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Ken Ward's Astrology Pages
Astrology: the Zodiac.
The zodiac is the circle of signs (literally of animals) used in astrology. In its natural state, the zodiac appears as follows:
The first sign is Aries () and the last one is Pisces (). Each sign is naturally associated with a number. Aries is associated with number one, and Pisces with number 12.
The following is a summary of aspects of the zodiac.
The odd numbered signs are "positive" or "electric", that is they project energy, and the even numbered signs are "negative" or "magnetic" in that they attract energy. In another sense, the odd numbered signs are Yang, and the even numbered signs are Yin.
Each quarter of the zodiac begins with an active or enterprising sign that is prepared to make the first move and initiate or start things. So Aries (), Cancer (), Libra () and Capricorn () are such signs. They are the signs that begin a quarter. These are called cardinal signs.
The next sign in each quarter is called a fixed sign because it tends to develop and change that which was created by the first signs (or cardinal signs). Taurus (), Leo (), Scorpio () and Aquarius () are fixed signs. The first sign is the pioneer who makes the first steps. The fixed signs are the settlers who develop and build on the work of the pioneers.
They are called "fixed" signs because they maintain the status quo, or build upon that which has been established by the pioneers. The change what exists in the sense of maintaining it. The pioneers find the new land and the fixed-sign farmers build the farms and grow the crops. They change and change to keep things the same or in keeping with what has been established. With this metaphor of the farmer the farmer changes the land so that it grows the crops and he changes by harvesting them, etc. Without constant change, the farm would revert to the wilderness. So the fixed signs continually change to keep things as they are.
The last sign in each quarter is called a mutable sign. These are Gemini (), Virgo (), Sagittarius () and Pisces (). They mark the end of the quarter. They are signs that bring about the end of that which was created by the cardinal signs. They change things into something else and therefore end one thing and set the seed of something new.
This cycle proceeds through the zodiac in four groups of three signs, which are called quadruplicities.
See also: the Quadruplicities
The signs proceed through the zodiac from one element to another. The first sign, Aries () is associated with the element fire. The second sign, Taurus () is associated with the element earth. The third sign, Gemini (), is associated with element air. And the fourth sign, Cancer () is associated with the element water. Fire is enthusiastic, Earth is practical, Air is intellectual, and Water is emotional. The elements are also called the triplicities.
See also the triplicities for more about the elements.
The signs in the upper part of the circel can be considered "social" signs, in the sense that they relate to interpersonal and group interactions, and those at the bottom are "personal".
Aries () concerns the self, while Libra () concerns other people. Taurus () refers to personal wealth, while Scorpio () refers to other's wealth. Gemini () refers to personal communications, while Sagittarius () is concerned with public communications. Cancer () is concerned with the family matters, while Capricorn () is concerned with the group matters. Leo () is concerned with personal influence, while Aquarius () is concerned with the influence of the group members. Virgo () is personal service, whereas Pisces () is social service.
The left-hand semicircle of the chart refers to the East. It tends to indicate independence. The right-hand semicircle of the chart refers to the West. It tends to indicate dependence. In other words, the lef-hand suggests doing it yourself, whereas the other side indicates doing it with, or through, other people.