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Horoscopes: Have you been reading your star sign wrong?
Has your zodiac changed? Weeks ago the web world went into a panic when news spread that a new sign, Ophichus, has been added to the zodiac calendar, and that the sign you were born under might not be yours any longer.
“What?” you exclaim. “I can’t be a cancer! I was born a Leo and married my perfect Aries mate. Plus, I have a lion tattoo.” We kid, of course, but there are some people who live their life based on the code of the zodiac. We decided to get to the bottom of it. It turns out that this 13th sign is not new. Michael Reid, assistant professor of astronomy at the University of Toronto, says that astronomers have always known this information.
“Those astrological symbols were first assigned more than 2000 years ago. They mark out the path of the sun through the constellations. So over the course of the year, the sun goes through about 12 constellations, where it used to be exactly 12 constellations, which we call the zodiac,” Reid explains.
“Astrologers assign one of those constellations to people born during the month when the sun is in that constellation. I’m a Scorpio, so that’s November. But over time, the path the sun takes through the constellations changes. It does this very smooth wheel for thousands of years [for] natural reasons to do with an interaction between the earth and moon.
What that means is that over time the sun has drifted out of the set of constellations that were used to assign those sun signs. So now technically people aren’t really those same sun signs. The sun isn’t completely in Scorpio. It changes continually so the sun goes through this cycle over 26,000 years, which drags it around the sky over a loop and as it does that it changes all the sun signs.
If you were originally a Cancer, then 26,000 years later you will be exactly that same Cancer again.”
Not so, says popular Vancouver astrologer Georgia Nicols. Your sign has not changed. The author of You and Your Future: Yours Signs, Your In-Depth Personality Patterns, Your 40-Year Horoscopes ( and Elle Canada’s horoscope writer), has long been aware of this change in the constellation. What she stresses, however, is that astrology and astronomy are two different disciplines and the two do not line up.
And this is the crucial explanation:
“This is what an astronomer doesn’t know,” Nicols says. “The zodiac is only named after the constellations; it is not constellation-based and this is why: the 12 signs in the zodiac each have 30 degrees and therefore the 12 signs make up a circle of 360 degrees. That is the way a chart works.
“Up in the sky, the constellations all vary in size. Virgo is around 8 degrees and Scorpio is about 47 degrees. Never was Western astrology — which is based on the tropical zodiac chart — constellation-based. I will say, ‘The sun goes into Aries now,’ but we’re just speaking of it that way. The true zodiac is artificially established as 30 degrees for each.”
So, rest assured people of the Zodiac. You can cancel that laser tattoo removal.