Ophiuchus - "There is nothing new under the sun. It has all been done before."-A Study in Scarlet (with deep respect to Sherlock Holmes and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle )
In this era of the 24/7/365 news and internet cycle, even time honored and time proven arts, such as Astrology can come under assault from hyperbole and innuendo. Both the broadcast and electronic media have trumpeted that there is a “new” sign, Ophiuchus by name, which must be included in the traditional collection of 12 signs, making the total the daunting number of 13. This revelation, courtesy of the pronouncement of a board member of the Minnesota Planetarium Society, seems to call into question the answer to one of the best known pick-up lines “What’s Your Sign?”
Yet, in truth, this “revelation” really is old news; really old as in 1st Centruy A.D. Astrologers have long known about the Serpent Bearer associated in Roman times with Asclepius, the healer, and have never included this sign as part of Western Astrology. There is evidence that knowledge of the constellation Ophiuchus may have exited even in Babylonian times and was excluded even then. The major reason for this exclusion was simply that the sun never spent a significant amount of time crossing its borders to have any real impact; nothing has changed in this regard.
Western Astrology, that which most of us are familiar with, is known as Tropical Astrology, (coming from the Greek word for “turning”, is largely believed to have been established by Ptolemy's Tetrabiblos which had its origins in both Greek and Babylonian teachings. The term “tropical” refers to the relationship between the seasons and the signs that rose in them. Thus the “first degree of Aries” was the point of the Vernal Equinox. Although the actual equinox and solstice points have moved from their ancient positions, the key aspect of the Earth’s (and everyone on it) relationship to the sun is the cornerstone of Astrology as most of us know it.
There is a second school of Astrology known as Sidereal Astrology. This school is not generally followed by Western Astrologers although some branches of Astrology, notably Indian, do use this method. The major difference between the two is that the signs of the sidereal zodiac are fixed with the corresponding constellations. The two types of zodiacs were believed to have been aligned roughly around 200 A.D. Since then, however, there is a precession (moving backwards if you will), where the Vernal sign has actually moved in the constellation of Pisces.
In the year 2000, the vernal point (the start of spring) was at 5 degrees Pisces, i.e., we are in the Age of Pisces. For those of us old enough to remember the musical “Hair”, the song “Age of Aquarius” is particularly relevant and trumps any change of zodiac signs. It is supposed to usher in a time of rebirth and renewal of all consciousness and spirit. It is to occur in about 360 solar years.
While it is true that the “first point of Aries” as identified by NASA:
“The 0 point of longitude is defined as the first point of Aries. This is the position of the Sun as seen from Earth at Earth’s vernal equinox” accessed 1/15.2011 http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/factsheet/fact_notes.html
may actually reside in the constellation of Pisces, as a result of the precession mentioned previously, it does not change the essence of Astrological thought or philosophy. While the constellation Ophiuchus now falls across the line of the Zodiac, it does not magically (or otherwise) change the foundation of Tropical Astrology or add a 13th sign to the Zodiac. The precession backwards through the signs is acknowledged in a macro sense defining Astrological Ages and has been for time out of mind.
"The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.”
Julius Caesar (I, ii, 140-141)
So, in the final analysis, if you are born an Aries, you are the same Aries today that you were before this non-story hit the media. Of course, to gain a full understanding of your natal chart, progressions, and astrologer in general, it is wise to consult with trained astrologers such as those that can be found on sites such as www.PsychicCosmos.com
Author - Lou
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