THE SIGNS OF THE ZODIAC

The signs of the Zodiac are based on the Earth’s annual journey around the Sun. This is called the Tropical (or seasonal) Zodiac. Aries, the first sign, starts on the first day of Spring (vernal equinox). Most Asian astrologers (and a small minority of westerners) use the Sidereal Zodiac based on the constellations. The two Zodiacs coincided about 2000 years ago, but have since slipped out of phase by almost one sign.The signs of the Zodiac are divided into two groups called Elements and Modes. The Elements are Fire, Earth, Air and Water. Fire symbolizes creation or action, Earth is practical, material, Air is mental and communicative and Water is sensitive and feeling oriented. The Modes divide the seasons into three parts: Cardinal- initiating signs that begin the 4 seasons of the year, Fixed- maintaining and enduring occupying the middle of each season, and Mutable – adaptable signs that end each season.

Each sign of the Zodiac is a unique combination of Element, and Mode. There is one Cardinal, Fixed and Mutable sign of each element. By combining the meaning of the Element with the Mode you can have a quick idea of the meaning of a sign. Additionally, the signs are organized in an orderly fashion, one which marks development from a simple beginning to a complex end. Aries, the Cardinal Fire sign, starts the Zodiac and represents the spark of life. Taurus, the Fixed Earth sign, grounds that spark into physical form. Gemini, the Mutable Air sign, takes notice of the surrounding environment. Cancer, the Cardinal Water sign, chooses its home in the environment. Leo, the Fixed Fire sign, expresses creativity from its center. Virgo, the Mutable Earth sign, adjusts Leo’s expression to the physical conditions present. Libra, the Cardinal Air sign, meets others as equals. Scorpio, the Fixed Water sign,deepens relationships, transforming itself and others. Sagittarius,the Mutable Fire sign, seeks meaning through experience.Capricorn, the Cardinal Earth sign, builds structures to support that meaning.Aquarius, the Fixed Air sign, sets higher ideals for the society, and Pisces, the Mutable Water sign, connects to divine inspiration out of which new life is born again in Aries.

These descriptions are one idealized version of the Zodiac story. Individuals will act out their parts differently depending on the variety of individual factors in the natal chart.

Note that each sign is “ruled by” or associated with a planet with which it has affinity. The placement of a sign’s ruling planet will provide more information about how a person will experience that sign.

Sign Element Mode Ruler Pos. Trait Neg. Trait
Aries fire Cardinal Mars Initiating Impatient
Taurus earth fixed Venus Steady Stubborn
Gemini air Mutable Mercury Adaptable Unstable
Cancer water Cardinal Moon Nurturing Moody
Leo fire Fixed Sun Confident Self-centered
Virgo earth Mutable Mercury Skillful Over critical
Libra air Cardinal Venus Gracious Indecisive
Scorpio water Fixed Pluto/Mars Passionate Possessive
Sagittarius fire Mutable Jupiter Optimistic Careless w/ details
Capricorn earth Cardinal Saturn Organized Over ambitious
Aquarius air Fixed Uranus and Saturn Inventive Impersonal
Pisces water Mutable Neptune and Jup. Compassionate Lacks boundaries

ARIES THE RAM
Pioneer and adventurer. Courage, daring, and boldness.The fountainhead or source. Independence, impulse, and energy. Starting point. First flush.

TAURUS THE BULL
The steady, deliberate, determined response of life to new ideas, impulses, and manifestations. Possessing and embodying. Materialized impulse. “Word made flesh.”

GEMINI THE TWINS
Linkage, reasoning, establishing connections,and drawing together. Endless search for information. Exploration, inquiry, curiosity. Nervousness and fussing.

CANCER THE CRAB H
ome and family. Feeling and sensing. Protection.Nurturing. Sympathy. Practice and routine. Absorption. Feeling preceding recognition.

LEO THE LION
Self-awareness. Pride, will, creation, ego. Expression and acting. Drama. Heart. Beating of the chest. Children. Sports. Regale; regal. Generosity.

VIRGO THE VIRGIN
Chastity, purity, and devotion. Concern and caring for. Practical, analytical, and discriminating. Attention to detail. Crafts. Busy and careful. Worry.

LIBRA THE BALANCE
Marriage, partnership, union. Socially skillful.Appraisal and appraising. Diplomacy. Attentiveness. “Truth is beauty, beauty truth.”

SCORPIO THE SCORPION
Furnace and phoenix. Purgatory and process. Stripping away excess. Purification. Reduction to essentials. Intensity and penetration. Elimination. Strong defense.

SAGITTARIUS THE CENTAUR-ARCHER
Seeker of experience. A teacher, traveler, adventurer. Truth, religion, and philosophy. Hitting the mark. Frankness. Projection.

CAPRICORN THE MOUNTAIN GOAT (Sometimes the Sea Goat.)
Practical vision. Sober and orderly. Control and power. Direction. Endurance. Responsibility. Industry.

AQUARIUS THE WATER BEARER
Impersonal; works with anyone. Team player. Aspiring. Radical. Humane. Associative. Scientific. “What makes it tick—” What I know, not what I do. Democratic.

PISCES THE FISHES
Intuition. Understanding. Accepting what is for the sake of what could be made of it. Sacrifice. Fluidity. The inexpressible. Restless. Sponge. Imagination. Inspiration.

The zodiac signs as shown in a 16th-century wo...
The zodiac signs as shown in a 16th-century woodcut (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

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