The Signs

Everyone’s familiar with the concept of “being a Gemini,” but the 12 archetypes of the zodiac pertain to much more than your sun sign. They may characterize your personality to an extent, but we all embody bits and pieces of other signs, depending on where the rest of the planets were hanging out when we were born. They also describe the themes we grapple with collectively when a planet visits said cosmic wheelhouse.

ARIES: MAR 21 – APR 19

Aries is the moment of conception; the initial spark; the alpha point of the whole damn cycle. But don’t let the pastel-pink veneer of its newness conceal the beating red heart within. Aries might be associated with the figurative baby, but its other manifestations include the warrior and the ram. Think: leadership through initiation, as well as heightened physicality and a competitive drive. That said, it takes a certain level of impulsiveness and naiveté to be that fearless.

TAURUS: APR 20 – MAY 20

Taurus takes what Aries started and implants it in the womb, or roots it in the soil. The bull thinks in practical terms because that’s what builds the foundations for security, and these homebodies will construct an edifice of luxury, sensual delights, and creature comforts on that bedrock. This time of year is marked by the stubbornness required to cultivate the seeds you planted, but also quite literally stopping to smell the roses.

GEMINI: MAY 21 – JUN 20

Stasis quickly gets old under the Gemini influence, and that’s right around the point where mitosis starts to happen: duality is pronounced, and then you get two opposite extremes in conversation with each other. Geminis are known for being chatty and mercurial, but who can blame them when their highly cerebral experience of the world is always dialed to “information overload?” They may not always be the ones to dig deep, but the true virtue lies in sampling the pu pu platter of life.

CANCER: JUN 21 – JUL 22

In Cancer’s house (and Cancer has quite a house), “information overload” becomes emotional in nature. Crabs live in the tidal waters of human consciousness, making them especially sensitive to feelings, dreams, and the subconscious. Loyal on one hand, needy on the other, the metaphor of the soft, vulnerable interior protected by a hard outer shell holds true. That said, shells can take the form of anything ranging from meticulous domestic sanctuaries to spiky personalities.

LEO: JUL 23 – AUG 22

Mid-summer is when navel-gazing crabs make way for proud, expressive lions. Leo is about having your moment in the sun and basking in recognition for the mega-watt heaps of light that you produce. Peak Leo is about owning it, but also remembering that you’re not always the center of everyone’s solar system. For all the other times, one doesn’t have to look far to find the tribe assembled around its gregarious common denominator.

VIRGO: AUG 23 – SEP 22

Attention hogs don’t thrive in the month of Virgo — unless they can meet the exacting standards of this hyper-critical Earth sign. The virgin isn’t marked by prudishness so much as purity, but purity can mean different things for different people. Virgo can take the form of the ideological purist, clean eating devotee, or all-around perfectionist. If you want it done right, enlist the aid of taskmaster Virgo. Just be ready to have all of your own flaws laid bare.

LIBRA: SEP 23 – OCT 22

By the time Libra comes to town, we’re all ready to set our anal-retentiveness aside in favor of meeting each other halfway. Libra is still meticulous in a sense — namely in its sharp sense of style and aesthetics — but the sign of balance is metaphysically concerned with the point in our development where we encounter the “Other.” Libra is the gracious party host in the dance of life, and you can count on a fête marked by their special brand of Venusian loveliness. Just don’t spoil the fun by asking them to take a stand (or tell you how they really feel).

SCORPIO: OCT 23 – NOV 21

As far as the scorpion is concerned, compromise and diplomacy is last month’s business. There’s a certain virtue to Scorpio’s unfiltered candor, but getting real is intense business, and passions are wont to fly high. Ruled by Pluto, lord of the underworld, Scorpio is primarily concerned with sex and death, but mostly as they pertain to radical transformation. As leaves wither from the trees and the days grow shorter, Scorpio plumbs the depths in these dark and moody times.

SAGITTARIUS: NOV 22 – DEC 21

It’s a bit of a relief to be celebrating the year’s harvest and giving thanks after reckoning with the dead all month long. Sagittarius is marked by a happy-go-lucky optimism that suggests our arrows will always hit the mark. Freedom, adventure, exploration, and higher learning are primary concerns for the archer, and their pursuits are often larger than life. It’s not totally unheard of for these horse people to trample roughshod over others out of careless enthusiasm, but their galvanizing spirit tends to make up for that.

CAPRICORN: DEC 22 – JAN 19

Capricorn also has hooves, but they’re more interested in scaling the heights than exploring the lateral reaches of the globe. The pragmatic mountain goat tends to reach prominence in its field of discipline — discipline being the operative word. Of course, all work and no play can make Capricorn rigid and uptight, but they show their abiding affection through their no-nonsense sincerity and old-fashioned sense of duty. The quiet mastery runs strong in this one, so grandstanding need not apply.

AQUARIUS: JAN 20 – FEB 18

Conservative values fly out the window in the age of Aquarius — and are typically escorted by a scoff. The mad scientist of the zodiac is represented by the water bearer, who provides for the village without getting wet (read: emotional). At once communitarian and aloof, Aquarius is concerned with all things “future” and the advancement of humanity, as long as it doesn’t tread on any of that lightning-bolt individualism.

PISCES: FEB 19 – MAR 20

Pisces represents the logical conclusion of Aquarius’ radical ideas for humanity: once we’re all on board, the ego dies. A typical Pisces persona won’t make a strong initial impression — some may go so far as to consider themselves boring. Little do they know that the dreamy, selfless fish denotes the highest stage of spiritual evolution: merging into the great unknown, which we presume is filled with compassion and unified consciousness.