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Section 1: Astrology 101
SIGN LANGUAGE: ALL ABOUT THE SIGNS
The Twelve Zodiac Signs
Sign Dates Ruling Planet/Cosmic Ruler
Aries March 21-April 19 Mars
Taurus April 20-May 20 Venus
Gemini May 21-June 20 Mercury
Cancer June 21-July 22 Moon
Leo July 23-August 22 Sun
Virgo August 23-September 22 Mercury
Libra September 23-October 22 Venus
Scorpio October 23-November 21 Pluto (with minor rule by Mars)
Sagittarius November 22-December 21 Jupiter
Capricorn December 22-January 19 Saturn
Aquarius January 20-February 18 Uranus
Pisces February 19-March 20 Neptune (with minor rule by Jupiter)
WHAT'S MY SIGN?
Your "sign" is also your sun sign. It is actually the part of the zodiac that the Earth was traveling through at the exact time you were born. The Earth travels through a different part of the zodiac every thirty days or so. If it was traveling through the Gemini part when you were born, for example, you're a Gemini. While your sun sign tells the essentials of who you are, there are nine other planets that make up your personal horoscope, and they can be in many different signs. So the next time someone asks, "Hey, baby, what's your sign?" remember that they're really asking what your sun sign is.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE "BORN ON A CUSP"?
If you were born on or around the day the Earth moved from one sign to another, astrologers call this being born on a cusp -- or a borderline between signs. The Earth moves from one sign into the next around the third week of every month -- but the exact time and date vary slightly from year to year. Since most astrology books don't have enough pages to include this information, they just list approximate dates. Naturally, this has caused some confusion. For example, a person born on August 23 may wonder, "Am I a Leo or a Virgo?" since she has probably seen herself listed as both. Some astrologers believe that cuspers are a blend of both signs. Others insist you're either one or the other.
Fortunately, the matter can be settled if you know your birth time. You can find out which sign you "officially" are by checking an ephemeris -- which is an almanac charting the exact time that the sun (and all other planets) changed signs in your birth year. You can also visit websites, such as Astrology.com (astrology.com), and create a free computerized chart.
WHAT'S A CHART?
Your chart is a map of the universe at your birth -- and a guide to your personality, challenges, and strengths. At the exact moment you were born, every planet was revolving around the sun at its own pace -- and was thus traveling through a different part of the zodiac. If you took a snapshot of our solar system at this precise moment, you would have your birth chart. To figure out your chart, you'll need the exact time (hours and minutes), date, and place that you were born. This will be listed on your birth certificate. If you don't know your birth time, use an approximate time -- or just use 12:00 noon. This could give you an inaccurate moon or rising sign, but the rest of your chart should be on point. From there, you can hire a professional astrologer to calculate your chart. Or, you can create a free sample chart for yourself online at Astrolabe (alabe.com) or Astrology.com.
THE ELEMENTS: FIRE, EARTH, AIR, AND WATER
The twelve zodiac signs are grouped into four "elements" -- fire, earth, air, and water. Each of these elementary groups has distinct traits. Together, they form the natural world, so each is in some way dependent on the other.
Fire Signs: Aries, Leo, Sagittarius
Earth Signs: Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn
Air Signs: Gemini, Libra, Aquarius
Water Signs: Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces
Fire signs tend to be passionate, dynamic, and temperamental. Fire can keep you warm, or it can do great destruction. While fire burns out quickly without fuel to keep it going, it can also regenerate its power from the ashes. A single spark can set off a forest fire. As a result, fire signs need to be nurtured and managed carefully.
Earth signs keep it real. They are the "grounded" people on the planet, the ones who bring us down to earth and remind us to start with a solid foundation. Slow and steady, these "builders" are loyal and stable, and stick by their people through hard times. On good days, they're practical; at worst, they can be materialistic or too focused on the surface of things to dig into the depths.
Air signs are all about action, ideas, and motion -- they are the "winds of change." When a strong gust hits you, you can't help but move. While some within their ranks may be true-life "airheads," others are as powerful as a gravity-defying G-force. Air signs bring everyone a breath of fresh air when things start to get stale. Like the breeze, they can't quite be caught, and you never know where they'll drop you once they sweep you up. The encounter will almost always be an adventure, though.
Intuitive, emotional, and ultrasensitive, water signs can be as mysterious as the ocean itself. Like water, they can be refreshing, or they can drown you in their depths. These signs often have intense dreams and borderline psychic intuition. Security is important to them -- after all, water needs a container, or it dries up and disappears.
YIN AND YANG: IS YOUR SIGN POSITIVE OR NEGATIVE?
Like the ancient symbol for yin and yang, the zodiac is also divided in half between yin (negative) and yang (positive) signs, which form a universal balance. The terms positive and negative shouldn't be taken literally -- they don't imply that you've got a good or bad attitude. They refer to your energy style. Positive signs, like the positive part of a magnet, are more active and charged. Negative signs, like the negative part of a magnet, are more receptive, and may need an outside force to pull them into action. Some astrology guides also label positive signs as "masculine" and negative signs as "feminine," but since we think that's kinda sexist -- and inaccurate -- we didn't.
The Positive (Yang) Elements: Fire and Air
Aries, Gemini, Leo, Libra, Sagittarius, Aquarius
Positive signs like action. They are the "doers" of the zodiac, and move at a quick pace. They tend to be extroverted, dynamic, and aggressive. Positive signs are independent and feel driven by achievement and competition. They also tend to be self-starters.
The Negative (Yin) Elements: Earth and Water
Taurus, Cancer, Virgo, Scorpio, Capricorn, Pisces
Negative signs are the "feelers" of the zodiac. They can be traditional and conservative, and are driven by their emotions. They may be introverted and prefer stable, nurturing relationships. Negative signs like to build security and will move at a slow, steady pace to achieve it. Change freaks them out unless there's a good reason for it.
As a rule, fire and air are compatible because they're the positive signs, and earth and water click because they're negative signs. Every element also fits naturally with more of the same -- fire likes fire, water likes water, and so on. However, every combo has its pros and cons. It's a matter of balancing the ingredients.
YOUR SIGN'S QUALITY: WHAT ROLE DO YOU PLAY ON A TEAM?
Are you a starter, a doer, or a finisher? The signs are categorized into qualities that can determine this. Each quality plays an important role in the world, and it's good to have a balance of each on every team. If you were putting together a record deal, for example, it would work like this: Cardinal signs would be the stars, the promoters, or the trendsetters who create the act. Fixed signs would be the studio technicians who produce the album. Mutable signs would be the editors who take the near-finished product and do the final mastering and remixing. Which one are you?
Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn
These signs start every season -- Aries kicks off spring; Cancer starts summer; Libra begins fall, and Capricorn is the first winter sign. Thus, they are the leaders and "idea people" of the zodiac. These signs prize originality and like to be first in everything they do. They're the trendsetters and trend-spotters, the ones who get the party started and the crowd hyped. Count on them to initiate a winning idea or plan.
Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius
These signs fall in the middle of every season. They're the stabilizers -- the ones who set up a solid goal or foundation, then start building. Fixed signs can take the enthusiastic ideas that cardinal signs spark, and craft them into something real. They pick up the ball when the cardinal sign passes it, and run the distance to the goal. Fixed signs are the trustworthy types who like to-do lists and fancy titles. If a cardinal signs says, "Let's go on vacation!" the fixed sign will call the travel agency, book the tickets and hotel, and send everyone a list of what to pack.
Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces
These signs end every season -- and have learned the hard lessons taught by spring, summer, fall, and winter. They know that all good things come to an end, and their role is to prepare everyone for the changing of seasons. Mutable signs are the adapters of the zodiac, a little bit older and wiser. More flexible and comfortable with change than other signs, they can "chameleon" themselves to fit into a variety of situations. Mutables are also the editors of the zodiac -- the ones who complete the package with a winning touch. A plan can be sparked by a cardinal sign, built by a fixed sign, then perfected with the critical eye of a mutable sign.
How Do the Planets Affect Me?
Every planet orbits the sun at a different speed, the revolution being slower the farther away a planet is. Each planet, as well as the sun and moon (which aren't technically planets but are sometimes referred to as such), is said to affect a different part of your personality.
Planet/ Determines... Moves into a New Sign Celestial Body Approximately...
Sun your basic personality every month
Moon moods and emotions every two to three days
Mercury mind and communication every two to four weeks
Venus love and attraction every four to six weeks
Mars drive and energy every two months (with exceptions)
Jupiter luck, growth, and wisdom every year
Saturn discipline, fears, and challenges every three years
Uranus change and originality every seven years
Neptune dreams and healing every ten years
Pluto power and transformation every twelve years
The sun, moon, and the "inner planets" -- Mercury, Mars and Venus -- move quickly through the zodiac. As a result, they affect your day-to-day life, moods, and habits. The "outer planets" -- Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, Uranus, and Pluto -- move slowly, changing signs every one to twelve years. For this reason, they shape the bigger trends in your life. In fact, Neptune, Uranus, and Pluto orbit the sun so slowly that they're said to mold entire generations. Each planet is associated with a zodiac sign, and members of that sign will exhibit traits of the planet. For example, turbo-charged Aries is ruled by energy planet Mars. Cheerful Sagittarius is ruled by optimistic Jupiter.
YOUR MOON AND RISING SIGN
Along with your sun sign, these two star players can tell a lot about your personality. Your moon sign (where the moon was when you were born) shapes your emotions and your soul. It colors all the subconscious stuff going on below the surface -- your deepest needs and what helps you feel emotionally secure. Your moon sign can also influence how strongly your sun sign is expressed. For example, if you're a fiery Aries with a mellow Taurus moon, your aggressive nature may be toned down by the steady Taurus influence. Or, if you're a watery Scorpio with a watery Pisces moon, you could be extra emotional and intuitive, since these are the traits of water signs. Want to find your true soul mate? Check out your moon sign and his. Chances are, your moons are in compatible signs, or your sun and moon are in similar signs.
Your rising sign, also called your ascendant, is the sign that was rising over the eastern horizon when you were born. It can affect your appearance, your attitude, and the way you come across to others. For example, a conservative Capricorn with a Leo rising can appear to have some Leo-like features -- she may have wild hair, an outgoing personality, and a more expressive style than the average Capricorn. If people always peg you for a sign other than your own, don't be surprised to discover that it's actually your rising sign.
How do you calculate your moon and rising signs? The moon moves into a different sign every two to three days, and the rising sign changes every two hours. You'll need to check an ephemeris that lists moon and rising signs to determine which signs are yours.
Copyright © 2003 by Tali Edut and Ophira Edut