Ophiuchus in astrology
Ophiuchus represents healing, transmutation, and redemption. Planets and houses associated with Ophiuchus show where healing and redemption take place in our lives. It shows where we can have a more accepting attitude toward ourselves, our lives, and others. Through cultivating these characteristics we take on freer and lighter energy.
What does Ophiuchus represent?
Ophiuchus is the "13th sign". The reason it's called that is that traditionally, there are only 12 signs of the zodiac. Recently, there has been a large push to start using Ophiuchus. It is a constellation, and you can see it in the sky passing over the ecliptic.
About four to five thousand years ago Ophiuchus was lumped in with Scorpio. Scorpio spans over the bottom of Ophiuchus. So for all intents and purposes, it's still accurate to lump the two together. Ophiuchus and Scorpio are very similar energies. But let's differentiate the difference between the two, to see what this sign is all about.
Ophiuchus vs Scorpio
The easiest way to describe Ophiuchus is by viewing the signs as the evolutionary journey. Scorpio, coming before Ophiuchus, represents the deeper aspects of life. Scorpio wants to see the truth about the matter, dive deep, and uncover it. So the next step of the journey comes after we see the truth. Ophiuchus takes what Scorpio uncovers and works with it.
Scorpio has to do with awareness of the instinctual. It's the scorpion. It is the deeper awareness of the self. The raw, primal, primordial aspects of the human self. Ophiuchus transmutes this. It transforms this into what you might call higher states of being or more whole states of being. Integrating the deeper self. This is known as "shadow work" in Jungian psychological terms.
You can also see this by the fact that Ophiuchus is where the galactic center is. The center of the Milky Way galaxy is two degrees from the end of Ophiuchus. This is a very transformational point in the sky. Every time a planet goes over this point there is some sort of transformative event. After passing over the point it expands us as a result, which is then Sagittarius. Sagittarius is the sign after Ophiuchus and represents the "post-transformed" state of being.
Ophiuchus is the final stage of the cocoon, before emergence. The stage right before the caterpillar turns into a butterfly. This process of metamorphosis is Ophiuchus energy. It is the process of transformation resulting in the lighter states of Sagittarius.
Ophiuchus is about taking the instinctual aspects exposed by Scorpio and transmuting them. It's not only about awareness of the deeper aspects of the self, but transforming them into higher states of being. The way that's done is through redemption - redeeming the self. Good examples include the teachings of Christ and Buddha who taught unconditional acceptance. Unconditional acceptance of ourselves, our lives, and others. This is when we heal and transform. This is seen in modern psychology, in the idea that self-acceptance is the first step towards healing.
Ophiuchus is about redeeming these "lower", exiled, and fractured parts of ourselves. When we're not only aware of these parts, but we've fully accepted them, then we're healed as a result.
What is an Ophiuchus personality?
The qualities of this transformation process can be seen in a person with a strong Ophiuchus placement in their chart. For example, if their Sun, Moon, or rising sign is here then we see the qualities of this transformative process. These individuals have gone and are still going through this process. They also can help others become aware of their deeper side and redeem it. Ophiuchus is the natural healer, whether that's the intention or not. The result of interacting with an Ophiuchus person is healing - even if the process is unconscious.
When an Ophiuchus is balanced they want to help others. They want to renew perspectives of life and the deeper world. They want themselves and others to have that fresh new perspective on life when we are aware of the truth and accepting it.
Ophiuchus is in continuous transformation. For instance, Sagittarius has gone through the transformation process. For Sagittarius, it's much more about the philosophy gained after transformation. Ophiuchus is always in the process of it it. This is why Ophiuchus' are great healers.
Ophiuchus can mean physical healing as well. Doctors and surgeons are often seen with Ophiuchus placements. These professions were traditionally associated with Scorpio. Ophiuchus' are the healers, whether it's physical, emotional, psychological, or spiritual.
Ruler, Element, and Modality
Traditionally this part of the sky is ruled by Mars. Mars rules Scorpio and it's always been associated with this area of the sky. Modernly, you can say Pluto. But Chiron is much closer to the energy of Ophiuchus. If you look at the mythology of Chiron, it's all about the healer qualities, very much like Ophiuchus.
Ophiuchus being in the same part of the sky as Scorpio also makes it associated with water. But some have called the element of Ophiuchus ether. This makes sense since ether is the highest element and part of the transmutation process. If Ophiuchus is ether, it would probably be the only sign or the second with Pisces. Ophiuchus is likely fixed because Scorpio's fixed. But, it's more on the mutable side since it's closer to Sagittarius. Much like Pisces as well.
Ophiuchus vs Orion
Another note is that Ophiuchus is opposite Orion. Interestingly, there are two human constellations in the sky opposite each other. This makes the balancing point to Ophiuchus Orion. Originally, Orion represented the hunter. It's the very physical qualities of the human. Where Ophiuchus is working on cultivating the spiritual aspects of life, Orion is the very human side.
So to balance out Ophiuchus we need to incorporate the Orion energy. We need to "hunt", to do the human thing, the earthy thing. This helps ground the watery and spiritual energy of Ophiuchus. This is also seen in Taurus. Opposite Scorpio and Ophiuchus, Taurus is the earthy aspect of life.
The serpent bearer
Lastly, Ophiuchus involves the serpent. This is a big part of the energy. Ophiuchus is the serpent bearer or the serpent redeemer. Serpents in past civilizations represented healing. Particularly healing the human ego. Serpents always have their belly on the earth. Ophiuchus is symbolic of not destroying the serpent, or fighting it, but instead befriending and accepting it. To work with these lower or physical aspects of the self. As a result, we heal those parts of ourselves, become redeemed, and become more whole.