Astrological sign

Astrological sign

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Astrological signs represent twelve equal segments or divisions of the zodiac
Zodiac
In astronomy, the zodiac is a circle of twelve 30° divisions of celestial longitude which are centred upon the ecliptic: the apparent path of the Sun across the celestial sphere over the course of the year...

. According to astrology
Astrology
Astrology consists of a number of belief systems which hold that there is a relationship between astronomical phenomena and events in the human world...

, celestial phenomena reflect or govern human activity on the principle of "as above, so below
Macrocosm and microcosm
Macrocosm and microcosm is an ancient Greek Neo-Platonic schema of seeing the same patterns reproduced in all levels of the cosmos, from the largest scale all the way down to the smallest scale...

", so that the twelve signs are held to represent twelve basic personality types or characteristic modes of expression. There are "sun" signs and "moon" signs, which both depend on your date of birth.

Various approaches to measuring and dividing the sky are currently used by differing systems of astrology, although the tradition of the Zodiac
Zodiac
In astronomy, the zodiac is a circle of twelve 30° divisions of celestial longitude which are centred upon the ecliptic: the apparent path of the Sun across the celestial sphere over the course of the year...

's names and symbols remain consistent. Western astrology
Western astrology
Western astrology is the system of astrology most popular in Western countries. Western astrology is historically based on Ptolemy's Tetrabiblos , which in turn was a continuation of Hellenistic and ultimately Babylonian traditions....

 measures from Equinox
Equinox
An equinox occurs twice a year, when the tilt of the Earth's axis is inclined neither away from nor towards the Sun, the center of the Sun being in the same plane as the Earth's equator...

 and Solstice
Solstice
A solstice is an astronomical event that happens twice each year when the Sun's apparent position in the sky, as viewed from Earth, reaches its northernmost or southernmost extremes...

 points (points relating to longest, equal and shortest days of the tropical year
Tropical year
A tropical year , for general purposes, is the length of time that the Sun takes to return to the same position in the cycle of seasons, as seen from Earth; for example, the time from vernal equinox to vernal equinox, or from summer solstice to summer solstice...

), while Jyotiṣa or Vedic astrology measures along the equatorial plane (sidereal year
Sidereal year
A sidereal year is the time taken by the Earth to orbit the Sun once with respect to the fixed stars. Hence it is also the time taken for the Sun to return to the same position with respect to the fixed stars after apparently travelling once around the ecliptic. It was equal to at noon 1 January...

). Precession
Precession
Precession is a change in the orientation of the rotation axis of a rotating body. It can be defined as a change in direction of the rotation axis in which the second Euler angle is constant...

 results in Western astrology's zodiacal divisions not corresponding in the current era to the constellations
Constellations
Constellations: An International Journal of Critical and Democratic Theory is a quarterly peer-reviewed academic journal of critical and democratic theory and successor of Praxis International. It is edited by Andrew Arato, Amy Allen, and Andreas Kalyvas...

 that carry similar names, while Jyotiṣa measurements still correspond with the background constellations.

In Indian astrology, the twelve signs are associated with constellations, while in Chinese astrology
Chinese astrology
Chinese astrology is based on the traditional astronomy and calendars. The development of Chinese astrology is tied to that of astronomy, which came to flourish during the Han Dynasty ....

 and Western Astrology
Western astrology
Western astrology is the system of astrology most popular in Western countries. Western astrology is historically based on Ptolemy's Tetrabiblos , which in turn was a continuation of Hellenistic and ultimately Babylonian traditions....

 there is no connection with constellations, as it is simply the line of the equator that is divided into twelve equal segments.

In Western and Asian astrology, the emphasis is on space, and the movement of the Sun, Moon and planets
Planets in astrology
Planets in astrology have a meaning different from the modern astronomical understanding of what a planet is. Before the age of telescopes, the night sky was thought to consist of two very similar components: fixed stars, which remained motionless in relation to each other, and wandering stars, ,...

 in the sky through each of the zodiac signs. In Chinese astrology, by contrast, the emphasis is on time, with the zodiac operating on cycles of years, months, and hours of the day.
A common feature of all three traditions however, is the significance of the ascendant
Ascendant
The ascendant , or rising sign, is the zodiacal sign and degree that was ascending on the eastern horizon at the specific time and location of an event. According to astrological theory, celestial phenomena reflect or determine human activity on the principle of 'as above so below'...

 or rising sign, namely the zodiac sign that is rising (due to the rotation of the earth) on the eastern horizon at the moment of a person's birth.

From the viewpoint of earth (geocentric), the Sun appears to move along a circular orbit across the celestial sphere
Celestial sphere
In astronomy and navigation, the celestial sphere is an imaginary sphere of arbitrarily large radius, concentric with the Earth and rotating upon the same axis. All objects in the sky can be thought of as projected upon the celestial sphere. Projected upward from Earth's equator and poles are the...

, this circular orbit is called the ecliptic
Ecliptic
The ecliptic is the plane of the earth's orbit around the sun. In more accurate terms, it is the intersection of the celestial sphere with the ecliptic plane, which is the geometric plane containing the mean orbit of the Earth around the Sun...

. The zodiac
Zodiac
In astronomy, the zodiac is a circle of twelve 30° divisions of celestial longitude which are centred upon the ecliptic: the apparent path of the Sun across the celestial sphere over the course of the year...

 refers to the thin band along the ecliptic composed of the zodiac signs and constellations. The zodiac is divided into twelve different signs each of which is 30 degrees long and begins at Aries. In Tropical Astrology Aries begins at the vernal equinox. The order of the zodiac signs is Aries
Aries (astrology)
Aries is the first astrological sign in the Zodiac, which spans the zodiac between the zero degree and the 29th degree of celestial longitude. The Sun enters Aries when it reaches the northern vernal equinox, which is usually on March 21 each year, and remains in this sign until around April 20...

, Taurus
Taurus (astrology)
Taurus is the second astrological sign in the Zodiac, which spans the zodiac between the 30th and 59th degree of celestial longitude. Generally, the Sun transits this area of the zodiac between April 21 to May 21 each year...

, Gemini
Gemini (astrology)
Gemini is the third astrological sign in the Zodiac, which spans the Zodiac between the 60th and 89th degree of celestial longitude. Generally, the Sun transits this area of the zodiac between May 21 to June 20 each year...

, Cancer
Cancer (astrology)
Cancer is the fourth astrological sign in the Zodiac. It is considered a water sign and one of four cardinal signs. Cancer is ruled by the Moon. Individuals born when the Sun is in this sign are considered Cancerian individuals...

, Leo
Leo (astrology)
Leo is the fifth astrological sign of the Zodiac, originating from the constellation of Leo. In astrology, Leo is considered to be a "masculine", positive sign. It is also considered a fire sign and is one of four fixed signs ruled by the Sun.Individuals born when the Sun is in this sign are...

, Virgo
Virgo (astrology)
Virgo is the sixth astrological sign in the Zodiac, which spans the zodiac between the 150th and 179th degree of celestial longitude. Generally, the Sun transits this area of the zodiac between August 23 to September 22 each year...

, Libra
Libra (astrology)
Libra is the seventh astrological sign in the Zodiac, originating from the constellation of Libra. In astrology, Libra is considered a "masculine", positive sign. It is also considered an air sign and is one of four cardinal signs...

, Scorpio
Scorpio (astrology)
|Infobox align="right" style="border:3px solid white;"||style="text-align: center;"|Scorpio is the eighth astrological sign in the Zodiac, which spans the zodiac between the 210th and 239th degree of celestial longitude. Generally, the Sun transits this area of the zodiac between 24 October and...

, Sagittarius
Sagittarius (astrology)
Sagittarius is the ninth astrological sign in the Zodiac, which spans the zodiac between the 240th and 269th degree of celestial longitude...

, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces. It is believed that the concept of the zodiac had evolved from Babylonian astronomy, and was later influenced by Hellenistic
Hellenistic civilization
Hellenistic civilization represents the zenith of Greek influence in the ancient world from 323 BCE to about 146 BCE...

 astronomy.

During ancient times, people monitored the passage of the sun because it was useful in predicting the change of seasons. Over time, however, people have begun to associate the zodiac sign, or Sun’s position in the zodiac, with birth dates and characteristic

Zodiac symbolism



This table shows the zodiac names in Latin with their English translation. It also shows the element and quality associated with each sign.
Symbol Sign names English name Element Quality Polarity Planet Period of birth
Aries
Aries (astrology)
Aries is the first astrological sign in the Zodiac, which spans the zodiac between the zero degree and the 29th degree of celestial longitude. The Sun enters Aries when it reaches the northern vernal equinox, which is usually on March 21 each year, and remains in this sign until around April 20...

The Ram Fire Cardinal Positive Mars March 21 - April 20
Taurus
Taurus (astrology)
Taurus is the second astrological sign in the Zodiac, which spans the zodiac between the 30th and 59th degree of celestial longitude. Generally, the Sun transits this area of the zodiac between April 21 to May 21 each year...

The Bull Earth Fixed Negative Venus April 21 - May 20
Gemini
Gemini (astrology)
Gemini is the third astrological sign in the Zodiac, which spans the Zodiac between the 60th and 89th degree of celestial longitude. Generally, the Sun transits this area of the zodiac between May 21 to June 20 each year...

The Twins Air Mutable Positive Mercury May 21 - June 20
Cancer
Cancer (astrology)
Cancer is the fourth astrological sign in the Zodiac. It is considered a water sign and one of four cardinal signs. Cancer is ruled by the Moon. Individuals born when the Sun is in this sign are considered Cancerian individuals...

The Crab Water Cardinal Negative Moon June 21 - July 22
Leo
Leo (astrology)
Leo is the fifth astrological sign of the Zodiac, originating from the constellation of Leo. In astrology, Leo is considered to be a "masculine", positive sign. It is also considered a fire sign and is one of four fixed signs ruled by the Sun.Individuals born when the Sun is in this sign are...

The Lion Fire Fixed Positive Sun July 23 - August 22
Virgo
Virgo (astrology)
Virgo is the sixth astrological sign in the Zodiac, which spans the zodiac between the 150th and 179th degree of celestial longitude. Generally, the Sun transits this area of the zodiac between August 23 to September 22 each year...

The Virgin Earth Mutable Negative Mercury August 23 - September 22
Libra
Libra (astrology)
Libra is the seventh astrological sign in the Zodiac, originating from the constellation of Libra. In astrology, Libra is considered a "masculine", positive sign. It is also considered an air sign and is one of four cardinal signs...

The Scales Air Cardinal Positive Venus September 23 - October 22
Scorpio
Scorpio (astrology)
|Infobox align="right" style="border:3px solid white;"||style="text-align: center;"|Scorpio is the eighth astrological sign in the Zodiac, which spans the zodiac between the 210th and 239th degree of celestial longitude. Generally, the Sun transits this area of the zodiac between 24 October and...

The Scorpion Water Fixed Negative Pluto October 23 - November 21
Sagittarius
Sagittarius (astrology)
Sagittarius is the ninth astrological sign in the Zodiac, which spans the zodiac between the 240th and 269th degree of celestial longitude...

The Archer/Centaur Fire Mutable Positive Jupiter November 22 - December 21
Capricorn The Sea-goat Earth Cardinal Negative Saturn December 22 - January 19
Aquarius The Water-Carrier Air Fixed Positive Uranus January 20 - February 19
Pisces The Fish Water Mutable Negative Neptune February 20 - March 20

The four elements


Empedocles
Empedocles
Empedocles was a Greek pre-Socratic philosopher and a citizen of Agrigentum, a Greek city in Sicily. Empedocles' philosophy is best known for being the originator of the cosmogenic theory of the four Classical elements...

, a fifth century BCE Greek philosopher, identified Fire, Earth, Air, and Water as elements. He explained the nature of the universe as an interaction of two opposing principles called love and strife manipulating the four elements. He stated that these four elements were all equal, of the same age, that each rules its own province, and each possesses its own individual character. Different mixtures of these elements produced the different natures of things. Empedocles said that those who have near equal proportions of the four elements are more intelligent and have the most exact perceptions.

Each sign is associated one of the classical element
Classical element
Many philosophies and worldviews have a set of classical elements believed to reflect the simplest essential parts and principles of which anything consists or upon which the constitution and fundamental powers of anything are based. Most frequently, classical elements refer to ancient beliefs...

s (water, fire, earth and air.) Fire and Air signs are considered positive
Positive sign
In astrology, a positive, dominant, active, yang, diurnal or masculine sign refers to any of the six odd-numbered signs of the zodiac: Aries, Gemini, Leo, Libra, Sagittarius or Aquarius....

 or extrovert, masculine signs; while Water and Earth signs are considered negative
Negative sign
In astrology, a negative, ceptive, dispassive, yin, nocturnal or feminine sign refers to any of the six even-numbered signs of the zodiac: Taurus, Cancer, Virgo, Scorpio, Capricorn or Pisces....

, introvert, feminine signs.
  • Fire signs (Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius)
  • Earth signs (Taurus, Capricorn, Virgo)
  • Air signs (Gemini, Libra, Aquarius)
  • Water signs (Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces)

The Three Qualities


The Qualities assign the Signs into Quadruplicities, three groups of four. They are occasionally referred to as crosses because each quality forms a cross when drawn across the zodiac. Christian astrology relates the three qualities to the three aspects of God in the trinity.
  • Cardinal signs (Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn)

  • Fixed sign
    Fixed sign
    The four fixed signs of the Zodiac are:*Taurus : - spring in northern hemisphere and autumn in southern hemisphere.*Leo : - summer in northern hemisphere and winter in southern hemisphere....

    s (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius)

  • Mutable sign
    Mutable sign
    The mutable signs are:* Gemini : - between the spring and summer seasons.* Virgo : - between the summer and autumn seasons.* Sagittarius : - between the autumn and winter seasons.* Pisces : - between the winter and spring seasons....

    s (Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces)

Additional classifications


While knowing the element and quality of a sign is sufficient to define it, several other groupings can be used for those interested in better understanding their symbolism. The most common is a sequential cycle detailed below. Although most commonly used to define planets, it is valid for signs as well. This cycle has been used as a metaphorical descriptor of the process of birth, development, and death, of humans, societies, or even humanity.
  • Personal Signs - Aries, Taurus, Gemini, and Cancer

  • Interpersonal Signs - Leo, Virgo, Libra, and Scorpio

  • Transpersonal Signs - Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces - are principally aware of and concerned with humanitarian and existential concerns.


The Tropical Zodiac Primary Factors:
These factors were presented by Dane Rudhyar in his book "Astrological Signs - The Pulse of Life, and are used in the curriculum of the RASA School of Astrology.

The tropical zodiac is the zodiac of seasonal factors as opposed to the sidereal zodiac of constellation factors. The primary seasonal factors are based on the sunlight. In fact the tropical zodiac could be defined as the changing ratio of light and darkness across the year.

First factor: Half of the year daylight is increasing, and the other half darkness is increasing.

Second factor: Half of the year there is more daylight than darkness, and the other half there is more darkness than daylight.

Third Factor: the four seasons.
Winter: Daylight is increasing and there is more darkness than daylight.
Spring: Daylight is increasing and there is more daylight than darkness
Summer: Darkness is increasing and there is more daylight than darkness.
Autumn: Darkness is increasing and there is more darkness than daylight.

Planetary rulerships


In traditional Western astrology
History of astrology
Astrology, the belief in a connection between the cosmos and terrestrial matters has played an important part in human history.Regional branches of astrology include Western astrology, Indian astrology, and Chinese or East Asian astrology.-Early origins:...

, each sign is ruled by one and only one of the seven visible planet
Planet
A planet is a celestial body orbiting a star or stellar remnant that is massive enough to be rounded by its own gravity, is not massive enough to cause thermonuclear fusion, and has cleared its neighbouring region of planetesimals.The term planet is ancient, with ties to history, science,...

s (note that in astrology
Astrology
Astrology consists of a number of belief systems which hold that there is a relationship between astronomical phenomena and events in the human world...

, the Sun and Moon are termed The Lights by astrologers, while the other bodies are called planets, which literally means wanderers, i.e. wandering stars as opposed to the fixed stars). The traditional rulerships are as follows: Aries
Aries (astrology)
Aries is the first astrological sign in the Zodiac, which spans the zodiac between the zero degree and the 29th degree of celestial longitude. The Sun enters Aries when it reaches the northern vernal equinox, which is usually on March 21 each year, and remains in this sign until around April 20...

 (Mars
Mars
Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun in the Solar System. The planet is named after the Roman god of war, Mars. It is often described as the "Red Planet", as the iron oxide prevalent on its surface gives it a reddish appearance...

), Taurus
Taurus (astrology)
Taurus is the second astrological sign in the Zodiac, which spans the zodiac between the 30th and 59th degree of celestial longitude. Generally, the Sun transits this area of the zodiac between April 21 to May 21 each year...

 (Venus
Venus
Venus is the second planet from the Sun, orbiting it every 224.7 Earth days. The planet is named after Venus, the Roman goddess of love and beauty. After the Moon, it is the brightest natural object in the night sky, reaching an apparent magnitude of −4.6, bright enough to cast shadows...

), Gemini
Gemini (astrology)
Gemini is the third astrological sign in the Zodiac, which spans the Zodiac between the 60th and 89th degree of celestial longitude. Generally, the Sun transits this area of the zodiac between May 21 to June 20 each year...

 (Mercury
Mercury (planet)
Mercury is the innermost and smallest planet in the Solar System, orbiting the Sun once every 87.969 Earth days. The orbit of Mercury has the highest eccentricity of all the Solar System planets, and it has the smallest axial tilt. It completes three rotations about its axis for every two orbits...

), Cancer
Cancer (astrology)
Cancer is the fourth astrological sign in the Zodiac. It is considered a water sign and one of four cardinal signs. Cancer is ruled by the Moon. Individuals born when the Sun is in this sign are considered Cancerian individuals...

 (Moon
Moon
The Moon is Earth's only known natural satellite,There are a number of near-Earth asteroids including 3753 Cruithne that are co-orbital with Earth: their orbits bring them close to Earth for periods of time but then alter in the long term . These are quasi-satellites and not true moons. For more...

), Leo
Leo (astrology)
Leo is the fifth astrological sign of the Zodiac, originating from the constellation of Leo. In astrology, Leo is considered to be a "masculine", positive sign. It is also considered a fire sign and is one of four fixed signs ruled by the Sun.Individuals born when the Sun is in this sign are...

 (Sun
Sun
The Sun is the star at the center of the Solar System. It is almost perfectly spherical and consists of hot plasma interwoven with magnetic fields...

), Virgo
Virgo (astrology)
Virgo is the sixth astrological sign in the Zodiac, which spans the zodiac between the 150th and 179th degree of celestial longitude. Generally, the Sun transits this area of the zodiac between August 23 to September 22 each year...

 (Mercury
Mercury (planet)
Mercury is the innermost and smallest planet in the Solar System, orbiting the Sun once every 87.969 Earth days. The orbit of Mercury has the highest eccentricity of all the Solar System planets, and it has the smallest axial tilt. It completes three rotations about its axis for every two orbits...

), Libra
Libra (astrology)
Libra is the seventh astrological sign in the Zodiac, originating from the constellation of Libra. In astrology, Libra is considered a "masculine", positive sign. It is also considered an air sign and is one of four cardinal signs...

 (Venus
Venus
Venus is the second planet from the Sun, orbiting it every 224.7 Earth days. The planet is named after Venus, the Roman goddess of love and beauty. After the Moon, it is the brightest natural object in the night sky, reaching an apparent magnitude of −4.6, bright enough to cast shadows...

), Scorpio
Scorpio (astrology)
|Infobox align="right" style="border:3px solid white;"||style="text-align: center;"|Scorpio is the eighth astrological sign in the Zodiac, which spans the zodiac between the 210th and 239th degree of celestial longitude. Generally, the Sun transits this area of the zodiac between 24 October and...

 (Pluto
Pluto
Pluto, formal designation 134340 Pluto, is the second-most-massive known dwarf planet in the Solar System and the tenth-most-massive body observed directly orbiting the Sun...

), Sagittarius
Sagittarius (astrology)
Sagittarius is the ninth astrological sign in the Zodiac, which spans the zodiac between the 240th and 269th degree of celestial longitude...

 (Jupiter
Jupiter
Jupiter is the fifth planet from the Sun and the largest planet within the Solar System. It is a gas giant with mass one-thousandth that of the Sun but is two and a half times the mass of all the other planets in our Solar System combined. Jupiter is classified as a gas giant along with Saturn,...

), Capricorn (Saturn
Saturn
Saturn is the sixth planet from the Sun and the second largest planet in the Solar System, after Jupiter. Saturn is named after the Roman god Saturn, equated to the Greek Cronus , the Babylonian Ninurta and the Hindu Shani. Saturn's astronomical symbol represents the Roman god's sickle.Saturn,...

), Aquarius (Uranus
Uranus
Uranus is the seventh planet from the Sun. It has the third-largest planetary radius and fourth-largest planetary mass in the Solar System. It is named after the ancient Greek deity of the sky Uranus , the father of Cronus and grandfather of Zeus...

), Pisces (Jupiter
Jupiter
Jupiter is the fifth planet from the Sun and the largest planet within the Solar System. It is a gas giant with mass one-thousandth that of the Sun but is two and a half times the mass of all the other planets in our Solar System combined. Jupiter is classified as a gas giant along with Saturn,...

).
Psychologically-oriented astrologers often believe that Uranus
Uranus (mythology)
Uranus , was the primal Greek god personifying the sky. His equivalent in Roman mythology was Caelus. In Ancient Greek literature, according to Hesiod in his Theogony, Uranus or Father Sky was the son and husband of Gaia, Mother Earth...

 is the ruler or co-ruler of Aquarius instead of Saturn, Neptune
Neptune (mythology)
Neptune was the god of water and the sea in Roman mythology and religion. He is analogous with, but not identical to, the Greek god Poseidon. In the Greek-influenced tradition, Neptune was the brother of Jupiter and Pluto, each of them presiding over one of the three realms of the universe,...

 is the ruler or co-ruler of Pisces instead of Jupiter, and that Pluto
Pluto (mythology)
In ancient Greek religion and myth, Pluto was a name for the ruler of the underworld; the god was also known as Hades, a name for the underworld itself...

 is the ruler or co-ruler of Scorpio instead of Mars. Some other astrologers believe that the planetoid Chiron
Chiron
In Greek mythology, Chiron was held to be the superlative centaur among his brethren.-History:Like the satyrs, centaurs were notorious for being wild and lusty, overly indulgent drinkers and carousers, given to violence when intoxicated, and generally uncultured delinquents...

 may be the ruler of Virgo, while other group of modern astrologers acclaim that Ceres is the ruler of Taurus instead. Traditional astrology adheres to the rulerships system listed in the paragraph above, and the debate continues between those who consider the newly discovered planets as rulers or co-rulers of certain signs and those that do not.

Alternatively, some astrologers use the former planets Pallas, Vesta, Juno and Hygiea
Asteroids in astrology
Asteroids in astrology are used by some astrologers in a similar way to the planets. Asteroids are planetoids that orbit the Sun between Mars and Jupiter, and are not to be confused with Centaurs or Trans-Neptunian Objects. The asteroids are relatively new to astrology, having only been discovered...

 in their delineations and rulerships, for example Vesta to Taurus and Pallas to Virgo.

Some astrologers do not even use the astrological signs at all (mostly Cosmobiologists and Uranian Astrologers/Hamburg School); therefore they do not take into account planetary rulerships and the essential dignities when interpreting an astrological chart.

Note that, if one starts from Leo and Cancer, the planetary rulers are arrayed in the same order from the sun as they occur in the natural solar system
Solar System
The Solar System consists of the Sun and the astronomical objects gravitationally bound in orbit around it, all of which formed from the collapse of a giant molecular cloud approximately 4.6 billion years ago. The vast majority of the system's mass is in the Sun...

. Sun rules Leo, Moon rules Cancer, then Mercury rules Gemini and Virgo, Venus rules Taurus and Libra, Earth Co-rules Taurus, Mars rules Aries and Co-rules for Scorpio, Jupiter Co-rules Pisces and rules for Sagittarius, Saturn Co-rules Aquarius and rules Capricorn and Uranus rules and Saturn Co-rules for Aquarius.

Dignity and detriment, exaltation and fall


A traditional belief of astrology, known as essential dignity
Essential dignity
In astrology, essential dignity is the strength of a planet or point's zodiac position, judged only by its position by sign and degree, or its essence--what the pre-eminent 17th-century astrologer William Lilly called "the strength, fortitude or debility of the Planets [or] significators." In other...

, is the idea that the Sun, Moon and planets are more powerful and effective in some signs than others, because the basic nature of both is held to be in harmony. By contrast, the Sun, Moon and planets are held to find some signs to be weak or difficult to operate in because their natures are thought to be in conflict . The most important of these categories are Dignity, Detriment, Exaltation and Fall.
  • Dignity
    Essential dignity
    In astrology, essential dignity is the strength of a planet or point's zodiac position, judged only by its position by sign and degree, or its essence--what the pre-eminent 17th-century astrologer William Lilly called "the strength, fortitude or debility of the Planets [or] significators." In other...

    and Detriment : A planet
    Planets in astrology
    Planets in astrology have a meaning different from the modern astronomical understanding of what a planet is. Before the age of telescopes, the night sky was thought to consist of two very similar components: fixed stars, which remained motionless in relation to each other, and wandering stars, ,...

     is strengthened or dignified if it falls within the sign that it rules. In other words it is said to exercise Rulership
    Domicile (astrology)
    In astrology, a planet's domicile is the zodiac sign over which it has rulership. This is a separate concept from the houses of the horoscope. A planetary ruler is given to each sign, over which the planet is said to have a more powerful influence when positioned therein...

    of the sign. For example, the Moon in Cancer is considered "strong" (well-dignified). Seventeenth century astrologer William Lilly
    William Lilly
    William Lilly , was an English astrologer famed during his time. Lilly was particularly adept at interpreting the astrological charts drawn up for horary questions, as this was his speciality....

     compared rulership to a king on his throne, with considerable dignity. If a planet is in the sign opposite that which it rules (or is dignified), it is said to be weakened or in Detriment, for example the Moon in Capricorn.


In traditional astrology, other levels of Dignity are recognised in addition to Rulership. These are known as Exaltation (see below), Triplicity
Triplicity
In astrology, a triplicity is a group of three signs belonging to the same element.-Trines:Western astrology assumes that each sign of the same triplicity is 120 degrees apart, forming angles to one another called trines, which are each equivalent to the 360 degrees of the circle divided by three...

, Terms or bounds, and Face or Decan
Decans
The Decans are 36 groups of stars which rise consecutively on the horizon throughout each earth rotation...

, which together are known as describing a planet's Essential dignity
Essential dignity
In astrology, essential dignity is the strength of a planet or point's zodiac position, judged only by its position by sign and degree, or its essence--what the pre-eminent 17th-century astrologer William Lilly called "the strength, fortitude or debility of the Planets [or] significators." In other...

, the quality or ability to give of one's true nature. Contemporary traditional astrologers like John Frawley
John Frawley
John Frawley is a retired Australian tennis player.Frawley twice reached the fourth round of the Australian Open and twice reached the third round of the French Open....

 or J Lee Lehman explain further on the concept of Essential Dignity.
  • Exaltation
    Exaltation (astrology)
    In astrology, exaltation is one of the five essential dignities of a planet. Each of the seven traditional planets has its exaltation in one zodiac sign...

    and Fall
    Astrological fall
    In astrology, the fall of a planet is the sign which is opposite that planet's sign of exaltation. Originally, in Greek, the sign of a planet's "fall" were called tapeinoma, which means "humbled" or "dejected" or "depressed," whereas "exalted," in Greek was hyposoma, which means "risen in...

    : In addition, a planet is also strengthened when it is in its sign of Exaltation. In traditional horary astrology, Exaltation denotes a level of dignity somewhat exaggerated compared to rulership. Exaltation was considered to give the planet (or what it signified in a horary chart) dignity, with the metaphor of an honoured guest - who is the centre of attention but the extent of their ability to act is limited. Examples of planets in their Exaltation are: Saturn (Libra), Sun (Aries), Venus (Pisces), Moon (Taurus), Mercury (Virgo, although some disagree to this classification), Mars (Capricorn), Jupiter (Cancer). A planet in the opposite sign of its Exaltation is said to be in its Fall , and thus weakened, perhaps seemingly more so than Detriment. The Planet in fall is passively rejected or ignored by the sign that it's in. It can be likened to a mayor of a rival city trying to make suggestions to the hosting mayor for how he should run his city: The host mayor finds it difficult to trust him and cannot see how his input could have relevancy to his city. The people of the city feel the same as their ruler. The result is impasse and failure on behalf of both mayors and the city.


In addition to Essential dignity, the traditional astrologer considers Accidental dignity
Accidental dignity
In astrology, accidental dignity occurs when a planet gains strength for any reason other than its zodiacal position. Accidental dignity should not be confused with essential dignity which is where a planet gains strength from its position in the zodiac...

of planets. This is placement by house in the chart under examination. Accidental dignity describes the planet's "ability to act". So we might have, for example, Moon in Cancer, dignified by rulership, is placed in the 12th house it would have little scope to express its good nature. The 12th is a cadent house as are the 3rd, 6th and 9th and planets in these houses are considered weak or afflicted. On the other hand, Moon in the 1st, 4th, 7th or 10th would be more able to act as these are Angular houses. Planets in Succedent houses of the chart (2nd, 5th, 8th, 11th) are generally considered to be of medium ability to act. Besides Accidental Dignity, there are a range of Accidental Debilities, such as retrogradation, Under the Sun's Beams, Combust, and so forth.

Indian astrology


In Indian astrology, there are five elements: fire, earth, air, water and space. The master of fire is Mars, while Mercury is of earth, Saturn of air, Venus of water and Jupiter of space.

Jyotish astrology recognises twelve zodiac signs (Rāśi), that correspond to those in Western astrology. The relation of the signs to the elements is the same in the two systems.
The dates for these zodiac signs are those in sidereal astrology
Sidereal astrology
Sidereal and tropical are astronomical terms used to describe two different definitions of a "year". They are also used as terms for two systems of ecliptic coordinates used in astrology....

, different from those in Hellenistic tropical astrology. Aries begins at the date when the sun enters into the constellation Aries, taking into account the precession of the equinoxes
Precession of the equinoxes
In astronomy, axial precession is a gravity-induced, slow and continuous change in the orientation of an astronomical body's rotational axis. In particular, it refers to the gradual shift in the orientation of Earth's axis of rotation, which, like a wobbling top, traces out a pair of cones joined...

, while in tropical astrology Aries begins at the vernal equinox.

Nakshatras


A nakshatra (Devanagari
Devanagari
Devanagari |deva]]" and "nāgarī" ), also called Nagari , is an abugida alphabet of India and Nepal...

: नक्षत्र, Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

 , from 'approach', and 'guard') or lunar mansion is one of the 27 divisions of the sky, identified by the prominent star(s) in them, as used in Hindu astronomy
Hindu astronomy
Historical Indian astronomy develops as a discipline of Vedanga or one of the "auxiliary disciplines" associated with the study of the Vedas.The oldest extant text of astronomy is the treatise by Lagadha, dated to the Mauryan era ....

 and astrology
Jyotisha
Hindu astrology , also Jyotish or Jyotisha, from Sanskrit , from "light, heavenly body") is the ancient Indian system of astronomy and astrology...

 (Jyotisha
Jyotisha
Hindu astrology , also Jyotish or Jyotisha, from Sanskrit , from "light, heavenly body") is the ancient Indian system of astronomy and astrology...

).

Chinese zodiac signs


Unlike the Western or Indian zodiacs, the Chinese zodiac signs are not derived from constellations, and are not assigned to sections of the ecliptic. Instead, Chinese astrological signs operate on cycles of years, lunar months, and two-hour periods of the day (also known as shichen). A particular feature of the Chinese zodiac is its operation in a sixty year cycle
Sexagenary cycle
The Chinese sexagenary cycle , also known as the Stems-and-Branches , is a cycle of sixty terms used for recording days or years. It appears, as a means of recording days, in the first Chinese written texts, the Shang dynasty oracle bones from the late second millennium BC. Its use to record years...

 in combination with the Five Phases of Chinese astrology (Wood, Fire
Fire (Wu Xing)
Fire , is the prosper of the matter, or the matter's prosperity stage. Fire is the second phase of Wu Xing.Fire is yang in character. Its motion is upward and its energy is expansive...

, Metal, Water
Water (Wu Xing)
Water , is the low point of the matter, or the matter's dying or hiding stage. Water is the fifth stage of Wu Xing.Water is the most yin in character of the Five elements. Its motion is downward and inward and its energy is stillness and conserving...

, and Earth
Earth (Wu Xing)
Earth , is the changing point of the matter. Earth is the third one of Wu Xing.Earth is a balance of both yin and yang, the feminine and masculine together. Its motion is inward and centering, and its energy is stabilizing and conserving. It is associated with the color yellow and the planet...

).
Nevertheless some researches says that there is an obvious relationship between the Chinese 12-year cycle and zodiac constellations: each year of the cycle corresponds to a certain disposal of Jupiter. For example, in the year of Snake Jupiter is in the Sign of Gemini, in the year of Horse Jupiter is in the Sign of Cancer and so on. So the Chinese 12-year calendar is a solar-lunar-jupiterian calendar.

Zodiac symbolism


The following table shows the twelve signs and their attributes.
Sign Yin/Yang Direction Season Fixed Element Trine
Rat Yang North Winter Water 1st
Ox Yin North Winter Water 2nd
Tiger Yang East Spring Wood 3rd
Rabbit Yin East Spring Wood 4th
Dragon Yang East Spring Wood 1st
Snake Yin South Summer Fire 2nd
Horse Yang South Summer Fire 3rd
Goat Yin South Summer Fire 4th
Monkey Yang West Autumn Metal 1st
Rooster Yin West Autumn Metal 2nd
Dog Yang West Autumn Metal 3rd
Pig Yin North Winter Water 4th

The twelve signs



In Chinese astrology the zodiac of twelve animal sign represents twelve different types of personality. The zodiac traditionally begins with the sign of the Rat, and there are many stories about the Origins of the Chinese Zodiac which explain why this is so. When the twelve zodiac signs are part of the sixty year calendar in combination with the four elements, they are traditionally called the twelve earthly branches
Earthly Branches
The Earthly Branches provide one Chinese system for reckoning time.This system was built from observations of the orbit of Jupiter. Chinese astronomers divided the celestial circle into 12 sections to follow the orbit of Suìxīng . Astronomers rounded the orbit of Suixing to 12 years...

. The Chinese Zodiac follows the lunisolar Chinese calendar and thus the "changeover" days in a month (when one sign changes to another sign) vary each year. The following are the twelve zodiac signs in order.
  1. Rat
    Rat (zodiac)
    The Rat is one of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar, the Year of the Rat is associated with the earthly branch symbol 子...

     (Yang, 1st Trine, Fixed Element Water): Rat years include 1900, 1912, 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008. The Rat also corresponds to a particular month in the year. The hours of the Rat are 11pm - 1am.
  2. Ox
    Ox (zodiac)
    The Ox is one of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar. The Year of the Ox is denoted by the earthly branch character 丑...

     (Yin, 2nd Trine, Fixed Element Water): Ox years include 1901, 1913, 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009. The Ox also corresponds to a particular month in the year. The hours of the Ox are 1am - 3am.
  3. Tiger
    Tiger (zodiac)
    The Tiger , is one of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar. The Year of the Tiger is associated with the earthly branch symbol 寅.- Years and the Five Elements :...

     (Yang, 3rd Trine, Fixed Element Wood): Tiger years include 1902, 1914, 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010. The Tiger also corresponds to a particular month in the year. The hours of the Tiger are 3am - 5am.
  4. Rabbit
    Rabbit (zodiac)
    The Chinese Year of the Rabbit is actually the Chinese Year of the Hare, as China has seven native species of hares and no native species of rabbits. The Chinese applied their word for hare to the first rabbits to be taken to China, and the word is now erroneously back-translated into English as...

     (Yin, 4th Trine, Fixed Element Wood): Rabbit Years include 1903, 1915, 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011. The Rabbit also corresponds to a particular month in the year. The hours of the Rabbit are 5am - 7am.
  5. Dragon
    Dragon (zodiac)
    The Dragon , is one of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar, and the only animal that is legendary...

     (Yang, 1st Trine, Fixed Element Wood): Dragon years include 1904, 1916, 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012. The Dragon also corresponds to a particular month in the year. The hours of the Dragon are 7am - 9am.
  6. Snake
    Snake (zodiac)
    The Snake is one of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar. The Year of the Snake is associated with the earthly branch symbol 巳.-Years and the Five Elements:...

     (Yin, 2nd Trine, Fixed Element Fire): Snake years include 1905, 1917, 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013. The Snake also corresponds to a particular month in the year. The hours of the Snake are 9am - 11am.
  7. Horse
    Horse (zodiac)
    The Horse is the seventh of the 12 animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar. The Year of the Horse is associated with the earthly branch symbol 午.- Years and the Five Elements :...

     (Yang, 3rd Trine, Fixed Element Fire): Horse years include 1906, 1918, 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014. The Horse also corresponds to a particular month in the year. The hours of the Horse are 11am - 1pm.
  8. 未 Goat (Yin, 4th Trine, Fixed Element Fire): Goat years include 1907, 1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015. The Goat also corresponds to a particular month in the year. The hours of the Goat are 1pm - 3pm.
  9. Monkey
    Monkey (zodiac)
    The Monkey is the ninth of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar. The Year of the Monkey is associated with the earthly branch symbol 申.-Years and the five elements:...

     (Yang, 1st Trine, Fixed Element Metal): Monkey years include 1908, 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016. The Monkey also corresponds to a particular month in the year. The hours of the Monkey are 3pm - 5pm.
  10. Rooster
    Rooster (zodiac)
    The Rooster is one of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar. The Year of the Rooster is represented by the earthly branch character 酉.- Years and associated Five Elements :...

     (Yin, 2nd Trine, Fixed Element Metal): Rooster years include 1909, 1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017. The Rooster also corresponds to a particular month in the year. The hours of the Rooster are 5pm - 7pm.
  11. Dog
    Dog (zodiac)
    The Dog is one of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar. The Year of the Dog is associated with the earthly branch symbol 戌...

     (Yang, 3rd Trine, Fixed Element Metal): Dog years include 1910, 1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018. The Dog also corresponds to a particular month in the year. The hours of the Dog are 7pm - 9pm.
  12. Pig
    Pig (zodiac)
    The Pig , is the last of the 12 animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac. The Year of the Pig is associated with the earthly branch Hai .In Chinese culture, the pig is associated with fertility and virility...

     (Yin, 4th Trine, Fixed Element Water): Pig years include 1911, 1923, 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019. The Pig also corresponds to a particular month in the year. The hours of the Pig are 9pm - 11pm.

The five elements


The elements differ in Chinese astrology from their Western counterparts: Air is not one of the elements as defined by the Chinese. Instead, Wood and Metal are elements alongside Earth, Fire and Water. In addition, the elements also govern various aspects of one's personality, and are assigned to various other things such as directions (North, South, East and West), colours, seasons and planets.
The characteristics of the four elements are as follows:
  • Metal: The metal person is rigid and resolute in expression and intense, with strong feelings. The direction associated with Metal is West, and the season is autumn, which makes it the fixed element for the animal signs Monkey, Rooster and Dog.

  • Water
    Water (Wu Xing)
    Water , is the low point of the matter, or the matter's dying or hiding stage. Water is the fifth stage of Wu Xing.Water is the most yin in character of the Five elements. Its motion is downward and inward and its energy is stillness and conserving...

    : The water person is a good communicator and persuader, intuitive and sympathetic to others and good at conveying feelings and emotions. The direction associated with Water is North, and the season is winter, which makes it the fixed element for the animal signs Pig, Rat and Ox.

  • Wood: The wood person has high morals, is self confident, expansive and co-operative, with wide and varied interests. The direction associated with Wood is East, and the season is spring, which makes it the fixed element for the animal signs Tiger, Rabbit and Dragon.

  • Fire
    Fire (Wu Xing)
    Fire , is the prosper of the matter, or the matter's prosperity stage. Fire is the second phase of Wu Xing.Fire is yang in character. Its motion is upward and its energy is expansive...

    : The fire person has leadership qualities, and is decisive, self confident, positive and assertive. The direction associated with Fire is South, and the season is summer, which makes it the fixed element for the animal signs Snake, Horse and Goat.

  • Earth
    Earth (Wu Xing)
    Earth , is the changing point of the matter. Earth is the third one of Wu Xing.Earth is a balance of both yin and yang, the feminine and masculine together. Its motion is inward and centering, and its energy is stabilizing and conserving. It is associated with the color yellow and the planet...

    :The earth person is serious, logical and methodical, intelligent, objective and good at planning. Earth represents the change of seasons.


The five elements operate together with the twelve animal signs in a sixty year
Sexagenary cycle
The Chinese sexagenary cycle , also known as the Stems-and-Branches , is a cycle of sixty terms used for recording days or years. It appears, as a means of recording days, in the first Chinese written texts, the Shang dynasty oracle bones from the late second millennium BC. Its use to record years...

 calendar. The four elements appear in the calendar in both their yin and yang forms and are known as the eight heavenly stems
Heavenly Stems
The ten Celestial or Heavenly Stems are a Chinese system of ordinals that first appear during the Shang dynasty, ca. 1250 BC, as the names of the ten days of the week. They were also used in Shang-period ritual as names for dead family members, who were offered sacrifices on the corresponding day...

. When trying to calculate the relevant year of the cycle in relation to the Western calendar, an easy rule to follow is that years that end in an odd number are Yin, those that end with an even number are Yang.