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Tao of the Zodiac Signs
by Julene Packer-Louis

"Tao" means "The Way". The zodiac signs are the way of the planets. Being that planets represent archetypal drives, the signs they are in represent the way the planet goes about getting its archetypal needs met.

The signs are broken down into a 3/4 rhythm of modalities and elements. This rhythm provides each sign with a unique energy field, as no two signs have the same combination. The modalities are cardinal, fixed and mutable. The elements are fire, earth, air and water. Please refer to my article on temperament analysis for more information on each modality and element.

Additionally the planets are broken down into Yin and Yang. Yin signs are also called feminine signs because they are receptive in nature. These are the earth and water signs: Taurus, Cancer, Virgo, Scorpio, Capricorn, and Pisces. Yang signs are also called masculine because they are projective in nature. These are the fire and air signs: Aries, Gemini, Leo, Libra, Sagittarius and Aquarius. While planets in a sign of the same element get along best with each other, planets in the complimentary sign of the same gender are compatible as well.

The Sun does not ingress into each zodiac sign at exactly midnight on a particular day in each time zone, of course. Therefore you will see that the end date of one sign is the same as the beginning of the next. This date is known as the "cusp". If you were born on the cusp between two signs, you need to know your time and location of birth to determine which sign the sun was in when you were born. If you know this information you can use my FREE Chart Wheel Service to determine your Sun sign.

Aries: March 20 - April 20(Yang - cardinal, fire)

Symbol: Ram
Principle: autonomy
Ruling Planet: Mars
Exalted Planet: Sun
Debilitated Planets: Venus & Saturn

If your Sun is in Aries you enjoy beginning new projects and likely charge in head first with a lot of willful force. You may not complete everything you start because you tend to loose interest once the initial rush is gone. You like to do things your own way, and are not good at taking orders or advice from others. You charge headstrong along your own path, not overly concerned with the rules or obstacles in your path. You are determined to get where you are going and will do what ever it takes to get there. In this regard you can be a bit impatient and reckless in your tactics. "God grant me patience NOW" could be one of your sayings. You do not like to wait around and as a result you may leave concerts and other jam packed events early to beat the traffic. You are competitive by nature and like to win.

Planets in Aries have strong survival instincts, are instinctively responsive to desires, seek independence, are headstrong and are self-serving. The Aries way is boldly, daringly, assertively, aggressively, willfully, impatiently, recklessly, competitively, independently, passionately, and driven. Aries goes after the archetypal need of the planet with passionate initiative. Its symbol is the Ram who charges in headfirst.

Taurus: April 20 - May 21 (Yin - fixed, earth)

Symbol: Bull
Principle: sensory perception
Ruling Planet: Venus
Exalted Planet: Moon
Debilitated Planets: Mars & Uranus

If your Sun is in Taurus you enjoy reveling in the pleasures of the senses. You take your time to stop and smell the roses as you walk through life. You are generally not in a hurry to get anywhere since you realize the journey is often as important as the destination. For this reason people may consider you lazy even though that isn't usually the case. You enjoy acquiring objects that you find beautiful or provide you with a sense of security. Your strong aesthetic values give you strong opinions of what appeals to your senses. You have distinct tastes in art and music that you are probably quite stubborn about. Money may be important to you, but you tend to be practical about your spending. You are likely a bargain shopper. Getting out in nature and taking in the sights, sounds and smells does good for your soul.

Planets in Taurus tend to take things slow, experience things through the physical senses, establish values or worth and enjoy the material comforts life has to offer. The Taurus way is slowly, patiently, persistently, stubbornly, sensually, earthly, and deliberately with a focus on attachments and object constancy. Taurus seeks to secure and make permanent the archetypal need of the planet. Its symbol is the bull who can dig in his heels and refuse to budge.

Gemini: May 21 - June 21 (Yang - mutable, air)

Symbol: Twins
Principle: data exchange
Ruling Planet: Mercury
Exalted Planet: None, some say North Node
Debilitated Planet: Jupiter

If your Sun is in Gemini you don't like to sit still for long. You are always on the move seeking out the next source of excitement. You love to talk with all sorts of people and exchange a myriad of ideas. You probably know a little about just about everything and it is not likely someone will come up with a topic that leaves you speechless. You have a rather restless intelligence that can get bored going to the very depths of a topic, so you tend to skim the surface of many instead. Since your ideas change with each new experience or piece of information acquired, you can appear flighty and non-committal to others. You have a need to know what is going on in the world around you. It is quite possible that you keep abreast on the news on both a small and large scale. You are not likely to shy away from gaining any type of attention through the media. It is quite possible that you communicate with your hands as body language is something you speak and read well.

Planets in Gemini recognize the nature of duality, are communicative, gather and distribute data of all kinds, and like a butterfly that flits from here to there sampling many things in a carefree manner, they are free-spirited. The Gemini way is adaptable, versatile, dualistic, multiplicity, emotionally detached, curious, social, inconsistent, communicative, and function best where there is fluidity of movement. Gemini seeks to communicate the archetypal need of the planet in a dualistic manner. Its symbol is the twins, Pollux and Castor.

Cancer: June 21 - July 22 (Yin - cardinal, water)

Symbol: Crab
Principle: emotional security
Ruling Planet: Moon
Exalted Planets: Jupiter & Neptune
Debilitated Planets: Mars & Saturn

If your Sun is in Cancer you are sensitive to the emotional undercurrents around you. You almost always notice when someone is hurt, even if they think they are hiding it. People find you easy to talk to when they are upset because there is just this mothering feel about you that people find kind, sympathetic, and protective. Your protective nature extends to yourself as well as those you care about. You are quite sensitive on the inside, but tend to keep your own emotions under-wraps so no one will discover your carefully guarded vulnerabilities. When you are hurt you tend to side-step the matter rather than taking a direct approach to a confrontation. It is likely that you remember your childhood with nostalgia; at the very least you remember it more than most. This is because you have a knack for retaining the emotional experience of things. Yours is an emotional memory. The exact details may be a bit hazy, but you know exactly how an experience made you feel. You are usually willing to help those in need of emotional support. Your family and its heritage are important to you.

Planets in Cancer operate on the emotional realm, are concerned with protecting and nurturing what is dear to them, and take a sideways approach to things. They Cancer way is motherly, protectively, empathetically, sympathetically, nurturingly, and emotionally. Cancer seeks to nourish and find emotional security in the archetypal drive of the planet. Its symbol is the sideways moving crab with a soft underbelly beneath the protective outer shell.

Leo: July 22 - August 23 (Yang - fixed, fire)

Symbol: Lion
Principle: creativity
Ruling Planet: Sun
Exalted Planet: None, some say Pluto
Debilitated Planet: Saturn & Uranus

If your Sun is in Leo you like to have your share of attention. You want to shine in the public eye in your special area of creativity. As a child you were probably quite a ham wanting to get in every picture ever taken in your presence. You like the spotlight and are not uncomfortable when all eyes are one you; in fact you prefer it that way. You have a need to feel special. You are proud, enthusiastic, and like to be in charge. Your self-confidence can at times put off an air of superiority or pompousness where you seem patronizing or intolerant of others who you don't think are as bright as you. You have a flair for drama and when something is wrong in your world this tendency comes out full force. You are also warm-hearted and generous. Your fun-loving nature makes you a joy to be around. You are not afraid to let your inner child play and you can make even the dullest routine tasks fun with your imaginative creativity. "You're only as old as you feel" could be something you say with age, for you tend to be very young at heart and retain youthful presence through most of your life.

Planets in Leo love the limelight, serve the ego, want to have fun and be admired. The way of Leo is creatively, energetically, honorably, grandiose, dogmatic, dramatic, proud, fun-loving and playful. Leo seeks to create something that recognizes them as special with regard to the archetypal nature of the planet. Its symbol is the Lion, proud ruler of the jungle.

Virgo: August 23 - September 23 (Yin - mutable, earth)

Symbol: Virgin holding a staff of wheat
Principle: analysis
Ruling Planet: Mercury
Exalted Planet: Mercury
Debilitated Planets: Venus, Jupiter & Neptune

If your Sun is in Virgo you are analytical and very detail oriented. Your intellect is discriminating, critical, judgmental, meticulous and practical. When you gain new pieces of information, you don't just take them at face value. You consider the reliability of the source, put it with what you already know, and categorize your new data accordingly. You are not a gullible person. You are prone to worrying over things that are not going as they "should". You seek perfection in yourself and in the world around you. This can lead to excessive worry or self-defeatism which often lodges itself in your nervous system. At these times it is important to accept that nothing is ever going to be perfect and find a use for life's imperfections. Your need to be useful and of service can come in quite handy in that capacity. The misnomer about Virgo's is that they are neat, clean and organized to perfection. Not everything about you is that way. Whatever it is that you do that utilizes your special talent is very likely to be that way however. Your scrutinizing intellect and ability to pay attention to the most critical detail provides you with a high aptitude for excelling technological areas where fine-tuning is a necessity.

Planets in Virgo approach things from the critical intellect, they notice imperfections and things that are not healthy and seek to purify them through some type of health routine or service. The Virgo way is critical, judgmental, discerning, analytical, efficient, production oriented, serving, perfectionist, and precise. Virgo seeks to analyze and serve the archetypal need of the planet. Its symbol is the Virgin holding the staff of wheat representing productivity and the harvest of labor.

Libra: September 23 - October 23 (Yang - cardinal, air)

Symbol: Scales of Balance
Principle: harmony
Ruling Planet: Venus
Exalted Planet: Saturn
Debilitated Planet: Sun & Mars

If your Sun is in Libra you like your environment to be harmonious and often are the one that knows what to do to "keep the peace". You may have a refined sense of beauty and enjoy the finer things in life. Dining by candlelight in a tastefully decorated classy restaurant is likely to appeal to you. It is likely you know the best restaurants in town. The artists you are drawn to say a lot about yourself. You are charming in social situations because of your easy-going, diplomatic nature. Because of your ability to see both sides of a situation, you can be indecisive and have trouble making a decision. When you teeter on the fence too long, others may see you as wishy-washy. That isn't necessarily the case. It's more that your sense of balance is a delicate matter and your need for harmony is so great that you prefer not to decide than to chance discord. In fact when your needs go against someone else's you would rather tactfully manipulate them instead of creating an out-right conflict. You seek to balance yourself with another in a romantic capacity that mirrors your self-image.

Planets in Libra seek to form social relationships and learn about the self through the eyes of others. The Libra way is harmoniously, diplomatically, manipulatively, people-pleasingly, other oriented, and aesthetically refined. Libra seeks to refine, harmonize, and balance through interacting with others the archetypal need of the planet. It's symbol is the scales of balance.

Scorpio: October 23 - November 22 (Yin - fixed, water)

Symbol: Scorpion
Principle: transformation
Ruling Planets: Mars & Pluto
Exalted Planet: Uranus
Debilitated Planets: Moon & Venus

If you Sun is in Scorpio you see the transformational potential in all things and thrive on depth and intensity of experience. In fact your experiences are rarely less than intense. You have a profound ability to tap into the motives of others and you love a good mystery. Your tongue can be sharp and your eyes can shoot daggers when you or someone you care about has been hurt. You like to delve into the depths of subject matter that is taboo or hidden from the mainstream. You have very powerful feelings that conversely provide you with a strong sense of purpose and a strong sense of suffering. Sometimes you may feel that suffering is your purpose. It is the sense that it is through life's greatest trials you can experience transformation of the ego and tap into your deep reserves of regenerative healing power. Your personal magnetism is strong and you may find you turn the heads of many. This combined with your responsive nature often this leads to sexual relations. Because you seek intensity in all things, this extends to relationships as well. The ultimate for you is a deeply intense experience of intimacy, a complete soul level mergence with another where you literally can't quite tell where you end and they begin. This often ends up skewed into some sort of power struggle instead. When you do finally commit to a relationship you do so with undying loyalty and you will go to all lengths to protect it.

Planets in Scorpio see the transformational potential in all things and vacillate between the extremes. The way of Scorpio is intensely, deeply, possessively, jealously, tenaciously, secretively, transformative, transmuting, powerful, mysterious, mystical, emotionally retentive and adept at uncovering hidden motives. Scorpio seeks intensity of the planets archetypal experience in death and re-birth scenarios. Its primary symbol is the stinging Scorpion that evolve through the hierarchy of symbols to the ascending Eagle that reaches higher levels of consciousness, and then to the regenerative Phoenix that flew into the Sun, was consumed by the fire and reborn from his own ashes.

Sagittarius: November 22 - December 21 (Yang - mutable, fire)

Symbol: Centaur drawing a bow
Principle: broaden horizons
Ruling Planet: Jupiter
Exalted Planet: None, some say South Node
Debilitated Planet: Mercury

If your Sun is in Sagittarius, you have a certain wanderlust to continually experience new things that broaden your horizons. This expands into the area of philosophy and you tend to form your beliefs based on your own experiences and what rings as inner Truth. You are generally open-minded but can become dogmatic. You like to think outside the box and can become impatient with closed-minded individuals. You aim high in life and tend to achieve what you set after because your optimism keeps you going along with faith in yourself and your abilities. Your love for adventure takes you down many paths in life where you meet all sorts of interesting people from all walks of life. You may be known for telling fascinating stories of your experiences, and at times for playing "I can top that." You value your freedom to go where the moment takes you and seem to expand whatever it is you touch. In that regard you can be a trail-blazer or pioneer.

Planets in Sagittarius seek to broaden the physical and mental horizons. The Sagittarius way is expansive, optimistic, adventurous, freedom-loving, free-spirited, questing, truth-seeking, philosophical, theosophical, and far-reaching. Sagittarius quests for Truth through the expansion of mental and physical horizons and affords the archetypal need of the planet the freedom to find it in their own way. Its symbol is a centaur archer. The horse part personifies the free-spirited will and the human part representing the intellectual nature. The archer has its arrow aimed upward indicating the far-reaching vision it is after.

Capricorn: December 21 - January 20 (Yin - cardinal, earth)

Symbol: Sea Goat or Mountain Goat
Principle: material security
Ruling Planet: Saturn
Exalted Planet: Mars
Debilitated Planets: Moon, Jupiter, Neptune

If your Sun is in Capricorn you value tradition, reliability, and practicality. Fads are not likely to grab your attention; you prefer the tried and true. You are a dependable person, even when the going gets tough. You have a patience and persistence that keeps you going toward your goal. You are probably known for your rather dry sense of humor. Others may see you as cold, rigidly conventional and pessimistic. While this is true to an extent, it is because you seem to have your share of obstacles to surmount, which leaves you cautious of getting your hopes up to quickly. You seek financial security and comfort for old age and retirement is something you plan for. You are generally good with money because you tend to spend it cautiously. Your strength is your stamina to persist efficiently toward your ambitions.

Planets in Capricorn seem to be under the rule of the school of hard knocks and have a few lessons to learn. The way of Capricorn is cautious, practical, conventional, persistent, persevering, pragmatic, steadfast, enduring, limiting, and boundary defining. Capricorn seeks to secure solid footing in practical living and uphold traditional values. Its symbol is the mountain goat who steadily climbs upward toward the summit, or goal.

Aquarius: January 20 - February 18 (Yang - fixed, air)

Symbol: Water Bearer
Principle: humanity
Ruling Planets: Saturn & Uranus
Exalted Planet: None, some say Mercury
Debilitated Planet: Sun

If your Sun is in Aquarius you are concerned with socialization of your individual nature. You are likely to become involved with groups who hold the same ideal for humanity that you do. You are rebellious when you think bureaucratic society is repressing its people, even on the smallest level. You have no problem rising to a cause. You are an innovative thinker and progressive in your approach. You may be a trend setter. Some may think you are eccentric because of your fixed ideals and social convictions. You value your friendships because your sense of self is derived from them.

Planets in Aquarius either uphold or shaking up the status-quo depending on their convictions to the larger humanitarian ideal. The way of Aquarius is idealistically, progressively, industriously, innovating, revolutionary, unconventional, group oriented, convicted, liberating, and reformative. Aquarius seeks to connect with a social group that marches to the beat of the archetypal drive of the planet. Its symbol is the water bearer, the air function being the "carrier" of the emotional needs contained in the collective.

Pisces: February 18 - March 22 (Yin - mutable, water)

Symbol: Two Fish
Principle: transcendance
Ruling Planets: Jupiter & Neptune
Exalted Planet: Venus
Debilitated Planet: Mercury

If your Sun is in Pisces you often feel like you are part of a divine plan and have trouble connecting with mundane realities. You are sensitive to the emotions you pick up around you and may find yourself involved in victim-savior patterns. Your highly empathetic and compassionate nature seeks to help those who have been victimized or seek solace or redemption. You have a knack for seeing the spiritual or Godly behind experiences. In fact you may prefer to function in the world of subtleties where a collective consciousness is recognized. It is likely you have vivid dreams and you would benefit from keeping a dream journal and thinking how your dream symbolism plays out both physically in outer life and spiritually in your inner-life. You are the highly imaginative dreamer of the zodiac, and are aware inwardly of infinite possibilities though how to actualize them outwardly may be more nebulous than concrete. You have a preferred method of escapism when you need retreat from the real world.

Planets in Pisces operate in a world of subtle, formless realities and seek transcendence from the material plane and a mergence with the all encompassing Divine Spirit. The way of Pisces is compassionately, spiritually, nebulously, imaginatively, transcendently, passive, self-sacrificing, martyristic, empathetic, intuitive, sympathetic and caring. Pisces seeks to transcend the material form and surrendering the will of the planets archetypal drive. Its symbol is two fish tied together swimming in opposite directions representing the inner struggle to function in a world of form and surrendering to the spiritual world. The perfect balance here can be liked to the Yin/Yang symbol of Tao itself.

© Julene Packer-Louis, 2004