What’s in a Sign? In the practice of astrology there are 12 signs of the zodiac scribed along the ecliptic, the annual path of the Earth around the Sun. Ancient astrologers mapped the rhythm created by the Sun’s backdrop of stars to create the annual calendar.
They recorded the seasons of growth, weather and other phenomena as it was repeated with the Sun’s passage through certain regions of the constellated sky. Although the original position of the constellations has changed in our constantly expanding universe, the phenomena that occurs with the Sun’s passage through the 12 segments of the Earth’s 360º circumference remains.
If you are familiar with the four directions, most commonly referred to in Native Indian ceremony and pagan celebration, then you will be interested to know that these relate to the 2 equinox and 2 solstice points of the year.
The four zodiacal signs that represent the time of the year when we experience dramatic seasonal change are called the “cardinal” signs. This does not mean people born of this time are red like the bird. However, this may be true of the hair colouring for those born in the spring.
March 20th, June 21st, September 22nd, December 21st are the dates when the Sun enters Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn.
For people born of cardinality, those with a cardinal sign rising, or those with major planets in these signs, this quality will be personified as taking initiative.
Cardinal Signs of the Zodiac
Spring Leaps Forth Like the Ram
The “Spring” leaps forth at the equinox just like the “Ram” of the constellation for the first sign of the zodiac, “Aries”. Those born between March 20th and April 18th will have a degree of its’ compulsive instinct. The elemental component is fire, appropriate for the dramatic bursting forth of spring.
Being a “fire” sign those born of this time can have a tendency to burn brightly and intensely but must be careful not to burn out quickly or consume themselves in their own flames. Aries sun signs and those with planets in Aries, or Aries Rising, at the time of their birth will be assertive, combative, impatiently impulsive, up-front and direct.
Aries: Solstice of Summer
When the Sun is as high in the sky as it goes for our region we experience the solstice of “Summer”. We are nurtured and protected by the abundance of the growing season. The zodiac sign of summer is “Cancer” which is symbolized by the “Crab” constellation. Cancer as a “water” sign, is emotional, sensitive, intuitive and caring.
If born between June 21st and July 21st you will have some inclination to be overly concerned about taking care of others. People born during this sun sign or those with planets in Cancer or Cancer Rising will be highly motivated by security, convention and family values.
The Fall Equinox Symbol is Libra
Autumn’s perfume is sensed in the air. The Fall Equinox is assigned to the sign “Libra” which is represented by the constellation most resembling a set of “Scales.” Symbolic of this time of harvest, the scares are needed for marketing nature’s stores.
Just like the spring, this is a time of equal day and equal night, but the light is decreasing, the vegetation is spent and forming its seed. This “air” sign can excel in negotiation, mediation and mitigation, but making a personal decision will stump them. Balance does not come easy to those born between September 22nd and October 22nd. With planets in Libra, Libra Rising or with the Sun in Libra these social people need harmony at all costs.
Capricorn: The Winter Solstice
The longest night and shortest day comes with the Winter Solstice, which is characterized in the sign “Capricorn” represented by the “Mountain or Sea Goat”. This sun sign is usually found in the people who scale great heights, have great ambitions and are seriously responsible.
With many planets occupying Capricorn people can display great humor that makes light of life and they can laugh at themselves. The element “earth” has its most practical and conservative expression in this sign. In the Northern regions, the earth slumbers. Planets in Capricorn can mature us before our time, Capricorn Rising can make a person shy and reserved and the sun sign is generally hard working and disciplined in a controlled way.
Fixed Zodiac Signs
The signs that follow the initiation of a season, the mid-season months, have a “fixed” quality. The seasonal qualities are well established. In the middle of the fixed signs, the mid-point of each season, there are “portholes” of in-take and exhaust.
So you might say that those born during the fixed Zodiac times are the most intense processors of the zodiac.
The spring builds with the element of fire and is stabilized by the “earth” sign “Taurus” symbolized by the “Bull”. The Bull is a symbol of fertility and this time of the season is usually beautiful as nature unleashes its creativity. A Taurus sun sign, Taurus Rising or those with many planets in Taurus, will often have deep rich voices and display natural common sense.
Those born between April 19th and May 19th are usually easy-going and placid and don’t like to get mad, but when they finally do, watch out!
The dog days of summer usually occur during the time of “Leo” which is symbolized by the “Lion”. The summer builds on the element of water and is heated up by this “fire” sign as the Sun journeys over the Earth’s more northern regions. Always dramatic, Leos can be good leaders; they are usually big-hearted, generous and loyal.
But those born between July 22nd to August 21st need a lot of positive feedback. Leo needs to feel special and be in the spotlight. This brings out their best qualities. Even those with a fair number of planets in Leo, or with Leo Rising, can be childish at worst and childlike at best.
The Indian Summer of autumn turns into the colorful displays of dead and decaying foliage that will vitalize the earth. The seed heads will scatter to promise next years’ growth. This happens during a time of great intensity when the Sun is passing through “Scorpio”. This sign is symbolized by the “Scorpion” which characterizes the concentrated state of excitation that is ready to act.
While this is a “water” sign, the emotional image is more like molten lava. The fall season is built upon an air sign, so the image of liquid rock glowing in the breeze portrays Scorpio better. Those born between October 23rd to November 23rd display great passion and love deeply but can be compulsively obsessive, possessive, jealous and suspicious.
We are mid-winter when the Sun enters “Aquarius“. This season builds with the earth, and hangs in the “air” of this sign. The element air has much to do with airwaves, electricity, communication, intuition, telepathy and consciousness. The symbol for Aquarius is the “Water Bearer” who presents knowledge to a world that is not ready to receive it.
Those born when the sun is in this sign or those with a few planets in Aquarius can feel lonely and out of place. If you are born from January 21st to February 20th you are an idealistic but also a rugged individualist. The Aquarian is friendly, detached and distanced. Even with this sign rising at the time of your birth you are likely to have an opinion for every occasion.
Mutable Zodiac Signs
The greatest stirring up, innovating, or modifying takes place in the “mutable” signs. These signs occur during the period of time when one season is winding down and changing into the next season. The greatest mutation will therefore take place during the month preceding a change of season. Each of the mutable signs achieve this changeableness in its’ own peculiar way.
People born of the mutable quality are usually entertaining, talkative and insistent upon the implementation of their unique ideas.
Gemini: Last Month of Spring
The last month of spring can be a very tumultuous time for weather change. As we move toward the solstice of summer it is important to have all planting under control. The fiery start to the spring brings us to work with the earth in Taurus and now as the summer approaches we scatter our attentions in the many directions of this mutable air sign.
The Sun is in the sign “Gemini” during this month, which is symbolised by the “Twins”. The myth of the twins is about longing for something, which is not accessible. This “air” sign personifies the greatest duality. Those born from May 21st to June 21st or those with major planets in Gemini, also Gemini Rising, make up the major talkers and walkers of the zodiac. Look for the twinkle in their eye.
Virgo: Last Month of Summer
The last month of summer is a hectic time most especially for those who garden or farm. It is the time of harvest and the time to gather the fruits of the season. The sun is in the sign of “Virgo” the “Virgin”. The symbol of the Virgin relates to the cultivation of your true essence and nature to perfectly complement itself. Summer’s watery start makes us feel good and the fire of the mid-season warms our bones, but as the season ends we return once more to the earth.
It is probably of no surprise that this time when food is plentiful is designated to a “earth” sign. Those who are born from August 23rd to September 23rd tend to worry a lot and can be very picky. Those with major planets in Virgo, or Virgo Rising, and Virgo sun signs have good reasoning, work well with tools and their hands, or have good mechanical skills.
The changeable excitement of the month before Christmas is noticeable. We can feel the change in the air, winter is coming and we have taken care of much during the water sign of mid season. Now we prepare for the fire of festivities. We have many things to do that take us far and wide. The Sun is passing through the sign of “Sagittarius” the “Centaur/Archer” which is symbolic of the aspirant yearning for the lofty or grand.
Many people take up studies, hobbies or focused tasks during the fall months when the enthusiasm of this “fire” sign burns brightly. The boundless happy-go-lucky, freedom-loving Sagittarian is born between November 23rd and December 21st.
Charts with major planets in Sagittarius and with Sagittarius Rising at the time of birth will be like the sun sign. Those of this influence tend to be righteous, honest or bluntly rude, but positive and buoyantly optimistic.
Pisces: Time of Transcendence
During the month when we anticipate some break in the winter weather, believing that the worst is over, the Sun is passing through the “water” sign “Pisces”. This is a time of transcendence, when we overcome the long hard winter and look forward to the promise of spring. This “water” sign is symbolized by two “Fish” joined in circular movement by a ribbon of stars.
Winter starts with the slumbering earth element and hangs in the air of mid-season but now as spring approaches we must turn our attentions once more to watery matters like what needs to be taken care of in preparation for a new season of growth. Those born from February 20th to March 20th will be characterized by abstraction, passive-aggressiveness and the occasional “space-case”.
Those with major planets in Pisces, the sun sign itself or people with Pisces rising, will be highly empathic, intuitive and imaginative. These are the romantic idealists who keep on giving.