Characteristics of the Zodiac

altDefinition: The term zodiac comes from Ancient Greek “Zodiakos Kyklos” and refers to a 'circle of the animals.' (Zo in greek means Animal).

The Zodiac consists of 12 (twelve) different sun signs. Date of birth of a person determines which zodiac sign belongs to him. The signs of the Zodiac can give us great insights into our characteristics, personality traits, physical features, talents and special qualities we possess. Please note that this reading will give you the general characteristics of your zodiac sign, but to find out about your unique abilities, life events and destiny you need a full horoscope reading that takes into account all the planets, not just the sun.

Each of the 12(twelve) zodiac signs grouped into a specific element and the 4 elements help in understanding everybody's place in the world. There are three zodiac signs for each element: These are:

Fire Signs:- Aries Leo Sagittarius - These signs tend to be lively, impetuous, aggressive, bright, and enthusiastic. They are self-sufficient and can become forceful and demanding with those around them. The fire element desires freedom.

Air Signs:- Gemini Libra Aquarius - These signs have quick minds and are gifted in abstract concepts, communications, reasoning, intellect. They express themselves well and demonstrate good logic reasoning. They can sometimes be cold and impractical. The air element (like fire but with a different emphasis) desires freedom.

Earth Signs:- Taurus Virgo Capricorn - These signs are matter of fact and controlled. The earth is solid matter, it is stable and can be built upon. The earth element needs security.

Water Signs:- Cancer Scorpio Pisces - Sensitive and intuitive, these signs have deep emotional feelings. They are receptive and in tune with the environment in which they live, like a flowing water current. The water element (like earth but with a different emphasis) needs security.

Characteristics of the Sun Signs: The Qualities

Each sign has a quality assigned to it. The qualities are:

Cardinal - initiative, movement, vitality

Fixed - steadfastness, stability, earthiness

Mutable - adaptable to changes in life, capable of guiding and influencing circumstances

Cardinal Signs:- Aries Cancer Libra Capricorn

Fixed Signs:- Taurus Leo Aquarius Scorpio

Mutable Signs:- Gemini Virgo Pisces Sagittarius

Aries - March 21 - April 20   Zodiac Symbol The Ram, Ruling Planet Mars.

Virtues:- Abundant physical energy, courage, honesty, independence, self-reliance.

Negative traits:- Haste, impetuousness, over-aggression, rashness.

Taurus - April 21 - May 21 Zodiac Symbol The Bull, Ruling Planet Venus.

Virtues:- Endurance, loyalty, patience, stability, harmonious disposition.

Negative traits:- Rigidity, stubborness, tendency toward over possessive and materialistic.

Gemini - May 22 - June 21 Zodiac Symbol The Twins, Ruling Planet Mercury.

Virtues:- Communication skills, quick and agile thought process, learns quickly.

Negative traits:- Tendency toward gossip, hurting others with harsh speech, superficiality.

Cancer - June 22 - July 22 Zodiac Symbol The Crab, Ruling Planet The Moon.

Virtues:- Emotional sensitivity, tenacity, nurturing.

Negative traits:- Over-sensitivity, negative moodiness.

LeoJuly 23 - August 21 Zodiac Symbol The Lion, Ruling Planet The Sun.

Virtues:- Leadership, self-esteem, confidence, generosity, creativity, joyful .

Negative traits:- Arrogance, vanity, bossiness.

Virgo August 22 - September 23 Zodiac Symbol The Virgin, Ruling Planet Mercury.

Virtues:- Mental agility, analytical skills, healing powers, ability to give attention to details.

Negative traits:- Destructive criticism.

Libra September 24 - October 23   Zodiac Symbol The Scales, Ruling Planet Venus.

Virtues:- Social grace, charm, tact, diplomacy.

Negative traits:- Violating what is right for the sake of social acceptance.

Scorpio October 24 - November 22 Zodiac Symbol The Scorpion, Ruling Planets Pluto and Mars.

Virtues:- Loyalty, concentration, determination, courage, depth.

Negative traits:- Jealousy, vindictiveness, fanaticism.

Sagittarius November 23 - December 22 Zodiac Symbol The Archer, Ruling Planet Jupiter.

Virtues:- Generosity, honesty, broad-mindedness, tremendous vision.

Negative traits:- Over-optimism, exaggeration, being too generous with other people's money.

Capricorn December 23 - January 20 Zodiac Symbol The Goat, Ruling Planet Saturn.

Virtues:- Sense of duty, organization, perseverance, patience, ability to see the long term.

Negative traits:- Pessimism, depression, undue materialism and conservatism.

Aquarius January 21 - February 19 Zodiac Symbol The Water-Bearer, Ruling Planets Uranus and Saturn.

Virtues:- Great intellectual power, ability to communicate and to form and understand abstract concepts, love for the new and avante-garde.

Negative traits:- Coldness, rebelliousness for its own sake, fixed ideas.

PiscesFebruary 20 - March 20 Zodiac Symbol The two Fishes, Ruling Planets Neptune and Jupiter.

Virtues:- Psychic power, sensitivity, self-sacrifice, altruism.

Negative traits:- Escapism, keeping bad company, negative moods.

Planetary Rulers of the Zodiac Signs

In astrology, each zodiac sign has a ruling planet. The following shows the planets that rule each sign. Note that the classical rulers of signs are in brackets. These rulers were assigned to the signs before Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto were discovered. These classical rulers are still used by some astrologers. Note also that some planets rule two signs.

Aries - Mars, Taurus - Venus, Gemini - Mercury, Cancer - Moon, Leo - Sun, Virgo - Mercury, Libra - Venus, Scorpio - Pluto (Mars), Sagittarius - Jupiter, Capricorn - Saturn, Aquarius - Uranus (Saturn), Pisces - Neptune (Jupiter)

When interpreting a birth chart, the "chart ruler" is the planetary ruler of the sign on the Ascendant, or first house. For example, if Aries is the Ascendant, the chart ruler would be Mars. If Taurus is found on the second house, then Venus is said to rule the second house. If Gemini were on the second house, then Mercury rules the second house.

Definition of a birth chart

What is a birth chart?

A birth chart is a graphic wheel like this one.


The wheel represents a 360° circunference, divided in 12 sections (of 30° each)that represents both the Twelve houses and each of the Twelve signs of the zodiac that occupy them in the respective sign order. Aries occupies the first house of the zodiac, Taurus the second...through Pisces in the Twelfth.

How do your birth date and place modify that?

According to the day and place you were born, the current planet transit and planet positions help determine most of your personal traits and that's what makes your natal chart . Say, you have Cancer in your first house, then Cancer is your Ascendant or Rising sign, given that the first house represents your true self. Then, you have Leo in the following house, the Second, that represents the state of possesions and finances through your life and therefore is heavily influenced by that sign and the planets in it.

Please note that in every graphic chart like the one above, the inner circle represents the planet transit the moment and place you were born, and the outer border is the current transit as of today. To trace your personal characteristics and how is the general tendency that will shape the course of your life, you must take into account the inner circle.

Basic aspectations in a birth chart

The position of the planets

An aspect is when two or more planets are aligned in a way that is either harmonic (positive) or discordant (negative).

Therefore, we have 9 types of aspects, in which the most influyent go from the first (conjunction) to the sixth (sextile). The rest have little to almost no impact, but are important to have into account for more detailed and precise studies:

1.- Conjunction: a planet 'eclipses' the other.

2.- Opposition: two planets oppose each other in their alignment

3.- Trine: two planets are aligned in a way that you can trace a triangle in your birth chart wheel.

4.- Square: the same as the previous one, but this time it forms a square, and occurs when two planets are 90° apart.

5.- Quintile: a five sided polygon.

6.- Sextile: an hexagon.

7.- Septile: a seven sided polygon.

8.- Semisquare: an eight side figure, occurs when two planets are 45 degrees apart.

9.- Novile: a nine sided figure, occurs when two planets are 40 degrees apart, because the novile divides the birth circunference in pieces of 40 degrees each. These last aspects are the least used for interpretations.

What do each house of the zodiac mean in a birth chart?

Note that the characteristics of each house correspond to the characteristic of each sign that rules them.

The first house: is the house of the Ascendant. If Libra is in this chart, it means that you're a Libra ascendant.

The second house: is the house of possesions and personal finances.

The third house: the house of intellect and how you think and communicate.

The fourth house: identified with home matters, your family.

The fifth house: the house of pleasures, your creations, your future sons and daughters.

The sixth house: the house of work and job related matters.

The seventh house: the house of romantic relationships

The eighth house: the house of others' finances and resources, sexuality, passion, the dark side of things in life and death.

The ninth house: the house of philosophy, religion.

The tenth house: this is the house of the Midheaven or Medium Coeli. It represents the highest point of the chart and what you're meant to do in your life in terms of your career or main activity.

The eleventh house: the house of partnerships, friends, coworkers, associates.

The twelfth house: the house of karma, the unconscious. It rules isolation, imprisonment, the needs of others, dissolution of ego.

The planets in a birth chart

What do they mean?

The planets of our solar system play a great role in determining the influences that shape our birth chart.

When you read a birth chart you will basically find:

- The planet transit during the date and time you were born: they shape the many aspects of your personality, given the position of each planet in each house of the zodiac.

- The current planet transit as of today: it shapes the current moods, energy and how it affects you particularly, in regards to the daily matters of your life.

Regardless of all of this, the planets that play a bigger influence are the Sun, the Moon, Venus, Mercury and Mars. Those are the BIG FIVE.

As for Jupiter, Uranus, Saturn and such planetoids as Pluto, Vesta, Juno, Pallas, they have a long-range, long-term influence. Given that their transit lasts decades, their influence is mostly generational.

The Sun in astrology

The centre of the solar system. Ruler of the sign Leo and the Fifth House of the Zodiac, the house of pleasure, games, creative expression, your inner child, fortune and related matters.

Wherever the Sun is placed on your natal birth chart, it determines your Sun sign according to your birthday and the house is placed in represents your highest point or quality about you.

The Moon in astrology

Our natural satellite, ruler of the sign Cancer and the Fourth House that pertains to the home and therefore, our family matters, though it can also refer to our inner self, the one that you and only you can know.

The Moon often refers to your Mother figure or motherly presences in your life.

Mars in astrology

Ruler of the sign Aries and also Scorpio in contemporary astrology. Rules the First and Eighth Houses. The first house is your Ascendant or Rising Sign, which is the real you, or the aspects that actually shape your personality. It is believed that the Rising Sign is the one that truly defines you for who you are, rather than the Sun Sign.

The eighth house is related to health in a life/death sense of the word, sexuality and joint businesses or ventures. Also the dark side of life in some interpretations.

Mars rules anything physical, violence, temper, action, no wonder it was the god of War in Roman mythology.

Venus in astrology

Ruler of both Taurus and Libra. Therefore the second and seventh houses, respectively.

The Second House is all about money, possesions and financial matters. Whereas marriage, romantic relationships and friendships in general pertain to the Seventh house.

Venus is the Goddess of Love in Roman mythology. This planet rules anything to do with it, as well as romantic relationships, the feminine in general.

Mercury in astrology

Ruler of Gemini and Virgo, therefore the third and the sixth houses. Planet of communications and everything related to eloquence and verbal skills.

The Third house is the house of intellect and the Sixth house is the house of health and work matters.

Jupiter in astrology

Regent of Sagittarius and in ancient times, co-regent of Pisces and Aquarius. The Great Benevolent of the zodiac, as it brings luck and fortune wherever it is placed, unless its influence is diminished by square or an opposition to another planet.

Jupiter rules the Ninth house, the house of philosophy and religion.

Saturn in astrology

Regent of Capricorn and used to be regent of Aquarius. Contrary to Jupiter, it has the reputation of being known as the Great Malevolent of the zodiac. But don't take it literally. As many experts say today, Saturn is just like your less-liked teacher.

Saturn rules the 10th house, the house of the Midheaven, responsabilities, status, what you're going to do with your life.

Saturn is often associated with depression and hard work.

Uranus in astrology

Ruler of Aquarius. Planet of changes, the unpredictable, the excentric and revolutionary. It represents the avant-garde. No wonder we are currently living the era of Aquarius, as the song says. The influence of this planet is generational, but on an individual level, it represents radical changes in a person's mindset.

Uranus is the natural ruler of the 11th house, the house of partnership and friends.

Neptune in astrology

Neptune rules the 12th house of the Zodiac and the sign of Pisces. It represents anything dreamy, illusions as well as delusions. It is associated with drugs, alcoholism, artists, poetry, literature and all the means of representational expression we know.

The 12th house is the place in which we dillute our ego to be part of a collective. It is also associated with karma and isolation or loneliness.

Pluto: the underrated planetoid in astrology

Yes, it is ironic that astronomists undermined this planet to the level of planetoid, yet in astrology it is a vital planet that has played quite a role lately, specially since 2008 when it entered Capricorn and since then, our stability has been turned upside down, with the downfall of traditional institutions such as banks, governments, Wall Street, Real Estate, corporations, you name it...

Pluto is a planet that defines generations. It is believed that it ties people karmically in the sense that they tend to see and do things the same way. Pluto in Leo corresponds to people of the Baby Boom generation, for example.

Pluto rules our karmic guilt and the paranoia that results from it, as it also rules the unconscious.

But no matter how nasty the latter may sound, Pluto is also the planet of transformation and alchemy. There IS a light at the end of the tunnel, after all, it's just that it's not the way we imagine or expect it.

The Midheaven: the Tenth House of the Zodiac

Your profession

This is probably the most interesting and determinant house of the Zodiac. Ruled on default by Capricorn and Saturn, it represents the highest point of the chart; thus it also means your life purpose in terms of what will be your main activities, occupations, jobs, professions, etc.

Keep in mind that your midheaven (MC) defines a wide array of paths that you can choose from, depending on the tendency that the sign on the tenth house represents, but ultimately the choice is yours; you must find what you're really happy doing.

Midheaven in Aries: your career must be oriented into self-affirmation, as well as full of challenges that require ambition. A political leader, an entrepreneur, sports, engineering, instruments, the Army, as well as any career or ocupation that requires the use of fire and the movements of your body as an art (a professional dancer).

Midheaven in Taurus: you are capable of resisting circumstances that normally other people wouldn't, and at the same time you have habilities or interests in anything financial, as this sign rules material goods. You can find also artistic and aesthetic related careers such as singing, a plastic surgeon, a dentist. And also anything related with agriculture. The idea here is that you tend to look for security in everything you do.

Midheaven in Gemini: flexibility, agility and versatility are your main qualities. A quick mind as yours can get you anywhere, yet you must bear the risk of being superficial. That's why the ideal careers for you are in sales, journalism, communications, commerce, travel, writing, teaching and oratory, but don't discard anything since the multitask capabilities of this sign are present here as well, so you may find yourself with two jobs that can be unrelated, but require your level of analytical habilities.

Midheaven in Cancer: you have great habilities to plan things ahead and at the same time think of others while doing so. You can be a great type of leader that nurtures others while you don't lose your individualism. You can run the risk of being too overprotective, almost dictatorial in your ways. Your careers are related with home, family, kids, teaching, social worker, agriculture and any organization that defends women's rights.

Midheaven in Leo: you have a great will and your objectives in life are very clear and set high. And you have the required perseverance and persistance that it takes. On the bad side, you can turn arrogant, egotistic and self-absorbed in the pursuit of what you want. But don't worry since your best feature is that you are a natural leader that can inspire others. Art careers, executive positions in companies such as management, CEO, etc, jewelry, metals are best for this placement, and also professions related to gambling and entertainment. And of course, politics!

Midheaven in Virgo: with this MC, you are a critic and highly analytical person with a knack for details, in order to help people do constructive things. You tend to love order, cleanliness and perfection. Your career must give you security, stability and have a established routine with no changes. Be aware of becoming a bureocrat, though. Your ideal professions are in the medicine, secretary, and administrative fields, libraries and museums, as well as environment activist.

Midheaven in Libra: you have harmonious and moderate tendencies in everything you do, and need to maintain a certain public image of yourself. That's why you have excellent social habilities, to associate yourself with others, as you are the perfect diplomat. Be aware that you can go too far in wanting to be liked by everyone, and live by other's whims and desires. You can be a lawyer, a judge, a social worker, a negotiatior, or work in fashion, counseling and the jewelry industry.

Midheaven in Scorpio : intense as ever with this MC, you find yourself dealing with crisis and transformations, the constant struggle between opposites polarities. You are ambitious and seek success, but through extreme measures and willing to withstand any hardship. You certainly need to experiment and your greatest gift is that you can transform yourself and transform others in the process as well. Yet you seek rivalities and always have high suspicions of someone backstabbing you. Your ideal careers are in the psychiatry field, mining, petrochemicals, the nuclear industry, as well as anything related to the occult, paranormal investigation, a good detective or police officer.

Midheaven in Sagittarius: you seek a high status and progress in your life, but in a way that is achieved through knowledge. You are highly creative and intuitive, and can easily plan ahead for things to come, given your practical nature. You know exactly what you want and how to get it, yet you can fall in dogmatism and have a closed mind in many aspects. Of course, ou have a great connection with travelling, adventure and exploring the unknown. So anything that goes along with tourism, travelling, extreme sports, law, philosophy, religion, marketing and international relation can be the best fields for you.

Midheaven in Capricorn: with this MC, you are ruled by utilitarism. You seek your personal interests above all, but don't misinterpret it as a bad trait. You are highly efficient, but you tend to think that what you've done is not enough (no wonder Capricorn is ruled by Saturn). Your seriousness and commitment to work is admirable, and no wonder you can get ahead in politicial and social fields, but you don't seek fame nor you like to be in the spotlight, you seek success for yourself, to live a good life. A little creativity in your daily work wouldn't hurt! You can work for the government, in construction, in places with adverse climate conditions, engineers, traumatologists, or with elders.

Midheaven in Aquarius: you seek to prove yourself that you have the adequate capabilities to get what you want. That's why you are in a constant search for knowledge, superior knowledge, but be aware that you can be easily distracted and dispersed. You can discover new things and be a visionary in that sense, and you have the facility to cooperate with other people, thus seeking to make a great input to humanity in a purely altruistic way. Anything new and avant-garde attracts you, but don't forget that you can turn rigid and almost fanatical in this pursuit. You must remind yourself that above all, you seek for spiritual freedom.

The cycle of the Aquarius MC goes through a period of getting information from infinite sources through life, then an awakening of the consciousness occurs and it's really impressive to witness, because the individual with this placement would have reached an important discovery or achievement. Your ideal careers are in science, astronomy, astrology, math, physics, aviation, public relations, media, internet, and philantropy.

Midheaven in Pisces: I have this Midheaven and boy, has it been hard to decipher for me. Some people say that it can be a gift and a curse at the same time, but I prefer to be optimistic and think of it as a gift instead. Technically, you don't know what to do with your life, you may think that you have found the perfect career and job, but truth is, you always feel like you're wandering through life, looking for what you really want to do.

Karmic Astrology: Retrograde planets in a birth chart

What do they mean?

A planet that is retrograde means that the planet was making an apparent backward motion at the time of birth, and therefore, the energy of that planet influence us on an inner level, and makes for the aspects of our personality or our lives that hold us back.

Karmically speaking, it means the lessons we didn't learn on a previous life.

There are people with five or more retrograde planets in their birth chart, but that's not a reason to be scared, though. It doesn't mean that you're cursed or anything, it's just that those areas of your life will require to be sorted out with patience.

Saturn retrograde is by far the toughest. Being the planet of karma itself, you will always feel inadequacy, as if you don't belong anywhere, or like you're not good enough for anything. It's really complex and varies according to in which house is the planet located.

Uranus retrograde can mean that you have a hidden rebel, non-conformist side.

Neptune retrograde: a tendency to live in a surreal, alternative world because the physical world is too harsh for you.

Pluto retrograde: you don't trust anyone, and live in a perpetual struggle for control and dominance with others that may abuse or get advantage from you. You need to comprehend that you have the power to control how you react to things.

Jupiter retrograde: all the abundance, luck and richness that pertains to this planet is manifested in your inner life. A great spirituality.

Mars retrograde: you tend to repress anger and negative emotions.

Venus retrograde: you're here to learn that a relationship is about the balance of giving and taking. Either you feel let down by the lack of commitment of others related to your own, or you feel that you give way too much.

Mercury retrograde: you tend to listen, rather than speak.

The infamous 12th house of the zodiac

Much has been discussed around the true meaning of the twelfth house. The house of karma, the unconscious, the unknown, taboo-related themes, the occult, disgraces, madness, adictions, you name it.

The truth is that there's nothing to fear about it. The most open interpretation is that the twelfth house in any birth chart represents one's aspect of disolution of the ego, of the self, in other to serve others. The responsibility you have with the people and things around you. So it doesn't end the cycle of the zodiac for nothing, precisely preceding the first house that means the self.





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