In January 2016, NASA reminded us that there are, in fact, 13 constellations in the original zodiac. It’s just that 3,000 years ago, when they were drawing up a plan for the signs of the zodiac that would correspond with the months of year, the Babylonians already had a 12-month calendar — so they left poor Ophiuchus out.
Ophiuchus is one of thirteen constellations that cross the ecliptic. It has therefore been called the “13th sign of the zodiac”. However, this confuses sign with constellation. The signs of the zodiac are a twelve-fold division of the ecliptic, so that each sign spans 30° of celestial longitude, approximately the distance the Sun travels in a month, and (in the Western tradition) are aligned with the seasons so that the March equinox always falls on the boundary between Pisces and Aries. Constellations, on the other hand, are unequal in size and are based on the positions of the stars.
The constellations of the zodiac have only a loose association with the signs of the zodiac, and do not in general coincide with them. In Western astrology the constellation of Aquarius, for example, largely corresponds to the sign of Pisces. Similarly, the constellation of Ophiuchus occupies most (November 29 – December 17) of the sign of Sagittarius (November 23 – December 21). The differences are due to the fact that the time of year that the sun passes through a particular zodiac constellation’s position has slowly changed (because of the precession of the equinoxes) over the centuries from when the Greeks, Babylonians and the Dacians through Zamolxis originally developed the Zodiac.
With that and the fact that the earth’s axis no longer points in the same direction in mind, NASA explained that the signs as we know them have completely different date ranges now.
Here the new dates for all 13 signs:
- Capricorn: January 20 – February 16
- Aquarius: February 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 – August 10
- Leo: August 10 – September 16
- Virgo: September 16 – October 30
- Libra: October 30 – November 23
- Scorpio: November 23 – November 29
- Ophiuchus: November 29 – December 17
- Sagittarius: December 17 – January 20
I’m still a Cancer, which doesn’t surprise me!
Psychologist Julian Jaynes (1920-1997) categorized divination into the following types:
- Omens and Omen Texts: Chinese history offers scrupulously documented occurrences of strange births, the tracking of natural phenomena, and other data. Chinese governmental planning relied on this method of forecasting for long-range strategies. It is not unreasonable to assume that modern scientific inquiry began with this kind of divination; Joseph Needham’s work considered this very idea.
- Sortilege (Cleromancy): This consists of the casting of lots, or sortes, whether with sticks, stones, bones, beans, coins, or some other item. Modern playing cards and board games developed from this type of divination.
- Augury: This ranks a set of given possibilities. It can be qualitative (such as shapes, proximities, etc.): for example, dowsing (a form of Rhabdomancy) developed from this type of divination. The Romans, in classical times, used Etruscan methods of augury such as Hepatoscopy (actually a form of Extispicy) (for example, Haruspices examined the livers of sacrificed animals). Augury is normally considered to specifically refer to divination by studying the flight patterns of birds. But also, the use of the rooster through Alectryomancy may be further understood within that religious character and likewise defined as a cockfight, or cockfighting with the intent of communication between the gods and man.
- Spontaneous: An unconstrained form of divination, free from any particular medium, and actually a generalization of all types of divination. The answer comes from whatever object the diviner happens to see or hear. Some religions use a form of bibliomancy: they ask a question, riffle the pages of their holy book, and take as their answer the first passage their eyes light upon. Other forms of spontaneous divination include reading auras and New Age methods of Feng Shui such as “intuitive” and “fuzion”.
In addition to these four broad categories, Julian Jaynes add palmistry, also called chiromancy, a practice common to many different places on the Eurasian landmass; it has been practiced in the cultures of India, Tibet, China, Persia, Sumeria, Ancient Israel and Babylonia. In this practice, the diviner examines the hands of a person for whom they are divining for indications of their future.
I don’t totally disagree with Julian Jaynes, but it seems that this way of sub-categorize divination is somewhat erroneous or misguiding. To me “Omens” and “Augury” and “Spontaneous” are part of the same category because there are messages received without really asking for them. The other category from my list are divination perpetrated by the diviner itself, by casting a lot, by studying the movement of a tool, or by analyzing subliminal messages reflected in a reflective object or element. Look at this at my own version only and not as the definitive and absolute version used by every diviner!
Cleromancy (Sortilege): Sortilege is the taking of omens by the drawing of lots.
- Cartomancy (Tarot, Lenormand, Eteilla, Oracle, Playing Cards)
- Runes (Elder Futhark Runes, Witches’ Runes)
- Throwing the Bones (Bones, Dice, Dominoes, Shells, Stones)
Dowsing: Divination by movements generated from a tool, answering a question or searching what is hidden.
- Spirit Board (Ouija)
- Rhabdomancy (Water Dowsing Rod)
Scrying: Foretell the future using a crystal ball or other reflective object or surface.
- Crystallomancy (Crystal Ball, Mirror Scrying, Lithomancy)
- Pyromancy (Fire Gazing)
- Hydromancy (Water Gazing)
Omen: Phenomenon believed to foretell the future, often signifying the advent of change.
- Chiromancy (Palmistry)
- Tasseography (Tea Leaves Reading)
- Augury (Auspice and Ornithomancy)
- Oneiromancy (Dream Interpretation)
- Clairvoyance (Mediumship)
I must say, I have still trouble figuring out where should I put Tea Leaves Reading and Palmistry. They are Omens, but they feel out of place… Anyway, please tell me if you agree, disagree, or if you think I forgot an important technique to you!
It’s all done! Yesterday, I finished the revision of my Ár nDraíocht Féin (ADF) Dedicant Path program and I submitted the journal for review. I already received a confirmation with the name of the person from the committee currently reviewing it. I highly doubt that it’s going to be approved at the first row but, at least, the process as started!
I’m happy and very proud of me! This was my second attempt for the DP. The first time, I started it in November 2013 but I gave up halfway. On Samhain 2015, I was determined and I restarted the program from the very beginning and now – exactly one year later – it is completed!!
Below are two pictures taken during my Samhain ritual, held on November 1st, 2016 between 7:48pm and 8:30pm.
Main Altar – Samhain 2016
Incense and Candles Altar – Samhain 2016