About once a year, panic ensues as articles pop up across the internet––from sources as reputable as The Wall Street Journal–– claiming that there is actually a 13th sign of the zodiac called Ophiuchus, which means that everyone has been identifying as the wrong sign. As an astrologer, I’m here to tell you that there’s no need to worry. You don’t need to read a different horoscope. There’s no such thing as the 13th sign. Let’s talk about why.
First, let’s discuss the astronomy of it all. The astrological zodiac was developed when ancient stargazers noticed that the sun, moon and planets travelled a specific path of constellations in the sky (known as the ecliptic). They began to use the positions of the planets within those constellations to interpret omens and make predictions about life on earth. Approximately 2,500 years ago, the zodiac was standardized as astrologers divided the ecliptic into 12 equal parts. Yes, there are 13 constellations along the sun’s path (there are 88 recognized constellations in our sky)––and Ophiuchius, the alleged 13th sign, is one of them––but 12 signs (rather than 13) is what fit into the 12-month lunar calendar. Though the names of the signs have changed since ancient times, Ophiuchus was not and has rarely ever been included.