Is the symbol for your sun sign a puzzle? These zodiac symbols are more than just a handy form of shorthand. Like an icon, they tell us a bigger story - representing the essence of your sign, and its place in the zodiac. Astrologers use these zodiac symbols to identify sun signs, or the sign a planet is passing through at a particular time. And once you’re tuned in to them you’ll see them everywhere – perhaps even tattooed onto a bare shoulder….. So what does your zodiac symbol mean?
Ruling Planet: Mars
Symbol: The Ram. The glyph shows the horns of the ram – an aggressive, adventurous and indefatigable animal. The energy and assertive, feisty qualities of the ram are always associated with the sun sign Aries. Another interpretation of the glyph is that it shows the eyebrows and nose of a human face. Aries rules the head, and is traditionally thought to be a headstrong sign – acting first and thinking about it later on. This is the first sign of the zodiac, and like a child is ever ready to start anew and set off on adventures.
Ruling Planet: Venus
Symbol: The Bull. The Chaldeans, Ancient Egyptians and the Greeks are all associated with the mythology of the bull-king, and much bull symbolism is found in these ancient cultures. This glyph denotes the round face and upwardly curving horns of the bull – a magnificent animal that is hard, if not impossible, to budge; possessive about its space; dangerous when roused; but can be lazy, slow moving, and sensual. Taureans can be very concerned with material security, and acquiring wealth – becoming possessive about possessions and cautious about change.
Ruling Planet: Mercury
Symbol: The Twins. The sign of the Twins is symbolised by two upright ‘I’’s, rather like the Roman numeral II. Gemini is a dual sign, traditionally representing all forms of duality – such as light and dark, positive and negative, quiet and talkative. Traditionally, the Geminian character is versatile and communicative but prone to rapid changes of mood and fluctuating energy levels. Those close to Geminis often feel as though they are living or working with at least two different people.
Ruling Planet: The Moon
Symbol: The Crab. Two circles with tails represent either a woman’s breasts, or alternatively, the crab with its powerful, curving claws. The breasts symbolise motherhood and nourishment – key Cancerian concerns, while the crab symbol suggests the sidelong approach and incredible tenacity associated with this sign - and its symbolic creature. The crab’s hard shell protects its vulnerable interior too. Cancerians are usually very emotionally self-protective and butter-soft within.
Ruling Planet: The Sun
Symbol: The Lion. A curving line represents the lion’s mane, the symbolic animal belonging to this sunny, summer sign. Some important Leo characteristics are feline in nature – the proud, graceful bearing; the need for rest followed by intense activity; the sensual love of pleasure and playful qualities. The lion’s roar, too, can be easily imagined when an angry Leo finally lets off steam.
Ruling Planet: Mercury
Symbol: The Virgin. The Virgin of Virgo is the only female figure in the Zodiac, the other single human figure being the male Water Bearer of Aquarius. The maiden, or virgin, usually holds a ripe ear of wheat, linking her with ancient goddesses such as Roman Ceres and the Greek earth goddess Demeter. The coiled ‘M’ of this glyph is said to represent the intestines, a part of the body ruled by Virgo, or the ovaries, vagina and uterus. Virgo is traditionally linked with health, hygiene, and all forms of service and healing. Virgos are often most concerned with diet, and suffer from nervous indigestion when upset or worried.
Ruling Planet: Venus
Symbol: The Scales. Libra is the only zodiac sign represented by an inanimate object, the scales of balance and harmony. The Sun begins to travel through the sign of Libra at the autumn equinox in late September, when the day and night are of equal length. Libra is concerned with justice, and the scales of justice in which evidence is weighed. Libra’s reputation for indecisiveness stems from their desire to evaluate everything so that they can make a perfectly balanced judgement.
Ruling Planets: Mars and Pluto
Symbols: The Scorpion and The Eagle. The ‘M’ like glyph with an arrowed tail is said to represent the scorpion and its deadly sting. Intense and brooding, Scorpios do have a certain reputation for revenge and retribution – the ‘sting in the tail’ is considered part of their character. The Eagle represents the higher nature of Scorpio - concerned with transformation and rebirth through ecstatic sexual love, plus the ability to make a conscious decision to rise far above jealousy, resentment and poisonous, destructive urges.
Ruling Planet: Jupiter
Symbol: A centaur (half man, half horse) with a bow and arrow. The glyph shows an arrow, or occasionally a bow and arrow. The mythic centaur has the upper body of a man, and the legs and lower body of a horse – ever restless and eager to gallop off in search of new horizons, like many people born under this sign. The arrows represent ambitions, dreams and hopes being shot into the air towards some mystical target. Sagittarius is often a philosophical character, able to see paradox and duality because they are an essential part of the Sagittarian personality.
Ruling Planet: Saturn
Symbol: The Sea Goat, a mythical creature with the upper body of a goat and the tail of a fish. The ‘V’ shaped glyph is said to represent the goat’s horned head, with the curling, sinuous fish’s tail behind. There are a number of sea gods in ancient myth, ruling over the mysterious unconscious realms of the ocean. When the goat climbs up onto the land, it brings spiritual wisdom to the practical tasks and need to build, symbolised by the earth. Capricorn is an ambitious sign, but able (in its highest expression) to understand that simply satisfying the individual ego is never truly fulfilling.
Ruling Planets: Saturn and Uranus
Symbol: The Water Bearer is pictured as a man holding a large jar or vessel, from which water pours out onto the land. The glyph is two wavy, zig-zag lines, representing the water (also an Ancient Egyptian hieroglyph), or alternatively the electricity associated with Aquarius’ second planetary ruler, Uranus. Aquarius is an airy, intellectual sign, thinking, talking and analysing everything. They can be emotionally detached, but have strong feelings about justice and human rights. The water pouring from the jar symbolises communication – the endless pouring out of mental energy and original ideas which often typifies an Aquarian personality.
Ruling Planets: Jupiter and Neptune
Symbol: The Two Fishes, joined together, but swimming in opposite directions. Another dual sign, like Gemini, the two fishes of Pisces represent the lifelong battle of the Piscean nature. One fish swims towards the soulful, mystical oceans, intent upon sacrificing itself for the good of others, or for some spiritual or political belief. The other swims towards self-fulfilment, and achieving personal goals. Piscean intuition, symbolised by the waters in which the fishes swim, is what makes it possible for them to sense the whole picture and balance their inner struggle. Learning how to trust and develop their intuition is especially important for this complex, sensitive sign.