It’s not in the stars

photo by Milea Dozier
The constellation Ophiuchus, or “serpent-bearer”, is commonly represented as a man grasping a snake. ⛎

Around every Internet corner, quizzes and tabloid headlines are claiming to help “Piece your new life together” and to help you “Learn to live as a Leo”. Astrology has been sorting out our lives in ways we don’t even appreciate, whether that be a friendly reminder in your weekly horoscope to check up on your grandma or a gentle nudge to be a little kinder with your words depending on whether your planets are in retrograde or not. In light of the fact that NASA recently reconfirmed that the sky today is completely different compared to how it was almost 3,000 years ago, when the Babylonians first invented the 12 signs of the zodiac, beginner astrologists and weekly horoscope readers alike were shocked to read that the community had already celebrated the introduction of a 13th sign.
In a state of confusion, blogs, podcasts and influencers were quick to assess the damage and relabel the zodiac calendar to account for the Ophiuchus, the 13th zodiac. According to the latest shift in Earth’s axis, those born between Nov. 29 and Dec. 18 come into contact with the constellation —not zodiac— known as Ophiuchus.
Depicted as a snake-wrestling man, the constellation has caused uproar among the astrology community as all signs are about a month off to account for this newest addition. Some Sagittarius’ are now Capricorns, Scorpios became Libras and Capricorns became Aquarians. Feuding rivalries sparked, debating whether or not to accept their new lifestyles or reject the Ophiuchus—adapted calendar.
Fortunately, everyone can change their Instagram bios and Snapchat birth dates back to how they were, because in reality nobody’s sign has changed at all. The difference between a constellation and a zodiac is dependent upon the position of the sun as it’s perceived from Earth. For 3,000 years, humanity has relied on the same constellations passing through our line of sight at certain times a year to form the zodiac belt : Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces. Since the invention of the original zodiac system, random constellations have always drifted in and out of view.
This doesn’t mean that NASA “invented” a 13th sign to mess with everyone nor does it mean that everyone suddenly has to identify with a completely different sign. It was simply stated that the constellation Ophiuchus is currently passing through the belt and will continue to appear among the original 12 signs. In the hands of the Internet however, this statement was widely misconstrued as a death sentence for almost 3,000 years of tradition and as trendy as it has become, Ophiuchus is nothing more than a friendly constellation floating through our system.
Still, for those of us who reject the actual, physical science behind the zodiac placements, all you have to do is wait a couple thousand years for Ophiuchus to cycle out of our zodiac and soon, you’ll feel like a true Gemini again.