Ophiuchus Traits: The Mythology Behind the “New Zodiac Sign”

When NASA misfiled the constellation Ophiuchus as the new zodiac sign in September, planetary pandemonium broke out. Astrologers everywhere have been been debunking this myth ever since.

Here’s the bottom line: You do NOT have a new horoscope to read! Ophiuchus is a constellation, yes, but not the 13th zodiac sign. In fact, it was discovered over 3,000 years ago, which means it’s not exactly breaking news.

Honestly, we can see how the mix-up happened. Our 12 zodiac signs ARE named after constellations, which once served as markers for each sign. And it’s true: The constellations have shifted since our current system of Western (or Tropical) astrology was created by Ptolemy, the Greek mathematician, astronomer and astrologer. But here’s the deal: the constellations do not determine your zodiac sign. It’s actually the Sun’s apparent path around the Earth that makes you, say, a Libra or a Capricorn. More on that here for all you astrogeeks.

Truth be told, this supposed star sign Ophiuchus has some interesting lore. If NASA astrology held any water, we’d have a different horoscope ourselves, being born on December 2—right smack in-between those “new star sign dates” of November 29 to December 17. There’s something kind of hilarious about an astrologer named Ophi being an Ophiuchus—the humor isn’t lost on these proud Sagittarians. But sorry, NASA, we are #ArchersForLife.

That said, we’re not dismissing poor Ophiuchus: In fact, we’re embracing the constellation as a fascinating archetype. After all, everything from the planets to the houses to the star signs themselves have mythology woven in—and why NOT this constellation? While nobody can claim Ophiuchus as their new zodiac sign, they can certainly call upon it for inspiration when needed. Here’s how:

serpent-ophiucus-traits Show ‘Em Your Serpentine Smile
Welcome The Serpent Bearer, which is the symbol for the Ophiuchus constellation. To the Greeks, Ophiuchus represented the god Apollo struggling with the snake that guarded the Oracle of Delphi at her temple. The Oracle of Delphi was the prophetic priestess Pythia, known for her divination powers par excellence. (Huge fans of the priestess over here…) Apollo was a major prophet too, and the god responsible for moving the Sun across the sky every day. Given that astrology is based on the Sun’s “movement” across the sky, well, Apollo is a pretty important dude in our lives.

In a modern day interpretation, Apollo’s struggle with the serpent could be seen as humans wrestling to gain access to higher truths; to answer questions about our mortality and spirituality. The snake may also represent the fears that stand between life (Apollo and the invigorating Sun) and the afterlife (the Oracle of Delphi). Death and the spirit state still remain “the great unknown” to our mortal minds; yet the reality of our inevitable passage sits like a constant presence on our shoulders. Perhaps the “discovery” of Ophiuchus is revealing our need to integrate aging and death into our cultural conversations, instead of making these topics so taboo. Non-Western cultures have a reverence for the later stages of life that are amiss in our society. What if we didn’t wait until the final hour to ponder our fate?

serpent-ophiucus-traits Find the Middle Ground Between Scorpio and Sagittarius:

The constellation Ophiuchus sits between plumb-the-depths Scorpio and high-minded Sagittarius—almost like a horizon line between the underworld and the realm of the #woke. Some Vedic/Sidereal astrologers, who work with a system that is based on the constellations (different than Western astrology), actually do consider Ophiuchus a zodiac sign. And fittingly, it bears traits that are a hybrid of secretive Scorpio and live-out-loud Sagittarius.

Ophiuchus Traits:

  • Secretive and mystical
  • Keeper of hidden wisdom
  • Sexually magnetic with bedroom skills par excellence
  • Passionate and magnetic
  • Healers
  • Empaths
  • Jealous and possessive
  • Dream interpreters
  • Rebellious and independent
  • Anti-authority
  • Flamboyant fashion sense
  • Vital Health
  • Wisdom Seekers
  • Likeable and often given special treatment

serpent-ophiucus-traits  Get your Hogwarts On:
Smart is sexy! With Ophiuchus’ interweaving of Scorpionic charm and Sagittarius intellect, we have a brainy new brew from which to sip. Like Harry Potter’s Hogwarts Academy, Ophiuchus takes us straight to magic school. So instead of trying to emulate the latest vapid Snapchat star, call upon the gorgeous geeks who are using their mental powers to make the world a savvier place.

Hermione Granger…is that you?


The AstroTwins

Identical twin sisters Ophira and Tali Edut, known as The AstroTwins, are the founders of Astrostyle.com and the authors of multiple bestselling astrology books. Their horoscopes reach millions here and through their resident astrologer column at ELLE Magazine.