“Think you’re a Leo?” The New Zealand Herald asks. “You’re not.”
The piece is highlighting a BBC Stargazing Live discussion of the zodiac, in which a curious tidbit was revealed: even if you accept the idea of astrological signs, you probably weren’t born under the one you think you were.
When the zodiac was devised by the ancient Greeks, people were assigned star signs based on the constellation that was behind the sun at that time. But the constellations are now out by about a month.
The wobbling process is called precession — it has been likened to the Earth behaving like a spinning top — and takes about 26,000 years to happen.
In case you’re wondering, there’s even a handy interactive guide to help you figure out which constellation was actually behind the sun at the right time (and will still have no effect on your life).
Perhaps the really interesting part of this is that there’s actually another “sign” that the Greeks chose to ignore, Ophiuchus.
Ophiuchus was deliberately left out of the original zodiac, over 2000 years ago, even though the Sun clearly passes in front of it after passing in front of Scorpius (commonly known as Scorpio) and before reaching Sagittarius. The reason for this is not known, but it may be because ancient astrologers wanted to divide the 360 degree path of the Sun in a mathematically pleasing way — 12 equal parts, each one of 30 degrees.
Which really seems like it should have thrown quite a wrench in things. I mean, you have to wonder: If signs actually translated to something real and useful, how come people didn’t figure out the discrepancy a long time ago? Wouldn’t you notice that the predictions ostensibly meant for you are totally off, but the ones a month later are right on?
It’s almost like this stuff is so vague and meaningless that it doesn’t really matter which sign you fall under, because it’s generic enough to apply in some way to most people. Strange…
(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to David for the link)