Updated: Jul 5, 2021
The Zodiac Signs have a long history dating back to the Mesopotamian times, and even earlier by some accounts, and where adopted by the Babylonians and Greeks who popularized them. They point to a ring constellations, or groupings of stars, in the night sky. The wrote definition of Zodiac is as follows:
The zodiac (Greek: ζoδιακός, zōdiakos) is the term used to describe the circle of twelve 30° divisions of celestial longitude that are centred upon the ecliptic - the path of the sun. The term zodiac derives from Latin zōdiacus, which in its turn comes from the Greek ζoδιακoς κύκλος (zōdiakos kuklos), meaning "circle of animals".
This ring of constellations in the night sky has been utilized by almost every great civilization on earth as a tool of divination, to explain human behavior, tell stories, and understand what it means to be human. Each ancient civilization echoing the ancient universal philosophy of "As above, so below..." A concept all to familiar to anyone who has studied the occult in any way. This concept speaks to the relationship of duality and how everything in this universe not only works together but has influence on everything else.
Much of what we are familiar with today comes down through time to us from the Sumerians which was assimilated by the greeks (resistance is futile) and then stayed relatively untouched until the Renaissance where Astrology became vastly popular especially in royal courts where many monarchs employed a court astrologist. The names of the 12 signs today can actually be traced all the way back to the Sumerians and their translations from Sanskrit are rather amusing, if I do say so myself.
As you can see the Zodiac has a very long history, but what do do they mean today in a modern context? But before we dive into the specifics of the signs, we can actually categorize them by their Dualities (masculine/feminine associations), Triplicities (elemental associations), and Quadruplicities (creation/preservation/transformation). Which, much like the tarot suits, can give us some great general insights into the signs.
Each sign can be associated with masculine and feminine energies, and in that sense all the occult associations with those energies. Its noteworthy to point out that every sign has aspects of both genders, but these categorizations reflect their major influence and association.
Triplicities & Quadruplicites
Each sign can also be associated with an element - earth, air, fire, water, and one of the 3 aspects the human condition - cardinal, fixed, or mutable (creation, preservation, transformation).
Much like the elemental associations within the tarot fire signs are all about action and spontaneity. Water signs are all about emotions and sensitivity. Earth are stable and pragmatic. Air are knowledgeable and idealistic. These all together represent the Triplicities.
Now, before you go off asking by why is it called Triplicities when there are four elements... that's a great question - one that I honestly don't know the answer too and searched around for about 2 hours and could not find anything concrete about - but my understanding of what I did find was that it is because there are 3 groups of 4 - likewise with the Quadruplicities there are 4 groups of 3. Confusing I know.
Onto Quadruplicites - these as I mentioned before represent the 3 aspects of the human condition: creation, preservation, transformation. Each sign is then grouped together in 4 groups of 3 respectively called cardinal signs, fixed signs, or mutable signs. The table below categorizes the signs into both their Triplicities and Quadrupicities.
The Signs & Their Meanings
Now that we have a firm understanding of the general groupings of the signs we can look at the individual aspects of the signs themselves.
Now these are very simple descriptions of each of the signs and by no way describe every aspect of them. For that I would highly encourage you to do your own research, there is tons of information out on the internet and books to look at so do some digging, have fun, and find what resonates best with you.
Together all this information works together in much the same way you would read tarot, understanding the numerology, symbolism, elemental association, and of course your intuition the reader can formulate the best possible reading for the querent or situation.
If you have any questions please feel free to contact me directly through the contact page here on my website, or by posting a comment below. Thank you all for your love and support.
As always, remember: Everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about - so be kind. Always.
Bedell, C. (2018). A little bit of astrology: An introduction to the zodiac. NY, NY: Sterling Ethos.
McCarthy, J. (2018). The stars within you: A modern guide to astrology. Boulder: Roost Books.
Whitaker, A. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.ancient-wisdom.com/zodiac.htm