Ophiuchus the Serpent bearer, located between Scorpio and Sagittarius, is a very
old sign as well, although it was never accepted as a zodiac constellation in common
astrology, mainly to avoid the uneven number 13.
Ancient Egypt saw the Serpent bearer as the personification of Atum ('He who completes'), a primeval god that was personificated in the image of a man and a snake. He personified the setting sun and was told to be the first substance coming from the primeval waters. He later passed the sacred serpent to his son Hike, who became the tutelary god of doctors and healers who invoked his magical powers when practicing their profession.
Later the serpent bearer was seen in Imhotep ('He who comes
in peace'), the legendary architect, physician, medic and scribe who built and
designed the Step Pyramid at Sakkara. Imhotep actually lived around 2980 BC during
the reign of Pharoah Zoser of the Third Dynasty, and later was worshipped as the son
of Ptah and a demigod of medicine, as well as of scribes, where he shared his work
What remained in all version was the combination of a medic and the sacred serpent, symbol for healing and medicine, which remained up to our present days in the Caduceus or Asculap wand.
The snake itself is the symbol for the powers of nature, the good as well as the bad, it is associated with wisdom, healing and medicine and it is a symbol of immortality (due to the shedding and renewing of the skin). It is sacred in many cultures, in ancient Egypt it was worshipped as Buto, the snake-goddess of the Egyptian oracle and the protector of the Egyptian king; it was seen as Uadjet, goddess of justice and time, heaven and hell, and it was feared in the figure of the dark and terrible Apophis.
It most likely has its own constellation in the Serpent, while the Serpent Bearer symbolizes the human who has knowledge and wisdom enough to handle its powers, who could use a poison as a medicine and learning to use the healing secrets for mankind's sake.
In Greek mythology Ophiuchus, also known as
Asclepius, was a son of Apollon, a great healer who had learned his art from a snake
which became his consort. He became so good a healer that he even could raise people
from the dead, so that Hades complained to Zeus about getting less and less dead for
his underworld. Zeus killed Ophiuchus with a thunderbolt which of course made
Apollon furious, so Zeus placed Ophiuchus and his snake in the sky.
The Greek favored Imhotep as the Egyptian equivalent to Asclepius and it is the Greek merit that the Cudaceus survived as the symbol of medicine.