Introduction into the
Astrological Signs of the Zodiac
THE CIRCLE OF LIFE
Astrology can appear unnecessarily complex to beginners. I would like to present the zodiac to you in very simple terms so you can apply its principles to your own life. If you can understand what a turning circle is, you can understand astrology! The circle of our life, from birth to death, mirrors the circular motion of the entire swirling universe.
A horoscope is a map of the heavens. It shows how the heavenly bodies—the Sun, Moon, and planets—stood in dynamic relation to each other at a specific time, viewed from a specific place on the Earth. I say “dynamic” because the energy of the heavenly bodies influences everything around them—including your life here on Earth.
Because we humans are interested in knowing how the planets influence life on Earth, a horoscope shows the Earth at the center with the planets arranged around it in a circle. That band around the Earth that the planets move about is called the zodiac. In Greek zodiac means “band of animals.”
The zodiac is divided into twelve sections called houses. The 1st house is in the east (on the left side of the horoscope), where the sun rises. The other houses progress counterclockwise around the circle. This is a fixed ring of the horoscope; the planets turn but the houses don’t. As the planets move about the Earth, in the space of one year they move through all of the houses sequentially.
The houses represent the important areas of your life:
- 1st House: Personality and Self-Expression
- 2nd House: Finances & Property
- 3rd House: Communication & Excursions
- 4th House: Home & the Unconscious
- 5th House: Children & Creativity
- 6th House: Work & Health
- 7th House: Partnership & Relating to Others
- 8th House: Death & Regeneration
- 9th House: The Higher Mind & the Search for Meaning
- 10th House: Public Image, Career, & Destiny
- 11th House: Friends & Vision
- 12th House: Personal Connection with the Divine & the Invisible Realms
So when we say that “Pluto is in the 6th House” we mean that Pluto is in a position that can potentially influence your work and your health. If you were experiencing difficulties at work or were thinking of applying for a promotion, you would look to the 6th House to see which planets were in that house at the moment. Are they planets that are likely to support your current work endeavors?
The Signs of the Zodiac
On a horoscope there is another ring outside the ring of houses. This narrow outer ring contains the twelve signs of the zodiac. The twelve signs are named for constellations.
|The 12 signs and their symbols|
The signs appear in the houses on the horoscope. Which house they appear in is different for each horoscope. In the horoscope below, Pisces is in the 2nd House, Taurus is in the 4th House
Image curtesy of Astrodienst
Each sign of the zodiac comes under special influence of one of the planets. For example, Aries is heavily influenced by Mars. We say that Aries is “ruled by” Mars. This is important because the characteristics of the planet influence the sign. Mars the warrior lends his characteristics of strong will, leadership, and strength to the sign of Aries. So if you are born under Aries, you will share those characteristics of Mars. Each house also comes under the influence of a specific sign. So Aries rules the 1st House and is ruled by Mars.
The Heavenly Bodies
The Sun, the Moon, and the planets as they stand at a certain time, seen from a certain location, are arranged around the zodiac ring, just inside the signs of the outer ring. I think of the planets as characters in a play. Each planet has unique characteristics that give it a special role to play, just like the unique characters in a play. The role that a planet plays and the strength of its influence depends on which sign it is in and how it relates to that sign. Some signs support a specific planet, giving it special influence. Other signs might counteract the influence of a planet.
The Signs as the Theater of Life
As you look up at the sky at night, you can imagine the planets as actors on a stage. In a sense, the astrological signs are the “stage” where the planets act out their roles. Each stage has its own particular energy pattern that influences the planets as actors. As a planet enters a sign, it comes under the influence of the energy pattern of that sign. So we might say that “Mars is in Leo now,” which means that Mars is now being influenced by the energy pattern of the sign of Leo. When Mars has finished its role in Leo it will move on to its next stage, Virgo, where things will be quite different for Mars! So Mars always retains its own qualities, but those are modified according to the sign that Mars is in.
The Character & Energy Patterns of the Signs
The signs get their characteristics from where they fall in the yearly cycle of one revolution of the zodiac, which represents one revolution of the Earth around the Sun. During that year, all life on Earth goes through one cycle of evolution.
If you live in a place that has four seasons, you can strongly sense that your life has an ebb and flow related to the seasons. You may be acutely aware of changes in your energy, emotions, sleep patterns, and ambitions as the seasons change. The astrological signs represent that cycle of evolution of energy.
The energy patterns of the signs almost constitute a personality type, a typical mode of expression of the sign. For example, Aries, because it is the first sign of the zodiac and is associated with spring, symbolizes new energy, new beginnings, new growth, expansion of all creation. Those energy qualities are correlated with personal qualities such as courage, extroversion, aggression, and so on. It is not hard to see why Aries is called “the warrior,” and how an astrological sign can take on human personality characteristics.
The Dates of the Signs
Viewed from the Earth, the Sun appears to change its position in the sky as it moves through the year (actually it’s the Earth that tilts on its axis). The Sun moves into each constellation on a specific date. So when we say that the dates for Aries are March 21 to April 20, we mean that the Sun appears in Aries on those dates.
The Genders & Elements of Signs
Each sign is considered either masculine or feminine and is associated with one of the four elements, Earth, Air, Fire, or Water. As you might already have guessed, Aries, for example, is a masculine fire sign.
Your Birth Sign
At the moment of your birth—the most important day of your life—you come into the world under the influence of the energy of that specific moment generated by the heavenly bodies, how they stand in relation to each other, and the astrological sign of your birth date. You are infused with those energies and will be influenced by them throughout your lifetime. This is not at all surprising, given that you are an energy being! All of these energy relationships and their meaning are revealed by your horoscope.
When you are born you are like a seed that contains all the information and potential that will make it grow into a specific plant. Your horoscope is a chart of the beginning of your life (or of an event later in life). Like a seed, it contains information about the energy pattern that makes you who you are and points to your recurring life themes.
Learning about your sign can help you understand the themes that you experience in your personality, challenges and successes, relationships, health, and goals and dreams. Seeing those patterns will help you find ways to get around your challenges and work with your best qualities.
In my book Jewelry and Gems for Self-Discovery: Choosing Gemstones that Delight the Eyes & Strengthen the Soul I teach you about how to read your horoscope and how to find the main themes in your chart. You will get a deeper understanding about your part in the bigger picture of the universe. Then you will be able to balance yourself with your 12 main healing gemstones, you could call your true birthstones.
You can also visit me at the Astrological Signs Weather Report & Healing Gems Blog where I discuss the actual universal, astrological forces and inspire you to use them wisely for a successful and joyful life. Healing gemstones are suggested as tools to balance and come into alignment with the cosmic flow and can be used to create custom designed soul jewelry.
WELCOME TO THE CIRCLE OF LIFE!
I hope you enjoyed this look into the mysterious workings of the heavens and realize how we are a part of that. With this introduction to the zodiac, you’re ready to learn the qualities of each sign of the zodiac, and then the specific heavenly bodies. Welcome to the circle of life!
Aloha and many blessings, Shakti.