Here's What You Need To Know About The 12 — Er, 13 — Signs

Photographed by Bianca Valle.
What a week it’s been, stargazers. First, we were told our Zodiac signs have changed, that there's now a 13th sign, and that apparently everything we believed up to this point was a lie. Then, NASA reminded us that astronomy and astrology are wholly separate disciplines, so we relaxed a bit. Once the dust settled, we were able to step back, learn a bit about Ophiuchus, and maybe even make our peace with it. After all, you only need to observe this 13th sign if you follow sidereal astrology (rather than what we practice here in the western world, tropical astrology).

Sidereal and tropical astrology mainly differ in how their respective horoscopes are created — hence the added Ophiuchus sign. More specifically, they use different methods to determine the date ranges for their signs — methods that also dictate how astrologers in each discipline make their predictions.

Sidereal astrologers use the positions of fixed star systems and constellations, while tropical astrologers look to the sun’s position in relation to the earth. So, sidereal predictions tend to name when and how specific events will occur — it’s for this reason that many consider them more precise and reliable. Meanwhile, tropical predictions tend to pertain more to the individual and his or her psychological state and rarely take as wide a look at the future.
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That said, the signs’ defining characteristics don’t really change between these two astrological systems. The key difference here is that, whereas sidereal astrology sometimes includes Ophiuchus between Scorpio and Sagittarius, Western astrology always omits it.

Don’t worry if you still feel like you’re in a cosmic gray area — that’s why we’re here. Ahead, we present you with a primer on the strengths and weaknesses of every sign, including Ophiuchus. With the help of the Astrotwins' and astrologer Annie Heese’s work, we’re setting the record straight on what makes each sign tick, regardless of what horoscope you read.

Like we said, a lot has been going on this week, and we could all use an astrological palate-cleanser. Click through to get your groove back.

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Aries
The Ram

In the Zodiac, Aries comes first, but we only had to look at the characteristic energy and fearlessness associated with most Rams to know that. You Rams are bold, yet dedicated to anything you set out to do, which makes you true trailblazers.
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Strengths
Energetic, tenacious, heroic

Weaknesses
Impatient, aggressive, combative
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Taurus
The Bull

Bulls thrive on the familiar — it reminds them of their creature comforts and allows them to take pleasure in what they know. Other signs can learn from your sense of caution, but you can also run the risk of falling into a rut.
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Strengths
Romantic, grounded, supportive

Weaknesses
Vain, possessive, stubborn
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Gemini
The Twins

Luckily, one of the most adventurous signs is also one of the most versatile. You’re always chasing something new and unknown, be it a person, place, or idea. Sure, you may appear to be of two minds sometimes, but you honestly couldn’t care.
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Strengths
Adventurous, adaptable, vibrant

Weaknesses
Deceptive, distracted, superficial
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Cancer
The Crab

Cancers’ personalities are succinctly symbolized by the crab: You appear hardened and impervious at first, but your inner self, though you don’t reveal it to everyone, is highly sensitive and attuned to what’s going on — and being felt — around you.
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Strengths
Caring, helpful, creative

Weaknesses
Uncommunicative, defensive, hypersensitive
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Leo
The Lion

Leos are sometimes called the ruler of the Zodiac, and for a good reason. You’re a natural protector and cheerleader and, though some may find it intimidating, you’re brimming with energy that you express openly and freely.
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Strengths
Generous, entertaining, warm

Weaknesses
Arrogant, jealous, blunt
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Virgo
The Virgin

Those who describe Virgos as overly critical just don’t understand what it means to know what’s best. They’re also overlooking what motivates you — your precision and dedication to your work is driven by a desire for your own and others’ well-being.
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Strengths
Practical, organized, resourceful

Weaknesses
Critical, reserved, overwhelmed
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Libra
The Scales

Charming and highly social, Libras love to be everyone’s friend. But that can come at a price. In order to stay on everyone’s good side, you might go to great lengths to maintain a sense of balance between your friend groups.
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Strengths
Social, fair, charming

Weaknesses
Indecisive, manipulative, unopinionated
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Scorpio
The Scorpion

If you’re a true Scorpio, you’ve probably been described as dark and/or mysterious at some point in your life. Even if you are on the quieter side, you find that people are drawn to you — and you make sure to treat the lucky few you allow into your life very well.
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Strengths
Passionate, brave, magnetic

Weaknesses
Secretive, obsessive, probing
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Ophiuchus
The Serpent Bearer

If you’ve decided to adopt Ophiuchus as your sign, you most likely spent most of your life identifying as a Sagittarius or a Scorpio, but never felt completely at home with that sign. As an Ophiuchus, you have the same allure as Scorpios and the same vibrancy as Sagittarians.
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Strengths
Wise, lucky, intriguing

Weaknesses
Jealous, inscrutable, single-minded
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Sagittarius
The Archer

You, in a (hyphenated) word? Risk-taker. You’ve cultivated a wide circle of friends just as a result of your natural enthusiasm and curiosity. Sure, you might put your foot in your mouth from time to time, but you’re easily forgiven; your positive attitude is infectious.
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Strengths
Optimistic, enthusiastic, bold

Weaknesses
Reckless, irresponsible, overconfident
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Capricorn
The Goat

True to their representative animal, Capricorns are a hard-headed, steadfast bunch. With your tendency toward the traditional, some would call you an old soul — more accurately, you simply value stability. Your driven nature thrives best when there is a clear path to success.
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Strengths
Responsible, ambitious, hardworking

Weaknesses
Unforgiving, pessimistic, cold
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Aquarius
The Water Bearer

You’re a known original and love taking the road less traveled. You’re always on the move, which may make it difficult for some to connect with you, but you don’t need to surround yourself with a gaggle of followers, anyway.
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Strengths
Independent, open-minded, inventive

Weaknesses
Detached, irrational, idealistic
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Pisces
The Fish

Being a Pisces means feeling a lot of feelings — all the time. Not only do you experience emotional highs and lows on your own, but you’re your friends’ go-to shoulder to cry on, too.
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Strengths
Comforting, sympathetic, intuitive

Weaknesses
Gullible, clingy, self-pitying
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