The 13th Zodiac

DID YOU KNOW that there was a 13th zodiac? I did not. It’s called Ophiuchus.

First, let’s look at the origin of our modern zodiacs. Below, I have shamelessly stolen from Wikipedia.

“Around the end of the 5th century BC, Babylonian astronomers divided the ecliptic into twelve equal “signs”, by analogy to twelve schematic months of thirty days each. Each sign contained thirty degrees of celestial longitude, thus creating the first known celestial coordinate system. According to calculations by modern astrophysics, the zodiac was introduced between 409 and 398 BC and probably within a very few years of 401 BC[10] Unlike modern astronomers, who place the beginning of the sign of Aries at the place of the Sun at the vernal equinox, Babylonian astronomers fixed the zodiac in relation to stars, placing the beginning of Cancer at the “Rear Twin Star” (β Geminorum) and the beginning of Aquarius at the “Rear Star of the Goat-Fish” (δ Capricorni).[11] The divisions do not correspond exactly to where the constellations started and ended in the sky; this would have resulted in an irregular division. The Sun in fact passed through at least 13, not 12 Babylonian constellations. In order to align with the number of months in a year, designers of the system omitted the major constellation Ophiuchus.[12] Including smaller figures, astronomers have counted up to 21 eligible zodiac constellations. Changes in the orientation of the Earth’s axis of rotation also means that the time of year the Sun is in a given constellation has changed since Babylonian times.[13]” (Source)

That was a mouthful, wasn’t it? I bolded the important bit about the 13th constellation.

This 13th constellation was the “serpent-bearer” (dude holding a snake) and looks a little something like this.


Who the heck is Ophiuchus? First, the figure whom this constellation represents really depends on which culture you ask. Brace yourself for more wikipedia thievery.

“Gavin White proposes that Ophiuchus may in fact be remotely descended from this Babylonian constellation, representing Nirah, a serpent-god who was sometimes depicted with his upper half human but with serpents for legs.[19]”

“To the ancient Greeks, the constellation represented the god Apollo struggling with a huge snake that guarded the Oracle of Delphi.[22]”

“Later myths identified Ophiuchus with Laocoön, the Trojan priest of Poseidon, who warned his fellow Trojans about the Trojan Horse and was later slain by a pair of sea serpents sent by the gods to punish him.[22] According to Roman era mythography,[23] the figure represents the healer Asclepius, who learned the secrets of keeping death at bay after observing one serpent bringing another healing herbs. To prevent the entire human race from becoming immortal under Asclepius’ care, Jupiter killed him with a bolt of lightning, but later placed his image in the heavens to honor his good works. In medieval Islamic astronomy (Azophi’s Uranometry, 10th century), the constellation was known as Al-Ḥawwaʾ, “the snake-charmer”.[citation needed]” (source for these bits)

So I guess it’s kind of a choose your own adventure deal.

The date range for the Ophiucus zodiac is November 29th through December 21st. The symbol looks like this.

oph symbol

According to, the personality traits are as follows:

“The People, Personality House Ophiuchus represented Unity. Its people were spirited, magnetic, impulsive, clever, flamboyant, and at times jealous, power-hungry, and temperamental. At their hearts, they were healers who hoped to one day rid the Zodiac of every ill—disease, violence, etc—and bring everyone closer together.

Ophiuchans had a natural affinity for snakes, and there was a special species of serpent, the Zawinder, with whom their House’s Zodai developed a psychic connection. Each Zodai would capture and adopt his own Zawinder, which they would then use to spread messages to others in the swamp.” (Source)


Okay, that’s all I’ve got.


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