The Signs, They Are a’ Changin

Ophiuchus magnetIf you read your horoscope today, make sure to look again: you might be following someone else’s supposed fate. There is talk around the world as people discover the addition of the Ophiuchus (the serpent-bearer), a zodiac sign – now running from November 29-December 17 – that has invalidated their personality and love and career predictions. Personally, I’ve always been on the cusp of two zodiac signs and merely claimed the better of the two fates.

According to astrologers, everyone born in or after 2009 between November 29 and December 17 gets to be a part of the new, exclusive Ophiuchus club. This idea is so foreign that spell check redlines it. I still remember the day when scientists decided Pluto was no longer deemed a planet and when they broke the news about the Triceratops and Brontosaurus; what’s going on in the world?

Maybe its part of the 2012 conspiracy or someone got rid of the zodiac sign they found the hardest to pronounce? Good news is you hopefully didn’t get that zodiac tattoo. Or maybe you even get to reinvent yourself with your new zodiac qualities. What do you think?

  1. This all has to do with the fact that the constellations are *not* the zodiacal signs.

    Although we’ve named the twelve signs after twelve constellations those constellations don’t line up with the signs named after them. Virgo for example spans five times wider than Scorpius along the equator.

    The signs are more like a circular gameboard divided into twelve equal wedges that the ancients called “houses”; and astrology uses these houses along with a timetested set of rules to predict human fortune, not the constellations.

    Right? Okay. But astronomers run a different game; to them the constellations are like countries on a map and they’ve worked out boundaries for all the constellations in the sky. This is mostly so they can name stars after the constellation they’re found in, even silly little dim ones like 61 Cygni, the 61st brightest star inside the borders of Cygnus or EZ Aquarii, the 156th brightest star in Aquarius (‘EZ’ being a fun way to write 26×5 + 1×26).

    The constellation map astronomers use today, the one that shows Ophiuchus as a thirteenth equatorial constellation, was voted in at a 1930 meeting and has been there in the textbooks and encyclopedias ever since.

    But that’s the problem: nobody *reads* any more! Kids today don’t even watch educational TV. Chances are, if it isn’t getting pushed up an RSS feed onto their phones most teenagers have never heard of it. And if it is getting pushed onto their phones it’s likely an ad, someone eating someone else’s vomit or a Photoshopped two-assed dog–

    Ahem. Sorry kids, just venting.

    The business with Ophiuchus being a zodiac sign traces to the Japanese, who more than anything delight in finding new rules for games. Rock Paper Scissors for example, has over four thousand sets of rules in Japan. Back in the 1990s a flurry of books came out in Japan that played with a new set of rules for astrology, adding a thirteenth Ophiuchus house for the sheer hell of it. And because these books and their ideas occasionally get mentioned in translated Japanese Manga (the one sort of book that kids today apparently *do* read) a buzz has been developing about the idea ever since.

    But in our instant world of two-way communications a million people can suddenly stop and gawp at something that’s news to *them* and that itself can become news: ONE MILLION GAWPERS CAUGHT GAWPING! People then stop to argue about what it means that something this big snuck up on them.

    It means you didn’t read a book kids. Start with an encyclopedia, cover to cover. Yes Wikipedia counts. Get cracking!

    It also means that us Americans are slowly accepting the ways of other peoples. And that’s been happening for a long time too. Want to know when Americans first ate spaghetti at home? Celebrated Chinese New Year? Put up Christmas Trees? There’s books on that too!

  2. Yeah I herd about this and im like what the hell? I’ve yet to meet someone who dosnt like their sign, and im not read to give up being a Leo… Im glad you brought it up i saw it on the news and no one else herd the story..

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