The zodiac is divided into twelve signs. Each sign comprises 30 degrees - so times 12, you have 360 degrees! The zodiac belt used by astrologers in the western world does not correspond precisely to the constellations you see in the heavens, although the mythology of the signs and the constellations is related. Here, we use something called the 'Tropical Zodiac.'
Something you may not realize - your personal horoscope contains all twelve signs! You have them all, somewhere in your chart. The signs add color and definition. They are modifiers, and add qualities, traits and characteristics to the planetary energy or house that they influence. A good way to put the concepts together is to think of the planet as the actor in a play, but the sign is the role the actor portrays.
Each sign is characterized by an association with both an element
and a mode
. These are the building blocks in astrology. In fact, if you give yourself time to consider the way these building blocks work, you'll see that these are the foundation pieces of this cosmic language. There are four elements - fire, earth, air and water
. Each element has particular meaning. Fire represents action. Earth signifies stability. Air represents intellect. Water signifies emotion.
Plus, there are three modes of expression of the signs - Cardinal, Fixed and Mutable. Cardinal mode of expression is to get things started. Fixed concentrates and strengthens. Mutability is about adaptation. All the signs grouped together by element will share certain characteristics, and signs grouped together by mode will share certain methods of expression.The Twelve Signs
The basic qualities of the signs are described below. To understand how a planet in a particular sign might operate in your chart, first, define the energy of the planet or luminary, and then consider how the qualities of the sign in which the planet is placed might influence the expression of that energy.
Aries (March 21 - April 20
'Let's get moving!' Aries is all about the beginning. Aries is the initiator. Here's where to look for independence, courage and leadership. The cardinal fire
sign of the zodiac, Aries has everything to do with movement, and is not comfortable standing in one place for too long. Ruled by the planet Mars, Aries can be highly courageous, impetuous, and abrasive and sometimes shows a rash or careless approach to dealing with issues. This is the quality of sharpness, and is strongly self-directed. Symbolized by the Ram, Aries has a headstrong, me-first expression. Exuberant and self-reliant, Aries is capable of standing alone. However, this quality can also inspire others to follow suit, but Aries is not likely to wait around to see who is following behind! Where you see Aries in the chart, there is eagerness and self-will.
Taurus (April 21 - May 20)
Steady as she goes! Taurus is conservative, and prefers to maintain the status quo. Just because Taurus likes to stand still, don't assume this means there's nothing happening. Taurus draws and accumulates energy. Operating in a fixed
mode and earth
quality, Taurus can be extremely stabilizing, much like the Rock of Gibraltar. Through a natural connection with the energy of Venus, Taurus loves the good things of life, and can be highly affectionate. A natural, earthy sensuality is associated with this sign, which can also be highly possessive. Taurus is calm, steadfast and enduring, but can become a raging bull when angered to the extreme. The symbol of The Bull shows the power behind Taurus. The desire to have a stable financial and emotional base can lead to extreme materialism when Taurus feels insecure. But in its most positive expression, Taurus is the essence of deep and abiding love. Where you see Taurus in the chart, there is focus and conservatism.
Gemini (May 21 - June 21)
'Hey … what's that over there?' Gemini is endlessly curious, and represents the quality of diversity. The mutable, air
sign of the zodiac shows a high level of flexibility and cleverness. Gemini is youthful, witty, inquisitive and sometimes nervous. Symbolized by The Twins, Gemini is dualistic, and can present at least two sides to every picture. This quality can be the prankster, and can also show a high degree of fickleness. Intellectual pursuits, mental gymnastics and wordplay are engaging to Gemini, ruled by the planet Mercury. And although versatility may be the higher expression, the most frustrating expression of this sign is distractibility and lack of focus. 'Jack of all trades, master of none' can describe Gemini in its weaker form. But when focused on the most positive side, there is little which can compare with the articulate, incisive and intuitive perception associated with this sign. The placement of Gemini in your chart, shows your need for adaptability and versatility.
Cancer (June 22 - July 22)
'Let's get comfortable and have dinner in tonight!' Cancer is emotional, and filters life through feeling. This is the quality of protection and tenderness, and shows a high degree of sensitivity. As the cardinal water
sign of the zodiac, Cancer initiates emotion from the self and from others. Cancer can manipulate, and can also be passive-aggressive. Symbolized by The Crab, Cancer can also be indirect and defensive. The most patriotic of the signs, Cancer will defend home and country, and has a soft spot for mothers. Sensitive, sympathetic and intuitive, Cancer is the quality of mothering, and is associated with the energy of the Moon. When carried to extreme, Cancer can be smothering, moody and suspicious. Where Cancer is found in your chart, there is receptivity and a need to be emotionally connected.
Leo (July 23 - August 22)
Lights! Camera! Famous as the regal sign of the zodiac, Leo knows how to be the center of attention - but only when Leo wants
to be on stage! Operating as the fixed fire
sign, Leo signifies determined inspiration that develops a sense of loyalty, pride and steadfast honor. But Leo can also be ego centered, and in its more negative forms of expression shows arrogance and pomposity. Leo may be most comfortable at play, where the ego can relax and the more creative aspect of this sign can emerge. There is magnetic energy associated with Leo, and a flair for the dramatic. Just like the Sun, which rules this sign, Leo is an attention-getter, and is difficult to ignore. Leo can be domineering, controlling and dictatorial, but when expressing the more positive dynamics of the sign, Leo's warmth and generosity are unmatched. Where Leo resides in your chart, there is a need for attention and there's also an ability to express high levels of creativity.
Virgo (August 23 - September 23)
'I can fix that!' or, 'I wonder how this works?' can be phrases that clue you in to Virgo. Virgo's expression is practical, neat and precise, with a high degree of analytical ability. The mutable earth
sign of the zodiac, Virgo prefers an approach to life that makes sense, and can be uncomfortable in the face of frivolity. Ruled by Mercury, Virgo's mental energy likes problem-solving. This is the quality of methodical, painstaking attention to detail, which, when carried to extremes can become hypercritical, nitpicking and tedious. But without Virgo qualities, there would be a lack of precision tools, and a wasteland of disorganized ideas! Symbolized by the Virgin with Sheaves of Wheat, Virgo represents the harvest and the importance of applied knowledge and effort. Virgo's worst form arises in self-deprecating insecurity and general (and sometimes pointed) intolerance. Where you see Virgo in the chart, there is a need for perfection and efficiency.
Libra (September 24 - October 22)
Beauty is everywhere! Libra's refined sensibilities are expressed as artistry. Social and diplomatic, Libra can be highly impartial. As the cardinal air
sign of the zodiac, Libra represents the need to initiate relationships and make connections. Yet Libra can also be distant, inconsiderate and conceited, since Libra does love perfection. Symbolized by the Scales, Libra strives for balance and harmony, but is sometimes caught in indecision. The qualities of Libra extend toward a high degree of logic and consideration, but can also be expressed through placating or argumentative attitudes. Ruled by the planet Venus, Libra is continually judging the value of everything. Libra knows there are two sides to every story, and when called upon to mediate, can be an exceptional arbitrator. Where you see Libra in the chart, there is a need for harmony, beauty and refinement.
Scorpio (October 23 - November 22)
Classified and top secret, getting to the inner realm of this sign is not easy. Oh, certainly Scorpio is passionate - no doubt about it! As the fixed water
sign of the zodiac, it illustrates the qualities of strong and abiding attachment. Scorpio, ruled by Mars and Pluto, serves to bring healing and transformation and misses nothing. However, Scorpio can hide beneath a cool, calm exterior, and while sensing everything, show nothing. Symbolized by the Scorpion and Eagle, Scorpio represents the power to destroy and to regenerate. Scorpio is erotic, sensual and incisive, but can be an extremist and unrelentingly vengeful. And Scorpio explores and investigates until the core is exposed, illustrating exceptional research abilities. But there can also be an obsessive quality with Scorpio, and repressing emotions or holding onto pain can be difficulties arising with Scorpio. Yet Scorpio provides the energy necessary for birth and rejuvenation. Where you find Scorpio in your chart, there is intensity and strong feeling, and this is the part of you where healing qualities reside.
Sagittarius (November 23 - December 21)
Tomorrow's promise is easy for Sagittarius to see. Sagittarius is the optimistic quality that inspires us to have faith in ourselves and our future. As the mutable fire
sign of the zodiac, Sagittarius expresses the capacity to maintain an open mind. Philosophical and tolerant of differences, Sagittarius can show great wisdom, and through the energy of Jupiter, which rules this sign, is stimulated reach toward broader horizons and greater tolerance. Yet Sagittarius can also be tactless or blunt, and may even be condescending. Sagittarius has an opinion about everything, and if one has not formed, can quickly generate something on the spot. Sagittarius looks for adventurous and philanthropic opportunities, and can become overly zealous and gluttonous when carried to the extreme. Symbolized by The Archer, Sagittarius is always looking upward and forward, and can sometimes gallivant into the sunset while others are left behind. Where you find Sagittarius in your chart you'll see your need to reach for Truth and to develop tolerance.
Capricorn (December 22 - January 20)
The most ambitious sign of the zodiac, Capricorn represents focus, caution and common sense. As the cardinal earth
sign of the zodiac, Capricorn knows how to make the best use of what exists here on earth. The patience and determination seen in Capricorn can help to provide a stable foundation for growth. But Capricorn can also become too controlling, inhibited or rigid. Symbolized by The Goat, Capricorn prefers the sure-footed path to the top, and will stand firm for a long time rather than back down. When hurt, Capricorn can be melancholy, and when uncertain, Capricorn can be driven by fear. Sometimes considered to be miserly, Capricorn prefers to be responsible and frugal, and can make the best use of all resources. Through its connection with the energy of Saturn, Capricorn signifies the quintessential authoritarian. Where you see Capricorn in your chart you find a need for structure and conscientious effort.
Aquarius (January 21 - February 19)
'I love humanity. It's people who are hard to take!' Aquarius represents the humanitarian, but can also be strongly individualistic. As the fixed air
sign of the zodiac, Aquarius expresses focused mental energy, and can show a strong level of ingenuity. Although most people think of Aquarius as progressive, there can be a fanatical attachment to an idea or ideal. Aquarius is the rebel and anarchist, but can be unselfish and altruistic, much like Uranus, the planet associated with this sign. Symbolized by the Water-Bearer, Aquarius pours forth the ideas which stream from the mind, and in its highest form is stimulated by intuitive awareness. Aquarius is unconditional and seeks to develop the true love of friendship. Aquarius' cool detachment can be directed in positive ways to bring about change, but can sometimes be felt as hurtful on a personal level. Where you see Aquarius in your chart, you see your need for the unconventional and where you can best develop your individuality.
Pisces (February 20 - March 20)
'Let's pretend the world is peaceful and perfect!' The most sensitive sign of the zodiac, Pisces represents imagination, idealism and compassion. As the mutable water
sign, Pisces can show exceptional flexibility, but can also be unfocused and uncommitted. Pisces is the visionary, psychic and poetic aspect of life, and signifies the mystical. Ruled by the energy of Neptune, Pisces can also be an escapist and may relish the role of the victim and martyr (or get caught between victim and rescuer!). Symbolized by The Two Fish (tied together and swimming in opposite directions) - Pisces can spend a lot of time going in circles, feeling confused. But the positive expression of empathy and tenderheartedness of Pisces turns our attention to the plight of humanity and the fact that we are all One. Pisces can transcend the trap of co-dependency through quiet awareness of the true inner self. Where you see Pisces in your chart, you see your need for imagination and vision.
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