There are a few different prisms through which you can initiate yourself into zodiacal wisdom. The most obvious option is through the lens of your own birth chart, learning about planets, aspects, and houses based off your own explorations.
If I could start over in the world of astrology, I would begin with the elements, the most basic basics. In Western astrology, the 12 zodiac signs are divided into four different elements: air, water, fire, and earth. Each has its own traits and associations; the three signs an element rules incorporate those properties in different ways.
By understanding the elements, you’ll have a good grasp of every sign. Doing so will put the entire wheel of the zodiac at your fingertips. From there, imagining the planets in every sign becomes (kind of) easy. Even compatibility, which we’ll get to later, becomes simpler.
Air signs are intellectual and communicative. They are experts in the ephemeral, the things of this world that lack physical form, and this is especially true of language and information. The air element is our breath, the most necessary and invisible function of our human body. Air doesn’t exist on the Chinese zodiac as a classical element, but instead, it becomes qi, the ultimate force that resides in everything. On a Wiccan altar, the Air signifies the East, and can be represented by everything from a feather to incense; because there is no concrete material form, even in worship, the Air is untouchable and immaterial.
As air is formless, lacking a concrete body, air signs are especially vulnerable to their own personal projections. Air signs are unlimited by space, and can drift everywhere, from places to people; as such, they’re vulnerable to overindulging in absolute fantasy. They love theory over practice, and can get caught in endlessly thinking or talking something out, instead of doing it.
The three air signs are Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius. For now, let’s think of each of them as each representing a different stage of emotional and spiritual growth — of the three, Gemini comes first on the zodiac calendar, and Aquarius comes last, making it the most mature.
GEMINI is the twins.
Gemini is a mutable signIn addition to being divided into elements, the zodiac signs are also divided into three different modalities: cardinal, mutable, and fixed. The cardinal signs — Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn — fall at the beginning of each season. The fixed signs — Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius — fall in the middle of their seasons, and mutable signs — Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, and Pisces — bring their seasons to a close., meaning it’s flexible to change, constantly readjusting to new input and output. Gemini is ruled by Mercury, the planet of communication, and Gemini loves gathering and disseminating messages, gossip, and information.
A few famous Gemini Suns include Bob Dylan, Marilyn Monroe, Kanye West, Che Guevara, Anne Frank, Josephine Baker, Tupac Shakur, and Angelina Jolie. Not knowing them personally, the most obvious commonalities are the malleability of their identities over time, even in the public consciousness, even in death. Sometimes that duality is terrifying, but more often than not, it’s a beautiful strength and survival skill.
LIBRA is the scales.
Libra is a cardinal sign, an initiating energy, and it’s ruled by Venus. Again, this Venusian energy can manifest as a shallow obsession with appearances, but it can also embody a deep understanding of the most grand and abstract measures of beauty — rhythm, poetics, and the golden mean. Libra represents an aspirational beauty, or an inspirational splendor. Libra longs for justice, even in the face of the most unfair, compromised systems.
Famous Libra Suns include Kim Kardashian, John Lennon, Bonnie Parker (of Bonnie and Clyde), Serena Williams, Oscar Wilde, Barbara Walters, and Gandhi. No matter how we remember these stars individually, the foundations of their success were built on teamwork and balance.
AQUARIUS is the water bearer. This often confuses people, including Aquarians, into believing it’s a water sign. But Aquarius is most definitely an air sign, probably the most ethereal and abstract of the three.
Aquarius is concerned with the bigger picture, the large-scale concepts that dreams are made of but can seldom be contained in waking reality. For this reason, Aquarians are just as likely to be involved in larger humanitarian missions as they are to ghost from daily interactions. Their preoccupation with theory often stands in the way of their ability to connect with present, pressing needs.
Saturn, the planet of order and discipline, rules Aquarius, making this sign a heavy-hitter and a serious thinker. It’s a fixed sign, meaning that it’s hardened against outside influence. Aquarius is unique and special, not because we aren’t all unique or special, but because they are steadfast in protecting that individuality in the face of distraction and change.
Galileo, Rosa Parks, Bob Marley, Yoko Ono, Oprah, and Paris Hilton are a few of the most famous Aquarius Suns. Their names have become synonymous with symbols, movements, and eras rather than pure reflections of their personal identities. Their impact and their celebrity relates to something far bigger than themselves.