Ignore this bunk about a new 13th zodiac sign and that you are no longer the sign that you thought you were! Nothing has changed about your sign. There is no 13th zodiac sign. Let me explain:

The 12 traditional signs of the zodiac are based on the Sun’s relationship to the earth as we go throughout the solar year. The symbolisms of the 12 signs were developed based on the four elements — Fire, Earth, Air and Water — and the three modes of action — Cardinal, Fixed and Mutable. Each of the signs represents a synthesis of element and mode, and each of the signs occupies a region of exactly 30 degrees — 1/12 of the circle.

The Cardinal, or initiating signs, are the signs that begin each season. Aries, beginning around March 21 each year, marks the start of Spring in the Northern Hemisphere. Cancer marks the start of Summer, Libra the start of Autumn, and Capricorn the beginning of Winter.

The Fixed signs correspond to the peak of each season, when the conditions of that season are more or less stable and relatively unchanging. And the Mutable signs correspond with the periods when one season is winding down and another is beginning. During mutable Gemini in the Northern Hemisphere (May 21 – June 21), we sometimes have springlike conditions, sometimes the heat and intensity of summer.

When astrology was being codified 2,000 or so years ago, the 12 divisions of the zodiac into groups of four elements and three modes happened to align with the constellations we associate with each sign. For example: When the sun rose on March 21 in the year 1, it would have risen somewhere in or near the constellation we call Aries.

Precession of the Equinoxes
Due to the precession of equinoxes, the tropical zodiac signs (what we use in Western astrology) slip back against the circle of the constellations (the sidereal zodiac, used by Vedic astrologers) at the rate of about one sign every 2,000 years. Caused by a wobble of the Earth’s rotation on her axis, precession rotates the solstices and equinoxes backward through the entire zodiac once every 26,000 years. This has been going on since time immemorial, as far as we know, and will continue as far as we can project forward. This doesn’t change the meaning of any of the signs, since the relationship between the Sun and the Earth — which is the basis for the meanings of the signs — doesn’t change.

The second thing to be aware of here, and this pertains specifically to all the hyperbole about Opiochus, is that the constellations that lend their names to the zodiac signs do not occupy exact regions in outer space of 30 degrees each. Some of the signs are quite a bit smaller and some — like Virgo — are relatively giant. Virgo takes up 45 degrees of the sky, occupying a sign and a half’s worth of prime outer space real estate, while its neighbor Libra is relatively tiny. The constellation Libra — not the tropical zodiac sign that always has been and always will be exactly 30 degrees — used to be the claws of the constellation Scorpio and only got its own sign about 160 years ago. In fact, if you look at a star chart, you might realize that there is a whole lot of myth-making that goes into our thinking about any given constellation and that, if anything, the ideas we apply to the constellations have much more to do with us projecting our understanding of the root energies of the astrological signs onto these random groupings of fixed stars than the other way around.

Another way of saying this is that for every Opiochus we can create in the part of the sky shared by Scorpio and Sagittarius, we could just as easily create a 14th, 15th, and 21st sign of the zodiac by incorporating any of the other known constellations. Why not add Ursa Major in between Leo and Virgo, or say that everyone born in the last week of Pisces and the first two weeks of Aries actually belongs to the “new sign” Perseus?

The whole Opiochus thing is a great example of someone trying to get fame and attention by playing on our desire for newness and the thrill factor that comes with someone challenging your belief systems unexpectedly. It doesn’t change who we are or the foundations of Western astrology. Interestingly enough, I remember another pop astrologer using Opiochus to make a publicity grab just a couple years ago. Apparently she was a couple years early on her transits!

Anyway, rest assured your sign hasn’t “migrated” anywhere. If you were a Virgo at the beginning of the week, you’re still a Virgo today.


Listen to “Edge Astrology with D.K. Brainard”: at 6 p.m. Central on the first Wednesday of each month, February 2, by calling 1.714.364.4750 or go to Edgemagazine.net/edge-talk-radio. All archives are available.

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D.K. Brainard, M.A., C.H., is a writer, musician, astrologer and certified hypnotherapist who specializes in helping clients identify where they are on their own Hero's Journey and take appropriate steps to reconnect with their soul/Higher Self/creative unconscious. To carry out this work, D.K. uses the tools of astrology, energy work, compassion, and hypnotic shared exploration of limiting identity states and desired goal states. For more on the eclipses and free weekly horoscopes each Monday, visit his website: www.wordsforthepeople.com.

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