Your Zodiac Sign Didn’t Change.

In the interests of combating ignorance, I’ll make a note about this “zodiac change” everyone has been going on about.


I’m an interested non-believer in astrology. I find it amusing, systematic, good for entertainment purposes and a reasonable psychological self-inventory system at times. I don’t really believe it has predictive or prescriptive power, but I’m a general agnostic so I won’t categorically deny that it might not for the same reason that I won’t deny the possible existence of a deity. I’m apathetic about either one. What I’m not apathetic about is people in positions of intellectual authority who spread misinformation in some misguided attempt to drive the dark ages of superstition out of the masses, or whatever nonsense.

The very short reason that your zodiac sign didn’t change: you’re most likely a Westerner, accustomed to the not-very-accurate zodiac divisions laid out in newspaper astrology. These dates are aligned to a tropical geocentric zodiac — what this means is that the start of the zodiac is defined by the moment of the vernal equinox, the start of spring. This is usually sometime between March 20-22. This first sign is called Aries, because once upon a time, it was noted that the sun appeared to be in Aries from our vantage point here on earth at that time of the year. The visual change over thousands of years is the “precession” that the linked article refers to. While the background starscape has shifted since the zodiac “time segments” were named, some fundamental scientific facts haven’t changed.

The vernal equinox is the point of the earth’s orbit around the sun where the earth’s axis is exactly halfway from being inclined away from the sun. When the incline of the axis points directly away from the sun, it’s the winter solstice, and the coldest part of the year for the northern hemisphere. Since the earth’s orbit is circular, there are 360 degrees in the orbit. Divided by 12, these roughly align to the 365 days in a year (not quite, which is why the actual start date for zodiac signs shift from year to year), starting at the vernal equinox which is STILL called Aries in Western astrology.

As a result, based on the system that newspaper astrologers here in the West use, you’ll STILL be Aries if your birthdate falls in the March 20-April 20 range, give or take a couple of days. If you believe that the stars are more important than the much closer planets as astrological influences (or you just like your “new” sign better), you can go look up Vedic/sidereal astrology, which uses the apparent position of the sun against the starscape instead of the earth’s orbit around the sun to define the signs. Otherwise, you are still a Virgo or Cancer or whatever, and there is no such thing as Ophiuchus.

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