Thursday, January 13, 2011

Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign

What I don’t know about the zodiac is only slightly less than how much I care about the zodiac, but this makes no sense to me.

According to, citing the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star-Tribune, astronomers have divined how the ancient Babylonians intended the zodiac to be “by recalculating the dates that correspond with each sign to accommodate millennia of subtle shifts in the Earth’s axis.” So far so good. But here is that “corrected” zodiac, “with the dates corresponding to the times of the year that the sun is actually in each constellation’s ‘house’”—whatever that means—“according to the Minnesota Planetarium Society’s Parke Kunkle”:
    Capricorn: Jan. 20-Feb. 16.
    Aquarius: Feb. 16-March 11.
    Pisces: March 11-April 18.
    Aries: April 18-May 13.
    Taurus: May 13-June 21.
    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. 23-29.
    Ophiuchus:* Nov. 29-Dec. 17.
    Sagittarius: Dec. 17-Jan. 20.
    * Discarded by the Babylonians because they wanted 12 signs per year.

Fine by me, but here’s the deal: I was born on December 17; used to be I was a Sagittarius. And maybe I still’s hard to tell, since the list says Ophiuchus covers November 29-December 17, and Sagittarius covers December 17-January 20. (Indeed, all of the signs overlap on dates that way.) Is that a misprint, or is there a particular time of day at work here? Born before noon, you’re an Ophiuchus, born after noon, you’re a Sagittarius...something like that? Some astrological type help me out here.

I see that Ophiuchus means “serpent-bearer,” which is cool enough, but it would be good to know which “house” or lean-to or whatever I was born in. Yes, it’s been a good 30 years since anyone began a conversation by asking me what my sign is. But you never know, and a guy likes to be prepared.

Meanwhile, there's this from Five Man Electrical Band, which asks if I can’t read the sign. Which, obviously, I can't.