The word zodiac is derived from the Latin and Greek meaning circle of signs or little animals. The zodiac glyphs have a long history and their appearance has remained relatively constant through the centuries.
Each zodiac sign is said to be represented by an animal. In actual fact seven of the signs are represented by animals: Aries Taurus Cancer Leo Scorpio Capricorn and Pisces; three have human form: Gemini Virgo and Aquarius; one is part human and part animal: Sagittarius; and one representation is inanimate: Libra.
Part 1: Aries Taurus Gemini Cancer
Aries the ram
The Aries glyph represents the ram’s horns, and is associated with aggression, courage, direct attack.
Like rams which butt their heads into their enemies, Aries people are said to approach life ‘head-on’. In medical astrology Aries is also associated with the head.
The Aries glyph brings with it a strong association with leadership, with the ram charging out to protect the flock from dangerous predators.
Taurus the bull
The glyph represents the bull’s head with horns; representing strength, and power.
Bulls are naturally placid creatures until aroused, but when it is angered and charges it is very dangerous.
In a similar way Taurean people are generally calm and peaceful and prefer a quiet stable environment. Like the bull people with the Sun or planets in Taurus are sensual people and prone to self-indulgence. And like the bull they can be dangerous once aroused.
Like the virgin who sorts the wheat from the chaff, people with the Sun or planets in Virgo often show the capacity to sort what is valuable from what is not wanted. Virgo is associated with the harvest as suggested by the sheaf of wheat; and the modern association of purity associated with the maiden is reflected in the Virgo preference for cleanliness.
Gemini the twins
The glyph for Gemini is the symbol for duality: the twins. Like the pillars of Hercules, the two uprights represen the descent of the soul into physical incarnation, and its return to the divine.
In the series of 12 glyphs beginning with Aries, this is the first to take human form, and represents the duality of human existence, with one part desiring physical embodiment and its attendant experiences, and the other yearning to return home.
People with the Sun or important planets in Gemini can easily see both sides of a question and can be easily distracted.
Cancer the crab
The glyph for Cancer has a number of interpretations, with the crab (or crayfish) being the most commonly mentioned. The crab has a hard outer shell and a soft underbelly, and people with the Sun or important planets in Cancer are known for their protective outer armor, which conceals their vulnerable emotional nature and sensitivities.
This glyph is also said to represent the breasts, and in medical astrology this part of the body is associated with Cancer.
The glyph is also sometimes linked with a form of the yin-yang symbol with its association to the inner and outer worlds wrapping around each other.