I was born on October 20. That puts me under the sign of Libra (Am I a Libra or a Libran?). And now I find out that I might be a Virgo.

An astronomer claims that a shift in the Earth’s alignment has changed zodiac dates and added a 13th Zodiac sign which is being called Ophiuchus. (watch a news clip)

I am not someone who reads my daily horoscope, or gives much attention to readings. But people who are fans of astrology are not happy with this suggested change. A girlfriend in college was very serious about all this. She did my sky chart for the hour that I was born. It was pretty close to me, for what that’s worth. She did tell me that those generalized horoscopes in the newspaper that cover a whole month and have no connection to the position of the stars and planets in the year you were born mean almost nothing.

The 12 signs we are familiar with were assigned almost 3,000 years ago by the Greeks. Since then, the position of the Earth in relation to the sun has changed, so your sign may have changed. For example, I was born on October 20 which was near the edge of Libra. With the shift I have moved into Virgo. This might explain some lousy things that have happened in my life when I expected Libra goodness. Or maybe not.

The New Dates:

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


Ophiuchus as depicted in Urania’s Mirror, a set of constellation cards published in London c. 1825

And who or what is Ophiuchus? It’s a constellation and it’s not new. It is a large constellation located around the celestial equator. Its name is from the Greek and means “serpent-bearer”, and it is commonly represented as a man grasping the snake that is represented by the constellation Serpens. Ophiuchus was one of the 48 constellations listed by the 2nd-century astronomer Ptolemy, and it remains one of the 88 modern constellations.

Maybe what is news to non-astronomers is that since the Greeks first cataloged the constellations, the gravitational pull between the Earth and the Moon has caused a 23 degree shift in the Earth’s celestial position.

To an astrologer, we should look for signs and effects on human events caused by the motions of the planets and stars. Astronomers are the scientific observers of the motion and behavior of stars, planets and other celestial objects.  Similar names, similar interests but very different missions.

I haven’t done any deep research on this, but here’s two things I have concluded.

This new sign isn’t really new. It has been known since the first century. Even the astronomer who started all this talk – Parke Kunkle – has taken a step back and admitted that this isn’t really “new news.”

Some confusion comes from the fact that there two astrologies. The tropical zodiac (Western) is the one Americans would know and it follows the seasons. But the sidereal zodiac (Eastern) is based on the constellations and has different signs including a 13th.

All this jabber got me curious though. I discovered that I could get my daily horoscope on my Google homepage
They say that they use “real Astrology” and that my horoscope is calculated from my “unique personal birth chart” not just from your zodiac sign. My old college girlfriend would be pleased. Their analysis of the connections between the planets in your birth chart, and the planet’s positions every day are powered by interactivestars.com

In my Libra mode, today will be like this:

You could find yourself on a creative roll today, but you’ll have to take a risk in order to get the most from it. It’s important to keep yourself motivated, for if you become lazy, you might miss a significant opportunity. Forget about the tried and true path to success. If you want to accomplish something extraordinary now, you must set your comfort aside, step out of the box and do something you’ve never done before.

But if I am really a Virgo, then today looks like this:

Your personal life has merged with your professional world, but you still may feel somewhat restrained today as you attempt to limit your energy to what’s going on between you and a co-worker or friend. Your life may seem like it’s full of static; everywhere you turn there’s more information coming in and your senses are temporarily overwhelmed by the noise. Step back from all the commotion; reclaiming your objectivity is a smart way to restore your vitality and tune up your resonance.

I’m more on the side with Cassius in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar when he says, “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves…” Fate (in whatever incarnation you choose for it) is not what drives our lives, rather, it is our decisions and actions and the human condition in which we live.