Of star gazing and tattoo removal

OphiuchusI heard about this last week, but never got around to it.

From The Irish Times:

Zodiac now 13-strong as Ophiuchus signs in

The Irish Times


THINK YOU’RE a Pisces? Think again, because the star sign you thought was yours may be incorrect. That’s according to an astronomer who has discovered there are 13, not 12, zodiac signs. [Don’t panic.]

[Parke] Kunkle, a professor in the Minnesota Community and Technical College, talked about how a wobble in the Earth’s axis had caused a change in star constellations. As a result, there is a new sign, Ophiuchus – better known as the serpent holder – that wasn’t present 3,000 years ago when Babylonians introduced zodiac.

Prof Luke Drury, head of the astronomy and astrophysics section of the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, explained the process, known as “precession”.

“If you think of the Earth as a wobbling or spinning top that is not quite vertical, the spin top moves around in a shape a bit like a cone. The Earth spins exactly the same way,” he said.

Ophiuchus“Astronomers have known about this for a very long time. [What else do they know and aren’t telling?] It has been one of the constant criticisms of astrology, which isn’t a science and doesn’t allow for it.”

While the sign many people were born under may change, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to remove that scorpion tattoo just yet: [Whew!   What a relief.] some astrologers, particularly in the western world, use a system that is Earth, not star, based.

The new zodiac dates are: Capricorn: Jan 20th – Feb 16th. Aquarius: Feb 16th – March 11th. Pisces: March 11th – April 18th. Aries: April 18th – May 13th. Taurus: May 13th – June 21st. Gemini: June 21st – July 20th. Cancer: July 20th – Aug 10th. Leo: Aug 10th – Sept 16th. Virgo: Sept 16th – Oct 30th. Libra: Oct 30th – Nov 23rd. Scorpio: Nov 23rd – Nov 29th. Ophiuchus: Nov 29th – Dec 17th. Sagittarius: Dec 17th – Jan 20th.

How do you break it to someone that he is an Ophiuchus?

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Glen M says:

    As I’m sure everyone here knows, astrology is a violation of the First Commandment. This recent news is just more proof the best strategy is to trust God and His Church. Anything man-made is fallible and not worth betting your fate on.

    Happy Year of the Rabbit,

  2. Tim Ferguson says:

    Hmmm, the sign of the snake-handler might go over well in some parts of Kentucky…

  3. pfreddys says:

    This calls to mind an atheist I once worked with….but she would religiously check her horoscope everyday

  4. SonofMonica says:

    Do you suppose we will see a rash of astrologist fundamentalists who only recognize the first 12 Zodiac signs as authentic? Perhaps the 13th supposed sign was put there to test their faith?

  5. FrCharles says:

    Now I know why life has been often confusing and frustrating for me…I didn’t know that I was really an Aquarius.

    On the other hand, in one of my favorite Epiphany homilies I ever heard, the priest said that the validity of astrology–should it have ever had any–ended with the Epiphany. Now the stars, and indeed the whole creation, only point to Christ.

  6. Philangelus says:

    When this hit Twitter, you would have thought it had been revealed that the US was now five separate countries and red wine was poison. People expressed confusion, outrage, pain, and denial. I didn’t see bargaining, but honestly, every other stage of grief showed up.

    BTW, wouldn’t the sign at time of conception mean more than the time of birth? The theory I’d read was that babies conceived at certain times of the year received different nutrition than babies born at other times of the year (ie, fresh fruits weren’t available during wintertime) and therefore their brains developed differently. And with OBs inducing labor as early as 37 weeks nowadays, plus the modern grocery store phenomenon, the whole thing would become less important anyhow.

    But if anyone’s interested, Jesus was apparently a Sagittarius. Should I go read His horoscope to Him later on, after I do the rosary?

    Me: “It says ‘Although you will offer help today, many of your friends will reject it.'”
    Jesus: “Tell Me about it.”

  7. Random Friar says:

    Saw a “professional” astrologer who claimed it’s about what planet governs you. So if you’re a Gemini, Mercury, etc…

  8. Katherine says:

    Astrology is contrary to the Catholic faith. This is something we need some pulpit preaching on. I raised my children to stay away from the Zodiac and this whole matter.

  9. AndyMo says:

    There’s a LOLCats-style meme making its way around right now with a cat saying, “Relax. Astrology is still bull****.”

    My thoughts exactly.

  10. TNCath says:

    Think of all the new books that will come out to chart horoscopes in lieu of this new sign and zodiac dates. Barnes and Noble will have to expand their horoscope section.

  11. beez says:

    It turns out, Father, that I am now an Ophiuchus. As I said to one person, “Great, now I went from one type of made up nonsense to another!”

  12. Andrew says:

    I am confused. Cicero describes Ophiuchus (whom the Latins called “anguitenens”) as something well known to himself and to the Greeks.

    He writes:

    quem claro perhibent Ophiuchum nomine Graii.
    Hic pressu duplici palmarum continet Anguem
    atque eius ipse manet religatus corpore torto; etc.
    (de Natura Deorum, book 2, 109)

    Why is this news to us now?

  13. Patti Day says:

    I refuse to be the same sign as my Mother-in Law.

    [One of the funniest comments I have read for a while.]


  14. teomatteo says:

    Yikes!!… so i’ve been married to the wrong one for some 35 years!!! ; )

  15. jeffreyquick says:

    Back when I was a pagan, I used to do charts. And the debate between tropical and sidereal astrology was quite active 30 years ago. So people being surprised by this only shows the shallowness of their knowledge. I mean, it’s like a Catholic thinking that “Et cum spiritu tuo” means “And also with you” and being shocked by the new translation.

  16. thereseb says:

    I see this research is by a professor called Parke Kunkle, who works at the Minnesota Community and Technical college. This deserves a place in a Garrison Keillor novel.

    I wonder what Pastor Ingqvist and Sister Arvonne will make of it?

  17. Anne D says:

    We are fortunate here in northern Michigan to have an excellent observatory and resident astronomer. He told us at a monthly Astronomical Society meeting many years ago about Ophiuchus actually being part of the Zodiak. He was quite proud of being one himself, although I suspect he takes his science quite seriously and is not overly concerned about any purported influence from the stars or planets on his personal life.

    Thank you for the occasional astronomy lessons. Astronomy has a way of putting a certain eternal perspective on our existence. We once went to a star gazing tour on the Michigan sand dunes well away from any light sources. Following that we went to an all night adoration. It was overwhelming to realize that the creator of that expanding, far reaching and uttterly magnificent universe was before us in the tabernacle.

    Anne, in Traverse City, MI

  18. Andrew — Most of our current constellation names come from the Greek astronomers, including Ophiuchus. (Although the super-constellation of the good ship Argo kinda came apart over the years, and now is divvied up into the Keel, etc.) However, Ophiuchus wasn’t a zodiac sign back then, because it wasn’t in the same position versus Earth moving through the galaxy, Earth’s axis wobble, etc.

  19. Tina in Ashburn says:

    Wow. I”m no longer a Leo [never thought I fit that anyway].

    Gosh, next thing you know, we are going to wobble back to the Tridentine Mass as the only official Mass of the Latin rite.

  20. lofstrr says:

    Oh great. I just went from being Sagittarius to that Ophiwhozit dude. I may all be just so much BS but at least I could pronounce my BS sign

  21. GirlCanChant says:

    Turns out I am now a whatever as well. Good thing I don’t believe in any of that junk.

  22. Supertradmum says:

    This will go hard for all the New Age “chuches” and “theologians”, with their websites, pamphlets and books. Poor things…

    Does this effect Ground Hog Day? Just kiddin’

  23. Alice says:

    My birthday is the day one sign ends and another one starts! Crisis! Crisis! I’m being pulled in two directions! Maybe I’m going to develop multiple personality disorder!

  24. Mitchell NY says:

    March 18th still leaves me a Pisces ! Although no longer on the cusp. ; )

  25. Sliwka says:

    What this really shows is 1) the twisted reporting of the MSM that is all too familiar for us Catholics and 2) the ignorance and silliness of the world.

    The astronomer in question did not discover the constellation, it has always been there. The article even says so (whats with the headline then). It also even points out that the constellation is evidence of the silliness of astrology.

    This reminds me of when de Grasse Tyson “removed” Pluto from the planets and received hate mail from elementary children right up to adults. He also has an awesome rant about Ophiuchus.

  26. J Kusske says:

    So does this mean we’ve finally left the Age of Aquarius and are entering into that of Ophiuchus? From the picture he looks like a kind of Heracles wrestling with Anteus. Maybe it’s a sign that the old serpents and dragons will finally be slain. (But next year is the Year of the Dragon, and the year after that is that of the snake…)

  27. AnAmericanMother says:

    Jeffrey, you too, huh?

    Back when I was a longhaired barefoot hippie I cast charts (and read cards too). You’re absolutely right, this is not news, the tropical/sidereal debate’s been going on forever. Wonder why the newsies picked this moment to finally catch on?

  28. I think Fr. John Bertolucci once said that if we are asked under what sign we were born, we as baptized Christians should reply, “the sign of the cross.” I may have had the nerve to do it once or twice, but fortunately I am not often asked.

  29. AnnAsher says:

    Alas this is all wrong. Serpent holder is assigned based on character, not stars or calendars.

  30. asophist says:

    I learned about this nearly fifty years ago as an astronomy student. The reason explained to me then as to why we still don’t count Ophiuchus among the “official” constellations of the Zodiac is that it is not needed. It overlaps a couple of the twelve sectors currently assigned the names of the traditional twelve Zodiac constellations and it really does not form an equal partitioning of the sky with the other twelve. Also, Ophiuchus is faint, as Zodiac constellations go, so not as easy to spot, having no bright stars. These were the reasons for leaving Ophiuchus out of the “official” list of Zodiac constellations fifty years ago, and I expect they are as valid now as they were then and that we won’t see anything of consequence come form this “news” (astrology be d–d).

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