Zodiac Shuffle? The Last Word in Astrology Weighs in on 'Ophiuchus'

Kansas City, Mo. (January 17, 2011) “ "Ophi- who?" might have been your first reaction if you caught sight of the peculiar name that has been heavily trending on social media outlets in recent days, causing millions to wonder, "Am I still a Pisces?"

Ophiuchus is currently the hottest topic in astrology, thanks to a recent interview with astronomer Parke Kunkle of the Minnesota Planetarium Society. Kunkle caught the attention of horoscope watchers everywhere when he pointed out that, astronomically speaking, the signs and dates of the zodiac and its calendar do not match the path of the sun relative to the stars behind it, and haven't for thousands of years.

According to Kunkle, astronomers have long known that millennia-spanning changes in the Earth's position relative to the Sun have gradually resulted in a shift in the Sun's sky-bound path. Given that the zodiac calendar is based on the constellations through which the Sun passes and the dates of those intersections, Ophiuchus, the snake-holding constellation associated with the healer Asclepius that is situated between Scorpio and Sagittarius, would seem to be a necessary addition.

Might the entire zodiac as we know it be in need of a horoscope-shaking realignment?

The answer, according to Eugenia Last, noted astrologer and author of the globally syndicated column The Last Word in Astrology, is a resounding "no."

"Your sign has not changed," said Last. "In fact, both astrologers and astronomers know very well that western or tropical astrology is based on the Earth's rotation around the sun, not the Earth's precessions.

"Ophiuchus dates back to ancient times," Last continued. "However, astrologers chose not to use the constellation known as the Serpent Holder because the zodiac is based on 12 zodiac signs, 12 months of the year, four triplicates, four elements and four seasons. Each of the twelve zodiac signs represents 30 degrees of a 360-degree circle, figuratively speaking."

So, the zodiac is and will always be based on the same 12 signs. But why all of the conversation about Ophiuchus now? Is this something new?

"Actually, this topic has been addressed at least once a decade," Last said. "Let's make it clear: astrologers and astronomers are not debating whether Ophiuchus exists, or whether it does or doesn't belong as an additional sign in the zodiac. It exists, and it is not a part of the zodiac, nor should it be. More than 80 constellations have been discovered to date “ I believe the number is 88 to be exact “ but only 12 are used in the astrological mathematical calculations and the interpretive art of astrology."

In short: Relax. You're still a Pisces.

Last invites anyone seeking more information about this topic or other astrological information to visit her blog, available at EugeniaLast.com/blog.

Last's syndicated columns, including The Last Word in Astrology, Dear Eugenia, Lovescope, Astro Advice Monthly and Astro Advice Weekly, have been distributed by Universal Uclick since 1997. The Last Word in Astrology runs in nearly 300 newspapers worldwide and is translated into a number of languages. In addition, Last has written numerous books and has the top astrological Web sites in the world.

For more information on Eugenia Last and The Last Word in Astrology, visit UniversalUclick.com/text_features/lastwordinastrology or contact press@amuniversal.com.