Zodiac Signs in Astrology
Zodiac signs in astrology are derived from the zodiac, the ring of constellations the sun apparently passes through over the course of a year. This circular path is divided into twelve equal signs. They each compose 30 degrees of the total 360 degree zodiac. They approximately, although not exactly, correspond with the named constellations in the sky. The twelve zodiac signs in astrology, beginning from late March are; Aries, Taurus, Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces.
The zodiac is the backdrop or canvas on which the planets are to be seen. For example Mars could have lay in the constellation of Aries at the time of someones birth. Essentially this means that looking at Mars from the point of view of the earth, the backdrop of stars behind Mars would be those of the Aries part of the zodiac. Similarly, each of the planets have a backdrop to them and depending on your birth time each can lie in any of the 12 zodiacal signs.
Conventional astrology just deals with which constellation the Sun lies in at the time of birth describing distinct personality type linked to the postion of the Sun i.e. she's a Leo would mean the Sun at the time of her birth lay in front of the constellation of Leo. However, a more complete picture is obtained by taking other planetary factors into consideration.
Twelve is a number of completeness in the physical world. The Moon makes approximately twelve cycles around the Earth for one Earth cycle around the sun, hence we have the twelve months of the year. Also in the Bible we have the twelve tribes of Israel who represent all the different types of people who can make up a nation. Infact the number twelve is made up of four lots of three. These are the four elements of matter and the three modes of spirit.
What do the Zodiac Signs Mean?
Just as the planets represent different forces, so the zodiacal constellations are like a filter that colour those energies in a certain way. Lets take Aries for example. This is the first sign of the zodiac. It is to do with the season of spring and rebirth after the dormant winter. New life is to be seen everywhere, there is hope after the Winter. Aries is essentially about new beginnings about vibrant free flowing energy, indeed it is the first of the fire signs. As the first sign of the zodiac, it is very much to do with innocence and childhood and a slight naievity. It is the begining of an adventure.
If we look at say Cancer, however, this is a different sign altogether. This is a water sign to do with family, the past, and nurturing and it expresses itself through feelings. Now if we take the planet Mars. If we find it in Aries the flow of energy would be dynamic and uninhibited say for example like an army commander or an athlete or a person with a temper. If we find Mars, however in Cancer, the energy would be more inhibited and would say only surface if a friend or family member was threatened or the energy could manifest in an emotional outburst.
The ten planets taken together can therefore lie in a vast variety of different zodiac combinations. Given this and taking the link between the planetary positions and peoples characters, one can see one of the main reasons why there would be so many different personalities around. Astrology does not believe personalities are formed solely with the growing process, it believes the fundamental makeup of a person is already there at birth just waiting to be expressed.
You can learn more about each zodiac sign in astrology from the corresponding pages in this section.
Zodiac Sign Elements
Traditionally the world of matter was thought to only contain four basic elements; fire, air, earth and water. Everything was deemed to be made up of one of these elements. Man would look at nature and see the different elements. He would look up at the sky and see the Sun or witness a forest burning, from this he discerned the element of fire. He would feel the wind on his face and understand the element of air. He would look at a lake or a river or at the rain and see the element of water. He would feel all the physical things such as the trees and soil and plants and would see in them the element of earth. He knew instinctively he needed all these elements to survive. fire for warmth, air to breathe, water to drink and earth for food.
Astrology says that also on another level, a psychological level, we have all these elements inside each of us, and that they make up our individual nature. We can get a hint of this with the words we commonly use to describe people; "She's a fiery girl" , "He's a bit wet' , "She's a very grounded woman", "He's a bit of an air head".
Astrologically, each of the twelve signs corresponds to one of the four elements. There are therefore three of each element type as described below.
|Signs||Aries, Leo, Sagitarius|
|Keywords||Energy, creativity, intuition creativity, enthusiasm, aspirations, impatience, volatile|
A fire sign will give a fiery nature to it's recipient. They will be inspired, have lots of energy and generally there will be a warmth and a passion and a zest for life about them. They will want to get on and do things. They may be quick to lose their temper.
|Signs||Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn, Pisces|
|Keywords||Practicality, fertility, basic needs, security, the body, caution, productivity|
The nature of people born under these signs will be more focused on the practicalities of manifesting things in the physical world. They will relate to what they can see and touch. They will be more likely to have their feet on the ground and to live in the present moment.
|Signs||Gemini, Libra and Aquarius|
|Keywords||Communication, ideas, intellect, innovation, insight, technology|
An air sign will endow it's recipient with a nature focused on the level of the mind and intellect. To them ideas are important, concepts and logical reasoning. They will be the architects and designers who can conceptualize ideas before they are manifest. Air is the element we use when we speak in order to communicate with each other.
|Signs||Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces|
|Keywords||Fluidity, feelings, sensitivity, compassion, empathy, reflection, imagination, passivity|
A water sign will endow their recipients with an emotional nature. These people will relate to others on the level of feeling. They will be more instinctive than rational. Their nature will be more feminine in it's expression. Water is shown when we cry and express emotions.
A balanced number of planets in all four elements in a natal chart, favours the expression of the element in which the Sun is placed. If there is a preponderance of elements that are not in harmony with the sun sign, it can powerfully effect how the Sun is expressed especially if Mars or the Moon are placed in a dominant element.
Zodiac Sign Modes
As well as the four elements of matter, there are three modes these elements can express themselves in. Every event has a beginning, a middle and an ending. With the beginning there is lots of movement as an idea comes into being. In astrology this is known as the cardinal mode.
|Signs||Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn|
|Keywords||Assertivenss, action, enterprise, leadership, change, initiation, impetuosity|
We can see this in a business being formed (cardinal), being at it's height over a number of years (fixed), to having to transform or end as the business is no longer required (mutable). We can also see this in the seasons. They each have an onset , a height and a fading away. Have you ever met someone brimming with new ideas? This is an attribute of a cardinal sign.
A natal chart with four or more planets in cardinal signs indicates a strong will. This can override the Sun's element in a more receptive sun sign.
|Signs||Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius|
|Keywords||Rigid, resistant, consistent, stable, loyal, predictable, consistent|
The middle of an event is when an idea has become established and is at the height of it's powers. This is known as the fixed mode. Have you met someone so stubborn you could never change their opinion? This is an attribute of a fixed sign.
A natal chart with four or more planets in fixed signs indicates an extremely stubborn person who almost never changes their mind and hates change. This can even override a fluid flexible sun element.
|Signs||Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces|
|Keywords||Adaptable, flexible, changeable, unstable, unpredictable, superficial, versatile|
Finally an event begins to fade and transform ready for something else to replace it. This is known as mutable mode. What about someone who is so flexible they agree with what everyone says. This is an attribute of a mutable sign.
A natal chart with four or more planets in mutable signs indicates an unpredicable unreliable and unstable personality. This can override the Sun's element even in a stable trustworthy sun sign.
Zodiac Sign Polarities
There polarity of a zodiac sign is mirrored by the one opposite to it on the zodiac. These yin and yang energies compliment each other and both are needed for a balanced flow of energy.
Yang: Positive Polarity
|Signs||Aries, Gemini, Leo, Libra, Sagittarius, Aquarius|
|Keywords||Yang, masculine, active, extrovert, dominant, expressive|
Positive signs are essentially outward looking. They are extrovert, spontaneous, energetic with forceful personalities. If six or more planets are placed in positive signs in a natal chart, a person is more dominant regardless of their sun sign polarity.
Yin: Negative Polarity
|Signs||Taurus, Cancer, Virgo, Scorpio, Capricorn, Pisces|
|Keywords||Yin, feminine, introvert, submissive, repressed, reflective, receptive|
Negative signs are essentially inward looking. They are introvert, compliant and geared towards communication. If six or more planets are placed in negative signs in a natal chart, a person is more introverted regardless of their sun sign's polarity.
Zodiac Sign Elements, Modes & Polarities
Lets take summer in the western world; we have the beginning around July, the height around August and the fading away around September. In astrology this corresponds to; Cancer, Leo and Virgo. Cancer is a cardinal sign, Leo is a fixed sign and virgo a mutable one. As with the elements, the modes of a sign endow their recipients with that nature.
Each of the signs have been blessed with specific gifts and issues that are unique to them. We as humans who were born with planets in those signs are given these same attributes in our personalities. As we travel around the zodiac we see each element (fire, air, earth and water) progress through it's three modes (cardinal, fixed, mutable) to a gradual unfolding expression of it's nature.
How elements, modes and polarities are expressed in each zodiac sign is explained in more depth in the corresponding pages in this section.