Zodiac 101: The World of Astrology

Collage by Bianca Alvarez

Whether astrology is your cup of tea or not, it’s the perfect way to learn a little about yourself or to keep you entertained for a while. Who wouldn’t want to learn more about themselves? Especially now that Instagram has flooded our feeds with zodiac accounts telling us what character we would be on Gossip Girl, or telling us when we’re going to find our soulmates, it’s easy to become interested in learning more about yourself and your sign.

Learning more about signs can be confusing, as the truth behind astrology and your birth chart gets trickier and more complex the deeper you go. Your birth chart is unique to you as it is based off of the location, date and time of your birth. Seems simple enough, right? Nope! There are terms and concepts that have many people wondering what things mean and how they relate to who we are. VALLEY is here to break it down for you and make navigating of all things zodiac a bit easier for you.

Sun Signs (Typical Zodiac Sign)

Now, this is the foundation to everything. In the world of astrology there are 12 zodiac signs, each pertaining to a portion of the year that is directly correlated to your date of birth. This is the one we tend to focus on when we relate anything about astrology to ourselves.

The stars make up constellations that give us our zodiac signs: Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces, Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius. These signs are often referred to as sun signs.

“The sun speaks about our Ego, the ‘I Am,’ what drives me to be who I am and how I identify myself,” Astrologist Janelle Belgrave said in her interview with Refinery29.

Photo from Cosmopolitan.com

While we try to avoid generalizations, in the world of astrology it’s quite the opposite. Not everyone will match their characteristics, as some may feel one way or another about their sign, but try to figure out if you find any similarities within yourself and your sign!

As we take a closer look into different types of signs, these are the basic characteristics for the sun signs as broke down by astrologist Aliza Kelly:

  • Taurus (April 20–May 20): Focused, resilient, stable, relaxed
  • Gemini (May 21–June 20): Quick-witted, adaptive, adventurous, curious
  • Cancer (June 21–July 22): Intuitive, self-protective, guarded, compassionate
  • Leo (July 23–Aug. 22): Vivacious, leaders, creative, loyalty
  • Virgo (Aug. 23–Sept. 22): Logical, practical, diligent, meticulous
  • Libra (Sept. 23–Oct. 22): Harmonious, balanced, relationship oriented, connoisseur
  • Scorpio (Oct. 23–Nov. 21): Passionate, powerful, calculated, driven
  • Sagittarius (Nov. 22–Dec. 21): Humorous, blunt, thrill-seeking, flexible
  • Capricorn (Dec. 22–Jan. 19): Optimistic, youthful, balanced, mature
  • Aquarius (Jan. 20–Feb. 18): Free-spirited, eccentric, innovative, empathetic
  • Pisces (Feb. 19–March 20): Emotional, imaginative, adaptive,
  • Aries ( March 21–April 19): Bold, ambitious, passionate, motivated
Ascendant/Rising Signs

Alexa, play “It’s Tricky” by Run DMC. This is where things tend to get a bit more confusing for some people.

Your rising sign, or ascendent sign, is directly correlated to your time of birth. You tend to get a different zodiac sign, however in some cases it remains the same.

These signs are referred to as the ascendent signs because it’s the zodiac constellation on the East side of the horizon.

Photo from Cosmopolitan.com
Moon Sign

Deep, dark and mysterious is the best way to describe this portion of your birth chart. The moon sign, again, correlates to the time and place you were born. The moon changes every two days within the sun sign period. You can calculate your moon sign here!

The moon signs are reflective of your inner self. It also tends explains why you might be different from the people you share your sun sign with.


The houses are divided among 12 on your birth chart with each representing a different function of life.

One to six relate to your day-to-day life and include materialistic things such as possessions and money. Seven to 12 go deeper by relating to motivation, hopes and dreams.

Each house is “occupied” by one of the planets, which allows you to dive deeper into your self-interpretation. Your interpretation is a mixture of different aspects stemming from the sun sign, house and planet occupying it.

Photo from Astrostyle.com

The four elements to life include: water, air, fire and earth. The 12 signs get divided among the four elements.

  • Water signs: Scorpio, Pisces, Cancer
  • Air signs: Gemini, Libra, Aquarius
  • Fire signs: Aries, Leo, Sagittarius
  • Earth signs: Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn
More Information

Many apps have surfaced that help users to better understand astrology, including popular favorites The Pattern and Co-Star. Co-Star gives a good overview, while The Pattern allows for more in-depth information about your signs. Each app provides you with a daily horoscope, compatibility options, sun and rising signs, houses and meanings.

Photo from Costarastrology.com

Whether or not you check off every box of your signs, it’s a great way to find out more about yourself, see strengths and weakness and most importantly, entertain yourself. By practicing self-reflection, we can allow ourselves to have more room to grow. Sometimes we wonder why we can’t explain the unexplainable, and well, astrology is doing it for us!



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