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Zodiac Sign Descriptions

by Eric Francis

Aries (March 20-April 19) — Self-assertive, sometimes bold, sometimes cloaking deep insecurity with that boldness, Aries is always up for an adventure. Your sign is the key that starts the engine of the universe, and that means you have extra motivation, even in the face of intimidating situations. Something in you just rises to the occasion and you make your presence known. Your friends count on you for this, though you often need their support and do a lot better as an initiator when you have a posse around you.

There’s something truly childlike about Aries, and its natives can accomplish great things because they don’t stop to think about how whatever they’re attempting is supposedly impossible. You are constantly discovering new depths of your inner nature, surprised time and again that your interior world is such a dominant part of your personality. Aries is associated with the planet Mars. Learn about the placement of your Mars sign and you will learn more about your personality. Mars represents raw, unrefined energy, which can be expressed many ways. Your job is to do the refining, and to learn some political skills so that you can get along with people even as you push them to do what you believe needs to be done. That said, you want relationship situations that are balanced and authentic, even though it can be hard to find people who aren’t intimidated by you.

You have desire, you have determination, you benefit the most from discipline and learning to be happy with gradual progress, and this includes getting to know potential friends and lovers. Remember, you don’t always have to be first and best, and intimate situations are the place to turn off your competitive nature. You can simply be you. Aries is a fire sign, and because it’s one of the signs that starts a season, it’s also considered a cardinal sign. It’s represented by the Ram, which is a very cool kind of full-strength sheep.

Speaking of full-strength, that’s what your astrology is these days. Of all the signs, Aries is the one right now that’s getting energized, electrified and spontaneously transformed. To do this well, you have to stay grounded and take care of yourself. We’re counting on you to lead the way into the future. That’s the true nature of Aries — and it’s blazing out right now.

 

Taurus (April 19-May 20) — Calm, collected and attractive on the outside, raging like a tempest on the inside, Taurus is the blacksmith shop of the soul. If you’re a Taurus, you’ve incarnated at this time for the purpose of being shaped and tempered. Just be sure you go gently on yourself even during the tempering process. And remember that such deep working out should be harnessed in the form of creative energy as well as sensuality. You need both.

While you’re famous for your supposed stubbornness, few understand that you’re trying to work out your inner complexities and don’t want to make a move or a decision until you feel you’re all sorted out. But there is always more to sort, and at a certain point you have to go with the experiment of living. Change is challenging for you. It’s easier if you think it’s your idea, so make sure you keep coming up with new possibilities to keep yourself on the move. And speaking of ideas, change is indeed easier if you are connected to your creative process. You might need to finally move because you want to do something with your space. Not enough room for a recording studio or practice room in your house? It’s finally time to go somewhere bigger.

Remember that confidence and digging in your heels are two entirely different things. You must handle your possessive nature carefully so as not to alienate others, and remember that as much as you might like to be ‘taken possession of’, this doesn’t really work for you. At a certain point you will need your independence. Your sign is associated with the planet Venus, which is bright, beautiful and has an atmosphere of ammonia cooking at 900 degrees centigrade. It’s healthy to let some of that fire and passion out into the open. Taurus is a sign of the earth element, and is also a fixed sign, coming in the middle or peak of a season — which happens to be the season of Beltane, the pagan celebration of sex. Your erotic nature is more promiscuous than you may want to admit, however, you also have a strong drive to bond with others. You must find a balance between the two. To learn more about yourself, look up the sign of your Venus as well as your Moon, two elements in your chart closely associated with Taurus.

 

Gemini (May 20-June 21) —  Gemini is one of the three human signs, illustrated by a person rather than some other kind of critter. And when a human appears, he/she appears in a pair. Isn’t that interesting? This comes with a question: what are the two sides of your nature? You’ve obviously identified a tendency to what’s called ‘dualism’ — the simultaneous expression of opposites.

This is challenging, but it helps to have some self-knowledge and ongoing self-awareness. Are the two sides of your Gemini nature about the immortal soul coexisting with the mortal ego? Are they about the relationship between mind and body? Are they the good twin and the evil twin? Whatever the case, you need many modes of expression and you may have three computers. You may have a special gift of creative collaboration, because you can shapeshift and respond to any human situation as the person you’re needed to be. Use this skill and it will get stronger. You also need a diverse group of friends to stimulate the many sides of your mind. And you need to turn your nearly obsessive inner dialog into something creative; capture it in writing, turn it into a play or TV show; explore your psyche in a therapy process.

The challenge that most people feel with Gemini is that they ‘don’t know who they’re talking to’, since you are so multifaceted. But the better you know yourself, the more trustworthy you’ll be. If you’re aware of how people respond to you, and do your best to bridge this perception gap, your relationships will go more smoothly. You can also keep your friends guessing. I consider Gemini the kinkiest sign. It’s got to do with the whole twin thing — if you find your twin, you know how to make him or her feel good. Gemini is an air sign, and the first of the four mutable signs, which come at the end of a season. The planet associated with Gemini is Mercury, which is fast-moving and androgynous. If you want to learn more about yourself, look where Mercury is placed in your chart.

 

Cancer (June 21-July 22) — Nurturing, loving, devoted, cuddly, milky and self-centered, Cancer has it all. Your sign is not multifaceted; rather, you change like the tides, and are a little different every single day. Less polite people call you moody. What, not everyone has moods? Why do they all take things so personally? Or is it you who takes others so personally?

In any event, those born under your sign possess a certain desire for intimacy that is mingled with defensiveness about getting too close to others, and this can send a mixed message. It’s important that you have a sense of control in your relationships, but you don’t want to take that too far. You won’t respect weak people, so you may as well surround yourself with strong ones who respect your space and who feel at home in your home. It is sometimes said that the crab walks sideways, and your most important learning in this life is to be direct about what you feel and what you want, without feeling guilty about it. Your inclination is to experience your relationships in a structured way; you would have more fun if you would be more flexible. Remember that the people you love now are not as powerful as your mother was, so don’t treat them like they’re her.

Keep a Moon calendar on your desk and know the current phase and sign all the time. Cancer is one of the water signs, and is also a cardinal sign, being the beginning of summer in the Northern Hemisphere and winter south of the equator. If you want to know more about yourself, study the position of the Moon in your chart, as well as what are called the lunar nodes. These will reveal the deeper elements of your nature, and more than any other sign, the Moon’s house, sign and aspects may reveal your most authentic nature.

 

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — Leo is one of the most misunderstood signs. But it’s easier to understand if you remember that while the other signs are ruled by a planet that orbits the Sun, Leo is ruled by the thing at the center of our solar system, around which all the other planets orbit (some 500,000 now known).

So while Leo has the tendency to be at the center of it all, there is a deep responsibility that comes with having this as your Sun sign or ascendant. You’re likely to feel this all the time, and it manifests as a selfless and hard-working quality. It’s associated with the metal gold — the reference standard for all value. You can be generous with others and frugal with yourself; you hold yourself to a high standard and often strive for a kind of perfection that is impossible to attain. The less well-adapted (or insecure) natives of Leo can be incredibly egocentric and bossy, which can give the rest a bad name; for the most part those born under this sign emphasize leadership and responsibility rather than a privilege. You’re strongly drawn to group activities and organizations, and you have the self-confidence and presence of mind to play a useful role in any such activity. You need to be visible, and you also need a steady career that is in tune with your deepest values. If you want to understand yourself, study the house position and the aspects to your Sun, for which you will need your whole natal chart.

More than any other sign, the house position of the Sun is vital to understand with Leo. It will tell you the ways you’re most naturally inclined to express yourself. Your rising sign will tell you a lot. That said, as a Leo you want to be seen, known and you need to find roles in life that give you a bit of visibility and put you in a position to be appreciated. It’s unbecoming of your regal nature to expect adulation, however. You’re only as important as the role you play in the lives of the people around you, and it’s necessary to take a big view of what that means. Your relationships are with humanity first and individual humans second. You understand how important it is to see humanity as a collective entity, and you can actually grasp that idea. Make sure everyone you care about knows how deeply you really feel about them. Health-wise you must take care of your heart. Leo rules the heart, but it requires special care. Leo is a fire sign, and is also known as a fixed sign, coming at the peak (center month) of its season.

 

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — Virgo is a mentally oriented, highly intelligent, nervous sign that needs to remember it’s made of the element earth, not air. That’s another way of saying that your life is a constant process of translating from idea to reality and back. Ideas are not enough. Yours is not the sign of science but applied science. The difference is similar to that between working in theoretical physics and learning how to be a master baker, or using your skill in chemistry to be an expert hair colorist. Applying ideas can be challenging because the mental world changes so much faster than the often-stuck dynamics of the physical world, and we’re often at a loss for how to translate between the two. That would be your job: to identify ideas and how to apply them; to match up problems with corresponding solutions.

You must be a master of what you do, though you’re likely to have at least two dominant areas of professional competence and two entirely different careers you’re developing. You have a fast, inventive mind but may squander that on doubt, which is rooted in self-doubt. If you’re ever wondering where your creative energy goes, look there. Of all the signs, Virgo needs to cultivate self-esteem as a primary life strategy. One way to do that is to mediate on fairness, and make sure that what you do actually honors your true principles. Having good self-esteem doesn’t mean you’re better than others — only that you are right to be you, to accept yourself and to be accepted for who you are — in that order.

This is one reason why so many Virgos opt for helping careers; it helps you to feel useful. You have a way of contradicting yourself and expecting others not to notice; it would help if you admit these contradictions so you don’t leave everyone constantly wondering where they stand with you. Men born under this sign are advised to make good friends with their inner woman. Virgos can be extremely hard on themselves and need to learn how to replace the criticism with a balanced level of self-appreciation, and valuing the subtle things in life. The planet of Virgo is ever-changing Mercury, and the mysterious Chiron is a close cousin. If you want to understand yourself better, study where these planets are in your chart. You’re also sensitive to Mercury retrograde, so make sure you know when that’s happening and plan accordingly. Yours is a mutable sign, coming at the end of a season, leading into the next.

 

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) —  Your sign is about beauty in its many forms. No matter what a Libra does, it’s got the intention of elegance. Everything is considered in terms of its presentation, which is not at the expense of quality; the presentation enhances the quality and vice versa. But appearances count, and you’re unlikely to respect anything that’s not done both with care and the appearance thereof.

That also means you can hold yourself to a high standard and push yourself in a way that you rarely reveal to others. Their criticism can seem harsh to you because you’ve likely already seen any issue that someone points out and have addressed it in your own quiet way. Libra holds space for an ideal that can only be emulated on this plane of reality. Nothing quite lives up to it; that may be the reason for the famous quality of ‘indecision’ behind your sign. You recognize that there is no perfection, and alternates all have their advantages and disadvantages. The most important thing you can learn is how to decide, and most often you do that on a gut level. You ‘just know’ something and sometimes you think you’re a bit psychic as a result. Your outer appearance is often deceiving in that it veils your inner intensity. I call Librans the ‘human blowtorch’, because you can be cool, calm and quiet, and then turn into creative powerhouses when you are motivated to turn up the gas. Libra is the sign associated with the concept of justice, which is the meaning of the scales.

You have a sense of fairness and equanimity that is alien to many people around you. Yours is also one of the primary signs associated with relationships and relating, which are important priorities for you and which must be conducted in the spirit of ethics and integrity. If someone is dishonest, don’t convince yourself to trust him or her. At the same time, you must remember not to get lost in your relationships — and remember how to find yourself again when you do. Libra is a cardinal sign, coming at the change of a season, though the initiative of this sign can take some time to come out. Libra is associated with the planet Venus, and Saturn is well-placed here as well. If you want to know more about yourself, study the positions of these two planets. Venus is likely to be close to your Sun, and Saturn could be in any sign. Most of the signs have one dominant ruling planet that has survived as a carryover from traditional astrology — though Libra has two. Venus is about values and Saturn is about structure and form. To work your astrology, study and learn to master both of these planets.

 

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — Scorpio is an emotional, fiery water sign, usually represented by a creature of the desert — the scorpion. But it’s a desert creature that resembles lots of critters that live underwater, as if the ocean dried out and the scorpion stayed behind. Note the contradictions: fiery water, ruled by a land creature. Of all the animals to have as your totem, the scorpion is by far the oddest of the lot, and we can be sure that the ancient masters of lore had a perverse sense of humor, or were keenly aware of human nature.

Scorpio is an odd hybrid, both a product — and an instigator — of evolution. In plain talk, that means growth. You tend to push the people around you. And you tend to feel pushed, both internally and by your circumstances. Your sign is associated with sex, deep commitment and death, and that’s what you remind people of, even if it’s on a subtle level (it’s probably not). This has an influence on the people around you, all of whom think you’re ‘intense’. You probably detest that word, and likely think that you’re normal and they are missing something. Maybe you don’t have a fever; maybe their body temperature is 88 F. Speaking of fevers, you need water, literally and figuratively; as emotional as this sign is, it can be mentally fixated (usually, on the psychology of others) and can appear to have trouble grounding in the realm of feelings. That’s a kind of illusion. You might cover your feelings, you might cover your vulnerability. But when you go deep, you really go. And when Scorpios get detached from the feeling realm, that’s when they can live up to their dangerous astrological reputation.

It’s vital that you not only think before you strike, but that you feel before you speak. Other people have feelings; you need to be reminded of this and spend time listening to the ones you care about. Express empathy as a conscious choice and invite people in with your famous capacity to keep a secret. This said, the passions of Scorpio are unparalleled, and people crave you as much as you crave them. Give them the space to desire you. Your sign is the one that rules over the sexual organs, deservedly so; it is also the sign associated with death and transformation. You love the idea and the experience of surrender perhaps a shade more than you love control. It’s healthy for you to let go; pay attention and you will figure out that jealousy is your best teacher. Scorpio is a fixed sign, of the element water, traditionally ruled by Mars, and in modern times by the potent antiplanet Pluto. To understand yourself better, study both of these planets. These days most astrologers forget (or pretend) that Mars isn’t involved. It is — and if you’re curious about astrology, start there.

 

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — At the gates of our galaxy stands a centaur (the constellation Centaurus), whose name is Chiron. This is an ancient symbol, half-horse, half-man (or woman), whose time has come. It’s a comment about the state of humanity — not sure if it’s a person or an ‘animal’ and not sure how we feel about the animal aspect. Chiron’s features include being a maverick and helpful though in a way that’s sometimes inconvenient but works. Some astrologers associate a planet by this name with your sign.

Yours is the sign of the quest, the far-away and far-out, and success based on an odd chance. You are the master of “leap before you look,” never quite thinking about what you do before you do it. But you don’t change this policy because you get lucky often enough, and your impetuous attitude gets you far better results than the people who sit around hesitating all day. As one Sagittarius recently said to me, she tries to jump across the river without stepping on the individual stones. She added, “I’m in the river, but I caught a fish.”

The ancients were brilliant, for aligning your sign with the Galactic Center — that is, the core of the Milky Way, our home galaxy — because you have an affinity for everything that’s exotic, remote, interesting and lavish. You will go places just to go there, meet people just to meet them, and you find children to be your peers far more than adults. You possess within your soul the library of the zodiac, which is to say you love knowledge and philosophy and probably have a Twitter feed that’s actually interesting to follow. Yet your reputation for being a freewheeling devil-be-damned type is entirely true until we get to your rock-solid values, which can be traditional, cautious and even conservative. You’re as private as you like to be well-known. When you help others, you might want to move on quickly so that you don’t get involved; having your space is crucial to you. You live with these various tensions a little like Chiron is made of his human and animal parts.

As unusual, energetic and optimistic as you are, it’s good for you to understand that you have limits. If you try to be a perfectionist, you won’t get anything done, but you also need to remember what you’ve learned about technique (there is a trick to everything), and how important those petty details can be. Remember that someone isn’t necessarily crowding your space by trying to be close to you, but it’s helpful if you’re honest that you live on your own terms. You’re compelling enough that those who care about you will go along. Yours is a fire sign and is described as mutable because it’s right before a season changes. It’s ruled in traditional astrology by the fat, happy planet Jupiter — the one with 66 confirmed moons. Study both Jupiter and Chiron to learn more about yourself and for additional guidance about the spiritual quest that is your life.

 

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — The sign of tradition is also the sign of revolutionaries. The sign of reserve is the one associated with the impressive debauchery of the Roman festival of Saturnalia. Saturn, your ruling planet, is considered the very stalwart of stuck, but is in reality the most dependable agent of change. You are similarly versatile, embracing the new with a mix of eagerness and skepticism, and honoring tradition as a source of information about right now. That, and you think that old books smell interesting.

Capricorn is the sign of all things old and ancient. Caesar said it was his sign of ‘good luck’ and is still associated with him today. You may love to go to estate sales and visit antique shops, not only because you like old things but because you like to contemplate the way things were in different times in history. You believe that there are lessons to be learned from the past, and we would all be better off for learning them. The past makes sense to you, and so do the reasons for leaving elements of it behind, particularly the useless ideas that don’t work (but we’ll keep that 1924 egg slicer).

Reputed to be an ambitious, hard worker, this is usually true, but the part about being ruthless is more of a myth than anything else. You prefer to get things done by agreement and arrangement rather than by force, but you’ll take authority if you have to, because someone has to be in charge and it’s better if that someone has a clue. You’re not as boring as you like people to think you are; really, you’re easy to please and if the sex is good, your life is good. Well, that and it’s nice to have a good job where your skills are tested and where you can grow and develop. You have great political skills and are one of the best people to plot and scheme with. You understand the deviant side of human nature.

Capricorn is crispy on the outside and deeply sensitive on the inside, a fact which most people may miss and which you would do well to inform them (by your actions), so they know. You prefer the squishy kind of person as a partner, as in emotionally open (in a way that seems daring to you), but they also have to inhabit their gender in a conscious way. This is the sign of the winter solstice, associated with the dark days of impending cold; you love the security of the home fires burning. Capricorn is an earth sign, of a cardinal type; the planet that rules your sign is Saturn. Study the position of Saturn in your chart and you will learn a lot about yourself — promise.

 

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — Perhaps the most misunderstood sign of the zodiac, we can for sure say that the Aquarius personality values intelligence, ideas and loves a good theory. Yet progress for its own sake is not what you’re after; Aquarius people are the discriminating embracers of innovation that works. Just to give one not so random example, you’ve probably got your hand on a mouse right now. That was invented by Douglas Engelbart, an Aquarian.

Aquarius has a strange relationship to time, as if you carry around your own time zone. You’re always living in an era of your own (past or present) which is never quite in sync with the present as defined by others. This carries into the often-noted contradiction implied in the sign that is at once associated with constant changes, and is also considered a fixed sign; for you the only constant is change, and you resist that change as much as you invite it. That’s because most change is pointless, driven by boredom or profit, neither of which are specific turn-ons for you. You’re not against money but you favor people (unlike many who are turned on by money). Like progress, money has a purpose: food, shelter, pleasure, sharing. It has little value for its own sake. Accordingly, you need a career you believe in ardently, and in that career you will excel. People will think it’s because you’re smart; in truth it’s because you do what’s important to you, what you feel belongs on the planet.

Traditionally, Aquarius is ruled by Saturn, a fact that is nearly forgotten today; in modern astrology it’s usually associated with the more wild, unpredictable and revolutionary planet Uranus. In truth, Saturn and Aquarius tell us a lot about one another — which is why Saturn is such a dependable agent for change and why Aquarius is so steadfast in its choices. Yet Uranus brings in three critical elements of Aquarius: your affinity for groups, your inventive spirit, and an ethos of fairness. You’re not afraid to change your mind if something, or someone, makes more sense than your prior ideas.

The Saturn/Uranus paradox embodies the chasm over which you must often stretch your body and your soul. You seek both individuality and group identification, but lean more toward the first, which is a good thing: only an individual can be part of a group. Yours is one of the human signs, and an air sign, represented by a woman holding an urn of water — or a ruler to measure the depth of the Nile. Fill that urn with water, so you have plenty to share. To understand yourself better, study both of these planets — and their relationship (aspects, affinity by sign, and so on). See the ways in which they tell the same story, and those in which they tell different stories.

 

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — The last sign of the zodiac embodies the idea that the world is created by opposite energies that complement and balance one another. Pisces is the living embodiment of yin and yang. That is to say, you want balance in your life, and you’ll go out of your way to find it. But you can also do without or function under extreme conditions, as if you’re drawing energy and information from some parallel universe. When we think of the great Pisceans of all time, Albert Einstein comes to mind, and this is someone who clearly understood alternate dimensions of reality and how what we see is not all there is.

Associated with the ocean and the cosmos itself, Pisces represents the primal waters to which the whole human experience eventually returns, and from which new ideas emerge. Seawater contains nearly every element; so do you, and you manifest this through your flexibility, adaptability and your ability to morph into whatever you need to be. You don’t want to do this too much, however. You have the ability to take the long view; water is the element with the slowest and most enduring action. That is to say, when in doubt, you can rely on your persistence. You don’t demand perfection, only progress. You can be self-sacrificing and believe that it’s possible to serve the greatest good for all concerned. Pisces is the sign that’s truly populist. Aquarius usually gets this credit, but Aquarius is too discriminating to be populist. With Pisces, you might say that the ocean refuses no river.

Your sign is associated with music, imagery and dreams. You believe that art is one of the fundamental things that makes humanity what it is. For you, sex is spiritual, even the original devotional activity. Indulge yourself in these things: your hobbies should include at least two of them. Life would be extremely boring without the release from the edgy world of the ego granted by Pisces. If you’re born under this sign, you have to watch your boundaries, have realistic expectations and remember that the world is ruled by love and not by guilt. If you have self-esteem issues, figure that out and deal with them promptly; both you and everyone else will be happier, healthier and wealthier. Assert what you think is right and you will discover that many people agree with you. Yours is a sign of the element water, categorized as a mutable sign because it’s at the end of the season and indeed the end of the astrological year. In traditional astrology it’s ruled by Jupiter, and in modern times usually associated with the big blue planet Neptune. Venus is your close cousin. Study all three of these planets in your chart and you will have a much better understanding of who you are.

 

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