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Astrological symbols – Their Origin and Meaning

Introduction to astrological symbols

Astrology is classed as a “pseudo-science” by the US National Science Board.  It is an ancient discipline accompanying the human being in his search for meaning.  Human beings have tracked the objects in the sky for thousands of years.  The most likely object to be tracked first was the sun.  Knowing the motion of the sun helped our ancestors plant their crops at the correct times, which is essential to survival.  They also realised particular star patterns in the sky appear at different times in the year.  By dividing the night sky up into certain patterns or objects called constellations, they could use the sky to navigate.  As technology has progressed so have humans understanding of the sun, moon and planets.  Astrological symbols were created as a way of understanding objects seen in the sky.  Each planet has a particular symbol allocated to it.  Also constellations that follow the sun apparent ecliptic path were allocated symbols, and split into 12 segments such as Aries and Taurus.

Astrology is practiced by astrologers looking for correlations between people and celestial bodies outside our planet. To interpret these, the astrological symbols of the zodiac is used, which is commonly called a horoscope.  A horoscope is a circular chart split into 12 separate constellation called zodiac signs.  The sun, moon and planets are then plotted on this chart for a particular time and location.  The chart represents where celestial bodies are in the sky at a given time, from the point of view here on earth.  Each astrological symbol on a chart has a different meaning.  Each express certain personality or character traits. According to Astrology our choices, behavioral characteristics, attitudes and relationships are linked with movements of the sun, moon and planets.

The origins of astrology symbols

The Western zodiac signs were described for the first time the Alexandrian astronomer and astrologer Ptolemy in the second century AD and represent the division of the zodiac into twelve equal parts, each of 30 degrees amplitude. In the zodiac, the stars are grouped into constellations, which from time immemorial have been assigned names of living things, real or fantastic. This explains the etymology of the name, derived from the greek “zodiakos” word in turn composed of zoon – “animal, living being” and Hodos – “road, path.” Because of the motion of rotation of the Earth, in fact, the zodiacal constellations seem to follow the zodiac.

What exactly is the zodiac?

It is an area of the sky, as seen from Earth, which passes the Sun and planets. In Western Astrology, it is divided into twelve parts of equal amplitude, which correspond to the twelve astrological signs or zodiac signs. This Zodiac division into twelve equal parts dates from the fifth century BC.

Ancient astrologers have given every astrological sign, the name of the constellation that was closest to that part of heaven in their time. This relationship between the zodiac signs and the arrangement of constellations in the sky was stretched over time and is no longer valid today. This means that one a Libra is not born when the Sun actually lies in the constellation of Libra.

Astrological symbols

The astrological symbols of the zodiac, equinoxes, and solstices

In the twelve zodiac symbols, the animals are of Sumerian origin and the older Taurus, Scorpio, Leo, and Aquarius represent the four cardinals that correspond to the equinoxes and solstices. Over the centuries, however, the movement of the Earth has changed with respect to its axis of rotation and the signs of 4 seasons have become a symbol of Aries, Libra, Cancer, and Pisces. Even today, thanks to the phenomenon of the precession of the equinoxes, it can be seen that the spring, which falls on March 21, is represented by Aries but in reality, the Sun still lies in the constellation of Pisces. Some of the major character, personality and affinity of the astrological symbols are noted below…


Aries is the symbol of the beginning and is compared to the birth. It is the first astrological symbol which marks the beginning of spring.


Taurus symbolizes the earth and fertility. Its meaning is mainly female and is linked to the Mother Earth and fertility.


Gemini is transient and marks the transition between spring and summer. For this, it turns out to be the perfect symbol of the volatility and fickleness.


Cancer is placed in the middle of the summer solstice, which is why it is a rich sign of vitality, joyful, and emotional.


Leo is a fire sign, arrives in the middle of summer when the vitality of nature is at its peak. The sun high in the sky makes those born under the sign of Leo extroverts and vital.


The Virgo is an Earth sign that represents the closing of a cycle and the beginning of another.


Libra is one among the 4 cardinal signs related to the equinoxes and solstices. And an air sign that marks the boundary on the path of evolution.


Scorpio is a sign of water falling in the middle of autumn and the eighth of the zodiac signs. The water represented by this sign hides under the surface as strong currents.


Sagittarius is the ninth astrological symbol of the zodiac. It is a sign that is divided between the real and the ideal, a sign full of human warmth fire and passion.


Capricorn is considered the door of the Gods from which you can get to higher levels of awareness and spirituality.


Aquarius is the symbol of steadfastness and reliability. The personality of Aquarius is abstract, linked to the mind and to the continuous ideas that revolve in the head.


Pisces is the twelfth and last of the astrological symbols of the zodiac. A sign of water representing the flow and the roar of a river.


The astrological symbols used in astrology, like the planets and zodiac signs, are rooted in mythology and match the archetypes in our psyche. They are alive and powerful. With its theme of birth, each of us is connected to the universe in a unique way. Astrology brings to this awareness and opens to a profound self-knowledge: personal quest, relationships with others, potential, subtle modes, challenges, resources, and responsibilities.

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Astrological symbols - Their origin and meaning
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Astrological symbols - Their origin and meaning
This article explains the origins of astrological symbols.
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JKS Astrology
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