astrology signs and Zodiac

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Astrology signs and the zodiac

When considered collectively, the 12 constellations through which the planets—and their path the ecliptic—pass are called the zodiac. When considered individually they are known as the "signs." (An important distinction between the 12 signs and the 12 constellations of the zodiac is discussed on pages 90 to 92 in You and the Universe, as well as under "signs" and " precession" in the glossary).  When a planet is passing through one of these 12 divisions, it is said to be "in" that sign.

a horoscope chart exemplifying astrology signs

 

In the sample chart above, the signs are depicted by the 12 colored sectors of the big circle. Since every circle contains 360°, each of the 12 equal sign divisions contains 1/12th of 360°, or 30°. Each sign begins at 0° at its clockwise edge, or cusp, and continues counterclockwise. A sign ends at the end of its 29th degree. 30° of a sign is the same as 0° of the next sign.

A planet’s position in the zodiac is measured in degrees from the beginning of the sign it is in. The two numbers in your chart next to each planet’s symbol are its sign position in degrees and minutes (minutes or arc are 1/60th of a degree, so 7° 30' = 7½°). The degrees are closer to the planet and end in a superscripted °  symbol. Each planet’s sign appears as a tiny symbol between the degrees and minutes numbers.

Signs are like colored glass windows through which the planetary energies in them shine. Each color (sign) emphasizes or inhibits a particular light (planet), but doesn’t fundamentally change its energy. Descriptions of the signs are listed here.

Signs are grouped together if they are harmonious with or discordant to each other. More precisely, since it is not the signs but rather the planets in them that do the relating, signs are grouped by how the planets in them relate. Signs in which planets relate harmoniously are grouped into what are called the "triplicities" or "elements": earth, air, fire and water.

 

 

The element Fire: Aries, Leo and Sagittarius

 

Aries

Leo

Sagittarius

 

 

The element Earth: Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn

 

Taurus

Virgo

Capricorn

 

 

The element Air: Gemini, Libra and Aquarius

 

Gemini

Libra

Aquarius

 

 

The element Water: Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces:

 

Cancer

Scorpio

Pisces

 

 

 

The elements can be sorted into two further groups: the positive, masculine, or yang in expression, and the negative, feminine, or yin in expression. These two categories are known as a sign's "polarity." All the fire and air signs are masculine, or yang, whereas all the water and earth signs are feminine, or yin.

Signs in which planets inherently relate with difficulty, friction or obstruction fall into three groups known as the "quadruplicities:" the cardinal, fixed and mutable signs. The cardinal signs begin each season, the fixed signs continue and deepen each season, and the mutable signs end them and distribute their energy. All cardinal signs are in discord with each other, and the same is true as well for all fixed and mutable signs in relation to each other.

 

 

The cardinal signs begin each season:

 

Aries

Cancer

Libra

Capricorn

 

 

the fixed signs continue and deepen each season:

 

Taurus

Leo

Scorpio

Aquarius

 

 

and the mutable signs end them and distribute their energy:

 

Gemini

Virgo

Sagittarius

Pisces

 

 

 

The zodiac also contains six pairs of opposing signs symbolizing poles of awareness or illumination. An aspect between planets in any such pair is called an "opposition," and represents rejected or projected parts of ourselves manifesting as others we meet in the world.  Tables showing how the signs are sorted by quadruplicity and by opposition are available in You and the Universe on page 18.

A planet is said to "rule" a sign whose properties are similar to, resonate with, or emphasize that planet’s properties. A planet in a sign it rules is more powerful, expresses itself more freely than otherwise, and is said to be "dignified." Mercury and Venus each rule two signs.

A planet in a sign opposite the one it rules is said to be in its "detriment." Here it is diminished in its power or inhibited in its expression. Every planet also has one sign in which it expresses its nature most harmoniously and its energy in its highest form. It is said to be "exalted" in that sign. And in the sign opposite its exaltation, its "fall," planets express themselves most poorly and are at their weakest. Planetary rulerships, detriments, exaltations and falls are listed on page 47 in You and the Universe and in a smaller copy of that page here.

Jupiter, for example, rules Sagittarius because the expansive, philosophical, extroverted, pedantic, optimistic, spiritual nature of Jupiter is harmonious with the quality Sagittarius. You may have Sagittarius qualities accentuated in your personality by having one or more planets there, or by having Sagittarius Rising. To say, however, "you are a Sagittarius," means that you were born when the Sun in particular was in Sagittarius. Yet whether or not "you’re a Sagittarius," it’s somewhere in your personality and thus somewhere in your chart. Sagittarius’ meaning for you, and the personal meaning of all the other signs as well, will be interpreted for you when a planet falls in that sign, or when that sign falls on a house cusp.

This Astrology signs and the Zodiac page and much of this 600-page resource website are excerpted from You and the Universe.

 

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The personalized Fine Art Book You and the Universe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© Carl Woebcke: Astrology Signs and the Zodiac, 1991-2016. All rights reserved.