An Energetic Understanding of the 12 Zodiac Signs

by Laura Barat

After 10 years of practicing Astrology, the fundamental energetic manifestations of the Twelve Signs have been observed. This is the basis of the familiar pop descriptions one may read in their daily newspaper. The following descriptions of the Signs are based upon the MANIFESTATION OF ENERGETIC PATTERNS and not pop descriptions.

A veritable treasure trove can be found of explanations regarding the 12 Zodiac Signs. This article is to meant to increase an understanding of why the pop descriptions have come about.

The Energetic Manifestations are thusly named: Cardinal, Fixed and Mutable. These are called the “modalities”. The Hindus describe it as the 3 states of being: The Creator (Brahma), The Preserver (Vishnu), The Destroyer (Siva).

The beginning phase can be likened to an onslaught of energy, a pouring forth of creation energy. Its energetic manifestation is centrifugal, or moving outward from a concentrated center.

The middle phase or preserving phase is basically static in nature, strong and concentrated, unchanging, structurally sound. Its energetic manifestation is centripetal, moving inward toward a concentrated center.

The end phase is erratic and transformative. Its energetic manifestation is spiralic, both centrifugal and centripetal.

Those signs corresponding to the beginning phase are called “Cardinal Signs”. They are Aries (cardinal fire), Cancer (cardinal water), Libra (cardinal air), and Capricorn (cardinal earth).

Those signs corresponding to the preserving phase are called “Fixed Signs”. They are Taurus (fixed earth), Leo (fixed fire), Scorpio (fixed water), and Aquarius (fixed air).

Those signs corresponding to the end phase are called “Mutable Signs”. They are Gemini (mutable air), Virgo (mutable earth), Sagittarius (mutable fire) and Pisces (mutable water).

Cardinal Signs

Cardinal signs are creators, initiators, projectors. They begin things in association with their element.

For example, Aries initiate through the fire element. Fire is associated with traits such as vitality, exuberance, warmth. An Aries will project his or her personality into the world through these traits for better or worse.

Capricorn is a cardinal earth sign. People with a heavy emphasis of Capricorn in their chart (not just the sun), initiate (cardinal) through tangible things (earth). Hence, the pop descriptions of Capricorns being hard-working types who often head their own companies. But that is a pop description. They will initiate through anything that is tangible, i.e., anything felt through the senses. They are heavily creative in cooking, music, fine and performing arts, business. Capricorns make excellent mothers as they know how to initiate lasting relationships with creature comforts.

Cancer initiates through the water element. The emphasis is on water which is emotionality and relationships. Hence, the pop descriptions of Cancers as excellent mothers. But they can also make very effective business and sales people as they initiate relationships through emotions such as kindness and receptivity.

Working through the air element, Libra will initiate using ideas and concepts. Air is associated with mental constructs and intellectuality. As a side note, I find it interesting that all of the air signs (Gemini, Libra and Aquarius) are all represented by humans instead of animals. Attributing discrimination to the air element perhaps sheds light on this interpretation.

Fixed Signs

Fixed signs persevere. They are resolute and resist change. Their auras carry a strong concentration of energy that forms a centripetal energy pattern. This is an inwardly radiating energy pattern that pulls other people into their space. Some people describe this as “personal power” whether for constructive or destructive purposes. Because of this storehouse of “power”, they are able to easily see projects through to completion. There are always some “control” issues depending on the element. People who have a heavy concentration of fixed signs in their chart have intensely strong will-power whether realized or unrealized. They will take an idea, feeling, concept, or habit and will add this intensity of power to it, creating another entity almost in and of itself. Because there is such a concentration of power, they are not swayed easily. I would say they are not swayed unless it comes from within themselves. Now for some examples.

Taurus is Fixed Earth. Since the preternatural state of Earth is Fixed, this is the most stubborn sign in the Zodiac. The opinions and values of this sign are very difficult to change, they are rooted in the subtle element of Earth. Please note I said “opinions and values” because Taureans can be receptive to the outer world, it is that which comes from within them that is resolute. A person with Taurus highly emphasized in the birthchart has a very tenacious aura and an immense capacity for perseverance. The energetic manifestation is centripetal, moving toward a concentrated center, via the Earth element, hence Taureans compulsion to “control” tangible things, like their immediate physical environments, their appetites, their wardrobes. The sign of Taurus corresponds to the 2nd House of the Zodiac, which, amoung other things, is the House of Earnings. Whether a Taurus earns a little or a lot, their means of income had better be rock solid, or else they rapidly lose their sense of security and groundedness, which is akin to death in their minds.

Leo is a fixed fire sign. It has a centripetal energy pattern, so the fire energy is radiating inward. Such a high concentration of fire energy makes them like the Sun. Aptly, the Sun rules Leo. Leos are very warm and can be very charismatic. There tends to be a heavy emphasis on identity, explaining the pop description of their egocentricity. Because of the centripetal energy pattern, they tend to suck in other people’s attention, making them very sensitive to the abundance or lack thereof. Consequently, they are able to metamorphose into someone who will always have attention. Leo is also the sign of creativity, creating an identity or mythos that will capture the attention of others. Not surprisingly, an overwhelming majority of musicians and movie stars are Leos. The control issue is one of attention.

Scorpio is a fixed water sign. The control issue is one of emotions (of others and their own). The subtle element of water is associated with emotion, therefore the centripetal energy pattern of Scorpio will pull in the emotions of others. Whether they are conscious of it or not, Scorpio will manipulate the emotions of others. This is not something they are trying to do; they just cannot help themselves, it is automatic. Water will merge with things, soak them up, so to speak. Scorpio has the ability to subliminally merge with another person, read them and even feel their secret desires and longings on a subliminal level. Once this information is garnered, Scorpio has a certain “power” over the other person. That is why this sign has a reputation of intrigue, manipulation and destruction. This uncanny ability to sum someone up with a glance is an arresting power. Often, I have noticed their eyes have a penetrating, burning quality.

Aquarius is a Fixed Air Sign. The Air element is associated with ideas and concepts, and, I have found, words. Usually, Aquarians have good command of language and can be very witty. Since the auric pattern is centripetal, the Air energy in flowing inward, so the ideas and concepts formed by Aquarians are rock solid. In relating to the outer world, they are stimulated by what they understand and take bits and pieces of several concepts, form their own, which are usually very creative and original, and then stick to these ideas and concepts, for better or worse. The emphasis here is on control of the ideas and concepts they live by, often manifesting as a philosophical platform, which because of the fixed nature of the sign, is very difficult to change.

Mutable signs

Mutable signs are energy transformers. They are categorized as masculine or feminine and this is a very important attribute that should not be disregarded. Throw out everything you know about what is “masculine” and “feminine” and it boils down to these two concepts: “Masculine” is energy moving from a point of concentration to dissipation. “Feminine” is energy moving from dissipation to a point of concentration. It is much akin to inhalation and exhalation. “Feminine” Mutable Signs are Virgo and Pisces, the mutable Earth and Water signs, respectively. Masculine Mutable Signs are Gemini and Sagittarius, the mutable Air and Fire signs. Earth and Water are feminine, Air and Fire are masculine. Generally speaking, all mutable signs are extremely adaptable and love change with regard to their element.

Gemini is a Mutable Air Sign. In regards to the energetic manifestation of the aura, the Gemini exhales first, then inhales with regard to the Air Element. This means that a Gemini will project themselves out into the world utilizing concepts, ideas and words. After the energy has spent itself, the Gemini aura will begin to “pull in” other concepts, ideas and/or words. This usually manifests as “feedback”. Hence, the pop description of a Gemini as being talkative. But this is only one way the Gemini energy can manifest itself. The constant push/pull of the Mutable Air aura, will make Geminis reliant on the outer world for new ideas and concepts. These will change many times for the Gemini over the course of a lifetime, as the world is constantly changing.

Virgo is a Mutable Earth sign. The element of Earth is feminine, so the Virgo aura inhales first and then exhales. Earth is associated with things like the immediate physical environment, structure, creature comforts, food & drink, clothing. Hence the pop description of Virgos as being “fussy” and neat. The Virgo garners physical information of the world around them and then acts and organizes accordingly. In my personal experience of Virgos, I’ve found that they always know what you need on a physical level. What will keep you warm, what you like to eat, what would be a pleasing aesthetic presentation of your physical surroundings. They take in this information first, organize it, and then transform this energy into their own representation. Because the aesthetic sense of the world is always changing, the information or energy they are obtaining is always changing. Thus, the product of inhalation of energy is always adapting.

Fire is associated with enthusiasm, exuberance, warmth and charisma. When Fire moves in a spiralic pattern, it moves outward first, then inward. Sagittarius is the Sign that manifests this energy pattern. A heavy emphasis is placed on Freedom in pop descriptions of this sign. Perhaps one reason is because the Sagittarius will take a subject or a task and, add the power of Fire (enthusiasm, exuberance, warmth) to it, and project this into the world. After projecting, as always with Mutable Signs, the Sagittarius will begin to be receptive to the Fire energy in the world (or at least the environment around him/her). Because they are generally filled with ever-changing enthusiasm, their movement is most apparent out of all of the Mutable Signs. While Geminis are moving and changing within their own ideas, Virgos are moving and changing within their physical environment, Sagittarians are moving and changing in their doings. This will appear to others as very non-restrictive life choices.

Pisces move and change within their emotions. The spiralic Water energy pattern of the Pisces aura is feminine, inhaling first, then exhaling. It literally inhales the emotions of others first, keeps some energy for itself, then gives back the energy. Pisces have the reputation of being chameleons because they are very vulnerable to the emotions and even the personality structure of others. A Pisces can be very reactive psychologically. Often, they must have their “down time”, shutting themselves away from the world, just to cleanse their own energy systems. Pisces will “freedom seek” for perfect emotion, usually through alternative realities like drama, art, new age philosophies, religion, mind expanding drugs or intellectualism. This gives them the reputation of escapists.

Laura Barat is a professional practicing Vedic and Western Astrologer in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. She is a member of the Organization of Professional Astrologers (OPA), the American Federation of Astrologers (AFA) and the American Council of Vedic Astrology (ACVA). Laura has written numerous articles for astrological e-zines and is currently pursuing her certification from the American College of Vedic Astrology. Laura is currently working on a book about the Nakshatras (the Lunar Zodiac) the padas, and how they relate to the three bodies (causal, astral and physical). Born in Florida, she began her studies of astrology in Los Angeles, California at the tender age of 25. The fields of varied esoteric and metaphysical sciences have interested her since childhood

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