Heads up, horoscope lovers: The zodiac sign you check every month (week or even day) is called your Sun sign. It's aptly named because it's based on where "the sun was in the moment you were born," says Narayana Montúfar, senior astrologer at Horoscope.com and Astrology.com, as well as author of Moon Signs: Unlock Your Inner Luminary Power. Twelve Sun signs make up the zodiac, and each one has specific characteristics associated with it.
"[Your sign] is determined by the day, since the sun changes signs once a month," says Montúfar. "However, if a person was born on a day when the sun switches signs, their Sun sign will be determined by the zodiac sign that the sun was in at the exact time of their birth."
Btw, that’s why "cusp signs," a.k.a. zodiac signs that straddle two different signs, don’t really exist. Or at least they’re not recognized by many astrologers. "Technically, a planet cannot be stationed in two signs at once," explains astrologer Sanasjia Clervoix. If you feel that you better embody the signs before or even after your Sun sign, try getting your full birth chart read to understand where else these energies might exist in your chart, Clervoix suggests.
If you want to know even more about your sign's characteristics, look no further than "triplicities" and "quadruplicities," two important tenets of astrology. Each zodiac sign falls under one of four triplicities (fire, earth, air, or water) and one of three quadruplicities (cardinal signs, fixed signs, and mutable signs). More on that in a sec.
Now that you’re more informed on the basics of astrology, you're ready to get a bit more specific. Here's everything you should know about the 12 zodiac sign’s dates, corresponding personality traits, triplicities, and quadruplicities, according to expert astrologers.
Aries signs are symbolized by the ram, and they loooove being the leader of the pack. "Because they're ruled by Mars and are the first fire and cardinal sign, Aries prefer to initiate rather than to complete," says Montúfar. Basically, if you've got a project you need to get done or a recipe you've been dying to try, call an Aries for a kick-start.
At the same time, they usually have to be entertained or they can get restless pretty quickly, says tarot reader Kerry Ward. "Aries see everything as a competition, and they can fight in an empty room," she says. For this sign, it's important to remember that simply picking your battles can be a win, too.
"Ruled by Venus, Taurus is 'the bull'—an earth sign whose mantra is 'slow steady wins the race,'" Montúfar explains. If you're a Taurus, you're totally a pleasure seeker and sort of a genius when it comes to collecting material goods.
Consider yourself a money magnet, thanks to your incredible skill of manifesting. And, as an earth sign, you're naturally grounded, dependable, and hard-working. These qualities make Taurus built for stable, long-term relationships, adds Ward.
The "twins" represent Gemini, which is ruled by planet Mercury. "Recognized as the sacred duality present in the universe, Gemini is an intellectual and versatile sign with an endless curiosity and a bright, quick-witted mind," notes Montúfar. However, Ward stresses that their quick wit can backfire during moments of conflict, which is why they prefer to go M.I.A. rather than deal with confrontation.
Not only that, but Geminis are also super flirty and social. "It takes them a while to settle down because they're so social and can't bear to be restricted," says Ward.
Cancers are *very* loyal. "Intuitive and tenacious, this sign sticks to their roots and excels at getting what it wants to protect their family and loved ones," explains Montúfar. And btw, they're ruled by the Moon and their symbol is the crab.
Because Cancers are water signs, they tend to be very well-spoken and in touch with their emotions. They're also a part of the cardinal modality, meaning they use their intellect toward their ambitious tendencies, Montúfar says.
In romantic relationships, Cancers will give you the world, but they expect you to give it right back, adds Ward. So when their energy isn't reciprocated, they feel abandoned.
King of the jungle, the Leo sign is represented by "the lion" and is ruled by the Sun. If you know a Leo, then you probably also know that making a good impression is the number one priority. "This sign’s creativity and fiery magnetism puts this sign at the center stage of life," Montúfar says.
It also makes sense, then, that the Leo is connected to the fire element, since their upbeat energy and passion makes them perfect for being at the forefront of people's attention. It may be no coincidence that they're the jealous type, says Ward. But she notes that this isn't out of malice and more so because they have a natural desire to be in the spotlight.
"Ruled by Mercury, Virgo is 'the virgin,' representing the ideal of wholeness and perfection," Montúfar explains. Virgos are literally designed to be industrious, methodical, and efficient. Those characteristics enable them to get through pretty much any endeavor.
"Precise, perceptive, practical and perfectionist" is how Ward best describes this sign. Virgos are used to wearing multiple hats at the same time and are often under the impression that they're the best person to do it all. If that belief gets challenged, they'll push back and become stubborn. (Non-Virgos, tread lightly!)
You know those scales of justice symbols? Yeah, that represents Libra. An intellectual sign ruled by the planet Venus, they're basically the epitome of beauty, balance, harmony, and a sense of fair play. (Get it? Scales? Balance?)
Because Libra is associated with the air element, they typically approach life from a logical standpoint (there's those scales again!). At times, however, they can be indecisive or fickle, Mesa explains.
They're also natural flirts and love to be loved, says Ward. "Many people can get burned by thinking they were special to a Libra... only to discover they were one of several!" she explains.
Scorpio is, yep, "the scorpion." An emotional and resilient sign, Scorpios have a knack for "zeroing in on essential questions and gleaning the secrets that lie within," says Montúfar. Oh, and they're ruled by Mars and Pluto (which might explain why they can be kinda hot and cold).
As a water sign, Scorpios are eloquent, intellectual, and curious. And because they're associated with the fixed modality, they tend to be determined and stable.
These qualities also make Scorpios super independent. They won't ask for help—mostly because of their pride—which can get them into trouble, explains Ward. They also love hard, so you can expect a Scorpio to fight till the end for the people they care about.
Sagittarius is "the archer," ruled by the mighty planet Jupiter. Sags are fiery, versatile, and, most importantly, truth-seekers. The best way for them to get answers is to seek out tons of connections with others. That said, Sagittarius feel the strongest connections to fellow creative and crafty fire signs, Aries and Leo.
They also tend to be free-spirited and adventurous, so if you're looking to tie down a Sag and get them to commit to certain plans and dates, good luck! This desire for freedom can also clash with their other responsibilities, says Ward.
Ever heard of a "sea-goat"? You have now—it's a mythological water creature that represents the Capricorn sign. "Ruled by Saturn, Capricorns are ambitious and determined initiators," says Montúfar. If you're a Cap, you're definitely super tough. (Like, you're at your best when facing the biggest obstacles.)
That toughness definitely comes into play since Caps are cardinal signs, which just so happen to be the fast-paced and initiative-taking members of the zodiac.
And, since Capricorns are earth signs, they are grounded, dependable, and hard-working, Montúfar says. These traits impact the way they look at romantic relationships. Capricorns don't want to just fall in love, says Ward. Instead, they want someone who's just as ambitious—they want the power-couple life. Still, their desire for success can get in the way of their personal relationships, so balance is a must.
Aquarius is the "water bearer." Ruled by Saturn and Uranus, people born under this sign are often humanitarian-focused, visionaries, and progressive souls interested in making the world a much better place. (Can ya blame 'em?)
As an air sign, Aquarius is eloquent, curious, and intellectual. This Sun sign is known for being very honest—almost to a fault. "Aquarians don't like conflict, but will speak their mind, often with powerful honesty," says Ward. "They won't hold back to spare others' feelings."
Aquarius can also be tricky in relationships because they highly value their alone time and won't tie their partner down.
Ruled by Jupiter and Neptune, Pisces is represented by the "two fishes" (which makes sense, since it's a water sign). "Dreamy and spiritual, this sign represents the end of the zodiacal journey," Montúfar explains. "Pisces wraps up the qualities of all the previous eleven signs to bring the spirit into a perfect state of wholeness." Not a bad sign to be, amiright?
That wholeness is also encompassed in the fact that Pisces have the curiosity and impassioned nature of the water element, as well as in their mutable sign modality that allows them the flexibility to complete the zodiac.
Another plus for Pisces: They're the dream partner for their fellow signs due to their caring, loyal, and loving nature, says Ward. They're not big on conflict and tend to hold things in, but if you push them far enough, they'll bite back with sarcasm.