Hello, friends! And as we will see, in ancient times, this constellation was considered important.
Ophiuchus Sign Mythology, History, and Meaning
Today, we are still trying to unravel the meaning behind this energy and understand how it is expressed in our own lives. This archetype, and the myths behind the constellations, are all quite new to me as I have only recently begun studying Star Mythology since transitioning to Sidereal Astrology- a type of astrology that takes into account the constellations and their effects upon us. I have done my best in trying to gather the most important information about Ophiuchus and summarizing it for you.
Some people consider Ophiuchus to be a part of the constellation Scorpio, with his foot resting on, or holding down, the stinger of the scorpion and to symbolically represent the most potent part of the Sign- the healing poison. Others, see Ophiuchus as a literal 13th sign with its own distinct boundaries, mythology, meaning and effect upon us.
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The great debate surrounding this constellation is whether or not it should be considered a part of the traditional Zodiac. This method is very mathematical and works like a clock; it was adopted during the Hellenistic period. While the seasons may stay the same, it is clear that the location of the constellations do not. This is a large and controversial topic to say the least, but in a nut shell, what it all comes down to is this: is everything energy?
And if so, does it have a very real effect upon us? Do the planets and certain groupings of stars, and certain quadrants in the sky, have a physical, psychological, emotional, and spiritual influence upon us? Perhaps they did this so that we would still remember the true nature of our reality even when all physical evidence was lost.
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The most information we have about Ophiuchus comes from Greek Mythology. While there are many different stories about this archetype, in the most general sense, Ophiuchus is based on Asclepius , the son of Apollo, born of a mortal woman, Coronis. Apollo eventually burned Coronis at the stake for being unfaithful to him, and then took the child and placed him in the care of his other son, Chiron, the famed centaur, wounded-healer. Chiron raised Asclepius and instructed him in the different methods of healing, but Asclepius soon surpassed even his teacher and his father in his healing abilities because he was given the knowledge of immortality by a snake.
There are differing stories as to how Asclepius became acquainted with snakes, one is that a serpent licked his ears clean and told him the secrets of healing, another was that he witnessed one snake healing another injured snake by bringing it herbs. The Greeks revered snakes for their healing and resurrection symbolism. With his mysterious snake wisdom, Asclepius was even able to conquer death itself.
This of course, angered the gods and in one account, Hades Pluto complained to his brother, Zeus Jupiter , that he would no longer have the spirits of the dead to fill his underworld if Asclepius kept resurrecting them, and so Zeus struck Asclepius with a thunderbolt and banished him to the heavens under a new name, Ophiuchus. This myth clearly brings up many different philosophical questions on the topic of immortality.
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One of the first things we realize upon the raising of our consciousness, is that we are immortal beings. The symbolic connection between the snake and immortality seems to be an eternal one. Perhaps enlightenment is really the truth at the center of this constellation. And perhaps this is the very reason this constellation has remained obscure for so long… Just a thought!
He had a cult following that traveled far and wide to be cured of their ills, typically through purification, sacrifice and snake rituals. He was forever memorialized as holding a magical rod of healing entwined with a snake. The archetype of the shaman immediately brings with it the sense of spiritual healing above all else, and the idea that we must look beyond the physical to heal ourselves because the true ailment is beyond what we can visibly see.
The shamanistic approach takes into account the mind, body, and spirit; understanding that man is made up of a very complex system of energy that goes beyond the mere physical body. Healing is needed on all levels: physically, psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually.
The shaman goes strait for the spirit, knowing that it is what ultimately dictates the physical. This type of healing is still used amongst indigenous peoples but is certainly a far cry from our modern methods; however, there is a strong and growing movement to go back in this direction, where the patient is evaluated in a more holistic manner and nature is used as the prime medicine.
The shaman also has ties to Asclepius because of his connection with life and death.
The shaman goes on a journey beyond the limits of mundane human consciousness in order to find the cure. The shaman seeks the elixir of life, the wisdom of death…He endeavors to understand the secrets of immortality and to bring that wisdom back to the people. Ophiuchus vel Serpentarius, the Serpent-Holder stretches from just east of the head of Hercules to Scorpius ; partly in the Milky Way, divided nearly equally by the celestial equator; but, although always shown with the Serpent Serpens , the catalogs have its stars entirely distinct from the latter.
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Zodiac Secrets and the Meaning of Ophiuchus
But several such successful operations and numerous remarkable cures, and especially the attempt to revive the dead Orion , led Pluto, who feared for the continuance of his kingdom, to induce Jove to strike Aesculapius with a thunderbolt and put him among the constellations. Euphratean astronomers knew it, or a part of it with Serpens, as Nu-tsir-da; and Brown associates it with Sa-gi-mu, the God of Invocation. But the boundaries are very variously given by uranographers.
They will receive snakes into the folds of their flowing robes, and will exchange kisses with these poisonous monsters and suffer no harm. One called Ophiuchus holds apart the serpen t which with its mighty spirals and twisted body encircles his own, that so he may untie its knots and back that winds in loops. The struggle will last for ever, since they wage it on level terms with equal powers. Here, Serpens, the serpent, is seen struggling vainly in the powerful grasp of the man who is named O-phi-u-chus.
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In Latin he is called Serpentarius. He is at one and the same moment shown to be seizing the serpent with his two hands, and treading on the very heart of the scorpion, marked by the deep red star Antares wounding. Hence, we have here a further picture, showing the object of this conflict on the part of the scorpion. There are no less than stars in these two constellations. Two are of the 2nd magnitude, fourteen of the 3rd, thirteen of the 4th, etc. Robson, , p.