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September 23, 2022 — 11:35 AM

If you’re dipping your toes into astrology, you might know a little bit about each of the 12 zodiac signs but want to learn more. Well, we’ve got you covered—here are the fundamentals of the 12 signs, from Aries to Pisces, according to astrologers.

Before we dive into each of the signs, let’s unpack what a star sign, or zodiac sign, actually is. There are 12 signs in the zodiac, each of them a constellation that resides in its own 30-degree portion of the sky. All together, the zodiac fills up the 360-degree chart that is Earth’s orbit around the sun.

Each of these signs has a corresponding element (fire, earth, water, or air), modality (cardinal, fixed, or mutable), polarity (yin or yang), symbol, archetype, house, ruling planet, and more. When you understand all these little details about the things that make a sign what it is, understanding all 12 becomes that much easier.

In terms of the history of the signs, the AstroTwins previously wrote for mbg that the Sumerians noted the journeys of planets and stars as far back as 6000 B.C. Then, around 3300 B.C. the Babylonians (aka the Chaldeans), began expanding upon what the Sumerians started, developing the first astrological system over thousands of years. “They created the zodiac wheel that we use today (with planets and houses) around 700 B.C. The oldest known horoscope chart is believed to date to 409 B.C.,” the twins add. Here’s what to know about the signs as they exist today:

Aries (March 21 – April 19)


  • Symbol: Ram
  • Element: Fire
  • Modality: Cardinal
  • Key traits: Individualistic, bold, and brave

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Aries is the first sign of the zodiac, and its mascot is the ram. As a fire sign ruled by the planet Mars, Aries energy is individualistic, bold, and brave. As astrology expert Desiree Roby Antilo tells mbg, Aries also has yang energy, and its modality is cardinal, meaning it kicks off the season it falls in (spring, in this case).

“Aries have courage, and they also have this heart-tugging innocence and wonder about them. They have an innocent quality about them—however, they are known to be pretty impulsive,” she explains.

Taurus (April 20 – May 20)


  • Symbol: Bull
  • Element: Earth
  • Modality: Fixed
  • Key traits: Grounded, sturdy, interested in the beauty of the natural world

Taurus is the second sign of the zodiac, and it’s symbolized by the bull. As a Venus-ruled earth sign, Taurus is grounded, sturdy, and interested in the beauty of the natural world. Roby Antilo notes that Taurus has yin energy, and its modality is fixed (meaning it’s in the middle of the season).

“Tauruses have strength of purpose,” she tells mbg, adding that these folks are very patient, steadfast, and loyal. They can, however, be extremely stubborn, thanks to their fixed-earth quality, she adds.

Gemini (May 21 – June 20)


  • Symbol: Twins
  • Element: Air
  • Modality: Mutable
  • Key traits: Intelligent, curious, cerebral

Gemini is the third sign of the zodiac, and it’s symbolized by the twins. As an air sign ruled by the planet Mercury, Gemini is intelligent, curious, and cerebral. It’s also yang energy, and its modality is mutable, meaning it falls at the end of the season, Roby Antilo notes.

Geminis are versatile and mentally alert, she says, “as in they’re smart, very smart—they’re very quick to perceive things with wonderful deductive reasoning.” They do, however, have a hard time settling down and relaxing, she adds.

Cancer (June 21 – July 22)

Cancer sign

  • Symbol: Crab
  • Element: Water
  • Modality: Cardinal
  • Key traits: Emotional, homey, and comforting

Cancer is the fourth sign of the zodiac, and it’s represented by the crab. As a water sign ruled by the moon, Cancer energy is emotional, homey, and comforting. Roby Antilo also tells mbg Cancer has yin energy and is a cardinal sign, kicking off summer.

“They are tender, sensitive, caring, and extremely cautious,” she notes, adding that they can also, however, be melancholy and even a bit possessive.

Leo (July 23 – August 22)


  • Symbol: Lion
  • Element: Fire
  • Modality: Fixed
  • Key traits: Glamorous, courageous, bold

Leo is the fifth sign of the zodiac, represented by the lion. It’s the only sign ruled by the Sun, and it’s also a fire sign, known for its glamorous, courageous, and bold energy. According to Roby Antilo, Leo is fixed, falling in the middle of summer and has yang energy.

“They are warm, noble, loyal, and natural leaders,” she says, noting that she finds Leos have big (and protective) hearts. “One thing they can work on,” she adds, “is they can be vain or a little bossy.”

Virgo (August 23 – September 22)


  • Symbol: Virgin
  • Element: Earth
  • Modality: Mutable
  • Key traits: Precision, critical thinking, service

Virgo is the sixth sign of the zodiac and is represented by the virgin. It’s an earth sign ruled by Mercury and is often associated with precision, critical thinking, service, and harvesting. Virgo’s modality is mutable, ending summer, Roby Antilo notes, and Virgo also has yin energy.

She explains that this sign is practical, self-aware, tasteful, and courteous. “I think they’re really true to themselves and others, and they love being of service,” she says, adding, “In their negative forms, of course, they’re critical and can be really pessimistic and faultfinding.”

Libra (September 23 – October 22)


  • Symbol: Scales of justice
  • Element: Air
  • Modality: Cardinal
  • Key traits: Balance, beauty, harmony

Libra is the seventh sign of the zodiac and is represented by the scales of justice. It’s an air sign ruled by Venus and is often associated with balance, beauty, justice, and harmony. According to Roby Antilo, Libra is a cardinal sign, and interestingly, while it is a yang sign, it’s ruled by a yin planet, which is telling of its balanced nature.

She adds that Libras are intelligent, charming, and concerned with equality and fairness. For the most part, she says, they tend to be emotionally balanced, though they can be indecisive—and when it comes to issues of justice, their nonconfrontational nature can quickly become argumentative.

Scorpio (October 23 – November 21)


  • Symbol: Scorpion
  • Element: Water
  • Modality: Fixed
  • Key traits: Mystical, mysterious, loyal

Scorpio is the eighth sign of the zodiac, represented by the scorpion. It’s a water sign ruled by Pluto in modern astrology and Mars in ancient astrology and is known for being mystical and mysterious. Roby Antilo tells mbg that Scorpio has yin energy and is a fixed sign, landing in the middle of fall.

She notes that these folks have incredible willpower and are incredibly magnetic. “They have a lot of self-control, and I find them also to be very loyal,” she says. However, expressed in their negative forms, Roby Antilo says Scorpios can become ruthless and vengeful.

Sagittarius (November 22 – December 21)


  • Symbol: Centaur
  • Element: Fire
  • Modality: Mutable
  • Key traits: Adventurous, philosophical, honest

Sagittarius is the ninth sign of the zodiac and is represented by a centaur holding a bow and arrow. It’s a fire sign ruled by Jupiter and is known for being adventurous, philosophical, and honest. It’s the last of the mutable signs and has yang energy, according to Roby Antilo.

She adds that these folks are optimistic, enthusiastic, cheerful, logical, and honest almost to a fault. “Sometimes they can be a little rude and lack tact,” she says, adding they can also be reckless or careless and/or emotionally confused.

Capricorn (December 22 – January 19)


  • Symbol: Sea goat
  • Element: Earth
  • Modality: Cardinal
  • Key traits: Honest, wise, hardworking

Capricorn is the 10th sign of the zodiac and is represented by the sea goat, a mythological hybrid between a goat and a fish. Capricorn is an earth sign ruled by Saturn and is known for being honest, wise, and hardworking. Roby Antilo tells mbg Capricorn is also a cardinal sign and has yin energy.

She notes that she considers this sign to be determined, dependable, stable, and naturally wise, though they do have a tendency to be overly ambitious and even narrow-minded.

Aquarius (January 20 – February 18)


  • Symbol: Water bearer
  • Element: Air
  • Modality: Fixed
  • Key traits: Eclectic, creative, eccentric

Aquarius is the 11th sign of the zodiac, represented by the water bearer. Don’t let the water fool you though—Aquarius is an air sign, ruled by the planet Uranus and is associated with all things eclectic, creative, and forward-thinking. According to Roby Antilo, Aquarians are the out-of-this-world folks in the zodiac, with yang energy and a fixed modality.

“They’re inventive, original, and are true visionary geniuses,” she explains, adding that Aquariuses are always 10 steps ahead. Sometimes, though, their eccentricity can become neurotic, she notes, adding that this sign is also known to be aloof, absent-minded, and sometimes stubborn.

Pisces (February 19 – March 20)


  • Symbol: Fish
  • Element: Water
  • Modality: Mutable
  • Key traits: Compassionate, sensitive, psychic

Pisces completes the astrological year as the 12th sign of the zodiac, represented by fish swimming in opposite directions. It’s a water sign ruled by Pluto and is associated with the subconscious, dreams, and all things mystical. Roby Antilo notes Pisces is also a yin sign and is mutable.

These folks are compassionate, sensitive, and some of the most psychic people in the zodiac, she says, adding they can be extremely healing and philosophical. They can, however, be taken advantage of if they’re not careful and must be mindful not to get steamrollered by others all the time, Roby Antilo says.

Once you understand what each sign is all about, you’ll be able to understand your own birth chart, and others’, even more. This is just the tip of the astrological iceberg when it comes to the 12 star signs, but consider this your foundational introduction for further astrology knowledge.

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