Zodiac Signs Explained

Sydney Joa 9-III

Most of us know what zodiac signs are, which one we are, and what that says about us. However, most of us don’t know what they really mean, why they exist, how they work, and why they could potentially define who we are.

      First, what are zodiac signs? According to Horoscope.com, your zodiac sign, also known as your star sign, reflects the position of the sun when you were born. This has a strong influence on your personality, character, and emotions. Depending on which sign you are, it can really be used as a powerful tool to understand yourself as well as your relationships. Not only this, but it can apparently also show you the path to a better life.

      It is believed that around 2300 B.C., during the Babylonian era, people started using stars as explanations for the recurrence of seasons and events. As cultures intertwined, the study of astrology not only improved but was also adopted by other civilizations. According to Astronlogia.com, weather, agricultural timelines, natural disasters, wars, and even human affairs could all be explained by the understanding of stars and zodiac signs.

      The word “zodiac” is derived from the Greek word that means “sculpted animal figure.” Early astrologers identified that it took twelve lunar cycles – or months – for the sun to return to its original position. These astrologers connected these cycles to constellations, where they used the names of animals and people to label each one. These became the “Zodiac Signs”.

How are they categorized?

      Once they were titled, each of the zodiac signs was categorized by an element: water, fire, earth, and air; meaning that three zodiac signs belong to an element. Each element also has three qualities or modalities: cardinal, fixed, and mutable; all of which are associated with one zodiac sign. The signs can also be broken down into dualities: masculine and feminine. All of this means that each zodiac sign is unique in its own element, modality, and duality. The following are explanations of what each of these means theoretically and what it means for you and your sign.



Seeing the world in terms of elements is something of a custom or habit that goes way back to thousands of years ago. The elements represent your fundamental qualities and temperament – like the “stuff” that you are made of. And it is the Moons along with other planets, that reveal your elemental emphasis.

  • Fire element: Fire signs include Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius.
    • This element represents the desire for life, the will to be and become. Signs within this element often demonstrate leadership, initiative, and courage and tend to be impulsive, creative, spontaneous, and enthusiastic. They serve as an inspiration to others, influencing creative action based on high ethics.
    • However, negatively expressed, there can be an excess of self-expression without consideration for others’ feelings, all of which result in selfishness, egotism, or even hatred.
  • Air element: Air signs include Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius.
    • This element represents mind and communication. Signs within this element are a bit like connectors of the zodiac signs, as they connect diverse people with each other and with new ideas and knowledge. They are typically intellectual, objective, curious, and socially-oriented. They have the ability to step back from a situation and see it from contrasting perspectives.
    • Negatively expressed, they may take fairness to the extreme and become cold and aloof.
  • Earth element: Earth signs include Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn.
    • This element represents expression in the physical world. Signs within this element possess the gift of turning dreams into reality. Qualities include self-love, ambition, and endurance.
    • Negatively expressed, unbalanced Earth signs may lead to greed, over-indulgence, and stagnation.
  • Water element: Water signs include Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces.
    • This element represents the realm of emotions and is perhaps the element least understood. Signs within this element are extremely sensitive to their environment, they aren’t only in touch with their own deep feelings, but also with everyone else’s, meaning that they could be “psychic.” They are intuitive, nurturing, resourceful, and imaginative.
    • The downside is that water signs absorb other people’s emotions to the point of feeling overwhelmed, making them lead to overreaction, paranoia, and evasion.

Qualities or Modalities

This refers to the different ways people interact and engage with their environments. Understanding what quality your sign is can help with a better understanding of your tendencies in life and relationships.

  • Cardinal modality: It is associated with the start of each season. Aries is the beginning of Spring; Cancer is the beginning of the Summer; Libra is the beginning of Fall, and Capricorn is the beginning of Winter.
  • Fixed modality: It is associated with the middle of each season. Taurus is the middle of Spring; Leo is the middle of Summer; Scorpio is the middle of Fall, and Aquarius is the middle of Winter.
  • Mutable modality: It is associated with the end of each season. Gemini marks the end of Spring; Virgo marks the end of Summer; Sagittarius marks the end of Fall, and Pisces marks the end of Winter.

Dualities: Feminine and Masculine

Everyone has both masculine and feminine energy in them, whether you’re male, female, both, or neither. However, by understanding which duality each sign is, we can understand what field the energy works on – by energy, I mean what kind of energy each sign projects into the world.

  • Masculine: The masculine signs include Aries, Gemini, Leo, Libra, Sagittarius, and Aquarius. These signs tend to be more extroverted in nature.
  • Feminine: The feminine signs include Taurus, Cancer, Virgo, Scorpio, Capricorn, and Pisces. These signs tend to be introverted.

Why do people believe in zodiac signs?

      The day you were born determines your zodiac sign. According to Lateet.com, the idea is that people are always in symbiosis with the stars that are present during the time of birth and the movement of the stars, deeply affecting your personality traits. The reason why some people may believe in these signs is simply that we’re all fundamentally linked to the universe, so using it to learn about ourselves makes sense.

Skepticism about zodiac signs

      Despite the hype behind zodiac signs, there are some that don’t believe in them for many reasons. NASA announced back in 2016 that there is another zodiac sign, called Ophiuchus, and the Babylonians knew that this thirteenth constellation existed, yet they just didn’t include it. NASA then went on by stating that not only is astrology not considered science, but no one has shown that astrology can be used to predict the future or describe what people are like based on their birth dates. They stated that astronomers and other scientists know that stars many light-years away have no effect on the ordinary activities of humans on Earth.  

Overall, zodiac signs are a very extensive topic, with all of its different categorizations and meanings. For some, astrology allows people to connect with themselves on a more deep and meaningful level. Zodiac signs give believers another way to identify themselves, and it enables them to see each other and themselves differently. For others, astrology isn’t scientific and strongly believes that stars and planets have zero effect on the everyday activities of humans on Earth. Now, this is all up to you: do you believe in Zodiac signs?


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