Astrology 101: Meet the Signs (Part 2)

Last time around, we walked through a meet-and-greet with the first six of the 12 Signs of the Zodiac.  In this post, we’ll say hello to the back half of that hallowed group.  First, I’ll again supply that chart that lists all of them here (along with the Glyph, Polarity, Mode, and Element for each one), for easy reference:

Sign

Glyph

Polarity

Mode

Element

Aries

Yang

Cardinal

Fire

Taurus

Yin

Fixed

Earth

Gemini

Yang

Mutable

Air

Cancer

Yin

Cardinal

Water

Leo

Yang

Fixed

Fire

Virgo

Yin

Mutable

Earth

Libra

Yang

Cardinal

Air

Scorpio

Yin

Fixed

Water

Sagittarius

Yang

Mutable

Fire

Capricorn

Yin

Cardinal

Earth

Aquarius

Yang

Fixed

Air

Pisces

Yin

Mutable

Water

 

Libra, the Scales: think balance, fairness, equality, and a need to work in a duo (because the Other helps Libra to better know its Self...)...
Libra, the Scales: think balance, fairness, equality, and a need to work in a duo (because the Other helps Libra to better know its Self…)…

Libra. Yang/Cardinal/Air. Extroverted and active, Libra is generally considered one of the most attractive and sociable of the Signs. Libra seems to be most at ease in the world when experiencing life in the context of a strong one-to-one pairing. It’s through working in a duo that Libra can best experience itself. Libra is definitely not built for either long-term solitude or extended stays in large crowds – it’s that middle ground of the twosome that Libra craves. As an Air Sign, though, there may be an element of Libra wanting those pairings to retain some sense of being light and breezy, without the kinds of emotional depths that, say, the Water Signs might seek out for themselves. This is a Sign that can probably bear up under almost any set of circumstances in moderation, as the Sign of the Scales requires balance rather than any extremism. Libra also has the ability to see both sides of an argument, and will generally strive for both peace and equality in its interactions with others. At its worst, Libra can be indecisive, fickle, detached, and too bent on sticking to the middle ground. At its finest, though, Libra can be fair, open-minded, inclusive, thoughtful, and a sensational social facilitator. Libra might be accurately described by the archetype of The Moderator.

Scorpio is armed and armored, and well-prepared to dig deeply into some of the most ominous terrain known to humankind: secrets, mysteries, sex, power, death, and the occult are but a few areas that capture the Scorpion's interest...
Scorpio is armed and armored, ready to dig deeply into some of humanity’s most ominous terrain: secrets, mysteries, sex, power, death, and the occult…

Scorpio. Yin/Fixed/Water. As you start to study the Signs more in-depth, you’re almost guaranteed to stumble across the idea that “Scorpio is sexy!” As someone with a whole lot of Scorpio in my own chart, I don’t exactly object to that notion, either…but it’s a little misleading. For one thing, every one of the Signs intersects with sexuality in its own unique way…and for another, Scorpio is about much more than just sex. In fact, sex is simply a subset of the overall Scorpio vibe of being focused on plumbing the depths of the human experience. Scorpio is a Water Sign, and it’s the one most drawn to the deepest, darkest parts of the watery, emotional realm. Scorpio is fascinated by truth, by secrets and mysteries, by taboo, by intensity, by transformation, by power… Scorpio will choose soul-baring over small talk anytime, although, just like fellow Water Sign, Cancer, the Scorpion has sturdy emotional armor to insulate it from most of the world, plus that sharp, poisonous stinger, which can come into play should Scorpio feel threatened or wronged. In its darker modes, Scorpio runs the risk of being jealous, possessive, vindictive, destructive, tyrannical…but in its more positive manifestations, Scorpio energy can be highly intuitive, fabulous at detective work, terrific in a crisis, magnetic, and yes, gangbusters in the boudoir. An excellent archetype for Scorpio would be that of The Shaman.

Sagittarius the Archer roams far and wide, trekking off to the outer reaches of both the physical world and the philosophical...
Sagittarius the Archer roams far and wide, trekking off to the outer reaches of both the physical world and the philosophical…

Sagittarius. Yang/Mutable/Fire. Sagittarius is the Sign of the Archer…but a very handy device for understanding this particular Sign is to focus not so much on the Archer as on the Arrow. Whenever it gets utilized, the Arrow is sent hurtling far outward into new territory at high speeds, capable of staking out new terrain faster than even the quick-footed Archer could have dreamed of doing. This is the core of the Sagittarian approach to life: go forth into uncharted realms, and collect up new experiences. This actually applies in both the literal sense (Sagittarius will always benefit from physical travel to new lands) and the metaphorical sense (the Archer is highly philosophical, and finds it greatly energizing to sail off into new and complex fields of thought, including not just philosophy, but also things like the law and religion). Like its opposite number, Gemini, Sagittarius requires a constant influx of fresh experience, except that unlike Gemini with its local focus, Sagittarius is more global in its outlook. At its worst, Sagittarian energy can be flighty, distant, preachy, dogmatic, and never quite present…but at its best, this Sign can be friendly, faithful, optimistic, generous, fun, and surprisingly complex. An outstanding archetype for Sagittarius is The Explorer.

Capricorn the Goat will doggedly climb any mountain that you place in front of it...and probably without looking for shortcuts or asking for help!
Capricorn the Goat will doggedly climb any mountain that you place in front of it…and probably without looking for shortcuts or asking for help!

Capricorn. Yin/Cardinal/Earth. Capricorn is sometimes referred to as “the CEO of the Zodiac.” Often playing its cards close to the vest in the finest Yin fashion, Capricorn gets things done, achieving results that are rarely difficult to notice once accomplished (picture the Goat that symbolizes this Sign, reaching the very apex of a mountain, to stand silhouetted against the sky…). The epitome of “earthy” in some ways, this Earth Sign is very much about the practical, the tangible, that which can be measured and weighed and assessed. Capricorn doesn’t have much use for the theoretical if it can’t be boiled down into practice, and ideas don’t mean much if they won’t lead to some manifestation on the material plane. Don’t tell Capricorn about the garden you intend to plant – just plant it, cultivate it, and then show it to Capricorn when it’s already booming (preferably while handing over some giant vegetables…). This Sign has a real affinity for business and for getting things built. Capricorn can be condemned at times for being too results-oriented, too focused on money, unimaginative outside of the latest financial scheme, workaholic, and overly serious…but Capricorn energy can also be brilliant, unafraid to stand alone, phenomenal at providing, determined, supportive, and far more caring than it may at first let on. Capricorn might be captured well in the archetype of The Overseer.

Aquarius the Water-Bearer wants to bathe us in the freedom to be you and me...as uniquely you and me as we can possibly get!
Aquarius the Water-Bearer wants to bathe us in the freedom to be you and me…as uniquely you and me as we can possibly get!

Aquarius. Yang/Fixed/Air. Aquarius fits in well with that Air Sign trend of needing to socialize in some way with others in order to better define itself. But where Gemini fares best when able to ricochet off a multitude of people in its vicinity, and Libra prefers to work in more pronounced partnerships, Aquarius is most suited to examine itself against the backdrop of an entire society. Aquarius is symbolized by the Water-Bearer. Water, in any metaphysical system such as Astrology, can stand for emotions, dreams, and love…and Aquarius’ mission is to carry these things forth to its people. One of the main ideas behind this Sign’s focus is Carl Jung’s notion of individuation: Aquarius wants to be an intensely unique individual, not fitting into any standard description or role…and the Water-Bearer wants everyone else on Earth to be able to do the same. Aquarius has a great natural distaste for conformity, repression, and any other homogenizing forces that might render people more identical and interchangeable. Aquarius wants everyone’s freak flags flying, all the time. This is the Sign of the genius and the revolutionary. At the more negative end of its expression-spectrum, Aquarius can be overly eccentric, demanding, shaming, accusatory, rebellious for the sake of rebellion, and even downright bizarre. At its finest, though, Aquarian energy is altruistic, peace-loving, welcoming, forgiving, original, progressive, and innovative. Aquarius can be embodied in the archetype of The Visionary.

Pisces the Fish swim forever through the seas of consciousness, always in tune with the tide-pulse of the Cosmos...
Pisces the Fish swim forever through the seas of consciousness, always in tune with the tide-pulse of the Cosmos…

Pisces. Yin/Mutable/Water. We’re back at water again: Pisces is symbolized by the Fish, because Pisces is designed to swim through the waters of consciousness. Not built for structure or rigidity, Piscean energy wants nothing more than to be able to flow. Pisces is tuned in to the cosmic pulse, the universal rhythms. This is a Sign that’s about spirituality and transcendence, and it also at times has an affinity for notions of sacrifice. Piscean energy can bring about a very active dream life, intense imagination and creativity, and even psychic experiences. At its worst, Pisces can be unfocused, wishy-washy, scattered, and so impressionable that it loses its sense of its own self…while at its best, Pisces can be comforting, meditative, in touch with the Divine, calming, understanding, and even able to serve as a channel or medium. Pisces might best be signified by the archetype of The Mystic.

And that wraps up this quick set of 12 handshakes with the members of the Zodiac. Please take this two-part article as a starting point for your understanding of the Signs, and not as the sum total of all you’ll ever need to know! The more you work with the main symbol-sets of Astrology – the Planets, Signs, and Houses – the more their personalities will crystallize for you, and the greater your skills in reading charts will become!

Next time, before we move on to the Houses, I think it will be helpful to dig first into some examples of interpreting placements of Planets in Signs. Learning what each one of these symbols means in a vacuum is a necessary first step, but then there’s always the next equally critical step of getting a feel for how they interact within a chart…

2 comments

  1. SO much gratitude to you for posting these lessons! Was so excited to see this new post come out!

    Your description of the signs is one of the most honest and clear that I’ve ever read. Very much looking forward to learn all that you have to share!

    Many Blessings

    • Hi, Jordan — thank you so much for the fantastic compliments! I’m really thrilled to hear that this series of posts has been accessible and helpful for you. That’s definitely been my goal with the articles, and your feedback is tremendously encouraging! I’m planning a fair amount of these for the weeks ahead, so I hope you’ll keep reading. Please comment whenever the mood may strike you, and thank you again for taking the time to write!

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