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Before I begin, I know the word “astrology” can immediately conjure up feelings of skepticism. Critical thinkers and scientists worldwide have widely written off this practice because of its notorious reputation as a pseudoscience. Pop astrology in the form of weekly newspaper/magazine horoscopes has given a bad name to this symbolic method of viewing the world (and the most interesting way to remember our friends’ birthdays).

We live on planet earth, just another one of the planets in our amazing solar system. Why not think about all the celestial bodies spinning around us every once in a while? A natal chart or birth chart is essentially a map of the sky surrounding the earth based on the date, time, and location of your birth. It reminds us how small we are in the universe, but also how we are all unique. This is not to assume it dictates our lives or personality.

In everyday conversation, we normally just refer to our sun sign, e.g., “I’m a Sagittarius.” After reading your chart, you might be surprised that this may not necessarily be your most prominent sign! While there are many other characteristics to consider, like degrees, aspects, and houses, knowing the signs is a great start. Here is a general overview of all 12 signs, in order, which can help you start navigating your personal placements.

Image via Conscious Reminder

1. Aries

If this sign were a person, Aries would be the mentally strong, fierce, and assertive one who knows what they want and how to get it fast. As the first astrological sign, they might be primarily focused on themselves and their identities, and their intense emotions may be experienced rather quickly. A bit hot-headed at times, they mostly just want to have a good time.

Symbol: The Ram
Modality: Cardinal
Element: Fire
Group: Masculine
Ruler: Mars

2. Taurus

Taurus is generally characterized by beauty, luxury, and creature comforts, but that isn’t all. The fixed modality of this feminine, Venusian, earthy sign points to loyalty to others and stability in values. While sometimes appearing stubborn (hence, the bull), they just know what works for them and would prefer to keep it that way.

Symbol: The Bull
Modality: Fixed
Element: Earth
Group: Feminine
Ruler: Venus

3. Gemini

This flowing sign of communication can feel like two or more people at once. Mercury’s influence gives them the advantage of quick-mindedness, wit, and intellect which keeps them hungry for knowledge. This flowing, airy sign is the social butterfly of the zodiac, continually finding more ways to learn about themselves and others.

Symbol: The Twins
Modality: Mutable
Element: Air
Group: Masculine
Ruler: Mercury

4. Cancer

Cancer is the matriarch of all the signs, leading the rest in home and family matters. Deep emotions are usually common with water signs, and as the first water sign, Cancer has mastered the art of using these emotions to help them move forward in life. Ruled by the Moon, they are strongly in tune with their intuitions.

Symbol: The Crab
Modality: Cardinal
Element: Water
Group: Feminine
Ruler: Moon

5. Leo

More than most, the fiery Leo loves to have fun and be admired. This royal, prideful sign shines like the Sun, its ruler. You may find Leos in the spotlight or out succeeding in their dream career, and probably looking good while doing it. Another fixed sign, they have a talent for sticking to their goals and staying true to themselves, but must check their egos from time to time.

Symbol: The Lion
Modality: Fixed
Element: Fire
Group: Masculine
Ruler: Sun

6. Virgo

This curious earthy sign has a knack for organization and routine. Virgo can manifest as a shy yet generous perfectionist, but their true desire is to see the beauty in the world and share their knowledge. They are often trusted due to their responsible and kind nature but must remember that not everything needs to be perfect.

Symbol: The Maiden
Modality: Mutable
Element: Earth
Group: Feminine
Ruler: Mercury

7. Libra

Out of all the signs, Libra is the careful decision-maker and master of personal relationships. More than anything, they want a partner who will stay by their side and treat them with the same fairness. They can easily see from many different peoples’ points of view, but will sometimes choose not to live up to their potential for fear of being alone.

Symbol: The Scales
Modality: Cardinal
Element: Air
Group: Masculine
Ruler: Venus

8. Scorpio

Simply put, Scorpio is emotionally intense. Despite having a fixed modality, they are also characterized by the process of transformation. Natives of this sign are competitive, courageous, and will give anything for the ones they love, but are oftentimes secretive. They are dedicated to the point where they may never forgive those who betray them.

Symbol: The Scorpion
Modality: Fixed
Element: Water
Group: Feminine
Ruler: Mars

9. Sagittarius

Sagittarius is the wanderer of the signs. Travel, education, religious studies, philosophy, and worldly topics are important to the Sagittarius identity. Often, they are shooting proverbial arrows in many directions and have a hard time chasing them all down at once, but Jupiter’s expansive influence usually opens doors for their ambitious nature as they go.

Symbol: The Archer (Centaur)
Modality: Mutable
Element: Fire
Group: Masculine
Ruler: Jupiter

10. Capricorn

Saturn-ruled Capricorn is a disciplined career savvy sign with a desire for status. They have a strong sense of tradition, self-control, and leadership potential. Beyond their sometimes cold exterior is a heart of gold which will soften for the ones they care about. As long as they’re careful about talking down to others, they make incredible friends.

Symbol: The Sea-Goat
Modality: Cardinal
Element: Earth
Group: Feminine
Ruler: Saturn

11. Aquarius

Brotherhood and humanitarian issues are at the forefront of this air sign. As fixed signs ruled by Saturn, they are responsible, disciplined, and smart. Their brilliant minds can take any concept and revamp it into something cool and new. They make great friends but can sometimes overpower their loved ones without meaning to.

Symbol: The Water Bearer
Modality: Fixed
Element: Air
Group: Masculine
Ruler: Saturn

12. Pisces

Pisces are the daydreamers of the zodiac, with emotions moving through them like waves at all times. As the last sign, they are considered the eldest, and their spiritual wisdom typically accompanies their natural gentleness and compassion. They need to have time alone to escape, imagine, create, and recharge.

Symbol: The Fish (plural)
Modality: Mutable
Element: Water
Group: Feminine
Ruler: Jupiter

Photo by Dino Reichmuth
Madeline Goldman

Madeline Goldman

Portland, Oregon / Music / Arts / Humanities

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