The word zodiac is used in astronomy and astrology to refer to the band of sky over which the sun, moon, and planets move—as seen from Earth, at least. The zodiac contains a number of constellations, and the sun (or other celestial body) is said to be “in” a constellation when it moves into the portion of the zodiac that includes that constellation. The zodiac can be traced back to ancient civilizations, such as the ancient Greeks and Romans, who believed the position of heavenly bodies could be used to predict the future. For them, astronomy and astrology were one and the same—which is definitely not the case anymore!
In astrology, a sign of the zodiac refers to one of 12 specific constellations of the zodiac that the sun passes through. A person’s particular sign of the zodiac is the one that the sun was in when they were born. It is a belief in astrology that a person’s personality can be predicted using their sign of the zodiac. According to astrology, it is also possible to predict the future by looking at the position of the sun, moon, and planets in comparison to the zodiac constellations. An astrological map of the planets and zodiac signs is called a horoscope; the word horoscope is also used to refer to a prediction of the future using such a map.
If this all sounds interesting to you, you’re in luck! We have gazed at the stars and charted the 12 different signs of the zodiac typically used in astrology. As a bonus, we will list the 2024 dates associated with each one, explain a little bit about the symbol of each sign, and give some astrological info about what each sign says about a person’s personality.
Capricorn | the Goat
- 2024 Dates: The dates of Capricorn begin in December and end in January. The 2023–2024 Capricorn season begins on December 22 and continues into 2024. The 2024–2025 Capricorn season begins on December 21 and continues into 2025.
- Symbol: ♑ The symbol of Capricorn is said to represent a sea goat, a mythical creature said to be half-goat and half-fish.
- Characteristics: On the plus side, Capricorns are said to be tenacious and pragmatic. At the same time, Capricorns are said to be sticklers for the rules and ferocious when upset.
During the Capricorn season of 2024, the planet Mercury will finish a retrograde, a period during which Mercury appears to move backwards in the sky. According to astrology, the Mercury retrograde is a time of great frustration and confusion when it is hard to get anything done. The Mercury retrograde began during Sagittarius season in 2023 and ends on January 2, 2024.
Aquarius | the Water Bearer
- 2024 Dates: Begins January 20 and ends February 18.
- Symbol: ♒ The squiggly lines of the Aquarius symbol are said to represent water.
- Characteristics: Aquarians are said to be assertive and creative. Aquarians are also said to be impulsive loners.
Pisces | the Fishes
- 2024 Dates: Begins February 19 and ends March 19.
- Symbol: ♓ The symbol of Pisces is thought to represent two fish tied together by a rope swimming in opposite directions.
- Characteristics: A stereotypical Pisces is said to be an adventurous, compassionate person who may get a little too anxious or needy.
Aries | the Ram
- 2024 Dates: Begins March 20 and ends April 18.
- Symbol: ♈ The symbol of Aries is said to represent the head of a ram.
- Characteristics: The rams of Aries are said to be confident and fiery people. However, they may butt heads with others because they are infamously impatient and honest with their opinions.
Two eclipses will occur during Aries season in 2024. A penumbral lunar eclipse will occur on March 25 and a total solar eclipse will happen on April 8. The first Mercury retrograde of 2024 will also begin during Aries season on April 1 and end during Taurus season on April 25.
Taurus | the Bull
- 2024 Dates: Begins April 19 and ends May 19.
- Symbol: ♉ The circle with horns symbol of Taurus is said to represent the head of a bull.
- Characteristics: Taurus bulls are said to be loyal and persistent. At the same time, these bulls are often stereotyped as being lazy and, appropriately, bullheaded.
Gemini | the Twins
- 2024 Dates: Begins May 20 and ends June 19.
- Symbol: ♊ The symbol of Gemini is the Roman numeral for the number two, representing the Gemini twins (two people).
- Characteristics: People rocking the twins are said to be highly intelligent and sociable. On the other hand, they are also said to be superficial and indecisive.
Cancer | the Crab
- 2024 Dates: Begins June 20 and ends July 21.
- Symbol: ♋ The sideways 6’s and/or 9’s of the symbol of Cancer are thought to represent crab claws.
- Characteristics: The crabs of Cancer are said to be charitable people and loyal friends. On the other hand, they also tend to be blunt and are known to get … crabby when someone tries to get them out of their shells.
Leo | the Lion
- 2024 Dates: Begins July 22 and ends August 21.
- Symbol: ♌ The symbol of Leo is thought to depict a simplified drawing of a lion.
- Characteristics: Leo lions are said to be proud and brave while sometimes getting a little too arrogant or competitive.
The second Mercury retrograde of 2024 occurs during Leo season, beginning on August 5 and ending during Virgo season on August 28.
Virgo | the Maiden
- 2024 Dates: Begins August 22 and ends September 21.
- Symbol: ♍ The curly M of Virgo has many theories behind it. Some common guesses are that the symbol is an M for maiden, represents a virgin with crossed legs, or depicts human intestines.
- Characteristics: Virgos are said to be diligent and organized. At the same time, Virgos are said to be overly critical perfectionists who tend to worry a lot.
The second lunar eclipse of 2024 will occur during Virgo season on September 18.
Libra | the Scales
- 2024 Dates: Begins September 22 and ends October 21.
- Symbol: ♎ The symbol of Libra is said to depict either a setting sun or a pair of scales.
- Characteristics: Libra is famously the sign of clever extroverts. These social butterflies are also said to be vain and hate making tough decisions.
An annular solar eclipse will occur during Libra season in 2024 on October 2.
Scorpio | the Scorpion
- 2024 Dates: Begins October 22 and ends November 20.
- Symbol: ♏ The symbol of Scorpio is said to represent a scorpion.
- Characteristics: The scorpions of Scorpio are said to be magnetic thrill-seekers. Scorpios are also often said to be envious and fascinated by the macabre.
You don’t need to brave a den of scorpions to learn about Scorpio. All you need to do is check out our definition of Scorpio, our in-depth look at the sign of Scorpio, and our guide to how people use the Scorpio emoji.
Sagittarius | the Archer
- 2024 Dates: Begins November 21 and ends December 20.
- Symbol: ♐ The symbol of Sagittarius is an arrow with a line through it, representing a bow and arrow.
- Characteristics: Sagittarians are said to be highly independent adventurers who are always full of imagination. On the flip side, they are also said to be blunt and impatient.
The last Mercury retrograde of 2024 will occur during Sagittarius season, beginning on November 26 and ending on December 15.
If your goal is to learn about Sagittarius, you can stay on target by checking out our definition of Sagittarius, our in-depth look at the sign of Sagittarius, and our guide to how people use the Sagittarius emoji.
Ophiuchus | the Serpent-Bearer
Ophiuchus is an astrological constellation known as “the Serpent-Bearer.” Like many other constellations, Ophiuchus isn’t typically considered to be one of the signs of the zodiac. However, a few astrologers do consider Ophiuchus to be a 13th sign of the zodiac as the sun does pass through it during the year. If it is considered part of the zodiac, it would be placed before Sagittarius as the sun typically passes through Ophiuchus from late November until mid December. If you’d like to know more about Ophiuchus and how NASA once accidentally caused an astrological controversy about it, you can check out our profile of Ophiuchus.
Take the quiz!
Has this review of the zodiac signs left you seeing stars? Then visit our Zodiac Word List where you can test your knowledge of these words with flashcards and more. Or, if your horoscope says there is a bright challenge in your future, head over to our quiz on the zodiac!