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  • Lio Salazar

New Challenger: Ophiuchus?

Lio Salazar, Features Contributor

Do you remember about eight years ago, there were rumors and posts saying there was a 13th zodiac sign? These whispers, which started around 2011, resurface every few years, and they’re always about Ophiuchus. It’s completely fine if you can’t pronounce that the first time — and neither can I sometimes —, but it’s pronounced oh-FEE-yuh-kus. Now that we’ve all collectively pronounced it, who even is Ophiuchus?

Ophiuchus is thought to be named for the Greek god, Asclepius (uh-SLEP-ee-yus), the son of Apollo and the god of medicine. Asclepius’s symbol is the Rod of Asclepius, not to be confused with the Caduceus of Hermes. I’m sure we’re all familiar with the Caduceus, a winged staff with two snakes intertwined around it, but this is the symbol for Hermes, the god of messengers, thieves and travelers. The Rod of Asclepius is a single snake wrapped around one staff with no wings at the top. Not to “um, actually” healthcare professionals, but the Rod should be the symbol plastered on the side of ambulances instead of the Caduceus.

The constellation of Ophiuchus is the Serpent Bearer and depicts a man wrangling a large serpentine creature. I think the vision of the one snake is why this constellation is associated with Asclepius. The sun and moon are in the range of Ophiuchus between Nov. 30 and Dec. 17, meaning that most of Sagittarius is actually in Ophiuchus. 

This means that all the zodiac dates would have to move accommodating this 13th sign: Sagittarius would then be Dec. 18 - Jan. 18; Capricorn Jan. 19 - Feb. 15; Aquarius Feb. 16 - March 11; Pisces March 12 - April 18; Aries April 19 - May 13; Taurus May 14 - Jun 19 ; Gemini Jun. 20 - Jul. 20; Cancer July 21 - Aug. 9; Leo Aug. 10 - Sep. 15; Virgo Sep. 16 - Oct. 30; Libra Oct. 31 - Nov. 22; and Scorpio Nov. 23 - Nov. 29. You can then see how this causes an issue, because some signs, like Gemini and Sagittarius, span a whole month long, but poor little Scorpio season only lasts six whole days. 

Fret not, as Ophiuchus isn’t an official zodiac sign, we get to keep the traditional 12 we all know and love. This means that all of the astrology girlies and math whizzes who like the 12 we have (which work out to good, even numbers on our wheels) have nothing to fear, and anyone who only really knows their star sign doesn’t automatically become that new sign: trust me, NASA said so. 

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Albion Zodiac
Albion Zodiac

Ophiuchus, before Ptolemy's alteration to the Snake Bearer, was symbolised by a Griffin (or Sphinx). Search the Albion Zodiac for more details of the Oldest Recorded Zodiac in the WORLD!

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