Astrological Signs
Astrologers divide the heavens into 12 segments tracing the
apparent movement of the Sun around the Earth. The measuring
of the signs begins with the point where the Sun’s apparent
path crosses the celestial equator, designated 0° Aries. The 12
signs were named after the stellar constellations that appear in
the different segments. The signs are classified according to
quality and element. The three qualities are cardinal (outgoing),
fixed (stable), and mutable (variable). The four traditional elements
are fire, earth, air, and water, which stand for activity,
matter, mind, and feeling, respectively. The three qualities and
four elements offer twelve possible combinations, one for each
sign. The signs may also be seen as positive or ‘‘masculine’’ (active),
in the case of the fire and air signs; or negative or ‘‘feminine’’
(reactive), in the case of the earth and water signs. The
signs are also divided into ‘‘northern’’ and ‘‘commanding’’ (the
first six), and ‘‘southern’’ and ‘‘obeying’’ (last six).
There are four triplicities among the signs the earth triplicity,
including Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn; the air triplicity,
which includes Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius; the fire triplicity,
encompassing Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius; and the water triplicity,
containing Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces. The signs are further
divided into diurnal and nocturnal, the diurnal signs
being all masculine and the nocturnal feminine. Signs named
after quadrupeds are, of course, quadrupedal; those named
after human states of endeavor (e.g., water bearer, archer) are
called humane. A person born under a fiery, masculine, diurnal
sign is hot in temper and bold in character. If it is a quadrupedal
sign, the native is somewhat like the animal after which the
sign is called. Thus in Taurus, the native is bold and furious;
in Leo, fierce and aggressive. Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces are
called fruitful or prolific; and Gemini, Leo, and Virgo, barren.
Sagittarius, because usually represented as a centaur, is said to
produce humane character if located in the first 15 degrees
(first half) of the sign, but a savage, brutal, and intractable disposition
if found in the last 15 degrees.
Astrologers designate the 12 signs as follows
Aries, the first sign of the zodiac, is a cardinal fire sign. It
is a positive, masculine sign, ruled by the planet Mars. Its symbol
is the ram, and its glyph (symbol) is said to represent a
ram’s horns. It takes its name from the Greek god of war. Aries
is associated with the head, and people with an Aries sun sign
(the Sun is in the sign Aries in their natal chart) are prone to
headaches and injuries to the head and face. The association
of the head with Aries is the source of the expression ‘‘headstrong,’’
which characterizes people with a strong Aries nature.
Aries is dry, vernal and equinoctial (it begins on the vernal
equinox), diurnal, movable, commanding, eastern, choleric,
and aggressive. The native, that is, the person born under its
influence, is tall of stature, of a strong but spare make, long face
and neck, thick shoulders, piercing eyes, sandy or red hair, and
brown complexion. The native’s disposition is warm, hasty, and
passionate. The aspects of the planets however, may materially
alter these traits. (Aspects are the angular relationships between
various points in a boroscope; in a natal chart the planets represent
the various facets of one’s psyche, and aspects between
them indicate how these facets conflict or work together.) This
sign rules the head and face. As the first sign, the key phrase
for Aries is ‘‘I am,’’ representing the birth of awareness.
Taurus, the second sign of the zodiac, is a fixed earth sign.
It is a negative, feminine sign, ruled by the planet Venus. Its
symbol is the bull, and its glyph is said to represent a bull’s head
and horns. It takes its name from the Greek word for ‘‘bull.’’
A sign known for its stubbornness, it is the source of our expressions
‘‘bullheaded’’ and ‘‘stubborn as a bull.’’ Taurus is associated
with the throat and neck. People with a Taurus sun sign, although
they often have beautiful voices, are also prone to sore
throats, thyroid irregularities, and other neck problems. Taurus
is cold and dry, melancholy, nocturnal, and southern.
When influential in a nativity, it usually produces a person with
a broad forehead, thick lips, dark curling hair, and melancholy,
slow to anger, but when once enraged, violent, furious, and difficult
to appease. Places ruled by Taurus are stables, cowhouses,
cellars and low rooms, and all places used for or by cattle. The
key phrase for Taurus is ‘‘I have.’’
Gemini, the third sign of the zodiac, is a mutable air sign.
It is a positive, masculine sign, ruled by the planet Mercury. Its
symbol is the twins, and its glyph is said to represent a set of
twins. It takes its name from the Latin word for ‘‘twins.’’ Gemini
is associated with the shoulders, arms, hands, and lungs. The
native is tall and straight with long arms and well-formed hands
Astrological Registration and Communication Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed.
106
and feet, rather dark complexion, brown hair, and hazel eyes.
The native is strong and active in person, sound and acute in
judgment, lively, playful, and generally skillful in business.
Places ruled by Gemini are hilly and high grounds, the tops of
houses, wainscoted rooms, halls and theaters, barns, storehouses,
and stairs. The key phrase for Gemini is ‘‘I think.’’
Cancer, the fourth sign of the zodiac, is a cardinal water
sign. It is a negative, feminine sign, ruled by the Moon. Its symbol
is the crab, and its glyph is said to represent the two claws
of a crab. It takes its name from the Latin word for ‘‘crab.’’ A
moody sign, it is the source of the expression ‘‘crabby.’’ Cancer
is associated with the breasts and the stomach. It is a cold,
moist, nocturnal, and exceedingly fruitful sign, more so than
any other. The native is fair and pale, short and small, with the
upper part of the body larger in proportion to the lower, a
round face, light hair, and blue or gray eyes. The native is
phlegmatic and heavy in disposition; weak in constitution, and
of a small voice. Places associated with Cancer are the sea and
all rivers, swamps, ponds, lakes, wells, ditches, and watery
places. The key phrase for Cancer is ‘‘I feel.’’
Leo, the fifth sign of the zodiac, is a fixed fire sign. It is a
positive, masculine sign, ruled by the Sun. Its symbol is the lion,
and its glyph is said to be a modified version of the initial letter
of its Greek name. It takes its name from the Latin word for
‘‘lion.’’ Leo is associated with the back and, especially, the
heart. The association of Leo with the heart is the astrological
basis for the common expression ‘‘lion hearted.’’ Leo is hot,
dry, commanding, and very barren. When this sign ascends in
a nativity, the individual has a tall and powerful frame and is
well shaped, with an austere countenance, light, yellowish hair,
large piercing eyes, commanding aspect, and ruddy complexion.
The character is fierce and aggressive, yet open, generous,
and courteous. This sign is more modified by planetary influences
than any other. Leo governs woods, forests, deserts and
hunting grounds, and fireplaces and furnaces. The key phrase
for Leo is ‘‘I will.’’
Virgo, the sixth sign of the zodiac, is a mutable earth sign.
It is a negative, feminine sign, ruled by the planet Mercury. Its
symbol is a young woman, and its glyph is said to represent a
serpent. Virgo takes its name from the Latin word for ‘‘virgin.’’
Virgo is associated with the nervous system and, especially, with
the bowels. Virgo is cold, dry, barren, and melancholy. The native
is handsome and well shaped, slender, of average stature,
with a clear, ruddy or brown complexion, dark hair and eyes,
a rather round face, and a voice sweet and clear but not strong.
The character is amiable and benevolent, witty and studious,
but not persevering; and if not opposed by planetary aspects,
apt to oratory. Virgo is associated with cornfields and granaries,
studies and libraries. The key phrase for Virgo is ‘‘I analyze.’’
Libra, the seventh sign of the zodiac, is a cardinal air sign.
It is a positive, masculine sign, ruled by the planet Venus. Its
symbol is the scales, which its glyph is said to represent. It takes
its name from the Latin word for ‘‘pound weight,’’ or ‘‘scales.’’
Libra is associated with the lower back, buttocks, and kidneys.
Libra is sanguine, hot, moist, and diurnal. The native is tall and
well made, very handsome, of a fine, ruddy complexion in
youth, which changes to a deep red with advancing years. The
native has long, flaxen hair, gray eyes, a courteous disposition,
and a just and upright character. The places Libra rules are
mountains, sawpits, and newly felled woods. The key phrase for
Libra is ‘‘I balance.’’
Scorpio, the eighth sign of the zodiac, is a fixed water sign.
It is a negative, feminine sign, ruled by the planet Pluto (in traditional
astrology it was ruled by Mars). Its symbology is complex,
being the only sign with three symbols—the scorpion, the
snake, and the eagle. Its glyph is said to represent a serpent.
It takes its name from the Latin word for ‘‘scorpion.’’ Scorpio
is associated with the sexual organs and the kidneys. Scorpio
is a cold, nocturnal sign. The native has a strong, robust, corpulent
body, is of average stature, and has a broad visage, dark
but not clear complexion, dark gray or light brown eyes, black
or very dark brown hair, short, thick legs, and a thick neck.
Scorpio governs swampy grounds and stagnant waters, orchards
and ruinous houses, especially near water. The key
phrase for Scorpio is ‘‘I desire.’’
Sagittarius, the ninth sign of the zodiac, is a mutable fire
sign. It is a positive, masculine sign, ruled by the planet Jupiter.
Its symbol is the centaur (sometimes, alternately, the archer)
and its glyph is an arrow, which refers to the arrow in the bow
that the centaur is holding. It takes its name from the Latin
word sagitta, ‘‘arrow.’’ Sagittarius is associated with the hips, the
thighs, and the liver. Sagittarius is hot, dry, and diurnal. The
native is well formed and of slightly above-average stature, with
fine chestnut hair, but inclined to baldness, a visage somewhat
long but ruddy and handsome. The body is strong, stout, and
hardy. The native is inclined to horsemanship and field sports,
careless of danger, generous and intrepid, but hasty and careless.
Sagittarius rules the hips and is the cause of gout, rheumatism,
and disorders that affect the muscles. Accidents and disorders
occasioned by intemperance come under the government
of this sign. Sagittarius is associated with stables and parks. The
key phrase for Sagittarius is ‘‘I see.’’
Capricorn, the tenth sign of the zodiac, is a cardinal earth
sign. It is a negative, feminine sign, ruled by the planet Saturn.
Its symbol is a goat with a fishtail, and its glyph is said to reflect
this symbol. It takes its name from the Latin capricornus, ‘‘goat
horn.’’ Capricorn is associated with the bones and, especially,
with the knees. It is a cold, dry, nocturnal, domestic sign. The
native usually is tall, of slender stature and long, thin countenance,
with a small beard, dark hair and eyes, long neck, and
narrow chest and chin. The native is cheerful and collected, talented
and upright. Ruling the knees and hips, Capricorn governs
all diseases that afflict them, and also melancholy diseases
such as hypochondriasis and hysteria. The places over which it
has power are workshops and fallow grounds. The key phrase
for Capricorn is ‘‘I use.’’
Aquarius, the eleventh sign of the zodiac, is a fixed air sign.
It is a positive, masculine sign, ruled by the planet Uranus (before
the outer planets were discovered, it was said to be ruled
by Saturn). Its symbol is the water bearer, and its glyph is a pair
of wavy lines representing water. Aquarius is associated with the
shins, ankles, and the circulatory system. Aquarius is a hot,
moist, rational, sanguine sign. The native is a well-made and
robust person, of above-average stature, long face, but with a
pleasing and delicate countenance, clear, bright complexion,
and flaxen hair. The native is fair, open, and honest. Aquarius
rules the legs and ankles and causes all diseases that affect
them lameness, swelling, cramping, and gout. It governs
mines and quarries, flying machines, roofs of houses, wells, and
conduits. The key phrase for Aquarius is ‘‘I know.’’
Pisces, the twelfth sign of the zodiac, is a mutable water sign.
It is a negative, feminine sign, ruled by the planet Neptune (in
traditional astrology it was ruled by Jupiter). Its symbol is two
fish moving in opposite directions, tied together by a rope. Its
glyph is said to be a stylized representation of this symbol. It
takes its name from the plural of the Latin word for ‘‘fish.’’ Pisces
is associated with the feet. It is a cold, moist, nocturnal, and
extremely fruitful sign, second only to Cancer. The native is
short and ill shaped, fleshy, if not corpulent, with thick, round
shoulders, light hair and eyes, pale complexion, and a large
head and face. The native has a weak and vacillating disposition
and is well-meaning but devoid of energy. Pisces rules the
feet and causes lameness and every kind of disorder occasioned
by watery humors. Pisces governs the same places as Cancer,
except for the sea and rivers. The key phrase for Pisces is ‘‘I believe.’’
Interpreting a horoscope begins largely with the astrological
signs. A person is usually initially designated by the sign within
which the sun was located at the time of his or her birth. The
influence of the signs however, is lessened or enhanced by the
aspects of the planets within them and by the astrological houses,
so these factors also have to be considered in interpreting
Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed. Astrological Signs
107
the horoscope. (See also Astrological Houses; Astrological
Planets)
Sources
Cirlot, J. E. A Dictionary of Symbols. New York Dorset Press,
1991.
Evans, Colin. The New Waite’s Compendium of Natal Astrology.
1917. Revised by Brain E. F. Gardener. York Beach, Maine
Samuel Weiser, 1971.
Green, Landis Knight. The Astrologer’s Manual Modern Insights
into an Ancient Art. Sebastopol, Calif. CRCS Publications,
1975.
Hall, Manly P. Astrological Keywords. 1958. Reprint, Savage,
MD Littlefield Adams Quality Paperbacks, 1975.
Lewis, James R. The Astrology Encyclopedia. Detroit Gale Research,
1994.

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