The twelve signs of the Zodiac are representative, loosely of the twelve months of the (uncorrected) lunar year. Each is associated with a northern hemisphere constellation that appears in the sky at the corresponding time to the (corrected) lunar month. There is this anomaly of the lunar year not matching the solar year which the Aztecs and Mayans were astute enough to notice and therefore built several calendars to adjust to the different lengths of the two years. This complicated system is amazing because it solves the problem of the recession of lunar months that characterizes the Moslem and oriental calendars. It also happens to be accurate as to the length of the solar year, of three hundred sixty-five and a quarter days, and also corrects for that on a regular basis, as does the modern calendar (think leap year).
The signs of the zodiac are not linked with the houses which we discussed previously. This is an important fact to remember. The astronomical observations of which planet or constellation is rising in the sky or setting are the determinants of the zodiacal time, “what is your sign?” The astronomical sightings are much more closely linked to the solar cycle (year) than the lunar cycle, although the astronomical cycle is not dependent on either the earth’s rotation around the sun or the moon’s around the earth. This condition leads to what was once the difficulty of projecting planetary position for a given future or past date but can now be done in no time at all with computerized plotting. Close, or even fairly casual, celestial observation shows that the heavenly bodies do not move as though they are a painted backdrop for us to enjoy. All of those bodies observable by the naked eye are moving in relation to each other. As they move into, or out of, the observable field whatever “influence” [real or imagined] that they exert on us is perceived to vary. Clearly, in even the most recent past, attempting to discern which celestial body was in any given position at a stated time in the past (for example, the day, date, and time of your birth) was extremely difficult, to say the least. If you chose to add to this “calculation” the newly determined to be “critical” information of the specific location of the event, the task becomes nearly impossible (without the use of computers).
Despite all of these “built-in” difficulties, or shall we say “probabilities of inaccuracy”, astrology has flourished for these thousands of years. One of the reasons that people “believe” in astrological forecasting is that traditionally these forecasts have been spoken (or written) in the language of oracles. It has always been easy to understand reading to be favorable, or unfavorable, as the recipient wishes in most cases. Nearly all projections have been cloudy, and this leads to the belief that they are accurate when an outcome or an event approximates the prediction. Another factor that leads to confirmation of the accuracy of predictions is that e tend to remember those predictions that were [close enough to] accurate while forgetting those that were totally wrong.
Back to the signs themselves, as with the houses, each of the signs has keywords associated with it. The lists vary somewhat from astrologist to astrologist but tend to be closely related. The keywords for the signs are often referred to as attributes, and in some ways can be seen clearly to refer to the signs of the astronomical constellations chosen.
Aries – The Ram – this sign is the sign or picture of a ram and relates to the constellation Aries. The attributes associated with this sign are, among others: daring, impulsiveness, rashness, rudeness. If these attributes are not to your liking, you can use some which are considered more positive, such as leadership, pioneering, motivation, spontaneity. As you see, and as shown above, the list for the houses is broad enough, and the list of attributes for each sign, is also far-reaching enough, that you can find something that matches anyone on the list of any sign.
Taurus – The Bull – this sign is the sign or picture of a bull and relates to the constellation of the same name. The attributes of this sign include, among others: possessing, holding, acquiring, money, property, fertility, steadfastness, and determination.
Gemini – The Twins – this sign is mostly about communication, inquisitiveness, research, and science.
Cancer – The Crab – this sign is mostly associated with traditionally female attributes: motherhood, security, home, family, sensitivity, shyness, emotionality, caregiving.
Leo – The Lion – the Lion is associated with outgoing and theatrical traits, with teaching, sports, and aggressiveness also listed.
Virgo – The Virgin – this sign is associated with traits of conservation and purity, attention to detail, and fussiness, often to the extent of perfectionism.
Libra – The Scales – this sign is the sign of responsibility, marriage, social consciousness, and responsiveness.
Scorpio – The Scorpion – this sign’s keywords deal with intensity, and emotionality, as well as sexuality, and decisiveness.
Sagittarius – The Archer – associated with this sign we find: candor, truthfulness, harshness, nobility of values, philosophical thoughts, and religion, to mention a few.
Capricorn – The Goat – this sign is associated with practical thinking, clear-headedness, business, logic, and more.
Aquarius – The Water Pitcher – the traits associated with this sign include, community, altruism, cooperation, and planning for the future.
Pisces – The Fish(es) – the sign of Pisces always shows two fish heads facing each other or two fish swimming around the perimeter head to tail. The attributes or keywords of this sign are related to deep understanding and forgiving. Philosophical is also listed as well as self-sacrifice and forgiveness.
Above are the twelve signs of the Zodiac. The signs are the constellations that are visible from the Northern Hemisphere of the earth as the earth travels through the full year cycle around the sun. the names of the constellations and the names of the constellations, as mentioned, vary from culture to culture and language to language, although in the field of Astrology, the names above are respected as the conventional standard.