Ophiuchus (Oh-FEW-cuss) is the least-known sign on the celestial equator for the sole purpose that he isn’t mentioned in the Western and Sidereal 12-signed zodiac systems. More often he is omitted in Western Astrology with the occasional appearance in the Sidereal, depending on the interpreting astrologer. Further research on this opened the door of my mental curiosity and thirst for knowledge, so I decided to delve further into the rabbit hole on the subject. Let’s start with the basics about Ophiuchus before moving on to reasons why he was omitted, other than the obvious.
Who (or What) is Ophiuchus?
The story behind Ophiuchus is an interesting one, primarily for the reason that the constellation seems to be generated from the story of a (supposed) ancient being. Ophiuchus is known as the Serpent Bearer, thanks to the Greek translation of his name, when being referred to astrologically and in mythology. His presence in the Tropical Zodiac line of progression seems very out of place to those who study the standard Western astrology; his placement being almost exactly beneath the constellation of Scorpio.
His past indicates one of secrecy, but not performed by him. And this is where the omitted sign piqued my interest. To explain, the synopsis of the story behind Ophiuchus’ existence in the celestial equator is nothing more than this:
The gods of Greece watched over Ophiuchus and his developments in the medical sciences. However, when they discover of his unusual methods, along with his extraordinary string of good fortune, Hades proposes a deal to Zeus to makes sure the gods maintain authority over man.
What do the Greek gods have to do with anything pertaining to a constellation? Back in Greek mythology, that is how the constellation of Orion appeared in the midnight landscape. Orion’s death was an unsightly accident that never should have happened, and so to honor his leaving of the “material” world, he was forever embedded into the celestial sky to be looked upon by his lover, Artemis. Ophiuchus has a different story, seeing as he intimidated the gods.
But, it wasn’t that he made the gods wary that caused his death; a discovery that would upset the current balance of the time is what caused the Fates to take him away. What is meant by that is Ophiuchus had supposedly found a way for humans to “live forever,” so to speak. This sparked the realization that if humans became immortal, some of the gods would no longer be necessary. Where would they go? How would they still exist?
This recipe to immortality was supposedly found in snake venom–nowadays known as the recipe for antivenom and others like it–and this was a novel and radical idea at the time. And, still referring to Greek Mythology, associating with the serpentine kind often affiliated a being with the Gorgons (think Medusa). When someone is associated with the not-so-nice Gorgons, suspicions are bound to rise. Also, despite being referred to as evil, one important, but lesser known, fact about serpents and snakes: they’re very intelligent, creating the ability of cunning.
So, Hades, Lord of the Underworld and Warden of Dead Souls, convinced the almighty Zeus to rid the human world of Ophiuchus and his potential of creating a “level playing field” between god and man. Instead of just allowing him to die, Ophiuchus was memorialized in the sky as the constellation “the Snake Bearer” to remind the mortals that you should not go beyond what the order of the universe states.
The Traits of those under Ophiuchus
The Snake Bearer Ophiuchus is probably one of the luckiest, if not the luckiest, along the celestial equator. When referring to the Zodiac, the traits of Ophiuchus are either alarming or enticing.
Positive traits owned by Ophiuchus are extremely high IQ’s, “freedom fighter” syndrome, justified altruism, authenticity, insatiable desire to know things, prosperous blessings, special treatment, trustworthiness, and likability. These are mostly categories and groupings of traits found from various sights during research.
The double-edged sword comes from the Negative traits under Ophiuchus: secret enemies, rebellious to a fault, judgmental thought processes, and ego problems. (Again, this list is an abbreviated list of categories that were deemed fitting of the majority of traits found for the Snake Bearer.)
Knowing the qualities isn’t enough information to use, though. The tendencies of those with an Ophiuchus “guidance” are prone to have lives that exist on Easy Street; and they can easily develop the problems of impatience, unhealthy narcissism, and constant separation. These problems can evolve from both the good and the bad of the omitted sign.
Hypotheses for Omitting Ophiuchuz
For those who may know, the Tropical Zodiac was deemed to be created by the Babylonians. Whether or not this is true is beyond my amateur knowledge. However, whichever society or civilization it was that decided to create the Tropical Zodiac, the people within it didn’t seem to like Ophiuchus.
Within the understanding of the Zodiac, each Sign has distinct or discernible traits that create its identity as that Sign. Also, each sign gets about the same amount of opportunity for power as the others. Ophiuchus, in a similar way to Pisces, takes traits from multiple signs on the wheel, except that Ophiuchus is historically viewed as one of higher value than the little fish, Pisces; the rationale is due to his lifelong streak of luck. This trait, passed down from Greek mythology, permeated the essence of Ophiuchus and the understanding of the Sign’s power: the ability to give one an exceptionally prosperous lifestyle.
With this knowledge, it can be understand why Ophiuchus would be omitted. Such a great power given to a Zodiac Sign seems unfair, which is a hypothesis as to why he isn’t allowed to be part of astrological system. But, to add to the argument, Ophiuchus has the trait that makes having enemies inevitable: easy, natural success.
Ophiuchus’ amicable nature and lifestyle of good fortune is a volatile mixture of information for the other constellations on the celestial equator. The Snake Bearer would be the only Zodiac sign based upon the idea of an actual person in some sort of mythology–don’t overthink and assume that Aquarius, the Water Bearer, is in relation to this because it represents a human. Those given the “cursed blessing” of possessing Ophiuchan traits are often already set apart.
Therefore, it can be assumed that one reason to omit Ophiuchus from the Zodiac is to maintain the idea that humans are flawed. The constellation of Ophiuchus is deemed to be the optimal kind of person according to its backstory. Granted, there are people who strive to be the idea of optimal or perfect within their individual perspective, but since what should and shouldn’t be considered optimal or ideal is a subjective matter, the easiest way to keep the Zodiac even remotely objective is to leave out the idea of perfection.
To show an argument, the twelfth Zodiac Sign, Pisces, is stated to gather traits from the previous eleven houses (Signs) in the Tropical system. However, which traits are gathered is stated to be an uneven amount that is ruled by the Sign’s element, orientation, and modality (all of which are for people fancy the study of astrology). Since Ophiuchus is assumed to be a so-called “perfect” sign, this would disrupt that balance, because Pisceans are nowhere near perfect; neither is any other Zodiac Sign.
The second hypothesis is the more logical-minded one: the creators of the Zodiac believed that having thirteen signs was an omen. Thirteen (13) is often dictated as an unlucky number, hence Friday the 13th being a dreaded day for the superstitious. Not only is 13 considered unlucky, but it is hard to have an even split when there isn’t an even number of items to divide. Having thirteen signs instead of twelve would disrupt the mathematical and systematical balances that helped create the Zodiac, aside from the mythology and social trends of the time.
So, there is an analysis of the Zodiac after a long period of hiatus for which I apologize. This article was an interesting research project and a fun one to write. I hope to post more in the near future.