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12 Astrology Signs of the Zodiac

Ancient seers grouped the stars which are at the background of the ecliptic, the apparent path of the Sun and planets are into twelve constellations or zodiac signs. Each zodiac signs spans 30 degrees starting with Aries and ending at Pisces. The names of the zodiac signs are derived from imaginary figures arrived by joining stars which are closely placed. Each zodiac sign have been assigned unique nature and characteristics generally resembling the imaginary figure and mythological lore. The twelve signs of zodiac and their Vedic Astrological names are mentioned below.


For more details on each sign please refer to pages above linked to each sign)


Twelve Astrological Signs are classified into 15 groups depending on their nature, influences and characteristics.

(1) Dualities - Positive and Negative or Masculine and Feminine Signs
(2) Triplicities - Fiery, Earthy, Airy and Watery Signs
(3) Quadruplicities - Cardinal or Movable, Fixed or Static and Common or Mutable Signs
(4) Northern & Southern Signs
(5) Equinoctial Signs
(6) Tropical Signs
(7) Fruitful Signs
(8) Barren Signs
(9) Voice Signs
(10) Mute or Dumb Signs
(11) Violent Signs
(12) Bestial or Four legged Signs
(13) Human signs or Voice Signs
(14) Double bodied or Bicorporeal or Duel Signs
(15) Short and Long Ascension Signs

Dualities - Positive or Masculine and Negative or Feminine Signs
The twelve signs are divided into two groups. All the twelve signs are either Positive and Masculine Signs or Negative and Feminine signs. All the odd number signs of Aries (Mesha), Gemini (Mithuna), Leo (Simha), Libra (Tula), Sagittarius (Dhanus) and Aquarius (Kumbha) are Positive or Masculine or Day signs and the even signs Taurus (Rishabh), Cancer (Karka), Virgo (Kanya), Scorpio (Vrischika), Capricorn (Makara) and Pisces (Meena) are Negative or Feminine or Night Signs. Thus all the Fire and Air signs are Positive, Masculine and Day signs and all the Earth and Water signs are Negative, Feminine and Night signs. Masculine signs are extroverted and active and Feminine signs are receptive and introverted.

Triplicities - Fiery, Earthy, Airy and Watery Signs
This is one of the most important classifications of astrological sign for predictive purpose. It helps in describing the temperament and basic personality of each sign of the zodiac by classifying them into one of the four ancient and traditional elements, fire, earth, air, and water. Each of the four elements has three signs assigned to it.

Fire signs (The Inspirational and Physically active Group) Aries, Leo and Sagittarius
Earth signs (The Practical and Productive Group) Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn
Air signs (The Mental and Socially Oriented Group) - Gemini, Libra and Aquarius
Water signs (The Emotional and Family Oriented Group) Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces

The Element of Fire is associated with the Signs Aries, Leo and Sagittarius, and it also symbolizes the natural first, fifth and ninth houses in astrology. The fiery signs represent the vital spirit and activity. These signs tend to be confident, action oriented, outgoing, forceful, active, strong, adventurous, enthusiastic, expansive and optimistic. Negatively they tend to be impatient, wilful, reactive, blunt, careless and foolhardy. Any planet or house that is placed in these signs will acquire these qualities. The more planets one have in the fire signs the more of these qualities will be pronounced.

The Element of Earth is associated with the Signs Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn, and it also symbolizes the natural second, sixth and tenth houses in astrology. The earthy signs represent sense of responsibility and reliability. These signs tend to be organized, practical, realistic, ambitious, hardworking, methodical, disciplined, analytical, stable and steady. Negatively they tend to be stubborn, lazy, reserved, critical, fussy, pessimistic and snobbish. Any planet or house that is placed in these signs will acquire these qualities. The more planets one have in the earth signs the more of these qualities will be pronounced.

The Element of Air is associated with the Signs Gemini, Libra and Aquarius, and it also symbolizes the natural third, seventh and eleventh houses in astrology. The airy signs represent mental and social experiences. These signs tend to be communicative, quick-witted, adaptable, versatile, flexible, relationship oriented, cooperative, sociable, balanced, tolerant and original. Negatively they tend to be babbling, nervous, superficial, indecisive, aloof and eccentric. Any planet or house that is placed in these signs will acquire these qualities. The more planets one have in the air signs the more of these qualities will be pronounced.

The Element of Water is associated with the Signs Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces, and it also symbolizes the natural fourth, eighth and twelfth houses in astrology. The watery signs represent feelings, imaginative and creative experiences. These signs tend to be sensitive, sympathetic, domestic, compassionate, benevolent, intuitive, artistic and receptive. Negatively they tend to be moody, clinging, secretive, escapist, impractical, unrealistic and brooding. Any planet or house that is placed in these signs will acquire these qualities. The more planets one have in the water signs the more of these qualities will be pronounced.

Quadruplicities - Cardinal or Movable, Fixed and Common or Mutable Signs
There are three basic 'mode of operation' for a Sign and each mode has its own distinctive way to approach a given situation. These thee modes are Cardinal or Movable, Fixed or Static and Mutable or Common. This classification of signs along with the Triplicities (Fiery, Earthy, Airy and Watery Signs) mentioned earlier are most important to understand astrological principles and functioning of signs.

Cardinal or Movable Signs are - Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn.
Fixed or Static Signs are - Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius.
Mutable or Common Signs are - Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces.

Cardinal or Movable Signs are enterprising and outgoing they initiates change and make things happen. They are interested in promoting change and bringing new things into the world. They like to take charge of situations and do not like subordinate roles. They like changes and reform. Negative traits for this mode are they can be restless and overactive.

Fixed or Static Signs are focused and determined and have stamina for persistence action. Once their mind is focused on a thing they will tenaciously pursue it in practical manner with will power till it is completed. They are very firm in their attitude and once an opinion has been formed they are not likely to change it. Negative traits for this mode are they can be resistant to change, requires long time to come to a decision and are very stubborn.

Mutable or Common Signs are adaptable, changeable, flexible and versatile. Their nature can be described as a balance between fixed and movable signs. They adept themselves as per their surroundings and current needs. Negative traits for this mode are they can be fluctuating, inconstant, indecisive and vacillating.

Each Mode has one Fire Sign, one Earth Sign, one Air Sign, and one Water Sign as in table below.

CARDINAL Fire - Aries
CARDINAL Earth - Capricorn
CARDINAL Air - Libra
CARDINAL Water –Cancer
FIXED Fire – Leo
FIXED Earth – Taurus
FIXED Air - Aquarius
FIXED Water – Scorpio
MUTABLE Fire – Sagittarius
MUTABLE Earth – Virgo
MUTABLE Air - Gemini
MUTABLE Water - Pisces


Northern and Southern signs
The first six signs of the Zodiac, Aries (Mesha), Taurus (Rishabh), Gemini (Mithuna), Cancer (Karka), Leo (Simha) and Virgo (Kanya) are called Northern signs, as they are to the north of the celestial equator. The remaining six signs, Libra (Tula) Scorpio (Vrischika) Sagittarius (Dhanus) Capricorn (Makara) Aquarius (Kumbha) and Pisces (Meena) are to the south of the celestial Equator (in the southern hemisphere) and termed as southern signs.

Equinoctial Signs
Equinoctial means equal day and night. This phenomenon occurs twice every year around 21st March and 23rd September, when the Sun is directly over the equator. Aries (Mesha) and Libra (Tula) are the two equinoctial signs. Aries (Mesha) is the vernal equinoctial sign and Libra (Tula) is the autumnal equinoctial sign.

Tropical Signs
Cancer (Karka) and Capricorn (Makara) are the two tropical signs. They are sometimes called the summer solstice sign and winter solstice sign respectively. The day time is longest when Sun is at the initial point of Cancer when the Sun is directly overhead at Tropic of Cancer at and the night time is longest when the Sun is at the beginning of Capricorn when the Sun is directly overhead at Tropic of Capricorn for northern hemisphere. The opposite is true for the southern hemisphere.

Fruitful Signs
All watery signs of Cancer (Karka), Scorpio (Vrischika) and Pisces (Meena), called fruitful signs. Any of these signs on 5th house cusp without any affliction to it or to its lord and Jupiter in natal horoscope is indicative of several children being born, numbers of which will depend on how strong the concerned houses and planets are.

Barren Signs
Aries (Mesha), Gemini (Mithuna), Leo (Simha) and Virgo (Kanya) are called barren or sterile signs. These are opposite of fruitful signs. Barren signs related to the afflicted 5th house and its lord is indication of being childless.

Voice Signs
Gemini, Libra and Aquarius, all airy signs are also called voice signs. As for voice or sound, there has to be an airy medium, this is the reason of all airy signs being voice signs. Voice signs coinciding with the second house and placement of Venus in it suggest voice suitable for singing and a similar occurrence in tenth house suggest career related to voice like singer, ventriloquist, commentator, mimicry artists, etc.

Mute or Dumb Signs
All watery signs namely Cancer (Karka), Scorpio (Vrischika) and Pisces (Meena) are called mute signs or mute signs. This can be due to the fact that water is not a good medium for sound and hence mute. Watery sign on afflicted ascendant or second house, Mercury afflicted by Saturn placed in any of these signs or Mercury in ascendant or second house in these signs in affliction can cause speech problems, stammering or other speech impediments.

Violent Signs
Aries (Mesha) and Scorpio (Vrischika) are violent signs. Theses signs know no fear; they are full of courage and confidence and are eager to take risk. The difference is Aries in violent on physical level and Scorpio is on emotional level.

Bestial Signs
Aries (The Ram), Taurus (The Bull), Leo (The Lion), Capricorn (The Goat) and the second half of Sagittarius are symbolized by the figures of animals and thus are called the bestial or four-legged signs. First half of Sagittarius is represented as a human and second half by horse; therefore only second half of Sagittarius is termed as bestial.

Human Signs
Gemini (The twins), Virgo (The virgin), Aquarius (The water bearers) and the 1st half of Sagittarius (Centaur) are human signs as they are represented by human forms. Thus, the signs that are not bestial are human signs apart from Libra which is represented by a non living thing, the Scales.

Double-bodied or Dual or Bicorporeal Signs
The double-bodied signs, also called the dual signs or bicorporeal signs are Gemini, Sagittarius and Pisces. This is because the “double” symbols for these signs. Gemini is represented by the Twins, Sagittarius by a figure part human and part horse or centaur and Pisces by two fishes. Virgo was included in this category, but not anymore in modern times. Thus all three signs belonging to this category are the mutable signs. A double bodied sign on the cusp of seventh house can indicate two marriages and on the cusp of fifth house can indicate birth of twins.

Signs of Long and Short Ascension
The slant of 23.4 degrees of the Earth’s axis causes a variation in time taken for different signs to rise or ascend over the horizon (particularly at middle latitudes). The signs requiring more time are rise are referred to as signs of long ascension and those requiring less time are called signs of short ascension. In the Northern Hemisphere, the signs of long ascension are Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, and Sagittarius. The longest times taken to rise among these are Virgo and Libra. The signs of short ascension are Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces, Aries, Taurus, and Gemini. The shortest times taken to rise among these are Pisces and Aries. The signs of long ascension in the northern hemisphere are seen as of short ascension in the southern hemisphere.


Written by Sanjay Sharma, © 2011, revised August 2013




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