The 12 Astrological Signs

Each of the 12 signs expresses one of four familiar temperaments and three modalities. Learn to identify the 12 basic astrological rchetypes and enrich your life with Astrology.

Astrology is for everyone. Although the layers, complexities and nuances of this ancient art can take a lifetime to master, there are easy to learn basic building blocks. If you hang around astrologers or devotees you’ll hear the following terms being thrown around – planets, signs, houses and aspects. These are the four essential components. Master these and the treasures of this 5,000 year old system open before you like a magic carpet.

The best secret is not really a secret at all. Planets, signs, houses and aspects are all related to each other. No one needs to learn a multitude of ideas or memorize a bunch of definitions. All you need to do is grasp 12 central ideas or archetypes associated with the 12 astrological signs.

Each sign is a unique combination or energy pattern associated with one element and one modality. There are no duplicates; four elements multiplied by three modalities equals 12 unique astrology signs.

Elements: Temperament

Fire signs Aries, Leo and Sagittarius are associated with the spirit and on a good day naturally spark joy. Fire motivates, inspires and is action oriented. Fire needs fuel and seeks it in the form of adventure, experiences and recognition and approval from others. If you are looking for passion and inspiration, check out the fire signs.

Earth signs Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn are associated with the body, physical environment and all material form. These are the “doers” of the zodiac, industrious, organized, dependable, disciplined and practical. They can make order out of chaos. Quality of life, material resources and sensuality are important to them.

Air signs Gemini, Libra and Aquarius are associated with the mind, cognitive functioning and communication. These individuals love to play with ideas, concepts, values and ideals. Communication is vital to their well being. Usually social, they love chatting, writing, comparing notes and sharing ideas. Open-minded and idealistic, they tend to keep a youthful and humanitarian perspective throughout their lives.

Water signs Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces are associated with feelings and emotional expression. These folks are perceptive, intuitive, empathetic, creative and often mysterious. Although naturally nurturing, they are also emotionally thin-skinned and can be protective or withdraw into the safety of their imaginations.

Modalities: Styles and Ways Energy Flows

Cardinal signs occur at the beginning of a season. Aries ushers in spring; Cancer signals the beginning of summer; Libra coincides with autumn; and Capricorn brings in winter. Here you find initiation, action and new beginnings. These are the movers and the shakers of the zodiac innovating and acting as a force for change. You can depend on these individuals for generating new ideas and coming up with novel and refreshing designs and strategies.

Fixed signs (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius) fall in the middle of a season and help to stabilize, concentrate and anchor energy. They are known for their follow-through, stamina, loyalty and strong sense of values. If you want someone to complete a project, arrange all the details of a social gathering, or generally finish what has been started, these are your go-to angels.

Mutable signs, Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces emerge in the last month of a season and are known for their adaptability and flexibility. They are open to change, easily see both sides of a situation or issue and can quickly respond to new ideas and circumstances.

Putting it Together

Let’s explore how these unique combinations of elements and modalities express themselves in the 12 astrological signs. Please note the dates given are approximate. Exact dates vary slightly from year to year. Consult a professional astrologer or find this information online.

Aries – March 21 – April 20

Element: Fire

Modality: Cardinal

You are the warrior, pioneer, daredevil and survivor. You are energetic, willful, confident, impulsive, resourceful and headstrong. You didn’t come here to lead a boring ho-hum life. To be alive means adventure and willingness to take a risk. Challenge and competition are paths of growth and ways to sharpen your natural skills and talents. Your only direction is forward.

Maximize Your Potential:

  • Be willing to take the lead; others want to follow you
  • Stretch yourself physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually
  • You are happiest when you are learning something new or pioneering a new path. Follow your curiosity

Taurus – April 21 – May 20

Element: Earth

Modality: Fixed

You are the manifestation of the spirit of nature, the Green Man, the cook, musician and the gardener. You love beautiful things, comfort and the good life. You may be a bit possessive, but you are also dependable, sensuous, practical, artistic and generous. You are one of the best listeners in the cosmos and a devoted friend.

Maximize Your Potential:

  • Think quality over quantity. Have only those things that reflect your values
  • Get your hands dirty; be outside, walk in nature, tend a garden, learn about nature spirits, trees, plants, ecology, green living and recycling
  • Express your creativity in physical activities. Consider specialty food preparation, working with fabrics, paint or clay, arranging flowers, or making music

Gemini – May 21 – June 20

Element: Air

Modality: Mutable

You are the storyteller, journalist, translator and ultimate communicator. You are curious, adaptable, restless, playful, multi-faceted, quick, clever, expressive, social and open-minded. Information excites you! You never tire of learning something new and can be counted on for knowing at least a little about everything.

Maximize Your Potential:

  • Follow your curiosity
  • Avoid scattering your energy or only skimming the surface by limiting the number of ideas you are investigating at any one time
  • Improve your communication, writing or public speaking skills with a class, workshop or on-line learning tool

Cancer – June 21 – July 20

Element: Water

Modality: Cardinal

The essence of mother, healer, feeler and protector, nurturing is your forte. You are sensitive, romantic, maternal, self-sacrificing, tenacious, cautious, creative and patient. You know the value of fostering close and positive relationships with family and those you define as family.

Maximize Your Potential:

  • Make yourself a priority by scheduling plenty of time for activities that are personally enriching
  • Think about and practice creating and maintaining appropriate personal boundaries
  • Learn about and develop your intuition and psychic abilities with books, movies, classes and on-line learning

Leo – July 21 – August 20

Element: Fire

Modality: Fixed

You are the ruler, performer and the actor. You are generous, affectionate, dramatic, proud, noble, playful, commanding and outspoken. Leo is all about the inner child and developing a strong sense of self. Creative and self-expressive, Leo entertains, leads and teaches. It may take time and many life experiences to develop self-confidence and to look inside for validation.

Maximize Your Potential:

  • Identify what you love to do and do it. Hear the lion roar!
  • Have fun with adoring audiences, but don’t let others opinions count more than your own. When you can be on stage enjoying the process without the need for applause, you have reached your nirvana
  • Be the regal and noble one enjoying your sense of style and leadership

Virgo – August 21 – September 20

Element: Earth

Modality: Mutable

You are the analyst, the server and the hermit. You were expecting me to say virgin? Yes, that too. But realize one of the original meanings of virgin is a self-contained and self-directed individual who belongs to no one. You dance the continuum between solitude and the need to serve others with humility. You are a paradoxical combination of sexuality, fertility and purity. Prone to being self-critical you are also discerning, observant, detailed, precise, pragmatic and unselfish.

Maximize Your Potential:

  • Make it your goal to learn to live with grace and acceptance in an imperfect world
  • Watch critical self-talk and practice psychological and spiritual disciplines that value non-judgment
  • Embrace and tout your mental skills, integrity and dedication to doing things to the best of your ability

Libra – September 21 – October 20

Element: Air

Modality: Cardinal

You are the lover, artist, peacemaker and arbitrator. You are capable of weighing both sides of an issue and making an impartial judgment. Sometimes a people-pleaser, you are also graceful, fair, loving, creative, considerate, cooperative and tactful. Valuing peace, fairness and balance, you easily use your charm to create nurturing partnerships and beautiful environments.

Maximize Your Potential:

  • Be in relationship with others – this is where you learn your greatest lessons and where you shine
  • Don’t take your natural creativity and artistic gifts for granted; explore them
  • Make the world beautiful; practice Feng Shui, learn how to arbitrate or negotiate; model behaviors of fairness, balance and peace

Scorpio – October 21 – November 20

Element: Water

Modality: Fixed

You are fearless in your pursuit of understanding what makes people tick. You are the detective, surgeon, hypnotist and sorcerer. Your goal is nothing less than transformation and evolution. People often describe you as intense, passionate, perceptive, creative, magnetic, heroic and even competitive.

Maximize Your Potential:

  • Put your powers of concentration to good use by studying a topic you want to master
  • Explore your creativity in whatever form it may take
  • Perfect your natural talents as healer, therapist, guide and counselor

Sagittarius - November 21 – December 20

Element: Fire

Modality: Mutable

You are the student, philosopher, traveler and teacher. You are known as optimistic, philosophical, independent, open-minded, athletic and somewhat of a risk-taker. You are motivated by the need to find truth, wisdom and meaning in life. Fences and defenses are not your style. Having the freedom to explore and expand your horizons is your goal. You continually seek to find patterns in life’s circumstances and events and usually enjoy sharing the wealth of your observations with others as a teacher and healer.

Maximize Your Potential:

  • Outdoor exercise including walking, jogging, hiking and yoga appeal to your need for freedom of movement
  • Make learning a part of your routine. Although you might prefer to learn through travel and personal experience, on-line classes and videos can expand your horizons
  • Investigate one or more healing modalities. The desire to teach and heal is in your astrological DNA!

Capricorn – December 21 – January 20

Element: Earth

Modality: Cardinal

You are the essence of father, authority, manager, builder and executive. Discipline is your middle name! You don’t shy away from a challenge or hard work and shine when you have a goal in your sights. You are ambitious, dedicated, motivated, determined, dependable, efficient and systematic. Don’t let the serious demeanor fool you; you revel in your sensuality.

Maximize Your Potential:

  • Dare to be the leader and the boss. Hone your natural management skills through workshops, classes or on-line training
  • Walk the middle road with money and resources being cautious, sensible and generous. Being either a spendthrift or miser does not become you!
  • Volunteer your expertise teaching, demonstrating or mentoring

Aquarius – January 21 – February 20

Element: Air

Modality: Fixed

You are the visionary genius, revolutionary, humanitarian and the scientist. Interested in social reform and making the world a better place, you aren’t afraid to be thought of as independent, eccentric, forward-thinking, unconventional or progressive.

Maximize Your Potential:

  • Get fired up and involved in a social cause that moves you
  • Be willing to think outside the box and imagine new designs and solutions
  • Practice self-acceptance and find inner strength and self-worth independent of others’ ideas or opinions

Pisces – February 21 – March 20

Element: Water

Modality: Mutable

You are the mystic, dreamer, poet and spiritual guide. Because of extreme sensitivity you can consciously or unconsciously lose yourself in an idea, cause or person. You are adaptable, romantic, devoted, idealistic, imaginative and did I say psychic?

Maximize Your Potential:

  • Create and maintain personal boundaries; this is important personally and professionally
  • You are a natural with essential oils, flower essences, crystals, energetic healing and complementary and alternative healing modalities. Use them for yourself or professionally
  • Include more organization and structure in your life. This is the way to turn dreams into reality

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