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Posted at 12:45 PM ET, 01/13/2011

New zodiac sign dates are ruining my life! And what's an Ophiuchus?

By Alexandra Petri

zodiac questions.bmp

Dear Minnesota Planetarium Society,

I'm losing it here.

Today you emerged with the information that we've been off on our Zodiac signs all these years. The dawning of the age of Aquarius is not where it used to be. All the dates are slightly different (there's a list of them here), and there's a neglected 13th sign -- Ophiuchus, the snake-holder -- that was dropped before the horoscope got big. I bet Pete Best was an Ophiuchus. They figured this all out by comparing it to the horoscopes of the ancient Byzantines.

Don't you realize how disruptive this is? I have to rethink my entire life. And all because you had to go and peer into the minds of the Byzantines. Well, if the Byzantines were so great, why aren't they still around? I haven't run into any ancient Byzantines lately, and I bet if I did they wouldn't be having career success.

Minnesota Planetarium Society, did you have to do this?

Do you realize just how much stock I have put into this over the years? I have spent hours likening myself to a limpid turquoise lagoon when I should have been out identifying with fire and goats.

I heard that Pisces liked color and ambergris, and that if I didn't bring my dreams to pass I would be crippled with disappointment. Now I find I'm supposed to be into spices and adventure, and I have to get rid of all these gemstones, poppies, presents wrapped in magical paper, large, visible clocks (recommended for Pisces) and framed photos of Liza Minnelli (notable Pisces).

If I had known that I was brassy and take-charge, the direction of my life until this point would have been vastly different. Instead of coddling my sensitivities and sitting near a sun lamp, I would have been going out and doing brassy, take-charge things.

"I should find a job in a creative industry," I told myself for years, writing my aspirations in my dream-journal. (Pisces are supposed to keep dream journals.) "Pisces are shy and avoid the spotlight, but if they don't bring their creative dreamworlds to fruition, they will be crippled with a sense of failure."

This is how I organize my life! I voted for McCain because he was a Virgo and they are supposed to be steady and reliable and put all their energy into their children. Now I find out he's a Leo. Leos are, frankly, jerks!

For the past twenty years, I've torn the newspaper open to the horoscope pages each day to see what I should be doing. You told me I was ready for commitment; I committed! You told me I should spend time around children to unleash my creative energies; I dredged up some children and unleashed so much creative energy that their parents tried to have me committed. You told me I needed more pizazz; I obtained more pizazz!

Now I find that I'm not, in fact, the creative, empathetic, contemplative individual they have been telling me I was for all those years. I didn't even know my flaws. All those years I thought I was secretive, vague, and easily led, and it turns out that I'm impulsive, selfish, and intolerant!

And don't get started on what this is going to do to my love life.

I don't know how I'm going to break this to my fiance.

"Sorry, I am supposed to be with a Gemini," I will explain. "They are adaptable, versatile, intellectual, and lively, and apparently I crave this. I know, it's a surprise to me, too! I thought I was supposed to be into stability and consistency."

"Also, you are an Ophiuchus," I will add. "I have no idea what that means. Apparently, you like to hold snakes, which is something you should have delicately broken to me before we reached this point."

"Don't ask," I'll add, because apparently I am supposed to be fun-loving, vivacious, and able to make a joke out of anything.

I have to go ponder my new flaws now and take some more job quizzes. I need a leadership-driven-teamwork-position-thing. I don't even know what that means! What career path suits me now? I have no idea. I'm going to go yell at people in the park because going outdoors and asserting myself is supposed to enhance my job prospects.

Don't you see what you've done? I'm not overreacting! 31 percent of the country believes in this sort of thing!

And my new horoscope didn't say I might be gullible.

By Alexandra Petri  | January 13, 2011; 12:45 PM ET
Categories:  Bad Advice, Big Deals, Petri  | Tags:  Star Wars, astrology, oops  
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Next: Wikipedia and the demise of the dilettante


This is great, lol.
Luckily for me, I am still a jerky Leo =)

Posted by: mlbrookie | January 13, 2011 3:43 PM | Report abuse

In breaking news... your zodiac sign DID NOT change... and here's why:

Actually position of the stars wasn't the start of 0 Aries. That has always been determined by the intersection of the ecliptic (the apparent path of the sun) and the celestial equator. So it can shift only in respect to the the sun and earth moving in relation to one another. The poor stars got nothing to do with it although they may have corresponded back a couple of thousand years back. This gap (between the celestial equator and ecliptic) changes over time do to the axial tilt of the earth we call it obliquity. Astrologers do calculate and adjust for that over time already. I'm not defending astrology just merely indicating how false and useless the reporting is. It's been that way since the times of Ptolemy.. give _Tetrabiblos_ a quick read. It's a fun book to get your koine Greek on. But, the reason the western systems use what they do is historical precedent of which the other system would have none, or much less of.

This is a complete no-news news item and your sign as always been something else if you were doing Sidereal Astrology (based on actual point of 0 Aries in the sky) as many who practice eastern astrological systems will tell you. But those systems obviously use a completely different method to study the charts, and it's all the difference in the world. This is what happens when a bunch of half-wit astronomers start talking about astrology and fail to do any research whatsoever.

So yep, your old sign is your old sign... nothing has changed... and I'm happy to be bringer of the news. :) Carry on.

Posted by: SeanF | January 13, 2011 7:30 PM | Report abuse

Just so you know this entire rant made you look like such an ass. Unless you are 2 years old you don't need to worry.

Posted by: bippityboppityboo13 | January 13, 2011 9:47 PM | Report abuse

Ms. Petri, I have never read your column before, but after today, I think I will be a regular. My daughter called me from California to tell me of this travesty. She said she was upset all day at work. And who told her this news, of course one of those Johnny-come-lately Ophiuchus people! He thought it was cool, she thought it was horrible.

She like myself, is proud to be a Libra. It defined us, we accepted Libran foibles as well as their many graces. And now!? You gave voice to our disbelief and chagrin.

My husband vows to never give up his Pisces identity to be an Aquarian. We were happily indecisive, peace loving people, and will remain so, despite what some scientist in the frozen north tells us.

I read your article to her on the phone in my impassioned rage (which is rare for a Libra) at being pushed to being a Virgo. I am sure they are lovely people, but I am not one of them.

The next thing you know they will want to take away our identities in the Chinese zodiac and I will will no longer be born in the year of the Boar. Boars/pigs, may not have the greatest reputations in the West, but after researching this sign while teaching World History, I fully accept, and am happy, that I am a pig, as is my husband.

I don't wake up running for the horoscope page every morning, nor planned pregnancies to have little Libras just like me. My son is definitely a Gemini, and I am happy he is. But the older I get, the more Libran I am.

Minnesota, why do you have to rock our astronomical boat? What will astrologers throughout the western world do with this news? Will they have to re-evaluate their entire existences?

Ms. Petri, your eloquence, humor, and passion made one of the best opinion pieces I have read in years. You have a new fan!

Posted by: qofybtc | January 13, 2011 9:53 PM | Report abuse

Comment from a "Jerk".
In my opinion, even if the signs have changed it doesn't change all the effort you put in to your life OR as who you believe you are. This post was found by a Jerk (Leo), a Sag and a Gemini to be completely irrational and yes a bit over reactionary and also a TAD BIT OFFENSIVE. Just because I can voice who I am and how I feel doesn't mean I'm anything BUT honest and true to myself. I think that you should take a moment to breathe and for your sake don't break down everything you've built and screw up your love life over someone else's theory.

Posted by: blackringo47 | January 13, 2011 9:56 PM | Report abuse

That was pretty dramatic and entertaining. Tickled here to get to read about this wonderful breakdown, it was awesome! haha not being mean just very interesting. I feel that nobody can really tell you who you are and that astrology is more of a fun thing that can help you learn about yourself. I also feel this rant was in fun over all the drama with the signs being wrong which really is hard to believe but either way its kinda cool.

Posted by: dj_baby10 | January 14, 2011 2:07 AM | Report abuse

Wow. You know, I'd like think even the most simple-minded person could figure out that this column isn't meant to be taken seriously, but I guess I was wrong. Kudos to those of you who actually took this seriously; you have proven that you are, in fact, far less intelligent than you seem to think you are.

Anyway, on to the column itself. I created an account here just so I could tell you that this pretty much made my night. This bit especially made me giggle:

"Also, you are an Ophiuchus," I will add. "I have no idea what that means. Apparently, you like to hold snakes, which is something you should have delicately broken to me before we reached this point."

Posted by: inkpuddle | January 14, 2011 6:51 AM | Report abuse

I have been a Capricorn all my life and I am not changing that!!! If you are upset about all of this, join my fan page on facebook!!/pages/I-Want-My-Zodiac-Sign-Back/182478501774027

Posted by: Violetsoul6 | January 14, 2011 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Stay calm. You want to be Sign X? Wait till Sign X (calendar of your preference) rolls around and then accept Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. Presto -- you are born again, with all the qualities of your chosen sign!

Posted by: Wondercat | January 14, 2011 6:24 PM | Report abuse

I think this is about secular humanist astro-geeks needing to reshuffle the celestial constants in a feeble effort to undercut the truth about the Star of Bethlehem and its astronomically verifiable appearance almost 2,000 years ago. I mean, if you ask me.

Posted by: prayforus | January 14, 2011 7:49 PM | Report abuse

I enjoyed reading this and I've now become a subscriber because of it. What is lost on me is why some people took this so seriously and did not understand that it was all tongue-in-cheek. I agree with inkpuddle's comment about the funniest part. I've now become a fan - write on!

Posted by: kasmeyer | January 14, 2011 9:05 PM | Report abuse

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