The Rabbit Hole Has Basement Levels

Taurus is steady and constant. So is Virgo, but it is a different kind of steady, without as much constant. Gemini and Sagittarius both tend to be social. Leo is willful, and Scorpio has willpower. I could go on and on and on (and on), but I won't.

Merely describing the signs only provides a cursory understanding of them. This was a great annoyance to me when I first looked into astrology. What was going on? Okay, Aries is a vibrant sign and Aquarius an odd one, I can get that much, but why and why? It just is not enough for me to be told that something is so.

Curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought him back.

The twelve signs are more than a bunch of observed traits all mashed together. I always suspected it had to be so, because nothing simply exists out of nowhere and for no reason. There is always a structure and development, however malleable or inconstant it may be. That's true for rocks, flames, faiths, ideas, inventions...all of it. Getting to know the sign traits was easy enough, but understanding them took a lot more time. And it wasn't until I could "see" the underlying structure that I truly was able to accept astrology as something more than an inviting possibility.

The signs themselves are metaphors for psychological traits, but each sign is made up of at least three pieces that can be considered universal metaphors. Those three ingredients mix together like a primordial soup, giving each of the twelve signs its own unique essence. Understanding these allows a person to understand the internal workings of a sign from a more basic level.

While remaining fantastically unspecific, they are:

Elements - Probably the best known aspect of the signs, Fire, Earth, Air, and Water have always been well-used metaphors. In astrology, they represent our core alliance to continued existence, with Fire and Air focusing on the "continued" part, and Earth and Water focusing on the "existence."

Modes - Sometimes known by other names (astrology could really use more universal nomenclature instead of having a handful of terms that all mean the same thing). Cardinal, Fixed, and Mutable are the common names for the three modes, and these represent three approaches of direction, structure, and comprehension...loosely defined.

Now, with the Elements and Modes alone you already have 12 signs, as each of the 4 elements has one of the three modes, and four times three is twelve. The possible combinations of mode and element ensures that no sign is going to be a replica of another. But there is a third part:

Cycle Stages - This is the Ouroboros of astrology, the snake swallowing its own tail as the image of infinity, the circle of existence (so cue the musical chanting and monkeys lifting lion cubs above the Sahara).

Thinking in time frames, one does not get to the last day of a sign and suddenly leap a fence into the next sign, adopting a radically different persona in the process. There is a gradual transformation, as one sign becomes the next. Astrology divides the cycle of signs into 12 parts for the same reason people divide any cycle into stages: it's easier that way.

For example, in biological development you don't suddenly leap from being an infant and then BAM! you're a toddler and then POOF! an adolescent. While it is easier to understand and see physical change when you divide it into "Stages of Physical Development," the process itself works gradually. And so it is with the signs. Each sign is part of a universal cycle of beginning, growth, interaction, entropy, ending, and eventually the influence that endings have on new beginnings...rinse, repeat. Each sign takes place on this cycle, and all of them together are one snake swallowing its own tail, even if we choose to view it in segments.

The comprehension of those three qualities working together within a sign gives one more than mere traits or the regurgitation of adverbs. It allows an astrologer to know the reason those traits exist in the first place. The benefit is the difference between knowing that something is, and knowing why it is.


Blogger VW said...

Thank you. I appreciate you using children as your example as it has a whole lot of meaning for me right now. Never thought of how you go from one sign to another. I have a lot to learn.

Side note: Sometimes I think my children do go BAM and transform. Just not sure into what. :-)

8:31 PM  
Blogger Lasciate said...

Heh, could be any number of things, because right now everything is new. Even the "cautious" signs must learn why they feel the need to be so cautious, and that takes a lot of active exploration natural to young children. Depending on their charts, the result will develop more fully over time.

For example, let's say you're listening to music with friends. And one person gets a kick out of the lyrics but you like the beat, while your other friend just loves thinking of how attractive the lead singer's style is. Same song, different focuses...

For kids, the focus is there, but the experience is not. With their charts (or by being their mother, haha) you could figure out what they were actually focusing on as they went learning through life. But the learning must come first.

And you've given me an idea for a post. Thanks much, VW :)

8:48 PM  

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