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Astrology Explained: The Zodiac Signs

Astrology Explained: The Zodiac Signs

The zodiac signs answer the question, "HOW?"

If you read the article on the planets in astrology, you'll remember that the planets are one of the four foundations; it's like one of the legs of a table.

Moving on, let's talk about the second leg, the zodiac signs.

The Signs & Their Groupings

The signs are probably the part of astrology that most people are familiar with; everyone knows, more or less, that there are 12 signs of the zodiac.  Each sign corresponds to a particular range of dates relative to the position of the Sun.

In astrology, the signs are grouped together according to different factors.  Each grouping serves to give the signs more meaning.

These factors include duplicity, triplicity, and quadruplicity.


This is just a fancy way of saying "masculine" and "feminine."  The 12 signs are broken down into male and female, but don't confuse this with gender; it isn't a matter of sex.  

Duplicity is concerned with expression.

Masculine signs express their energy outwardly and are often referred to as "positive."  Feminine signs express their energy inwardly and are often referred to as "receptive."

Aries, Gemini, Leo, Libra, Sagittarius, and Aquarius are masculine signs.

Taurus, Cancer, Virgo, Scorpio, Capricorn, and Pisces are feminine signs.


Triplicity refers to a sign's element. 

There are four elements - fire, air, earth, and water - each element is associated with three signs, hence the name "triplicity."

The element of fire represents creation, initiation, passion, and intensity.  Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius are the fire signs.

The element of air represents thoughts, communication, innovation, and learning.  Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius are the air signs.

The element of earth represents the five senses, tangible things, stability, and status.  Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn are the earth signs.

The element of water represents emotions, intuition, receptivity, and sensitivity.  Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces are the water signs.

Notice that all fire and air signs are masculine, and the earth and water signs are feminine.


Quadruplicity refers to the signs' qualities. 

There are three groups - cardinal, fixed, and mutable - and each group contains four signs, hence the name "quadruplicity."

Cardinal signs are the initiators; they are excellent at taking action and starting new things.  Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn are the cardinal signs.

Fixed signs are the stabilizers; they are excellent at providing stability and consistency.  Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius are the fixed signs.  

Mutable signs are the adapters; they are excellent at adapting to change and transformation.  Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, and Pisces are the mutable signs.

Sun, Moon, & Rising Signs

In astrology, it's essential to determine your Sun, Moon, and Rising signs, as these three signs are the basis of any natal astrology chart.  Together, these three signs give you the basic snapshot of your life.

Your Sun sign is the sign that the Sun was in on the day you were born.  Each of the 12 zodiac signs covers approximately one month of the calendar year, beginning with Aries and ending with Pisces.  The dates that each sign covers vary by year, but generally speaking, each sign runs from the 21st of one month until the 22nd of the next.

Your Sun sign is what everyone is familiar with, especially concerning your horoscope.

Your Sun sign represents your core personality and your sense of self.  The characteristics of your Sun sign typically, but not always, manifest themselves in your individual personality.  It's the part of you that you show the world.

Your Moon sign is the sign that the Moon was in at the time of your birth.  The Moon changes signs more frequently than the Sun; during its 28-day orbit around the Earth, it will travel through all 12 signs.

Your Moon sign represents your emotional self; it's the part of you that you typically don't show the world.  It represents your inner thoughts, beliefs, and reactions to things around you.

Your Rising sign is the sign that was ascending the eastern horizon at the moment you were born.  Your rising sign is also known as your ascendant for that very reason.

Of the three, the Rising sign changes the most frequently; it changes signs about every two hours. To determine your rising sign, you need to know your exact birth time.

The Zodiac Signs

The first sign of the zodiac.  Unsurprisingly, being first is the primary characteristic of Aries.  Aries is highly competitive, loves to win, and puts a lot of energy and effort into starting new things.  Being a masculine sign, that ram energy is definitely expressed outwardly.  As a fire sign, Aries is often described as hot-tempered, combative, and passionate about their beliefs.  Aries is headstrong, bold, and ambitious.  


As the first earth sign of the zodiac, Taurus is very much sensual; they rely heavily on their five senses to move around in the world.  Taurus is concerned with material things - they place a high value on stability, given their fixed nature.  Comforts, luxuries, and all things beautiful fall within the realm of Taurus.  They are known to be dependable, salt-of-the-earth individuals who can also be quite stubborn.

The twins.  Most people associate Geminis as having two faces, which is not so far from the truth.  The symbolism comes from Greek mythology and the twins, Pollux and Castor; they were born from the same egg, although they had different fathers, hence two different personalities.  Apart from that, Gemini is quick-witted, adaptable, and sharp-minded, as the first air sign of the zodiac.  Mental stimulation is definitely Gemini's kink.

Cancer often gets the blanket label of "emotional." While that is true, there's much more to Cancer than that.  Being a receptive and cardinal water sign, Cancer very much lives in their feelings and affections.  They feel everything around them, hence why they need a hard outer shell to shield and protect their soft insides.  Cancers are known to be mothering, nurturing, and very psychic.


Leos love to stand out; they are, after all, the kings of the jungle.  Full of passion, Leos can be fierce protectors of the people and things they love.  Everything with Leo is centered around the heart.  Far from being immature, Leo loves to have fun and places great emphasis on entertainment; they are child-like in that regard.  Leos have a penchant for drama and most definitely enjoys the limelight.

Virgos are the eternal perfectionists, and this trait stems from the mythology of the vestral virgins - the young priestesses in charge of maintaining the sacred fire within the temple of Vesta in ancient Rome.  According to the legend, if the virgin did not fulfill her duties, she would be thrown into the fire.  Hence the need to have everything perfect!  Apart from that, Virgo is detail-oriented, meticulous, diligent, practical, organized, and loves being of service to others.

Libra is very relationship-oriented.  Whereas Aries, Libra's opposite sign, is concerned with self, Libra is concerned with the other.  Fairness, harmony, and equality are at the core of Libra's values.  Being a masculine cardinal air sign, it's no surprise that Libras are very sociable and popular - by nature, they love initiating relationships with others.  Libras strive to maintain symmetry and equilibrium in their lives and in their environments. 

Still waters run deep when it comes to Scorpio.  There's a certain air of mystery with Scorpios, hence why they are often misunderstood.  Although Scorpios are a water sign, they have a raging fire within them. Scorpios are big on trust, and as a result, they will test anyone they care about or with whom they want to engage.  Like the phoenix rising from the ashes, Scorpios have immense transformational power.

Sagittarius has a taste for adventure and likes to live larger than life.  They are always on a quest of some sort, either for knowledge or for spirituality.  As a mutable fire sign, Sagittarius ignites and inspires on a grand scale; their influence is far-reaching, hence why their symbol is the bow and arrow.  Generally speaking, Sagittarius can be characterized as optimistic, cosmopolitan, friendly, and extroverted.

Success and ambition are the hallmarks of Capricorn.  Similar to the goat, their symbol, Capricorns work slow and steady until they reach the top.  They are very practical in nature, realistic, and extremely hardworking.  They are great at initiating new endeavors that are meant to provide stability.  They are concerned and sometimes obsessed with status, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Even though Aquarius is known as "the water bearer," it's actually an air sign.  Aquarians are known to be innovative thinkers, humanitarians and are extremely future-focused.  They are often described as being emotionally cold and detached, although they have many friends.  At their core, Aquarians detest old, outmoded concepts and ideals.  They strive for independence and autonomy.

Pisces, the last sign of the zodiac, is symbolized by two fish swimming in different directions, which represents Pisces' dualistic nature.  They straddle two worlds; the world of reality and the world of fantasy. Pisces is known to be very creative, sensitive, and highly intuitive.  Pisces absorbs everything - being the last sign, they have absorbed every lesson learned by the previous eleven signs.  Ever much the escapist, Pisces will swim away when they feel the need to escape their feelings or a situation.


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