What Does Ophiuchus Mean, Even?

Pixza/Moment/Getty Images

Word's out that there are actually 13 zodiac signs now. The sign in question is known as "Ophiuchus" — but what does Ophiuchus mean? I mean, if it actually exists, it literally changes everything you knew about astrology. Some people are saying Ophiuchus is a new astrological sign and some people say it's not, which makes all of this very confusing. Having a better sense of what the so-called 13th sign actually stands for, though, might go some ways towards easing our minds.

Some of the controversy surrounding Ophiuchus includes suspicions about whether or not it's a real constellation, in addition to the question of whether or not it's actually a zodiac sign. Spoiler alert: It totally is a constellation. And just as Cancer, both as a zodiac sign and a constellation, is represented by a crab (hey-oh! Where my Cancers at?), Ophiuchus also has its very own symbol. Ophiuchus is the "serpent bearer," and it looks like a dude holding a very long snake with both hands (oh, the jokes I could make with this one). The snake itself is another constellation called Serpens, so we're getting very meta here.

In Greek, "Ophiuchus" is comprised of two words meaning "snake" and "holding," so the name "serpent bearer" is pretty literal. (Not going to lie, it sounds like some ominous nickname of Lord Voldemort to me.) According to Greek mythology, the serpent bearer was supposedly the first-ever doctor known as Asclepius, and the snake he holds contains either life-saving or deadly venom. Apparently, Asclepius used the venom, an herb and some monster blood to play Dr. Frankenstein and revive the dead. Pretty dramatic stuff, am I right? The gods including Zeus thought this guy was way too ambitious and sent him away from Earth and into the heavens instead, which can both be seen as an honor (yay, I'm a star!) and a punishment (because, I mean... you were banished from Earth).

Besides the the creepy "bring dead people alive" arc, basically Ophiuchus can be considered as a symbol of healing, doctors and medicine. That's not so bad, right? Personality-wise, so-called Ophiuchans tend to be flexible, attractive, inquisitive, and funny people — basically all desirable traits, if you ask me.

So yeah, that's the low-down on Ophiuchus. I actually don't know why everyone is freaking out about this. I mean, it's actually kind of cool. (Who wouldn't want to be called a serpent-bearer? Just saying it out loud makes me feel badass, even though I was born in June.) Then again, some people take astrology extremely seriously and consider it to be a huge part of their identity. Ophiuchus is actually very flexible, though, in that people born between Nov. 29 and Dec. 17 can totally adopt the new sign if they want to, while others can stick to their original. So if you ever felt like you were never meant to be a Scorpio, this may be the answer to your qualms.

Images: Pixza/Moment/Getty Images; Giphy