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People are finding the new zodiac star signs absolutely ‘horo’-fying



I’m a Scorpio – the sexiest star sign of the zodiac with a sting in my tail. Or at least I thought I was until this week, when people began sharing the “news” from a Nasa article that constellations shift – meaning that Scorpio only gets a slim six days of the zodiac, and I could be downgraded to a Libra.

It appeared that we’d all been shifted around to make room for a 13th sign: Ophiuchus, the snake bearer, for people born between 29 November and 17 December.

Don’t get me wrong, magazine horoscopes aren’t a part of my belief system. I’d never ask someone I’m dating about what star sign they are, or when deciding if we’re compatible friends. But one of my guilty pleasures is reading what to expect from the world in my Scorpio entry. There’s something incredibly reassuring about non-specific optimism that I can apply to almost any area of my life.

So to read that I might have spent the past few decades reading the wrong sign threw me, and many others have felt the same.

‘It’s a complete farce now’

“I’ve always blamed my love of making lists, having everything organised and in a structure on the fact I’m a Virgo,” says Lucinda Cohen, a recruitment consultant. “Now I find out I’m a Leo, and what am I going to blame that part of my personality on? You can’t tell me after 40 years that it’s changed. I even think it’s a very Virgo thing to be so put out by this change.”

From now on, says Cohen, she won’t bother reading her horoscope again.

“I feel like it’s a complete farce now. Surely you’re one thing or another?”

The author Jill Mansell doesn’t believe in horoscopes, yet was outraged at the suggestion that she’s shifted down from Gemini to Taurus.

“I really don’t know why I was so put out,” she say. “I think it’s akin to someone else coming along and arbitrarily changing your middle name to Ermintrude. I might never use my middle name, but I’m used to it.”

Rebecca Barnes, a writer who has had her horoscope chart plotted, says: “I was up in arms. I’m quite passionate about my star sign and I do think there’s something in it. I’m a Libran and with the new dates I’m now Virgo.”

Johann Bayer – Ophiuchus (Serpentarius) – another image of the sign in question (Photo: Wikicommons)

‘Don’t panic’

Many of you will probably be shouting about what nonsense this is. But for the believers among us, Emma Howarth, horoscope writer for Glamour magazine, says: “Don’t panic.”

Firstly, she explains, the Nasa article is old. It “caused a stir when it was first published in 2016 and it seems to be causing an even bigger one now”, she says.

“It is true that the constellations have shifted over time. But while the zodiac is named after the constellations, astrology is based on the path of the sun – and movement of the planets – through 12 static zones.” These are defined by humans, and so the stars – and Nasa – can’t change them. “Astrology isn’t astronomy,” she says, “and it isn’t pretending to be.”

But why do some people believe so wholeheartedly in astrology – alongside others who admit that logically it’s probably silly and yet still indulge in it? It’s about feeling part of nature’s system and identifying unconscious archetypes, suggests the astrologer and psychologist Sarah Milne.

“The signs have elements of nature and seasons in them,” she says, “so Aries has characteristics of springtime and new beginnings, while Capricorn is an autumn sign and is industrious.” In the northern hemisphere, at least.

But this gives us more choice. Yesterday, when Scorpio didn’t offer me the promise of a fantastic day, I secretly read Libra as well.

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