IN THIS CHAPTER, I will be discussing the 12 sun signs of the zodiac. In contemporary astrology, the sun signs represent our core self and could be said to represent our ego.
The sun signs are the part of the self that almost everyone knows and the primary energy that fuels our being. I will provide keywords, technical details—such as ruling planet—and some fun facts about each sign. We’ll be looking at dualities (night/feminine/yin or day/masculine/yang) in this section. View the signs as an evolution of personal development from birth, Aries, to end of life, Pisces, so that you gain a deeper understanding of how the signs work within you—we all have energy from every sign within us, no matter what our sun sign is.
Aries is the first sign of the zodiac and is seen by most to be the start of the astrological year—the ingress (or moving into) of the Sun into Aries signals the spring equinox in the northern hemisphere and Aries is the first sign in the natural horoscope, ruling the first house.
The sign spans the first 30° of the zodiac and the Sun transits the sign from the equinox, approximately March 21 to April 20. These dates change according to the Sun’s actual movement in the sky from our perspective here on Earth.
Aries is a day cardinal fire sign, is ruled by Mars, the god of war, and represents youth, which is very focused on the self. The Aries symbol is the ram, and its glyph represents the horns of the ram. Aries is in polarity with the sign of Libra, an air sign, which means they are complementary and work well together. The dominant keyword for Aries is “I am,”which means they are all about the self and like to come first. Aries rules the head and eyes. Red is the color associated with Aries, diamond is the birthstone, and iron is the metal.
The most likeable traits for Aries are that they are dynamic, pioneering, and seen as leaders by others. Inwardly, they have a healthy self-interest and are very courageous. They may have a tendency to be aggressive and reactionary if their directness isn’t tempered. Others see Aries as impatient, fast-moving, and daring.
Lady Gaga, Elton John, Nancy Pelosi, and Leonardo da Vinci were all born under the sign of Aries.
The second sign of the zodiac is Taurus. The Sun transits this sign from about April 21 to May 20, and it rules the second house.
Taurus is a night fixed earth sign and is ruled by Venus in her material world incarnation as goddess of the manifest. Like Aries, this sign is represented by a horned animal, the bull, indicating that these first two signs are very straightforward and “headfirst.” The glyph for Taurus represents the head and horns of the bull. Taurus represents the stage of life that realizes the connection with the physical world.
Scorpio is the sign that is in polarity to Taurus, and the two complement each other well. Like the strong and solid bull that represents the sign, the dominant keyword for Taurus is “build,” as the those born under the sign love to develop all that endures. The sign of Taurus is associated with the throat and vocal cords, the gemstone most associated with the sign is emerald—but being the most material of signs, Taurus is also associated with sapphires—and copper is the metal.
Taurus embodies animal wisdom in that they have finely honed senses and are sensual, practical, and loyal. Inwardly, they are deeply grounded, patient, and steady, but this can also lead to the tendency to be stubborn or bullheaded and overly materialistic in the pursuit of security. Others see Taurus as stable and lacking in pretense.
Queen Elizabeth II, Mark Zuckerberg, and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson were born under the sign of Taurus. (The nickname “The Rock” really is emblematic of the sign, as rocks are of the earth element.)
Gemini spans the third 30° of the zodiac. The Sun transits this sign from about May 21 to June 20, and Gemini rules the third house of the zodiac.
Gemini is a day mutable air sign and is one of two signs ruled by Mercury in his mind/messenger incarnation. This sign symbolizes the twins and is represented by a glyph of twins that are both separate and connected. Gemini represents the stage of life when we begin to communicate verbally and to realize both our connection to and our separation from each other.
Sagittarius is the sign that is in polarity to Gemini. Just as Gemini is the sign of the twins, there are a few gemstones said to be lucky for the sign. Yellow stones are most often seen as lucky, such as agate, citrine, and amber. It’s no surprise that Gemini’s lucky metal is mercury itself. Gemini is associated with the chest, lungs, nervous system, arms, and shoulders.
Gemini is the thinker and symbolizes the mind, voice, and communication. Their inner life is curious, observant, often scattered, and may be highly strung. Geminis are seen as social and verbally expressive but sometimes manipulative and duplicitous.
John F. Kennedy, Donald Trump, Paul McCartney, Prince, and Bob Dylan were all born under the sign of Gemini.
Cancer is the fourth sign of the zodiac. From about June 21 to July 20, the Sun transits the sign of Cancer.
Cancer is a night cardinal water sign. The sign is represented by the crab and its glyph is the two pincers of the crab in protective mode. This already says a lot about the energy of the sign of Cancer, as Cancers are primarily introverted and protective. The polarity to Cancer is the earth sign of Capricorn. The lucky metal and gemstones associated with the sign are reflective of its ruler, the Moon: The metal is silver, and the stones are moonstone, pearl, and white quartz. Cancer is associated with the stomach, chest, and breast.
“Feel” is the primary word for this sign and Cancers are all emotion and intuition. Cancer is the nurturer of the zodiac and very tradition-and family-oriented. Inwardly, the sign is extremely sensitive and can tend toward being insecure and giving too much, to the point of ignoring their own needs. Others see them as responsive and loving, but they can also be moody.
Princess Diana, the Dalai Lama, Tom Cruise, and Meryl Streep were all born under the sign of Cancer.
The fifth sign of the zodiac is Leo. The Sun transits the sign of Leo from around July 21 to August 20.
Leo is a day fixed fire sign and is ruled by the Sun. The lion is the symbol of this regal sign and its glyph represents the lion’s head and mane. The sign of polarity is Aquarius. Unsurprisingly, gold is the metal associated with Leo and the lucky gemstones are golden and amber colors, such as amber, tiger’s eye, and yellow topaz. Leo rules the heart, spine, and upper back.
Leos are born to lead, and that is their primary word. Whether king, queen, or leader in their own home, Leos are born to shine and charm. They crave attention and tend to be melodramatic and superior when in shadow. Otherwise, Leos are dynamic, self-confident, and playful. At their best, they are magnetic and affectionate and light up the lives of those around them because they carry the Sun’s radiance within.
Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Madonna, and James Baldwin were all born under the sign of Leo.
The sixth sign of the zodiac is Virgo. The Sun transits the sign of Virgo from around August 21 to September 20.
Virgo is a night mutable earth sign, the second sign to be ruled by Mercury, but in a more technical, detail-oriented, hands-on incarnation. This sign is represented by the maiden or virgin, meaning in this case, “one who is whole unto herself.” Its glyph resembles the letter M, for “maiden,” carrying a shaft of wheat to represent the harvest. This suggests a state of being that reflects the energies of Virgo, rather than merely a gender. Pisces is the sign in polarity to Virgo. Like Gemini, the other Mercury-ruled sign, Virgo’s metal is mercury itself and the lucky gemstones associated with the sign are sapphire, jade, and jasper. The digestive system and spleen are associated with Virgo.
Virgo energy embodies the principle of service, as they love to feel useful in the world. Virgos are attentive to detail and very analytical. Their inner world is often self-critical and they are worriers. They can tend to servitude rather than service and forget to take care of themselves in the process. Others see Virgos as ethical and organized, though I find it to be somewhat of a myth that Virgos are always tidy. This is, in part, because their perfectionist tendencies can lead to analysis paralysis. “Analyze” is the primary word for Virgo.
Prince Harry, Mother Teresa, Bernie Sanders, and Freddie Mercury of Queen were all born under the sign of Virgo.
Libra is the seventh sign of the zodiac. Libra season has the Sun transiting the sign from around September 21 to October 20.
Libra is a day cardinal air sign. Libra is ruled by Venus in her more cerebral incarnation. The symbol of Libra is the scales and its glyph reflects both balance and the setting sun as we enter autumn in the northern hemisphere (or the rising sun in the southern hemisphere). Aries is the sign of polarity. Peridot and topaz are Libra’s lucky gemstones and the associated metal is copper. The kidneys, skin, lower back, and buttocks are ruled by Libra.
“Balance” is the primary word for Libras, because they try to find the middle ground and harmonious balance in all that they do. Libra is the diplomat and mediator of the zodiac. Because of that, they can come across as indecisive, vacillating, and even passive-aggressive at times. Generally, Libra comes across as fair, peace-loving, and creative. Inwardly, they are focused on others and relationships.
Examples of well-known Librans are Mahatma Gandhi, Serena Williams, Will Smith, and Oscar Wilde.
Ruling the eighth house and, therefore, the eighth sign is Scorpio. The Sun transits the sign of Scorpio from around October 21 to November 20.
Scorpio is a night fixed water sign ruled by Pluto (modern) and Mars (traditional). A deep and complex sign, both its symbol and its glyph represent the scorpion, its stinger suggesting the potentially stinging nature of Scorpio. As a highly complex and transformational sign, however, Scorpio is also associated with the serpent, a symbol of transformation, and the phoenix, a symbol of rebirth. Taurus is the sign of polarity. Iron and steel are associated with Scorpio and ruby and garnet are the lucky gemstones. Scorpio rules the reproductive system and sexual organs.
“Desire” is the primary word for the sign of Scorpio, as it reflects the emotional depth and complexity of this magnetic and private sign. Scorpio is seen as magnetic, powerful, and sometimes intimidating by others. Internally, they can be brooding and obsessive but also deeply instinctual and psychological. When Scorpios are able to dive into the most emotionally intense issues of life, they are able to connect with their true power.
Pablo Picasso, Hedy Lamarr, RuPaul, Leonardo DiCaprio, Lisa Bonet, and John Gotti were all born under the sign of Scorpio.
The sign ruling the ninth house is Sagittarius. The Sun transits the sign from around November 21 to December 20.
Sagittarius is a day mutable fire sign ruled by Jupiter. The glyph for Sagittarius is an arrow pointing to the stars and reflects the symbol of the archer, who is half-human and half-horse. Both the glyph and symbol reflect the forward-thinking visionary energy of the sign. Gemini is the sign in polarity. Sagittarius rules the hips, thighs, and liver. Turquoise and amethyst are the lucky stones for Sagittarius, and the metal is tin.
“Wander” and “wonder” are the primary words for Sagittarius, because they like to wander—physically and mentally—and they often live in a state of wonder at the world. Sagittarius is the seeker of truth and freedom and loves exploration of all kinds. They are often seen as naive, inspirational, and eternal optimists. Spiritually oriented and visionary, they have the ability to see the big picture of life. If Sagittarius embraces life as a quest for experience and truth, their tendency toward naïveté can become higher wisdom.
Walt Disney, Jane Fonda, Jimi Hendrix, Jay-Z, and Gianni Versace were all born under the sign of Sagittarius.
The 10th sign of the zodiac is Capricorn, and it is ruled by Saturn. The Sun transits the sign of Capricorn from around December 21 to January 20.
Capricorn is a night cardinal earth sign. The symbol for Capricorn is the sea goat, and the glyph represents the hoof of the goat with the tail of a fish—this softer side of Capricorn has been lost in many astrological texts. The polarity of the sign is Cancer. Capricorn rules the skeletal system, teeth, and joints. Capricorn’s metal is lead and the gemstone is ruby.
The primary word for Capricorn is “achieve.” Capricorns are focused on climbing the ladder of achievement but may have a tendency to do so based on the expectations of the outer world rather than based on a foundation of self-trust, which is where the tail of the fish comes in. Capricorn is seen as responsible and determined but also, at times, controlling and fearful. Inwardly, although Capricorn is hardworking and law-abiding, there is often an underlying fear of never being enough. Their commitment and leadership qualities are their strengths.
Jeff Bezos, Elvis Presley, Michelle Obama, and Betty White were all born under the sign of Capricorn.
Ruling the 11th house of the zodiac is Aquarius. The Sun transits the sign of Aquarius from around January 21 to February 20.
Aquarius is a day fixed air sign and is ruled by Uranus (modern) and Saturn (traditional). Although the symbol for Aquarius is the water bearer, what the glyph actually represents is waves of energy—the symbol is pouring spirit or energy down from the heavens. This indicates the otherworldly quality of the sign. The polarity of this sign is Leo. The sign’s associated metal is lead and the gemstones are obsidian and sapphire. Aquarius rules the calves, ankles, and nervous system.
Aquarians are the individuals of the zodiac and their primary word is “know.” Aquarians are sometimes seen as the weirdos of the zodiac, as they are unpredictable, inventive, and original in nature. Aquarians are socially conscious and are dedicated to causes and reform, but they can also be emotionally distant and even anarchistic at times. Because they often feel alienated from those around them, they are sometimes tempted to betray their convictions to fit in, but their path is to embody their personal truth no matter what.
Oprah Winfrey, Bob Marley, Ellen DeGeneres, and Franklin D. Roosevelt were all born under the sign of Aquarius.
The 12th and final sign of the zodiac is Pisces. From around February 21 to March 20, the Sun transits the sign of Pisces.
Pisces is a night mutable water sign. The symbol for Pisces is the fish and its glyph represents two fish swimming in different directions yet connected by a cord. If we look at the zodiac as a path of human development, Pisces is the time of death and the time before birth, the amniotic fluid. Endings and beginnings. Neptune (modern) and Jupiter (traditional) are the rulers of Pisces. The polarity of the sign is Virgo. Pisces rules the feet, the lymphatic system, and the third eye. The stones corresponding to this sign are white diamond, aquamarine, and amethyst, and the metal is tin. Pisces is the most spiritual and compassionate sign and their primary word is “believe.” They are seen as highly sensitive, creative, and mystical beings. Pisces often struggle with boundaries and are extreme empaths, which can cause them to fall into the role of victim or martyr. Like the symbol of the fish swimming in two directions, it’s the lesson of Pisces to live in the realms of the manifest and the mystical. If they can become comfortable with being an agent of spirit in the physical realm, they will avoid the escapist and addictive tendencies they may turn to on occasion. Pisces is associated with the energies of magic and the movies.
Fred Rogers (Mr. Rogers), Dr. Seuss, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Kurt Cobain were all born under the sign of Pisces.
Popular Astrology Forecasts
Astrological forecasts that appear on online sites and in magazines and newspapers are the analysis of the chart for each of the signs as a whole and are general in nature. They do, however, have validity, especially if you know your rising sign and can read the forecast for that sign as well as the sun sign.
These forecasts, when done well, will look at the primary transits of the planets currently and how they affect each astrological house after placing the sun sign on the cusp of the first house in a chart for the current time.
For example, if Pluto is in Capricorn by transit and being activated by other transits, and you have a Libra sun, then the forecast will be based on a chart with your Libra sun on the first house cusp. This chart will then show Pluto transiting in your third house, as Capricorn is the third sign after Libra. This may not be your actual third house in your natal chart but will still have some resonance.
If you are Libra rising, then the forecast will be speaking generally about the areas of life contained by your own third house. If you like to read general forecasts, knowing your ascendant will be beneficial.
Different Uses for Astrology
Although this book deals with natal astrology, it’s important to note that astrology has many uses that can be explored both separately and in conjunction with the natal chart.
- MUNDANE ASTROLOGY is the astrology of events, organizations, elections, countries, and weather events. The word “mundane” is from the Latin mundanus, meaning “worldly.” Any event or organization has an inception chart, which is read in a similar way to the natal chart.
- FINANCIAL ASTROLOGY is a specialty that predicts financial events and cycles.
- HORARY ASTROLOGY is a tool used to answer a specific question based on the time the question is posed. This technique is used for anything where a question can be asked, such as “Where are my keys?”
- MEDICAL ASTROLOGY is used to diagnose and treat illness and can also be used for prevention, as it can show areas of weakness in a person’s health.
- ASTROCARTOGRAPHY, OR LOCATIONAL ASTROLOGY, is based on planetary lines drawn around the globe to indicate how a facet of a person’s life is either enhanced or diminished by living in a specific place.