Everything You Need to Know About Ophiuchus, the 13th Zodiac Sign
Plus, astrologers' take on the cosmic shift.
Every few years, Ophiuchus makes the news and breaks the internet. Back in 2016, NASA claimed that the astrological chart we knew was incorrect by stating that there were actually 13 constellations, not 12. And now, it appears that NASA is once again trying to open up the discussion about adding Ophiuchus to the zodiac. And while they made it clear that astrology is not astronomy, it's been a hot topic of late between astrologers.
However, for fun, let's find out why this drama is so jarring in the first place.
In Sidereal astrology—which is a method astrologers sometimes use when dividing the ecliptic into 12 equal parts, rather than the traditional constellation boundaries—there are 13 zodiac signs instead of 12. It appears as though stargazers have known about the 13th constellation for centuries but have chosen not to reference it. The Earth's position in relation to the sun has changed in the past 3,000 years, which is why Ophiuchus has been added; now it’s visible from our planet and has been for some time.
But what is the Ophiuchus zodiac sign, anyway?
Ophiuchus is the serpent-bearer. Ophiuchus is dynamic, powerful, funny with a dry sense of humor, honest, and intellectual—basically all of the good parts of Sagittarius (or what used to be Sagittarius, since Ophiuchus falls into the “former” dates of Sagittarius). But, Ophiuchus hasn't been assigned to an element (fire, earth, air, or water)—so, to be honest, we don’t even know the legit qualities and personality traits of this constellation.
What are the new dates for each sun sign?
Here are the dates for each sun sign, if we add Ophiuchus to the astrological calendar:
Capricorn: Jan 20th-Feb 16th
Aquarius: Feb 16th–March 11th
Pisces: March 11th–April 18th
Aries: April 18th–May 13th
Taurus: May 13th–June 21st
Gemini: June 21st–July 20th
Cancer: July 20th–Aug 10th
Leo: Aug 10th–Sept 16th
Virgo: Sept 16th–Oct 30th
Libra: Oct 30th–Nov 23rd
Scorpio: Nov 23rd–Nov 29th
Ophiuchus: Nov 29th–Dec 17th
Sagittarius: Dec 17th–Jan 20th
Is it me, or are we all having an astrological identity crisis? Although there’s no denying its existence, let’s just say that the internet and astrological community are not happy.
As an astrologer with a Gemini sun (which means I’m pretty open-minded), I’m having trouble adapting to Ophiuchus. There’s so much we don’t know about the sign, and since the sun only aligns with the constellation for 18 days a year, it isn’t even a full month of Ophiuchus celestial energy. There’s a reason why it was originally left out of the zodiac in the first place.
For instance, my astrology teacher, Annabel Gat, is in total objection to Ophiuchus: “I can’t believe this 13th sign thing is STILL happening [after] all these years. Zodiac signs are based on constellations, but not all constellations are zodiac signs. We have twelve zodiac signs, by human design, because it fits in our 12-month calendar year based on the sun’s journey, which begins at the spring equinox.”
I agree. But why are some members of the esoteric community having issues resonating with this switch and some aren’t? We reached out to them to find out their thoughts on this shift in the cosmos.
"I'm already okay with it."
“Since I’m now Leo, formerly a Virgo, I’m already okay with it because I also acknowledge sidereal astrology—and I’m a Leo in that. My tropical Venus is in Leo, too, so I’ve always connected to that vibe when it comes to being high maintenance in the relationship dept.”
— Christine O’Day, California
"I refuse to accept this."
“As someone who is now a Taurus, I refuse to accept this! I am a Gemini. I guess I am going to have to get used to [seeing] more food memes and buying myself fancy stuff. I look forward to appreciating all the beauty life has to offer even more."
— Sonia Ortiz, New York
"It's easy for me to relate to the idea of being a Libra."
“Under these new astrological theories, I would be a Libra. I've always loved Libra energy and have other strong planetary placements in that sign, so it's easy for me to relate to the idea of being a Libra. On the flip side, I definitely resonate more as a Scorpio sun, and Ptolemy (an ancient astronomer who helped shape astrology) anticipated a shift in the stars, so his work often referred to the zodiac being defined more by the place it held in the sky versus the stars that inhabited it.”
— Renee Watt, California
"I am protesting and remaining a Virgo."
“I feel like I am having an identity crisis! A lot of my personality traits [that] I found challenging, as a child and teenager, to accept have been easier to understand and justify based on the understanding of my sun being in Virgo. I love to be of service, I have perfectionist tendencies, I show up to everything chronically early. I can be hypercritical of myself, I overthink everything, and I can at times be pretty picky—aka I know what I like, and I hold myself and everyone else to a pretty high standard. But it's all good because I am a Virgo, and understanding what that sign means gives me greater acceptance of myself. Now I have to learn about another sign and justify my quirks under their personality traits?? I don't think so. I am protesting and remaining a Virgo. Is that a very Virgo thing to do? Feels like it probably is.”
— Sarah Potter, NYC
"I'm pretty attached to being a Libra."
“If Ophiuchus really were to [be] factored into the zodiac, it would make my sun sign a Virgo instead of a Libra—and I'm pretty attached to being a Libra, so I won't be quick to part with that piece of my cosmic identity (nor am I quick to give credence to Ophiuchus being a sign!). I will admit that I definitely feel a Virgo influence in my personality, but I attribute that more to having other planets in Virgo in my natal chart as opposed to vibing with it as a potential new sun sign.”
— Nina Kahn, California
"Not much has changed about how I view myself."
“I’m a 0-degree Sagittarius sun with the edition of the 13th sign. Not much has changed about how I view myself because I already knew in Vedic astrology that I am a Scorpio sun. It’s important to understand that astrology is a language and calendar system that encompasses countless different techniques and communication tools depending on the culture. The way astrology is practiced and understood differs from culture to culture—meaning it’s really up to the discretion of the astrologer to utilize or not utilize the 13th sign in their practice.”
— Six, Florida
"In Western astrology, nothing has changed. Every zodiac sign is still the same."
“When it comes to astronomy, yes, the sun moves through many constellations. However, in Western astrology, nothing has changed. Every zodiac sign is still the same. As the human spirit evolves, we will always embrace our transcending wisdom. The human species incarnate is meant to evolve, and we do, through the pattern of the stars.”
— Kyle Thomas, California
"I don’t resonate with being a Capricorn."
“Even though Saturn would still be the ruler of my sun sign—if it had actually changed from Aquarius to Capricorn—I don’t resonate with being a Capricorn. Not only would it change the sun’s placement in my chart, but it would also significantly alter my personal narrative, which would fail to describe my experiences in the way having the sun in Aquarius does. Plus, the natal chart is based on interpreting from the native’s perspective!”
— Ashley Otero, Florida
"Under the 13th sign, I would be a Libra, which makes absolutely no sense to me."
“Under the 13th sign, I would be a Libra, which makes absolutely no sense to me. As the people-pleasing and most indecisive sign of the zodiac, Libras like to weigh both sides of every story. I am super black and white, and I make decisions quickly because I know what I want—and who I like and don’t like—almost immediately.”
— Narayana Montúfar, California
"My Scorpio sun resonates more deeply [with me] as an astrologer."
“Interesting that, according to this 13th sign addition, I would be a Libra sun. I actually am one in Vedic astrology! In Western astrology, I’m a Scorpio sun, but my Mars is in Libra, so I do have Libra energy prominent in my chart...I actually moved away from Libra based [on my] career in beauty. And my Scorpio sun resonates more deeply [with me] as an astrologer, witch, and manifestation teacher.”
— Adama Sesay, New York