Thousands of people woke up to the realisation this week that they aren’t who they thought they were.
Worse still, neither was that partner they always thought they were so compatible with based on their astrological signs, because this week it was announced that many of us were reading the wrong horoscope.
“Over the 2,500 years or so since the zodiac was established, your sign has moved about a month relative to the sun and stars,” wrote Robert Roy Britt in a posting on LiveScience that was republished by a newspaper in Minnesota, triggering the zodiac panic.
“You’re no longer what you think you are, and so if you’re an astrology buff, perhaps poised to make a New Year’s resolution based on the stars and a reading of your supposed personality, know that you’re actually following observations, predictions and advice aimed at another person entirely.”
Ophiucus is the hitherto little-heard-of 13th astrological sign. Apparently the Babylonians had an Ophiucus column in their daily horoscopes but it got dropped somewhere between their civilisation and ours.
News of the celestial shift and of Ophiucus’s resurrection sent astrology buffs reeling.
The whole thing went viral after the Star Tribune newspaper in Minneapolis picked up the story and got an astronomer – a real scientist – to comment on it. The astronomer was swamped with phone calls, and the Star Tribune’s website got more than 183,000 hits on Thursday. “If we had checked our horoscope, maybe we would have seen this coming,” chuckled the Star Tribune’s Bill Ward in his column on Friday.
According to a survey conducted in 2009 by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, a quarter of Americans believe in astrology. That’s 75 million people who could now be worried that someone is trying to Ophiucus.