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.
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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