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The Llewellyn Encyclopedia

Term: signs of the zodiac

DEFINITIONS

Signs of the Zodiac: The Zodiac is a circle of space surrounding the Earth. It may be imagined as a belt in the heavens about 15 degrees wide in which the planets travel. It is the Sun's apparent path, called the ecliptic. The zodiacal circle is divided into twelve parts, each part containing 30 degrees of space called the Signs of the Zodiac. Thus a sign is a one-twelfth division of the zodiacal circle and is defined as containing 30 degrees of celestial longitude: 12 signs each measuring 30 degrees constitute the circle of the zodiac or 360 degrees. In this circle the planets travel each in its own orbit, one outlying beyond the other. The zodiac, then, is a circle divided into twelve signs through which the planets travel or transit from west to east, going through one sign after another in their order from Aries to Pisces. Although the zodiac is generally referred to as a circle it is, in fact, elliptical. Each sign possesses a certain specific influence of its own.

The motion of the Earth around the Sun once a year causes the Sun to appear to pass through one of the 12 signs each month. Its influence, according to location, determines not alone the seasons but the general nature and character of persons born at that time.

The signs in order are Aries the Ram, Taurus the Bull, Gemini the Twins, Cancer the Crab, Leo the Lion, Virgo the Virgin, Libra the Scales, Scorpio the Scorpion, Sagittarius the Archer, Capricorn the Goat, Aquarius the Water-Bearer, and Pisces the Fishes.
source: A to Z Horoscope Maker and Delineator, by Llewellyn George


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