The Zodiac Signs

by Kenneth Hirst

The Zodiac Signs are contained in the band of a circle that surrounds the ecliptic path of our solar system. This band contains a group of constellations that represent twelve mythological figures. Although the signs of the astronomical zodiac are of unequal length, astrology divides the band into twelve 30 degree segments beginning at 0 degrees Aries.

Each planet in our solar system travels through the 12 zodiacal signs. The twelve constellation signs are:

  • Aries (the Ram) is chosen to be the first sign of the zodiac, as it coincides with the Spring Equinox and a new cycle of life.
  • Taurus (the Bull) consolidates such life within an earthly realm.
  • Gemini (the Twins) develops movement and communication.
  • Cancer (the Crab) nurtures living things and solidifies its roots.
  • Leo (the Lion) embraces vitality and the creative potential.
  • Virgo (the Virgin) applies the work ethic.
  • Libra (the Scales) embraces balance in social situations.
  • Scorpio (the Scorpion) rises out of the ashes of destruction.
  • Sagittarius (the Archer) releases energy to gain greater freedom and experience.
  • Capricorn (the Sea-Goat) brings in order and responsibility to the world.
  • Aquarius (the Water-Bearer) furthers humanistic ideas.
  • Pisces (the Fishes) dissolves the veil between dimensions to allow various levels of consciousness to merge.

Thus, the 12 signs reflect the cycle of life, in which all of us have these zodiacal energies to some degree. This is because each of these signs falls within a particular house, and each of these signs has a ruling planet that influences our chart.

It should be noted that western Astrology uses that point in space depicted by each sign, established thousands of years ago, and not the actual present day astronomical constellation as the source of zodiacal energy. This signifies the main difference between eastern and western Astrology. Eastern Astrology takes account of the precession of the equinoxes, in which the zodiacal constellation belt moves 30 degrees every 2000 years. This is also known as the Great Month period, and why we are entering the Age of Aquarius towards the end of the 20th century.

We may become aware that sooner or later everyone has an influence of most signs, the degree of which will depend upon the general layout of one's natal horoscope chart.

See also: Astrological Love



Glyph: Key Phrase: I Am
Symbol: The Ram Key Word: Activity
Ruler: Mars Element: Fire
Natural House: First Quality: Cardinal
Anatomy: The Head Class: Active

General Description
The pointed face and horns of the ram is quite apt for the Aries person. They can batter their way into things, especially in youth. Their expression and presence is quite direct without much subtlety. However, they can be true pioneers, forging their way through life with courage, initiative and enterprise. Arians can be adventurous, self-expressive and open, but not always sensitive to other people's feelings.

A sedentary life-style can inhibit the aforementioned natural traits, and in some cases invoke a violent reaction.

Challenging Traits/Keywords
A whirlwind approach leaving disaster behind. Headstrong, domineering, quick tempered, impulsive, sarcastic, rebellious, violent, intolerant, arrogant, self centered, impatient, brusque, selfish, reactive.

Beneficial Traits/Keywords
Freedom-loving, courageous and pioneering. Inspirational, courageous, eager, spontaneous, competitive, enthusiastic, dynamic, realistic, quick-witted.

Spiritual Inference
The balance of independence and new growth, in learning to discover things for yourself, and about yourself. There is often the need to adjust to the influence and needs of others--through inspired patience.

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Glyph: Key Phrase: I Have
Symbol: The Bull Key Word: Stability
Ruler: Venus Element: Earth
Natural House: Second Quality: Fixed
Anatomy: Neck, throat, ears, lower teeth Class: Passive

General Description
This glyph clearly suggests the bull's head and horns. Taurus essentially places a strong emphasis on trust. They appreciate friends and neighbors and are usually quite hospitable. Although normally slow to anger, all hell can break loose when it is released, and can stubbornly brood for some time afterwards. Taureans can be affectionate, but with a high degree of possessiveness, because security is extremely important. Although persistent by nature, activities are often performed more slowly than other signs. There can be a love of nature and personal possessions.

Challenging Traits/Keywords
Possessive, jealous, obsessed with routines, fixed in opinions, stubborn. Self-indulgent, vain, lazy, greedy, materialistic, boring, argumentative, short-tempered. Excessive expectation of others.

Beneficial Traits/Keywords
Trustworthy, warm, sensuous, a firm sense of values. Perseverance, reliability, patient, conservative, domestic, thorough, stable, dependable, practical, artistic, loyal.

Spiritual Inference
The need to attain an appropriate level of productivity and the balanced search for value and meaning in your life.

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Glyph: Key Phrase: I Think
Symbol: The Twins Key Word: Versatility
Ruler: Mercury Element: Air
Natural House: Third Quality: Mutable
Anatomy: Hands, arms, nerves, lungs Class: Active

General Description
The roman numeral two glyph represents the duality of this sign. This duality is often expressed through their two hands, arms, feet, and lungs. This sign is rather youthful, inquisitive, superficially sociable, talkative, and often fleet-of-foot. This airy, mutable sign tends to produce a talkative, yet changeable personality. The mind can be alert, often seeking knowledge in order to stimulate the brain. Many Gemini's require a lot of movement, even in their work. They can be coolly affectionate, unless their emotions run deep from some Scorpio/Pluto energy.

Challenging Traits/Keywords
Inconsistent, superficial, high strung, a nag, lacking empathy, impatient, changeable, ungrateful, scatterbrained, restless, scheming, lacking in concentration and follow through.

Beneficial Traits/Keywords
Adaptable, versatile, freedom loving, quick mind, inquisitive, dual, congenial, curious, expressive, intelligent, quick-witted, lively, literary, inventive, dexterous, clever.

Spiritual Inference
The need to channel your curiosity to allow for growth, and to bridge the surface conscious and higher mind.

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Glyph: Key Phrase: I Feel
Symbol: The Crab Key Word: Devotion
Ruler: Moon Element: Water
Natural House: Fourth Quality: Cardinal
Anatomy: Breasts, stomach Class: Passive

General Description
This glyph represents nurturing cradling arms, and the sign depicts the symbol of the crab in that it appears hard on the surface, yet is easily hurt underneath. Thus the Cancerian will portray a tough exterior, but inside they are extremely sensitive. They often act in an emotional way that a crab acts physically. When hurt, because of being easily provoked, they wander off sideways, although they can unexpectedly snap out. As a water sign, and ruled by the Moon, it projects sensitive and emotional traits. There is also nostalgia, feelings of security, patriotism, and a tenacious attachment to someone or something. Loyal and trusting, they hate to be let down. Any negative traits tend to emanate from vital needs not being met. Cancer represents the embodiment of traditionally strong, nurturing, supportive families. Thus, a greater reliance on institutional welfare, is the antithesis of what Cancer is all about. Cancer, like Virgo, tend to be the worry-warts of the zodiac!

Challenging Traits/Keywords
Overly sensitive, touchy, brooding, moody, lazy, and untidy. Too easily flattered, overly clinging, selfish manipulation, too cautious, self pitying, worrying, clannish.

Beneficial Traits/Keywords
Kind, sensitive, tenacious, shrewd, a strong maternal or paternal instinct, conscientious, sympathetic, intuitive, domestic, sensitive, retentive, helpful, emotional, good memory. Self-sacrificing and protective.

Spiritual Inference
The need to expand your nurturing instinct to include your spiritual growth. Much of this growth is often portrayed in house that the Sun is placed.

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Glyph: Key Phrase: I Will
Symbol: The Lion Key Word: Magnetism
Ruler: Sun Element: Fire
Natural House: Fifth Quality: Fixed
Anatomy: Heart, sides, upper back Class: Active

General Description
The Leo symbol portrays the curl of the lion's tail. This expression of energy seeks the pleasures in life, and Leo's proudly project themselves into the world. For some this projection is almost regal, as they desire to be in control of their environment. They love to perform, radiating warmth to those who show admiration and appreciation. Hence, there is often a strong need to give and receive love. In some cases, Leo will be the childish show-off, and be patronising in their affection. Much of Leo's self-expression will be colored by the house in which the Sun resides. However, if much of their life is subject to excessive snubbing and an ignoble existence, most of Leo's natural traits will evaporate.

Challenging Traits/Keywords
Dogmatic, pompous, intolerant, patronizing, domineering, inflexible, vain, boastful, pretentious, autocratic, status conscious, childish, fears ridicule, cruel, brutish or savage.

Beneficial Traits/Keywords
Magnanimous, generous, enthusiastic, loyal, ambitious, optimistic, idealistic, proud, creative, dignified, romantic, affectionate, self-assured, entertainer.

Spiritual Inference
The need for personal development, and to acquire an inner peace with contentment through humility.

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Glyph: Key Phrase: I Analyze
Symbol: The Virgin Key Word: Practicality
Ruler: Mercury Element: Earth
Natural House: Sixth Quality: Mutable
Anatomy: Hands, nervous system, intestines, upper bowel Class: Passive

General Description
The Virgo glyph symbolizes the feminine sexual parts--which is associated with perfection and purity. Its ruler, Mercury, is more practical in Virgo by providing dexterity through the hands. There tends to be a strong work ethic, a sense of duty and a need to serve others. It is not uncommon to find healers and massage therapists to have a dose of Virgo in their charts. This earth sign can be analytical, satirical, and rather critical. They value their personal space, and abhor uninvited guests. Resentfulness can easily occur by inattention to their wishes. Virgoans have a sense of pride in accomplishments, little patience with non-functional beauty and can be a quite a worry wart.

Challenging Traits/Keywords
Finicky, fussy, fastidious, skeptical, critical, intolerant, picky, petty, melancholy, self-centered, pedantic, fear of poverty, hypochondriac, sloppy.

Beneficial Traits/Keywords
Meticulous, methodical, studious, industrious, scientific, discriminating, fact-finding, exacting, reliable, thorough, analytical, tidy, clean, humane, seeks perfection.

Spiritual Inference
Re-channeling of nervous energies towards tolerance of self and others by analyzing your feelings.

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Glyph: Key Phrase: I Balance
Symbol: The Scales Key Word: Harmony
Ruler: Venus Element: Air
Natural House: Seventh Quality: Cardinal
Anatomy: Lower back, kidneys, adrenal glands Class Passive

General Description
The glyph symbolizes the beam of balancing scales. As a cardinal air sign, this can depict an out-going self-expression, and for some, an "active intellect." Ruled by Venus, this creates a need for harmony. If Venus is in this sign, they can be an artist, beauty specialist, diplomat or salesperson. Librians enjoy the company of people, music and theatrical events. There can be a longing to attract, inasmuch as they seem to fall in love with love.

It is not uncommon for those with strong Libra traits to be liberal in politics, providing Saturn is not too strong. Any indecisiveness that is portrayed by this sign is due to the fact that they easily see both sides of a situation. With decisiveness and an ability to see both sides is a quality significant in the charts of Judges. If Libra is subjected to loneliness, or an unpleasant environment, their natural traits will be stymied.

Challenging Traits/Keywords
Indecisive, flirtatious, gullible, self-indulgent, dependent, fickle, apathetic, peace at any price, moody, pouting, easily deterred, lazy.

Beneficial Traits/Keywords
Diplomatic, romantic, idealistic, sociable, helpful, charming, cooperative, persuasive, companionable, peace-loving, refined, judicial, artistic, diplomatic, suave.

Spiritual Inference
The need to attain balance with regard to the affairs of the house that the Sun is located. Also, the use of decisive intellect for self benefit and that of others.

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Glyph: Key Phrase: I Desire
Symbol: Scorpion, Serpent and the Phoenix Key Word: Intensity
Ruler: Pluto Element: Water
Natural House: Eighth Quality: Fixed
Anatomy: Genitals, rectum, bladder Class: Active

General Description
The scorpion glyph with its coiled stinger tail represents the intensification and sudden release of energy. This is the only sign in the zodiac with three symbols--the scorpion, the serpent and the phoenix. The symbols represent, the satanic, the wise and the exalted--reflecting emotions that reach from hell to heaven. In essence, Scorpio is transformative--which is the ability to rise through the essence of the symbols.

It is said that there is no pain like Scorpio pain--simply because of the intense energy that often accompanies this sign. Such intensity can invoke quick reactions, rather than assessing situations. Even for those who do not have planets in Scorpio, this intense energy can be revealed through its ruling planet Pluto, and sometimes via the eighth house. The Pluto/Scorpio energy can create extreme emotional highs, and yet change to depressingly low levels. However, these low levels are more implosive than depressing in which the individual simply needs to recharge.

They love mysteries, and if Mercury is in Scorpio, there is a probing truth-behind-the-truth ability. It is hard to deceive Scorpio as they are highly intuitive. In love, they can be self-sacrificing, and if they are attracted to someone, they can be quite relentless until the relationship is consumed. Scorpio's are typically magnetic, quite serious, and highly intuitive. As the classic sex sign, they can be extremely sexy, where sex is the ultimate merging of two souls and sometimes provides a unique kundalini experience. Although a deep, physical need for sex is prevalent, it may be repressed and channeled elsewhere, particularly if Saturn is strong or in the eighth house.

Scorpio has often been classified as the hangman, butcher, warrior, investigator, psychologist, or saint. Some Scorpio's identify with the term "Warrior-Priest," particularly if Leo energy is present. They can generally keep a secret, often because they have to!

Challenging Traits/Keywords
Jealous, possessive, vindictive, stubborn, resentful, tyrannical, resentful, vengeful, temperamental, overbearing, violent, sarcastic, suspicious, intolerant.

Beneficial Traits/Keywords
Courageous, resourceful, intuitive, efficient, powerful feelings and emotions, ambitious, motivated, penetrating, executive, determined, scientific, investigative, probing, passionate, aware.

Spiritual Inference
The ability to rise through the elements of its symbols (through forgiveness) and to fulfill subconscious desires.

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Glyph: Key Phrase: I Understand
Symbol: The Archer/Centaur Key Word: Visualization
Ruler: Jupiter Element: Fire
Natural House: Ninth Quality: Mutable
Anatomy: Hips, thighs, upper leg Class: Active

General Description
The glyph is an arrow with part of the bow. Sagittarius has some things in common with its opposite sign Gemini, but it likes to take these interests further. Such interests may include travel, sports, or mental pursuits. Like most signs, there is one of two main expressions. One is sporty, restless, unreliable and dislikes details. The other is more evolved, leaning towards idealism, philanthropy, science, philosophy, etc. However, either nature tends to be somewhat restless.

Such restlessness is because of a need to seek out new experiences. Travel is not something to be planned, but to be experienced. In a philosophical or scientific sense, it is making an hypothesis and researching the outcome. Religion and law are other areas the profound Sagittarian may be involved. Like most fire signs, Sagittarius likes to tell it how it is.

Challenging Traits/Keywords
Boisterous, tactless, exaggerative, quarrelsome, dictatorial, changeable, blunt, procrastinator, pushy, self-indulgent, impatient, lacks repose, gambler, hot-headed.

Beneficial Traits/Keywords
Friendly, honest, versatile, optimistic, sincere, straightforward, philosophical, freedom-loving, broadminded, athletic, generous, just, scholarly, enthusiastic.

Spiritual Inference
The need to apply balance to the experiences of the house in which the Sun is located. Adapting your energies towards inspiration (in-spirit-creation) and wisdom by learning restraint and repose, in order to identify with the interaction of all things.

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Glyph: Key Phrase: I Use
Symbol: The Sea-Goat Key Word: Ambition
Ruler: Saturn Element: Earth
Natural House: Tenth Quality: Cardinal
Anatomy: Knees and lower leg Class: Active

General Description
The sign of the sea-goat--which is symbolic of Capricorn's desire to either hermitize on a rough island mountain or seek freedom across the ocean of understanding. This can be portrayed in being either miserly, materialistic, stubborn, and defensive, to that of being disciplined, responsible, receptive, preserving, nature bound, and being open to the oneness of the universe.

Many Capricorn's are quite reserved, conservative and generally resilient, but their Achilles heel is to allow for the most trivial worry and pessimism to grow like a cancer in their psyche. While its opposite sign Cancer seeks comfort and security through their immediate surroundings, Capricorn widens this field towards activities and ambition in the outer world. They are usually careful, methodical and like to plan events. Mistakes occur rarely, but in the event they do, there is difficulty in perceiving what went wrong.

The ruler Saturn can sometimes influence a cold, rigid and mean element, yet Capricorn is generally dependable in a crisis. This rigidness and dependability can sometimes place them in positions of leadership. While Capricorn's rely on a few loyal friends, they can sometimes expect more loyalty from others than they are prepared to give or show. Any insecurity is normally based on a fear of being without the main essentials. As with all earth signs, too much emphasis is placed on trust, rather than the development of inherent instinct.

Challenging Traits/Keywords
Rigid, intolerant, self-absorbed, stoic, mean, suspicious, pessimistic, fatalistic, brooding, inhibited, unforgiving, domineering, egotistical, status-seeker, materialistic.

Beneficial Traits/Keywords
Patient, prudent, ambitious, honourable, reliable, efficient, serious, responsible, cautious, traditional, conventional, business-like, practical, perfectionist, hardworking.

Spiritual Inference
The quest to follow one's spiritual path; confront reality and discover its true nature; and experience unselfish love.

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Glyph: Key Phrase: I Know
Symbol: The Water Bearer Key Word: Imagination
Ruler: Uranus Element: Air
Natural House: Eleventh Quality: Fixed
Anatomy: Circulatory system, lower legs Class: Passive

General Description
The glyph of this sign is the man with the urn or water, or water-bearer. This symbol leads many Astrology initiates to perceive Aquarius as a water sign, whereas its true element is air. The action of pouring water from the urn, depicts the fountain of knowledge that is to be shared with humanity. While it's opposite sign Leo prefers to be personally creative, Aquarius tends to be more worldly and inventive. This is because they are focused with humanity rather while Leo has an individualized emphasis.

One type of Aquarian wants to invoke change into politics, science, and teaching by establishing friendship with communities and nations ("We-are-the-world"). The other type can be radical, rebellious and shock provoking. Aquarians are often more comfortable with friendships than with intimate love, which is primarily due to their fixed mode and being an element of air. The way to appeal to an Aquarian is through the heart, and not the emotions.

Much of the aforementioned applies with Uranus being the influential ruler. There are some Aquarians who appear to be more influenced by its co-ruler, Saturn, and this can create a rather different picture. Such individuals are less inventive and technical, and more stoic and political. Eccentricity and a bohemian nature is one of the extreme Uranus influences.

Challenging Traits/Keywords
Absentminded, reclusive, eccentric, perverse, fixed opinions, detached, tacky, unpredictable, temperamental, bored by detail, cold, exploitive, radical, impersonal, rebellious.

Beneficial Traits/Keywords
Broadminded, idealistic, inventive, helpful, original, intuitive, independent, tolerant, individualistic, progressive, creative, scientific, logical, humane, intellectual, altruistic.

Spiritual Inference
The need to reform, and integrate warm feelings to project your worldly quest.

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Glyph: Key Phrase: I Believe
Symbol: The Fishes Key Word: Understanding
Ruler: Neptune Element: Water
Natural House: Twelfth Quality: Mutable
Anatomy: The feet Class: Passive

General Description
The sign of two fishes--with one fish representing the physical being and the other the spiritual essence. Linked by a silver cord, this represents a human being animated by the soul. Due to the distinct separation between the physical and non-physical realms, Pisces does not usually integrate well into physical realities. Thus, they appear, vague, dreamy, nebulous and impressionable. In excess, there is delusion and deception. Its ruler, Neptune, has a strong influence, which creates a veil between the ego and a union with higher dimensions.

Impatient, arrogant, and insensitive individuals often inflict much suffering to many Pisceans, as the true qualities and gifts of this sign are not understood. As a result, many Pisceans become dejected and insecure. However, there tends to be a natural self sacrifice and selfless nature that is connected with their compassion and sympathy.

The fairy-tale character, Cinderella, represents an archetype for certain feminine personalities. Of all the water signs, Pisces is probably the most sensitive, and if an effort is not made to break the veil of illusion between this world and other worlds, their life can be very unhappy. Pisces must be loved and hugged to feel comfortable. On a high level evolutionary cycle, Jesus had six planets in Pisces.

Challenging Traits/Keywords
Vague, careless, confused, indecisive, procrastinating, self-pitying, overly sensitive, melancholy, pessimistic, emotionally inhibited, timid, impractical, indolent, feels misunderstood, the martyr.

Beneficial Traits/Keywords
Very psychic, compassionate, self-sacrificing, humble, kind, industrious, charitable, sympathetic, empathic, emotional, intuitive, messianic, musical, artistic.

Spiritual Inference
The need to acquire faith and perseverance in yourself and form a spiritual unity with that of the conscious mind (i.e. break down the veil between realities).

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