What’s Your Sign? 14 Astrological Terms Defined

Horoscope

A horoscope is an astrological diagram that depicts the relative position of the planets and the signs of the zodiac at a given time, such as a person’s time of birth. Astrologists believe that a person’s horoscope reveals elements of personal character and can be used to foretell events and offer advice for future actions the person should take. The term is also often used to refer to the predictions themselves. Horoscope comes from the Greek hōroskóposa, a combination of hṓra, “time, hour,” and skópos, “observer, watcher.”

Zodiac

One of the most important elements of a horoscope is a person’s astrological sign, or zodiac sign. The zodiac, from the Greek zōidiakòs meaning “the circle of the figures or signs of animals,” is a belt of the cosmos that centers around the ecliptic, or the plane of the earth’s orbit around the sun, and is divided into twelve segments, sometimes called houses. Each segment, or house, is named for the constellation it is associated with. The segments of the zodiac do not overlap with their namesake constellations as well as they once did, but most modern astrologists still use the traditional names with the fixed date ranges of the zodiac signs. Let’s explore the approximate dates and symbolism tied to the twelve astrological signs.

Aries

Those born between March 21 and April 19 fall under this sign, the name of which is Latin for “ram.” Aries is listed as the first sign in the cycle as its reign begins with the March equinox, known as the vernal equinox in the Northern Hemisphere and autumnal equinox in the Southern Hemisphere, and is considered the cardinal fire sign. As a result, astrologists say, an Aries is a natural-born leader and highly creative. In addition, an Aries is typically depicted as bold and somewhat headstrong—much like the symbol, which is identified with the ram with the golden fleece in Greek mythology.

Taurus

If you were born between April 20 and May 20, you are a Taurus. This sign, whose symbol is the bull, gets its name from the zodiacal constellation containing the orange giant star Aldebaran, Arabic for “the follower,” that is associated with a myth in which Zeus transforms into a bovine in order to abduct the princess Europa. Taurus is the fixed earth sign, so those who were born under this sign are admired for their patience and stability.

Gemini

A Gemini is someone who was born between May 21 and June 20. The Geminiconstellation contains the stars Castor and Pollux, which draw their names from the twin brothers, one mortal (Castor) and one immortal (Pollux), in Greek and Roman mythology. Gemini is Latin for “twins,” and according to astrology, those with this mutable air sign are intellectually inclined and they love to talk. Their dual nature manifests, astrologists say, in their ability to see both sides of any issue and a reputation for fickleness.

Cancer

Someone born between June 21 and July 22 is a Cancer, from the Latin word for “crab,” this sign’s symbol. The symbol is associated with a crab in mythology that fought in service to Hera alongside the Hydra during its battle with Hercules. Those with this cardinal water sign value home and family above all else, and tend to be domestic and nurturing. A Cancer can be hard to break out of his or her shell, according to astrologists; those born under this sign are said to be private and highly emotional individuals.

Leo

If your birthday falls between July 23 and August 22, you are a Leo. This fixed fire sign is named after the constellation that contains the star Regulus, whose name comes from the Latin rēgulus, “little king.” It’s no surprise, then, that a Leo tends to be the king of their social circles, much like their symbol, the lion, which is generally associated with the Nemean lion, a mythical creature Hercules destroyed. Leos are said be to be enthusiastic and ambitious. They love to be recognized and respected by others, but their fiery temper and desire to lead can earn them enemies.

Virgo

A Virgo is anyone born between August 23 and September 22. This sign’s name is translated as either “the virgin” or “the maiden,” and is often depicted as a woman bearing wheat because the brightest star in the constellation, Spica, is Latin for “ear of grain.” The Greeks associated the constellation with their harvest goddess, Demeter. A Virgo is said to be modest and logical, and they are often recognized for their great attention to detail and industrious, efficient way of tackling problems. However, they are sometimes accused of being too picky and critical.

Libra

A person born between September 23 and October 22 is a Libra. Libra is Latin for “balance,” so it’s no surprise that this cardinal air sign is symbolized by a set of scales, which are also used in depictions of the Roman goddess of justice, a personification of the judicial system. A Libra values balance and harmony, and is a master of small talk and getting along with others. They work best when paired with a teammate, coworker, or spouse.

Scorpio

If you were born between October 23 and November 21, you fall under this fixed water sign. The Scorpio constellation, the name of which is Latin for “scorpion,” includes the red supergiant Antares, which is one of the brightest stars in the night sky and is often referred to as “the heart of the scorpion.” This symbol is associated with the story of Orion the hunter, who was killed by a giant scorpion after bragging that he could kill all the beasts on Earth. The gods placed both Orion and the scorpion in the heavens to honor their strength. According to astrologists, a Scorpio is passionate—sometimes described as intense—and likes to feel in control of his or her destiny. Those born under this sign are said to be natural-born detectives, as they are talented at perceiving and investigating.

Sagittarius

Someone with a birthday between November 22 and December 21 is a Sagittarius. This sign, the mutable fire sign, gets its name from the Latin for “archer” and is often depicted as a centaur wielding a bow and arrow. Those born under this sign are said to be big-picture thinkers who value truth and well-thought-out points, and are often interested in philosophy and religion.

Capricorn

If you were born between December 22 and January 19, you are a Capricorn. This sign’s name comes from the Latin capricornus meaning “goat-horned,” and is symbolized by a creature with the head and upper body of a goat and the tail of a fish. As the cardinal earth sign, a Capricorn is dedicated to hard work and pragmatism. A Capricorn strives to be at the top of his or her field and reap the rewards of success, though the determination of those born under this sign can make them seem domineering or egotistical.

Aquarius

An Aquarius is someone born between January 20 and February 18. This sign’s name is Latin for “water carrier.” The constellation is associated with a young prince in mythology named Ganymede who became the cupbearer for the gods. Those born under this fixed air sign are said to be visionaries who want nothing more than to make the world a better place. This desire often leads them to aid others through philanthropy and humanitarian work. Though they can be impatient with those who don’t see their vision, their ingenuity and generosity earn them numerous friends and allies.

Pisces

Someone with a birthday between February 19 and March 20 is a Pisces, which is Latin for “fish” (plural). This sign is associated with the story of Aphrodite and her son, Eros, who jumped into a river and transformed into fish to survive the wrath of the monster Typhon. As the mutable water sign, a Pisces is said to be highly intuitive and well-equipped to “go with the flow.” Astrologists say that those born under this sign are largely focused on their inner journeys and often prefer daydreaming to dealing with the world around them.

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