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The Twelve Signs of the Zodiac

The Astrology of Personality


The word Zodiac literally means animals and refers to the patterns or configurations of creatures as seen in the twinkling stars at night. The Zodiac belt is the great circle around which our luminescent Sun apparently moves month by month throughout the year, modulating the energy of those different constellational signs and thereby transmitting the celestial radiations to our Earth.

The mystery of the impact of the zodiac and astrology on humankind can’t be easily explained scientifically, although we can all observe the synchronicity of life and its cycle here on earth with those planetary movements, in the same way the ancients did thousands of years ago when they witnessed that certain planetary and stellar movements seem to coincide with events that were happening here on earth.

The ebb and flow of the tides, the diurnal and nocturnal patterns of different species of life, the 28 day lunar cycle, ( which coincides loosely with the female menstrual cycle ) and longer term cycles of Jupiter and its correlation to sunspot cycles every 12 years also seemed fairly clear to humanity that the zodiac and the cycles of the planets did indeed impact us here on earth.

If you were to consider the zodiac as a belt surrounding the ecliptic, that is the plane around which the Sun apparently moves around the earth but is actually the earth moving around the Sun) by around 9°, the stars within this area would be considered those which affect us here on planet Earth. This belt is divided into the 12 signs of the zodiac starting from Aries which is the position with the Sun apparently transits around 21 March and is considered the commencement of these 12 zodiac signs. The order of the zodiac is as follows-Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces.

The horoscope is comprised of the 12 signs of the zodiac and is essentially a map of the order of star signs for any given moment arranged in a circle. This circle or horoscope contains the planets and their position in the signs and their aspects or relationship to the other planets helps an astrologer determine the character and events of a person’s life.

After you know the order of the signs, you can learn all about the astrological icons and the symbology of astrology. The Astrologer always uses the symbol rather than writing the sign when making a chart, and one needs to know the symbols so well that they can be made almost without thought. The symbols are the alphabet of Astrology.

These 12 signs of the zodiac also represent parts of the body in the form of the cosmic man or as Vedic astrologers call it the Kalapurusha. The following table illustrates how each sign of the zodiac represents a different part of the human body. These are a general representation only.

Aries     – the head Leo       – spine and heart Sagittarius  – hips and thighs
Taurus  – the throat and face Virgo     – groin and intestines Capricorn   – knees
Gemini  – shoulders and arms Libra      – kidneys and bladder Aquarius    – ankles
Cancer  – breast and chest Scorpio  – reproductive organs Pisces       – feet

Cardinal, Fixed and Mutable Signs

We divide the houses of the zodiac into three kinds, and likewise we divide the signs of the zodiac into three kinds, called Cardinal, Fixed and Mutable. These are the Quaternaries, as there are four signs in each kind.

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¤ Cardinal

Cardinal Signs (or the Cardinal quaternary) are those that, in the natural or usual chart (that is, a chart that starts with Aries in the east), form the four cariinal points. They are all signs of great activity. firey consist of Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn. Note that in this four, the rulers of the signs are Moon, Saturn, Mars and Venus. It would seem as if the fitful, changing Moon, acting on the desires which cardinal rate in the three planets, of Saturn (for position), Mars (for self), and Venus (for the mate), caused all these four signs to become as restless as herself. The Cardinal signs are much of the same active nature as the angular houses to which they naturally belong.

¤ Fixed

Fixed Signs (or the fixed Quaternary) are those that in a natural chart would come in the Succeedent Houses. They are signs of great fixity ofpurpose and will power. They resist change. They comprise Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius. Note that in this four the ru1ers are Sun, Saturn, Venus and Mars. It would seem as if the unchanging Sun, acting on the three planets of desire, Saturn (for hopes, wishes and friends), Venus (for money and possessrons), and Mars (for reproduction), causes all these signs to hold on resistlessly to their desires. The Fixed signs are of the same fixed nature as the Succeedent houses to which they naturally belong.

¤ Mutable

Mutable Signs (or the Mutable quaternary) are those that, in a natural chart, fall in the cadent houses. They are signs of adaptability, of inter-communication of ideas and thought. They consist or Gemini, Virgo Sagittarius and Pisces. Note that in these four the rulers are two
only, Mercury and Jupiter. The two planets of mind, ihe former of the concrete mind, that deals with actual things, and Jupiter, the mind that deals with ideals and laws. Because these four signs desire less than the other etght signs, they are able to get along with people more readily.

What are the four Elements? The elements are as follows –

Fire Signs Aries, Leo and Sagittarius
Earth Signs Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn
Air Signs Gemini, Libra and Aquarius
Water Signs Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces

Fire Signs

There are three fire signs – Aries, Leo and Sagittarius.Fire signs give fire, give action, light, and radiance. They are; therefore related to the qualities of enthusiasm and zeal, love, passion, courage, speed, enterprise, individuality and spirituality. Note that this triplicity has its beginning in the cardinal sign Aries which is the first sign, which rules the east or sunrise or the beginning of self. The note that is struck in the beginning of a triplicity is the ruling note of that group of signs, hence the ruling note of the fire Triplicity is SELF.

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Now when we speak of self, we may mean a vain egotistical kind o-f a person, but we can also mean something much greater and sometimes very fine. We can meet a person who has developed his own innate powers to such an extent that he stands above all other people as being highly individualised. He is not conceited, not anxious to show off certain powers, for example, Prof Milliken, the great scientist who has discovered the Milliken Rays is not a vain man but he worked so steadily and so well in his science that he is sure enough of his own powers to know when he has something to present to the world. He is an Arian.

If a chart is found to have the majority of planets in fire signs, we shall find that with the finest types of people there will be shown: creative mind energy, invention, pioneer work, particularly if the sign Aries is emphasised. Radiative kindness, individualised effort, faith, particularly when the sign Leo is emphasised. Aspiration, the gift of intuition, the love of justice and religion, particularly when the sign Sagittarius is emphasised.

If, however, we are dealing with a very ordinary type of person, the planets will work out is making a selfish or egotistic type in the matters relating to the natural houses of the fire signs. Thus many planets in Aries will tend to make the person think almost entirely of himself, his appearance et cetera. His conversation is full of words “I”, and “me”. Many planets in Leo will tend to make the person think vaingloriously concerning his children. His conversation is full of the words ‘my children’ or he may spend his time talking about himself in relation to his love affairs or his speculations for these are also the 5th house affairs.

Many planets and Sagittarius tend to make the person think of himself in relation to 9th house affairs thus his conversation Is largely concerning “my travels”, “my in-laws”,”my church, political opinions, philosophy, pleasures and games” it is evident than that the fire people can be first-class laws if they do not try to get out of the entirely personal life into something on which they can spend their enthusiasm.


Speaking of the signs in a larger cosmic sense, Aries is irresponsible naturally. His sense of responsibility is developed in the fixed sign of Leo, which rules children: thus he learns responsibility through children. Then in Sagittarius, he learns a larger responsibility which has to do with people outside of his own family. So in Sagittarius, he learns justice, law, and religion and feels a responsibility toward living up to the noblest ideas that come to him and also a responsibility in presenting these ideas to humanity. For as we have said previously Sagittarius is essentially a propagandist.

Space is not considered in western astrology and is assigned to Sagittarius.

Earth Signs

To a man, the earth is the acme of solidity, in both a figurative and literal sense the ground under his feet. the earth signs Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn produce a being who believes in solidity, in palpable reality and in aims which are practically attainable. And as it is certain that we cannot get rid of matter except by controlling it, it is necessary that the element of the earth should be represented in the Zodiac. There is, however, an ascending line in these three earthy signs beginning with the fixed sign, which is typically earthy.

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Taurus, the Bull, symbolises the earth principle best. It is the bull who helps us to plough the fields in order that seed may be sown for new harvest; the bull (the cow) is the most important part of the husbandman’s stock of cattle, in short, the bull is indispensable to agricultural life. Taurus feels that he is one with the earth and for that reason evinces a great love for all that it produces. He feels safe in the lap of ” Mother Earth” and, confident of her good care, he is of good cheer and liable to humour and jollity. *Were we not born under Taurus?” (Twelfth Night’ Shakespeare-)
Just as the principal value of the earth is its capability of bringing the seeds entrusted to it to their full growth, so does the Taurus-type realise that this earthly body exists as a temple containing higher things which must attain development through that very limitation.

Virgo as a mutable or changeable sign naturally feels that Connection between spirit and matter too, but owing to Mercury’s influence is not a firm of conviction and devotion. Virgo is constantly concerned with the care of the “temple” for the sake of the “spirit”; then feels dissatisfied because he discerns so little of the spirit and therefore tries to lose himself in spiritual problems. The figure of Martha in the Bible is characteristic of Virgo, very busy with earthly activities but nevertheless taking an interest in unearthly matters, at the same time somewhat discontented at not being able to give much time to the 1atter. Virgo’s powers of observation are as great in spiritual matters as in earthly, but it is worthy of notice that Virgo is more prone to lose sight of the principal line than of the smaller details. This type is, therefore, more fit to achieve conscientious work under the guidance of e.g. a cardinal sign, than to be himself the responsible leader
responsible leader.

Capricorn as a cardinal sign realises that he cannot remain passive and inactive, but that he must be up and doing in order to get out of matter onto higher planes. But he who wants to conquer matter suffers most by its resistance. If therefore Capricorn is not strongly enough equipped, finally, after all, his striving for higher things, he will become not the ruler of matter, but in matter i.e. not a wise man, but one in a high position; he will be able to show no inner, but only outer power.
The old name of Capricorn is “Makara”, which means pentagon and is among other things the symbol of man. In the Secret Doctrine, where much of importance may be found about this sign, attention is drawn to the fact that this sign is related to the birth of the spiritual Microcosmos and death or dissolution oI the material universe,’it’s passing into the spiritual. And if we bear in mind that Christ also was born when the Sun was in Capricorn (December 25) we may to some extent understand what mysteries are hidden in this zodiacal sign that one brought a “God-man” to birth.

Air Signs

The element air symbolises man’s thoughts, his mental power. It is the positive power which raises him above the animal, and it is noticeable that not one of the airy signs has an animal as a symbol. The air is the element most “apart from the earth” and thus people under this influence have the least inclination to earthly things. Usually, the airy signs show an extraordinary disdain of earthly logic, and this is in some degree proved by Gemini, but chiefly by Aquarius.

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Gemini the first air sign, is mutable, changeable, just as our first independent thoughts are always unstable and “changeable. Gemini is however at the same time the sign most desirous of all-around development and is apt for the time being to embrace the most contradictory theories which it leaves so soon as others seem better. The rapidity of thought is the inner side of Gemini. For no sign is so sharp, so quick at repartee as this one; and even although difficulties may arise through the superficiality of perception, a Gemini is able to disentangle himself very quickly! The duality of Gemini manifest itself in the first place in the nervous system: both extreme gladness and deep despondency are to be found in him (like the air which is easily rarefied and condensed).

Libra, a cardinal sign, aims at the balancing of various existing thoughts. Where differences of opinion exist, Libra takes the initiative to bring both parties together; listening first to one then to the other, Libra considers how to bring the two into harmony. When he has an idea of his own, he always wishes to know what others think of it; not in order to reject his idea but to make it more balanced. When someone does not dare to express his opinion, Libra will urge and stimulate him; he likes. to point out the line the other has to follow in order to attain greater clarity but he beware of exerting too strong a pressure lest the other’s personality should be influenced. This prudence, this tendency to approve of two different things at one and the same time easily tends in actual life towards that indecision, lately called by a scientific name “ergophoby” and the cardinal being is only shown by the power of setting others to work for himself.

Aquarius, the fixed air sign as such is averse to all indecision. He has his fixed ideas, his convictions firm as a rock and acts accordingly, no matter whether all the world gape at him and disapprove. He considers his sudden impulses to be suggestions from above which he must obey unconditionally. When Aquarius is morally far enough developed he may indeed gather wisdom, and the water which the “Waterbearer” pours from his jug onto the earth may truly be water of life. But for that reason, it is doubly necessary to an Aquarius to keep himself under control. He usually enjoys great popularity among his acquaintances and as a rule has much influence with them; so the nature of that influence will be of much importance. Like all fixed signs, Aquarius gives a tendency to self-assertion and it is noteworthy that with all its good qualities this sign has so little belief in the spiritual equality of otherS. It is advisable for Aquarius though it may seem paradoxical to him and his admirers – to see that his ideas and conceptions are as broad as possible.

Water Signs

The element water is the negative, female principle and symbolises feelings, emotions, therefore in the three signs forming this triangle, the element of feeling is prominent. “The sea is always full and spreads its waters on all sides. (Zohar)-and the watery signs are particularly sensitive to the sea of emotions in which they live, and readily contact others along the line oI feeling.

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Cancer, the cardinal sign shows this most conspicuously, Cancerians stress feeling as an educational factor and wish to act in this in the circle of their acquaintances. Their own way of observing and working exhibits the same principle “plus fait douceur que violence”; slow but sure, respecting others but not yielding one of his own ideas. Cancer goes ahead with his work imperceptibly making people act as he wishes. That this does not happen openly and that a Cancer even does not like to hear that he is influencing others, must be ascribed to the fact that Cancer loves to live in peace with all the world and is well aware that to exercise power openly often raises antipathy – and often brings about the reverse of the object desired.

Cancer will help his people toward and patronize them, but in exchange desires their gratitude and respect just as he himself also displays unbounded gratitude and adoration for those to whom he owes his life, his position etc. Therefore Cancer is the sign of filial love, patriotism, attachment to tradition and relics, the sign of reverence and submission.
Scorpio, the fixed watery sign is under the influence of the fiery planet Mars which as a matter, of course, denotes strife between these opposing elements. Scorpio is, therefore, the sign where feelings are put to the test, where they must be purified in order to become of real, lasting worth.In practical life Scorpio appears to us as the tempter, the seducer who puts to the test our feelings and our moral *firmness” and is temporarily able to overshadow our thoughts completely. When however the solution has been found, when the soul has stood the test, it rises as re-Dorn, more powerful than ever. This sign, therefore, is connected with all kinds of occult mysteries and powers, as well as with sin and riotousness. This type never is destitute of will; the will may be used in every case, it is always a prominent feature of the Scorpio character. And in this lies hidden the possibility of correction even from the worst depths.

Pisces, as a mutable sign, moves on the rise and fall of the sphere of feeling as a fish does in the water. More than any other this type is sensitive, open to impressions and moods instigate from without. If the surroundings are quiet and sympathetic, Pisces can be happy, satisfied, even exceedingly jolly; if on the other hand, those around him are nervous, agitated and restless he is at a loss how to act and makes a mess of things. And yet the Pisces-type is so pleased to be of service to others; if only one knows how to play on his feeling, he will be found willing to do anything; for this watery sign lacking the support of the “cardinal” and the fixed”, is the most feminine of the twelve. And though the character it associates with is of great importance for each mutable or changeable sign, for Pisces it is most certainly of the highest importance. Pisces, in order to find himself, must lose himself completely – but not in somebody else – which unfortunately often is the case.

The planets and signs are correlated by what is known as Sign Rulerships, each planet ruling two Signs. The Sun rules a positive and the Moon a negative Sign, and each planet rules one of each as follows –

Leo-Cancer Ruled by Sun and Moon, respectively
Virgo-Gemini Ruled by Mercury
Libra-Taurus Ruled by Venus
Scorpio-Aries Ruled by Mars and Pluto respectively
Pisces Ruled by Jupiter and Neptune
Capricorn  and Aquarius Ruled by Saturn and Uranus respectively
Sagittarius Ruled by Jupiter

Furthermore, each body has an exaltation sign in which it is especially strong and favourable. These are –

The Sun Aries
The Moon Taurus
Mercury Virgo
Venus Taurus
Mars Capricorn
Jupiter Cancer
Saturn Libra

What is the Ruler or Lord, of the horoscope?

It is considered that one planet, or the Sun or Moon, which has in a special sense a prominence and stands out in the horoscope to the native or person to whom the nativity is erected, while the rest of the nativity represents aspects of his life which are external to him. For example his friends, occupation, wife or children. The body is called the ruler or Lord of the horoscope and it is to that which astrologers refer when they call a person a Martian or Venutian otherwise as the case may be.

It is usually the ruler of the first house but probably not invariably so, for if that body is weak, whereas another is much stronger, as by rising near the ascendant with strong aspects, especially to the sun, moon or Mercury or being on the midheaven, that is elevated at the time of birth, it may apparently become the ruler.

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