Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sun Signs, Ophiuchus ..and all that jazz

Someone stirred the old Ophiuchus pot again last week and set off the usual mix of protest and sneers. Protest from those who cling to their "Sun sign" like Republicans cling to their guns, and sneers from skeptics about astrology in general. Deep sighs followed - mine!

I've complained before on this blog about the apparent refusal of people to accept that they are NOT their Sun sign. Why is it that people need to identify themselves in this way? Why, if they have any interest in astrology at all, do they not investigate it in a little more depth? It doesn't take much reading to establish that Sun sign is only part of one's astrological makeup and can sometimes be overtaken by other elements in one's chart.

It doesn't matter what label one claims, whether it's one from the traditional twelve signs, or the 13th: Ophi-wotsit, it's pretty darn meaningless without the rest of your natal astrological factors added. You can't tell what a person really looks like by examining a hand or a foot, or their iris, or even their face in isolation - not really. The wonderful James Thurber wrote along similar lines, though with a deal more eloquence.
I loathe the expression "What makes him tick." It is the American mind, looking for simple and singular solution, that uses the foolish expression. A person not only ticks, he also chimes and strikes the hour, falls and breaks and has to be put together again, and sometimes stops like an electric clock in a thunderstorm
(James Thurber).

One cannot "read" a person by investigating the label they wear as their Sun sign. What possible use can such a label be? Are we so lacking in self-worth that we need these labels?
We do not deal much in facts when we are contemplating ourselves. (Mark Twain)

It is possible, with some logic, to say that a person is, for example, "a Gemini-type" - but that person need not have been born when the Sun was in Gemini. I was born when the Sun was in Aquarius, but I'm not an Aquarius-type....not nearly! And I try very hard never to refer to myself as "an Aquarius". With natal planets in all but two zodiac signs I look on myself as something of an astrological mongrel, and enjoy the mix all of my astro-related traits. It's helpful to look at the issue in this way, and avoid frustration when Ophiuchus pedlars and skeptics surface in the media, as they are wont to do with some regularity.

PS: Astrologer Jonathan Cainer has a clear and informative rundown on the Ophiuchus matter at his website. Look for the link to "Ophiuchus: 13th sign, Umpteenth time".


Gian Paul said...

Very much to the point, Twilight. If a blog, and yours, were not somewhat of a public affair, I would probably not comment. In my view astrology is too complex an affair to be of any use to "the public", except maybe to some astrologers able to bend/simplify it in a way to be able to make some money with it.

Nevertheless, for whom takes the trouble to study the matter himself, it's a rich field of discovery, with its pains and rewards

Twilight said...

Gian Paul ~~ Yes, astrology can be complex - and in my opinion some of that complexity is not necessary, and has been piled on by some astrologers to keep it "under their jurisdiction"....secret knowledge.

While it does take some time and effort to discover more than the meaning of zodiac signs, it's not rocket science, and as you say, personal study brings reward.

Astrologers who over-simplify the subject and trade in Sun sign astrology do some good I think - they spark interest in the subject. They also spark derision, unfortunately, which priovides ammunition to the skeptics.

Still, without an introduction to astrology from Sun sign astrologers I'd never have investigated further myself, and I suspect there are thousands like me. Trouble is, there's a huge percentage of people who have a passing interest in astrology as a form of entertainment, who have no interest in the subject further than putting a label on themselves and others. We can't blame the good Sun sign astrologers for this, for they do offer more in depth information to those who seek it.

I guess we have to blame human nature.

Wisewebwoman said...

Yes, we do like to tidy everyone up with labels, don't we. To some degree, I've been guilty of that myself. It is a laziness of investigation and deeper knowledge - I think of the racist and the misogynist and the pornographer who sees everything in one or two dimensions and never knows the complexity of humanity.
There are far too many around, unfortunately.
And the same applies to astrology.


Twilight said...

WWW ~~~ Agreed!

I doubt anything will change though, it has become a habit which nobody seems interested in breaking.

The urge to label must be part and parcel of human DNA I guess.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I'm pretty excite about learning more about Ophiuchus. I agree that their are many, many other factors that play into a persons astrology and other birth factors, but I so hope the zodiac gets an update!

I recently had my numerology done and it was sort of mean at time, brutally honest and annoyingly right on most of the other times. I just want things to be easier for the everyday astrological sun sign follower.

I am part of the less than 1.4% of the population whose sun sign stays the same. I like learning what may happen for me from a monthly perspective, instead of just learning about the factors that I was born with and now live through. I WANT to know about what the stars say for me next!

Twilight said...

oneworldcafe~~ Hi there!

An update of the zodiac wouldn't be a bad thing - in my opinion, but simply adding a 13th sign wouldn't be my first choice for updating.

As I see it, the traits indicated by Ophiuchus are already present in certain degrees of existing signs of the zodiac. Everything is there, it's all in the way it is sliced and diced. 13 signs produce imbalance. Nature doesn't like imbalance.

But astrology is (or ought to be) a work in progress. The more experiment and in-depth research the better. there's way too little of it at present in my opinion.