yes, Drill Sergeant Sir!”