The 13th Zodiac Sign
On 13 January 2011, Astronomer Parke Kunkle, a member of the Minnesota Planetarium Society, told NBC News that the modern 12 zodiacal signs are wrong because they do not take into account the changes of the gravity field of the Moon, which have caused the Earth’s axis orientation & have altered the position of the stars in the sky since the invention of the horoscope, 2000 years ago.
The Earth’s changing alignment in the last 3,000 years has prompted Kunkle to now consider the inclusion of a 13th zodiacal sign known as Ophiuchus or Serpentarius into standard zodiacs. Kunkle also said: “This is not something that happened today. This has gone on for thousands of years.”
The altered orientation is known as the Precession of the Equinoxes. Simply put: the Earth sort of spins like a top & usually doesn’t just stand up straight & spin, it wobbles. Live Science reported on the role of “Precession” on Astrology in 2007. Western Astrologers for years have not taken this “wobbly spin” into account.
This really isn’t much news, as this phenomena was discovered as early as 130 BC by the Astrologers / Astronomers of the time, especially in India where they compensate for this & call it Ayanamsa (the most accurate & popular is the Chitrapaksha or Lahiri Ayanamsa). Essentially, the Zodiac moves backwards 1 degree every 72 years …
There is a confusion between the dates for the Zodiac signs in Western Astrology & those of Hindu Astrology. The system that follows the actual positions of Astrology in the sky is known as Sidereal Astrology, most commonly found in the Vedic or Jyotish Astrology used in India. This is what Kunkle is referring to.
Western Astrology, on the other hand, is known as Tropical Astrology. The Zodiac represents the movement of the Sun through the seasons, not necessarily through the true positions of constellations. Thus, Western Astrology is used to describe the personality & potential of growth for the individual as in nature, as all life grows & dies through the seasons. This is also why only 12 Zodiac symbols are used, 3 for each of the 4 seasons.
The Sidereal Zodiac’s astrological sign dates are based on a moving Zodiac, not the fixed one we see in Western Astrology. Therefore, the Sidereal Zodiac usually shifts almost one full sign from the fixed Tropical Zodiac.
As for the inclusion of Ophiuchus, an expert Astronomer said that “we’ve always known about Ophiuchus” & because this constellation only barely touches the Sun’s path, it is not truly a Zodiac sign.
The Ophiuchus constellation is used by Astronomers, while Astrologers chose not to include it. Ophiuchus is a rarely used astrological sign, not included in most versions of the Zodiac.
The traditional dates of the Zodiac “remain the same” or basically, “there is no change” & Indian Astrologers take pride in its discovery & inclusion in astrological calculations long before others. It is a foregone conclusion that Vedic or Jyotish Astrology is a far more accurate than any other predictive astrological system in the world!
Written by: Dr. R. A. Turrai Raaj – Singapore
M.Sc. Mathematics (Honors)
B.Sc. Business Management (Honors)