The signs are divided up into 3 groups called qualities, and those qualities are cardinal, fixed, and mutable. The quality of the sign is a part of the energy that the sign expresses. Let's dive in with all 3!
The Cardinal Signs in Astrology
The cardinal signs are Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn. You may notice that these four form a grand cross with Aries opposite Libra square Cancer opposite Capricorn.
All of the signs in a quality are part of a grand cross, so in a natal chart, when you have a grand cross, you have every sign of a certain quality represented in your planets. This makes the energy of that quality more important for you, and the quality that is most common among your planets is manifested more in your personality and life.
The cardinal signs are action-oriented, and so they're the starters, the ones who take charge, the ones who put things in motion. Each of the cardinal signs represents the first day of the seasons, with Aries being the first day of spring in the northern hemisphere and fall in the southern hemisphere, Cancer being the first day of summer in the north and winter in the south, Libra being the first day of fall in the north and spring in the south, and Capricorn being the first day of winter in the north and summer in the south.
Aries is also the first sign of the Zodiac, so it's the true starter sign, the pioneer of the Zodiac. Cancer is the first water sign in the Zodiac, and is the one who takes charge emotionally and domestically. Libra takes charge when it comes to relationships, and Capricorn takes charge when it comes to career.
Aries is obvious with the way it takes charge, going full steam ahead and jumping at the chance. The rest are more subtle, with Cancer trying to steer you emotionally, Libra trying to talk you into it, and Capricorn trying to make you see the usefulness.
If you have a lot of cardinal planets in your natal chart, or have 2 of 3 or 3 of 3 of your Sun, Moon, and Rising in a cardinal sign, taking charge is natural for you. It may not be overt (especially if you have no Aries), but there's a little leader inside of you. Where you take charge will be found in the house location the planets are located in, what you take charge can be found with the planet the sign is in, and how you take charge is found in the sign.
The Fixed Signs in Astrology
The fixed signs are Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius. The fixed signs are quite literally that, fixed, but in what way is shown through their element.
Taurus is a grounded earth sign, so it’s super fixed in place (and rules being stubborn!). Leo is an energetic fire sign, so it tends to be more fixed with it’s energy, and generally doesn’t venture outside of its comfort zone much. Scorpio is an emotional water sign, so it can get fixed in emotional fits. Aquarius is an intellectual air sign, so it can be fixed on intellectual pursuits (hence Aquarius ruling the expert).
The obvious downside of fixed signs are their inability to be flexible, but their upside is that they can stick to their guns.
Having a lot of fixed energy in your chart (3 or more planets, or 2 out of 3 with your Sun, Moon, and Rising) makes this energy more natural to you, and you can be someone that’s difficult to budge from their position, can take your time with decisions and actions, and tries to be steady. Flexibility is your lesson to learn, so try to focus on the planets or houses where you have mutable signs (Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces) to bring that flexible person inside of you out.
The Mutable Signs in Astrology
The mutable signs are Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, and Pisces. The mutable signs are fluid, and so are associated with flexibility and being able to make adjustments on the fly.
The mutable signs may have energy that’s difficult to pin down, whether it’s airy scattered energy (Gemini), busy scattered energy (Virgo), active scattered energy (Sagittarius), or emotionally scattered energy (Pisces). The upside of the mutable signs is the ability to go with the flow, but the downside is the difficulty to be still.
Having a lot of mutable energy in your chart (3 or more planets, or 2 out of 3 with your Sun, Moon, and Rising) makes this energy more natural to you, and you can be someone who knows how to make adjustments, who isn’t fixed in their ways, and who’s willing to be flexible. You do need to make sure you’re not easily led astray though, since this energy does make it easy for you to be more of a follower. Try to focus on the planets or houses where you have cardinal signs (Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn) to bring out the leader in you so that doesn’t happen. If you can avoid that, this is very pleasant energy.
Suggested Reading: Prominent Uranus, Neptune, & Pluto in the Natal Chart
The basics: A retrograde occurs when a planet appears to be moving backwards from our vantage point here on Earth. It isn't actually moving backwards, it just appears that way. Mercury turns retrograde most often, about 3-4 times per year, and lasts for several weeks. When a planet retrogrades, what that planet rules tends to be thrown off, along with what the sign it's retrograding in rules.
With Mercury retrograde, we experience a shadow and a storm. The shadow period starts when Mercury first hits the point in the Zodiac it will turn direct at, and ends when it last hits the point in the Zodiac it will turn retrograde at. Most people don't feel the effects of Mercury retrograde until it enters the storm period though.
The storm period of Mercury retrograde is when Mercury is moving at its slowest, less than 40 minutes per day. Mercury is a fast-moving planet and hates it when he's moving slowly. There's usually two storm periods, one around the time Mercury turns retrograde, and one around when it turns direct.
This Mercury retrograde begins on December 19th at 5:55AM ET and ends on January 8th at 4:43AM ET. The shadow period starts December 1st - January 27th. The first storm period is December 15th - 23rd, and second storm period is January 4th - 12th.
Here we go again! Mercury madness begins on December 19th in earth sign Capricorn, and we can see some issues with governments, politicians, those in positions of authority, traditional establishments, and conventional methods. These things have been under assault anyway thanks to the cardinal t-square we’ve been dealing with, with Jupiter in LIbra opposite Uranus in Aries and both square (hard aspect, three signs away) Pluto in Capricorn. This retrograde has Mercury in the sign of the squared planet, Pluto in Capricorn, so we can see more emphasis on this and less on what we’re missing, which is Cancer: emotional connection, nurturing and support, coming together as one family, having a solid home base and foundation. We can be overly focused on the external with this retrograde, and not have anywhere near enough focus on the internal. It only matters what’s on the outside, not what’s on the inside? Uuuhhhh, no!
This retrograde likely brings about more unsettled feelings with our governments, countries, but we can also see more governments and countries fighting back (not naming names, just pointing at Russia on a map?). More bloodshed in places like Syria? Like there hasn’t been enough! All of this will be especially heightened at the start of the retrograde because Mercury will be conjunct Pluto to kick things off. Lots of intensity, heightened emotions and energy, we’ve gotta channel these productively or we’re going to BLOW!
As an extra note, this retrograde begins at about the same place that the Mercury retrograde we began the year with ended, so whatever the end of that retrograde did for you personally can be brought back up again or come full circle with the start of this retrograde. Just an FYI!
This retrograde doesn’t fully occur in Capricorn though. Mercury moves backward into fire sign Sagittarius on January 4th (9:16AM ET), so the last 4 days of this retrograde are in Sagittarius. It’s not a lot of time spent in this sign, so we get a brief dose of disrupted Sagittarius energy, and can be overly optimistic and stuck in big, unrealistic ideas or focused on braggadocious individuals, have difficulty with travel, institutions of higher learning, or legal issues. Saturn is in Sagittarius, but won’t be conjunct Mercury while he’s in Sagittarius, but we can still feel slightly amplified energy of Saturn in Sagittarius, and feel more restricted and fenced in.
The retrograde does end at a funny point though, conjunct something called the Galactic Center, which is the center of our Universe and is literally a giant black hole. The GC has a lot of power and energy as a result of this, so it’s going to be amplified with the end of this retrograde. How? Don’t know! But where this retrograde ends in your chart, you can see a surge in energy that may require extra effort to manage.
Mercury will make four major aspects while retrograde, the first being a sextile (positive aspect, two signs away) to Neptune in Pisces on December 26th. This can increase compassion, empathy, imagination, and help to make us more sensitive (which we’ll need!). On December 28th, Mercury will conjunct (align with) the Sun and sextile Mars, and this can be a bright spot during the retrograde, helping us to focus on new projects and second chances with the Sun, and giving us the energy and drive to get moving in the right direction with Mars. Finally, Mercury will sextile Venus on January 3rd, and we can be more engaging, have an easier time connecting, and find a softer side. All four aspects are positive, so they help to bring us some pockets of good energy.
There will also be a new moon on December 29th that conjuncts this Mercury retrograde in Capricorn. What kind of hoopla will that create? Perhaps some political chaos and unrest, more raging against governments and the machine, a feeling like we're going backward? Hmm . . .
The retrograde begins at 15 degrees Capricorn, so those of you Capricorns born January 4th - 7th can feel the start of this retrograde most. The retrograde ends at 28 degrees Sagittarius, so those of your Sagittarians born after December 18th can feel the end of the retrograde most.
For the rest of you, check the house(s) Mercury will be retrograding in of your own natal chart, and any aspects Mercury will make during its retrograde to your natal planets, to fully understand how it will impact you personally.
If you have Mercury retrograde in your natal or progressed chart, you may not feel the worst of this. Those individuals generally don't experience the difficulties of the retrograde because it feels more natural to them. Of course, chances are everyone else around them doesn't have the same aspect, so they can still experience difficulties brought on by others.
Suggested Reading: The New & Full Moons page for general interpretations
General horoscopes are always meant for entertainment purposes only. For a more accurate view, read your Sun sign, Rising sign, and Moon sign.
Aries December 2016 Monthly Horoscope
On December 7th, Venus enters air sign Aquarius, and you can enjoy spending more time with your friends, meeting new people,expanding your social circle, and pursuing your dreams for your future. In love, you may want a foundation of friendships before anything else, and if single, you may want to be friends first. If in a relationship, you can focus on trying to connect as friends and enjoy one another’s company.
A full moon occurs on December 13th at 7:06PM ET in Gemini, and full moons in Gemini are usually good times to merge together the heart and the mind. Full moons are emotional and Gemini is the sign of the mind, so we can express what we feel, think about our emotions, and bring together the logic of what we know with the instincts of our hearts. It can be a good time for all of us to say what needs to be said, and to be heartfelt in the what we say.
It can be a time to finish learning new things or become more serious about what we’re learning; to finish small projects and our short-term plans or become more invested in them; to figure out which of our ideas are worth pursuing and we believe in, and which should walk away from.
We can be more engaging and want to connect with one another in a lighter way. We don’t need to be too serious with this full moon, and can instead find some levity, even if we’re having a hard time. We can recognize that no matter how serious or bad things are, we have the ability to come up with a way out of it. Just gotta think of something!
This full moon is sextile (positive aspect, two signs away) Uranus, who is retrograde (appearing to move backward) in fire sign Aries. This helps to keep the lightness of the full moon, and we can embrace what makes us unique, step outside of our comfort zone, and be independent yet still focus on how to improve the world as a whole. This aspect also helps with mental energy, helping us to focus more on what we need to and putting our expertise to good use.
This full moon occurs at 22 degrees 25 minutes Gemini. The aspects this full moon makes are:
Conjunction: 20 degrees 25 minutes - 24 degrees 25 minutes Gemini
Sextile: 20 degrees 25 minutes - 24 degrees 25 minutes Aries or Leo
Square: 20 degrees 25 minutes - 24 degrees 25 minutes Virgo or Pisces
Trine: 20 degrees 25 minutes - 24 degrees 25 minutes Libra or Aquarius
Opposition: 20 degrees 25 minutes - 24 degrees 25 minutes Sagittarius
A new moon occurs on December 29th 1:53AM ET in Capricorn, just a few days before the year comes to a close (egads, we’re almost done with 2016! Actually, I look forward to it being over - you?). Capricorn is the sign that rules our goals, ambitions, and direction, so this is a fitting new moon at the right time of year. We end one year and go into a new one focused on what we want to be doing in 2017, where we want to go and how we’ll get there, and we can tweak long-term plans, set new goals, and think about opportunities to pursue them.
The new moon is sextile both Venus and Neptune in water sign Pisces, which is helpful energy. We can benefit from the people in our lives (Venus) and from our imaginations (Neptune). Both of these planets are very creative, so we can look at doing things in creative ways and channel energy creatively. Both of these planets are also pretty gentle, so we may not be so rough-and-tumble in the way we approach our goals and ventures.
This new moon is also conjunct (aligned with) Mercury, who is retrograde in Capricorn at the time of this new moon. This is the monkey wrench! The new moon may shine more of a light on the Mercury retrograde problems we may be dealing with at this time, BUT this can also be a bright spot in the retrograde. We can take the time to give ourselves second chances with goals we thought we wouldn’t have another shot at but have dreamed of. We can go into 2017 thinking that maybe this is the year of second chances. We’ve all got something we’d like a do-over with or we’d like to have another chance to try, and this may be just the right time, just the right energy to do it.
This new moon occurs at 7 degrees 59 minutes Capricorn. The aspects this new moon makes are:
Conjunction: 5 degrees 59 minutes - 9 degrees 59 minutes Capricorn
Sextile: 5 degrees 59 minutes - 9 degrees 59 minutes Scorpio or Pisces
Square: 5 degrees 59 minutes - 9 degrees 59 minutes Aries or Libra
Trine: 5 degrees 59 minutes - 9 degrees 59 minutes Taurus or Virgo
Opposition: 5 degrees 59 minutes - 9 degrees 59 minutes Cancer
Suggested Reading: The New & Full Moons page for general interpretations
Venus/Neptune connections in the birth chart can bring you to experience the most ecstatic as well as the most excruciating sides of love. This blissful, ethereal aspect surely has its pros – compassion, sensitivity, imagination – but the downsides can be definitely stressful: from seemingly perfect relationships mysteriously blowing apart for no reason, to tragicomic lapses of judgment, to being thanklessly taken advantage of. On the other hand, the standard astrological advice of taking off your “rose colored glasses” and simply “getting real” doesn’t seem to leave much in the way of insight and explanation.
If this sounds like you, you’ve come to the right place. Having a Venus/Neptune trine in my chart, and a load of other Neptune aspects to most of my planets, I had to deal with many of the typical Venus/Neptune problems and then some. Here is a handy list that covers the most important ones, with a few tips and tricks to step up your dating/relationship game and attract the romance your long for.
1. Don’t put them on a pedestal; put yourself in their shoes instead
Let’s face it, empathy and sensitivity are among Venus/Neptune natives’ strong points; such an understanding, non-judgmental attitude is part of what makes you attractive. However, this brings us to a very common pitfall of Neptunian relationships: the idealization that causes Venus/Neptune natives to put their love interest on a pedestal, overlooking the (human) flaws and focusing on the real or imagined virtues. It might feel pleasant and addictive, at least once the enchantment wears off, and the voice of reason cuts your partner down to size.
What you may not realize is that being idealized can be as dehumanizing and even emotionally traumatizing as being devaluated; the higher the pedestal, the more it hurts to fall. As contradictory as this may sound, sometimes we can harm others the most when we insist on seeing the good in them at all costs; this might be hard to grasp, unless we reverse the situation and picture our partner, to whom we grew attached, sudden losing interest in us after we’ve exposed our imperfections. It would suck, right?
Bottom line, you might want to reconsider the way your expectations, hopes and projections might potentially harm a lover, and make sure you rely on your empathic qualities, rather than giving in to idealization, upon getting to know a potential love interest.
2. When their projection is showing
‘Projection’ is one of the keywords of Venus/Neptune, as people with this aspect seem to be prone to this dynamic more than anyone else. However, anyone can “project” something on someone else – in fact, most people do, including your partner. The problem is that your porous boundaries, natural fluidity and receptivity to people and situations also make you an apt target for projections of any sorts.
Like water assuming the shape of its container, Venus/Neptune adapts and responds to the most subtle energies. Sometimes this can resemble an advantage, as you seem to effortlessly incarnate people’s wildest fantasies, but most of the time it results in their inability to ‘see’ the real you, something that can get in the way of a genuine, transparent connection.
In order to keep people’s projections from taking over your inner truth, it’s important to work on your sense of self, through cultivating your talents, values, beliefs and sharing them honestly and openly with the people you associate with. You’re an unique individual: define who you are and what you want, and be confident! Consistency and personal integrity are key concepts: losing yourself into someone else is a beautiful experience that doesn’t have to pose a threat to your own identity.
3. One size DOESN’T fit all
The endless quest for a higher love is one of Venus/Neptune’s core motivations – and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it. If Twin Flame love is what you want, if sacred sexuality appeals to you, if you long for a partner with whom you can share your dreams and your spiritual path with, then by all means keep looking for it. None of that is “delusional” or unhealthy.
But here’s the caveat: the only obstacle that can keep you from achieving what you truly desire can come from your inclusive, universally accepting nature. Lack of discrimination can cause you to assume that everyone and anyone can be equally suitable for such experiences of blissful union, but that’s not the truth.
Jumping from one relationship to the next, thinking you might have found “the One” every time, is a symptom of this belief, and so is falling in love with “potential” time and again or settling for someone that doesn’t make you happy, hoping that “they will change”. More often than not, disappointment is the aftermath.
This doesn’t mean that you should simply give up; you can have that kind of love, just not with everyone you meet. Sometimes, two people can be at very different stages of development, going through different phases in life, or simply prioritizing different things.
In short, attraction and even mutual respect don’t automatically ensure compatibility. Once you realize this, you’ll have more time and energy to invest in yourself, so that you can become able to attract the kind of connection you want.
4. Stop making excuses for them
Venus/Neptune is often prone to overlooking red flags and early warning signs; fear of upsetting the partner, and sometimes, an inability to be held accountable for one’s own feelings, are some of the reasons for this. However, actions, behaviors, and attitudes that make you uncomfortable or even cause you pain and/or fear are not things you should justify, whether it’s lies, emotional unavailability, disrespect, or betrayal (in the most extreme cases, even mental/physical abuse unfortunately).
Letting such issues slide by harms you, belittles you – and also encourages and attracts more of the same. Plus, ignoring your own feelings might actually be a way to avoid facing the reasons which drive you to stay in an unpleasant situation; if there’s something that drastically decreases the rates of finding the right relationship, it’s the lack of awareness and refusal to acknowledge your inner motivations and needs (also being stuck with someone who doesn’t put in the effort to make things work doesn’t help).
In short: constantly making excuses for someone else’s wrongdoing of any kind is a major red flag in itself, and a habit that should be corrected. Stepping back and looking for answers (both within yourself and with each other) can help you gaining insight into the hidden dynamics of the relationship.
Suggested Reading: Training Your Inner Warrior: Mars in Aspect to Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto
About the Guest Author: