Astrology and Astronomy: The Starry Reasons Ophiuchus Raises His Head

Glyph of Ophiuchus

Glyph of Ophiuchus

(Astrology Explored) Of all the things that seem strange in this world, one of the strangest is this.

Why would a statement about commonly known astronomical phenomena, by a Community College professor, no less, cause a worldwide stir?

Astronomer Parke Kunkle’s assertion that a new zodiac sign should be added to the 12 constellations that we know as the zodiac has caused quite a bit of consternation and confusion among enthusiasts of astrology who took this bit of information to mean that that the zodiac had actually changed causing a new sign added to the pantheon of zodiac signs. This consternation has been fueled by the media, which ran with this story like the jockey who rode Secretariat.

Professor Kunkle professes surprise at the media attention and demurs this in an interview with Charlie Jane Anders in which Anders reports:

“And no, Parke Kunkle didn’t tell the Star-Tribune that the zodiac ought to include 13 signs instead of 12 — especially since he doesn’t believe in astrology at all. (He highly recommends Phil Plait’s page about astrology.) He did mention that astronomers tend to reckon the sun’s position with 13 constellations instead of 12, and Ophiuchus is the 13th.”

But make no mistake, in the in Minnesota Planetarium Society Facebook page Kunkle’s statement mentions horoscopes specifically and the dates of the “New Zodiac” and affirms this in a comment with:

“This is factual. The sun being “in” a constellation is accurately described by this chart and no one would dispute the fact. Whether this poses any issue for the purported relation between the position of planets – and the sun – and human personalities or fates, is strictly in the domain of non-science.”

For astronomers and astrologers alike this an old story, a 2,000 year old story, in fact. It is so old in fact, that the Ophiuchus debate was settled that long ago.

Astrologer Jack Fertig responded to this as a comment on the Minnesota Planetarium Facebook page:

“Astrologers have answered this one so many times we can only suspect that the astronomers who repeat this canard are being intellectually dishonest.”

So the question remains, why Parke Kunkle out the ranks of everyday and world-class astronomers alike and why now?

Sleuthing Professor Kunkle’s birth data is no easy task. Up to now he wasn’t a public figure. To get even a smidgeon of data this astrologer did what she rarely does; take the information from a paid public database.

The date retrieved was March 8, 1946. Since it is not from a birth certificate and not from the person or family members, this information is rated on the Rodden scale as DD (dirty data). (Anyone who can confirm or deny this date or give additional details please leave a comment.)

Of course this leaves us without a birth time and a birthplace. This means that for the purposes of interpretation we have to ignore house placements, the ascendant and the moon. What we are left with are the planets except for the moon, and the aspects between them.

Parke Kunkle has his Sun in the dreamy sign of Pisces conjunct Venus. This is a potent combination. Pisces has a rich reputation, straddling as it does the depths of both heaven and hell. It can either be a sinner, saint or both, and because of Pisces chameleon like demeanor we may not know which until it is too late. What we love about Pisces is their infinite compassion for the human condition and their willingness to help even on hopeless causes. It is known that Pisces are suckers for a sob story, even their own. What frustrates us with Pisces is that their sense of reality is often quite stretched, not matching that of other people in their immediate world. With the planet of beauty and love sitting along side his Sun, people like him. He is charming, caring and in general a helpful guy. His Mercury though is in fleet footed Aries, which gives him a tendency to be the victim of what I call tongue-in-cheek of foot-in-mouth disease. Aries likes a good argument, just to get the juices flowing. Unfortunately for Professor Kunkle, his Sun, Venus, and Mercury combination is in stress aspect to his natal Jupiter, Chiron, and Neptune. This isn’t the first time Professor Kunkle has said a few things that are a little out there, and won’t be the last. Unfortunately, Saturn the planet of duty, responsibility and limitations sits on this last combination. Saturn here maybe making him look like an authority on the subject, but ultimately brings a few slings and arrows all on its own.

The only aspect one can find that might be related to fame is the progressed moon transiting Kunkle’s natal Neptune. Neptune in some fashion is often prominent in the charts of public figures since it lends charisma and magnetism. However, as Carol Rushman says, “ Neptune is also the plant of illusion, delusion, elusion and confusion . . . You see life through a veil, not as it is . . .”

But as it turns out, this isn’t about Professor Kunkle at all. It just so happens that transiting Mercury in the last decan of Sagittarius is crossing over the fixed star Ras Alhague, which is the head of Ophiuchus at 23° Sagittarius. Transiting Jupiter, the planet that pushes things over the top, transiting Uranus the planet of the unexpected makes a challenge aspect to transiting Mercury, illustrating the misinformation that spread rapidly. Where Professor Kunkle comes in is that his South Node, the planet of the past and Karma, and his Sun, Venus and Mercury combination is caught up in the transiting positions making him a channel for the voice of long denied Ophiuchus.
Horoscope Chart Professor Kunkle and Zodiac Interview

About Beth Turnage

I write about astrology alot. Some people like to read it.
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