Old news about a new sign

Eastern astrology was way ahead of us on the matter of Ophiuchus

We already live in a world of unstable economies and jeopardized environments. Now, we find out that we may not be exactly who we thought we were because of an alleged change in our zodiac signs.

Astronomer Parke Kunkle of the Minnesota Planetarium Society recently brought forth his new concept supporting a change in the zodiac signs that would bring in a 13th sign called “Ophiuchus” (meaning “serpent-bearer” in Greek).

Because the Earth wobbles slightly as it spins on its axis, Kunkle argues that there should be a 13th sign. He also advocates shifting the dates of the already existing signs back by nearly a full month.

I was born an Aquarius and have always strongly identified with the sign; I read my horoscopes daily and always take them into perspective.

Apparently overnight last week, I transformed from an extrovert into an introverted goat named Capricorn; I was outraged to say the least.

That was, until I did my research.

It is true that the Earth “wobbles” and that the constellations have shifted in relation to our perspective from the Earth.

However, Kunkle failed to point out that Western astrologers follow a different system than Eastern astrologers.

The horoscopes that many of us love to read in newspapers, magazines and websites follow the Western zodiac system.

Apparently overnight last week, I transformed from an extrovert into an introverted goat named Capricorn

This system is also known as the tropical system, which is based on our relationship to the sun. It is calculated by the position of the sun’s rays on the tropics. The signs are a set of 12 and always will be.

What Kunkle refers to is called sidereal astrology, which is used in Eastern astrology. It is based on the Earth’s relationship to the stars, not to the tropics.

For example, in India they practice Vedic astrology, which is sidereal. In Western astrology, because we use the tropical system that follows the seasons and not the constellations, our signs remain unchanged.

If you’ve suddenly decided to take part in Eastern astrology, you will likely find that your sign has changed.

However, this “new sign” isn’t so new to people who already follow this astrological system. “Ophiuchius,” this 13th sign, has been around for hundreds of years and has already been taken into account.

However, the “discovery” of the 13th sign seems to resurface every few years.

A New York astrologer named Shelley Ackerman suggested that the reason this became such a large story in the media recently was because of the vast use of social networks.

Considering I had found all my information prior to my research through Facebook statuses, this seems to be a plausible argument.

Social networking is becoming a huge part of our culture and is growing day by day, so we can only expect to have many more situations like this one.

Information spreads like wildfire on the internet, even when it is false.

Graeme Coleman is a first-year student at the University of Winnipeg.

Published in Volume 65, Number 18 of The Uniter (February 3, 2011)

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