Sign of the times: Astrology story soars like a comet

  • Article by: STAFF and WIRE REPORTS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 14, 2011 - 10:22 PM

If we had checked our horoscope, maybe we would have seen this coming: Astrology buffs who follow the stars don't like finding out that their world -- and sign -- might have changed.

Sofia Whitcombe began her day with the startling realization that she might not be exactly who she thought she was.

“My whole life, I thought I was a Capricorn,” the 25-year-old New York publicist said. “Now I’m a Sagittarius? I don’t feel like a Sagittarius!”

Countless people were astonished by the “news” in Monday’s Star Tribune in which Minneapolis astronomy instructor Parke Kunkle affirmed that the Earth’s “wobble” has shifted the zodiac signs. The buzz has raced across the Web like a shooting star.

Some people seemed angry. “I believe it’s a zodiac scam,” said Jose Arce, 38, from Fort Lee, N.J., who runs a body shop. “I’ve known myself to be a Sagittarius, I believe, since I was born. So to come up now with some new sign? It’s unacceptable!”

Others who took to the blogosphere to gnash and wail displayed a mix of:

Defiance: “Dude, I’m a Leo and always will be a Leo, no matter where the sun is on August 5th. Besides, this very expensive
tattoo on my right shoulder tells me so.”

Consternation: “Darn it, the whole time I thought I was an introvert, now to find out that I’m an extrovert. I’m going to need awhile to unravel my life.”

Delight: “Upgrade from Cancer to Gemini. Woo!”

No matter that Kunkle, who started it all, said it was an old story — 2,000 years old, actually — and that astrologers were insisting it wouldn’t change a thing.
 

Cosmic rumble

Surely Kunkle’s horoscope for this week was something along the lines of “you will be a center of attention.”

“It’s been unreal,” he said Friday afternoon, estimating that he has received more than 100 media requests from as far away as Germany. “I have had messages upon messages.”

In the article, Kunkle affirmed that since the Babylonian zodiac periods were established millennia ago, the moon’s gravitational pull has made the Earth “wobble” around its axis in a process called precession. That has created about a one-month bump in the stars’ alignment, meaning that “when [astrologers] say that the sun is in ­Pisces, it’s really not in Pisces,” said Kunkle, who teaches astronomy courses at Minneapolis Community and Technical College.

Astrologers across the country reported a wave of calls, e-mails or website hits from concerned clients. “People are more attached and loyal to their signs than they thought,” said Eric Francis, editor of PlanetWaves.net, who said he had had 25,000 hits on his site since midnight. “It’s interesting how many people are panicking their sign is wrong.”

New news or old, most people had never heard it before. And one of the more fascinating elements was talk of a new sign altogether.

By the reckoning of Kunkle and other astronomers, astrologers are not only a month off in their zodiac signs, but they are neglecting a 13th constellation, Ophiuchus (Ooh-FEE-yew-kus) the Serpent Bearer, for those born from Nov. 30 to Dec. 17.

According to myth, Ophiuchus became a healer when he killed a snake and another appeared with an herb in his mouth that revived the dead one.

“The sun has been going through Ophiuchus for thousands of years,” said Kunkle, who says that his sign is “vegetarian.”

  • YOUR REAL HOROSCOPE

    Astrology buffs who follow the stars should be using these dates, reflecting where the stars currently are aligned (note: the days overlap because the periods don't begin and end at midnight): Capricorn: Jan. 20-Feb. 16. Aquarius: Feb. 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-Aug. 10. Leo: Aug. 10-Sept. 16. Virgo: Sept. 16-Oct. 30. Libra: Oct. 30-Nov. 23. Scorpio: Nov. 23-29. Ophiuchus:* Nov. 29-Dec. 17. Sagittarius: Dec. 17-Jan. 20.

    * Discarded by the Babylonians because they wanted 12 signs per year.

    Source: Livescience.com

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