Written in the stars

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As you skim through your paper or magazine it is most likely that somewhere inside you will find the horoscope section. The one piece that you know will cause some divisions between friends. Some people are horoscope fanatics, checking their horoscope everyday and living their life as it suggests. Others see it as fun, there may be some truth in it and they may be able to see some comparisons to their day. Then there are people who think horoscopes are rubbish created by someone behind a desk somewhere purely to enthral the masses. Believer or not, the recent change in star signs has caused a stir among many and has sparked a heated debate.

So why have the star signs changed? Since the Zodiac chart was drawn up 2,000 years ago the position of the stars has changed. This is due to a slight wobble on the Earth’s axis. This means that over the last 2,000 years the date of the Sun’s movement in front of each constellation has varied by a few days. This is through a long term process called precession which has been affecting the Earth’s axis for 26,000 years. Every 26,000 years the rotation of the Earth’s axis swerves slightly, over days this is unnoticeable but over hundreds of years it will add up.

The process of precession means that each zodiac sign has changed by a few days and a 13th sign has been added. So which sign are you now? The days overlap as they do not run midnight to midnight.

  • Capricorn: Jan 20-Feb 16
  • Aquarius: Feb 16- March 11
  • Pisces: March 11 – April 18
  • Aries: April 18 – May 13
  • Taurus: May 13 – June 212
  • Gemini: June 21 – July 20
  • Cancer: July 20 – Aug 10
  • Leo: Aug 10 – Sept 16
  • Virgo: Sept 16 – Oct 30
  • Libra: Oct 30 – Nov 23
  • Scorpio: Nov 23 – Nov 29
  • Ophiuchus: Nov 29 – Dec 17
  • Sagittarius: Dec 17 – Jan 20

Amidst all the confusion amongst the change, it appears that the new calendar won’t affect everyone. Those following the Tropical Zodiac system, the system used by most western astrologers (and Mystic Macleod) will not experience a change, as they look at fixed sections of the sky which do not move. The Tropical Zodiac system also uses equinoxes as reference points instead of the constellations which the star sign is based upon. Furthermore the creation of the 13th sign has been dismissed, as the Babylonians, who created the Zodiac calendar, consciously chose 12 signs. The change will affect the sidereal astrology, a system commonly used in India.

So it appears after all that fuss the change in star signs won’t affect most of us after all. Those who are avid readers can continue to check their signs every day without a fear of change. Believer or not, there is still something quite mystical about the stars in the night’s sky.

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