Zodiac comes from the Greek word zoidiakos. Ancient astrologers divided the zodiac into twelve equal parts, naming each after a constellation in that area of the sky. These twelve divisions make up the twelve signs of the zodiac. As the earth orbits the sun during the year, the sun appears from earth to move along a line relative to the fixed stars. This line is called the ecliptic, and the band that extends to about eight degrees either side of this line is the zodiac.
The zodiac was originated in 7th century BC, some 2500 years ago by the Babylonians. Babylonian astrologists created the first known celestial coordinate system.
The Babylonian calendar as it stood in the 7th century BC assigned each month a certain sign (zodiac sign) which was based on the position of the sun at vernal equinox (Vernal Equinox is when the Earths axis is tilting neither away from nor towards the sun and are on the same plane with each other). At the time this was called the Aries constellation (Age of Aries). This is why the first of the 12 signs is Aries and the beginning of the years calendar.
As the Babylonians refined their astrological coordinates and to more accurately determine the Earths position, they used other stars as reference points to determine the exact position of Earth at twelve different times of the year. These stars were in the form of constellations and had certain patterns. These constellations were named after each of the signs and the patterns of these constellations gave the symbols for each sign.
Babylonian astrologists started referring to changes in planet position by their zodiac signs and daily planet positions became less important and more about when the planets position moved from one zodiac to the next.
In the 4th century BC, Babylonian astrology became known among the Greeks and Romans as divination through the stars. This was the first use of horoscope astrology and the Zodiac signs were used in divination and representing certain qualities. People born within a certain zodiac were given certain qualities.
The Elements and Zodiac Signs
The four elements were delineated by a Greek Philosopher Empedocles in the 5th century BC. He stated that the universe is made up of four elements – fire, air, earth and water. He further explained that the universe is made up of two polarities (Love and Strife) and these manipulated the elements.
The twelve astrology signs are grouped into four essential elements to which life would not be possible without. Each of these four elements has characteristics independent to each that the twelve astrology signs are based upon. The symbolism is so exact that the element that your astrology sign lies under greatly influences your personality traits and your characteristics. All of the elements must work in sync with each other so that one does not get out of control, they have to co-exist peacefully in order to sustain a balance in life. That is what astrology signs are about, balancing yourself and others in the game of life.
Fire as an element can be quite useful and good but can also be destructive and unpredictable. In astrology the fire signs can ignite easily and be quite temperamental, but if managed properly, can be very useful. Fire signs can be emotionally volatile yet are also very passionate. Fire can change its course in an instant and those born under fire astrology signs are very dynamic and like fire spreading, are the first to spread out into the unknown and will take initiative with adventurous enthusiasm. Fire is not a physical thing, it is quite mystical and people under the fire signs, follow their intuition and gut feeling because it rarely leads them wrong. Fire people have a strong sense of self and much like fire which holds no regard over what is in its path, fire people are quite self centered and move fast in a set direction and rarely get stuck on themselves. Fire people are impulsive and just like fire spreading, often leap before they look.
Aries (21 March – 20 April):
Being the first of the fire signs, the Aries hold a heightened and more acute dynamic and temperamental personality. Aries astrology represents the fire element in its most pure form, being the most active, interested in everything and adventurous, like a small fire just being ignited, full of excitement and enthusiasm to explore. This is where and how Aries childlike qualities and raw enthusiasm originate.
Leo (23 July – 21 August):
Leo is the middle fire sign. Leos always have to be in the middle, like the sun which happens to be the Leos astrology symbol. The Leo loves to be the center of attention and is where they perform the best. The Leo is stable and radiant and helps keep others under control. They are steady and dependable and they like to make their presence known. Leos like to create a splash and leave an impression on people in a positive but potentially in an aggressive way.
Sagittarius (23 Nov – 22 Dec):
Sagittarius is the 3rd and final of the fire element. The Sagittarius are more philosophical and calm, like the bottom of the fire which is very calm, mystical and out of reach. Sagittarius are idealistic and creative and are the most gentle of the three fire astrology signs.
Air is an element that cannot be seen or touched but can be mysteriously controlled like blowing up a balloon. However air will eventually escape or get stale if contained in this fashion. Air people cannot be trapped or contained without this effect happening to them. Air people are elusive, unpredictable and eccentric much like a storm. Air is the most important element as its presence is necessary for all other elements to exist. Air people live in their mind and solve problems, formulate theories and see things in the world simply and do not get caught up in regular day to day problems. Air people are said to be out of touch with reality, but they are advanced in thinking. They have a knack for intelligence but lack emotional depth.
Gemini (22 May – 21 June):
Being the first of the air signs, the Gemini is the most flighty, like a dust storm, picking stuff up holding onto it for a while and throwing it away moving onto new things. When told to slow down, the gemini cannot do so for long and does not know what to do, thus giving the gemini it most known trait of indecisiveness. The gemini never feels complete and is always on a quest to find someone or something that will complete them. Gemini is the sign for communication and they want to know everybody and everything and are constantly exploring and very curious.
Libra (24 Sept – Oct 23):
The Libra represents the air that is so necessary to sustain life. Libra want to maintain life, harmony and balance to the world. Libra want to be peaceful and essential to the lives of everyone they touch, just like air. The Libra holds extreme importance on relationships and balance of life.
Aquarius (21 Jan – 19 Feb):
Aquarius is the last and highest of the air element. Aquarius is the powerful force that keeps the world going round and they affect all parts of the world and has the power to change and it does. Aquarius is the symbol of change and originality. Aquarius do not believe in stops or barriers, but rather seek understanding and knocking down barriers. However, the aquarius is unpredictable and erratic but are advanced thinkers and seek truth and work to keep the world moving round and advancing civilization.
Earth is very real. You can see it, feel it, smell it, etc. Earth signs are very down to earth and real. Earth people are very solid and stable and composed of many parts. These people are not wishy washy and dont have their heads in the clouds. They are dependable and you can always count on them to be there when they are needed. They are pessimistic and generally conservative people. They are opposed to change but will let things progress and grow and Earth people will be the foundation for that progress. Earth people are also the most materialistic and possessive of all the zodiac signs.
Taurus (21 Apr – 21 May):
Being the first of the earth signs, the Taurus is the strongest and most stable. Taurus is known for their stubborn nature and unwillingness to change. They want people to be successful and happy and hold onto people and things in their life. They have a solid foundation and help others build theirs too. They are dependable and wise.
Virgo (22 August – 23 Sept):
Virgo is the middle earth sign and are the least physical of all the earth signs. They are stuck in the middle and are indecisive. The virgo lives in their own world on a mentally shallow plane. They observe and think with quick analytical precision and are flexible, helpful and stable.
Capricorn (23 Dec – 20 Jan):
Capricorn represents the earth in its most solid and purest form. Just like the earth is made up of many different elements, the Capricorn has many sides and takes interest in everything from materialistic possessions to being a powerful status symbol. Capricorn is mysterious and deep, like that of the earth and tend to be dark in a sort of depressed way. They are very conservative and have a difficult time with pleasure since they are so concerned and involved in their work and the more serious aspects of life.
Water can be considered dark or refreshing and nice like a cool stream as opposed to the dark depths of the ocean. Contained, water can be easily controlled, but when un-contained it can cause mayhem and be destructive. Water signs represent the intuition and emotional aspects of a person. Water signs are the most emotional of all the signs. They flow down deep and seek out and explore all the tiny crevices, symbolic of the unknown emotions of the human psyche. Because water can be found anywhere and is essential to life everywhere, water sign people have a knack for dealing with people and can see into other people and can see their motives and predict their actions and are considered generally psychic and are most in-tune with others. This makes them sympathetic, caring and helpful, but are over sensitive and can be hurt if their sacrifices and involvement are not acknowledged.
Cancer (22 June – 22 July):
Cancers are the most helpful, genuine and are concerned with others. However, they can be very aggressive when it comes to protecting themselves or the ones they love.
Scorpio (24 Oct – 22 Nov):
Scorpio represents the power that water potentially has. They are very intense and powerful when their energy is harnessed and focused. But if their energy is unharnessed, they can cause destruction if rash decisions are made without thinking the consequences through. They provide protection and help to those around them.
Pisces (20 Feb – 20 March):
Pisces are too flexible and adaptable. They go with the flow. They however are the most spiritual of all the signs. They are mystical and soothing and provide a calm atmosphere and are inspirational.