Friday, 14 January 2011

Is Ophiuchus the 13th zodiacal sign?

Every now and then is resurfacing in the media the issue of Ophiucus - the so called 13th zodiacal sign. In reality Ophiuchus is a CONSTELLATION and not a zodiacal sign! There is a fundamental difference between the two! And ultimately this is the whole gist of the matter...

A brief but lucid explanation of the difference between a constellation and a "sign" is given by the American astronomer - and professor at the University of Illinois - James B. Kaler, who in his book "Astronomy" (Harper Collins College Publishers) he states:

"There is an important distinction to be made between the astrological signs of the zodiac and the astronomical constellations of the zodiac. The constellations are real star-groups that can be seen on any clear night. The signs are symbolic concepts that are locked to the vernal equinox."

(Every single astronomer has been taught the difference between a constellation and a sign in college or in university! Thus, I am surprised that many of them act as they never knew it!)

So, Ophiuchus IS NOT a zodiacal sign but a zodiacal constellation! The two ARE NOT the same. The confusion stems out of the fact that the twelve zodiacal SIGNS are bearing the same names as the twelve CONSTELLATIONS. But that's where their similarities end. They have nothing else in common.

A CONSTELLATION is something visible and tangible while a zodiacal SIGN is not! The signs are totaly invisible! We have to think of them as 12 equal divisions of the space around Earth. We do not know much about them and they actually constitute a mystery to us. To get a hint on their nature we have to resort to one of the greatest astrologers - philosophers of all times, Dane Rudhyar! He is writing on the zodiac (which is actually composed of the 12 signs):

"The zodiac is what astrologers-scientists call the "magnetic field" of the Earth, what occultists call the "aura of the Earth", or the auric egg of the planetary Being...It is a sort of electrical envelope within which the Earth rotates...".

So, it is relatively easy to debunk Ophichus as the 13th zodiacal sign. The zodiacal signs have always been and will always be 12!

But under all this Ophiuchus issue lies a deeper question: WHAT A ZODIACAL SIGN REALLY IS? We still don't know! The zodiacal signs constitute one of humanities greatest mysteries! They really exist, we have ascertained that, we have even measured every single astrological  property of theirs! But we have never seen them, "touched" them or probed them. They simply transcend our senses and our current field of notions!

Thomas Gazis


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