The Astrology Podcast
Transcript of Episode 175, titled:
The Signs of the Zodiac: Qualities and Meanings – Part 1
With Chris Brennan and guests Kelly Surtees and Austin Coppock
Episode originally released on October 15, 2018
Note: This is a transcript of a spoken word podcast. If possible, we encourage you to listen to the audio or video version, since they include inflections that may not translate well when written out. Our transcripts are created by human transcribers, and the text may contain errors and differences from the spoken audio. If you find any errors then please send them to us by email: email@example.com
Transcribed by Andrea Johnson
Transcription released September 24, 2021
Copyright © 2021 TheAstrologyPodcast.com
CHRIS BRENNAN: Hi, my name is Chris Brennan, and you’re listening to The Astrology Podcast. This episode is recorded on Thursday–is it Thursday, guys?
KELLY SURTEES: It is Thursday.
AUSTIN COPPOCK: It sure is.
CB: Okay, Thursday, October 11, 2018, starting at 3:20 PM in Denver, Colorado, and this is the 175th episode of the show. For more information about how to subscribe to the podcast and help support the production of future episodes by becoming a patron, please visit TheAstrologyPodcast.com/subscribe.
In this episode, I’m going to be talking with astrologers Kelly Surtees and Austin Coppock about the signs of the zodiac, and this is going to be part one of our two-part series where we’re going to go through and talk about the qualities associated with each of the signs. So in this episode, we’re going to do the first six signs of the zodiac, Aries through Virgo, and then in the follow-up episode, we’ll do the rest of the signs probably next month. So hey, guys, thanks for joining me today.
KS: Hey, thanks for having us.
AC: Hey, hey.
CB: Welcome back. We had a little pre-show chat, got a little warmed up, and I think we’re in good spirits today. So this is something we’ve been meaning to do for a while, thanks a lot for joining me for this. We’ve got a big task in front of us to do all 12 signs, but we’re going to try and tackle the first six today, I think.
KS: Yes, half. Just half.
AC: That is the plan.
CB: I’m like four months into doing my horoscope column over the past few months, the video horoscopes, and do you guys ever about halfway through that process really start cursing whoever decided that there should be 12 signs of the zodiac rather than some more manageable number of like four or five?
KS: Like, five.
KS: Yeah, I mean, it takes a while to get used to the fact that 12 is substantial, and it’s more marathon than sprint. You’ve got to keep your momentum up.
AC: Absolutely. Actually I will jump around instead of just doing them in order. I’ll be like, “Uhhh, I don’t feel like writing that Sag one, I’ll jump to Pisces.” Sometimes I do them backwards. Sometimes I’ll do the first six, from Aries to Virgo, and then I’ll do the next six from Pisces to Libra so they meet in the middle. Just anything to, I don’t know, keep it interesting.
CB: That’s smart, I like that. I would only worry that I would wake up one night and realize I forgot to write one for Libra like a month later or something like that.
KS: I’m in awe, Austin, that you bounce it. I’ve thought about that, like, “Should I do a different sign?” and then I just do them in order every time. And I just get very happy when I get to Pisces, which I always find the easiest one to write, probably for personal reasons.
AC: Yeah, personal reasons.
CB: Yeah, who knows why.
AC: I don’t know why it is. But yeah, I don’t know that it’s any glorious innovation. It’s just my undiagnosed ADD.
KS: Yeah, your lack of rule-following.
CB: Sure. So yeah, we’ll get into that. Well, that’s actually an issue because we’re going to go through these in order. We’re going to start with Aries, right? We’re not doing any jumping around today?
KS: No, not today.
CB: All right.
KS: But we’re going to start with some basics first, right?
CB: Yeah. So this is exciting because this is kind of a follow-up. We did one really great, really amazing foundational episode on the significations or the meanings in astrology of the seven traditional planets a couple of years ago.
KS: I totally forgot about that episode.
CB: That was really good. I mean, we did a really amazing foundational discussion and people always talk to me about that episode and always refer back to it. Because for a lot of people, the podcast is something they’re finding pretty early on in their studies, and so we’ve really been teaching people astrology and teaching people the basics, so this is a good continuation of that. We did the planets basically and now it’s time to talk about one of the other really fundamental factors of astrology of course, which is the signs of the zodiac and the meanings or the qualities that astrologers associate with those signs.
So very quickly, before we get into that, one of the things we’re talking about before we got started is how all three of us sort of have a very similar approach to astrology and that might be relevant context. Each of us started off as modern astrologers then we learned traditional or older forms of astrology. And then all three of us have kind of naturally developed a very similar synthesis of modern and traditional astrology at this point, I think, right?
KS: …I think so. And it is an interesting point that our individual lineage or pathways is that we did start with modern first, so our experience is actually different from people who are coming into astrology now and starting with traditional or older forms of astrology first. Not to say one’s better or worse, it’s just different. The information is being layered in different ways.
AC: Yeah, definitely. I would say, yeah. My first references were the Noel Tyl books. But I didn’t have a teacher, and so I just sat with the diagrams. I was just like sitting with, okay, these are the signs. These are the modes. These are the elements. These planets rule here, are exalted here. And I was just kind of sitting with the diagrams until Chris invited me down to Project Hindsight in 2006 and that was like–here’s a bunch of new stuff. But yeah, I would say that my initial education was sitting alone with the diagrams and doing hit-and-miss chart readings for people for $5.00, that was my school.
KS: That’s actually a really good school.
AC: It worked for me. I guess that was the pedagogical method that I needed or deserved.
KS: Yeah, the immersion style.
CB: Did you study with anyone, Kelly, or did you do self-study?
KS: Well, the self-study, for sure, but I was very young when I started studying astrology by myself; I was like 11-years-old. And I would sit under the big maple tree we had in my parents’ front yard, and we had a deck, and I just loved reading outside. So I had my astrology book and I remember reading things and trying to memorize Aries is a cardinal fire sign, Aries is the sign of independence; like very rote learning, but some of the basics. You’ve just got to get those keywords in.
And then fast-forward to seven or eight years later and I did have a teacher who was very psychotherapeutic, but also had this weird connection to India because she was from, I think, the sannyasin faith, with a particular temple in India; so it was very modern, but very soulful at the same time.
And I studied with her for a couple of years to get all the basic sort of modern techniques, if you like, and then dived into learning some of the older techniques through going to conferences and hearing lectures by people, and I was like, “Oh, that’s really interesting.” And funnily enough, then my teacher started to get into some of the older stuff, so we would chitchat back and forth about that.
AC: That’s cool.
CB: Awesome. And for me, I was self-taught for the first four years of my study, just reading largely just different astrology books and reading a ton of modern astrology books, and then went to Kepler and ended up sort of being forced to study traditional astrology and getting into it through that route.
KS: Yeah, I love that you were forced. And look where you are now.
CB: I finished writing the foreword to Demetra George’s new book on Hellenistic astrology just a few weeks ago and submitted it, and I’m excited about that since she was my introduction to Hellenistic astrology. And that’s going to be a great book, and it’s nice, yeah, being able to write the foreword and have a full-circle-type experience.
KS: That’s really beautiful. And I had something similar a couple of years ago, where one of those first astrology books that I read way back was by an astrologer named Shirley Soffer. And I just assumed that she wouldn’t sort of be in this world anymore, but I met her at a social conference about two years ago, and it was like meeting your astrological rock star because just her very simple Astrology Sourcebook had helped get me started. So it’s lovely when you get that link.
CB: Yeah, definitely. All right, so we’re going to talk about the qualities of the signs of the zodiac. And one of the things I think we talked about briefly–that’s probably applicable and worth reiterating here that we talked about in the planets episode–is that a large part of the underlying presumption with astrology is there’s this underlying idea that things we might call or we often label as ‘archetypes’ exist. And with the planets that’s really easy to see, where there’s some overarching notion of what that planet means, but it can’t be articulated.
You can’t find a word that perfectly encapsulates everything a planet means in astrology and all the significations it has, so what you end up doing is talking about many different ways that it can manifest in different contexts. And so, that’s what we did with the planets series and I feel like that’s kind of what we’re going to end up doing a little bit with the signs of the zodiac as well, which also have sort of archetypal dynamics or archetypal energies. So is that an appropriate way to sort of contextualize this? How do you guys feel about that? Is that too psychological sounding?
AC: Well, no. I mean, it depends. So we’re not just talking about archetypes in a strictly in-your-head sense. We’re talking about metaphysical or reality archetypes, as long as we’re using a slightly more Platonic version of archetypes and a slightly less exclusively depth psychology definition of archetypes.
I would say this quasi-Platonist idea includes the psychological, right? Because if they exist everywhere, they also exist in your head. But they also exist outside of your head or else you couldn’t do events with astrology, you could only do experiences.
AC: But yeah, once you get the approach and the more you understand the essence of a sign or a planet, you can articulate what it looks like in any and every context, which is thousands and thousands of words. I think of some of the older texts, in particular, I’m thinking of al-Biruni where it’s like, okay, in terms of places, Scorpio is a swamp; in terms of people, Scorpio is this; in terms of stones, Scorpio is this; in terms of body parts, Scorpios is–it’s the same archetype, for lack of a better term, as it manifests in every different area you can think of. You can find that archetype in anything that you can think of.
CB: Right. So we will talk about the psychological manifestations or the character associations with the signs of the zodiac, but the discussion won’t necessarily be limited to that. And even when we do go into character traits or other things like that that we’re associating with the signs, that has to be understood as a character or psychological manifestation of the archetype, and that could be interchangeable with a more literal manifestation as well.
AC: Absolutely. And we should probably talk about some of those as well. What do Aries events look like in life? What is an Aries personality? What is an Aries health problem?
KS: Yeah, these are really good. Even the health problems, I really like that and how you can almost diagnose without necessarily knowing exactly the astrology; but when you know the symptoms, you can be like that looks and feels like an Aries thing or that’s more like a Taurus thing.
CB: Right, or like an event chart like an electional chart. What does an Aries rising wedding electional chart look like versus what does a…
KS: Yeah, I had a couple contact me years ago and they were contemplating getting married in the middle of competing in a sporting event, and I was like, “That sounds a little bit like an Aries-themed wedding.”
CB: That’s great.
KS: Right? I was like, “That’s different,” but that would fit this tone, basically. Of course, the two of them had lots of fire planets in their chart or what have you, so it was very relevant for them.
CB: Totally, I love that. All right, so we were going to start by first talking about each of the signs of the zodiac. One of the things that I talk about in my book, Hellenistic Astrology: The Study of Fate and Fortune, available in fine bookstores everywhere, is that the signs of the zodiac in the Western astrological tradition, there’s really four primary qualities that are associated with each of the signs of the zodiac from which all of their other significations are derived from: this is the ‘gender’ of the sign of the zodiac–which is ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’–this is the ‘modality’ or what sometimes called ‘quadruplicity’–which is ‘cardinal’, ‘fixed’, or ‘immutable’.
Also, the third quality is the ‘element’ or ‘triplicity’, which is ‘earth’, ‘air’, ‘fire’, and ‘water’, and then finally the fourth primary quality or property associated with each sign is the ‘planetary ruler’, such as Mars being associated with Aries, Venus with Taurus, and so on and so forth. So those are the four primary qualities that are going to be overlapping qualities that are unique to each of the signs of the zodiac that we’re going to expand on a little bit as we go through this.
AC: I would just jump in and add that the ‘image’ is also a primary quality. Each of them has an image and much is done with those images, both traditionally and contemporarily. An image is a different form of category than ruling planet or division into two, three, or four. At least for my part, I would say image is one of those fundamental categories.
CB: Let’s talk about that because that’s actually something I’ve struggled with conceptually, because the image is originally, at least theoretically, derived from the constellation. But within our context, for the three of us, we’re actually going to be talking about the tropical zodiac, which is no longer aligned with or no longer associated with the constellations, and therefore, some of those images still carry over. So you would be not associating with the constellation, but you’re talking about the image as being maybe inspired by or still relevant in terms of its overall archetypal significance in some way.
AC: Absolutely. And if we’re talking about the association of images with constellations, you can make an excellent case that none of those star clusters actually look anything like any of the images or that you could pick a hundred other things that fit those star clusters just as well, and those images are actually archetypal images that people intuitively or through whatever method associated with that system of 12, and that it’s actually a system of archetypal images which were pinned to stars and can be equally as well pinned to the division of 12 with the tropical zodiac. Because, dude, if you look up, Aries doesn’t look like a ram, Cancer doesn’t look anything like a crab. Scorpio might be the best fit. But it’s not like you look up and you’re like, “That’s totally a water-bearer.”
KS: Yeah, there’s a lot of that idea of the forms and causes of things, like the essence of something, the expression of it. I agree with that idea that it’s not meant to be a literal thing. It’s meant to be the symbolic or something to evoke the essence of.
CB: Sure, and that almost also extends to the glyph. I don’t know how much you guys extend that to the glyph. With the planets that’s a little bit easier because the planetary glyphs, even though they may have been developed much later, the glyphs, the symbols that we use for the planets were developed much later than the meanings were. Maybe the symbols that are used for the signs of the zodiac may also be relevant images to some extent in terms of understanding the symbolic symbolism of the sign.
AC: Yeah, you can definitely use them as keys.
CB: Sure. All right, so maybe we’ll talk about those or touch on those a little bit as well. Okay, do we want to say anything else? Do you guys want to say anything about those other four qualities–gender, modality, element, and then planetary ruler–before we jump into our first sign of the zodiac?
AC: Yeah. So I would just say that I tend to refer to the gender as ‘polarity’. I don’t know–we’re in an age where we’re kind of rethinking masculine and feminine; those are really loaded terms. And I think you can get to exactly what is being pointed to by those terms with–because I’ve done Chinese martial arts for twenty years–‘yin’ and ‘yang’. Yang is active, radiant, assertive, loud, bright, etc., etc., and then yin is receptive, reactive, reflective, nurturing, supportive, etc., etc.
And it’s the same sort of division of things into yin and yang, day and night, etc., etc. I find that using gender as the lens for exploring polarity is somewhat arbitrary because we can use other natural polarities to understand exactly the same concept. And also, I’ve done a bunch of Chinese martial arts, so I’ve been trained to think in terms of unity.
CB: And Kelly, you also use the same terminology, right, or do you?
KS: Yeah, yeah, I do often refer to yin and yang or just try and be clear when I say masculine and feminine that I’m talking about the archetype or the essence of something that is masculine, which is different or distinct from something that might be male, and then the essence of something that is feminine rather than explicitly female. So it’s a little bit maybe splitting hairs on the word choice, but just trying to be really clear.
And then it depends on the group sometimes. Sometimes people are really clear on that distinction and other times we’ll talk about the yin and yang just to make it really clear that it’s like an introverted tone versus an extroverted tone. So in some ways it’s like they’re our starting points.
I think Austin, you mentioned the idea of a key. And each of these things, the four factors, each of them is a key or a clue to part of the meaning of the zodiac sign. And the images come into that, the polarities, the elements, the modes, that type of thing. Because each sign is a unique mix of those factors and that’s part of how we get the meaning. These are like the absolute, basic building blocks, I guess.
AC: Yeah, and just to jump in, we’re talking about the archetype on its own terms versus type in a particular context. I feel like the way that yin and yang are used and understood is archetypal, and that when we’re talking about human bodies then yin and yang look like male and female. When we’re talking about the rhythm of time, yin and yang are day and night. When we’re talking about temperature, yin and yang are cold and hot, right?
AC: But the masculine and feminine and the male and the female are expressions of yin and yang at particular levels. They are not the essence of the concept of polarity, which is what we are looking for.
CB: Right. And in the Western tradition, I mean, one of the things that I explored was that the original philosophical or metaphysical or conceptual motivation for assigning gender was the idea that the odd signs were basically associated with the masculine and the even signs were associated with the feminine. So for example, number one, which is Aries, is said to be a masculine sign, and then number two, Taurus, is a feminine sign; so it was that alternation based on numerological principles.
That’s sort of what you were getting at, Austin. While it can have a manifestation, a literal manifestation, of let’s say physically male or female or what have you, there’s a deeper underlying principle that’s pointing to a deeper underlying metaphysical or numerological symbolism that’s there.
AC: Yeah. And so, in some cultures, the masculine and feminine might be a perfect way to communicate that; for other cultures, day and night might be the perfect way to communicate that. Whatever–I try to get it back to first principles and go from there. One of the things that’s interesting about the zodiac is that you always have the alternation of yin and yang.
There’s no two yangs in a row, there’s no two yins in a row; it’s always yang/yin, yang/yin, yang/yin. And so, that tells us something about the way that the zodiac is describing time, right? That there’s a repolarization when anything changes signs, where it goes from active to supportive or responsive and then back to active and assertive.
And so, I think it’s also worth just noting before we probably move on that two of the elements, fire and air, are both yang because they’re active, light, they do stuff. And then water and earth are yin. Water drops down, earth just sits there until it is moved. That is yin receptive, holding, supportive, nurturing, whereas air is always whipping around and fire is always changing things and moving around. And so, the elements and the concept of polarity are inherently married.
KS: Yeah. And because I know, Chris, you listed the four, and Austin, you threw in the images there as well, the only other piece that I do consider, which is not necessarily needing to be in the top four, but it’s that idea of the combinations of ‘hot and cold’ and ‘wet and dry’ and how when we alternate and we move from one sign to the next, those sort of core qualities, if you like, change as well. So that’s something that usually informs how I’ll describe a particular sign.
AC: Which is a product of the elements.
KS: It is. It’s like the elements are broken into a combination of two of those. So water, for instance, would be a combination of ‘cold and wet’, if you like.
CB: And I run into an issue there because there was a break in the tradition where initially they were using the Stoic qualities. So Valens describes water as wet, I believe…
KS: Primarily wet, yeah.
CB: …and air signs as cold. But that’s worth mentioning because then it flips in the Medieval tradition and they start using Aristotle’s qualities, so that air is, what, moistening?
KS: ‘Hot and moist’ are the ones that are typically used.
CB: Right. And then water is, what?
KS: ‘Cold and moist’, yeah.
CB: Got it.
KS: But they’re both moist, which was perhaps different from Valens.
AC: We do know that fire is hot and water is wet and earth is dry.
KS: We do?
CB: Sure. Yeah, but those qualities, definitely we can get into that. It’s so interesting because the three of us all teach; we teach different intro to astrology classes. And so, it’s interesting having three different teachers come together. Even though we all have largely similar approaches as I said at the beginning, there will be sometimes those little minor differences or something, so it’s going to be fun and interesting as we go through this to explore even some of that.
AC: Yeah, absolutely. So then there’s ‘the three’, right? So each sign is of one mode, there are three modes. I guess one quick way to talk about it is ‘cardinal’ signs are beginning, active energy, also called ‘movable’ because they get things moving. ‘Fixed’ signs continue whatever motion; their momentum signs; they’re sustaining signs. And then ‘mutable’ signs shift things and transform things and adapt.
One of my teaching metaphors is a chess game. There are very different strategies and sort of experiences of what is your opening gambit, that’s cardinal, what is your midgame look like, that’s fixed, and then endgame, and that’s mutable. An endgame, you just have to adapt to however it worked out and that’s a quality that all mutable signs have. They’re like, “Okay, so this is the situation. How do I adapt to this?” Whereas cardinals like trying to create a reality, and fixed is either just continuing on with what is or hopefully continuing the cardinal plan, but you always get to that shift space which is mutable.
And every season in the tropical zodiac, the first third is cardinal, let’s get it going, the middle third is fixed, it’s still happening, and then the last third is mutable. The weather is starting to change. That 90-ish/91-day arc is sort of coming to an end and you’re sort of starting to see what’s coming next, but you’ve got to wrap up what’s happening, and that’s mutable.
CB: Right. You mentioned the seasons. That seasonal context is how Ptolemy explains it in the 2nd century, explicitly saying that the cardinal signs are at the beginning of the season where there’s a sudden shift into a new temperature and climate and stuff. Like in the Northern Hemisphere here, we just recently had the Fall Equinox where suddenly the days start getting shorter and leaves start changing and everything else.
So the cardinal signs being associated with the beginning of the seasons where there’s a shift to something new, the fixed signs being associated with the middle of the seasons where you’re right in the middle of it–and there’s not a lot of change it’s just the fullest expression of whatever the quality of that season is–and then finally the mutable signs at the end where it starts to move from the stability in the first part of the season to getting ready to transition into something new and sort of wrapping up that which is coming to completion.
AC: Yep. And that sequence is true Northern Hemisphere, Southern Hemisphere, etc. You have beginning, middle, and end of the season–cardinal, fixed, immutable.
KS: Fixed and mutable, yeah.
KS: And that weather metaphor–I use exactly the same story when I teach. The middle season, now that I’ve moved to Canada, I’m like, “This is late January and February where it’s winter, and it’s just more winter, there’s no changing.” But in Sydney, that time is just hot and it’s all hot. And that’s the fixed–that’s when the Sun’s going through Aquarius–so it’s that consistency. And then in the last month of the season, the weather is just crazy. You could have a really cold day and you could have a really hot day and that’s the mutable period.
CB: There’s like an inconsistency to it.
KS: The inconsistency and the variety, if you like.
AC: Yep, and a little bit of the next season creeping into this one, right?
AC: And I would also say that the fixed signs, which are between the solstices and equinoxes, are also host to a bunch of festivals, like Halloween and Samhain.
KS: A cross-quarter festival, yeah.
AC: It is the cross-quarter, right? Then there’s May Day and Maypoles and that’s the opposite cross-quarter in the middle of the spring, and there’s Candlemas and all that.
CB: And since we mentioned the seasonal thing, we’ve talked about this before at length on the forecast episodes; I don’t know which one, but it’s probably come up a few times. But it might be worth mentioning at this point, we’re using the tropical zodiac, which of course is indirectly tied in with the seasons because it’s based on the equinoxes and the solstices, which then are tied into when the seasons change, when the Sun hits those turning points.
But it might be worth mentioning that sometimes a lot of the astrology books written in the Northern Hemisphere sometimes will describe the signs of the zodiac in the context of the specific season that they match with, but that becomes somewhat problematic when you’re dealing with charts in the Southern Hemisphere where the seasons are flipped or are reversed. So I know in the past we’ve talked about how you guys don’t necessarily like to tie the signs and the seasons too closely as a result of that, right?
AC: Well, I like to tie them in as tightly as they actually tie in.
CB: Through the quadruplicities or modalities.
AC: Well, yeah, because the three modes are a three-part act for each season. It’s just that Aries isn’t spring; Aries is the beginning of that season, which is the beginning of autumn in the south and spring in the north. And so, it is the beginning of the season, it has that energy. I can’t describe it in terms of spring metaphors, but I can describe it in terms of it’s the beginning of a season. It’s the beginning of moving away from the equinox, from a point of balance, into a whole other season because that’s true everywhere.
KS: Yeah, well, and studying in Australia originally, where the seasons are different from the Northern Hemisphere obviously, we sort of learned the core qualities of Aries and the core qualities of cardinal. Sometimes when people have learned the seasonal metaphors, it’s harder for them to see the nuances between this is just the essence of Aries, it doesn’t have to be explicitly spring; this is what a planet in Aries will do or look like or what have you.
CB: Was that something you noticed when you’re reading astrology books that were written in the Northern Hemisphere, that people would invoke that metaphor occasionally, and it wouldn’t necessarily be applicable?
KS: Yeah, for sure, for sure. One of my brothers is an Aries, and he’s very true to the type, the archetype, if you like, or the essence of Aries, even though technically he’s not born in the springtime.
AC: Yeah, I mean, what we can say is that Aries begins both spring and fall in different parts of the world.
KS: It begins, yeah. It initiates.
AC: It initiates both at once, right? Libra begins both at once, and then it has qualities that are not anchored to the seasons at all, in addition to those which are related to the seasons.
CB: Sure. Okay, so that’s the modalities or quadruplicities. We’re making great time here.
CB: Our little brief, five-minute, terse…
CB: No, that’s fine. I think this is really good, a good setup. So element…
AC: I can do elements in one minute.
KS: Go. I dare you.
AC: So the elements describe different types of matter on a literal level. They also describe how things move, right? Water sinks down. Water–it has volume, it has mass, but it has no shape, right? Water is adaptable. Water is receptive. Anything you pour into the water, drop into it, the water holds. Earth holds its shape, right? Earth is substantial and it holds its shape. If an event is earthy, it’s solid; something substantial has happened. Those are the two yin elements.
Fire changes things and requires fuel. It puts out the most energy of any of these states of matter, but is therefore the most dependent on fuel and makes the most change. Air–constantly moving around, but the changes that it makes are not as substantial and as acute as those of fire. Nonetheless, air is constantly moving just like fire; those are the two yang elements.
KS: Nice job.
CB: Very good. Yeah, I love that, and we’re going to get into different mutations of that. Basically, when we get into the science of the zodiac, we’ll start seeing the overlapping qualities and what the difference is between, let’s say, Scorpio–which is a water sign, but it’s a fixed water sign, and what fixed water looks like or how that manifests–versus, let’s say, Pisces–which is a water sign, but it’s mutable according to mode or it’s quadruplicity–and how that manifests a different version of the water archetype.
AC: Absolutely. Shall we begin?
CB: So those are the elements and then one very last thing is just the planetary ruler.
KS: The planets.
CB: And that is something that we don’t need to get into hugely. I think we’re going to be using the traditional rulership scheme, so maybe it’s worth mentioning that.
AC: I think we probably will.
KS: Do we all agree on this?
CB: I think we are. Well, not everyone’s on the same page–the three of us are.
KS: I know the three of us, yeah. By ‘we’, the three of us.
CB: Yeah, the ‘royal’ we.
KS: The ‘royal’ we.
CB: So we’re going to use that, and basically it’s a symmetrical system where you assign the two luminaries, Cancer to the Moon and the Sun to Leo, and then each of the traditional or the visible planets are assigned to the signs, flanking out from there on either side of the two luminaries.
So Mercury to Virgo and Gemini, then Venus to the next two signs, then Mars, then Jupiter, and then finally Saturn, to the farthest signs from the two luminaries, which is Capricorn and Aquarius. So when we get into the individual signs, we’ll talk more about which planet is associated with each sign, because that becomes a major source of meaning for the signs of the zodiac as well, which planet is associated with it.
KS: Yeah. And the three changes, if our listeners are more modern in their training, are for Pisces, which is traditionally ruled by Jupiter, Scorpio which is traditionally ruled by Mars, and Aquarius which is traditionally ruled by Saturn. So we’ll talk a lot more about those particular iterations I guess in part two, but we will talk about the planets as they relate to the first six signs today.
CB: Right. That’s an interesting point because all of those are in the second-half of the signs, so we won’t even really get to fully deal with that until that point, until the second part.
KS: Yeah, yeah, we’ll be able to do the comparison–the Mercury comparison today because we have both Mercury signs in the first-half of the zodiac.
CB: Excellent. Cool. All right, well, I think we are ready then. Our little warm-up is I think complete, so why don’t we get into the very first sign of the zodiac. And this is the sign that’s always traditionally been more or less labeled as the first sign of the zodiac, and the actual typical reason for that is usually, again, due to the Northern Hemisphere-centric development of Western astrology.
I think part of that rationale originally was that it was the sign that coincides with the Vernal Equinox, which the start of it is the first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere where everything starts growing and developing. So I don’t know if there’s any other objective reason to start with Aries as the first sign of the zodiac other than that, or do you have one?
AC: I think historically it was primarily a Persian thing. It’s sort of a quiet Persian contribution that may have been inherited from earlier Mesopotamian protocols, but I believe that starting with Aries because of the Vernal Equinox is Persian in origin. The Egyptians started with Cancer because that’s when the flooding of the Nile happened. But yeah, you can make a good argument for beginning at pretty much either of the solstices or either of the equinoxes.
KS: Yeah, I think one of the other pieces that comes into Aries at the beginning is that part of the reason the Persians perhaps did that is that that’s actually when they celebrated their New Year festival. And so, it wasn’t just like the start of spring necessarily; I mean, maybe that’s why they had their New Year then. But even in the UK, up until the late 18th century I think, they actually celebrated New Year on that March equinox. So there’s a lot of celebrations, even distinct from astrology and Aries specifically, that talk about a new year starting or a new beginning at that time of year in March.
AC: And I don’t think that anything about Aries needs to be the first in order for its symbolism to be its symbolism.
AC: I’m a big fan of the Thema Mundi variant where the circle starts with Cancer.
KS: With Cancer.
CB: Right. So in the mythical birth chart for the birth of the world that was used as a teaching tool in Hellenistic astrology, it had Cancer rising as the 1st house and Aries was actually the 10th house.
AC: Right. Because where do we start? We start by being born of the mother, Cancer.
KS: Mm, beautiful.
CB: Sure. And that’s worth mentioning as one last precursor, which is one other theoretical construct that we could use that I don’t think we’re probably going to use or that the three of us don’t usually employ is the modern interchangeability between signs and houses where…
CB: …where sometimes…
CB: …in the past few decades, it’s become popular to associate Aries–saying that since that’s ‘the 1st sign’ of the zodiac or could be for various reasons–that should be associated with the 1st house, and then since Taurus is the second sign that Taurus should be associated with the 2nd house, and so on and so forth. I mean, is that an approach or construct that you guys use at all?
KS: Hard no.
CB: Hard no.
AC: My ability to articulate, delineate and understand houses improved vastly when I cured myself of that virus. Since I got off that course of antibiotics, I can see that there is some resonance with some signs and houses. It’s not that there is zero relationship between the two 12s, but they are very different, and you will do yourself much more harm than good by conflating them. Like keep them separate and then note where there’s resonance, but don’t conflate them. It’ll ruin both the signs and the houses.
CB: Right. And one of the things that’s surprising if you actually go back and look at the history of astrology is that’s actually a relatively recent idea. If you go back just a few decades, it’s only become super popular, and everybody has only started to take it for granted for the most part in just the past few decades. And if you go much further beyond that it really becomes less and less of a thing, until if you go back a few hundred years, it just disappears and astrologers weren’t even using that as a construct at all in order to develop the significations of the houses originally.
AC: Absolutely. One additional note–so that actually shows up as a tertiary or even less important note about houses in I believe the Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra, which is a very important Vedic astrology text where they’re like, yeah, there is this arrangement and that has this very limited meaning and you might use that for these very specific purposes; it’s like way off to the side. It’s like, yeah, there’s this sometimes for this, but it’s not primary with the houses there anyway. It’s not primary and it doesn’t provide the primary association of planets with houses, but it is off there somewhere on the side; it’s been noted.
CB: Right. And I mean, it shows up also in the Western tradition. I think it first started showing up in the 17th century with Lilly or one of his contemporaries. Like Culpepper or someone like that starts using it in a medical context. Is that right?
KS: Yeah, in terms of assigning maybe body parts to the houses.
KS: There does seem to be the Aries/1st house/head. Like ‘the head’ is Aries and the head is the 1st house type of thing. But I agree with Austin in that your chart work becomes much more rich and nuanced and personalized if you really focus on this particular chart. Cancer is in the 2nd house, so Cancer is the 2nd house sign, or Cancer is describing part of the attitude to money or income or what have you.
CB: Sure. Yeah, so we won’t be using that. And I did a whole episode on this a long time ago. So you can go back and listen to that if you want to hear more about this in Episode 17 of The Astrology Podcast titled, “The Rationale for the Significations of the Houses,” and you’ll hear everything you’ve ever wanted to hear about that topic–more than you want to hear.
KS: Which is worth a listen. Did you write a paper on this, too?
CB: Well, I wrote a paper on the planetary joys that also has a similarly long title, that was titled, “The Planetary Joys and the Origins of the Signification of the Houses.”
KS: Honestly, it’s very good. It’s very good, that paper.
CB: Yeah, so what I showed there is that they had just a whole other independent reason for developing the significations of the houses that had nothing to do with the signs of the zodiac, and it’s just an important realization to have. It’s important for this reason–you have to understand that the signs of the zodiac and the houses are two different reference systems astronomically, and they have their own independent meaning that you need to understand in isolation on its own and on its own terms in order to develop the deepest understanding of what each of them is doing and why they mean what they mean.
So that’s a lot of what we’re going to get into today, if we ever eventually get to talking about the signs of the zodiac. So why don’t we do that with the first sign that we’ve established is the first sign, which is Aries. So you were saying earlier, Austin, that sometimes you like to switch or jump around. And for me, starting with Aries is always tough because I have a much more well-defined sense of certain signs, like Virgo or Leo, and Aries is one that’s a little bit more difficult for me to have a quick and easy conceptualization. What is your starting point for understanding Aries?
AC: Okay, so I start with the fact that this is a cardinal fire sign, right?
AC: So cardinals–beginning. How do you begin fire? You begin with friction. You need friction, that’s how. You need friction to get a spark and then to ignite things. And Aries happens to be Mars-ruled. Obviously, this is a yang sign if we’re talking about friction and ignition. To have friction you need two things, right? Mars needs two things. You need resistance, right? You need friction to get that spark.
And so, Aries, in essence, is about the friction which creates ignitions and it’s the initial charge. It’s the moment of combustion and then there’s a burning, there’s a radiance. Aries is ruled by Mars, which is a planet of not sustained and temperate fire, but intemperate fire; fire which burns hot enough to melt metal, which burns hot enough to topple a nation; it’s the fire of change. It’s very much the ‘pedal-to-the-metal’ sign. So part of what that means is you can’t sustain it; it’s inherently unsustainable because it’s the initial explosion.
And so, when people have Aries planets, they flare up and burn hot, and then they get really tired and need a nap and pretend that they’re just that awesome the whole time. For events, it’s events that happen really quickly, right? Like the Arab Spring happened when Uranus went into Aries and it just went up; it was an ignition. The sustain was not so good on that, but the ignition, the initial fire was right there. And so, I always think of that moment of friction, the relationship of two things creating friction, that spark, and then the spark hits the fuel and that’s Aries.
KS: Yeah, I always use a very similar metaphor, Austin and Chris, which is the idea of the Aries version of fire is ‘the match’; it’s the first thing that is going to light the whole fire. And whether that fire burns all night in your fireplace, like maybe a Leo fire, or whether it burns across the countryside, which is more like a Sag fire, the spark, the starting point–I love that word ‘ignition’–that is the Aries energy, and it is.
It’s quick. It’s acute. It comes quickly into being. When it happens it’s fast, it’s immediate, it’s urgent. There’s a spontaneity to it, but it doesn’t have the follow-through or the staying power. Athletics competition–it’s a sprint; this is the hundred-meter sprint; just get from A to B as fast as you can.
AC: That’s perfect.
KS: That’s it.
AC: So I think I’m the only one here with planets in Aries.
AC: So I have Mercury.
KS: Hello, Mercury.
AC: Yeah, I have Mercury in Aries in the 10th. And so, for me, I either feel like my mind is on fire or I’m trying to get the dry wood–or not the dry wood. I’m trying to get the wet wood to actually take the fire. I’m like, “Come on, come on, come on.”
KS: Like trying to dry it out, get it moving, yeah.
CB: And sometimes that can psychologically lead to things like impatience, or impatience can sometimes be a quality associated with Aries because of the feeling of wanting to get moving, wanting to get things going and not wanting to take things slowly or not wanting to hold back necessarily.
AC: Yep, absolutely.
KS: Yeah, Aries acts and then thinks.
CB: But just give it everything you got right from the start.
AC: And there’s a spontaneous quality. It’s like striking while the iron is hot. I can give it in martial arts terms; it’s like you have that half-second to just explode and knock him out.
KS: Yeah. And if you hesitate for a moment, you miss that opportunity.
AC: Yeah, exactly, like that’s gone. And part of the impatience is also like, “No, it’s the time to do this,” and that’s just a fire thing. When we’re talking about it psychologically, fire people will just tend to see, “Okay, now it’s time to act.” And people are like, “Well, let’s analyze that and explain that.” It’s like, “No, no, no, I can just see it.”
KS: I don’t know–just do it.
AC: Like there’s not enough time to explain to you. And if you think about it, fire is the most active element. If you think about being in a sporting competition, for example, you don’t have time to analyze things. The people who are best at action see it and do it.
KS: Yeah, it’s that instinctive energy. Because in a sporting event there isn’t time to think or plan. Your reaction and your training comes into it, and that tendency, if you like, to just do it. So there’s a boldness and there’s a courage here in Aries as well where there’s almost like, “The time to do it is now, and I’m not going to get stuck worrying about whether I’m good enough to do it or whether it’s the right time to do it. We’re just doing it.” And so, there’s movement that comes out of Aries too. It wants to keep a sense of momentum and pacing.
AC: But if we’re talking about the pure Aries archetype, it always gets tired.
KS: It does. It’s the hundred-meter sprint and it’s done.
AC: And it’s the difference between speed and acceleration. We’re not talking about sustaining a speed, we’re talking about the amount of power that’s generated from a sudden acceleration; that’s what a strike is. If I hit something where my arm moves at exactly the same speed the whole time, that speed, that’s a push. My punch will have no juice. But if I go from zero-to-sixty as quickly as possible then there’s an explosion, which changes things in a different way than a push.
KS: Yeah, great distinction.
AC: Thank you. So the ram is the symbol. Rams are literally named for doing quick, explosive movements–they ram. You don’t ram by pushing slowly. A ram will bunch up–you can watch them on the internet or wherever or animal shows–they’ll kind of bunch up and get ready and they’ll explode forward. And they don’t run for a mile at that speed; it’s an explosive headbutt, right? And what does Aries rule? It rules ‘the head’.
KS: Yeah, I think that’s good because an Aries-type condition or strategy is fast. It’s the implementation or the startup phase; it’s not the follow-through and the maintenance.
AC: No, and…
CB: And a lot of this is–go ahead, Austin.
AC: I was just going to say I see a lot of Aries people–as well as my Aries planet–function on inspiration, like, “Oh, I’m on fire in this moment. Like let’s do it.”
KS: Yeah, it’s very immediate.
AC: And then we’ll see about tomorrow.
CB: And a lot of this is like this side of Mars, this side of the Mars archetype, the Mars and Aries side of the Mars archetype as opposed to the Mars in Scorpio side of the Mars archetype. This is the side that has this sort of berserker-type energy or this fury or frenzy or somewhat wild or somewhat frantic component. Austin, I don’t know if you used this analogy, and actually I don’t know if this is a great analogy, but it was like a knife attack? ‘Knives’ are all always associated with Mars or traditionally have been associated with Mars.
And I think somebody–I thought it was you once, Austin–that talked about what a knife attack is actually like. It’s kind of like a frantic or a wild-type energy or thing that’s fast and quick and difficult to defend against in a martial arts context, but people don’t often realize what that actually involves.
AC: Yeah, the first rule of knife-fighting which I was taught was that the first rule of a knife fight is that you’re going to get cut.
AC: Like even if you win, you’re going to get cut, and so plan on that, right? There is definitely this throwing yourself into the melee. So in boxing, they talk about ‘staying in the pocket’. The pocket is where you’re both in range, where you can both hit each other with both hands without moving your feet. So it’s that trading, it’s messy. It’s not like staying on the outside and picking your shots.
Aries is a very ‘in-the-pocket’ sign where you’re moving and hitting and getting hit and back and forth. And some people feed off of that; some people feed off of that friction, right? It helps them combust and bring even more to the table. Whereas some people wilt in that space, both in life and in a ring.
While we’re using fighting metaphors, which is entirely appropriate for Aries, two of the most famous mixed martial arts fighters are both Mars in Aries, Ronda Rousey and Conor McGregor who just got handled over the weekend. But both of those fighters, when they win, they win extremely quickly. Ronda would just run over to the other side and break her opponent’s arm. Conor would just run up and pop somebody.
KS: So they can win when the fight gets done quickly.
AC: Yeah. And so, the thing that everyone’s saying about the recent Conor-Khabib fight is they’re like, “Well, either Conor knocks him out in the first two rounds or Khabib mauls him for five rounds.” What’s really interesting about that–I don’t want to turn this into too much of a side topic–but Conor is a Mars in Aries and then his opponent Khabib is a Mars in Aries, but Mars in Aries retrograde.
And it’s interesting because he provides the slowest and most painful maulings; it’s literally like the opposite of what you would expect from Mars in Aries. Conor, Mars direct, literally dashes across the cage, punches someone, hopefully, they’re done. Khabib, Mars in Aries retro, gets your leg, pulls you down, slowly advances position, and just slowly beats on you for twenty-five minutes. People refer to it as a ‘slow mauling’, right? But with Mars in Aries direct–like Conor McGregor, Ronda Rousey–these people would just run across the ring and pop somebody.
CB: So there’s kind of like a ‘first into the breach’ type quality with Aries then, and that’s again partially coming from that Mars thing.
AC: I would also say there’s a champion quality, and you can see that with the Sun being exalted in Aries. It’s the, “Everybody witness my power. Look at how Dragon Ball Z, super insane I can go; look at the heights that I can achieve,” for at least that moment. It’s not sustainable, but it’s what you can be for ‘x’ amount of minutes.
CB: Sure. And what I like about that, especially with the ‘first into the breach’ thing is there’s a side that can come out then, and part of that can manifest as equality of courage or courageousness as one of the higher manifestations of that.
CB: Like that ability to–not that you don’t have fear. Something I was reading about courage recently is that it’s not the absence of fear, but it’s like being able to suppress it or being able to to still have that but still overcome it and do what needs to be done and sort of dive in headfirst despite that.
KS: Yeah, courage is not the absence of fear, but the ability to move forward even while being afraid.
CB: Sure. To me, that’s one of the higher expressions of Aries when done well. It can be that sort of energy of courageousness.
KS: Yeah, I really like how you phrase that, Chris, the idea of the ‘first into the breach’ because I do see this a lot in clients that have significant planets in Aries, or perhaps their Midheaven in Aries or their 10th house or what have you. There is this willingness to go first or to go into new territory, and that’s part of the Mars energy of maybe ‘breaking new ground’ or ‘pushing forward’ first. And there seems like a ‘fearlessness’, although I’m not sure that’s what it is. It’s just a drive or a passion or an instinct to test and to conquer and to take on the challenge of going somewhere new.
AC: Yeah, definitely.
CB: There may be kind of like a…
AC: Go ahead.
CB: …a ‘risk-taker’ quality then as well that might be associated with that, which could be both positive and negative. In the negative expression, it could be throwing caution to the wind and being ‘overly-impetuous’ or something like that.
AC: Which is why Saturn is fallen in Aries.
AC: It’s the exact opposite principle of Saturn. Saturn is like, “Well, so let’s think about it. Let’s do our due diligence.”
KS: What are the consequences going to be? And Aries doesn’t care about any of that.
AC: Yeah, it’s like, “Whatever, we’ll just do it harder.”
KS: I know. And it’s not as though every sign corresponds to a certain age period, but I always think of a teenage male; there’s a physicality. I remember watching my brothers growing up; they didn’t know their own strength at that point. They would sort of take action or do things and it was like, “Oh, that was more than what I was expecting,” because there’s this raw strength there, if you like.
CB: Think first, act later.
AC: That’s a big part of the…
CB: Act first.
AC: A big part of the interior component of planets in Aries is that they want to discover what they’re capable of.
KS: They want to challenge and be tested.
AC: Well, yeah, and they want to prove in action that they’re capable of being something, which is I believe part of the exaltation of the Sun in Aries. The Sun in Leo just is like, “Yeah, I’m me. I don’t need to prove that to anybody.” Whereas Aries is like, “I’m pretty sure I’m this, and I’m going to prove it to everybody.”
CB: And it’s by doing it, not like thinking it through necessarily ahead of time or abstractly.
AC: Well, there might be that, but it always comes back to ‘the proof is in the pudding’, right? And that’s Mars. Mars is like, “Well, that’s great. What are you going to do?”
CB: Sure. All right, let’s see. What else? Are there other major, core qualities that we need to cover? Not that we’re moving on right away, but we will soon. But what are some other areas that we’re forgetting or overlooking? Are there any other manifestations or major areas?
So part of what we’re doing at this point and that’s something I meant to mention is, Austin, you mentioned the essential dignities, where you were tying in the essential dignities. And that’s one of the conceptual constructs that you, not just what planet rules that sign, but you also pay attention to the exaltations, where there’s certain signs where planets are said to be exalted in those signs, and there’s also the concept of fall or the concept of a planet’s depression, which is the sign opposite its exaltation.
And then finally, there’s also the sign of its detriment or exile, which is the sign opposite to a planet’s domicile or opposite to the sign that it rules, since the signs of the zodiac that the planets rule–like Mars ruling Aries–were originally conceptualized as the homes or the dwelling places of the planets. Mars was said to have its home in Aries, and so the opposite of that is when Mars is in Libra, which is the sign of its detriment or sometimes it’s called its exile. So that’s a conceptual construct that you’ll be integrating and weaving into this.
AC: Yeah. Well, a planet’s relationship to a sign tells you something about the territory of that sign, right? That the Sun exalts in that Aries territory tells you something about Aries; it tells you something about the Sun, and it tells you something about Aries. And so, just talking about ramming things and ignition and lighter fluid and all that, we’re like, “Okay, that doesn’t sound safe, so maybe Saturn’s not good there,” and like, “That doesn’t sound super chill.”
And so, maybe Venus doesn’t have the easiest happy time there, right? Whereas the Sun and Mars both like it there; these things flow very naturally once you understand what the quality of that is. Venus can maybe figure out something to do with lighter fluid and swords, but it’s not what Venus would choose first.
KS: They would not be normal tools, basically. Yeah, and I think that the other thing that comes to my mind is that Aries is a very solo or independent sign, which is just an expression of the qualities we’ve been talking about. Aries likes to go alone. It likes to go fast. It likes to work independently of supervision. Anytime I see Aries connected to career, it’s a very strong signature for someone wanting autonomy at work, that they want to be able to kind of choose for themselves.
They’re happy to work hard. They’re happy to take on a challenge, for instance. They like something that’s a little bit like, “Oh, I’m not sure. Are we going to be able to meet that?” But they do want the freedom to do it according to their own preferences.
AC: Yes. Aries, 10th, and Midheaven over here agrees.
KS: Yes, it’s one of those ones you can honestly take to the bank. And then of course as we’re talking about rulerships and things like that, Aries is the only fire sign that Mars is associated with from the essential dignities perspective. And so, there is something very combustible about the fiery planet Mars, the red planet in a fire sign. The combination of that is quite extreme and unique.
CB: Definitely. And so, all of this is great because all these keywords we’re coming up, all of this is fundamentally just circling back to what happens when you have the overlap of those four primary qualities where Aries is a masculine sign, it’s a cardinal sign, it’s a fire sign, and it’s ruled by Mars, or Mars has its domicile there. And then it’s all four of those overlapping things at once that then result in all these different significations or archetypal scenarios that we’re talking about. Just reiterating something basic for the sake of it.
AC: Yeah. And so, just in the interest of time, we should probably keep moving.
CB: Sure. Well, that was exactly twenty minutes, so I started timing it. Because we were going to do twenty minutes per sign; that was the original plan at least.
AC: Okay, cool, I was also timing.
CB: Okay, good. All right, so let’s move on. Any final words on Aries, or are we good?
KS: I’m good.
CB: You’re good? Okay.
AC: I will just say Aries planets like to be badasses, like the interiority of it. If you’ve got a planet in Aries that part of you wants to be a badass: maybe it’s a badass calligrapher; maybe it’s a badass arborist; maybe it’s a badass whatever. But Aries planets want to be badass; that’s like the sort of ego ideal that Aries planets move towards.
CB: Definitely. And so, let’s do a good expression/bad expression thing; that might be a good thing to come back to. A good expression is courage or being a badass or being courageous or something let’s say; negative expression is, what? Being obnoxious?
AC: Yeah, being contentious, not recognizing your weaknesses, identifying only with your highest points in the body, burning out the body so that you have you’ve tapped your adrenal reserves, and you’re constantly running on ‘E’. Overheating the body through excessive activity and having various inflammatory conditions, stuff like that.
CB: Sure, ‘egocentrism’.
AC: Yeah, ‘being selfish’.
KS: Being incredibly selfish.
AC: So a bunch of my friends growing up were Aries. And my Scorpio friend, from when we were teenagers, when he found out about astrology–which he doesn’t really like–he was like, “Yeah, I think that the Aries motto is ‘hurry up and get off your ass and be selfish’.”
AC: He was like hurry up and be selfish; and he’s a rather negative fellow. And certainly, that’s not true of every Aries, but that is the shit Aries mantra. It’s like, “I need to get up off my ass and be selfish.”
CB: Sure. And it becomes more clear once we start contrasting that with some of the other signs that we’ll get into, which have a tendency maybe to subvert some of their own desires for let’s say the greater good or for somebody else’s good or something like that versus, for Aries, the tendency is more typically aligned with self. I mean, is that going too far?
KS: It’s perfect.
AC: Sun in Mars, right?
KS: Yeah. I know what I want, and I’m going to make sure that I get that.
AC: Right. And so, if you have that in your 7th then you’ll probably have a partner like that. If you have that in the 4th then your mom was probably like that. If you have that in the 10th, you’re like that professionally. If you have that in the 11th, you have friends like that, etc., etc.
CB: Sure, I love that. So some of the signs will manifest through the house that they fall in in your chart. Sometimes they’ll manifest through whatever planets you have placed there, whether that’s you expressing that yourself or whether that’s partners or other people in your life represented by that planet that express it, and so on and so forth. Maybe I’m going too far afield here.
KS: No, no, no. I mean, it’s a key point because it’s one of the core tenets that when beginners come into astrology they have to kind of realize. Actually they have all of the 12 signs in their chart, and even if they don’t have any planets in that sign, they will have a house area or a house cusp, which means the qualities of that sign are influencing their experiences and the people they encounter in that area of life. So it’s really critical because even though you might identify, “Oh, I’m a Scorpio,” or “My Venus is in Libra,” or whatever it is, you do have all 12 zodiac signs in your chart through their association with the houses.
AC: It’s funny that you mentioned that. The childhood friend that I was talking about who was very critical of Aries was a Scorpio with Venus in Libra.
KS: Oh, my goodness.
AC: Venus on the rising. And he was very offended by their brash Aries ways.
KS: Of course he would have been, yeah.
CB: I love that. And then through that synastry then different people are going to have different perceptions of different signs based on their own placements and whether those signs gel well with or do not gel well with certain signs.
CB: And actually it is an issue though because I was thinking about this the other day and I was trying to condense it into a tweet, but I was unable to. It’s impossible for anybody to fully articulate the quality of any sign because it’s always going to be partially, I don’t know, influenced by their own placements and their own perception of that sign on some level. There’s a subjectivity.
AC: On some level that’s true, but it’s also a gift when you start noticing; and this is actually something that ‘horoscoping’ is good for. You start noticing your reactions to each of the signs and then you see where that’s coming from in you. And that actually teaches you more about not just you, but you’re like, “Oh, so I have this Mars in blah, blah, blah, and that’s reacting to this other thing.” And so, actually I would say that it’s a point of enrichment. There’s a lot to mine there by understanding your reactions.
CB: Sure. And one last thing–for character things, people listening to this for the first time that may only know about the signs of the zodiac and they may only know their Sun sign, there’s different reasons why you might have a strong affinity or feel strongly about some sign. Like some people really do identify with their Sun sign, but other people maybe not as much and that probably has a lot to do with whether it’s just your Sun in that placement, whether you have your Ascendant in a different sign, or whether your Moon is in a different sign.
I’ve noticed the ruler of the Ascendant, if it’s in a specific sign of the zodiac, that can really mean that that person strongly identifies with that sign in some instances, especially from a character standpoint. So there’s probably other factors like that that should be mentioned in passing just in terms of when a zodiac sign is going to play a dominant role in your life or your character for some reason.
CB: But that’s probably all we need to say about that, so why don’t we move on then.
AC: I think that was my turn for an awkward transition.
CB: You need a good catchphrase like I have. I started saying ‘sure’ like four or five years ago and I can’t get over it. I need to come up with a better one.
KS: Too funny.
CB: Yeah, I’ll start a poll on Twitter for that later. So in the meantime, let’s transition to Taurus. So the second sign of the zodiac, traditionally, whatever second sign usually that’s dealt with. So Taurus is a ‘feminine’ sign. It is a fixed sign in terms of its modality, it is an earth sign, and it is ruled by or associated with the planet Venus. so those are our four primary properties. Where do we start for Taurus? Where do you start, Kelly?
KS: Well, I usually talk about how distinctly different Taurus is from Aries. So right out of the gate we’ve got this very sort of masculine or yang sign in Aries that’s quite quick and impatient and Taurus is the opposite in many ways. It’s where we slow down, we want to take our time, so Taurus has a very methodical, measured approach.
It doesn’t like to change things. People with planets in Taurus–these will describe some of the most stubborn, but also reliable or loyal features of that person or that chart. So there’s an unchanging, resistance to change because what Taurus tends to do is identify the comfort points wherever they are, so they can get settled into to where they are.
But it is a sign that is incredibly feminine. I always think of the word ‘fecund’ for the sign of Taurus. It’s the sign of Venus, it’s the exaltation of the Moon, and I’m always thinking of my lovely garden images because this is where we kind of want to grow things in that earthy, grounded kind of way; so there’s a slow, steady building.
And the difference, if you like, between the bull that is associated with Taurus versus the ram associated with Aries, that ram is literally butting its head against the gate, whereas the steady bull, slow to get started, but once it goes, it will go all day. So the staying power and the endurance quality, if you like, of Taurus is quite strong.
CB: There’s like a plodding quality.
KS: There is. They don’t like to go too fast, and they can take a while to get started. So they’re really good at maintenance or this is ongoing, we need to do this every week or every month; the Taurus will love that repetition.
AC: I would say that Taurus is a very consistent sign.
KS: Mm-hmm, yeah.
AC: Taurus planets–they are just what they are. Like if you’re waiting for your friend with a bunch of stuff in Taurus to figure their shit out and go through a big change, keep waiting.
KS: Get comfortable.
AC: But you also don’t have to worry if you’re relating to people with heavy Taurus planets–their virtues are their virtues, their vices are their vices. These things may change, but slowly–don’t hold your breath. And so, consistency is, “Oh, they’re stubborn,” right? That’s the negative loaded term, right? But consistency is that they’re just going to keep doing that.
And the power of Taurus is to fix the form of something. It’s a fixed earth sign. Of the elements, earth is the only one that holds a shape, right? Water doesn’t hold a shape. Air doesn’t hold a shape. Fire doesn’t hold a shape. Earth holds a shape; it holds form. And so, it’s a great energy for creating things–creating things in the real world; things that have a shape and need to be able to endure in that shape.
And so, with Venus, its associated with valuable things, works of art. You’ll find a ton of Taurus in famous artists’ charts. Off the top of my head, I’m just thinking Kanye West is Venus in Taurus, and Salvador Dali had a bunch of stuff in Taurus. There’s this like, “I’m making a thing. And I’m going to be painting for the next few days, and I’m just going to keep painting. Don’t bother me.”
CB: Right. I often think about that sometimes in terms of something as simple as food preferences. Fixed signs, especially once they’ve established what they like, continually coming back to it and sticking with that thing. Rather than wanting to go try new things all the time, instead being content or happy with–almost most happy just sticking with that which is familiar or that which they know.
AC: Yeah. And with Taurus, a particular fixed sign with that Venus rulership, I see a lot of people with Taurus-heavy charts for whom the cultivation of taste is very important, whether it’s in art or in dining. And once they’ve been exposed to a certain, how should we say, level of cuisine, they won’t eat anything beneath that, or a certain level of art.
I think of my uncle who’s a Taurus, who’s a classical music guy. And for a while he was like, “Rock-and-roll is not music.” He was like, “Look at the complexities of Vivaldi. Yeah, that’s not music.” And so, there can be a certain snobbishness with people who are embodying the Taurus.
But when I think about Venus, Venus is about what’s valuable to you, right? Because taste is subjective, or it has an irremovable subjective component, whether it’s taste in music, movies, food, etc., etc. There’s like what has value and then I would like to obtain and create what has value. I feel like those are deep drives for Venus-ruled Taurus.
KS: Totally. Yeah, that ‘what has value’. And I do find that Taurus is a sign that has some criteria for standards. It’s not maybe as luxury-focused necessarily as for instance Leo can be, but Taurus is definitely about wanting the quality of something to be not just the basic.
AC: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
KS: Yeah, they’ll pay for ‘natural this’ or more ‘organic that’ or this is ‘better quality’, and as long as the better quality is commensurate with an improved experience, Taurus will be all over that.
AC: Right, then that’s a good value.
CB: Organic. I like that word ‘organic’ because probably if there was any sign that I was going to associate with the word ‘organic’, I think Taurus would probably be it.
AC: Right. And so, let me jump over to the event quality. If you’re looking for the rhythm or pace of events as signified by Taurus, it’s slow and steady; what starts happening will keep happening. When we’re looking at event qualities like Mars–excuse me, Aries, things happen all at once, whereas Taurus things steadily unfold.
KS: Yeah. It makes me think of a degustation dinner where you go out and there’s going to be six or seven courses, and the food is paired with the wine and it’s going to take four hours to eat your meal.
AC: Yeah, yeah, 100%. And it’s associated with the neck, right?
CB: Yeah, that’s something that we completely forgot to mention. That’s a whole separate thing.
AC: No, I totally threw that in on Aries.
CB: You did throw it in on Aries? Okay. So just very briefly, just conceptually the idea that there’s assignments of the parts of the body. Aries starts with the head, as the first sign of the zodiac, and then you work your way down the body through each of the successive signs. So Taurus is ‘the neck’, and Gemini becomes ‘the shoulders and arms’, and so on and so forth.
AC: Yep. And so, think of the bull’s neck, right? The neck is there to support the head. We have the yin power of supporting the Taurus-ruled body part. That’s also where all your food goes; it first goes down your neck. People don’t say it like that but it’s true.
KS: It’s true.
AC: You also have the Venusian association of singing–Venus and the ‘arts’ and ‘singing’–and it’s the neck that produces the singing.
KS: The sound, yeah. I mean, Venus–not Venus–Taurus is very tactile too. It’s a sign associated with the senses or the sensory pleasures, so often that need to touch can be important with Taurus planets.
CB: Yeah, that tactile quality of Taurus goes across a lot of different areas.
AC: But yeah, I would just say it’s really easy with Taurus to fall into food metaphors. And that’s not wrong, but there’s just the other parts too. One thing I would say about planets in Taurus is they provide an understanding of the sequencing of how things actually happen.
Like you’ve got to wake up and do this in the morning, and you do this in the middle of the day, and then you do this at night. There’s this ability to do concrete sequencing and then work with that. And sequencing involves pacing, involves alternating rest and activity. There’s just like this sort of ‘Tao of Life’ thing that Taurus points towards.
You spend time with what is most valuable, whether it’s friends, career, etc., etc. There’s just this consistent moving through life and this gentle alternation or sustainable, non-herky-jerky alternation of activity and rest.
CB: I like that. I just remembered I meant to look through some charts, to throw out a few charts every once in a while. One of my Taurus rising charts or a person that has the Ascendant in Taurus is George RR Martin. I don’t know.
KS: Ah, Game of Thrones.
AC: Sumptuous descriptions of food are about half the length of his books.
KS: Yeah. I mean, this is a series that is not coming out in a hurry.
CB: Right, he’s taking his time.
KS: Yeah, it takes about four or five years to write one book. And these books are not quick, short reads, they’re absolute tomes; a thousand-page-type things.
CB: Right. But he’s also like, “Don’t rush me.”
CB: He’s like it’ll be done when it’s done.
KS: And this is a very Taurus quality, that if you try to hurry them up, they dig their heels in and they go slower. It’s like the worst thing you can do for Taurus placements or the Taurus part of your chart; you cannot make it happen faster.
CB: Definitely. Let’s see, another one I thought was interesting. George Lucas is one of my favorite Taurus rising examples that I use because he also has a Venus in Taurus in the 1st whole sign house roughly conjunct the Ascendant, as well as the Sun in Mercury there, so he’s got almost a quasi-stellium in Taurus. But that’s interesting to me just because he ended up going to film school, and he was always very focused on the aesthetics of film and the artistic nature of things, and some of that kind of comes through in some aspects of the Star Wars trilogy to some extent in terms of the aesthetics.
AC: Yeah, the Venusian. I mean, it’s the substance. We’re talking about the earth of Venus, right? It’s like what does that color make you feel like? What does that sound make you feel like? Those are all real things: colors, sounds. What is this texture like, right? So it feeds into Venus’ artistic agenda very clearly.
CB: So the senses. There’s something very important about the sense quality of Taurus maybe more than any other sign.
AC: I think that’s true.
KS: A hundred-percent, a hundred-percent. It’s the only earth sign of Venus, so we’re getting the beauty or the indulgence or the pleasure through the physical, through the tangible realms, which is evoking all the senses.
CB: Right. So it’s like taste, but also color, touch.
KS: Sight, touch, sound, smell–all of those experiences.
CB: Brilliant. I love that. Okay, that’s really good. Where are we at on time? Are you timing this one, Austin?
AC: Yeah. We’re at nineteen-and-a-half-minutes.
CB: Really? For Taurus already?
KS: The slow sign, it goes fast.
CB: Right. All right, let’s do a quick positive manifestation/negative manifestation. I mean, we’ve said a lot of positive ones so far.
AC: Kelly, why don’t you say nice things, and I’ll say mean things?
CB: Yeah, you guys can be like…
KS: We can stay to our type.
CB: …good angel/bad angel.
KS: Good angel, yeah. So good things about Taurus. They are very ‘steady’ and ‘loyal’ and ‘reliable’. So they are ‘consistent’; it’s a wonderful quality. They will help you. Taurus qualities or planets–they help you slow down to smell the roses. Like that cliche of ‘enjoy the moment’, ‘be in the present’, ‘be here now’, ‘be where you are’, these are very Taurus qualities. And quality that is genuine is worth paying for. So these are Taurus traits, I guess, that may be a bit more positive. Over to you, dark angel.
AC: Okay, let’s see, so negative towards things. ‘Greedy’. ‘Shady’. ‘Stubborn’. ‘Selfish’. ‘Boring’.
KS: Boring is a good one.
AC: Yeah. So problems in Taurus will manifest in your throat generally. If you’re getting a nasty transit from something in Taurus that’s related to health in your chart, a lot of times it’ll show up as you lose your voice, or it’s a sore throat. Let’s see. Yeah, greedy, shady, stubborn, boring works for me for negatives.
AC: Oh, ‘snobbish’.
CB: See, that’s really interesting to me. You were mentioning the refined quality of Taurus, and I can see that on some level, but I often will associate some of that more with Libra in terms of the potential for that, for having much more of a focus or an obsession with aesthetics and refinement to the point of maybe occasionally snobbishness being an issue, whereas you see that as a real potential issue with Taurus.
AC: Oh, consistently.
CB: Okay. I’m trying to think–are there any other major points that we need to mention with Taurus before we move on?
KS: I think we’ve got the gist.
CB: Okay. All right, cool. Well, let’s move on then to the third sign, which is Gemini. Gemini is masculine. So we’re alternating back to a masculine polarity. It is a mutable sign. It’s our first mutable sign in terms of its modality or its quadruplicity. It is an air sign, and it’s one of the two signs that’s ruled by the planet Mercury. All right, so where do we want to start?
AC: Well, I just want to start with the massive repolarization from Taurus to Gemini. So we’re literally going from fixed earth to mutable air.
AC: We’re going from a stone to a cyclone in terms of static versus dynamic, right? Not only is air a much more dynamic element than earth, but this is mutable air, so this is as unstable as the air gets, right? Mutable signs have a lot of good qualities–stability is not one of them. And it’s ruled by Mercury, which is the quickest-moving planet other than the Moon, right?
And Mercury is hiding behind the Sun; it’s in front of the Sun. You can see it for a little bit in the morning, you can see it for a little bit at night, and then it’s changed. It’s fast, it’s slow–this is very volatile; this is very volatile territory. Gemini is very ADD, especially when compared to Taurus.
KS: And you make a good point, Austin, because when we change from one sign to the next, we don’t always have quite the dramatic shift in quality. And the Taurus-Gemini one–Taurus being earth has that cold/dry combination and Gemini being air has the heat and moisture combination–so everything switches and it does feel very distinctly different. It’s like the rock in the garden versus the butterfly moving around, and there’s a nimbleness and an agileness to Gemini.
It is the air sign of Mercury, the planet of the mind, so we have a lot of mental energy coming in in this sign, a lot of thinking. There is a tendency to be quite scattered because it is a mutable sign, and they do tend to have a diffusive kind of quality. And the scattering of the mutable in Gemini tends to be a mental thing, so the mind is going in ten different directions at once, if you like; so the busy mind.
AC: And so, I would add to scattering ‘splitting’. Gemini splits in two, so it has somebody to talk to so we can have a debate, so we can have a conversation, so we can have some back-and-forth. In the body, Aries/head, Taurus/neck, and then the body splits at the shoulders and arms and that’s Gemini. Gemini rules the first split as we’re going down. Mercury rules hands, right? Little, clever, dexterous. And what’s at the end of the hand? The body splits again into five on each side. So we have splitting to cover ground, splitting to do more clever, technical, intricate things.
CB: That’s important since in the first two signs that we talked about there was a singular quality, and this is the first sign of any of them that we’re talking about that does have that dual quality. And of course, Gemini, the image associated with it is the twins. And that’s what Gemini means, ‘the twins’.
And I wanted to mention what the original Greek terms were for each of these. So in Latin, Aries is the term that means ‘the ram’. Taurus literally means ‘the bull’ in Latin. Gemini means ‘the twins’, and so on and so forth.
CB: ‘Duality’ is a really important keyword that comes up really frequently for Gemini and different types of duality.
KS: Yeah, the polarity. And I think that leads to some of what might be the sort of negative or more tricky traits of Gemini, which is their inconsistency. If Taurus is too slow to change or doesn’t change enough, Gemini is a sign that would change too frequently or too much. From morning to night, it might have found out something new or changed its perspective; there is the fluttering.
And I always think–of course, me and my garden–but the thing in the garden that makes me think of Gemini is ‘the pollinator’. Because in Gemini we do, as you said, Austin, we want to have that conversation. We want to talk, but we need someone else to be giving input. So the idea of pollination where we’re taking something from one, passing it onto the other, picking up something else and going elsewhere again.
AC: Yeah. And as a mode, doing as many things as possible at the same time, which is a way of doing them fast, right? While I’m pollinating this, I’m getting this, and while I’m doing this, I’m doing this. There’s that multiplying/splitting quality, right?
AC: I have a Moon in Gemini which rules my rising, right? And so, I can feel that wanting to do everything at once, which I’ve worked on taming my entire life. The thing is with Gemini, you’ll see everything you could do all at the same time; there’s a Gemini paralysis that comes from seeing too many possibilities all at the same time. But my Mom gave me the antidote wisdom to that when I was young. She said, “Austin, you can do everything you want, you just can’t do it all at the same time.”
KS: Yeah. And that’s one of the greatest struggles for Gemini is to make a choice and to narrow their options. And Gemini or Gemini energy, the pure form, never wants one thing; it definitely needs a multiplicity. But to bring it down from seven options to three or four can sometimes create better odds for getting things done.
AC: Yeah, and seven-to-three is exactly right. So people who have their Midheavens in Gemini and they’ve got a planet there, they’re probably going to have multiple careers and they may have multiple things that they’re doing at the same time. They’ll be like, “I’m a DJ and a poet, and I also do construction,” right? They can make that work, but they can’t make seven things work; it’s cutting it down to only two or three, right? But I’ve seen people struggle with that. And the answer is multiple, it’s just that it’s not quite that multiple.
KS: That’s the key. You almost want to redefine what multiple is–it’s not fifteen, but probably somewhere around three or four–and that can be liberation for Midheavens in Gemini, for instance.
CB: In the Hellenistic texts, they would often delineate mutable signs, but especially Gemini as indicating too whatever is signified. So if it’s associated with the 5th house, they would say there will be at least two children, or sometimes with the 7th house, maybe you end up having more than one marriage in life or something like that, if there’s other factors that support that.
AC: Yeah, or the person likes being single and having a date with different people multiple times a week, like that multiple energy. Or if it’s in the 7th, they want somebody who’s got a bunch of different sides to them, who’s interesting, keeps them guessing.
CB: Sure. And one of the things you guys were talking about, mentioning Mercury zipping around, from an astronomical standpoint, of all the planets that have retrogrades–which all of them except for the Sun and Moon do–Mercury stations retrograde and direct the most frequently. And that’s why we have the Mercury retrograde periods of course three times a year and why everybody’s nowadays talking about Mercury retrograde it seems like constantly because it’s happening every few months.
That sort of feeds in, from an astronomical perspective, one of the reasons why then symbolically the notion of frequency and things happening with more frequency becomes a major Gemini trait because of that association with Mercury.
AC: Yep, changing direction, changing visibility, changing speed–does all of those things more often than any other planet.
CB: Sure. It’s a really simple point, but it’s a really important one. When I first started learning astrology, or when you learn astrology usually you’re just learning or memorizing just traits that you assume have always been associated with certain signs or certain planets or what have you.
But a lot of these actually, you can trace them back to very specific astronomical things of what makes this planet different than this planet and what does that mean, or how do we interpret that, symbolically, if Mercury stations retrograde or direct more than the other planets, what would that correlate with.
KS: Yeah. I mean, Mercury does get into these little nooks and crannies in the ecliptic that other planets don’t tend to get near, so there is this idea of the ‘access all areas’ kind of path that Mercury has that feeds into Mercury signs, where they’re able to discover or uncover information or ideas that, for the rest of us, maybe just doesn’t occur to planets in other signs. And that’s, again, coming from that astronomical piece around what is Mercury actually doing in the sky.
CB: Sure. So there’s a huge communicative quality to Gemini I think everybody agrees and the positive manifestation of that is a much more ‘freer flow of information’, but the negative side of that sometimes can be associated with a certain amount of ‘being flighty’. I think that’s one of the negative character traits that is sometimes associated with that.
AC: I would say ‘self-contradictory’.
AC: Yeah, which if you’re mad at somebody, you would say that they’re a hypocrite or that they’re two-faced if they contradict themselves. But it’s mutable air, it’s changing ideas. “Ooh, new facts just came in. Now I think this about this. Ooh, I had an interesting conversation with Jim about this topic and now my viewpoint has changed.” It’s being open to and wanting to change minds and have your mind changed.
But Gemini accumulates contradictions. Speaking as a Gemini Moon, Gemini is the lord of the Ascendant, there’s a lot of taking in lots of contradictions and then having to sit with all of it and trying to figure out how it all makes sense. And part of the problem with Gemini is– like Kelly said–the problem which is exactly the opposite of the Taurus difficulty. Taurus isn’t stretching far enough and taking in enough contradiction, whereas Gemini is just taking in all of the contradictory things and pieces of information. If anything, this is kind of a Gemini age in the sense of being in constant information overload.
AC: That’s the short circuit for Gemini. It’s ‘stimulating’. Gemini is stimulating–it’s stimulating, active–but it can fragment.
CB: And since this is our first mutable sign, I mean, some of that is basically what mutable means. Some of the synonyms are ‘changeable’, ‘variable’, ‘fluctuating’, ‘shifting’, ‘inconsistent’, sometimes ‘unpredictable’, ‘inconstant’, ‘fickle’, ‘uneven’, ‘unstable’; yeah, some of those other terms, in terms of just defining what mutable means. This being our very first mutable sign, a lot of those become relevant in different ways.
AC: Yeah, absolutely.
KS: Absolutely. And the mutability in Gemini of course is applied to the element of air. So the topics of the mind or ideas or conversation and that’s where you really see that variety or that inconsistency with the sign of Gemini.
CB: Right. It’s more of like an intellectual inconsistency, or like Austin was saying, being able to change one’s opinions after a single conversation.
KS: Yeah. And I don’t want to sound too negative on Gemini because their ability to adapt and change as new input comes in, they are going to be early adopters when it comes to new technology and things like that.
CB: Yeah, like flexibility, like the ability to be flexible and to adapt.
KS: Yes, Austin.
AC: I would also say to generate techniques, Mercury likes technique. Mercury in Gemini–it’s getting super-curious about, “Okay, well why does it work that way?” and taking things apart and be like, “I’m going to put it back together differently,” whether it’s an idea or a sentence or whatever kind of technique. Mercury in Gemini especially likes to play with technique and to use tricks on people, which are techniques that they don’t know. A technique that you don’t know is a trick that works.
KS: That’s a beautiful way of putting it.
AC: Thank you.
KS: I like that.
AC: It’ll work as long as you don’t understand it. And Gemini doesn’t want to be tricked, Gemini wants to trick you, right? Gemini’s like, “Ooh, how did you do that? What was that? What is that rhetorical device? How did that punch work? How did you set that up with a feint?”
In their aesthetic strategies, their martial strategies, Gemini is Mercurial in a way that embraces some of the martial and Venusian. For a lot of the traditional images for the Gemini decans, you see a figure who has both implements of art and war. One of the images is this warrior in golden armor, and he’s an archer, and he’s got a sword, and he’s hanging out in the garden and singing songs and telling jokes. Gemini kind of goes both directions. It can be aesthetic, it can be combative, but it’s exploratory, curious, technical, and tricksy.
CB: The notion of ‘technical’. One of the things that comes through really strongly with the Mercury thing–and it comes through more strongly in Virgo, but it also comes up in Gemini–is focusing on that which is very small and that being opposite to Sagittarius–which is ruled by Jupiter–which is focusing on more that which is big or ‘big picture’ things. And so, Gemini in focusing on that which is small can sometimes mean focusing on the details, which becomes especially more prominent in Virgo, but to some extent is still true also in Gemini.
AC: And we can come back to this with Virgo, but Gemini is the active, yang, masculine sign that Mercury rules, whereas Virgo is the yin earth. And so, in Gemini, it’s active. It’s like, “Ooh, what can I do with those details?” I noticed all this stuff I got really curious about. Now what can I do with that? What can I pull off?” Whereas Virgo is a little bit more of, “How can I understand and assimilate? How can I get an almost scholarly understanding of how this works?” Whereas Gemini is like, “That’s really interesting. I think I know what to do with that.”
KS: Yeah, that’s beautiful.
CB: Very quickly and immediately applying it. Even in not having a full understanding of it yet, there’s an almost impulsive quality to it.
KS: Yeah, because of the yang energy. Sorry, Austin.
AC: Oh, that’s okay. So Virgo is like ‘study or learn to do it the right way’, and Gemini is like ‘hack everything all the time’.
CB: Sure. One other thing that comes out is there’s like a ‘youthful’ quality to Gemini, and this sort of comes through the ‘Mercury-ness’ as well. Like if we were to try to apply age things, there’s certain signs that we might associate with that which is older or something like that. But it seems there’s like a youthfulness that sometimes we end up associating with Gemini in different respects. Is that true? Have you guys seen that?
AC: Yeah, a hundred-percent.
KS: Yeah, definitely. There is a youthful, young, fresh, inquisitive quality to Gemini, for sure.
AC: It’s the curious and plastic quality of youth.
KS: Yes, with the plasticity. That’s beautiful.
AC: Thank you. In one system that associates planets with different ages, Mercury rules from ages 3 to 12; 3 because that’s when the kids start asking, “Why, why, why, why?” And then it basically ends at puberty when a person is pushed to pick a side by society, and often, their body. But it’s that non-sexual, both and neither, gendered place where you’re just a little curious creature running around and learning everything and mimicking.
CB: Right. Definitely. And there’s actually a word for that that’s really good; it’s ‘precocious’. And I’m just pulling up the definition really quickly, and Google says: “Of a child having developed certain abilities or proclivities at an earlier age than usual.” And it gives some synonyms like, “gifted, talented, clever, intelligent, quick,” which are interesting mercurial keywords, but they’re being applied to, in an age context, in somebody that’s younger and the ability to have that sort of cleverness or intelligence or quickness at an early or younger age than you would think that they should have.
AC: Yeah, absolutely.
CB: All right, so we’re probably about twenty minutes on this one, right?
AC: I believe so.
LS: Yes, we just got the bell.
CB: Okay. So I think we’ve done a pretty good job already of doing good qualities/bad qualities, right? Do we need to recapitulate that? Is there anything you guys want to say?
AC: I think we already did enough with the Twins.
KS: I think we’ve touched on pros and cons.
CB: Did we balance things out enough? I know we were verging a little bit too negative for a second there. I don’t want to bias any one of these signs–like end up coming off like we’re bashing one sign.
KS: Yeah, that’s true.
CB: I don’t know that we did. I just want to make sure we balance it out quickly enough. So that the positive is really just that ‘quick communicative ability’ being…
KS: Geminis can talk to anyone about anything. Great to have in a social situation or with ice-breaking. Their curiosity–they can just get something started in almost any situation.
CB: Definitely. So they’re definitely the ‘conversation-starter’. The Gemini is the one that you would want to have at a party to start a conversation and would thrive in that environment. So this is one of the first ones that’s really like a social-type sign in some sense.
AC: Yeah. Well, of the elements, air covers the most ground.
CB: It physically covers this ground.
AC: Yeah, just starting from the physical elements. Earth is just there. You can move water, but it takes some doing. Fire can spread, but the air is blowing over us now, and it’ll be hundreds of miles away later. Air just covers the ground.
CB: Yeah. That’s intellectual or communicative. It becomes part of our keywords or our core meanings for air, it seems like.
AC: And so, part of the plan, well, air can scatter. No other element scatters like air. Air scatters the leaves–not fire, not water, not earth, air.
CB: And this will come up more when we get there, but I think that becomes one of the primary meanings or reasons why, with Aquarius, you can rationalize a lot of what modern astrologers associate with Uranus. Uranus being associated with that sign probably can from a traditional standpoint be explained by that air association.
AC: Yeah, I think that there’s a relatively profound correspondence between Uranus and air.
CB: Okay. All right, well, we’ll cross that…
KS: Yeah, we’ll come to that.
CB: Okay, getting ahead of ourselves. All right, so that is sign number three.
KS: We’re going to talk about a water sign.
CB: Yeah, we’re finally getting to it. We’re talking about all these other elements, we’re finally getting to the water signs. So you and I, especially, Kelly, can breathe a sigh of relief. Austin, you have some..
KS: He’s got a good amount of water too.
AC: I’ve got South Node, Sun, Mars, Uranus, Jupiter and rising in water.
CB: Right. I guess I’ve got a little bit of a ‘stellium’ arrogance going on in terms of if you don’t have a stellium of at least, what, four or five planets in a specific sign then…
AC: I believe I’m the only one here who has a planet in all three water signs.
KS: I think that’s true.
CB: Okay, that’s a good point.
KS: No, you take that cake. Because actually, Chris, I think you only have planets in one water sign.
CB: I mean, when you say it like that. You don’t have to say it like that. All right, well, I went from being very full of myself about that to suddenly feeling cut down to size.
KS: Shit, it’s like the throw-down about water signs. Austin is winning because I only have two. And look, Chris, my planet in Scorpio is just Uranus, that’s it. I mean, I’m not sure that I can claim that; it’s not like it’s a personal planet there.
CB: Right, but you have like twenty planets in Pisces.
KS: I do have a few in Pisces.
AC: You definitely win the ‘Pisces’ throne, Kelly.
KS: Well, Chris is on the ‘Scorpio’ throne, or he’s in the ‘Scorpio’ dungeon maybe, I’m not sure.
CB: I’ve got a nice shirt on I just got pretty recently. It’s a Scorpio shirt.
KS: Yes, it’s beautiful. I’m really in love with that blue. Are the Pisces ones the same or completely different?
CB: Yeah, they’re going to be the same. This is the first test shirt, so we’re going to have them available wherever the store is, like AstrologyPodcast.com/store, and then you can find links to them.
KS: Excellent. So on the note of water signs, the Cancer one will be just the same too.
CB: Right. So that would be a good card game, because it’s kind of like a card game what we were just doing. You have certain suits in poker, for example, that beat other ones, and a royal flush or something would be a stellium versus having what Austin has, with covering all three water signs; that would be whatever the other…
KS: Three of a kind or something.
AC: That would probably be a straight.
KS: A straight, okay.
AC: Because straights are sequential.
KS: Yes. And then you’d have to have trump cards. Sure, maybe you’ve got the Sun in Pisces, but my Jupiter in Pisces is going to beat that or something along those lines.
AC: Yeah, there you go.
CB: Oh, my god, I would love that. Somebody follow through with that.
KS: Somebody listening.
CB: Come up with a card game based on that.
KS: And we’ll promote it on the show.
AC: But you can only play once with people and then you find out who wins.
KS: Thanks for the Mars manifestation there, Austin.
AC: I didn’t describe the structure of the card game, or I didn’t make it up. I’m just saying if that’s the way it works then you play once and your chart either wins or loses.
CB: Right. That’s a good point.
KS: Find out who the winners and losers are. Oh, my goodness.
CB: All right, well, give us credit at least if somebody does come up with that and wins a million dollars or makes a million dollars. So let’s move on to our next sign—sign number four, Cancer. We are alternating again, so this is an odd sign, alternating odd and even. So this is a feminine sign, number four.
CB: This is a cardinal sign, so we’re coming back to cardinal. And this is a water sign and it is ruled by the Moon. So the Moon has its domicile or its dwelling place in Cancer, traditionally.
KS: Yes, it does.
AC: And so, it’s…
KS: Well, and I think–okay, Austin.
AC: Well, I just wanted to start with its cardinal water. Where does the water come from, right? So we’re talking about water and beginnings, right? And so, we have Cancer, as you know, the sign of the Moon, the sign of the mother, right? We’re talking, where does life come from? Oh, it comes from the primordial waters.
What’s going on inside the womb? Oh, it’s filled with primordial waters that have a very similar salinity to seawater. Where does the water come from? It comes from the ground: it’s a well, it’s a spring. Where did civilization happen? Oh, people gathered around the source of the waters.
People say, “Oh, Cancer is nurturing,” right? What is nurturing? It’s those first waters, whether it’s mother’s milk or the primordial sea or the spring or the well that keeps your town from being dehydrated and dying, that’s where you start. And what do you do with the source of the primordial waters which nurtures you? You protect it. You build a goddamn shell around it. You don’t let everybody fuck with the well. You protect…
KS: You keep it pure.
AC: Yeah, you protect a woman who’s pregnant because she’s in a more vulnerable position, etc., etc. So there’s my first ten cents. I got another quarter for you, but there’s the first ten.
CB: That’s good.
CB: So a lot of those things with Cancer, modern astrologers sometimes default to associating with the 4th house, but it seems like a lot of those things comes from the Moon, especially and its association. And the Moon, often one of the associations it had was ‘mothers’ and ‘nurses’, and this nurturing component seems to be like a riff off or connected with a lot of the things that you were talking about, the idea of nurturing something.
KS: Yeah. And I think in both instances, it’s about nurturing or protecting that which is most vulnerable. And if you’re a community, it’s the water source; that is, you lose that, you’re going to die. If we lose our young, if we lose our feeding mothers or pregnant mothers type of thing, everything will die off, because the protective quality and Cancer is highly-developed, but it’s very much directed towards protecting the vulnerable or those that can’t defend themselves, if you like.
AC: Yeah. So ‘nurturing’ and also ‘cultivation’ is, I think, very Cancerian. You garden, Kelly. Before the plant can stand on its own, you’ve got to be careful when you first transplant it from the pod. You worry if there are too many cloudy days. You make sure it has the right water, etc., etc.
KS: Sometimes you have to stake it to help it until it gets stronger.
AC: Yeah, yeah, exactly, you prop it up then. But like the process of caring about something growing, you’re putting it inside the circle to protect it, whether that’s a physical fence or an emotional fence, it’s just there. And people who have heavy Cancer sometimes it’s like, “Oh, I really care about astrology. Like I want to nurture my skill and nurture the community. This is something I’m protective and emotional about.”
AC: It’s that caring energy that can be applied to anything. But when you care, you protect and you nurture, right? And Jupiter’s exalted there because it’s about growing things; you protect them so they grow.
CB: I like your physical mannerism as you’re trying to describe this. It’s like hugging and protecting something physically with your arms.
KS: It’s what you do if you’re a crab.
AC: And that’s the crab claw. That’s the loving crab claw right there.
CB: Right. So Cancer is the crab. And karkinos was the Greek word and Cancer in Latin literally means ‘the crab’. An important point actually, I often laugh when Cancer is accidentally artistically depicted as a lobster.
KS: Oh, yeah.
CB: It always makes me laugh just because originally in Greek, the term was ‘crab’. And the crab in terms of the symbolism actually becomes really important symbolically for understanding some of the meanings archetypally.
KS: Well, one of the things I always take from the symbol of the crab for the sign of Cancer is that if you’ve watched a crab on the beach, they move sideways. For a crab to get from A to B, they move in a zigzag-style pattern. This is not Aries; we’re not just heading straight out of the gate.
And there’s a cautious quality to Cancer that sometimes manifests as a hesitation or is interpreted as a hesitation. It’s not a fear, but it’s a desire to protect what they have as they move forward, and they’re happy to take what looks like a circuitous type of pathway if that is going to allow for the protection and the nurturing as part of the process. We don’t want to give that up for anything.
AC: Yeah. Absolutely. And it’s spiraling in towards something rather than heading in a straight line, or spiraling out from something. I’ve got Cancer rising, and so I’m like, “I’m going to do that,” and I spiral in on it, and then I spiral out from relaxation. I don’t take straight lines that often.
KS: No, straight lines don’t exist for Cancer.
AC: Which is one of the reasons why Mars has a hard time there.
CB: So there’s an indirect quality to it.
KS: There is. And to go back to the Jupiter exaltation here, I do think there is a generosity in the sign of Cancer, but it’s the emotional generosity rather than material generosity.
AC: Yeah, it’s an emotional that moves the material.
KS: The place it comes from is the emotion.
AC: Absolutely. And then we’ve got to flip this too. So Cancer planets and Cancer people also want to be taken care of.
AC: They want to be inside the ‘huggy’ circle, right? They’re nurturing, but they also want to be nurtured.
AC: And so, Cancer as cardinal water can be very demanding emotionally, like, “I need this.”
AC: Cancer archetypally can also be really good at saying, “Ah, I know exactly what you need,” and you don’t even have to ask.
KS: Yes, yes. And to do a bit of the pros and cons, I always think about Cancer, because it’s cardinal, has a reactive responsive tone to it; so it can be quite responsive because it’s cardinal water. So this is like if something happens, we’ve got to adapt to circumstances or change our plan, if you like.
It’s not the Scorpio version of water where we’re like, “Oh, my god, something’s happened. We’re just going to keep doing what we were doing.” But there is a reactiveness, which sometimes manifests as a sensitivity or a moodiness that we see in the sign of Cancer. If it doesn’t get what it needs or it doesn’t get that level of protection or care, there can be the emotional response to that.
AC: Yeah. And Cancer planets are really tuned to comfort. They’re like, “I’m not comfortable here.”
KS: Yeah, or I don’t feel safe here.
AC: And that goes into if you don’t feel safe, you can’t feel comfortable, I would say. I mean, I’m like that. I’m like, “Umm, I don’t know. I think I need a little bit of this to be in the right state to do this, and maybe I’ll drink some water.” There’s a cultivating of one’s state in one’s perfect bubble/shell.
And as a cardinal sign, Cancer sets out to like, “This is how it’s going to be. I’m going to create this little world. I’m going to create a world that feels like this, and then armor it so nobody can interfere with it.”
KS: Yeah. And I think it’s interesting because the other sign that’s associated of course with that comfort is Taurus, and the connection between Taurus and Cancer is the Moon–that the Moon rules Cancer and the Moon is exalted in Taurus. And the combination of Taurus-Cancer, I always think of mud straight away, which is nourishing. And you get this really lovely growth and richness from those two coming together, but all that moisture comes from the sign of Cancer.
CB: Those are definitely the two nurturing signs of all the signs of the zodiac. I mean, the only one that’s maybe closer in any way might be Pisces, but that’s in a much different way, more like charity or something.
KS: Yeah, Pisces might forget to feed you, but Taurus or Cancer won’t.
AC: But Pisces cares about your soul.
KS: That’s the thing–the orientation is different.
CB: Or like Virgo is very helpful.
KS: Very helpful, but in a practical, tangible kind of way because it’s earth.
CB: Right, like, let me fix your car, or something.
KS: Yeah, let me help you solve this problem.
AC: You’ll feel better once we do this to-do list.
AC: You’ll feel different once you get your chores done.
CB: Right. Whereas Cancer and Taurus welcome you into their home and give you food or something as the first thing that they think of.
KS: Yeah, I think the comfort peace that Austin said was beautiful. The Cancer will want to make you feel comfortable at home. If you ever have to stay in someone’s home and they’ve got Cancer planets, they will have just thought of all these little things that almost make you feel like you’re with that archetypal Mother energy, that somebody has just really taken the time to consider your comfort and gone out of their way to meet that.
AC: And so, the problem with comfort…
KS: There are some problems with Cancer.
AC: …is what’s comfortable changes as quickly as the Moon moves. “I don’t feel like doing this now. I was writing and it felt really good earlier, but now I don’t feel like doing this now.” And then in an hour, you feel like doing something else; and so comfort is always relative to that very quick, subjective tide. And so, yeah, planets in Cancer are subject to the rapid waxing and waning of the Moon. And so, on a sort of crude-but-true level, Cancers are moody as fuck.
CB: Right, moodiness.
KS: Moodiness is an accurate description of the downside of Cancer. And the Moon is moving so quickly that the Cancer’s mood is just changing equally as quickly.
CB: Right. I want to reiterate that just to emphasize it because this is, again, being tied into some very specific, concrete, tangible, astronomical thing.
CB: We were talking about Mercury in Gemini and how Mercury, of all of the planets, changes course directions the most frequently. Cancer, ruled by the Moon, the Moon is the planet which is constantly changing phases. And each month it’s going from a New Moon, and it starts increasing in light and building up and getting brighter and brighter, then it hits a Full Moon two weeks in.
It reaches peak brightness and then it starts getting dark and dark and dark, until two weeks later, it’s at its darkest as a New Moon again. So it’s constantly waxing and waning and changing in its level of brightness, so that there’s this astronomical shift or frequency of its shifts, which then manifests symbolically in some of these things we’re talking about with Cancer.
AC: Yep. It changes position and phase quicker than anything else. It doesn’t change speed and doesn’t change direction like Mercury, but it changes phase and position quicker than anything else.
KS: And you see that quite tellingly from night to night. The Moon will be with different star clusters from one night to the next, and it will be a little bit bigger or a little bit smaller than it was the night before in a way that is obvious to the naked eye; so there is, yeah, the growing and the shrinking.
CB: So ‘changeability’ or ‘changeable’ is probably a good keyword there for that.
AC: Yeah. What’s interesting though is it’s not adaptable or flexible necessarily.
AC: And what’s interesting is the Moon slows down a little bit and speeds up a little bit.
KS: She does have a bit of a speed change.
AC: But the Moon is the most consistent in motion, except the Sun. Every other planet changes speed much more dramatically. And so, yeah, you’re moody if you’ve got a bunch of stuff in Cancer or important things in Cancer, but you’re consistently moody, right? Like that’s how.
AC: There aren’t sudden reversals in the same way.
KS: That’s true, yeah. And I think with Cancer, when it does have its change component–it’s changeability, if you like–it’s usually with a specific goal or purpose in mind, and I think that’s the difference between the cardinal quality versus the mutable. The mutable can just be changing for the sake of changing without necessarily attempting to go anywhere, whereas the cardinal is sort of changing with a purpose. The circumstances have shifted, we’ve adjusted our goal and now we’re doing this.
AC: Yeah. Well, I would say cardinal…
CB: Or it can be appealed to emotionally, whereas Gemini might be more changing as a result of an intellectual appeal.
AC: Yeah, definitely. But yeah, a cardinal sign wants to do something. Cancer wants to nurture, create, grow something. And so, it has to deal with the tides of the Moon to do that, but it’s trying to do something to establish comfort, safety, and cultivation.
Mutable signs, in a caricature sense, they wake up and they’re like, “I don’t know. What’s today going to be about? I’ll find out.” Whereas a cardinal sign will wake up and be like, “I’m going to try to do this today, and I will deal with what’s between me and my goal.” But a mutable is like, “Okay, what is it? Tell me, and then I’ll figure out who I’m going to be or how I’m going to react to that.” They’re reactive.
KS: I like it.
CB: All right, any final words that we want to mention with respect to Cancer before we move on? Have we done a sufficient good thing/bad thing coverage?
AC: Yeah, I don’t know. Let’s see: ‘deep’, ‘caring’, ‘moody’, ‘needy’.
KS: Yeah, they sometimes can be a little bit cautious or conservative, and then the idea of vintage or sentimental are some of the other keywords that can be relevant for Cancer.
CB: Yeah, sentimental is a good one.
KS: But I feel like we’ve given it a good treatment.
AC: Yeah, yeah.
CB: Okay, cool. Well, let’s move on to sign number five. So we have Leo.
KS: Oh, yeah, all the radiance. It’s like spirit fingers.
KS: It’s like they need a big bright Sun to come on them.
AC: I think you’re Jupiter is going to have to handle this one, Kelly.
KD: I know. I was like, “Oh, that was me,” because I have Jupiter in Leo.
CB: So Leo is a masculine fixed and fire sign which is ruled by the Sun, and those are its four primary properties or qualities. So where do we start with Leo?
KS: Radiance, maybe.
CB: Radiance. Well, also, just in terms of the Sun, the Sun is the body that all the other planets in the solar system revolve around.
KS: It is the center.
CB: The center of the solar system.
AC: And of attention.
KS: The center of everything.
CB: The center of attention, right. So the Sun is ‘the’ celestial body that everybody sees everyday that everything else depends on. It’s the most obvious because we have sunrise, we have noon when the Sun is directly above ahead, and then we have sunset, so it’s the most1. Yeah, that’s a good one.
KS: And if we think about the astronomical components, there is a steadiness and a consistency to the Sun’s path through the sky that is quite unique. You know what I mean? It doesn’t change speed a lot. For instance, he’s not varying off the ecliptic.
CB: It’s like at 1 degree everyday, it moves forward.
KS: Yeah, day-in, day-out.
AC: It’s the most consistent in motion and light of all the planets.
KS: And we have the Sun ruling a fixed sign, so we’re going to really see that consistency. And whenever I teach on Leo, I always talk about my Dad who is a Leo. And he is the kind of fellow that even though I’ve lived in another country for ten years, I can still tell you what time train my Dad takes in the morning to work, and I know exactly when the phone rings at five to 5:00 of an afternoon that it’s Dad calling from a certain stop on the train line.
And if Mum leaves the house at that time, she will coordinate with his train to pick him up–they have a very traditional style of relationship–and he’ll be home because his schedule hasn’t changed in about twenty-five years. Even though there’s been a couple different companies along the way, he still keeps to the same hours and the same train schedule.
That consistency–it’s infuriating if you don’t have a lot of fixed planets, for instance, because it doesn’t change. But in the same way that Taurus, the fixed quality, gives both a positive and a negative, the positive of the fixed is that you can rely on it; but the negative of the fixed is that if you want to change it, good luck to you because it’s a bit of an immovable-type force.
CB: Right, so there can be good and bad. I mean, we have ‘consistency’. One of the things that’s really important to Leo is–I’m trying to think of the word, but it’s like the importance of ‘being true in a relationship’ or ‘stability’ or ‘pledging your support’. Not just support, but ‘fidelity’. What’s the term I’m searching for? Not in the negative sense.
KS: Loyalty, yeah.
CB: Super, super important.
KS: Yeah, incredibly loyal.
CB: And that loyalty though is like an outgrowth of what you’re talking about in terms of that consistency. Loyalty is pledging that you will have a permanent sort of consistency to another person.
KS: Yeah, you can write it in stone, basically, if a Leo makes a promise to you, if you like. Because Leo is the sign of the Sun, so there’s an awareness of being seen. So it’s not just that internal, I want to be consistent, but it’s the awareness that I will be observed if I’m not consistent. Maybe it’s the pride piece that comes in around I want to do this, but I also want to be seen to be doing this.
CB: Mm, right.
KS: I don’t want to lose in the public, if you like. Because if you do have planets in Leo, you will be seen or they will be seen.
CB: Right. And sometimes that’s a positive thing in terms of being seen, but it can also be a negative thing. It’s one of the first ones where we run into almost like an issue of appearances sometimes being overplayed in some sense or an overemphasis on appearance in a negative way or a way that sometimes can be like a sort of ‘shallowness’ in some sense.
KS: Yeah, because one thing, Leo is very sensitive to the feedback, the external feedback, basically. So they’re looking for sometimes that external feedback rather than staying true to themselves, and I think that’s sort of the shadow side. The goal of the Leo energy I think is to find that authentic spark or that authentic light and to express or to radiate that as often as possible.
AC: Yeah, I agree. If we’re talking about fixed fire, we’re talking about maintaining a fire. And fire is hungry, and you have to constantly feed a fire, right? That’s just the way it is.
AC: And so, there’s a question with individuals with a lot of significant planets in Leo–where is that fuel coming from, right? Is it coming from a depth of knowledge of one’s soul? What’s it feeding on? Is it feeding from likes on Facebook? What is the fire feeding on and what are you feeding the fire if you have planets in Leo?
KS: Yeah, that’s a really good point. And the fire image. I mean, we talked about the ignition of Aries. And I always think of Leo as the hearth fire that burns all night, but you do have to make sure you’ve fed it well, so that you’ll still have warm embers in the morning.
AC: Right. You can’t let the Sun go out.
CB: One of the other qualities that comes up very frequently of Leo is having this regal quality. Other synonyms are royal, kingly, queenly, princely, but this ‘regalness’ to it. Where is that coming from symbolically? What are some of the connecting themes that might be connected with that?
AC: Well, I mean, the Sun.
KS: It’s the Sun. I’m sure it’s the Sun.
CB: The Sun.
KS: Because mythologically, we talk about the Sun when we talk about oriental and occidental planets. We talk about planets preceding the Sun or staying up after the Sun with the image of the Sun as the solar deity, the king or–well it would have been a king historically.
CB: Right. Well, no, that’s important–it’s like ‘the king’.
KS: It is.
CB: If you were to assign, if you were to look at–and they did in the ancient world–the planets, one of the analogies was like a royal court or a society; the Sun would be the king.
KS: Yeah, Mercury can be the page, and Venus can be the courtiers or what have you, but the Sun is the king. And so, you do see a lot of that leadership quality or figurehead quality coming through with the Leo sign.
AC: Right. And that’s part of the performative quality of the Sun in Leo–you have to perform leadership. You have to inspire. You have to command confidence. You have to command which way things go. Leadership is not something which is quietly calculated in a corner; it has to be performed, right? And so, with Leo, we have the rousing political speech, as well as the Shakespearean play, as well as the bad reality show, right? The performative quality is very important.
But I would also say one thing that doesn’t get talked about as much with Leo is that it’s actually a physically vigorous sign. The Sun has a lot to do with physical vigor. Leo rules the ‘heart area’ and then the Sun also rules the spine. Like that’s your cardio, right?
AC: The heart pumps the blood throughout the entire body, like the Sun.
AC: And so, you see a lot of vigorous specimens. When you’ve got somebody with Sun in Leo in the 1st, you have a vigorous, active, strong and healthy sort of quality. And air can be just mentally active–it’ll tend towards the mental–whereas fire is both mentally and physically active and yang or exertive.
KS: Yes, I agree. You see that physicality in fire quite a lot and the need for physical activity or physical movement or even work that might have a physical component to it.
AC: Yeah. And you can’t perform without using the body, right?
AC: You can get up there and read the words to a lecture…
KS: No, to perform, you must embody.
AC: Right. You’ve got to be there physically as well as mentally.
CB: Right. That sort of goes back to this idea of that which animates other things, or it has this animating quality…
CB: …that is sort of central.
KS: That’s all Sun stuff, I think…
KS: …the animation, and the idea of generating things. Because if we go back to our garden, nothing will grow without the Sun–it’s absolutely critical.
CB: Right. So it has the ability to animate other things just by virtue of being itself.
KS: Yeah, it’s an enlivening-type of quality.
CB: Right. ‘Enlivening’–that’s really good. Or vivifying, I think that’s the word.
KS: ‘Vivifying’ is a good word.
AC: Also, ‘illuminating’.
KS: Yes, yes.
AC: I don’t know if either of you have ever been to a one-man show or a one-woman show. It’s the most Leo thing ever where somebody is like, “Let me tell you my story,” and they kind of perform a piece that tells you a lot about what it’s like to be a person and about living that life, and it sheds light on a whole course of experience. It’s very Leo.
CB: There was an astrologer once that I met that wanted to give a talk for a group I was organizing, and he wanted to give a talk just on what it was like to be a Leo, what the sign Leo is like, and it was because he had a stellium in that sign. And I thought it was just like the most Leo thing ever.
KS: This is like a clear Leo cliche come to life.
AC: Yeah, let me tell you what it’s like for me to be a Leo. I’m sure everybody would be into it.
KS: Everybody wants to know this, don’t they?
CB: Right. Yeah.
KS: Well, I can think of two of my favorite sports people–which are obviously going to be tennis players–who are both Leos–Pete Sampras and Roger Federer and that staying power, if you like. But there’s a strength to Leo…
KS: …that I think sometimes gets overlooked. It is fixed fire. It’s ‘focused’ fire. There’s drive and determination. We are ‘never saying die’.
AC: Oh, yeah. And it’s a bestial sign; it’s not human-shaped.
KS: Yeah, we didn’t really talk a lot about this. But there is something in Leo where we operate from that primal instinct, which is the bestial part.
CB: And I don’t know if it’s been stated, but Leo literally means ‘the lion’, or Leo means ‘lion’ in Latin.
KS: Oh, yeah. I think we might have just assumed, but yes, we should state that.
AC: I would say Leo operates from ‘me’, but there are a lot of different ‘me-s’. There’s the ‘me’ of the body.
AC: There’s the ‘me’ of the emotional psyche. There’s the ‘me’ in a spiritual sense. There are a lot of ‘me-s’. So whereas Cancer spirals in and spirals out of the center, Leo radiates from the center, right? And that center is one of those ‘me-s’ or all of those ‘me-s’, but it’s radiance from a point.
CB: Right. And that can have its positive and negative manifestations. I mean, the negative manifestations obviously are clear in terms of the potential for being overly-self-involved or something like that. But it’s interesting seeing a natural positive manifestation of that, of just centrality in a social sense. Just by being present and being able to organize things around you or having people organize themselves around you, and you being a centering force in a social circle just by virtue of being yourself or just doing things naturally.
AC: Right. Which is absolutely vital to leadership, right?
AC: Yeah, being that organizing intentional force. And I was going to say something–hopefully, I’ll remember.
CB: So shadow side–things like ‘pride’. Pride is a positive thing. But being overly-prideful, there’s a good specific term for that, isn’t there?
CB: I guess pride.
KS: It is pride.
AC: I believe in Latin superbia is the sin that gets translated as ‘pride’. The deadly sin is superbia, which is thinking that you’re better than other people.
AC: Which is different than really knowing and seeing the value of who and what you are, right? That’s the positive.
CB: That’s positive.
KS: That’s the positive part of Leo.
CB: Satisfaction from your achievements or something.
AC: Right. And so, superbia, which is the actual deadly sin, is thinking you’re better than, which is different from valuable in and of itself. I would also add with Leo people, a lot of Leo’s that I know have this ability. Because they’re good at ‘me’, they can just point and say, “You–that’s who you are and that’s great.”
AC: There’s an ability to be like, “Oh, you too are a star. I’m a star! Isn’t it amazing being a star? You’re a star. You’re putting off nuclear radiation by the truckload.” But the psychologically, minimally-damaged Leos that I know can all just do that. They’re like, “Me!,” and they’re like, “You! Us! We’re all these things. We’re all these radiant great things.” There’s a warmth and positivity. As long as, again, you don’t have strong counter-indications in the chart, you have that quality.
CB: The ability to shine a light, the spotlight on somebody else as a positive.
CB: Illuminating, again.
KS: To use their illumination skills or illuminating skills to illuminate something in you or in others, to recognize that essence of ‘you-ness’. Because I think one thing Leo does very well–particularly, the Sun in Leo, for instance–is there’s a real sense of this is who I am, these are my limits.
There’s a firmness. There’s often a setting of standards. It’s sometimes in modern astrology just described as the sign of luxury, but it’s very much, “I know what I deserve,” or “I know what I’m worth, and I won’t back down. If you can’t give me that’s fine, I’m going to keep going,” but there’s a holding steady to that.
AC: Yeah, absolutely.
CB: So we’ve talked about a lot of positive qualities. Some of the negative downsides can be things like ‘arrogance’ or ‘self-aggrandizement’.
KS: My way or the highway.
AC: Yeah, yeah. ‘Tyrannical’.
AC: I would also say ‘thirsty’. The Sun dries everything out.
KS: They’re ‘hungry’.
AC: Leos get thirsty. It’s like, “Oh, I need some more attention. Tell me I’m great. Click on my thing.” There’s total thirstiness; this dried-out Leo.
KS: So very interesting.
CB: In the news, I saw some astrologer say there was a Leo rising recently that’s set Leos back a few decades.
KS: Yeah, there’s a very negative manifestation of Leo in the mainstream world right now.
AC: I did this and it’s great because it was me that did it, which is why the Sun…
KS: Yeah, I can make everything great.
AC: Which is why the Sun is exalted in Aries. Because Aries is like, “I’m going to do something great and then you’ll believe in me,” whereas Leo’s like, “It’s great because I did it.”
KS: Or, “I am great.”
CB: Yeah, literally the best in the world or thinking that you’re the best in the world.
AC: And also what you see with Leo people is if there’s damage, if there’s like bad self-esteem damage, everything that they do is exactly as bad as they think they are. That internal self-image and valuing gets projected onto everything where it’s like, “Nope, it’s not great because I’m not great.”
AC: And that’s just the flip side…
KS: That’s a broken Sun thing.
AC: Yeah, it’s just the flip side of, “It’s great because I’m great,” but it’s “That’s terrible because I’m terrible.”
KS: Because I’m terrible.
CB: All right. I mean, we’ve already touched upon this, but one of the associations with the Sun that I always found interesting is the ‘eyes’ and the sense of sight. And this is probably where some of the sight/visual-type things are coming from. In a positive sense with Leo, it’s about being seen and being seen as important, but sometimes the negative side being the overemphasis on the visual or performative aspects of things.
CB: Right. Status symbols or the vision of status without necessarily having the substance underlying it, but the appearances being more important than anything in some ways.
AC: Yeah, I think that visual component is super important. Seeing others, being seen, what does it look like? Performance–yeah, it’s all there. And you’ve got to see it through the right eye; right eye is the Sun.
KS: Yeah, the Moon is the left eye, right?
CB: Yeah. Although there’s some that say–like Porphyry says that it’s flipped for…
KS: The other way around.
CB: …men and women.
KS: Men and women.
AC: But for Porphyry that’s an exception to the rule. The vast majority of sources all over the world do Sun/right eye and Moon/left eye. That’s in astrology; that’s in a bunch of stuff. You’ll find that in esoteric Taoism; it’s just everywhere. It’s in Egyptian mythology. The Sun and Moon are the right and left eyes of Horus. Sun/right, Moon/left is almost universal with a few important points of disagreement.
CB: Yeah. I mean, that’s part of a broader thing that sometimes comes up in ancient astrology that there’s sometimes questions about modern astrology, which is that certain things are flipped based on gender and is that true. Is that actually true in practice? Is that still appropriate or not? Like Mars-Venus stuff sometimes is said to be flipped based on gender. Different questions surrounding that; that’s a whole can of worms we don’t necessarily need to get into, but it’s one of those things that exists as an interesting conceptual as well as practical issue still nowadays.
CB: All right, we’ll save that for another podcast. So anything else we need to mention about Leo before we move on and go to our final sign?
AC: I don’t think so. I mean, we could do like a brief wrap-up: ‘leadership qualities’, ‘performance qualities’, ‘strong’, ‘radiance’, ‘attention’, ‘hungry’, ‘egocentric’; that’s relatively balanced.
CB: I just want to leave it on a positive note because I don’t want to get a bunch of hate mail.
AC: I said four nice things and only two negative things.
CB: Okay. All right, then I think that’s good. Are you good, Kelly?
KS: Yeah. Leo gets the word ‘radiant’. So I just think the potential for good definitely sets the scale and skews that way in this sign, all other things being equal, which I understand in many cases they’re not.
AC: I would also add ‘honest’.
AC: Yeah, there’s a very particular flavor of ‘Leo’ honesty. And then it rules the heart, right? Speaking from the heart, which isn’t…
KS: From integrity.
AC: …which isn’t necessarily sophisticated and smart, like speaking from the brain.
KS: No, it’s more primal.
CB: This is probably connected with something that Kelly and I were talking about a little bit back, which is the signification of ‘fidelity’ being associated with Leo and ‘faithfulness’ to a person, and themes of ‘loyalty’ and ‘support’ and ‘allegiance’, and even ‘obedience’ being very important for Leo.
AC: A hundred-percent, a hundred-percent.
AC: You know, it’s the heart. And we skipped it on Cancer, but Cancer is the upper chest. When you’re like, “Uhhh, I have a feeling,” you clutch the Cancer part. If you’re like, “Uhhh, I’m offended,” and you clutch your pearls, which are the stones of the Moon, you’re clutching the Cancer part, right? Cancer is that upper chest feeling and then Leo is a little bit further down, right next to the diaphragm, in the solar plexus.
CB: There’s a little bit of an issue sometimes there with the assignments though. Because it’s like in order, if you’re going from the top to the bottom, it should be Cancer, then Leo.
AC: Yeah, that’s what I just described.
CB: That’s what you just described. However, there’s an inversion where Leo is assigned to the heart, but Cancer is often assigned to the ‘stomach’.
AC: I think that that’s conflating two different systems. So there’s planets and organ systems and signs and organ systems, but that’s different from body sections. There’s an overlap between those two. There’s like body structure, but then there’s function, and organs are function; whereas the top-down is structure, right?
So Cancer also refers to the breasts, obviously, which are on the chest, but it also refers to a certain degree to the womb. Mars speaks to the adrenal glands, but rules the head and the genitals. I think you need to deal with the organ function and the body structure area things as two separate lists that combine at certain points. One is inner part of the body, one is outer structure.
CB: Sure. And that’s a good point. It’s surprising that we didn’t mention that with the ‘breasts’ for Cancer because that then ties in directly to the nurturing aspects of Cancer, basically.
KS: Well, the breasts and the belly, because the belly is where we take in the food.
KS: Yeah, so it’s the giving and the receiving of essential nourishment.
AC: Right–the first waters.
KS: Yeah. And when you said that it made me think of my sister’s baby, who is this very healthy Taurus baby that is just being breastfed and is growing like gangbusters.
AC: So I have Jupiter in Cancer on the rising, and I was an extraordinarily heavy baby. I was like a dog. I would just eat until I couldn’t eat anymore.
AC: My parents left me with a sitter for the first time when I was two, and I gained ten pounds in two weeks.
KS: Did they leave you for two weeks?
AC: Or maybe it was a week, but I like gained ten pounds. She was so excited that I was delighted to eat whatever food she gave me.
KS: Which is atypical of a two-year-old because they’re often quite fussy, or they want this and they don’t want that.
AC: Not me. Just mash it up and put it in my face.
KS: But Cancer rising does comfort itself through food. Planets in Cancer will often seek food to comfort, and they can have issues with that as a result.
AC: Yeah, I was probably emotionally eating because my parents were gone for the first time.
KS: Of course you were.
AC: I have Jupiter there, and Jupiter is a good eater.
KS: Yeah. Well, Pisces rising or Sag rising have issues with lack of boundaries too.
CB: So Cancer is something which grows and thrives when it is fed.
CB: Which is interesting because that can be overdone, of course. But then there’s an interesting thing with Leo and the Sun there, where it’s something that grows and thrives when provided with attention…
CB: …and can sort of wither. In the same way that Cancer, if it’s not fed, can sort of wither without having that sustenance or that nourishment, Leo similarly can kind of wither when it’s not given this sort of attention that it desires or that it needs on some level.
AC: Yeah, that’s a good point.
KS: It does need it.
AC: You’ve got to keep both of those torches burning, right? The night torch of Cancer, the Moon, it’s a different kind of torch. You’ve got to feed it emotionally and physically, but you’ve got to feed Leo psychically. But you’re right. They’re both hungry in their own way. Which is interesting because they both provide the most light, but you’ve got to fuel the fire, even if it’s a ‘Moon’ fire.
CB: Right. Yeah, that is really interesting because they both emit light and that becomes part of their underlying meanings as well–the ability to emit light and to illuminate things–but then they require that as well in some sense in order to thrive.
AC: Yeah. Yeah, totally. No free lunch.
AC: No free light.
CB: All right, I think that is good for Leo, so why don’t we move on to our final sign–the sixth sign, which is Virgo. So Virgo is a feminine sign. It is a mutable sign, it is an earth sign, and it is ruled by Mercury. So it’s the first sign that we’ve come to where it’s ruled by two planets–or it’s two signs ruled by one planet. So we get to see some of the other manifestations of the same planet and there’s some similarities or overlaps, but it’s also manifestations in a different way in some sense. We see the other aspects of Mercury coming through Virgo.
AC: Yeah. And so, let’s just start with the body, right? So once we get down below the solar plexus, we’ve got guts, and Virgo rules the guts; it rules the breadbasket, right? It rules the ability to assimilate and digest what you’ve taken in, which is exactly what it does on a mental level as well, right? This is yin Mercury, which is like, “I hear you. Let me break that down and fact-check it.”
CB: Into it’s smaller components.
KS: Smaller pieces.
AC: And when you figure out what’s good–like what’s good and what’s shit–yeah, we don’t need to keep that. I read his book. I like the way he did this and that, but this part was garbage. It’s separating or discriminating between what’s good and what’s bad; what’s worth keeping what’s not worth keeping; what’s smart, what’s stupid; what’s true, what’s false. Because, again, we’re back at a mutable sign, which is dual.
CB: And this sign more than any other sign seems to deal with that which is small, which we touched upon already with Mercury ruling Gemini and being opposite to Sagittarius ruled by Jupiter, and this division between that which is small and that which is large. But the Virgo even more so seems to deal with that which is small, and you’ve already touched on that with digesting things, because in order to digest something, part of the process of that is breaking it down into its smallest possible components so that it can be digested.
But there’s other ways that focusing on that which is small manifests in so many different ways with Virgo, even in really funny, sometimes negative ways. Being ‘nitpicky’ is a Virgo trait and that’s like focusing on the details or overly-focusing on the details in some sense.
KS: A hundred-percent. Yeah, Virgo is very obsessed with the minutia, if you like. One of the skills of Virgo is that it’s able to assess and analyze and break things down into those components, so that a Virgo has a really great diagnostic skill around this little tweak here or this little change here is actually going to have quite a big impact. So Virgo is really looking for an improvement around efficiency; so to make a system or a process take less time and to also achieve the same result or require less resources.
And the difference here with the Mercury–like the nighttime yin version of Mercury here, the earthy nature of it–I always think of this as applied Mercury. In Gemini, we’ve got Mercury that is just really interested to learn things and to act on things, and here in Virgo we’ve got that reflective analysis going on to synthesize or to do the sorting of the wheat from the chaff, which we have in the small intestine, which is a very Virgo part of the body.
But it’s what we do; I think one of you guys used this word ‘discerning’ or ‘selective’. So we’re assessing things–good quality, not what I’m after–and we’re constantly moving things out or putting them into the right place.
CB: Right. Even though it’s a mutable sign and it’s a Mercury-ruled sign, that earthy component of Virgo seems to remove a lot of the flighty qualities that we get in Gemini more. And there’s much more of a substance and almost like a slowness that still comes in with Virgo. Maybe slowness isn’t the right term. There’s some term I’m reaching for there.
KS: There is a steadiness that Virgo has because it’s the only earth mutable sign.
KS: It seems a little more stable relative to the other mutable signs.
AC: Yeah, I would agree with that.
CB: Right, like programming. One of the things you were talking about just now, Kelly, made me think of programming as like a Virgo-type thing; like programming computers or something like that.
AC: Well, when I think of Virgo, I think of editing.
KS: Yes, my favorite Virgo word.
AC: Gemini says all of the words, and Virgo’s like, “Okay, we can get rid of this paragraph. This sentence can be half as long. Let’s think about using this word here. It’s just going to come off slightly better.” Virgo fact-checks. Gemini just says all the things, and then Virgo, like you said earlier, will break it down, right? That’s what the intestines do.
And when we’re like, okay, let’s stop and really get into this and take it apart before we put it back together, let’s break it down. And that’s what Virgo does. It breaks it down into its component pieces, looks at their relationships, and decides when you’re looking at a process for efficiency, like you mentioned, Kelly. Let’s break down the way we’re managing our time. What are we doing here? Does this feed into that?
KS: Yeah. And the other word that I often think of with Virgo is the ‘mechanics of things’, which is kind of what you’re talking about there, Austin, where you pull things down into their pieces just to make sure that it’s all working well or to see if it can be made better. And one of the downsides of Virgo of course is that idea of not being able to save the forest for the trees, because they can get unfortunately a little obsessed on this little bit of the bark here and they miss the larger picture. And we could bring in the Virgo-Jupiter polarity again, the same as the Gemini-Sag.
AC Yeah. I mean, the Virgo trap is getting stuck on that tree and forgetting the forest.
AC: I remember a long time ago in college, our layout editor for the paper we were doing was a Virgo Moon guy with lots of Virgo stuff, and the other editor was making fun of how detail-oriented he was; also, he had carpentry as a hobby. And she was like, “Yeah, I can just imagine you there sanding a table leg until it snaps in two,” and he kind of looked funny for a second and he was like, “I’ve done that.”
KS: Yeah, forgetting that if you make this piece so perfect, it will destroy the integrity of the entire table.
AC: Right, or just trying to get that one part perfectly smooth, you end up with no leg, and that’s the Virgo trap. And just about Virgo being a mutable sign, and therefore, being reactive and flexible, when you put something in front of Virgo, Virgo is like, “Hmm, how does it work and how can I make it better? What’s not perfect about this that I can change?” It’s reacting to what’s placed in front.
AC: Yeah. And it’s sort of like, “Hmm, okay, well, let me take a look at this,” right? “My knee hurts.” “Well, let me take a look at this. Well, you’ve got some swelling here, there’s some discoloration here. If you move it this way, does it hurt?” Virgo, Virgo, Virgo, Virgo.
KS: Yeah. I do think there’s a very genuine desire inside the Virgo archetype to improve things.
AC: Oh, yeah.
KS: And so, their nitpicking and their nagging can come across in a very critical way. The dryness of Virgo is very much this will make whatever it is better, whether it’s your problem or our problem or something about me. But one of the difficult traits of Virgo is that perfectionism and that self-criticism which is very strong.
AC: I’ve got to tell just a very brief anecdote. So Kait, my wife, has a Venus Virgo, and a significant amount of the time when we go get takeout food, she will then spend ten minutes improving it on the stove. She’ll be like, “These quesadillas aren’t exactly right,” and she’ll crisp them up a little bit. Or like, “Yeah, I really like their spaghetti,” or whatever it is; we don’t order a lot of spaghetti. But then she’ll be like, “Yeah, I’m going to add a little bit of oregano and then maybe a dash of hot red pepper,” but she’ll be like, “Hmm, yeah, this is the food I want and I’m going to make it better.”
KS: I love it, yeah.
AC: And it is better when she does that, to be fair.
KS: Yeah. And people do have to be fair to Virgo because they cop a lot of slack, a lot of crap about being so pedantic and critical, but their suggestions or their input have great value and it’s definitely worth taking on board.
CB: Right. Definitely. So that discerning quality is super important. And there’s other keywords/synonyms that go along with that, which are ‘discriminating’, ‘astute’, ‘intelligent’, ‘selective’. And then that helpful component–what is that? It’s a helpfulness or a desire to help and to play a supporting role.
KS: They do like to be of service. Yeah, service, helping, supporting, even a bit of healing. Not in a sort of mystical way, but you often see Virgo planets having an inclination towards medical or health professions in some capacity; and so, there is a very genuine desire that’s very humble. In Leo, we want to be seen, we want to be acknowledged, we want to be adored, and in Virgo, we just want to help.
AC: With Virgo, it’s like, “Let me fix it.”
CB: Well, doing it and then not getting credit for it necessarily or not necessarily even wanting credit for it, but just doing it for the sake of…
KS: Virgo doesn’t need the credit. It just wants a job well done.
AC: Well, the Sun in Virgo does because it’s the Sun.
KS: That’s true.
AC: The Sun always needs to be seen.
KS: But that’s specific to the Sun in Virgo. I don’t think the pure energy of Virgo itself needs that.
AC: No, it’s a very objective orientation. There’s a, “Ah, I fixed it and now it’s good. Now it works perfectly.” That’s the pleasure.
CB: Having satisfaction in that.
KS: Yes, that’s the satisfaction and pleasure.
CB: No, that’s good. Getting a feeling of satisfaction from fixing something or optimizing it, so that it’s running at full capacity.
KS: ‘Optimizing’–that’s the Virgo word, yeah.
CB: Sure. So before I forget this–because I’ve been meaning to mention it for a while–often in a modern context, in a New Age context, it got tied into ideas of evolution and spiritual evolution, and that doesn’t really sit well with me. And that’s not the religious or philosophical context that I approach it from, but there is something about the signs of the zodiac that we can see, as we’re going through them in order, where the sign that follows after the previous sign.
There’s always some sort of corrective or some sort of modification of the quality that’s directly related and you can see as almost a change and a shift in the previous quality. And I don’t know how to fully take that; I want to take that outside of an evolutionary or spiritual context. But there’s something going on there, and I don’t know fully how to frame that. How do you talk about that? Is that something you’ve addressed when you try to teach this?
Because sometimes it gets abused in saying that Aries is the youngest sign and Pisces is the oldest sign or something like that, which is a little bit weird. But there is some sort of almost developmental component as you go through the signs of the zodiac, at least when you treat them in pairs of seeing Leo and it’s self-aggrandizement or its focus on the self, which can sometimes be egocentric.
AC: We could say maybe self-actualization.
CB: Yeah, self-actualization versus, let’s say, Virgo, and there sometimes being this sense of ‘selflessness’ associated with it.
AC: ‘World optimization’.
CB: Right. I mean, I don’t know. Kelly, is that something you ever…
KS: Yeah, I get the point that you’re making, and I do think it’s true. And I agree with you that it’s a little hard to kind of put into words, which is that piece around how one sign is so different. Say, when Leo runs amok and we get too much, we get an excess of Leo, the Virgo is like a counterbalance to that.
CB: Right. Some of the qualities are almost countering those of the previous sign.
AC: The circle has to stay balanced, right? So you have to have balance within that system or else it’s not a circle anymore, right? You have to have signs neutralizing signs or else it goes off in a direction rather than staying a perfect circle.
CB: So maybe that’s just part of what we’re seeing as a byproduct of the three or the four primary underlying qualities and what happens when you’re alternating from one to another and going from a feminine sign to a masculine sign, and going from a fixed sign to a mutable sign, or going from a fire sign to an earth sign, and some of the things that happen as a result of that.
AC: Yeah, because it wouldn’t hold together as a system if it weren’t balanced, right? But the idea is that the zodiac doesn’t change, it’s balanced.
CB: Just really quickly, I just realized what it was. It goes back to the aspects and the idea of aversions and stuff. And the counter qualities are so starkly different because you’re switching from the idea of aversion of signs that can see each other or aspect each other, that they have some affinity because they share something in common.
But when you’re alternating and you’re moving from one sign to the next, those two signs, in Hellenistic astrology, they would call them in aversion. The idea was that they share none of those affinities, so they don’t share any affinity according to gender or element or modality. And so, that’s part of what we’re seeing here. We’re seeing it contrasted so differently when you’re jumping from one sign to the next because they don’t share anything in common.
AC: That’s a great insight, Chris.
CB: What were you going to say before I rudely interrupted?
KS: I can’t remember because that was really good. No, I was interrupting you. It’ll come back to me.
CB: Okay. Let me know when it does and just interrupt if I’m in the middle of saying something.
KS: No, no, no. You made a really good point about the aversion piece there.
CB: Well, it’s something that’s dealt with in some of the 20th century astrological literature rather well and people like Rudhyar deal with it. It’s just that this idea of there being like a cycle or a movement through the signs of the zodiac and a sort of developmental phase or a growth, they–often because of the New Age or because of the Theosophical background–would put it in the context of 19th century ideas of spiritual evolution coming from Madame Blavatsky and stuff like that. And I think there’s an element of that that’s still there, but I’d like to remove it from that sort of spiritual context perhaps.
AC: Yeah. Well, I think it’s a wheel, and that if you learn things as you go around the wheel, then we could call that evolution. But you can also fuck it up worse and worse every time, and you can also just kind of hold her steady. I don’t think the nature of the wheel is evolutionary; I do think it’s the context of the development that people call evolutionary, although I don’t really like that term. But that’s the playing field, but it doesn’t do the learning or development for you.
CB: Right, or even just with the seasons there is a cycle. There’s a circle of growth and development.
KS: There is. And decay–growth, development, decay, and then rest.
KS: Yeah, because winter is the rest, right?
CB: And rest ties it in also to the diurnal circle of morning, sunrise, Sun culminating in midday, sunset, nighttime. Everything’s resting or everything’s asleep and then it wakes up again on the next day.
KS: Yeah, the rest is critical. I know you guys are usually up. And what I was going to say is these are sort of twelve types as well, so they have to be somewhat distinctly different as we move around just to hold space for the different iterations, if you like.
CB: Right. Yeah, that’s a really great point.
AC: So I think we should address the symbol of the virgin because that’s a little weird. We’ve got lions and crabs and bulls, and then here’s a Virgin, right?
KS: And then a Virgin.
AC: And so, this is the ‘virgin of the fields’ or the ‘maid’ that Virgo will get referred to. It’s the idea of the virgin wheat or the crop before it’s been harvested. By the way, don’t try to eat wheat without a ton of processing, right? Like the separating of the wheat from the chaff, the Virgin is the thing as it is, and that’s what begins the Virgo process of processing the raw wheat into a delicious crusty loaf of bread. So many steps, so much processing. It’s not necessarily a sign of chastity; it’s not really what they’re talking about.
KS: No, no. So it’s about the process to take a raw rough diamond or wheat or what have you and the steps that it has to go through. So it’s more like virgin in the sense of like extra-virgin olive oil or what have you, yeah.
KS: Yeah, the raw, unfiltered, original stage.
CB: Well, and knowing when it’s time to harvest it when something has reached that whatever the age in which it’s time to harvest it. I think that’s what you’re saying at the beginning.
AC: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense.
AC: And that’s discernment. If you do any cooking, when is the meat perfectly done and not overdone and not underdone? What are the signs, right? It’s earth, right? You get this one smell and then the juices run in this particular way when it’s time to take it off the heat.
KS: It makes me think of teaching my step-kids how to cook chicken. They’re like, “How do you know if the chicken’s ready?” I’m like, “You stick a thing in this particular part of the chicken, under the leg, and when the juice comes out of here specifically clear, you’re safe. It’ll be all cooked.” But that’s just an example I guess of what you’re saying, Austin. The steps by which you go through to know when something is ready or ripe or at its opportune moment.
AC: Totally, so it doesn’t upset your small intestines, which is Virgo.
CB: Right. Before I forget, I just found the word I was looking for earlier with that idea of the development of the signs and its corrective.
KS: Oh, yes.
CB: Each sign following a sign seems to serve some sort of corrective function in something that was happening in the sign that came before. So we saw this with Aries and that impulsiveness, that impetuousness, which then just gets slowed down so radically when it comes to Taurus. We talked already about the self-aggrandizement or the focus on the self with Leo versus the helping of others or subverting the self in order to help others with Virgo. There’s some sort of corrective function that each sign that follows a sign seems to serve, and I think that was the term I was searching for earlier.
AC: Yep, that’s a good way to put it, corrective.
KS: Yeah, corrective is a beautiful word.
CB: Sure. All right, where are we at? Did you guys time this one?
AC: Well, this is all we’re doing today.
CB: Yeah, this is the end. I just…
KS: I feel like we’ve done close to twenty minutes on this one.
CB: I just want to make sure we didn’t short-change Virgo.
KS: Heaven forbid.
AC: Let’s do a little positive/negative then on Virgo.
CB: Positive/negative. One of the most helpful people I’ve ever met, just genuinely helpful, had at least three planets in Virgo or had a heavy Virgo emphasis. And he was just one of the most–‘inventive’ is a good one, but there’s a similar term related to inventive. But he was just one of the most genuinely helpful persons I had ever met. There’s another guy that you and I both know, Kelly, who plays a support role for astrologers, and I think he has a heavy Virgo emphasis.
AC: Yes, he does.
KS: A super-Virgo chart, super-Virgo chart. And not just a support role, but in a very technical way. The level of detail of the kind of work that this person does is sometimes mind-blowing actually.
CB: Yeah. And that’s really crucial because it’s behind the scenes, but he’s playing such a crucial role, and that then ties back to that idea we were talking about earlier of editors. We were focusing on the editing role, but there’s almost something as part of that archetype as well of the important and crucial role that’s behind the scenes, that they don’t get the credit.
Maybe they get mentioned in a byline like, “Thanks to my editor,” or whatever, but they’re playing a super important role in shaping and improving things in the supportive capacity, but it’s not necessarily recognized; at least they’re not at the front of the lines. They’re not the one in front getting all of the glory or something like that.
KS: Yeah, they would be the unsung-type heroes. But yeah, the editor is one of my favorite positive manifestations of the Virgo energy, because I do think the improvements that a good editor contributes to a body of writing are phenomenal and impossible to tell at the end of the day. So it’s like they come in and they make it better in such a way that you don’t even know that they’ve been there, like Santa’s elves or something.
AC: Right, leave no fingerprints.
CB: Right. In my book, in my acknowledgments, my last acknowledgment was to thank my partner Leisa Schaim, who has the Moon in Virgo. My book, it’s like a six-or-seven-hundred-page book, but it had gone through many multiple layers of edits by two or three different people over months and months, and we thought it was done.
We typeset it, and I handed it to Leisa to check out the week before publishing, and she just found tons and tons of typos that we were going to overlook and commit to printing if she just hadn’t read through it in the last week or two before it was published. And there’s just that ability to notice that, to notice the details, to notice the small things that stand out to you because you have this unique ability to see that that other people might overlook or might miss.
AC: Yeah, totally. As many typos as I’m guilty of there would be far, far, far more without Kait having looked over a bunch of my stuff.
KS: Oh, my god! I just realized we all have partners who have personal planets in Virgo.
CB: That’s funny.
KS: Because I always get Peter to proofread my stuff too. And he’ll not just do the line edits, where it’s like this word. his grammar skills are phenomenal, and he’ll be like, “You need to change this phrase,” or “You’ve used the wrong tense here,” whatever. But he’ll also do the structural type edit where he’ll be like, “You’ve gone off track here,” or “This piece doesn’t connect to this piece,” type of thing.
AC: And I believe the person who edits this podcast has a Virgo Moon as well.
CB: Does Stephen? Okay.
KS: So a shout-out to all the wonderful editors in our lives because we wouldn’t be able to do what we do–or to the level of quality. That’s the thing–the Virgo is doing the quality control.
KS: And the people that you see have the support of the Virgo behind the scenes, which helps improve the quality of their output.
AC: On a general note…
CB: That’s a really good one.
AC: On a general note…
KS: ‘Quality control’.
AC: A lot of people have Virgo planets but they have other stuff, and sometimes your ‘quality control’ parts can get in the way of your ‘being brave enough to put something out there’ parts.
KS: That is a beautiful way of talking about the problems of the ‘perfectionist’.
AC: Yeah, having an eye like that means that you have an eye like that for the flaws in everything you do as well, and so that’s a gift/curse. If you’re a person who also wants to be seen and putting things out there to be seen, and you have that Virgo eye, you’re like, “Nahhh, I can find eight thousand problems with this.”
KS: It’s funny. Speaking of other helpers, my wonderful assistant Katrina has a bunch of planets in Virgo. And we were talking the other day, and she’s like, “But I procrastinate,” and I’m like, “Yeah.” ‘Procrastination’ is actually a Virgo trait in that sense that it doesn’t come from a lack of willingness to do something, but it comes from a concern that what you’re trying to do is not going to be good enough; it’s not going to live up to that standard you have.
And they get stuck in the, “I can’t even get started because I haven’t figured out the whole plan,” or “I can’t conceptualize how it will be perfect, therefore, I must not start until I’ve got that plan.” And one of the challenges of Virgo planets run wild, if you like, is to figure out or to learn that you can take the first two steps even if you don’t have an entirely perfect plan in full.
CB: So perfectionism is the potential downfall.
KS: Yeah, and how that manifests and how that can interfere with what Austin was saying about the expression of their own ideas or their own genius, if you like.
CB: Right. It’s funny because there’s sometimes an overlap. Saturn sometimes can come off as almost ‘Virgo-y’, but there’s this idea of ‘pedantic-ness’, of being pedantic or scrupulous or precise or exacting. And that’s commonly something that comes through with Virgo, but sometimes it can be a Saturn-type thing as well.
AC: Yeah, there’s some Venn diagram overlap.
KS: Yeah. And I think specifically Mercury-Saturn aspects are very much about the standards and the rules of language or the rules of mechanics, whatever it happens to be, but there’s definitely crossover. And I mean, I’m sure Austin and I would just say that anyway. We wouldn’t just say it anyway, but we both…
AC: Having Saturn in Virgo…
KS: …have Saturn in Virgo. I mean, my husband and I sometimes have arguments about the words. He’s like, “This is a better word for that.” I’m like, “No, no, I’m trying to say this.” And then the argument is about the word not whatever we were actually discussing and that’s the kind of stuff that Virgo does on a Saturday night.
CB: Good times.
KS: That was a good one, Chris. Okay, like what else do we want to say?
CB: I feel like there’s got to be–so have we said enough? We’ve said plenty of positive things. Have we said enough negative things about Virgo?
AC: Virgo is already very aware of the negative things about Virgo.
KS: Yeah, they don’t need us to help put them out. I mean, the phrase I often say is ‘paralysis by analysis’ for Virgo. So it’s the overthinking that can lead to inaction. And not every person with Virgo planets relates to that, but many do. But as we’ve just all expressed our love for Virgo editors, they’re actually wonderful. Even if they think they’re not, everyone else thinks they’re exceptional.
CB: Because one thing I want to be careful about is not relegating Virgo entirely to a support role. What’s a manifestation of Virgo when they are the frontman and not playing the supportive role?
AC: World-famous brain surgeon.
CB: That’s good.
KS: Yeah. The technical/mechanical–so working with gadgets and things.
AC: Yeah. Also, there are totally ‘finance’ Virgos who are very good at accumulating and multiplying money.
CB: Yeah, that’s a good one. Mercury traditionally actually had a lot of mercantile…
CB: …and business and some banking connotations.
AC: And money has only gotten more mercurial over the last fifty years.
AC: It’s not gold coins changing hands. It’s numbers and growth rates and interest; it’s all mercurial math time now.
KS: Yeah, with credit rates and interest and things like that, that’s all very incredibly…
KS: It’s complex in the way that large finance packages are put together–very mercurial.
CB: Sometimes some good musicians–I know some musicians that have Virgo rising. Donald Glover, ‘Childish Gambino’, has Virgo rising. Billy Corgan, Kurt Cobain of course famously were born within a month of each other and both have Virgo rising and very similar chart placements, although slightly different. Paul McCartney has Virgo rising.
KS: Yeah, Freddie Mercury, Sun, Mercury, and rising all in Virgo. And Whitney Houston is a Mercury in Virgo as well.
CB: Oh, right.
KS: Yeah. So there’s something about the technical proficiency that Virgo has that can lead to excellence in a variety of fields because of the proficiency that Virgo gives.
CB: Right. And speaking of technical proficiency, the two founders of Apple Computer, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, both have Virgo rising.
AC: Yeah, that makes sense.
CB: Although Wozniak’s was interesting because he also had Mercury in Virgo, and of course he was the actual programmer at the beginning…
CB: …whereas Steve Jobs was the front guy.
KS: More of the ideas/creative person and then Wozniak made them.
AC: Steve Jobs is also the Mars in Aries guy.
KS: Yeah, he’s very combustible.
CB: Yeah, and his was modified by having Mercury in Aquarius. This is an important thing maybe worth mentioning for everybody looking at this in terms of their rising sign, that your rising sign and having that as a certain sign of the zodiac will be important in terms of character traits for you, but then it gets modified very heavily by what sign the ruler of the Ascendant is located in and modifying those energies and sort of blending them in some ways.
AC: Yep, that is the art.
CB: So that’s a whole separate topic though. I think we did it. We made it to the end. It only took us three hours, but we made it through the first six signs of the zodiac.
KS: Excellent. Yay!
CB: Yeah, this was awesome. Thank you guys so much for joining me today. This was a lot of fun.
KS: My pleasure.
CB: We’re going to return again next month to do part two and finish up the next six signs of the zodiac, right?
CB: All right, I will be looking forward to that. Both of you teach intro to astrology courses or have different modules where you go more into depth with the signs of the zodiac, the planets, and other basics in astrology, right?
KS: I have a six-week class called Practical Astrology for Beginners, I think. Actually in the first module, we’re doing signs and houses. Do you want more on that? That’s what I have as my basic program. And Austin, what do you have?
AC: I do four weeks on planets, four weeks on signs, four weeks on houses, and then four weeks on like five other things, but that’s the fundamentals class.
KS: Yeah, perfect.
CB: Brilliant. And I address and teach all this through my course on Hellenistic astrology, as well as my book, Hellenistic Astrology: The Study of Fate and Fortune, available at fine bookstores everywhere. And I actually forgot to mention in our last forecast episode, I finally just released it as an e-book, and you can get it through Google Books.
So go to HellenisticAstrology.com/book and you’ll find a link to the Google Books version, which is now available for everybody who’s been demanding for the past couple of years that I release an e-book version. All right, guys…
CB: Thank you. We did it. Thanks so much. This was awesome. Thanks everyone for listening. I hope everybody enjoyed this, let us know. Thanks to all the patrons who support the podcast and make this possible each month–couldn’t do it without you.
And yeah, we’ll be back again. I guess I actually will be back again in a couple of weeks to do the forecast episode.
KS: For November.
CB: For November. Brilliant. All right, well, until then, I’ll see you guys again next month for part two. I’ll put the link to that in the description once it’s available. And otherwise, that’s it for today. So thanks a lot for listening, and we’ll see you next time.