New Astrological Sign "Ophiuchus"? Not Really.

You may have read recent articles about a “new zodiac sign” called Ophiuchus.  It’s not actually news.  Here’s the article I found:   This article went viral, and I (and astrologers all over the nation, apparently) are getting questions about the “new sign” from people who are wondering if they are now different signs than the ones they’ve identified with all their lives.  I’m happy to say that nobody’s sign is changing, and here’s why.

The above article by Stephanie Pappas appears to be a rewrite of a similar article posted back in 2007: (It was obviously a slow day in the news room.)  Both articles speak of the precession of the equinoxes as if it were news.  In fact, precession has been well-documented and understood by astrologers since before astronomy separated itself from astrology during the Enlightenment.  The knowledge of precession is not “news,” it is about 1800 years old.  Here’s my FAQ page explaining how it works:

The topic of precession comes up again and again as if it were news, which it isn’t.  Astrologers know about precession and it has no impact on our work.  It’s been my experience that astrologers tend to be aware of the basics of astronomy while astronomers are not aware of the basics of astrology, and the writer of the 2007 article was quoting an astronomer, not an astrologer.

Modern-day astronomers believe that events in the sky have no connection to events in our lives here on Earth.  This is where their study of the sky diverges from that of astrologers.  Astronomers name the stars, as their title suggests.  Astronomy contains the word root “nom,” which means “name.”  The word “astrologer” contains the root “log,” describing an astrologer’s job:  to log the stars.  We observe (and write down) the corresponding life experiences that go with various sky phenomena.  That’s our job.  Astronomers and astrologers may disagree, and sometimes loudly, but they have something bigger and more important in common than all their disagreements, and that is a sense of wonder and mystery in our lovely, star-studded skies.

I suppose I shouldn’t complain, because this hoo-hah has resulted in me getting a call from the New York Times.  I may be quoted in tomorrow’s paper, dated Jan. 15, 2011.  I was delighted to have the opportunity to simplify and explain the situation.  So rest assured, gentle readers, you still have the same chart and sign that you’ve always had.

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Astrology blogger since 2007

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