Molly Hall About.com
Ophiuchus Among Us
Thursday January 13, 2011
Everyone's talking 'bout the 13th sign today, Ophiucus, (O-phew-cuss) which is a very cool-looking constellation. To the ancients, it appeared to be a man holding two snakes -- a two-part constellation pair called Serpens (Cauda) and Serpens (Caput). Its Latin name is Serpentarius -- a snake handler!
Here's why there's a controversy today -- the "new" sign is as ancient as the sky itself, just not part of the Tropical Zodiac. Since the Greeks spied the Zodiac ("circle of animals"), the constellations have shifted in relation to the Sun, and this is known as precession. There are TWO Zodiacs, one used in Tropical astrology that stays in alignment with the seasons. And Sidereal, one that keeps in line with the actual position of the stars. So if you're a Cancer like me in Tropical, you're a whole sign ahead in Sidereal, a Gemini. Which Zodiac you're drawn to is totally up to you. The Jyotish tradition, or Vedic uses Sidereal, as do some Western astrologers. Some even switch teams and convert -- or use both Zodiacs.
In sidereal (based on where the constellations are now), the Sun moves through Ophiuchus from November 29th to December 17th, for 18 days (more than Scorpio). It's in the area of the powerful Galactic center, and during that time, there's an interstellar breeze. If your birthdate falls in this timeframe, you can claim the power of the secret sign.
If you feel jipped or confused, please read Amy Herring's thorough take on Ophiuchus, the 13th Sign. She draws the conclusion that the energies of Scorpio and Ophiuchus share the sky, and have been blended in our consciousness.
On the other hand, there are astrologers like Richard Lee Vaughn of Real Time Astrology, who says humanity has been kept in the dark about Ophiuchus. And that it's a symbol of masterfully handling the negative side of reptilian energies. He writes, "The constellations of Scorpio and Ophiuchus lie side by side. Scorpio is the sign of serpents, lizards, reptilians and Lucifer. Ophiuchus, also known as the snake handler or charmer, used its powers to keep the evil tendencies of the Scorpion at bay."
Rob Brezny responded to an attempt to debunk astrology by throwing Ophiuchus in our faces, with this -- Here we go again with the Ophiuchus Scam.
I'm fascinated that there's so much interest in Ophiuchus, since I know cosmic bodies come into awareness not just when they're discovered, but as a result of reclaiming ancient knowledge too. The bigger question to me is what is driving the collective consciousness to reclaim the snake handler? Are we searching now for that archetype, with so much negativity, manipulating, mayhem, and possibly reptilian mischief afoot?
What I love about astrology is that its a dynamic field of knowledge. Rather than be defensive about its omission in the Zodiac, maybe it's time to give it space. I've heard from a lot of younger people who are excited by this archetype -- the Pluto in Scorpios (born 1984-1996?) I'm excited to see where this leads and will be collecting articles, and looking into it more deeply myself.