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Rediff.com  » Getahead » Astro buffs, meet Ophiuchus: The newest star sign!

Astro buffs, meet Ophiuchus: The newest star sign!

Last updated on: January 18, 2011 16:39 IST

Astro buffs, meet Ophiuchus: The newest star sign!

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Here's all you've ever wanted to know about Ophiuchus, the newest mischief-making addition to the zodiac!

Last week, we brought you the news that Western astrology is in a tizzy over a prominent astronomer's revelation that the gradual shift of the earth's axis over the last 3,000 years has caused everyone's star signs to change and that there are actually 13 star signs, not 12.

Today, we bring you a little more information about the new addition, Ophiuchus and how it affects the rest of the zodiac. Move on to the following pages to learn all about it.


Image: Pop princess Britney Spears, born on December 2, now falls under the Ophiuchus sign
Photographs: Cover of Rolling Stone Magazine
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What is Ophiuchus?

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Well, to start with, it's not exactly a new addition. There has always been a thirteenth constellation by that name, but Western astrology is derived from that of the ancient Babylonians, who created the star signs by tracking where the sun was in the sky each month. They then got rid of the thirteenth sign to bring the number down to an even 12 over 2,000 years ago.

So Ophiuchus is basically a constellation and it is situated behind the sun between November 29 and December 17. It is positioned between the constellations of Scorpio and Saggitarius.


Image: With his birthday on December 17, the last day of Ophiuchus, John Abraham just about makes the cut
Photographs: Cover of Movie Mag
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What is the story behind the sign and the origin of the name?

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Ophiuchus literally translates from Latin as 'serpent holder'. In fact, it is the only star sign to be named after a real person.

According to ancient Greek mythology, there once lived a physician, Aesculapius, who was blessed in the art of medicine and could prevent the death of all who approached him. A popular theory is that he once killed a serpent, only to witness another bring it back to life by placing certain herbs in its mouth -- that was how Aesculapius' life-giving powers came to be and he began healing everyone he could, even bringing the dead back to life with these magic herbs.

Fearing that Aesculapius would render all of humankind immortal, the god of death, Hades, complained to his brother Zeus that this was against the natural order of things. So Zeus killed the physician with a thunderbolt, but put him into the night sky as a constellation in honour of his life-giving skills, along with the serpent that gave him his skills.

Thus, the 'serpent holder' constellation came to be. In related imagery, serpents keep shedding their skin to become rejuvenated -- shedding gives them a new lease on life, so to speak. In fact, even today, the symbol of the medical profession is a winged staff with serpents wound around it.

What is the symbol for Ophiuchusians?

Since Ophiuchus is named after the legend of Aesculapius and his serpent, it's a man holding a snake.


Image: Tyra Banks also joins the Ophiuchusian club, with her birthday on December 4
Photographs: Cover of Shape Magazine
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What are the traits of an individual born under this sign?

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Individuals born under the star sign are supposed to exhibit the following characteristics:

  • Intelligence: A willingness and thirst even, for knowledge and wisdom
  • Honesty
  • Leadership skills
  • A strong urge to settle into domestic bliss and the inclination to have a large family, but Ophiuchusians also tend to leave the nest early.
  • Intuition: Believers state that they are accurate interpreters of dreams.
  • Flamboyance when it comes to appearance -- they favour bright colours.
  • Careerwise, they may excel in fields that involve aesthetic abilities, like architecture.
  • Their lucky number is 12.

Image: Ophiuchusians like Yuvraj Singh (born on December 12), are said to have leadership skills
Photographs: Rediff Archives
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Which zodiac signs are compatible with Ophiuchusians?

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If you're one to do the bidding of the stars when it comes to building personal relationships, it may interest you to know which zodiac signs are compatible with Ophiuchusians and which are not, so here goes.

Ophiuchus is a water sign; it is compatible with:

  • Other Ophiuchusians
  • Capricorns (earth sign)
  • Pisces (water sign)
  • Cancerians (water sign)
  • Librans (air sign)

All of the above have common personality traits that gel with those of the Ophiuchus. Having said that, the most compatible is Pisces.

Pisces is one of the four mutable signs of the zodiac -- in other words, they have two aspects, like Gemini. Hence, they are wavering and more adaptable than the rest. But of the four, since only Pisces is compatible with Ophiuchus, it is the best match; in addition, it is also a water sign.


Image: Ophiuchusians like Konkona Sen Sharma (born December 3) are said to be most compatible with Pisceans
Photographs: Still from Wake Up Sid
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Which zodiac signs are not compatible with Ophiuchusians?

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Signs that are not compatible with Ophiuchus are:

  • Aries
  • Leo
  • Sagittarius

If you know a little bit about astrology, you'll have noticed that all the above are fire signs. So you can also imagine that when opposing elements like fire and water meet, there are bound to be, well, fireworks!


Image: Crooner Taylor Swift (born December 13) is an Ophiuchusian and is not compatible with fire signs
Photographs: Steve Marcus/Reuters
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What are the ramifications for the rest of the star signs if Ophiuchus is included in the zodiac?

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Well, for one thing, they're not all uniformly a month long any longer. If you consider the existence of Ophiuchus, it all goes heywire -- for example, Capricorn rules for 25 days, from January 20 to February 16; Pisces for 38 days, from March 11-April 18; and Scorpio for just seven days, from November 23 to November 29!

And of course, a lot of people will find that their star sign has changed -- while an individual hitherto born on September 30 was a Libran, s/he now finds the same date falling under the sign of Virgo.

If all of this sounds too confusing to you, here's a look at the new Zodiac that counts Ophiuchus among the rest of the signs:

Capricorn: January 20 - February 16
Aquarius: February 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 - August 10
Leo: August 10 - September 16
Virgo: September 16 - October 30
Libra: October 30 - November 23
Scorpio: November 23 - November 29
Ophiuchus: November 29 - December 17
Sagittarius: December 17 - January 20


Image: Superstar Rajni, born December 12, now falls under Ophiuchus
Photographs: Still from Sivaji: The Boss
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So, is Ophiuchus all set to become part of the zodiac?

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Not yet! While astrologers across the world are divided as to whether it should be included or not, the International Astronomical Union is yet to make an official announcement regarding its inclusion.

Moreover, it's unlikely that such an announcement is in the works, because the IAU recognised Ophiuchus as a 13th constellation way back in 1930, but this in no way gave it the status of a zodiac sign.

So it's up to you, at the end of the day, whether you want to take Ophiuchus into consideration or not!


Image: Hiphop mogul Jay-Z, born December 4, is still another celeb Ophiuchusian
Photographs: Cover of Rolling Stone Magazine
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