The Signs of the Zodiac & How to Use Them Daykeeper Journal

Daykeeper Journal
Astrology Basics Series
Astrology’s Building Blocks:
The Signs of the Zodiac
& How to Use Them
in Your Chart
by Terry Lamb
Astrology Building Blocks Series: Signs of the Zodiac and How to Use
Them in Your Chart
Published by Daykeeper Publications
Copyright 2014 Terry Lamb, Daykeeper Journal, all right reserved.
First Edition Published 2014
What Are the Signs?
When an astrologer looks up at the sky, they see the sparkling lights of the planets and stars, but
they also rely on the field of energy behind the stars and planets, which is divided into twelve
equal parts, the Signs of the Zodiac. The Signs are represented by symbols in the chart and
“attached” as attributes to the planets.
Figure 1. An astrological
chart with Sign glyphs
around the outside rim in
30° increments. Planet
glyphs, in the inner “pie”
sections, fall within the
areas ruled by each sign
and assume some of the
“personality,” tendencies
and characteristics
of that sign.
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Each Sign is a living symbol, or archetype, that in some basic way can be depicted by the creature associated with that Sign. Thus we have Aries the Ram, Taurus the Bull, Aquarius the WaterBearer, and so on. Beneath those meanings, each Sign represents a cluster of qualities that can be
tied to a root concept that is that Sign’s motivation or area of development.
Figure 2. Signs, constellations, and zodiac symbols.
We could say that the Signs in our chart represent something we are becoming.
If, for instance, you have Sun in Cancer, we could say that during your life, you are “Cancer-ing”, or
learning to understand and live through Cancer energy.
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Among the basic components of your birth chart, the Signs represent the HOW and the WHY
of your chart. Why do you do the things you do? What motivates you, gives you purpose? What
does an experience mean to you and why? In the language of astrology, the Signs can be described
through adjectives and adverbs. Think of the Sign of planet showing its character. If the planet is
the player on the stage, its Sign is its personality, costume, and all the traits displayed through its
behavior.
Signs? Constellations? What’s the Difference?
The Signs are not the same as the constellations. Even though they carry the same names, the
Signs are not the same as the constellations. In fact, some people have started calling the constellations by different labels to end the confusion, so the constellation of Taurus is called the Bull, for
example.
The locations and sequence of the Signs in a chart are determined from an “Earth-centered”
perspective. Imagine a pointed extending from Earth into the Heavens at that instant when the
March Equinox (Northern Hemisphere Spring) occurs, landing on the path of the Sun across the
sky (the Ecliptic). The place on that path where that pointer lands is the beginning of the Sign Aries, and then the remaining Signs are marked off at 30° intervals around the Heavens in a circle
(360°).
Figure 3. Earth-centered
zodiac with constellations
around earth’s plane of
orbit, called the ecliptic.
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The Earth-centered (geocentric) Zodiac is not related to the current locations of the constellations in the skies, except that they can be called by the same names and occur in the same order.
How Do the Signs Fit into My Birth Chart?
Even if you don’t have any planets in a particular sign, it’s still in your chart and can be felt
through outside influences. You’re just not learning or contributing something specifically
through that sign’s energy, as you would if a planet were there.
Figure 4. The Sign symbols:
First row: Aries, Taurus,
Gemini, Cancer.
Second row: Leo, Virgo,
Libra, Scorpio.
Third row: Sagittarius,
Capricorn, Aquarius,
Pisces.
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When you look at your chart, you’ll see the planets arranged within the wheel according to how
they were when you were born. Next to each planet’s symbol, you’ll see a degree-minute-Sign (or
degree-Sign-minute) notation (see Figure 1). This is that planet’s position in the Zodiac and shows
the range of ways you will be inclined to express its energy.
What About That 13th Sign?
The ancient Greek mathematical wizards who came up with the Zodiac we use today understood the power of the number 12 and latched on to that number of signs because it can be used
to express so many layers of meaning. Most of the Zodiacs in the world use 12 Signs at this time,
although if we go back into the earliest Sumerian Zodiac, we’ll find 17 signs! Nowhere is there the
13-sign system that has been suggested recently. Although planets will wander through a part of
the constellation Ophiuchus (the “13th Sign”), it has never been part of the traditional Zodiac and
is not needed in the Sign system.
How Do We Use Them?
Each sign represents a process that results in a spectrum of behavior. There are harmonious
ways of manifesting each Sign, just as there are conflictual or challenging ways to do so. This
results in a broad range of possible personality traits for each Sign, some of which overlap. This is
what makes the way we express our birth chart so interesting and individual.
One thing that stays constant is why we are doing what we’re doing. Over a lifetime, we will refine and improve our expression (or at least that’s the goal!), but the core meaning and motivation
stay the same throughout our life and in every person, regardless of how we choose to express it.
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You’ll notice I used the word “choose”. Yes, we do choose how to use the Signs, every minute of
every day. This is why an astrologer can’t really say what’s going to happen in your life. We have
the power to choose our expression of our birth chart at every turn. What an astrologer can do is
dialogue with you to determine how you are currently using a particular Sign energy, suggesting
choices that may create a better outcome. Predictions can be made based on “typical” ways that
you or others use a Sign archetype, but this is not as useful for individuals as it is for large groups
(like society as a whole), which are less likely to respond to events through conscious choice.
The Signs
This is a small selection of possible characteristics. You choose which ones you will act out.
A
Aries the Identity-Seeker
Seeks the answer to “who am I,” initiating, pioneering, inspiring, energetic, focused; impulsive, selfish,
ungrounded, may not follow through.
B
Taurus the Revealer of Beauty
Creating/building beauty, manifesting, artistic, stable, strong, anchored, earthy, persistent; security-seeking, materialistic, possessive, desired-ruled, stubborn.
C
Gemini the Experimenter
Collecting knowledge, wants to know, dual-natured, intellectual, versatile, imitative, communicative,
quick; superficial, undisciplined, fickle, nervous.
D
Cancer the Nurturer
Nurturing the family or “tribe,” sensitive, instinctive, caring, receptive, protecting, healing, psychic; defensive, insecure, moody, overprotective.
E
Leo the Giver
Expressing divine love and creativity; generous, warm, strong-willed, enthusiastic, dramatic, sociable; approval seeking, snobbish, selfish, proud.
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F
Virgo the Harvester
Applying spirit (inner nature) into matter, skilled, logical, efficient, dedicated, humble, discerning; critical,
messy, anxious, weak health, tense.
G
Libra the Harmonizer
Balancing opposites to find harmony and beauty, fair, cooperativev, charming, artistic, intellectual; manipulative, indecisive, lazy, vain, false.
H
Scorpio the Transformer
Manifesting death and rebirth, bringing the depths to light, deep, sincere, driving, psychic, powerful,
intense; driven, manipulative, secretive, destructive, reclusive.
I
Sagittarius the Seeker
Seeks universal knowledge and awareness, philosophical, direct, humanitarian, honest, open-minded;
dogmatic, fanatical, tactless, moralistic, judgmental.
J
Capricorn the Protector
Providing wise leadership (to protect and serve), wise, realistic, effective, hard-working, sincere, careful;
depressive, pessimistic, fearful, restrictive, cold.
K
Aquarius the Maverick
Manifests group consciousness; objective, humanitarian, politically aware, socially responsible, inventive,
independent, futuristic; eccentric, rebellious, cold, scattered.
L
Pisces the Visionary
Healing and uniting with the whole; spiritual, empathic, healing, flexible, inspirational, imaginative; sacrificing, wishy-washy, confused, escapist, ungrounded.
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What Are the Relationships Between Signs?
With the Signs, which are constant (always set in the same positions and order), it is possible
to define interactions between the bodies that are found in them. The Greeks were good at this
geometric stuff, and they gave us the ways of associating the Signs to each other that we still use
today.
Because the Signs are arranged in a circle, they relate to each other by mathematical angle. Two
signs that are across the circle from each other are opposite, representing a polarity. The Signs in a
polarity will seem to be exactly opposite each other, but in fact they have something important in
common.
Figure 5. Signs in polarity. Signs are also Yin and
Yang, feminine (-) and
masculine (+).
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Sign Polarities: AXIS of RELATIONSHIP
A Aries
G Libra
Self-centeredness
compassion
selfishness
selflessness
egocentrism
self-sacrifice
arrogance
self-deprecation
vanity
vanity
narcissism
martyrdom
Sign Polarities: AXIS of WILL/CONSTRUCTION
B Taurus
H Scorpio
manifesting beauty
transforming
fertile
healing
earthy, sensual
intense, deep
possessive
withholding
acquisitive
autocratic
stagnating, stuck
destructive
Sign Polarities: AXIS of MIND
C Gemini
I Sagittarius
exploring polarity/ communion
seeking truth
dispersing, spreading
focusing
lively, excitable
idealistic
scattered
narrow
inconsistent
dogmatic
fragmented, split
fanatical
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Sign Polarities: AXIS of CIVILIZATION
D Cancer
J Capricorn
nurturing
structuring
embracing, filling
containing
childlike
savvy, worldly
childish
controlling
needy
remote
smothering
isolated
Sign Polarities: AXIS of SOCIETY (Group Consciousness)
E Leo
K Aquarius
self-determination
individuality
enthusiastic
altruistic, humanitarian
dramatic
objective
“the star”
detached
approval-seeking
rebellious
arrogant
reactionary
Sign Polarities: AXIS of SPIRIT-MATTER
F Virgo
L Pisces
practical
visionary
discerning
empathic/accepting
logical/analytical
surrendering
dedicated/committed
self-annihilating
critical
spineless
alienated
losing the Self
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The 12 Signs can also be divided into groups of three to give us their qualities by Element (Fire,
Earth, Air, Water) and by Modality (Cardinal, Fixed, Mutable). This creates lots of links and ways
of harmonizing the Signs in our personality. In addition, there are “odd connections”, where two
Signs don’t really have that much in common. This makes us stretch our consciousness to blend
the two in exotic ways.
Figure 6. The Signs by element:
Fire (Aries, Leo, Sagittarius),
Earth (Taurus, Capricorn,
Scorpio), Air (Gemini, Libra,
Aquarius), and Water (Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces).
ELEMENTAL SIGN RELATIONSHIPS
COMFORTABLE
STIMULATING
CHALLENGING
Fire ~ Air
Earth ~ Water
Fire ~ Earth
Air ~ Water
Fire ~ Water
Earth ~ Air
Fire + Air = bonfire
Earth + Water = mud (arable soil)
Fire + Earth = clay brick
Air + Water = mist (fog)
Fire + Water = steam
Earth + Air = dust(storm)
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THE FIRE SIGNS
THE AIR SIGNS
A Aries
E Leo
I Sagittarius
C Gemini
G Libra
K Aquarius
Primary Quality: ACTION
Primary Quality: THINKING
Response: I’LL DO IT!
Response: I THINK IT.
• energy of will (yang)
• relies on its fuel for sustenance (“the clinging”)
• moves upward
• energy of connection/animation (yang)
• connects, transports, catalyzes other substances
• moves across (horizontally)
• Balanced Expressions: enthusiasm, humor, joy
• Extreme Expressions: anger, lack of empathy
• Difficulty in Expressing: receptivity, passivity,
patience, sensitivity, stability
• Balanced Expressions: objectivity, flexibility,
quickness
• Extreme Expressions: insensitivity, anger, shallowness
• Difficulty in Expressing: intensity, emotion, intimacy, stability
THE EARTH SIGNS
THE WATER SIGNS
B Taurus
F Virgo
J Capricorn
D Cancer
H Scorpio
L Pisces
Primary Quality: SENSING
Primary Quality: FEELING (IRRATIONAL)
Response: I SENSE IT.
Response: I FEEL IT.
• energy of substance (yin)
• provides sustenance
• does not move (resists movement)
• energy of flow (yin)
• assumes the form of whatever contains (influences) it
• moves downward
• Balanced Expressions: perceptivity, sensuality,
resourcefulness, receptivity, practicality, stability
• Extreme Expressions: depression, stubbornness,
conservatism, sacrifice of emotions for “reality”
• Difficulty in Expressing: emotions, flexibility,
enterprise
• Balanced Expressions: sensitivity, subtlety, psychism, compassion
• Extreme Expressions: moddiness, depression,
possessiveness, insecurity
• Difficulty in Expressing: objectivity, liveliness,
stability, practicality
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The Sign Modalities: Cardinal, Fixed and Mutable
THE CARDINAL CROSS
AAries
DCancer
GLibra
JCapricorn
Cross Issue: CRISIS IN IDENTITY (loss
of focus, direction & sense of self)
First Response: MAKE IT YOUR
OWN IDEA.
Secondary Response: ACTION.
To Get a Positive Response in Others:
MAKE SUGGESTIONS, LET THEM
TAKE THE LEAD
If you are strongly Cardinal,
• Your interest arises easily, but lack
staying power
• You make changes easily if it’s your
idea or you have some control or
self-interest
• You may need encouragement
• You will try new things
• You need to take the lead
• You may make over ideas into your
own
• What others see is what they get
To heal yourself:
• Recognize that every new idea
doesn’t have to be ours.
• Remind yourself that you can still
make valuable contributions, even
if you are not in the lead.
• Think of other initiatives that you
are already involved in or can begin
in the future.
• Look at the situation from another
person’s point of view
• Open yourself to what others are
trying to tell you.
THE FIXED CROSS
THE MUTABLE CROSS
CGemini
FVirgo
ISagittarius
LPisces
BTaurus
ELeo
HScorpio
KAquarius
Cross Issue: CRISIS IN SELF-ESTEEM
(loss of foundation, stability & selflove)
First Response: RESISTANCE, WITHDRAWAL
Secondary Response: PROBING,
TESTING
To Get a Positive Response in Others:
BE PATIENT AND GIVE THEM TIME
TO RESPOND
If you are strongly Fixed,
• You tend to hold things in.
• You may be slow to change.
• You need time to get used to new
ideas
• You will naturally resist change and
newness
• Once you accept change, will be
committed to it.
• You need initial support and trust.
• You will become stubborn if pushed
or manipulated.
• You may not overtly respond.
To heal yourself:
• Give yourself time and space to let
your best decision emerge.
• Communicate about your need to
proceed slowly.
• Be willing to discuss your thoughts
and feelings with others.
• Recognize that when someone
offers a new idea, it is not because
they think something is wrong with
you or what you have done.
• Remember that change is an important part of maintaining stability.
Cross Issue: CRISIS IN WHOLENESS
(loss of completeness, completion &
self-integrity [scattering])
First Response: “OKAY, WHATEVER.”
Secondary Response:
RECONSIDERATION, REGRET
To Get a Positive Response in Others:
DON’T ACCEPT FIRST RESPONSE
AS FINAL; WAIT FOR EXPRESSION
OF TRUE FEELINGS
If you are strongly Mutable,
• You are flexible, want to make
things work.
• You are open to newness but lack
discipline, may live chaotically/ arrhythmically.
• You are sensitive and respond
quickly, often without thinking of
your own needs.
• You try to avoid confrontation.
• You want instant results, may be
easily discouraged.
• You may not follow through due to
distractions and fear of confrontation.
To heal yourself:
• Recognize that it is important for
you to honor your own needs.
• Choose to disagree if that’s right
for you.
• Allow yourself to change your
mind.
• Slow down long enough to pull
yourself back together, into a
whole, centered person.
• Face the music and tell the truth.
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How Do Planets Relate to Signs?
Any planet can be found in any Sign. However, there are natural planet-Sign affinities and associations that astrologers call rulerships or dignities. Rulerships are part of a complex ancient system,
but they are powerful even in the simplified form used by modern astrologers.
SIGN
AAries
B Taurus
C Gemini
D Cancer
E Leo
F Virgo
G Libra
H Scorpio
I Sagittarius
J Capricorn
K Aquarius
L Pisces
RULER
U Mars
T Venus
S Mercury
Q Moon
Q Sun
S Mercury
T Venus
U Mars
V Jupiter
W Saturn
W Saturn
V Jupiter
ISSUE
one-pointedness (I am all there is; disregard for other things & people)
stability (self-love & physical security; generating beauty [what is of value?])
duality (reconciling & connecting opposites, split nature)
nurturance (belonging, emotional security; nurturing, being nurtured
centeredness (finding & being oneself [one’s Self] to fulfill the life purpose)
maintaining essence in structure (perfecting, analysis, quality control)
finding & maintaining balance (equality, relating, justice, symmetry)
transformation (death & rebirth, survival, intense sensitivity)
finding, speaking & living universal truth
support through structure, planning & balancing responsibility
independence (through responsible individuality within the group)
integrity (union with the whole, integration, assimilation, loss of boundary)
Chiron, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto do not rule signs in the Traditional Rulership system.
Rulerships describe natural associations that arose by asking the question, “How well or strongly does this planet work in this Sign?” Astrologers learned for instance that the Sun is very strong
in Leo, while Venus is strongest in both feminine/yin Taurus and masculine/yang Libra. (See the
DKJ Basics Guide to Rulerships for more on rulerships.)
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The Signs Bring Astrology to Life
The Signs show us where the action is in terms of our growth process, and that’s what life on
Earth is all about. We’re here to grow and to contribute from our gifts and our learning process.
Astrology helps us in a unique way to see how specifically we are doing both those things on all
levels, from the deepest hidden recesses of our consciousness to the most obvious actions and appearances. By focusing on understanding what motivates us, Sign by Sign, to express each planet,
we create our own stories on the stage of life.
What’s Next?
If you haven’t already learned about The Planets, this is the time to do it! Otherwise, move on to
Your Place on Earth: Astrology’s Houses & Angles, or The Aspects. These are the four basic components that you’ll need to read your chart.
Get to Know Your Signs
• Learn the Signs and their glyphs (symbols) fast with homemade flash cards.
• Find each planet in your chart. Put its position down below.
• Use your Planets guide and together with this guide to make simple sentences about your
planet-sign combinations, e.g.,
“I face my challenges (Sun) boldly (Aries).”
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My Planet/Sign Positions
Make a list of your planets here.
My sun (Q) is in ____________________ (Sign).
My moon (R) is in __________________ (Sign).
My Mercury (S) is in ________________ (Sign).
My Venus (T) is in ___________________ (Sign).
My Mars (U) is in ___________________ (Sign).
My Jupiter (V) is in __________________ (Sign).
My Saturn (W) is in __________________ (Sign).
My Chiron (t) is in __________________ (Sign).
My Uranus (X) is in __________________ (Sign).
My Neptune (Y) is in _______________ (Sign).
My Pluto (Z or P) is in _______________ (Sign).
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About Terry
With more than 20 years’ experience in astrology, DKJ columnist and Guide author Terry Lamb
(M.A. Linguistics, UC San Diego; C.A. NCGR, EEMCP) augments her writing with her knowledge of
education, Energy Medicine, Yijing (Chinese Book of Change), cosmology, psychology, and a broad
range of health and spiritual studies to augment her writing. She serves on the NCGR Board of
Examiners and has designed and written curriculum materials to assist students in preparing for
NCGR’s certification tests.
Her publications include Born To Be Together, The Cycles of Childhood (research monograph), and
Astrology’s Magical Blends. She writes DKJ’s Astrological Overview and Daily Success Guide and
can be reached at [email protected]
The Astrology Building Blocks Series
Coming soon!
The Planets in Your Chart
The Signs of the Zodiac
Your Place on Earth - Astrology’s Houses & Angles
The Aspects
The Moon’s Nodes
Your Chart & How to Decode It
The A-B-Cs of Reading Your Chart
Planetary Rulerships: What They Are & How to Use Them
Transits: An Introduction to the Astrology of Now
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