12 Zodiac Signs: Decoding Their Meanings & Characteristics
Most people know that there are 12 signs of the zodiac but know very little about zodiac sign meanings.
For example, you might know your own zodiac sign, but perhaps you don't know what this means about your personality, your strengths, and your weaknesses. As it turns out, star signs can help you understand yourself much more deeply.
This guide to zodiac sign meanings will teach you the basics about zodiac characteristics. We'll begin by looking at what zodiac signs actually are, and by exploring the zodiac calendar of which they are apart.
Then, you'll be in a great position to learn more about each of the 12 zodiac signs. The first stage of learning more will involve considering the different zodiac sign elements connected to every zodiac sign – water, earth, fire, and air.
From there, we'll move on to each sign, with an emphasis on the character traits and personal challenges associated with each.
What Is A Zodiac Sign?
Before we look at questions like “What is my sign?”, and “What does my star sign say about me?”, let's start with the most basic topic of all: what is a zodiac sign, exactly?
In short, the zodiac is an ancient, symbolic language, the first use of which can be traced back to early Greek civilizations.
It breaks down into two Greek words – Zôè (which means “life”) and diazos (which means “the wheel”).
The zodiac, then, is the wheel of life.
Accurate horoscopes tend not to simply use the original 28 sectors of the moon from the original zodiac, but rather draw meaning from the 12 sectors of the sun.
Each of these repents a step of the Sun's orbit around the planet Earth.
There is also, the Chinese Zodiac Signs which occur cyclically every 12 years.
The Zodiac Calendar
The zodiac sign calendar (or astrology calendar) was initially used to measure time. Specifically, the Greeks used divisions of the zodiac calendar to measure when the planet cycled around the sun.
This marked one year, while the months were associated with the 12 distinct sections of the zodiac. Meanwhile, days were derived from divisions of each of the 12 sections into thirty degrees (to reflect the fact the Sun moves a degree per day).
However, Ancient Greeks strongly believed that all elements of our universe are intertwined, and so also believed that the movements of the planets and the sun directly influence human lives.
Increasingly, then, astrology signs and zodiac charts used not simply when discussing time, but in trying to predict the future.
In time, common characteristics of those born in association with particular signs emerged. This research is still applied today, every time you ask for a zodiac reading or read a zodiac chart.
12 Zodiac Sign Dates
These are 12 zodiac signs, and all zodiac signs are associated with a specific range of dates.
In order of date, the 12 zodiac signs are as follows:
Capricorn: December 22 – January 19
Aquarius: January 20 – February 18
Pisces: February 19 – March 20
Aries: March 21 – April 19
Taurus: April 20 – May 20
Gemini: May 21 – June 20
Cancer: June 21 – July 22
Leo: July 23 – August 22
Virgo: August 23 – September 22
Libra: September 23 – October 22
Scorpio: October 23 – November 21
Sagittarius: November 22 – December 21
However, your zodiac sign dates are also connected to specific houses and elements.
So, in order to get the most out of astrology, you should look beyond zodiac definitions and explore the details of horoscope dates.
Zodiac’s Ruling Planet and House
When most of us think about zodiac planets and zodiac sign dates, we probably just think of our key sign – for example, libra or Virgo. However, the idea of houses is also central to astrology.
Each house is linked to a particular planet, though each planet is linked to more than one house. There are 12 houses in total, with the numbering working its way counter-clockwise from the first house.
This house order diverges from the list of chronological dates in the section above, and is as follows:
Aries: First House (Mars)
Taurus: Second House (Venus)
Gemini: Third House (Mercury)
Cancer: Fourth House (Moon)
Leo: Fifth House (Sun)
Virgo: Sixth House (Mercury)
Libra: Seventh House (Venus)
Scorpio: Eighth House (Pluto)
Sagittarius: Ninth House (Jupiter)
Capricorn: Tenth House (Saturn)
Aquarius: Eleventh House (Uranus)
Pisces: Twelfth House (Neptune).
Zodiac Signs Elements
Qualities are specific to sign, but signs are also connected to particular Zodiac elements that have their own characteristics.
This means that groups of signs share some overlapping characteristics. The four possible astrology elements in the astrology wheel are water, fire, earth, and air.
Each of these elements brings both strengths and challenges.
Let's look at a summary of some of the most important ways in which an element influences your sign.
Water Element Signs
The three water element signs are Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces.
Water element astrology tells us that people born under these signs are especially adaptable to change.
So, if your element is water, you're probably willing to step out of your comfort zone and embrace the growth that comes with it.
In addition, water signs have a talent for generating effective solutions to difficult problems, just as water can always flow through the tiniest crack in a wall or find the quickest and effective way through a bumpy road.
On the other hand, the water signs are among the hardest for people to get to know – at least at first.
If your element is water, you may be seen as mysterious and unreachable, and people may be intimidated by you.
However, once they get to know you, they will be inspired by your adaptability and quick-thinking mind.
Earth Element Signs
The signs of the zodiac connected to the element of Earth are Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn.
Experts on earth element astrology tell us that just as all life flows from the earth, all those born under the earth sign are nurturing and growth-promoting.
So, if your birth sign is one of these three signs, you're likely to attract many close friends who depend on you, all of whom view you as being very organized and stable.
Historically, the earth is also connected to manifesting desires, and this means that people born linked to the Earth element are among the most capable of getting what they want.
Fire Element Signs
Fire Element Astrology signs are Aries, Sagittarius, and Leo. As you might expect, since fire provides enormous energy, those born under Fire signs tend to be driven and determined.
So, if you are one of these signs on the astrology calendar, it's likely that you don't stop a task until you've finished, and that you take commitment very seriously.
The trickier side of being born under a Fire sign is that it isn't always easy for you to know when a project or a relationship has served its purpose.
In other words, you may hang onto things for longer than you need or benefit from them.
Air Element Signs
The three signs linked to the element of Air are Aquarius, Gemini, and Libra.
In Air Element Astrology, the prominent trait is freedom.
So, if you're born under an Air sign, you are likely to feel confident to go your own way – no matter what others say.
You are also likely to benefit from an open-minded, even-handed approach that allows you to gather all relevant information before making a decision.
Others may prejudge you as naive or as overly flexible, but your diplomacy lends itself to productive negotiations and to deep friendships in life.
Finally, people with Air signs are also drawn to deeper meaning in life more broadly, and to looking below the surface to understand their true purpose.
What Are The 12 Zodiac Signs And Their Meanings?
Now that we've looked at the dates, houses, and elements associated with each zodiac sign horoscope, let's pay closer attention to each of the individual 12 signs.
We'll work our way through all of the zodiac signs' meanings in turn, considering the dominant traits of people born under these signs. In particular, we'll focus on the talents and skills that will help each sign get ahead in life, along with the most common roadblocks they face.
Whether you're looking to better understand yourself or someone you love, this comprehensive guide should help you get a handle on what drives a person of each sign.
One of the most easily identifiable zodiac symbols, Aries is represented by a ram's head.
You were born under the Aries Zodiac sign if your date of birth is between March 21st and April 19th.
Your strengths include being highly rational, which means you see your situation clearly and make balanced decisions informed by the evidence.
Aries people are also very dynamic, highly energized, and good at starting innovative new projects. You're not likely to let your dreams stay abstract for long, even if pursuing your goals requires taking some calculated risks.
One of your main challenges lies in keeping your temper in check. Sometimes, when things don't go your way, you may be tempted to vent to those who are responsible.
However, this fiery personality trait is also helpful when you're fighting genuine injustice – whether this is in a personal relationship, or at the societal level.
This just means that you want a comfortable home, a stable set of relationships, and not too much change around you.
You are good at following routines, and you'll seldom make mistakes if you're given clear instructions to follow. In addition, you have a direct communication style that lends itself to honest, real friendships and partnerships.
On the other hand, that same clarity of speech can get you into trouble when you're too direct – you may accidentally hurt feelings if you're not careful to be tactful. It's also possible for you to make snap judgments in the heat of the moment.
However, this is a tendency that you can moderate with effort, and it also stops you from dithering in the face of a decision.
Some of your most prominent zodiac traits include being able to connect with just about anyone.
No matter who you talk to or how different they are, you're good at charming the other person and getting them to see your side of things.
This trait serves you well in your relationships, and when dealing with someone who is standing in your way.
You're also a great lover of freedom and are likely never happier than when you're traveling to new places. This does mean you can begin to feel bored and restless if you're kept in the same place for too long.
However, your general love of novelty also means you're good at finding new ways to entertain yourself. It's likely that you have many, varied hobbies and interests to occupy your time.
Current astrology experts often talk about how significant the element of water is to those whose sign is Cancer.
In particular, you change and bend to suit your circumstances. This means you're as at home in comfortable clothes as you are in business attire, and you switch your mode of presentation with ease.
One potential downside of this character trait is that it can be hard for others to get to know you – they may only see one side of you, and think that they understand you when in reality there is much more to see.
Nevertheless, your adaptability means you'll always make the best of your lot in life, even when times are hard. You tend to be optimistic, seeing the good in what's around you.
If you're a Leo, one of your best qualities is that you always do what you say. Whether you're given a tight deadline or asked to keep a secret, you make promises and obligations very seriously.
This means you are a trusted friend, a loyal partner, and someone who will excel in a career that requires focus and discretion.
The zodiac constellations associated with your birth also imbue you with great energy. You may sometimes struggle to rest and relax, along with other signs of the zodiac that are linked to fire.
You always feel there's something useful you could be doing, and this means you may run the risk of burning yourself out. To keep your sharp mind intact, you'll likely need to work on creating a deliberate ritual for self-care.
Any birthday horoscope for Virgos is likely to make some mention of a search for meaning. Often, those born under Virgo start to think about mortality and about life's purpose at a very young age, conscious that it's important to leave a legacy.
There are undeniable good sides to this – for example, you're likely to propel yourself toward great achievements and work to create deep, lasting bonds with others.
That said, you may also feel anxious at times if you're struggling to find purpose or if you have a dream that is derailed. One of the key challenges for a Virgo is to begin to find meaning in life's everyday beauties, not only in bigger achievements and signs of success.
Famously represented on astrology charts by a set of balancing scales, Libra people have a natural inclination toward fairness and balance.
This means you may often play the role of peacemaker, whether at work or at home and promoting the ideals of peace of mind.
You also have a gift for translating the words of people in conflict, helping two people find common ground in a disagreement.
Meanwhile, in leadership roles, you will make fair decisions that aim to serve all parties. However, your balance can be mistakenly read as coldness, and you can be accused of lacking principles.
To counteract this, Libras can be more transparent about their feelings, and the process by which they arrive at their opinions. Ultimately, most people will view you favorably, as Libras are known for their charm, manners, and social grace.
When you bond with someone, it's not easy for you to leave that bond behind. This means you'll stick by loved ones even when there are disagreements, and you tend to offer genuine forgiveness rather than holding grudges.
However, zodiac descriptions also often make mention of Scorpio's jealousy. This is particularly salient in romantic relationships, where you may struggle to believe that your partner has moved on from their past lovers, or may worry about them meeting someone new.
Time and patience can help you move past jealousy, and Scorpios with good self-esteem tend to grow into being much less possessive.
This is one of the most creative zodiac signs, meaning that you are likely attracted to the arts – whether as a hobby or a profession.
You probably find at least one form of art comes very naturally to you, without much need for formal instruction.
Your creativity will find itself in all aspects of your life, from the way you dress to how you tackle work assignments.
Meanwhile, Sagittarius is also known for bringing power and strength. You are not shy to speak out when you know what you want or what you deserve, and others respect the force of your words and your convictions.
The combination of power and creativity puts Sagittarians in a strong position to become famous or to occupy leadership positions.
Of all horoscope signs, this is perhaps the one most strongly connected to the ruling element of earth. You likely care a lot about permanence and security – feeling safe is more important to you than having a wide variety of experiences.
Often, you will prioritize family over work or other pursuits, and you will be known for contributing a lot to your family. In spite of these strong emotional bonds, Capricorn also imbues people with a strong sense of rationality.
In other words, when you have a decision or judgment to make, you'll go towards logic and analysis over intuition every time. This is a reliable way of living, but you'll also grow more as a person if you learn to feel and trust your gut instinct.
If you were born in this aspect of the zodiac, personality traits you might have to involve technical skills and a sense of being good at everything.
There's very little you can't understand, learn, or do if you try, and this means you can successfully pursue just about any dream you might have.
Others will look to you to teach them and help them find solutions, which you enjoy providing.
However, you're also strongly pulled toward traveling and new adventures, and you can struggle with low mood if you don't experience enough novelty.
The trick for an Aquarius lies in finding a range of pursuits both narrow enough to ensure expertise is attained and wide enough to prevent boredom.
Our final Zodiac sign, Pisces, covers birthdays between February 19th and March 20th.
This is another water sign, meaning that you have some tendency toward flexibility and adaptability.
You cope well with change, and you remain calm throughout. Indeed, you're likely known as a relaxed person more generally. You accept that you cannot control much of life, and simply sit back to enjoy the ride.
In addition, Pisces is a tolerant and non-judgemental sign, meaning that others often trust you with their secrets and worries. If you struggle with anything in life, it is likely to be related to criticism.
You find it hard to accept what sounds like negative judgment, whether it comes from others or yourself. This means it can be hard for you to learn helpful lessons, as you're focused on struggling with negative feelings. In time, you can come to see mistakes as opportunities for growth.
Related article: Pisces Traits And The Most Famous Pisces In History
How Does Astrology Work With The Law Of Attraction?
Now that you know more about your astrological sign, it's the perfect time to think about how the Law of Attraction intersects with your horoscope. Most obviously, seeing the strengths and challenges linked to your sign helps you see where you need to work on raising your vibration.
Each sign has a set of difficulties that can lower your vibration, and knowing your sign inside out means knowing where you need to focus your work and positivity.
For example, if you're a Virgo, you'll know you're likely to worry about a lack of purpose, and may then design affirmations that help you feel purposeful.
However, this is just a taste of how you can make use of your knowledge of horoscopes. Using a mix of online astrology and Law of Attraction techniques can supercharge your manifestation skills, getting you what you want at an even faster pace.
Your can learn more, and get a free personalized astrology reading.