There is an inherent beautiful symmetry to the ordering of the zodiac signs and what they represent. They flow in a particular order that we can break down a few different ways, all beginning with the zodiac sign of Aries and ending with the sign of Pisces. Understanding this order helps us better understand these 12 different energy signatures and the basic motivation of each zodiac sign.
Breaking Down The Order
Yang to Yin
The most basic breakdown of the signs is the flow zodiac signs considered to be Yang in nature followed by ones considered to be Yin in nature. If we become aligned with the Sun & Moon movement throughout the signs we can find an intuitive flow that matches this energy. We can move from feeling the Yang impulse to pour energy outward into the world into the Yin impulse to seek reflection and pour energy inward into the self.
We also have the flow of elements beginning with Fire, moving to Earth, followed by Air, and ending with Water. This represents symbolic movement through the principles of identity & inspiration (fire), material creation (earth), information exchange & social connection (air), and emotional bonding & soul connection (water). This flow repeats itself 3 times as we move down the chain of the zodiac.
See this previous post for more on the elements:
Finally, we have the flow of modalities, which are based on the alignment of the zodiac signs with the beginning, middle, and end of a particular season in the Northern Hemisphere. We begin with a Cardinal sign that prefers to initiate action, followed by a fixed sign that stabilizes that action, and we end with a mutable sign that gives us the flexibility to adapt to changing environments and to shift gears into totally different actions. This flow repeats 4 times as we move down the chain of the zodiac.
See this previous post for more on the modalities:
Imaginal Journey Through the Zodiac
I'd like you to take a journey with me through the 12 signs of the zodiac. Imagine that you are watching a society being built from the ground up. (Different characters are interacting in the creation of this society and they are each bringing something important to the table.)
Aries - Yang, Fire, Cardinal
We begin in Aries with a fiery impulse to take action. The sign of the Ram is motivated by a desire to DO. The ego is created in this zodiac sign. We are birthed into the world and now we want to assert ourselves, we want to create something, we want to go somewhere, we want to be somebody. We may not have spent much time planning out our course of action, but we have confidence, a spark has been ignited inside of us, and we have a bold penchant for risk-taking.
Taurus - Yin, Earth, Fixed
What was seeded with the courageous, warrior energy of Aries now needs a sturdy foundation to grow into something long-lasting. Taurus asks of the Ram: "What are the resources that allow you to take such action?" "How can we prevent this inner flaming impulse from simply burning out before the work has truly begun?" We need to put some logs on this fire. That will help maintain it. Taurus reminds Aries that not everything needs to be achieved quickly or through sheer force. The gentle bull cautions the spontaneous Ram to be patient and diligent.
Gemini - Yang, Air, Mutable
Now that we've created something that stands on solid, firm ground in the sign of Taurus, it sure would be nice to talk to someone about it. That's where Gemini comes in. The Twins have a desire to exchange information with other people, to teach others what they have learned, and to learn from others what they do not know yet. Gemini thinks to themself: "Maybe someone else has information that can help us." Then we can help them and now we have created a network of shared information. " Imagine the twins have split up and are now looking around for people to share ideas with! Gemini is motivated to gather data. This sign might also decide it's a good idea for us to begin writing things down that we are learning.
Cancer - Yin, Water, Cardinal
With the zodiac sign of Gemini, we have made some friends by sharing our information with others. We have prioritized data, information, and learning. Now in the sign of the crab, we strive to build a home and focus on family. We create our own close-knit special tribe of people that we become extremely fond of. People who can be counted on and trusted. In Gemini we gathered objective facts, now we develop an intuitive, subjective sense of inner knowing. We nurture the people and things around us for the long term. We pour our love, heart, and soul into something so that we can watch it grow and mature.
Leo - Yang, Fire, Fixed
We have created a family and home environment that we love and feel safe in with the zodiac sign of Cancer. Now that we feel safe and are part of a group, we seek to stand out. We desire to be recognized for what makes us special and different from those around us. We do this by expressing ourselves creatively and by cultivating a deep love for ourselves. We are concerned with questions of who we are and how we are going to express ourselves in the outside world. Leo has a desire to have fun with the close group of people that Cancer has banded together. We sing, dance, play games, tell stories, and enjoy each others' time.
Virgo - Yin, Earth, Mutable
Perhaps, in the zodiac sign of Leo, we found something we truly love to do. If that is the case, we seek to perfect it in the sign of Virgo. We turn our unique hobby or passion into a craft. After being self-focused in the expressive sign of Leo, we are now service-oriented in the sign of the Virgin. In Leo, we focused on heart-centered passion and creative ability, but now we need to nail down some details. This earthy sign helps us come up with a plan. We focus on working more ordered and efficiently, (things run smoother that way.) We've realized who we are in the sign of the Lion, but Virgo reminds us that we can always be better. We are focused on self-improvement and we understand that healthy self-criticism will make us better at what we do and it will make us a better person.
Libra - Yang, Air, Cardinal
There's no way to make it in this world without partnerships. Libra knows that. Libra understands that. This sign teaches self-reliant Virgo that nobody's ever reached a huge goal or completed a journey by going it completely alone. (If someone has, they probably would have reached their goal sooner or been more successful had they formed some relationships along the way.) We have to negotiate, compromise, create alliances, and just in general interact with other human beings. This zodiac sign is symbolized by the scales. It's essential to the energy of Libra to always be weighing and measuring both sides of a situation. Which course of action do we take? Before Libra decides, they are probably going to gather information and ask the opinions of others around them. In Libra, we may break off into one-on-one relationships so that we can truly begin to get to know one another.
Scorpio - Yin, Water, Fixed
Now that we've made some partnerships in the sign of Libra, Scorpio is going to help us deepen those connections through intense bonding and intimacy. In the sign of Scorpio, we share our deepest, darkest secrets, and discuss finances, and private desires. This sign wants to go much deeper than surface level just as the Scorpion has the ability to look under rocks and in tiny crevasses. Scorpio also realizes the truth of a situation takes lots of digging to uncover. Rather than get a bunch of opinions from different people as Libra does, Scorpio just burrows down deep into information wormholes and gathers their own research. This task can be tiring and Scoprio brings the perseverance and sheer willpower needed to get the job done.
Sagittarius - Yang, Fire, Mutable
We formed some deep, long-lasting intense bonds in the sign of Scorpio, and we were enduring in the pursuit of our goals. And now we need some damn space! Thank goodness for the light, bouncy, fun-loving, adventure-seeking Archer. Sagittarius reminds Scorpio that it's not healthy to be tied at the hip with someone all of the time and it's not that serious! Everyone has their own interests and there needs to be some freedom in order to explore them. Although, Sagittarius does enjoy philosophical conversations contemplating the meaning of life, their own morals, and their overarching belief systems. This is an energy that seeks to broaden its horizons and expand its worldview. In Scorpio we were seeking depth, in Sagittarius, we are looking for breadth. We zoom out and look from a wider perspective. We create meaning in life through adventure, teaching & learning, and writing down & sharing our stories. Perhaps (in the metaphor of building a society) we begin to think about who should lead us, and where are we going for that matter.
Capricorn - Yin, Earth, Cardinal
"Okay Sagittarius, you've had your fun. Let's get back to work." - said the Capricorn. (Jk, I'm not saying Capricorns aren't fun!) But there might be no other sign that understands the importance of responsibility, discipline, and duty. We have expanded our worldview with Sag and now life feels more meaningful. But Capricorn, not so subtly, informs us that the philosophical ideals of the high-aiming archer aren't always grounded in reality. And what's the game plan? - another Capricorn question. What is the 1-year, 5-year, and 10-year plan? Ambitious Capricorn asks us to set goals for ourselves and do the hard work to achieve them. The grumpy goat reminds us that this life is meant for climbing those metaphorical mountain peaks. We have come pretty far, and in Capricorn, we begin to think about that. What is our history and what legacy will be left for the future? This is also the step in the building of our society, where leaders step forward and make themselves known.
Aquarius - Yang, Air, Fixed
We have looked at the reality of the situation in Capricorn and we've begun to understand the inherent limitations of this physical world. Aquarius asks us to step outside of those boundaries and envision a better way. In Capricorn, systems and structures are built that sustain the physical world. Aquarius looks from above and finds ways to improve those systems. (Sometimes by telling us everything that is wrong, I might add..) The history we contemplated in Capricorn is driving us toward a better and different future in Aquarius. Aquarius is symbolized by 'The Water-Bearer' and this is often said to be representative of truth, and Aquarius is ready to dish it out, let me tell you! They are holding no punches. The optimistic ideals of Saggitarius & the real-world values of Capricorn become fixed mindsets and belief systems in the sign of Aquarius. We are past the point of persuasion, but we appreciate the importance of teamwork and cooperation. Any power or agency we have built in the sign of Capricorn is now directed toward community efforts and equality in the sign of Aquarius.
Pisces - Yin, Water, Mutable
The final sign of the zodiac. The end of a cycle. Astrological cycles and occult teachings always stress the end of a cycle as a time for forgiveness, release, and surrender. By the time Pisces comes along in our society, we have had a lot of experiences, gained a lot of wisdom, and we definitely have some sh*t to let go of. We enforced our boundaries in the mountain goat, while the water-bearer helped us step outside of them and empowered the community around us. And now, in the sign of the fishes, we are asked to completely remove those boundaries altogether. Pisces asks us to remember that the separation we see between ourselves and others is just an illusion. To forgive ourselves and others requires true compassion and empathy for all of humanity. The kind of compassion and empathy that is only capable when we have remembered that we are all one. When we have completely removed the idea of separation. In the other 11 signs of the zodiac, we have explored all facets of the tangible world. Pisces asks us to pay attention to the intangible, the non-linear, the dream space, the meditative space, the spiritual & mystical realm, and the vast nothingness that came before all of the 'somethingness.' The zodiac sign associated with the ocean asks us to dive into the oceanic collective consciousness that we all share.
But the flow doesn't stop here from my friends. We can't let Pisces off the hook (pun intended). Nope, now the zodiac wheel keeps turning and Pisces learns a few lessons from Aries.
The Essence of the Zodiac Wheel
Now that we have made it through our journey of the 12 zodiac signs, it should be apparent that signs that immediately follow each other on the zodiac wheel contain qualities that were missing in the sign prior. In this way, the signs complement each other, teach each other lessons, and they provide an energetic focus and motivation that the previous sign did not.
What themes did you notice in your own zodiac sign that are present within you and that may benefit from the lesson of the subsequent sign? Comment below this post and let me know!