In The Desert Of Seth

By G. B. Marian


The constellation Ophiuchus

I was born in Abington, Pennsylvania, on Monday, December 13, 1982. Most astrologers claim I’m a Sagittarius for this very reason, but since the Sun is actually in a constellation called Ophiuchus (the Serpent Bearer) at that time of year, I prefer to be called an “Ophiuchian”…or something like that. For some reason, lots of Western astrologers seem to believe that astronomers have only decided to officially include Ophiuchus in the Zodiac (as the so-called “13th Sign”) fairly recently. The fact of the matter is that our Sun has been traveling across Ophiuchus from about November 30 to December 17 every year for the past several centuries. In fact, the Sun is not in any of the zodiacal constellations at their “proper” times; it’s actually in Aquarius, for instance, at the time that astrologers associate with Pisces. This is due to the Earth’s axial precession, which has caused the Zodiac to change since it was first mapped by the Babylonians.

(Now I know good and well that astrologers will say that zodiacal “signs” are not the same as “constellations,” but I personally don’t see the point in such a distinction. I agree with the basic idea behind astrology – i.e., that there is a relationship between astronomical and terrestrial phenomena – but I think astrological beliefs should be based on what actually happens in the sky when it happens, not on outdated oversimplifications of these phenomena.)

Circa 10 CE, the poet Manilius had something to say about Ophiuchus in his Astronomica:

Ophiuchus holds apart the serpent which with its mighty spirals and twisted body encircles his own, so that he may untie its knots and back that winds in loops. But, bending its supple neck, the serpent looks back and returns: and the other’s hands slide over the loosened coils. The struggle will last forever, since they wage it on level terms with equal powers.

Now I don’t know about anyone else, but this sounds an awful lot like my God, Seth-Typhon, in His constant struggle against the evil monster Apophis. The fact that I ended up worshiping Seth long before I ever knew anything about Ophiuchus is particularly interesting to me. Another point of interest is the fact that Ophiuchus is often linked to Imhotep, the ancient Egyptian healer and architect. Bringing order out of chaos and trying to make people feel better seem to be recurring themes with this constellation, and they are recurring themes in my life as well.


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