In astrology, there are twelve signs, each representing a different phase of life and ruling a corresponding house. You probably already know what your sun sign is, but when we start to break it down, you will see that we’re all made up of the energy of each sign.
That’s how birth charts work! They’re wheels with twelve houses, and each house is ruled by a different sign. That means that there’s a little bit of every sign in each and every one of us. But more on that later.
Here’s my take on the twelve signs of the zodiac — a beginner’s guide, if you will. Plus, look at all these cool corresponding stock photos I found on the internet. Gorgeous!
Aries is the first sign of the zodiac and it also rules the first house. Its symbol is the ram, and like rams, people with prominent Aries placements are the type to charge headfirst into a new endeavor — career, relationship, whatever it is, so watch out!
The thing they have to be careful of is acting before they think and jumping into something without giving much consideration to the consequences. I like to think of Aries as a match — it burns brightly and even furiously for awhile but extinguishes as quickly as it sparks. These people are confident, optimistic and enthusiastic and they can even be a little loud sometimes.
Because Aries rules the forehead and the face, people with a lot of Aries energy can be prone to headaches. Since it’s the first sign in the zodiac, it is also associated with youth and boisterous, childlike energy. It’s one of the three fire signs and one of four cardinal signs, which makes Aries energy helpful for starting new tasks.
Taurus, the bull, is all about comfort, luxury and tenacity. It is the zodiac’s first earth sign and its first fixed sign, meaning natives prefer consistency and what’s familiar to them over change. Literally. Try getting a Taurus off a couch on a Saturday afternoon. It won’t go well.
They are also known for being stubborn. Some have even gone as far as to compare arguing with a Taurus to trying negotiate with a brick wall. But I’m making us Taureans sound impossible, which we are not. We are peaceful folks, happy to graze all day. But if you’re unlucky enough to make a Taurus angry, you better watch out. Their eyes will get big and before you know it, they’ll start charging at you — and you better get out of the way.
But all in all, Taureans are simple creatures —not great at starting tasks, but once they know what needs to get done, they won’t stop until they’re finished. All you really have to do to make a Taurus happy is snuggle them and feed them. Trust me.
Gemini is the zodiac’s first air sign. It’s also a mutable sign, meaning it’s flexible and adaptable. My astrology teachers Pam Picard and Carly Sensenbrenner told me that cardinal signs start things, fixed signs get them done and mutable signs add the beautiful finishing touches.
Gemini is all about communication, being adaptable and fun. They are quick-witted and always looking for the next thing that captures their interest. These people are also community-oriented, playful and entertaining.
Its symbol is the twins, and Gemini natives sometimes get a bad rap for being two-faced. It’s easy to spot someone with a lot of Gemini in their charts because they tend to have a glimmer in their eye that can be intoxicating, but in an electric way — not like in a dark, mysterious way like Scorpios do. Usually they present so pleasantly that it’s hard to believe they could get involved in any sort of trouble — but hang on for long enough believe me, you’ll see that they can!
Rounding out the elements is Cancer, the fourth sign of the zodiac, and the first water sign. Like Aries, Cancer is also a cardinal sign, good starting things.
Cancer all about the home, emotions, feelings and comfort. Its symbol is the crab, which is a perfect metaphor for the Cancer personality, which tries to present a hard shell to the world, especially when provoked, but inside, there’s a big softy who just needs a hug.
Cancers will be the ones to bake you brownies when you’re having a bad day, and the ones to give you a hug when you’re sad. But if you hurt a Cancer’s feelings, or don’t accept their gesture in a way that they want you to, they will take it extremely personally. Unlike the other water signs, they’ll at least talk to you about it, though. More on that later.
The zodiac’s fifth sign is Leo. Have you heard of Leo? Of course you have. If you haven’t, they’ll be happy to fill you in. Leos are the zodiac’s exuberant superstars. Ruled by the sun, symbolized by the lion and sustained with enough fixed fire energy to keep the eternal flame at Arlington National Cemetary going, it’s hard to miss a Leo, especially when he or she is in the mood to charm the rest of the room — and they almost always are.
Leos are incredibly warm and generous, and, like their animal equivalent, love comfort and affection. On the flip side, they get a bad rap for being attention seeking. Some Leos do rely too much on outside validation to sustain themselves, but there are also plenty of developed Leos that happen to find themselves in visible positions. Usually, though, their hearts are in the right place.
Leo is followed in the zodiac by nervous, compartmentalizing Virgo (and I am allowed to describe Virgo that way because it’s my moon sign). Virgo, symbolized by the virgin, is a mutable earth sign that’s all about organizing things, hard work, critical thinking and creativity.
In some ways, it is the most obsessive of all of the signs in terms of needing cleanliness and order (Scorpios are also obsessive, but in a completely different way. More on that later). They are typically intelligent but can fall into a trap of excessive self-criticism.
Virgos tend to succeed in situations where their need for order and creative approach to problem solving will be appreciated and used towards an end that makes them feel like they are making a difference.
Libra, symbolized by the scales, is the sign of partnerships and justice. It’s a cardinal air sign and the opposite sign of Aries, which is all about individuality.
Libras need balance in their life, and, as the sign is ruled by the planet Venus, they also need beauty. They are social beings and, because of their need for justice, will go out of their way to be kind to others and include them.
Because Libra is a sign so focused on partnerships, however, they can be wishy-washy for fear of upsetting people. People with a lot of Libra placements also tend to like being in some sort of partnership — whether that’s romantic or a close friendship or business partnership. Libras have to be careful to make sure each move they make in life is what they truly desire, and not something being pushed on them by someone else.
Scorpio is the zodiac’s fixed water sign. It is a deeply emotional sign and Scorpio natives can come off as distant or mysterious to others. I like to think of Scorpio as a still, dark body of water under a full moon and a midnight sky — completely still, but with a huge energetic presence.
Its symbol, as you may have guessed, is the scorpion. Scorpios are private, brooding and transformative. They may appear mysterious but they are highly emotional on the inside and protective of their emotions. If you approach them the wrong way you may infer their wrath. They are also a highly sexual sign.
Sagittarius is the sign of the vastness of universe. Its symbol is the archer, and it’s safe to say that these archers are more than okay with shooting their arrows in any direction they please without much worry about the outcome.
Unlike its sister sign, Gemini, which is all about community, Sagittarius is all about the world. These are the explorers, the independent thinkers, the philosophical geniuses. They’ll also make you laugh your ass off before you’ve even noticed they’ve disappeared.
On the flip side, Sagittarians can be reckless and suffer from foot-in-mouth syndrome — that is, they’re very blunt, so be prepared to hear the absolute truth about what’s on their mind. They can also be independent to a fault — so good at doing things alone that their need for independence might hurt others. But I do see Sagittarians as a bright light in this dim world. They are highly entertaining.
Capricorn is the hardworking, steadfast, step-by-step disciplinarian of the zodiac. It’s a cardinal sign, good at beginning tasks, and and earth sign, meaning it’s grounded in reality. The way Capricorn sees it is, success comes through hard work, self discipline and earning your place in the world, so why doesn’t everyone else just follow the rules?
The truth is, though, there is more than one way to do things, and that’s where Capricorn needs to learn to be a bit more flexible. They can become their best selves when they realize that although they may like to do things one way, other people doing things differently doesn’t mean they’re wrong.
Eccentric, intellectual Aquarius is next. Aquarians march to the beat of their own drum.
Unlike its opposite sign, Leo, which is all about self-expression, Aquarius is all about the collective. These are the people leading the fight for social justice on the forefront. They’re the ones organizing charity runs, fostering animals and coming up with new, more just ways to do things, but they don’t get caught up in the emotionality of it all.
They’re also the sign of “why?” Aquarians will see every single side of an issue and ask every question that pops into their heads, because they genuinely want to understand the world. But unlike other signs that might want to nurture the world into make it a better place, Aquarians are all about the mind.
Yes, the word “aqua” brings to mind water, of course, and the symbol of Aquarius is the water bearer, but this sign is all about intellectualism. It’s a fixed sign, meaning it’s consistent, and it’s an air sign, meaning the energy is of the mind. Aquarians can even come off as cold and detached sometimes. But when it comes down to it, they want to make the world a better place.
Last but not least is Pisces, which to me is the water molecules in the atmosphere in an indigo sky, right before the sun comes up in the morning. Pisces is symbolized by the fish, making it a water sign, and it’s mutable. Since it’s the last sign of the zodiac, it’s the most connected to the other realm — to spirituality, to death — but it’s sort of at one with those things to a point where they don’t even realize it, unlike Scorpio which obsesses over death but isn’t directly tied up in it.
People with a lot of Pisces placements can be emotional and moody, and because they’re so sensitive, they tend to look for ways to escape the world when they can. They’re intuitive, creative and wise and easily moved by music and art. The sign is ruled by Neptune, the planet of dreams and illusions.
Pisces natives need to be careful not to fall too deeply into escapism. They also need to make sure that what they think is happening, is actually happening, because their dreaminess can at times make way for delusions. But this is a truly beautiful sign — how can you not love energy so sensitive and otherworldly?
So there you have it! Those are the twelve signs of the zodiac. Maybe some of the qualities of a sign that isn’t yours resonated with you. If so, there’s a reason for that! Maybe you have a prominent placement — the moon, your rising sign, mercury, venus or mars — in that sign, or maybe you have aspects in your chart that explain that kind of energy.
If you want to learn more, I recommend inputting your birth date, time and location into the natal chart section at astro.com. That’s where you can see what signs you have planets in, what signs rule what houses in your chart, etc. And, as always, you can contact me to take a look at your chart through this very website!
Hope you enjoyed this little summary of the signs. If you want to read more, check out my “resources” page for many experts on all things astrology.