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Signs and Archetypes

painting of jung archetypes

An archetype is a recurring symbol with a common root, but many expressions. Dreams will draw on information from the personal unconscious and include ideas that are said to come from the collective unconscious. We say this because often a person will dream of mythological themes of which they have no prior knowledge. Examples of archetypes in dreams include the Wise Man, Shadow, Trickster and other motifs that lead the psyche through transformation. We can also trace the archetype to their association with ancient and universal myths where the Wise Man is drawn from the stories of Odin, and Trickster is inspired by stories of Coyote or Merlin.

In astrology too, themes are based on archetypes. The signs describe influences and approaches that are unique to them. Each sign is ruled by a planet and is also associated with a house. We might say the 'land of Aries' is influenced by the myths of war deities because of it's Mars rulership, while the 'land of Scorpio' relates to our underworld myths of Persephone and Hades because of Pluto's influence.

Just as archetypes infuse our dreams with transformative inspiration, we can see the astrological chart describing a similar mechanism. While we have no definitive answer as to why we are all connecting somehow to an archetypal realm, we know it is happening. Dream analysts observe patterns that appear in how themes develop regardless of culture. The astrological chart too, has been used for over 2500 years to observe these patterns of expression.

The constellations are inspired by Archetypes. The planets describe the energy that channels the ‘vibe’ of each distinct landscape into the chart.

The signs as archetypes infographic - Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo

The above image shows some of the associative images of each sign and the basic thrust of the sign.

The ancients have used the stars for navigation, time, and as the inspiration for all of their myths. An interesting way to think of this infusing of archetypal energy is to consider the planetary and constellation energy like different reality shows. We can imagine different 'channels' which are based on the characters, behavior and interests of the sign. Each would have a theme.

For example:

Aries ~ action/adventure/empowerment Taurus ~ finance/gardening/culinary Gemini ~ comedy/celebrity gossip/game shows Cancer ~ home makeover/real estate/cooking Leo ~ romance/drama/opera Virgo ~ exercise/ health/wellness

The signs as archetypes - libra, scorpio, sagittarius, capricorn, aquarius, pisces

Libra ~ talk show/relationships/fashion Scorpio ~ mystery/horror/psychology Sagittarius ~ nature/sports/philosophy Capricorn ~ business/investment/infomercial Aquarius ~ science/how its done/humanitarian Pisces ~ religious/inspirational/life and death

A fun way of understanding the mythology and characteristics of the signs is to examine each constellation portrayed through history. From Aries the hunter, Taurus the gatherer, Virgo the inquisitor, Scorpio the revolutionary and up until the present where boundaries are evaporating in the spirit of Pisces, we can see the influence of the signs that describe a particular time. Why certain periods capture the flavor of the constellations is tied to the prominence of planetary activity, precession and other aspects occurring in that sign.


(The Hunter)

Hunter drawing with spear drawn

Hunter of a distant fire.
You seek no mystery
beyond self sufficiency.
Hand shaped silhouettes
drawn on cave walls
an endless testing
of your proficiency.
Born of instinct
where boundaries fade
into the footprints
of your prey
in the night
you shed your cover
to be born again
each day.Animal spirit
behind a changing mask,
seeking shelter
where you roam.
Bow drawn, taking careful aim
at the unknown.
March 21-April 20
Period: Paleolithic
Ruling Planet: Mars
Modality: Cardinal
Element: Fire
Strength: independent, adventurous, enthusiastic, entrepreneurial, instinctive
Weakness: hot headed, self focused, impatient, impulsive, intolerant

(The Gatherer)

Woman with basket on head

From a time of gathering seeds and
planting fields,
there comes the rainmaker.
In gentle determination,
your bring forth the harvest
of earth's celebration.

Fertility cults and bull worship
a time of commerce
and conservation.
Born merchant to the masses
appointing value
to all that’s traded.

A sensual display
of exotic treasures,
collected from foreign lands.
Where the gift of life
is what can be held
within your hand.

April 21-May 21
Period: Neolithic
Ruling Planet: Venus
Modality: Fixed
Element: Earth

Strength: persistent, loyal, sensuous, practical, patient, consistent
Weakness: possessive, materialistic, stubborn, self indulgent

(The Communicator)

Ancient ship with slaves trading goods

Born of the language of traveling sailors
you master words, and then you paint them.
Building pyramids
to measure stars.
Building roads,
and boats and vessels.
Inspiring virtues in life’s behavior,
pondering atoms and life’s mysteries.

From the platform
of common reasoning,
you create puzzles
to be won logically.
A time when tragedy
was entertainment,
and the gods still
spoke to man.
It is ideas,
and expression
that you command.

May 22-June 21
Period: Iron Age
Ruling Planet: Mercury
Modality: Mutable
Element: Air

Strength: logical, intellectual, energetic, versatile, imaginative, expressive
Weakness: devious, restless, superficial, ungrounded, unreliable

(The Roman)

Roman guards in uniforms walking

Dressed in the breastplate of Caesar’s soldiers
holding frontiers in all directions.
Beyond democracy,
you build societies,
creating laws that govern everything.
Born initiator
of practicality
dispelling wars and revolutions,
organization achieves perfection
and government offers protection.
In coded laws
transcribed in stone,
stable and strong
while close to home.
Reflecting the power
and the glory
that was Rome.

June 21-July 22
Period: Roman Empire
Ruling Planet: Moon
Modality: Cardinal
Element: Water

Strength: protective, organized, emotional, responsible, nurturing
Weakness: moody, oversensitive, brooding, clingy, overprotective

(The Troubadour)

Troubadour with person playing ancient guitar

In the time of Richard the Lionhearted
troubadours and medieval poetry,
singing praises to the princess
the tale of knights,
and love to be confessed.
A time of dragons
and rescued damsels
heroic stories performed as legends.

Jesters posed as queens
to stroke the ego
of powerful kings.
Feudal kingdoms
held by monarchies,
galloping crusaders
in search of the grail.
A time when reality
was no match
for a chivalrous tale.

July 23-August 22
Period: Middle Age
Ruling Planet: Sun
Modality: Fixed
Element: Fire

Strength: generous, noble, inspiring, compassionate, creative, romantic
Weakness: domineering, vain, pretentious, melodramatic, stubborn

(The Inquisitor)

People in court

The inquisition meets the enlightenment;
a fertile breeding ground for a vestal virgin.
The power of reason
may come to expire
if it is victimized
by its own excess.

The pursuit of knowledge
requires freedom
but is held in check
by inquisition.
The sacred is lost
with the earth at its center
because discovery
requires permission.

Within the forest
you see the trees
and may come to miss the round way of things.

A time when Newton’s cold,
mechanical world
replaced fate
with functionality.

August 23-September 23
Period: Early Renaissance
Ruling Planet: Mercury
Modality: Mutable
Element: Earth

Strength: systematic, precise, practical, detailed, inquisitive, responsible
Weakness: critical, skeptical, inflexible, fussy, narrow minded

(The Diplomat)

Man woman courting

Social contracts and unalienable rights
where all men are created equal.
The aristocracy moves gracefully
in elegant gestures of refinement.

Across the world
in scales of balance
moderation becomes philosophy.
A gentle people
begin to stir
and the rights of man
are now in question.
Seeing all sides
to every argument,
social unrest
is most disturbing.
The stage is set
for independence,
in the proper wording.

September 24-October 22
Period: Age of Reason
Ruling Planet: Venus

Modality: Cardinal
Element: Air

Strength: harmonious, idealistic, objective, diplomatic, aesthetic, cooperative
Weakness: indecisive, unreliable, lazy, self gratifying, undisciplined

(The Revolutionary)


The transformation of a society;
a revolution across two shores.
A most destructive force
but very necessary,
in its gestation.
If inequities
blight the structure,
it becomes unstable
and will come down.
In a curved tail
and courtship dance,
the king is killed
and then, his wife.

When prosperity
is born of strife,
life and death
become the sacrifice.

October 23-November 22
Period: Age of Revolution
Ruling Planet: Pluto
Modality: Fixed
Element: Water

Strength: deep, influential, transformative, determined, magnetic, powerful
Weakness: jealous, possessive, suspicious, manipulative, obsessive

(The Pioneer)

Army men on horses

A new world emerges with new frontiers
people on horseback, dressed as cavalry.
Across the western plains
into a rugged land
an iron horse replaced the buffalo.

Cowboys and Indians
defending territories
upholding opinion
but not an answer.
The search for freedom we discover
and take up arms
against our brothers.
In gentlemen fashion
of mustache and sideburns,
ladies in corsets
go riding in wagons.
The dawn of the gold rush
the birth of the West
a time when freedom
is put to the test.

November 23-December 21
Period: Wild West
Ruling Planet: Jupiter
Modality: Mutable
Element: Fire

Strength: optimistic, expansive, freedom oriented, philosophical, pioneering
Weakness: non committal, intolerant, brash, cold, irritable, bored, uncaring

(The Industrialist)

City skyline with smokestacks emitting smoke and hazy sky with workds the industrial revolution

Diligently, there comes the organizer
in mass movements,
producing industry.
Conscientious and thriving,
building factories
of productivity.

Replacing worship
with tenacity
and a discipline
unknown to obstacles.
The dawn of capitalism and enterprise
making laborers,
of everyone.
Industrious and persevering
enjoying the fruits
of what you’ve done.
December 22-January 19
Period: Industrial Revolution
Ruling Planet: Saturn
Modality: Cardinal
Element: Earth

Strength: Industrious, patient, persevering, trust worthy, organized, ambitious
Weakness: inhibited, distrusting, unimaginative, dictatorial, unemotional

(The Humanitarian)

mad scientist working in lab holding beaker with smoke coming out

Humanity seeks protection
when workers revolt
in insurrection.
The law of opposites unite
a search for balance
and civil rights.

When the group becomes exploited
leaders rise and are anointed.
Sharing resources in distribution,

industry traded for institution.

In a search beyond invention
relativity becomes convention.
Perspective can be outgrown
and government is overthrown.
From a cold, mechanical world
science evolves upon the empirical.
From a micro world
Einstein returns us
to the ethereal.

anuary 20-February 18
Period: Quantum Revolution
Ruling Planet: Uranus
Modality: Fixed
Element: Air

Strength: visionary, scientific, humane, rational, objective, humanitarian
Weakness: aloof, iconoclastic, rebellious, stubborn, insensitive

(The Compassionate)

Gathering of multicultural people and kids with words do onto others as you would have them do unto you

From the melting pot
of mass migration
frontiers dissolve
and lines evaporate.
There are no absolutes
when life is changing.
Nothing is sacred,
when nothing is violated.

Defending the structure,
no longer necessary
blending together,
removing the adversary.
One currency,
one world order and in time,
dissolving borders.

February 19-March 20
Period: Information Age
Ruling Planet: Neptune
Modality: Mutable
Element: Water

Strength: Compassionate, imaginative, sensitive, intuitive, faithful, calming

Weakness: indecisive, undisciplined, escapism, self pitying, oversensitive