In the past I wrote a lengthy blog post called The Lost Zodiac. I intended to “rediscover” astrology as it was originally practiced by looking at classical sources and modern sidereal astrologers who have largely remained faithful to the old sources. At the same time I needed to rectify inaccuracies present in most forms of tropical astrology, especially regarding the signs. My intention now is to rewrite my Lost Zodiac, making it even smaller and simpler so people can easily access it.
Astrology or “study of the stars” is a method of divining events and people’s character by mapping where the planets are in the sky and the patterns they form. Most people read of their “star sign” in the newspaper, which casts very general predictions that could apply to anyone. Your “star sign” is simply which sign the Sun was in when you were born. It is considered one of the most important parts in determining your personality. However, it is only one of the many “planets” to be found in your natal chart.
However, most modern astrology readings are inaccurate. The signs have shifted backwards in the sky due to the procession of the equinoxes. So most people’s true signs are actually the signs before. Most “Capricorns” are really Sagittariuses, and so forth. The astrology most people follow is called tropical astrology, which was founded by Ptolemy, which uses the seasons to cast the zodiac. However, astrology was originally formed in Egypt and Babylon, which both used the constellations to cast the zodiac. Originally, astrology was based on literal stargazing, which most astrologers hardly do today.
As a result many astrologers lost their foundations. The descriptions of the signs and planets we have today are not “pure” but mixed. The tropical sign Taurus, as most people describe it, really has mixed traits of Aries and Taurus. The planets that rule Taurus, Venus and Moon, are also described with mixed traits. Furthermore, some of these mixed traits are arbitrarily exaggerated. This is how we have the modern signs and planets as we describe them. What I do in this blog post is show the signs and planets as they were originally described.
For simplicity’s sake I refer to all celestial bodies as planets, even the Sun and Moon, which technically aren’t planets. Originally the planets were given the biggest importance in astrology, not the signs. The biggest factors in a natal chart were the positions the planets had in relation to each other. (Conjunctions, oppositions, squares, trines etc.) This also determined which planets were the most prominent at a given time, which determined the course of events.
The Moon traditionally rules over realms dealing with the mother, nurturing, the home, the family, the mistress of the house, and legitimate partnerships. Other prominent areas of governance are the masses like the town gathering, as well as meandered wanderings. The Moon generally indicates the casual parts of a personality, including personal mannerisms, pleasures, idiosyncrasies, and adapting to the environment. The Moon rules over feelings, dreams, imagination, and memories. Strangely enough, research shows the Moon influences people to have aggressive “masculine” professions such as business executives, military careers, and politicians. People under the Moon’s influence also have strong creative personalities, such as people who are writers, painters, conductors, and engineers. The Moon rules the left eye, the stomach, the breasts, and spleen. The Moon is phlegmatic and its element is water.
The Sun rules over traditionally masculine realms, such as the intellect and mental perception, as well as rulership. Such archetypes are the king, the judge, the master, the authority over the masses, noble personages, and high priesthoods. The Sun also rules dignity and formal gestures, public reputation, and honors commemorating an individual. The Sun influences people to take public performance occupations such as actors and pop singers, but at the same time people ruled by the Sun show occult behaviors such as tarot card readers, cult followers, and UFO sightings. The Sun rules over the right eye, the heart, spiritual faculties, and the nerves. While the Moon seems to betray an aggressive and strong character the Sun by contrast appears passive and delicate. The Sun is choleric and its element is fire.
Mercury rules over areas of mental faculty and education, such as communication, embassies, marketing, accounting, management, and banking. Mercury also rules over a broad range of other professions from doctors to temple builders, and modelers. Prominent themes are that of youth, childhood, and games, as well as gambling, and slight of hand. Mercury dominates a chart where traveling is involved. People influenced by Mercury show a variety of different occupations, from a wealth of sports professions to real estate agents, social workers, cartoonists, and journalists. There are also a high number of mental illnesses like manic-depressives, psychotic people, and suicidal people. Mercury rules the hands, shoulders, joints, intestines, ears, and tongue. Mercury is leukemic and its element is earth.
As a benefic body Venus bestows many blessings to those under her rule. Venus rules over cheerfulness, good companionship, generosity, and the exchange of gifts. Venus rules over the fine arts and beautiful things like sweet singing, music, painting, dyeing of clothes, ornaments, craftsmanship, and embroidery. It represents appreciation, pleasantness, social interaction, gentleness, and asceticism. Venus influences people to be peaceful, sensible, and cooperative in a variety of fields from TV personalities, textbook writers, diplomats, counselors, and therapists. However, there are some anomalies such as rapists and sex offenders. Venus rules the face: the neck, lips, sense of smell, the lungs, and front of the body. Venus is phlegmatic and its element is water.
A malefic body, Mars is significantly darker in tone. Mars rules over crime and violence, such as theft, murder, plundering, prostitution, insurgency, imprisonment, torture, lawsuits, and exile. It also rules over misfortunes regarding relationships such as rape, abortion, sadomasochism, abuse, the death of wives, and alienation from the family. But Mars does rule positive things, such as campaigns and leadership, fire, craftwork, masonry, governing, and hunting. Mars represents aggression, competitiveness, and strong energy reserves, as well as conviction to defend one’s values. People governed by Mars tend to lead conflict-ridden lives such as thieves, executed people, prisoners, murderers, and drug dealers. Also prominent are people who fight against injustice such as political activists, revolutionaries, and critics. Mars rules over the head, blood, the genitals, the body’s back and underside, and the elimination of waste. Mars is choleric and its element is fire.
Like Venus, Jupiter is a benefic body and as such grants abundance to those under its rule. Jupiter rules over forms of gain and flourishing, such as childbearing, engendering, cementing friendships and political ties, trust, inheritance, the deposit of money, and securing of bonds. Jupiter also rules religion and social order, such as offices and ranks, and the relief of troubles. Jupiter represents generosity, optimism, and gaining people’s endearment, as well as propriety and the striving for superiority. Jupiter influences people to otherworldliness and passivity, opposite of Mercury’s activity and communication. Such occupations include mystical experiences, being spiritual founders, mediums, and near death experiences. Jupiter rules the thighs and feet, the sperm, uterus and egg, and liver. Jupiter is sanguine and its element is ether.
Like Mars, Saturn is a malefic body, and as a result also rules over misfortunes. Saturn rules over the obstacles in life such as unemployment, failures in business, imprisonment, unremitting lawsuits, bereavement, loss, and childlessness. Saturn also rules over things related to farms such as serfs, farmers, and profit. On the bright side Saturn rules over positions of eminence such as supervisors, the managers of property, heads of business, and being the father of others’ children. Saturn is inhibiting and withdrawn, marks self-preservation, frugality, and hard work. It limits and restrains what it touches. While the Sun and Moon signify creativity and originality, their opposite, Saturn points to work that is tedious, manual labor, and “mass mentality”, such as porn stars, sex symbols, scriptwriters, actors, and farmers. Also included are people of great education, philosophers, and researchers, positions that potentially lead to long and dull work. Saturn rules phlegm, the bladder, kidneys, the tendons, the skeletal system, and the lymphatic system. Saturn is melancholic and its element is Air.
Papretis Research on Rising Planets and Signs
Soluners Planetary Crib Sheet
Valens on the Planets
Overview of the Signs
As I said before, the constellations were originally used to plot out the zodiac, which is how sidereal astrology today does it. However, the signs themselves are each equal 30-degree regions. Some constellations like Virgo are extremely big while others like Cancer and Libra are small. So the sign of Libra includes the constellation Libra as well as the feet of Virgo. The most prominent signs in your natal chart are the signs your Sun, Moon, and Mars were at your birth. Other astrologers consider the Ascendant just as important as any planet.
A shorthand, easy way to think of the signs is simply to think of ruling planets, or planets that express themselves most strongly when in the “right” signs. At the same time the signs also have planets that are debilitated of their influences when in the “wrong” signs. A shorthand way of thinking of Taurus is to say it is like-Venus and like-Moon while unlike-Mars.
Taurus: +Venus, +Moon, -Mars
Gemini: +Mercury, -Jupiter
Cancer: +Moon, +Jupiter, -Saturn, -Mars
Leo: +Sun, -Saturn
Virgo: +Mercury, – Jupiter
Libra: +Venus, +Saturn, -Mars, -Sun
Scorpio: +Mars. –Venus, -Moon
Sagittarius: +Jupiter, -Mercury
Capricorn: +Saturn, +Mars, -Moon, – Jupiter
Aquarius: +Saturn, -Sun
Pisces: +Jupiter, +Venus, -Mercury
Aries: +Mars, +Sun, -Venus, -Saturn
Taurus (May 14 – June 14)
Taurus is the nocturnal home of Venus and the Moon is exalted in this sign. As such Taurus is peaceful, gentle, modest, valuing the simple life. She is noble, toilsome, loves pleasure and music, devotional and sensitive to her friends. She abhors coarseness and violence, her speech without sarcasm or reproach. Her sexuality is in extremes, either totally absent or excessive. There is no middle ground. She is affectionate, especially doting on children. She needs intimate, close contact to be comfortable around people. Intellectually, she is a late-bloomer but when she does her intellect is concentrated and profound. She has a deep appreciation for nature and life, searching to uncover their hidden meanings. The physical world, love, and sex are entire worlds to her. She is especially drawn to liebestod, or tragic love, enacting tragic themes to reach a romantic ideal, even if it means self-sabotage.
Gemini (Jun 15 – July 15)
Gemini is the diurnal home of Mercury. He is an intellectual and scholarly character, pursuing a wide range of fields with his versatile talents from education to journalism to advertising. In Gemini’s presence the laborious callings of life, the arms of war, and gloom of old age are banished. In their place he ushers in joy, love, and music making. He is courageous, unhesitant to speak the truth. He is rather nervous and will drink alcohol or take sedatives to calm himself down. A prominent theme for Gemini is the need for companionship and the fear of alienation. He feels loneliness deeply, needing affection, a connection, a playmate. Unfortunately, he is also easily alienated, having difficulty conforming to other people’s expectations.
Cancer (Jul 16 – Aug 16)
Cancer is the home of the Moon and Jupiter is exalted in this sign. Cancer has been associated with traveling the seas and mercantilism since Mannilius. A grasping spirit and unwilling to serve others, she journeys to the far edges of the world, distributing her goods and establishing commercial ties. She is ambitious, glamorous, and public, with a decisive political bent. She is deeply insecure, and so seeks validation by being the center of attention. She is a strong storyteller, with a brilliant imagination, and strong memory, and likewise has turbulent, changing emotions. She also possesses dark, shadowy qualities. She is attracted to the mystical and magical. She often involves herself in the occult and is numb to nomothetic viewpoints. She strives to build complex imaginative structures while at the same time is driven to uncover and disclose problems.
Leo (Aug 17 – Sept 16)
Leo is the home of the Sun. He is distinguished, noble, honest, and beneficent, with lofty thoughts. The dignity of the human soul is his primary purpose of living. Possessing a deep moral nature, he shuns flattery, hypocrisy, and wastefulness. He needs eminence and centricity, to be the center of others. However, he possesses a natural dignity, neither noisy nor flagrant. He can be overbearing and righteous, possessing a fearful temper. Natural in a position of authority, he easily becomes society’s mainstay and, when he ages, becomes a “symbol” of his respective field. He is a mellow character and thrives in the status quo, at least as far as cultural mores are concerned.
Virgo (Sept 17 – Oct 16)
Virgo is the nocturnal house of Mercury. She is industrious and modest, trained in a diversity of the learned arts, from historians to reporters to editors to analysts. Her mind is as powerful as it is versatile for she is just as adept in repairing a child’s toy as she is in leading a military campaign. She is shy, bashful, and modest. Rather than holding a position of authority she instead prefers the role of secretary. She is highly logical to the point of perhaps being mechanical and functions best following a routine. She has a definite humanitarian bent for she has a great concern for the common people and expends much effort to social progress. She has a strong eye for details but also has a very nervous temperament.
Libra (Oct 17 – Nov 15)
Libra is the diurnal house of Venus and is the exaltation of Saturn. He is debonair, peaceable, and beauty loving. He would rather negotiate; find a compromise than quarrel or cause bloodshed. As such, he is acquainted with the law and excels in legal professions. He is the supervisor of crops, vineyards, homesteads, and estates. He has a heightened sense of aesthetics, both image-conscious and sensitive to disfigurements. However, he can be shockingly insensitive to actual pain caused to him. The idea is always worse than the real thing. He is righteous, concerned with justice and fair play, and can be very judgmental. He is also covert and secretive. Women are comfortable under Libra, acting as if the world was already female-dominated, while men flounder with their masculinity.
Scorpio (Nov 16 – Dec 15)
Scorpio is the nocturnal house of Mars. This serpentine sign has carried a loaded reputation since antiquity. She is ardent for war and active service, for even if there is no war to be fought she finds for herself enemies to attack. She loves danger and risk, impulsively or fearlessly tackling any difficult situation. She is barnstorming and revolutionary, redressing the wrongs of the world. Musical expression to her is the sheer realization of life, which is why so many musicians and composers have been born under her. Both imaginative and mathematically minded, she tends to synthesize various disciplines, often fusing politics with art or science. Thus she leans towards the idiographic sciences. She doesn’t say anything without a specific reason, slow to expose any weaknesses, but secretly collects others’ weaknesses. As such, she has a keen analytical mind, hidden motives rarely escaping her attention.
Sagittarius (Dec 16 – Jan 14)
Sagittarius is the diurnal house of Jupiter. He can rightly be described as a king with the common touch. He is noble, just, and magnanimous, superior to his enemies. He seeks a noble reputation, or some other form of high regard or social status, and to be a prominent benefactor. He has a proclivity for taming the wild animals from lions to elephants. An optimistic person, he continually strives for self-improvement, if not of his social status than of his personal qualities, climbing higher and higher. In spite of his many qualities, however, he does have self-image problems, for in his mind he never quite makes the mark. He is hierarchical in his thinking, stratifying people according to what he perceives to be their rank. As such, he is very judgmental, eager to play God.
Capricorn (Jan 15 – Feb 12)
Capricorn is the nocturnal house of Saturn and the exaltation of Mars. As a manifestation of Pan and the Sabbatical Goat, she is both austere and puckish. Her childhood is her worst time, suffering at the hands of her elders, and is toilsome to the present day. She is fond of jokes, though, her sharp wit is used as a means of warding off melancholy. She is generally a reserved person, with a combination of blasé boldness with exterior coldness. She is an aloof individualist who tends to work better alone than in groups. Though she is generally congenial, she isn’t deeply forthcoming. She is a workaholic, with a strong sense of responsibility and duty, and can be just as stubborn in her views as she is tenacious. She is economical in her speech and motion, creating maximum effects with minimal effort.
Aquarius (Feb 13 – March 14)
Aquarius is the diurnal house of Saturn. He is gentle, soft, and sentimental, ready to lend an ear or arm to a suffering person. He is prone to suffer many losses in life, which in turn makes him worry a lot and be self-effacing. However, he is wise, with a strong understanding of human nature. He is honest, lofty in thought, altruistic, and idealistic. He is scientific, inventive, analytic, delight in investigation, avidly absorbing information from books and the like. As a humanitarian, he ignores the social barriers of race, class, gender, or age. He has a strong sense of individuality and is loathe giving up his autonomy. Thus he may be misunderstood as being noncommittal in relationships. He is pragmatic, working hard to make life easy.
Pisces (March 15 – April 13)
Pisces is the nocturnal house of Jupiter and the exaltation of Venus. She is possessed by a powerful wanderlust, gravitating to foreign affairs and the unfamiliar and vague. As such many explorers and missionaries have been born under her, and her skills in navigating the world’s seas and oceans have been noted since antiquity. She is fundamentally a mystic, with a visionary, romantic, subjective approach to life. She is sociable, amiable, suave, pleasant, but also shifty in her loyalties, slipping from one camp to the next. She wants an idealistic, storybook relationship, and if her relationship isn’t the ideal off she goes at once. She has a strong, sensuous sex drive, indulging in good food and wine. But she is also strong, her strength proportionate to her emotional attunement.
Aries (April 14 – May 13)
Aries is the diurnal house of Mars and the exaltation of the Sun. He is pragmatic, utilitarian, analytical, and resourceful, with an immediate hands-on approach to his tasks. Wherever he goes, he will disrupt the status quo, and will mince not words in his polemics to do so. He is the political sign par excellence, active, dynamic, impatient, striving to secure himself positions of power. His emotions are cyclothymic, a roller coaster of ups and downs, heights and dumps. He is skeptical and agnostic, and as such few diviners are born under him. He can also be rather insensitive, inattentive to other people’s feelings, but is himself sensitive to criticism and loathe in acknowledging his mistakes. He has a strong sense of family and takes great pride in his children.
Garth Allen’s notes on the sidereal signs:
Manillius on the twelve signs
Soluners: Jim Eshelman’
Valens on the Twelve Zodiac Signs