Sunday, July 26, 2009

Ophiucus: The Serpent Bearer

Definition: [Sun Signs - Solar Zodiac] Ophiuchus, the sign of the Serpent Bearer, is the 10th sign of the Real Solar Zodiac. However, although it lies on the Ecliptic it is not one of the signs of either the Tropical Zodiac of standard Western Astrology, or the Sidereal Zodiac of standard Vedic astrology. This problem is one of the most contentious issues in modern astrology. I know the subject of Ophiuchus causes us lots of grief as astrologers. But it's up there in the heavens. It exists. We can't ignore it. The Thirteenth Sign? Ophiuchus is often mistakenly called the 'thirteenth sign of the zodiac' because the sign is thought of as an additional sign to the the twelve Tropical or Sidereal signs. So why isn't Ophiucus in the Commonly-Used Western Zodiac? Ophiuchus is an Ancient Greek constellation. The Serpent Bearer is one of the original Ptolemy constellations, appearing in Al Magest Star Catalogue [c 130 - 170 AD]. He also appears on the Farnese Globe, a Roman copy of a circa 2nd century BC depiction of Atlas holding the Celestial Sphere above his head. So why isn't Ophiuchus a member of the standard astrological zodiac - the Tropical Zodiac? Good question! Ophiuchus is a Sun-sign. The Moon and planets all are seen against the stars of Ophiuchus. Unfortunately, the answer to the question is that Ophiuchus isn't in the Tropical Zodiac not because there is something wrong with Ophiuchus but because there is something wrong with the Tropical Zodiac. The Tropical Zodiac is an inaccurate oversimplification of the heavens dating from a time when we did not have telescopes or computers. Follow the Zodiac Wheels link for a description of the history of the Zodiacs.

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