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Is the Astrological Zodiac really 12 or 13 Signs?

Dr. R. A. Turrai Raaj - Singapore
Astro-Numerologist Extraordinaire
Ph.D. Psychology
M.Sc. Mathematics (Honors)
B.Sc. Business Management (Honors)


On 13 January 2011, Astronomer Parke Kunkle, a member of the Minnesota Planetarium Society, told NBC News that modern 12 zodiacal signs are wrong because they do not take into account the changes of gravity field of Moon, which have caused Earth's axis orientation and have altered the position of stars in the sky since the invention of horoscope, 2000 years ago.

Earth's changing alignment in last 3,000 years has prompted Kunkle to now consider inclusion of a 13th zodiacal sign known as Ophiuchus or Serpentarius into standard zodiacs. Kunkle also said: "This is not something that happened today. This has gone on for thousands of years."

The altered orientation is known as Precession of Equinoxes. To put it simple, the Earth sort of spins like a top and usually doesn't just stand up straight and spin, it wobbles. Live Science reported on the role of "Precession" on Astrology in 2007. Western Astrologers for years have not taken this “wobbly spin” into account.

This really isn't much news, as this phenomena was discovered as early as 130 BC by Astrologers/Astronomers of the time, especially in India where they compensate for this and call it Ayanamsa (the most accurate and popular is the Chitrapaksha or Lahiri Ayanamsa). Essentially, the Zodiac moves backwards 1 degree every 72 years ...

There is confusion between dates for Zodiac signs in Western Astrology and those of Hindu Astrology. The system that follows the actual positions of Astrology in the sky is known as Sidereal Astrology, most commonly found in Vedic or Jyotish Astrology used in India. This is what Kunkle is referring to.

Western Astrology, on the other hand, is known as Tropical Astrology. Zodiac represents the movement of the Sun through seasons, not necessarily through true positions of constellations. Thus, Western Astrology is used to describe the personality and potential of growth for the individual as in nature, as all life grows and dies through the seasons. This is also why only 12 Zodiac symbols are used, 3 for each of the 4 seasons.

The Sidereal Zodiac's astrological sign dates are based on a moving Zodiac, not the fixed one we see in Western Astrology. Therefore, the Sidereal Zodiac usually shifts almost one full sign from the fixed Tropical Zodiac.

As for the inclusion of Ophiuchus, an expert Astronomer said that "we've always known about Ophiuchus" and because this constellation only barely touches the Sun's path, it is not truly a Zodiac sign. The Ophiuchus constellation is used by Astronomers, while Astrologers chose not to include it. Ophiuchus is a rarely used astrological sign, not included in most versions of the Zodiac.

The traditional dates of Zodiac "remains the same” or basically, “there is no change” and Indian Astrologers take pride in its discovery and inclusion in astrological calculations long before others. It is a foregone conclusion that Vedic or Jyotish Astrology is a far more accurate than any other predictive astrological system in the world!