April 25, 2019

Should the Zodiac Have 13 Signs?

Does the same symbol still represent you?

Last week, it seems the worlds of mainstream and social media were ablaze with talk of whether the current zodiac was correct. Astrology as we know it, they proclaimed, was wrong. Now, we have the astrological sign of Ophiuchus, the 13th zodiac sign that will now throw everything we know about our horoscopes and personal charts into question.

But is this really accurate? Why do people believe this? Did your sign change overnight?

Before anyone who’s just hearing all the Ophiuchus hubbub for the first time starts freaking out, let’s back up and examine the rationale for each side of the argument.

The 13 Signs of the New Zodiac

Last Thursday, I was on Twitter and noticed Ophiuchus was one of the top trending topics. Ophiuchus has been on my research list for several months now because of its supposed link to 2012, so you can bet seeing it on Twitter caught my attention.  Now, it’s hard to convey much of substance in 140 characters or less, but this is the gist of what I got from all the madness:

  • Astronomers announced our current zodiac was wrong
  • Ophiuchus became our 13th zodiac sign
  • Almost everyone’s sign changed
  • No one knows how to pronounce Ophiuchus (I’ve seen it as Oh-few-kiss and O-fee-you-cuss)
  • Using Ophiuchus and 13 signs returns us to the Babylonian way of charting astrology
  • You only have to change your sign if you were born after 2009 when the Ophiuchus constellation appeared in the sky.

If you’re like me, you’ve already noticed some fairly major logic holes in the Twitter information.

Is Ophiuchus a Babylonian Thing or Something Discovered in 2009?

The Constellation Ophiuchus

Let’s be really clear about something, dark passengers, I’m no seasoned astrologer, but I am a researcher. The ancient Babylonians couldn’t have used Ophiuchus if it didn’t appear until 2009. I don’t know where the 2009 bit started on Twitter, but it is 100% false.

Obviously, I don’t know exactly what the ancient Babylonians knew or didn’t know because I’m not that old; however, NASA knew about constellation Ophiuchus in 2004 – at the latest – when they published an article on the solar breeze when the sun enters Ophiuchus. They also referred to it as the “little known 13th house of the zodiac,” but we’ll stick a pin in that for a moment. These are NASA scientists and science writers we’re talking about, not astrologers.

Anyway. The point is that it doesn’t matter if you were born before, after or during 2009.

The Feminine Zodiac

Another idea I’ve seen over and over is that the original zodiac did, in fact, use 13 signs to go along with the 13 4-week months of the year. If you think about this, it makes some sense. After all, 13 is related to both lunar and menstrual cycles.

The argument goes on that we once lived in a matriarchal society (ruled, led or otherwise heavily influenced by women) and we didn’t switch to the current 12 sign system until we transitioned to a patriarchal society (ruled etc by men). In the new society, they wanted to get away from the heavy influence of the moon and women, so they dropped a sign and changed the calendar.

Now, I know you’re thinking, “but, Jen…there’s not a lot of evidence to support that women ever ran society at large.” Putting all our personally held beliefs aside for a moment, we should keep in mind that History is recorded by the winners. If we were in a matriarchal society today, textbooks might say that it was always this way, even if it weren’t.

And no, I’m not saying I necessarily buy into this outlook; I’m saying we’d all do well to take what we read as the “facts” of history with a grain of salt.

The 12 Signs of the Old Zodiac

The 12 Original Zodiac Signs

As you can imagine, people have been up in arms over the potential changes to their astrological sign. If I’m honest, the prospect of going from a Pisces to an Aquarius doesn’t sit well with me. It isn’t that I’m a die-hard or anything, I’m just rather fond of my little fish and the Pisces traits apply to me better than any other astrological sign.

I digress. After I sifted through a bit of the madness, I dug around until I found dozens of articles about the change. I believe the article CNN published on the zodiac explains it the best, even though it doesn’t explain why people think it changed. I’ll go ahead and cover that bit before we move on.

Here’s the deal, an astronomer noticed that, due to the earth’s wobble, the constellations are no longer in the same position in our night’s sky as they were thousands of years ago. So, on March 1st, for example, the sun isn’t actually in Pisces, it’s still in Aquarius. The astronomer also noticed that the sun may not be in any of the 12 signs at one point in the year, but in a 13th constellation, Ophiuchus.

Astronomers or Astrologers?

Before we move on, it’s really, really, really important that you understand the difference between astronomers and astrologers. An astronomer is a scientist who looks out into the cosmos and deals with scientific evidence, calculations and theories. An astrologer is a metaphysical practitioner who uses the relative positions of the sun, moon and stars to determine personality traits and, some would say, divine the future.


This means that your average astronomer is no more able to explain astrology than an average astrologer is able to analyze the chemical composition of the sun. We’re comparing apples to architects here. We’re expecting that an astronomer just stepped well out of their comfort zone to revolutionize the way astrologers work.

Doesn’t it seem a tad condescending to you? I mean, do astronomers really think that all astrologers are too stupid to look at the stars and realize they’re looking at Aquarius instead of Pisces?

So, My Sign Didn’t Change?

Artistic representation of Pisces

Here’s the part where the CNN article I mentioned above really came in handy for me. You see, there are two different types of astrology. I totally didn’t know that, either.

The type of astrology Western astrologers use is based on the tropical zodiac. The tropical zodiac uses the constellation names you’re familiar with for the zodiac signs, but that’s where it ends. Instead of being all about where the constellations are, the tropical zodiac concerns itself with the seasons.

So, when they say the moon is in Pisces, they mean based on the way they divide the sky and the season of the year, not that the moon is physically in the constellation Pisces. Clear as mud?

The other type of astrology relies on the sidereal zodiac. This type of astrology does care about the position of the constellations. If you live outside of what most would consider the “Western World,” you might be using the sidereal zodiac.

A Plain English Answer About the Zodiac Signs

Basically, if you’re referring to the tropical zodiac when you tell people what your sign is, nothing changed. If you’re referring to the sidereal zodiac when you talk about your sign, your sign may have changed. You might even have the 13th sign, Ophiuchus.

Not sure which zodiac you use? You aren’t alone. Suffice it to say that if you get your horoscope out of the daily newspaper, magazines or Western online sites, you were under the tropical zodiac and nothing changed. If you still aren’t sure, you can probably expect that astrologers will begin posting information about which zodiac they use.

And if all else fails, you could always ask.

So, which zodiac will you use after last week’s Ophiuchus debacle? Will you keep your old sign or embrace your new sign that corresponds with the stars?


“Let your dark passenger out to play…Be your own nemesis!”

Photo Credits:

Zodiac pictures - Wikipedia, public domain

Ophiuchus - Korrigan via Wikipedia, Creative Commons

Zodiac Signs – bluewinx15 via Flickr, Creative Commons

Pisces - dizznan via Flickr, Creative Commons

© 2011, Jen Whitten. All rights reserved. Remember, using content from this site without prior written permission will either land you on Dexter’s table or set off the zombie apocalypse. DON’T SAY I DIDN’T WARN YOU.


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About Jen Whitten

Jen Whitten is a paranormal researcher and writer, specializing in psychic development, Empaths, modern day vampirism and dealing with entities. She regularly discusses the paranormal realm, as well as the dark inner workings of the mind.


  1. Thank you for this explanation and the link to the CNN article. I saw all the hubbub online but hadn’t gotten the chance to delve into it further. I appreciate you cutting through the hysteria to let us know what is really going on. :)